Making Something From Nothing: Shannon Giedieviells Of Master Shot Studios On How To Go From Idea To Launch
An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
…Don’t strive for perfection right out of the gate: Things are going to be shaky and not everything will be set and perfect. Grow from mistakes and focus on progress, not perfection.
As a part of our series called “Making Something From Nothing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shannon Giedieviells, Chief Creative Officer of Master Shot Studios, LLC.
Shannon Giedieviells is a passionate digital strategist that develops and delivers creative and technical solutions that tell a compelling story to educate and inspire. She has 5+ years professional experience in digital media, film, educational technology, and marketing. As Chief Creative Officer of her multimedia production company, Master Shot Studios, the power to create something from nothing, from idea to reality, fuels her to create a lasting impact and digital story for businesses and everyday people. Most of her professional career has been working with institutions of higher education to begin and continue their digital transformation. Currently, she serves as an Instructional Designer for the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s online program.
Previously, she served as: Intermetro Industries’ web designer and developer to bring the corporation’s digital business strategy to life through a user-friendly eCommerce experience; web marketing manager at Marywood University creating the first website strategic marketing plan included in the overall university strategic planning efforts; and media services assistant at Keystone College training faculty on a newly implemented learning management system.
Always striving to stay on trend and looking for ways to combine her business and education experience, Shannon has a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts with a focus on Digital Media from Keystone College and was an Outstanding Graduate nominee. She earned her MBA from Marywood University. She is an Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) in Video Design and has earned multiple certifications in instructional models and design. She facilitates a video editing course online, creates tutorials on Youtube with 350k+ views, and has received 20+ film awards.
She serves her community as an Occupational Advisory Board Member for the Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County, ensuring the technical curriculum is updated, relevant, and delivered to prepare students for future careers in technology. She also serves as a member of Keystone College’s Alumni Association’s Board of Directors.
Her passion and purpose is a digital storyteller: to transform a vision into reality, whatever the medium.
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’m so stoked and honored to be a part of the ‘Making Something Out of Nothing’ series. Alright, let’s go back to the 90’s! I’m happy and grateful my parents bought their first computer and camcorder then, because it’s pretty much where it all began. As a child, I loved playing and experimenting with the computer. It was a whole new world, and I was lucky enough to gain computer skills at five years old. I know it’s nothing close compared to today where I see two-year old’s playing with smartphones, but it’s the world we live in now. From that point on, I always had a computer to research, learn, and have fun.
The next piece of vintage tech was my parent’s camcorder. The huge, bulky, VHS-reeling camera that felt like a real Hollywood movie camera to me right in my home. My creativity really sparked when I found out I could pause and stop the recording to create cuts and effects like the movies! The power and imagination I felt I had was unstoppable and I began writing and filming my own little short films with friends and family. I remember my first ever short film was titled “ Spy: Blue Diamond” — a story about a spy who, you probably guessed it, tries to get his hands on a blue diamond. It was a few cuts and shots of my younger cousin walking around the house, pretending he was in a cave, trying to find a fake diamond jewel — nothing Oscar-worthy, but it would win the cute and fun category! Unfortunately, with VHS tapes, they can get overwritten. I think we’ve all experienced one of our precious home videos being erased with a local news story or a TV movie. The utter disappointment when that happened is a feeling all its own and it’s exactly what I felt when my first motion picture was erased. But, it was for sure not the last one I’ve created.
And this is where my love for film, technology, and digital media began. (And my constant fear that my files would be erased so I have duplicate drives!).
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I have so many quotes that I live by, but the one I think about the most is actually a quote from my favorite college instructor and one of the greatest teachers and mentors I will ever have, Kurt Sussman. He is one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, learn from, and work with. I compare him to my very own “Mr. Miyagi” from “The Karate Kid.” Although, he’d probably rather be compared to Bruce Lee or Joe Lewis, since he is a fifth-degree black belt in martial arts.
He said to me: “Life gives you sh*t. Sh*t makes good fertilizer.”
Life is full of surprises, ups, downs, twists, and turns. We enjoy living for the easy stuff and good times, of course. But the hard times, the uncomfortable moments, and the failures make us grow the most. It’s what humbles us. It brings us back down to earth. Now, you have two choices: You can either get knocked down and stay down, blaming everything else for your problem — or — you can get up, wipe your face, shake it off, and keep going because you can now walk a little faster, feel a little stronger, and do what you need to do a little bit better.
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?
This is a hard one, so I’ll pick one of each. A book that made a significant impact on me so far that I’ve read is ‘Become What You Are’ by Alan Watts. Alan Watts was the first modern philosopher and speaker I’ve heard of that brought Easteran ways of thinking and theology to the Western world. This book broke me down and built me back up again, in a positive way. It made me do some deep introspection work as to why I do what I do and even why I wanted to do something. Alan Watts can fall into a favorite podcast as well, because his voice is one of the most relaxing, calm, and articulate I’ve ever heard. Also falling into the category of self-reflection and motivational speakers is Abraham-Hicks and Eckhart Tolle. I began listening to these speakers in college which gave me so much insight into my own self and my purpose.
As far as film, this one definitely strays away from calm and relaxed: “Goodfellas” (1990). My all-time favorite film not just for the sheer cinematic experience perfected, but the way one normal kid becomes a hotshot gangster to paranoid drug-addict to coming clean and back to a normal guy living in the suburbs under FBI protection, only to reflect that he does in fact miss being a goodfella, a good guy, one of them, part of a group that got whatever they wanted — for a price that could mean their life. It’s a wild and beautifully captured story.
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?
