Picture this: a determined young woman from the Midwest comes to New York City to make it big in the world of filmmaking. Through her talent, dedication and hard work, she turns her dream into a small business that grows into a successful enterprise. The story closes with the young woman starting the cameras rolling on the set of her first feature film, with nothing but opportunity ahead.
Sound like the perfect feel-good movie plot? It’s actually the story of April Patrick, who has turned her childhood dream into an up-and-coming company called April Films.
Inspired by filmmakers Spike Lee and Oliver Stone, the Omaha native enrolled in New York University to study film production. After completing her master’s degree and gaining experience through various internships and media projects, she decided to get serious about growing her own film company. On the advice of her mother, herself a former small business owner, April contacted the New York City SCORE Chapter and began shaping her business plan with the assistance of volunteer mentor Harry Lowenstein.
April Films was just getting off the ground when the tragedies of September 11th intervened. One of the outcomes was a drastic change in business relationships that forced April to quickly close gaps in her production capabilities. Using her SCORE-based business plan, April applied for and won $20,000 from the Miller Urban Entrepreneurs Business Grant Competition. The funds allowed her to invest in state-of-the art equipment and accelerate April Films’ marketing program.
“Though I was confident in my technical skills, I was so naïve about business that I believed people would just seek me out and give me work,” April recalls. “Harry helped me make the connection between what it takes to start a business, and what’s needed to make it grow.”
April also worked with volunteer mentors Alvin Roselin and Al Korn, both of whom had vast experience in the media industry. Says April, “They mentored me in what Al calls ‘business therapy.’ Rather than telling me what to do, they provide guidance in deciding where to seek information and what questions to ask.”
“The grant and SCORE enabled me to expand my network,” April says. “Along with pitching ideas to networks, we’ve stepped up our work producing electronic press kits and videos for the music industry. The revenue is just what we need to begin work on our first feature film next spring.”
With April Films on the verge of even bigger opportunities, April continues to visit her SCORE mentors for advice and guidance. “They are great mentors and great people,” April says. “SCORE is a big reason why April Films has made it this far, and why we’re on the verge of making some major leaps.”