The Key Ideas team. Photo by Andrew Moore.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a moving picture worth? Geekdom Member Key Ideas believes it is worth a great deal. Key Ideas is a video production company that creates emotional videos which inspire people to action  for both San Antonio non-profits and startup companies.

“If you can influence emotion, then you can inspire action; we believe that and have seen it time and time again,” said Key Ideas Founder Carlos Maestas. “What we do is really a tool for (nonprofits) to raise money and break the ice when they are dealing with someone who knows nothing about what they do.”

Maestas strives to create videos that are 20 percent information content and 80 percent emotion, pulling at viewer’s heart strings instead of making a logical argument. The videos are often geared towards a specific audience, and designed to inspire people to aid non-profits financially, by volunteering, or by spreading awareness.

Maestas is one of the first members of Geekdom of San Antonio, and has just recently moved Key Ideas into a dedicated office in San Antonio’s Rand building. The company expanded its staff at the beginning of the year, and is now a four-person team composed of Founder Carlos Maestas, Senior Storysmith (a.k.a. videographer) Nate Pfeil, VP of Strategy James Martinez, and Project Manager Ashley Dieterly. With a larger team in place, the group has begun to create the Meet the Geek video series for Geekdom to highlight people in the Geekdom community.

“We wanted to do something to sort of give back to the community and highlight some of the great companies that are there,” Maestas said. “There are a lot more members at Geekdom than people realize, and not everyone is great at going out and introducing themselves to everyone.”

As a 12-year-old company, Key Ideas is not a true startup, but it fits well with Geekdom as a service provider. Creating the “Meet the Geek” segments opens up new business opportunities to highlight Geekdom startups and their products. To date, Key Ideas has completed projects for Geekdom, Monks Toolbox,, Heavy Heavy, Codeup, Venturelab, SA2020, and others. Having Geekdom and a downtown base helps the company focus on highlighting urban development in San Antonio and reaching out to multiple non-profits.

“We think right now is one of the best times to be downtown,” Martinez said. “With everything that is taking place with urbanization and revitalization, there are so many opportunities for so many different stories that need to be told.”

With a primary focus on telling the stories of non-profit organizations, Key Ideas has completed multiple projects in the San Antonio community for clients such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, 80/20 Foundation, San Antonio Symphony, San Antonio Food Bank, CHRISTUS Children’s Hospital, SAMMinistries and more. Project price tags can range from $2,500 to $12,000, depending on the number of interviews, locations, and amount of time spent editing. Completed videos typically run fewer than five minutes; the length depends on the needs of the client and its target audience. Key Ideas can produce multiple versions of the video to be used in different media. Martinez says some nonprofits might hesitate to spend money telling its story, but ultimately the cost proves to be an investment with a return.

“My job and Carlos’s job is to help them understand the equity built into their story,” Martinez said. “And when it’s done well and told the right way, that investment can have huge returns – whether its fundraising or increasing participation at an event or an actual campaign for capital.”

VP of Strategy James Martinez and Project Manager Ashley Dieterly in their new Geekdom office
VP of Strategy James Martinez and Project Manager Ashley Dieterly in their new Geekdom office. Photo by Andrew Moore.

Key Ideas didn’t always produce videos. Maestas founded the company back in 2002 with a totally different business model. The original Key Ideas created advertising for hotel key cards that featured local dining options near the hotel. He sold that part of the business in 2005 after he started working with his church, City Church, on various video projects. It was here that he developed his love for video storytelling, and he reinvented his company as a video production house soon after. Working with his church, Maestas also did some documentary work in Moldova on human trafficking and worked on education promotion in Liberia.  Key Ideas continued to do video projects in the states as well, though it was mostly by referral. In summer of 2013 the business hired videographer Nate Pfeil on full time and hired the rest of the current four-person team at the beginning of this year.

Having a full team means Key Ideas can now actively search for more clients, and Maestas plans to continue growing the company at Geekdom while looking for new opportunities to tell stories and serve Geekdom members.

“Our goal is to grow with Geekdom and to grow the team,” he said. “What I would love to see one day is for us to have a studio at Geekdom where we could record some original programming… there is enough going on there that there would be value in having a cool studio that could serve members in multiple ways, but also bring people from outside the community in.”

Want to see more of Key Ideas’ work? Check out their Vimeo page.

*Featured/top photo: The Key Ideas team. Photo by Andrew Moore.

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Andrew Moore

Andrew Moore is a native of San Antonio and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He wrote on tech startups for a year as a freelancer for Silicon Hills News and loves reporting on the cool...