1. Tell me a little bit about your background and how you ended up choosing your field.
I always wanted to create some sort of art. It was hard for me because I couldn’t really draw as well as some of my friends. I still tried for a long time to create something decent. It didn’t really work out. Fast forward to freshman year of high school. I was thirteen years old and decided to take a digital photography class. This wasn’t a good idea, I struggled through the whole thing. Barely made C’s. I still liked it though but after that class was over I didn’t have any camera to play around with. At the time DSLR’s were ridiculously expensive. A couple years passed and a family member bought a DSLR that I got the chance to mess around with for an indefinite period of time. My mom saw that this kept me out of trouble so she bought my my first DSLR, a refurbished Canon Rebel XSi.
I enjoyed the process of exploring and recounting my adventure through digital pictures. Then when I figured out how to color edit better that went a long way for me. I didn’t think I was good enough but I had a couple people ask me how much I charge or how to buy prints from me. It didn’t hit me until later but at that moment I saw a viable outlet to make some money doing what I do.
My first camera didn’t have the ability to record video however later I ended up getting one that did. That sparked a new curiosity and I’ve been filming some music videos and advertisements since.
2. What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?
Getting in the door. Art is hard. Nobody wants to do anything for you but they keep telling you that your turn is on the way. I ran into a lot of egos along the way. I’d be brought onto something with a different role advertised to me then I’d be ending up holding a reflector on set. There were times I spent 100 hours working on just one thing that never came out. It’s almost like joining some sort of social group where there’s hazing/initiation.
What I did was I left the people that treated me in a certain way. If you can’t show respect from the get go especially when I was just working for free on a project then that’s not cool with me. It’s not worth trying to climb through ranks when your future with people is uncertain. I decided to say it’s not worth it to hang out with the prestigious crew. So what did I do? I found people I thought were talented and some were even more talented than the people that had a buzz or following. I decided for us to get anywhere we had to create something for ourselves and understand the meaning of teamwork.
Once we got a little bit of credibility within the community then the doors opened again with different opportunities. It’s silly but people don’t look at your work in art and see it for what it is. They look at who knows you and how well connected you are.
3. How did you deal with push back from family or friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
I never really had any from my immediate family once they saw that I was pretty serious about it. Friends don’t really care if anything. I’ve never been the most popular so I don’t really get that kind of support. Extended family is probably the worst with it because I’m not quick to talk about myself 24/7 especially about things that go over their basic general knowledge level so I just kind of stay silent.
I’ve found that the best key to get what you want is success and getting minor achievements along the way. As I mentioned in the last question you’re only cool when you’re credible so you’ll see more people begin to believe or support as you gain credibility.
4. What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business’ success?
Meeting the right people for sure. The people that I originally formed work relationships with are now my friends and they are super talented. Most of them believe in doing things the right way and are pretty easy going about everything. That and I send a lot of emails on the regular for promotional purposes or for actual work purposes. A large majority of my emails never get replies however I’m sending in so much volume that I’m just playing a numbers game.
As soon as I started putting an hour of my day away from the art side of things and onto the administrative tasks I saw a difference almost instantly. It’s really easy to do art all day and get carried away. I make it a point to send emails everyday to make sure someone out there can see what I’m upto.
5. What do you do to recharge when you are feeling drained?
Man, I stopped watching as much TV/Movies as I once used to because it’s too addictive to me. I literally almost strictly watch music videos and I do that to recharge as well. I feel like it knocks out the studying portion of what I do by constantly watching cool videos and I stay entertained.
Although, there are times that you just can’t recharge and you just need to get out of the house. Having a couple drinks with friends always helps. Lately, I’ve become more of a recluse because I have a lot of editing to do on a consistent basis so it’s important to remind myself of the joyous world that isn’t work. I’m making a conscious effort to get out more since I hardly see my friends for months nowadays. Like it or not, the best recharge is when you’re not working.
6. How can you be reached if someone is interested in your products or services?
You can for sure tap in with me at @kybalionvfx on all social media. I’m pretty good about responding. Plus it’ll feel like you’re right next to me on my adventures!