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Russ Bowen

Filmaker, Photographer, Creative

Russ Bowen

Gabriel Flores  0:01  

Hello, everyone and welcome to the shades of entrepreneurship. This is your host, Mr. Gabriel Flores. Today I have a video production artists, Russ bone, which I'm really excited about because we've actually worked together before. Russ, what's going on, buddy?

Russ Bowen  0:17  

How are you? How you doing? I'm giving an excellent man man.

Gabriel Flores  0:20  

We've we've we've worked together before in the past. I gotta tell you folks at home this guy has some amazing, amazing video were really really amazing stuff. I'm not I'm not just sitting here just because you're here in front of me. I really do enjoy it. But first, let's introduce the world to Russ Bowen, who has rust give us a little bit of background.

Russ Bowen  0:38  

Yeah, well, I am 23 years old, pretty young, young lad. I have been in the Oregon area for about five years now. He's to I went, I came up to Oregon to go to college. Sarah for four years, went to George Fox University down in Newburgh. Then I moved up to Oregon about a Portland about a year ago. So I've been kind of just operating out of there since then.

Gabriel Flores  1:08  

Nice. Now let's let's talk a little bit about your business against the grain production LLC. So for the folks at home, what is it? What do you do kind of give him a little background?

Russ Bowen  1:19  

Yeah, so I just make fun videos, man. Like, I always prefer to do like more narrative driven stuff. But I also do like commercials, documentaries, like social content, stuff like that. What website content? Like anything video related, I do it. I'm currently working out of a studio up in Portland. Got a little office up there. And I mean, my company is still pretty new. Like I've been operating just as a I think the term for it is just like a single operator person. Whatever. Sole Proprietor Yeah, sole proprietor. I was operating as one of those guys. And then I only just recently LLC. So I've only been doing freelance work for about a year and a half now.

Gabriel Flores  2:23  

So let's let's get let's take a step back. You're 23 You now, you've been doing sole proprietorship. Now you have an LLC. What got you started in this industry?

Russ Bowen  2:33  

Yeah. I mean, it all kind of goes back to just whenever I was growing up. Like Superbowl commercials, right? Oh, yeah. Great example. Love those. Everybody loves

Gabriel Flores  2:47  

commercials. So love them. I mean, watch the game anymore, right? Everybody's like, Oh, I just watched. The Raiders aren't playing. I'm watching.

Russ Bowen  2:58  

Yeah, man. But growing up. I was the same way. Like my family weren't super into sports. But we'd still watch the Super Bowl. And the commercials were always my favorite part. And so pretty much ever since then, I was like, Okay, how can I make because Superbowl commercials are on another level, right? It's like I want to make stuff like that on another level. Still, in like an advertising space, but also like making creative and fun to watch and view content. And then that eventually turned into me like leaning a little bit more into like, story driven work. And then of course, going to college like, I just kind of naturally picked up a lot of different interests and a lot of different things. So like, I produce all sorts of shorts and stuff like that with my friends. I do a lot of work in the commercials industry. And I have done quite a few documentaries in my past. Like it's all it all just kind of naturally happens as you're kind of growing in that industry and learning about yourself and what you're into.

Gabriel Flores  4:06  

So let's let's kind of talk did you go to school for film? Yeah, yep. And so how did you kind of start to gather clientele like how did you market yourself?

Russ Bowen  4:18  

Hmm. It's funny. I had this professor he he used to work for Keene shoes, actually. professor's name was Daniel heron. I don't know if like, I can drop names on here.

