Building a World Class Production Company with Rajan Patel of Framework


By Assemble

February 8, 2023

Rajan Patel is the President and Executive Producer at Framework, one of Hollywood's top entertainment marketing companies with a client list that reads like a who's who at the Oscars - names like Disney, HBO, Marvel, Netflix and many more.

In this episode we talk about Rajan's humble beginnings working in his parents motels, how he moved to Los Angeles and found his way into entertainment, and tactical advice on running a production company, building a culture, and developing yourself as a leader.

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Nate Watkin: Welcome to our show, Rajan.

Rajan Patel: Thanks, man. It's good to be here, Nate.

Nate Watkin: Absolutely. So I wanna jump right in, and I'd like to start with a little bit of your childhood, your background, how you got into the creative industries. And I noticed you mentioned in your bio growing up in the South Asian community typically leads to a career in engineering, not entertainment. So tell me a bit about your childhood and when you first realized that you had a passion for film.

Rajan Patel: Yeah, that's that's a pretty interesting question. I grew up in Stockton, California. Which for people who know, it is a pretty rough area for the most part. We, we ran a small motel in, in, in a very ghetto area. It was a street full of little motels that Indian people ran. And so, in one weird way, my childhood was a part of this huge community, south Asian community, but also a pretty diverse community, right? You could imagine even if you had 25 rooms, every room has a story, right? Every day that somebody checks into. Interestingly enough I was into music since I was a kid. I, I started playing the drums. I, I couldn't tell you how old I, I don't have a memory. Many people in my family actually don't have a memory of me without drums.

And it started with Indian drumming tables and lux. My parents used to go to India and, and do anything they could to, to bring back instruments. And that kind of, I would say it was my first creative passion, you know? And it slowly led into other, other things. My mom was down here and she was telling me how she found this old film that I made where all my cousins were the actors and something, and she took it to Costco and she's all proud that it's on the DVD now, but she says the quality's not good. Well, it's like just cuz you it onto a D V D doesn't mean the VHS quality's gonna be good. So, to be honest with you, man, we I wasn't into movies growing up. It's actually a funny topic of conversation where when you're, I'm with a bunch of clients or even my own staff and everyone's like, top five movies and I'm like, you know, 10 things I hate about you.

And they're like, what? ? cuz we didn't get to watch stuff. Our culture wasn't about that. And, and we watched a lot of Indian movies. I worked for a Fortune 500 pretty much right at the beginning of college. And it was based outta Chicago. And I was going to school full-time and I was, I was having to go back and forth and I was doing sales and management and strategy. And in 2008, when the economy crashed in 2009 the company had to go through severe layoffs because we were a luxury brand. And at that time I told the owner who was a good friend Greg Woodstock and still a confidant of mine, I said, you know, it's gonna suck, but there's guys here and, and, and people here who have families. I'm just like a 20, you know, 22 year old kid, I haven't even like, finished school.

And like, these people have kids, so save whoever you can and, and let me go. And, and they did. And I went to my parents and I remember saying, mom and dad, we grew up in a motel. We worked every day. Then I was interested in music. I, I, I worked music like a job. I started DJing, turned that into a business, was very successful. Went to work during high school, DJing on the weekends, worked at a place called Robinson's Feed, then got this job. I said, I'm gonna take some time off. And they said, how long? I said, maybe like a year. And my, my parents started laughing. I was like, where are you laughing? They're like, you're gonna be bored in a week. My brother decided that he was gonna propose to his girlfriend at the time, his now wife. And it hit me that like, it would be really cool to make a fictitious Bollywood story about the two of them and their, their kind of, you know, romance to marriage and, and play it at the wedding reception.

And I learned how to use cameras. I learned all these things and essentially made it and put it up. Somebody put up on YouTube and we started getting calls. And my first real peak into film, like I'm sure you've learned a lot of people as was events and weddings, right? But we weren't wedding filmers, right? We were doing these cool concept films and using, at that time, jibs and dollies and, and just like Indian people spent a lot of money on weddings and Indian people love Bollywood. It was a perfect match, . And that's when I fell in love with the art of it, I would say, and the art of it, meaning like my version of the art of it, right? I'm a business grad . It, it was my version of it, but my version of it, even doing weddings still holds true of how in this industry that we've known has been wasteful in Hollywood and can spend exuberance amount of money to do something really simple.

I think where my success came from all the way back to my childhood was learning how to do the maximum with the minimum. And so through this process now, 14 years plus at Framework, I was running the business for the wedding business for two to three years. Before that, I had to edit all my own films. And the pressure was different, right? Like, you, like you can retake on a movie set or a marketing set. You can't at somebody's wedding. The pressure was insane and I thrived off of it. And I think that's what made me fall in love with the, what I considered the art of, of making content. I wouldn't even say filmmaking of making content. So it was a really, really strange journey to, to get there. I landed in a career that I never knew existed, I never wanted because I didn't know about it, but it turned out that I found out that I landed into something that I was made for and I didn't even know it.

Nate Watkin: It's really an incredible story Now. I mean, you've grown framework to be such a successful company. I think you have over 50 employees now work with a who's who's list of Hollywood every major studio to start as a wedding filmmaker. You know, wedding concept filmmaker is just such an incredible story. You know, a not coming out of film school, not having the traditional path. So I'd love to just hear that story of how did that transition happen going from, you know, just producing these films really like your first film for fun, for your brother's wedding, and then turning that into a company and then growing that and getting into entertainment. Would love to hear that story.

Rajan Patel: Yeah, totally. Well, what's, what's funny is I didn't start framework and a lot of people think that I did. It was actually started by a group of investors as a suite of companies that I think when they started in 2004, they were trying to create what, I guess now we would consider like a 360 degree approach to marketing, right? So one company was trailers and editorial content. One was doing is still doing, you know, very successfully print and, and digital print, you know, things like that framework was actually initially created as a graphics company, graphics and visual effects. And George K. Wood, he was the managing partner at the time. He was the one tapped to be the lead creative director and, and jump in in all of this. I, I believe he used to be at New Wave before that.

And happenstance, right? Like you say, like the universe spins right there. There's no miss, like the sun goes around, you know, every year, right? Mm-Hmm. . And when you think about that, the, the technical ability for the earth and the sun to do that along with the other planets in this crazy universe means that things do happen for a reason. And it turns out that my uncle Sonny, who lives in Zambia, was sent to Sacramento to go to Waldorf High School where he met George. And I was talking to Sonny one day about what I was doing. He was like, you know, I don't really know what my friend does, but he's like in Hollywood or whatever. And I met George and it was an instant, like you could be the business brain, right? At that time, nobody would take, unfortunately, nobody would take, like, making wedding films seriously, right?

