My company and title is…. Owner and Creative Specialist with Flying Robot. We provide ground and aerial cinematography, photography and production.
A typical day in my life includes… My day usually starts with a fresh cup of coffee at 5 a.m., taking in the Phoenix Preserve mountain views and sunrise. I like to be in my office early, turn on some good tunes and power out about two hours of productivity before climbing at Black Rock Bouldering or hittin’ the gym. I run a pre-checklist of all my gear and then head out to film or shoot still photography for the day.
Being a Part 107 Certified Drone Pilot makes my days interesting and different every day. I work with the FAA and Air Traffic Control on a consistent basis and every job site I’m on is different. It keeps things new and interesting which I love.
My favorite thing about living/working in the North 32nd area is… the community, the proximity we are to hiking and biking trails and just the all-around central location to everything Phoenix has to offer.
My favorite movie I could never get tired of watching and why… Being in the production industry this is tough because I watch a lot of movies and have so many favorites, but I have always been a fan of the original Oliver Stone’s 1987 Wall Street. Yes, he did some insider trading, but the movie inspires me with his persistence to “Bag the Elephant” client. I love film and how it can bring an emotional response out of people.
My family… Has been super supportive of me my whole life. We grew up in Texas and were always a very close family. I have a younger sister that moved to NYC to follow her dance career dreams and parents who love living off their land north of Dallas, watching buffalo and horses roam all day. My family is the backbone of who I am today.
The business lesson I learned the hard way is… Trying to take on everything myself. When I launched Flying Robot in 2016 (and like most entrepreneurship endeavors), budgets are tight, so you try to take on everything yourself to cut costs – accounting, biz dev, photography, filming, editing, etc. I finally was able to outsource what I don’t want to do, which lightens my load to concentrate on what I am good at, which is the creative side of things.
One thing I cannot live without… Cheat Meals. I am super into fitness and eating healthy but when I get to eat Lou Malnati’s on a Friday night, I am not going to turn down a 300+ calorie slice.
When I was younger, I wanted to be… A Pro Snowboarder. I actually started to compete and was sponsored but never closed the deal and then followed my love of Photography and Film.
The one person who motivates me is… My girlfriend Robin. She knows the ins and outs of my daily grind and everything I do, is my best friend and the woman who I fell in love with. She has pushed me out of my comfort zone flying drones to get that perfect shot, go farther, get closer and not to let anything stand in my way.
The last thing that made me laugh out loud was… Our dogs. We have two labs and anyone who knows dogs knows they just do ridiculous things. They literally have me smiling and laughing on a daily basis no matter how my day is going.
My first job was… A “Sandwich Artist” at Subway, which lasted about two weeks, I think. Then I sold skis in a Texas ski shop. I actually had a guy come in and ask me if he had to buy both skis once.
My life… Is different every day. I work all over the state and occasionally out of state, but nothing is ever the same. I love that. My life, in and out of work, is pretty much like a Choose Your Own Adventure Book.
I’m currently working on… The latest craze is cinematography with FPV (first person view) racing drones. You can pull maneuvers that you can’t with your standard drone equipment. We are offering FPV racing drone services starting January 2020 which will let us through tighter spaces and implement different dynamic shots.
We also have shot drone footage for Discovery Channel covering the Border a while back, filmed for Spotify on a Jake Owen segment, a documentary called Evil Dead that is launching in February and a pilot for NBC called Prism that I believe Netflix is looking at purchasing. Our day to day operations include construction progress around the valley as well as shooting the majority of Westgate Entertainment Districts marketing videos.
My dream vacation would be to… I have always wanted to go to Africa. Victoria Falls, Safari in the Ngorongoro Crater in Kenya and then a beach R&R stop at the Seychelles. If someone could throw in private jet transportation to and from that would be great too.