Manchester media team gives vision to bands' video dreams
MANCHESTER - Three Central High graduates invested $20,000 and a lot of sweat to create a place for bands to record, make videos and get help in promoting themselves.
After the demise of their rock band, Me As Time, Brennan Gassek and Geof Gagnon, along with Gassek's younger brother, Nick, formed Misdirected Media three years ago.
"As the soon as the band ended, we used the practice space" to work on forming the business, Gagnon said last week.
The three Manchester men remodeled rented space in the Depot Street Annex building near the Verizon Wireless Arena and pooled their combined talents of audio, video and visuals.
"We are a solution for people, one spot for people to go through," said Gagnon, 29.
For the last two years, they estimated they have worked with about 200 clients, from local bands wanting demo CDs to corporations seeking videos for trade shows. Last year, they started turning an operating profit.
The three owners are looking for more polished space in a "storefront, high-traffic" location in Manchester, Gagnon said.
"I think this is a big year, especially with our plans," he said.
Brennan Gassek, who graduated with Gagnon from Central in 2002, said bands walk in and "they don't know what they need" to succeed. The company works with clients to refine their ideas, often recording several songs along with a music video of their favorite single.
"In this day and age with the Internet, it's a whole new ballgame," he said.
Bands need to be "all ready with a full package" - CD, video for the Internet, website and social media.
"We do offer a cohesive branding opportunity," he said.
He said a solo artist can record three to five songs and a video of up to 5 minutes for $1,200 to $1,500. The company bills on an hourly basis, with demo recording time running $35 an hour, or $250 for an eight-hour day.
A band wanting the same thing takes more time and would cost around $2,000 or higher, he said.
"They want to spend more money on their music video than on their recordings," he said. "People feel they get more bang for their buck out of the music videos because it's something people can see."
Nick Gassek, a 2005 Central grad, said the Internet has meant a lot of competition for the ears and eyes.
"You can't just put up a camera and shoot video yourself," he said, saying viewers crave quality.
Video accounted for about 60 percent of the company's revenue last year, and about 85 percent of its business was cultivated by word of mouth.
Gagnon figures he puts in 60-plus hours a week as the only full-time employee. Brennan Gassek, 29, said he logs an average of 40 to 50 hours a week and works another job, while Nick Gassek, 27, works 25 to 30 hours plus a second job.
Last December, the company shot and edited a video for Anaria, a symphonic metal band from Pelham. The video, from concept to finish, took three weeks and featured costumed characters that played off of the Hobbit films theme, with staged sword fights in the snowy woods of Manchester.
Late this month, a Manchester band, MegaBeast - a mix of Iron Maiden and "Weird Al" Yankovic - will hit the studio to record a half-dozen songs,
The company is in the same building with glass-blowing business, a silk-screening operation and a costume shop, which Misdirected Media has tapped for cloaks and Army uniforms to serve as props in their videos.
The company's clients include Patrick Bosse, a hip-hop artist from Lowell, Mass., known as Modefi, who will perform at Milly's Tavern in Manchester on April 27.
"I like the atmosphere," said Bosse, who knew some of the guys from their band days. "That it was very relaxed there but very professional."