Silver Fox Studios at Geekdom Seeks to Revolutionize Media Production

Roell Vento and Tommy McNish, co-founders of Silver Fox Studios at Geekdom

Roell Vento and Tommy McNish, co-founders of Silver Fox Studios at Geekdom

Tucked into a corner of Geekdom’s 10th floor, Silver Fox Studios plans to change the way people consume media.
Already, Roell Vento and Tommy McNish, the co-founders of the studio, have produced several Web-based programs and they plan a dozen more in the coming weeks.
“The Web creates a level playing field,” Vento said. “It’s a general equalizer for anyone in their garage that has a good idea. The Web makes the execution so much easier.”
Silver Fox Studios’ flagship program Talk Now SA launched a few months ago and features Chris Duel and Vanessa Macias, the co-founders and on-air show hosts. Travis McGehee, a multimedia producer and chief engineer at Silver Fox Studios, runs everything behind the scenes along with McNish and Vento.
Vanessa Macias and Chris Duel, co-hosts of Talk Now SA

Vanessa Macias and Chris Duel, co-hosts of Talk Now SA

The Talk Now SA show broadcasts from the studio every weekday at 10 a.m. and lasts an hour. It’s an eclectic show featuring interviews with a wide variety of experts in diverse fields including movie stars, comedians, reporters, musicians, politicians and sports stars.
“It’s a format for us to truly be ourselves,” Macias said. She has worked for several radio and television stations in San Antonio and was also a contestant on The Amazing Race. “We’ve been in broadcast so long.”
The restrictions traditional TV and radio jobs place on the talent doesn’t exist on the Web, Macias said. She says she has crude humor and she likes to be able to speak her mind. The show also features a swear jar, which they put a dollar in every time they cuss during the program. They donate the money every week to a charity.
“This is a venue for me to be me,” she said. “It’s fun.”
Other shows include Plaza de Armas Live featuring Elaine Wolff and Jade Esteban Estrada, which takes place every Tuesday at 2 p.m.
And Slice of Silicon Hills News’ Host Andrew Moore does a live interview with a San Antonio or Austin startup technology entrepreneur every Friday at 11 a.m.
Vento and McNish got the idea for the studio last year when Matt Scherer, a public relations professional, approached them about Chris Duel’s show.
“We started meeting regularly and seeing what it would be like,” Vento said. “We thought that it would a really good idea.”
Vento, who also owns a stake in the Talk Now SA show, has a background in advertising. His company, Silver Fox Multimedia focuses on political and media applications.
McNish, who serves as general manager of Silver Fox Studios, previously worked for a startup in San Antonio and at Rackspace.
At first, Vento and McNish thought they could take a spare room at Geekdom and easily covert it into a studio. But they ended up spending more than $60,000 and almost immediately outgrew the space and they took over a neighboring conference room. They’re outfitting that room with a couch and other amenities to provide a true talk show setting and will soon host new content including a sports show, a geek show and a leadership show. Meanwhile, they’re working on getting sponsors for the shows.
Vento and McNish are all about experimenting and taking risks with new shows. They also like the live component of the show that encourages community involvement and audience interactions. They like the idea of hosting Google hangouts with viewers to get feedback on the programs.
“It gets the community involved and they truly become part of the show,” McNish said.
The little studio has already attracted some big interest from local radio and television stations and even a newspaper chain. “Lots of executives have toured the studio to find out about what we’re doing and to find out how they can be a part of it,” Vento said.
In addition to the shows, Silver Fox Studios also produces marketing and training videos for companies. Vento and McNish set aside 10 hours every week for Geekdom members to use the studio to create videos to promote their companies.
“Silver Fox gets to do what we all want to do, play with video gadgets and make our own shows,” said Nick Longo, co-founder and mentor in chief of Geekdom. “It’s awesome to see them have such great success by being so open and creative. Having a resource like this for Geekdom members to shoot team and product videos is also a great opportunity most Startups will never get anywhere else.”
Silver Fox Studios is meeting a need that exists in the market, McNish said.
“What we have is a lot of good momentum,” he said.
In coming weeks, they plan to launch several more shows including “This Week in Geek” featuring a show about gadgets, geek culture, comic books and more. They would also like to expand to Austin and open a studio there.
“We’re at the intersection of a lot of great opportunities,” Vento said.

Disclosure: Geekdom is a sponsor of Silicon Hills News. Silver Fox Studios is an advertiser with Silicon Hills News and produces our weekly Slice of Silicon Hills News show.

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