Cinematography with Purpose | With Robin Saville, Owner of Saville Creations

1. Tell me about yourself and your business. name is Robin Saville. Since my earliest years I remember being fascinated with video and audio production. It started to come together when in February 1992 my wife and I rented a VHS camcorder to capture footage of our home, the mountains and my wife's growing stomach as we were expecting our first child. My wife is from Montreal, Canada and we wanted to show her family what life was like as a recently married couple. Editing that footage, on very primitive technology, renewed my interest which soon developed into a passion. That same year, while in school studying communications, I started Saville Creations.

Editing that first video I realized that when capturing quality video, using music and good editing, I could put a smile on the face of my wife's parents, and also a happy tear. I was definitely inspired and wanted to keep learning and researching technology. Technology in 1992 was very limited and extremely expensive. None of my editing was done on computers until the late 1990's. What also inspired me is being self employed. My parents ran a successful custom upholstery company so I grew up around the entrepreneurial spirit. I wanted to make a difference in people's lives. I wanted to tell stories through video and music.

2. What inspired you to start your business?

One of my first real productions was filming a Kurt Bestor concert that featured best selling Author, Richard Paul Evans. Wow. I was so intimidated and scared. I called people I had recently met who worked in film, asked a lot of questions and hired one of them to help me film the concert. The concert featured Richard Evans reading from his book, The Dance. An inspiring story about the relationship of a father and daughter. With Kurt's music, it was beautiful and inspiring...and I got it on film. The music and storytelling of that concert gave me the great opportunity to share both music and written word to a large audience through the medium of video. My motto of my company is 'Cinematography with Purpose.' I felt the need to be involved with productions that had a purpose and made a difference.

3. Talk about challenges in your business and how you overcame them.

Some of the early challenges were having no experience in a field I was heading head first into. There was no internet to watch instructional videos or learn about the market. In fact, the market was mostly available to people with big bank accounts and with years of experience and connections. There was no digital media like today. Nor was there digital editing software. Everything had to be pieced together on low resolution tape. For me that was mostly VHS tape as that's all I could afford.

My studio was our bedroom. My wife endured my many late nights with multiple VCR's, TV monitors, CD players and other equipment while she tried to sleep. And while she worked full-time, I would mow lawns to help make some extra money. I would present myself as a knowledgeable filmmaker to clients while mowing lawns of mostly widowed women around my Sugarhouse neighborhood.

I overcame those challenges by simply not giving up. Looking back, I am glad I was rather naive. I truly faked it until I made it. But truthfully, I am still trying to 'Make It.' I think in overcoming challenges and building a resume, I was persistent when I felt it was right and okay to be with clients. I soon had the opportunity to film many concerts for local artists like Peter Breinholt, Jon Schmidt because of persistence...and their kindness. I definitely did a lot of work for free...including that first show of Kurt Bestor and Richard Paul Evans. I did it for free in part because I had no idea what to charge. And I also realized I would have some bragging rights by having those names on my resume.

The lack of funds was also a significant challenge. Eventually I borrowed about $40,000 to invest in cameras and equipment. While this did help tremendously and it elevated the quality of my productions, looking back I would not have borrowed as much. It took many years to pay off and the short term benefits did not outweigh the long term expense.

4. What accomplishments have you experienced since starting your business?

I feel blessed to have had many accomplishments I can point to 28 years later. Some of these are videos about childhood cancer, suicide prevention for military and first responders, documentaries, an award winning TV show. I have been involved with The Piano Guys, MC Hammer, Alex Boye, produced a video about adoption, productions with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Last year I was involved with producing an international video for Range Rover. Recently one of my aerial drone videos was featured in over 500 Costco stores across the country. The video highlighted the autumn colors around Utah.

A character trait I believe has been beneficial is my sincere passion for the client and understanding their needs and who their audience is. I try to put my heart into their project, big or small. I also strive to create a long term relationship with them. I am glad to say that many of my clients know about my family and I know theirs. We are friends.

The wonderful thing today is the connections you can quickly make because of the internet. When starting a business, you can do a lot of research online. You can often even take online courses from people in the field. Don't be afraid to ask questions. I sometimes have people say to me that they know very little and are not very good at the art of filmmaking. I tell them that I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning. The only strength I had was a passion for the work and a desire to learn. I also tried to use my people skills to foster trust and develop relationships. This alone likely was the biggest asset to growing my company.

5. What would you tell others who want to start a business and don't know where to start?

I would also say to someone just starting out, don't think you know everything. Sometimes pride can get in the way. More than once I have had an unknown filmmaker tell me they didn't want to share their work because they didn't want people to copy their style. Funny how I never ran into those people again. Most likely you won't have a monopoly of style or creativity in the film world, and likely many other professions. Just do the best you can at the area you excel at and enjoy. And so what if others are doing it. My field is very saturated and today's technology makes it easier than ever to be a filmmaker. All I have to be is me and follow my goals and dreams...and never stop learning.

6. What are some of your 2020 goals? How do you plan to achieve your them?

My goals for 2020 is to develop some new skills in camera moves and lighting. These two skills are essential to good work. I also look to help launch a new reality TV show about a Utah family that flips homes. This family is a blended family that has experienced many of life's challenges and heartaches. Yet they work together, love each other (most of the time) and often completely redo a home before putting it on the market. It's their real life experiences that has drawn a national interest from the two pilot shows we have done so far.

7. Where can people find you?

I can be found primarily at:

Three Video Links.

Highlight Reel:

Range Rover Promo Video:

Our Flippin Fam Sizzle Reel:

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Rise Up Foundation

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