Today we’d like to introduce you to Justin Schaefers.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Well, that is a long winding roundabout story. I never thought I was a Director, I actually always told myself that I wasn’t. I started out as an Actor in NYC. As a side job, I worked for my buddy Anthony who was a co-owner of Drive-In Studios which is an awesome photo studio in NYC. I ran the coffee bar and poured the shots at the end of the day. Tough job, but it afforded me the opportunity to go to my auditions.
When I decided to move to Los Angeles, my connections were In the Photo world so my first job was at a small photo equipment rental house in Santa Monica. I ended up learning the gear and meeting different photographers. I eventually started running the studio for a prominent fashion photographer all while still acting.
Eventually, I started freelance photo assisting and got in with some really big photographers and got a master class in lighting and composition from the best in the world. I got to travel the world and have some of the most amazing experiences with some of my best friends, but I never wanted to be a photographer that wasn’t my calling. All of a sudden video started becoming more of a request from clients as more and more content was needed.
It started grabbing my attention more and more. I had written a short film and really wanted to make it but didn’t have the tools or know how to do it. So right before we got married my wife gave me the greatest gift for my birthday. She bought me a Canon 5D mark 3 and said to make your movie and I haven’t looked back.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I am a first-generation German American. My father is from Berlin and when he came over he just worked and worked and worked to achieve the “American Dream.” He never went to a traditional College he went to the University of Life and just made it happen.
I crazily decided to follow his lead and take a chance on myself and I am so thankful to have the most amazingly supportive parents who allowed me that opportunity to do that even when everyone thought they were crazy. You know not going to college and going after your dreams is not a smooth road by any means. First of all, if you have all the experience and may be overqualified for a job but don’t have diploma doors are just closed on you left and right. It’s incredibly frustrating and sometimes scary to be like WTF am I doing.
Looking back I am glad I didn’t have that safety net because I might have ended up settling and not pushing through
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Kaiser Bear Productions story. Tell us more about the business.
My company is called Kaiser Bear Productions. We specialize in all things video. It’s crazy when I look back at the work we did last year we have stuff all over the map. We have VR, AR, Fashion & Lifestyle campaigns, Celebrity, Music and Social Branded Content. It keeps us on our toes and helps keep us fresh creatively.
Since I came up in the photography world I am in this great spot of now getting to work with the photographers I have known for a really long time. Everyone is needing video content these days and I am happy to step in and help make some magic when I can. We take our work seriously but love to have fun doing it and I think that is something that sets us apart.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is a funny thing… My buddy always said he just opens the door and gives people opportunity when he can what they do with it is up to them. You need those doors opened now and again but to his point, you have to have put in the work so when they are opened you are able to make the most of it. So I guess I have been lucky to have learned from and worked with the best people in the business to make me ready for whatever pops up.