As a little boy he took a picture that would frame his own success story. That photo helped turn this guest into a sought after star who shapes the images of celebrities and major corporations.
In a Tracks To Success unlike any other, you’ll meet Mil Cannon, a director, producer, photographer and cinematographer to the stars. He shares his remarkable journey from a challenging childhood to the trusted image maker for the likes of Usher, Mariah Carey, Carrie Underwood, Pink, Toni Braxton and the late Whitney Houston.
His video brand work with the Olympics and major companies like IBM, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Directv and others has earned him star status in an ultra competitive industry and made him a go-to that keeps HIM busier than he ever dreamed.
His thoughts on working with Usher? Mariah? Carrie? You'll get it right here. And you'll learn what makes big brands bigger in the world of video and storytelling.
Host Kraig Kann pulls incredible stories from Mil... his work with the stars, thoughts on what it takes to carve your own niche and a career path that ramped up quickly one extraordinary piece of creative art at a time.
Welcome to Tracks. To Success brought to you by presentation partners. This is the podcast that brings you inspiring people, and they're inspiring stories. How did they find their way to the top? And How can their path help you do the same? Here's your host network, broadcaster, executive and entrepreneur. Kraig Kann
Right now on this edition of Tracks To Success you'll hear from a man who's more comfortable being tied to other successes than he is being a champion of his own purpose. He's climbed from one of the most humble beginnings to become one of the most recognized producers, directors, cinematographers, editors, and photographers. You will find anywhere he's put his stamp as an image maker on big name media, mega stars, like Usher Whitney Houston Mariah Carey Pink Toni Braxton and Carrie Underwood just a name, a few.
1 (1m 7s):
He has also built media campaigns for huge fortune 500 companies like Coca Cola McDonalds and IBM, and also associated himself with the NFL NASCAR major league baseball and DirecTV, and that's just the start, his work, creating music, videos, and images has put in front and center with big clients and big events. Like the Olympics. In two words, this man is the gold standard. He's a creator, a collaborator, and a consummate professional who pours his time and his purpose into projects that get other people that glory while he is completely content with a joy of watching it all happen with his masterful artistic blueprint, its time to meet Mil.
1 (1m 57s):
Cannon an award winning workaholic known as image Mil is inspiring story. And this edition of Tracks To Success starts now. Mil Cannon, I'm thrilled to have you join me on this podcast. I'm very excited about it. Truth be told all our listeners, somebody made a little introduction, Michelle, and I get to know each other and immediately said, okay, why are we not going to do this? This makes way too much sense. So I wanna thank you. And the other thing that everybody should know, Mil Cannon His this is your first ever podcast. How lucky am I? Thank you.
2 (2m 37s):
Your welcome. I'll tell you what I haven't done them. I'm always behind the camera. I'm so busy. A little bit about self-proclaimed workaholic in order to, you know, manage everything I have to do to have mentors and Duane coming to when companies is his fault, but he got us on here. This was my first ever podcast. Lot of people would ask me to do it, but I always kind of shy away the story Dwayne, about 45 days ago, he challenged me into a 30 day a Renaissance. And so he challenged me to do 30 days of posting things that I remember some of the momentous moments in my life. Some of the things I've learned, some of the big lessons I'm at, and one of his challenges was at the end.
2 (3m 19s):
I want you to get in front of the camera and tell your story on a podcast. So I agreed and here I am.
3 (3m 25s):
So this is kind of outside your comfort zone. Are you comfortable being uncomfortable?
2 (3m 32s):
You know, I'm getting that way. I work with a lot of millennials now that makes me fall again. You know, I've always been an, a lot of behind the scenes stuff and I've always given a little, a little excerpts, but I've never been one to want to jump out and cry at the camera. I like being on the side of the square quite a bit. And a, you know, maybe as would go forward, I'll try to externalize it a little bit. That's the part of the challenge. Then you were helping you with that today.
3 (3m 55s):
All right. Here's where I want to start. Even though technically I've already started Mil Cannon has the name, but people say it's image. Mil image Mil is what you're known as. How did that come to be
2 (4m 10s):
Image mill is a lifelong, I guess, nickname, if you will, but it's also my handle and my moniker, my business' name, this even a B in my studio name from most of my career, the way it started with I was born in Savannah, Georgia, 1965 in a military family, my father, he got shipped out to Anchorage, Alaska on the air force. And so we as a family, my sister and my mom, we had to go to Alaska and on a GI bill, you are living in a trailer or at the time, and you fathered was working and he went to Franklin Germany, and he brought a camera up. Petra. In fact, I still had the camera, they brought it home. And when you're a kid and you wanna work around your daddy, he want to see what was going on your formidable.
2 (4m 51s):
If you are only three. So kind of showed me how, how to hold the camera. And he thought it was cute until I got in trouble running out and playing with it. And shouldn't even up on the film and get it in the dirt and things like that. But when the film came back, there was a few pictures at the end. It has, that were of me. And we had an old trailer that burned next door. It, it had some, a furniture on the outside where the mirror got to be reflected in a mirror somehow again, focus. And when that happened, it was kind of a joke. My aunt Belinda tapped me on the head and she said, look at the little image. You know, I felt so proud and I thought, wow, cameras, that's love you get Lite. You get noticed. And that started everything. So they named the image of medial as a joke.
2 (5m 32s):
That's my company today. He always has been suggesting anybody that that's what they know that yet.
3 (5m 36s):
That's pretty cool. And it fits. And it works now with what you do, and you do a lot of different things. You've helped a lot of different people. I'm going to throw some big names and big brands out here in a second, but technically you're in an image maker for a lot of people. How would you define image maker?
2 (5m 59s):
You know, we have so many ways to gather in the image of this. When I started, there was only a few film photo and drawing as a digital way of came along and became animation and aftereffects and different types of visual manipulations in how you do film photography. It's going all the way through, like audio has gone all the way through Sony Lloyd to digital tape, you know, all the way magnetic tape, all the way to HIM digital files today to have a phone. And To all this instant digital gratification. And so I've really kind of gone through all of that. And the one thing I've noticed is the content never changes. The square that you use on the front of everything never changes. And that's been the one consistent thing that I can say is a form.
