Often when you see someone successful you make the assumption that may have always been the case for them. When I first heard about Howard Potter’s story about how he turned his life around and started one of the most successful graphics companies in the area, I felt that it would be something people would like to hear.
In the video above, Howard tells his story with narration by myself. The 6 minute video almost entirely features Howard on the screen talking.
To capture his story intimate and uninterrupted, I set up 3 cameras on tripods and turned them on. I would then talk to him and let him talk, stopping periodically for details.
I later edited the 35 minute interview into 6 minutes. I achieved the camera motion by key framing the original footage.
I think you’ll enjoy this story of perseverance.
Narrator In Utica, New York, you’ll find one of the area’s fastest growing graphics production houses, A&P Master Images. Designing and printing t-shirts in 2003, A&P Master Images has expanded into several areas of printed commercial graphics production in just a few short years. The business owner, Howard Potter, is the driving force guiding this company. Some people say that he’s got it made and assume that has always been the case-but those people would be wrong.
Some people face great challenges.
Howard: I ran away often when I was younger. Didn’t have a very good life growing up living with my mother. Because I was running away so much and everything, I ended up going to a court system. I had to make a decision from the judge to either stop running away and go live at home, which wasn’t the best living situation, or, go to the House of Good Shepherd. I ended up choosing go to the House of Good Shepherd. I was 11 years old, didn’t really know what was going on in life, but I knew what was going on wasn’t good for me. I went from group home to group home, and a foster home.
Narrator Some people have difficult paths to follow in life.
Howard By the time I got to be about 15, 16 years old and I had just learned about finding out that I have a biological father. I thought my stepfather was my biological father. My mother had said at one point, she claimed this person was my father, another person was my father. The third person was actually my father, and so after the first two times when I was told, “This person’s your father,” I was, “Whatever, not a big deal. I don’t really care. It’s probably not even sure anyways.” It also, in the back of your mind, you’re thinking, “What was my mother doing? What kind of person was she?”
I started getting to a point where I started having an attitude and a chip on my shoulder. I had something to be mad at every day. Whether it was my mother never calling me, or getting picked on, or just crying yourself to sleep because you’re living in a group home with people you don’t really know.
Narrator Some people make big changes in their lives.
Howard I really sat back and thought about everything, and I’m, “Listen, you know, I either get this together myself, or I’m out on the streets.” My pivotal point was at the age of 16, “You know what, you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself, because guess what, at the end of the day, you’re all you have. No one’s going to care about you more than you.” I had to encompass and gather and be, “Listen, this is what I don’t want in life.” Getting a job, getting my first job at Wendy’s at the age of 16, opened my eyes. It was, “Wow, I can make money, I can buy things.” At the age of 16 I got a couple jobs. I started saving up money. I ended up having a couple bank accounts.
By the time I was 18, I had discovered, “Hey, you know what? I went to [Moses 02:29] for two years for graphic design, this is what I want to do.” By the age of 18 I had $4,000 saved. I was in my second year of college. By the time I was 21, I bought my house. Two months after we bought the house, we got married in our back yard.
Narrator Some people face big setbacks in their lives.
Howard The following year after my daughter was born, I had started my own company, A&P Master Images. When my daughter turned three and a half I got a rude awakening of her being diagnosed with a very rare disease. They have to give her blood transfusions and platelet transfusions. It’s very scary to be a young father and then to have a young child be diagnosed with something and see them in a hospital bed.
Narrator Some people overcome adversity.
Howard The thing I was able to do while I was in the hospital, I was able to sell and still design for my clients, so I wasn’t losing any money being next to her and making sure she’s safe and being there for her.
Narrator Some people beat the odds.
Howard I chose to change and be the exception to the rule because by all rights, being around people doing drugs growing up, or being abused or this, that and a third, I had every excuse not to be where I’m at today.
Narrator Some people remember the past…
Howard Everything that I’ve done and become in life so far, is all derived from where I started to what I experienced.
Narrator And some people take the time to mend valuable relationships.
Howard I am excited and proud to say about four, five months ago, my mother and I did start talking again, and she’s part of my children’s life. This is a whole ‘nother [pivocal 04:14] moment for me in life to develop being a really good father and taking a step back and be, “You know what? Everything that you did and allowed to happen to me in the past …” I can sit there and hold on my shoulder and say, “You know, I don’t want you around my kids, I don’t want you around me,” but I’m giving the chance to her to not only her to develop who she is and be a better person, but for her to have that second chance in life to fix what she did wrong the first time.
Narrator Some people succeed -because of their personal efforts to get where they want to go-
despite the obstacle.
They have the desire to change their lives for the better. Some people don’t have it made-they make it happen.
Jacob Bergman, Stacktraxx Music, Inc.
Mike Brisell, ASCAP.
Rick E. Lewis, Roy Reehill