Backyard Productions, Los Angeles and Chicago, Founded 1989

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Principals: Roy Skillicorn, Head of Sales/Partner; Blair Stribley, Executive Producer/Partner; Peter Steinzeig, Head of Production; Kris Mathur, Executive Producer; Eriks Krumins, Executive Producer

Roster: Rob Pritts, Kevin Smith, Don Rase, Chace Strickland, Steve Burrows, Tim Abshire

Heaps of great work piled up at Backyard this year, including Rob Pritts' retro trip for Altoids and his soporific series for Sealy. Kevin Smith imagined the world through engineers' eyes for Parker Hannifin and took it slow on Heinz; and Steve Burrows xeroxed a "full moon" for Accuserve. Backyard also expanded its territory when execs Roy Skillicorn and Blair Stribley hooked up with branded content shop Science + Fiction to plant Seed, which will cultivate young directorial hopefuls for commercials and non-traitional programming formats.