Grey Sky Films

Meet two successful ‘Broadcasting’ majors

Mark Serao of Boonton and Chris Vaglio of Denville returned to CCM recently, this time as real TV producers not students. Now the owners of Grey Sky Films in Rockaway, the video professionals stepped back into the studio where they first learned their craft to produce CCM’s latest 30-second television commercial airing on Cablevision. Former CCM student, and Sales Director for Grey Sky Films, also appears in the commercial.

To view the 30-second commercial, click

Below is a story that recently appeared in the CCM Alumni Advocate Newsletter about Mark, Chris, their experience at CCM and the video company they founded.

Chris Vaglio and Mark Serao of Grey Sky Films –

Success as Students, Friends, Partners, Film Makers

By Mary Ann Kiczek

Everyone makes friends at CCM, but developing a long-term business partnership is less common. Chris Vaglio and Mark Serao are the exception. What started as a friendship between the two students who met at CCM developed into Grey Sky Films, a full-service production company they founded in 2001.
Vaglio and Serao continued their education in the Film Studies Department at William Paterson University in New Jersey, and following their graduation, spent a year or two playing in bands and tracking down jobs in film. That all changed in 1999 when Serao approach Vaglio with the idea of starting a music video company. “It was a natural,” Serao commented. “We knew a lot of bands and labels, and with the advances in digital technology, guys like us who were just starting out could afford decent camera equipment.”

Focusing on business-to-business market

After working with both independent and major labels for a short time, Vaglio and Serao ventured into promotional video production. “We made the conscious decision to start focusing more of our day-to-day efforts on helping businesses grow and prosper,” Vaglio explained. Today, Grey Sky Films, which is located in New Jersey’s Rockaway Borough, is a full-service production company that delivers exceptional, world-class film and video production, along with integrated marketing solutions for a full range of business and commercial projects.

Grey Sky Films’ award-winning team handles writing, production, editing and distribution from concept through delivery. In terms of production services, the company does it all – from local spots to video news releases, infomercials, B-roll, and industrial and corporate film. “Impact Now!”, one of the company’s key products, is a series of short, two to three minute custom videos designed to enhance a company’s brand, help it connect with its clients, and increase its sales opportunities. Companies can use the video series online, posting it on a website or on one of the many popular social networking sites.

“The success that we have been experiencing with our new Impact Now! Video Series has been incredible,” said Vaglio. “Our clients have quickly realized how effective video is from a marketing perspective— especially during a tough economy that makes it difficult to connect with customers via traditional advertising.”

Grey Sky Films boasts an impressive list of local clients including the NJ Chapter of the Make a Wish Foundation, HARMS software, and Parisi Speed School. They have also done projects for national retailers, such as Best Buy, Iceberg Vodka, WalMart, and Columbia Records.

Making it in today’s market

When it comes to running Grey Sky Films, Vaglio and Serao share the technical, business, and operational responsibilities, and oversee a staff that includes a fulltime editor and a fulltime sales and marketing director. In identifying the skills that make them successful, both agreed that while you obviously need to have the requisite skills and talents, you need to be adaptable and resourceful and be willing to continue to learn.

While Grey Sky Films is facing the same business climate challenges as others, Vaglio and Serao stress the importance of marketing and staying in contact with current customers. “Now more than ever, businesses need to market themselves, and we’re here to help them get through the current downturn,” Vaglio commented.

Achieving the dream

Every independent filmmaker dreams of making a movie, and last year, Vaglio and Serao filled that aspiration with “What’s Your Problem?”, a comedy/action short film. The film, which was written along with Matt Horutz, is set against the backdrop of a suburban New Jersey town. It tells the story of a struggling, self-started private detective agency and its unorthodox methods of investigation. “What’s Your Problem?” has been accepted into several national film festivals. For more information, see www.whatsyourproblemthe, “This was a tremendous personal achievement for us as it’s something we’ve been wanting to do for some time now. We brought in a fantastic cast and crew, funded the project through investors and personal savings and it’s been a terrific experience. ”

Remembering where it all started

Both Vaglio and Serao are grateful for the role CCM has played in their careers. “For me CCM provided a great foundation. The classes I took in television, broadcasting, and photography gave me an opportunity to explore career choices. It was a great experience and I met Chris,” Serao said. Vaglio had a similar experience, adding, “Based on some high school media experience, I was drawn to CCM when I saw the college had similar offerings. It worked and I was hooked. CCM helped me solidify that this is what I wanted to do. And without CCM, I would not have gone to William Paterson University.”

In closing, Serao commented, “Film making is our passion, and we couldn’t dream of doing anything else. We are doing what we absolutely love to do for a living and have been best friends since college. Not many people can say that,” Chris ended.

For additional information on Grey Sky Films, you can contact Chris and Mark at 973 625-6911 or go to
Photo – Chris Vaglio (left) and Mark Serao (right).