Like if you're doing titles for Spider-Man mm-hmm. , and in Walks this kid of like, yeah, I just shot my brother's wedding, you know? Mm-Hmm. . But there was a friendship that formed and I started consulting the framework because graphics and visual effects were struggling. It was the apex of software being available for affordability. Now, it was the apex of MacBook Pro laptops. You didn't need all the big render farms and stuff, right? So the barrier to entry to graphics was a lot less. And big companies like Framework and Dava and Buddha Jones and whoever was around them were designed with these expensive designers who deserved it cuz they were brilliant. And then networks started cannibalizing each other. So if you were doing a title sequence for nbc, NBC's, nbc, right? You charge a hundred grand, you'd do the same title sequence for E you charge 20.

Well, what do you think NBC thought of that when they bought Ehmm, right?. So I noticed quickly that there was losses. There was a, there was a little bit of chaos and nobody knew why. And I was brought in to write that really on the financial side. And then what happens as, you know, Nate, you know, with, with everything that you do and you're passionate for it, you're like walking by and you're like, what'd you say? You gotta shoot something for Adam Sandler opening titles, and you need this hula doll to look like it's driving on the dash. Oh, why would you do it that way? Here's my fived Mark three, somebody go buy one of these. I have my Honda Odyssey van downstairs and let's just go shoot it as a test. And that's, I think when people started recognizing me as a producer and someone said like, dude, you're a producer.

And I was like, dope. What is that , right? Yeah. Yeah. And so through that, I started trying to learn about what part of the industry was exciting for me. You know, I'm not a graphic designer. I have a huge respect for motion graphics artists and visual effects artists, but a lot of that work moved overseas and budgets were, were really, really challenged. And you, you know, how the world works, you can't go to a X amount creative director and say, well, the whole market's changed, so now we're billing less. So you need to come down on your salary, right? Mm-Hmm. . And that's how we found integrated marketing. And, and that was where we started a full rebuild for the company.

Nate Watkin: Yeah. And it's, it's funny, it's such a small world. I believe one of your early investors in this company was Happy Madison, is that right?

Rajan Patel: Yeah. Members of Happy Madison. So Jack g Sandler you know and a few others, they, they were, they were so ahead of their time, right? They were like, why are we when we're creative directing our own trailers and graphics? Cuz Sam there and Jack are brilliant, you know, they mm-hmm. , they knew what they wanted. It's like, why are we paying so much money to all these trailer editor companies and graphics companies and visual effects companies when we could just own the process ourself, eliminate some of the back and forth. And that's what they did. Until this day, we still do all the opening titles, even though we're not a graphics company anymore for all the Sandler movies, cuz that's our legacy. We'll never let go of that.

Nate Watkin: I'm actually, I'm friends with Jack G and his brother Jeff small world.

Rajan Patel: Yeah. Now, I, I think when I came in at the time that I came in, there was fatigue, right? And the movie industry itself was struggling and things were changing. So I think their minds were prioritizing that they had to Happy Madison. And we were probably without saying, and I guess this will be public, so you know, sorry Jack, if you do hear this, we were probably more of a problem than a solution for them while we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do next, you know? Mm-Hmm. . So but I know there's a huge amount of respect and there's a lot of doors open because of Jack and, and Adam and Keith Lehman, who, who also is a big part of that group. So so yeah, you know, we changed an integrated marketing met a few really key people Anna Zani at Universal Todd McMillan Daniel KK at Viacom.

Melissa Bolton Klinger, who's a director there. And we started in this small network. And out of nowhere, just because people liked us, liked me, liked George, they gave us a chance to do something that we felt like, I felt, this is where the weddings come in. I'm like, what do you mean it's $200,000 to shoot a one camera D s l r shoot on a, whatever the hell a white psych is? That is not possible. And we were able to start converting these ripoff budgets as I used to call 'em, and we started using reds and jibs and three cameras and what, and we built a new template on the production side where people like Anna and Todd Melissa Blatt Cup check, Jason Roman Drift, Sony Christian Daven at Warner Brothers, these people were building a new way of using that production ability to create higher level content and higher level creative.

And ultimately that stuck. And, and we still use a lot of those techniques till this day just with different technology, you know, and, and different needs. So it is really cool because the tight-knit group of what I would call like the integrated marketing family, and whoever hears this, if I didn't name you, that's not on purpose. All of you are part of it. You know who you are. You, we are still a family. It's a family that feels like a family. We see each other after C O V I D and it's hugs and, and it's, it's tears. And, but at the same time, they're all competitive with each other. So framework has this very specific role to play to help them without telling them to keep their creative different, right? Mm-Hmm. and keep their, keep their look different and keep their style different. So it's really dynamic, man, and that's part of the excitement of it.

Nate Watkin: Yeah. That's really cool. And so, so this is how you really started to segue into entertainment marketing. I mean, the majority of the work you do is entertainment marketing versus like traditional com commercial production, I would say, right?

Rajan Patel: Yes, absolutely.

Nate Watkin: And how long did it take running or, you know, being a producer at framework growing framework before you really felt like you made it? Like, what was that moment?

Rajan Patel: I'll be honest with you, I'm not trying to be cute. I still don't think we've made it. I think we've made a dent because I feel strongly how to have the knowledge of film school, maybe some additional contacts of my own learning everything while you're building it slows it down, right? Like if you're, if you're building a house and you've never read blueprints before, but the concrete's right there to be poured, you're just gonna take a little longer to get the foundation in, right? So we had a lot of cleanup to do because there was existing people still wanting or relying on us for graphics. There were other tie-ins to other companies we have responsibilities for, and we had to clean all of that up first. And that took a little longer than we wanted to. But I would say the first time I woke up really feeling like we were on that path, right?

I'm never gonna say at the top because this is it, it's quicksand, right? It's like every time you touch it, you're gonna keep growing and developing. Like it doesn't stop because everything keeps changing. So by the time we mastered entertainment marketing with movie studios, streaming started right? And, and started changing the way things were needed, started changing all of this stuff. But for me, I would say 2021, which was not that long ago, is when I woke up and I said, I think, I think we're at where I, where I wanted to be at two or three years ago. And obviously I'm not gonna take the pandemic here as an excuse because Covid was terrible. And coming from the South Asian background, the families, my wife's a nurse, watching everybody go through that while I was stressed out about how do I get through this without laying a single person off.

