Before he was working on sets for Google, Amazon, ESPN and Victoria’s Secret, Andrew Anthony was on the sidelines filming the runners of East Canton High School’s cross country team.
Anthony, a 1998 East Canton graduate who was a cross country runner, took on the three-year project in 2005 as a way to prove himself to Jeff Madoff, owner of a production company in New York. He chose the East Canton team because Lee Sternberg, East Canton’s cross country coach, introduced Anthony to Madoff. Madoff had been Sternberg’s neighbor when he lived in Akron.
The videos worked. But the next step perhaps was even harder: Making the commitment to leave Stark County and move to New York City.
“I thought, ‘If I don’t go now, will I regret it?’ ” Anthony recalls. “That if I don’t go now, it’s just going to get harder.”
Anthony became a production assistant at Madoff Productions in New York City in January 2011. He helped pack up gear for shoots, charge batteries, check lights and prepare cameras for the set. He also handled DVDs that were sent to clients, managed material orders, searched music libraries for soundtrack options and pulled archive footage for editors.
“A lot of what (Madoff) did was fashion related, so there was a lot of Victoria’s Secret work, Ralph Lauren and life brands like Godiva Chocolates and Skyy Vodka,” said Anthony, who earned a degree in communications from Kent State University in 2004. “It was just all over the map.”
He was quickly promoted to production coordinator and then to production manager.
In 2013, Anthony became a freelancer, essentially relying on the reputation he had staked at Madoff Productions to find jobs. He landed on the sets for companies including Amazon, Google, ESPN, TV Land, Nationwide and Oral-B.
Anthony and wife, Emily, a Tuslaw graduate, returned to Stark County in 2016 when Anthony’s mother became ill. They also wanted a dog and yard to call their own.
The couple started their own full-service production company, Down the Road Productions, in their North Canton home. The name comes from the first documentary Andrew made about the East Canton runners.
“A lot of what Coach Sternberg had talked about was to do the training now because down the road (you’ll reap the benefits),” Anthony said. “I’ve always felt like life was kind of measured in this journey and (the name) just kind of fit.”
Anthony is the director and producer of the company. He’s the one who assembles the crew needed to create a testimonial, product shot or other visual storytelling vehicle to help a client market their product or brand. He also reviews scripts, scouts potential locations, handles travel arrangements and ensures everything stays on budget.
His clients range from Sugardale and Rentwear to First Tee of Canton, Sandy Springs Brewing Company, Junior League of Stark County and the internet shipping company Quadient (formerly Neopost).
As a side project, Anthony also produces the web series Brew To You with his cousin, Michael Fischer, who is the show’s host. The shows brings in guests involved in the beer industry to talk about five beers that hold a special significance to them. The last episode of the first season drew 30,000 views. The second season, which can be found at dtrp.co and on social media channels, will begin airing in January. It’s first guest will be Dell Hall, who made headlines when he gave up all food and drink, except beer, for Lent.
Anthony’s local favorites:
Most unique or unusual product made in Stark County: Ballher Athletic Apparel. “It should be noted that Tom (Miller) and I have been friends since we were 4 years old, but I feel as if he is legitimately tapping a market that is needed and is on the cusp of something truly great.”
Favorite thing to do: Running. “I generate my ideas when I go for a run. I grew up running competitively, and now that I’m older and not competitive with it, I tend to try and lose myself running the streets of North Canton rather than constantly pushing myself for a better time on a route.”
Most admired local CEO or business owner: “Rich Craig, partner of 415 Group, is one of the most stand-up people (business or personally) that I have ever met. He’s taken the time to guide me through business challenges as well as some personal milestones. He’s a straight shooter who truly cares.”
Most memorable spot: “I think that anytime I go back to East Canton schools, it’s probably the most memorable. I loved being a part of the smallest school in Stark County. My time spent playing sports and with the educators was just wonderful. We have generations of families there, but more than that we had a lot of pride in being a small but mighty community.”
Favorite place to shop locally: Anne-Marie’s Fine Jewelry or Anew Room. “Anne-Marie truly goes above and beyond for her customers, takes so much time with everyone, and if she doesn’t have it, she will get it. Ruthanne at Anew Room has been a wonderful friend for a decade and a half now. I met her under different circumstances back in 2005 but it has continued with Anew Room. She truly has amazing décor, and my wife and I have picked up some cornerstone pieces there for our own home.”
Favorite place to take the kids: “Our dog, Hugo, is a big fan of Tails Inn the City for doggy day care. However, he also enjoys walking the streets of North Canton as much as I like running them.”
Favorite lunch spot: The Winking Lizard. “For 25 years, it has been in my life. As a teen, it was a family spot for dinner, and now it’s a great place to meet with clients and colleagues.”
Favorite coffee shop: The Human Bean. “Their coffee must be great because I love to sit inside, drink my coffee and work—which I can’t do there. The staff is always so friendly, and over the last few years, I feel like I have made some great friends at that drive-thru.”
Favorite local restaurant: Mint & Lime Asian Bistro. “Solid food, and Mandalay is always a joy to speak with. We just had a 30-minute, post-dinner conversation with her on Saturday night.”
Favorite local event: “I think the 720 Market is a special event. I think the frequency and scope of what they do in North Canton is great. It’s sporadic enough in frequency throughout the year that it doesn’t feel saturated, and they attract vendors that have great products.”
Favorite theater: “I can appreciate the theater (musicals and plays) and The Palace is beautiful, but, for me, it’s still Tinseltown. I’m a kid of the cinema age and to watch those lights go down, the chair kick back and movie previews start is about as good as it gets.”
Favorite place to see live music: Sandy Springs Brewing Co. “You most likely wouldn’t think that since it’s a brewery, but they get really talented artists and they have the total package. Great food, top-notch beverages and an amazing setting that just makes your experience very memorable.”
Favorite volunteering opportunity: Compassion Delivered. “I have known Amanda Anschutz for over a decade now. When I moved back to Stark County, she contacted me to see if I would get involved with her organization by joining the board. I did, and it was truly a life-changing time over those two years. For an organization that isn’t even three years old to have provided over 4,000 meals to 60-plus families in Stark County is just outstanding.”
Favorite local spot to grab a drink: I don’t drink these days, but I will say this: Keri Sullivan at The Barrel Room is doing that scene right. Before I moved to NYC, I used to frequent The Barrel Room when Adam owned it. I always had a fantastic time. Now being back in town and seeing how it’s evolved a number of years later—as well as opening a second location in Canal Fulton—I couldn’t be happier for Keri and her team.”