Focusing on stories that spark, Hot Shoe Productions is a social enterprise that hires Ottawa area youth to create powerful video products for non-profits, charities, for-profit businesses and social enterprises. Their youth staff are graduates of Youth Active Media, a video training program that's delivered in priority communities and alternate high-schools by Youth Ottawa and the Social Planning Council of Ottawa.
CSED recently sat down with Pixie Cram from Hot Shoe Productions to find out more about the social enterprise, the good work they do and their success
Where are you located and when was the social enterprise started?
A pilot program was first launched in 2015. Three years later, we officially re-branded and launched Hot Shoe Productions in June of 2018. We are located at 150 Gloucester, in an office space adjacent to Operation Come Home.
What was the inspiration behind creating the social enterprise? Why does it exist?
It began through recognizing the talent of young people in the field of media and technology, combined with the huge demand that exists for video services. We saw a niche that needed to be filled.
What inspires you and your team to do the work you do?
Amazing things are happening in Ottawa -- from community programs to arts events and corporate social responsibility initiatives, we meet all kinds of inspiring people. Our job is to tell their stories and capture their ideas on video. Hearing day-to-day from the youth we work with, who say things like, "I can't believe I'm getting paid to do this!" We've seen a number of youth take a new career direction as a result of working with Hot Shoe. Youth that before had never considered a career in film production or communications are signing up for college or university programs, or going right into the workforce with the skills they've acquired through Hot Shoe.
What challenges do you face day-to-day?
We need more time and more resources. We’d like to hire more youth! Occasionally, technical challenges, but fortunately those aren’t daily and when they happen, they are always great learning opportunities for the staff.
What are some of the lessons you and your team have learned along the way?
Spend time with clients to really understand their needs, right off the bat. And get the youth involved in the concepts for the videos right from the start. They often have the most creative ideas.
What is Hot Shoe Production's vision/mission moving forward?
To tell the stories of the amazing things happening in Ottawa. We want to bring the creativity of our team together with your message, and high quality professional video equipment, in order to bring your story to life.
What keeps you up at night?
Not being able to support more young people, and knowing that some youth face challenges that go beyond what we can address. We’re a small part of their journey, but as a city, we need a wider range of support options to prevent young people from falling through the cracks.
What makes you most proud?
Seeing the youth who come through our doors and intern with us be able to exit on the other side with experience, confidence, AND employment. That’s what it’s all about.