Independent films fill a big niche in the entertainment industry. John Rogers helps shoot many of these movies through a startup company he recently launched in Glendale, California.
Rogers, who is a client of 1-800Accountant, proudly serves as the CEO of XVIII Entertainment LLC. The small business became official in November 2012, but Rogers has been making movies and other video projects for over 20 years.
XVIII Entertainment LLC consists of Rogers, his business partner named Frank Mora, and four part-time employees. The small business specializes in doing production work on independent films. It also rents out cameras to other producers.
On the filmmaking front, the startup company has gained a reputation for producing children’s films, along with action and horror movies that contain dazzling visual effects.
Rogers says it was a job he held many years ago at which his passion for filmmaking was born.
“I had started working at an advertising agency,” he says. “That’s where I did my first production project. From that point on, my interest in filmmaking continued to grow.”
He believes the creative minds of those involved in the startup company are ultimately what have and will continue to make it flourish.
“The creativity that our company has is what makes it successful,” he says. “We are able to bring creative projects on and deliver a great unique product.”
XVIII Entertainment LLC has had many of its productions featured in theaters worldwide, on DVDs, and online through iTunes, Netflix, and other movie-viewing services. It is currently making a movie titled A Horse Story about a girl and her horse, who is her best friend.
“It’s a magical adventure of growing up,” Rogers explains. “It’s an animated and live action film. We put a muzzle replacement on an actual horse, so it looks like it’s actually talking in the movie.”
A Horse Story will be distributed by Archstone Distribution and is expected for release in the late summer or early fall of 2014. Other films have included the award-winning Hero of the Day and Insomniac. Rogers has done behind-the-scenes work on Reno 911, Supernanny, Necessary Evil, and Night of the Living Dead 3D.
He talked about what he enjoys most about being a self-employed owner of a small business in which he can pursue his passions every single day.
“I love seeing a finished project and watching people smile when they see the films that we make,” he says. “I also like seeing all the visual effects that we can put into a project. We can do anything from making things explode to making animals talk. It’s pretty incredible.”
Small business owners of all walks of life encounter some competition in their respective fields. Rogers describes how this affects his small business and what he thinks can raise it up among the others out there.
“We’re a smaller niche-based company,” he explains. “We would typically take on 1 project and focus on it instead of having multiple projects going on at once where this could affect productivity. We also have less overhead, and we’re still in the growing stages. This means we can offer more personalized service. We put our heart into our work.”
Marketing is a vitally important aspect of helping a startup company get known in its market. To facilitate this process, Rogers draws on his inner-circle of contacts and typically gets clients through word-of-mouth referrals. The business also has a website – www.xviiillc.com – and utilizes Google AdWords, e-mail marketing, and social media.
All small business owners face various challenges when getting their startups off the ground. Rogers says it has been the small business legal and tax details that have been the biggest roadblocks to deal with.
“The accounting and bookkeeping aspects of running this business have been my biggest challenges,” he says. “As a production company, we spend lots of money each month on production costs, which means tons of receipts. We needed a good way to organize them to claim tax breaks. I used to use accountants who didn’t want to handle the business accounting. Once I found 1-800Accountant, it was so amazing to hear that I could just scan these receipts, send them to you guys, and you’ll prepare everything for me.”
Advice For Aspiring Small Business Owners
Rogers offers a few relevant tips for entrepreneurs based on what he’s been through.
“If you are an entrepreneur trying to start a business, set the goals high,” he says. “There is so much competition out there that in order to succeed, you have to become the best at whatever you do. Set your goals high and don’t lose sight of them.”
While being a self-employed business owner has so many advantages, it does have a few noteworthy drawbacks, Rogers says.
“I get to make up my own hours,” he says. On the other hand, running a business is so complex. It’s almost like you have to have a business degree to do it because of all the little details involved. There are so many things you can fall behind on –taxes, payroll, losses, damages, and other things.”
As a 1-800Accountant client, Rogers says he’s been extremely happy with the support he has received from the national accounting and business consulting firm.
“1-800Accountant lifted a ton of weight off of me,” he says. “It’s amazing how much support and help they’ve provided to me. I would gladly recommend 1-800Accountant to anyone looking for a service like this.”
Along with XVIII Entertainment LLC, Rogers also owns The Film Group, Inc. and Cochise County Pictures LLC. These production companies are subsidiaries of XVIII Entertainment LLC.
Photo Credit: The photographs of John Rogers and the cover artwork for A Horse’s Story were provided by XVIII Entertainment and are used with permission.