It’s always such a pleasure talking to our friend and alum Bessie Kay. Bessie is currently the host of Open Homes Australia on Channel 9, she’s a dancer and an entrepreneur with her own creative content company called Created Media. Bessie and I dive into all things dance media, creative endeavours, business and what’s coming up for 2019. Always such a pleasure!
Bessie you are one of the most energetic people I know. Full of constant creative ideas that just seem to fuel you. You have now opened Created Media in Australia. Tell us all about your new company, what you do, who you work with and what you hope the achieve going forward.
We are a creative agency with a special focus on creating opportunity, exposure and information for dancers. Millions of dollars are spent by brands every year on marketing. Our mission is to align those brands with the entertainment industry directly, opening up the doors for exposure to our talent. The reason our dancers have smaller online profiles in Australia is purely because of our population and a more reserved internet culture. If we can securely align dancers with brands that are big with an active online presence and are global, then the that’s a HUGE thing for our community and very exciting!!
The human brain processes video content 60,000 times faster than text AND video content that involves music or dance is actually 70% more effective to marketers. Our happy place is being able to merge the two worlds of media + dance to create artistic content that benefits all involved. We see it as a win win situation.
We work with exceptional talent within the industry and we have some great plans to be able to more effectively connect that talent to brands who actively invest in marketing.
You joined us on HI way back in 2012 as a host. How did this experience impact you going forward in your career?
It completely impacted my whole world actually. I came to the program unsure of what I wanted. I was working as a fashion designer and dancer and my job in fashion ended abruptly. I went to LA on a whim and did the HI program for some inspiration.
That 1 week in LA showed me the potential for more opportunity than any of the work I had previously done in Australia. I had always been interested in working in front of the camera and had a bit of experience, but it was actually the teaching on branding, self-marketing and the exposure to a very strong industry through industry professionals that lead to me instantly perusing a career in TV and media.
Mind you, looking back now, I’ve seen how ahead of the game HI was. What I was being taught with regard to branding and marketing, only started to take effect in Australia years later! I had no idea how behind the Australian creative industry was compared to the USA.
Hollywood Immersive instantly came across to me as an authentic company, genuinely passionate about helping and connecting creatives. Years later and through having a great relationship with you and the team now, I know more than ever for that to be true.
Thank you for igniting that fire in my belly 😉
Starting a new business is never a walk in the park. Some people tend to forget that and see someone’s creative baby and try to copy it. We’ve both seem examples of that for both of our respective businesses. What wonderful advice do you have for those people going forward?
These questions really hit home to me Lilly and I’d like to share with you a moment of truth that has shaped me and the decisions that I make in business and life.
Going back quite a few years when I worked as a young dancer in the corporate and commercial dance scenes in Melbourne, I had a brief from a client who wanted a specific looking costume. I enquired about hiring a costume that fitted the bill and in a quick and ‘over excited’ moment, I realized I could make that same costume (or a pretty close version to it). Not only would I save money, but I’d also be able to have the costume for many more jobs moving forward. So, I made the costume. I spent $50 all up, but it cost me a much more valuable lesson.
The unexpected repercussions of my actions and choices came pouring down on me almost instantly! I had copied someone’s costumes design! I was unaware it was a unique design and that was because of my own ignorance of the network I was entering. I was flying forward in an industry, getting some great momentum and then through no fault but my own, I crossed the wrong costume maker.
I saw a creative who was passionate about their product be affected by what I thought was an insignificant action on my behalf. It stopped me in my tracks and that small moment in time has stayed with me through every business decision I’ve made moving forward and has shaped my ‘moral business compass’. I’ve had the experience and I’ve learnt the lesson.
So, I wonder if others out there copying ideas or being ‘inspired by’ people in the same industry have a moral business compass??
Not everything in business needs to be ruthless and through my journey I’ve realized that keeping great and honest relationships in the industry is a much more powerful tool in the long run…. and when it comes to business, isn’t longevity something we all seek?
