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While most college seniors are worrying about finding a job after graduation, it is rare that a student leaves school with a business of their own already waiting on them, let alone a business they started while still in school.
Chris Bryant, 23-year-old senior from Paducah, Ky., is the exception to that rule. With a TV production major and his own graphic design firm, Sixty Seven, he already has plenty of experience under his belt.
Bryant officially put a name to his company in 2011.
“I first started when I was a junior in high school and I did a few clients here and there – just fun stuff – and now I’ve had clients out of Nashville, Tenn., Louisville, Ky. and St. Louis,” he said. “I even had a client contact me from Seattle.”
Being a part of Murray State’s own high school workshop, Bryant brings videography-based lessons to surrounding area high schools that did not have access to the technology before.
“I think everyone, everywhere deserves good design,” Bryant said. “It was just something that began in high school for me and I realized then that I liked to make things look good.”
Nick Campbell, a graphic and motion designer out of Chicago, is Bryant’s biggest inspiration in the graphic design industry.
“I am self-taught, eight years of work self-taught so it was just following tutorials he posted,” he said. “It was just following those tutorials and learning all the basics.”
Bryant is a one man show most of the time. Depending on how large the job, he does enlist help. In the past, Bryant had a 20-person team working on one project.
“My main thing now is wedding videography,” he said. “Murray is a great town for wedding production, while not so much for motion design or graphic design. Since Murray is one of the only places around that does video production it would be very easy to step a foot into Nashville and bring some of their business here.”
There is not a lot of demand for serious videography projects in the Murray area, but he has recently had a few large ventures brought his way that he is excited to get started on, Bryant said.
“I actually had my first international client from Spain, so that is something I am about to start working on right now,” he said. “It’s a poker thing, and it’s some professional poker player who wants to make an introductory video that tells people the rules and regulations on playing online poker in all these international countries.”
Aside from Sixty Seven, Bryant is also involved with many other production-oriented activities on campus. He is the sound engineer for the CFSB Center and for Lovett Auditorium. He is also one of the producers for Roundabout U.
“Working at Roundabout U is an amazing experience, and I’ve been there for three years now,” he said. “It’s one of the amazing things that is great for students, and at Roundabout U I try to find those students jobs and if I have more work that comes in at my business I am happy to pay them. If I have extra work, I will hand it out to them.”
Managing time is also something Bryant has to deal with on a daily basis between his own firm and his other jobs while maintaining a full course load.
“It’s very difficult,” he said. “A lot of it depends on being very up front with your clients and letting them know that you are a student and school is what has to come first. As silly as that does sound, a degree is important, but in our field of television and production, people don’t look at your GPA or your degree; they look at that film reel. All you have is 60 seconds to impress someone.”
Throughout his entire experience Bryant said he has learned some very important lessons that will follow him for the rest of his career.
“Getting clients is the easy part; it’s maintaining clients that’s the hard part,” Bryant said. “You can have this amazing, brilliant idea that will change the world and everything else, but if you don’t actually do it it’s just an idea. You can’t wait around for somebody else to do something about it, you have to go after it and do it yourself.”
Story by Breanna Sill, Contributing Writer