If you haven’t heard the news, I recently started my own online business – Pixel Powers, which you can find by clicking here, or by going to https://pixelpowers.com. With Pixel Powers, I help people by creating custom logo videos or titles for their business, Youtube channel, and beyond. It’s super easy for users to upload their logo, add a video to their cart and checkout – not to mention very affordable.
But what is a writer/director doing in the online business world? Funny you should ask because just a year ago, I had no idea I would be launching Pixel Powers today. In fact, my path has taken many unexpected turns within the past 2 years alone. I went from making short films to editing documentaries, doing voiceovers, and creating a lot of commercials. Since I was wading into commercial territory, I was kind of forced to learn Apple Motion and Adobe After Effects – programs designed to create animation, motion graphics, and all sorts of crazy audio-visual effects. My skill set was expanded and with that came new opportunities. Word spread throughout my circle and soon enough, I started getting questions about logo videos.
I had friends who needed custom videos – but couldn’t find them online.
People reached out to me and asked where they could find a good logo video for their YouTube channel or for their online radio show. They had looked everywhere and couldn’t find what they were looking for. I have found this is often a key indicator that a need is not being met in the business world. The first time someone asked me, I considered it to be a one-off request that wouldn’t come around again. Sure enough, more people came to me with the same questions, looking for the same videos. I noticed a trend and the initial idea of Pixel Powers started swirling in my head.
I did some research and found there are several marketplaces for freelancers to create logo videos – but they’re not very user-friendly. There are often many steps in the process, every freelancer has a different way of working, and some sites require you to post “jobs” for others to bid on. A lot of business owners and entrepreneurs simply don’t have time to mess with that, or perhaps are overwhelmed by the process.
So I saw an opportunity here…but did I really want to branch out from writing/directing films to running a business? As a kid, I definitely dreamed of opening shops, restaurants and all sorts of other places, but I always imagined doing it after I “made it big”. So why now?
As a screenwriter/director, it’s always good to have other sources of income.
When I imagined those things as a kid, my idea of “making it big” was very different than reality. At that time, I thought once you made a successful movie, a studio would snatch you up and give you writing/directing jobs for the rest of your life. Now, granted, back in the 80s and 90s, long term multi-picture deals were more common. But that’s certainly not the case anymore.
See, one thing they don’t really tell you when you start writing/directing is that you’re kind of a freelancer for your entire career. This is ESPECIALLY true for the screenwriting world; many studios now use 1-step deals, which means you’re only guaranteed to be paid for one single draft. It may take you 4-6 weeks to do that draft and if the studio is done with it, you’re out looking for your next job. Even if you’re hired to write or direct a big movie for several years, the question is always “what will you do when it’s over?”. Or what will you do if the movie takes 7 years to create, as was the case for (the amazing movie) Gravity? All of a sudden, that $250,000 check you cashed doesn’t seem as bountiful when you have to make it last for almost a decade.
This is why numerous screenwriters and directors start producing projects – it’s another avenue of income to help fill those gaps between jobs. Some writers also have side businesses – John August is a great example. He has put out some amazing writing tools (such as the Writer’s Emergency Pack) along with several different apps and games. It gives him more financial security, even though he’s one of the most famous screenwriters working in this day and age. When I recognized this reality of the film industry, it just makes sense to pursue business opportunities if they’re available.
I just like helping people – period.
In my life, I have definitely needed to seek help, ask for assistance and receive guidance for many things. So when I have an opportunity to help someone out, I love to return the favor. I strongly believe that we all stand a better chance of success in life by lifting each other up as much as possible. And I don’t just mean when it comes to film and video, I’m talking about all aspects of our planet. The whole “survival-of-the-fittest”, “me-against-you” thing is past us as a species. I may not be an expert in many things in life (and I really think every person is a “student” from now until the day they die) but if I can help out, I try to take that opportunity.
Pixel Powers is uncharted territory for me – exciting territory, truth be told. If you are a marketer, business owner, YouTube host, podcaster, etc. I hope you take a moment to check out Pixel Powers and find a video that can help your brand/name. I hope this also encourages others out there, in all occupations and studies, to take that step of creating your own business, your own platform, your own side hustle outside of your normal work. Not only is it nice to have something that you personally own but you may find that it inspires your traditional work too.
Follow me on Twitter! @ryanestabrooks