2 (6m 41s):
And really it is what makes the image Mil. Again, I don't miss out on the square, everybody else's on that side of the square and sons, my challenge in that little boy, I all the way up to do something wonderful for the square to make people happy to get a Pat on the head and they call the image. Mil its like this circular things that I just love and I live off of it.
3 (6m 59s):
Well, you're actually helping raise the level of their image as well through imagery in so many different forms in the open, in my fancy little open, I tossed out some of the superstar people on the big name brands, huge brands that you a have worked with. They have trusted in You to show them the best way to put themselves forward, to put their brand forward bell, South burger King, Nike Ford motor company, universal Sony glorious, Stefan Usher collective soul Mariah Carey Carrie Underwood Toni Braxton I mean I could go on and on that's just a short part of the list. Have you ever sat back Mil image Mil and said, wow, what the heck?
3 (7m 43s):
How did this come to me?
2 (7m 47s):
Wow. You know, I don't know that I've ever really been able to see it like that. I mean, I guess the camera family that age three, clearly God wanted me to have a camera and pull me up where I was use it to meet people and to influence people. And I took it real serious. I was a big student of the game. I was always early, always morning and I really try to develop a skill set that I could use to help people put their best foot forward in the one thing that I love the most about helping people like that. And they're gonna remember their images, they're music, videos, they're designs. They're gonna remember that for the rest of their life, they'll be shown in their grandkids and that I get to be attached to that. So I always wanted to put people in their best light.
2 (8m 28s):
And then when they get it, you know, Pat on the back, they turn around and give me a Pat on the back. So one, once again, I was kinda unfortunately built that way, affirmation or a performance space for the approval. I've learned to deal with that these days, but I tell you what it really is a motivator. Then you help somebody. They appreciate it. And that's kinda what the, well,
3 (8m 47s):
He left a lot of people up. All right. I want to run through some of these big names. I've got a handful picked out and want some quick comments. First thing off the top, your head, if you will, with the different names that I bring up. So here we go. Let's start with Mariah. Carey 13 videos for her 2015 world tour.
2 (9m 9s):
Yeah. I mean sometimes in this business, you never know when the phone's going to ring, there's an art director out there. Who've done an enormous amount of chores. His name is Barry later. And every once in a while, he'll call me and will say, I've got something bigger and let's go. So he called me one night and he said Mariah is gone on tour in an agent 24 hours later, I'm sitting there talking to Mariah, Carey going for the next 28 days. We spent building the tour, doing the rehearsals, creating dance videos. The first person I ever shot, a video for her kids. And one, all that goes by and she goes on tour. You just realize, wow. I just worked with literally one of the best singers in the history of our country or in the world. Even what an honor that is.
2 (9m 50s):
So I would say that it's very deep alike. It's a very upscale. It's a very particular, she's a very much professional. And that's why she gets the vocals. She does. She's incredible. Yeah. How about Pink? Oh, Pink now let me tell you Pink she's one of my favorite artists cause she keeps it real. She's very, she's kind of straight. You know, when I first met her, she was just getting signed. I worked on their very first stuff with her and got her gone and she has an attitude. She has, she's not scared of anybody. She'll tell you off real quick and you can hear that or music, you know, I'm remember, you know, it just a few of her songs and I'll be like, wow, that sounds amazing. And then we went live and she sounded better alive.
2 (10m 30s):
And then she came off the stage and she says, Oh, I don't do playback. So it's, she's a tough girl. Who's things. It real, it has got a great attitude, great street smarts. And that comes through it or music. If you listen to a big record, it's a lot of fun. One of my favorite artists,
3 (10m 45s):
Two hour concert movie for her story teller tour, we're talking about Carrie Underwood there would be a lot of jealous people here to what she like.
2 (10m 56s):
Well, you know, I didn't know what it would be like to where with Carrie Underwood do you know that you see her when they are American idol, you say, or this girl on the farm, that's like golden Grahams and honey and Suite and mans. She's all that. That's exactly what I experienced doing both tours. She is as nice as the base long a, you know, she's a great family person. She's respectful of all her people. But boy, when you turn on the music, she can do 24 songs in three hours and be carrying notes that seem second small on the 24th songs, I was really impressed. What? That little girl, I can do a bit more impressed with a type of person in the type of management you have. They pay a well, they fix your welding. Thank you. Then that's a kind of people you wanna work for someone like Carey on the woods folks.
2 (11m 39s):
They're a great,
3 (11m 39s):
That's great to hear. How about Toni Braxton
2 (11m 44s):
Toni Braxton is from Atlanta. You no, she came along and a time where a Nina Baker was a really big here. It comes up a little gal with short hair at this beautiful up here and boom like that. She's like almost a new Anita Baker in Seoul. And she had some amazing songs and she really liked videos. She was very attractive. So she likes to do upscale Neos. And we did some things that went around the world that were really cool. Some, you know, photos and chutes different DPKs and things that don't go to market. I think I worked at last time with her on something called the heat and we had a single mom that Spanish guitar that's when she had long hair and a Toni Braxton probably didn't get enough respect. She's one of the most talented people I've also ever met as far as a singer goes.
2 (12m 26s):
I mean, not everything goes right for everybody all the time when it comes to business or health, but maybe we'll hear from her again, this has got to build a voice that's for sure.
3 (12m 34s):
Speaking of a golden voices. And if there was a Mount Rushmore of a great singers, I'm guessing Whitney, Houston finds her way there. And you've worked with her as well.
2 (12m 46s):
Well, yeah, you know, you never know how things are going to happen. And a, I get a call because somebody else in another production company kind of fell down and they said, Hey, I know somebody at Atlanta who can really take care of business and I get this call. Can you work with Usher? Excuse me, can you work with Houston in 24 hours at the Biltmore ballroom with 600 candles? That's like, yeah, what else you got? And of course I have the phone and I started going, Oh my goodness. And so I started calling my best people and everybody came in. I mean, everybody that came in clay and we just got they're on time. We had set. And then there were nine hours late coming on the line. So he sat around it.
