Steven Camp – Founder of Steven Camp Film & Television Financing
Though being disciplined and staying on the phone to constantly keep deals moving is hugely important, having a focus during that time to initiate face-to-face meetings has proven to be a good strategy for me.
Steven Camp, founder of Steven Camp Film & Television Financing, began his financial services career in 1996 at the First Of America Bank Brokerage Services Division. During the next 12 years, he represented a number of financial services firms in various capacities. He held multiple security registrations with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) during this period and developed an in depth understanding of financial markets. Camp is currently the Co-Chairman of Desert Wind Studios, and is the Founder of TEN10 Entertainment, TEN10 Television and TEN10 Precious Metals.
Steven Camp joined Desert Wind Films as the Chief Financial Officer in the summer of 2008, and founded TEN10 Entertainment and TEN10 Television in 2015. Camp has played an integral role both in securing private and institutional equity investors and serving as the company’s spokesman. His success in raising funds for films such as Brother’s Keeper has enabled Desert Wind to cast top-quality acting talent in conjunction with production standards at the highest cinematic quality into it’s projects. In addition, In the process of DWF’s first feature film Brother’s Keeper, Camp helped secure the rights to the original story, “The Gift & Giver”, and had an integral role in the development of the film.
Steven Camp brings his ability as a public speaker, and his expertise in financial transactions to the film and television industry. He travels throughout the country serving as the spokesman for the company & for the projects on the DWS & TEN10 slate. Steven is responsible for managing the strategic direction for and administration of investment, funding, as well as overseeing all budgeting of Steven Camp Film & Television, DWS and TEN10 projects.
Steven Camp has served as Executive Producer for multiple documentaries including the feature documentary “Sugar Wars”, as well as various TV pilots such as “Leading Little Ladies” and is the Executive Producer of “Brother’s Keeper”, “A Broken Bridge”, “BEEBS – The Don Beebe Story”, “The Amberley Snyder Story”, “Possum Trot Cloggers”, “Muse”, DeathHouse” and other DWS feature film projects.
Where did the idea for Steven Camp Film & Television Financing come from?
After spending close to two decades in the financial industry in both Chicago and New York City, I find it exciting to be able to apply those experiences to the deal making involved in so many aspects of film and television finance. Virtually every strength I harnessed in finance prior to founding Desert Wind Films and TEN10 Entertainment and TEN10 Television, I utilize daily in entertainment finance in one way or another.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My standard day is to wake up at 6am and immediately start to check to see what emails came in, and how the markets are doing overnight in Europe and Asia. My standard at a glance routine is to check the DJIA, the S&P 500, the NASDAQ, along with the price of Gold, Silver and Crude Oil… I’m usually in the office by 8:30, and keep pretty busy on the phones and in meetings until I head home to my wife and young daughter at about 5:30 (though I’m quite frequently working from home after baby goes to bed and before Mindy and I do).
How do you bring ideas to life?
Bringing ideas to life is simple when you really believe and are passionate about what you’re doing. I’m a really big fan of a huge white board. Virtually every company and/or film and television project we’re part of started on one of our white boards in one of our offices. Once we have an idea laid out completely, we then build a really nice professional ‘pitch deck’ around that idea or project. In some cases – if the project is an investment opportunity – we will build a Reg D 506C Investor Portal around our project. In the case of our television fund the same company designed our investor portal, also underwrote our Offering Memorandum… And if we really like an idea, we’ll put together our resources from our production entity Desert Wind Films, and we’ll shoot a 3-5 minute Sizzle Reel around that concept, feature film or television show property idea. If a picture speaks 1,000 words a Sizzle Reel is worth a million…
What’s one trend that really excites you?
