Adam Paul thinks Greensboro could become a hub for television and film production.
The three-time Emmy award winner is investing in that theory as CEO of 7 Cinematics, a production company headquartered on North Church Street in Greensboro, Adam’s hometown.
“There’s nothing you can’t do in Greensboro,” he says. “This town has no limits.”
Adam’s love of videography started as a kid with a family video camera. In the 1980s, he and his friends recorded their skating boarding adventures in downtown Greensboro. A friend had an early Mac, and they would edit their videos to a soundtrack of the Beastie Boys, Run DMC or the Digable Planets.
After graduating from Page High School, he went to the College of Charleston, in South Carolina. After graduation, he turned his love of fishing into a career as a charter captain. He loved his job, but he didn’t see much growth there.
He eventually got a gig managing product marketing for a Greensboro-based fishing line manufacturer, Sufix, where he got to use his video production skills.
“I figured out I really loved doing it,” Adam says.
When the company was sold, Adam moved on to a new project: an early social media platform for fishermen, called GillznFinz. Adam created a way for fishermen to live-stream their adventures. It was a way for them to learn and share with fellow sportsmen around the world.
“It was YouTube, Facebook and MySpace all in one back in the day,” Adam says.
The concept ended up being too expensive to execute, but the idea evolved into a television show of the same name. Adam took celebrities fishing around the world. The show was produced by his company, Catch Multimedia.
“Everyone takes these rock stars and hold them up to this high, high place. We idolize them,” Adam says. “If you put a beer in their hand and a fish on the line, it wipes that all away, and the real person comes out… Authenticity to me is the bottom line most important thing that exists when it comes to filming things.”
It was a totally different take on the traditional fishing television show, which usually was “two guys and a boat.”
“We made it new and cool and rock and roll,” Adam says.
It lasted two seasons, and featured guests like Snoop Dogg, Kevin Costner, The Revolution, and Wide Spread Panic. The show was nominated for two Emmy awards. It got upward of 750,000 viewers a week.
Adam’s television production career took off. He produced and directed a sport fishing documentary show called “Wild Billz.” It won an Emmy.
Then in 2014 an old friend asked him to do a live-streaming production of an Avett Brothers concert. The whole production was done in a cinematic style – a flowing, soft technique more akin to a movie than a live sports competition.
“We can make a live broadcast look like a post-produced movie,” Adam says.
He calls it cinematic storytelling.
“What we do is bottle the lightning, the tornado of a live performance like no one else,” Adam says.
The devastation of Hurricane Matthew in 2016 prompted Adam, his wife and two sons to relocate to Greensboro. In 2017, he became CEO of the North Carolina-based 7 Cinematics, which was doing mostly live sporting event productions.
Adam has since transitioned the company to focus on live musical performances, including shooting footage for a Dead and Company movie and an epic project with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The team had about 60 days to figure out how to get a full crew and equipment halfway across the world for a live concert at the Pyramids of Giza, Egypt. The concert, held in March, was live streamed to 3.2 million people around the world.
“We do the stuff that is impossible. We like the challenge of someone saying it can’t be done,” Adam says. “We like to under promise and over deliver.”
Adam acted as showrunner and director.
“It was f***ing epic. It was stupid. It was dumb. If you put it on paper it was the most idiotic thing you could do. But it went off without a hitch,” Adam says. “We operate very much like a band. We will be creaky at first, then we loosen up.”
This year they’ve been constantly busy, shooting 40 concerts. Next up for Adam and the company: turning their North Church Street warehouse into a studio and a January premiere of their new show “American Music Spotlight.” It features live performances of southern bands in historic theaters.
“It’s the chef’s table of music,” Adam says. “We want to keep pushing the limits of what is possible.”
Story and photos courtesy Made in GSO and Boomerang Greensboro.