Driven: John Holland



"…Concept of school seems so Secure? " – Kanye West

John Holland is the founder of Green Bench Productions, a company notorious for its "On the Edge" comedy through skits, commercials, shows, and videos. 

Starting out as a Business major at North Carolina A&T State University, Holland was soon to find out his passion was in Broadcast Production. Shortly after his sketch "The Blocker" Green Bench started to create a major buzz amongst its audience leading to a variety of more side-splitting and highly amusing productions.

Today the Green Bench crew has proposed their work to cable networks such as BET, MTV, and Comedy Central. At the present time Holland and the Green Bench team have set aside the norm of pursuing a career by moving to Los Angeles, CA where they continue to pursue their dream.

Check out the interview>>>>>>>

What is the name of your company and how long have you been in the business?

My company is called Green Bench Productions, inspired by the green bench I used to sit on in high school and write commercials with my friend, Jamal Whitted, for the morning news show. The first project we did was a memorial video for 9/11 a few days after it happened, and that kicked off the Green Bench "movement".

What was your inspiration or motivation for starting?

My motivation stems from my love for creativity. I've always been involved in the arts, from painting to music, but video allowed me to mix it all and it really took off from there. Plus, I'm not a fan of the 9-5 work thing, and part of me wanted to have control of my own work, so after college I set out to just be able to work for myself comfortably out of my house.

How did the concept of your company come about?

My high school had a very advanced television program, and I was part of the team that created the morning commercials. They were essentially the beginning stages of my sketch comedy writing. Our schools colors were green and gold, so subsequently everything was painted that way. Outside of our television studio was a Green Bench that we'd break too when we wanted to brain storm ideas. Green Bench became the label we called ourselves. 

I never thought of making it a company until later down the road; however the name was so catchy, that when I started experimenting with video after high school, it was the first name I wanted to use.
Originally I just wanted to make sketches, but then people started asking me to do other things like music videos and commercials…and they wanted to pay! I realized I could get paid to do what I would have already done for free, and thus my business mind began growing.

How's life in Los Angeles and what made you decide to pick up and move there? Has it created a weird work/sleep schedule?

Life in Los Angeles is good now. For a while it was pretty rough and almost discouraging. You'll hear a lot of hopeless stories from people and see a lot of things that make you feel like you're in the wrong place. It's definitely a lot different from North Carolina! I had always wanted to live in LA and originally wanted to do it right after college, but when business took off, I decided to stay in NC for a while. Then in September of 2008, I went to LA to pitch our TV show and knew right after that I need to be in LA if I was ever going to take the next step, so one day in December, I was hanging with my business partners and just randomly blurted out, "I'm moving to LA", and they were like "Cool, us too", and that night we picked a date to move and began planning.

To make it out here definitely means you have to step outside of your comfort zone. I'm used to being financially stable and handling my obligations, but LA got me to the point where I contemplated going back home. Of course things are a lot better, but you can't let any of the situations deter you from the big picture. 

Everyone says it takes about 6 months of hell before you finally stabilize out here, but after that it's just a matter of putting yourself out here and doing what you have to do in order to do what you want to do. Right now I freelance in video, but I'm also working two jobs, one at The Gap and the other at the W Hotel. It's a very humbling experience to going from a cozy, entrepreneurship lifestyle to working a regular job where the pay may not be good and the hours are long, but I have to do it in order to keep the dream going, even if that means working from 11pm to 7am and then going to my second job from 10am to 4pm. Sleep when you're dead is what they always say!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years I hope to have my business flourishing triple what it was back in NC. I hope that Green Bench would have had at least one run on a television network, even if it's just one season and then canceled. I'd like to have established some respect for us as comedians in the world of comedy. I'm not in it for the fame or the money, just the love of doing it, and being able to hang out with my best friends for a living. Whether it's $50,000 year or $5,000,000 a year, I'll be content with it as long as I'm doing my own thing!

What encouraging words do you have for other's that would like to chase their dream job, but are too nervous to take the first step?

I always tell people that you don't want to be 50 years old wondering what would have happened if you had followed through with your dream. Never fear the unknown! If you dream to do something, then go for it! A lot of people are afraid of failure, but we're young! We're supposed to fall down and get back up. That's the human experience. If it doesn't work out, figure out why and go after it again. A dream should never stop. If tomorrow I woke up with no money, no clothes, and somehow my apartment disappeared, I would just come back home, restock my money and do it all over again!

Don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone or even make a sacrifice. I live in a studio apartment with 5 other grown men on air mattresses, which is a complete 180 from my master bedroom, queen bed and big screen TV back home. It's all worth it in the end (and makes a great Oprah story). Nothing is ever below you when it comes down to it.

Lastly, find people who believe in you. Some will tell you that you shouldn't, while others may say you can't. Find at least that one person who believes in you and build from there. Even if you're parents, girlfriend, wife, brother, whoever says no! Go for it! It's your life and you write the story for it!

Where can readers go to see your recent and past production pieces?

You can see our comedy sketches and shows at www.greenbench.tv and our music video and commercial work at www.youtube.com/greenbench.

Also, we are avid tweeters (@GreenbenchTV) and feel free to look us up on Facebook and ask any questions! I love to educate the masses!

Green Bench TV | lol @ Greenbench.tv|www.greenbench.tv

AS SEEN ON TV: Clippers starting point guard, Baron Davis, sells the key to his swagger: HIS BEARD! Take advantage of this limited time offer to own your own BOOMS BEARD! ACT NOW!


Anonymous said...

That skit was hilarious

Domo Jones said...

This is a great post and makes me feel like I'm making the right steps to launch my production company before graduating from A&T. Good luck Green Bench