2 (13m 27s):
We slept and we were losing our time and we had fire marshals in a big crew and Crain's and low and behold, she shows up she and I had to become friends real fast in order to accomplish this, should've built more ballroom with fire. What we did, we made a beautiful Christmas music video, everybody on my crew put that is one of the top things on their whole career. And who else, you know, who can say that made it, you know, with the Houston video, less than 50 people in the world. So I'm happy to be one of those people when that was just, that was something special about that.
3 (13m 60s):
I think I know where you're going to go with this. Based on the fact you have dropped his name already that you might have a special relationship with this one. Right. And that is Usher. I mean, come on, you created videos for his truth tour in 2004 and, and this relationship is big.
2 (14m 18s):
Yeah. Yeah. It's being a relationship. I can tell you, you, you look back into your career and you go, how did I get Mariah Carey how did I get what you used? And, and it all started really when I broke out with Usher, I mean, there were some other groups and other big Usher. He was really in it. So I worked when he, when I was young, when he was young, but we didn't get a chance to meet. Cause I wasn't a director of that first day, when he got into his third record, he, he started to become one of the biggest artist in the world. His mom got a patent, gave it an Atlanta kid, a chance. You've heard about me seeing my stuff. And while everybody was coming from Los Angeles and New York of man's work with Usher, she gave me a chance. And then I ended up doing more work than anybody. For years with the Usher I've designed several tours, I've designed simple films.
2 (15m 2s):
I've done multiple music videos, edit CPKs designs, you know, Grammy designs and everything from the Olympics. I mean, Usher is the ultimate entertainer. What I can say about Usher is he taught me a level of worth that things that I've never seen for an artist artists go about. He knows what's going on. He's a heck of a singer. He's an incredible dancer. Hmm. An enormous entertainer that on top of all, that has a good, got to know. He just a sweet guy that we cut jokes and make fun. He lost one of my cameras once they took it and they paid me back for it. But anyway, so I should've had a great relationship and we did confessions. That's the biggest RMB, a project of all time still.
2 (15m 44s):
It is. And we're happy to all be a part of it took 75 towards that project. So Usher is just the height, a boat highs. I mean, Michael Jackson said he's in the Michael Jackson. So you know that you think about it. Usher, you know, he is the ultimate guy. Yeah.
3 (15m 58s):
And there are so many awards that they all won through videos that you were a part of that, that you can say, Hey, that was me too. But that's just not the guy that you usually seem to come across as you just gave some real good, quick hit comments about them. Now, before I start tracking your success story, a little deeper, I want you to tell me your quick hit thought on You. What should our audience know about Mil Cannon or what the others might say about Mil Cannon?
2 (16m 31s):
Well, I think there's a pretty common denominator and all that. I've only been one thing always everyday, all the way up all the time. So most people, if not, everybody would say, Oh, that's Mil Cannon, he's the image, you know, he's the image guy. He will, this stuff's amazing. It doesn't matter who he's working for Usher or Carrie Underwood Mariah Carey is working for an emerging artist. Someone that doesn't even to have a budget, he does the same thing. I've always taken a pride, especially from a humble beginnings on the help in the small guy. Not every one has a big career are a lot of money or stuff, but some of them have amazing songs and everybody has a dream. And so I would say that I look at the big artists and the lowest artists just getting started at exactly the same way.
2 (17m 14s):
And it's all relative, what can I do for them that this moment, their live with what they have and core into them. And that's my philosophy. If they always pour in and deliver and deliver extra, it always works out. And it always works out. If you do that, that's one thing I have learned.
3 (17m 29s):
He has to be because of your start at the beginning of that, you talked about in Savanna and the trailer park that you talked about, take me back their, what was that really like for you, your parent's and the upbringing that you had, that they taught you, this work ethic that you just described?
2 (17m 47s):
Well, you know, I grew up in a little bit of a welfare state. You know, my father, it was a military guy, you got out of the military, we were young and he went into some industrial work and he got in a bad industrial accident. So Ben in fact, he was incredible care for a long time. He had a halo, he broke his neck and six to four of the bones yet. And part of his arm ripped off and we were just kids in, in little league and now, and he was our coach. He got decimated and it really did something to his spirit. Yeah. At that moment, things like, God, isn't a real here. I, this kid trying to get this guidance from my father. So the way I found happiness that I went around to other people and took pictures and drew pictures and everybody would say, Oh, you're awesome.
2 (18m 31s):
In cash, on the head, it was love. So the way I was counting love was I was playing baseball in sports and doing art and photography. So it can be away from home as much as possible because he was struggling so hard and there was some abuse going on there. I hate to say that a lot of people had that we didn't know. And the, in our neighborhood, a lot of things like that happened, people get married, divorced people, the right cars. But we also got together as a family and there was so much love. My grandfather was sort of an Oasis partner for all of us and whatever. My dad didn't, even my grandfather gave you 10. So he really helped me believe that be something don't listen. So he seemed to You there is an, a, there is hope you are going to make it kid because you got the talent there. Like you can see it.
2 (19m 11s):
And it really gave me the self-esteem you get up an hour of what we would call it a humble beginnings and not succumbing to it. And that was really, probably one of the most important things I can say, looking back now that happened to me because it was a struggle at the beginning. It, it is not a struggle now. And even though I didn't have a sense of self, then God had that camera in my hand, that square in my hand, and that, you know, love in my heart to, to take pictures in the, if I didn't have that, I couldn't tell you where I'd be, what I was doing or whether I can be lost at this point, but I'm real a lot. And I loved taking pictures. So the thing
3 (19m 42s):
Wow. So that, that picture, that one picture or image is really what did launch You and, and maybe pushed you to leave and get out at a younger age. Your biggest influencer then was who is the one specific person you say? I owe them so much more than I could even share.
2 (20m 6s):
I think there was a school teacher, too, a coach of To, but there was one person that I never got a chance to meet this guy. I've been in the room with him 10 times. He was sort of a hero of mine, but looking outside of myself, I think Erin, you know, we were literally hearing from him. He was trying to hit the home run. He did, he hit the home run and he was like a hero to me. And he was in Atlanta and it wasn't that far away. He was a Citi. You know, that I started to dream outside of Savannah. So Hank Aaron was really a, the inspiration that he came from, it, it played in Savanna and, you know, he has to go and segregate in seats. He hit a home run. It would be the best player on the field and not be able to sit in a restaurant and those days. And so I was really inspired by Hank Aaron. I really guided my, my, my grandfather believed that, you know, being nice, opened the door and get a gentlemen, go take the long way.
