How Not To Start A Year

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.

 

 

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Year In Review 2017 – The Series

I am about to do something I find utterly pretentious when I see it done by others, and I fear that there is no amount of self-deprecation, witty observations, or insightful tidbits that can save what follows from being both obtuse and narcissistic. However, after several agonizing seconds of self-reflection, and a rather long conversation about a current project, it became clear that I should do the dreaded “year-in-review” post.

I’ve decided not to just do one blog post, but rather a series (the length of which is still not determined), that focuses on major projects we undertook, themes this year has adopted, tips, tricks, and the evolution of our style etc. So to finish off this first post let me lay a few ground rules:

1. I want what follows to be encouraging to artists, specifically filmmakers, who have felt frustrated in the pursuit of their careers. If you are any sort of artist you have chosen one of the most difficult and convoluted career paths possible, more so if you are a filmmakers. The marriage of art and business is never more essential than in the film world. Many people find these skill sets at odds, and efforts to unite them often end in failure. I can’t honestly say I’ve been successful at it yet, but I can say it’s become easier with time.

2. I will be honest. It’s not helpful for me to pretend that everything has gone smoothly. It is not helpful for me to act like there weren’t moments when I wanted to throw in the towel. Too often we see the end result and think that it always looked like that. I hope in some measure to strip away the façade of success that surrounds so many social media pages, and delve into the struggles (from both a personal and business perspective), the technical, and the reasoning behind decisions that were made. This is an industry of perception, bright lights, expensive cameras, and a showman in the center (maybe not the greatest showman, but a showman none the less). So much of that is inconsequential. I hope to show you that.

3. It will be personal. As of right now, Other Vision and Collins White are separated only by a legal document and a bank account. When Other Vision has an up day, Collins has an up day, when Collins has a bad day, Other Vision has a bad day. The two are intertwined, and while in the next year or two I hope to take Other Vision to a place where Collins isn’t necessary for it’s continued operation, that is not the case now, so something things that sit firmly in the personal realm will be included on this business page.

4. It will be positive. I’m not about to deride my competition, or throw people under the buss, or complain about clients all over Facebook. I will be honest, but if you want a totally unfiltered opinion, best we do that over coffee. Besides, my new year’s resolution is to take more coffee meetings with new people, so hit me up, you’ll be helping me reach my goals 🙂

5. I will not be overly technical. There will be times I discuss how we set something up, and the nuts and bolts of filmmaking, and the reasoning behind creative decisions, but I’m going to try to keep this as much of an overview as possible.

6. I will not engage in positioning. You’ve seen it. People post blogs that talk about how creative they are, all their wonderful connections, how amazing their work is under the pretense of offering value. I hate that. If you want to know my position in this market look at my demo reel. If you want to hear about the wild ride that 2017 has been with its ups and gain any insight to how I and Other Vision operate, then look here.

My hope is that in being honest, I will encourage many of you. This job isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes it’s a war, sometimes it’s a brick wall you can’t climb over, sometimes it’s facing an army of trolls. Whatever else it may be, it is, beyond anything else, Worth It. And that’s what I hope to communicate over the next few days. My plan is to hit the major projects, and major phases our business went though and discuss each in detail. However, there is a comments section here for a reason…. if you have a specific question, or want me to talk about a specific project, just leave a comment. I’ll either address it in one of these posts, or chat with you about it privately.

Next post I’ll discuss how NOT to start a year.

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. 

 

 

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