We had the good fortune of connecting with Dan Curtis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dan, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I always wanted to have my own business even when I was a kid and would sell Pokémon cards out of the back of my parents’ house. I went to school for film and began working at a production studio in Chicago. I started out as an editor and worked my way up to directing. We produced content for household names like Kenmore, Craftsman, and Nike. After working there for several years, the company went under and I found myself at a fork in the road. I could have either looked for a job at another studio and stake my livelihood on them or I could give freelancing a shot and see where that took me. Before I could make up my mind, I got a call from a client who one of my colleagues had referred to me. Then another client reached out and the next thing I knew, I was a freelancer. It wasn’t until I moved to Colorado that I formed an LLC, opened a business account, and put processes together into what I would consider a business. I don’t think I could ever go back to working at another studio. The way I look at it, when you work at a company, you have all of your eggs in one basket. When you run your own business, every client is a different basket. It’s good to have a lot of baskets.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I’ve been working professionally in video production and commercial photography for just over a decade. I believe Curtis Visual Works is where it is today because of the rapport I’ve been fortunate to build with my clients. As a small business owner myself, I aim to provide my clients with transparency, experience, and professionalism through every creative project we work on. They trust me to always be honest with them and to guide them throughout the entire production process. In return, the relationships built with my clients are long-term. Watching projects come alive after weeks or months of planning is the greatest feeling, and one I am grateful to reflect on. It wasn’t easy to get to where my business is today as I’m sure all small business owners recognize. It takes a good amount of trusting in yourself that you will succeed. The biggest challenge of running any business is being confident in your decisions because as an owner, it really is up to you! That takes time to develop and hone. Curtis Visual Works is about telling your story through authentic and captivating visuals with a trusted business partner by your side. Your story is the glue to making any creative project come alive, and that’s something I’m proud to represent.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ve lived in Colorado for six years and have only skimmed the surface of this incredible state. For a quick day hike, I’ll take them up towards Mount Falcon or Green Mountain. My wife and I love to backpack so if they are up for it, I’d take them into the backcountry for a night or two. When it comes to the city, Adrift will always be my favorite cocktail and small plate stop. For dinner, you can’t go wrong with El Five, Uncle, or SuperMegaBien. If we were to see a show at the Bluebird or the Ogden, Pete’s Kitchen off Colfax is our favorite post-show munchie spot. A few of our other favorite venues we try to share with friends in town are local spots like, Larimer Lounge and Cervantes. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I grew up one of five to two hard-working parents who taught us the most important thing in life is to be kind and to do what you love. The start of my freelance career was full of late nights, working for pennies, and lots of microwave ramen. At no point did my parents try to convince me that I was making the wrong decision by following my dream. My other greatest supporter would be my loving wife, Cayla Curtis, who also happens to be an incredible photographer. She always inspires me to be my best self and reminds me to take a breath and enjoy the view. I’ve met a lot of talented photographers and cinematographers working in Colorado. My go-to collaborator for projects is Rhett Cutrell of Fornever Productions. He is extremely creative and a skilled technician. He is always there to bounce ideas off of if I can’t wrap my head around the logistics for a project.