Interview with Tom Friedman
Thanks for sharing your story with us Tom. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
A San Diego Native and son of a serial entrepreneur, I started my first job at 12 years old filing papers at my father’s fresh herb business. In 1997 I started my first business selling custom-made Star Wars costumes, online! I quickly learned the value of humility and the strength of keeping one’s word. In 2004 I started a mobile auto detailing business, which I sold for a profit in 2007.
I moved into the creative realm in 2008. My lucky break came working professionally on the critically acclaimed documentary Awake: The Life of Yogananda. I learned from Academy Award Winning Director Paola di Florio the art of the interview, from Sundance Filmmaker’s Trophy Winner Lisa Leeman the power of guerilla filmmaking, with award-winning writer Peter Rader on how to script a scene, with award-winning cinematographer Arlene Nelson on how to light & frame subjects.
In 2010 I moved back to San Diego to be closer to my future wife, which inspired my focus on business, construction, and real estate video and photography. However, at that time I have also produced an independent feature film, now available on Amazon Prime, and I consult for The Academy annually at The Oscars.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The production business continues to lead me down rabbit holes of fun and exploration. For instance, there were a handful of years where I produced hundreds of training videos for hospitals and medical devices. But then, the construction market showed a strong interest in drone work, so I got into aerial video and photography for construction sites, which is a blast.
The biggest challenges lie in compliance with developing UAV (drone) legislation, balancing quality business video story-telling with trendy Youtube-like editing styles, and assisting clients who need support translating their vision into the language of video. And there is a continual struggle of balancing client load with personal projects. While I appreciate the demand, I’ve always maintained that serving clients helps me to develop the next independent feature film.
Please tell us about your business.
For more than a decade, Friedman Studios has delivered custom tailored video and photo content. We specialize in imbuing creative flare while guiding the production process from a consultative approach. Our value comes from our two decades’ experience of business building, coupled with story and production skill sets. This unique combination provides excellent content delivered within a budget based on ROI.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I maintain a strong apprenticeship program, training novices to become self confident in their creative styles as well as teaching them how to use the tools of the trade to surpass the “starving artist” trap by getting paid well for their work. The moments that give me the most pride lie in seeing former apprentices accomplishing great things on their own.