If I could sum it up I’d say the following:
1. Seek support and connections with businesses run by authentic people.
2. Learn to discern the difference between the real pioneers in the industry and the big businesses who would do anything to make a dollar and stay ahead.
3. For those people out there, who constantly find themselves being shadowed by big players in the industry or if you are subtly but definitely having your ideas copied. Know that you have something special that is standing out enough to have others pay attention to it. If companies, businesses, people or brands are copying you, remember they are only able to achieve a version of what you offer. You hold the REAL DEAL WITHIN YOU and that is your business SUPERPOWER.
You love to give back and make sure young dancers are getting incredible ground-breaking opportunities as we recently saw with our collaboration for Dance Immersive Down Under. What is it that fires inside you that enables you to do this and so many other things around giving back?
Our industry (the dance industry in particular) in Australia is really small compared to other parts of the world. If we don’t have leaders in the field stepping up to nurture the environment of the industry then where does it end up? Where does the work come from? How is the industry sustained within our country?
Sometimes it becomes our role to enable change and growth for the next generation of dancers and for some reason I do feel a strong responsibility to step up. I am very passionate and excited about the potential growth of dance in Australia.
There are actually a few leaders out there who are trying new things and creating new opportunities for dancers and that’s what we need more of. It will lead to more creative productions being made, more world standard dancers being produced, more entertainment within Australia and will spill over into more business and dance schools profiting as well.
I’d like to commend other influential people like Todd Patrick, director of PSA. He’s charging forward in the role of equipping young dancers with business skills. The incredible talent being churned out of his school are dancing exceptionally on a very strong foundation of business knowledge. That is so powerful in today’s climate and most definitely wasn’t taught to our generation of dancers.
Or, Dance Machine Studios for incorporating live internet powered dance classes for their students. These classes are taught by international teachers via internet straight into their classroom in Melbourne. I haven’t seen the class in action yet, but to even give the idea a shot and invest in new the technology is a really positive step.
There are many people doing good out there and it does go back to supporting these ideas instead of people turning their back and eventually copying them anyway. Our industry needs to be cared for and looked after like people would a precious rose garden.
Tell us all about Dance Immersive Down Under and what should we be looking out for come 2019?
I’m really excited about 2019! Through doing Dance Immersive Down Under and also the original program Dance Immersive LA, I realized the formula to be able to platform and connect a number of dancers annually to the source of the industry. Through the relationships and exposure gained in the program, dancers are more likely to succeed with great careers moving forward.
2019 brings even more connections for our dancers and more exposure. It’s a program that only exists through the support of the industry and has the potential truly put Australian dance on the map.
Thank you for your support with it!
As well as own your own content creative agency you are also the host for Channel 9’s Open Homes Australia. Tell us about what you do on this show and how it inspires you.
I LOVE MY JOB!
I’ve spent the past few years hosting various shows for Channel 9, Channel 9 Life, Channel 7 Two and Foxtel. Most of these shows have been within the home and design sector, which truthfully, I bluffed my way through in the beginning because I had no experience with interior design what so ever! I’m endlessly grateful to my first boss in the industry who took a major chance on me!
As it’s turned out, my experience in design and home knowledge (or lack thereof) is not what kept bringing me the roles. In fact, it was the world of experience I had gained through my years leading up to the job and most importantly my understanding that being AUTHENTIC is what makes someone good at their role.
My job is much more than a being host on a ‘home show’ to me!
It’s an ability to have a voice, It’s my expression, it’s being able to talk to and learn from interesting people. It’s being able to be ME. Flaws and all.
It makes me really happy.
Knowing you as I do… you have BIG plans soooo what’s is your ultimate hosting gig and is it something you are constantly working towards?
Dance and Media!
I’d be happy as Larry (which mind you is my father’s name and he’s pretty happy!) if I could share both my passions for TV and the dance industry in one project.
I have constantly created stepping stone after stepping stone to realize that goal and it’s very much a desire of my heart.