The Confidence of Knowing™


Starburns Industries

Industry: Entertainment, Television, Film, & Podcasting

Preferred CFO Services

  • Turnaround Services
  • Cash Flow Improvement
  • Financial Forecasting
  • Sales Forecasting
  • Raising Capital
  • Financial System Implementation
  • Accounting & Monthly Financial Reporting
  • Executive Coaching

While serving as CFO for Starburns Industries, an independent television and film studio based in Burbank, California, Troy Skabelund, current Partner at Preferred CFO, completed a complete financial turnaround, bringing the company from only $700 in the bank to financial stability with an award-winning feature film and three television series with major networks.

Turnaround Services | Cash Flow Improvement | Talent Development
Raising Capital | Executive Coaching


Starburns Industries (“Starburns”) is an imaginative, full-service production company located in Burbank, California. A creator-driven studio, Starburns specializes in stop-motion, 2D, and CG animation, voiceovers, podcasts, live-action production, and more. Starburns is best known for the television series Rick and Morty and Animals, as well as the feature film Anomalisa. Visit:

While the team at Starburns was experiencing creative success with its productions, they lacked a solid financial strategy for business success and were experiencing significant cash flow issues. When Starburns sought the CFO advisory services of Troy Skabelund, current Partner at Preferred CFO, the company’s future was in doubt, with cash on hand as little as $700.


  1. Implemented a more advanced financial system to measure company and project profitability
  2. Developed a financial forecast to give owners a true sense of the company’s cash position and financial performance
  3. Led a dialogue among owners to achieve alignment on long-term goals and the financial path required to fulfill them
  4. Established a sales pipeline with productivity goals linked to revenue generation
  5. Prepared a comprehensive data room and helped the CEO execute an investor roadshow and raise the funds to complete the company’s largest current project, retire debt, and recapitalize the studio
  6. Monitored the spending on and execution of the studio’s largest project to ensure on-time and on-budget delivery
  7. Identified and developed an in-house successor to the CFO role


  • Gained financial visibility through implementation of financial systems
  • Secured three profitable television series with major networks in less than 12 months after owners focused on executing against key performance indicators (pitches of scripts, pilots, and TV series)
  • Completed the studio’s feature film, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival, and secured attractive domestic and international distribution deals for the film
  • Regained financial stability and the ability to focus on the company’s long-term creative and financial goals
  • Transitioned the CFO role successfully to a low-cost, capable, in-house candidate

A Successful Turnaround

When Troy Skabelund entered Starburns Industries, they had a late, incomplete project on the table, $700 in the bank, and no way to pay their existing debts. They lacked not only a CFO, but also a financial strategy, a financial forecast, and an effective sales pipeline.

By implementing better systems and forecasts, clarifying resource requirements, setting clear productivity goals linked to revenue generation, and executing a meaningful capital raise, Starburns  was not only able to complete their existing project, win awards, and secure an attractive return on the investment, but also land three profitable television series with major networks and a subsequent $20 million film deal with Netflix—ensuring a bright future for the studio.

Along the way, Starburns also established a long-term financial strategy and gained a capable in-house financial expert to ensure continued financial stability and productivity.

About Starburns Industries

Starburns Industries is an innovative and imaginative full-service production company, specializing in stop-motion, traditional 2D, and CG animation, as well as live-action and podcast production. Starburns is a creator-driven studio, whose founders are responsible for the creation of the Adult Swim series Rick & Morty, Moral Orel, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole, the HBO series Animals,Charlie Kaufman’s award-winning and Academy Award-nominated animated feature film Anomalisa, acclaimed documentary film Harmontown, and the upcoming Netflix animated feature film Bubbles.