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Meet Trailblazer Meagan Massa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Meagan Massa.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Today, I find myself a writer/producer and partner in a production company – Chorus Films – but let’s just say it was a bit of a meandering journey to get here. Growing up, I was that classic movie-loving kid who somehow convinced her parents that going to film school for college wasn’t a terrible idea. I went the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, but in the middle of my second year, my father passed away very unexpectedly. It was devastating. I graduated from the director’s program as planned, but just couldn’t fathom moving to LA or New York like the majority of my classmates did. I worked in the service industry for a while and moved to Atlanta. Eventually, I got a job at a post production facility and became a project manager, so I was finally back in the mix with people working on commercials, television and film.

It was at that job that I met my creative collaborators. We started making short films together outside of work, and it was like I picked up where I had left off years before. But, it was when one of us experienced the same tragedy I’d gone through in college – the untimely death of a parent – that it became clear: life’s too short to put off going for it. One by one, we quit, then joined together with a few other like-minded souls, and opened our own company. We’re in year three now and it’s the hardest I’ve worked in my life. Chorus Films creates video content for ad agencies and business – a mixture of broadcast commercials, online campaigns and corporate messaging. In between the paying projects, we’re busy developing our own documentary and narrative content, which is truly the soul-quenching part of it.

Has it been a smooth road?
Whoever said “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is an idiot. I’m more in the “if it isn’t a struggle, you’re probably doing it wrong” camp. Talent and passion matter. Putting in the hours and doing the work are just as important. That’s one aspect of the production world that really weeds people out. From the outside, it’s cool and glamorous. But the truth of the matter is that it’s long hours, boots-on-the-ground, physically tasking work combined with creativity. My biggest struggle is finding balance. It’s a constant juggle to land the commercial jobs, execute at a high level, and nurture client relationships, all the while trying to eke out the time to work on passion projects. It’s the same story in my personal life. If you’re putting your all into the work, what’s left of you to share with the people you love? There’s guilt on both sides of that equation. So, you just try to do the best you can. (If we were texting right now, I’d probably send you the shrugging lady emoji.)

That’s probably the biggest surprise of adulthood – everyone is just doing the best they can. When I was in my teens and twenties, I thought all these people I looked up to had it all figured out. Yeah, right! My mentors have struggled the same way I do. If you’re getting starting, don’t feel ashamed at being “green.” There are endless opportunities to learn. I learn something new on every production. And anybody who says they’ve got it all figured out is just blowing smoke up your ass.

We’d love to hear more about Chorus Films.
Our work at Chorus Films is super varied. One day we might be doing a shoot with a three-person crew in our studio office and the next week we could be flying out talent and crew for an international production. Our aim is to be a flexible production solution for our clients. As a producer, my main role is to know a little bit about all aspects of the job, start to finish – from writing the budget, coordinating prep, hiring crew, sometimes assistant directing the shoot, then supervising the edit process, all while constantly communicating with the client, and then providing a clear picture of all money spent at the end of a project. Maybe it’s what being an octopus feels like.

I’m most proud of the relationships we’ve built with both clients and vendors. We work with some truly wonderful, creative, hysterical people. The chance to keep doing that – to do work that matters, to create something beautiful – is what keeps me coming back and reinvigorates me when it’s the toughest.

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
Sometimes, you don’t have to look “up” to find inspiration and leadership. There are talented people working right beside you in the trenches. In the absence of a traditional mentor, seek out those who are on a similar path and share your interests. I can’t help but think of some of the production assistants and coordinators I’ve met – because they are actors, photographers, writers, and directors, too! Supporting other artists and championing their successes will never diminish your own.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Chorus Films, Matt Hardin, Kenny Theysen

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