Man shares how he turned his passion for storytelling into a million-dollar, one-person business

Abu Mubarik November 11, 2022
Image via petechatmon.com

Pete Chatmon runs the production company TheDirector in Los Angeles. The company initially started by creating branded content for advertisers in 2014. He later branched into producing podcasts, short feature films, commercials, and direct TV.

To build his career, Chatmon had to enroll at NYU Film School, where he first had a feel of a camera. After picking his first Super 8 camera at NYU Film School, he began creating short films and even went to the Sundance Film Festival with his NYU thesis film, 3D, starring Kerry Washington, according to his profile.

After a very limited theatre run, he wrote and directed the feature film Premium. By 2017, he had begun doing branded content for Fortune 100 companies and ad agencies.

“We would supply them with video content for the brand to share with their social media channels, primarily,” Chatmon told Forbes.

Chatmon later moved to Los Angeles to not only continue his branding business but to also diversify his business portfolio. In doing so, he was minded by the commerce of his business. This led him to work with clients to help them come up with content that meets their creative needs as well as their budgets.

“I appreciate where a client is coming from,” he said. “If we have $30,000 to make a short film, we’re trying to make those numbers work.”

Chatmon recorded the biggest growth of his business during the pandemic because producers and distributors of content recognized it made sense to stockpile more.

Since starting TheDirector, he has directed more than 50 TV episodes, including HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant, Insecure, Silicon Valley, and Love Life; You, on Netflix; ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Blackish; and Apple TV’s Mythic Quest.

What is more, Chatmon was also the co-executive producer for Reasonable Doubt, a new show for Hulu. According to Forbes, Chatman has turned his passion for storytelling into a million-dollar, one-man business.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that there were 43,012 businesses with no employees except the owners that made it into the $1 million to $2.49 million revenue category in 2019.

“I think in today’s world what’s really exciting for almost any business is that there have been varying levels of democratization,” said Chatmon, who released a book, Transitions: A Director’s Journey + Motivational Handbook, in January.

“For me, specifically, your phone is a camera. When I was coming up I had to go into debt at NYU Film School to touch a camera. The barriers to entry have been lowered. Information access has been heightened. You add your own passion and persistence to that cocktail, and it isn’t much you can’t accomplish.”

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