Film Producer and CEO Syed Majid
Syed Majid heads not just one, but two, very distinct companies. At Orion Technologies, he helps engineering, accounting, and technology firms figure out how to operate more efficiently and increase their bottom lines. The company provides these clients with individualized, innovative solutions to their technical management needs so they can achieve their strategic goals. Though all this technical work at Orion may sound very left-brained, Syed’s other company, Voyage-Films, involves a bit more of the right brain. Voyage-Films aims to develop, finance, and distribute creative, truthful, and powerful stories featuring South Asian characters and themes. It’s striving to fill a niche the mainstream Hollywood film industry is unable to address. Syed, 32, reviews scripts, interacts with actors and screenwriters, and meets with investors. In early 2008, Voyage-Films plans to release a film about a South Asian detective who works with New York City’s police department and the personal trials he faces before and after 9/11. To learn more about Syed and his companies, check out this week’s Young & Professional Profile.
Orion Technologies, Inc., Executive and Technical Management Solutions
Voyage-Films, Inc., Independent Film Production Company
December, 2001 (Orion Technologies, Inc.)
December, 2006 (Voyage-Films, Inc.)
www.voyage-films.com (currently in development)
Syed Kamal Majid
New York, New York
Polytechnic University of New York
Executive Master’s of Science Degree (M.S.) Telecommunications & Information Management (TIM)
State Univerisity of New York at Stony Brook
Bachelor’s of Arts & Science (B.A, B.S.), Health & Social Sciences
Orion Technologies, Inc.
Present Optima Resources, Inc.
East Indian (South-Asian)
About the company
Orion Technologies, Inc. specializes in executive and technical management solutions. We are focused on assisting our clients’ technical management needs, supporting mergers & acquisitions and streamlining their personnel and operations to enhance their productivity and achieve a more efficient bottom-line. We cater to both large and small clientèle in the engineering, technology, accounting and financial services sectors.
Our goal at Orion Technologies, Inc. is to create trust, understanding and long-term relationships with clients that set new standards. We have been able to achieve this by serving each client with an individualized approach and a high degree of personal attention. Realizing that all business environments differ, we specialize in assessing our clients’ needs, balancing these with existing resources, and providing innovative solutions designed to achieve strategic goals.
Voyage-Films, Inc. was formed in December 2006 with a focus on independent film making. Our goal is to develop, finance and distribute creative concepts to fulfill the need for entertaining and to provide informative ethnic content that mainstream Hollywood is unable to provide.
By giving an authentic face and voice to ethnic characters, we promote stories and creative initiatives that transcend stereotypes.
We intend to develop and create truthful, powerful and commercially viable stories that not only entertain but also enlighten and promote tolerance and understanding between the South-Asian world and Western worlds. Our goal is to accomplish this without any religious or political agenda. We believe that in the world today (and especially in America), people are hungry for the stories that only authentic South-Asian characters can truly bring to life.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
At Orion Technologies, Inc., my daily operations are to ensure that our clients are in touch with our management staff and have all of their issues and concerns addressed. I supervise three offices and review any logistic suggestions made by our staff. I also attend meetings that involve the growth of our clients. I am in touch with each client daily to ensure that our promises have been delivered. Notwithstanding, the competitive streak of business, I try to remind myself that each day has new challenges that can be overcome with a positive and productive attitude.
At Voyage-Films, Inc., I review scripts and meet with potential investors who are interested in our film projects. This requires me to travel occasionally. I interact with actors, directors, producers, screenwriters and venture capitalists. We also encourage the average person who is interested in being part of the Hollywood film industry.
Most notable milestones
For Orion Technologies, Inc. our most unique event was the establishment of our new office in Hawaii. We started operations in January 2006 in a beautiful location with a waterfront view on the Big Island (or Hawaii). We are proud to be in “paradise” with all of the natural and cosmic scenery that makes Hawaii one of the true wonders of the world.
