Entrepreneurship skills are vital to surviving in the film industry. While there are a few "normal" jobs to be found in the industry, the vast majority of us working in media creation are essentially running our own businesses, hunting for clients, chasing down payments, building a brand, and looking to grow.
With business, as with movies, there is always more to learn, which is why I decided to moderate a panel on Entrepreneurship in Film for Adorama Inspire, a 3-day event that will get you hands-on experience with some of the best pro gear and most talented creatives.
The event kicks off today, June 20th. (Check out the Eventbrite for more info.)
The panel is a mix of company founders, a business journalist turned producer, and a small production company head.
Check out their bios below.
Jon Miller, Hive Lighting
Jon Edward Miller is the co-founder/owner of Hive Lighting a Los Angeles based company specializing in the design and manufacture of energy efficient, high-performance lighting for the entertainment, photography, motion picture and television industries. As Chief Product Officer Jon oversees strategy, sales, and product development for Hive's various lighting products.
Before starting Hive Lighting, Jon worked in various roles in photography, film and television production, primarily as a director of photography for digital, television and cinema productions, but also as a chief lighting technician, photographer, lighting designer, photography assistant and post colorist just to name a few. Jon earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Southern California's School of the Cinematic Arts and a BA from Brown University in fine art photography and media studies.
Pliny Eremic, Endcrawl
John "Pliny" Eremic is the co-founder of Endcrawl, a platform for managing film and television credits. He is also Digital Media Workflow Director at HBO, and previously ran a post-production studio Offhollywood, which is now Light Iron New York.
Jane Applegate, Producer
Jane Applegate is an award-winning writer/producer and production consultant who specializes in producing ultra-low budget films with high production values.
Applegate teaches the film financing and business of film courses at the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema at Brooklyn College. She mentors actors, writers, and producers through her company, Showbizing.
She’s producing Park Slope Moms, a comedy series, created by Alexandra Foucard and to be directed by Annetta Marion. In recent years, she’s produced two narrative films available on Amazon, including Beauty Mark, written and directed by Harris Doran. Beauty Mark, which debuted at the L.A. Film Festival, won the Woodstock Film Festival’s Ultra-Indie award in 2016. In 2014, she produced To Keep the Light, a period drama about a lighthouse keeper in the 1870’s, written and directed by Erica Fae. TKTL won about two dozen small film festival awards.
She’s also producing a documentary series about sex therapists and a podcast series, The Trouble with Sex, hosted by Dr. Tammy Nelson and available on Apple Podcasts and other platforms.
Prior to devoting her energy to independent projects, she served as supervising producer on five Discovery Channel live action and animated specials and was a writer and producer for Bloomberg TV, CNBC, CNN and PBS. She’s the author of four books on small business success and a former syndicated business columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Applegate is an active member of the Producers Guild of America, New York Women in Film and Television and Women Independent Producers.
Matt Pellowski, Redline Studios
Matthew J. Pellowski is an American film and television director, writer, producer, editor, and showrunner.
Pellowski began his career working for various publishing companies and magazines in the late ’90s and early 2000s as a writer and illustrator. His first job as an illustrator came at just the age of 18 for Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing and was quickly followed by writing assignments for Mad Magazine, UFO Magazine, and the Paranormal News (UK).
After graduating the prestigious School of Visual Arts in New York City with a BA in screenwriting, Pellowski shifted careers from publishing to TV and film production. Starting out as an intern for Late Night with Conan O’Brien (NBC), he then went on to work in the post production department for a variety of shows and networks that include: Sportsdesk (NBC), Liza & David (Vh1), Lost (NBC), Sidelines (ESPN), John Leguizamo’s Sexaholic (HBO) and Inside Edition (CBS).
Early in his career he also worked a variety of production and post jobs that ranged from a storyboard artist for Spike Lee’s Drop Squad Productions, to the Head of Incoming War Footage for CBS during the second conflict with Iraq. Then, after working the first two seasons of NBC’s The Apprentice for Mark Burnett, he went on to help form the independent production company Red Line Studios.
During its inaugural year, Red Line Studios hit the ground running with the production and post of two feature films, All Screwed Up, a scripted narrative for Indican Pictures, and Eyes of the Mothman, a documentary for Destination America. Two more scripted features were to follow through Red Line via Pellowski, the independent thriller Rachael Marks for Vanguard Cinema, and The Snitch Cartel, Colombia’s Best Foreign Language Film entry at the 85h Annual Academy Awards. Pellowski also produced and directed Fetish, a scripted indie for iTunes that starred Joan Collins, who won a Best Actress award at the NYC International Film Festival.
Wanting to expand beyond feature films, Pellowski then began producing and directing a variety of commercials for major agencies and companies. Airing both domestically and internationally, these spots and clients included Sony, Harrah’s, Vonage, Paramount Pictures, ESPN, K&L, BBDO, All State, ALoft, and Seinfeld. These campaigns involved multi-state cross country productions of 60+ crew members and posed creative challenges such as recreating the original sets of Seinfeld from scratch.
In 2011, Matthew (through Red Line) returned to Television to work on a number of development projects for a variety of outside production companies and major networks. After helping successfully launch the food series Chow Masters for Travel Channel, Matthew and Red Line became a go-to for network development overflow.
Working with companies such as RockShrimp, The Jarrett Creative, Cineflix, Leopard, Nutopia, Wheelhouse, Stickfigure, Meryl Poster’s Superb Entertainment, Endemol and Truly Original, he has produced, directed and edited over 75 sizzles, proof of concepts, and pilots. Many of these development projects were greenlit to series, such as "Wingmen (OWN), Boss Nails (Oxygen), and Sneaker Pawn (Facebook Watch).
After a successful run in developing content through collaborative efforts with outside studios, Pellowski then created an original programming division at Red Line. Projects have included a 52 episode romantic comedy series for FYI, a travel series in the spirit of “Dirty Jobs” which was licensed world wide, and a super bowl special for Nickelodeon. On all projects, Pellowski acted as either the director, producer, or showrunner.
With the ever-changing landscape of multimedia and the expansion of digital networks, Matthew and Red Line have also created programming for online content providers. Working with Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, Hearst Digital, Major League Baseball, Travel Channel, FYI, Unicef, and others, he has directed and produced countless hours of scripted and unscripted online programming.
From directing episodes of the Emmy award-winning recreation series A Crime to Remember to the Webby-winning Digital comedy The MLB Fancave, Matthew’s career has been incredibly diverse, well rounded and well received.