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Meet Jonalex Herrera and Liz Pasillas of New Discovery Media

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jonalex Herrera and Liz Pasillas.

Jonalex, lead creative director at New Discovery Media, has been part of the South Florida film community for a little over 5 years. A multimedia multi-cultural director with a background in tech, film & storytelling and a passion for music.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, he has also made El Paso, TX, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, New York and Miami his home, picking up an interesting assortment of cultural and social attributes that make up his artistic vision. With a double major in Digital Film and VFX/Animation from New Mexico State University, he also received education in Graphic Design (Instituto de Diseño Caracas), and Computer Science (Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey) before ultimately earning a double Major in Digital Film and VFX/Animation from New Mexico State University’s Creative Media Institute (2012)

Prior to becoming an independent artist, he worked for companies such as Digitel (Venezuela), IBM (Mexico) and Gas Natural de Juarez (Mexico), while living in Ciudad Juarez Mexico as an artist he identified with the need of local musicians to promote and expose their music. During that time, Ciudad Juarez was the most dangerous city in the world, which led him to create Check Wuantu, a web platform that gave musicians a digital outlet to promote their music which they couldn’t find in local venues due to the current violence.

However, after obtaining his degree he spent time in New York getting his feet wet with companies such as East Pleasant Productions and The CDM group, until he was offered a leading position as a director/post-producer on the second season of the destination/bikini show “Latin Angels Special”, which is distributed by an independent production company to DirecTV, FOX, Mega Tv, and MTV3, among other channels in Latin America and east Europe.

Jonalex’s entrepreneur nature drove him back to independent work, this time in the vibrant city of Miami, where along with his partner Liz, has started New Discovery Media, a multimedia production house that has made South Florida their home since 2013. Recognized for the creation of branded and engaging digital content in the US and Latin America, NDM has now focused their efforts the creation of immersive & interactive experiences that help brands connect with their audiences blending storytelling, technology, and creativity.

NDM relies on a team of talented creatives and strategic thinkers, an essence that is embedded in all of the work it does. It has been very fortunate to work commercial projects with brands such as Vix, Disney World, Target, FedEx Express, New York Life Latino, DFASS Group, Avianca Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Double Tree, & Hilton Hotels as well as with recognized Latin artists such as David Bisbal, Jencarlos Canela, Ivy Queen, Paty Cantú and Juan Magan, to mention a few.

The first product that New Discovery Media conceived as a demo for these services was a 360 a capella video, which was aimed at showcasing the possibilities for creating immersive and intimate musical experiences with artists.

A few days after posting the video on YouTube, NDM began to notice a peak in views which led them to find out that the video had been picked by YouTube for their “Best of 360” playlist, as well as their “360 Music” playlist on their official 360 video channel. The video remained on their top 5 for about a week.

Thanks to this, New Discovery Media was recently invited to the MUCE Arts Village at Jazz in the Gardens 2017 and Venture Cafe’s innovation station booth in the Eco Village at Ultra Music Festival 2017 to showcase their content and continue evangelizing about the benefits of 360/VR experiences in the music space.

With this new frontier, On May 22nd, New Discovery Media got accepted to the program CREATE’s 3rd Cohort, The Idea Center’s go-to-market program where entrepreneurs refine their existing prototypes through experiential learning and customer validation. As a result, from this program New Discovery Media conceived Mersyv, a Virtually Reality Mobile platform that will add video-game-like features to the music video experience.

New Discovery Media continues working for the successful combination of great storytelling, visually appealing forms of expression and the application of innovation towards creativity.

New Discovery Media’s Co-founder Liz.

Liz, originally from Cd. Juarez – Chihuahua Mexico, is an entrepreneur, passionate and lover of cinema. As a Producer, she believes in developing material that speaks to the human experience and instills social change. As a Filmmaker, she is passionate about the visual arts and feels that developing strong relationships is key to the filmmaking process.

Before she became a producer, she worked for ten years as a general manager in a family-owned hardware store in Mexico, was a sales associate at Latin American company Integrity Financial Network, as well as an executive representative handling $1M+ accounts at International Cardboard Services in Mexico and the US. Upon graduation from El Paso Community College with a major in Business Administration, she took the opportunity to move to NYC where, aside from polish her ESL skills, took sales and marketing in a nation-wide furniture store leading training and logistics for all new stores open within the five bureaus.

