Bellevue firm a 'mighty' force
By CELINA KAREIVA
Bellevue Reporter Staff writer
March 11, 2013 · Updated 12:09 PM
Mark Stendal likens brainstorming sessions at Mighty Media to speed dating – rapid fire, the team throws out ideas until something emerges. After scribbling thoughts on the whiteboard, they pick through to find the ones with the most merit.
“Essentially we’re storytellers,” says co-founder Stendal. “It’s the oldest form of entertainment and information. So [our final product] has a beginning, a middle and an end.”
When the band of former Microsoft vendors first assembled three years ago, they simply were looking for a creative space. Now a team of ten, their backgrounds offer a wide range of skills. Stendal was co-executive producer of NBC's "The Other Half," and produced primetime specials for MTV, The Travel Channel and TLC. Co-founder Pauls Zommers worked on the production team for the Seattle SuperSonics and Seattle Storm. Their colleagues have produced commercials for Nike and Boeing, music videos for Janet Jackson and SuperBowl halftime shows.
Today, headquartered in an old firehouse that's wedged between a Taco Bell and a Jack-in-the-Box off Northup Way, MM Studios hardly looks like the creative engine it is. But Mighty Media, as the name suggests, produces content for some of the biggest local and national companies, ranging from Microsoft to CBS. Projects include reality shows, university recruitment videos and company conferences. It’s hard work, says Zommers, but also a lot of fun.
“What kind of projects do we specialize in? Well, if they involve stunts, pyrotechnics, animals or worse – child actors – aircraft carriers, Bell-Jet Rangers, giant chemical plants, fisticuffs, anthrax, internationally broadcast live entertainment, national political conventions, enhanced company meetings streamed live to 50 countries, huge game conventions or male swimsuit models – we’re experts” reads the company website.
Stendal and Zommers laugh and exchange glances when asked about anecdotes from the set.
“We work way too hard, and so we believe in enjoying ourselves while we work,” says Stendal.
Recently, the team tackled its biggest project to date – planning and launching Microsoft’s company meeting. Local employees met at Key Arena, but the company needed to find a way to bring its colossal national and international employee base into the fold. Mighty Media's answer was to build an online show shared with 100 countries around the world, 16 via Skype. Mention of any company conference makes most eyes glaze over, but Stendal and Zommers proudly recall the rave reviews they heard from employees and their families.
“What we’re doing is visual storytelling,” says Stendal, “and…studies have shown that that videos have more impact than anything else you can do on the internet.”
Certainly says, Zommers, rubbing elbows with Microsoft helps Mighty Media stay on the cusp of the digital marketplace, but there’s always competition to stay nimble, which is why the team feels Bellevue is prime location for its headquarters.
“It’s fantastic to be a production entity here, because we can get everything we need from wardrobe, to lights, batteries and lunch. We can literally sit upstairs and almost yell down to Jack-in-the-Box, our takeout order,” jokes Stendal. “I mean location, location, location. We happen to be on perhaps one of the busiest blocks on the Eastside.”
For Stendal, who spent 15 years at KOMO 4 as executive producer of local programming and program manager, and for many other members of Mighty Media, Bellevue is an undiscovered talent pool.
“Having worked in this market for 25 years, most of the production community is in Seattle. But we’re realizing Bellevue is a great place with many needs, and is really moving forward,” says Stendal. “We’re just happy Mighty Media can be another stake in the ground.”
To learn more about Mighty Media, visit their website.
Contact Bellevue Reporter Staff writer Celina Kareiva at email@example.com or 425-453-4290.