I was in the sort of maelstrom that many people around the world are feeling right now – insecure about where the next paycheck is coming from but knowing that I would have to move fast to generate funds, as we were tapped out after having traveled to nine different countries to shoot our our mountain biking adventure-documentary, “Full Cycle: A World Odyssey.”
To generate business, we worked on publicizing our documentary, and it earned a lot of press and won over a dozen international awards. Despite that, it didn’t fit into any niche, meaning that it was never broadcast on television. Both the Travel Channel and Discovery were interested in the concept before we left on the odyssey and sent letters of interest. But when the show was in the can, they had both changed their format and were no longer interested.
I believe this was the first reality show ever produced, because it starred normal everyday Mark and me. My feeling remains that “Full Cycle” was way ahead of its time.
Mark and Patty appear in a Swiss newspaper during the shooting of “Full Cycle: A World Odyssey”
Anyway, when sales of our “red-headed stepchild” proved less than stellar, Mark and I decided to take another tack.
Sometimes when one strategy doesn’t work, you have to abandon it and embrace another. But you don’t want to just jump into something without testing, researching, asking questions of experts, and reaching an informed decision.
Actually, the new tack presented itself to us, and we just happened to recognize it and exploit the opportunity. A company called us one day searching for stock footage of mountain bikers. That gave us an idea. We started selling our stock footage from around the world, and eventually added to the collection by gathering footage in other countries, from other producers, and built a library.
At this time we continued producing video, only not for ourselves anymore, but clients who needed our video production services.
Thus, after the years of struggle, we had created a niche for ourselves in which we could use all our talents, follow our passions and be together.
We learned how to “wear many hats” within the video industry. Mark is best as a camera operator and Director of Photography. He also runs the business and is an ace at marketing. He attends lots of networking events and volunteers as President of a local industry group. I have become an editor, shooter, sound technician, web maven, voice over, and sometimes actor. It is beneficial to know as many roles as possible, as it increases the odds on getting work.
Mark Schulze shoots off-the-cuff interview of Weird Al Yankovic at San Diego Comic Con
Highlights of our career include producing segments for Extra, Oprah and Discovery Channel, as well as an award-winning documentary about homeless combat veterans entitled The Invisible Ones.
Our success did not happen overnight. It took many years of concerted effort of working for ourselves from the time we each stopped working for someone else.
As I see it, with all the megalithic corporations falling to their knees like those big mechanical creatures on Star Wars, an opportunity arises for those who are savvy and courageous enough to take it. We can create a whole new and unique economy based on bartering time, skills and products that are handmade or hand grown.
It’s time for our communities to come together and work toward that new economy. So “follow your bliss” and start honing your skills. We have ingenuity and creativity going for us. And each other.