There was a tangible positive electricity in the air as I sat down with Johnathan Reid and Chaz Hall. There was humbleness. There was passion. There was work-ethic. And there was certainly no lack of talent. These two successful entrepreneurs and creative innovators are at the forefront of their respective industries, and have now joined forces to deliver the highest-quality integrated film and photography services. We sat down with these two individuals to talk about humble beginnings, a passion for their craft, and how they will collaborate to capture greatness.
Q: How did your upbringing influence your decision to enter the film and photography industries?
Chaz Hall: Growing up, I always went to my late uncle’s house, Roland Charles, and it had this distinct smell of film in the air. My uncle, he had been doing photography since ‘61. He took pictures of the Jackson Five, and made a successful life as a photographer. Later on, my aunt was moving out of her house and she needed my help because they had lived in the house for three decades. We were going through everything and there was so much camera equipment. I had an interest, so I just picked it up and wanted to see if I was any good at it. That’s what started my career in photography.
Johnathan Reid: I’m the child of seven, raised in Pasadena, California in the early 70’s. You would get a camera, 35mm, take a picture, and take it to a place to get it developed. I was the guy who would take everybody’s picture and had an archive of my own photography.
Then, the VHS JVC recorder came, which back in the day was like having a VCR on your shoulder. I was maybe 12 at the time. I would be the guy videotaping all the birthday parties. Everyone’s head was cut out, but you could at least see somebody blowing out the candles. That was me. Those were my early days of film and production.
Q: Talk to us about the early formation of Seventh Tribe, and tell us about some of the people you have worked with over the years.
JR: I started the company doing specialty cameras, which were robotics and miniature cameras. Doing shows like the Dr. Phil Show with his investigations. Being in a specialty, it lent itself to work with a lot of different companies, from Fox to ABC, CBS, NBC, the Tyra Banks Show in New York, etc. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure to work with many others like Blake Shelton, LL Cool J, Beyoncé in her early days, Dave Chapelle; the list goes on.
In the HD era, Seventh Tribe now offers full production packages for major television shows, such as The Voice. We take on all of a client’s digital content and supply the equipment for that in HD. We’ve stepped aside from just being a content collector to dealing with creative, post-production, preproduction, shooting the project and delivering with some distribution deals set up. Recently, I’ve been working on projects with Netflix, and Netflix is one of the other clients that has been really good to us.
Q: What does Seventh Tribe do differently to deliver value to each client?
JR: I think that working with Seventh Tribe, the best thing about being a company that’s independent is that we have the flexibility to do the unimaginable but also give the simplicity to a client. When they come to Seventh Tribe I want them to also know that you don’t have to worry about being pushed off or work with eight different people. You’re going to get us directly.
My company is named Seventh Tribe because I always felt like we should work with other people who together, we can create something special. I collaborate with Chaz Hall Photography because their specialty in photography allows us to narrow that gap and provide an even better service for our clients.
CH: I’d say a strong quality I bring to clients is that I listen to people. I love hearing other people’s stories, hearing that excitement they have in their business or whatever it is that they do; and really if they have any problems I want to help them through those problems. And oftentimes the right photography and images can solve many of these problems our clients are facing.
Q: What does being an entrepreneur mean to you? How do you overcome the tough times that every entrepreneur faces?
CH: I get it from my Dad. My Dad’s a developer, he hasn’t worked for anybody since 1981. My whole family, my immediate family, my Mom and my Dad, they were both entrepreneurs as we grew up and we made a healthy lifestyle from it. I only know entrepreneurship. I’m not used to clocking in and clocking out; I’m used to creating something and finishing something.
Being an entrepreneur, it’s difficult, but I understand it because I grew up with it. When the recession came, my Dad lost a lot, millions of dollars in property. We actually lost our house that he built. I asked him, “How do you do it?” He said, “What do you want me to do, sit down and die?” I believe that there’s beauty in struggle. Imagine no struggle and having everything; what would there be to live for?
Q: In what ways do you look to give back to the community that raised you?
JR: Every year I host a charity event. We put together large Ziploc bags with essentials like lotions, toilet paper, feminine products, man products, etc. I get friends and family together, and we build these bags out. I make a big chili or BBQ and host a little entertainment event, and then we go hand them out to the homeless in our community. It’s something that I feel like if you haven’t been directly involved or hands on with those that are less fortunate than some of us, it’s hard to really get a real perspective on how grateful we should be, or how much we have that is a blessing in our everyday lives.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone who’s looking to hire a creative production company?
CH: Really know why they’re getting a video or getting stills, know the real reason and what you’re hoping to accomplish with them. Once they know the why then it helps them really take advantage of the assets. The best way for them to benefit from our work is to really figure out their why, and then everything will fall into place.
Q: What’s on the horizon for Seventh Tribe?
JR: Now, the push for Seventh Tribe is to start to get more exposure for Seventh Tribe’s original content, which is scripted content, working with writers, doing things that are from start to finish in production. We have a team of creatives that are actually developing original content by Seventh Tribe, content that will be distributed and consumed by the masses. In the coming months and years, there are big things on our horizon.
About Chaz Hall:
Chaz Hall is a 26 year old photographer currently living in Pasadena, California. After an extensive 16 year career as a competitive tennis player, Chaz traded in his racquets for a camera. With such great determination and natural talent, he has earned his career as a professional photographer.
For more information on Chaz Hall’s photography services, please visit www.chazhallphoto.com.
About Johnathan Reid:
JR Reid is an award-winning Director/DP/Producer with 20+ years of experience in TV, film, live events and digital production. JR is based in Pasadena, CA where he owns and operates a full-service production company, Seventh Tribe Inc., and serves as Director of Production for the AdMark Group, a strategic advertising and marketing firm.
JR is also a highly skilled camera operator having worked on major red carpet events and award shows including: Grammys, Golden Globes, Emmys, Nickelodeon’s Kid Choice, MTV VMAs, MTV Movie Awards, BET Honors, Soul Train Awards, NAACP Image Awards and many others for multiple years.
JR has also worked for hit television shows, such as Dr. Phil, The Voice, Dancing with the Stars and America Idol.
JR currently works with such networks and digital platforms as FOX, AXS TV, Revolt, MTV and YouTube.
For more information on Seventh Tribe, please visit www.SeventhTribeInc.com.