We had the good fortune of connecting with Sahir Champion and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sahir, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The thought process behind me starting my own business is ownership. I realized early on in my career that opportunities would be far and slim and that no one would give me an opportunity, I would have to create them for myself and others, especially Black and minority creatives. I can’t depend on anyone to create the life and opportunity for me, I have to do it for myself while showing others that it’s possible. If you look at entertainment in general, many Black musicians, artists and inventors were robbed of their work because they didn’t pay attention to the business side and they didn’t know any better. There have been countless numbers of successful artists who never got to reap the benefits of what they created and that has taken away from our communities. The goal is outright ownership, and owning what we create. We as a people, have got to own our intellectual properties and rights to whatever it is that we create. As a community, we hardly leave anything behind for our children and future generations. Its all about posterity and leaving behind something for future generations.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m excited each and every day to have an opportunity to learn and grow. I truly believe that if you love what you do, then you’ll be great. I love telling stories to help share experiences and bridge the distance between people. We share stories as a way to connect and as humans its all about human connectivity. The all for one and one for all principle, which says that we are all connected. My desire and need for constant learning is what is key to me. It keeps me hungry and also keeps me thriving because I always want to learn more and experiment to see if I actually know what I think I do. I’m like a mad scientist who runs tests all day. I’ve been freelance for most of my career, working at as many places as I could. This is what sets me apart. Most people I know have had cushy jobs and I’ve never been afforded that luxury. I have to grind and consistently push, especially when I didn’t feel like it-whether I was tired, afraid or depressed. I’ve been able to learn more than the average because I had to adjust to each place. It’s not easy to come into a place of business and learn how they operate, while doing your job. This is my specialty and it has made me a better producer and storyteller. I can use many tools that I’ve acquired in my arsenal over the years. And that’s what its about, being equipped with all the necessary things that you’ll need to make it happen. And no-it was not easy. It’s not easy now. Nothing worthwhile comes easy, it always takes work. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard! Period! If you want something in life you have to go for it. Listen to your heart and inner voice that’s talking to you. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I was prepared for it. I made a commitment to myself to never give up, no matter how difficult or trying things became. I faced many obstacles from racism, doubt, fear, & depression-especially when I couldn’t get a gig. I overcome these challenges daily by sticking to my guns and believing in myself and what I’m building. They say when your WHY is big enough, the How presents itself. I can tell you firsthand from experience that its true. Never, ever give up!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ve been very fortunate because I’ve had many mentors throughout my career and life. It’s really important, especially for Black children to see people who look like them, who are successful and doing what it is they love to do. It’s important to have a mentor, to give guidance and advice on matters where they have experience. We have to share these experiences and pay them forward. There have been many who have paved the way in helping me to become who I am. The first being my parents and family who made real life and death sacrifices for me to even have a shot in life. My first professional mentor was Jeff Richter of Earthquake Productions. He took me under his wing and taught me how to edit when I was just an intern. Over the next 25 years he would be my mentor, friend and brother. Jeff used to invite me on-set to all of the projects he directed and I started to learn even more. If it weren’t for Joad Adler and the Syracuse Alumni, I would never have met Jeff or even come to the West Coast. So I thank Joan deeply for helping myself and others have an opportunity. Some of the others that have influenced and given me direction have been people like Hype Williams, Joel Marcus, Glen Martin of Nomad, Chris Robinson, Jesse Terrero, Michael Bartoli of Hybrid Collective, Rick Lawley of Whitehouse Post, Rick Russell of Final Cut Editorial, Nico Beyer, Michael Haussman and any director and editor that I had the pleasure and opportunity to learn from. I learned something different from all of these guys and put it together to make something of my own.
Clients include: Starz, Complex Con, Reebok, Springster, RILA, Lucas Roth