Creative team gets ready for its closeup with QuickBooks Capital

4 min read
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B.R.E. Productions International, Inc. self-funded many of its creative projects for years. Then QuickBooks Capital helped them invest in their business so it could grow.

For every movie, album, or other creative production, countless people work behind the scenes to make it a reality. Audrey Beharie-McGee and Brian McGee – the Atlanta-based husband and wife team behind B.R.E. Productions International Inc. – are part of this creative force.

Their work has been instrumental in the creation of numerous popular TV shows and movies.

Brian, a storyboard and concept artist, has worked on TV shows like “The Walking Dead,” “The Gifted,” and “The Boondocks” and movies like “2 Fast 2 Furious” “Goosebumps 2: Happy Halloween”, and the upcoming “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”

Audrey is a vocal & performing arts coach, event planner, mixed media artist, and she ran the Miss Teen Dream USA pageant, which was featured on the Lifetime reality show “Kim of Queens – Seasons 1 and Season 2.” They are also music producers and performers.

It takes hard work and talent to be successful in the arts and entertainment world. And if you want to stay competitive as a creator, you need to invest in your business and plan for seasonal slow-downs. That requires working capital.

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The challenge

At any time, B.R.E. Productions might have several projects in play, but Brian’s work for movies and TV is its biggest source of revenue. Some of that revenue gets invested in other parts of the business.

In fact, B.R.E. self-funded its endeavors since it was incorporated in 2012, specifically to avoid taking on debt. Audrey, who manages the finances, thrived on that challenge.

“We want to be able to put on credible and professional events, so we go to credible and professional vendors – and of course they cost a lot of money,” said Audrey.

But there comes a time when a business may need to grow beyond what self-funding can offer. Since much of their work depends on technology, B.R.E. needs to stay up to date on equipment and software, which can be expensive. And recently, one job required Brian to outfit an on-set office, which meant buying more equipment.

Then there’s the issue of smoothing cash flow if payments come in late or during downtime between jobs – the slow season for B.R.E.’s storyboarding work generally happens between October and February.

B.R.E. had been using QuickBooks to manage their finances for about 3 years, when Audrey received an email about QuickBooks Capital.

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When we’re supposed to get paid in 30 days, it sometimes takes 45 or 60 days. I use QuickBooks Capital to make sure I can pay myself, the mortgage, and the utilities.

The solution

Until that email arrived, Audrey hadn’t considered getting a loan. But she liked QuickBooks Capital’s short repayment term so the business wouldn’t be saddled with long-term debt. She also liked the seamless application process and quick funding.

“I like things to be simple, logical and smoothly transitioned,” she said. “That ticked my boxes.”

In October 2017, B.R.E. got its first QuickBooks Capital loan, for $12,000. They repaid it in 6 months, then got another $10,000 in funding September 2018. The third loan, for $8,000, came in March 2019.

With that money, they used it to fund a modeling event in Atlanta, and to buy equipment, computers, and software for Brian’s storyboarding work. The funding has also been used to smooth cash flow when needed.

“Sometimes we’re supposed to get paid in 30 days, but sometimes it comes in 45 or 60 days,” said Audrey. “I use it to make sure I can pay myself, the mortgage, the electric, the gas, and the internet.”

QuickBooks Capital funding helped B.R.E. reach several important milestones. “Without those loans, we wouldn’t have been able to get 4 or 5 integral pieces of equipment,” said Audrey. This allowed them to secure their latest contract, which lasts for the next five months.

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Tips on repaying

When the funding comes in, Audrey has a careful strategy for spending and repayment.

“I’m always trying to ensure that we don’t spend all of it, but we have it as a backup,” she said. “I purposely use half and keep the other half as emergency money.”

She also said repaying funding on a shorter timeline can be good discipline for any small business.

Looking to the future

Audrey said B.R.E. will definitely consider getting funding from QuickBooks Capital again. With that money, she and Brian hope to expand their workspace, converting the basement into a recording studio and art studio.

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