2 (20m 53s):
But really I'm met a teacher, her name, you know, her name is ms. Weathers. And this weather is, it really meant a lot to me. And she saw my talent early on. She got me into an executive for a day it's as a teenager, comes from the TV station, mom and her brother, Doug, whether it was a news anchor or a news director, I was way too young to do anything, but they let me start washing cars. Cause I just wanted to be around with cameras. And so that was a real big moment for me on a few years in to that, I get a chance to become a cameraman at the station. And when I got a driver's license, I got a job. And two years later I was cameraman the best cameras in Georgia, 1980 for, from the associated press against any thoughts as a young person that I got that opportunity.
2 (21m 33s):
I've already prepped off in my life, loving cameras in the moment I got one reel in my hand and get it to go and see me. That was it, man. That, that was where it really exploded. So it was a teacher and saw my talent and got me into a TV station. And that's how I got star.
3 (21m 47s):
That's pretty cool. I mean, if you have a TV career of any kind in local news, which I did, you pretty much know the call letters for, for so many stations. So WTOC in Savannah is one that I probably sent a resume tape to years ago. So the thought of you, you know, with that camera on your shoulder, which is exactly what I had, I was in Columbus, Georgia at a WT VM. So I always remember that stuff. Your first, first opportunity, that stuff is super, super simple.
2 (22m 14s):
They never forget. And that gave me a chance to do something and then see it on TV. And that people go, Oh, I saw what you did. And that was just, that was amazing to me. And that's what I wanted to do over and over and over and over. I'm still doing that every day over and over. So that's really been a great thread through it all.
3 (22m 33s):
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2 (23m 18s):
3 (23m 21s):
Brand builder image maker, entrepreneur of the highest order. That's what I'm throwing your way. Mil not just you, but momentous. Momentous is the big brand name, also tied to your company. How did you come up with that? And what does it really mean? It has to have some significance.
2 (23m 38s):
Well, yeah, we made it to try to diversify Newsome on the business. We want to do a few film projects and I had a film that I wanted to do. So we created business sort of an agency, and I wanted to come up with a name that would mean something people would remember that would involve people that would help us tell the story. So I'll always love the word momentous because it meant like top of the world, you know, or I just won the championship or a Rocky on the top of the building. It was people's moments, you know, and that's what I want to capture on and capture the other day. I want to capture those special moments because that's what people remember. So it came up with the name momentous, but you couldn't get momentous on URLs. So I typed in a moment us and it, it was available and most of us law in the us man, you know, if you spend a moment with us, yeah, you have to spend a moment.
2 (24m 26s):
We'll tell your story. In fact, we'll sell your story, your story seller's. And so we came up with this concept that we tell moments of stories and we helped turn your story's in the sales. So we're at where I work in one aspect of imaging and it was all music entertainment design. When it comes to developing projects or partnering or developing projects and film, we do momentous. And that's what it means, a momentous. This is where we hope to end up doing something highly momentous. We also have a group of artists called the moment and just artists that are print artists and cultural artists. We're working with a development group that right now. So its it's in the process of evolving. Can't just be imaged in on all the time. If you want to grow and help it impact other people.
2 (25m 7s):
So that's what it is.
3 (25m 8s):
There's a great story behind every great person. There's a great story behind every big brand. And storytelling is so big today with so many people talking, you got to have a story that connects with people. So I want to know when you kind of figure it out that you we're a big deal that you, that you are a hit was they're a person who told that to you. Maybe an award that was attached to you, a specific video that took off. What was that moment if you will?
2 (25m 38s):
Well, I think it was a lot of micro moments. It seemed like every art program I got into, I liked the teacher teacher like meeting every time I entered anything that would win. And I just got used to that and it just kinda built up, built up, built up. But when I'm one of the associated press cameras and I'm where I want to a mountain and I'm at 10 at Turner who I would let her work for him quite a bit. And a, he looked at me and it was another George. And at the time that was really big Herschel Walker. And he looked at me and he said, kid, you got what it takes. Just like that. Herschel the kid that only you can mess it up. Maybe you work for me someday. And lo and behold, I did work for him on his 25th anniversary. It's a studio and lots of things for turn it over for CNN in the garden at work and many of his own networks when they were in Atlanta.
2 (26m 22s):
So Ted Turner, he really made it real.
3 (26m 27s):
That's cool. That's the, that's a big name and that, that that's a big in Atlanta. I thought you were gonna say the Olympics in 96 because CocaCola signed you to do a deal to work on there a limpic image, right? Coca Cola we're talking about major brand here. What was that process like?
2 (26m 46s):
Right. Well first let me go back on that. I want to say this. I'll tell you what, when that was a kid and I was thinking about what I would want to do, you know, I've watched the best commercial's and do you mean Joe Green and, and the Coca Cola thing and Coke. We like to teach the world was saying, and it was just sorta like the biggest. And then when I got an advertiser at the school, I found out Coca was the biggest. They had cut so many new pads and advertising. They were so cohesive. They, they created Santa clause with the sun from some bloom shack losses, which I had a chance to do a film about all these years later. And I thought to myself, man, if I could ever be on a Coca Cola, a crew, that would be a big deal. And that was them.
2 (27m 26s):
And you know, now I've, I've done more than a hundred productions for Coca Cola. Multiple spots are a couple of Olympic games and just so many branded things from, from super bowls to, you know, hockey tournaments, to emulate championships on and on it sorta is everywhere where it comes with sports marketing, you have chance to do NASCAR in the market. And just with Jeff Gordon, when he left Coca we did the Coke Cola family, all that led up to one thing. That was probably the biggest moment for the biggest model and all that was during the Olympics. And I got hired to do the torch, Fil the torch, coming from Greece all the way to the calls in the stadium. And Coca Cola was able to bring the torch at all, but would have Janet Evans brings it to mom.
