Taylor Shold: Tell us a little about yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Clayton Hansler: Only my mother calls me Clayton, ever since I left high school everyone has just called me Clay. I’m the producer and director of All For One, a series in its fifth year following Toronto FC. I have done work with pretty much every Toronto sports team, the Canadian national program, as well as major broadcasters on both sides of the border. I’ve been a writer, a reporter, on air talent, broadcast host, if you name it I’ve probably tried my hand at it. I like pretty things – well worded sentences, still photographs, motion picture and music – so because of that I’ve chased all those passions in different ways. I’ve spent about half my life working in television and production; that’s crazy, right? Most recently I opened my own production and media house in Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood. That’s also crazy to think about.
Taylor: Networking is a big part of SMG, how has it helped your career?
Clayton: I’m a big believer in people; people make the world turn. What I mean by that is that every interesting story to be told is generally about a person, what happened to a person, or what almost happened to a person. Are you following where I’m going here? Every achievement we celebrate in history is something that happened to a person. I originally got into production in order to work on a team and to collaborate, mainly because I know that the experiences of different people and their perspective on life can make the project that we’re working on better. And now through the people I’ve met, I’m able to assemble my own little A-Team when I am staring down the barrel of a creative project. To me that’s the greatest part of this whole industry. But to really get the most out of it, I believe you have to surrender the thought that this new friend is someone who is supposed to help you down the road. Does that make sense? People generally, and especially in the media landscape, have a keen sense to when someone is drawing close to them as a ‘power move.’ So yeah, network, make fiends, meet people, but don’t be solely fixed on meeting people that can help you. Meet people cause people are awesome.
Taylor: Standing out in this business is tough, how have you managed to do that?
Clayton: I’m a firm believer that everyone has something to them that no one else has. So perhaps my advice would not be how to get noticed, but rather don’t get discouraged. I promise you that if you are committed to perfecting your craft, continually refining how you do what you do, and working at it tirelessly, then I can guarantee that people will take notice. Nothing stands out more in this industry than someone who is really really dang good at what they do – whether you’re the best reporter, producer or shotlister – the best people are always in high demand; not the ones with the most twitter followers or the highest likes on an Instagram post. I know that if you spend your time just focusing on being the best at what you do, everything else will fall into place. Don’t get discouraged. If you truly are the best, give me a call, I’ll hire you!
Taylor: You have started a new podcast called ‘The Stringer‘, what is it all about?
Clayton: I’m a talker. If you know me at all or have ever met me, you know that I talk and talk and talk. My favourite types of conversations are sitting across the table from someone else. Someone I may know exceedingly well, or perhaps not well at all. But those long conversations that start with a single thought and last for hours, those are the best. What you might not know is that since I was young I always wanted to do radio. I used to record the radio top 30 countdown and then dub over the DJ’s parts with my own 10 year old voice. I volunteered at some of Toronto’s top radio stations during my late teens. All I wanted was to be in radio. The Stringer podcast is my outlet for that. It’s an in conversation style podcast where I chat with the incredible people that I’ve met along my journey. Let’s be honest, a lot are sports people, but music, fashion and comedy are all things that interest me as well.
Taylor: What advice would you have for someone looking to start their own project like a podcast or YouTube channel?
Clayton: Simple; dream it, make it. Don’t wait for someone to discover or hire you to do what you want, just create it yourself. The craziest thing about the age we live in is that you need little more than an idea and a desire to see it come to life in order to make it. Don’t be afraid of it not being perfect from the get-go. Just do it. You’ll learn so much along the way. If you want to make a second thing, then make a second thing. If you need help making your first thing come to life, then ask. There are always people willing to work on little side projects (again, call me! I love stuff like that). Just remember, never ask more of someone than you’re willing to put in yourself. It’s a collaborative environment. People aren’t looking to put anyone on their shoulders and carry them, but they’re definitely interested in jumping in the trenches and getting their hands dirty.
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