Survival Tales Of A Founder - Finding My Own Truman Burbank


As what usually happens with everything I do, the documentarian in me kicks in at some point and everything I work on eventually becomes an exercise in storytelling. This seems to now be the case with The Free Your Arms Social Media feeds.

This also begs the question - what other aspects of my life am I producing? A question for another day - But I digress.

Ever since my first work of public storytelling that I can remember in 1999 with my Web Manifesto where I wrote...

...The world is changing in many ways.  Demographics are changing, what and where people buy is changing, and scariest of all, the power that the internet gives a small company is a cause for concern for those who hold the power now.
— Me

…ever since I posted this manifesto (ok stop laughing), exploring the truth through art was a fascination of mine that I endulged publicly because of this then new platform we called the World Wide Web. I would post my thoughts on topics ranging from race relations as it applied to a then Mayor Giuliani to Digital Art in 2000 - But I always felt like there was a barrier in the blogging medium that prevented me from sufficiently expressing the truth as I saw it.


Years later I would find a new vehicle of expression in the form of video. I thought surely here is my chance to give voice to the truth as I saw it. In depth portraits of artists struggling to create their art, entrepreneurs building their empires, families struggling to stay together. This would be my vehicle for expression, I embraced it and thrived.

In the early days when I was shooting locally in Williamsburg and downtown Manhattan, I would document the truth as i saw it with little resistance. However as I became more and more sought after as an artist, I found that the roadblocks to revealing truths became increasingly difficult. Despite hiring me based on those early works, my corporate clients held tight reigns on the content I created. One example of this creative clash happened in 2009 while documenting The Roots during the making of their album How I Got Over - One of my video submissions was flatly rejected by the label. Frustrated I posted the following on my blog.

What you see in the video… is a montage piece, highlights which I can do in my sleep.  What you don’t see is the story I really wanted to tell. The creative process, the brotherhood of the band, the truth.  The human side of The Roots, just a bunch of guys who happen to be really good at what they do, nothing more, nothing less.
— Me Again

Who knew that scenes involving weed smoking, creative clashes, or in-fighting would not go over well with their label. Needless to say they never hired me again.

You see getting to the truth of things and expressing it for public consumption was always something I enjoyed doing. Yet finding my very own Truman Burbank was always my challenge. And despite my best efforts, It is a level of truth telling in art that has always eluded me.

Until now.


When I launched Free Your Arms 4 years ago, I started a streaming series titled Your Front Row Seat from my van on Periscope. At the time I always thought it would be interesting to document my own entrepreneurial story of survival but I never worked up the courage. My challenge as a documentarian was that documenting introspect is an unnatural artistic act for me. So I kept the camera pointed outward and limited most of my commentary to the sights and sounds of the passing cityscape. Viewers would ask me almost on a daily basis for me to reveal my face - but I would always politely decline, citing my documentarians mantra to keep my camera pointed outward.  Even on my own social media feeds you were hard pressed to find any images of what I looked like (and zero on the Free Your Arms IG). Revealing any personal details about myself just made me uncomfortable.


Something happened a few weeks ago. Maybe it was recognizing that the best story I could tell might be my own. Or maybe it was out of a need to find an alternative way to market Free Your Arms due to our Adwords account getting shut down. In either case somewhere I found the courage to turn the camera inward, smile, and tell my story.


Ladies and gentlemen I would like to introduce to you Delivered With Love - Survival Tales of a Founder - giving you an unprecedented behind the scenes look into building, saving, surviving a startup. Every day I post a running tally of my pitches, my closes, my negotiations, my meetings. I am documenting my daily grind which is summarized with a running graphic charting our previous days gross revenue (In black when we reach our goals, and in red when we don’t).

On my livestream (which airs 3 times daily from Tuesday through Friday) I dig deeper into the numbers, and give you details about my daily strategies, goals, successes and failures. These include stories about the people I meet, the demons I fend off, my wins and my losses.


For those of you new to entrepreneurship, over the course of the series you might gain unprecedented insight into what it takes to launch, grow and sustain a business, or the pitfalls to avoid. For those of you who are well into your own entrepreneurial journey, you might find a fellow entrepreneur in which you can relate to. As we all know this journey can sometimes be a lonely one. As the series develops over time, hopefully the tools I use to share my journey will develop as well, and you will be able to track the trajectory of my growth (Or failure).

Finding the courage to tell my entrepreneurial journey while employing my skills as a storyteller will hopefully give you a point of view that is not easy to find on social media. It seems like I have finally found my very own Truman Burbank, and he is me.

Tune in to @freeyourarms on instagram or facebook and please share with anyone who you think might benefit from this series..


Trevor - Founder Free Your Arms - Delivered With ❤️