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Meet Andrew Helms of Feralflix in Central LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrew Helms.

Andrew, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve lived all over this country due in large part to a rocky start in life. I was shaken as a baby and spent some time in the hospital. When I got out, my dad had lost his rights to me and my mother, under circumstances I’m still not wholly sure of decided it would be best if I moved in with my great aunt who happened to live in Kansas. A long way from Las Vegas where I was born.

So I went to live with my great aunt and her husband and fate would have it that they would adopt me. But fate would also have it that they would divorce when I around five.

I moved back and forth between the two, living all over Kansas, before eventually moving in with my brother in Illinois for a year or so when I was 15. And then at 16, I finally made my way back to my biological mother in Arizona.

As you can imagine, high school was a bit of a whirlwind. I ended up going to 10 different high schools and never did graduate.

Five years later, I found myself in Utah, working at a multi-cultural center at a University. They paid for me to get my GED and then education was my world. Seven years later, I had received a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing and a Masters in Instructional Design and Technology. I had worked in D.C. and landed afterward in good ole California where I find myself today and have spent the last five years of my life.

Here in California, I focus my attention in two intertwined paths: HR Leadership and Filmmaking.

I’m currently wrapping up a 2-year emerging leadership program at a financial services company called Capital Group and I’ve run a video strategy agency for the last three years, though I pivoted my business around January to focus on screenwriting and wound down the work we were doing for corporate clients.

One of the biggest things I learned running my business the last three years is exactly what I do and don’t want to be doing with my team. I’m a father of three, so there has to be a really compelling reason to continue doing anything that takes up a significant portion of my time. Video strategy didn’t meet the cut this year. I wanted to be doing bigger things that touch more people because I have an incredible fire within me to figure out how people connect to each other, why they disconnect, and how you can draw them back to together.

Video strategy didn’t help me achieve that. It certainly built me up and gave me experiences that will help me make better stories on paper and visually through film, but it was time to evolve.

And that’s where I am today. 🙂

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Definitely not. 🙂 Although I don’t think it’s a smooth road for many.

Family Issues: abandonment issues.
Educational Issues: not finishing high school, long period of inaction in my professional career.
Professional Career: working manual labor jobs to get through college and get a good-paying role, taking on roles that were much bigger than anything I’d ever done before, starting a business from scratch and making it profitable.
Personal Issues: coming out of my shell and being the real me rather than me I thought everyone else wanted, learning how to love my wife better and let her love me too.

Please tell us about Feralflix.
Today, we’re a small company focused on telling stories that show how connection between people is our greatest strength and our greatest weakness when broken.

That means we spend a lot of time writing spec scripts to submit to film festivals, produce on our own when small budget enough, and sell to producers when they need larger budgets.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
One memory that always comes back to me is asking my grandfather for money for tacos. Instead of just giving me the money, he made me move bricks from the backyard to the front yard. If I ever wanted money again, I had to move the bricks back to the backyard. That’s always stuck with me.

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