We had the good fortune of connecting with Javan Hamilton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Javan, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
It was a natural progression of sorts. I got my first camcorder when I was 12 in 2001, and hosted a YouTube series twice between 2009 and 2012. So digital media had long been a thing for me. I was always a fan of local programming and public access, but it was a terrible day in class back in college where something possessed me to show my professor some of my hobbyist work. That, paired with my assignments, caused her to reach out to the marketing director at the campus. That led to me being a student spotlight on the public access show, which led to me being the producer, which led to me networking with other media creatives in the Baton Rouge market. As I posted my videos and designs online, I had people asking me to do work for them. By the grace of God, I’ve managed to bring that energy all the way to Houston. So there was never an actual plan, but more of happenstance–lucky, a calling, both, whatever you want to call it.Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
To be honest, I’ve never sought clients. They’ve always come to me and knock-on-wood, they’ve always been satisfied. Here in the South, there’s a saying that when you cook with love, it always comes out right. That’s how I am with my videos and motion designs–I clarify that I’m a video producer and motion designer. In fact, I use “with love” as part of my branding–the YouTube end screens and all of that. So with everything I create, it’s coming from a place of passion and wanting to put out the best work possible for whom it’s for. With that said, I’m most proud of the recognition my work has gotten, anywhere from publications like this one, to the National Association of Broadcasters (I did a story for a local broadcast on blight in North Baton Rouge, in which that footage was used on “The Fifth Estate” by the Canadian Broadcasting Company). Like I’ve said, it took that one bad day in class in 2013 for me to show my professor my hobbyist videos, and next thing you know, I’m producing video packages on the academic programs at Baton Rouge Community College while creating virtual sets for “MyScene TV.” After graduating, I would go on to host and co-executive produce that show…all while making waves at NBC/Fox duopoly WVLA Local 33/WGMB Fox 44 News (Nexstar Media Group). Then there’s “This Is Houston” on YouTube, “The Don Davis Real Estate Show” around the turn of the year 2019/2020 and what have you. Was it easy? Absolutely not. There have been many days and nights–still are–where I completely melt down; “Why am I doing this? How am I doing this? Do I deserve to be doing this??” I overcome these challenges and the impostor syndrome simply by opening up my MacBook and getting busy. Another thing I should note is that much of what I do is geared towards small businesses, as I’m a Yelp snob (additional shoutouts to Rebecca Whyte at Farrah Akhtar, Yelp Community Managers for Baton Rouge and Houston). So with all of that, the lessons I’ve learned–I’ve learned to just stay the course. Life as a creative is all about the ups and the downs, the stockpiles and the doldrums, and being able to adapt. But also, you must, must, must stay true to why you’re creating; it’s not about the clout, it’s about the art. Ars gratia artis.Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh…my…word… Thistle Draftshop. Ms. Mary (Mary Thorn) is a machine. She runs the beer bar on FM 2920 near me in Spring, and she’s been one of my favorite people to interview. She’s been in the brewing industry for two or three decades, and her selection is en pointe. I love The Woodlands, and The Woodlands Waterway is peak date night. But I’d also say the same for Hermann Park, Downtown Houston (especially Buffalo Bayou and Eleanor Tinsley Parks), and Midtown. But we can’t forget The Game Preserve. I’m a Millennial born in 1989, so I still have fond memories of the old-school arcades. The Game Preserve brought back so many great memories, so that’s definitely a must. That’s the thing about the Houston area–there’s so much to see and do. I haven’t even made it to the Johnson Space Center yet, much less back to Top Golf, and I live blocks away from one! Being here is what I needed in my life, being born and raised in New Orleans. I will always love Baton Rouge, but New Orleans and Atlanta are the slowest that I could ever go again…and New Orleans and Atlanta are Ferraris to me. So Greater Houston has me strapped up and in a space suit. *Eager.* Now, say I’m in a dream scenario where it’s me and a close friend, and I hosted a dinner party with the people I’ve met here, they’d be artists Edgar Medina, Sonya Cuellar, John Ross Palmer and Jesse Kantu–they’re royalty in my estimations. Also, Mary Thorn of Thistle Draftsthop, Rusty Key of The Game Preserve, Farrah Akhtar with Yelp and my boy Detroit the Barber. That would be, like, the dream get-together, as they’re all such bosses.Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are too many people to list–if this were an award show, they’d play me off… God, of course. I must give thanks to my entire family for their encouragement, as well as the academic opportunities they’ve provided in my youth. I want to give thanks to Ms. Angela, my college professor, as well as Ms. Janice, Ms. Ann and Ms. Johnson who were like aunts in class. Ms. Tammy, the marketing director for Baton Rouge Community College at the time, gets very special thanks, as she opened the floodgates when it comes to me actually being someone in media. But I also want to give a very, very, very, very, unfathomably special thanks to Detroit the Barber. I started as a client of his in 2018, and that’s led to a really great friendship and he’s been one of my biggest supporters. I do want to, however, acknowledge a book. Full disclosure, I’m at a rather…interesting point in my life. My day job is with an amazing book publisher, and while working on a catalogue, I came across a book called “Chasing Dreams, Killing Idols: A Story of Almost Famous” by Logan and Traci Merrick. I’ve never met him, but he and I have the same story of having a certain background talent (him singing, me filming), that talent rising to the surface, us becoming *aware* of that talent and then having massive goals as a result, but hitting a rather hurtful snag once we lose sight of our original purpose, eventually finding our way back to contentment. Contentment is something that gets lost on so many creatives once we realize our potential; it hurts, but sometimes we have to be reeled back in. And it’s always worth it.
Other: IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm7169195