From their rental home on the shores of Lake Monona, an area couple forms a production company offering freelance talent from around the world.
Professional photographers and musicians Allison Lenz and Carlos Guzman have cofounded M.O.D. Media Productions in Monona.
Photograph by Chelsea Weis
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From the pages of In Business magazine.
Allison Lenz and Carlos Guzman named their young production company M.O.D. Media Productions for a reason. M.O.D. is an acronym for masters of design, they explain, but even more importantly, Mod represents “out there,” Lenz notes. “It’s stylish, modern, and out of the block.”
Stylish, perhaps, because the couple’s artistic talents are on display around the clock. While M.O.D. Media occupies most of their entrepreneurial time, they also perform in different bands around town. Lenz plays cello, Guzman sings and plays guitar, and they are also professional photographers.
Modern, because they believe they’ve discovered a unique niche for their company, working exclusively with freelancers on freelancer terms; and out of the block because their collection of independent contractors, they say, adds a certain freshness to projects they take on.
M.O.D. Media operates from the basement of a Lake Monona rental home offering a remarkable view of Madison’s skyline. It wasn’t intended that way originally, Lenz notes, but after weighing the costs of finding or renting space and hiring freelance talent, a home office made more financial sense. “Besides,” Lenz admits, “the cold office building isn’t M.O.D. Media.”
The couple lives upstairs. Downstairs, there’s an audio, video, and photography studio, an editing bay, and visitors can even brainstorm over a cup of coffee while sitting outside around an outdoor fire pit. To ease on rent, the couple leases one of the home’s three bedrooms to a young AV technician/web developer/lighting technician whom they’ve also hired on certain projects.
“It just works,” Lenz says.
The couple met at Heid Music, where Lenz, the store’s manager, hired Guzman to help with sales. They quickly discovered their common interests.
Lenz hails from Delavan, Wis. and earned a degree in journalism from UW–Madison. Guzman spent a good part of his younger years in Venezuela, his father’s native country, before working in France, Germany, and Spain. Eventually he returned to Madison and graduated from Madison Media Institute in 2014. The M.O.D. Media model was his idea.
“Our minds work very similarly,” Guzman states. Lenz nods in agreement and adds, “Carlos has a big imagination and I can create logistics out of his ideas. That’s why this has worked. Basically, we’re storytellers.”
M.O.D. Media’s résumé since incorporating in December 2014 includes work for UBS Financial, Spectrum Brands, Lands’ End, the Clean Lakes Alliance, TED Talks, UW Emergency Medicine, Overture Center, and the Madison Public Library, among others.