Slice of Life

Seniors are buying a bus to take their video production company on the road

Devyn Passaretti | Head Illustrator

The daunting task of sending out job applications and finding housing after graduation no longer exists for the members of Out There Productions.

The video production company was started two years ago by advertising major Erin Miller, magazine journalism major Johnny Rosa and television, radio, and film major Losa Meru. Now, as seniors, the team is planning on taking Out There Productions to the road.

Inspired by the trends of #vanlife and tiny houses, Out There Productions is planning to buy a 30-person school bus. With over $8,000 dollars it has raised through a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, it will buy and renovate the bus to live and work in as they travel across the United States.

In September, it’ll begin its entrepreneurial excursion: producing promotional videos for startups nationwide.

It’s sort of simultaneously the most terrifying thing and coolest thing I’ve done in my life. I think that’s sort of applicable to anyone graduating college,
Johnny Rosa

OTPros isn’t just for startup businesses. Miller explained that they can bring high-quality production to video resumes, application videos and any other “great ideas.” Out There Productions is structured to get those great ideas “out there” and into the world.

Between the three entrepreneurs, they create what they define as a NASA-inspired team. They run on Miller’s enthusiasm for executing ideas, Rosa’s lust for travel and storytelling and Meru’s passion and technical knowledge of filmmaking. According to their website, Miller is the CAPCOM, or communicator; Rosa is the FLIGHT, or manager of the mission as a whole; and Meru is the Ground Control, or operations maintenance.

“The cool thing about starting your own business is that you’re basically building your dream job,” Miller said.

With a tagline of “We ascend together,” Miller explained that as OTPros grows, the interested client grows too. They recognize that while they are entrepreneurs who work for entrepreneurs, they treat it as a community rather than a competition with other businesses.

Out There Productions doesn’t have any specific startups it’ll pursue in cities outside of Syracuse yet. However, it does have three sources of revenue: the Indiegogo campaign, potential sponsors that want product placement on its mobile bus and its sales.

While in Syracuse, Out There Productions has maintained a similar business model. The team made money over the past few years by producing videos for other Syracuse startups. One of their clients is EB Active sportswear, which produces light-up activewear jackets for the safety of late-night runners and was founded by Gabriela Escalante.

“What I admire the most about OTPros is their excitement to make great videos and their willingness to go that extra mile,” Escalante said. “When filming our video, OTPros not only helped us with the video itself but also with finding the right words to communicate our message.”

Out There Productions hasn’t gone at it alone over its two-year life. Sean Branagan, director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, has mentored the founders of OTPros since shortly after its founding. Miller took his class, ICC 300: “Entrepreneurial Thinking,” and uses the “collab” room across from his office for OTPros meeting space.

It is really, really interesting what they’re doing. It can captivate and capture the imagination of a number of critical audiences.
Sean Branagan

Under Branagan’s guidance, Miller went to the SXSW music, film and interactive media festival this past Spring Break. There, Miller was able to network and promote OTPros to potential sponsors and investors.

“I talk about a visionary, operator and builder,” said Branagan. “And hardly anybody is all three. But you need all three kinds of components in any venture.”

Branagan described OTPros as having Miller as the visionary, Meru as the operator and Rosa as the builder, which coincides with their NASA-like team structure.

Miller, Rosa and Meru incorporate their individual personalities into their business. Miller said her main goal is to make sure the OTPros are funded and they’re seen in a positive light.

Still, Miller said the OTPros believe that their individual personalities are what sets them apart from other companies. They carry the company in a professional manner, but still acknowledge that they are young “scruff muffins” who are just graduating school.

“We’re not looking for fame, we’re not looking for glory,” she said. “We’re looking for stories. We’re looking to find awesome people who are passionate about what they’re doing, just like us.”

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