Communication Connection

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Alumni News

What it Takes to Open Your Own Business

Monday, December 21, 2015

By Gabriela Madeira Silveira

Luke Brown, COM Studies alumnus, made the most out of his major and started his own business as a college graduate. Brown and his wife, Christiana, also a UNCW alumna, created their own young and innovative film company, Light Cannon Films.

Light Cannon Films focuses on weddings and other local events. UNCW’s Department of Communication Studies allows students to participate in dynamic and interactive courses in order to practice their communication skills, which gave Brown an edge. Learning those skills allowed him to sell his service with confidence, communicate well, and lead a team. Confidence was one of the difficulties Brown encountered when opening his business as a recent college graduate. “I believe it’s a very common problem in business owners,” Brown says, “and it’s why a lot of people are afraid to charge enough money to make a successful living.”

Brown starts out his work day with some breakfast and emails. He and Christiana switch around tasks—one editing photos and footage while the other responds to clients’ emails. No day is like any other. Some days Brown and Christiana work on developing a storyboard and picking music for a video. Others are spent uploading footage, which takes a lot of time. “The great thing about being self-employed is that I use those times to run errands or even do something fun,” he adds.

It is very common for college students to want to open their own business, but it takes work, time, and talent. Brown met all of the aforementioned criteria to get where he is now. He walked me through the steps of Light Cannon Films. After getting started, a crucial step was to build a name and get involved. It all started with the local wedding scene. “I consider the birth of Light Cannon Films to be the day that I got business cards, an email address, and a logo,” he adds. In addition to the technical aspects it also takes a lot of motivation and encouragement. Luckily, Brown has Christiana, who has helped him along the way. Light Cannon Films is a company that is constantly trying to improve, change, and try new things. They participated in Courtyards and Cobblestones, a prestigious local wedding event. That particular event, along with some magazine publications, helped them grow as a business.

While Light Cannon Films is a young business with young owners, Brown gives credit to many different people and skills that have brought him where he is today. After a lot of hard work, perseverance, and the drive to succeed, Brown followed the steps to open his very own business that has already had much success. For Light Cannon Films, it comes down to interactions with people and knowing the audience to achieve the best work. “I believe that one of the things that stands out with our team is our camaraderie,” says Brown. “We love our clients and get to know them. I think it really pays off when it comes to edit the footage because we know their story.”

Many students tend to focus on the final grade and not the path to it: showing up to class, participating, and learning form professors and peers. Brown understood the value of gaining experience in and out of the classroom to help shape his future. “I can learn something from everyone I work with or take a class with,” he says. “If you aren’t willing to work hard enough, you will really miss out on the long run. You never know what your job is going to be.”