Almost a year ago, Andrew, Sam, and I (Bryan or “BAJ”) were splitting a pitcher and eating chicken wings. More than one pitcher, actually. Plus tater tots.
Through our time working together on a branding project, we seemed to get along well and our skills were complementary.
I knew that video marketing was a big category and growing rapidly. Every client of mine at the agency I was leading was asking for video. And the work I had seen from local production companies wasn’t great. At a minimum, I was glad to have met them and looked forward to working with them in the future.
By the end of our meal, however, two things were clear:
1. I was an agency vet wanting to do more filmmaking and brand storytelling work.
2. They were a very talented group with a huge upside that was already doing more than just films.
The next few discussions and then an afternoon in Athens led me to one of those decisions that I hope everyone gets to experience sometime in their career: mission versus paycheck.
As I think about it, it’s fascinating to recognize how priorities change over time. Early in your career, there’s a tendency to focus on outcomes (X title by Y age making Z salary) versus enjoying the process, identifying your unique value, and embracing the lessons found within the journey.
I’ll admit that having experience in building successful companies helps and the ability to replicate this type of “machine” is reassuring. But regardless, what I saw with this team was an opportunity that checked all the boxes of successful companies (according to Jim Collins anyway): 1) what you are deeply passionate about, 2) what you can be the best in the world at, and 3) what best drives your economic engine.
So here we are.
Fast forward a year and we’ve embarked on our most ambitious film projects yet. Coming out of 2018, our best year ever, we have teams producing work all over the world. (while I’m here in ATL…no, really, I’m not jealous at all).
As we speak, one of our crews just wrapped Ruby Dog, a project in Idaho about an avalanche rescue dog and her human companion, Pat. While creating original work in sub-freezing temperatures in high-altitude places only accessible by helicopter seems crazy, we believe it’s a serious business move.
You see, our 2019 plan consists of two things: a massive dream and a detailed plan to make it come true. It’s our Search for the Big One and this film plays an important role in what we plan to accomplish this year:
• Achieving national recognition for creating things of value and beauty
• Reaching a wider audience of brand partners
• Maintaining a culture of setting huge goals and going for it
• Improving the quality of our films
• Challenging the limits of our team
• Producing things that are rare, unexpected, and extraordinary.
We know this is what audiences crave and brands seek. It also happens to be what we love to do.
Drums or Flats? We Have Both.
Like the aforementioned chicken wings, there are two delicious and connected parts of our business. Neither of which could exist without the other and each one making the other better.
When you think as big as we do and have Chispa as a superpower, our goal is to share the value we bring that goes beyond film production into strategy, creative, and distribution. We do this in two connected and complementary ways:
1. Branded partnerships
2. Sponsored originals
With branded partnerships, we’ve earned the business of many Fortune 500 partners by bringing their founder and company culture stories to life, sharing news of products, promotions, anniversaries and acquisitions, and helping their sales teams close huge deals.
On the sponsored originals side, we’re continually sharpening our edge and expanding creatively and capabilities-wise for clients. This might mean deeper stories about humanity, more challenging shoots and locations, or unexpected characters and subject matter. To extend the reach of these messages and really push ourselves, we’ve recently begun to participate in domestic and international film festivals to compete against the best-of-the-best in the global film community.
2019 is going to be a Big One. Thanks for your support & here’s a taste of things to come: