My name is Chris Drouin and our company story starts back when my grandpa, Lionel Drouin, moved from Canada down to Florida for a better life for his family. He started working for a construction company and quickly rose to the position of site foreman, which gave him the ability to choose his own team. After some years of working for that company, he decided he wanted to start his own company building and selling cabinets. My grandpa started building cabinets in his garage. April 28, 1971, Drouin Cabinets was incorporated and became one of the top cabinet companies in Florida with multiple showrooms across the state. At the age of 60, my grandpa decided he wanted to completely retire and Drouin Cabinets closed in October 1992. I have some fond memories of playing in the shop of Drouin Cabinets around the time it closed and I remember seeing cabinets stamped with the logo on the bottom, but I sadly had little interaction with my grandpa’s 21 year run with being an entrepreneur.
Around the same time Drouin Cabinets was ceasing operations, I had been attending Kindergarten. It was the first year my elementary school had been in operation, so there were no busses running (from what I can recall anyway). The school started a before and after school program so parents could drop off their kids early in the morning and pick them up late in the day. One of the activities I found myself in was the A/V club. We would record the “news” and make other fun videos. The one that made me fall in love with the magic of video was fairly simple, but completely awe inspiring to a little kid; we had a box in the middle of an open space and recorded a kid walking to and getting in the box, so the camera could not see them anymore. We recorded each one of us walking and getting in the box, then we had the last kid get back in the box and recorded him getting out and then walking away; we did this for each kid as well. The end result was a video in which it appeared a bunch of little kids getting into a box, just big enough for one of them, and then they all got back out, kind of like a clown car.
Though I was enamored by the magic of video, I did not participate in much of anything involving video till years later. I did, however, spend a lot of time with my grandpa. We would go to birthday parties and random visits at my grandparent’s house. There was a time when my twin brother and I, anytime school was out, would ride our bikes over to our grandparents’ house and spend the day with them before riding back home. We learned about life, played games, and grew an appreciation for Walker Texas Ranger and corny jokes. I never asked him about Drouin Cabinets or his life before I knew him. He died July 2, 2007, a few months after my second year of college. I still miss him.
I attended college starting in August 2005 and I was a music education major. That did not last too long. A friend of mine had a ten hour work study job in the communications department and could only complete five. My friend had me follow her to the head of the communications department and ask if I could have the other five hours. This time was spent following my friend around learning to come up with content, work with talent, record, and edit videos. This rekindled my love of video. The next semester I switched to a communications degree with an emphasis in broadcasting.
Years later, in March of 2014, a man named Josh Mancuso decided to give me a chance in his video production company, Orange Leaf Media. It was at this time that I started learning to shoot and edit wedding videos (and whatever else we could get). I worked with Josh off and on, when he needed me and when I was available, and learned many things about video, people, and a little bit about business. This invaluable experience would eventually contribute to my desire for my own video production company.
While working to build experience and knowledge in video production, I came across something I was not looking for. I saw a random advertisement for a Christian dating site offering their services at a tremendous bargain. I am not sure what convinced me to pay and try it out, but it led to meeting a woman named Tiffany Anderson. Neither of us wanted to waste time if this wasn’t going to work, so we met up for lunch shortly after we began talking to each other. That lunch date consisted of me talking way too much and Tiffany not speaking much at all. I was hooked, but Tiffany wasn’t so sure. With some convincing by her friends, Tiffany agreed to another date and then another. We made our relationship “Facebook official” in June 2016.
One day, we decided to attend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. In the summer of 2017. I was depressed and not seeing a way forward in my life so Tiffany sent some text messages with some Bible verses, then she sent the message that would start me down a new path. She texted “remember, the tortoise always wins.” This was a call back to Dave Ramsey talking about how the Tortoise and the Hare showed us that slow and steady wins the race in life and in finances. The idea for my first video production company, Winning Tortoise Productions, was born.
The shut down in early 2020, due to COVID-19, had us rethink our goals for Winning Tortoise Productions. We decided we needed to focus only on capturing weddings. The problem was, we didn’t feel like Winning Tortoise Productions sounded like a good fit for the name of a wedding video company.
My grandpa helped to spark the desire for owning my own business when he decided to immigrate to this country and eventually started his own business. Like many people, I did not truly appreciate my grandpa till after he was gone. Part of the reason for me being an entrepreneur is because he was. So when my wife, Tiffany, and I decided to start a new video company, we wanted a name that would honor the legacy of my grandpa. There was only one thing we could call it, Drouin Films.
Photo Copyright Trung Phan Photography