At heart, Misdirected Media owners say they’re really just a bunch of kooky artists. (Their words.)
“We need to create,” said the company’s cofounder Brennan Gassek in an interview at their Manchester Mills studio. “We need to be involved in music, in art, and we want to do it locally.”
He explained the company’s mission during a tour of the facility, located through the twists and turns of the mills on Auburn Street. Company co-owners include his brother Nick and former bandmate and friend from Manchester Central, Geof Gagnon. They started Misdirected Media three years ago when their band, Me As Time, was at its end.
“We’d put a lot of time into it [the band]. We spent a few years working on our album and on a show that was really an experience for people,” Brennan said. “When that finally came to an end, we still had this practice space. I was like, ‘Well, what do we do now?’”
They ultimately kept the studio, but they began to utilize it for another shared passion: media.
Initially, Brennan was the graphic designer, Gagnon was the audio guy and Nick was the film guru. They drew from their own band experiences and studies at universities and tech schools.
“But ideally, we want to all be able to do everything,” Gagnon said. “It’s hard for us to narrow down on exactly what we do, because we want to be the kind of place where a client can come in, and we can do everything for them.”
A bit vague, yes but that’s the point. They want to push the limits of media, and their favorite clients fit that mold too.
“It’s important that we stay true to the artist’s visions, to give them hopefully what they want, but also something beyond what they’ve imagined. Those are our ideal clients, the people who like to do those things. We’re all about expanding boundaries,” Brennan said.
The media company is also comprised of their media and art-driven friends, many of whom grew up in the Manchester area or, like them, attended Central High School.
Thus far, they’ve worked with more than 200 artists. They help local musicians build videos, websites and audio recordings -- all in house to keep costs low -- and they also build marketing material and work with local filmmakers.
This past April, they helped facilitate a 10-hour film streaming at the Shaskeen.
“Some of the craziest, most stressful things we do for the first time ever, for me, tend to be the most exciting things,” Gagnon said. “We did a 10-hour streaming loop for this guy, Jason Peter — he’s in four bands, and he came to us with this weird idea for a fundraiser. We put a webcam in his room and streamed it for 10 hours,” Gagnon said.
The Shaskeen advertised the event being “ultimate, interactive reality television,” and the media team wired Peter’s room with cameras, strobe lights and tech equipment. Viewers paid Peter to perform various feats on camera, and he ended the production with more than $2,500. (For more information on this event, visit jasonpeterpresents.com.)
Their next big thing: projection mapping. Think of a large, 3D projector screen illuminating the side of a building and then distorting/manipulating that image. The details are under wraps, but there are plans to unveil something big at the Granite State Comic Con this fall.
Even with their high aims, the owners are surprised at how far they’ve come over three years. They credit part of their success because of what it takes to be a successful artist today.
“I think now, because everything is so easily available online, you have to have a media-rich identity as an artist, if you want to be seen,” Brennan said.
But also, in their eyes, the Manchester art scene is growing, which has enabled them to confidently invest their own money and time into the company. They’d like to grow more, too, to move to a larger space and hire more full-time kooky media artists.
“We needed to create an outlet for ourselves, and we hope we’ve created an outlet for other people looking to do creative things,” Brennan said. “We want to push boundaries of what media is. There’s so much you can do, and to be recognized, there’s so much you have to do.”