For Voyage-Films, Inc., one significant milestone occurred when we created our first screenplay based on a drama that deals with a South-Asian detective that works with the New York City Police Dept. and the personal trials that he faced both prior to and post-911. Although the film is a fictitious piece, it deals with sensitive issues in regards to love, compassion, hope, sacrifice, crime and the human spirit. We are very excited and intend to introduce this film for worldwide release by early 2008. The film promises to be very powerful and filled with imagery that will bring audiences to the edge of their seat.
The second milestone occurred when my close friend Aasif Mandvi called me in November 2006 to seek investment capital for his film, “7 To The Palace.” It is a film that he has written and will star in with Om Puri and various other well-known actors, both Indian and American.
“Seven To The Palace” is an independent film based on Indian food and is inspired by “Sakina’s Restaurant,” Aasif Mandvi’s Obie Award winning play. Historically, food and ethnic film combinations have done very well.
I am very excited to be part of Aasif’s project. Aasif’s growing popularity as an actor (including his regular appearances on “The Daily Show with John Stewart” on Comedy Central and a film with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore titled “Music and Lyrics”), makes this film project even more exciting and enjoyable for us.
What’s the niche?
At Orion, our niche is being in an industry that is not only technical but also sales driven. To be consistent with our business model, we must deliver on our promises. Therefore, we have created personal networks based on principles that go beyond just a “handshake.”
Due to the nature of the modern business world, most of the time we are unable to meet with our clients because of travel restrictions and time zone differences. Hence, the majority of our work is accomplished via the Internet or by tele-conferencing. Normally, this would be a hurdle to a growing business but we have been able to overcome this obstacle and in the process, have expanded our firm’s reputation and reach. Being focused and staying true to our creed is helping us to expand beyond traditional borders.
At Voyage-Films Inc., our niche is the ability to collectively recruit talent and work along side with various South-Asian film professionals. We have realized that tapping into the potential of those unrecognized by the mainstream film industry is the biggest asset that a production company such as ours can have.
One of our goals at Voyage-Films, Inc. is to create a “Film Fund” to promote a collaborative outreach to other South-Asian actors, writers, directors and producers. In addition, we are working with a well-known Hollywood visual-effects artist to ensure that our films our films are truly eye-catching and visually stunning.
What’s the biggest challenge?
At Orion Technologies Inc., the biggest challenge we face is a changing marketplace. Whether in construction / design engineering, residential / commercial development, technology, accounting / finance or the film industry, there just isn’t enough time in the day to cope with the growth of the current global economy. The key is to manage your time wisely and to exercise a strategy that allows you to deal with the hand of the clock.
Organization, positive attitude, patience, persistence, strong character and consistency are the best ways to overcome any challenge. My attitude is such that I will try anything, whether I have to go through it, over it or under it. As long as I know I have given it my best, and an honest attempt, I can sleep better at night
What’s in store for the future?
Orion Technologies, Inc. will be opening new offices in the United States of America as well as branching out into the United Arab Emirates, Canada and India. Our goal is to bring the American standard of business and work ethic to global market hot spots. We are confident that we can contribute our professionalism and reputation to areas that are in need.
For Voyage Films, Inc., our goal is to create a film fund that partially or wholly finances films in the $1 Million to $5 Million range that deal with such stories and characters. We are interested in financing to create a pipeline of revenue in which a stimulus can be created to fund further commercially viable movies.
Describe your previous work experiences.
For Optima Resources, I provided technical, project management and operational support for various firms in the New York, Connecticut and New Jersey metropolitan areas. Clients included Cablevision, LCC Communications, HSBC Bank Corp., Powerwave Technologies and other leading institutions.
Best way to keep a competitive edge
My firm belief is that you should “plan your work and work your plan.” Many things can distract you during the day and we all have a tendency to forget small items. Having a daily goal and writing it down makes those ideas or thoughts real and tangible. Simple concept but few tend to follow through with it.
