I was working with a small design company in Troy when my good friend, Justin, received a parking ticket in downtown Royal Oak. He went home for lunch that day, and after realizing he didn't have any change in his car for the meter, he ran inside to grab it. When he came out that day, Final 5 was born.
Of course we didn't realize at the time that his parking ticket would be the beginning of the crazy journey that we're now on, but that was the moment. He convinced me to help him create a short video about parking in Royal Oak that won us 2nd prize at a local film festival. From there, a local blog paid us $500 every time we made a short video for them. Even then, I was harping on the importance of story in the videos.
Video on the internet was relatively new at the time (in the near future, this sentence will make me seem like a dinosaur), so many companies were interested in the availability of short, compelling videos to put on their website. Our first paid project was for an insurance company. We made $300 to go to their office and film them wishing their boss happy birthday, to be played at the company's quarterly meeting the next weekend. Pro tip: don't ever make the joke that there should be a "blooper reel" because you're laughing and can't keep it together on camera. It's rarely funny.
Justin decided to stay with the company we both worked at when we first made 6 Minutes, and I broke out on my own to do video production for a living. I was always focused on the story, but that industry has an interesting way of pulling videographers toward technology and the look of a piece. Even today, my friends that are working in that arena do some amazingly beautiful work, but often times the story is missing. This was the struggle with being a production company. That and the fact that I didn't enjoy the work.
"If I can just hire people into the roles of camera operator and editor, everything will be good," I told my mentor Tom Brennan. "Do you know how messed up that sounds?" was his reply. We spent the next 6 months together, every Friday, from 9am - 10am working on what I wanted Final 5 to be. Up until then, I didn't understand what it meant to work "on" a business instead of always working "in" it. It's incredible amounts of fun and has changed the way I work. I want Tom Brennan to give the eulogy at my funeral so that my family can see and grasp the things he sees in me. He has meant immeasurable amounts to this organization.
So here we are in 2016. Working with organizations who want to create community, identity, and trust by sharing stories that make them feel more human. We're all people working within companies. I believe it's time to start acting like it.
- Matt Dibble, Founder of Final 5