As president and CEO of Wide Eye Productions Inc. in Winston-Salem, Robert Van Camp has firsthand knowledge about just how stiff that competition is.
"You don't just jump out there," he
says, "because someone will steal your ideas right away."
As an Emmy award-winning producer, Van Camp has come up with his share of good ideas.
Nationally recognized for his
movie-making "eye," his
programs tend to appeal to both national audiences and industry professionals.
And while more than 50 percent of his
business is in creating independent documentaries for national networks, Van Camp
remains a realistic businessman.
The high-profile broadcast alone won't pay all his
has carved out a niche for himself in the corporate promotional video market with Triad companies
By maintaining a stable of both local and national clients, Van Camp
has diversified his
base of business so that no one setback will shut him down.
even edits a weekly church program.
"I did a lot of work for Wachovia before the merger (with First Union in 2001), and I haven't worked with them in two years," he says.
"But I don't rely on just a local or regional work base."
Wide Eye Productions North Carolina
Behind the camera
A former television producer and photojournalist for WFMY News 2
, the local CBS affiliate based in Greensboro, Van Camp
own production company in 1993.
"I didn't see a future working for other people anymore," he
"I thought if I didn't get out early enough, I would never get out."
So Van Camp
started free-lancing two days a week and offering his
services to local corporations.
produced internal training and promotional videos.
Keeping costs low is particularly important to Van Camp's
nonprofit clients, including the YMCA and Goodwill Industries
creates high-end productions whether clients have budgets of $5,000 or $50,000.
With this type of approach to business, Van Camp
gradually generated and saved enough money to buy his own equipment and move the company out of his house and to its current location on Martin Street.
With seven Emmy awards and 27 nominations to his
name, Van Camp
has created a successful and profitable company.
has three projects in production and four in the works.
travels the country promoting videos for public television fund drives.
Last month he
was in Grand Rapids, Mich., promoting Great Scenic Railway Journeys
, one of his
most popular and successful shows.
"Rob has an excellent sense of what makes an interesting story to the viewers," Carrie Corbin, Grand Rapid's WGVU TV's program manager, says.
"My philosophy has always been don't overextend," Van Camp
"I'm very conservative when it comes to risk-taking and having a lot of debt out there.
I have no debt.
When I buy it, I buy it outright."
That can be a challenge when television and editing equipment runs in the $100,000 range.
But upgrading equipment keeps Van Camp
ahead of the competition, an invaluable distinction, he
For example, until recently, he was the only high definition television producer in the Triad.
produces shows for the likes of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox
, it's imperative that his
equipment is on par with his
New York and California colleagues.
"I am able to offer cutting-edge technology," he
"We have the technology and talent and can offer it to local clients at a reasonable rate.
They don't have to pay for the big New York firm to come into town."
But technology is only one part of the equation.
eye for emotion is what many clients say bring them back.