Adrian Middleton Sr.
Voyage Houston Interview
Updated: Sep 29, 2020
Adrian, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am the owner of Predator Productionz, a freelance videographer & photography business. I specialize in event, short films, music videos, marketing materials and commercials. I’m currently based in Baytown, TX (20 minutes outside of Houston) and service all surrounding areas. I started my film degree at Prairie View A&M before transferring and graduating from Sam Houston State University in 2015, where I also earned a minor in marketing. Some of my idols in the industry are Tarantino, Spike Lee, Ryan Coogler, Michael Bay, “The RZA”, Gary Gray, Youtube personality YCimaging and the late John Singleton.
The reason I decided to create Predator Productionz was not only to implement my love of photography & film but also to provide an incredible and affordable service. I love being able to use my artistic vision to capture those special moments for my clients that will last a lifetime! Typically, this type of service is either too hard/tedious to shop around for or just too expensive. Which is why I’m very passionate about what I do and I pride myself on my “Core 4 Values”. Affordable prices, professional quality, customer service and a VIP experience.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Originally, I went to college to play football and didn’t really know what I wanted to do in life. I knew that I was good at a few different things which was a blessing and a curse because being a “jack of all trades” when it comes to picking a major doesn’t really work well. So much so that I actually changed my major 5x! After I graduated from college, I started out with high hopes (as any new graduate would going into the work field.) I immediately searched and applied to different media company’s in hopes of breaking into the industry but wasn’t successful. Beyond that, having two knee surgeries and a major neck surgery after a nagging football injury, (which if not treated would have left me paralyzed for life), derailed my ability to do anything for a while as it took me a while just to even be able to confidently walk again and live a normal life afterwards. Through the grace of God, I was eventually able to do so.
After searching and applying for weeks, I decided I’m going to go into business for myself. I officially created my business in 2016, where I began to freelance. Now at first, it seemed like a no brainer until I found out how challenging working for yourself could be especially in a competitive field that I’m in. I have learned a lot from mistakes I’ve made and from others. During this time in my personal life, I’ve dealt with losses in my family, financial backfires, legal battles, customers taking advantage of me, and even situations where my equipment at one point was stolen from me! The culmination of these events made me “fall out of love” for a bit with my profession. So much so that I took a brief hiatus and had to reflect on life. This time away gave me great clarity and a newfound focus. It has allowed me to view life in a more vivid light and tremendously regroup and put myself in a better position business wise.
Even though numerous adversities, I’ve still managed to have worked/been a part of numerous projects and had the opportunity to meet and network with amazing people. This was a reminder of one of the biggest reasons why I initially got into this field. Which at one point, felt as if it was being robbed from me because of personal misfortunes in my life. One of the biggest reasons I love this profession is because it’s very rewarding to bridge the gap of enjoyment towards others. I get paid to make my clients feel special. The best part is once I’m done the joy that my work gave them can be relived again and again. There’s no greater feeling than reminiscing looking through a photo album or watching home videos with loved ones. Those moments literally last a lifetime!
One of the main reasons that still gives me my drive and confidence and what I also feel sets me apart again are my four core values. Beyond that having played college football, I’m used to competition and giving maximum effort. My mindset is “I will not be outworked”. I’m willing to go the extra mile to ensure I provide the best experience I can for clients. Relationships are a key to any successful business especially in my field. The passion and the vision I have for this business are larger than I can even explain. Some of my goals are to have my work on Netflix, television, produce biopics and have worked with any of my idols on a major production. Currently I also work as a Training Content & Media Manager for a 3rd party oil packaging company, where I also get to further use my skills to aid in different training and promotional work. As far as freelancing goes I'm targeting small/local businesses and providing commercials/promos, photography, social media and brand awareness for them. As well as continuing to create more cinematic music videos for different local artists. Moving forward, I plan to continue to drive to expand my business and increase my portfolio. Opening a large studio that will be used to house photoshoots and video services with hopes of being able to provide jobs to others.
Predator Productionz – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
What sets me apart from others in this business, I would say is my personality. I don’t think the vibe and presence that I bring to the table can easily be replicated. Which aids in my customer retention. I pride myself on the art of storytelling and being very meticulous in detail. I’m a firm believer in the philosophy of another one of my idols, the award-winning film editor Walter Murch’s “rule of six” in that rule number one in a successful film/photograph is emotion. That is the single most important aspect in storytelling. How we walk away from a film/photo or story is key to determining how “good” it was. What I am most proud of so far is the opportunities I’ve had and the networking associated with it. It’s very rewarding to being able to rub shoulders and pick the brain of those who have more experience in this field than I do. Especially with the vast amounts of creatives out there.
Some individuals you see that walk into a room have an aura or presence about them that makes you stop and listen. People naturally gravitate towards me, which is paramount with interacting with clients. Simply put, I’m willing to do everything necessary to make my clients get the best “bang for their buck”. On top of that, I am upfront and honest which everyone appreciates. If I’m able to save my client a few bucks during budgeting/negotiations then it’s a win-win for both of us. I’m a firm believer in taking care of my clients and in turn that word of mouth will snowball creating future clients.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I’ve had many mentors in college and within my community who have been supportive of me. Most of all are my family, my kids and friends. I appreciate their honest criticism as they have all seen me grow and my work develops into what it is today. My kids are my biggest motivation I want too make them proud and have something I can pass along to them maybe one day. My daughter has already taken a huge interest in the craft!