A sister company to Make Believe Studios, Make Believe New Media (MBNM) is opening conversations and engaging with the community through an array of creative production offerings.
MBNM was founded two years ago and consists of a two-person creative partnership between Texas native Miguel Cedillo and Daniel Thompson III, who hails from Motown (Detroit).
Thompson, co-owner and jack-of-all-trades, runs with an ever-changing title.
“Sometimes we’re doing photo shoots, other times we’re doing video and sometimes design, so we don’t really have one set title aside from co-owners,” said Thompson.
Deemed the nickname “Photo Dan” by the Make Believe crew, Thompson attended Central Michigan University after developing a love for film photography in high school. In college, he transitioned with the times to digital photography and videography and pursued a Bachelor’s degree in photojournalism.
“I moved out to Omaha right after finishing [college] because my best friend Rick Carson needed a photographer,” said Thompson.
Cedillo, co-owner of MBNM also fluctuates between a list of titles, juggling multiple projects and tasks whether it’s graphic design, editing, shooting, consulting or brainstorming the next big idea with Thompson. Every day is a little different but all the work sits under the roof of media production.
In high school, Cedillo was the go-to photographer in his group of friends. The passion for photography seems to have been passed down the family line. His grandfather was a photographer for the Army Air Core. In college while studying anthropology at Creighton University, all it took for Cedillo was one class and some mentorship. His professor, Father Don Doll, a veteran photographer of National Geographic, told him to stick with it. So, he did and began to set his goals on opening up his own business around it.
“There was a lot of dismal news about the job market getting worse for graduates so I decided I wasn’t going to join it post-college. I decided to start my own business as soon as possible instead of trying to find a job I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy,” said Cedillo.
In the same way anthropology reaches out to explore humanity, Cedillo felt like working in photo and video would give him an opportunity to really make connections through the lens.
With experience in music video production capturing art installations on film (working with places such as the Bemis and talented artists that stay in Omaha for a residency) they enjoy working in the realm of fine arts.
“We work in fashion. We work in architecture and landscape. We work in the management side as well, like production management. Sports. Non-profit. We’re always trying to engage in community organizations. Even when we make music videos we are directly communicating to people in the community,” said Cedillo.
The community surrounding MBNM is also a historic one. Located on 10th Street in 100-year-old buildings, the area has grown on Thompson and Cedillo.
Next-door is Olsen’s Bake Shop, a bakery that’s been in business for more than 70 years. The legendary dancer Fred Astaire grew up right down the street. There are community centers and beautiful churches lined down the block. The 10th Street Bridge connects the Old Market to the rest of 10th Street. Right at the beginning of the bridge there are some businesses doing some great things such as House of Loom and the newly relocated Blue Barn Theatre.
“The community should be really proud of to have an independent theater. It’s just down the street from us and I see it being a real community institution,” said Cedillo.
The MBNM group is excited to see young people and new ventures with people who want to be apart of the history on 10th Street.
Where do they see themselves in five years?
“I see us operating with more scale than we are now,” said Cedillo. “Our physical resources and operating space and our ability to translate our imaginations into real production. A lot of times imagination is bigger than your toolkit and workshop. So essentially I see us available to fill our creative visions more deeply because we’ll have more access to the things we’ll need to get there.”