What aspects of your background led to your entrepreneurial passion and will contribute to your business’ success?
I come from an Italian family. Growing up I saw my dad and uncles work extremely hard as tradies/contractors. I was always told to get a good education and study hard and get a good job away from that kind of work. When I was in my teens my dad started to go into business and I saw how he grew his company. It was harder than working for someone but more rewarding.
Dad encouraged me to one day go into business myself while my mum encouraged me to go to university and get a good education. I find it ironic that I eventually used both aspects of what my parents wanted.
When I did get into university I always had a passion for business (everything we ever do is related to business in some way. From the brands, we buy to the TV shows we like right down to the food we eat. It’s all business. However, I did not know what kind of business to go into. Or what job I wanted to do.
I always had a passion for film making. Thus, one day I just said I am going to make a movie (this was my final year of undergraduate). I round up my friends and I admit. I didn’t know what the F*** I was doing. I was not a writer. Yet I finished a 100+ page script for a movie within a few days. It’s called passion and it’s what enables us to do things we never thought we could do.
The project took nearly a year. There was ups and downs. Some days I never thought it would get made. What I didn’t realise at the time was that I was developing skills that would help me later in my career. While the finished product was far from perfect, it was a significant achievement in that I could make a film.
As I finished my masters of marketing management. I wanted further knowledge and thus completed a minor thesis. Whilst completing it I had an epiphany. I realized I now had two goals. One to create a professional business and two was to one day complete a Phd (related to my business).
I was lucky to know the right people that wanted to make a difference. My previous experience in my part time jobs allowed me to use my knowledge in a way to avoid the pitfalls of workplace politics. Thus I started up Chapter 5 studios. A production company that specialized in providing professional videography while also producing films with Australian talent.
I also grew up in an Italian family and saw how hard work is the basis for a successful life. My parents owned several business in the 1980’s and I heard stories of not only the dedication involved but also how much they enjoyed the work they were doing.
Historically there is a long tradition of European entrepreneurialism in Australia, this is seen through things such as restaurants, cafes and trade business. I believe that in starting Chapter 5 I could contribute to this tradition not only as an Italian but as an Australian as well.
What traits/mindsets/characteristics do you believe will assist you in your venture?
I would say that education while not vital to understanding the business world (many people never got proper education and still became very successful, Richard Branson or Steve Jobs come to mind). University education gives people skills such as Time management, discipline and how to write reports or documents. It baffles me how many people do not have these skills. So I would say that my education and current job as a university tutor (where I present to classes) provide me with skills that are valuable to the business world.
Film making for me started as a hobby so defiantly it had a big impact on me to go into business. I would also say my love of Books (anything from novels to comics to graphic novels, fiction and non-fiction) and story have also made me want to pursue this kind of job. I love writing (you can probably tell from my detailed responses so far, I get into it!)
I have written two books that while are complete, need editing (hardest part is a quality editor!). I had read so many books at one point that I wanted to write my own and learnt how much discipline was needed to finish one.
I have many interests in literature and film. When a movie comes out I would critically analyse the story and then make my mind if I feel if its good. Some of my friends hate me for that (because I am harsh when I watch something) I feel that carries over to my work and why I always want to produce something at a high, professional standard.
I have wired my brain from a young age to be positive. Some people are always negative I understand but I truly do believe in the saying Not to give up. Never give up. I think that’s the core concept of an entrepreneur. Its because there will be lows. Sometimes extremely lows but if you develop a strong mindset to not give up then you will push through and get to the highpoints which is a truly rewarding experience.
I would say that I was lucky with time management. I hate deadline and always (from a young age) made sure to finish work well before the deadline. It truly baffles me how many people leave work to the last minute. I can’t do that. I would defiantly say these skills help me not only run the company but make sure that productions run smoothly. (which can fall apart at any time.)
Having a university degree in business is definitely a step in the right direction. It has given me a solid foundation in how to successfully navigate the business environment. As far as passion goes, I’ve always had a passion for the arts mostly in terms of acting, cinema and music.
I never saw myself going into business in high school and it was an even further stretch in my mind blending a business degree with a love of acting. I would have to thank James for coming up with the idea of starting Chapter 5 because it allows me to exercise my talents in both fields.
None of this could have come to fruition without a good attitude. Finding motivation can sometimes be difficult especially when you mix your day job with making movies, but at the end of the day there is nothing more satisfying then seeing a finished movie that you have contributed to.
How did you recognise the opportunity in the market for your venture? What processes did you undertake to develop your entrepreneurial idea?
I always loved film. It was a passion that I thought was impossible to do. Given the explanations of how hard it is to make movies. However, I believe that its important to do something that you enjoy. If you enjoy the daily grind for money, then go for it. For me its about living a life I want to live.
I had read a book called creativity inc. It was written by the CEO of Pixar and talked about his amazing journey on how he was responsible for starting one of the most iconic film companies of all time. The reason why I read it was at the time I was experiencing some really bad work place politics with horrible management and wanted a better understanding on how to be a great manager. The book also detailed the process on how to utilize smart people to deconstruct a script and make something awesome. What still surprises me today is the guys at Pixar were not all writers, each person had a good education behind them that enabled them to critically analyse a story. Thus end up writing powerful stories life toy story. A constant improvement trait.
I did feel there was a big gap in the Australian market for quality Australian movies. One fact is we have no Hollywood yet. Australia is also a fairly new country, one where we have a lot of work to do. The last quality Australian movie to make money was what? Wolf creek in 2008?
In regards to market research (I find it funny as I now teach that subject) I did do a bit. Looking at competitors but my advice today. Is just go and do it. Obviously do a bit of research to see if there is market demand. But if your truly passionate then go for it. There are hundreds of roadblocks in any business and the only way you learn is by doing. Knowledge can only do so much.
I noticed the gap due to the under-utilisation of Australian talent. So many skilled actors, writers, directors and musicians tend to fade away because they feel that they aren’t wanted or hired. I saw Chapter 5 as a way of getting our world class talent out onto the global stage, after we make a name for ourselves (fingers crossed).
Market research was important especially in terms of services offered and pricing. As a start out we had to remain competitive in order to turn a profit no to mention it would be pretty risky to invest in a company that had very little previous work to show. We decided to spend a large portion of our first year making movies showcasing our talent and what we could offer the market.
What is your business’ competitive advantage compared to others in the market? What makes your business stand out?
I feel that with Chapter 5 studios I was able to make the business look very stylish from a social media point of view. It’s very professional to all the videos we produce to the quality of our website. This top down approach also streams over to the people that work at the company.
I made sure to recruit people that want to be here. They want to make a difference. They want to do their job well. They want to make movies that people will love.
Chapter 5 aims to provide quality films and productions in Australia, using Australian talent. We don’t want to even look at America because We as a company feel its important to focus on how Australia can improve.
Chapter 5 studios has two side to business. The production of feature films for profit. The second is providing professional services in videography, photography advertising and marketing.
Chapter 5 succeeds because of our passion and our dedication to the audience. Our competitive advantage stems from being able to produce quality work with quality equipment, these two factors need to go hand in hand to order to produce the best work possible.
Our business stands out because at the end of the day we work to support the industry and support the hard working people who strive to make a name for themselves. Without this goal we would fade away as just another business couldn’t succeed in a competitive environment.