#SmallBizProud: An Interview with Filmmakers Trisha and John


Trish and John Capital One

Usually the person behind the camera is silent, speaking only through the people on film. But this week we’re showcasing the incredible force behind the lens of Capital One Spark’s “I Am Small Business Proud” campaign: filmmakers Trisha Dalton and John Sears. These two are truly a dynamic duo and we’re in awe of their energy, creativity and work ethic. During their journey on the highways and streets of Buck StinsonAmerica, they are stopping in small towns and big cities to meet new faces of small businesses, courtesy of Capital One. Why is Capital One doing this? In the words of Buck Stinson, Senior Vice President for Spark: “As a leading financial resource for small businesses, we understand the value of getting close to our customers. This is a great way for us to capture a true representation of small business owners and celebrate what they do every single day.”

Trisha and John are on this journey across America to listen to and record stories first-hand as told to them by the business owner(s). They conduct the interviews and edit content to create one-of-a-kind video “portraits” that feel as real as if we sat down for a cup of coffee with the small business owners ourselves. And if that’s not enough, they also turn the camera on themselves to give us recaps of where they’ve been and share a behind-the-scenes look at what they love most about the towns and cities they visit. These two are amazing!

We interviewed Trisha and John to get the scoop on how they manage unexpected situations, their secret to getting business owners to open up and share their stories on camera, and what got them started on their own path as small business owners themselves. Trisha and John are all about hard work, passion, and major #smallbiz love; cheers to these two!

Tell us a little bit about your own small businesses as filmmakers.
We have both run our own film production companies since college, working regionally and nationally, specializing in personal story, social impact videos for personal interest as well as corporations and non-profits.
What would each of you say has been a highlight so far while you’re on the road?
Capital One Spark Business has given us the fantastic opportunity to travel around the United States and talk to local small business owners.  It has been a highlight to hear their stories.
Have there been any difficult situations where you had to “make work” on-the-fly MacGyver style?
Things have been going quite well so far but we don’t want to jinx ourselves!
How does a business tell you their brand story? What tips do you have for businesses translating their brand stories to you?
We have an easy time connecting with small business owners, because we are small business owners ourselves, and we spend time getting to know them before we turn the camera on, so that they feel comfortable sharing the stories of how they built their business and brand, and their passion that drives it.
When a small business pitched you, what stuck out that made one story more compelling to you to select as your video?
There are so many great businesses and stories behind them that it’s hard to choose.  We have tried to select a variety of types of businesses and stories.
As filmmaking partners, what habits and strategies do you employ to “make it work” so well on the road?
We make sure to listen to one another and have fun while we’re working.
How do you work as partners on the road? Does your work on set help you work together so closely on the road?
We are used to sharing responsibilities, and leaning on one another's strengths, and that has carried over into our road trip routine.
What kinds of connections or commonalities between people's stories are you finding as you interview people across the country?
All the small business owners we have met with have had an incredible work ethic - many of them work ’24/7', have a real passion for their business, and a strong sense of community - they all consider their community to be integral to the success of their business… It’s easy to see why small business is considered the heartbeat of America.
As you go from city to city, how much does the context of the place effect the small business you are profiling? Do you notice some towns to be more small biz friendly than others?
The small business owners we have met with are very community oriented, whether in a big city or small town.  We have seen strong communities everywhere we have been.
As small business owners yourselves, are you identifying with aspects of any of the short features coming out of the #SmallBizProud project? Filmmaking is usually associated with making art and telling stories, but what of your business building skills?
Partnering with Capital One Spark Business has given us the chance to meet so many business owners and broaden our network of individuals. We identify with many of their trials and tribulations, like long hours, and wearing many hats.  More than anything we have been inspired by their optimism, success, and  generous approach to their communities.
How are you able to make these mini-films on the road? Is one editing while the other drives?
Sometimes one person edits,  while the other drives, but we do most of the editing in local bed & breakfasts, and small business inn’s, where we stay along the way.


The spirit in the heart of a small business owner is an awesome thing; as Trisha and John put it, “small business is considered the heartbeat of America.” Being an entrepreneur means being part of a remarkable group of people, and we’re glad these filmmakers are introducing us to many new faces and businesses! There are so many lessons to learn, from being part of a sense of community, to leaning on each other and having fun…all key ingredients to making a small business work over the long haul.

Go ahead, see if these small business stories don’t become part of your daily routine…tap into them to get fired up in the morning, get over the hump during a long afternoon, and help you sprint to the finish line at the end of a long day. Join us and be #smallbizproud!

Follow Trisha & John's journey on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!