Welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview with Marci Klein, an L.A. Emmy award-winning TV Director and the founder of Klein Creative Media.
Marci’s impressive career in the reality genre of TV, including shows like Dr Phil, Inside Edition, and E! Entertainment TV, has honed her storytelling skills and expertise in video production. Her company specializes in creating impactful branding videos and drone cinematography.
Marci is also a licensed sports pilot, an avid surfer, an Amazon Best Selling author, and actively involved in various professional organizations.
In the past year, Marci’s greatest achievement was a successful collaboration with a fellow video producer she met at the (WBENC) Women Business Enterprise National Council women’s entrepreneurship conference.
Together, they produced and directed a Black Angus food commercial, showcasing the power of collaboration over competition.
In this interview, Marci shares insights into her business journey, the books that have influenced her, the challenges faced during the pandemic, and her vision of success in 2023.
Join us as we delve into Marci Klein’s inspiring story and glean valuable lessons for personal and professional growth.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Marci Klein: By sheer chance, my career took an unexpected turn during my time as a student at UC San Diego and little did I know that it would mark the creation of Klein Creative Media. Deviating from my initial plan of becoming a lawyer, I enrolled in a course called Visual Arts 101, where I was introduced to the captivating world of video storytelling. Instantly, I became enamored with every aspect of video production.
From that transformative moment onward, I reshaped both my academic and professional paths, dedicating two decades to the realm of reality and newsmagazine television. Eventually, I decided to step away from television directing to focus on raising my two children. However, in 2017, I embarked on a career reboot by establishing a production space in Redondo Beach.
This endeavor led to the expansion of my operations in 2018, as I acquired the adjacent office space and built a cutting-edge green screen studio.
Today, my passion still lies in storytelling through video, albeit with a fresh focus on crafting captivating content to assist entrepreneurs in expanding their businesses. Whether it’s explainer videos, introductory pieces, web content, executive messages, or engaging case studies, my team utilizes video, still imagery, and even drones to bring these narratives to life.
Beyond my professional pursuits, I am a Public Arts Commissioner, Board member and Ambassador to the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Producers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America.
In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.
Marci Klein: I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Women Business Enterprise National Conference (WBENC) in Nashville, joining thousands of inspiring women entrepreneurs and corporate supplier diversity representatives. During the conference, I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow video producer who owns a reputable video production company based in New York.
We instantly connected and enjoyed networking together, discussing potential collaborations in the future. Little did we know that the future was just a few weeks away.
Shortly after the conference, she reached out to me with an exciting proposition. She needed someone to produce and direct a Black Angus food commercial in Los Angeles, a task she couldn’t undertake herself due to logistical constraints.
Without hesitation, I accepted the opportunity. The collaboration was seamless and showed the immense power of collaboration instead of competition.
For me, this experience stands as one of my greatest achievements. Not only was I able to do what I love, but I also had the privilege of sharing in the success with a fellow WBE business owner. It exemplifies the joy and fulfillment that comes from supporting and being supported by other women entrepreneurs.
What advice do you wish you had received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?
Marci Klein: I often find myself wishing I had received more formal business training. I used to adopt the mindset of “do what you love, and the money will follow,” There is truth in that, but there is also so much to learn about being a business owner, and it’s not as simple as being good at your craft.
One big example I learned the hard way pertains to paying myself a salary. Looking back, I wish I had been advised to establish a consistent monthly salary for myself, regardless of the company’s income. This became apparent when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and grants and loans were primarily based on the previous year’s taxable income.
Regrettably, I often chose to forgo paying myself and instead retained the funds within the company, which proved to be a major mistake. In hindsight, I should have prioritized paying myself a salary and fulfilling my tax obligations, subsequently reinvesting any remaining funds back into the company. Unfortunately, my lack of knowledge regarding best business practices caused me to miss out on significant grant opportunities.
Since then, I have made it a point to actively educate myself. I understand the importance of staying informed and continuously learning, ensuring that I am equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate the ever-changing landscape of business ownership.
By immersing myself in educational resources and seeking advice from experienced professionals, I strive to expand my understanding of business practices and make informed decisions that will positively impact my company’s growth and financial stability.
Here is a twofold question: What is the book that influenced you the most and how? Please share some life lessons you learned. Now what book have you gifted the most and why?
Marci Klein: I know you are expecting some kind of business book that shed the light on how to be a better business person, but the book(s) plural that inspire me the most are books written by Stephen King.
The reason is he is a master storyteller. Sometimes the actual story doesn’t even have a great ending, or he leaves you hanging, but every step of the journey listening to the way he words his stories are just so compelling to me. The life lessons I have learned from him are to keep my stories interesting in my video business.
Boring won’t cut it, and I have to keep the viewers engaged every step of the way. When a client says, “wow…that was 2 minutes? It felt like 30 second,” that’s when I know I’ve done a good job with their video storytelling.
Trust me, I know I’m no Stephen King, but he is such an inspiration to me. I even told him so once. I was directing a behind the scenes episode on ‘Celebrity Jeopardy’, and he was one of the contestants.
I had the honor to tell him how much I love his work, and it felt great to meet my author idol. By the way, he’s super tall.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Marci Klein: Let’s face it, Covid was a huge challenge in that it required businesses like mine to close their doors. Pre-coved I thought I was one of the lucky ones to have a brick-and-mortar studio and production office; however, paying overhead for 2 years without the usual flow of clients, wasn’t so lucky.
Even with the government loans, it’s been tough to stick it out. Now add the talk of recession to the mix, and you have a lot of potential customers hesitant to spend money. So, it’s been rough, not just for me, but for so many other boots strap businesses.
But during covid I did some pivoting and created video products and zoom products to keep us afloat. I also used the down time to focus on learning to writing RFPs, and up my business education.
The art of telling stories has never been a challenge since I did that for 20 years in television, but it’s learning the nuance of business post covid, and finding the right clients has been the biggest hurdle.
2020, 2021, and 2022 threw a lot of curve balls into businesses on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past years, how can businesses thrive in 2023? What lessons have you learned and what advice would you share?
Marci Klein: Don’t rely on in-person networking like I did prior to Covid. For a few years we were totally reliant upon the internet and digital messaging as in-person connections ceased and I learned that my digital footprint wasn’t solid enough to keep my business thriving during the tough times.
My advice is to plant seeds both in person and digitally by investing in digital strategies and media that generate a return on investment and effectively promote your brand. There’s a lot of clutter out there, make sure you know what you are investing in, and if it’s not producing results, consider making a change.
At Klein Creative Media, we are committed to bouncing back from those challenging years. We prioritize the nurturing and care of our clients while delivering video content of the highest standard.
What does “success” in 2023 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Marci Klein: Success means balancing my work and family life and continuing to surf every week, which is a passion of mine, and also delivers me a fresh dose of creativity every time I spend time in the surf line-up.
Being in the ocean is like diving into creativity. The ocean is where I write my clients scripts in my head, long before my hands ever reach a computer keyboard. The vibe of my company is as important to me as the quality of videos I produce.
Everyone is welcome. We were honored to receive an Emmy for our documentary, “Santa Monica: A Community that Cares.” It serves as a reminder that success follows when we all continue to care, not just locally but on a global scale.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Marci Klein for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Marci Klein or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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