Motion Source is a proud sponsor of the Camera Ambassador Community Builders Grant. In celebration of our partnership, we’ve sat down with Creative Director Craig Bass and Director/Producer Michelle Maslanka for an interview.
All photos/videos used are courtesy of Motion Source.
Craig Bass was a documentary filmmaker. At nights, he served tables to support himself and in his free time, he’d film. This was his life until, at a Christmas party, he met John Scaletta.
“I was dating this girl. He was dating her aunt,” Craig remembered. “At their family’s Christmas Party, we crossed paths. He saw a little promo cut I had for one of my docs and told me that he had a little marketing firm at the time that occasionally had video needs.”
At first, Craig was doing some very light video editing. Soon, however, John recognized the potential for creating filmed content for companies and offered Craig the chance to partner up and start a video production arm of John's business.
Craig leapt at the chance - it sounded like a great opportunity.
“Everything for me is driven by my love for this art form,” Craig notes. “One of the guiding principles for me moving forward in this company was realistically pursuing the dream. Instead of writing a screenplay and sitting around and waiting for somebody to give me $10 billion, I'd rather have a camera in my hand for the time being.”
Business took off. By the end of the year, they were seeing so much success with video content creation that they actually closed down the marketing company to focus on filmed content. John focused on the business side and Craig took on the filmmaking aspects.
So, through their combined talents, Motion Source was born.
“Michelle came on eight years ago now,” Craig continues, “and that sort of opened up a new chapter for us.”
Even when she was little, Michelle Maslanka had always been drawn to film and television. At Illinois State University, she studied Mass Media with a focus on TV Production. Although it wasn't a traditional film school experience, working in broadcast news provided Michelle a foundation to production, including learning how to shoot, edit, and direct newscasts, as well as working in the control room.
“Through college, I figured out that I really enjoyed producing and bringing a project together,” Michelle comments, “so, working at Motion Source was the perfect next step.”
Michelle started in 2014 as a Project Manager. Eventually, Michelle also began taking on some of the project work herself, including interviewing guests and making higher-level creative decisions. Now, Michelle is a Producer and Director at Motion Source.
“I’ve always been very attracted to meeting new people and learning about their stories,” Michelle remarks, “my favorite part is working not just with our production team, but with our clients too - I've made a lot of friends with our clients!”
“I always say that film is the most collaborative art form there is,” Craig thinks. “When things are clicking, there’s that energy there and everybody’s respecting each other and ideas are flowing and you’re all in the zone. That feeling is phenomenal to me - it’s how I feel like I connect with the world.”
When asked about what their favorite part of working at Motion Source was, both Craig and Michelle respond unequivocally that they really love collaborating with their clients, colleagues, and one another. Craig recounts a recent day on set:
“I heard somebody tell me that this is the best crew they’ve ever worked with… to hear that is incredible. To be able to create a space where we're not only doing good work, but people feel valued- I'm very proud of that.”
Both Michelle and Craig note that there are some darker platitudes in the industry and that they highly value collaborating with like-minded individuals who foster a people-first approach.
“There’s that intersection of business and art,” Michelle reminisces. “Sure, we’re all there for a job, but at the same time, you want it to be a rewarding experience.”
Motion Source isn’t interested in becoming the biggest production company in Chicago. Well, strike that. While they’d love to have more business and success, they don’t necessarily subscribe to the traditional view of advancement.
“For us, growth is measured by the type of work we’re doing,” Michelle candidly relates. “I think we’re getting to a place where we’ve really taken on projects that are either perfect fits or we feel very passionately about.”
For Motion Source, it’s about redefining success. It’s about compensating their collaborators well and engaging in work that they’re proud of. It’s about prioritizing the happiness of both who they’re working for and who they’re working with. It’s about opening up their slate towards work they’re personally invested in, whether it be through music videos, screenwriting, or more.
“You sort of evolve your mission,” Craig muses. “I think Michelle’s comment about intentionality is really important. Experiences that are most fulfilling to us also yield the greatest result for the client.”
“After all, we’re all gonna be dead in so many years,” Craig continues. “But, was the experience a fulfilling one? Did we find meaning in what we’re doing?”
Due to a deep desire to tell people's stories, Craig Bass started his career as an independent documentary filmmaker. This led him across the nation, and around the globe, from Europe to Japan, always seeking to capture the essence of the story. After crossing paths with John Scaletta, the two decided to formulate Motion Source, and try their hands at a new breed of marketing video: one that was as stylish and cinematic as it was effective and focused on the client's needs. Currently, as at all times, Craig is working on a slew of passion projects: a handful of music videos, a short film, and a story for a comic anthology.
Michelle Maslanka has always had a passion for storytelling, which has made Motion Source the perfect place to call home since 2014. She studied mass media with a focus in television production during her time at Illinois State University. With her extensive project management and production coordination experience, Michelle knows what it takes to see a project through from inception to completion.
Telling stories, shooting videos, being creative, doing cool stuff; that pretty much covers all their bases. For Motion Source, it's not just a career, but a lifestyle; a lifestyle that unites their motley crew of passionate directors, producers, videographers, and editors, all working tirelessly to perfect the craft of turning one-dimensional ideas into cinematic realities.