Victorien Loriers, videographer turned entrepreneur
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Victorien Loriers was 18 years old when he founded his own company, VLR Films. For five years now, he has been putting his passion for video creation at the service of his clients. A look back at the journey travelled by this young entrepreneur, a video aficionado since he was…12.
Having developed an interest in technologies, and with a Dad who was active in the computer science sector, Victorien Loriers got his first computer at a very young age. Quickly creating social network accounts, he was lulled by YouTube videos and started to get to grips with the image. At the age of 12 he was given his first GoPro: ‘It was my Christmas present. I started doing a little bit of filming, with no particular purpose. We went skiing and I made a video. The result was really great. I posted it on YouTube and sent everyone the link. I became aware that a lot of people liked it; there was really quite a lot of interest in it.’ In his second year of secondary school, on a school trip to Alsace, he made a video each day, which he also published on YouTube. ‘They ended up in the headteacher’s mailbox, who put one in a newsletter sent to parents. Later on, whenever the school held an event, he asked me to make a video. That was when I knew that I could do something people needed. Why not turn it into a little service, rather than getting a student job at the local baker’s shop?’
When he was 14 Victorien created several social network profiles and started posting more and more. His visibility rapidly grew. ‘In 2014, there weren’t that many videos, and even less about Namur. For Dinant and Ciney, there was Cyprien Delire, Louis Colmant. But in Namur, I was the only one. It was very easy to make a mark and gain visibility.’
In the fourth year of secondary studies, he changed school and took an audiovisual option at the IATA. ‘My parents were always saying to me: you hate school, maybe if you were interested in six hours of your courses, you might enjoy going there a bit more.’ The sole condition? That Victorien complete his secondary education.
I had a deal with the board of directors, and they gave me days off to do filming.Victorien Loriers
At the time the fledging videographer wasn’t yet thinking of making a career out of his all-consuming hobby. He did have an entrepreneurial spirit, however. All the money earned through videos was invested in better quality equipment. Whilst studying at the IATA, his project developed. ‘I had a deal with the board of directors, and they gave me days off to do filming.’ When he left school, he was faced with a dilemma: to enrol at university or strike out on his own? ‘I didn’t spend too long wondering about it. I had been working for a communications agency as a student. At the beginning of July, they got in touch and offered me a contract.’ Victorien accepted and in the end stayed at the company … for 6 months. ‘I didn’t feel I belonged in the wage-earning sector. But this experience taught me such a lot about the field. The young kid who made videos for fun had become someone who was making commercial videos, meeting the demands of his agency.’ On April 26, 2018, a date he will never forget, Victorien went freelance.
His six months in the salaried worker sector made him realise that this model didn’t suit him. Set working hours, being instructed what to do … the entrepreneur couldn’t go back on his decision. ‘There’s a lot of freedom in being able to do what you want when you want, managing my hours. The self-discipline aspect is more difficult. Then there’s the worry of being financially viable, of having to make money, wondering if it will be sustained over time.’ The thing that helped him? The little amount of risk involved. ‘My parents always pushed me to branch out on my own because, in any case, I was living with them. I had no loans to pay, no children … nothing to lose.’
‘Getting out of my comfort zone’
Included amongst his assignments is a lot of corporate work … and weddings. A field he first explored very early on, when he was 15. His best friend’s sister asked if he could help out and that’s how it all started. But Victorien is not closing any doors. ‘Events remain a large part of my activity. I feel comfortable doing it because it’s an area I know very well. But it’s a sector which doesn’t challenge me. If I only did events, I wouldn’t develop. The projects which get me buzzing are those where I can get out of my comfort zone and take things further, even if I often get worked up about it.’ What he also needs is recognition. ‘A project which I can get proud about is one where I get a lot of feedback, where the client is happy, where I can see that it worked. I have the sense that my driving force is recognition, even beyond the financial aspect.’