For the past six years, she has been polishing her skills behind and in front of the camera. Having worked in various production roles, it was her move to Miami that helped her excel as an independent filmmaker and business owner. Along with partner/filmmaker Jonalex, they created New Discovery Media, a Miami-based cross-cultural production house that focuses on the creation of immersive & interactive experiences. It is at New Discovery Media where Liz has worked as a producer, first assistant director, and actress on various projects.

Her background, which combines business management, public relations, and film, has been essential to the business opportunities that New Discovery Media has had. Both on and off set, Liz understands the true value of customer care and relationship building.

Liz’s production shortlists consist of working with Grammy and Billboard award winning Latino artists such as David Bisbal, Ivy Queen, Jencarlos Canela, Paty Cantú, Juan Magán & Maffio. Her commercial credits also include working with major brands such as Vix, Disney World, Target, FedEx Express, New York Life Latino, DFASS Group, Avianca Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Double Tree, Hilton Hotels to mention a few.

Her independent films short list includes: Downstream People, presented at the All Right India Film Festival 2016, “Escaramuza down, Corazón con Angel”, a documentary that won the “Best Documentary Award” at Filmgate’s’ NOLA Film Festival 2016, and “More Than One” a first place winner at the Colectivo Vagon International Film Festival and second place winner at the Binational Film Festival.

Jon: Ever since I graduated from high school I have always felt that I needed to construct my own future. This included my path through education and the choices I made with the job positions I held. It’s always been important to me to have a level of control in my professional career.

Combined with this, I’ve always had an itch for innovation and creative approaches to traditional products.

Liz: Since I was a kid, I have been involved in the business area. Along with my dad, we opened our first hardware store in Mexico when I was fifteen and worked there for ten years. I worked in several positions during those years, starting with my help on the counter, delivering materials, and mixed paint, all the way to the time when I managed personnel, coordinated payments and supplies with providers, and payroll. In 2001 my father finally delegated all business operations of the hardware store to me which I carried out until 2009. A few years after that I partnered with Jon and it was only natural that we embark on this journey.

A time when we operated well outside of your comfort zone. How did it impact us?

Jon: Back in 98, After some back and forth between my place of residence, I had started to study graphic design in Venezuela, which I later had to drop from due to a shortage of funds, then I decided to teach myself web programming as a hobby. This hobby ended up getting me a few promotions and seemed like a more solid career choice. I later moved to Mexico where I decided to go fully into computer programming.

2 years into this career, and already holding an IT managing position, I started to get “creative claustrophobia.” Excel sheets, weekly reports, password reset and computer inventory was really not cutting it for me, there was a lack of color in my work.

I did the research, got the funds and made the arrangements to quit my job. Saved two months of salary, bought 50 cans of tuna, wrote emails to all possible clients, and quit my job. From then on, I decided to become a freelancer.

The tuna and the funds ran out before I got my first client, so I had to sing at bars a few months for to fill in the gaps… but eventually, I landed the account that paid for a house and a filmmaking career.

Liz: I came to this country without speaking English, looking to develop my career. Life gave me the opportunity to take care of both. While living in New York, I took a position as a sales manager for a National wide furniture store. The store was located in Brooklyn and I was forced to accelerate my comprehension skills in order to provide a service to customers to customers and keep my job. Not only did I keep my job, but I was assigned the responsibility of opening new stores in different areas of the five bureaus.

Has it been a smooth road?
The road has not been easy. We started off as freelancers and slowly grew into a formal business structure without an actual capital investment we solely depended on an active client list. On top of this, the production in South Florida is filled with many heals and valleys. On any given day a big layout from larger production corporates can immediately double or even triple the competitive pool and have a direct impact on rates.

All of this served as motivation to open new frontiers and find innovative ways to revamp our services catalog.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Miami is a very vibrant city it has become an international hub for many industries, however, the city seems only be focus on tourism and real estate making it hard for companies in other industries to tribe and have access to the right resources that slowly changing, which is a good thing but we still have a long way to go.

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Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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