2 (28m 11s):
And only in that moment, the lighting, the torch for the 28 days prior to that, I was strapped on a motorcycle or in the back of the truck film, making this film I'm for the magic of Coca and open in the Olympic games. So it was seen by at 1.6 million people. And I was their, when the, when the flame left GRI. So it was there when it hit Savannah was on a midnight train to Georgia too, to the, to the Atlanta headquarters Coca-Cola we would put it on a culture and, and then to see that thing up and know that I fall a flame to the Olympics and that was their at the moment on a stage, I, it can't possibly get a much bigger than that unless you're in their space X going up for something like that. So that was really from a commercial standpoint, Coca the pillar was the head now in the Olympics.
2 (28m 54s):
So it was nothing bigger.
3 (28m 55s):
So I wanted to talk to you about that because the Olympic torch film reach higher, right. We remember that song, that alone, Gloria Stephane, and another big piece, the pre-opening feature was Celine Dion. I mean, did you watch those games as you kind of just alluded to and just kind of, I don't know, did you cry, were you emotional about what you had just been a part of?
2 (29m 18s):
You know, I didn't even get to see it. The fact of the matter is while that was happening, we had 36 commercials, virtual signage, 18 different crew members. I had a whole crew of people. We had Olympic sitting, they were making commercials and opening things in a virtual logos, 20 for seven. I don't, you remember what happened in the Olympics? Other than we just worked as hard as you possibly could. And then it was over, there was a mom that really made a different, you know, right in the middle of the Olympics that happened. It was like, wow. And Coca led so much investing in the next thing. Now you're sitting there with marshal's and they are taking your camera, go on. What do you know really weird times they made a movie about it, that with Richard, Julia, you should check that out. But, but truthfully, just the fact is once it was all over and you could really look back, and that was really rewarding, knowing that, you know, billions of people saw your stuff right from Atlanta.
2 (30m 8s):
And it wasn't just me. It was several of my filmmaking friends that I got to be able to be part of it. And we had a really good team and Coca Cola owned it and we put up the most advertising. They're the best advertiser at the time. They always put, supported the Olympics and you know, in a corporate world, I don't know that you can get any bigger than that. I looked to have another one. I've had two, I'd love to do another Olympics there's a lot of work and not sure what they wanted to do it.
3 (30m 33s):
I bet you've worked with so many big corporate brands. She just rattled off arguably, one of the very biggest when they come to you, what do they looking for? Mil is it pop? Is it eye candy? Is it, is it something that, that resonates that people will talk about for a long time that has longevity? What do they say in a meeting like That, Hey, Mil comes, sit with us. This is what we're looking for. What are they looking for?
2 (30m 57s):
Well, you know, the, on the edge is a music guy on the fast cut guy on the sizzle guy. HIM so a lot of people can do, you know, the body have a peace. So I'd get hired usually into the commercial, the opening, you know, the poster or the, you know, the big sizzle that you would say promoting an event are the opening of, of, of a big sporting event or something like that. So most of the time people come to me because I work with music artists and I protect their brand and they go, wow, we need this Sprite commercial, but they had a hip hop flavor to it. So lets get a real music video director. Who's got chops. And so it's more of a crossover. You know, I, most of the people that call me, they want something very sizzly, very tricky and very music like in my wheelhouse.
2 (31m 39s):
And so that's where I get my business and it's generally someone calling me, you know, I don't Mark it. So I've never really marketed. It's just all been word of mouth. And, and sometimes there's a line and sometimes there's a pandemic, you know, you just never know what you're going to go to do in this business. You just keep moving at a square around And you just, when those big calls happen, you just hope that you get a chance to do it again.
3 (32m 1s):
Yeah. You're very fortunate. We live in such a visual society Mil and your designing things. You just talk about sizzle video and, and we've rattled off also some, some very big superstar entertainers. Are they looking for the same thing as a sizzle, a pop a when they come to U Mariah or Usher what do they look for?
2 (32m 22s):
Ah, it's a mixed bag. I would tell you that the large artist that the biggest star in a state that is so much work. So many videos, I get tired of doing the videos are busy, they're busy. They don't want to spend three days doing a video out in the eat. A lot of times you'll see someone like helping John rye or something. Whitney do something simple. They want to be less is more, sometimes less is really more than we've made it to that level. You don't have to keep doing fancy videos, but when you meet a young artist, she's got a really hot song and they're not broke out. That's where you put your most because you want a break and artists like a Pink or, or something like, you know, collective soul or one of those groups that ends up having a 20 year career because someone got a chance to hear it from me.
2 (33m 3s):
I'm like the song I like to connect. I don't always connect to the projects that I do. I always do will at them and try to make them the grace I can. But when I liked the song, then it becomes a video game. I forget about business. I forget about money. I just got, how can I make this the coolest? So the little boy, that little three year old boy to do the image Mil comes out. And so, as long as I keep doing that, as long as I keep connecting with the artist and poured my heart into them and letting them know that I understand what they're trying to accomplish. A lot of times they don't know. Sometimes there's a bunch of people that told them what they should do, and they're just not sure of it. And so for some reason, I I'm going have the ability to assess the scenario and just come up with my own thing.
2 (33m 43s):
And that's always worked for me the moment I start to analyze everything in a lot of other people, it really dilutes the commodity because you give me on the ball, I'll run it straight down the field. Then you get that score. I'm always the turtle, you know, but the turtle always wins. And if you overdeliver and you win, you'll call you back. I'll tell their friends on the phone with running. And that's what happens. That's how you doing this before your young guys over deliver over, deliver over deliver and do it well. And that's what makes a longterm career in this business.
3 (34m 14s):
Yeah. I always used to tell people when I worked in, in my TV networks or a at the LPGA is a communication said that you take what is given to you and give back something better than anybody ever expected when they were giving it to you in the first place. Make that over-delivery it, it lasts for ever season two of Tracks To Success is brought to you by presentation partners, presentation partners is a unique team of award-winning executives. Helping you build a presentation. Others will be talking about presentation. Partners teaches you the true art of storytelling.
3 (34m 54s):
And if you haven't heard about their neuroscience of persuasion, you'll see how valuable it is to own it. Whether you're a company or an entrepreneur presentation partners is the team you need behind You for almost 15 years, they've helped clients raise millions in capital and countless dollars in sales simply by making top leaders successful presenters. The time is now to find your authentic voice and learn your authentic story, presentation partners, creating persuasive story presentations based on something other than just your good looks. Now Mil if I, if I took five videos, okay.