And proudly, I can say that we didn't, but my whole team sacrificed for each other. But then we did the framework thing. We said, let's figure out quickly how to shoot safely. Because as I mentioned, I did have a family of medical professionals around me who knew more about it than I knew any of our competitors could get to. And they would be paying top dollar to get that consulting, right? Let's figure out how to remote shoot. I've heard some people are doing it on Zoom, whatever. I think that in some way we got to a point where we probably have like five or six or eight options of remote shooting, as well as ways to shoot safely from sending rob camera robots to people's houses to even zoom and trying to elevate it to building kits with background. I think our clients saw for the first time, truly the innovation and the pride and the protection that we have for our clients, if that makes sense.

And that was 2020 and I think 2021 we saw that they started rewarding us and I we're at 2023. Now we're in January, we're recording this, right? It's the beginning of the year. And I have to pinch myself because I'm looking at the titles we're working on, and I remember when I used to have a whiteboard that said, I want to be like these companies. And Trailer Park was there on that list and Ignition and Buddha Jones. Mm-Hmm. . And it wasn't any of the companies that are actually competitive to what we do now, right? Mm-Hmm. , but I deliver footage to all those guys from my shoots. No,

Nate Watkin: And, and I think I should clarify for the listeners, because maybe, you know, we oversimplified the journey here. It sounded like you just met the right people and you doors were open. But you've been at this for about 20 years now. Is that right?

Rajan Patel: Well, if you include the wedding side of it, I've been at it for closer to about 18 years. So like I said, I came into framework when it was already five years old mm-hmm. five or six. So yeah, it's been, but it feels like I've been at it for four lifetimes.

Nate Watkin: Just looking back, you know, what do you think is the one secret to sustained growth and success for a production company?

Rajan Patel: Ooh, that's a tough one. I, I would say there's probably three things that I'll say if I'm not gonna go too deep into, because then, you know, somebody's listening to this and they got my sauce, right? But it's not really, I think one is people, people, people, people. And when I say people, I've never hired a top end producer from a competitor in any of my departments. I've never poached a high-end creative familiar department framework, hires on personality and on our values. Our values are respect, empowerment, self-motivation, growth, recognition. And if you have those things, those are the things that are not teachable. And you have passion like I did, I know for a fact that I can teach you how to do the other things. Because the second thing is process. People think processes and procedures create templates. There's nothing wrong with that.

There should be a template for how you run a production, but that doesn't mean that it's, what you see in the end result is a template, right? And we're constantly tweaking. Most of our competitors, when they do work that we do, they're using our crew. And there's been a few clients lately, well, unnamed who've had to do that for various reasons. And they call me and they're like, well, we had the same dp, the same ad, the same caterer, same stage. It just didn't click. And I said, because NSYNC doesn't work without Justin Timberlake and frameworks, Justin Timberlake, . And the third thing I'll say is transparency and honesty. Our production companies are gonna hate us because I think we're still one of the only ones that when we come under budget, we give the money back to the client. Hmm. We don't hide it.

We don't mark up rates. We negotiate our production fees, and we're honest with our clients of like, Hey, we're not gonna make much money on this one. Do you mind helping swing us post? Right? Or maybe we can make this project a little more palatable for us. And those three things is what I've always led by, because I remember the day I left and I didn't realize that I left you. I don't know if you've read that experience like we movies, right? No pun intended here. And when the kid leaves for the job or for college, it's like this whole ceremony, right? Mm-Hmm. , I've never been one for goodbyes. I hate them. So I just packed a car with some stuff and left most of the stuff at home. And my mom walks out and she was crying, and I gave her a hug.

I was like, mom, what are you crying for? And I get in the car and I call one of my buddies and I'm like, dude, my mom's crying. And he goes, yeah, dude, you just left home to go to Los Angeles. And I was like, well, yeah, but like for a week. And he goes, yeah, and you're gonna come home next weekend, maybe for a year, and then it'll be every other weekend, and then soon your mom and dad are gonna be calling you and saying, when are you ever going to come? It's been two years, right? Mm-Hmm. . But my mom pro made me promise her one thing. She said, just don't go down there and become the worst of it. Teach people how to become the best of it. Mm-Hmm. , that's your value. And I feel like every day I struggle with that because the worst of it is easier, right?

Not taking responsibility or accountability, making more money by making budgets that are inflated, whatever it may be. And I don't have any qualms for people who do that. I'm not here to judge anyone. You gotta do what works for your production company and your business. But that guiding principle is also something that's instilled with everybody at framework. It's why we have a very long lifeline for timeline for employees. Like our, our turnover is not high. You know, we have people there who've been there longer than me. Crazy enough, right? Yeah. Yeah. And, and the people who are not there anymore, who leave and have done the framework way, they're highly sought after, and usually they don't need to be because we're helping them find their next step because of our connections and the respect that we have amongst our clients.

Nate Watkin: That's really interesting. You know, and like one thing that really stuck out there is how you said that you return the money if you come in under budget. And I think you, yeah, I think you are probably the first production company I've ever heard that said, said that you, you think it idealistically, I think as a producer that that would be nice to do that. But as you know, in this industry, I mean, it's an industry where production companies sometimes take home north of 70% profit margins. You know, that their clients are definitely not aware of. And so I, I think that's, that's really interesting for you to say, and I can imagine that that really builds a lot of client loyalty when they see that kind of transparency and honesty.

Rajan Patel: Yeah, man, I think it really does. And and remember in, in integrated marketing, entertainment marketing, we're asked to bring the quality of the Nike commercial that has 5 million budget. And we may be, if we're lucky, at 500,000 mm-hmm. , so our margins are slimmer. But if I take an extra $10,000 for a production that I saved on, I wanna see like, why did I save it? Right? Yeah.

What I think the principle behind it is, is that, did I, did I save on a production or did my producer save on a production because A, they worked their butts off and they didn't hire an extra PM or something to, to do that. Or B, because we've negotiated such great deals in town or have the ability to go back and say, this is too expensive, maybe, or c was the client helpful, right? And not taking us way over where we wanted to spend all of those could be true. And it doesn't matter because giving that $10,000 back gets me the next $500,000 job every time, right? Mm-Hmm. . And we also don't want our producers to think, well, you just keep working your butt off and we're gonna give you a raise and you're going to run yourself into the ground, not have any work-life balance, because that's what it is. All of our staff that work on projects at what I would call mid-level and above, that's gonna be production coordinator and above, that's going to be in, in post, that's going to be your editors and above everybody is cut in on the net margin on the projects that they work on.

Nate Watkin: Interesting. So you actually do like a revenue share of the margin with your team.

