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Spotlight Productions & the business of videography

FabianMatthews 600Even as businesses grow and expand, there is a never-ending need to connect with customers. One way to assist in that outreach is the strategic use of commercials.

When I first started a business in Memphis I used the services of Spotlight Productions to create my website and my very first commercial. The result was incredible for a new business. Over the years, Spotlight Productions – co-founded by Fabian Matthews – has become a major player in the video, commercial and web arena. This week Matthews shares his journey.

Carlee McCullough: Tell us about yourself.
Fabian Matthews: I'm a graduate of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. I'm married, with 2 kids, Darion and Mia. I've won 3 Emmy Awards and 8 Telly Awards. My First job in TV was at KAIT in Jonesboro and then WMC-TV in Memphis. I started Spotlight Productions in 1999 with Isaac Singleton and Craten Armmer.

CM: What services does Spotlight Productions offer?
FM: Spotlight Productions is a full service television and web production company. We are located at 649 North Second, we do TV commercials, marketing videos, television shows and web production.

CarleeMcCullough-160CM: When is a business ready for a television commercial?
FM: Most companies think they can't afford to advertise on television because they think it's expensive. There are many inexpensive ways to promote your business with the use of commercials. You have to find what best fits your business and your budget.

CM: How did you stumble upon this line of work?
FM: I got into this business in college. The first class I took in radio TV was being taught by a guy that ran the Creative Services Department at KAIT in Jonesboro. After taking that one class he pulled me to the side and said he was looking to hire someone and offered me a job. So that was my first opportunity and I took advantage of the situation and learned everything I could.

CM: When and how did you start your business?
FM: We started Spotlight in 1999 and officially opened our doors in June 2000. We were turned down by almost every bank in Memphis for a loan, but we were able to convince an angel investor to loan us $100,000, which we paid back in 2 years.

CM: What is the next level for Spotlight?
FM: The next level for us is to move into higher end productions, for example, reality shows and motion pictures. In 2011 we had the opportunity to calibrate with a producer out of Nashville on a reality show idea and we ended up signing a production deal with Whoopi Goldberg's Production Company, Whoop Inc. So we are starting to develop story ideas to pitch to the networks.

CM: What emerging trends do you see in video/film industry?
FM: One of the emerging trends I see in the video and film industry is that more and more independent companies and producers are starting to take over Hollywood. More and more reality show concepts and movies are being produced outside of LA and the cost is going down, especially because the cost of equipment is getting lower and lower.

CM: What training is typically required to become a video artist?
FM: First of all you have to know your equipment, how it works and how to light your subject. You have to have an eye. You have to be able to see and hear what someone can't. You have to be able to deal with different personalities. The most important thing I had to learn is that the client is always right, even though most of the time they are not.

CM: As a business owner, what is the greatest reward?
FM: My greatest award is being my own boss, being responsible for me, making my own way and leaving a legacy for my kids. Also, I enjoy letting the younger generation see that they can do it too. You don't have to start working for someone. You can do your own thing.

CM: What's most challenging as a business owner?
FM: The most challenging thing about having your own business is the all mighty dollar...capital! Many believe that if we build it they will come...wrong. Just because you think it is great doesn't mean the public will. Also, you have to learn how to manage your money; one month may be great but the next two not so great. But the worst is paying taxes. Frequently I feel like I'm in business just to pay taxes.

(For more information about Spotlight Productions, visit www.spotlightproductions.net or email me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

(Contact Carlee McCullough, Esq., at 5308 Cottonwood Road, Suite 1A, Memphis, TN 38118, or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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