3 (35m 37s):
And only one of them was yours that were all professionally done. Would we know exactly which one was Mil Cannon you have a, a stamp, a trademark, you know, people, no, this one's done by image. Mil,
2 (35m 52s):
You know, there's been times where I've had some trendy. He looks like the most of my friends and most of my colleagues would go, Oh, that's a Mil video. So whatever they see it, I think they just see a, a cohesive video of the beginning, middle and end that rocks. And it has the right tempo, timing, pacing, Flo that matches the brands. A lot of people don't even think about Tommy or pacing or flow or a matching your brain and they just making Square's with what they know. So I think that if you can feel the peace, then you put your heart into your time. It right. If you put your flow and your essence, and it just comes out in people recognize that it's tight, it hits where it needs to hit. It has to write a Christian crescendo. You know, those are the kinds of things that I liked him to go after it.
2 (36m 35s):
And how can I make something that's like run a tap, tap, tap, you know, have edits that match that been, you know, a surgical editing just to get a little bit of a feel through a video. So I think I'm a collectic, but I think I'm consistent. And that consistently over deliver something that's tight, that has rhythm that matches the news in the right tempo. And it hits the Mark with the brand. I guess that would be a professional at INSEAD. Otherwise I would say it like people just like what I do and they keep asking me to do it. And that would be my, my simple answer. I think they're both correct.
3 (37m 6s):
They got to be known for something. And you want people to recognize that that is attached to you. Let's talk about 2014 specifically in that year alone, Mil you scripted, produced, directed and edited more than 40 music, videos, movies, short documentaries films for various clients, more than 40 in that year. The question is how, how in the world are you able to do that? Where do you find the time? How many people work for you? All that sort of stuff. I don't get it.
2 (37m 39s):
Well, you know, back when it was, you know, were in the South. And so we didn't have Hollywood here, we have them now, but we didn't for a long time, we went three or four movies. So in the South that was really commercial production. <inaudible> Coca Cola that was how you made money commercially. And then you had them, the music video stuff going on. And you know, I'm trying to kind of ask me that in a different way. Cause I'm trying to figure out the right way to explain it. You know what I mean?
3 (38m 8s):
Your busy, I mean, you are a busy guy, as you say, you're a workaholic, a, you know, How okay, let me, let me put it to you this way. Yep. You know, How, if you have 10 ideas, you really don't have any, because you can never get that many ideas across the finish line from average to good to great. Right. If you've got 40 videos, how do you get 40 videos accomplished big given, given the over-delivery that you talk about?
2 (38m 39s):
I'm I've had 54 employees at times I've had for at times a day. Now we just keep a small, we bring in specialized people that are hungry. I've learned get the guy that does multiple things who has a name of the door, who shows up, get those guys to help you. I think navigating it a lot of different parts of movement and being very confident, not taking a lot of time delivering one of the things I am as fast and deliberate. I mean, the word director comes in through the decision. And so a good director who is competent and he is willing to stand behind. And sometimes even if you're wrong, sometimes I've done things. This is right. But they saw my confidence. So when we reminded them like, wow, he was so confident, that looks right.
2 (39m 21s):
And even to me, I'm like, ah, I would've done a little differently. I'm a frustrated artist. So every project that I go, what can we add in? And what can we do? And we work quick and fast. Most people want something yesterday in this business. They don't have time. I'm not that guy. Now there are companies out there that take a project and that for a month window and they have to have to do a producer and director and the writer consulting in a PR company. And in the end, the video comes out and a company pays a lot of time and money and development. And that that's where our way of doing it with movies has done that way. And it was a Renegade gods with a few people Kann almost compete with it. And they're kinda like, you know, in the category killers, if you will, for some reason, I like work in smaller with better guise and not having a lot of fluff.
2 (40m 4s):
I'm pretty wise and fruitful. And it's also distracting. And since I'm usually the apprenticeship director of a camera man, and almost always the editor, because I'm concept's completion guy, I'm always pushing what's happening. But then when I push something in what's happened that I can turn to it or, and say, here's what it has to happen. Go get it, shoot me on a cup. And then other ones for the next project. And he sends a cut In I take that over a, finish it, you go to the client while he was working on something else. If I get going too much, it can be dizzying. I know my limits. I never stumped in my own limits. I always knew that if I raised the bar and almost got to it, and that would be great. And occasionally I can get over it, but I raised it too high. Therefore, when I look back and go, wow, I didn't quite do everything I wanted.
2 (40m 46s):
Everybody else was looking at me going, wow, he did it so much more than we expected. I think that's the trick I play on myself and workaholism and passion. Just pure all for doing it. I mean, I just love still today. Right now, as much as I ever have swinging pixels, making pictures and cause I know what people are going to feel and that's the pay off. Do some great people. Appreciate it. You don't do anything people don't know. And so that's the one thing I've been able to count on my whole career is that if you do something of quality people notice. So that's what I try to do on everything.
3 (41m 20s):
Talking today with Mil Cannon a man attached to Grammy awards, telly awards. I can rattle off all these other awards. So many achievements by your clients. You mentioned it earlier this year, you've done something via Facebook and you have a cool Facebook page by the way, that means a lot to you. And it is that Renaissance that you started off talking about in our discussion here. One day at a time you posted something. Now I want you to break that down a little further. All right. Tell me about what it's done for you. I know what it is because each day you were challenged to post something about yourself and I'll get into one of those things here a second.
3 (42m 0s):
But what has it done for you?
2 (42m 3s):
Well, it was very uncomfortable. I'm always promoting everyone. I have footage. No one's ever seen me 15 years ago that like in a famous moment that I, I didn't forgot about. You know? And so I called one of my editors. I said, let's go up the archive. Look at this old stuff. Let's find some moments. My challenge is I've got to put up about 30 things this month. I felt uncomfortable about it is a lot of work. What are you going to say? What are you going to say? Not to come off, try it or braggadocious. I started out with it and the first two posts were sort of professional in the, my, my mentor called me. No, no personal show. Your heart. Someone want you to learn, tell him what, what happened to you?
