Chad Stembridge

Making stories told well.



Stembridge Mill (Film & Video Production, Design, Photography)

Update: the website has been updated with a paradigm shift: from "look at who I am" to "you want to tell a story". Also, I created a short video to go along with it.

Stembridge Mill


I've been freelancing in media production for about 7 years now: film & video production, design, and photography. As the owner of my business, I do it all. Unfortunately, sometimes that means being a jack of all trades and master at none — but I'm aiming to change that.

Part of that change is in my approach to marketing. In the past, it's been a hodgepodge of Craigslist ads, hoping to run across decent jobs on freelance/contractor sites (rare), word-of-mouth, and hoping people run across the films and books I've published. Obviously, it hasn't worked. Even people who get excited about and praise my work haven't widely shared it.

That's why I'm here. I want to grow.

Learning so much, and hope to be able to interact with others as we explore this topic together. Thanks, Seth, for your instruction and inspiration!

Describe the business or brand you're marketing:

Stembridge Mill provides high quality media which impresses both clients and viewers. A trait I'm known for is dedication: pushing through and making the best of un-ideal situations while still bringing out a great product in the end. I'm also known for a willingness to adapt: if I don't know how to do something, I find out and care enough to do it right. My storytelling and communication skill levels are on the weak side (sometimes sloppy), but the end product is usually of a decent- to high-quality.



1. What is Marketing for?

To sell my creative skills and raise awareness for projects I work on.

2. What am I allowed to touch?


3. What can I measure?

Web statistics, revenue, number of projects completed, number of online video views, attitude of clients.

4. What can I change?

Internal: change the way I go about working, the values put into it, the vision & focus & drive behind it, and the quality of it.

External: change clients' perceptions about the value of video in general (i.e., shift away from the commodity mindset), impact viewers to take action based on what they've seen and experienced through the stories I tell.

5. What promise am I going to make?

Highest quality production in the area. I will seek to communicate stories that engage people and affect their actions toward what is being told: move them to action.

6. What is the hard part?

My comfort zone (tend to be un-confident in unfamiliar relationships). Local ignorance of modern marketing. Lack of need or venue for video storytelling locally (rural Southern Illinois). Focusing & pushing through with attention to details for effective communication. Myriad of voices already bombarding everyone. Culture of cheap.

7. Should I make trends or follow them?

Follow technical trends for production.

Make trends by going deep into effective communication through inventive creativity.

8. Where is the risk?

Not being able to feed my family. Becoming too broadly focused (thereby losing focus, drive, vision). Getting caught up in trends that don't matter.

9. Who is in Charge?


10. What is the money for?

Website, random bits here & there — otherwise, no focused use of money towards marketing.

11. What is the most important way to spend my time?

Telling stories that matter. Building communication skills.




Delight clients by giving them deep attention to the details and stories they want to communicate (which will bring them credibility in the eyes of to whom they're communicating). Create an emotional dichotomy between the product they get rom me, versus what they see colleagues/competitors getting: they'll fear having sub-par work that doesn't say anything or matter.


Change client's perspectives on the value of effective visual communciation: that it is an art, not a commodity. Deeper, with the visual media I create : seek to change the viewer's/consumer's life and move them to action towards the goals & ideas being communicated.


Create media that focuses on spreading ideas to build trust among those who consume it. Create a way for people to easily give permission to receive alerts about when a new piece of media is available.


Volunteer my skills (which is a way of sharing them). Give away media (and extra copies). Create clever branding around the ideas I'm spreading. Only create things worth sharing.



The top P words for Stembridge Mill are:

Purple - Create remarkable stories worth talking about and sharing.

Persistance - Consistently deliver promises. Frequently give the audience things that improve their personhood, are worth talking about, and worth sharing.

Permission - Earn the attention of a tribe. Respect the tribe, and don't waste their time. Take their permission seriously.

PR/Place - Telling stories is exactly what I do.

Promotion - Generously give to the tribe, and empower them to share.

Pricing - My pricing sets me apart from the commodity market where art is lost.



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