Lights, Camera, Action!
Diamond View Studios Creates Emotional Connections Through Video
By Alisha Crabtree
To be a successful friend or business partner it is essential to surround yourself with individuals who push, challenge and make you better. Since seventh grade, Tim Moore, Founder and CEO of Diamond View Studios, and Jonathan (Jon) Davila, Vice President of Diamond View Studios, have positively influenced each other as best friends and valued business partners.
The Entrepreneurial Spirit
Tim founded Diamond View Studios in 2007 after graduating from high school. “Back then, it was not really a business,” Tim said. “I attended Pasco-Hernando Community College (PHCC). Jon focused his attention on biomedical science at the University of South Florida (USF). We concentrated on school, worked day jobs and shot weddings on the weekend.”
In 2010, Tim transferred to USF. Jon was ecstatic to have his best friend attend the same school. “It was the end of our sophomore year,” Jon recalled. “I was walking around campus when Tim called telling me he was done at PHCC and coming to USF. As we were talking on the phone, I saw a flyer for student government elections. I was intrigued. My immediate response to Tim was, ‘Let’s run for President and Vice President.’ We lost terribly but learned a tremendous amount.”
Running for office showcased Tim and Jon’s perseverance, ambition and unique business chemistry. It ignited a remarkable business partnership and joint entrepreneurial journey. “Through that election experience, we realized we were more like-minded than we originally thought,” Tim said. “Jon and I could accomplish anything if we set our minds to it.”
Starting the Journey
After college graduation, Tim and Jon began careers in their respective fields. “At the time, we were experiencing and traveling down different trajectories,” Jon recalled. “Tim worked in the media department at his church, Idlewild Baptist Church. It was where he learned his videography skills and really began shaping Diamond View Studios to grow into a full-time business venture. I worked at Florida Hospital in Tampa preparing for medical school.”
Little by little, Diamond View Studios expanded services and attracted growth. When free time allowed it, Jon joined Tim on video shoots while slowly questioning a medical career path. “My mom always told me that I would be a great doctor,” Jon said. “Her words stuck for a while. Yet, I started asking myself, ‘Am I doing this because the majority of my family worked in the medical field?’”
In 2011, Tim and Jon became official business partners. “Jon was working a shift at the hospital when I called asking him if he had any lunch plans,” Tim said. “I picked him up, and we ate at a local restaurant. We talked about the future and committing to Diamond View Studios full time.”
After lunch, Tim pulled into the hospital parking lot to drop off Jon. “I stepped out of the car and started walking toward the hospital,” Jon said. “Tim rolled down the window yelling ‘You forgot something in the car.’ I had not brought anything to the restaurant and was wearing pocket-less scrubs. I thought he was messing with me.”
Tim handed Jon an envelope with instructions to open it when he was back on his medical floor and near his boss’s office. “I did just that!” Jon said. “I walked up to the fifth floor, stood in front of my boss’s door and ripped open the envelope.”
Tim had written a letter of resignation on Jon’s behalf. “I read it over,” Jon said. “It was grammatically correct. So, I walked straight into the office and handed over my resignation letter.”
Diamond View Studios officially launched. “We quit our day jobs and committed to creating, building and growing a business here in Tampa,” Tim said.
Creating a Feeling
Video is an art form connecting subject content with people at an emotional level. Diamond View Studios crafts every shot with the individual story in mind. “Our philosophy is simple, capture a story,” Tim said. “We create videos that inspire people and build strong brand connections. We want the viewer to feel something when watching our commercials or documentaries.”
With over 10 years of industry experience, Tim has worked on thousands of videos, commercials and documentaries bringing fresh and creative perspectives to each project. Today, the multimillion dollar video production company partners with Fortune 500 companies, government entities, healthcare providers and charitable organizations. Diamond View Studios has created national award-winning videos and commercials for a variety of companies including Hyatt, Corona, Gatorade, Miami International Airport, Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Lightning.
“Every client is my favorite,” Jon said. “What I truly love about this job is each project is unique. One day we are shooting for a nursing home, and the next day we are shooting for a major league sports team.”