Another concept to be on the leading edge is to always read up on the latest innovations and technical improvements. One should know their surroundings and “smell the roses” so to speak. Today’s world requires us to keep our skill set sharp with even the most basic gadgets, appliances and consumer goods.
Guiding principle in life
I believe that “you get what you give.” Give good and you receive good. I believe in justice, equality and stand firmly for principles that are uncompromising.
I have realized that wisdom comes with patience, and success is not always how much money is in the bank. I have also realized that you have to take a chance in life within certain limits. If not, you will always wonder; “what if?” There are no “what ifs” in life.
Yardstick of success
Persistence – nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men or women with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination above all are omnipotent. For all of those who need a push sometime; this one’s for you.
I recall what President John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural speech. He said “our problems are man-made and hence can be solved by man.” He couldn’t be more correct. Well actually, he might have said human-made problems to be more politically correct! Have to give props to the ladies nowadays!
Success is a very personal thing. It is not determined by one’s profession, income, what type of car you possess or being self-centered. Success is truly about balance and what gives you peace within your heart and soul.
I don’t know everything there is to know in life, but what I do know is that if I can do it, any one can do it. Trust me!
Goal yet to be achieved
For Orion Technologies, Inc., our goal is to set up two additional offices in the United States and in addition to establish two more offices globally by end of Year 2008. This will give us a total of seven offices internationally.
For Voyage-Films, Inc., our goal is to establish a fully functional sound and movie studio in either the United States or in Dubai. We would also like to work with leading actors, writers, directors and producers from different countries, cultures and ethnicities to understand the complexities, cultural dynamics, as well as the various similarities and differences that we all face living in America. In addition, we would like to work with directors and leading actors for exciting new projects based on philanthropists and those individuals who have dedicated their lives to humanity and wildlife.
A personal goal for me is the establishment of a homeless shelter and soup-kitchen in Hawaii. I thought of a unique program where tenants in the shelter can work to utilize their existing skill sets. This enables them to add the experience they have attained to their resume, making them more viable in the workforce and also allows them to give back to society in their own way. Working alongside other volunteers, I plan on completing these projects in 2009. I hope I am able to achieve this.
Best practical advice
Be forgiving, never give up, always be true to yourself and never underestimate the sheer force of will power. Others may ridicule you because of how you look, dress or for who you are. You are a human being nonetheless and you deserve respect. Always have confidence and the foresight to realize that you were put on this Earth for a reason. Whether, woman or man, rich or poor, we all have a purpose in life.
Our parents raised us to be productive, responsible and trustworthy individuals. The sacrifices of our parents and their journey as immigrants to this wonderful country should not be in vain. Make them proud and rise up and remember your roots, heritage and above all remember to smile often. That itself is charity!
Supportive words from a family member or friend on your venture
My heartfelt thanks go out to my parents, siblings and my close friends who never doubted me for a second. They realized how important my goals were in life and the sincerity I had in my voice when I told them I would never work for anyone again. One of my very good friends in college told me “the world is a better place because you are in it.” She never knew how much that meant to me.
I will always remember what my father said to me. “You should do any task in such a manner, that no one could dispute that the task could be done by none other but by you.” I realized that day, that I wanted to be nothing less than a perfectionist.
My mother has always believed in me and supported me throughout my endeavors. She has instilled in me that tacit determination can allow anyone to accomplish any goal regardless of how difficult it may seem. She is my backbone and the best friend I have ever had.
My brothers always told me that I was smarter than them. I strongly disagree. My eldest brother has taught me to conduct myself as a gentleman and always and dress the part. His words of wisdom come with me at every important business meeting I attend. I suppose my elder brother, now an Attorney, hit the nail on the head when he said to me “once a winner, always a winner.” Some of the best advice every given to me and I owe him so much for that.
