Tailor Made Media, a video and documentary production company, was founded in 2011 by Joe Acchione and Chris Cotter. Joe has a film degree from Emerson College, while Chris’s camera experience came mostly from traveling. Chris has always been a drummer for various bands and he eventually started his own recording company TribeSound Records, so he was already familiar with running a business. And although Chris and Joe have different personalities, they connected over their shared passion for creativity and video production.
A Video Production Company is Born
When they first started, they weren’t exactly sure what type of video production company they were going to be. Soon, the projects they were hired to create began to shape their vision. The first project Tailor Made Media was hired for was a children’s musical called “It’s Not Mean to be Green.” This production sought to teach kids how to be environmentally friendly and it debuted at the DuPont Theater in Wilmington, DE. It was a fairly large-scale project that showed Chris and Joe what they were capable of producing. They appreciated the environmental aspect of the performance and were eager to find similar projects.
Film Production Projects
They soon hired various team members and began working with local businesses, schools, and nonprofit organizations including the Chester County Community Foundation, America Team for Displaced Eritreans, YMCA, SPCA, and The United Way. Each of these groups had their own production requests, such as video content marketing or commercial video production, but most aligned with the greater vision of serving others. This soon became the mission for Tailor Made Media: to produce projects that make a difference. It’s worth noting that businesses and schools we work with that don’t explicitly contribute to humanitarian or environmental causes are still vicariously helping because we use our profits from every client for those types of passion projects.
In the beginning, perhaps the most notable of these relationships was the connection to The America Team for Displaced Eritreans. Our contact with the founder of that organization, John Stauffer, led us to the concept for our first feature-length documentary film, Refugee: The Eritrean Exodus. After researching the refugee crisis in Eritrea, Chris and Scott Miller traveled to the refugee camps in Ethiopia. They also visited Israel where they interviewed Eritrean refugees, regime supporters, and various professionals working on the ground who have helped Eritrean people seek asylum and safety.
This began a three-year-long project that required collaboration with other professionals to produce the feature film. One thing Tailor Made Media has always tried to do is to find the right people to do the right job on a project and Refugee was no exception. Perhaps it’s Chris’s collaborative sensibility as a band member that allows him to select appropriate talent, understanding that people specialize in different instruments that each play a specific role in a song.
A Successful Kickstarter Campaign
After editing a trailer and successfully completing a Kickstarter campaign (raising over $34,000), the Tailor Made Media team was able to complete the documentary film. This involved traveling to the Nevada desert to shoot reenactments of refugee stories, among other expenses. The film has since been featured in several film festivals, including the Singapore Film Fest. It has also been screened in various movie houses across the globe.
The positive messages we received from many Eritreans and supporters confirmed that our films could make a difference. A Canadian woman even sent us a message about how the film inspired her to adopt two Eritrean siblings. We even got to screen our film at the State Department in Washington DC.
Working with Non-Profit Organizations
Refugee led to other relationships with global nonprofit organizations. We’ve worked with FilmAid, UNHCR, Peace Corps, The Fund (Team Semper Fi), Amnesty International. FilmAid allowed us to return to Africa, this time to Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya where we taught film production classes to refugees. This not only gave the refugees a new creative outlet, but it also opened their eyes. They could see potential careers in a medium they could also use to tell their personal stories.
We also teamed up with The Fund (formerly the Semper Fi Fund), which allowed us to travel to different parts of the country. We went to Montana to film military service members engaging in various outdoor activities. Whether fly fishing, wakeboarding, or mountain biking, these activities helped veterans. Veterans are able to bond with their comrades and transcend any mental or physical trauma they’ve endured.
Film Production and Humanitarian Causes
Each of these projects has contributed something positive to society and we are grateful for that. One thing we strive to do at Tailor Made Media is build long-term relationships with our clients. The longer we’ve worked with certain businesses, schools, and organizations, the more familiar we become with their culture and mission. This sustained connection allows us to produce the best content possible to fulfill their video production and marketing needs.
With any profit we make, we want to continue to produce films that educate, inspire, and impact the world. We have met so many people doing so many great things that we find it necessary to tell their stories. Stories that can influence positive change. We look forward to meeting new organizations and connecting with people who align with our mission.