By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski | Photos courtesy Sneaky Big Studios
Bob Parsons and Marianne Guenther understand the importance of bringing jobs to Arizona.
GoDaddy founder Parsons saw entertainment jobs trickling from Arizona to places like Los Angeles, New Mexico and Atlanta. So he opened Airpark-based Sneaky Big Studios. He appointed Guenther chief executive officer and the two have elevated the state’s film and production industry.
“He knew that in order to help bring more business from the film and production industry to Arizona and to stop the bleeding of jobs that originate here, we needed a top-notch, state-of-the-art facility. He set about his goal to accomplish that,” Guenther says.
Sneaky Big Studios opened in August 2016, with a 15,000-square-foot advanced production facility. The building at 15750 N. Northsight Boulevard has a 4,000-square-foot stage that rivals studios in Los Angeles and New York.
“Another tool that he knew had to be in place to elevate Arizona with film and production was the opening of the state film office,” Guenther says.
The Office of Film and Digital Media, which is housed within the Arizona Commerce Authority, was re-established, thanks to Parsons, on December 1.
“It’s been an interesting journey and it’s paying off,” says Guenther, the former executive vice president at GoDaddy. “We’re starting to see jobs that had typically gone to L.A. – like the Arizona Lottery – stay in the state. They had been going to Los Angeles the last handful of years.
“With the studio being here, (the lottery’s communications agency) Owen Sharkey, which was recently rebranded as OH Partners, was able to produce a handful of commercials here.”
Sneaky Big Studios and its 10-person staff aren’t just about commercials. The company, which falls within Parsons’ Big Yam Worldwide, hosts free workshops to improve the skills of the film and production specialists in Arizona. But there’s more to it.
“We can produce commercials or live broadcasts out of here,” Guenther says. “If Senator McCain needed to be on CNN, ABC and CBS, he can switch to the different networks live within the facility.
“With the Waste Management Phoenix Open, there were a bunch of cameramen on the course. The entire show could be switched to the network directly from our facility. The sweet spot has been television commercials lately, but we can really do it all.”
The work-life culture at Sneaky Big Studios is just as fulfilling, Guenther says. Taking care of the company’s “teammates” is just as important as catering to its customers.
“Those are two things we live and breathe by,” she says. “And with that recipe, it’s amazing what we can accomplish. If we have happy people who come to work every day, we have happy customers.”
Of Parsons’ 14 companies under the Yam Worldwide umbrella, 13 are in Arizona and one is headquartered in Mississippi.
“For the most part, all of the companies are in the Scottsdale Airpark, which is great,” she says.
“The location is wonderful. It’s nice because with all of the opportunities that have arose in the last handful of years, they’re all housed within relatively close proximity. Most of the sister companies are just off the 101, right in the backyard of Scottsdale Airport. If clients are flying in privately, they can land and be here in 10 minutes.”
Guenther lauds her staff.
“It’s a really great, rich team that works well together,” she says. “When they band together for the clients’ needs, it’s amazing what they can come up with.”
For more information about Sneaky Big Studios, call 480-344-0100 or visit sneakybig.com.