What’s happening in the television industry is pretty exciting trend, and also creates a huge opportunity. To put it simply there has never been a moment in history when television content was has been more valuable. The television industry, traditionally, has been a business that is closed to outside investors. As the global market explodes and new distribution outlets open almost weekly, high-end television content had such demand.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I believe one of the productive aspects in by business life, stem directly from my personal life. Living a healthy, sober and family oriented personal life, allows me to have the energy I need to be able to plow through every day in such a challenging industry. That and the strength I draw from my faith, and from holding true to Christian values in both my personal and business life, is the core of who I am.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The worst job I ever had was with UPS. When I first started with that company it was a part-time position at a time when I really needed the money I was earning. I worked with them during the Holiday Season when their business exploded, and my job was loading trucks at night during the Peak period. I was in a 45 foot trailer in the middle of winter with boxes coming at me from a never ending conveyor belt, and when things got really busy I would often work a double. Meaning that instead of putting in 4-5 hours and getting off at 11pm, I would stay on for a 2nd shift and load a few more trucks until 4am in the morning. Terrible job that took a toll on me physically… Ironically some of the discipline I learned while working at UPS, helped me throughout my professional career. I remember today how organized that company was and remember constantly being impressed with the organization of our management team. Working for UPS and the unbelievable logistics they process daily, has helped me to realize that with proper organization and the right team, anything can be accomplished.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If I could start again I would have become a father at a much earlier age, though it is an incredible blessing to have become a father to our incredible daughter Samantha at the age of 44. From a professional standpoint, I know exactly what I have done differently if I could do it all again. I would have left Chicago many years prior and would not have spent so many years of my life pushing trades and option strategies, while having a brokerage firm absorb the majority of the commissions I was generating for my clients accounts. I wish I would have left the brokerage business many years ago, and had started working in entertainment back when I was in my 20’s. Though the experience I gained in my twenties and thirties as a broker, helped me become a more successful businessman and entrepreneur.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I dummy up and dial, and I shake as many hands as possible… The entertainment industry, especially entertainment finance is all about relationships. When I’m back in the office and not on the road speaking at events or meeting people for lunches/dinners to present our opportunities, I do my best to stay disciplined and make many phone calls to see how I can further our business or our projects. Having a few great ideas or projects is one thing, executing and working hard enough to make a difference to these projects is where the rubber meets the road.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Though being disciplined and staying on the phone to constantly keep deals moving is hugely important, having a focus during that time to initiate face-to-face meetings has proven to be a good strategy for me. There is nothing more powerful then the chance to present to someone in person, and it’s even better to present to multiple people at one time. I’ve found that being flexible regarding my schedule, with a willingness to jump in the car or on a plane to conduct business has been a strategy that has worked for me and my business partners.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Many years ago, when I was working in Chicago as the executing broker for multiple trading systems, my sales manager came in and asked me if I could squeeze another system in the execution through our desk. As I learned more about this trading system I became really excited. This trading system that I would be raising funding for, and executing the signals from the featured trader on a daily basis, really had potential. The featured trader was a PHD Mathematician at Berkeley, has been written up by NASA, and had a delta neutral options trading strategy that had performed really well in the 90 day trial our firm performed on systems before we got involved bringing in clients. My team and I raised more then $8,000,000 in 30-days for this system, and in the 2nd month of trading in 2006, Israel invaded Hezbollah and the S&P 500 markets went a little nuts. We had a ton of very complex delta neutral option spreads on, and the volatility completely knocked our spreads out of whack. After 4-days of meeting margin calls and of blowing people out of trades when they couldn’t come up with the cash needed to meet the margin calls, we finally had to blow out of the trade completely and endured a hit of more then 80% on that book in less then a week. I learned that no matter how smart or experienced the people are that I’m working with or have working for me, that keeping a focus on risk management is a huge priority. Things very seldom happen the way we intend. Protecting our investors money and our intellectual property is where we start, and we work backwards from there.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I am currently following the best business idea I have ever had, raising money for film and television and related projects.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Personal – The best $100 I have spent recently was going taking our entire family to the Fort Worth Zoo in the afternoon on Easter Sunday. After Church and a great brunch, we packed our two-year old daughter and three of her step-brothers in the car, and spent about four hours at the zoo. It was a great way to spend a holiday afternoon, and the weather was perfect.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I’m a new big fan of Reputation Rhino, an online public relations firm and brand management company based in New York City.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I always recommend the “Left Behind” series to anyone who asks me.