Today we’d like to introduce you to Thomas Brown.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
From a very young age, I’ve always loved the art of storytelling. When I was in the sixth grade I won my very first storytelling contest at CW Post-college in New York. At that point, I just “knew” I wanted to be a writer. It wasn’t until high school that I found my passion for visual storytelling through films, as a screenwriter. When I started undergrad (New York Institute Of Technology), my major was filmmaking and TV production with a goal of being a screenwriter. However, it was the movie “The Matrix” that sparked my interest in film directing. It would be an understatement for me to say I just enjoyed that movie. My best friend and I even fought over who would later name our child “Trinity”, which was one of the movies characters name (he won). During my freshman year of college, I put together the little earnings I made and went to the Theather 10 times to watch The Matrix. For me, it had everything you could want in a film, adventure, romance, mystery and excitement. I wanted to one day create films that would give others the same feelings that movie gave me.
In December of 2002, I received the greatest gift, ever. My daughter was born. At the time, I was still in New York and had just started graduate school (for Film). I was also trying out internships with local TV Stations, but with a new baby who needed lots of diapers, I needed “A real job”. So, I left New York (and my dream of making films) and moved to Virginia where I spent the next 9+ years as a recruiter. Every year, I promised myself I would go back to pursuing film one day, but every year, with every new job opportunity, and with salary increases, and a family to take care of, it got harder and harder to justify following my dream.
Fast forward, to a week before Christmas 2012, I found out I have a brain tumor. Obviously, my family and I were devastated, as I had yet to see a specialist and we didn’t know what the future held for me. I told my wife I just wanted to have a great Christmas and that we would worry about my condition later. Now, looking back it seems like fate as my in-laws Christmas gift for me that year was a camcorder. We must have made 10 family movies in the next 2 months of receiving that camera. Making those movies with my wife and daughter was so fulfilling. It was then that I asked my wife if I could leave my career as a recruiter to make videos. Without hesitation, she said, yes. For the next year, she took the burden of all the bills and never once complained. Without her support, my dream would have never come to fruition. I had no plan, except the fact that these youtube videos that I started making for fun really began to take off. Before I knew it I was helping support my family via sponsors from my YouTube channel (YouTube.com/ThomasVisionReef). I went from 0 subscribers to 6,000 subscribers in 6 months. At the peak of my channels growth, I averaged 200,000 views a month. I was even hired by a few companies to exclusively make all of the YouTube content for their channels.
About 2 years and 19,000 subscribers into my YouTube journey my cousin Steve asked me to film a Valentines Day wedding with him (February 14, 2014). We had absolutely no idea what we were doing (At least I didn’t). At the time it was very nerve-racking having to be responsible to capture all the moments from the most important day in this couples life. After the wedding, my cousin gave me the footage so I could make my own edit of the wedding to have for my portfolio. I still remember how much I loved editing my very first wedding film. The couple loved it. It was another gift given to me that landed me where I am today. I posted my version of the edit on a few wedding sites and within 3 months I had booked my first 4 weddings. By March of 2016, I was booked for 64 weddings and decided to temporarily hang up my hat as a full-time YouTuber and pursue weddings full-time. I now make it a point to create wedding films that are filled with adventure, romance, mystery and excitement.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road to get to where I am now was definitely not an easy path. From, getting a process in place to make sure I deliver the products to my clients in a timely manner, building a reliable team and creating a style to my wedding films that have made them stand out has taken a lot of hard work.
Between the expenses of buying the film equipment, I needed to film events, advertising on several wedding websites so couples could find me, and paying my assistants, the first year of filming weddings I pretty much broke even financially. I seriously doubted if I had made the right decision to stop my youtube career. But my wife always believed in me. There were times during my first year of filming weddings that I got discouraged because I wasn’t making enough financially to help pay all of the bills but my wife never thought I would fail. So, it was hard not to believe in myself when I had someone else who had so much faith in me.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about ThomasVisionFilms – what should we know?
I am a wedding cinematographer and filmmaker. No matter what the project I help my clients tell their stories in a creative and unique way. I mainly film luxury weddings, mini-documentaries and promo/branded-videos.
I think my creativity is what helps sets my films apart. My wedding films, for example, are very upbeat and have a little edginess to them. I definitely have my own style as a filmmaker.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
As I previously mentioned my wife has always stood behind me and has always believed in me. She is my rock! My daughter whom was and is my greatest gift, my heart and who I work so hard for. My in-laws for buying me that little camcorder that helped change the direction of my life. My YouTube subscribers who loved the videos I created for them. My cousin Steve for inviting me to film that first wedding with him and allowing me to have the footage. My mom who made me honest, caring and God-fearing. My father who made me such a hard worker (he calls it a stepper). Even though it wasn’t my passion, I am very thankful for my 9+ years as a recruiter for the professionalism it instilled in me. My best friend, Eze, who has always been so proud of me. And, lastly, this may sound strange, but I am also thankful for the brain tumor that reminded me that life is short and the next day is not promised.
- Website: www.ThomasVisionFilms.com
- Email: ThomasBrown@thomasvisionfilms.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/ThomasVisionFilms
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/ThomasVisionFilm
- Other: www.YouTube.com/ThomasVisionVlogs
Inije Photography, Garnet O’Connor Photography, Mecca Gamble Photography