Gabriel Flores  4:33  

Drop names. We're all

Russ Bowen  4:35  

local. Yeah, totally. He's super cool guys. He was teaching me graphic design at the time. And but he was like he had a successful time as a freelance designer. And so I was kind of just talking to him because I was like, I don't know if I want to do freelance or if I want to do in house production. or anything like that I was kind of just like working out what I wanted to do after college. This is like my junior year in college. So I was kind of just looking forward. And so I was talking to him about it. And he's like, well try freelance for a little bit. Here's what I did. And so he told me, he actually would just DM all sorts of companies just like on Instagram, and just be like, hey, I really like your work. And really focusing on them Be like, Hey, do you mind if I ask you a few questions about what you do? And all companies love to talk about themselves? So usually, they'd be like, oh, yeah, sure, like, come talk to me, whatever. And that's kind of how I made all these different connections, with like producers and stuff like that in the area of just DMing them, talking to them. And then afterwards, I email them and be like, Hey, thank you so much for all your time. Like, I really appreciate it. If you have any work in the future, like, please reach out to me

Gabriel Flores  5:55  

nice. And just for the folks at home that might not be familiar what DMing is, right? Direct Message messaging for those other folks that might be maybe I'm going to date myself here. But that's also cold calling for sales, right? So you essentially kind of cold called your way. It's a very grassroots effort, the way you kind of started.

Russ Bowen  6:16  

It's kind of like, low stakes cold calling, though, because it's just texts. Yeah. It's like, don't really hear anyone's voice until they make the effort to be like, okay, yeah, give me a call. It's good. FaceTime me, whatever. So it's kind of like a lower stakes. cold call.

Gabriel Flores  6:33  

The rejections aren't as bad. Yeah, totally. Like,

Russ Bowen  6:36  

Oh, thanks for appreciating our work. Like, I don't have time Stop messaging. Like, okay, I'll try the next person.

Gabriel Flores  6:43  

At least you got a response. All right. Yeah, I'll totally great. Sometimes people answer the phone when I'll cold call and they'll give you a response. And it's not a pretty one, right? So what what what made you decide you you mentioned you recently went from the sole proprietorship to the LLC, what made you decide to go to LLC?

Russ Bowen  6:59  

Ah, I don't know, is a few things. One of the biggest things was, it can just felt like time, I was starting to grow, like a few more clients, and like getting a lot of consistent work. And so it kind of just came to the point of like, professionalism. So like, anytime I send somebody my invoice or whatever I want, like my invoice to say, like to be a real production company, as opposed to just me. So that was one of them. And then also, just, there's the light whole liability thing of very much just trying to save my skin in case anything terrible happens, which luckily, hasn't happened. But if it does, I won't lose my house.

Gabriel Flores  7:44  

Yes. Yes. And so for those folks at home, give them give them a kind of a little understanding for your, from your perspective. What what you mean by that? What do you mean by the LLC protection?

Russ Bowen  7:54  

Yeah, so LLC protection, essentially, like, in its most basic sense, separates your personal assets from your business assets. So like, if something happens in my, in my case, like, if I'm on a job and I knock over somebody else's camera, they can sue my company and they can like essentially bankrupt my company. Like that's the worst that they can do. But I will still have all my own assets like I will have to sell my couch in order to pay them off.

Gabriel Flores  8:25  

Yes, like that. Yes. And that is that is very important for those individuals that are thinking of starting a small business or who have already started one selling a product created an LLC is just really a nice buffer for a legal buffer, you know, so they don't come after your car as you mentioned, your car, your house, your couch kind of thing. So really, how did how did the against the grain kind of concept how did that how did you create that and how did that kind of come about?

Russ Bowen  8:52  

Dude, I was just trying to be like catching I don't know, man, I like sat on it for a few days. And I think my girlfriend actually came up with it because I was like going thinking about like grains of film, like Oh, because I also shoot a lot of film. Yeah, yep. She's like, it sounds like you're like a farm grain that kind of just morphed into like against the grain like

Gabriel Flores  9:24  

just kind of like picture you right now as a farmer with like a little straw. I

Russ Bowen  9:27  

grew up on a farm so yeah,

Gabriel Flores  9:30  

maybe there is something to this against the game maybe yeah, he wasn't too far off. So so how do you still currently as it as you mentioned, your business is kind of pretty consistent now. But I'm I'm imagining you don't DM people anymore. How do you get new clients now is that all kind of word of mouth

