Diane Cricchio gave two reasons as to why she started a production company in Irvington: The famed local legend of Sleepy Hollow is her favorite fairy tale, and she’s not a morning person.
But those aren’t necessarily the reasons why Cricchio, the CEO and creative director and musician by night, has kept her broadcast media company, TimeLine Video, at 1 Bridge St. for 21 years despite offers to move elsewhere in the county and to Manhattan.
“I really enjoy the culture and the lifestyle of being in a small town,” she said. Plus, “It isn’t necessary these days anymore to be in Manhattan because everything is so virtual; now you do so much over the Internet.”
Cricchio, a Yorktown Heights resident, said that by staying in Irvington, she’s saved on overhead costs by avoiding New York City rent and has built a strong client base in the county while also attracting Fortune 500 clients, many of whom, she said, enjoy getting out of the city to visit the riverside office.
Accompanied by Art Director Adam Stroncone and Managing Director Sean LaGamma, who were both recently promoted to partner, Cricchio pointed to the dark leather furniture she was sitting on during an interview and said it was where clients used to come in person for meetings and story board presentations.
“Now they come just to see the space,” she said.
And it’s no wonder, as the burnt-yellow painted walls that line the nontraditional office cubicles have windows and evoke a positive, homey feeling, which is complemented by the honey-toned wood floors of the 100-year-old restored factory building on the Hudson River.
The scattered placement of knick-knacks, including artifacts from around the world, a rubber-band ball and Barbie-driving convertible, were prominently featured in a Westchester Magazine piece on “cool offices” in 2006.
The company’s own timeline is displayed on a shelf that is neatly stacked with small production videotapes archiving two decades of the firm’s broadcast advertising history dating back to its start in 1994.
TimeLine began as a post-production company that started with 65 letters to the bank.
“I asked 65 people that I knew to write a letter saying that they would use me just once for $1,000 or more,” Cricchio said. “I took those letters back to the bank for the system and so that’s how I funded my first system.”
The system she is referring to was an Avid, which comprised cutting-edge editing software at the time, a dictionary-sized 3-gigabyte drive and two Sony monitors that were about 25 inches deep.
“I used to put that in the car and travel to my clients,” she said. “It was literally a station wagon full of equipment.”
By 1994, she had graduated from using the traveling studio and editing in the spare bedroom of a rented apartment to 300 square feet of her current office.
Today, TimeLine is a more robust company — including an added 1,700 square feet of space — that does pre-production creative development, hires a director and cast, scouts locations and then edits the content in post-production. The company’s annual job count is anywhere between 25 and 50 productions annually. Past customers include WalMart, H&M, Purchase-based PepsiCo, Rosetta Stone and Mrs. Green’s Natural Market, a tenant in the same building as TimeLine. About 90 percent of the company’s work is doing broadcast advertisements.
Most recently, the eight-person team wrapped up an ad for the phone company HTC in three weeks.
“Twenty years ago, that would have taken a minimum of three months,” Cricchio said.
LaGamma, who was brought on as an intern in 2005 and joked that he was 7 around the time Cricchio was starting the company, has helped TimeLine Video streamline the production process, Cricchio said.
What that means, LaGamma said, is to “live by the protocol of the industry” using a strict process to determine how to navigate and communicate between clients, ad agencies, freelancers and the production team.
Stroncone started at TimeLine in 2000 and has helped the company develop a more “clean, polished brand,” Cricchio said.
“For the first 20 years, I didn’t advertise because I didn’t need to,” she said. Now, with help from Stroncone, the company has redesigned its website to feature a portfolio of videos and other interactive media about who and what makes the company.
The key going forward, Stroncone said, is to “stay ahead of the curve.”
In addition to balancing four projects currently, the company has more recently delved into providing clients with content and branding for social media.
“We want to be a go-to company to help them have a bigger profile.” LaGamma said, adding that digital presence is something more clients, especially local ones, have asked about.
But at the company’s unwavering core, Cricchio said, “We are creators of ideas and that is the word we are trying to get out.”
Going forward, it is LaGamma and Stroncone, she said, who are “going to move this company into the next 20 years.”