Max Prio, CSOM ’16, and Ryan Reede, A&S ’16, lived across the hall from each other during their freshman year. Neither expected they would be filming videos together on a daily basis just two years later.
Reede walked by Prio’s room one day and noticed that Prio was editing video footage on his laptop screen. The two struck up a lively conversation about their passion for filmmaking during the first week of school, only to never speak of the matter again throughout their freshman year.
One year later, Prio won a film contest hosted by Hyundai to promote a commercial for Boston College. Recalling Reede’s passion for film, Prio reached out to his former neighbor, and the two worked together to create their video, “Boston College Fan Loyalty.”
“Creating the video with Ryan was really our first eye-opening experience with video content and seeing that it was a necessity on campus,” Prio said.
During a meeting with the Cuban-American Student Association (CASA), Prio realized he had the potential to tap into a fresh market at BC. Prio showcased the Hyundai promotional video along with some of his personal projects to assistant director of Student Organizations Karl Bell, and the remaining members of the CASA. Bell was fascinated by the video, and argued that every organization on campus needed a promotional video—one that delves into the details of these groups so students can have a greater understanding about what some of the hundreds of clubs and organizations do at BC.
“There are all of these videos that convince you to come to BC, but once you get here there isn’t really any big resource to push you in the direction of certain organizations on campus,” Prio said. “That was something we wanted to change.”
Following the Hyundai promotional commercial, Prio and Reede began receiving video requests nearly every day from various groups across campus—including clubs, sports teams, a cappella groups, and dance groups. Prio soon discovered that this was a market that could thrive from a business standpoint, and Exposure Productions was born.
Prio and Reede are founding members of Exposure Productions, a student-run production company that creates promotional videos for clients at BC and in the city of Boston. The Exposure team is made up of 10 students—many of them studying film at BC. Exposure offers the dozens of students in the small department an opportunity to get hands-on experience in the film industry, while building a portfolio of professional work. The student startup is also responsible for producing the BC-based television series Mod of Cards, which plays off the original Netflix series House of Cards.
Prio and Reede’s extensive background in film stretches long before founding Exposure Productions. Prio grew up in Miami, Fla., son of a freelance film director, and has been creating short videos for a number of years. Reede on the other hand, was raised in California, creating and animating stop motion videos in his spare time. Reede’s father also created student films at UCLA while he was a high school student.
“Doing something I loved to do in my free time for actual work seemed almost like a foreign concept to me at first,” Reede said. “But it has worked out really well, and we have made some kick-ass promotional content right from the start.”
Exposure bases a number of its business decisions on the success of its role model, Sandwich Video—a film company based in Los Angeles that focuses on monetizing promotional videos for startups. Sandwich Video works with many companies that are looking to pitch their ideas to investors, but do not have a developed product yet. Their business model is designed to use videos as a source to get funding from clients in the future.
“For us, being in Boston and doing all of these promo videos, our end goal is to be this kind of resource for startups,” Prio said. “We are a startup ourselves and know how hard it is to get ideas out there, so we want to help businesses convincing people that they are worth the time and money.”
Exposure received a number of offers from clients across campus in its first year. The company’s first project was a promotional video for the Black Student Forum, highlighting its Black Family Weekend event. Although the video was a big success for Exposure, Prio explained that the startup had little influence in promoting its big debut project, and looked to get further
Exposure’s big break came when the Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) reached out and hired the startup to create a video for UGBC’s annual event, Showdown, with a tight one-week deadline. Spending roughly three hours in various dance studios each night, Prio and his team collected hours of footages to be condensed into a short 97-second video. The Showdown video collected over 2,000 views within the first 48 hours, and the Exposure media Facebook page, created at the same time, had 400 likes within 36 hours.
Over the past year, Exposure has also worked with other clients, including the marketing department in the Carroll School of Management, the BC Marching Band, as well as various apps and startups in the city of Boston.
“It’s really cool to help these companies and know that we had some sort of involvement in getting them launched,” Prio said.
Currently, Prio, Reede, and other members of Exposure are part of the team responsible for filming Mod of Cards. The show is the group’s biggest project thus far, requiring a significant amount of work compared to the three to five minute promotional videos the startup typically releases. Although the team is not compensated for its work with the show, Prio and Reede argued that Mod of Cards provides a bridge for the company to do work on a much bigger scale.
“We used to know exactly what we were getting into,” Reede said. “With Mod of Cards, you never know what to expect. We are super proud of the first few episodes and they are just going to get better and better.”
Looking to the future, Prio and Reede hope that they will have more time in their final year at BC to push Exposure to its limits. The duo plans to make more creative content and use skills gained from Mod of Cards in other projects, current concepts including a Boston time lapse video and a film-writing contest in the city.
“We’re at a point where people are realizing the value of video,” Prio said. “For BC as a whole, we want to give future students a resource where they want to go watch our videos because there is valuable information there. That is something we are changing.”
Featured Images Courtesy of Exposure Productions