Russ Bowen  9:46  

is so especially in the Portland area. It's a very small kind of creative bubble. There's like a lot of really great creative work video work in the Portland area, but A relatively it's like Atlanta and LA, it's very small. So like, technically, I personally, I know like maybe three or four producers in the area. And so anytime you're like, hey, I need a PA, I need a cameraman, I need whoever they just, I'm kind of in the Rolodex to reach out to. So that's kind of how I get all my work.

Gabriel Flores  10:22  

Nice. Now, I know you're only 23. But I don't want to assume is this your first business? It is? What's what's been kind of difficult about it.

Russ Bowen  10:33  

I'm just like, so unsure about so many things. I'm terrified of fraud, like, accidentally doing like some fraudulent business thing, just because like, I don't know, any better toys, my first business. And like, I grew up on all sorts of movies, where it's like, the whoever government's coming after this business, because he had some fraudulent thing. And like, well, they were doing on purpose. But like, what if I do it on accident, you know? So big struggle on mine has just been like, asking people for help. It's like a big thing in my industry to just seem like you know, what you're doing, and then you kind of work it out as you go. But that doesn't necessarily work as well in just like as a business itself. So asking for help is always crucial, but it's definitely a struggle for me.

Gabriel Flores  11:26  

What areas for folks listening at home, right there? We got some professionals listen at home, what areas of help do you need right now?

Russ Bowen  11:33  

Um, it's primarily just starting out stuff. Like, I like today. I literally just finished up talking with payroll, people. Yeah, cuz I just formed a business bank account. Yeah. And then just through that process, my bank was like, hey, you need to get a payroll person, if you want to pay yourself. I'm like, why? I had no idea. And so I just wrapped up payroll. So now I finally will actually pay myself for my company. But it's just small things like taxes. Yeah, I roll time. So not looking forward to working out whenever that time comes up. And then like, because I was a sole proprietor, I need to work out like, how to also calculate that in my own into my taxes. Like, I think I might actually end up having to file taxes three times this year. Oh, so

Gabriel Flores  12:29  

So it sounds like one for folks are listening. Or boy rustling is an accountant. Yeah, so we got an accountants out there. One to a tax attorney, we need a good tax attorney, I think you're gonna love a tax attorney, trust me, because they're gonna be able to find some great loopholes for you and be able to really help you out. Kind of depreciate items and kind of get you get you on the right track, right. And then for folks that are out there, that also just really, like, you know, I'm thinking of, of, you know, some of the folks like retros, if you're listening, I'm kind of thinking of you, buddy, if you know, some folks that you know, can get this guy kind of on the right track from like, just how to build a small business right to good golden nuggets that maybe I'm not unable to provide, right. So what what do you feel has been easy about this process? Has there been anything easy?

Russ Bowen  13:16  

I mean, I'm very fortunate to have been able to be successful at what I do for about a year before actually making the company itself. So that's something that is relatively easy for me at this point is just like running the company and like doing what our company does, my company does, has been relatively easy. It's all pretty much the same. I love being on set. It's like my favorite place to be. And then also, like, separating my time from business, I know there's a lot of workaholics out there. Yeah. I am not one of me. Oh man. So

Gabriel Flores  14:02  

love it. Not everybody needs to be a workaholic. No way, man. I like my weekends. Heck, yeah. Don't call me on Sunday, especially when the Raiders are playing. If you guys don't notice this, I'm a big Raiders fan yet. I'm not sure if people are picking that up yet. So So you know, you. You're pretty new, right? You've only done it for a year. And you kind of already mentioned this. Have you been filling any like self doubt through this process? About your business about the success of it?

