For Chris Grubisa, the most exciting project is whichever one is next. As a video content creator for sports and lifestyle brands such as Red Bull, Blue Mountain, Norco bicycles and Canadian Tire, he can find himself in a far-flung area of the world or just around the corner from his Toronto office. He is pictured above with his business (and life) partner fellow 2011 Media Arts grad, Aleks Lason on location in New Zealand.
“The beauty of taking this path is you never really know what’s around the corner,” says Grubisa, co-founder of Chrilleks Productions. “Film has created so many unique opportunities for us. It’s taken us across the world, shooting out of helicopters and meeting such inspirational people. Every project we work on feels like we won the jackpot.”
It makes for an energizing life, says Grubisa who started Chrilleks with Lason soon after graduation. (The company name is a combination of Chris and Aleks). Lason is head of production while Grubisa looks after creative. Having gained experience and forged some crucial connections, the duo followed their dream and struck out on their own.
They worked as freelancers for quite some time, but it just wasn’t fulfilling enough, Grubisa explains. “As soon as we got a good feel for the industry and enough knowledge behind us, we jumped ship and started to swim. The fact that we could produce everything under our watch was that challenge we were looking for. Chrilleks gives our lives colour.”
There are certainly challenges running your own shop, concede Grubisa and Lason, namely balancing the creative side with often tight turnaround times and budgets. Clearly, Grubisa and his team are doing something right as their work has netted Chrilleks two Telly awards for outstanding local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs chosen from nearly 12,000 entries from Canada, U.S. and other countries.
“I think Chrilleks has been able to succeed because we allow our curiosity to run wild,” says Lason. “Asking questions and paying attention to detail is crucial. The arts, culture, current events, food, typography – everything motivates us.”
Ninety-five percent of the time when you arrive on set, you’ll be working with a Sheridan grad.
Not bad for someone whose love of sports led him to start filming skateboarders as a teen well before his Sheridan days. But Grubisa’s college experience remains an important part of his world, not just because it provided real-world career preparation, but thanks to the opportunities Sheridan offered, before and after graduation.
“Your classmates are your network once you get out in the industry,” Grubisa advises both students and newly-minted alumni. “80% of the time, when you arrive on set, you’ll be working with a previous classmate. 95% of the time, you’ll be working with a Sheridan grad.”
The thrill of the business has not worn off as Grubisa enters another year behind the camera. “We plan to log more time in the air than on the ground, creating break-through content and winning more awards. I still feel like I’m 15 years old with a skateboard in one hand and a camera in another.”
By Andrew Dmytrasz (Public Relations – Corporate Communications, 2016)