The Start of Akil Mckenzie's Legacy
Updated: Jan 10
Meet Akil McKenzie.
Akil McKenzie is a successful entrepreneur. Do you know why that’s important? In Canada, 86.8% of all startups fail within the first two years. As of January 2020, there were 800K active companies, with 260 founded each day and 11 founded every hour. There are approximately 1.2M black-identifying Canadians only 0.16% black-owned businesses of significant scale, even though they make up more than 3% of the population.
That’s why it’s important. Akil beat the odds. He established a bedrock of success on his passion that started when he was just a kid, and today he is the proud founder and owner of Falling Motion, a Toronto-based video production company that focuses on commercials, documentaries and events.
I recall meeting Akil for the first time. We were both waiting for the Sheridan College Davis campus to Mississauga's Hazel McCallion campus student transfer bus. We started speaking with each other to pass the time, as bored students do, because the next bus wasn't arriving for another 30 minutes. He was sociable, pleasant, and drew everyone's attention. He was pleasant to talk to, and we exchanged information. When I reconnected with him roughly four or five years later, I could see that this is how he was developing his production empire: through creating small, personable and meaningful interactions with various individuals.
Akil obtained an internship and had the opportunity to work on a film set a few years after we met. Initially, His tasks included setting up crew workers' break stations. His lively, passionate, and people-friendly nature enabled him to form bonds and collaborate closely with the cameramen. Akil lacked knowledge with various parts of filming and camera technology at the time. He was able to swiftly learn new skills and improve his technique by being positioned in an atmosphere that was outside of his comfort zone. Akil's time as an intern on a film set served as a crucial stepping stone, allowing him to lay the groundwork for navigating the film industry and achieving his career aspirations.
After his internship, Akil understood that he would need his own production firm to harness his talent and make the films he envisioned. And, while the internship provided him with many useful skills, he discovered he wasn't totally enjoying what he was doing. While directing is his genuine love, he realized he wanted to start with something that would get him in the door with clients. "Editing was my best skill. As a result, I'd approach firms who are looking to recruit editors.” While searching for companies that are hiring editors, an unthinkable opportunity struck: a director of cinematography took him in. This individual eventually became a mentor in Akil’s entrepreneurial journey. “By helping him with what he was working on, I got the opportunity to talk to him and learn from him. Being with him also introduced me to a lot of other people.” Gradually, he was able to assemble a group of dedicated and industrious individuals as a result of relationships he created along the way. He then quickly began building relationships with potential clients to get his business off the ground.
Today, Falling Motion is client-centric in everything it does. "We founded our firm since we couldn't produce what we wanted while working for others." As a result, everyone in the firm contributes their unique ideas and views to a project, and we aim to provide clients the freedom to design exactly what they want." Falling Motion is now one of Halton's primary media centres. Akil intends to keep the staff and clients of Falling Motion in a supportive and nurturing atmosphere in the future. He intends to expand his company by directing films in Hollywood while remaining committed to his work in Toronto.
While Akil has achieved many of his professional objectives, he has struggled with self-doubt on several occasions as he encountered challenges along the way. "The unfortunate thing about being your own employer is that you have no method of grading yourself," he explains. So it's more of a question of 'did I do enough?' and 'should I have worked harder?'" As a result, Akil frequently puts a lot of pressure on himself to keep working. "When COVID struck, there was a time when there wasn't a lot of work. Because I relied so much of my self-worth on how much work I'm accomplishing, I started experiencing panic attacks." Akil realized the importance of looking after his mental health and spending time doing activities he loved outside of work at this period.
Akil's response when asked to describe his career aspirations in one word was "legacy." "I don't like the thought of arriving on this planet, living my life, and then disappearing a few generations later." I'm a huge fan of science fiction and time travel, thus I'd like to be timeless and everlasting. I want to make a piece of art that is utilized in schools or textbooks as an excellent example of whichever area it belongs to. And not just in terms of my career as an entrepreneur, but also in terms of my personal life." With Akil's determination and commitment, we are confident that his mission will be accomplished one day!