In 2015, Maxwell Bentley was just one of many college students looking for a way to fund his education. Equipped with a passion for film and a knack for entrepreneurship, he soon began creating videos for local businesses.
Soon after, the phone was ringing off the hook, and Maxwell knew he needed to devote more to making Bentley Media a full-fledged operation. “The biggest struggle was overcoming self-doubt and exiting my comfort zone to do all of the things necessary for that (networking and building relationships, hiring staff, learning and adopting best practices, etc),” says Maxwell.
“I dealt with anxieties about my ability to run a business while taking classes, my particular skill set, and whether my young age would be called into question,” he said. “With all of these mental brick walls, I decided to keep growing and moving forward by putting myself in new situations every day and pressure testing my business ideas.”
Maxwell is, after all, an ideas man. “Oprah Winfrey once said, ‘You become what you dwell on.’” Maxwell became fixated on growing his business. Luckily, he was already situated in an area that was growing too.
“Next to family, friends, and clients, North Georgia is a great place to be both geographically and economically,” he says. “The Georgia film industry was recently named one of ‘the top filming destinations worldwide’ by Film L.A., and the industry prospects continue to look better and better.”
North Georgia has afforded Maxwell the opportunity for to continue his pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree in Film and Digital Media at the University of North Georgia Gainesville campus, all the while remaining dedicated to growing within the industry.
UNG has been instrumental in getting his company to where it is today, he says. “The film industry has brought 80,000 jobs to Georgia. My goal is to create thousands more, and schools like UNG are creating a film production workforce with an emphasis on leadership, which is exactly what I seek.”
Though only four years old, Bentley Media has already proven itself as a leader in both the local and national creative videography landscape. “Presently, we serve over 50 clients across the U.S.,” Maxwell says. “ We regularly hire around 25 freelancers in the Atlanta film community, and have generated tens of millions of video views for our clients.” Bentley Media was also named one of seven finalists for 2018 Forsyth County Business of the Year.
Forsyth County has also proved to be a fruitful starting point for Maxwell and the business, in part due to the welcoming attitude and inclusivity of local organizations like the Chamber of Commerce. “Being in a community that allows you to grow, supports you and gets behind you and believes in you, that brings success,” he said. “Forsyth County is that community and that’s why Bentley Media is so successful.”
Bentley Media’s success is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, next month, Maxwell will celebrate the opening of Bentley Media’s first production facility and micro film studio. The office will serve as a convenient, multi-purpose space designed for use by members of the community who want to take a hands-on approach to their own video projects.
Creating such a facility is a dream realized for Maxwell, who takes telling clients’ stories very seriously. Says Maxwell: “Aside from the large variety of projects I've had the pleasure of working on, my favorite part of my career is being able to form new connections and help my clients be more successful.”