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Monday, May 29, 2023



by Elizabeth Barr

It’s not surprising that, in our increasingly wired world, more and more

small businesses in Los Angeles are relying on the Internet to conduct

business. In addition to offering such “simple” tools as e-mail and

search engines, the web is also home to more advanced technologies like

Quick Time VR, DSL (digital subscriber line) lines and FTP (file

transfer protocol) sites, all of which offer accessible, inexpensive

ways to increase productivity and improve the bottom line.

Hollywood-based Milk & Honey Production Services, a division of Milk &

Honey Films, has been at the forefront of maximizing new Internet and

digital technologies to grow its business. With a production services

division orchestrating feature film, commercial and music video projects

through offices in Prague, Montreal-Toronto, Mexico City and Moscow,

Milk & Honey depends on its Internet system the way most companies do

their phones and fax machines.

Formed three years ago by executive producers Howard Woffinden, Greg

Gold and Tomas Krejci, Milk & Honey was one of the first production

companies to establish a dedicated computer and Internet system to

significantly reduce costs and schedules; facilitate long distance

collaboration; and make possible projects that could not have been

executed otherwise.

As Woffinden recalls, the decision to use the Internet was inescapable.

“When we opened our first two offices in Hollywood and Prague, we

realized how prohibitively expensive it would be to communicate by phone

and fax. The Internet was the most cost effective alternative.”

Making a virtue of necessity, Woffinden and his colleagues quickly

discovered how beneficial the Internet could be to their business. With

each new project, they found they could save clients time and money by

e-mailing essential documents–such as project bids, blueprints and

photos–from Prague to Los Angeles with a less than 24-hour turnaround.

The process proved so successful that Milk & Honey used it as a model to

open their additional overseas offices.

Along the way, Woffinden has become something of an expert in the always

challenging task of setting up Internet service overseas. “There was a

real push for mobile phones in Prague after the Berlin Wall came down,”

he says, “so initially we had trouble finding secure telephone lines.”

A similar situation arose the following year in Mexico, where an

unreliable phone system resulted in sudden and frequent disconnections.

In both cases, Woffinden shopped around and found that AOL offered the

most dependable international service. In addition to the convencience

of having each office use the same provider, AOL also allowed complex

files to be transported within the network without becoming corrupted.

Woffinden has also learned how to find the most suitable image transfer

technology for the company’s needs. To send 3D images, for instance,

Milk & Honey uses PhotoVista, a software program they picked up at the

annual Internet World convention. Like Apple’s Quick Time, it can

create a seamless 360 degree panorama out of a series of photographs,

but at a twelfth of the cost.

Recently, Milk & Honey switched to DSL lines, which, unlike ISDN lines,

allow the company to expand and condense its bandwidth at a moments

notice simply by putting in a request with the server. In this way,

they can grow without having to invest in new equipment. Milk & Honey

has also begun utilizing FTP sites, which offer a more viable method of

supplying clients with large pieces of data.

Although keeping up with advances in digital technology can be

cumbersome, not to mention expensive, Woffinden has no doubts about the

value of the investment. “We launched Milk & Honey just as the web was

beginning to explode, so we were in the right place at the right time to

make it work for the company. In fact, I don’t know that we could have

thrived and grown the way we have without using the Internet.”

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