Dan Edelstyn

Digital Film Bureau

Tell us about your background

I used to set boats adrift when their owners were at home / I was almost sent to naval college to correct my ways. Instead I was sent to an expensive boarding school where I did morning runs and smoked fags behind bushes. I ended up studying history in Paris, where I got a job reviewing films and theatre. It inspired me to start trying to make me own films / I got back to London and used credit cards to get started, and before I knew it I had turned into a terrible filmmaker. I persisted and managed to get into Channel 4 where I was making short documentaries / on the side I managed to start shooting high end commercials and corporates and my claim to fame is directing Kevin Spacey / he wasn't a nice chap alas / and he hurt my feelings. But I lived.

Elevator pitch: What is your agency about?

We believe that the traditional production company has failed to adapt to the slow death of television. We use Facebook, Youtube and Instagram to engage large audiences and drag them down into our funnels, using the magic of filmmaking to turn them into hot fans, taking out their wallets and transforming our clients businesses into cash machines.

Where did the idea come from?

A lot of heart ache / we made the most beautiful films and watched them languishing on websites in the dustiest regions of the internet. They could go for weeks without much life. I began to realise that traffic was king/ but at first believed in the myth of the viral video / like all you had to do was be funny or outlandish - but soon this became absurd. Gradually I researched all this and became fascinated with the ability of the web to foster niche audiences and it all began to tumble into place.

What were some early challenges you faced?

Technology / hundreds of apps, patched together with duct tape / massive bills / uncertainty / the mad desire that things might stop changing / but the need to adapt or die drove me on.

How has your business changed from it’s inception to now?

quite a lot / it's changing day to day/ I now see a huge potential in using web training as a tool to grow my core business / and given that I have creative independent projects, I realise I am my own dream client. If only I'd pay better.

Tell us about your biggest failure

It must be when Iaunched my vodka brand / and despite getting it in selfridges, the ritz, one aldwych and the Dorchester, I couldn't make it sell at scale. I had no idea how to make the bartenders sell more / or get it widely adopted. I was up against the big boys, but I hadn't done my training. I was carried along by passion and my addiction to adventure. When the mafia took over the distillery that was it / I couldn't work with them on what was meant to be a social enterprise vodka. I felt terrible for my investor.

What is the best indicator for you that your business is working?

Just the mad uptake of our services / I don't even have a working funnel at the moment, but have just secured a job to create 22 short videos, shooting in Texas, building them into a membership site. And then all the traffic and sales we are generating every day and the huge growth of my indie project.

What is the biggest challenge you face with your business daily?

I think it's trying to find a network of like minded professionals who understand what I'm trying to do and can help. I'm training up my assistant producer / he's taking to it really well/ we need more people/ and there are so many ideas I want to undertake / but they all take so long. So really I need to just focus on the core job/

What’s something you wish clients understood better about your business?

That they do not need to wait to live the life of their dreams and to get to where they want to go / they can use this technology to catapult themselves into profitability very quickly - as long as they have a good product and the logistics to back it up.

Are there any areas you’d like to expand in over the next few years?

Not really / there's enough going on already

Are there any technology trends that you’re particularly excited about using in your work?

Just the explosion of story / and visual story everywhere / and how it's being shared / so many opportunities to connect with people all over the world.

What advice would you give someone who is considering launching their own agency?

I'd say make sure you have enough money to mess up for a bit and not panic / buying traffic and all the monthly app costs are expensive// try and find like minded people to surround yourself with / be brave / take the knocks and keep moving forward. Don't get distracted/ read the 4 hour week by Tim Ferris / things don't take long to accomplish./ Question almost every traditional idea you have about what's possible.

Can you give us your best tip for making customers happy?

Simply give them the results they need / under promise / over deliver has always been a recipe I have tried to live by.

Can you recommend a great book that everyone must read?


Finally, what are you most excited about for the future of your business?

Serving my clients at a very high level, and making more money that I would have dreamed possible only a year ago. I want to make my business mobile and travel the world having high adventures, and to see my children grow up and contribute to the world around them and to be happy and engaged. I believe we live in very uncertain times / I do worry about the world we are passing to them, but I also try to focus on the areas I can make an impact - and their lives are certainly one of those unique areas. Business and personal are so deeply intertwined in all our lives, realising that means that we can make decisions based on our true natures and these give us the power and resilience we need to turn things into a success.

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dan edelstyn

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Learn more

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