The Life: Twenty one-year-old Guy Mannion, formerly a wedding videographer in London, tests his business and photography skills in Dubai.
The youngest suit on the Dubai Metro
After having run a home photo and video studio in London since high school, Guy Mannion, 21, set up shop in Dubai two months ago. Mr Mannion is managing the young company along with Thomas Mitchell, also 21. Here, Mr Mannion, the general manager of Eclipse Motion Pictures, talks about the business.
How did you start in this profession?
In 2008, I started making short films for friends. It started with videography and developed into a photography studio. In London we used to work from home. Along with some of my friends, we got clients for weddings as well as corporate clients. I studied film production for five years in college and university, and that ended last year. My brother, who has been living in Dubai for eight years, asked me to come down for a visit. He had a musician who wanted to do a music video. Networking led me to an investor who wanted to open a production company. I accepted his offer, took the big decision to leave my life in London, and since [then] I am here.
You have an office at the Fairmont Hotel in Dubai. What do you do there?
For both video and photography, we script, storyboard, location scout, make arrangements and schedule the shoot. Once the first stage is complete, the production shoot will commence. Finally, we head back to our Fairmont production house to finalise the project via editing. Aside from on-location projects, we also provide portrait photography for families, models, musicians, corporate figures and more. Our dream is to open a film production company here four or five years down the line. There is a category for fiction in our brochures, and we have also got an inquiry for a 90-minute feature film at the Bride Abu Dhabi [exhibition]. We are looking to get signed up for events companies. We just signed up with a major client.
It is a place of opportunity. After the crisis, business is starting to boom and it is the perfect time to open for us.
How big is your team?
It is just two of us now, Thomas and me. We also have six freelance videographers and photographers. Within the next few months [we plan to hire] screenwriters, videographers, photographers, editors and graphic designers.
How do you market yourselves?
Currently it is through Facebook and we will push that. Next step is to get our brochures into retail stores.
Any targets for this year?
At the end of this year we are aiming to break even. This sort of industry is not structured the way that you are guaranteed an income.
What are the challenges you are facing?
We are learning the business as we are going. [In the] morning when we ride the Dubai Metro, we look around and see we are the youngest in a suit going to office. When you open the business, especially thinking that we are [one of] the youngest management teams in Dubai, that puts pressure on us.