Sonia Schnee is a video editor whose passion for her home state, New Jersey, inspired her to create an online community, Jersey Indie. Jersey Indie features local artists, businesses, and musicians from the Garden State. I find out how her idea was inspired, how she feels about a growing business and how her parents have influenced her career choice.
Video watch time: 28 minutes. Transcript read: 4 minutes
How old are you?
What is Jersey Indie?
It’s a New Jersey centric website that showcases independent artists, small business and creative minds that work and live in the Garden State.
When and why did you found it?
Jersey Indie started via Facebook and Twitter in 2014. Initially, it was inspired by the comments I would get from New York friends when I told them where I lived. “Why would you live in that cultural waste land?” I knew so many cool businesses and artists that live and work in New Jersey. I wanted to show all the great talent that came from New Jersey.
I understand the reaction, but what got you to “act” upon the desire?
I had a goal to create an MTV channel for New Jersey. A 24 hours all access New Jersey cultural information channel.
Before Jersey Indie, did you work for a company?
I was in- house video production for Civic Story, a cultural non-profit. It was known as NJ Arts News. We created short 2-3 minute videos on local NJ arts and events. After creating, we offered the clips to local NJ news channels.
When we filmed, I found that the stories were too short and some stories didn’t get airtime. So many great stories weren’t being shown. With Jersey Indie, I could capture personal stories that didn’t get air time at NJ Arts News.
Do you have a team?
It’s just me. However, I work with 6-7 independent contractors and a videographer. The videographer is Gunnar Productions (www.gunnarproductions.com).
Is video editing how you support yourself?
Yes, I fund things through my video editing freelance business. Eventually I want to have a large well oiled machine in Jersey Indie.
Why do you love video editing? It’s not sexy but you have devoted a lot of time to it.
I love to tell stories. I tell stories through pictures. My biggest passions have always been writing and art. I was lucky to learn video editing while in college. It combines my two passions: visual art and story telling.
What do you parents do?
We’re a family of freelancers. My dad is a techie. He started www.MobileCloudEra.com
My mom is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She founded a company called A New Day For You (www.newday4u.com)
That family environment encourage you to follow this?
Why are you not afraid to fail?
I’m not afraid because I remember that it’s not about me. It’s about everyone else. I am telling the story about the artist, musician or business owner.
Focusing on telling someone else’s takes the pressure off me. I used to worry, “Should I contact her? Am I going to do it right?”. Wanting to do my best for that person is what gives me courage. I remember a speaker long ago saying, “Don’t let fear of failure keep you from trying”.