In the age of YouTube and smartphones, how does a small video production company distinguish themselves from anyone who can hold a camera? In the words of 4th Kind Entertainment’s owners and founders, Curt Donohue and Jason Graisa: empathy mapping and humor. “We spend a lot of time with our clients to find out who their clients are,” says Curt.
4th Kind Entertainment, a Denver area video production company, specializes on customer discovery and injecting commercials, informational videos and creative shorts with targeted humor. They got their start thanks to Craigslist in early 2014; Curt was creating websites and screen-captures for training and wanted to up his game by adding live-action video when he stumbled upon a posting by Jason looking for people to collaborate with on video and film projects. The two connected, and discovered their partnership was a complementary match. Jason had the technical, screenwriting and creative skills that Curt could harness with his extensive business and project management knowledge. After meeting Curt, Jason said, “I knew he had a different mindset that I needed to have.”
Curt was already involved with the North Metro Denver Small Business Development Center (SBDC), having taken several classes including the Leading Edge program, and becoming involved as a consultant before starting 4th Kind Entertainment. “Developing a business plan can be frustrating,” said Curt, “All these trainings put me on the path of, ‘What do I need to do next?’”
They got involved with the SBDC from the client side, and took advantage of the invaluable network of mentors and opportunities to network with other business as potential clients and collaborators. “Networking is new to me, but the SBDC events put me in an environment that was comfortable,” said Jason. They harnessed these events to build their initial client base to begin generating the revenue required to fund creative projects.
In the near future, 4thKind Entertainment is planning to attack the video contest market, and has already seen success after winning a recent TripAdvisor.com contest with their Fargo commercial. After their revenue streams stabilize and they build more experience, the company hopes to take on more creative endeavors, such as short or feature films to explore the creative side of their business. Jason sees the company making waves in the commercial industry, hoping to initiate a revolution of storytelling through engaging people in a different way as media evolves. 4th Kind Entertainment’s vision for the future focuses on creativity. “The better we get at the creative stuff, the more we can apply to the commercial stuff.”
“We’ve done pretty amazing things in a very short period of time,” said Jason. They’re proud to be SBDC clients, encouraging others to take advantage of the opportunities and the ‘astounding level and quality of resources’ available for entrepreneurs.