Rajan Patel: Correct. And the more people that work on it, the higher percentage we give back collectively, right? So it's worth it. And what it's done is it's created an ownership over project because we also let people in on all the finances. We do two meetings a year, that's an open book. It's like, you would think it's a corporate meeting. And we thought everybody, we would do it once and everybody would hate it, and we've missed one last year, or we were running late and everybody was blowing up ops and like, why are we not doing this? We love this. It helps us understand. And when you let people understand the finances and they see like, oh crap, this one project where I wasn't on my game, I made X amount less in revenue share than I did on this one, and they both were the same budget.

Now you can have real postmortems where the doers are coming to the, the builders, we're gonna use this house reference, I guess this whole day the builders are coming to the architects and saying, what did we do wrong here? Or did you do something wrong in the blueprints? And how can we not let that happen again? And it creates a very, very cool collaboration, right? Yeah. and it's very controversial, you know people partner sometimes who maybe don't understand that, maybe think like, well, hey, well then when you have a bad week of cash flow, it's because you're No, because it's off of net, it's off of adjusted net. Mm-Hmm. So technically there's no way that would lose us money, right? Mm-Hmm. , it goes into overhead essentially. So people, we, we pay competitive rates, but we don't have people asking us for raises, right? Mm-Hmm. people make good money at framework finally, and they should elsewhere because they deserve it, and they're passionate about it. And what we started finding too is they know that. So when they're not passionate about a project, they may even tell us like, Hey, is it cool if I work on this one instead? And we're like, sure. Why wouldn't want you to work on something you don't wanna work on? Right. Sometimes you're gonna have to, yeah.

Nate Watkin: Yeah. I think that's such an innovative way to approach it, because as like an executive producer I, I know one of the struggles is you have a multitude of producers under you, and they may be bringing in those profit margins that, you know, varying different profit levels, and it's, you know, really your role to try to understand where that profit margin is at all time. But if you're putting that responsibility into their hands where they're really seeing the, that rev share that percentage, it's almost like giving them motivation to be more, you know, I hate to simplify the term, but like financial literacy around controlling that budget and really staying focused on the margins and the overages. So you have to worry about it less. Would you agree with that?

Rajan Patel: Yeah. I guess that was maybe a happy accident from it, to be honest. What, what, why we did it, to be honest with you, was coming out of Covid when we had to drop everybody's salaries. We, we hated it, but there wasn't enough stability to own it, right? To, to say, we're gonna bring you back up to your, what your salary was before this. Because we didn't know the stability yet. And we also wanted them to know that many people, when we started framework, many people, they didn't come in at market rates because of the fact that we weren't hiring highly skilled people yet, right? Mm-Hmm. , we had people who knew what we needed them to do, and we all developed it together. And so now, yes, when we go after talent, it's a huge thing. So sure. If you want a higher salary than I pay anybody else in that thing because you want some stability or whatever, I'll do that. But then you're gonna miss out on this and you'd be surprised. I mean, there's people, you know, quantifying this very realistically because understand that I have equity and I have other perks, right? Like expense account, but brass tax, there's people in 2022 in our company that made more than me. Wow. Purely from a, from a cash standpoint.

Nate Watkin: Wow.

Rajan Patel: Yeah. And I'm okay with that.

Nate Watkin: Yeah. I mean, I think that's a, a awesome sign of leadership and really motivating for the team for sure. Just to get a sense of, you know, the, the scope of what you're managing and producing that framework. I mean, first of all, like how many projects would you say that you have active at any given time?

Rajan Patel: Really, it depends on, on time of the year, right? But I would say we're, we're probably usually inside of, in one way between creative production post finishing. Now, obviously I'm sure you heard, you know, we, we acquired Core Creative Labs, right? Yep. So that's another one to factor into the equation, but basically, you know, I would say on average it could be, you know, as low as 30, but it could be upwards of 60 to 70.

Nate Watkin: Yeah. Wow. I'm curious to just dive into your process a little bit and how you've managed that workload. Obviously continuing to pump out, you know, the, the extremely high quality that you all are known for. But would love to just like, dive into the process a little and understand like what your role looks like managing that type of pipeline and, and how you collaborate with your team to bring all that content to life.

Rajan Patel: I think that's where our, I, I wanna say something to a few individuals and, and hopefully when this comes out, I can even send it to him. But like, I learned graphics from a guy named TJ Welsh, and he now is EP over at Phish X doing graphics. And another gentleman named John PDay, who was creative director Dan Pierce, he's a creative director at Fox now. And Jesse Hallis, another creative director at Fox. I learned framework, the old framework through them and Con Riley. And basically the reason why the business was struggling is because good designers are perfectionists and without good producers. What happened at Framework is all the producers were designers. You see what I'm saying? Mm-Hmm. , you have, it's like, it's like having, it's like having, and I'm not calling you guys children, so nobody get offended, , but it's like having one six year old be in charge of another six-year-old, right?

Mm-Hmm. and both of 'em are gonna be into the same thing. And so that's where framework success came with the graphic stuff. But that's where the business side of it struggled a little bit because the producer has to be the one to pull the plug on hours and no one stuff has to get out, and they were hitting deadlines and stuff. That's what I'm saying. It was just the amount of resources that perfectionism I've had my whole life in a different way. I still have it, but I think that I've designed, that I learned when I was so enamored by people on computers making these things that I never realized when I did watch a movie, like how much work went into making that Warner Brothers logo Hmm. Or doing the James Bond opening title sequence. Right? We bring that, and that is one thing we always talk about.

It is put as much money as you can in front of the camera. And we work with crews and freelancers and designers and dps and directors that understand that, and they're always gonna fight for the highest quality. For us. We also say no to projects, which is hard to do because sometimes we do have to choose, right? There is only so many of us in so many hours, and we're not gonna say no to a project because we don't think that it's financed enough. That's never it. We say no to projects that we know. Whatever our client has picked as a direction is probably not going to end up being the quality that we want it to be at, because it either doesn't have the right amount of financing, it doesn't have the right amount of resources or the right people around it to where like, we couldn't even put that extra effort into it and make it work.

Sometimes it just doesn't work. That's the beauty of creative. Mm-Hmm. . So that process to manage now is really hard when you're not a graphics company, right. And you're teaching people producers at every level and associate producers and coordinators, the perfectionism. But for us, it starts at the processes. If the house is organized, if every cabinet is organized and whatever, then the beautiful paint job on the outside means so much more and feels authentic. Whereas if you can keep painting the outside and the inside is an absolute mess, well, one day somebody's gonna look inside. Right? Hmm. And it, and it, and it, and it breaks that facade. So for me, that that creative process has been something that also develops every single day. We had a call yesterday about tweaking the creative process. We, we tweak our employee's roles, we tweak the organizational structure all the time because we try things.

