Tell me a bit about yourself, your company, and what you do.
I started my career in Los Angeles as a film editor before coming to Cleveland to make a documentary. I really started to like Northeast Ohio and was fascinated by the industrial Midwest. A lot of people here feel like they don’t have a voice here so it inspired me to tell their stories.
I’m from the Midwest originally so I always felt like I could connect better with the people here. I decided to take the skills I had as a documentary film editor to make promotional films, focusing on a 2-3 minute narrative that can be shared on social media. My girlfriend is from Shaker so she told me to reach out to LaunchHouse to make some connections. I told Eddie and Todd my idea to make promotional videos and they were both so supportive.
My first documentary was on street music in New York. I also did some sports documentaries and political documentaries. But the stories I’m telling now focus on the human story and stories of people in the middle class who feel like they are being left behind. Right now I’m making a documentary on Lordstown and the GM factory there. As a country we are going to have to try and understand the struggles of the middleclass.
What drew you to LaunchHouse? What’s been your favorite part so far?
Everybody is friendly, they want to know who you are, not just what you are doing. When I was in LA, it was “what do you do and what can you do for me?”. Not, “who are you as a person?”. Whenever I come here, I feel better when I leave. I feel less like I’m on my own. It makes a big difference when people are friendly and want to get to know you. I look for Davion when I come here because we do the same thing. He does video games and I do film but there is a lot of crossover.
If you run a company, what has that been like? What advice do you have for others trying to start and run their own company?
I’m at the very beginning stages, but what I have learned, at least for the video world, is that it’s helpful to do things for free when you are starting off. You need to focus on building relationships and if you do good work, it will lead to future business. You have to drop your ego, even if you have history of doing other things in other places, when you start something new, you are building a completely new and different relationship.
What has it been like to work outside of the typical corporate 9-5 job? What advice do you have for others considering coworking?
It’s nice having a community and having coworkers, LaunchHouse gives you that. You can feel like you are on your own with an atypical schedule. It’s nice being able to come up with your own ways of doing things.
I think it’s easier to feel like you are better off alone, especially early on because you are afraid of making mistakes and you just want to hide in your own silo. The more you go out and talk to people, the more connected you are going to be when you are meeting with a client or sending that email. Because you are around people, you will have an easier time interacting with others.
What is the best career or entrepreneur advice you ever received?
It’s actually from comedian Mike Maron. He spoke about a mother who asked him how her son should go about becoming a comedian, and he replies “if your son goes out and bombs every show but then goes out again, then he’s a comedian”. That’s the same with entrepreneurs. Every day I stumble but each day I wake up and know that’s still want I want to do and I think that’s true about starting your own company.
What has been your biggest learning experience?
The first documentary I made when I came here was huge struggle because I had been editing but I wasn’t out shooting so I made a ton of mistakes but I loved every second of it. I loved the whole process and learning experience from that. I learned that this is what I loved to do. It’s a film that I’m still working on and it got me back on the right path and if it doesn’t work out well, then that’s ok. Now, I make something and it turns out well because I put myself on the line and threw myself in the fire to figure out if this is something I wanted to do.
How do you define success?
To me, success is telling a story that you would watch, connecting with an audience, getting across something that I think is important. Some idea that an entrepreneur had, or some story that someone is experiencing, or something that people don’t know about. When I screen a documentary and someone I don’t know says they recognized me, I connected with them. A feeling of connection and knowing that you connected with someone even though they don’t know you is what success really means to me.