“That’s HIM,” which is what most people say when they are talking about a random guy standing on the street. But this HIM isn't a person. HIM is High Instinct Media, a company that specializes in live sound, video, photography and graphic design. Owned by 30-year-old Samuel Lee, HIM has been in operation since 2010 when the Englewood neighborhood native decided he was “tired of working for other people.”
The entrepreneurial spirit was instilled in Lee at an early age, when as a child he watched his parents create various business ventures to support the family. “They both had a by any means necessary attitude,” said Lee. “But it didn't start with my mom and dad. My grandmother and great-grandmother owned a small produce store in Bronzeville.”
Lee’s interest in film began around age 10, but not because he's gotten a new camera or watched a lot of movies. Lee said he had some behaviorial challenges as a child, and during the 5th grade, his parents allowed him to join an after school program that happened to focus video production. “That program became an outlet for stress and allowed me to re-focus my energy in a better way,” he said. “I did the audio for our very first project, which was a commercial for a health drink.”
From there through high school, Lee participated in a variety of other after school and summer programs that focused on film.
But in 2005, when he graduated from high school and enrolled at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, he didn't major in film.“Originally I majored in political science,” Lee said. “Then I changed my major to psychology. But it wasn't until my junior year that I decided to follow my passion and study film, so I changed majors again.” Once he made that last change, Lee never looked back.
So how was HIM created? It was the result of a class project where Lee had to create a business. But High Instinct Media was not the original concept, which Lee said was a disaster. “My first idea so bad that my teacher told me I was going to fail the class if I didn't come up with something different,” he said. So he started over and HIM was created.
Lee finished school and worked at growing HIM, but like most startups, growth was slow. Then in 2010, he received the financial investment he needed. His roommate gave him $100 to get a businesslicense and Lee asked his mom if she could help. “My roommate told me to stop talking about starting my business and do it,” he said. “Then my mom made a sizable investment and I was ready to go.”
Today, although HIM has several clients, Lee wants to re-focus on his passion, which is filming. Through film, Lee wants people to be inspired and motivated to look passed the social norms and pursue their dreams. “HIM will still have a select number of clients but I also will create films and web series,” Lee said. “I will be creating a platform for edutainment – educating through entertainment. I want to highlight positives that traditional media doesn't.”
In early September , Lee plans to launch thatsHIM, where his film projects and web series will be highlighted. He will also post regularly to his blog creatorofhim.com. And, of course, High Instinct Media will continue to grow into the multi-faceted media company that Lee originally envisioned. “I want to provide creative options for my clients,” he said. “I want to create based upon something that not already formatted.When people think about my business, I want them to say, ‘Oh, that's HIM.’” Yep, that's HIM!