Production company owner says passion for video goes back to his teen years

When Nigel Washington was a student at Chamblee High School, a teacher suggested that he look into the school’s new broadcast video program. He immersed himself in both the creative and the technical parts of broadcasting. “I decided then and there what I wanted to do with my life,” Washington said, recalling the in-house news broadcasts he helped create as a high school student.

After college in New York, he returned to Georgia and turned a passion first ignited when he was a teenager into the business he now owns and operates in Decatur.

Washington started Means of Production in 2017, working with his mother and a network of associates in the industry. He said although he studied filmmaking at Bard College, he was off to a slow start once he launched a career. “The courses at Bard were more theoretical so I didn’t have much work to show at first. They taught us more in terms of full-length Hollywood productions.

It’s good to have that knowledge, but that’s not what I expect to be doing.”

While at Bard, Washington and a member of his “posse”—a support group for students with similar interests—started a campus television show. “Bard TV is still being produced and I was one of the founders. That’s so cool; I’m very proud of that,” he said.

Attracting clients in the video production industry involves a lot of networking, according to Washington. “Sometimes the person who’s not as good from a creative or technical standpoint will get a job because that person is better known,” he said.

Eager to get exposure, Washington said he started his business with people he knew—many of them performance artists who needed videos. As word of his work spread in the area, Washington started finding work taping weddings, fashion and sports spots, short films and a variety of other productions, especially spots to be shown on social media.

“This is what I want to do,” Washington said, “but on a higher level. We have passed the point where social media is something kids play around with. Major corporations—Fortune 500 companies—use social media to get their messages out. As a member of the millennial generation, I get it: I’m very savvy in social media and that gives me an advantage over some older people in the industry,” Washington said.

The rise of social media is one of the major changes Washington said he has seen since he first took an interest in video production. “We have to remember that what we shoot is likely to be watched on a smart phone—not on a big screen—and we have to produce it with that in mind. There are people who scoff at that; but that’s the reality,” he said.

Washington said he can handle any aspect of production from concept to writing to shooting and editing. “I can do whatever the client needs,” he said. “If there’s footage that’s already been shot and the client needs an editor, I can do that. If the client is just starting and needs help developing a concept, I can do that too.”

Washington said there’s a lot of competition in the video production industry, but he feels he’s a standout because he offers strong business values. “There are a lot of people in this business who emphasize their creative abilities, but they never learned to operate as a business. I not only give clients what they expect on a creative level, but I also deal with them in a professional manner.”

Laughing about his choice for a company name, Washington said, “I know ‘means of production’ is a phrase associated with Communism. It’s sort of an ironic name because I’m certainly not a Communist. I own a business; I’m a Capitalist. I like the name because it literally suggests what we do; we’re the means of production.”

While Washington said he’s successful enough to operate his business fulltime with no other job, he’s still looking to build his business. “Basically, I’m a one-man shop, although my mom is involved in some aspects of the business, and I have a network of talented, reliable people I call on for various projects. My brother often reminds me that every business—even the industry giants—all started with one person.”

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