Today we’d like to introduce you to Jerod Couch.
Jerod, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born and raised Wilmer, Texas – a small town right outside of Dallas, I graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2007 with a degree in Radio-TV-Film where I found my passion for creating television and video content. As a freshman, I created a TV show called ATX Most Wanted at Texas Student Television (TSTV) that went on to win national and local awards. Additionally, I produced, hosted multiple sports TV and radio shows as well as wrote for the school newspaper while at Texas.
After college, I moved to Bristol, CT to work for ESPN – a long way from home for a Texas boy. I spent five years with ESPN in various roles from studio production, live events, feature/documentary production and marketing. When I joined ESPN, it was as a temporary Production Assistant making $10.96 an hour. The deal was you move yourself up to Connecticut on your own dime and you have 7 months to prove yourself. The pay barely made ends meet but this was essentially grad school in creating world-class content.
Then, the recession hit, my time was nearing an end and ESPN had a hiring freeze. It was a real possibility that I would have to move back to Texas without a job. I saw friends and fellow PAs pack their bags because ESPN stopped hiring at that point in time. Luckily, an opening in marketing came up as a PA producing promos. It was a blessing in disguise because I was thrown into the deep in producing promos for ESPNU but also Sunday Night Baseball and some college football. I was able to learn from the best and that served as the foundation for my career.
Three years into my stint in Bristol, CT I was set to return home to Dallas and attend SMU business school. I paid my deposit and was looking for a place to stay in Dallas but soon ESPN announced they’d be launching Longhorn Network (LHN) in the Fall. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity of a lifetime and I had the privilege of producing the first ever video for the network featuring Matthew McConaughey. So, I decided to move back to Austin and apply to the Texas MBA Evening program.
Midway through my first year as a grad student, I had a chance to meet with a counselor to revamp my resume and plan out my career. I wasn’t looking to leave LHN rather, just wanted to have my resume updated for post-MBA opportunities. The counselor asked me to look for jobs I might want down the line. During my search, I stumbled across a posting for Director of Creative Media the Texas Rangers. The title seemed a bit fancy for me, but the job posting was spot on with my experience at ESPN and where I saw the next step in my career.
I applied and weeks later I was packing my bags and returning home to DFW. Luckily, Texas MBA has a Dallas program and the degree is the exact same as the one you’d get at the Austin campus. For the next three years, I led creative and campaign strategy for the Rangers. Thus far, it was my most successful stint as we won 2 Regional Emmys (6 nominations), 7x Telly Awards, 4x National Sports Forum Finalist and a PromaxBDA Sports Media Marketing Awards Finalist. Additionally, a few of our commercials were featured in USA Today, Sports Illustrated, and Yahoo! Sports.
In the Fall of 2015, the baseball season was coming to an end and I had recently completed my MBA from UT. I was on the cusp of being nominated for five regional Emmys (I’d eventually went 1 for 5 – not a great batting average but the one home run was sweet). I was in the process of buying my first home and would soon be engaged.
Everything was great, I went to work at a ballpark every day creating content for my favorite childhood baseball team. I enjoyed my work very much. I was a getting paid to do something I had been doing for free for the past two decades – think and write about baseball. Having spent the past five years at ESPN and the Longhorn Network, I was able to merge my passion for baseball and producing commercials. Then, I received a call from a recruiter asking if I’d be interested in TEGNA Media’s Sports Marketing Strategist opening.
It was tough leaving the Rangers, but I thought this was the best move for my career. With TEGNA, I’d be able to combine my television/marketing/sports background with my newly minted MBA degree. Plus, the promise of working with major broadcast networks on properties such as the NFL, NBA, and NHL was a very enticing proposition. I eagerly joined an internal marketing agency with TEGNA called HATCH. Our department worked a lot like a startup with frequent personnel changes and organizational pivots. I enjoyed the challenge but over time my position morphed into that of a general marketing strategist as opposed to focusing on sports.
After a year, the department decided to move away from sports strategy on the marketing side and offered me a Client Solutions role. Having realized the limitations of marketing sports without intellectual property, I totally understood and respected the move. I would have made the same decision. There wasn’t a ton of upside. Although, we did produce some cool sports campaigns and contributed greatly to meeting the yearly department budget. I had a decision to make – start a new journey or continue with TEGNA in what would essentially be a career change.
