PART OF WHO HE IS

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Published: June 5,2009

 

Moore’s Eyevox Film and Production a byproduct of the work he has always done

Rick Moore has been involved in the television business most of his life. His father built from the ground up, starting in the 1970s, what is now Channel 16 in Jackson, the capital city’s ABC affiliate.

After a car wreck that knocked his dad out of the industry, Moore’s brothers became involved, showing their younger brother the ropes of running a TV station.

As a high school junior, Moore started directing the newscasts at Channel 16. He went to Mississippi College, graduated and started freelancing work with ABC and ESPN. The travel was great, he said, but eventually Moore wanted more stability.

Toward that end, Moore started Eyevox Film and Production in 1997. It was the latest move in a career that had been devoted to television.

“I don’t remember ever making the decision to do what I’m doing,” Moore said.

The decision to start his own business 12 years ago has been met with great reward. The company produces and places advertising campaigns for, among others, Entergy Nuclear, BankPlus, Farm Bureau and Mississippi College.

The Mississippi Small Business Administration has taken notice of Moore’s work. It has named its Small Business Person of the Year for 2009. Moore will be one of 10 Mississippi business folks honored June 16 at a reception at Jackson State University’s e-Center. Moore found out he had been selected a few weeks ago while he was in Washington for National Small Business Week.

“I’m humbled,” he said. “That’s when it really hit me (in Washington), from looking at some of the past winners. It’s really great company. I’m completely honored they thought enough of me to give me the award.”

The award honors an individual. If Moore had his way, it would honor a company as a whole, and include his 40 employees at Ridgeland-based Eyevox and The Screen Engine in Tampa, Fla.

“There’s not a one of them that’s not smarter than me,” Moore said, speaking of his employees. “We have 40 employees and they’re just wonderful. You see them working so hard and you don’t want to take the credit.”

Moore’s role in his companies has evolved from the beginning, when he did everything from shooting, editing and everything else in post-production.

“I’ve become more of a businessman as of late, more of a relationship person. It’s a different world,” he said.

Like every other business, Eyevox and The Screen Engine have had to adjust to the downturn in the economy. When budget cuts become necessary, advertising and marketing dollars – money spent with Moore’s companies – are almost always the first things to go.

A lot of projects Moore and his staff take on are done in stages, meaning that the project can end prematurely until the final segment is produced. Some projects have been halted before completion, he said.

“I think we’re doing really well,” Moore said. “We’re forced, not in a bad way, to make some calculated judgments and some changes, but nothing that is going to adversely affect my employees, which is good. It’s a different world. I think we’re all working a little harder, not to say that we didn’t before. Some of our budgets are coming in a little less than they used to, because that’s just what the client can bear. There’s a definite trickle-down effect.

“The best think I can say about us is we’re extremely diversified. Because of all the different services we offer — print, video, branding ideas, entertainment ventures – our diversification has allowed us to weather small storms. There’s always something shining. There’s always something that’s on an up. There’s probably something that’s down, but when you look at it from an average standpoint, the company on the whole is doing really well.”

Two schools of thought emerge when it comes to advertising and marketing in a tough economy: Cut to the bare bones, or ramp up efforts to separate yourself from the competition. 

“It’s one of those catch-22s for any company,” Moore said. “They’re interested in protecting their employee base and the services they offer. They get in more of a maintenance mode rather than a proactive one. In times like these, it’s kind of the best time to market because your competition might be doing exactly what your tendency is to do, which is back off a little bit. In that scenario, you could really start standing. There’s a lot of opportunity there.

“Do I have to sell that to (clients)? Sometimes, but we really don’t want to be a vendor. We want to be a partner. It sounds cliché, but that’s the truth. We don’t want to force a client’s hand. We try to understand what their problems are, as much as they allow us to.”

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