Frankart Film is a full-service video production company. Since 2009, we’ve worked with brands nationwide in industries ranging from consumer products to restaurants, automotive, health care, and everything in between. At Frankart Film, we have a singular goal — to help your brand tell its story. Our process is customized to fit each project, each brand’s individual needs. With a brilliant, multifaceted crew seamlessly navigating pre- and post-production milestones, we deliver a collaborative approach to commercials, recruiting videos, product demonstrations, keynote presentations, partnership testimonials, and social media content.
How did the idea for your business come about?
I’ve been filming and editing videos since I was 14; this is all I’ve ever wanted to do!
What was the turning point for your business? Was there a moment you knew you had something special?
I feel like we’ve been able to grow steadily and organically over the years but being recruited by VISA to film a featurette in San Francisco was a very validating experience. It was great to be able to help such a large brand tell a very human story about ten entrepreneurs from around the world.
What does it mean to you to be an entrepreneur and business owner?
Freedom. It’s a lot of work, but that feeling of being in control of your own destiny makes it all worthwhile.
What does the city of Columbus mean to your business?
Columbus is a fantastic place to be an entrepreneur. There’s a very unique combination of flourishing large industries coupled with really strong support for local, small businesses that you just don’t see in a lot of cities. People and companies here seem less interested in cutthroat tactics and lean more towards working together for mutual success.
Are you from Columbus? If not, please explain what brought you here and ultimately what made you stay.
I was born and raised in Pickerington, OH and graduated from Ohio State University in 2010. A few years later, I moved to Southern California where I met my wife and business partner, Jenny Frankart. We moved back to Columbus in late 2017 and have fully embraced it. Our office on 5th Avenue is only a five-minute walk from our house in Italian Village.
What’s the number one piece of advice you’d give to anyone wanting to start a business?
Make sure the business you’re starting is something you’re truly passionate about because you’re going to have to live in that world 24/7 in order to make it a success.
What do you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before starting your business?
Find a good accountant early on. For years, I resisted using an accountant assuming that I could save money by handling things myself. Once we started using our accountant, Eric Bisignano, founder of Charitax, I couldn’t believe how much time and money (and headache) it saved us.
What’s the most challenging part of your business (i.e, what keeps you up at night)?
With commercial filmmaking it’s difficult, but also incredibly important, to treat each project as its own unique challenge. If you have multiple clients in the same industry, it can be very tempting to just repeat what you know has worked in the past which is much easier but also leads to stale, repetitive work for both you and your clients. Instead, we keep pushing our approach while maintaining the highest level of quality.
Every business owner has a flaw. What’s yours?
I’d rather be busy than bored. That’s always been my motto and that has certainly helped us succeed in a lot of ways but has also lead to many sleepless nights at the office.
Why do you think most business owners fail? What has made you different?
The sad truth is that a business owner can do everything right and still fail. However, one mistake I’ve seen people make is to approach their business with a “one foot in, one foot out” mentality. Oftentimes, people treat their business as a hobby that they work on, on-the-side when they have free time. Starting a business is scary and everyone has bills to pay, but in my experience, the best way to succeed is by diving in headfirst and devoting yourself entirely.
What was your biggest mistake and what did it cost you?
Early on, I made a mistake that I think is fairly common with freelancers; I undervalued myself. When business is slow and money is tight, it’s easy to say yes to a low paying job that you should have turned down. After all, some money is better than no money, right? Don’t get me wrong, negotiating a budget is part of the job, but you should never approve a budget that won’t allow for a level of quality you can be proud of in your work.
What tool has helped you the most for your business (invoicing, accounting, shipping, a plugin for a website, etc.)?
Filming all over the country, the Quickbooks Self Employed app has been extremely helpful in tracking mileage and expenses. When tax season comes, we simply send our accountant a link and he’s able to view all of our data for the year. Easy as can be.
When did you know it was time to expand your business, make your first hire, etc.?
The work really drives our expansion. As the complexity of our projects grows, so does the size of our crew.
What is something that you did that was a game-changer for your business?
As a production company, consistently researching and investing in new equipment and resources has been a game-changer for us.
What was an idea that you spent a lot of time on or thought would make a big difference in your business that didn’t pan out?
One of the most valuable things that I’ve discovered in owning my own business is how quickly I can pivot if we make a wrong move. I don’t think there’s ever been one idea we’ve hedged all our bets on and lost it big because we’re able to react and move on so quickly.
What is something that your business spends a lot of money on that’s worth it?
People. Our shoots vary greatly in scale so, with that, we rely heavily on contracted specialists — a network of ride-or-die crew members — that we couldn’t function without. It’s important to us that the contractors we bring on feel valued, appreciated, and positively compensated for their skill set. Filmmaking is a team sport and if you try to nickel and dime your team to increase your margins a little bit, the work is going to suffer as are your relationships. Our crew is as valuable to us as our clients.
What is something you’re working on now that you’re very excited about?
Hmmm… everything? We love what we do!
What form of marketing is the most valuable for you?
Word of mouth. When you’re in a service-based industry, one happy successful project leads to another and another and another.
Who is your best Columbus resource (accountant, lawyer, marketer, etc.)? Please provide name and business name so we can give them credit!
We have a great partnership with Experience Columbus. We’re members, but also have a good working relationship with their internal team and we were able to work with them on a really incredible shoot with the National Veteran Memorial Museum.
Who do you vent to when you have a business problem?
The beautiful thing about going into business with your spouse is the struggles and the successes are shared.
Where do you see your business in the next 10 years?
Alive, thriving, and continuing to produce quality work for our clients here in Columbus and abroad.
When you’re stressed or overwhelmed, what do you do to overcome this feeling?
Stress is generally temporary. In running our business, Jenny and I confront stressors head-on. We work to resolve it and then move on. We’re in it together, and our skillsets and personalities balance each other perfectly.
What’s one component of entrepreneurship that’s much different than what most people think?
I think there’s a misconception that when you own your own business, you can just take time off whenever you want because you make your own schedule. When in reality, you never really get time off. It’s not uncommon for us to be answering emails at midnight or on vacation. The work never really stops, but that’s okay because it’s your work. You own it, you love it.
What’s your end goal with the business? Is this something you want to pass down to your kids or would you like to eventually sell?
I’d like to be with Frankart Film until the day I die. This business fuels me forward, and so the thought of retirement has never really been in the cards for me.
What other entrepreneur do you look up to most?
My father, Joe, and my sister, Kate, are both entrepreneurs and have always inspired me to keep pursuing what I’m passionate about.
If you had to tell a visitor one thing to do/see/eat in Columbus, what would it be?
Columbus has some of the best food around, but I’m partial to the Zaftig Brew Pub in Italian Village. They don’t have a single bad item on their menu and their beer is outstanding too.