Behind the Scenes at Make Believe New Media

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.”


Mixing It Up for Make Believe: Rick Carson

The question “What do you do?” just doesn’t cut it for Rick Carson, CEO of Make Believe Studios. A man more than his title, Carson is also a mixing engineer, producer, delegator, manager and the man with a vision for the company. With 11 years experience in the music industry, Carson is taking the company beyond Omaha’s music scene.

Hailing from “Mitten State” Michigan, he drew inspiration from the music he listened to growing up. Artists that made an influence on Carson are quite the variety, from rock to indie to pop. It was the way the records sounded and components of a song, that pulled Carson into the world of music. He would hear Led Zeppelin and compare and appreciate the unique differences to Michael Jackson’s music.

From being influenced, it didn’t take Carson long to become an influencer. One of the first records he produced when he moved to Omaha set an example of impact. Although the band decided against releasing the album, he left a mark with his ear for detail.

“They were making pop/punk and they had sounds in background that were more indie—an epic kind of sound. They wanted to be pop/punk artists. Now, all of those dudes play indie music. While they didn’t like being pushed in that direction, they ended up there anyway,” said Carson.

The music industry is a competitive business to be in. Amid the doubters, there are people backing Carson and attesting to how valued his work is. Carson has come a long way since his first record and he appreciates when clients reach out with positivity.

“When I have Grammy winners saying I’m the cure to people’s mixing problems, I know I’m doing things right,” said Carson.

Make Believe is more than a studio and creative space for artists to record. It’s a multifaceted operation with affiliate companies such as Make Believe New Media (MBNM) and Make Believe Recordings. The future of the Make Believe Company is a second home for the artist.

“What I envision is the label will be a home for the artist that we’ll love and adore to spend our Saturdays and Sundays with,” said Carson.

The downtown Omaha studio, with its world-class equipment and specialized staff has made experiences memorable for artists both locally and nationally known. In the future, Carson wants the studio to provide opportunities for freelance producers throughout the Midwest by providing all the resources through Make Believe Studios and MBNM.

Fun fact about Carson: His passion for music isn’t new. When others his age were just finishing up growth spurts and mastering driving lessons, he was sprouting his career at just 16 years old.

“My band went in to make our second record and the guy [mixing engineer] showed me how Pro Tools worked. He told me ‘This is the industry standard. If Mariah Carey were to make a record, it would be made in Pro Tools,’” said Carson. “I bought a Dell and five months later I was in college at Full Sail University.”

Necker Island, Virgin Gorda, Caribbean – Island Perch

Carson invests his heart and many, many long hours in the studio to bring about success. In the future, to celebrate, Carson’s got his eye set on an island. A bit contradictory as he’s not fond of sand or the beach, but he’s always wanted a piece of land smack-dab in the middle of the ocean.

“Who doesn’t want to own an island?” said Carson. “Have you ever seen Necker Island? My buddies can build their own houses and mansions and I’ll have a little Millennium Falcon and I’ll fly by and talk on megaphones to have them come outside. Right now I’m having visions of me on my island perch.”  

Behind the wit and straightforwardness is the brutal truth. Carson is the friend that gives it to you straight. In terms of entrepreneurship, Carson has one last piece of vital and honest advice that’s applicable to all areas of business.

“There is always someone younger, faster, smarter, more likable and more intelligent, lurking right around the corner. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they don’t see you. I’ve found myself in both those positions before,” said Carson. “I’ve invested in myself, my education, the tools, the space I occupy and the people I surround myself with. If people don’t understand that I’ve invested in myself, into my dreams and into their dreams then I will not continue [to do business] with them.”

Off the Cuff with Andrew McGreevy

Andrew McGreevy is a senior here at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He’s expected to graduate spring of 2015, with a Bachelor’s in Secondary Education, including an emphasis in English and Language Arts.

McGreevy is focusing his blog’s story beat on local arts because he’s passionate about the arts. He has been involved in theater and has worked as a professional actor for many years. He decided to combine his passions with a teaching degree. Since theater and acting gigs require so much travel it’s a major reason he decided on teaching being that he has a family now.

“Teaching was the next best fit,” said McGreevy.

From stage acting to commercial acting, McGreevy has been involved in a variety of artistic performance, both classic and contemporary. He’s played roles in both children’s theatre and Shakespeare.

“My forte is cutting edge contemporary. It hasn’t been done much in the Midwest,” said McGreevy.

Audiences can watch McGreevy in his first film role, premiering in two weeks at Aksarben Cinema. He acted as well as wrote in the locally produced film “Bent Over Neal,” an indie comedy drama.

He recently just finished filming his second film, “Endor,” as a writer and co-director. The horror film will be showcased in limited theaters such as Aksarben Cinema this January.

McGreevy is happy to combine his career with his love of writing that has travelled with him through the years. He was involved in Speech in his youth, in high school and has also coached and judged competitions.

“I still judge to this day during high school Forensics season,” said McGreevy.

McGreevy has dabbled in journalistic writing as well, with featured work in The Gateway, Papillion Times and Ralston Recorder.

“It’s important when you teach to have some experience with it,” said McGreevy.

McGreevy said his high school theater teacher was influential to him by keeping him honest and focused. With similar career paths, his theater teacher was also a professional actor before entering the world of teaching.

The words to best describe McGreevy’s style of writing include determined, off the cuff and dark.

When he’s not writing for class or screenplays, he enjoys writing creative non-fiction and short stories under 1,000 words.

“It’s kind of like snapshot writing,” said McGreevy. “You write about something that’s happened to you or what you’ve experienced. And in that short amount of time, you’ve got to connect with people or make a statement.”

Catch McGreevy in one of his up-and-coming flicks, where he’s sure to make a connection through the big screen!


Creative Humans of Omaha Important Links
Local music brought to you by:

Make Believe Studios
Make Believe Recordings
Sam Ayer & The Love Affair
Conchance/Conny Franko
Sam Martin
Lightning Bug

Some favorite places to see live music:
The Slowdown – rock club and bar
The Omaha Lounge – classic cocktails, live jazz and blues
O’Leaver’s – pub-style, loud and live music
House of Loom – craft cocktails, live music & art performances
Check out events via

Music videos and more:
Make Believe Recordings
Make Believe New Media

Read more about the talent [featured on the blog] here:
Hear Nebraska
Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards Nominees (your favorite Make Believe artists are up for some awards)
Kethro’s Workflow: Time in a Bottle
Sam Ayer & The Love Affair
With The Spotlight Gone, Omaha’s Music Scene Grows
Omaha Magazine
In the Land of Make Believe
Capgun Coup singer Sam Martin releasing a solo LP
Juxtapoz Magazine
Virgin Shirley Temple by Salvador Herrera

(Creative) Humans of Omaha

Welcome to my blog. Interested in the unique people, art, creativity, nightlife, music scene or small business entrepreneurs of Omaha? You’ll find a combination of those subjects and more here, displayed in a variety of mediums.

Follow my blog to meet the faces of your favorite local radio hosts, DJs, hip-hop artists and soul musicians– and the creative teams who transform ideas into records and music videos.