When and how did your company get started? How many people are employed by MotionMasters?
MotionMasters is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year! The company was founded on Groundhog Day, 1987, and was the state’s first video production company. We currently have a permanent staff of five and hire frequently from the state’s freelance workforce.
What is the most interesting and fun tidbit of information about your company?
We have three decades worth of stories – there’s no way to choose just one! Our body of work includes educational videos that are used in classrooms throughout North America to documentaries that are broadcast on public television to corporate productions. Now we’re producing a television series for Fido-TV. Our work has taken us all over the United States as well as on a number of international shoots. It’s the variety that pushes us creatively.
What were some of your earlier projects, including highpoints and/or challenges?
When MotionMasters was founded, there was no state film office and no depth of freelancers. You had to rent gear out of Cincinnati or Atlanta. Crews coming into West Virginia were incredulous that that was the case. And it was hard to convince business prospects in West Virginia that a production company in West Virginia could be trusted to have the creativity and technical expertise to produce great work. That’s a battle we still fight occasionally, but not nearly as often. We have a rich history and a library of content that draws clients to us, from within the state and beyond its borders.
What are some of your most recent projects, including highpoints and/or challenges?
We’re wrapping up post-production on season two of a television show we produce, “Which Woof’s for Me?” for Fido-TV. Each episode explores the traits and characteristics of two breeds of dogs. We have traveled to eight states to obtain interviews with the top breeders in the country and to shoot footage of their dogs – agility dogs, draft dogs, water rescue dogs, hunting dogs, dancing dogs, etc. It’s been fun and challenging, and we’ve learned a lot. The show receives really high marks, and we’re very proud of it. We’re also working on a biographical documentary about Katherine Johnson, the woman who is one of the featured storylines in the blockbuster hit feature, “Hidden Figures.” And of course, we have quite a few corporate productions at various stages of production.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to create a production company?
Take a course, or two, in accounting. Study business. Maybe not as a major, or minor, but read books, articles, watch videos about other businesses. Find a mentor, or a business coach. Always keep learning. It doesn’t matter how creative you are, if you don’t understand business, or know how to read a financial statement, you won’t be able to build a company, any company, let alone a production company. It’s not easy. And it doesn’t get easier over time. But it is interesting and rewarding and fulfilling.