The Story of the Alliance – Part 1
This past spring, I lost $20,000 in one week. It was one of the worst weeks of my life.
I own a video production studio in the Northern Virginia area called Mirandum Pictures. We’re small, but we’ve spent the last 15 years making amazing commercials, music videos, short films and more. I’ve surrounded myself with a team of amazing people and we’ve gotten the chance to film in beautiful locations all over the world, and meet incredible people, some very famous, others not.
And then COVID-19 happened.
I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life. That first week alone, a documentary trip to Jordan was canceled 3 days before our flight was supposed to take off. Then another mini-documentary canceled. Neither had any choice: lockdowns meant that no one could travel or gather in groups to work.
And that was just during that one week.
The days that followed were like a nightmare: every morning brought a wave of new cancellations. Major organizations who had signed up for high-end gala videos suddenly found themselves without a gala to show them at. The studio we relied on to shoot commercials in was forced to close its doors to the public. Reliable clients suddenly didn’t know if they were going to survive a long lockdown, and they quickly slashed advertising budgets. Within days, our revenue stream flatlined. And there was literally nothing we could do about it.
If you own a small business, this is a familiar story.
As the weeks turned into months, the one thing became clear: I was surrounded by small businesses who were facing the struggle of their lives–and no one was listening to them.
The government wasn’t listening. There was some money for business loans, but it was not even remotely adequate and it was quickly snapped up by larger businesses with armies of accountants at their disposal. Most of my colleagues received nothing, or close to it.
The news wasn’t listening. News outlets focused on the pandemic itself, and that’s understandable. But as a result, small businesses were failing at a catastrophic rate, and very little attention was being given to them. Something deeply tragic was happening on a national level, and very few were watching.
I couldn’t sit by and watch that happen any longer. So I did the only thing I know how to do: I made a video.
I wanted to give those folks a voice. I didn’t know how far it would reach, but I knew it was important. With a very small crew that, for the most part consisted only of 2 people (myself and Jacob Schwartz, the director of photography who filmed this piece) we visited small business after small business, recording their words and filming them in their eerily empty locations.
Many of them cried. Most said they were glad of what we were doing, just because they felt like their lives had been turned upside-down and nobody was listening.
But the video was missing something. We had captured the voices of so many small business owners, but what were they asking for? What did they think needed to happen next?
I didn’t have a good answer. But someone else did.