When I decided to leave the BBC in London 8 years ago to start working for myself, some people called me crazy.
Why? Because I’d recently been offered a full time contract to work for the mighty Beeb, based at the infamous Television Centre. It was safe. It was cosy. There was a great atmosphere there. There were some super lovely people that worked there (and I’m still friends with many of them) And there was an ace bar in TVC that many of us would hit on Friday evening.
Who leaves a full time contract on the table, with a great company behind it and a guaranteed salary every month? And decide to go it all alone?
Someone that needed to push further, faster. Plus I’d always wanted to work for myself.
It was a risk sure. And that risk payed off BIG time. Yes there’s been the obvious ups and downs of running your own business, but the opportunities and experiences I’ve had since working for myself have been incredible.
When I first went freelance I traded under the very snappy and easy to spell .com Matt Callanan Productions. It wasn’t easy to spell. email@example.com is very hard to spell down a telephone line to a potential client. Plus most people think my surname is spelt Callaghan. Wonder how many potential clients I lost as the email bounced back to them as they misspelt my email address?
One of early wins was winning a music video competition for Royksopp. How to win a music video competition with a £99 bike and next door neighbour might be another blog post.
As my business got established and I took on my 1st employee I changed my name to Callapro Films (a cut down of Matt Callanan Productions). firstname.lastname@example.org was slightly easier to spell!
One of my favourite films during the Callapro phase was creating this documentary for my friend Emma:
and this one with Red Bull Adventurer Matt Prior
Then there was filming a documentary with George Clooney! for US TV
Filming a band on top of igloo in Lapland for a drinks company
Then a little while ago we changed our name to The Makers.
Working with my kindness project We Make Good Happen we did emotive films like this (filming and editing for free) for Hope For Children, filming out in Uganda and Ghana which helped the children’s charity raise half a million pounds (£500,000)
and making people cry with films like this for Ty Hafan
And then we got a letter. A super well know company got in touch, A multi billionaire company had a website with a close name to ourselves (but in a different sector) and wanted us to change our name.
We spoke to IP lawyers. We spoke to other owners of businesses that have had their brand challenged. We remembered a lovely person we’d filmed on a trip to Mexico, who run a brewery and took on Pepsi in the courts. Did he win? Have a read
Basically it was going to cost £20-£30k just to start the process of going though the courts to try and establish we had different customers and the similarity in the names wouldn’t confuse customers.
So wanting to just get on a run and business, be creative and help others tell their story – I really did’t fancy several years of solicitor letters.
We’ve been recently working on some great video projects such as Porsche with Dick Lovett (we came 3rd in an international Porsche competition) and filming adventures around Scotland. News soon!
Here’s the updated showreel:
The winning Porsche video we produced as We Make Film Happen
Until the next time. With the blog. Not another name change.
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