Journey to Disrupting an Industry

This writer and director is poised to change the way we consume media.

It only takes one encounter with Eric Howell to understand how passionate he is about storytelling. A heavy-hitter in the film industry, Eric has been sharing stories for years. When his most recent idea didn’t go as planned, he took an unexpected path and ended up somewhere he’d never have imagined.

Eric was our featured Member Morning Series guest last month. At these events, members presents their ideas to the community and end with an ask so they can gain clarity on their next steps. Eric brought his unexpected idea to Studio/E for a morning of discussion.

One of the beautiful things about hearing Eric talk about his idea, as an audience member said afterward, was realizing that even the folks who are unafraid of pursuing big ideas have their doubts and fears. Even those short-listed for Academy Awards come to rely on their community for support sometimes.

Here’s what Eric’s path to disrupting an industry has looked like thus far:

Step one: Be told no

Eric spent nearly four years writing a screenplay titled The Revolution of Cassandra. With the enthusiasm and passion Eric is known for, he pitched his script for a movie production. “It’s great, but it’ll never get made,” Eric was told. But he wasn’t ready to give up just yet.

Step Two: Pivot

After his “no,” Eric abandoned the idea of turning his screenplay into a film and decided to try his hand at a graphic novel. He teamed up with the same folks who helped him produce his short Ana’s Playground, and together they began to ideate around The Revolution of Cassandra‘s new direction as a graphic novel.

Step Three: Become Dissatisfied

Part of Eric’s pivot included immersion into the graphic novel world. He consumed as much as he could so that he could learn what worked and what didn’t. It was in this time of research that Eric became disappointed in the graphic novel experience. A storyteller through and through, Eric knew there was a better way to deliver and share stories. When he couldn’t find the experience he wanted, he decided to create it.

Step Four: Pivot again

Eric asked himself the important “what if” question, and it led him to The Revolution of Cassandra‘s next iteration: the Mōvella. For the sake of his hard-earned IP rights, we’re keeping the juicy details of this idea quiet, but think about a graphic novel which you can customize and share, all within your existing music subscription service.

Step Five: pitch your idea

This is where Eric currently resides — in the uncertain space of the unknown. He came to our Member Morning Series with a solidified idea, passion enough to continue working on it, and a question for the members: What do I need to bring to my pitch meeting to sell this idea? In typical fashion of a Member Morning Series program, we went around the room and members asked questions to help Eric gain clarity, then offered feedback. Humbled by the support for his idea and the suggestions for his next steps, and thoughtfully challenged to define his “why” behind the idea, Eric is ready to pursue the Mōvella.

The path to an executed idea is rarely a direct one. Many times throughout the process you will come to a point where you have to make a tough decision: do you keep moving down the same path, pivot, or kill the idea altogether? Sometimes you’ll pivot and the next iteration will be an industry-shaking idea. Sometimes you’ll decide you’ve put what you could into your idea and it’s time to move on. And that’s okay.

You may or may not soon see the Mōvella option in your music subscription service. Either way, there is someone leveraging his community, taking steps to find out what’s next, and working hard to pursue an idea he’s passionate about — and that’s a story we’re proud to tell.

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Are you a Studio/E member interested in feedback on your idea like Eric received at a Member Morning Series? If so, we want to hear from you. Please contact membership@yourstudioe.com with interest. If you’re not a member but would like to learn more about our programs and community, visit our program page.

Here are photos from our Member Morning Series featuring Eric D. Howell:

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