When he’s not sitting beside me co-hosting the Boiling Point podcast, Greg Hemmings is making world-class, award winning films at the company he founded, Hemmings House Pictures. I thought it was the perfect time to interview him as he’s on the verge of launching an interesting new venture – Filmpreneur.
Having developed a movement-creating film production process called “The System”, Hemming House combines international innovations, research, change-making methodology, community influencers and brands to create films that are used as tools for positive social impact. This includes television series, film and photo documentaries as well as commercial and social impact films.
With a mission to inspire peace and empathy throughout the world, Greg and his team believe that companies have the power and the resources to solve many of our world’s problems. They work with movement-based brands that share this belief and invest in positive impact that creates a more empathetic world.
I started our chat by asking Greg how the idea for this new venture, the Filmpreneur course, got started…
A: There’s two parts to the story. First, I have had the honour of being part of an entrepreneur’s forum, as you are, with Wallace McCain Institute for the last nine years. The benefit that I’ve had in surrounding myself with other entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off, learn from and just support each other has been huge. I’ve gained first-hand experience on how being part of a group can help accelerate business.
[Tweet “Companies have the power and the resources to solve many of our world’s problems. – Greg Hemmings”]
Q: What’s the second part?
A: I’ve been mentoring a lot of people over the last few years – a lot of startup filmmakers and companies that are much smaller than us – to try to help them grow their business the way Hemmings House has grown. They also want to make an impact.
Q: This obviously ties into your personal mandate of making meaningful impact in the world?
A: In our sector, it’s really tough to make an impact unless you’re selling about a million dollars’worth of videos. We need to pay ourselves a certain amount of money to live, to give back and to pay the cost of goods in film – it’s really expensive to make films.
So, to create a business that sells a million dollars is a big jump for startup filmmakers. What I have learned is that some of the basic entrepreneurial practices that so many non-creative people understand when they build their businesses are sorely lacking in the creative space.
Q: How does your Filmpreneur course help these filmmakers?
A: I’m bringing these two things together and helping startup filmmakers and impact film storytellers create scalable, sustainable businesses using basic business principles and doing it in a way that creates a community of filmmakers around the world who are trying to make the world a better place.
[Tweet “We’re helping impact film storytellers create scalable, sustainable businesses. – Greg Hemmings”]
Q: So no one teaches students in film school how to set up a filmmaking business?
A: Exactly. I went to film school, graduated in 1999, and my big disappointment in my three years of film school education was they didn’t really teach us about business.
Whether it’s Hollywood films, TV series, documentaries or corporate videos, 90% is running your business and 10% is being creative. We come out of film schools learning how to make beautiful films, but not learning how to make beautiful businesses. That’s a huge problem.
[Tweet “We leave school making beautiful films, but not learning how to make beautiful businesses.- Greg Hemmings”]
Q: Is Filmpreneur only for filmmakers?
A: It’s branded Filmpreneur because I’m initially targeting filmmakers, but whether you’re a scriptwriter, a camera person or a wedding photographer – anyone in the creative visual space – this is directly related to you.
Q: Why did you create this course now?
A: Over the last five years other smaller companies started asking me a lot of questions. We want to help everybody in our space but I found myself committing up to 10 hours a month in mentoring calls. So I started to see the need out there and figured if I’m saying the same thing over and over again to a number of different filmmakers, why don’t I package all this information into a course?
Q: Does this course fit within your overall vision at Hemmings House?
A: Big time – because Hemmings House has a vision of creating a happy and kind world fueled by passionate storytelling. We have a role in today’s ‘story wars’- the more film storytellers that I can influence to use their business as a force for truth and positive change, the better for the world. Filmpreneur fits totally with the Hemmings House philosophy. What we want to do as storytellers is not fuel fear but – as I continually say – fuel love which is the opposite of fear.
[Tweet “We have a vision of creating a happy and kind world fueled by passionate storytelling. – Greg Hemmings”]
Q: How are you launching Filmpreneur?
A: This is the first time I’ve ever launched anything on the Internet.
Q: How’s the learning curve been as you move to online promotion?
A: I’ve been following this guy called Jeff Walker who developed a course called the Product Launch Formula. His course is on how to take the ideas that we have locally and scale them out to the world via the Internet.
Q: What, if anything, has surprised you so far as you leverage Internet marketing?
A: Well, maybe I’m not surprised, but I’m disappointed in how sleazy the Internet marketing world can be. There are a lot of snake oil sales people out there. I want to get in there and learn how to do it right and pull people along in authentic ways so they are on a journey that they want to be on.
Q: What’s been most challenging in getting Filmpreneur launched through the Internet?
A: Learning the technology, the back-end technology. Usually I would hire that out but, because this is a startup for me, I’m doing it all myself and I’m figuring it out.
Q: To what end?
A: I need to know how this stuff works and I think that’s an entrepreneurial trait. Figuring out how it works so when you hire people you know what you’re asking them to do.
Q: Where can people go to check out your course?
A: Sign up for our newsletter at www. Filmpreneur.net – it’s free. People can also listen to our podcast – the Boiling Point Podcast – as there’ll be a lot more information coming out about these courses that I’ll release on the podcast.
[Tweet “Sign up for our newsletter at www. Filmpreneur.net – it’s free. – Greg Hemmings”]
Q: Is Filmpreneur a New Brunswick story?
A: This is my way of exporting knowledge and bringing business back to New Brunswick because all these courses are being built here in Saint John. All the podcasts are being produced here, but sold all around the world. In fact, there are probably very few applicants to our courses that will be coming from Atlantic Canada.
Q: How would you finish the following sentence?“A leader’s job is to. . .“
A: A leader’s job is to share knowledge and inspire others to grow beyond the leader themselves.
Don’t miss any of Dave’s interviews with leaders…get blog updates in your inbox by signing up over here, at the top of the right column. ==>And you can sign up for Fresh Ideas, Vision Coaching’s monthly eNews where we share unique perspectives on leadership.
This article published in the Telegraph-Journal on Saturday, February 24, 2018