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The Power of Art - An Interview with Rob Kaczmark

In this episode, Andrew visits with Rob Kaczmark, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Spirit Juice Studio. Spirit Juice is a firm dedicated to producing video content for Catholic ministries and nonprofits. During this conversation, Andrew and Rob were able to talk about trends in video, strategies for how to utilize video in fundraising and some of his favorite projects over the past 15 years.

Show Notes


Rob is a cradle Catholic, who grew up in Chicago. He started Spirit Juice 15 years ago and it developed out of his work with the Church.


Spirit Juice Studio

"Spirit Juice Studios is an award-winning, Chicago-based creative production firm specializing in the transformative power of high quality visual media merged with the ever ancient, ever new beauty of Catholicism. Through the collaborative efforts of those involved with Spirit Juice Studios, the Gospel is delivered by means of a strong visual design aesthetic, coupled with the paramount components of modern technology. Both engage the eyes, ears and soul of an individual — both depend on parables and belief in the compassion of the human heart.

The team at Spirit Juice Studios are passionate not only about the standards in which they hold their work, but also in their Catholic faith, ultimately fusing together to form the best representation of Catholic values to advance the mission of the Church today. We welcome the impossible idea.  When it comes to our clients’ ambitions and aspirations, we believe we can achieve the highest-caliber results on time and within your budget."


When I was in it, I couldn't see the impact. But being able to look back, you can see all that was accomplished. 

Can you see that the work you're putting in now, will affect the future generations?



Movie or television is an escape for Rob. But if you want to learn film-making, observe. 

Break it down visually and by story. - Your request needs to have visual appeal. Be aware of what the current trends in story telling are and then utilize them. Stories are told differently in different generations. You need to know this so that you can address the generation you're after. 



The first question, is it a captive audience or non-captive audience? For a captive audience, you can drag things out and make them a little longer. For a non-captive, the first 15 seconds will determine if someone is going to keep watching and engage. 

Sometimes you need to "kill your darlings." If something doesn't work anymore or match your current campaign, don't be afraid to get rid of it. Even if it has a story of origin or an emotional connection to your organization, if it's no longer supporting your mission, don't hang on to them. 

Good things take hard work. 


Lightening Round

  1. If you could fund-raise for any organization or cause at any time in history, what would it be?
    •  Vocations
  2. If you could get a donor meeting with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
    • Elon Musk, cause he's got all the money!
  3. Is there enough money out there for every organization that's doing good work?
    • Yes, it's just not that direct - you still have to work for it.
  4. What is one piece of advice that you would give your past self?
    • Just be more patient
  5. Who are 3 people who have most influenced you, professionally?
    • Bernie Solinsky, David Elnary and Rob's mom 
  6. What is one fact about Rob that most people don’t know?
    • He can ride a unicycle! He also likes to do extreme sports. 
  7. What is a book that you would recommend?
    • Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute, Steve Carlson, et al.


If you would like to connect with Rob, you can find him at the Spirit Juice website and all the social media outlets!


Andrew's Take-Aways:

First, I loved what Rob said about not being afraid of the value and power of art. Too often, nonprofits want to communicate with their donors through numbers and facts. It’s like he said about nonprofit videos that read like a Wikipedia page. The same can be said in many cases about appeal letters, newsletter articles and website copy. Drawing the listener or viewer or reader in through the use of story is always more effective and will offer more opportunity to inspire generosity. So don't make art for the sake of making art, but consider the beauty of the story whenever possible. 


Second, don’t be afraid to kill your darlings. Whether that is in videos, blog posts, case for supports, appeal letters, podcasts…really anything you are producing. Don’t hang on to elements that don't ultimately fit the direction simply because you love how they were made. In a previous episode, we talked about how sometimes in poker you choose not to fold because you put in too much money already and need to “chase the pot”. This is a similar concept in knowing that sometimes you have to be willing to stop, assess the situation and walk away it its not right. 


Third, difficult doesn’t always mean wrong. This is a very powerful concept that I think Rob did a good job of pointing out. Just because something feels difficult or a lot of work, that doesn't mean that it isn't worth pursuing. The best things in life are often the most difficult and require the most effort. The validation and the reward when we accomplish it is so much sweeter. I can’t wait for Rob to master unicycle juggling because I know that he will have earned it through tough work. 

I hope that you enjoyed this episode and feel inspired to make beautiful things for the sake of your ministry. If you have any questions or want to reach out, email me at [email protected]. God bless.


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