Cinematic endeavors: Junior is CEO of Navadise Media

When MBS student Casey Nava ’17 isn’t in class, he is busy running Navadise Media, the innovative cinematography company he co-founded in 2014.

“Our goal is to create unforgettable and distinctive videos and media content to help businesses enhance their web presence and generate sales,” says Nava, a marketing and management major from Waterboro, Maine, who established Navadise Media with his brother, Ryan.

“We are part of the new school of cinematography that uses the latest technology in camera stabilizers to create smooth video on the run,” Nava says. “Not only does this make our company extremely mobile — since we are able to travel light, without massive cranes and sliders — this new style of shooting creates an entirely different perspective for the viewer. We feature moving shots and try to get away from stationary tripod shots that can be dull and underwhelming. Using a guerrilla-style film method, where you try to get as close to the action as possible, makes the viewer feel part of the action.”

In the future, Nava hopes to make Navadise Media a drone-specialized company. He says the company, which owns several drones, has applied for certification through the Federal Aviation Administration, and expects to receive a commercial operation exemption this summer.

How did you get started?

Ryan and I started creating videos a long time ago as kids. We filmed just for fun. The idea of establishing a business never really occurred to me until I was at my previous college and I created a baseball video for my team. The school liked it so much that it ended up buying the video and hiring me.

We began by working with different golf companies around the state, but have expanded to produce videos for real estate companies and weddings. Our biggest achievement in real estate was the promotional video for Greystone on Hudson, a luxury apartment complex in Tarrytown, New York.

In the last year and a half, we have produced commercials for a variety of small businesses, as well as promos for sports teams. Last winter, we began producing promo videos for a construction and restoration company in New Hampshire.

In January, we traveled to Park City, Utah to film and produce our first full-length snowboarding documentary about the beautiful backcountry terrain. I got into cinematography when I was much younger, filming wakeboarders and snowboarders in action. So, extreme sports have always been a huge inspiration. No one hired us to film this documentary; it was more of a “let’s help build our brand” video. However, we did receive some informal sponsorship for our trip.

Closer to home, we recently produced the Kickstarter video for another UMaine entrepreneur, Spencer Wood, creator and owner of Tip Whip, a free ride-sharing service for college students.

How many employees do you have?

The number of team members varies depending on the particular job, but in general, I have around eight employees to draw from. Some projects require just me, while others call for a full team of directors and cinematographers. We also use audio engineers, professional musicians and editors.

In addition to my brother Ryan, who graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston with a degree in professional music, our father, Tony Nava, is also part of the team. With more than 30 years of corporate experience at Nike, he serves as our financial adviser and mentor.

Since team members are scattered along the Northeast, each step of the video is assembled in different areas. I mostly work out of my homes in Old Town and Waterboro, but my headquarters is wherever I am with my computer and camera.

Why do you enjoy being CEO of your own company?

I love overseeing all the job processes and being part of every step in a project. I get to use my growing knowledge of marketing and management, and bring in some creativity and art.

Has your MBS education helped you as CEO?

Many of the skills I utilize in my entrepreneurial venture are those I have learned at MBS. The skills I learned in my accounting class have been particularly useful and the tips I got from my marketing class also have proven valuable. At MBS, I have learned effective selling methods, as well as how to be organized, which is key to being focused, completing tasks, and staying on top of things.

Being a part of the University of Maine has helped with my people skills and made me a more personable businessman.

How do you juggle your business and academics?

It’s not easy to find the time to do both, mostly because I consider myself a perfectionist and tend to immerse myself in assignments, not stopping until I am satisfied. Some weeks I spend upward of 40 hours running Navadise, while other weeks I devote fewer than 10.

What are your plans for Navadise?

Our plan is to work all over the country. We have some video opportunities growing in Oregon, so we hope to see some business growth on the West Coast.