Michael and Chris use Leadpages to promote and sell their videos.
Lifelong friends and filmmakers, Michael and Chris, share a side-hustle: ShoHawk Media. Equal parts production company and education hub, ShoHawk serves as the launch pad for the duo's latest documentary, Generation Freedom: How the Internet Killed the Day Job.
With two full-time day jobs of their own and big plans for the future, Michael and Chris use Leadpages to build their passive income and engage with digital entrepreneurs along the way.
Q&A with ShoHawk
The two of you met back in elementary school—was this what you had in mind on career day?
Chris: Well, Mike and I began in fifth grade when we started shooting short films with his dad’s big VHS camera. We made a bunch of short films throughout high school—including a few epic homework projects—and that led us to this day.
At one point, you both hit some turbulence in your more traditional career paths—how did that motivate you to make it on your own?
Michael: Right out of college, I got a job working with a big network TV show and I saw a huge disconnect between the amount of time I was putting into those projects and what I was getting paid out.
Chris: I dropped out of college to take a production job at a startup and within 8 months that company caved. That was a huge lesson to me: that we have to take ownership of our careers wholistically—the financial component, the business component. We have to build a brand for ourselves that’s sustainable for the long term so we’re less dependent on other people to make our artistic dreams and ultimately our careers come true.
“I came back to the idea of not exchanging time for money and started to approach passive income streams like a mad scientist.“
Michael Hall • Producer
What was the inspiration behind your latest documentary film, Generation Freedom?
Generation Freedom is a documentary film that brings together top thought leaders who reveal the tips, tricks, and stories that brought them entrepreneurship and freedom.
Michael: The thesis for the film really stemmed out from our own struggles in trying to start and grow our own online company. I’d approached learning about passive income streams like a mad scientist: listening to podcasts, reading all the blogs, and I turned to Chris and said—where’s the movie for this? Once we had the idea, we went to sites like Reddit and Twitter to let the community tell what they’d like to see in the documentary.
As ‘unknowns’ how did you break into the entrepreneurial scene and land some of your bigger-name interviewees?
Michael: No one in this community had ever heard of us before, so getting interviews was a challenge. We created a 5-min. in-depth pitch video in which we explained the concept and introduced ourselves, which really boosted our credibility. Then, we got really lucky with a few local interviews, added a short compilation of those conversations, and sent that out with the pitch video as well. That’s how we got the bigger names, like Pat Flynn.
“The people we met and interviewed were inspiring. They completely changed the way we saw the world, our time, money, and how you can live your life.”
Creating art is one thing and making a living off of it is another. How have you connected those dots?
Chris: It’s been a long learning process in ‘trying to make a go of it’ with our own production company as well as a filmmaking podcast and blog. On ShoHawk.com, our filmmaking website, we are building an audience of aspiring filmmakers who want to get their foot in the door with freelancing.
Michael: In the spirit of bootstrapping, we’re distributing and selling the film ourselves. We wanted to do everything end-to-end: create the concept, interview everyone, edit it, and then market and put it out there.
How ShoHawk uses Leadpages
High-conversion website builder
With no coding experience and no time to waste, the two created a professional-looking website on Leadpages to showcase their documentary, sell the film (with Gumroad), and collect email opt-ins.
By publishing a series of landing pages to promote the film, releasing video snippets for opt-ins, and sales pages to sell the film—Leadpages lets the duo bootstrap their entire business model without hiring a team.