We had the good fortune of connecting with Thomas Gidlow and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Thomas, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
When I got interested in filmmaking, I wanted to start things from a solid foundation. Many filmmakers when they just start out go straight to the film process and skip over the important tasks of forming a company first. It may not be the most fun aspect of things, but it’s vital if you want to give your projects the best chance of success. I studied and researched a lot of different ways to form a company. You learn as you go, but you should always start with a firm foundation.
Over the years, I’ve refined my company’s mission. But the main goal has remained the same: spotlight the amazing talent on both sides of the camera that may not otherwise get that opportunity. I always envisioned what has become Skyphire Entertainment as being what the AHL is to the NHL, or what Triple-A baseball is to MLB. To become a ‘feeder system’ to the major leagues, and help get people where they want to be. I think it’s a unique way to position our company. We want to grow to a certain point, but not lose sight of our mission. The more we grow, the more we can do for people – whether its actors, crew, writers, editors, etc.
And along the way, we will be able to devote more and more time to this goal as we grow. It’s less about putting the company first and more about putting its people first. That may seem like a contradiction in this line of work. Perhaps a byproduct of our growth will be a change in how productions partner with their actors and crews. We feel like they are true partners and not just people to come through the turnstiles on their way to the next gig. Building those partnerships will only fuel further production where more creatives can get more opportunities.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think the main thing that sets us apart is the types of stories we want to tell. Our production aims at telling relatable stories with inspiration from a wide variety of works from different eras of filmmaking. Originality is difficult these days, but not impossible. So we honor what’s come before with a fresh, new, or unique take on a situation set into a story. For instance, “Camisado”, our debut production, is a TV/web series about the journey of vengeance after someone loses their family. Typically this is a male-led plot where the lead has had his wife and/or child taken or killed. We put two women in the lead as a married couple with an adopted African-American child to represent a different story that you normally don’t get to see.
The universe we created is one where people are seen as equals, and no one questions someone’s creed, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality. We’re proud to create an atmosphere in a fictional setting that we all can work and strive towards in everyday real life. Every day is a journey that makes us who we are and where we end up. It’s never over, and to me, we haven’t “arrived” yet. You never truly do. It’s always a walk on the way towards a goal, and when it’s met, there’s always another goal ahead. Never thinking you’re done or that you’ve reached the pinnacle is a big mindset for me. I feel the day I decide there’s nothing left to do is the day I’ll probably shrivel up and perish. If there’s one takeaway here or one thing to leave on anyone reading this: a very wise man once uttered a phrase that really works in all situations in my view.
“Do the best you can with what you got, and be thankful you’re in no worse shape than you are.” That’s from the recently late Wilford Brimley, and if you read that statement a few times, you realize it can be applied to pretty much any situation you’ll come across. Do the work, but live your life. Don’t be afraid to do something. If you fail, you fail – but at least you tried. Set a goal, build the steps out, complete the tasks one by one, and you’ll get there.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, right now, there’s nowhere I’d take someone since we’re in the middle of a raging pandemic. I’m a bit more of an introvert in the sense of painting the town fantastic. I don’t mind going to the bar a couple times a week (back when bars were open), but other than that, I’m probably the worst person to ask about what to do for fun in the Raleigh, NC area!
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 think the person most influential to me on aspects of business is my “9 to 5” boss Mike Matsinger. I’ve been working with him for over six years at World Tavern Entertainment (we provide bars and restaurants promotions and ideas to bring customers to their venues) and I’ve learned a lifetime of information about marketing, how to operate a small business, customer service, social media, and so much more. All of it is applicable to operating a film business. He even allowed us to film scenes from our debut production “Camisado” where we work. He’s been a great mentor, friend, and a wealth of knowledge – I can easily say I wouldn’t be where I am now without his guidance and support.
Other: “Camisado” IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10250634/ “Camisado” FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/CamisadoSeries
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