Creative Talk with Harry Hunter, Founder of Entropico
This month we talk with Harry Hunter, Founder of Entropico, a leading creative agency based in Sydney, Los Angeles and San Francisco. With many big global clients to their name, the work speaks for itself and Harry is up there with the new generation of leaders, who are well and truly paving the way.
Harry, tell us a bit about the conception of Entropico
Entropico was conceived from dissatisfaction, from a desire to create something new, from an ingrained restlessness, but most of all from hope. Hope that we could find a way to create a structure that we could call our work home and possibly that others could also call it their work home too. A place that you could make great work in a great environment.
Also, we were also asked to do a music video, and we said "yes, we would do a great job of that" when actually, we really had no idea what we were doing.
You work with a variety of clients across the creative industries. Do you seek out the clients, or do you find they seek you?
We have always believed that having a wide-ranging practice is important; it keeps the challenge of delivering great work front of mind, while also allowing us to pull from more diverse references for our other projects. If you are only doing one type of work, you can sometimes be limited by the definition of what is possible within the rules of that construct. If you have a bank TVC one day, the next is a music video, and the one after that is concepts for the name of a product (and sometimes this is all on the same day), you have to be more flexible with your thinking - and by consequence, you might be freer to make something great.
We want to back people, both when it comes to our internal team and from our clients - for us, it usually comes down to finding great people to work with, regardless of the brand that they work for. Sometimes we seek them out, and sometimes they find us. Regardless, we want to make sure that we are creating the most value, both for the people and for the brand.
Do you work with both creative agencies and directly with client side?
We do! Our core is agencies and briefs in traditional contexts; however, due to the changing landscape of large companies (particularly the silicon valley giants), there is a trend towards hybridised internal team agency teams. Ultimately we love great ideas and big challenges - where ever they come from, we are keen to be creative and, more importantly - useful!
You have an excellent reputation in Sydney and LA, and work with local and global clients. Is the global client list an area you are keen to grow?
I think globally; there is a huge want for Australian creativity, the no-nonsense, ultra collaborative approach that doesn't rely on complicated hierarchies or outdated ways of working to function. From advertising (Special Group Sydney and this year's Superbowl ad) to Music (Kid Laroi, Onefour) - Sydney and, more widely Australia, are performing incredibly well on a global stage. We do see ourselves as being able to add more value internationally - whether it is work for Google, Square, Acts from AU, US or beyond, we are always keen to keep the client base expanding.
Storytelling really is the here and now; content is prevalent – as a creative agency, how do you define a good story?
A good story is one that you remember. It's one that changes your perspective. One that makes you feel. It's not always big production or crazy tricks (although sometimes that does help), it's usually simple, and will stay with you long after you look away from the screen or put down your phone.
As a production company, you have worked across the glamourous and the dirty – do you say no to work that doesn’t sit with your creative / values?
We have a set of rules that help us make these decisions, but in truth, it's really about what makes you proud - will the final piece make you excited when you put your name to it? This, more than anything, seems to be a marker of what is a good choice or not, and it's a hard lesson to learn. But if you believe in the work and believe in the people you are making it with - you will always get to the right answer eventually. And if not, you always learn more from a bad job than a good one.
Has Covid made life difficult for you working between multi-city offices?
As a business that started cloud-native, we were pretty lucky when it came to working effectively in the pandemic from an organisational perspective. We were able to pivot our work environment with relative ease. Yes, we spent more time on calls and had fewer drawings on the whiteboard, but it worked pretty well overall. More remote shoots, fewer people on set. Interestingly, we were able to leverage this to our benefit - we have shot remotely on every continent this year. I can't help but think that would not have happened if 2020/21 were just like any other years.
However, people wise we faced the same challenges as every business. I believe that our whole team's work to keep our community strong was the real determiner of our success. The level of care and compassion that is present in our interpersonal relationships with our Entropico team means the world to me.
Entropico is defined by the people that work here, and without them, we would not be anything like the company that we are today.
Let’s talk about talent – do you have your main core team working in Sydney?
Our core Australian team is in Sydney. We have around 35 full timers in our office (or at their homes) and then another 5 in LA and SF.
Do you find there is a good supply of talent within Australia to cover your staffing requirements?
I am hugely excited about the talent coming up through the ranks (sometimes just like how we did) - Directors, Animators, Producers, Editors, DOPs, all with outsized talents and a hunger to make great work. Sydney and Australia have an amazingly bright future if they have anything to do with it.
What would be your dream project?
I think the answer to this is actually Entropico - I am so excited to see what the whole team and all our collaborators will be able to make in the next year, next 5, next 10. I literally can not wait.