Although employment opportunities for recent graduates can be hard to come by, Calvin grad Brad Jansen ('11) is all smiles. Why? "No matter what, people will always get married." This is good news for Jansen's videography company, Bradley Productions. In addition to traditional wedding photographers, more and more couples are looking for videographers to capture their nuptials on film in innovative and artistic ways.
For Jansen, the production is not about pointing a camera at the altar and pressing "record". "I am trying to tell their story," explains Jansen, "the story of two people coming together." Couples who order Bradley Production's premium package receive high quality footage of the ceremony and reception as well as interviews with the bride, groom, and members of the wedding party throughout the day. The result is a personalized piece of videography that captures the "essence" of the experience.
Jansen graduated last December with a degree in Business Communication (now Organizational Communication), an interdisciplinary major that required him to take classes in both the CAS and Business departments. The diversity and versatility of a CAS degree attracted Jansen. "I didn't want to do just film," clarifies Jansen, "I liked marketing and event planning as well. I wanted to work with media as well as people." His classes taught him how to relate with customers, market his company, as well as to shoot and edit film effectively—all skills he uses on a daily basis.
Before going abroad for the spring, Brad had not given much thought to his plans for the summer and beyond. However, he had filmed weddings in previous summers and had booked several more for this past summer. However, through personal recommendations, strategic marketing, and an abundance of engaged friends, bookings began to skyrocket. By the end of the summer, Jansen had shot 24 weddings. Because he often has more than one wedding in a single day, he employs Calvin grad Garrett Veurink (Media Production '11) and Calvin students Stephen Panaggio, Thad Winkle, and James Kessell to represent Bradley Productions at multiple locations.
In addition to increasing his filming expertise, managing Bradley Productions has taught Jansen the process of starting a small business. "It seems like a lot of work," advises Jansen, "but it's not as hard as you might think." Because Bradley Productions is a registered LLC, Jansen is responsible for giving paychecks to his employees and meeting with his accountant several times a year—important responsibilities for a small business.
As for the future of Bradley Productions, Jansen does not seem worried. "The more weddings I do, the more potential clients I come into contact with. It's all about the impression—the atmosphere," explains Jansen, "Your business network is as big as your personal network." Furthermore, one socio-economic truth encourages Jansen, "People will always budget for a wedding."
As for advice for communication students, Jansen says "Dabble a bit in everything, test out all the different parts of communication. The more you get experience now, the more you will have an idea of what you want to do after you graduate… see where you thrive." By looking through the vivid, personal films made by Bradley Productions, it's clear that Brad Jansen is thriving.