Revitalizing Professional Energy: A Filmmaker’s Journey at the CIE HotHouse

Taylor Jenisch’s transition from the solitude of remote work to the vibrant atmosphere at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) HotHouse in Downtown San Luis Obispo (SLO) was more than a mere change in location; it was a transformative experience that reenergized his professional life. 

Following the COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread shift to virtual, at-home work, Jenisch, founder and CEO of Burning Boat Films, found it difficult to deal with working remotely and its lonely quality. Despite the flexibility and freedom remote work offered, Jenisch felt a drop in productivity and the weight of isolation, he said. 

“I came to the HotHouse and immediately felt the energy of other people, especially the entrepreneurs,” Jenisch said. “Productivity picked up massively and I had a better mood from the people around and being able to talk to others.”    

Jenisch started Burning Boat Films, an entertainment company focused on creating documentary and narrative films, in Copenhagen. Eventually, he shifted his company’s base to SLO, engaging with independent contractors both locally and globally. 

Jenisch discovered the HotHouse through a mutual friend who was actively involved. Intrigued by the space, Jenisch decided to give it a try for a day, which has led to nearly a year of coworking. 

“The community and the people in the HotHouse were the biggest selling factor — they’ve got a really nice group of people,” Jenisch said. “Every day you get to meet someone new, which has helped me build solid business connections.” 

About a month after joining the HotHouse, Jenisch attended the CIE’s monthly Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) Coffee and Conversation where the SBDC brings in a guest speaker to provide advice about a specific expertise ranging from sales to marketing to general business strategies. Following this event, Jenisch received a full investment in one of his films. 

“Through one of the Coffee and Conversations, I received a full investment for a film, which is insane for that short of time at a coworking space,” Jenisch explained. “I realized there are a lot of untapped resources here,” Jenisch said. 

Having grown up in Europe, Jenisch initially struggled with how to structure a business in America. However, Jenisch said he received a lot of help from the CIE staff and other connections within the HotHouse. He described transitioning to the HotHouse as a “180-degree turn for the better.”

“If you’re finding it difficult to motivate yourself to put in a full day of work because you’re working in a room or have kids at home and are getting distracted, it’s a nice opportunity to come into a coworking space,” Jenisch said. “Get some socialization in and become fed by the motivation of other people.”