Grantham Journal Big Interview: Dan uses his media skills to do his bit for the community
A Grantham man’s move into media production is not only helping his community, but also his own health. Dan Marshall, 26, set up Dan Media Productions after moving to Grantham about six years ago. Making use of his interests in photography and video, Dan is highlighting some of the best aspects of Grantham and its people. But his interests have also helped him with depression.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how Dan Media Productions came about?
I was born in Nottingham, and I attended Robin hood Primary School and BigWood Secondary School. I then went on to study music technology at Confetti Studios which was also in Nottingham.
I had a lot of passion for creating music, and learning about how music production works. When I was 20 I moved to Grantham and through watching a lot of people review products on Youtube, it gave me inspiration to start a reviews channel called Aspect Reviews with a friend. We worked with different companies to review their products, and through that I was able to learn about video production.
With advice from others, it was suggested I run my own business. I went through the Prince’s Trust to learn about how to start a business, as I wanted to turn the reviews channel from a hobby into something that can earn money. A friend suggested instead taking what I know about video production and create videos for businesses, so Dan Media Productions was created in April 2016.
You obviously have a love for photography and video. Can you explain how these have helped with your depression?
When I got funding from the Prince’s Trust and I bought a camera, I wanted to know everything about it. Most days, though, my camera was my way out of the house, I would go on long walks, doing what is called vlogs, talking about how I felt, and learning how to take photographs, as all my life I have suffered with depression and anxiety. This can often have a impact on motivation and how you cope under pressure.
A few months into starting the business, my depression got the best of me. Making videos or taking photos did not seem enjoyable anymore, so I decided that is was best not to run a business but still learn about the media side of things as a hobby.
You say that you like to help your local community. How are you able to do this through your work?
In August 2016 I had popped along to Grantham Foodbank. I had a lovely chat with Brian Hanbury about making a few videos to let people be aware of what the foodbank was about. This was my first business-related video. A few weeks later I noticed a campaign going off to save Grantham A&E. The only way I knew how to help was to create a video and take photos of the event.
A big part of video production and photography is not only taking it, but knowing how to spread it out to others who were at the event and want something to remember it by or to let others know what’s going off in the local community.
What do you find most satisfying about your media work and is there anything you have achieved which most stands out?
My biggest shock was to find that my photography was getting an overwhelming amount of shares, likes and comments, compared to the video, even though that was still doing well. So I took this on board, got my head down and learned more about photography, started following any events taking place in Grantham and covering them, and slowly more and more people were taking an interest in my work. As soon as you took the element of the stress of trying to run a business away, it felt so much better to do what I loved doing, which did not stop my issues but made it a lot better to cope. Through my media work, I have not only made friends, but I have networked with businesses, with other photographers and video producers, so it’s great that I cannot only help people but connect with them too.
It’s hard to really pinpoint what has been my most memorable moment or something that I have achieved so far. I suppose the A&E closure was where it all kickstarted where I am today. However, connecting with a local artist by the name of CJ Hatt really opened up more doors. Around May 2017 I decided to branch out my media work to cover local music gigs, which led me to networking with more people and being invited by CJ Hatt to have a insight into his life, by going with him to cover two events he was going to. I had been to see him a few times around Grantham and his talent is what made me want to capture the moment, as well as the photography and videos. I create blog posts often telling people about local issues, events that have been on etc, so again this is another way of reaching new people.
While I was at a gig watching CJ, someone told him they had come across him via my blog.
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
For me I may not have the business I wanted but in a lot of ways without earning money, I am still doing what I love while helping others.
Where I see my media work going, I can honestly say I do not know. All I know is I still want to help out any way that I can. If it can change someone’s life or even help a business grow then that is my job done.