And sometimes just like creative, it doesn't work. And that's not always the individual's fault. Sometimes it could be, but we constantly are tweaking. And I think when your staff sees that and your team members see that, and they see the earning potential that they have by being the same way and putting in the same effort, they get it. And people who don't naturally leave framework and people who don't, that are vendors for us, or our, our, our art directors or production designers or dpss that know that they don't wanna work at that level of perfectionism. They, they don't call for jobs. Mm-Hmm. , you know what I mean? And so you build the, you build the community that you wanna live in, essentially, and it's not perfect. And sometimes it's not pretty, and sometimes it is a source of conflict. Managing it though is, is really easy because I told you all the way back to one of the secrets is we hire like-minded people, and as long as everybody's working towards the same goal, everybody knows what is expected of them and of each other. And we will look at stuff, our production team gets called into the Color Bay on stuff that we're finishing, and we've had, we have dps come in yearly to review their work and critique their own work, and then color shows 'em what they have to do to fix their work. We're constantly doing that. And that is, I think, why I, I think finally, I can say out loud that shows when you go to our website,

Nate Watkin: And what I'm hearing here honestly is, you know, I, to me it sounds like the key to your success is almost that you've just built a culture within the company. And it that culture of perfectionism and process and just continual improvement, is that something that you've really invested in and focused on over the years?

Rajan Patel: I, I would say that part of its culture, and part of it is when we were smaller and there was only 5, 6, 8, 10 of us, right? We did everything. I was in the edit bay editing. I still, some days come in when I don't like, maybe how sound is working on an edit. And we'll go into logic and people respect that. You know, I, I have a funny story about that. I was on a set once and I was standing next to a full garbage can and a PA comes up to me and the clients were nearby enough to hear my whole team and goes, Hey, we should never have full garbage cans on set. And I was like, I totally agree. And I, and I wrapped the thing up and I started taking it outside, and I came back in and I saw my producer was just giving it to the pa.

And I walked up and I said, it's not their fault, . And I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry, sir. You don't have to call me, sir. It's not your fault. What is your fault though, is that you are a pa and I'm a pa in your eyes, why didn't you do it? Yeah. That's the difference between me and you, right? Yeah. But I'm not gonna berate you because I don't need to walk on set and be treated like a celebrity or a diva. If a garbage needs to be emptied, the garbage needs to be emptied. If a director's chair needs to be, you need me to roll camera? I'll roll camera. I'll do it. Yeah. I love to do it. Yeah. Sucks that I can't do it as much anymore. You know,

Nate Watkin: I think you, you said that union rules got in the way of that a little bit, right?

Rajan Patel: So union rules are one thing, but there comes a point too, where like, you don't need to be the martyr, right? As you build, as you build the company, you're hiring people to do stuff. So if I clean the kitchen every day because it's dirty, but I have somebody who's supposed to be doing it, rather than teaching them why it needs to be done and how we want it done, I'm not doing any service to that person. Hmm. Right? Mm-Hmm. , I'm not setting them up for success. And, and everybody else is gonna go off on that person. And maybe it turns out that when you actually sat down with that person and talked to 'em, because we're all so busy and crazy in our industry, nobody ever told 'em it was their job to clean the kitchen. Mm-Hmm. , right? Yeah. And so that's why I tell you process and procedures are so important, and we're still working on that.

We still don't get it, right? We have, we have people used to come into framework their first day and like, look at the receptionist and the receptionist look at them and like, can I help you? And it's like, yeah, I work here now and my name is so-and-so, and I think I'm looking for so-and-so. Like, that's unacceptable. That's unacceptable for a first day of work, right? Mm-Hmm. . So that has to translate though, through every department and through every single outward thing that you do, like production or if you're using another vendor, their culture needs to be similar. I think the other big thing that is why framework is successful is empowerment. It's one of our words, right? It's one of our values. People are empowered, they're empowered to sink or swim. And there are times where we know they're gonna sing and we let 'em do it, and we have their back.

We're not here to point the finger. I'm the first one. If somebody else makes a mistake to call whoever it is and tell 'em, you know, why? Because they respect that for me to make a junior editor go tell a client why an edit was messed up when the producer maybe gave him wrong notes. No, the producer needs to do that. And they all do it, and they're comfortable with it now because they're like, okay, well if this escalates, I know I got this person right here, who's gonna have my back? And 2023, our theme at framework is protection, protection against each other, right? Hmm. Protection protecting our team from what time, what sometimes can be ridiculous, crazy, untenable client demands. And then protecting our client from our team, right? They're like, we have $500,000 and dream big. Well, cool. What can you do for $500,000? Now, I don't even think you could buy a dozen eggs, right? . So, so then our creators are like, we need to, we need to do this. This is for this client. We always wanted, because that's always the mentality of framework. We think that every single time we work on a project, it's the first time we're doing it. And that's the energy we're bringing to it. It turns out that maybe we've already worked with that client 40 times in the last two years.

Nate Watkin: And I, I think you've also said something, you know, talking about that culture as well as that ideas come from everywhere. I think you, you said even like your bookkeeper or your receptionist come up with ideas. What's your philosophy on that?

Rajan Patel: My philosophy is simple on that. If we weren't, we were in a corporate building right? In, in downtown la it's quite funny cuz it's like, there's a lot of lawyers, right? And accountants, and you get into an elevator and everybody's in a suit, and I'm like, in joggers, Nike's, you know, a Rolex and a T-shirt and it's like, I could just see these people being like, I hate this guy, but I wish I could dress like that at work every day. You know, the . But the idea for me is there's a reason why our VP of ops is doing that here and not a, a biotech company. There's a reason why a re a receptionist is coming in to sit out a phone all day here and not take a more maybe structure 10 to five at the law firm next door, right? And that reason is they want to be a part of it and they're not gonna be good at it all the time.

And sometimes you're gonna strike gold, but if they really care about it, they're going to work at it on their own time. Because admin team are accounting and admin, well, guess what they see, they see all the bonus checks being cut to the, to the people who are doing all the creative stuff every project, right? Mm-Hmm. . So they can, they wanna be part of that. If they don't, they still get paid well and they get their own bonus structure in their own way. But my point is, I always wonder like why, why? I, I, I, I look at myself in the mirrors, I'm like, why do you wanna wake up today and go on set, drive two hours, go to set for 12, drive two hours back, and in between you probably have 90 meetings. That's without the emergencies, right? Why? You have to love it.

