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Meet Kory Garrett of ChromaLive Productions in Inland Empire

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kory Garrett.

Kory, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I originally started out in music. I had been playing guitar, bass, and piano for a few years by the time I got to Norco College, where I entered the Commercial Music program. During this program, I met a lot of really talented musicians and studied with some amazing professors who were all really passionate and knowledgeable about music. My goal at the time was to become an audio engineer and work with musicians but also create sound effects for video games and movies.

After Norco, I transferred to California State University San Bernardino where I entered the Business Administration program with a focus on Entrepreneurial Management. During my track, I had been thinking of ways to utilize my audio engineering and music roots while moving towards a growing interest in film and video production. I came up with an idea to create a YouTube show called In The Garage that featured interviews with local musicians as well as performances by the artist of the week. I handled the cameras while by good friend Kevin Allen managed the audio and a few other hands helped both in front of and behind the cameras.

Looking back, I think it’s clear I could have done better to say the least. I didn’t really know what I was doing but just went for it to see what happened, and I had a lot of fun doing it. However, it all helped me realize I wanted to be involved in a film career and that’s when I started creating ChromaLive Productions.

I started slow, taking some online classes and getting some free gigs to practice and learn. After a decent amount of time, I managed to be making some money here and there, at least enough to pay my rent at the time. My goal was to work with local artists, businesses and musicians to help showcase their work/business and create content for their online profiles or websites to help differentiate them in an otherwise saturated digital marketplace. But then I started getting kind of stuck working with only musicians for a while. This lead to some fun work that I am really proud of, but not a lot of pay. So business kind of slowed for a time, and I found myself not sure what the future was going to look like.

I decided to shift my focus from full production to post-production. Editing had been my favorite part of a lot of my projects because I enjoyed bringing the story together into one final product. I joined a local production company called Digital Native based out of Corona, Ca as a freelance editor as well as continuing projects on my own on the side. I was even able to join Digital Native on some of their full production projects, which helped get me back into doing more of those on my own again.

After some time and various projects, I began working with a motivational speaker by the name of Dee Hankins. Right away, I could tell that we were going to work well together, and we definitely have. I was able to make some great content for him, and he was a dependable and consistent client. We had a lot of plans to make some great stuff together, and I felt like we were going to create work that meant something and helped spread his positive message.

Then, of course, the Coronavirus. All of my freelance work shut down almost overnight. I shot weddings on the side of all of my other work and that was done immediately. Dee primarily speaks at schools across the nation, so that work stopped too. I still have some work coming in, mostly editing, but everything else has come to a halt. I am lucky, however, as I joined a company working on their marketing just before most of this went down, but it was just supposed to supplement my income when I wasn’t working as consistently. I had also been working more with American Film Institute student films and doing more grip work with plans to enroll in a program to join I.A.T.S.E. Local 80, but that’s all done for right now too.

Regardless, I feel positive about the future. I have some ideas and things I’ve been meaning to create for a while that I think I now have the time to do. It also gives me a chance to do more writing and honing my storytelling abilities. If anything, it will keep me busy and help me create a body of work to show when the shutdown is over. I think I may even re-brand and do business as myself instead of another name, but we’ll see.

My goal for right now is to just create as much as I can during most of my downtime and to get innovative with it. I’m so limited in what I can do with regards to the shutdown I think it opens up an interesting set of parameters to make stuff with. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

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?
It has not been smooth at all. I have had countless times where I’m wondering if I’m just wasting my time if I’m really good enough, and so many other doubts. Other times where I feel like a fraud because I just didn’t think I knew enough or create good enough work to convince people to work with me. Times where I wasn’t sure if I could pay rent or buy groceries. Times where I was on the brink of giving up entirely and just getting a day job.

The learning curve in this industry can be pretty drastic depending on which route you go and can be very intimidating as a result. Not to mention that it is totally saturated with people who are gunning for all the same work you are. Some of them are really bad, but there are others that are incredible and produce stellar work. Both of those types of people will make you want to quit for one reason or another. However, and I guess this goes for most other professions, you just have to keep your head down and learn as much as you can, acknowledge your mistakes, and keep pushing forward knowing more each time.

ChromaLive Productions – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The mission of ChromaLive Productions was to help local businesses, artists, and musicians showcase their work on their digital profiles or websites. We provided video production, graphic work, audio engineering, and anything else needed to provide the content necessary.

What I am most proud of as a company if being able to work well with a majority of my clients over the past few years to create something that we can both be proud of. I am proud of the fact that if I feel confident in speaking my mind with a client if I think we could do something better or if I think a certain course of action is better than another. Overall I think they feel comfortable with me in that I am only trying to provide the best possible end product for them.

What sets me apart from others is I think my ability to work well with others as mentioned above. I have no problems splitting up responsibility and handing tasks to others and trusting them to handle it. It can definitely be hard to do at times, but can also create a better end result.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I think it would have to be my work with a local band called BANTAMWEIGHT. I have produced two videos for them and I was pushed outside of my comfort zone at least a little on each project. Each project also showed me that the things I was really worried about in the final cuts weren’t things anybody else ever noticed, so they each taught me to lighten up a little bit and not get too hung up on the tiny details. They can be important, but not enough to lose sleepover.

Overall I just felt great when I watched the final cuts of each video, and it made me feel like I was good at what I did.

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Image Credit:
Rainey Zimmermann, Felicia De La Isla, Dee Hankins, Kory Garrett

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