Toby Cameron is the founder and CEO of Cardiff based video production company, On Par Productions. Here he gives an insight into running a successful company, current projects and his plans for the future.
Tell us a little more about On Par Productions.
On Par was founded in 2010, I decided to start a business as I aspired to be my own boss and be in charge of my own future. When the business started Cardiff seemed to me like the perfect city to begin a new venture and I’ve seen so much growth within the city over that time. We predominantly began working with arts organisations before a realisation of growth limitations, after which we quickly decided to broaden our market and began making promotional videos for small businesses.
Through persistence and hard work our client base grew, as did the scale of our productions, we’ve travelled the world making content for brands and agencies like Samsung, Virgin Trains and M&C Saatchi.
Closer to home we work with some of Wales’ most established institutions including the Welsh Government, Wales Millennium Centre and more recently the Welsh Language Commission. We like to stay at the forefront of future technologies and we were early adopters of 360 technologies, this found us being invited to produce content at Rio 2016.
In the past year we have started producing documentaries for BBC Wales, ITV Wales and S4C, which is something I’m personally very passionate about, having studied documentary film at Newport Film School. I think my documentary background has given On Par the advantage of creating creative, yet thought-provoking content, which sets us apart from our competitors.
I love being able to come into the office and be creative with the rest of the team. The rest of the team share these sentiments.
What are your plans for the next five years, and where do you see your challenges and opportunities?
We plan to carry on growing the company organically as we have done since the beginning, and progressively work on bigger productions, with bigger budgets whilst keeping that personal touch to everything we do. We’re a close nit team and I feel that is reflected in the way that we work and the content we produce.
However I’m keen for us to grow and expect our team to have doubled within the next five years. I want On Par to remain a fun and creative place to work and our clients to carry on enjoying working with us.
As well as bigger commercial jobs I predict we’ll be producing content for a wide range of broadcasters.
What projects are you currently working on?
We’re currently finishing up a series of exciting films for the Wales Millennium Centre’s Tiger Bay The Musical, for use in their social media campaign. We’re producing a 25min documentary for Believe, a charity that raises awareness of organ donation to be be used in schools as a learning tool. We’ve just produced a series of promotional films for TB Davis, a Cardiff based ladder company, and their American partner. Also our long lasting relationship with Virgin Trains continues and we’re planning content with them for production next year.
We’re currently filming an ITV Wales series about Cardiff’s Velindre Cancer Centre that will be aired next spring.
This is just a small snapshot of the many projects we’re currently working on.
What do you think are the most important qualities for success in business?
Persistence, confidence and being prepared to admit when you’re wrong.
Are there any aspects of your sector that you believe should be adopted by the wider Welsh market?
I would suggest all sectors to be aware of modern technology and how it impacts their business.
Also, the video and film sector is very good at collaborating, what better way to learn about your competitors than working with them.
What do you think Wales’ strengths and weaknesses are as a place to do business?
We’re a nation with the population half the size of London; it’s relatively simple to meet people within your sector and to meet potential clients. That’s why I love Wales, it’s such a personable place.
I think the only major weakness is that those in London often seem to think that Wales is too far away. They often cry, “You’ve come all the way from Wales?” When it’s explained it’s only two hours away they reply “It took me that time to travel into work this morning.”
What skills should the education system be promoting to the next generation?
I feel basic business skills would be useful to graduates in most sectors and although I’m all for everyone being given the opportunity to go to university, I don’t think we should necessarily insist it is the correct option for everyone. I often advise young people that want to follow in my footsteps that if they’re clear on what they want to do they could save themselves the time and the money by buying a camera and a laptop and start making films on their own initiative.