I always expected if a video of mine went viral (locally or nationally), that there would be some negative comments – and of course the usual nonsensical things like, “this looks like a republican video”. I figured some people would not like the style of “Lincoln. We Chose It”, but I never imagined people would be upset about CueMotion being the creator. I suppose I should have seen it coming, but it never crossed my mind. Yet there has been chatter, rumblings of people upset that the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce outsourced this video to a Denver company.
I get it. I also get upset when companies outsource their work to large agencies in different states, but my passion and excitement for Lincoln has always run so deep, that feeling unworthy to make a film about it hit me where it hurts. I know being in this business means I need thick skin. And I’ve got really thick skin, except apparently it’s still thin in a few places…Like right over my heart.
I GUESS I’LL START AT THE BEGINNING.
I moved to Lincoln in 2005. Went to Union College, absolutely loved it. I never graduated, but instead got my first job with Outpost12 Studios, who had an office in the Gold’s Building at 1033 O Street. I learned there, improved my editing abilities, motion graphics, sound design, production, and how to work with agencies such as Swanson Russell and Bailey Lauerman. I remember staying late nights, sleeping behind the green screen in the O12 studio. I also became a local TV actor with Shaffers (I was that young guy running around excited about the nice deep blacks, as well as the late night spot where I spent 30 seconds taking off my shoes). While working at Outpost 12 Studios, I also met my now wife Rachel- a native Lincolnite.
I started CueMotion in 2009 and decided to start by filming and editing weddings. I shot about 3 weddings for next to nothing, just to have a small portfolio to show at a bridal show I paid $1000 to be in. I stayed up all night preparing for that show. I was so tired on the way to the event that I actually had to pull the car over on i80 and take a nap. All-nighters are not an unusual thing when starting a business. 10 weddings were booked at that show, and it was my start.
Weddings were never supposed to be my only source of work, so I did what I could to get commercial jobs. Over the next few years, I took any projects that came my way and pitched video ideas to nearly everyone in town. I signed a lease for my very first office space in the Haymarket, and believe it or not, it’s where “The Other Room” speakeasy currently is. I still miss that place. Just thinking about it reminds me of the days I was so poor, that I would check the mail 100 times a day to see if a check came in. There were times when a payment would arrive the day before rent was due. Anxiety levels were definitely at an all time high.
I worked with Union College filming “The Amazing Race to UC”, I worked with non-profits like Nebraska Community Blood Bank. I did a time-consuming pro-bono job for the ADDY Awards. It nearly killed me. Literally, I spent all day and all night doing this project in hopes it would bring me recognition with the local agencies. It didn’t – not a single job came from it. I shot a fashion show for the College of Hair Design and then one for UNL Textiles. I worked with Nebraska Wedding Day, Doane College, and Batter Rutter.
When I became engaged to marry my wife, we made a decision to move to Colorado. A decision largely based on the fact we needed to establish ourselves (and to snowboard, of course). In order to make the move financially, I had to accept a full time position at an outdoor production company called Orion Entertainment (Now Dorsey Pictures). I moved to Denver 6 months before Rachel, but still had weddings booked nearly every weekend in Nebraska. I would work a demanding new full time job in Denver, and then take the train (California Zephyr) back on the weekends to film weddings. One of those weddings eventually which connected me to Union Bank and Trust, where I would later work on some of my favorite projects. It was during this time that I also signed a contract with the University of Nebraska to produce an arts campaign.
The connection with Union Bank first led to a few internal video shoots (Happy), then they asked me if I could work with them on a spot to showcase Lincoln. Of course I said yes, after all, I loved Lincoln, started CueMotion in Lincoln, have family in Lincoln, and was always…in Lincoln. The creative direction they gave us was . . . “Make a video”, and thus, “Live, Love, Lincoln” was born.
Cuemotion continued to build our relationships with various businesses around Lincoln: Catalyst by Union Bank; UNL (Russ, Tey, Emily, Ethan, Vivian); FPA; Tourism; Fashion Shows; Engineering etc etc. I may have lived in Denver, but Cuemotion lived and breathed Lincoln.
After completing “Live, Love, Lincoln”, I started envisioning a new video- a story that everyone could connect with and relate to- something nobody had seen before. There were no films that represented me, the guy that moved to Lincoln and started a business, and loved it. I was a Texan born and raised, and was not too interested in college football or the Huskers. I simply loved the city, and the people.
Rachel and I had the opportunity to travel abroad for several months, and eventually across the United States, working contracts in New York City, San Francisco Bay area, and a little rural town called Sayre, Pennsylvania. Time and time again we found the perception about Lincoln, Nebraska, and the Midwest in general was always . . . wrong- waaay wrong! It wasn’t just other people’s perception though- there was also a large portion of Lincolnites who think everything is better outside of Lincoln. But when you leave, you are always left missing, Lincoln calls you back – leaving somehow opens your eyes and gives you this perspective about the city, and how it captures you.
One day I get a call from the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce (LCOC). They wanted a “Live, Love, Lincoln” 2.0. This was my opportunity to pitch my passion project- and that’s exactly what I did – sitting at a makeshift desk in the middle of nowhere Corning, NY, while working on shitty editing jobs to pay the bills. Truth. The LCOC didn’t seek out some large company to outsource to, they simply contacted a guy they know that did a pretty cool video for them a few years back, a guy who knew the “ins and outs” of Lincoln. A guy who is passionate about the city, and loves seeing it grow and mature, a guy who presents a unique and fresh perspective of loving and missing Lincoln.
It is a frustrating feeling when a local company hires an outside agency, and you’re left wondering why you didn’t have the opportunity to bid. I feel that way constantly. I recently dealt with that I didn’t have chance with a health care company here in Denver after they fired their advertising agency. I know people in that company, so many people, that it literally made me sick when I heard they hired somebody else without giving me a call. But I also don’t know their story. Maybe their new agency has been trying to get hired by them for 10 years – who knows.
THE PURPOSE (OR LACK OF) TO THIS POST
Honestly, A part of me felt honored that there were those in the creative world that considered CueMotion to be this BIG company in Denver that LCOC sought out. Well… It’s just me- a small company that tries to make my work better than the big companies. I know writing this won’t change anyone’s feelings, nor should it. Those feelings are good because they drive business, and create passion to work harder, and be better. If you’re a local business somewhere, don’t be afraid to pitch your ideas! If you live in Lincoln, now’s the time to approach the Chamber of Commerce, show them what you can do and tell them to screw CueMotion, and use you (I’d suggest being a member first though).
I have a burning passion to be the best, and I have this desire to tell amazing stories. I had a vision to make a film about Lincoln, and kept at it until that vision became a reality. If you’re mad about it, stop sulking and get out there and steal my clients. If you can.
Sincerely, CueMotion. aka Andy.