After thinking long and hard on the decision, I realized I’m at my best when I can’t go to sleep at night because I’m thinking about my work and I jump out of bed in the morning sprinting to the office. I couldn’t take a job I wasn’t passionate about. It wouldn’t be fair to the extraordinary team at HATCH and TEGNA or to myself.
Anybody that’s worked in sports knows how hard it is to break into the industry. I really wasn’t concerned about my ability to find another job considering I had completed my MBA a year prior and had a various amount of success at all stops in my career. For the first time since I graduated from UT undergrad in 2007, I was I without a job. It was the end of the year, so I figured it wasn’t the best time to job hunt. I planned to use the rest of the Fall to re-energize and reevaluate where I wanted my career to go. I had always wanted to work for myself, so I decided to work on my company The Creative Couch and look for another position. I jumped head first into this endeavor and had a few projects in the pipeline early.
Over the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of working with brands such as YMCA, Akin Gump, Texas A&M and several startups. Also, I’ve done work for my former employers TEGNA Media and the Texas Rangers. Additionally, I’ve launched a new endeavor in creating, writing and directing a web series called #WASHED. We’ve released the first two episodes and are currently shooting the rest of Season 1 in hopes of attracting the attention of Netflix, Hulu, HBO and/or other content providers.
Has it been a smooth road?
Absolutely not! I come from very humble beginnings from living in a car with my mom as a child and staying in multiple shelters growing up. I say that to say I live without a safety net. A lot of folks are fortunate enough to have family members to lean on for advice or financial support. Growing up in an environment like I did you learn how to be resourceful and overcome hardships you don’t have that safety net if something fails.
At times, that motivates you and at other times it makes you risk-averse. My grandfather was a great example of hard work and he supported me greatly. I had a dream as a kid to work in sports – initially a talk show host because I listened to 1310 The Ticket from the age of 11. It’s a dream a lot of kids have (to work in sports) so you have to work harder and you have to make sacrifices for example move across the country for a job paying next to nothing. That’s a huge sacrifice and the obstacles that come with it. I have been blessed with ambition and perseverance.
Also, I’ve been blessed with a supportive mother, great mentors/managers along the way like Jay Sullivan and Katie Richman at ESPN, Tom McCollum at Longhorn Network and Becky Kimbro and Sarah Stone at the Rangers. I’m beyond fortunate to now have a supportive wife Shannon Couch that encourages me to chase my dreams with The Creative Couch and #WASHED. Launching a small business is tough and there are ebbs and flows. I’m working sun up to sun down and Shannon sticks right there with me as my biggest cheerleader
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Creating unique and engaging video content is our passion! The Creative Couch (TCC) handles all facets of video production from directing, copywriting, editing, coordinating and graphics. Having come of age during the Social Media boom we understand how to create content tailored to social but also, we have the traditional broadcast experience. We are versatile in the types of content we create.
Every project begins with three objectives: create better, work faster and be different! We scrutinize every frame of video, pixel on a graphic and wavelength of sound. We are resourceful and want to save our partners time and money by not wasting one cent or one second. Also, we take great pride in quick turnaround times, so we can tailor your content to current trends. I’m most proud that former employers thought so highly of my talent that they’ve hired me to work on projects through TCC. Also, I had the pleasure of producing a mock-trailer for Akin Gump Law Firm for an event they had at Cinemark for their employees and clients – it was a ton of fun to create and I can’t wait to release it on social.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
With the city’s booming economy this is a great place to start an agency. Fingers crossed Amazon HQ comes to Dallas but even without that Dallas is a premier city in our nation. Businesses are flocking here and that is perfect for where I see The Creative Couch going. Plus, there is a ton of talent in Dallas. You don’t have to be in LA or NY to make an impact anymore. Social media is a great equalizer. Sometimes folks move to LA and just disappear. TCC can make a mark in Dallas and create substantial content with the amazing talent in DFW.
- Website: https://www.thecreativecouch.tv/
- Phone: 214.315.9987
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecreativecouch/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecreativecouch/
Aubrey Pearson, Amit Mirchandani, Shannon Couch