Sterling Voth graduated from the University of Denver in 2020 with a major in marketing and minors in film and entrepreneurship. In January 2020, he founded Voth Productions—a team of creatives and digital advertisers dedicated to content creation, event coverage and brand development for businesses.
We sat down with Voth to talk about Voth Productions, TikTok trends and the entrepreneurship minor.
Q: How did you get into video production?
A: My dad was a photojournalist for a long time, so I’ve had a camera in my hands for years and years. I’ve always enjoyed photography, and getting into middle and high school, I started pursuing videography.
When I got to college, I sort of just did it for fun. I would upload B-roll sequences of nothing in particular to Instagram. A couple people messaged me telling me they liked my stuff, and they asked if I would be willing to shoot some events, like sorority events. That was sort of my first taste—I discovered that video was something people had an interest in, and it was something they were willing to pay for.
I was in a class at the Daniels College of Business and I had this group project partner who ran Instagram accounts in the off-road automotive industry. Through sheer luck, he got me hooked up with an ad agency in that scene. I basically took on that gig and had this massive wakeup call. I realized I could do this, and people would pay for it. That was at the tail end of my junior year. So that was really the genesis of all this.
Q: When did Voth Productions start up, and what is your team’s mission?
A: We started in 2020. Clearly I picked the wrong year, but hey, we’re not dead yet! Being a senior with a degree in marketing and entrepreneurship, I decided, “Okay, let’s put a brand together. Let’s get branding, messaging, logos, all that good stuff … let’s see if we can really break out and become a local content house, make a name for ourselves in town and see how it goes.” We’re still brand new, of course—we only have about a year and a half under our belts at this point.
Our mission is to deliver high-quality content to the brands that need it most. At our core, we “Aspire to Inspire Others.” So, taking brands that aim to be inspirations in their field and giving them the content they deserve. I kind of liken it to Red Bull. When you think of the top content in any action sport, inevitably, Red Bull shows up. Those guys are just crazy with what they can do. I tell my leads and clients, “if you want to be the Red Bull in whatever your niche is, it will be through content.”
Q: What makes Voth Productions stand out in the content creation field?
A: There are different stages in video production. Having access to a half-decent video camera is easy. Everyone and their mother can shoot video—on their phones, on their GoPros, etc. We realized we needed to position ourselves as a more professional solution. We couldn’t just be, I don’t know, some guy named Tony who’ll shoot an ad for you on his camera phone for $500. We needed to put ourselves above that to appeal to our clients, so that was step one for us. That necessitated me putting together a team, making sure we’re crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s, putting together real contracts and really playing the business side of it.
Something else we noticed with these big production houses, the ones with 50 people and $100,000 budgets per shoot, was that because of their size, they were quite slow. They are kind of like these big lumbering machines, and often behind on the trends.
We watched things like TikTok and Instagram Reels just explode, and we realized we needed to position ourselves as small and nimble. Whatever is the trend of the month, we are the ones who can go out and shoot that content for you. Every week there is a new song that blows up on these major platforms.
We are trying to thread the needle of providing professional solutions while retaining the advantages of being a small team. It’s an advantage that businesses call and I’m the one who picks up—they want to talk to the guy who’s actually shooting their content. It provides a more personal touch that a lot of those other houses can’t offer.
Q: How has Entrepreneurship@DU prepped you for this venture?
A: What I appreciated about the Entrepreneurship program was that they really taught you how to have the mindset of an entrepreneur. The way it’s set up, they really let you learn whatever skills you need on your own. Whatever the specific skills your business idea calls for, they have Sprints to learn any given skill.
But what really matters is that you understand the trial-and-error process of starting a business. Things are going to go wrong all the time, so how will you roll with the punches? How are you going to pivot? It teaches you to check your ego, to recognize that your first idea might not work—and when that happens, you pick up the phone and start dialing. That is something I really appreciated, because I knew all the branding and the messaging stuff from my major already.
The technical aspects of running a business and videography were already taught to me through the marketing and film departments. But being able to pivot ideas, talk to clients and work with teams—those were all things I would know nothing about if it weren’t for Entrepreneurship@DU.