Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Kalish.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Everything I’ve ever done in my life was preparation for Following Boston, which began in 2015 as a documentary series on Instagram photographers, and since morphed into a movement of sorts. My background in film production, and web design/social media were converging into something that was truly my vision… a new platform. It’s strange when your goal from a very young age is to direct a movie, and when the time arrives, it was the last thing I wanted to do. I was frankly a bit bored with the ego in the industry, and the slow moving pace of expensive projects. What also bothered me about “traditional filmmaking”… is the process always ends… and even if you directed Spider Man… do people really care after its initial digestion?
Goal – Try and create something with no end… no limits. I set out to create a media bubble, in which the content is exclusively curated for like-minded individuals in said bubble … its fascinating stuff… and so the Social Photography Experiment is born.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’m a firm believer that obstacles are necessary in any worthy endeavor, and in fact, are not obstacles at all, but rather signs nudging you – go this way. With this project, I decided to stay all the way open and deliberately leave things “uncooked” hopefully forever… and just let it evolve organically. From the start, the support has been overwhelming to say the least… mostly owed to Kenton Van Natten, whose a brilliant editor in the Boston scene, and has edited all 19 and soon to be 20 episodes of our fine program… what a trip! The creative and closeness of this relatively new community that sprouted around this series is something special… we’re all pushing each other to step out and try something new… just as I did… but only if it suits you on your journey.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Following Boston – what should we know?
I’ve never seen anything like our “Following” concept, that has now spread to 8 US cities including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and soon to be more. We have partnered with some of the most respected business and institutions in these cities to bring attention to “creatives” who are pushing the boundaries of this new medium. We do this through live events with our good friends at Kimpton Onyx Hotel, which serve as both exclusive networking parties, but also usher in new photography for the hotel to display, all of which is created by our community. This idea was presented to us by Kimpton, and confirmed the “uncooked” theory, as I never anticipated our documentary series fitting in that world… but I also never thought it couldn’t. We provide unique social activations that use the power and creative force of this community to promote a place or event. We recently saw tremendous success with #FollowingBostonMusicAwards, in which we “Followed” nominees of the awards show for the entire week leading up to the sold out event at House of Blues. We then turned our feed exclusively over to the program and created a true “Social Photography Experiment”, where we incorporated fans into the live event.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
It sounds silly… and is a simple gesture, but I can’t tell you how many people have said, “Keep going”… and it’s literally gas in the tank. There are so many people who has contributed to the success of “Following” it’s impossible to name them all. I first think of the production crews and hosts who have given so much of their time and creative energy to bring this to life. My family has also been there every step of the way and believed in this, and me… even when I lost steam in the project… another dm would arrive saying “Keep going”. And lastly, anyone who has ever tagged an image on Instagram #FollowingBoston, thank you from the bottom of my heart. It was you who showed me the biggest surprise to date of this project… never stop surprising.
- Website: www.followingboston.com
- Phone: 781-248-9149
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/followingboston
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/michaelkalish
- Other: https://vimeo.com/followingboston
Images by Michael Kalish, William Mann, Juan Murray, Yanan Sui, and NBC10Boston