Jason Mayo has joined New York-based digital production company Bonfire as managing director and partner. The move adds Mayo and his deep experience managing digital and postproduction companies to Bonfire’s new leadership lineup, which now includes founder and Flame artist Brendan O’Neil, creative director Aron Baxter, executive producer Dave Dimeola and partner Peter Corbett.
Bonfire was launched in 2016 by O’Neil, who’s worked at many of the top design, VFX and digital production companies in the country in both staff and freelance roles. With its new partners in place--and their accompanying areas of expertise--Bonfire is poised to usher in a new era in how digital production, including VFX, design, CG, animation, color, finishing and live action, is delivered to clients at a lower cost.
Mayo comes to Bonfire after a stint at Chimney and, prior to that, several years building Postal, the digital arm of the production company Humble. Prior to that he spent 14 years at Click 3X, where he worked closely with Corbett as his partner. While there he also worked with Dimeola, who cut his teeth at Click as a young designer/compositor. Dimeola later went on to create The Brigade, where he developed the network and technology that now forms the remote, cloud-based backbone referred to as the Bonfire Platform.
Mayo said a number of factors convinced him that Bonfire was the right fit for his talents. “This really was what I’d been looking for,” he shared. “The chance to be part of a creative and innovative operation like Bonfire in an ownership role gets me excited, as it will allow me to a real difference here and genuinely effect change. And when you’re working closely with a tight group of people who are focused on a single vision, it’s much easier for it to be fully aligned. That’s harder to do in a larger company.”
O’Neil said that having Mayo join as Partner/MD is a major move for the company. “Jason’s arrival is the missing link for us at Bonfire,” he says. “While each of us has specific areas to focus on, we needed someone who could both handle the day to day of running the company while keeping an eye on our brand and our mission and introducing our model to new opportunities. And that’s exactly his strong suit.”
For the most part, Mayo’s familiarity with his new partners means he’s arriving with a head start. Indeed, his connection to Dimeola, who built the Bonfire Platform--the company’s proprietary remote talent network, nicknamed the “secret sauce”--continued as Mayo tapped Dimeola’s network for overflow and outsourced work while at Postal, and says that their relationship was founded on trust.
“Dave came from the artist side, and so I knew the work I’d be getting would be top quality and done right,” Mayo said. “I never actually questioned how it was done, but now that he’s pulled back the curtain, I was blown away by the capabilities of the Platform and how it dramatically differentiates us.
“What separates our system is that we can go to top level people around the world but have them working on the Bonfire Platform, which gives us total control over the process,” Mayo continued. “They work on our cloud servers and with our licenses and use our cloud rendering. The Platform lets us know everything they’re doing, so it’s much easier to track costs and make sure that you’re only paying for the work you actually need. More importantly, it’s a way for us to feel connected--it’s like they’re working in a suite down the hall, except they could be anywhere in the world.”
Mayo stressed that while the cloud-based Platform is a huge advantage for Bonfire, it’s just one part of its profile. “We’re not a company that’s riding on the backs of freelancers,” he said. “We have great, proven talent in our core team who work directly with clients. What I’ve been telling my longtime client contacts is that Bonfire represents a huge step forward in terms of the services and level of work I can offer them.”