Life gets stagnant, unenjoyable, depressing. For freelance artists, entrepreneurs or contractors that usually means you’re doing something wrong. After all those of us who choose to wander a path of self-sufficiency do so because we value freedom over security, we value self-expression over conformity, and because we want to walk to the beat of our own drum.
Well for me, that drum has been beating out of time since about the day I started Other Vision Studios.
I’ve always been a bit of a multi-purpose artist, and even as far back as high school I knew I wanted to use my various artistic abilities to become a teller of stories. I went to college to study film because I fully believe that in film, all the arts that have every existed have some level of representation, and this superhero artistic team-up seems to me the best means to tell a story that humanity has ever come up with.
Throughout college and into grad school I believed that my life would be spent telling stories, and I was on the path to do exactly that… until I started my company. Then all of a sudden other things became a priority. Bills, networking, meetings, proposals, taxes…. all of this stuff that took away from the core mission of telling stories. It wore me down, it changed my focus, and eventually I began to believe a lie.
It’s a lie we’ve all heard. In fact most of the time people lead with it. You probably know which one I’m talking about too… in fact you may have used it yourself.
You run into a guy who does marketing, advertising, web design, or video production or any other related film and the first thing he’s going to tell you is “I’m here to help you tell your story.” And that is the biggest lie this generation of creatives has ever served up.
Let’s just be clear, marketing is not storytelling. I know because I’ve spent the past 7 years desperately trying to convince myself that it is. But when you compare the story of a home grown, family owned business founded on grit and determination that serves the community against, for instance, the complete works of Shakespeare it’s pretty clear we’re talking about two vastly different things. You wouldn’t say Romeo and Juliet isn’t a story so you’d probably have to conclude your Instagram strategy is the thing that’s been miscategorized.
And there in lies the problem for me. It’s not that marketing and advertising are bad things or somehow ignoble professions. Quite the contrary, they are great and effective allies in the never ending fight to get your name or business “out there,” or “top of mind.” However, when I stated as a kid that I wanted to be a story teller, it’s almost the exact opposite of what I had in mind.
However, the past few weeks, maybe even months have changed something in me. I found myself in a position where taking on clients to pay bills was less important than taking on clients with interesting projects. Part of that allowed me to take on the daunting task of writing a feature length screenplay. (Yes, daunting is the right word, I’ve done it three times, and it’s a massive mountain to climb each time).
This shift has brought me face to face with what I truly mean when I say “I want to be a story teller.” It’s not that I don’t want to help you get your brand out to the masses, but I’d rather show over the course of 90-120 minutes how you came up with the idea for your business, the obstacles you faced, the failures, the triumphs, and how that changed you as a person. In other words, I’d rather be telling your actual story than your marketing “story.”
So now I have to make a decision. I have the past of my company — a business that engages in creating video content for other businesses (and does it quite well I might add) — and I have the future of my company — a business that engages in the creation of narrative films that move, inspire, entertain, and challenge. How do I shift from one to the other?
Well, as natural and as enjoyable as the narrative filmmaking process is for me (it honestly fits me like a glove), it’s not profitable for me yet. Furthermore, I have some really great clients who I have no intention of abandoning. I also have a skillset that can be incredibly useful for businesses, and should you choose to call me, I’m happy to continue to serve you. However, going forward my priority is first and foremost feature films.
I know that’s going to be a disappointment to some of you, but as great a video producer as I may have been, at best I’ve been a fish out of water there, and I owe it to both you and to myself to see where I really do fit in.
All of this said, I would encourage you if you want video, especially my style of video, please feel free to reach out. I’m happy to consider your project, and even if I can’t take it on, I’m still connected with many talented people who can, and I’d be happy to find you a great match for your project. It may be that I miss marketing from time to time, and if you catch me in one of those times you’ll be getting not only my marketing expertise cultivated over the past 7 years, but also the benefits of a creative mind consistently occupied with crafting stories.