My sister is an amazing person. She has to be the most resilient and beautiful person that I know. As I pondered about my future contribution to society one autumn afternoon, I had not eaten lunch. She poignantly said to me “You have to be strong so you can help those who are in need. So eat, you big silly.” That statement is embedded in my mind and continues to be my motivation.
I am so thankful for being surrounded by people who love, respect and care about me.
Professor Barry S. Waldman, D.D.S, MPH, Ph.D. at the State University of New York at Stony Brook Dental School. Dr. Waldman is a wonderful man and like a father to me. He showed me that nothing is unattainable and continues to believe strongly in my potential. He is the person responsible for submitting my letter of recommendation to Graduate School. Ever so supporting towards me, he is consistent with kind advice and the tools for succeeding in life. I never said this to Dr. Waldman, but I owe much of my discipline and hard work to him and hope that I have done some good in his eyes.
Professor Paul Lovizio (retired) from the State University of New York at Farmingdale who now lives in Orlando, Florida with his wife Christine. Both have been an inspiration to me and have guided me through the twists and turns in my life. I call them family because they are like parents to me and best friends. They always instilled in me to follow my heart and never give up even in the worst of circumstances. I am so proud to have them in my life.
Syed Wasim Quadri, CPA, PFS from New York, whom I respect as an older brother and good friend. I learned solid work ethic through him and saw his dedication as a sole-proprietor. This truly motivated me to become an entrepreneur. I owe much to him and shall never forget his kindness towards me.
What motivated you to get started?
I suppose I just got tired of seeing other entrepreneurs succeeding and making successful business decisions. I always had a conflicting point of view with management in any organization I worked for. I just knew there was a better, more efficient way to manage. I also swore to myself that I would never treat my employees unprofessionally or with lack of respect. I truly wanted to deal with my employees in only a manner that I wished to be dealt with.
Like best about what you do?
I love the fact that in our Hawaii office, I step into work 6:00AM Hawaii Standard Time and get home by 3:00PM. The problem is that by 6:00AM HST, it is already 11:00AM or 12:00PM EST (depending on Daylight Savings Time). Hence, there is enormous amount of coordination that must occur between our West Coast and East Coast Operations. However, finishing up work in the afternoon allows me to enjoy time with family and friends. I also get to have enough sunlight to hit the beach, exercise or just relax.
I also love that I am my “own boss.” No one is breathing down my neck or giving me ultimatums.
For Voyage Films, Inc., it has to be the fact that I enjoy sharing thoughts and ideas with people who have similar backgrounds and are gifted individuals that unfortunately are not being recognized. It inspires me because I want to help them get their stories or experience across to mainstream audiences. It is a challenge but indeed rewarding.
Like least about what you do?
I have to say that sometimes I am responsible for replacing certain individuals employed with our clients’. Whether it be due to lack of efficiency, poor work conduct or changes in the job market, it really makes me feel bad to be the bringer of bad tidings.
I also wish there was more time in the day. Time goes too fast when I am on the phone or traveling. I sometimes wish there were three of me! I could have multiple businesses and run them from a control room. I am kidding of course. Makes me sound like I work at NASA or something.
At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a jet pilot as a child. I’ve been fortunate to have very good hand-eye coordination even though I have corrected vision. I think seeing Tom Cruise in “Top Gun” motivated me enough to go see the Navy Recruiter. Unfortunately, the Navy said my eyesight was too poor.
What was your first job?
My first job was as an administrative assistant at a general contracting firm in New York that dealt in high-rise office buildings. I learned how to effectively use the computer, type more than seventy words per minute, make blueprints, handle submittals/ proposals for jobs, act as an intermediary between sub-contractors and visit job sites to review final work with my employers.
It taught me responsibility, gave me confidence and empowered me with the tools I needed to speak professionally and go out into the “real world.” My bosses trusted me so much, they would let me drive their brand new Jaguars around and make hefty payroll deposits into the bank. I was 16 years of age at the time. I won’t say anything more!
