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Featured Studio Owner

Craig Peterson
Home Video Studio - Arlington

Date: 11/22/2017


What do you get when you combine creative flair, a tireless work ethic, and a natural empathy for people? You get Craig Peterson, our studio owner in Mansfield, Texas. “I was born with a creative soul, witnessed my father’s daily diligence at his job, and received my mother’s love of serving her fellow human beings,” says Peterson, “and being a studio owner pushes me in all these areas every day.”

Craig grew up on the high plains of the Upper Midwest in South Dakota. Loving sports and music he played on his varsity football team and played clarinet in the band. After deciding he’d rather play music than get hit in the face he picked up a saxophone and never looked back, eventually performing with the likes of the Temptations, The Four Tops, Wayne Newton and Aretha Franklin. He also developed a love of production, writing and producing jingles and original music for a busy jingle house in Indianapolis.

It was in the music production business that Peterson met Robert Hanley through a mutual friend. That meeting led to being a Home Video Studio associate for eleven years. He started by managing Robert Hanley’s flagship studio in Indianapolis, Indiana. “I was hungry to learn everything about this business!” says Peterson. “I would stay late and come in Saturdays just to learn. In fact, I remember one Friday Robert telling me -kindly of course - to not come in tomorrow,” he laughs.

From that position he went on to wear just about every hat there is to wear on the support side of Home Video Studio, from managing the Film Transfer Department, to managing the support staff, to daily attending to studio owners’ needs as Director of Studio Development to the installation & launching of brand new studios, to helping with the planning and execution of the Annual Getaway to occasionally emceeing the annual Hanley Awards Gala.

One thing Craig was eying during all that time was being a studio owner himself, so when an opportunity came to become an owner he jumped on it. “I’d been preaching the HVS directive: ‘Enact programs quickly’ for years and I took it to heart. I was ready to hit the ground running!”

On January 5, 2016 Craig opened his doors and put into practice what he’d been telling other new owners for years. He’s also learning, with his own business, how to juggle a busy production schedule, market his business, provide excellent customer care, and keep up with all the technical advances. Although the HVS standard questionnaire is usually reserved for seasoned veterans with sage advice Craig has learned a lot over the years, and has particularly learned a lot as a studio owner:

Do any significant days and/or projects stick out so far?

Five thousand 35mm slides coming in the door is always memorable. And one lady brought in so many photos we lined them up, measured how many were in an inch, and measured the lineup. Usually, though, it’s family stuff you remember, like an unexpected memorial or things that mean the world to your customer.

Who are some of your influences?

It seem that my influences have always been hard and dedicated workers, no matter the field. First was my father – just a guy who loved his family and sacrificed to care of them. Then came sports heroes… Bart Starr posters adorned my bedroom as a kid because I loved his story of being a nobody and becoming the QB of one of the most storied and celebrated teams in NFL history. Then came my musical heroes like John Coltrane. You know what’s great about Coltrane? He was not a prodigy. If you hear him even in his early twenties, when most world-changing musicians are coming to the fore, he’s not a very good sax player. And he became a watershed legend. But he stunk and grew to that point. That’s inspiring!

What, so far, do you deem vital to success at this business?

Dedicate. Sell out. Don’t dabble. Do it or don’t. Was it Alexander who would land all his soldiers and set their boats on fire? That makes choices easy, doesn’t it?

What are some goals?

First goal? Consistently make $15,000 a month.

What part of the business comes easy for you? What part of the business is difficult?

I can make people feel good and feel comfortable with entrusting their projects to me. I’m decent enough with technology. I was raised to be nice (good Upper Midwest stock) and I want to please everybody by overpromising and maybe underpricing. I’ve already learned that it makes for disappointing your customers and yourself.

Any sayings, quotes, or aphorisms that you adhere to that apply to your business?

My favorite aphorism applies to the above answer: “Rocks are hard and water is wet.”

What are some prominent lessons you've learned so far?

Market daily. Tell people what you do wherever you go. You must advertise consistently. A lapse in your visibility is like an air bubble in your brake line.

Craig Peterson
Arlington TX

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