Russ Bowen  14:30  

Oh, all the time? Yeah, every single time I'm like, might end up having to do some DoorDash in this month or something like that. I haven't in a while but it's I'm kind of just in that state of limbo where it's like I'm always kind of have that doubt in the back of my head of like, what if I don't end up getting enough work this month? Or? I mean, that's pretty much it. It's just like, Yeah, I just don't get up and up. fork, but my contacts, always both through super grateful for that. Love you guys. Yeah, it's like the biggest doubts that I ever have just like money. Yeah, it's human keeping the bank loaded.

Gabriel Flores  15:18  

Gotta keep the lights on, right? You got to put food on the table kind of thing. And that's, that's, you know, what advice would you give even a younger self because I know you're on 23 Now you've haven't been doing this for too long, right? But looking back at where you've been? Would you change anything?

Russ Bowen  15:36  

Um, I mean I don't think I'd change anything. I would change my mindset. Whenever I first started out, like, even just thinking about jobs. I was just all about security. Like that was my biggest thing is like, I worked at Starbucks for three years because it was secure and as easy. Security is not everything. You know, it's like, I really love what I do. Now. I I didn't really enjoy working for Starbucks. It's just like, whatever, high school first job kind of thing. But yeah, it was just all about security is like my number one we're in a lot of that was ingrained from my dad, who he was he worked in the Air Force. And now he does, like contract. Government work with satellites and stuff like that. So he's always like, gotta get a good job, gotta go get a job with security, something with a 401k all that kind of stuff. But since forming the company, it's like, Yes, I have all these doubts and worries about getting enough work. But like, that's not everything. You know? Yeah.

Gabriel Flores  16:53  

How supportive Have your parents been?

Russ Bowen  16:55  

Oh, they've been great. Like, Well, okay. They've been great relatively, like everyone's wall come home. And they're like, Oh, are you sure you're doing good? I was like, yep. I'm still making it still doing pretty all right. So they're, they're very supportive. And I think they're just parenting. You know, just like being good cautious. Parents love it.

Gabriel Flores  17:17  

So what what is your preferred work? So folks, you know, might be listening at home, future clients, right might be listening, what is your preferred? What is your kind of area of expertise?

Russ Bowen  17:27  

Well, my area of expertise is commercial work. So doing kind of product stuff, or I really love doing like, narrative commercial work, which is like a really fun mix between kind of documentary style stuff along with actual product display. But I love doing more narrative works like commercial work keeps the lights on, and then more narrative work feeds my creative side of things. And what do you define narrative work? Narrative work being either something me or somebody else writes and then we it's driven by what was written as opposed to driven by a product or the commercial and typically more narrative work isn't aired anywhere other than like YouTube, or Vimeo or something like that, unless you have really good people who confessed it or get it on gives me your time, something like that.

Gabriel Flores  18:34  

Now, one of the things you just mentioned was YouTube. Yep. And one of the things you recall, you kind of had the experience in fact, we've had this discussion of, you know, doing the Instagram reels in Tik Tok, but now granted people at home I'm not, I'm not on Tik Tok. I'm sorry, I gotta get on it. Man, you you and Cassidy keep telling me I need to get on it. Shout out to monitor now. I love those folks over there. Now. Give some folks at home including myself some tips like what what do we need to be doing? If we're going to record it? How do I go viral?

Russ Bowen  19:07  

Best way to go viral is produce something that is there's a few things to take into account there. It's like you have to take into account people's attention spans. So if you really want to go viral, something incredible needs to happen within the first five seconds, right? So when you really hold them in. And then that incredible thing can be any sort of thing. It could be like learning something very valuable learning or something really funny, something very slapstick usually, or something in terms like something unusual. So those are like kind of the three typical ways to go viral. And it's really hard to go viral, unplanned So it's like, you need to have a sort of direction that you're going if you're ever to be like, Okay, I'm going to produce this thing, and I'm going to put it out there. And I really hope people actually pick it up. It's got to be thought out. You know, it's it's not it's very rare for another Charlie Bit My Finger. You know, everybody follows it. Everybody loves it. Everybody. Everybody knows about it. But that that one was a rare occurrence.