2 (42m 43s):
You tell him what it meant to you. We can see all your wards. We can see all of your history, but tell him the impact to add on you and try to articulate that. And when he told me that it took a lot of pressure off. I went, okay, well, I can say that now. I just started writing things differently. They started getting a lot of feedback. I learned that people were more impressed with me saying something vulnerable about something that happened. Then they work with Whitney Houston's at the Biltmore and they didn't care as much about the big stuff they cured about the human stuff in it. It made me feel accepted and it made me feel less shy. And it made me come to, to this podcast, my first one ever. I've avoided all these all the time.
2 (43m 26s):
And I guess it's a way to come out of your shell. So that's kind of the impact and it made me nervous, but I'm getting over it.
3 (43m 32s):
You're doing a good job. I want to touch on one of your greatest pieces of art. I wonder if you know where I'm going with this, you posted this one on Facebook as part of that Renaissance. I don't know where, where the, a French fries came from. Maybe you worked with a McDonald's or something like that, but French fries and catch up and it one you win award. This is amazing. Tell this story.
2 (43m 59s):
Well, you know, I'm part of a community here that has a big church, a North point community church with pastor Andy Stanley. And I've been there for some years and we have a big church. So it had a big, a Sunday school group and the Eastern was coming. Then, you know, I've been working on some productions for the church and sometimes volunteers sometimes helping him with their marketing. And I was asked to do something fun for the kid's on Sunday for Easter. And you know, the last supper is a T attached to the Easter holiday. And I looked at it and I was like, okay. And I do it for a few things, speed through some of the things that Jesus from the morning and whatnot. But then I thought, wow, can I make the last supper? And then I thought, wow, what if I did it with food?
2 (44m 42s):
And that thought with that. So I got a big piece of paper out. It went down to McDonalds. I bought 12 packs. I grabbed 12 packs of a ketchup at the borders of Fry's came back and I set up my TimeLapse and I thought, OK, this is going to be awful. If you can't touch it, it's going to dry. It's a French fry. If you can't make something, it took it out of all that. And lo and behold, I just focused on your heart and just did it. And 90 minutes later, I thought that's not going to be good. I looked back and I said, isn't good. I don't know if it's good or not. And that night I put it together. And I sent it over for people to look at it. And I got instant response. And the moment the news and media saw that I was getting calls for, maybe she knew they was like, look, look at someone can do.
2 (45m 22s):
And a, so I got interred in the telly awards, which was a national television Warren in the religious category from 2020. And it won best of show. It, it was just awesome. He got a silver and sell it for a piece of art. You know, I've got a bunch of Teles for films and videos, but never for a piece of art that some people don't really know about me is I'm actually in an artist. I'm like, I'm a painter, as well as an illustrator. I just don't have the time in my business to spend that much time doing illustration. Not that I love that. And I guess later in my years, I'll probably do a lot more art cause that sure it has paid off. It was a pleasure for a lot of people get a lot, a lot of feedback.
2 (46m 2s):
I've probably get more feedback than that. It's it's Jesus has the last supper. So one and only time I've done something like that. And look how far you go. So tell you a little kids out there, all young people coming up, just be inspired and do something. Even if it's wrong, you never know. You might think something to catch up at Windsor don't work like I did. So that was awesome. They're you go, maybe next His spaghetti noodles and people have asked me to start paying other stuff with other foods. I'm like, I don't have, so it was just the one off. It was like what happened? So it was great. Well, you're going to get a lot of hits on your Facebook page. Now,
4 (46m 43s):
In addition to hosting this podcast, Kraig Leeds, the Kann advisory group focused on elevating communication for companies and individuals, company consulting and powering team and individual workshops, mind altering webinar's and Craig's inspiring keynotes for your conference or company meeting. They're all on the menu of services. Kann advisory helps companies clarify their message, helps professionals build and showcase their brand and helps everyone present their best selves. So if you're the leader of a team or company looking to give your employees a game changing one day experience, or in an individual who wants to become a speaker and presenter that gets other people talking visit Kann advisory.com.
4 (47m 33s):
And when you do connect, make sure to mention the Tracks To Success podcast to receive a special discount on any of the Kann advisory services. That's Kann advisory.com. Now back to the interview,
3 (47m 47s):
A couple of other things before we go, this podcast is called Tracks To Success. I believe that everybody has an inner genius. My gut tells me you believe the same thing and the joy of our careers is finding it and then figuring out how we're going to take it and putting it to use, to provide value and help other people, which gives us inspiration and a feeling of, wow. I really did something that's meaningful. What is your inner genius? Have you found it?
2 (48m 21s):
I know it. I know my energy and if I go with my instincts and don't think about it, everything I do comes out amazing. If I sort of analyze it through share with a bunch of other people, I start to lose my confidence in the original feeling that I've got are in the original inspiration that they have. And so a lot of times I would say that that's knowing just knowing that's a good idea, do it don't it don't matter what anybody thinks, just do it. Those are the pieces and projects in my entire life, which actually turned out the best. The other thing I would say that comes along with it is, and I tell this to all the young people that I mentored to speak to the Grammys MusiCares and, and other things in the colleges and what to do a round table, sort of super panels.
2 (49m 5s):
I always says the same thing. If you are an artist, you are an artist. You can do it every day. Whether you have a job, whether someone's paying you, whether your friends want to go to the beach, if your, for real, for real a photographer, you take the pictures when no one's paying work on your craft, work on your craft, work on your craft, have cultural surveillance. Look at what's around you look at what's hot. When Usher needs a video, you need the hottest tennis shoe that's out and gets the next tennis shoe that's coming. And you have to really have some cultural surveillance and really study. I found that if you go online and look at what's happening, it can really, it can be a wellspring of ideas for something original in his blessing. One of the people do. And so I would say those things, my genius is his cultural surveillance and really trying to understand what, what my feelings are, what kind of do for them that if I fall all that, that's my genius.
2 (49m 55s):
And if I get distracted from that, my projects aren't quite as good. So I know there's a little bit of a, there a difference between good and great. It's an extra. So I think the difference between great and really great is instincts. And so I trust my instincts. That's my genius, right?
