Wow – what a year…

Dec 21, 2018

I started Corduroy Media, a San Francisco Bay Area video production company and creative agency in 2003 with an idea… I wanted to change the world, or at least contribute to the conversation of what a better world might look like. I started to understand the great power of media. The power to change minds, the power to create understanding, the power to start a dialogue between communities and people that ordinarily don’t mix. I wanted to pursue projects that aligned with my values of social justice, equality, and sustainability.

The problem was, my first attempts weren’t that good, neither was my 2nd or 3rd. It’s not that I didn’t know what good was… it’s just that my work wasn’t there. You see, I thought it would come naturally, that the complex craft of filmmaking would just materialize for me overnight. Well, that didn’t happen. So, I kept working on it…  I found mentors, gave myself assignments, and started what ended up being a two-year internship at the Filmarts Foundation. I went back to school, attending a summer film program at NY … and, I started teaching media production to elementary school students.

The most important thing that I did was give myself a job. That means that client or no client … project or no project … I worked. I worked on a website, I worked on pro-bono projects, I worked at meeting people, I worked on a feature documentary with other filmmakers. Then… after that, I would go wait tables at night, to make money to pay my rent.

I am not exceptional. I am not the hardest working person I know. I have been given much support and many opportunities, I worked for everything that I have today, but I didn’t do it alone.

As I reflect back on the beginning and at this last year here at Corduroy Media I am amazed at all that we have accomplished together. I know that none of it is possible without all of the amazing and hard-working, people that have become the Corduroy Media family. Without the trust and collaboration from our clients, none of this would be possible.

Without Sean Donnelly’s dedication, creativity, and stubbornness as a partner, co-owner, and dear friend, our portfolio would never be at the outstanding level that it is. Clients gravitate towards his enthusiasm and determination. He listens intently and then suggests unique creative approaches.

Without Gabriella Ventuso’s  hard work, critical thinking, patience, and creative perspective, we would not be here today. Among her many skills, casting is one area where she excels and demonstrates a profound dedication. With both hired-talent and “real” person casting she has helped to create an authentic, inclusive, and human perspective for each one of our projects.

Crescent Diamond joined our team as a Senior Editor, with determination and a critical eye. She has since taken a major leadership role as our Executive Producer, taking the management and operation of the entire company very seriously. Her hard work and management skills allow Sean and I to follow the story and focus on creative wherever that might take us.

After years of working as a freelancer, we were delighted when Brandon Mason decided to join the team full time. As a producer, director, and creative lead, Brandon never shies away from a challenge and has a robust following among our clients. We call him the “swiss army knife of production” because he has skills and experience in every position.

If you’ve visited our studio you might have missed him, but Evan Olds has been a critical member of our team for over four years. As our animator, designer, and MGFX guru, Evan’s great work allows us to stretch our creativity to include elements we haven’t quite figured out how to execute yet.

From art to administration, we have been blessed to have Mariana Urban join the team this last year. Her artistic collaboration and leadership has made many of our brand films and commercials jump off the screen, adding many of the artistic touches that make our stories come to life.

The newest member of our team came in having big shoes to fill, replacing Crescent as our primary editor. Evan Rodriguez, otherwise known as Chippy, moved from Miami this year and jumped right in. He is unflappable (even by me), works quickly and diligently. His steady demeanor and creative perspective have become a reliable asset.

There has been one team member over the years who has touched each one of us in a very special way. She’s the glue that keeps the whole operation afloat. Bella Hayes, our controller, manages everything from finances to HR. Her steady hand and relaxed nature has helped turn this dream into a reality.

I’ll be honest, I’m exhausted… It has been a very busy year, but as I reflect on our accomplishments, I feel very blessed. As Sean says “we’re living the dream” and we are doing it together! Thanks to everyone that has helped us on this journey – see you in 2019!

– Carl