For Loren O'brien, it's always been about creating an impression . Whether it be during one of her standup routines, mapping out a treatment for a client video, or in a social setting- she is aware that in a fast paced world, if you aren't engaging, you're forgettable. As Co-founder with her partner Todd Mount of MO , a production company based out of Atlanta, their team is constantly striving to generate content that is captivating. The team is devoted to creating a world worth watching, that's their "M-O", if you will.
Breakthrough Marketing Group- Loren, thanks for taking the time out today! I'm interested in hearing your story, have you always been a creative minded person from a young age?
Loren O'brien- Yes, thank you! So I have been, I actually got my first video camera at 10 years old & immediately wanted to be involved in creating. I can remember using the little ketchup packets for fake blood and everything.
BMG: A young Spielberg, that's awesome. Were you doing any acting at the time or all behind the camera.
Loren-It's funny you mention that I was actually just talking with a friend about an audition I did when I was a teenager for All That. There was an all that casting call & I made this audition tape, it's out there somewhere but I have no idea where.
BMG: No way, that show was legendary. If you dig that up you have to let us know so we can embed the link in the blog, that's hilarious.
Loren: I loved that show, it definitely is out there somewhere circulating .
BMG: So, as a co-founder & comedian you're juggling a lot of different priorities- how do you structure your day- what has been helpful for time management?
Loren: Good question, I am a HUGE fan of Google Calendar. It has to be in there, otherwise it's not getting done. I put everything in there, not just business related tasks but workouts, even down to walking the dog, everything.
BMG: I've found a lot of entrepreneurs are hyper conscious & aware of time & where they are placing their energy. It's great to hear that you've got such a solid cadence & routine down.
Loren: Absolutely, it's all about understanding the value of your time like you said- you only have so many hours so you have to be careful & intentional with where you spend them.
BMG: In a similar way, it's important to value & know your worth as far as pricing out projects. Could you speak to how it was getting started & how your confidence in charging market rates has evolved.
Loren: Oh man, we had some horror stories. I can recall this one email that we sent out when we started, I am still embarrassed of it because it seemed so desperate & the rate was so incredibly low. No one responded. But at the time we were just trying to drum up some new business. I think once you get a few good looks & prove yourself on the scene a little bit, you realize how much you're doing to help these companies- and they respect your work & rate.
BMG: I definitely can sympathize with that, I realized in some proposals when beginning that we were was actually pricing ourselves of the running by coming in too low. It was a concept I hadn't considered before, but if the number is startlingly low- the assumption is the quality or breadth of what you can provide must also be low. Now that you have a track record with clients, do you have more creative freedom as well?
Loren: That's exactly right, yes we definitely do have more rope and more creative control. Our first client ever actually was Georgia Tech & at the time we were the new kids on the block- didn't have a whole lot of our own work to point to. But a friend of ours Jason who we were doing a documentary with at the time linked us together & we started creating content for them. So, they gave us a look early & since then the relationship has grown tremendously.
BMG: That's so great to hear, that's the ideal client one that is sustainable & that you can grow with.
Loren: They are an ideal client for sure, and the connection came about very genuinely which also was nice. It wasn't contrived or forced, it was natural.
BMG: So in doing stand-up comedy, are there any parallels or any things you've taken and used in your production role?
Loren: Well, reading an audience and wanting to make an impression right out of the gate. Audiences can be very judgmental or in certain moods, so it's about reading the room- much like it is when Todd & I are pitching to a client. We try to do the little subtle things right, they make all the difference. So, in both settings, definitely making a statement , having something strong to say and then being compelling & not gimmicky.
BMG: That's great advice, is there any particular advice you've heard or received that has stuck with you?
Loren: Well, from an unlikely source- but, Woody Allen though I don't agree with everything he says/does, he said something to the effect of "Eighty percent of life is showing up". Really, showing up is the whole thing. Show up, and be kind. Being kind is extremely important. We always make sure we treat our team well, pay them well, feed them well, make sure everyone is on the same page. And no one on our crew, myself included is too big to be scrappy and rig a light- or do whatever needs to be done.
BMG: That sounds like an exciting team to be a part of. That gives people a great feeling of fulfillment as well, when they are a part of a group of people in which everyone is striving for a vision. There's a great freedom in that.
Loren: Well, that's it, the freedom aspect. We like to give folks a general roadmap, here are the things we need to do & hit on- but we allow them the leeway of creating their own ways to make it happen.
BMG: Who are some other brands or companies that are doing a good job engaging their audience right now?
Loren: Mailchimp is actually doing some really interesting stuff. Of course they are traditionally an email marketing company but they recently began getting into production & they are doing it super effectively.
BMG: That's pretty interesting, I'll have to check that out. Last question, if there is one thing you could tell to someone who is considering setting off on their own, or who is just getting started, what would it be?
Loren: Don't let other people's opinions alter your gut feeling or direction. Stick to your guns.
BMG: Thank you so much Loren, we'll keep a lookout for new MO projects, and for that ALL That video to surface!
Loren: Thank you very much!