I’ve been struggling with how to start this post because I want to be careful about how it comes across. We’ve had an amazing year, and I love sharing the success of this company, the team and our clients with anyone that will read it. But, more than anything, I want this update to be a testament of nothing more than God’s unfailing provision, guidance and blessing. He alone has brought us to where we are today and sustains us. Sooo… let me tell y’all a little bit about what He’s been up to this year. 🙂
Around this time last year, Sam Parker joined our team as a production intern. His quick wit, hard work and unfailing creativity quickly earned him a place as our Line-Producer. Around that time, we began searching for another production intern – enter Katelynn Oltrogge, 4’2”, blonde hair. Katelynn blew us away with her experience both on set and in the editing bay. Toward the end of last year, she joined our team full-time as a DP/Photographer/Editor. Throw in the mix my amazing mother, Linda. She has stepped in and graciously taken some of the accounting and bookkeeping off my back so that I can do the fun stuff. That brings our total to eight now (I’m of course including our office doggos Addie and Stamper).
As our team grew, so did the opportunities for creative, exciting and challenging work. During 2019, we carried the torch in producing the first-ever live drone stream to ESPN during the GEICO Bassmaster Classic. We shot our first 10 episode network project for HGTV, and if that wasn’t enough – landed projects with RedBull, Bell Helicopter, KUB and many other amazing businesses and non-profits. All of that is great, but even more impressively we kept nearly all of our existing clients.
While all that work was happening, I’m proud to say our team was also staying grounded in community service and industry growth. Jess was elected as President of the American Marketing Association where she leads a board in furthering the growth of the marketing industry in Knoxville. Lucas was appointed to the American Advertising Federation’s board as their Programming Chair and is bringing together people within that organization and outside of it to connect and grow.
In 2019, I was given the opportunity to start a new community-based organization called Knox Media. This was started in an effort to bring together the production folks in Knoxville to grow, connect and learn from each other. It’s been amazing to walk through the process of forming a board and hearing the wisdom of many of my mentors who have – for years – been building Knoxville into the fifth largest production city in the U.S. It’s truly humbling to lead this organization and bring this community together.
Our team also received some incredible accolades this year. We took home the award for Knoxville’s Best Video/Film Production Company from the local American Advertising Federation chapter; additionally, Jess was awarded Best Social Media Specialist and Katelynn was awarded Best Intern (another reason we just HAD to snag her full time).
You may recall at the end of 2018 we were still in my living room… Jan 1, 2019 we moved across the street into our newly constructed studio and office space. After we settled in (and found time to schedule it), we had an unbelievable double ribbon cutting with the Knoxville Chamber and Blount Partnership – two organizations we are so proud to be a part of! After I literally cried through my whole speech, we cut the ribbons and had a party. It was amazing to see so many clients, friends and family come out to support us! Our new studio space has afforded us so many opportunities for cool product shoots and interviews.
All in all, this past year as been surreal. God has shown up in a huge way and is leading us on an amazing journey. Every day, I get to wake up and do what I love surrounded by people I love. We set goals and blew them out of the water by August. I can’t wait to see what God has for us in 2020.
Jonathan Halley, President | Big Slate Media