Continuing on with “Year In Review The Series,” I figure we may as well start at the beginning… it is a very good place to start.
Other Vision was flying pretty high at the end of 2016, with the period between October-December being particularly profitable, and it looked to continue in 2017 as well with January already starting to fill up as early as November. Things were looking so positive at this point that I felt the business could sustain me personally through a rather expensive quest…. becoming a home owner.
Thanks to David and Chelsea at the Haro Group, I was able to find a pretty great home in my price range and close on it on Dec. 30th, 2016 (about one month after I started looking…. yeah, they’re impressive). I went straight from signing the papers a rehearsal dinner for one of my closest friends. In short, it would have been hard to imagine a better end to 2016.
Then January 1st came around. As happens from time to time, a few of the jobs we thought we had booked ended up falling through. An event was cancelled, one shoot moved from GA to NY and didn’t take us with them, mostly stuff beyond our control. In business, that happens, and you come to expect it. What you don’t come to expect is for literally every job you have lined up to fall through.
On the personal side things weren’t going much better, as despite my best efforts, a miscommunication with my apartment’s property manager meant that I owed an extra month’s worth of rent on my apartment (despite not living there), and since my lease was technically auto-renewed for one month, it was billed at the highest possible rate. In other words right off the bat I found myself owing more than double what my mortgage would have been in the first month. When you’ve just sunk most of your money into a house, that’s not the sort of news you want to find out after the fact.
It got worse. On the positive side the period between January and March saw us have a record volume of inquiries for our services. It seemed like every single day a new potential client was ringing me up or shooting me an e-mail. However, not a single one of them booked us. That meant from about mid January to April I didn’t have a single job, and I was getting to the point where I was wondering if I’d ever book a gig again. 3 months of no work when you’ve just taken on a major expense is, to say the least, disheartening.
To say this was crushing to me personally would be an understatement. By February, I was questioning if I was cut out for this job. By March, I was taking the calls with the assumption that even if we got a signed contract the job would be cancelled. When I called my team to tell them we had work, I found myself going out of my way to make sure they knew it was a tentative gig. Through out it all I felt myself slipping further and further into depression, and really just wanted to give up.
But I did promise to keep this positive. Believe it or not, 2017 actually turned out to be a pretty great year. In terms of finances it looks like Other Vision will be finishing slightly ahead of where we were last year, which is almost unbelievable considering we were only doing billable work for 9 months. While I may have been in a very bad place at the beginning of the year, God never allowed me to be totally destitute (although I may have acted like it). All the bills got paid, almost on time, and while my credit card was used far more than I wanted it to be, I survived.
The fear during this period was overwhelming. Looking at my business, feeling like it was on a clock that could run out at any minute, not knowing if I would be able to afford my house less than one month of buying it… all of that combined to nearly knock me out. But if fear was overwhelming, so was hope, and so was provision. Even when things were at their darkest, the seeds of some of our biggest and best work were being laid, and this period, as bad as it was, turned out to be necessary for what was to come.
Goes to show, the road isn’t always smooth, there are pretty dark parts along any path, but the destination is worth it!
Next time I’ll talk about the start of what may prove to be our biggest project yet, The Door Creaks!
Collins Abbott White is an award-winning Producer, Director and DP, and owner of Other Vision Studios specializing in creative corporate content and narrative film. If you need a video produced for your business or if you have an idea for a film, e-mail Collins.White@othervision.net, he’s always interested in meeting new people and trying new things.