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While most of Knoxville stayed at home last Wednesday to avoid the icy roads, local entrepreneur Jonathan Halley braved the winter weather to fly his drone over Neyland Stadium and the Tennessee River. The resulting aerial footage provides a more raw, wilder image of Neyland than fans are accustomed to seeing. Halley added foreboding music to his snowstorm video, creating an intimidating effect that will force any Gators who view the final product to think twice before leaving the Swamp next fall.
Not long after Halley landed his drone and uploaded its content, his footage went viral. WBIR picked up the video, as well as several nationally recognized news sources, including NBC, The Weather Channel, and The Huffington Post – a big win for Halley’s small media company. BigSlate Media is a six-month-old video production firm that helps clients engage customers through relevant video content. The business is co-owned and operated by Halley’s partner Scott Spaid, who has experience in the Knoxville media industry. Spaid started Mediapulse in the mid-90s and sold the company in 2010 to a local competitor. After working several “corporate” jobs, Spaid returned to his entrepreneurial roots and formed 2:45Tech with partner Jeremi Bergman. Halley has been with Spaid and Bergman at 2:45Tech since the company’s beginning. In his third month of employment with 2:45Tech, Halley invested in a drone and began developing plans for a business of his own. BigSlate Media operates out of the same office as 2:45Tech, and Halley spends his busy days working for both companies.
BigSlate Media has broken into the extensive Knoxville media industry with a low cost strategy that translates into savings for clients. Halley says that FAA regulations have been the biggest challenge in getting his business “off the ground.” He advises aspiring entrepreneurs in all industries to research early in order to avoid legal troubles and hang-ups. He also advises entrepreneurs to formalize their business plan before ideas become too big and unmanageable. Clear models and processes are crucial to a business’s long-term success. A little publicity from NBC doesn’t hurt either.