What’s In A Name

EMA signatureWhen I was younger and first started to dream about doing what Walt Disney did I always thought I would name my company as he did.  I built my dreams around the idea of Eric Miller Animation, so now that I’m actually starting my studio there was never much thought about what it would be called.  Although, through my experience in the industry I have heard of downsides to naming it after the founder.  At this point it is hard for me to think of the studio as anything else, and there are a few reasons why I still plan to name my studio Eric Miller Animation.

Marketing Me:
At the beginning I will have to market myself to prospective clients.  There won’t be a company to talk about, and it will simply be me, Eric Miller.  I will spend a lot of time and money building a reputation for what I can do for clients.  I feel it would be a waste if I changed from a name they have come to know and trust to something they don’t know.  Sure it can be done, but if it is not necessary why add the extra work.  I will already have enough mountains to climb, so why make things harder then they need to be.

Personal Touch:
The one thing I liked about the Walt Disney company is that the name gave it a personal touch(at least in the beginning).  I want people to want to work with me and the studio because I have been a friend, and they know they can count on me.  I feel that by using a name that is not linked to a person makes it seem less inviting.  I also feel there is a level of accountability when your name is attached to something.  You don’t want to put out cheap or sloppy work that will ruin your personal reputation.  By attaching your name it makes you feel more accountable to deliver your best every time.

More difficult to sell:
Business advice says that it is a bad idea to name a company after the founder, because if you ever want  to sell the company it will be less appealing to buyers.  This makes sense, but starting an animation studio was never a business venture to me to simply make money.  I don’t plan to get the company up and running, and then sell it off to the highest bidder.  This company is everything to me, and I want others to know that I stand behind this studio.

Taking all the Credit:
Some people say that by naming the company after one person it takes credit away from the artists.  I can understand this if credit is not given to artists in other ways.  The company name to me is more marketing and branding.  It is that name you come to trust, and thought of as the industry expert.  The company name of Pixar does not give any more credit to the artists then Eric Miller Animation.  Credit needs to be given in other ways, and I’m a very strong believer in giving credit where credit is due.  It is important to celebrate the hard work of all the people on any project, and shine a spotlight on anyone that went above and beyond.  After all, what makes a company great is the people that work there.

Not everyone might agree with the points I make, but this is what I feel is the right thing to do.  After all I’m the one that will be risking the most, and putting myself, and my family’s lives on the line.  There has to be some benefits for taking a chance to follow your heart. Some people might say that is just ego, and maybe it is, but I feel it is more then just that.  I want to make a difference in the world and leave my mark. Maybe that is selfish of me, but everyone has that right.  After all, one could argue that the names of things do not matter, only what things “are”.  What we do as a company is the only thing that matters in the end.

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
– William Shakespeare

Here are some interesting facts about company names you may or may not know.  A few entertainment companies that are named after people; 20th Century – Fox William Fox, Don Bluth Entertainment – Don Bluth, MGM or Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer – Samuel Goldfish, Edgar and Archibald Selwyn, and Louis B. Mayer, Hanna-Barbera Productions – William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, Hasbro – the HASsenfeld BROthers,The Jim Henson Company – Jim Henson, Lucasfilm – George Lucas, Miramax Films – Max and Miriam Weinstein (parents of founders), Turner Broadcasting System – Ted Turner, and of course The Walt Disney Company – Walt Disney.  The Walt Disney Company has gone through several names over the years including; Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, The Walt Disney Studio, and Walt Disney Productions.  Eventually the live action and animation divisions were renamed to Walt Disney Pictures, and Walt Disney Feature Animation under The Walt Disney Company umbrella.


If you have not already, I hope you will join me on my journey by subscribing to this blog.  If you have any thoughts or advice I would love to hear them, so please feel free to leave me any comments below. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@MillerAnimation). Only Time Will Tell.

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