Baking Cookies FX Style

I love to bake – it is very relaxing and creative. When I make cookies, I make them from scratch using one of my grandmother’s recipes. It is a process that takes time, but is well worth it. Not only are the cookies the best, but baking them brings back many wonderful memories. (Email me at kboule@fxgroup.tv if you want to check out my grandmother’s molasses cookie recipe…)

Most of the time I follow the recipe exactly. But other times I use it as a guideline only and I get creative adding unusual and fun ingredients to make it my own. However, the base recipe stays the same. To me a cookie is about the ingredients – the dough – that takes love, time and inspiration. That’s magic and the story of a great cookie.

When it comes time to lay them out on the cookie sheet, I often use a cookie cutter to create the shapes I want. It helps keep the shapes uniform in size, which ensures they are at the right consistency, and they all bake at the same rate. To me this is the business side of making a cookie, because the shape of the cookie cutter can change from batch to batch, or even cookie to cookie.

You may be asking yourself “Why talk about cookie cutters and baking in a FX blog?” Answer -because we know that in the design field, the term “cookie-cutter” has a bad connotation – i.e. uninteresting, unimaginative, and uninspired.

At FX, where we design and build sets and backdrops for television – you could say we make “cookies” too. We are using a tried and true “recipe” and process – i.e. the functionality and design elements that have worked – and won many awards – in the past. But we still create each one “from scratch”. Just as I do when making cookies, we start out with a favorite recipe as a base, then “add nuts and other ingredients” to customize it. But the recipe still uses the base ingredients that are needed to make the dough. This means many variations are possible from this one recipe.

Our team has created numerous designs that are inspired by other FX designs – as a way to save either time or money for our clients. We create many sets that are totally custom and unlike anything seen before – developing new recipes so-to-speak.

Over the past few years we have created many sets for a number of station groups. Typically groups do this for a number of reasons. It may be to get the most value from a base design. Or to help a group convert their stations to HD on a very condensed timeline. Or to simplify the new set process and make it more efficient. Whatever the reason, a single base set design is used across the entire group.

We’ve heard comments that these are “just cookie cutter sets”. They may have the same shape and consistency, but there are solid business reasons and strategies behind it. This option gives our group clients what they want – value, and a great looking, multi-functional set, that can deployed in a streamlined way throughout their family of stations in a budget-conscious way. Although these group-wide, consistent sets may not be exciting to the design community or other people in the TV industry, they make our clients happy.
And let me point out – even these Group-look sets are made from scratch. They are customized for each station’s market, brand and needs. The colors and graphic icons always change. And they are built and assembled by hand by FX’s experienced craftsman.

So when I hear disparaging buzz that FX created another cookie cutter set – I pause to think what that really means, because I know it was made from scratch – and from a time-honored recipe with Love. And…who doesn’t like Cookies?!

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