We had the good fortune of connecting with Matt Jackson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matt, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Starting any business from the ground up involves some level of risk, and it seems that as I’ve gotten a little older I’ve become more tolerant of risk in my life. I’d always wanted to be a filmmaker, but when I was younger I was obsessed with just getting by and surviving. When I finally decided to make whatever moves necessary to make moviemaking my full-time career, it was clear that I needed to find a way to essentially bankroll my business venture. So, I took a job at a local factory and worked my way up to management. After three years, I took the massive risk of leaving this incredibly safe and lucrative position to go all-in on my filmmaking business after growing it and building a client base by tirelessly working on projects on my off days from the factory.
The risk was mitigated by the hard work, though. I worked equally hard on growing my business as I did at the factory job; success begets success, and now I find myself doing what I love every single day as a full-time filmmaker.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Having spent well over a decade in Los Angeles bouncing between acting, waiting tables, being a production assistant, and failing to start other businesses, I decided one day to write a web series so that my fellow actor friends and I had a project to work on while we waited for the phone to ring (not the best strategy, by the way; don’t wait – go get it.) After directing the web series, I got the bug to make more projects and eventually realized that I could take what experience I had garnered from my time in LA and take it to a smaller market, namely my hometown of Fort Morgan, Colorado, and hopefully help small businesses have better, more elevated content for social media outlets and television commercials. I’d actually never physically operated a camera or edited anything myself, so I took to it and just started one day – I shot a video of myself with my iPhone and got some fundamentals under my belt. Then I got my first camera and exploited YouTube University to learn everything I could about the gear. This was only four years ago. That’s maybe the biggest lesson here – you can achieve whatever you want if you’re willing to put in the work and learn. Sure, I’d worked on movie sets and commercials and knew how to write thanks to my time at the Groundlings Theater and knew the fundamentals of filmmaking, but I didn’t know anything about the practical application of the skills needed to do so. Regardless, a few short years later I find myself using a camera every day to film something or someone and it’s my CAREER. Still kinda blows my mind.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, I live in Fort Morgan on the eastern plains, so we’d hang here for a day and check out some of the sights. The town has a really cool museum at the local library that I love to show to visitors. Our rainbow bridge is a fascinating sight, and we’d hit up the local food favorite The Mav for dinner.
In Denver, we’d most definitely have to hit a Rockies game. Coors Field is one of the best in all of baseball, so that’s a must. Denver is such a great town for all things dining. We’d definitely do a “beer day(s)” and hit up Falling Rock (probably my number one favorite in the city) for some unique selections and a solid Reuben sandwich then swing by Great Divide, TRVE Brewing to check out what’s happening in the sour beer world, and Epic – I have to show everyone who comes to town the Big Bad Baptist.
Fruition Restaurant and Mercantile Dining and Provision are my two go-to restaurants in town. I’m a little biased as I did actually serve as sommelier for a time at Fruition when I lived in Denver, but I think Alex Seidel and his team make the best food in Denver, so those two spots would be absolute musts. To round out the trip, we’d hit either the Churchill cigar bar at the Brown Palace or Palma Cigars on Larimer, depending upon whether we’re feeling fancy or bohemian.
I also need to give a shoutout to Social in Fort Collins – they’re without a doubt the best cocktail and craft food place in FoCo, so I’d definitely make a plan to visit them during this trip. While we’re there, we’d have to hit up the old standards – O’Dell and New Belgium but also spend some time in Old Town and hit up The Forge, Tap and Handle, and The Mayor. Fort Collins is a fantastic beer town.
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?
I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today without the love and support of my parents. They created the framework for me to have the courage to take the risk of going all-in on my business, and they’ve supported me through thick and thin. I’m just so grateful for their love and selflessness.
Other: Company Insta: @ninestoriescreative
Main photo and first photo in “additional photos” by Frances Marron Kelley, Frances Photography Photos 2 and 3 in “additional photos” by Abbey Hough, Abbey Hough Photography All other “additional photos” by Eric Borg, The Nomadic Eye Photography