McKael Gollin bought his first camera when he was 10 or 11 years old. Now, at 18, he has developed his own business, which he hopes to grow throughout his time at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to add to the creative atmosphere of the Midwest.
Gollin, a freshman advertising and public relations major, owns Rampant Media, a video production company he started in 2017. Gollin is the sole full-time employee of Rampant Media and has been doing video projects and photography for his clients since his junior year of high school.
“I love my job because I get to tell stories and show people’s true emotions through the power of video,” Gollin said.
Gollin said his interest in photography increased after he watched YouTubers who combined his interest in fishing with video production. However, it wasn’t until his junior year that he received his first client for a video project: his father’s lawn service.
“I did a little promo video for him … and I was like, ‘This actually turned out kind of cool, I could possibly make money doing this,’” Gollin said. “I kind of used that video to start advertising to other companies, and I got my first actual job from that.”
Two weeks after he made the promotion video, he received a job offer from Conreco Inc. and Fucinaro Excavating Co. in Omaha. He said jobs slowly started to come in after this, so he began picking up photography gigs for friends and posting them on Instagram to build a portfolio. Gollin said the next big step for Rampant came when he attended a networking meeting.
Gollin was approached at the meeting by a representative from Stratum Productions. After a meeting with them, Stratum became Gollin’s biggest client to date. As a result of this deal, he said he was able to afford professional video gear, which greatly improved his business and the content he was creating.
Stratum Productions is an event production company that also rents out equipment for events like live music, weddings and corporate events. Gollin said he is producing a series of promotional videos for them to give to potential clients. Since signing with Stratum, Gollin said he has seen his business grow tremendously. He said he has had roughly 40 clients in 2019, from video jobs he’s done through Stratum to individual clients who contact him for occasions such as senior pictures or weddings.
Gollin said he was originally opposed to shooting weddings, but they have become his favorite type of jobs. He was put on his first wedding as a camera operator for another company and decided he wanted to have wedding clients for himself.
“These two people are so in love and I just get to show their story and their true emotions,” Gollin said. “I fell in love with the storytelling aspect of it and being able to document their day.”
One of Gollin’s clients, Paige Hart, said she would recommend Rampant Media to any couple looking for reliability and skill in a wedding photographer.
“He has things I think every bride loves — his response time, he was able to work within our budget,” she said. “Amongst all that, I think he embraced the most important parts of our wedding in our video, which was really important to me and my husband.”
Hart said Gollin’s video was great for her and her husband because her matron of honor’s husband is deployed in Afghanistan, and Gollin gave them a free clip in which they gave the husband a shout out.
Gollin said he decided to study advertising and public relations so he could grow his business and expand his operation into having a team of photographers and videographers working with him. He also said having a background in advertising and public relations will help him build the best experience for his clients.
“Ideally, I’d like to have an office in downtown Lincoln and just be able to have a full-time team,” Gollin said. “If I can bounce my ideas off of other people and collaborate … that’s the environment I thrive in.”
While he said he wouldn’t be opposed to leaving, Gollin said he appreciates the creative atmosphere in Lincoln and feels like it’s something that gets underrepresented in creative circles.
“For start-ups, [Lincoln] is one of the best places in the nation. I love the vibe of Lincoln and downtown, and there’s so many creative people,” he said. “Once you get into the creative industry, you start realizing how many incredible, creative people there truly are here. I think a lot of stuff can come out of Lincoln, Nebraska and the Midwest.”