Gabriel Flores  20:27  

Really. So most of you. So you're kind of saying most of the viral videos are very thought out and

Russ Bowen  20:34  

planned. Usually. Yeah.

Gabriel Flores  20:37  

Interesting. No wonder I suck at this thing. Because it is just trying to put out a video to get people to listen to this damn podcast. Oh. My goodness. So. So for the folks at home that are interested in learning more about your items more and learn more about your work. How can they how can they find you?

Russ Bowen  20:58  

Well, I have a website, the grain against the Actually, I don't even think

Gabriel Flores  21:08  

it's a big company is so new ladies and gentlemen, that Russ is still trying to figure out what exactly is the website months old. He's over here searching through his phone ledge, I can lie. He's dying, laughing, searching, trying to find out

Russ Bowen  21:24  

what website is a freaking word.

Gabriel Flores  21:28  

But he does have social media as well. So those are some social media handles. Russ was with Russ bone photography. I

Russ Bowen  21:36  

think it is. It's Russ. Kay Bowen media. Russ on a boat. What's the case stand for? Chaos face mandolin.

Gabriel Flores  21:43  

Oh, that's a that's a very strong name. I never heard that name before. It's Hawaiian. Oh, nice. Are you? Boy,

Russ Bowen  21:52  

I was born in Hawaii. Nice. My family on my mom's side is Filipino. Nice, immigrated over to Hawaii. And got I was lucky enough to get a very ethnic middle name.

Gabriel Flores  22:04  

Do you ever go back?

Russ Bowen  22:05  

I've never been back. No, really. I left right before I turned one. And

Gabriel Flores  22:11  

so you never really know really kind of relate to it.

Russ Bowen  22:15  

Now I try to though like I cook a lot of Hawaiian Foods. My mom and my mom makes wine food all the time. Oh, great.

Gabriel Flores  22:22  

Your mom can totally make some like Spam musubi or whatever. Oh

Russ Bowen  22:26  

yeah. Delicious. See that's that's my go to right there. Yeah,

Gabriel Flores  22:30  

I washing my hair right here in the bill. Yeah. Oh, man. Folks at home if you're not aware, watching my over here and we've written some spam musubi oh my goodness, my mouth watering about it. Now. I'm praying that the wife to get some of that tonight. Oh, we've we've totally digress. So we're trying to buy time. So where can they find you on social media?

Russ Bowen  22:54  

On Instagram, Ross, cable and media. That's pretty much it. Man. I'm not big on social media right now. My primary focus is like getting my website running, which like, my website construction is horrible. Maybe that's another contact. We can work through podcasts. Like somebody helped me build my

Gabriel Flores  23:15  

building my webcast. If you're listening modern ally, we can get Cassie on the phone. What are us on Bluehost?

Russ Bowen  23:21  

Dude, I don't know. I like went through I built my website or not my website. I built my business through one of those websites. It's like, Hey, do everything. Oh, yes. Here. Yeah. And I got my domain there. Yep. And they're like, oh, build your website through us as well as like, Okay. Sure. Terrible decision. decision. I really should have just like to get it from scratch because now I don't know what I'm doing.

Gabriel Flores  23:45  

Yes. Yeah, I will admit, I'm going through the process of like trying to build my own website. Right now. I'm using Google Sites, which is pretty user friendly. Don't be wrong, but like very limited on what you can do. Yeah. And so in fact, by the time this podcast episode, will air folks at home will already have been able to check out the new website. Yeah. Excited. It's gonna be rad dude, and I'm excited for you. Blowing up the work we've already done to I'm excited. It's true. Like we can't unfortunately talk about it on the air yet, but eventually we will. It's a sweet project. Cool. I'm excited. Russ bone. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. For those at home. Please visit me on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and have a great night.

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