Newhouse students create production company from inside a school bus

By Connor Walsh

May 10, 2016

Newhouse School students Erin Miller, Johnny Rosa and Losa Amara Meru are co-founders of Out There Productions, a video production company that makes short-length “explainer videos” to assist growing companies deliver their message. Videos include startup pitches, application videos for competitions and online campaigns and viral videos. The team recently purchased a school bus and are in the process of refurbishing it for their company.

Picture of Out There Productions team members Losa Amara Meru, Erin Miller and Johnny Rosa
Out There Productions team members (from left) Losa Amara Meru, Erin Miller and Johnny Rosa

Miller, an advertising major who will graduate from Newhouse this week, sat down with Connor Walsh to discuss the venture.

Where did the idea for Out There Productions come from?

I have an insane obsession with startups. When I was in high school, I sold popcorn for a 500 percent profit. My brother and I sold self-published ’zines to our friends. When I got to Syracuse University, I started my first venture my second week into freshman year and opened the Breezeway Cafe, where my floor-mates and I sold pizza and milkshakes to late-nighters on the weekends. After that, I worked as a student ambassador for entrepreneurship through the Innovation and Disruptive Entrepreneurship Accelerator (IDEA) and helped students start businesses. While I was keeping time at a pitch competition, I realized that the judges would be more inclined to fund emerging businesses if they had a short explainer video to validate each team’s ideas. I was taking a multimedia storytelling class at the time and I decided to combine my love for emerging business with my love for visual storytelling. Thus, Out There Productions was born.

What do you hope to see happen with Out There Productions?

My awesome team and I [want] to find and share the stories of emerging entrepreneurs to help them grow alongside Out There Productions because after all, we ascend together.

How did you raise enough money to buy the bus?

My team and I launched an Indiegogo campaign and with 141 backers we raised over $9,500, which we used to purchase and renovate the school bus. We were also first place winners in the CompeteCNY Competition through the Blackstone Launchpad. We won $6,500 from that event. Pretty dope.

How do you think Syracuse University has prepared you for your future career?

I learned so much about different perspectives and various ways of thinking though all the courses I took at Syracuse University. I developed a knack for entrepreneurship and growing businesses through the different entrepreneurial ecosystems across campus. The faculty, students and community inspired me to approach problems from different angles in order to come up with the best possible solution. I find that I am most productive when I surround myself with people who are smarter than me. And that’s the beauty about being at Syracuse University. Everyone here has a dream and they are super excited to make it happen and to share it with the rest of the world. Those are the people who inspired me to start my own venture in order to showcase the passion of people that are building their future.

Connor Walsh is a sophomore television, radio and film major at the Newhouse School.