Successful entrepreneurs are the subjects of myth, and most of us can only dream of leaving behind cushy jobs in the corporate world to enter the unknown of the start-up. To learn about the figures behind the companies and industries that shape our lives, we decided to start a series on them!
We hope you take inspiration from the people, or entreprenomads (as we like to call them), who were crazy, courageous and resilient enough to take the leap from climbing the corporate ladder to running their own projects. We certainly do!
Entreprenomads is a new series from us, so tell us what you think – we’d love to hear from you!
At some point in our lives, most of us dream about being in the film industry. We’re drawn to the glitz and glamour of all the beautiful people on the silver screen. But, it is an industry that seems almost impossible to break into – there is just so much talent out there!
To help answer some of our questions on what it’s like to break away from corporate and get a start in the business, we talked to serial entrepreneur David Gim, the co-founder and producer of the Australian motion picture studio, Continuance Pictures.
How did you get your start in film production?
I first became involved in mid-late 2017 when my friend and current producing and business partner, Tristan Barr had an idea for a Sci-fi trilogy called ‘EVO’. We had been friends in high school and had later studied Film and Television together. Tristan had adapted his script into a comic book and got in touch with me because I had a few contacts down that avenue. Like with most creative processes, everything was very much unplanned and unpredictable in the beginning.
When I met Tristan again in early 2018 to speak about ‘EVO’, a lot had changed in my life – I had recently departed the company I had been running for five years. When we sat down to chat, I didn’t have specific goals for what I wanted to do or even plans for the next 12 month period. After a few hours of conversation, brainstorming and spit-balling, the idea for Continuance Pictures was born.
You used to work for Blackstone. What made you decide to run your own company?
I was never interested in completing tasks for people, who were more qualified but lacked passion for what they do. I started to look into careers where I would be happy regardless of the paycheck, and where dedicating my time and effort to something worthwhile would sustain my passion.
What was the hardest thing and what was the best thing about leaving the corporate world?
Uncertainty scares everyone, whether you’re leaving the corporate sector, or making another big life or career change; there will be a degree of uncertainty. But soon, I came to realise the beauty and satisfaction you could find doing some things for yourself. So while I was nervous, I quickly became more excited about achieving things on my own.
What has been a highlight of your film career so far?
We recently launched a short film funding program for emerging filmmakers called the Continue Short Film Initiative. This is providing opportunities to create short films that will be showcased in A-list film festivals around the globe. Hopefully, this will redefine the industry standards and to encourage people to think outside the box.
A personal highlight of my new career is the people that I’m currently working with at Continuance. From just myself and Tristan, we now have a team of 21 working all over the world from the US, South Korea and Australia. Being able to form a young and passionate team in a short period required a lot of work and really had me thinking about the ‘big picture’. It’s probably one of the most satisfying feelings for any start-up founder to have absolute faith in your team and to be excited for the next 5 to 10 years.
What was the Short Film Initiative like and how did it go?
It was an overwhelming process. But we are very happy and surprised by the number of individual creatives who believed in our program and wanted to be a part of it. We received over 100 submissions from all over the globe, giving us an opportunity to discover the next Spielberg.
What about your career in the film industry do you think would surprise the people around you?
I don’t know if people are surprised, but people have asked how we’ve managed to put together such a talented and energetic team. People have also been surprised we’ve been able to progress so quickly and make such a big splash. That’s a lot to do with the passion our team has for great cinema.
What are three qualities you need to make it in the industry?
Persistence, passion and having a great attitude are essential for this industry. Don’t let others dictate over your decision-making, but be open to receiving advice from people you respect. Always be prepared to face the consequences of your choices. Never blame others, because you don’t ever learn anything unless you take responsibility.
Continuance Pictures isn’t the first company you’ve started. Can you tell us a bit about your previous projects?
My last venture, before Continuance, was something that my friend from college started while I was still studying. I have never got into anything that was completely related to my educational background, but it was about taking the leap and taking your chances with the people who share a similar vision. That’s the key element that I look for when working with people.
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What is the best advice you can give to someone who aspires to start up their own company?
Starting a company is incredibly hard. But it becomes a much easier process once you have found something that makes you excited every day and when you have found the people who share a similar vision and passion as you. Doesn’t matter when or where you just need to start. So my first piece of advice would be to jot down ideas and start acting on them.
Have you developed any bad habits as a result of starting your own company that you’re trying to improve on?
Continuance Pictures is the sixth project/company that I have been involved in. The bad habit is that I’m easily excitable. All the projects that I’ve worked on, I get attached to very quickly and very deeply.
You’ve been travelling a lot recently. Where are you just coming from and what are your flight survival tips?
I was in London recently meeting with filmmakers for next projects and off to Austin to attend SXSW and LA in March for promoting our latest TV show. Survival tips? Eat half the amount as you usually do so you are feeling light and fresh, and avoid consuming anything too sugary.
Where’s your favourite place to unwind?
As hyperbolic as this may sound, anywhere that has an open road and allows me to go on a motorbike ride for an hour or two. It’s my personal therapy session. But anywhere in southern France, especially Cannes.