I was recently interviewed by Ashley Brown, Thumbtack’s “Social Marketing Queen”, about my work in the TV commercial and music video production world. The full interview should be online soon, but here are some snippets in the meantime!
Thumbtack: So Jesse, talk about how you got started in the production world as well as some of the biggest challenges you bumped into along the way.
Jesse: Well, if we really get down to it, I suppose my business – or at least its inception – took place when I turned 12 years old. At that time, I was living in Seattle when my parents sold our house, bought a motorhome and decided it was time to spend a year traveling the United States with me and my two younger brothers. During that year, I lived in pretty much every state in the continental US. We had our family video camera on the trip – in fact I still have it here in my office – and I probably rolled about two hundred hours of footage that year. Once we hit California, I knew I’d be calling it home one day. Sure enough, turned 18 and headed right down to Orange County. More recently, in 2008, I took a position as the Creative Director and Production Director at a prominent California-based advertising and marketing agency. Simply put though, I’m just not built for an office. I fully understand people who are, but my creative juices just don’t flow there. So I resigned from that position in 2012 to launch full-force into the independent-employment world, crafting commercials and brand films for brilliant businesses and people. My greatest challenge so far has been finding the time to be my own advocate. Frankly I’m a horrible salesperson. I just don’t have it in my genes and I’m only now getting comfortable being honest about that. So my greatest challenge without a doubt has been finding the time and energy to promote myself to the businesses and brands who desperately want to work with a storyteller like myself.
Thumbtack: And what about your clients? What sorts of businesses come to you for your specific work as a director?
Jesse: I’ve been so massively blessed, far beyond what’s fair. Fortunately, my current and former clients have always been my biggest advocates. Once they see the heart and soul I pour into their message, into who they are as a company, I think they have a better understanding of what makes me tick. The clients I work with most often aren’t “normal”; they tend to be extreme innovators. I’ve always believed that most businesses never reach their full potential because they’re too scared to carve a niche for themselves. Becoming a trendsetter, becoming great, takes a lot of calculated risks. It’s the companies that just “go with the flow” that eventually get caught up in the rocks. Conversely, blazing a trail in a particular industry means taking a hard, honest look at who your audience is and what they want. The brands that I work with aren’t interested in trying to be all things to all people; rather, they focus on who their core audience really, truly is, and then pull out all the stops to make them fans for life.
Thumbtack: Are they happy – your clients?
Jesse: No lawsuits so far! Seriously though, I’ve been very blessed and frequently receive the highest praise from my clients: they come back for more.
Thumbtack: What’s been your most effective strategy to keep them happy and to keep them coming back?
Jesse: Communication. Everything falls apart without communication. I know my clients are busy, and I respect that completely, but if I don’t communicate clearly with them, dollars are lost and time is wasted. I like to make sure we’re both clear on that from the beginning.
Thumbtack: Talk about one of the projects you’ve been working on this month. Who is it for and what has the production been like?
Jesse: I’m wrapping a series of commercials for an awesome new company called Lumativ. Their target audience is very specific – fans of electronic music and music festivals who have a progressive sense of fashion. They’re very focused on this niche, which is a huge part of the reason I know they’ll be successful.
- Keep an eye out for the full write-up coming soon, and my sincere thanks again to Ashley Brown for her energy and support!