As a recently named SMG contributor, I wanted to point the camera to the many talented media professionals in Western Canada. Being born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, there’s plenty of great individuals to choose from. To kick things off, I caught up with John Barata who’s currently based out of Edmonton. He owns his own video production house and was a former Senior Producer with Shaw TV Edmonton. John’s been in the media biz for 20 years!
I’ve had the pleasure to work with John first hand on several different productions since he worked at Shaw TV. From the producing and editing to owning his own business, are all important traits that I observe closely for inspiration. Now it’s time to begin the interview, in 3…2…1… and cue!
Cory Sellar: Who are you and what do you do?
John Barata: I run a Video Production house in Edmonton Alberta (Studio Thirteen Productions and Post Inc.) I have many corporate clients that I do videos for on a regular basis, but I also produce the Pro/Am Golf Show that airs on CTV as well as direct many live events such as the Singing Christmas Tree, Banff Film Festival and the Edmonton Oilers hockey games.
Cory: How has networking helped your career and how can people do it effectively?
John: Of course there are times where you meet someone and you talk a bit of business the stars align and shortly after your working on a project together but I also regularly will get calls out of the blue from someone that I worked with years back asking if I would be interested in a new project. Networking is the backbone of sustainability for a company and is no different than marketing. The more people you meet the more they get to know you and your brand. Everyone has a brand. It could be as simple as your character and personality. If you can keep good relationships with everyone in your network you will find it will grow larger on its own.
Cory: Based on the current state of the industry and as an owner of a production company, what do you think are key areas that people should work on, in order to stand out?
John: Uniqueness. If your just the same as everyone else then you better be 10x better. Find your strengths and focus building a clientele around it.
Cory: What are your thoughts on seeking further post-secondary education?
John: I never did, but that doesn’t mean a thing. In this industry the most important thing is that you put out an exceptional product. If you can do that without further post secondary then it’s not needed. If you feel it would better you than you absolutely should or your doing yourself and your clients a disservice.
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Cory: What advice would you have for someone trying to start their own company?
John: Don’t rush into it. I came out of college saying I would run my own company one day but I never set a date or did I care to. I was more focused on learning everything I could from where I would be working or who I was working with. See what people do well and what they do wrong. Once you feel 100% comfortable taking on all that responsibility then go for it but make sure your ready.
Cory: What kind of commitments does a self-employed person need to have – i.e. are there sacrifices that have to be made compared to working for a company?
John: When you work for someone you get to go home and clear your mind. When your running a company you are constantly thinking about a project, workflow, client, issue the list goes on and on. There is no where to run and you are solely responsible. You need to be very driven to always be on your game and be ready to back your decisions.
Cory: How has working in media production changed in the last 5 years?
John: We have been in a constant state of convergence. Everyone said TV would be dead by now but it’s keeping in. Every year there are new toys and more ways to take in media. Trying to stay on top of it is more crucial than ever.
Cory: What are some of the newest pieces of equipment that have allowed a higher quality of video production? Examples: drones, 360 videos, etc.
John: I think it all comes down to the quality of the cameras now and how on a properly shot piece of video you can cut between a $40000 camera to a $10000 camera to a $5000 camera all the way down to a $300 camera and the quality is close enough to be acceptable. This opened up doors to drones, sliders, gimbals. These types of toys were around movie sets for years but when suddenly the cameras were smaller everything got more affordable.
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