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  • Member Spotlight: Interview with Edwin Scharlau, Owner, Route 7 Productions

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    June 12, 2016
    Q: Please tell us a bit about yourself (where you are from, personal background).

    A: I grew up in Central Illinois and then attended Miami University in Ohio where I majored in business with a minor in fashion merchandising.  After graduating, I moved to Chicago where I worked in retail management at Neiman Marcus and then as a talent agent at a modeling agency.  I lived in Chicago for six years before moving to Miami in 1998.  I was originally brought to Miami by a French model agency and I served as their Director of Women’s Print for 3 years.  I left that agency in 2001 to open the Miami branch of a Brazilian model agency and served as their Director until leaving to open Route 7 Productions in 2004.  Route 7 Productions is a full-service production and content creation company.  On the personal side, I live in Miami Beach with my husband, Victor, and our beautiful, smart 2 ½ year old son.  (and our dog, a boxer named Marley, who sadly gets relegated to side-bars like this ever since Little Man arrived).

    Q: As the owner of Route 7 Productions, tell us about a typical day.

    A: One of the best (and sometimes most frustrating) things about working in production is that there are really no two days that are alike.  Every day will usually involve some routine business management tasks (vendor payments, invoicing, etc.) but the majority of any given day will depend on what projects we are currently producing – I might be searching for the perfect location for a client, casting models for a project, or doing general coordination – booking crew, securing caterers and other vendors, pulling permits, etc.  Also we have a few new projects in development so I try to spend a bit of each day trying to further those projects.   

    Q: What is the biggest change you have seen in your industry that has changed the way you work?

    Having been in this business for over 20 years, first on the talent side and then on the production side, I can say that technology has changed literally every aspect of how we work.  I was just talking with someone the other day about this and remembering how we used to have to look at actual film on a lightbox with a “loop” (magnifying glass).  I really don’t miss those days.  But yes, technology has changed every aspect of our business: the way we shoot and edit a project, the way we deliver images to our clients, the way we look at and book talent, the way we look at locations, the way we source new crew and vendors, etc.   

    Q: Route 7 went through the process of becoming “certified” under the NGLCC Supplier Diversity Process…tell us why you decided to this?

    A: The main reason I chose to go through the process of certification was simply to be counted.  I think it is important to stand up and say we are here and we are an important component of the business community.  That aspect is really important to me.  Route 7 is a very specialized business, so whether or not the certification will actually translate into dollars has yet to be seen.  I think NGLCC-certification is probably more valuable from an actual dollars-in-the-bank standpoint for other types of businesses that have a broader customer base.  But I also acknowledge that the certification is really only as valuable as you make it and the time you put into it.  And although we’ve been certified for a while now, we have only really started delving into it whole-heartedly over the last year.  During that time we have been able to make some great connections and I think those connections will help us out with some of the new avenues Route 7 is pursuing.  Having the NGLCC Conference in Ft Lauderdale last year really gave me the push I needed to start taking advantage of all that the chamber has to offer.  I was blown away by the speakers and just the entire way the event was coordinated.  I was able to have one-to-one meetings on-site with some of the biggest corporations in the country.  And I am looking forward to the conference this year in Palm Springs. 

    Q: You (and your partner Victor) are the proud parents of a son.  How has parenthood transformed your lives?

    A: As probably most parents would say, having a child is the most rewarding and challenging thing I’ve ever done.  And I’m sure many parents would agree with me that putting the transformation into words is difficult.  I wholeheartedly believe that being a parent has made me a better person and in general has made me more whole.  It has transformed every facet of our lives.  On a daily basis, it has forced me to become a more patient and giving person.  But on a broader level, it has presented larger, more thoughtful questions that have forced me to re-examine various aspects of my life, like how can I leave the world a better place for my son?  Am I living my life in a way that sets a good example for our son?  Am I creating an environment for our son that will let him reach his complete potential and become the best, most authentic person he can be?

    Q: As a long-term member of MDGLCC, what makes the Chamber worthy of your support?

    A: I think there are two main reasons I continue to support the MDGLCC.  First, as I mentioned with the NGLCC Certification, standing up and being counted is very important to me.  Second, community - it is great to have so many opportunities to socialize with like-minded, business folks who happen to be gay.  I am very proud of our specific chamber – I remember when it was merely a social outlet with a monthly networker (where I think there was more date-finding going on than networking).  Now it has grown into a true and invaluable asset for gay businesses and their allies – both for visibility as well as connections and community.  I think the explosive growth the chamber has had is a true testament to the work that is being done and it is obviously resonating with people and they are finding it to be a benefit to them and their businesses
    Edwin Scharlau
    edwin@route7productions.com, (305) 751-7010
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