Written by The Business Journal Staff
QUENTIN E. SANFORD, PRESIDENT
BROADWAY MEDIA DISTRIBUTION
What we do: Broadway Media Distribution (BMD) is a leading intellectual property licensing and distribution company, granting organizations in the theatre industry access to media content which is used as a replacement to traditional painted backdrops. This emerging technology, which we coined as “Scenic Projections” is becoming increasingly common in theater. We provide access to compelling media of the same quality you’ll find in professional theatre on Broadway. We offer this high-quality content to clients in more than 24 countries, as a licensed product, which ensures its affordability and access to amateur theatergroups. In addition, through a newly aligned strategic partnership with Adoline/AV, we now provide audiovisual hardware. Scenic projections help solve many problems theaters face when mounting live productions, especially the inability to convey a change in time, location or weather. Our distributed content brings a cinematic element to the medium of theater, which absorbs audiences of all ages. The content is seamless and designed to run throughout the entire production, offering the ability to decrease production run time by eliminating blackouts.
Education: California State University, Fresno
Family: My wife and I live in the Tower District with our 3-year-old Boxer, Penelope.
Tell us a little about your career to your current venture, Quentin. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t trying to start a business. Whether it was as a five-year old, when I decided to rent out our family’s VHS tape collection to the neighborhood, or selling art from my mother’s table at the farmer’s market, I have always been entrepreneurial. I left high school when I was 15 years old and decided to move to New York City. I’m not sure if my aspiration was to become an actor or to just try something new and exciting, the experience of living alone at a young age in such a dynamic urban environment made a big impact on me. It has been something that has molded my temperament and work ethic. For six years I worked in technology and marketing support for commercial real estate developers and brokerages in Fresno. In 2010, I started California Creative Group, a small design firm, where I acted as a marketing general contractor with an assemblage of talented, contracted artists. We focused on commercial real estate development and maintained about 80 recurring client relationships throughout California. In 2013, I opened BMD and haven’t looked back. We’ve served more than 2,500 clients with close to 50 original products that have been featured in more than 25,000 performances and seen by more than 1.5 million audience members.
How did BMD come about? While living in New York City, I saw the Broadway production of my favorite musical, Guys and Dolls. The production featured video content as a complete replacement to a traditional built set. This fascinated me because of the musical was such a classic, and yet they integrated technology as a design element. Several years later, while running a small design agency, I was commissioned to design video content for a local theatre production. After the project completed, I got the idea into my head “maybe this local theatre wasn’t unique…maybe there were more theatres that needed this kind of content.” I spent several months developing a business plan and marketing strategy, and then finally decided to shift gears completely and fully committed to exploring the idea.
Tell us about your company’s recent rebranding, Quentin.
With the help of local advertising agency JP Marketing, Broadway Motion Design became Broadway Media Distribution in 2016. We kept the acronym of BMD, but our legal name changed to better fit are newly assigned mission. We refocused our business strategy towards theatrical media licensing and management and introduced the formation of strategic partnerships with co-aligned businesses. I’ve separated our in-house design services as a separate entity (SilverStage Productions) and launched a new audiovisual company (Adoline/AV). These changes have ensured that the future of BMD is customer-focused as a theatrical licensing and intellectual property distributor.
SilverStage Productions will continue to provide video content for exclusive licensing through BMD. In addition, SilverStage has expanded its design services to professional equity theatre productions, and is now collaborating with playwrights on the integration of video content as an element in original new works of drama. Adoline/AV plays a key role in BMD’s rebrand, as a strategic partner that provides access to cutting-edge audiovisual technology. Since the launch of Adoline/AV, we’ve secured relationships with equipment distributors and established manufacturer-direct marketing relationships. I’m devoting my involvement with Adoline/AV towards the development of the distribution channels and configuring the ability for global drop-shipment by the end of the year.
What’s in the future for BMD, Quentin?
Today, we are currently exploring other types of emerging technologies and media to offer to our clients through our established distribution channels. Future products and services will be aimed at expanding the impact of technology on theatre and engaging audiences in new methods of visual storytelling. It’s what we’ve been striving to accomplish from day one.
What was the best advice you ever received?
I was lucky enough to be rehearsing a scene from Brighton Beach Memoirs with Neil Simon, the playwright and we were tossing a baseball back and forth running lines from the opening scene. As I began a monologue, he held the ball, stopped me and said “stop trying to make it funny. I wrote it funny.”
Then he threw the ball back and said “do it again”. I’ve kept this close to my heart ever since, and have found it useful many times. It reminds me not to overthink things and to focus my attention on why I’m doing something rather than how I look or sound doing it. If the intention is authentic, the outcome will be too. Plus, there’s also grace in the fact that if you don’t get it right the first time, you can “do it again.” That’s entrepreneurship to me. Solve problems and think authentically, do your best and if you don’t succeed, try again.
What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs, Quentin?
Don’t get yourself caught in a situation where you have a product in search of a market.
Remember, that as the owner you’re expected to work the hardest.
Never forget that money is the outcome of a great business, but it should never be your reason for running it.
What are your roots in the Central Valley, Quentin?
I was born in Porterville and raised in Fresno attending Hamilton Junior High School, Roosevelt High and University High. My grandparents were the owners of College Pharmacy, a staple to the Tower District for close to 75 years. Much of my youth was spent performing onstage at Good Company Players and in their Junior Company program.
What was your very first job and what did you learn from it, Quentin?
I have fond memories of helping out at the family business, by sweeping floors or pricing the candies and gifts at College Pharmacy. My mom was the bookkeeper, and I’d come in after elementary school and spend my afternoon earning enough to buy a soda and Payday candy bar. Looking back, I’ve always figured out a way to make money from selling something. My dad encouraged me to always focus on developing skills that could translate to my career and entrepreneurial interests. I’d consider my first job to be volunteering onstage and offstage at Good Company Players. My time at GCP led to my first entrepreneurial venture, “QS Graphix Unlimited” (a business name that only a 10-year-old can think up). Good Company became my home throughout my childhood, and I’m immensely thankful for Dan Pessano and his leadership. He is the epitome of a hard-working, small business owner. So his trust in me was hugely meaningful and equally terrifying. Thanks Dan, for signing a contract with a 12-year-old, and allowing me to launch my first business idea. I can draw a direct line from BMD to GCP.
What do you like to do in your spare time, Quentin?
If I’m not working (which is also my hobby), I’m usually remodeling my 100-year-old Craftsman-styled home. I am involved in the Central Valley Community Foundation’s NextGen program and enjoy learning about my community. My wife and I enjoy adventure and traveling; our next trip is a safari in South Africa planned for this upcoming January.