Brainerd area ideal location
Location is everything for a business, and even more important for a film production company. Riley Nelsen, owner of Dying to Film, believes Brainerd is the ideal location for his production business. “I've grown up here, and I like the community,” says videographer Nelsen.
Centrally located in the state, Dying to Film is within easy travel distance from the major urban centers, the Twin Cities to the southeast, Duluth to the north, and the greater Fargo area to the west. “It just seemed like a good central place in the state to be based out of. I do quite a bit of traveling throughout the state for work.” Nelsen, who travels extensively to serve his clients, finds the Brainerd area to be “a good location and a small tight knit community,” and an attractive alternative to the densely populated cities.
A Simple Philosophy
Nelsen started Dying To Film after completing an associate’s degree in video production with a simple philosophy, “Go step by step, take one step at a time, keep putting in the work, making your clients happy, do what you say you're going to do, and you follow through with everything that you can, you are going to be successful.” Nelsen, living and working out of his mother’s house, began the hard work of cold calling, attending networking sessions, and building up a client base. Over a five-year period, Nelsen has gone from no clients in the beginning to over 50 clients today, which astounds the young entrepreneur. “That's a success story in itself. I think that that's part of the American dream - being able to create a business and have the option to do what you want,” says Nelsen.
Dying To Film takes a versatile approach that appeals to their broad customer base. They create everything from business promos, informational and instructional videos, to weddings and “Internal Synergy” videos, to custom productions. Nelsen’s “team” are his cameras and lighting and editing equipment. He has a keen eye for details and models his business like his well-planned video shoots. Videos need to have a purpose, says Nelsen, and his goal to nail it with his production skills, whether it's marketing, training, sales. “The video needs to have a target goal that we want to accomplish from it for it to be the most useful for clients. And so, from that perspective, my clients benefit because they're seeing returns on their investment on the video work that they invest in.”
Dying To Film
Somewhat surprisingly for the young businessman, the question Nelsen is asked most often is not about how to film a particular scene, but rather, how he came up with the name Dying To Film. People really want to know, laughs Nelson. When Nelsen was still in school, he had to complete a capstone project demonstrating all the skills he learned in his program. He had to create a film. Nelsen chose to document the life of a friend living as a Colorado ski bum.
Nelsen ended up in Big Sky, Montana, climbing mountain slopes with a heavy load of camera gear, for an entire week during the video production phase of the project. “I don't know if you've ever walked up a mountain slope before with snow on it, but it is exhausting.” Said Nelsen. “I think one of the sayings throughout the trip was “Man, I am just dying,” because you walk five feet up the hill through hip deep snow or up the mountain slope, and you your energy is gone.” By the sixth day Nelsen could barely walk, but he still had a couple shots that he needed to get. “I guess I just kind of put it together that I was eager, or “dying” to get out and film the next day. So, it was like “dying to film.” Nelsen has since thought about changing the name but realizes that for now, that’s how he’s recognized.
As Nelsen has proven, the Brainerd area is a great place to locate a business. It’s a perfect spot for a creative community to take root. There is also the fact that Brainerd is one of the top vacation areas in the state, making it a beautiful place for year-round living. Nelsen is passionate about his community.
One of Dying To Film’s clients, Region Five Development Commission, is working hard to lure new business in Brainerd. Region Five, serving a five-county area with “partner with numerous state and federal agencies, obtaining and administering grants for programs and projects at the local level.” Nelsen believes the Brainerd area is a great place to live and work and encourages others to at least take a look.
“I care about the passion that drives people to succeed, or to change what they want to do or who they want to be. You only get one time around, or a few times around the Sun before you're not on earth anymore, and whatever you believe happens after that, you only have one shot at it,” muses the young entrepreneur. “I just think people need to get out there and go after it.”