I’m excited to have videographer, photographer, and fellow podcaster Cole Heilborn on the podcast today.
Cole hosts the Backcountry Marketing Podcast, you can hear me on episode 79, and he loves creating films. He says the challenge of making something creative is a challenge he never tires of. He loves it so much that he started a video production agency based in the pacific northwest. Portside Productions partners with brands and agencies to create commercial videos and documentary films that engage, inspire, and drive people to action.
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How did the podcast get started?
Very similar to the production business, by accident. I didn’t know anything about the world of marketing when I started the production business. I realized pretty quickly on if I was going to make it with the production business, I needed to know a little bit about the world of marketing. So I reached out to folks in my local network, just asking to buy them a cup of coffee and ask them questions about their job.
Through those conversations I started to learn how the industry works, you know, even simple things like what are all the positions and what they do. So through that, I really started to get interested in the industry of marketing really enjoyed that. Being able to ask questions and ask tougher questions and challenge some of the status quo of practices or whatever. I did that for a few years and it wasn’t until a year and a half ago that a friend of mine just suggested I start taking some of these conversations that I was having with folks and record them and turn it into a show. So that’s where it came from. It’s been an all-around good experience.
Two of my favorite episodes are with EP 56 John Salzinger, Mpowred’s CEO and Founder. Makers of the Luci Light and EP 53 with Justine Mulliez. Justine’s a business coach. Her business Just a Wild Thought works with freelancers, small business owners, agency owners, and works with them on a number of different levels.
Can you tell us about any future projects?
Yeah, we’ve got one feature-length mountain bike film that we’re working on. It’s a documentary project that we’ve been working on for about three to four years now. It’s coming out this summer.
You must get outside a lot. What outdoor activities do you participate in?
You know, I think probably most people can attest to the fact that if you work in the outdoor industry, you actually get out less than you think you might.
I enjoy doing a lot of different stuff. I’m not great at any of the hobbies I have. I just enjoy their diversity. I grew up here in Bellingham and we’ve got access to the saltwater. So I grew up saltwater fishing, crabbing, prodding. I’ve recently picked up fly fishing. I love to mountain bike, road bike, ski, do a little waterfowl hunting.
My gear closet has a diverse set of tools.
Do you have any suggestions or advice for folks wanting to get into the Outdoor Industry?
I’ve been thinking about this question. What does it actually mean to be in the outdoor biz? And thinking about my own journey, I hate to say it, but one day we just kind of decided that we were going to be a production company in the outdoor industry.
I’ve done a bunch of different work. I’ve done everything from Real Estate videos to Weddings, to local commercials. And it’s all been great work. But of all the work that we’ve done, it has been in the outdoor industry work for outdoor brands, finding these stories has really been the stuff that we’ve always enjoyed the most.
So, two or three years ago, we just made a decision that we want to be a production company that does work in the outdoors. That’s what we want to be known for. I think the next day we went through our website and took off all the work that wasn’t outdoor-related.
And from that day forward, we changed the language on our website. We’re in the outdoors now. So I guess any advice would be just decide to do it. Follow your passion.
What is your favorite outdoor gear purchase for under a hundred dollars?
This is the one that seems to stump everybody the most and it was stumping me as I was prepping for this question cause I knew it was coming. It’s not under a hundred dollars, but it was under a hundred dollars when I purchased it. But their prices have gone up.
The piece of gear that I use that’s under a hundred dollars the most that I love is, it’s called a hip pack for mountain biking. They’re made by a bunch of different companies, but the one I have is from a local company here in Bellingham called High Above. And it’s just a pack that has got a water bottle holder. It’s got enough room for a bike pump, some food, a jacket. And it just sits on the small of your back. And they’re super lightweight. It’s super comfortable. I love it because it’s way better than carrying a backpack while you’re riding.
Do you have any favorite books?
I do. I bounce around between physical books and audible. I feel like when I’m driving to shoots or, you know, I go down to Seattle often, I’ll crank through the Audibles, but when I’m back home or if I’m on vacation, I really just enjoy having a good book to read.
So one book that I always come back to is Creativity, Inc. It’s written by Ed Catmull. It’s a book about how Pixar has created and maintained its creative culture through the last 20 or 30 years as they’ve evolved.
It’s a really insightful book for anyone who leads a creative team, who wants to figure out how to be a better leader. How to bring candidness and enriching the creative process in their business. I would highly recommend that book.
And then for the entrepreneurs out there, I really enjoyed, and I’ve read it twice now is Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog. It’s a book about how Phil Knight started Nike and the challenges that they went through. Again, over the last 20 or 30 years of building Nike into what it is today. It’s a great lesson on following the passion, respecting the business because you need to, but ultimately, not chasing money and just doing work that you’re proud of and trying to solve real problems.
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