You have to love it. Accounting for production. Why the hell would you ever do that when you could be an accounting, accounting at a retail store or a bookkeeper, you know, at a school? Maybe you make five grand less. Why would you want to look at a showbiz or hot budget? Budget and audit that? Because you care about what is created out of it. And my post producers especially are amazing at grabbing people who they think are like maybe not in their creative process, right? Like an admin team person's walking by and they're like, Hey, you like you like DC comics? Like love them, come check out this black Adam spot. We also self-test spots internally. Mm-Hmm. , we have people who don't work on 'em, watch 'em. And we also, sometimes if we feel like an editor is really close, but maybe they themselves have block, we'll put another editor onto it and guess what?

The initial editor is now little fire under their butt, right? Mm-Hmm. , my lead editor worked at Trader Joe's. That's how we found him. Really? And he's been with us for eight years now. Yeah. Yeah. And he's amazing. Oh, that's crazy. And not only did he, is he such a great editor, he learned how to do color and resolve. He is probably could sound mix a spot for you. He does his own graphics and he can do his own visual effects. And he was bagging groceries at Trader Joe's. And you know why we hired him? I didn't even see an edit. We hired him because he told me he wanted to edit. And somebody who's sitting there bagging things at Trader Joe's and sees somebody who they thinks an executive or something and they say and have the confidence to say, I want to be an editor.

I do know how to edit. I'm not that great. But you know, if you ever know of anything, come on by . Wow. Right? That is what it's about. Because that's where my weird journey benefits. I think everybody in my company, I don't care what your background is, maybe you're not qualified to do this yet. I'll tell you funny story. I was looking for an assistant I had a longtime assistant who for like seven years on and off would come work for a year and then she would say, I wanna try something else. Go do it. I'm right here. Lemme know I can help. I have maybe some temp support. Then the last run, she was here for the longest and we I knew she, there was nothing in the company that she wanted to do. Right? Because that's a hard thing. If you're working as my right hand on one end, you're in on everything, right?

You know everything. So why would you then want to, maybe in your mind, money-wise, you're gonna grow, but maybe getting further away from the feels more like a lateral move, right? Mm-Hmm. not a, not a horizontal move or not a vertical move. She works at Warner Brothers now on the content team. That's one of our biggest clients and she's thriving. So I had to get a new assistant. And our processes to even hire is, it's four rounds before it comes to me. The first round is HR to do the basic HR things, right? Background checks. Where do you live? Do you like to work from home or here by them? You make it through that. The next thing you do, you're gonna meet the other assistants in the company or receptionist and the people you make it through that then you're gonna meet the producers, the people who you're gonna work with the most.

And then sometimes the fourth round is a client. Hmm. Whoever makes it through that then comes to me and two candidates made it through. And I could already tell that HR was gunning for me to get one of 'em. Mm-Hmm. got off the call, everything they said T right. I'll just say T. Mm-Hmm . I was like, yeah. And they're like, man, I feel bad for the other girl though. I was like, oh no, no, we're hiring both. They're like, you need two assistants. I was like, no, you kidding me. T could be my boss already . I just don't wanna lose her, get her paperwork going, pay her this salary and tell her that I'm going to make a role for her by the time she's ready to start. Cause she was honest with us that she needed two months, bring in the younger little bit less experienced one and let's get her in to start being my assistant. And everyone was like, what? T now is the fabric of framework. She's the chief of staff. Hmm. Like, it's insane. And she every day works with a smile on her face because somebody saw her value, not by asking her, have you ever edited by asking her what she likes? Hmm. What she wants to do, what she's passionate about. Right? Yeah. And she was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Nate Watkin: T's great. I can vouch

Rajan Patel: Yeah, .

Nate Watkin: That's really, that's really cool. And then it's just, you know, recognizing talent, right? And just finding a place for them in the company. I wanted to like stop and just drill in on something real quick cause I actually found it super interesting. But you said that the fourth interview is actually with a client. How does that work? How do you put that together?

Rajan Patel: Well, it can be a client. Or sometimes it could be, and this is, this is when it's a role of like somebody who is going to be directly on my, on my team in that sense. You know what I mean? Yeah. We don't do that for every everyone else. It is for this role because you know, the people you're gonna interface with the most, if you're my right or left hand are, are the producers and our clients, right? Mm-Hmm. unfortunately clients, if you do hear this, I apologize that I'm gonna make a really negative for you. A positive during this idea started also during Covid. So many of our clients were laid off and they were bored and I couldn't hire 'em. And I was like, Hey, do you want to meet this person? I might be hiring. And they're like, we would love to .

Right? and sometimes it would also just be the fourth interview sometimes where we don't do it that formally when if I'm hiring as producer or something, it made me be me just calling clients and saying, Hey, I've got this candidate, here are my concerns. Here is why I'm calling you is because I think this person would be post producing you and my other client the most. Could you get over these two little quirks that I may be overthinking on your behalf? And sometimes they say, I don't think so and I'll still hire 'em. Right? Hmm. And it's important because clients are scary.

Nate Watkin: Yeah. Right? Yeah.

Rajan Patel: I had a call come in today from a client at Disney who's the most loveliest person ever, but she hardly ever calls me and I answered it so rudely in the sense of, I said, what did we do? She goes, oh my God, that's what you think when I called you . Right? So, so it's important and, and somebody like t is always going to give you their loyalty because you took a chance on them. And if it didn't work, what I will tell you, Nate, that's my fault. I misinterpreted something and hopefully by the time I know that it didn't work, I would know enough about the person to see if there was something else we could transition them into at the company. They don't just get fired or laid off. Yeah. We don't hardly, we hardly fire people and we hardly lay people off.

People are so respectful, even when they're mad, if some situation happened where they were upset, which is very rare that they're, they don't make it a whole thing. They're just like, look, I don't want to even put you through this guys. Like, we love you. And, and if you will still write a rec Yeah. Whatever you need. There's people who've left badly and they're still invited to our holiday party. You know why? Because we're not petty. People make mistakes. Things happen. And some are things that I can't let those people back into the company because I have to protect my clients, my ip, my content, but it doesn't mean that that person's cut off because every one of them have contributed to what this is today.

Nate Watkin: Yeah. Yeah. It's really cool to hear just about the hiring process overall and, and I think bringing the client into the hiring process, that's something I've never heard of and, but it makes so much sense with somebody that is gonna be, you know, client services such an important job. I want to take a, a moment to talk about the future of framework. You know, I know you just acquired Core Creative Labs for the listeners company of technologists. They create experiential virtual production projection mapping. They did the infamous Tupac hologram at Coachella. I'm curious like why you brought core Creative Labs in and what does the future of framework look like over the next five to 10 years?

