Collier Citizen – The 800 # Gorilla in Naples

Hope Daley and Matthew Dykes march to the beat of their own chest pounding drum.

The husband-wife duo runs Guerilla Media, an award-winning video production company, with Harry Silverback, an 800-pound gorilla, at the helm.

The video production company creates custom video content – documentaries, commercials, infomercials and episodic television programs – for corporations, local businesses and nonprofits.

They have seven awards under their belt, including their most recent one — a 2016 Bronze Telly award for “Golden Apple,” an annual broadcast recognizing select Collier County teachers.

With a passion for storytelling, Dykes and Daley co-founded Guerilla Media in 2011 after their companies downsized, leaving them without jobs in the television industry.

“I grew up (in Naples), I didn’t want to leave, so we kind of kicked around the idea of what we were going to do next,” said Daley, executive producer at Guerilla Media. “We started thinking about what we’d enjoy doing and what would make us happy…I knew a ton of people that had family businesses…always did great and then all of a sudden the bottom fell out and they were losing their businesses. And they never had to worry about marketing.”

Daley and Dykes decided to stay put and use their expertise to start a business that would not only benefit them, but the community.

“We just prayed about it,” said Dykes, chief executive officer at Guerilla Media.

The first-time business owners landed their first client in January, a month before they were officially a company.

“He needed a 12-part DVD series, shot and edited. And we’re like, ‘Holy cow.’ At this point, we didn’t have any gear,” Dykes said.

Against all odds, they managed to shoot and edit the series with a little help from their network of peers.

“We got a couple of cameras, a switcher, we got audio. We got mic’s… Where there’s a will there’s a way. I called my people and she called her people and we got them together,” Dykes said.

Since then, they’ve worked on nearly 700 projects with big names such as Sony and Little Caesars.

The couple behind the gorilla

Daley and Dykes have more than 30 years combined experience in the national television and radio industry.

Dykes learned the industry ropes in an unconventional way, growing up in the back of a 1976 Eagle bus. A self-described roadie, he toured nationwide with his country and gospel singing dad, Bill Dykes.

“I helped him set up and I learned how to run sound,” the Ohio native said. “By trade, audio was always where I wanted to be. If we weren’t on the bus, we were going back and forth between his recording studio in Cincinnati or in Nashville. By the time I was 15 or 16, my dad started a television production company…I ran camera, I ran the audio and I also went out and did sales and was a liaison between the clients and the production staff.”

Dykes spent some time trying out different colleges until finding his calling at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting.

He went on to serve as a nationally syndicated radio host, national media director and sales and marketing director for three national television channels on Dish Network and 85 television and radio affiliate channels. In 2013, he was recipient of Gulfshore Business magazine’s “40-under-40,” honoring Southwest Florida’s rising business leaders.

In 2008, he met his wife of seven years, Daley, during a convention in Nashville, Tenn.

Dykes said he felt an instant connection right off the bat. However, distance proved to be a challenge as he lived in Ohio and Daley lived in Naples. For months, they dated over the phone, and he would drive down on weekends until deciding to make a permanent move to Naples.

Daley was named “40-under-40” in 2009. She has more than 13 years of radio and television experience — programming three national television channels on Dish Network and overseeing 85 television and radio affiliate channels. She’s produced more than 500 television episodes.

She graduated with a bachelor’s in psychology at the University of South Florida before finding her passion in broadcasting.

“I started with a TV station doing affiliate relations…I didn’t know much about TV until I started working with my boss and boy did I learn absolutely everything. She looked at me one day and said, ‘You’re a producer,’ and I said I don’t even know what that means,” she laughed, recalling the memory.

Golden Apple

Ever since Guerilla Media came into the couple’s lives, they’ve worked on numerous projects with many nonprofits, including Champions for Learning.

Since 2013, they’ve produced the annual “Golden Apple” broadcast in partnership with Champions for Learning and NBC2 News, earning two bronze Telly awards, one in 2014 and another in 2016.

For the past 26 years, Champions for Learning has honored select Collier County teachers with a Golden Apple award every year, recognizing 140 teachers since its inception.

The annual broadcast gives a behind-the-scenes look at winning teachers making a difference in the classroom.

“When you see these teachers performing and giving of their extra time…these guys don’t have to, they can punch a clock and go home, but these guys stay and they give of their hearts and you can tell it’s their passion,” Dykes said. Because of the power of the television medium, “We’re hoping that some of the other teachers that aren’t as passionate, it could bring them up to that level, and they’ll be like “This is how I felt when I first started” and maybe it reignites that spark for them.”

This past year, five teachers were selected and honored during a dinner in April.

“From our perspective, it made the celebration of teaching and Golden Apple that much better because people at home are able to watch it on a television show. It’s just really an opportunity to get behind-the-scenes,” said Lisa Church, vice-president of Champions for Learning.

Daley and Dykes work with nonprofits to make production costs as affordable as possible.

“We take our profit margin and we get rid of that. We don’t want to make money off of a place that’s trying to raise money,” Dykes said.

The face of the company

An 800 pound gorilla costume — appropriately named Harry Silverback — is the face of the company.

Donning a red cape and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-inspired mask, Dykes described the gorilla as “a superhero, who goes out there and gets your message to the world using any means necessary.”

The gorilla is all part of the company’s brand.

“Because of what we had done…we knew before we ever came out officially as a company…we spent a lot of time on our brand, figuring out the logo and the name,” Daley said.

They keep the guerilla costume inside their new office and studio on Enterprise Avenue off of Airport Pulling Road, which they moved into earlier this year.

Daley and Dykes hope to continue telling stories and sharing it with the world.

“We work really hard and are perfectionists. We refuse to miss deadlines and let clients down,” Dykes said. “We’re not about selling time, but getting the product or message out.”

Check out their work at http://www.guerillamedia.tv/ or follow them on Facebook at Guerilla Media.