A Painful Memory
It wasn't long ago that we decided to start South Town Productions. I'll never forget that moment that Mike, Tyler and myself had decided to make YouTube videos for fun. My reasoning for doing this was different than theirs. Now for obvious reasons, I won't name anyone involved in any of these stories. The person I refer to as him, his, or he, is the person I used to work with.
I was a part of a company called G&H Media. At first, it was fun. I was living my dream of doing videos and getting paid to do it. It wasn't long after that reality hit me and I realized that what I was doing wasn't what I really wanted to do. At first, we we're doing little jobs here and there getting the experience we needed. The first real job we got hired to do is when my eyes opened to the truth. The client had hired us to do a quincenera for 2 girls that were having their party and ceremony done together. They had specifically told us, "I want both girls to get equal camera time". When the day came to film, and the first thing that he told me he was going to do was, "I'm only going to film this girl because she looks better on camera. You can film the other girl if you want to, but I want her to be the main one in the video so it'll look better in the end." Now, normally I would make a big deal out of this, but at that time, I kept quiet because I didn't want to make a scene. That night during the dance I noticed that the other girl saw how much the other girl was getting filmed and you could tell that she was hurt and jealous. I kept filming both like nothing was going on, but he didn't want the other girl in his footage.
I was pretty annoyed by that and I never said anything because at that point I thought he was my friend and that he had better intentions than I was seeing. We kept going and that job ended up going from a partnership to a boss/employee relationship. I ended up having little say in any of the editing. When I showed up to help "edit", I ended up just watching him edit everything. I felt like a roach in the corner of the room because that how much I felt that I mattered in the business.
Then we started doing weddings. I knew what kind of challenge we were going to face and I kept my mind from wondering too far from our goals as a company. Needless to say, that didn't last long. I ended up in a position where he started saying, "I’m just going to pay you a shooters fee since you don't do any of the editing and you don't really help with anything else." To me, that was a slap in the face. As much as I wanted to help and showed up to "help edit" that made me feel even more insignificant. This was the point I started to shut down as a creative help with this company that we started together.
The more jobs we got, the more it turned into what I have been describing. I would be the grunt of the business and he would be the front man getting all the credit. When we filmed for football season, I filmed all the press box footage for the team, he filmed all the sideline footage, which wasn't much to begin with. By the time the season was over and the football banquet came around, I was already fed up with how I was being handled. The moment came when the video guys got some credit, but he got all the credit. My name wasn't mentioned, I wasn't acknowledged that I was even sitting next to him. They specifically thanked him for all the press box footage that they needed to help improve the team. I had already felt low and insignificant by that alone, but he leaned over and told me, "I give you credit, my word is as good as theirs." In my mind I thought, "No, it's not. It would have meant something more if they said it."
The last few jobs we had together, I just remember loathing being around him and wishing we didn't have any more jobs together. I wanted to end things and go on with my life. The whole experience almost ruined my dream of wanting to do videos for a living. I felt like I was cheating people out of money because of what he was charging for those jobs and not having the experience to back up his prices. The one time I was told by him that I would be the head of the last job I had with that company, I had felt like he finally trusted me to do something more than just recording something or someone. That quickly turned south. He called me and told me he was going to show up because he wanted to help. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I called him after the event was over and told him to go ahead and edit the entire thing and do what he needed to do. I was done. I didn't want anything more to do with him.
At that point, Mike, Tyler and myself had already been talking about filming YouTube videos. When I ended it with that company, I told them we were going to make South Town Productions a go. I wanted to film, and have fun doing it again. I didn't want to feel insignificant anymore and do what I wanted to do and not screw people over.
A few years had passed and I was told by a good friend that I needed to check out this contest that the other guy entered and that I should enter. At first I wasn't going to but I decided to check in on him and see how things were going. I didn't care about what had happened in the past anymore and I was hoping he was doing good. That was my honest to god intention. Until I saw one of the blogs he wrote. He had changed the name of the company, rightfully so, and one of the blogs had stated why he changed it. The quote is edited to take the names stated out to protect the not so innocent.
"One of the questions we receive most often is, “what does the ‘G’ mean in ‘G&H’?” The short answer: The “G” is no longer relevant. Therefore, we are rebranding and improving. Over the last 2 years, my brother has been helping with this business and doing so increasingly to the point where he is now a full-time employee and my Vice President. Until ** came on board, I have not had any assistants who were ambitious enough to not be satisfied with the status quo and to push themselves beyond their skill range."
When I read that, 2 emotions when through me. First, I was angry. I was angry because of how little he acknowledged that I helped him start a company that allowed him to live his dream. A dream that we both shared. Then, I was hurt. I was hurt because not once did he ever notice that I actually wanted to do more. But his greed and hunger for attention and recognition blinded him from my ambition to actually do something more than what I was doing with that company. There are other reasons that I decided that I couldn't work with him or his brother, but those reasons will remain unsaid because I do have enough respect to know that it does not need to be said.
I'm reminded of something he told me once. He said, "A lot of people think I’m a douche and hate me, but no one will say why." This is me saying why. This was my story that lead to me starting South Town Productions and how I run my business. I will never over charge people and claim that it's what needs to be charged for the work I do. I want to run my business in a reasonable fashion and as professionally as possible. If writing this is the most unprofessional thing I ever do, then so be it. I just want the reader to know that this is this my reason for not using people to get ahead in life and make a client broke for a video that shouldn't cost more than it should. Yes, quality is important, but building a relationship with clients is more important to me than making tons of money.