Rajan Patel: Yeah, two, two loaded questions. The core one, I'll adjust first. The owner of Core Kurtovic and I started crossing Path a lot over the last five years because we were either helping him shoot content for things that he needed and, and whatever. And really when, when Covid happened, you know he is, him and his team are the guys that invented to Doom for Netflix, you know what I mean? Mm-Hmm. , they're the ones who did DC fandom. And I'm looking at this and I'm like, oh my gosh. Like there is so much creativity here, yet there's so many synergies already. And through through again, through a, a bad situation, through somebody being let go at Warner Brothers, who knew Kurt? Kurt needed a producer to help him and, and she had a great reputation and she was a huge advocate for us and, and and really linked us up.

And then the next to Doom, we ran all the creative production and post and it just made sense. And Kurt, I love him because he can do something that a lot of people can't do. It's the hardest thing to do. Like if you asked me right now, Nate can brash, can you just give the keys up to somebody because you started feeling like maybe you needed more help or you wanted more work-life balance, whatever. I would never, if you buy it from me Sure. Mm-Hmm. , or if I had to for other circumstances. Sure. It takes a, it takes a really, really intelligent, passionate, strong I, I can't even tell you anymore words. Person, even George, my business partner, who was poached out of a job where he didn't have to worry about numbers and stuff, right. He was making good money as was creative director at NuWave.

He's so talented. To hand over the keys to somebody is a really hard thing to do. And sometimes that's the only thing you need to do for the best result for your company and for yourself personally. And Kurt and I were honest with each other. I said, you guys are so good at this. You work with these clients that we work with already, but you don't work with these other clients that we don't work with. And it just made sense. We acquired them because technology's always been the future, right? Mm-Hmm. , but coming out of Covid, coming out of this content war that we're still in, right? Go to Instagram. It's like, I can't even look anymore. I don't even know what's paid advertising to me. I don't know. What's my cousin making a cool video on a cinematic, motorized iPhone, right? Mm-Hmm. , you can, before Covid, it was always, we want authentic.

We want it to feel like Dwayne Johnson, you're in his house with him. Well, who wants to see Dwayne Johnson in his house anymore after two years of the pandemic , right? Yeah. So we believe that experiential is not just what we traditionally thought that it was. Right? Like, go for a Halloween movie, make it a maze. No, experiential is really immersive. It's immersive marketing. And that now can be done virtually to Doom did it twice. And I, I mean, how many views? We'll never know cuz it's Netflix, but I mean, I know. Hmm. Right? But immersive could also be a big corporation like at and t buying Warner Brothers and installing the most high-end l e d screens and lighting technology, and you're designing an immersive experience of all the IP that they own now, right? Hmm. So our thought was, what could we do to open up more avenues for our clients to Market Core is also brilliant at visual effects.

You mentioned the Tupac thing. There's a lot of controversy around that because digital domain takes all the credit. It was both of them. It didn't, wouldn't get done if it wasn't for both core and digital domain. But as we shoot more and watch more movies like Avengers and dc I mean, how many movies are even real locations anymore, right? Yeah. Look at the advance of xr. We shot a Cadillac commercial last year on an XR stage because Cadillac forgot to tell us that the car doesn't drive . Well, how do you shoot a creative where the car's driving the entire time for with a car that doesn't drive, right? Mm-Hmm. Core helps us now have that backbone of designing those worlds for xr, real engine gaming. They also, with their VFX knowledge, help us be more VFX savvy. We have a good team in house, but combining them together is gonna be amazing because just like the movies are changing actors and are moving all around the world, they're busy now.

You can shoot one in London and shoot one in LA and shoot one in Spain like we do at to Doom and put 'em all in the same place. Right? It's crazy. Yeah, it's incredible. So the future framework is to continue to use tech to create efficiency. And when I say tech to create efficiency, what I really mean is finding ways to turn our production process into algorithms that can start helping our producers deal with more of the actual problems and not the perceived problems. And by two or three rounds, using AI to eliminate those problems whatsoever, to consolidate billing payments, all of that, to consolidate the H to Z process all in one place. But furthermore, to create smarter marketing, we are heavily, heavily invested into learning human buying patterns, reading reading old texts. How did McDonald's without AI in the seventies, how did they make you just crave it, right?

Mm-Hmm. , how they weren't using all these bots and all this paid media and all of that, right? Their commercials were awesome mm-hmm. because they did it a certain way. And the future for framework is going to be to continue to robustly build out our sports division. We're heavy into sports because the eyeballs are there, but I love sports, so why can't I do this with sports, not only here and other countries. We're about to have a full-time presence in London. We were going to have it it should have been done already, but we held back a little bit to see what was happening with the Prime Minister's situation and the economy. Right? But we don't need an office in every single place to shoot in every single place. We're gonna continue to build resources, bring in new creative, diverse opinions. You know, we are proud that studios call us to review their diversity programs.

We are proud that I'm a board member of Film to Future, and my entire staff will stop whatever they do to support that program, to help underserved communities have access. We are proud that you can call Trailer Park or Ignition, or the places that I know have way more revenue than us have way more financing than we do. But we had 12 interns last year paid. Hmm. Right? Yeah. And we're gonna do it again this year, and we may even do more. That's the future. To me, the future is diversity in the sense of opportunity. Not just saying, Hey, diversity. I'm tired of being on calls. And no offense to all the Caucasian folks out there. I'm tired of being on a call where myself was Indian. One of my producers who's Hispanic, another producer who's female, Hispanic, two females head of operations a senior producer, a creative director who's Asian, and we're talking about a production and 10 white people look at me and say, for this one, we're gonna need to hire some diversity .

Right? Yeah. Yeah. We're gonna continue to build that. And, and honestly, ma'am, I am very compelled now for a, a new passion of mine that I think is important is I want to find a way to not subvert the unions. Because that's a whole different conversation you and I can have, and we should do a podcast about that. Right. But to find a way to get our crew health insurance mm-hmm. . Yeah. It's, it's just unfair that they don't, and the only way they can is to go to the union, and then we can't ask if you're union or not. Right. It's legal. And then our clients can't finance union shoots. Right. So people lose work. Yeah. And it's something that has come to my attention more clearly through the pandemic of how many people suffered and they lost their health insurance because how could you get the hours? Right?