3 (50m 13s):
Yeah. Ordinary. Doesn't cut it today. It's extraordinary that everybody's looking for and we cannot follow the curve. We've got to find a way to set the curve. You just talked about the sneaker thing with Usher. To me, that ties right into help. Our listeners many are probably searching for, I dunno, a moment in the spotlight. I've talked about some big names, superstars that you've worked with and all of those things. And they've obviously had many moments in the spotlight. A lot of people want that. They want that opportunity to shine, you know, to get tapped on the shoulder and be given that chance to show what they can do because some people never get tapped on the shoulder.
3 (50m 53s):
What advice would you give to somebody who's searching for that, that opportunity that they think they might never get?
2 (51m 0s):
Right? A lot of people talk about it may. In fact, almost everybody wants to do to do from the director nine That 99% of that. People are getting, tell him I want to do that directory so that they realize what the director's has to do, what his responsibility, his, and they go, Oh, I want to do the audio director. Then they end up being on audio person in a life long audio post-purchase and you know, people get into this business and it lands them differently. You know, it takes some different paths. You know, I would say that a show up, if you want to be in the music business, get into a studio as an intern, get around music people. You can't be it. If you're not around it, you're not gonna be able to call and gets to the front door. There's a 10,000 people try to do that. If your, a filmmaker in a market that doesn't add any big company's to go to find a local bank and make a video, they can get on the internet and they send it to some big city production companies to get hired.
2 (51m 49s):
If you want to be around actors, you know, get into some auditions, go around, movie sets, meet people. And you know, a lot of the people I know in the film business started out as a production system and they went and got coffee. And you know, when you're young, it's OK. You can do that. When you're older, it's a little harder, but that's how you get it around it. You got to be in it because you know, I work with artists. You know, if I ask them for another, you have to take a look at me and go, what are you doing? We work together yet. And so there's, it was a, you get a start, you get a much better chance to be around it if you're working in it. And so if you want to be in the film, go and get a film job. And if you want to be into, to go to get up to you to have it, if you want you to nitric goes to some acting classes on small mission work on bad terms.
2 (52m 29s):
So you got a good film to round some early in actors. If you take anybody who has made it, they're all gonna have a connection stories like that. They're gonna have met. Somebody's doing this. There was a band guy the other day, he is now famous, but he was in three other bands that ended up falling and he didn't know what was happening. And the third man who was in one of the guys got famous and broken with it. So you never know how you're going to get there, but you're not going to get there if you're not in it. So you gotta be around what you want to be, or your not going to have a chance.
3 (52m 57s):
An experienced sailor never learns from calm seas. There is no straight path to success. There's bumps in the road, failures, all that sort of stuff. You had your humble beginnings. You shared some of that. You went out on your own. You've ventured. And here's my last thing. What do you want your legacy to be? What do you want people to say about you? Not necessarily the people that you've worked with, but the impact you've made. What do you want that to be? Well,
2 (53m 26s):
I mean, that can be so many things. I really don't think about those things that much. I guess if, if I wanted people to say anything that was B That Millport in the end, he really, he loved his own people with his camera. And that was three, when that happened. And I was introduced to the camera till right now, I've always had a passion. That one I'm working. It's easy. A life is hard. That one I'm working is easy. And you know, people know me for what I do and how I do. And I never have to market that. What a blessing to know what you want to do on your life. You know, just one of those rare people got for us to buy into it. And it has been a journey. That's been my Tracks To Success are people I've met along the way they get in.
2 (54m 9s):
Some people are in their twenties, thirties, sometimes in their forties. And I've seen some of those people really do well also because they just made up at the time and, and they found connections and I've helped a lot of people connect. I've got interns and apprentices, hundreds of them that are in the past, I've talked, you know, room's with people and give speeches, worked on many, many production crews and different directors, different lighting people, you know that a facility. So we've had people to come into our facility. So I think that what I want people to know is I came here. I worked hard. I made it as many squares as they possibly could. And then I left.
1 (54m 43s):
I'll tell you what, there's a lot of awards all around you. I'm sure you've got a lot of photos taken with some really special people. I really appreciate the snapshot. You've given us on your career, your path, your journey image. Mil it's been an absolute pleasure. I can't thank you enough. This podcast is called Tracks To Success and you've never done one. So for me to be able to be the guy who got to ask you some questions and get us there, give you the credit that you truly deserve. I'm really appreciative of that. Thank you so much.
2 (55m 17s):
Well Kraig thank you. And I'll tell you what I'll I'll let everyone know for the rest of my life. That was your podcast. It was my first, they just like a record. There's like a music video for an emerging artists. So thank you for helping me to get started on this side of the square. Wow.
1 (55m 30s):
You crushed it all the best. And I know we'll talk again soon.
2 (55m 35s):
Thank you so much
1 (55m 37s):
In our conversation. Mil shared the story of a trailer park and leaving home at a young age, digging a big time career right out of the dirt, which leads me to my one last thing. If you want to be an influencer, don't let your dreams be turned away by a rough start or a life of a great challenge or people saying you simply can't or won't. Did you hear the names of the people Mil has worked with it all happened with hard work, in a belief that something great was out there for His taking one grade piece of work leads to another, and that leads to another. Before, you know it, you built a following of people who believe in what you do enough to share it with others.
1 (56m 21s):
That's how personal and professional brands and reputations are built and how you can create your own path to the promised land. Mil has said he chases performance based approval, meaning he's let his work do the talking for him. So here's my quick tip work to be extraordinary, not ordinary in anything that has your name attached to do that. And you're Tracks To Success come a whole lot easier. I've got a favor to ask if you're listening to this podcast, be sure and give it a rating and also a review. I hope you'll spread the word. And if you have a guest, you think belongs on Tracks To Success email me [email protected] until next time I'm Kraig Kann thanks for listening.
0 (57m 16s):
Acts to Success brought to you by presentation partners, visual storytellers, passionate about connecting presenters with their audience. Don't forget to subscribe to the show for more great interviews and thoughts on reaching your highest personal and professional summit. You can follow Kraig on Twitter and Instagram using the handle at Kraig Kann and for exclusive Tracks To Success content and news about our upcoming guests. You can find Tracks To Success on Twitter. It's at Tracks To Success.