Recently, we met the Steven, one of the owners of Cool Guys Productions. Cool Guys is a SoCal local video production company. After meeting up for beers & bike rides, he invited us into their cool workspace at North Park’s Union Co-Work to look around, judge their creative space and ask a few questions. We finally made this week where we met one of the Co-Founders, Ryan, who was also a stand-up guy.
In business school we learned that in order to be successful you have to niche but we decided to give our middle finger to that notion because Cool Guys Productions is our vehicle for the exploration of life.
There workspace is filled with the essentials: old video cameras, beer memorabilia, bottle opener, inspirational notes on the wall, bicycle trinkets. All things we’d have in our workspace. SoCal is filled with creative local businesses and these guys are one more example of cool people doing cool things in SoCal. Now if only they’d grow some beards.
SoCal Sessions: What is Cool Guys Productions & how did you come up with the name?
Cool Guys: Cool Guys Productions works with Corporations, Lifestyle Brands, and Event Organizers to create inspiring and engaging video content. We specialize in a documentary style filmmaking approach that brings to light stories in a natural and authentic way.
Ryan and his friends first picked up their parents video cameras at the age of 13 and started filming themselves riding dirt bikes. After finishing their first 25 minute video edit, they needed a production name like all of their favorite motocross videos. A sense of teenage sarcasm and sleep deprivation (it was 3 AM) left them with Cool Guys Productions. And it stuck.
SoCal Sessions: What would you say your focus as a video production company is? Do you have a topics you prefer to film or is it anything goes?
Cool Guys: In business school we learned that in order to be successful you have to niche but we decided to give our middle finger to that notion because Cool Guys Productions is our vehicle for the exploration of life.
For example, in the past week we have filmed an action sports short film, a medical conference in Orlando, a hand crafted luxury flooring brand vision film, a 15 million dollar luxury ranch film in Julian, started pre-production on a Tequila documentary taking place in Jalisco, Mexico and worked on our personal documentary, Comida China.
Our favorite type of content to create is documentary style short films (3 min) focused on telling the story behind a company or event. In 2015, we are working towards creating longer documentaries (10-30 Minutes).
SoCal Sessions: You have a fairly specific AND LONG creed about what it means to be a “Cool Guy”. How do you live up to that, and how does your company help you lead the cool guy lifestyle?
Cool Guys: Every morning before we start responding e-mails and getting into the daily workflow, we spend time reading our company creed and then reflecting on what stood out to us. This constant practice has engrained those values not only into how we operate as a business but also how we approach our personal lives. “Cool Guys” is a hard name to live up to because everyone interprets it differently but our creed is really what we believe it means to live the Cool Guys lifestyle.
SoCal Sessions: What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever received about starting a business or pursuing your dreams?
Ryan – One of my close friends, Sammy Chingone, once told me something that really stuck. We were out hiking (a bit inebriated) and while standing on the summit of the Papalotemple, Sammy said, “I’m tired of all these kids saying, ‘I want to do this, I want to do that,’… Just Fucking do it already!” I believe in less talking and more doing.
Steven – My dad told me to work hard at whatever you do but to enjoy life along the way. You never know when your time is up. I was blessed to have an awesome role model, my father, who did what he loved so for me there was no other choice but to find what I loved to do.
SoCal Sessions: What is Contribution Junkie & how does that help give back? Why is giving back important to you?
Cool Guys: Contribution Junkie is a website we started with our mentor Marc Bennett as a way to give back in our local community. Our focus is on helping people and events in the San Diego area by volunteering and creating video content. One of the events we recently volunteered at was the 2nd Annual Bikes & Beers ride!
From the start of our company, we have always put a big emphasis on giving back. We believe that giving is an important aspect of life, because to us, contributing to others is what makes us human. We are grateful that we are in a position where we can give the most valuable asset in this world, our time.
Cool Guys: That’s what makes this journey so awesome, we have no idea what’s around the corner. Uncertainty makes us feel alive. We just know that every project we take on, we always give 110% and always innovate some aspect of each video. We believe the future looks golden.
SoCal Sessions: What is your dream CG project?
Cool Guys: Full feature documentaries are the projects we dream about. Our goal is to travel the world and tell stories focused on people who are open-minded, empathetic and passionate. This is how we plan to leave a positive footprint on this world.
SoCal Sessions: Desert Island Beers?
Steven – “Tecate Light, Speedway Stout, Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin”
Ryan – “Modern Times Fortunate Islands, Mission’s Shipwreck, Bud Light”