About TSM Studio
TSM was founded on March 8, 2004 with the goal of bringing our clients to the cutting edge of audio and video production as well as graphic design, putting those clients miles ahead of the competition. The technologies used today may make those methods seem rudimentary and archaic but the goal remains the same. To do this, we’re always on the lookout for the next big thing, the thing everyone wants that’s going to launch their projects out to the world, above all the rest.
In 2004, there were few cell phones and those existed didn’t connect to the internet. The iPhone hadn’t been invented yet. Most people saw the value in websites and we were providing that service with Flash websites which were highly animated with lots of graphics. They gradually became more content-driven and with Google on the rise and being thought of as the magic tool to catapult websites into the limelight, we began implementing Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, using strategies that would bring websites to the top of the heap. Today, cell phones are computers with small screens. The latest generation of websites is mobile-based with websites that are compact and efficient, a dramatic change from the early days of web development.
When we began, Social Media was reading the classifieds in the newspaper. There was no Facebook, no SnapChat, no Instagram. A couple of years after we started, MySpace popped up and nobody knew what to make of it but we saw its potential. We began offering viral marketing strategies and creating graphically-intense, highly functional MySpace pages that actually replaced web pages for a while. Facebook followed and viral marketing became Social Media which in our world means taking a multi-platform approach to reaching target audiences. Design and branding styles have gone from intense and complex to more modern and clean. As we look back on how much the world of media production has changed throughout the span of our existence, we’re struck by how much the industry has changed and how much we have evolved with it. To put our clients at the cutting edge, we must put ourselves there, growing our skill sets alongside the growing technologies. The same people who began with us in 2004 producing those videos in SD are with us today, more knowledgeable, more versatile, and able to put together amazing, in-depth productions in the blink of an eye.
We look back with pride at how far we’ve come since that day in 2004, how we’ve been through all of these phases of growth and change, but we look back only for a moment. Looking forward is how we’ve grown so much, how we’ve evolved into a world-class media production company, and how we’re going to bring our clients to the next big thing. The goal remains the same.
In 2003, Jason Ross was working as the studio manager at a recording studio in Orlando called ARS (now known as Plush) when he agreed to participate in a marketing project to help out a co-worker’s girlfriend who was attending UCF in Orlando. She brought her group into the studio to discuss operations for their project and after they toured the facility, there was a Q&A. During the session, one of them, a student named José, stood out from the rest. He asked questions that made a lot of sense to Jason and a side discussion broke out between the two of them. There was an instant entrepreneurial connection between Jason and José, as if they were meant to meet. They exchanged contact information and began discussing a new business opportunity. They quickly formed a friendship and partnership and began to shift their focuses to their new entity, the original plan being to create, transfer, and duplicate DVDs.
Both being entrepreneurs, Jason and José had their own individual brands from previous endeavors. Jason’s was called Sunwut, a personal brand for ventures and José had a small digital media business that was named Trupixel. Naturally, they decided to combine the two and Trusun Media was born. (Later down the road, they realized they needed to make it easier for clients so they shortened it to TSM Studio or TSM.)
We’re In… Let’s Go
Even in the beginning, they knew that the way to success was forward, looking into the latest trends and what technologies were coming next. With VHS on its way out because consumers were opting for smaller, sharper, and easier to use DVD’s, they saw a need in the market for VHS to DVD video transfers with useful navigating menus. The first job they got was filming a young musician playing the cello and creating a DVD with a custom menu, which was very new at the time. They made $50.
Meanwhile, José had been crafting his design skills and had a new but fairly in-depth knowledge of website construction, at least for the era we were in. In 2004, websites were uncommon and technology was nothing like it is today. Few saw their potential or the value that they brought but some people were starting to catch on. TSM’s second job was to create a website for a local forward-thinking band with a growing following. José was a talented graphic designer and knew he could do the job.
When Many Roads Cross
During that same time, Jason was still working at the recording studio and a young drummer, who was 18, came in to help his friend during an acoustic session. Ryan, only a freshman at UCF, hung out with Jason during the session, and just as had happened with José, they had an instant connection so they started to talk more about business after the session was over. Ryan’s band hired Jason and the studio to record 3 songs and that’s where they started to talk about Ryan’s video capabilities. He had been studying film and had even won a student Emmy Award when he was in high school for a mock tv show that he had produced with friends. This was during the same time that Jason and Jose were launching TSM and Ryan was eager to jump on board, making the company truly official.
The three of them opened up a shop next to ARS Studio on March 8, 2004. In the beginning, Jason focused on sales, networking and the operations. José worked on the web and graphic design while still going to UCF and working as a computer tech. The first year, using all the resources Jason had made at ARS Studio, going to networking meetings, and literally walking around downtown handing out flyers, TSM made $60,000 which seemed great to a bunch of kids in 2004.
In 2005, things really took off. TSM was getting projects left and right, of all types: websites, videos, graphics, even getting into custom software and more. Through the studio, they were able to connect with new clients and in working with these people, the company grew quickly in the local market. In the years that followed, they firmed things up, focusing on advancing their skills along with the advancing technologies. The website department of TSM was thriving, making some of the hottest websites at the time, using flash, 3D, videos and green screens. There were no investors, no one to help, they just did whatever they could to make it work. And they worked and worked.
Getting Clients and Making Connections
All their hard work began to pay off, when in 2005, they met Rodney Jerkins, also known as Darkchild, one of the world’s biggest R&B producers. Rodney introduced TSM to actor/comedian Chris Tucker who became their client (and is still their client 13 years later), and Gospel superstar Fred Hammond. As they continued to sign entertainers, they started traveling around producing videos and developing websites In 2005, Ryan went on tour with Gwen Stefani shooting all the behind the scenes of her US tour. They met Dwight Howard through his manager (who had recorded music with Jason many years prior), and when he came to play for the Orlando Magic in 2004, he hired TSM to develop his website and handle all of his social media which they did for the next 12 years.
Growing and Evolving
The company evolved creating websites and videos and learning a lot along the way. Although his time at TSM was successful and productive, in 2007, José decided to depart the company and pursue his own endeavors. This was a new age for the company and a learning experience for all. As TSM has grown, there have been lots of employees and subcontractors and all the while, they’ve stayed true to their original vision of making cool things for clients that are on the cutting edge.
Some of those cool things they’ve made through the years? A music video for Fred Hammond for Sony. The website for America’s Most Wanted. Work for Adidas through Dwight Howard. They’ve created brands for national products in retail stores, a documentary in Montana about 5 servicemen who lost their sight in Afghanistan and Iraq, toured with Gwen Stefani, worked in music sessions with Rodney Jerkins as well as The Runners, DJ Kalhed, and Thomas McClary (The Commodores), and many more adventures that have spanned all over the US.
Now and Beyond
TSM is on the cusp of 15 years in business. They have seen the tremendous growth and evolution of technology and have survived a huge recession and also enjoyed prosperous times. The company constantly changes with the times, adding new dimensions to everything and everywhere it can. They have had a long journey and worked, met, and parted ways with many over the years. For TSM, the future is bright and they look to continue to grow the company into a digital media icon.