On The Job – Chris Conroy

portrait of man with glasses, sharp shadows on one side of face

Video production creative director

Chris Conroy is president and creative director of Heartwood Media, a video production company in Manchester.

Explain your job and what it entails. 

My official title isCreative Director at Heartwood Media, a video production company. But I’m really a storyteller. I help businesses reach new customers and attract new employees, help organizations raise money for good causes, and I help brands improve their visibility, all through the magic of video. Heartwood handles all aspects of video production from planning to delivery. In pre-production, I work directly with clients, their staff and customers to visualize and plan a project. Great visuals are essential to a successful video, so during production I direct the crew, work with talent and conduct interviews. In post-production … I work with our team — editors, graphics artists, animators — to put the finishing touches on our production.

How long have you had this job? 

Twenty-seven years. I started when I was 10.

What led you to this career field and your current job? 

I’ve always been involved in creative activities. I was in band, chorus and drama club in school. I signed up for a radio and TV course in college. I enjoyed it, and I was good at it. It seemed like a natural fit.

What kind of education or training did you need?

New York Institute of Technology, my college, had a daily news program where students filled the roles of reporters, camerapeople and editors. … It was great training for the real world. I started working in news right after graduation for an all-news station on Long Island. Shooting one-and-a-half-minute stories daily really helped to hone my skills. I worked at CNN for a while as an editor and cameraman. Then I moved into syndicated TV before moving to New Hampshire. As I moved on and up, I wore a lot of different hats — camera, sound, editor, grip, PA, producer — I’ve been there, done that, andI have the T-shirt for just about every role on a production. I even do a little makeup on our shoots.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire? 

Typical director wear — jodhpurs, riding crop and monocle. Kidding! Usually khakis or jeans and a button-down shirt.

What is the most challenging thing about your work, and how do you deal with it?

Staying on top of changes and working with our clients to find the best fit for them. For example, during the pandemic we outfitted some clients with tripods and ring lights and trained them so they could record good-looking video. In some instances it makes sense for our clients to film things themselves and use our expertise in storytelling to edit a final video.

What do you wish you’d known at the beginning of your career?

I will always be learning.

What do you wish other people knew about your job? 

How interesting it is. I have to understand a client’s story, product or service before I can tell it for them in a video. … Through my work, I know a little bit about so many different things.

What was the first job you ever had?

I delivered papers for Newsday.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received? 

Sometimes understanding what not to do is more important than learning what to do.

Five favorites

Favorite book:
Stop That Pickle!
Favorite movie: It’s impossible to pick just one film.
Favorite music: Anything by They Might Be Giants
Favorite food: Tough one! Pizza, bagel or knish.
Favorite thing about NH: Being able to enjoy all 10 seasons.

Featured photo: Chris Conroy. Photo by Rosemary Conroy.

Author: Angie Sykeny

Angie Sykeny is a Hippo staff writer covering local arts, theater, music and pop culture. She can be reached at asykeny@hippopress.com.

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