I think a few things play into simply not taking the next step. I’ve had many friends and colleagues who are amazing crafters, marketers, salespeople, and more and they don’t even realize it because they feel pigeon-held to what they do every day. I say if you are good at something, try to find a way to make that part of your income. Now, if you want your hobby to stay strictly your hobby, like painting model trains, that’s fine too. However, I’m sure there are people out in the world who would love a hand-crafted, custom painted train to give as a gift. There is no shortage of ideas. It’s all about overcoming that fear. I hear so often “What if I fail?” “What if nobody buys it?” “What if nobody likes my stuff?”
I’ve shared those doubts too. It’s part of being human. But, I try to turn that doubt into a positive, like “ What if you do gain a lot of customers?” “What if so many people love your stuff?” “What if you grow your business to where it becomes your livelihood?”
Saying those positive thoughts turns that doubt into motivation. It’s what I’ve found helps me personally and with what I do as well as my friends who have their own hustles.
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?
That’s just it: research. If you thought of something that would be a good invention or service, I’m sure other people want that good or service as well to make their lives easier. Look up services or products that are similar. Is there a way you can make it better? Is there a way you can make it cheaper? Is there a way you can make it faster?
The fundamental question is “How would your product or service be different?” And this is really hard if you just sit at a table and overthink it. Sometimes, what makes something different is so simple, it’s right under your nose and it comes to you while taking a walk or a drive.
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.
Absolutely! In terms of making your idea a business, for example, you want to start a bakery:
- Research the competitive landscape. What other bakeries are out there? What do they focus on? What does their menu look like?
- Write a business plan. There are plenty of online templates out there to write a plan. It doesn’t have to be as robust as you think, but writing down a plan will help you and others see the vision and goals for your business.
- Get your identity: Brand is not just a logo. Brand is your business values, morals, ethics, and way of doing business. Spend some time on this as it will reflect in your language, your marketing, your customer service, and pretty much every single area of your business. A good place to start is using Score.org’s brand worksheet.
- Get your products or services in order: Focus on what you will sell and why it will help others.
- Have a website: I’m a big stickler for this one because I believe everything stems from your online home-base. Your blogs, products, company information, videos, and more can all begin on your own site. It serves as a first impression for customers and a place where they can even purchase products or services, especially if you are an online-based business.
- Apply to become a business: Research how businesses become formed in your state. Your state government website will have assets and information on how to form an LLC and corporations. Many local counties even have small business chapters that can help you through the process.
- Research any licenses you may need: As for a food service, like a bakery, research any certifications or licenses you need to do business safely and in line with your state’s standards.
*I am not a legal professional and the information provided does not constitute legal advice, instead, all information is for general information purposes only.
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.)
- You will wear all hats: you will do all of the work involved in running a business which includes the grunt work, especially if you start off with just yourself.
- Have a contract: If it applies to the work your business does, protect your business and have a contract.
- Don’t strive for perfection right out of the gate: Things are going to be shaky and not everything will be set and perfect. Grow from mistakes and focus on progress, not perfection.
- Ask for reviews: It may feel weird to do this and ask for reviews, but reviews are an amazing way to grow your business. Your client or customer’s review helps their own friends and family see the benefit of your business from someone they trust. Building credibility and a loyal customer-base is critical.
- Work smarter, not harder: If some kind of process isn’t working for you and you feel burnt out spending hours manually entering sales into spreadsheets, please don’t suffer. Find an automated solution or online software that can help you with customer information, documents, payments, or whatever else you feel is a trip point. Embrace some technology and automation for the little tasks that take you away from your main focus.
*I am not a legal professional and the information provided does not constitute legal advice, instead, all information is for general information purposes only.
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?
Again, the first step is to always research the market, similar products and the competitive landscape. Try to get a plan together of the product and why it is different and why it would make someone’s life easier.
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 are new to product development or don’t know exactly where to begin, I would enlist the help of a consultant who has knowledge of the process and guide you in the right direction. Starting with trusted connections in your network can also be a good step to finding the right consultant to work with.
What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?
It depends on the product or service. If it’s a startup with a new software or product, raising funding and seeking out venture capitalists may be better to get your product off the ground (hence the name ‘startup’). If you offer a service like mine, which is media production services or a bakery, or even crafting, bootstrapping or applying for a traditional business loan may work better for you. Again, it all depends on what you are putting out there. I recommend seeking the help of a trusted friend or colleague in your network to help.
Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
This is an interesting question and I really do hope so. I hope that my clients feel joy and happiness when we complete a project and they see their vision come to life. I know that I feel a sense of satisfaction and happiness when I see their finished product in front of me, going from a concept on a storyboard to an actual piece of video that can be used in many different ways. I think if I can put a smile on someone’s face when they see their project, then I’ve made the world a little bit happier.
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.
Wow, that’s huge. But I think if I can stick with what I’m good at and let people film themselves telling everyone what they are grateful for, I would compile it into a large montage to be shared, that would spread some happiness and thankfulness into the world. I think we need more of that.
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.
I would love to have breakfast or lunch with Simon Sinek. Just to hear him speak about life, society, business, or really anything he would want to discuss would be such an existential, eye-opening, and cerebral conversation. I think we could walk out of that meet-up with some great ideas or, at least, I can become more enlightened and experienced after.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.
Thank you so much for your time. I’m so excited that I had the opportunity to share some experiences and insight into my personal and business life. I hope what I’ve shared can help just one person overcome and quiet that little annoying voice in their head saying that ‘they can’t do something’ because you really can do anything you want. You just have to take the first step.
Making Something From Nothing: Shannon Giedieviells Of Master Shot Studios On How To Go From Idea… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.