Making Something From Nothing: DeJuan Ford Of DeJuan Ford Productions & Faim Film Entertainment On How To Go From Idea To Launch

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Bet on yourself! People invest in the person behind the project, be the best you, that’s what the people want.

As a part of our series called “Making Something From Nothing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing DeJuan Ford.

DeJuan Ford is a former “cable guy” turned serial entrepreneur and executive director/independent film actor with six years in the industry. Telecommunications company, 20 + subcontractors. Stock market investor turned. Non- Profit, The Anthony Taylor Foundation targets at risk youth 6–17 through mentoring through life coaching, financial literacy and athletic programs in Detroit, MI.

Growing up in Detroit and falling victim to the streets That motivated him to begin his journey as an entrepreneur and stepping foot into the independent film industry. As a serial entrepreneur DeJuan has created jobs for the community and decided upon an interaction with a filmmaker, Dennis L. Reed II, through his Dennis L. Reed II Productions, that he would like to act and then became a investor in movies. Investment led to creating his own projects at Faim Film Entertainment.

DeJuan is a native Detroiter, currently residing in Orlando, FL. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration-Finance. He is married with 3 children, DeJuan Jr., Mila, & Liam Ford.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?

I really appreciate you interviewing me, thanks for the opportunity. I am really excited to be a part of this interview. I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. I have 12 siblings, 8 sisters and 4 brothers, I am number 11/12. My mother worked at a movie theatre, we spent a lot of time there as kids, and I believe that is what really sparked my interest in movie production. My parents were blue collar workers who installed a great work ethic into our lives.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Collaboration over competition.” I live by this quote daily. We have to understand the power that we possess if we work together. Too often we try to do things alone. Naturally we are competitors and even through competition is great we have to know when to turn it off and collaborate with each other for a greater cause. It is the only way for us to make a difference in our community is by working together

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I believe that family is the most important thing in life. With your family in tact it allows you to be better at what you do for your career, business or job. The book, Better Dads, Stronger Sons: How Fathers Can Guide Boys to Become Men of Character

Book by Rick Johnson. The one thing in my life that I take the most pride in

is being a father. This book gives a unique perspective of the relationship between a father and son. I was blessed to have my father around, I learned a lot from him, but I want to take it to the next level with my two boys and become the best dad possible.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There is no shortage of good ideas out there. Many people have good ideas all the time. But people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. Can you share a few ideas from your experience about how to overcome this challenge?

The hardest part is starting. Start by getting over your fear and making a plan of action. Create your tax id, incorporate your business name, research what you will need to get the business going, secure funding and most importantly, bet on yourself! You will face some barriers but keep pushing, your breakthrough will come.

Often when people think of a new idea, they dismiss it saying someone else must have thought of it before. How would you recommend that someone go about researching whether or not their idea has already been created?

In my industry, it’s a little different. It does not matter if someone has thought about the idea before, you can add your own twist to it and make it your idea. To research go to WGA, Writer’s Guild Association, and search. Protect your actual project not an idea. Ex. If you have a script, treatment, book, content of any kind register with WGA West and Copyright Office. You can always create and find out what is out there after you create. Focus on creating and the rest will follow. It is ok to make changes but starting is the first step.

For the benefit of our readers, can you outline the steps one has to go through from when they think of the idea, until it finally lands in a customer’s hands? In particular, we’d love to hear about how to file a patent, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer to distribute it.

The first step is creating the idea for the movie. Write it down. Then submit it to a writer to create the script. Once you have the script you can get into the preproduction phase by creating a budget, finding a production crew, casting, scouting and securing locations, have table reads and rehearsing.

Now it’s time to shoot the movie, if you handled pre-production properly, shooting the movie should be a breeze, so they say lol. Proper planning and preparation eliminates a lot of stress and will help things run smooth. Once the movie is shot, it’s time to get into postproduction, editing, sound, color, marketing, public relations, finding distribution and everything else that leads up to the premiere.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Leading My Company” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

Have fun, remember why you started. Sometimes we get caught up in the financial side of things and it takes the fun out of it. It makes your life more stressful. Have fun, you are great, the money will come!

Bet on yourself! People invest in the person behind the project, be the best you, that’s what the people want.

Keep pushing, don’t give up! You are going to face countless obstacles and barriers, find ways to overcome them.

Build your network, they say your network is your net worth. In this industry, having a strong network will go a long way.

Maintain a work/life balance. You will burn yourself out if you do not. Make sure you make time for yourself and your family.

Let’s imagine that a reader reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to invent. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?

If you have an idea for a film, contact DeJuan Ford and I will get you to where you want to go lol. No, I would recommend reaching out to several writers, make sure you have them sign NDAs. Your next step will be to secure funding. I initially used funds from my personal savings account for my first film, but there are several ways you can go about it.

There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?

If you have an invention, then definitely consult an IP lawyer. Entertainment lawyers are good to have in order to consult or create agreements for potential first look deals and overall deals with production studios and distribution.

I wouldn’t recommend a development consultant for the film industry, there is not really a need for it. I believe starting on your own is the way to go. As a filmmaker you have to be involved in the process, you have to understand your market, what they want, and deliver it to them.

What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?

This is tough, I am more of a bootstrapping, go all in, bet on yourself type of guy. So, if you have the resources to do so, that’s the best route in my opinion. You maintain full control and when your project becomes profitable, you keep the entire pot!

Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

I have used my success to mentor many people in my community. Giving them advice not only about business but just life in general. I also give a lot of opportunities to individuals that are passionate about the film industry, directors, actors, photographers, production managers, etc. I also have classes for the youth where I give them insight on the industry.

You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I would like to start a collaboration over competition movement. Someone else’s win shouldn’t mean your loss, Collaboration shifts us out of the belief that everything must be hard fought, and instead allows joyful co-creation to show us what is really possible for us to achieve. If we share resources with one another, the sky is the limit. We are always taught to never share your secrets, never share your contact information. But what makes me feel the best is collaborating and connecting with others, helping them achieve their goals.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

One individual I would like to have a private lunch with would be independent film producer/director Shatara Michelle Ford, her film Test Pattern is arguably one of my favorite films. I would like to meet with her to discuss her process, share some resources, collaborate and build more content that reaches the masses.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

Making Something From Nothing: DeJuan Ford Of DeJuan Ford Productions & Faim Film Entertainment On… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Recommended Posts