If You’re Not Moving Forward You’ll Be Left Behind

Are you living in the "Bedford Falls" of your industry.

Have you ever been to a class reunion where you travel back to your home town and it’s exactly the same as you left it ten, twenty, maybe even thirty years ago? The same people are there doing the same things. The same stores are there selling the same stuff. It’s almost like traveling back in time.

Sometimes I get that feeling when I meet colleagues in this industry. You see them at the conventions, on the forums, or in your local association. They’re shooting the same way they shot 20 years ago. They have a web 1.0 website. Their business card and other collateral is pretty much the same as it was a decade ago. They haven’t embraced any of the new technologies. And Twitter and Facebook are just passing fads in their eyes. You know who I’m talking about. They’re the same people complaining about how bad the economy is and how they can’t get any gigs. (For the record, I know that everyone is complaining about that nowadays. But these people seem to play that broken record even when everyone else is doing well).

For the record, I’m not talking about people who may be shooting the same kind of gigs for many years. My good friend David Robin has been shooting weddings and events for about a hundred years and he’s one of the most fore-thinking people in the industry. (Okay, maybe not 100 years, but a long freaking time. I think he started when I graduated from high school.) He’s always a few steps ahead of the pack. When The DVX100 came out with 24p (back in the good ol’ SD days), I think he was one of the first to start shooting on it in 24p. From what I recall, he was one of the first wedding filmmakers to start shooting weddings on the 5D Mark II when it came out. And as far as I know, he’s now the first to offer his wedding clients their video on a flash drive instead of a DVD. (Is that enough “as far as I know” disclaimers? Please no hate mail or troll comments if you have proof that you or somebody else was the first.)

FROM THE OLD, TO THE NEW

But it’s not just old timers like Mr. Robin blazing new trails. Other good friends of mine and colleagues are Eugene and Heather Brown of 2Duce2 Video. In business for only three short years, they are already pulling in averages for their weddings way above the norm, have thousands of followers, are making waves, and leading the pack. Perhaps it was their small town up bringing and desire to get out of it that has lead to their success. Read their story here.

So, which are you? The guy who was the “nerd” in high school that is now “CEO Bitch?” Or are you the guy who was captain of the football team and you’re still talking about the play you did that saved the big game back in ’82?

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19 Responses to “If You’re Not Moving Forward You’ll Be Left Behind”

  1. another great article, Ron. I suck at writing, so I always have so much respect for those who “can” write. But this is more than just writing, but rather wakeup call for those who are stuck (just like Heather and Eugene wrote).
    We are only 3 years in the industry, and we’ve changed our website 4 times, business card 3 times and packages 5 times. Nothing should stop one from improving and looking into new stuff, and we put it in great words, Ron.
    Thank you for sharing!

    JJ

  2. Wow wow wow, could not agree more with this one. Though I’m a whipper-snapper in the biz like Eugene & Heather who have only been in it for 3 years, but in that time I’ve already changed the format I shoot on AND the format I deliver on, my website has been remade three times, but my branding only once, and I always groan when I hear “the economy sucks and our market is saturated” because they’re just such pathetic excuses. Yeah, the economy is bad, so just sitting around and complaining about it is helping? And if you can’t rise above the influx of bad shooters popping out of the woodwork, then you’re no better and don’t deserve to stick around. Instead of crying in your cheerios, please, do something to overcome.
    GREAT post Ron!

    • Ha Owen. You sound exactly like me when I started. In the first three years I changed/updated my website and company name about three times. When you’re riding a wave, you may have to frequently adjust your footing.

  3. This is such a true statement. Everything web related is on a fast track and if you don’t participate or evolve, you will definitely be left behind.

    I’ve been telling colleagues this for years when it comes to their websites/blogs/social media marketing. Many who have shunned technology and social media are now, exactly as you’ve said, the ones who are frustrated that they aren’t receiving the same amount of leads and new clients they had in the past :( Their work may be good or great, but new clients are missing out on discovering them because their competition is using their websites and social media to more effectively market themselves. It’s a lose-lose situation. The clients are missing out on some of the most qualified professionals and the professionals are losing business.

