In the closet of Walsh 601, Max Prio, CSOM ’16, scrolls through a gallery of interviews, motioning toward one in particular as his business partner Billy Foshay, CSOM ’16, stands over Prio’s shoulder, his face lit by a large computer monitor bracketed into the drywall. The scratched-up walls of the closet are lined with black and white concept posters, designed by Foshay.
The studio is tight: Prio’s Canon 7D narrowly fits on the surface of his desk-he’d built the rig just a week earlier using an old 10-foot 2-by-4. Seeing Prio return from Cleveland Circle Hardware with the 2-by-4, a handsaw, and Phillips-head screwdriver, the security at Walsh’s front desk was alarmed.
“Will, the security guard at Walsh, was like, ‘What is this? It doesn’t look very good,'” Prio said. “I told him it was the start of a company.”
Formally not even a week old, the Exposure Media Group is a new name at Boston College. The five-man production house, now operating out of Prio’s eight-man suite, hadn’t even existed in concept a month before the launch of its website last Sunday. The group of BC videographers and photographers began working together in the fall semester after receiving a $10,000 grant from Hyundai to produce a short film on BC football.
Growing up in Miami, Fla., as the son of a freelance film director, Prio has a very involved relationship with film.
“I’ve grown up with a camera in my hands my entire life,” said Prio. “I’ve seen every type of camera roll through my house.”
Before coming to BC, Prio had worked several years on professional film sets, and he served as an assistant director for three of his father’s productions. It was a hobby he planned to give up at BC.
“I came to BC as a business student, got into CSOM,” Prio said. “Somehow, my advisor convinced me to take a film class, at the shock of my father, because he never wanted me to enter the film industry-just because it’s such a pain.”
In spite of his father’s initial “excitement,” Prio has taken up a full film major to complement his studies in CSOM.
“It’s unexpected,” Prio said. “You can’t predict what’s going to happen in the film industry, unless you’re Martin Scorcese.”
Prio and his partners, however, have found something of a hidden market at BC. After producing a promotional clip for the Cuban American Students Association, Prio was approached in the fall by Karl Bell, assistant director of the Student Programs Office, about the possibility of producing similar videos for other clubs. As production of the BC football short film began winding down, and Prio’s talks with Bell advanced, the idea for Exposure started developing.
One day this spring, while studying for a finance test, Foshay caught Prio working on the logo for Exposure. Foshay, a photographer and graphic designer, immediately connected with Prio’s concept, and within a week, the two were shooting ideas back and forth for the business.
“I was getting tired with the whole process, and then, he drove me crazy,” Prio said. “We were so pumped up to start this thing-it just kind of blew up.”
Over Spring Break, the two were Skyping almost every day, discussing logistics, developing concept art, even unsuccessfully trying to tack together a pricing scheme. Prio started teaching himself the basics of web design in his free time, and by the end of the week, the beta of Exposure’s website was live.
Finding the right people to bring on board in these early stages of planning was relatively easy for Prio, working within BC’s small film studies department.
“Naturally, I brought in my Hyundai team,” Prio said. “They’ve worked with me, they know what I’m doing and as a director, what I expect of them. I’ve taught them everything I need them to do, what I need them to know.”
Joining the team as creative leads, Adisa Duke, A&S ’15, Nick Genovese, A&S ’16, and Ryan Reede, A&S ’16, met with Prio and Foshay about the project the week after Spring Break, excitedly forming the new company. On St. Patrick’s Day, the startup team was contacted by UGBC to create a video promoting tickets for the Annual Showdown. Given a week to produce, the five were almost immediately confronted with a near-impossible deadline.
“When they dropped that deadline on us, our jaws all dropped,” Prio said. “It was like, there was no way this was gonna happen.”
After rejecting a collection of iPhone clips offered by the Showdown organizers, the Exposure collaborative requested the rehearsal schedules of the six dance groups involved. Spending roughly three hours in the dance studios each night, Prio and his team collected hours of footages to be condensed into a 97-second video. The production process took roughly 25 hours of work, according to Exposure’s estimates.
The video for Showdown released on Sunday collected 2,000 views within 48 hours, and the Exposure media group, created at the same time, had 400 likes within 36 hours.
“It’s been a pretty crazy, fast ride, and I guess that’s what we wanted,” said Prio. “We planned it that way.”
Prio, now CEO of Exposure Media Group, and Foshay, chief of marketing and design, have a very natural manner when handling cameras. They speak to each other using extraordinarily technical terms about the technologies they work with as if they’re stock phrases, but otherwise, they communicate quite casually.
“The nature of what we do is spontaneous,” Prio said. “We have a camera in our hands, and we want to just do stuff. We want to show people things.”
While they try to interact with clients as any professional in the media industry would, the duo categorizes its style of business as young, cool-“almost-hipster”-like.
“We’re not only going to be doing work for clients, but us, as a production house, we’re going to be putting out media, some skits, stories-sponsoring some artists we meet,” Prio said. “We already have a few creative things in the oven-we’re just trying to come up with ways to entertain people.”
Rather than talking in terms of revenues at this stage in the company’s development, the two discuss success relative to social media figures.
“If we have a ton of Instagram followers, a ton of Facebook followers, we can provide a channel,” Foshay said. “The content’s there to work with-the content’s actually very good, but these artists don’t have a way to share it. Exposure provides that.”
“The initial launch was 200 percent a success,” Prio added. “We’re riding waves of likes.”
In addition to promotional videos, Prio plans to grow Exposure to producing screenplays, short webisodes, and smaller projects thought up by the creative leads. An obsessive worker, Prio spends hours in the Walsh 601 production studio, and he acredits his continued mental wellbeing almost exclusively to his roommates, whom he describes as “interns.”
“I have two or three pretty damn good interns that check up on me, make sure I’m still sane,” said Prio. “They’ll give me comedic relief, bring me water, coffee, ask me if I need anything. They love that there’s a business in here.”
While currently in talks with administrators about funding for more RSOs to sponsor video promotions, Exposure plans to continue its work with UGBC in the immediate future. On Tuesday, it began work on a promotional video for Modstock, following the popularity of the Showdown video.
“We want to keep our creativity at its peak,” Prio said. “We want to release great content, 24/7.”