I've been in the production world for 30 years. It's always adventurous and always challenging, but NOTHING like the last 15 years. Take unstoppable ambition, foolish confidence and a 25,000 square foot building and what do you get? I don't know. I'm still working on that part. Read on. We'll call these the "character-shaping years" or more appropriately, "How not to start your first business".
From 2001 to 2010, I had worked for Artisan PictureWorks, a 25,000 square foot full service production studio facility in downtown Atlanta. There I met some of the best production crew I had ever worked with. Over the years we became friends as well as coworkers. It was a successful company with great people. Life was good. But fate threw us a curve ball in the form of new ownership. And suddenly, our world was turned upside down.
When Artisan was forced to close in 2010, I seized the opportunity to keep what I could alive. That place had become my home and it wouldn’t sell quickly in a down economy. I saw opportunity. I just couldn’t walk away. And so was born CrewAtlanta. I stayed behind in that big empty building alone and overwhelmed working days, weekends and evenings 24/7 with hopes to build a life and a business that I could be proud of. I knew that I had the connections - that huge wonderful extended family of coworkers and freelancers that had become my best friends and trusted allies. I had clients that I just couldn’t walk away from. I had a drive and ambition that were unstoppable.
I’ll spare you the details. It was exhilarating and it was exhausting. There were successful days, and there were utter failures. It has been the hardest journey of my life, but oh, what I’ve learned! Five years and many gray hairs later, CrewAtlanta is still kicking. The freelancers and coworkers that I'd come to think of as family are now part of CrewAtlanta . We’ve become the largest production family in Atlanta and we’re still growing.
Who knows what the future holds. This journey is far from over. But my lesson out of this? Well, there are many. I'll just name the ones that are rated PG ;). First, never underestimate the power within. Secondly, feed on the comments of the naysayers. Eat them like Cheerios. Every "No" just fed my determination to prove them wrong. Thirdly, accept failure as a stepping stone toward success. The failures make success just that much sweeter. At least, that's what I'll keep telling myself...