Chase Smith of Warrenville, IL has big dreams of one day operating a late-night Christian talk show. With every dream comes an initial step, and for Smith, this step materialized itself in the form of Pant Seat Pilots, LLC, a Christian entertainment production company he formally established in June of 2014. The company is based out of a home office, and Smith has one business partner, Ryan Harnish.
Pant Seat Pilots specializes in digital shorts and illustrated sermon videos, with the goal in mind of evolving into a company that produces high-quality, high-production videos that their audience finds respectable and, most importantly, genuinely entertaining. The talk show would feature a pastor, author, charity, or Christian organization in each episode, giving their guests exposure on a platform that includes audience participation. Pant Seat Pilots has been in operations since 2013, and they’ve been planning, filming, and taking various other small steps to lead them to that ultimate goal.
Smith discusses the importance of formally establishing a small business.
“Becoming an LLC legitimizes your business and shows that you’re serious and know what you’re doing, and that you intend for this to be something that lasts. If you don’t set up an LLC, it shows that you’re not passionate enough to put finances into your dream. Anyone can have a website or business card, but it takes effort and initiative to become an LLC, and it separates you from the people that don’t,” he explains.
Now that the LLC is set in stone, the team is focusing on priority number one – high-quality and entertaining material. Smith believes that will be what makes them successful.
“We want to create work that we’re proud of, that we can show your 6-year-old child or your 86-year-old grandmother. We’re not trying to match the cheesy material that’s out there. I believe in the importance of creating content and developing high-quality and entertaining material, having professional relationships, and showing that we are true to our word,” he elaborates.
For Smith, the aspect of small business ownership he finds most enjoyable is the connections he makes with his viewers. When his audience gets amusement and entertainment out of what he does, it validates his goals.
“I love the people that I meet and work with, and the creative process that’s involved. Hearing what people want and then making it happen, and them using it for what it’s intended to be, is enjoyable for me,” he confides. “I love doing what I’m passionate about, so it’s really cool to dream and dream with other people. Just seeing their excitement has been a lot of fun and a huge sense of joy for me.”
Smith is aware that competition is always going to exist in any industry, and entertainment can be a cutthroat industry at times. But Smith is altering his approach and choosing to view his competitors simply as people he can learn from, and narrowing his focus on building content. The demographic for Pant Seat Pilots is open-ended, although the work the production company does for churches is tailored to fit the specific needs of a Christian audience. Still, according to Smith, many of the digital shorts available on their site are random, silly, and can appeal to everyone.
Challenges of Owning a Production Company
Most small business owners would agree on the old adage that time is money, particularly when a business partner with a conflicting schedule is involved. For Smith, that reality is no different.
“We all have full-time jobs and we live roughly 500 miles apart, so it’s hard to produce the content being so far away from each other. Plus, we both also have families, so we really have to be intentional about carving out time and not letting it go to waste. Make sure you have an itinerary and that everything you do has a purpose,” he urges. “It’s a lot of work. You can’t just wish for it and it will happen. You have to have a plan and then follow through with it. You need dedication and discipline, and that’s not easy to attain! It’s why a lot of people don’t put that time and effort into it. If you’re not passionate about it, you’re going to stop.”
Tips for Entrepreneurs Behind the Camera
“Make sure you’re passionate about what you want to start, and understand that you’re going to experience frustration when you start. Patience is huge. If you have dreams and excitement, it takes time to develop and time to catch on. Keep making content! Don’t derail the train,” he exclaims.
Testimonial for 1-800Accountant
Chase Smith is a client of 1-800Accountant.
“I’ve totally been satisfied. They’ve helped me so much. I had no clue what to do or where to start, and they have helped me every step of the way. I would definitely recommend them for any startup,” he says.
Image credit: The logo included in this blog post was provided by Pant Seat Pilots, LLC and is used with permission.