    I was definitely the high school nerd. Happy to report I’ve since transformed myself into the “Geeky Girl,” web design/developer, social media, SEO, marketing and branding maven :) It does take a lot of work (research) to stay up-to-date because all of it evolves constantly and quickly. But, it’s well worth the effort.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Stacie. You’re presentation to BAPVA last September inspired me to step up my own blogging. You’ll notice that I’ve been pretty good at keeping it up since Jan 1. :)

  4. Great read.

    I am a big believer in continually looking for ways to evolve. From branding, your business model, workflow, equipment, style, etc. These don’t have to always be huge leaps but they can be very subtle. Even a slight modification to a logo is a sign you are evolving. You always have to have your fingers on the pulse of pop culture our industry and emerging trends.

    I remember when the 5D MK2 first came out. I was very skeptical and dismissed it as something that would never last. I remember not long after that initial reaction, I caught myself and made a mental note not to dismiss something so quickly. We now shoot all DSLR.

    People that fail to evolve and change, in my opinion, have surrendered. I have heard people say, this is the way I have always done it, works for me, not going to change. Part of me believes that these comments are a crutch and a reaction to fear. Change is NEVER comfortable. When you push yourself and your studio, often times you find inspiration within that dynamic. Fear will always cause you to be conservative.

    None of this means that you have to have the latest and greatest piece of equipment. It’s about changing the core of your creative spirit. It’s about looking within and making changes that move you forward. It might be that you want better health or become debt free. Any positive changes you make will make a difference in your business. It may not happen right away but momentum will build, it’s just a matter of maintaining a reasonable level of progress.

    One thing I always try and remind myself is that, you should NEVER be comfortable where you are at….EVER.

    • Awesome quote John. “It’s about changing the core of your creative spirit. It’s about looking within and making changes that move you forward.” I just tweeted it. :)

  5. Good stuff, Ron. I wrote something similar in my blog for EventFilmmaker.com last year.

    http://www.eventfilmmaker.com/entry.php/9-The-Big-Picture-Laws-Of-Nature

  6. Wow Ron, thank you for your kind words. You are only as old as you feel. When i look in the mirror i see a young Brad Pitt! Seriously I do!!! ;-)

    However, for me, to sit on my laurels would be the kiss of death. I am just one of those guys that is never satisfied, always looking to progress, and constantly keeping up with pop culture and trying to stay ahead in these ever changin’ times!

    Call it a character flaw, but that combined with my terrible ADD propels me ever upward and onward. For better or for worse!

    All told, i love the ride!!!!

  7. Great article, Ron, and really true. I started our business with my wife less than two years ago, very much inspired and challenged by your book ReFocus (which anyone reading this should get if they don’t have a copy already!) The one constant in our business since we started is change. And, we feel our product has gotten consistently better each and every time we shoot. And, I know we’ve pushed our peers to do better work as well, by us putting it out there.

    Eugene and Heather are great examples of what you can achieve when you embrace the new. They also have a great deal of fun doing what they do, and it shows. Actually I think they have fun no matter what they are doing or who they are with, which just always shines through in their work. David Robin is a true creative soul and through his work and through his comments on my work, he pushes me to do better. No question, all of you are inspiring figures for this industry! I’m excited for what our future holds, both as a business and collectively.

  8. I love ‘Napoleon Dynamite!’ Wonder where Uncle Rico would be if he made that pass…

  9. Great article Ron. Big fan and friend of Eugene and Heather. Such a wonderful couple.

  10. “Ch-Ch-Changes” David Bowie song. I read in Friday’s newspaper “Warren Zevon once said, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. Well my Mama always told me that and she’ll be 88 next month, and some say she still drives like a teenager. Warren was a prolific American rock singer-songwriter and musician (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Zevon) He died in 2003 of asbestos cancer. So, if you alive, so show some action. It’s a way of keeping your Clients and Followers entertained, intrigued, and coming back to discovering something “NEW”. Shoot and live like you could die tomorrow, then you can rest.

    I changed my brand to what at least 5 others said was better. I listened to others for once. Now my branding/image is strting to become better “focused”.

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  1. Hasta La Vista Baby (Until September) « The Art & Business of Filmmaking & Photography - August 1, 2011

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