Interview with Carlos Leon

Carlos has been involved in several aspects of the entertainment industry for several years. At the age of 20 after graduating from Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida, he opened a web design company in Orange County, California working for small to mid-size companies developing branding, web content and other marketing material. Within three years he was launching Gentevision, an online Spanish channel covering A-list entertainment events in the Latin industry at an event from Universal Studios City Walk in Hollywood, CA. Shortly after, he opened up CML Studios, a full Video and Photo production Studio that shoots commercials, music videos, short films, and photo campaigns in North Hollywood, CA.

He has worked with major companies including Warner Brothers, New Line Cinema, VH1 and MTV and with names as big as The Smashing Pumpkins and Warner Brothers recording artist "Hot Hot Heat". His clients come from every major city in the US and as far as Australia, London and Dubai. He was recently named one of America's Best Entrepreneurs under 25 by BusinessWeek magazine and called a "media mogul in the making". He has been featured in various publications including Yahoo! Finance, AOL Small Business and the Miami Herald. He has also promoted and helped organize major successful red carpet events at some of Hollywood's top clubs and venues.


When did you decide that you wanted to become an entrepreneur?

It is always hard to answer this question because there isn’t a specific event or time in my life when I decided I wanted to be an entrepreneur, and as much as I try to think back to something specific, It just happened. I do remember being very young and putting on a “magic show” for some family members and deciding to sell some photocopies of something I drew as “promotional” material at a quarter a piece. I started to seriously pursue partnerships and advertising my web and video services when I was about 17 years old.


What was the most difficult part about getting started in this industry?

The most difficult thing about getting started in the industry is building up your reputation and client base. It is convincing people ,when you are first starting out, that they should trust their project with your startup.


What was the most crucial thing you have done to grow your business?

Ironically, the most crucial thing I have done to grow my business was selling part of it. I just sold the first studio I ever built and I am starting fresh in a bigger, better location with potential for much more profit.


How did you build a successful customer base?

I built a successful customer base by investing many of my time and resources into marketing to bring in customers and providing them with affordable, quality service and products.


How important have “good people” (partners and employees) been to the success of the company?

The hardest part in business is to find people who are compatible and reliable to be part of your company. A company cannot be successful with just one person and the key is to find quality hard working people you can manage to grow and expand.


You have started several companies under your CML umbrella, when do you know it is the right time to expand by launching a new venture?

When I see the company lacking a service or product within the same industry and I see potential to fill that void, I research and decide if it is smart to expand into another division. This is what has kept my company alive, because when a certain division has a slow period, the other division picks up the slack and work load.


What is the top skill (or skills) needed to be a successful entrepreneur in your industry?

The top skill is definitely hard work and dedication. You have to be willing to work much more than your typical 40 hour week and be very dedicated with what you are doing.


What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

My most satisfying moment in business has to be being named one of America’s Best Entrepreneurs under 25 by BusinessWeek magazine in 2008. It really gave me and my company amazing recognition and credibility.


Rupert Murdoch once said “The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.” What are your thoughts on that quote?

Rupert, who is my role model I might add, is right. Technology and the internet has completely revolutionize the way business is done and competition in seen. These days, all you need to start your own “mini” media empire is a simple blog and a video camera on the internet. These days you can scope up a major company on a major news story or capture an audience with a product or service by work of mouth and internet marketing. It is all about being ahead of the curve.


Larry Flint once said “The only question to ask yourself is, how much are you willing to sacrifice to achieve this success?” What are your thoughts on that quote?

In business and to be successful you truly have to be dedicated and ask yourself what you are willing to do to get to your goal.


Michael Dell once said “There are a lot of things that go into creating success. I don't like to do just the things I like to do. I like to do things that cause the company to succeed. I don't spend a lot of time doing my favorite activities.” What are your thoughts on that quote?

Michael is right, in order to succeed you need to go above and beyond what most people are willing to do to get ahead of the pack.


Bill Gates once said that "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." What are your thoughts on that quote?

You certainly learn from and remember unhappy customers the most. If you are trying to be a successful company, your number one goal should be to make as many people happy as possible and to rectify and not repeat mistakes with customers.


Excluding yours, what business or company do you admire?

I truly admire Richard Branson and his Virgin brand. He is a businessman I truly admire for starting his empire from scratch and risking it all to compete against some very well established brands and corporations to bring a fresh, new bold alternative.


If you were able to do it all over again, what would you have done differently?

I probably would have organized myself a bit first at the beginning of my company. I tried doing too many things at once without concentrating on certain projects.


What advice would you give an entrepreneur who is just starting out?

When it comes to business, I always tell people to think outside the box. Don’t ever think an idea is too crazy or unconventional because it has not been done before.


Description:

The CML Media Group offers several services including web design, graphic design, video production, marketing, printing, studio and equipment rental and much more.

It has an in house list of dozen of talented directors, cinematographers, photographers, animators and motion graphics artists. A rooster of hundreds of crew members, locations, props, models, actors, and production contacts are also an asset of the company.

The studio is ideal for any video production or photography shoots including music videos, shorts films, commercials, casting calls, instruction videos, modeling sessions, corporate videos and commercial photography shoots.

CML Studios offers very competitive and some of best rates in town with total package deals with lighting, green screen, grip equipment and flats at low costs.

In 2008, Carlos Leon - the Entrepreneur, Studio Owner and Producer - was named one of America's Best Entrepreneurs under 25 in the country by BusinessWeek magazine and called a "media mogul in the making". He was published in countless publications around the world.

Website: http://www.cmlmediagroup.com/

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