Amongst such projects, the after-movie for the Solidarités Festival stands out in particular. ‘It was a bit mythic. It was the first time I was had to deal with a project which deeply affected so many people. An excellent springboard in terms of experience.’ Recently, he also made the after-movie for the KIKK Festival. One of his most treasured clients is ‘Botanical by Alfonse,’ a Namur cocktail bar. ‘They have even become my friends. We’ve done a lot of projects together and it’s always really great.’
A few years ago Victorien also made a documentary of the band Winter Woods’s residency at the Delta, in Namur. A format he would like to replicate in the future. ‘I have always been attracted to projects which will get the emotions going. To do that, you have to take the time to immerse yourself in the subject, which I rarely have with events or corporate work, which are very short formats. Why not one day have a go at a project like that, but not on my own? With someone who would be there to help out and guide me through the journalistic/storytelling aspect of it.’
In addition to his videographer profession, Victorien Loriers is also a content creator. Followed by over 11,000 people on Instagram, he started to post what he was producing. ‘I very quickly understood that to get clients you have to get yourself seen. That’s a piece of advice I always give. You mustn’t be scared of showcasing your projects. For a short while I published photos of video shootings. A content which worked very well. That’s how it all developed.’ And then, a competition which changed everything. ‘I was taking some photos for an apartment. The owners asked me if I wanted to give people the chance to win a night on my Instagram account. I wasn’t really considering things from a promotion perspective. And finally I said to myself that it could enhance my visibility. I gained 3,000 subscribers in two weeks.’ As a result of that Victorien developed his account further, gained more visibility and began to work in partnerships.
Today, the entrepreneur makes a big distinction between his Instagram account and his videographer profession. His clients primarily come to him via word-of-mouth. ‘It’s really nice because I’ve never had to prospect for clients. It has all happened by happy clients talking about it to other people they meet.’ If he is continuing to create content, it’s mostly to have experiences and to grasp new opportunities. ‘Travelling, discovering things, meeting people. I am not trying to fill my work diary with my Insta. I am convinced that the majority of what I have experienced up until now, it’s mainly thanks to that.’
Victorien Loriers’ offices are located at the TRAKK hub, in Namur. After two years of working at home, he felt he needed to set up somewhere else. ‘What bothered me a lot was that there were two metres between my computer and my bed. I would wake up and slide in front of my computer. I was doing nothing but working. My parents saw me for two hours each day even though we lived in the same house. I began to sleep very badly and I put that down to the fact that I had too many computers around me. I came across TRAKK on a sponsored Facebook publication.’ Given the circumstances, he decided to get an office with a friend. On the premises he was introduced to a photographer, Thomas Léonard, who was also looking to share a space. ‘My professional revelation. He’s the one who has taught me the most in this milieu, customer relations, project management, organisation.’
Go into partnership, hire, delegate?
After 5 years in the sector, Victorien has reached an impasse. ‘My days are too short, I want to do more, but I don’t have the time. Either I settle for what I have and, in itself, that’s fine, because I’m happy with it, or I try to develop, knowing that it will lead to pressure and more stress.’ His dilemma: to hire or not. ‘I have already done so in the past, but it wasn’t the profile I needed to develop my business.’ The entrepreneur feels he lacks the requisite maturity to add someone to the equation. ‘My team spirit is dreadful. When I was little, when I did sports, I played too individually, I have never been good at collective sports. I think that has a big impact on my working life because I find it very difficult to delegate. I need to check everything. The time I wanted for myself by outsourcing, I wasted it all by supervising everything. In the coming months, I would like to reduce some of the pressure and tell myself that it doesn’t matter if it’s not exactly what I had in mind.’
‘Traumatised by people who do the same job for their whole lives,’ Victorien Loriers doesn’t know if he will still be making videos in 5 years’ time. ‘I am sure that there are still many things I can learn and develop.’ Especially as video has allowed him to discover his passion for entrepreneurism. ‘What totally excites me is having an entrepreneurial project. Whatever project I may get started on in the future, it will be as a freelancer.’ Passionate about a profession he had never considered taking up (we haven’t told you but actually, he is colour-blind), Victorien is all the same scared of cutting corners. ‘I still want to do it, but I am 23 years old. I am under so much pressure. I also get stressed that I am not living my life like someone of my age.’
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