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Conversations with Chris Tinard

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Tinard.

Hi Chris, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m a big risk taker. I started my business by taking a second mortgage on my house and jumping into an industry I knew nothing about. I first provided video services to attorneys, through a court reporting firm, it was consistent, and played well, but lacked the creativity and variety I was looking for. After 3 years the firm decided to use a different provider and I lost 99% of my business overnight.

I had built a strong relationship with another video professional name Eric Legnon. Eric’s clients were more on the marketing/broadcasting side of the industry and he offered to let me move into his office without charging me rent until I could land on my feet. I started helping him with some of his projects and learned a lot about the industry. Slowly I was able to land some of my clients and rebuild my business providing production services to corporate clients.

Today I service clients all around the US, was nominated twice for a Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards, and worked on everything from documentaries to TV shows, corporate videos, and network news. After 18 years, Eric and I, no longer share an office (we both work from home) but we still work together on many projects.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It’s been a very rough road for many years. Building a consistent client base took a very long time. When I first got started I was what I call a Bottom Feeder, working for very little money, filming just about anything (my first paid job was a funeral). As my skills became better, I found myself in a difficult spot, my pricing was in line with large production companies in town, but I was not landing top clients, so I was expensive for the clients who reached out.

During that time I was only landing about 2% of the proposal I was sending out. I knew I had the skills to provide high-quality video services and could compete for large clients, so I kept grinding, 1 client at a time. I often would have weeks if not months between projects, so cash flow was a challenge. It was frustrating because the work was becoming good, I just didn’t have enough to be financially stable, and with 4 young children at home, it was a very stressful period.

When I was just hanging by a thread financially, I landed a 1-year contract to provide video services every 2 weeks for a new client. It was enough to keep my head above water for a year. 13 years later I still service that client, and it provided the stability to grow the business to what it is today.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My favorite part of what I do is to take my client’s personality, culture, and who they are as an organization, along with their goals, and turn it into a visual story that not only is effective in reaching their goals but also representative of who they are. When you only have 30-90 seconds to communicate something, every shot used, and every soundbite have to have a purpose.

I love the creative process to find the right framing, applying intentional lighting to convey emotions, and purposefully using movement. I learned the art of interviewing people in a way that allows for the real story to be uncovered, not the story I think we should tell, but the story that maybe we didn’t prep for, that we didn’t even know existed. I am unique in the way I approach a project, often with very little preparation for the story.

I may prep about location, crew, equipment, and schedule… but when it comes to the actual story I don’t write any questions down, or do much research about the person I will be interviewing. It can be nerve-racking for my clients, it takes trust in my approach to delivering the content they are looking for, but in the end, the result is a very genuine heartfelt story that is very effective in reaching the audience on an emotional level, regardless of the topic.

Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
I grew up in Paris, France, my dad was an amazing artist (drawing) and a very creative person, who liked to build furniture, and an avid photographer who developed his pictures. Some of my favorite memories are going with him to the lumber yard to select wood for his next project. It was a magical world with an amazing smell, and to see the raw material and to watch him turn that into a long-lasting piece of furniture was amazing.

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