Nate Watkin: Right. Yeah. And I know that charity's important to you as well. Can you tell me a little bit about Team Jacks?

Rajan Patel: Yeah. So Team Jags my aunt Ty Solanki she was in her early forties. She had her husband and her had two, two sons, Verage. And her I believe Viraj was 17. And her was just a little younger. Could have been 15 when we got a diagnosis that she had ovarian cancer. This was a active woman, healthy, ate, healthy, enjoyed, she had a drink here or there, but no smoking, none of that fit. And she was a firecracker. She truly made me understand when they say like, you know, dynamite comes in small packages, right? Hmm. she was like a second mom to me, but those two boys I have one older brother, one younger sister. I mean, to me, there was always you know, five of us. And when she passed, it was hard because it, when I had just moved down here, I saw my entire family and my entire community, especially the youngsters, start questioning why then do we, you guys always say, don't drink, don't smoke.

You can get cancer. Why do we pray to any gods if we believe in God's or parent? I saw the wrong questions being asked. And so we decided to, to turn that energy into a positive. And we started the Jack Slinky Memorial Fund for ovarian cancer, and we teamed up with uc Davis, where now she has a, a, a wing named after her. And before, we're not as active as we are now, but we raised a lot of money with throwing a golf tournament during the day, and a huge gala at night, and more so than the money we raised. It's so funny, right? Like, it's, it's kind of hard. Cause I haven't thought about this in a while. It's a great question. Was the experience, the gala, to get into it, you have to go through an experience that taught you about brain cancer.

And I think we're up to now maybe 20 plus women who through our events, felt like maybe they were feeling something different and went and were able to catch it earlier enough to save their lives. Wow. Because that's the thing with ovarian cancer, it's, it, it, it, once it's too late, it's too late and it moves quickly. And to see those two boys now while I was up there, still living there after she passed, we spent a lot of time together. But Viraj especially, he has his own marketing company in Sacramento, which is I'm so proud of him for that. And Harold found his way, and he's crushing it at his job in and staffing and gets to wind trips to Mexico. And, and our family, they, they come down here to visit, you know, when my son's born.

And they, they do the things that their mom instilled in them because she was a really powerful and great woman. And so forever in our hearts teal is our color, which is the color for ovarian cancer awareness. And we are team jacks. And we not only did that with a lot of other Indian run charities in California, caught onto what we were doing, and it invited us to their tournament to speak and to host an mc and help them plan theirs. And we were able to spread education. So for me, it was, I think you probably learned a theme about me. It was turning negatives into positives. It was a terrible situation. There was, she, there was nothing we could do to bring her back, but there was a way we could memorialize her and make sure that nobody else, if at all possible, would go through what our family went through and what those two boys and, and my uncle went through losing a wife and, and a mother and, and a best friend. You know. So that was, it was just, it's a really proud thing for me. It's a really proud thing because we were also never had any paid staff in the, in the organization. We were all a hundred percent volunteer.

Nate Watkin: Wow. Yeah. I love that. Great. Cause and, you know, I just wanna wrap up here and Yeah, just thinking about all the success you've had, I know you said you, you feel like you haven't made it, but in Mayas you've made it and building, you know framework into such a great company and have all the success that you've seen going back and just thinking about where you started, you know, I think your first job was in that hotel working for your parents. What would you say was the biggest thing that you learned at that time in your life as, as a, a young kid working in that hotel that has carried through to today?

Rajan Patel: I learned everything because it wasn't just one motel. Between my other uncles, my mom's brother who was there, her sister, some of my dad's friends, my grandfather, my mom. There was probably a time where we were running like seven or eight of 'em, and one of 'em had a waffle shop. It, it's called Johnny's Waffle Shop. And the other one had a bar. And my uncle aj, who was a, he was a huge inspiration in my life, and he passed away in 2019 at, at, at the age of 60, unfortunately. And he had a club, a nightclub, and it's still, till this day, I can't believe that nobody else has tried to name a nightclub. This, it was called Escape . And so we run the motels during the day, we would, and then in the mornings we'd go have to clean up escape, right?

Mm-Hmm. because he was 19 years old. And for some reason, my grandfather thought it was okay to give him money to open a nightclub. . Let me tell you, between that, the bar that we ran, all of that, that nightclub, those motels, they are, they are me. They're my fabric watching your parents. And I hope that nobody ever has to do this, but watching your parents not sleep for years, because a doorbell ringing at night would maybe be the money that we make to eat the next day is crazy. Watching your parents being poor, but never make you think that you were poor. And that everything we had was a blessing and still feeding people in the hotel. You know, we had gangsters there. We had kids that were troubled and lost, orphaned. We had drug addicts, we had prostitutes. It was all part of it.

And, and you woke up every day and you knew it didn't matter how you felt. It doesn't matter. You can't feel sorry for yourself. Look at what your parents are doing. You get up, you clean the rooms, you clean the toilets. I mean, imagine, imagine that environment growing up in it. Imagine what you saw. Yeah. And you saw the best of humanity. And unfortunately, you saw the worst of it. We walked in on dead bodies sometimes. Wow. We were around drugs. Yet when I would play the drums in my room, outside room 1 0 1, that was my room initially. Then it was one 14 when I grew up. I could open the curtain and there'd be 10 of our tenants just sitting there grooving and giving you a thumbs up and being like, man, you're so lucky. Your parents let you have drums. You know?

And escape was the other side of that. I feel like all my creativity came from there. I love music escape. Always had live bands, and I used to go there for soundcheck. I love lighting. Like you talk, concert lighting, escape had such dope lighting. The company I worked for at a Fortune 500 company was called Aqua Scape. It was a company that was the biggest in the world for water features. Escape, had aquariums in the walls. Hmm. And how I met Aqua Scape was I went to find Randy, who owned Randy's Fish Palace and managed all those, and he gave me a job in high school to run an aquarium. And that got me down. Everything is from there. And, and, and I wish to a certain extent that this new or younger generation had to see some of that where playing basketball and getting good at basketball as good as you could, you know, being Indian and not athletic was into a bucket that you hung onto a railing. Right. Swimming was the Y M C A. Right. And you still had to do your homework, and you still had to do all of that. But if you could see me right now, I'm smiling because I miss that. Yeah. I miss it.

Nate Watkin: Yeah. I love that. It's a incredible story and really enjoyed this interview, learned so much you know, on leadership and culture and everything. So thank you for your time. Always good to connect and enjoyed our chat.

Rajan Patel: Yeah, thank you so much, Nate. Take care. I really appreciate it. And, and let's do it again soon, man. Let's talk about some other stuff.

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