We had the good fortune of connecting with Evan Mann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Evan, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Well, there was nothing else for me, except the impulse of creating weirdness, that was worthwhile and life giving. As if I have this genetic quirk, perhaps even an extra internal organ, in which produces a stream of creative juices that get Trapped inside my body. The pressure builds and the need to release is essential for me to be the human that I am.
At one point, after graduating college with an art degree, I was a direct care provider for people with mental and developmental disabilities. It was a beautiful occupation in many ways, but there was very little room for creative expression, and it paid less than $9/hr. Nothing about it was sustainable for me.
Finding a creative path (that also provided for a family) was the challenge.
Even being an adjunct professor some years later, teaching in an art and art history program, was a struggle. It took a lot of tweaking and trying a ton of things, but making videos was there all along. My mom actually told me on several occasions that I should become a filmmaker. Should have listened to her earlier. Mom knows best!
I come from a visual arts background, and studied printmaking in undergrad and grad school. Process was always important. Process and layers. Also, I have a quirky sense of humor, a way of seeing. I think most people find it a bit weird and esoteric, but it brings a certain aesthetic to my work. I think this way of seeing has helped me to build the career I enjoy today.
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?
Deborah and I started Otherworldly Productions in 2012, and we never expected it to become what it is today: a company that can provide for our family, and we have full control of how it operates. At one point I wanted to grow the company into this big video producing machine, and we had hired some incredible people full time (whom I still work with today) but that path did not fit the inner direction of my heart parts. I listened to my inner voice and found I prefer a lean approach to running a business and creating video projects. When a large project rolls across our desk, we hire the folks who will best carry the vision of the project. This allows me to work with different people all the time, while keeping internal overhead low, which allows us to be flexible in many ways, but it also means I need to wear many hats, which I don’t mind. Keep it simple, because complexity in life is stressful.
Also, I continue to make and propose weird projects and concepts, which is essential to the creative path. Hug the weirdness and make something different. It is refreshing! This embracing of visual risk-taking has been very helpful in growing our brand.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We would go into Rocky Mountain National Park and disappear deep into the wilderness, surviving on a diet of sawdust and peanut butter, while hitching rides on the backs of the local Sasquatch clans. It would be a good time.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My Mom. She encouraged me to consider being a filmmaker. She knew I needed something creative and technical that was also commercially viable.
Deborah, my wife. We started Otherworldly together and she supported the vision from day one. She manages the books and clients accounts. She is a crusher!
My experience at RISD during grad school. All of my professors and fellow students. They pushed me so hard and made me really uncomfortable in all the good ways. Specifically, it was the Digital Media department who let me check out cameras and use their editing booths to make videos. Although I was getting my MFA in printmaking, I spent the majority of my time in the Digital Media department. I am very thankful the walls between departments were mostly invisible.
All the people I get to work with here in Colorado. You are wonderful and keep me sharp!
Other: @evanforrestmann https://vimeo.com/otherworldlyproductions
All images are copyright of Otherworldly Productions, LLC