Q&A with O Tomas Bell, President of Tomasian Entertainment

I suggest that regardless of your industry, you read trade magazines and/or sign up for newsletters in your field.

Tell us a bit about Tomasian Entertainment LLC.

Tomasian Entertainment LLC (TE!) is a multifaceted online entertainment company located on the web at http://tomasianent.com. In addition to being an audio, music and voice services company, we also have three genre specific music labels -T Dance Digital, T2 Digital and R1 Releases – and a music publishing company – Tomasian Entertainment Music Publishing.

What gave you the idea for your business and how did it start?

TE! began as a way for me to promote my own work, which at that time included my original dance music and my collegiate performances (now known as our TE College Tours program). Overtime, as connected with more and more talented artists, the music label expanded to three genre specific labels and in house publishing was added. I still, however, had my career independent of TE! In which I did freelance audio engineering, toplining for artists such as Mason and Fish from Japan, and voiceover work, a throwback to my earlier career in theatre. As these worlds began to collide, my team and I made the strategic decision to incorporate the audio, music and voice work with the music label and publishing company. This allowed us to manage diverse projects more effectively and provide full service offerings to our clients. Today, leveraging the assets of our publishing company and music label with in house audio and voiceover production, we are able to handle most audio visual projects in their entirety. This also allows us to competitively bid for projects and offer direct music licensing for film, TV, video game, internet and live productions at highly competitive rates.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

The unpredictable nature of my job is my favorite thing. It makes my work both challenging and fun. I never know who is going to call or what will come across my desk. Our team could go for weeks responding to creative briefs, promoting artists, and sending out voiceover auditions. Then all in one day, we can get 3 licensing requests, 2 voice over gigs and an artist charts in Germany! (This actually happened this past summer).

What are your keys to making yourself productive?

I employ a threefold strategy.

1. I plan my day leaving room for the unexpected. Yes, I am a business person but I am also a creative. I may have 50 emails in my inbox but when the studio calls, the studio calls. I build into my schedule the flexibility to be creative.

2. I don’t live and breathe what I do. I love what I do but I have many passions that lie outside of entertainment, for example gardening. So I make time for my garden, I read, I go to the gym and do yoga daily for me. When I am doing those things my focus is on what I’m doing not the email, or studio work or voice work or promotion that needs to be done.

3. I don’t compromise my quality for quantity. I don’t my drop prices to undercut the next person to get the job. I come with a certain level quality and expertise, so align myself with clients who want that quality and are willing to pay for it. I don’t say yes to every project because whatever project we take on will require time, effort and resources. It’s important to ensure when we do say yes, we are able to provide top notch service.

Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

My long term goal for Tomasian Entertainment LLC is to grow the business so much that I grow myself out of a job. My company is an LLC so I will always, technically, have equity. That is as long as it remains an LLC. But I look at people like CDBaby founder, Derek Sivers or Def Jam founder, Russell Simmons, who had a vision so clear that even though they are no longer at the helm or affiliated with the brand, the core values of CDBaby and Def Jam still exist. I welcome the opportunity to one day be the founding face of TE! while someone else runs the day to day operations.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

ASK! That is perhaps the most important thing I have learned not just in my career, but in life. If it’s something you don’t know, ask. If you see an opportunity and want to offer your services, ask. I’ve found, oftentimes, that people are just waiting for you to offer your services. Or, they don’t realize that they need your services until you bring it to their attention. To further that, I know what I do. Some people only know some of what I do. If I have a voiceover client, the first thing I will do is ask them if they need the entire spot produced. For direct clients, the answer is usually yes. This means I’m able to do the voice work and provide music from my publishing company while producing everything in our studio. This one stop shop has been valuable in helping us build our business.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

Know your worth and know what you bring to the table but also be realistic about your expectations. If you are a creative, realize that commercial projects focus on consumer consumption. This will inform the nature of your creativity on a project.

What are your favorite things to do outside of work?

I love reading and can easily be found with a book in my hand. I also enjoy indoor gardening, yoga, short films on vimeo, and indie and foreign features found on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Name a few influential books you’ve read and/or websites you keep up with that you’d recommend to readers.

I have read and been influenced by:
Blink, The Tipping Point, Outliers, and What The Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell.
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris and his blog at http://tim.blog.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

I suggest that regardless of your industry, you read trade magazines and/or sign up for newsletters in your field.

I follow the following websites of organizations that I’m a member of:
http://Grammypro.com
http://AIMP.org
http://AES.org
http://BMI.com
http://ASCAP.com 

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