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Inspiring Conversations with Garrett Shannon of Banter

Today we’d like to introduce you to Garrett Shannon.

Hi Garrett, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today.
Depending on your definition of the word company. Banter started in 2011, a few years after my partners and I graduated from college and were trying to make a living out in the “real world.” After meeting in film school at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, we became colleagues and friends. Banter was born out of a desire to work for ourselves, alongside one another, and with people, we enjoyed spending time with. It was little more than an email signature and some rag-tag letterhead back then. Clients would write checks to me, and I would deposit them in my account; we had no idea what we were doing. We’ve matured quite a bit since then, but the consistent throughline has been our focus on two things: people and conversations. You know Banter. Conversations always lead to the best idea; open dialogue can improve or solve anything. We do our best to leave egos at home and nurture the approach that the best ideas come from collaboration.

We all face challenges, but would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Anything but. I’m grateful that *knock on wood* we’ve been able to avoid any true disasters along the way, but there’s always a new challenge to overcome, skill to learn, or problem to solve. The struggle we’re facing now is learning how to outgrow the feast or famine sales cycle. Starting as a freelancer and then building a business, it’s challenging to stay in the mindset that sales and marketing are “always-on.” It’s challenging when I feel like we’re building the plane as we fly it and humbling to face the truth that I can’t do everything all the time. The more we grow, the more I see the need to let go of the small stuff and focus on what’s important and what will have the biggest impact on our business. That learning curve plays a big part in how we grow Banter and how I learn to become a better leader.

Even more important, the other side of that learning curve is how to do and learn all those things while becoming a better husband and father. I get lots of help and even more patience from my family. Still, juggling work and personal life is challenging, especially as technology and WFH culture continue to blur the lines between the two. I’m lucky my wife, Allison, our daughter, Rae, and our friends and family have shown me nothing but support. Even with all that support, I struggle to leave work at work and be the present, thoughtful dad and partner I want to be. Like with all things, progress comes with practice, and I’m very thankful for the patience and support my gals have shown me while I practice.

Thanks – so, what else should our readers know about Banter?
Banter is a live-action commercial production company making creative content worth talking about. Stylistically we’re character-focused and personal, uplifting and playful in tone, and more often than not, incredibly pun-forward. We are a “people first” creative house. We want everyone we work with, from clients to artists and craftspeople, to feel supported, respected, and informed. Bring positive energy, give good notes, and great work will follow.

What would you say has been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
People are the best investment. I’m proud of our relationships within the Austin Film & TV community and the caliber of production resources this city offers. Advertising and film production can be extremely competitive, and we’re likely not the cheapest option, but I’m confident we emphasize the right things. Hiring the best people and treating them with kindness and respect has paid off time and time again and led to some great friendships. I’m lucky that I get to live and work here.

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