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Meet Kevin Conway, AJ Roskam, and Stephen Kipp of Flightless Bird Creative

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kevin Conway, AJ Roskam, and Stephen Kipp.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kevin, AJ, and Stephen. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
We started years ago back in high school producing comedy sketches, short films, and working freelance jobs (those we could get as 18 year olds). Unlike most people our age, we were shooting on some high-end gear with large crews, on-location, with costumes, props, lighting – the whole production. A couple years later we ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to produce an indie feature film. It was at that point that we realized we were getting pretty good and started talking about forming a production company. We launched in 2015 using our young age and comedy roots as advantages, and started working with tech startups, bands, and other local film producers on a wide variety of projects. Today we produce commercials, brand videos, indie features, short films, and, of course, we still produce comedy sketches.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As with any startup, we’ve definitely had some challenges. One of those challenges was our age when starting out. Though our age is one of our greatest assets as it allows us to target millennials with our content, it required a bit more effort to convince clients to trust us. Over time, as we’ve built our portfolio and client base (and gotten older) it’s become less of a problem.

Another challenge was starting the business during college. During the school year, our team was spread out across the country, from Minnesota to New York, Rhode Island, California, and Indiana. Though we were all working in the same office in Chicago during the summers, our work didn’t stop during the school year. This meant a lot of travel, a lot of late-night Google Hangouts, and a whole lot of cramming papers right before class. Being a college student and an entrepreneur at the same time is essentially like working two 24/7 jobs. This was trying at times, but about a year into it we had a rhythm down that worked and things became more manageable.

Please tell us about Flightless Bird Creative.
We are a full-service film and video production company. This means we offer everything from creative development, scriptwriting, casting, and location scouting to production, editing, sound design, and visual effects. One of our specialties is humor, as most of our creative team originated as either comedic writers or actors. We’re also not just a group of AV nerds. We all come from different walks of life, some of us photographers, artists, musicians, actors, and even stand-up comedians. This brings a really well-rounded approach to everything we make, which I believe sets us apart.

We also produce original content which has always been a really important part of FBC.

We all got our start producing comedy sketches and short films, and we’ve always kept those a priority. They challenge us creatively and remind us why we do what we do.

Often times the style of the videos we make for clients reflects the style with which we write our own content.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Overall, I’m pretty happy with the way things went and the decisions we made. If I could go back and do one thing differently, it would be to lock down a solid team more quickly.

Throughout the first year we worked with a lot of really talented people that produced some great work for the company. However, most of them weren’t able to put in the time and sacrifice a startup requires to succeed. It took a long time to find a group of people that were both talented and had the driving entrepreneurial spirit essential to launching a venture. Once we locked down that team our productivity skyrocketed and we grew much more rapidly. And luckily, we still regularly work with most of the people we started out with on a freelance or contract basis when we need their skillsets.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Shane Biggus
Roxanne Guieb
Laura Hilger

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