Eddie Gomez came to Peterborough for an intern position at PeoplesVC, founded by Akhil D. Garland to facilitate “crowd-funded” venture capital investments. PeoplesVC also worked with entrepreneurs to streamline and personalize their messages to potential investors. That’s where Gomez met Rory Hurley, of Francestown, New Hampshire, his future business partner in Drum Production Studio.
How did you make your way to Peterborough?
I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. I went to Texas Lutheran University and graduated in 2012, majoring in dramatic media before moving to Boston with the woman I was dating at the time. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at the time. I was working as the general manager for Domino’s Pizza in Charlestown. One day I woke up and said to myself I want to get back into something creative for work. I was looking for internships when I signed up for the one in Peterborough.
You were at a mini-crisis point in your life at this time?
Yeah. Within a matter of three months after applying I quit my job, my apartment building in East Boston burned completely to the ground and my partner and I broke up. I was homeless, jobless and penniless, but two weeks after the fire, I got a call that I had been accepted for the internship. They even offered me a place to live in a tiny casita.
What did you do at PeoplesVC?
Rory and Emma Shapiro-Weiss and I met on Sept. 1, 2014, all having been accepted for a video production internship. We were asked to design a video production kit that could be used across different communities around the nation to help entrepreneurs build relationships and seek funding. This fit in well with what I learned in college, blending traditional technology with new tech, working with live performances and projection, and lighting systems.
What happened next?
We found there was a huge need for specialty video services for small businesses, especially those businesses with one owner in one location. In rural areas, there really is a lack of video on many small business websites even though they are competing in an online global marketplace. They needed a service that was effective and affordable.
So you decided to start your own business offering these services?
We were working at PeoplesVC when the idea of Drum started growing, maybe as a [doing business as] under Peoples. Akhil, who brought us on as interns, trusted us and enabled us to find our own niche. At first, he let us take out the equipment, but as we got more traction, he saw that we would be better off on our own. On Feb. 2, 2018, Rory and I got the rights to the trade name, and the equipment was transferred to us.
Was it hard settling down in Peterborough after living in Boston and San Antonio?
I never thought I would move north. New Hampshire was never even on my radar. But the real culture shock was from San Antonio to Boston. It was less friendly than where I grew up. And moving to Peterborough, I thought as a person of color, I was going to be a focal point. But the focal point was actually my age as a 20-something. Peterborough is an aging community, but being a young person here, there are so many people who want to help you succeed and stay here.
Do you miss living in the big city?
I learned I like being limited in the vices that are available in a small town. In Boston or San Antonio, I don’t think I would be as far along professionally as I am here. There are too many distractions. And it’s intimidating to find a community where you fit in. Here in Peterborough, I am integrated into the community. I am meeting business owners and the directors of nonprofits, who are a lot more accessible than in a big city.
So you plan on staying in Peterborough?
Yes. The people here are very interested in having young people succeed. There are a lot of resources here and a wealth of knowledge. And another thing for me is important — a newfound appreciation for nature. Growing up in suburbia around San Antonio, having the idea of getting out into the woods and nature meant driving at least an hour. Here, it’s literally at my doorstep.
Have you had to change your business model due to the pandemic?
Most of our production is in-person, fly-on-the-wall kind of stuff, but we are finding ways we can film in environments that allow for social distancing. We are also helping people livestream and use online platforms to offer things like dance classes. Unfortunately, it can be hard to be engaged online. Most of the time, video and audio is just terrible. We are working on ways to produce virtual content that people want to watch. We’re also offering a new service. A friend from Nature’s Green Grocer reached out to us wanting to move to all online sales. They needed immediate help photographing all their products and getting them online. We snapped almost 1,000 pictures and realized here’s another service to help business owners meet their customers.
49 Vose Farm Road, Suite 110 | Peterborough, NH 03458 www.drumproductionstudio.com