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My name is Rogelio Gazga, my colleagues call me Roger, my family and friends call me Ro. I am a product of the 80s, glam rock, Marvel comics, Sci-Fi, leg warmers, ok, that last one was just for historical reference. One of my professional inspirations has been, and I hate to sound cliché but here it goes; Star Wars inspired my career. At 7 years old I was at awe at the power of film and it’s collaborative effort. I was intrigued that a bunch of people got together and created such a visceral collection of images that continues to inspire generations. I know papa George (Lucas) was creatively behind my beloved saga, but even at that early age I was amazed at the work that the team of artists at the yet unknown ILM did to make those films come to life, literally out of nothing. Later as I read more and researched how George Lucas and Francis Ford Copolla created their own production studio, again just from a spark and an idea, I again was inspired. Copolla and Lucas said, “we want to be able to own our own cameras, we want to own our editing systems.” That’s what I wanted too. I recall thinking that very thing at an early age when my friends and I were blowing things up in my backyard and filming the explosions only to watch them in slo-mo after Woolworths developed our film. As a matter of fact, my business partner Jim and I toyed with a marketing slogan, “Edit in Your Underwear” based on the fact that we would own our edit gear and can edit any time we wanted, even in our underwear. But I digress.
Our business has turned many corners since Jim and I founded the company in 1994. Initially we earned our first paycheck shooting events, weddings, and recitals. We were successful at it and we earned good money. One year we had 65 weekends worth of events. But after a few years of that we turned to more professional aspirations having enough starting capital from weddings and with some help from mom and dad to purchase our own ‘Edit-Droid’. Well, that was what non-linear editing was called when Lucasfilm co-developed it and it eventually became AVID. Notice again my Lucas reference.
In the late 90’s Silhouette Productions became SPI-tv Media Group in order to ‘step away’ from event videography into a more broadcast and professional friendly world. That transition was easy since I worked and still freelance for Telemundo and NBC5 as a news photographer and live-truck operator. I had my foot in that door and nurtured relationships that helped the company grow.
Winter is usually a slow period but we’ve been non-stop since Thanksgiving of last year and it’s been our busiest period ever. That’s nothing to sneeze at. By the fall each year, production really slows down industry wide, budgets are spent, folks are gearing up for the holidays and overall we start cleaning up the office to make ready for a new year.
My business partner Jim and I started the business because we love to work, we love the independence, the challenges and rewards. Being an entrepreneur is scary business; you never know what’s around the corner. I’m not sure if we’d done it differently what we’d do. There is a sense of accomplishment to have been able to see our professional experience grow through all the hands-on work and projects that that we’ve been involved in. Some highlights include producing a trilogy of telenovelas for an auto dealership, recruitment spots for the Secret Service, shooting an indie film in Oklahoma, producing a doc on the life and adventures of the founder of Motorola, (he helped us win the war by helping Uncle Sam with the use of two-way communication on the battle field) The mix of our projects have been quite diverse as you can see. As an entrepreneur, working for yourself really puts the proverbial hair on your chest.
SPI-tv Media Group has been around for over 20 years. We have worn many hats at the start. We have enjoyed a series of client success stories; marketing and ad campaigns that helped our client/partners succeed as well as helping us grow. Not only our work experience but also professional relationships. We’ve survived many periods of drought and enjoyed plenty of periods of bounty. We just enjoy our work and feel blessed that we get paid for what we love to do.
Word of mouth has been our most successful marketing partner. When we team up with a partner-client, they continue working with us and we help them expand. Word gets around and we gain the trust of new and old clients alike. In 1994 we had a back room in Jim’s apartment, and slowly through persistence, dedication and good fortune we have a great Wrigleyville location with five edit suites, audio booth on site, all the gear and equipment that definitely positions us as a premier production and post production boutique. So much that we’ve even been known to edit in our underwear from time to time.
Writer: Rogelio ’Ro’ Gazga
Company: SPI-tv Media Group, Chicago
Visit Their Website: www.spi-tv.com