Interviews along the Way
ENTR 3310 - 02
December 5, 2017
Entrepreneur Interview Assignment - Julian Starks, Founder of Julian Starks Photography and Hollywood Filmmakers.
On Sunday December 3, 2017, my neighborhood experienced a 12 hour power outage in order for the Los Angeles Department of
Water and Power (LADWP) to conduct electrical checkups. As a result of not having access to WiFi at home, I went to my neighborhood Starbucks shop so that I could use the free internet there. While I was there working on my research paper on my laptop, there was a man sitting right in front of me who was also working on his laptop. He overheard me mentioning to a friend,
who I happened to ran into at Starbucks, about the power outage, and he proceeded to ask me about that. So it started as a conversation about my power going out, and then from there, I learned that he was a Photographer, Actor, Dancer, and Film Director,
who ran his own Photography and Film Production company, and I asked him if I could interview him for this assignment. That was how
I met Mr. Julian Starks, founder of Julian Starks Photography and Hollywood Filmmakers.
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Mr. Starks has always had a passion for the arts. His journey as an entrepreneur is not one that is restricted and follows a linear path that focuses solely on one specific area, rather he embraces the freedom of variation, explores
many different areas, and combine them all together, turning his love and aptitude for artistry into his own business. He started as a dancer in his hometown, and when asked what he wanted to do once he got out of high school, he decided to pursue a career as an actor. For him, the destination was either New York City, or Los Angeles, and in the end he chose New York because that is the place to be if one wants to act for the big stage.
He was enrolled at New York University, and attended Tisch School of the Arts in 1990, for only a year, before deciding to withdraw and pursue private acting classes for the next 4 to 5 years of his time living in New York City, juggling both acting classes and auditioning
for various acting opportunities around town. He then moved to Los Angeles in 1996 to attend a Film Tech school
called LA Film School from 2000 to 2002. In 2004, he produced his very first documentary film Journey to Sundance, which has taken him 13 years to complete. His story of how he got into photography was because he needed access to photos that were too
expensively priced online by stock photo agencies such as Getty Images, and so he essentially thought “screw it, I’ll just take
my own pictures.” A man came across the photos Mr. Starks took, and encouraged him to start attending lessons at photography
school, and so he enrolled at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbra, California. As of right now, Mr. Starks runs his own Photography company, where consumers can hop onto his website and purchase his work through fineartamerica.com or pixels.com,
as well as hire him as a photographer. He also has his own film production company, where requests to hire him as film maker or
director can be sent in. He used to work with Getty Images, where they took 70% of his net income, leaving him with only 30% of his money, but now he works with Pixel, and he gets to keep 70% of his earnings. Now he mainly just travels the world and takes photos.
Currently, he is working on a coffee table book that showcases images of caged wild animals worldwide, which will eventually be available on the market. On the topic of how he runs his company, he said “An entrepreneur is someone who surrounds themselves
with people smarter than them.” He explained that when he went to film tech school, he had to take courses that did not relate to being
a director, but it was all for the purpose of teaching him how everything works on a surface level so that he is aware of the things he will be working with as a director. He knows the basic of everything to do with film production and photography, but he doesn’t do everything himself entirely, that’s why he hires people to work for him, and trusts them to help him run his
One thing that is clear right off the bat about Mr. Starks is his love for traveling, and he reconfirmed that with me himself through his
He said that the most important thing for an entrepreneur is time, that the work that you are doing is going to give you the time to travel, to date, etc., and this is definitely reflected in his own entrepreneurial life. His job allows him to travel the world and take photos of whatever he wants to, the way he wants to. When I asked him what is the goal of his photography business and as a photographer, he said that he wants to open the eyes of Americans to the rest of the world outside of the United States. He wants to bring the rest of the world to Americans in America, and let them explore the world through his photographs. Analyzing from a business standpoint, I definitely think that there is a market demand for this sort of experience of exploring and learning more about the outside world without necessarily leaving the country. America is moving towards an international direction where people are increasingly becoming more culturally-aware and are actively seeking foreign experiences.
My reason for choosing to interview Mr. Starks was more than just the fact that I was 2 days away from the due date for this paper, and still had not found an entrepreneur to interview. I found that Mr. Stark and I shared a lot in common on the basis of our background and passion for performing arts, so I could relate to him a lot, and I found, somewhat, a sense of comfort in hearing my thoughts, my
feelings, and my opinions as an artist, being echoed by someone else. As someone who is of international student status here in the United States, and comes from a foreign background, it always makes me happy whenever Americans show interest in the nonwestern world, because to an extent it makes me feel like we are appreciated and worthy of being marveled by people from
countries with the likes of America.
One of the things that I definitely learned from this entire experience is that a coffee shop is the place to go to if you want to meet and have hour-long fulfilling conversations with interesting people. Our conversation (interview) went on for about an hour, maybe nearly
two hours; I’m very glad that I had the opportunity to talk to him, assignment or no assignment.