by Caroline Trembly
MEET THE AUTHOR: Greenville native and Endeavor Intern Caroline Trembly, who will graduate this fall from Clemson University, is currently majoring in marketing with a minor in brand communications through Clemson’s Erwin Center for Brand Communications. As Endeavor’s intern, Trembly focuses on content creation, social media management and public relations support. In addition, Trembly is interviewing Endeavor members to learn from and highlight Greenville’s creative community.
Growing up in Greenville, SC, I have always admired the creative influence that makes this city so special. With an assortment of art, culinary, and music events to participate in, Greenville is a hub for creatives. Most recently, videography and podcasting have increased in popularity, making Endeavor member Will Stewart the perfect interview candidate for me to start this summer series.
Will Stewart’s creative spirit developed in his youth with a vintage minolta camera and a passion to create. A born entrepreneur, Will turned his hobby into a successful web and print design company that he launched and sold prior to graduating high school. “I started my business when I was sixteen years old with $300 software and an 800-page manual,” he told me.
I can’t imagine starting a business at that age, but to hear Will’s ground up process was fascinating. This impressive milestone sparked his filmmaking career as the founder of 9/8 Central, a video production agency that helps companies “win customers with cinematography.” 9/8 Central is a unique cinematography company with diverse experience branding for both large and small businesses.
In addition to being a Gold ADDY Award-winning Director of Photography, Will has a heart for start-up businesses. With proven cinematography skills, he understands that the principles used to make Fortune 500 commercials can be applied to any company.
“It’s not worth it to me to just create something for the sake of it or take shortcuts with video. I want to make something that has a lasting impact for my clients and their employees. What gives me the most joy in my work is bringing clarity to a client’s brand through video. Properly branding a company is not only incredibly satisfying, but it makes a better future for families, employees and businesses,” Will said.
When not out shooting footage, Will uses his studio at Endeavor for video editing, podcasting, and client meetings. “Not every day is the same, but each one brings new challenges and I love that. The time I come most alive is in front of a white board making 1,000 decisions with my crew and our clients, all while raiding the snack table,” he laughed.
His joy for capturing meaningful stories is extended beyond filmmaking and into the art of podcasting. Alongside 9/8 Central, Will created his “Fire At Will” podcast to encourage small business owners with honest conversations from local entrepreneurs, including Endeavor members Jason Blumer and Erick Arbé.
Podcast topics range from tips for overcoming start-up challenges to understanding your target audience. “The reason this podcast exists is simple: I love small business owners and I want to help you succeed,” states Will.
As a business owner himself, Will notes how immersing himself in a creative community pushes him to move his company forward. “Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely thing, but that doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Surround yourself with people who motivate you. Those friendships make growing pains easier and can help you be a better boss, entrepreneur and service provider.”
Interested in his transformation from student to CEO, I asked Will for advice as a future college graduate and aspiring business owner. To my surprise, Will shared a humbling perspective to his career journey. “You have to start somewhere in your career. The people you admire weren’t an instant success. Although the first thing you create might be terrible, if you recognize it’s terrible, that means you have good taste and know to improve.”
“The creative world is a place where anyone can claim to be a creative without actually creating anything. Real creatives create, and nothing will stop them from creating. If my business were to fail tomorrow, you’d still see me filming iPhone videos next week,” he said.
Will Stewart is a true creative, not marked by a professional title, but rather a motivation to create.