Why I ONLY Work With Friends

by Eduardo Garcia

Three years ago Jen reached out to our friend Daniel Epstein who then circled back to Phillip Baribeau (Phill) and collectively we started talking about his interest in working with us on a documentary covering my injury and my story surrounding it. That conversation morphed into a fully funded feature length film called Charged. As I write this, Jen & I are in Utah filming our last shoot before the edit process kicks into high gear. The plan is to premiere Charged by the end of this year. Although Daniel is now a friend of the film and not directly involved in the production, he said one thing to me that has stuck and that I agree with. Daniel runs The Unreasonable Group out of Boulder, Colorado. At The Unreasonable Group their mission is "to be the largest and most effective platform in the world for entrepreneurs solving Big F*#king Problems". In Daniels words, where most people never work with friends or family, at Unreasonable they "only work with friends". I love this and here is why….

 Eduardo, Jen, Phill

Eduardo, Jen, Phill

In 2009 Jenny and I were hatching an idea to create a TV show concept called Active Ingredient.  Knowing plenty about the subject mater; cooking inventive, creative meals in the great outdoors but, knowing nothing about producing a TV show I started calling my friends back in Bozeman MT. Which led me to Helio pictures, a Bozeman based media group. 

Jen and I hired Helio to produce a sizzle reel for our concept. The finished piece was beautiful and the TV industry loved it. Overnight Jen and I went from being a team with an idea to a team with a product that was making headlines on agent’s desks from coast to coast. Then it happened. Wham!  One week before pitching to major networks with a very serious appetite for our concept, I was laid flat by my injury. Meetings were cancelled, we did not sell Active Ingredient to the Food Network as we had planned and I was now an official burn patient at the Burn Trauma Intensive Care Unit (BTICU) in Salt Lake City’s University of Utah Hospital. Insert swear word here ______! I was fighting for my life, emotionally disengaged from my new reality and a fish out of water as the rawness of being an amputee and a cancer patient settled on me. 

Throughout my recovery, which spanned two years and 21 surgeries, I received assistance and support from thousands of friends and family from all parts of the world and for that I am infinitely grateful. In writing this I must make a point to mention and make an example of Phill. I met Phill in 2009 when Jen and I contracted Helio to produce the Active Ingredient reel for us. Phill was a partner in Helio as well as cinematographer and editor there.  Before my injury our contract with Helio had finished and they had delivered a beautiful finished reel for us. Our work together was wrapped up and Jen and I had signed with Citizens Pictures out of Denver to Pitch the reel.   

Within a matter of days after becoming a patient of the BTICU the team at Citizen Pictures flew to SLC and showed their continued support by encouraging me to focus on recovery and survival. The team at Helio also reached to offer support and well wishes. In particular, Phill spoke to Jen and encouraged her to document our Hospital stay, he shipped our camera from Montana and along with camera gear that Citizen pictures provided. Jen hit record and documented some of the rawest and original footage we have. Phill’s support didn’t stop there, upon my return to Montana and for the next four years Phill respectfully asked to document my recovery. Knowing that these were pivotal and profound moments in my life and they needed to be captured, I allowed for documentation of all of it. Phill and Jen then followed me as I learned to tie my shoes, cast my fly rod and take my first steps through Chemotherapy and through my discovery of life as an amputee.  

Today Phill is the director of Charged and we have also become very close friends. Jen and I are still business partners and will remain friends for life. Frank & Tim at Citizen pictures have offered unending support to me in all of my endeavors and have also become friends. Daniel and I also stay in touch and I continue to reflect and be inspired by his example.

 Filming with Phill and Ben

Filming with Phill and Ben

I’m always working on becoming a better version of myself. There are plenty of folks out there quick to offer criticism which is just human nature but what I love about a really good friend is they tend not to be afraid to call you out on mistakes while in the same breath encourage you to learn from those mistakes and not to give up. In business, I would hope that at its core is a solid foundation of this type of communication. The icing on this cake is that when so much of our time is spent working I prefer to know that while working I am also spending time with friends, building community and eliminating the red tape between myself and those that I can call and that will call me at 3 am when help is needed the most.