Pandemic Pivots & Startups: Drumming up Video Business

Drum Production Studio, Peterborough.  Eddie Gomez (on the monitor) and Rory Hurly do an equipment check at their office in preparation for a live streaming session.

Anyone in the live events industry saw their calendars empty at the start of the pandemic last spring.

For Rory Hurley and Eddie Gomez, co-owners of Drum Production Studios in Peterborough, clients who wanted their wedding, meeting or any other live event filmed had to promptly cancel when the country shut down under quarantine, with no end in sight.

The partners didn’t wait to have to shut their doors: they decided to think on their feet and offer livestreaming services. The decision proved worthy: it not only helped them weather the storm that was COVID-19, but they were also back to regular business quickly and were stronger for it.

The pair met seven years ago during a video production internship in Peterborough. During their work there, they realized a gap in affordable, high-quality video for everyday business owners and nonprofits.

Four years later, they formed Drum. The company handles the entire video project from start to finish: creative direction, pre-production to on-location shows, post-production and audio mix/master services.

While neither studied filmmaking (Hurley was a history major), they had creative backgrounds: Hurley as a musician and Gomez as a dancer.

Hurley plays in some bands in the area and has been active in playing shows and recording music.

“The skillset I brought to video work is specializing in the sound side of it, making sure videos sound as good as they can,” said Hurley. “I picked up video skills on the job during the internship. I just dove into it.”

Gomez has a degree in dramatic media, which he described as a blend of traditional theater, film and new media. He took one cinematography course his senior year. After college, he was unsure of his career path and worked as a manager for Domino’s Pizza in his native Texas and later in Boston for two or three years.

“I wasn’t fully satisfied with my career path,” he says, so he started looking for video production jobs and internships and found the one in Peterborough.

Telling the stories of business owners and nonprofits in the region and Greater New Hampshire to reach their target audience was his vision.

“Our main focus was to reinvigorate local economies,” notes Gomez.

From there, it evolved into what Gomez calls “straight-to-consumer work,” such as wedding and legacy videos and fundraising videos for nonprofits.

They feel their process is unique.

“Some production companies just focus on the production side of it, executing filming days and sending it off to someone else to edit,” says Hurley. “We also do social media work, which brings in a whole different skill set into the mix. Not everyone is a content creator and distributor of the same material. We wear a lot of different hats.”

When the partners met at the internship in Peterborough in 2014, they started out by livestreaming.

“During the pandemic, it was a natural, full-circle thing going back to livestreaming,” says Gomez.

It also led to new opportunities.

“By the time we got to early fall, there were organizations reaching out about annual meetings they would normally have done in person with stakeholders, but they were scrambling to fill that void,” says Hurley.

“Some organizations wanted to still bring that energy and invigorate and inspire,” adds Gomez. “We came in with lights and microphones and did a ‘tech day’ to make sure everything was running smoothly.”

Clients are still asking for their livestreaming services, but the work that was missing during the pandemic has since returned.

“It’s nice to have that capability as something we can offer, and going forward, we hope to have (livestreaming) in the mix.”

It’s all about increasing access.

“Organizations are making (livestreamed events) a priority so everyone can participate more fully,” says Gomez.

In the future, they plan to collaborate with other creators in the region on various projects, which is facilitated by their being located at the MaxT Makerspace.

“We have someone we hire with a drone who can do 3D mapping,” says Gomez. “Another company we are collaborating with on doing videoscapes. We also did some projects with Firelight Theater in Peterborough. We see that people in the area very much supplement and complement each other.”

Another emphasis of the business moving forward will be consulting services, helping businesses and nonprofits create their own video content.

“One thing that’s remained true is our desire to promote the region,” says Gomez. “We do a lot of economic development … A big part of that is spotlighting our little corner of the world and showing why this is such a great place to live and work.” 

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