The back story, creative touch and intended emotion develops early in the initial meetings and preproduction phase. It is portrayed throughout the video. “When we start producing video content for our clients, we immerse ourselves in their culture,” Tim said. “We learn everything about them to convey their message. I feel compelled to share these stories.”
For Jon, knowledge is priceless. “I am continuing my education through work,” Jon said. “We meet unique individuals who share their expertise and knowledge within different industries.”
Generating Growth in the “Innovation District”
Both 28 years old, Tim and Jon have ambitious plans for the Tampa area and entrepreneurship. Located in the “Innovation District” of North Tampa, Diamond View Studios is the first of its kind in the economically stagnant and high-crime neighborhood. “We purchased our office building as a foreclosure in 2014 shaping a workplace and business unlike anything else in the blighted area,” Tim said.
In 2016, Hillsborough County proposed a $2 million budget to craft a master plan for cultivating, improving and redeveloping the transient, poverty-stricken neighborhood. The goal involves driving economic activity and revitalizing the community by engaging with small businesses and globally recognized institutions including USF, Busch Gardens, Florida Hospital and Moffitt Cancer Center.
Jon, in particular, feels deeply connected to the initiative and to the local children at Mort Elementary School. The son of Puerto Rican immigrants, he spent his elementary school days in the high-poverty, crime-ridden, gang-infested Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago before moving to Tampa. Tim and Jon often invite students from Mort Elementary School to record the school’s morning news announcements from the studio. “If I can succeed, they can too,” Jon said.
Tim and Jon are on the advisory board overseeing the Hillsborough County initiative. Additionally, the duo launched The Tampa Foundation with plans to build and finance public art sculptures around the neighborhood to inspire pedestrians walking East Bearss Avenue every day.
Reinvesting Turns to Revenue
Diamond View Studios realized the importance of being strategic and organic when building the company. “We did not start the business with a line of credit or reliance on investors,” Tim said. “In the beginning, we reinvested the money from each job back into the business. First, we bought a camera, followed by a computer. Finally, an office space. Little by little, we built upon our foundation. Today, we still practice this reinvesting philosophy, but on a larger scale.”
As a multi-million dollar company, Diamond View Studios has numerous opportunities on the table that could double them in size. “If all these contracts pull through, we will be scaling our growth. Expansion is inevitable,” Jon said.
More than an Office Building
Diamond View Studios grew from a team of two to 22 employees with a steady number of USF or University of Tampa interns and about 40 contractors. A “never feels like work” environment exists throughout the office. Tim and Jon foster a culture of friendship, passion, creativity and storytelling.
“Our studio is not your typical corporate office setting,” Tim said. “When you walk in, creativity is everywhere. The red brick building has a second floor that is accessible through a winding industrial staircase. The elevated loft, called ‘King’s Landing,’ serves as the conference room. The snack room is supplied with a nitrogen tap for kombucha tea and Blind Tiger Cafe’s cold brew coffee. Each employee decorates their office to fit their unique personalities and styles. We have movie fanatics, artsy folks, and world travelers; their spaces represent the individual.”
On any given day, Tim can be seen mooching off other people’s food and playing practical jokes. The team can be found taking turns on the hoverboard or enjoying a game of dueling drones in the afternoon. The close-knit group will often grab a beer after work. For the past three years, Tim and Jon have brought the team on a company cruise.
For many of the employees, it is the only office they have ever worked in. It is no surprise; Diamond View Studios was recently voted “Coolest Office Space” and one of the “Best Places to Work” by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
Growing a Business
Tampa is an up and coming city for business growth, talent recruitment and company relocation. “As an entrepreneur, living and working in the Tampa area is great,” Jon said. “We are centrally located in a pro-business state that believes in creating jobs, tax incentives and talent pools. As the Tampa area grows, Diamond View Studios grows.”
Tim and Jon encourage companies of all types, sizes, and cultures to explore Florida’s possibilities, sustain a business and establish growth.