Near the northern tip of Chinatown, in a pod in WeWork, a red brick building built for innovation, sits Boston’s new marketing video production company, Gildaymonster.
Michael Gilday, a visual and media arts graduate, said he started the business to offer production, direction, and editing services for a variety of clients.
“We are in an age now where a lot of barriers of entry are really reduced,” Gilday said. “I’d rather be ahead of the curve, instead of behind it. I can market myself, I can communicate, I can have a place to work.”
Gilday, 40, walked in ‘99, but didn’t get his degree until ‘06 because of a now-void rule requiring the last few credits to be completed in Boston, he said.
The marketing company, named Gildaymonster because “gilday.com” was taken as a URL, has already had clients like Coca-Cola, Petco, and the Red Sox four months after officially opening. Although he’s had success landing big-name clients, Gilday said he prefers to create video advertisements for local family businesses.
“[They] tend to appreciate you more,” Gilday said. “You can also tell more in-depth stories. While I work in a medium that sells things to people that they don’t need, I prefer to have some sort of element of education or entertainment.”
Gilday said he’s qualified in almost every aspect of production, including shooting video and editing, and offers all his skills to potential clients. But his main love is audio, he said. He lists “listening to loud music” as a specialty on the company’s website.
At Emerson, Gilday was a DJ for WERS and an electric bass player on the side, dabbling in rock and electronic music, he said. He didn’t enter the video professional world until after graduation when his internet radio show extended into online video. After the dot-com bubble burst, he turned to music. While working at a station in Hawaii, he answered a Craigslist ad for a production assistant, a gig which he said turned out to be for the pilot of ABC’s old show Lost. He stayed on the show for two seasons.
“I didn’t really seek [production] out, it just kind of happened,” Gilday said. “I wanted to be a musician. That was my plan A that I would fail at, and then go to plan B. Ultimately, I was successful in my failure, and plan B became the plan A.”
After seven years in Hawaii, he moved his family to a job in Los Angeles. He said he did film, television, and reality shows there. But his wife wasn’t a fan of the city, so he looked for a job elsewhere, and eventually, moved back to Boston last year. A few months later, he went solo with Gildaymonster, he said.
Though he didn’t major in production, Gilday said Emerson still gave him most of the tools he needed. He said he’s hired and worked with other alumni throughout the years because he’s aware of their academic background and training.
“When I went [to Emerson], you didn’t go there for the classes or the teachers,” Gilday said. “I never had a problem, they were fine. But you went there for the co-curricular activities. You went there for the other students. You went there for the motivation. It was an amazing experimental environment.”
Earlier this month, Gilday posted in the Emerson Mafia Facebook page about his new company in hopes of expanding his network of video production freelancers in the Boston area.
“Obviously people joke about the ‘Mafia,’ but it’s true,” Gilday said. “I like hiring Emerson students. I like working with Emerson people. They’ve helped me out so many times when I’ve needed it. I somehow just go to that Emerson well, and it works out.”
David Choueke, ‘00, commented with support on Gilday’s Facebook post. After becoming good friends while at Emerson, Choueke said they still keep in touch, and he isn’t surprised by Gilday’s success.
“As you grow up, image and perception of things don’t really matter anymore,” Choueke said. “Passion for things at heart and hardwork do. The biggest compliments I can give someone are those two traits, and Mike has them.”
Gilday said perseverance is the biggest piece of advice he could give anyone considering his field.
“Do stuff, fail, and keep doing stuff,” Gilday said. “Working hard is rewarding in and of itself. Destroying yourself for a little while isn’t terrible. But, a lot of kids just want to get recognized for their inherent creative genius and not actually put in the work. The more time you can spend on details of the craft, the better you’ll be.”