Biggest pastime outside of work
My community is my heart. I enjoy working with the American Red Cross and assisting my mother who is a Physician. She serves a growing number of both women and men that need quality health care in Hawaii. I help her provide free consultations over the weekends and help create health awareness. As a humanitarian, she makes me very proud and her dedication to such a cause has my admiration.
I also enjoy assisting organizations such as CAMP CARES, and Habitat for Humanity because I believe every needy person should receive charity and the opportunity to have a home or at least the dream of owning one. I donate my time and money often and assist them in community outreach.
Person most interested in meeting?
I would definitely like to meet Michael Crichton (Writer, Director/Producer). I have always been an avid fan of his perspective in writing and film. He focuses on stories that truly bring out your imagination and open your mind. Michael Crichton is a true visionary and touches on subjects that few dare to bring about.
I also respect his viewpoint from the medical and scientific backgrounds which make his stories more plausible and relative to the Scientific Method. It would be great honor to sit with him and share stories and concepts. He is a role model for me and the motivation behind the creation of Voyage-Films, Inc.
Leader in business most interested in meeting?
Nobel Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank. The man is selfless and has developed a solid plan to combat poverty through “Microcredit.” In addition, I am very impressed with Grameen Phone which allows a gateway for the poor to share in “Information and Communication Technology (ICT).” His achievements an enormous great stride in philanthropic and humanitarian vision.
One often wonders, “what makes a person great?” Mr. Yunus is a shining example.
Three interesting facts about yourself
- I love to laugh and make others laugh. I suppose kids adore me due to my amazing Donald Duck impression. Don’t believe me, just hear it for yourself.
- I am never too proud to say “I am sorry.” If the mistake was mine, I will always apologize. I think arrogance is easy but to be humble is most often than not, very difficult.
- I always have a soft heart for people that are suffering. Whether it is the beggar on the street, or a child in need, I will always have spare change or make time and assist them in any way possible. I only wished I could do more.
Three characteristics that describe you
Three greatest passions
- I love to cook. Yes, I said it.
- I love photography. I have taken still shots that I myself can’t believe.
- I love to play the guitar. It’s such a beautiful sound!
“The God Of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy. Absolutely compelling!
Helping those that are helpless. Whether it be poverty, hunger, lack of medicine, orphans, abused women or natural disasters. One gesture of a helping hand can make a difference in someone’s life.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I am just an average person that has many faults. I truly wish that like-minded people could work together and collectively join forces in all industries to form bonds. A “united collective” so to speak. Young entrepreneurs that have succeeded should become mentors and show others how they have risen to their positions and not just boast about their wealth or success.
I am working very hard to create scholarship funds for free college education. I think everyone should have a right to an education. Many philanthropists have dedicated their lives and wealth to such a cause. If we work together, we can definitely achieve similar greatness.
Who would you like to be contacted by?
Orion Technologies, Inc. is looking for key individuals who have a management background in sales, marketing and recruiting. Part of our career path is a training program that grooms successful business leaders. We are looking to establish global partners in the areas of engineering, technology, accounting and finance.
Those entities or individuals that are interested in partaking in the global economy of today should definitely contact us. Our management expertise and unique business style is a sure way to gain momentum in the high demands of today’s business world.
Voyage-Films, Inc. is seeking persons who realize the importance of Independent Films with regard to the South-Asian community and would like to invest in unique projects that open the mind. We are interested in portraying events or stories that are truly heartwarming and powerful.
We look forward to collaborating with any one in this endeavor who is serious about making films that go beyond stereotypes and relate to the human spirit. We are seeking those individuals who can assist us financially and/or provide us with the expertise in film projects of this nature. We are eager to meet those who are aligned with our vision and those who can help us bring exciting new Independent Films to life.
Interview by Sheena Singh
Introduction by Preeti Aroon
Edited by Valerie Enriquez
|August 12th, 2007, 17:22:34||permalink|
Great article !!