When Dale Morrisey was five years old, his parents took him to the movies. It was an experience that changed his life.
For the motion picture they chose as the debut cinematic experience for their young son was Star Wars, the epoch-shattering science fiction/fantasy film that is not only one of the most successful film franchises in movie history, but is also considered to be one of the most influential. It certainly influenced Morrisey.
“I have always loved movies. I fell in love with them when I saw Star Wars. They have always been a big part of my life. But more importantly, I always wanted to be a storyteller. I wanted to be John Boy Walton. I was quite happy to sit and be left alone to write. For me, it’s about telling good stories. And it doesn’t matter if you’re making documentaries, which is a lot of what my company does, or telling a company’s story through a promotional piece, you still have to tell a good story to engage an audience. That’s what I learned from movies,” he said.
After working in both print and television media for a number of years, Morrisey founded WJP Media Group (Wandering Journalist Productions) in 2002 after a layoff and at the encouragement of his wife. Starting with one camera, lots of enthusiasm and not a little amount of trepidation, Morrisey has built the company up to a full service production facility in rural Bath.
”I have a fully operational production company. We can do everything from concept through to finished product. So I sit down with a client and sketch out everything from a short 30-second or two-minute television spot or promotional video for a company. I do training videos for companies or non-profits, legacy videos for institutions or long-standing corporations, as well as documentaries,” he explained.
“And I can do all forms of video and audio media content, from DVD to BluRay and all the interactive content you need for them.”
Career highlights include selling series and documentaries to CBC affiliates as well as PBS and TVO. Some of his best known titles include Forgotten Ontario, Museumville and most recently The Father of Hockey: Captain James Sutherland and the Battle for Hockey’s Hall of Fame.
With his experience as a journalist, he can also produce video coverage for special events, meetings or seminars, all the while ensuring top quality production values, attention to detail and ensuring the client gets what they want.
“I have found since I have been in business that you have to be able to listen to what the market wants. Just because you think it’s a great idea doesn’t mean other people will. You only have a product if you can sell it and you only have a business if you can make money selling it,” Morrisey said, adding that two of his biggest challenges in growing WJP Media Group was a dearth of capital and learning to be productive at home.
“Not everyone is cut out to work from home. Sometimes you need the structure of being in an office. Being taken seriously was a problem at first, especially being a home-based business. That mindset has changed over the years, but when I first started out people couldn’t believe there was a production company in a home, and that I wasn’t based in Toronto, Ottawa or even Kingston. But that has changed, thanks to people’s awareness of technology.”
Morrisey and his family, which now includes an 11-year-old daughter and eight-year-old as well as his wife, who is a teacher, moved to L&A County to be closer to where his wife was teaching, and he hasn’t regretted the move from Belleville one bit.
“Quality of life was a huge factor for us in choosing where to live. That’s what drew us here. Now I have a lovely view of Lake Ontario and a beautiful home with lots of room for the kids to play. It’s a small-town feel, but we have access to all the amenities that you would ever want,” he said.
“There is a closeness and friendliness that you don’t get in larger centres. People are really supportive of one another, and that extends to the business community too.”
He said he is impressed with the efforts put forth by the staff of the L&A County Economic Development Department in recruiting new business to the region, but also encouraging the growth and prosperity of existing businesses of all types.
“We have great economic development strategies here. There is a diversity within the business community that you probably wouldn’t expect on the surface. When I need something, a product or service, I always check first with the local chamber of commerce or Tracey Snow and Rob Plumley at L&A County to see if they know someone local I can deal with to get what I need. I’d rather do that than have to go to Toronto or Kingston, and nine times out of 10, I can get it done here. Why wouldn’t I? It keeps the money local and the service is going to be friendlier and more cost effective.”
For more information on the broad array of video production services and consulting offered by Morrisey, visit www.wjpmedia.ca.