1982 | Startup
By Chris Allain
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS I first hung my producer shingle in 1982; although in truth, it only hung on the door of a spare bedroom. But, I was open for business. I’d just completed graduate studies at what is now the University of Louisiana. At the time video production was a new industry, and a proper facility required a huge capital investment. That kind of facility seemed unattainable or, at least, something to be realized in the very distant future. But, with $1,500 in savings and an $8,500 loan, I took the plunge. A wish list pinned to a bulletin board, seemingly so modest now, hung for years before I was able to scratch off the last “critical” piece of equipment.
For the first few years, determined to succeed, I took any work that paid—weddings, baptisms, high school football games, and small commercial projects. Although this type of work wasn’t the ultimate goal, the experience was valuable. The gulf coast oil bust of the mid eighties, which decimated Lafayette’s economy, helped to make the early years quite lean. I remain grateful to my wife Tammy for her patience and support, and of course for her vital teacher’s paycheck.
EARLY GROWTH It’s difficult to remember a time before the Internet, but in the early years, information was fairly difficult to come by. The production industry at the time, particularly field production, was a sort of guild; to a lesser extent, it remains that way today. Apprenticeship was the only practical way to obtain proficiency, and that wasn’t really possible without leaving the area. So growth was slow, but steady, for my one-man band.
That began to change in 1989 with the hiring of my first employee, and now partner, Scott Rachal. It didn’t take long to see Scott’s extraordinary talent and dedication. Together we pushed forward and truly began to perfect our craft. Over the next decade we continually re-invested nearly all profits, and grew steadily.
Much of the following history of Vidox is the history of the industry over the last three decades. It is by nature technical, but, hopefully, an interesting story nonetheless.