Capturing the beauty of a luxury French hideaway on camera before jetting off to film the Croatian coastline from a yacht is all part of ‘the day job’ for Carrick McLelland. He spoke about his start-up story so far with Ground Level Up.
The 19-year-old, from Stirling, launched Ground Level Up, a specialist online video production company, earlier this year after deciding to turn his freelance filming career into an official business with help from Business Gateway Stirling.
Having picked up the camera aged 13 to take photos of downhill mountain bikers, he secured his first piece of paid for work a year later; undertaking a range of freelance photography and filming jobs throughout his school life before heading to London to studying film production.
But fierce competition in the capital made him realise that moving home, where he already had a good client base, would provide him with more opportunities – and since launching in January he has been inundated with jobs that have seen him jet across Europe.
He said: “I’ve been lucky as one job has rolled seamlessly into another – work for a hospitality company in Edinburgh opened doors with the owner of a French vineyard looking for a promotional video. He then hired me to make a further promotional film for his hotel in the Alps.
"That work showcased what I can do and helped me secure my biggest job to date with Sail Week Croatia, which I’ve just completed. It involved 19 days of filming on a yacht, capturing the beauty, energy and excitement of the ‘once in a lifetime’ holidays the company offers.
"The film will be used as part of a viral marketing campaign to secure bookings for next years’ sailings.”
He added: “Businesses now realise that having quality content which can go viral will help them build their brand and reputation.
"Research has shown that 71% of people are more positive about companies that use video to tell their ‘story’.
"If done properly it can provide an almost immediate return on investment. For example, I made a short film for a restaurant earlier this year which was shared one thousand times and generated two thousands likes and comments on social media.
"After it went ‘live’ the restaurant was inundated with bookings. A picture can tell a thousand words, but a well-made film can sum up your whole ethos in under a minute.”
Although Carrick’s ultimate goal is to become a full service advertising agency, he is presently focusing on building his own brand and has taken on two agents to sell his services, and his unique billing plan.
He said: “A lot of businesses hear video production and come out in a cold sweat thinking about cost.
"What I offer is a payment plan that only asks for a 25% upfront payment followed by monthly instalments dependent on the number of videos and timescales involved.
"It not only helps them spread the cost, it provides me with a reliable, monthly revenue stream.”
He added: “It would be easy to get ahead of myself, as I have big plans, and that is why I am grateful to Business Gateway. Right from the start my adviser has helped me stay focused, providing advice for my business plan and signposting me to potential funding streams.”
Sandy Slater, Business Gateway, said: “Carrick is very talented. Although young, his age has not hindered his ability to secure a steady stream of work.
"His enthusiasm, grasp of new technology, which includes using drones to film aerial shots, and understanding of what a social media savvy audience wants has already helped his clients reap the benefits of their investment.
“Our support gave him the knowledge he needed to set up a business, and by taking out a loan via the Start Up Loans Company he was able to purchase equipment to produce high definition film, buy an aerial camera, establish a website and hire post-production editing suites.”
If you're based in Scotland, find out how Business Gateway can help your business by calling 0845 609 6611.
BQ Will continue to cover Carrick's story as Ground Level Up continues to grow.