Embracing Fear with Ricky Staub


Ricky Staub is the Founder & Director of Neighborhood Film Company, with studios in both LA & Philly apprenticing formerly incarcerated adults for competitive careers.


Neighborhood Film Company

Steps to Discovery

[02:14] - Ricky’s Big Break: Mentor Sam Mercer – production assistant position 

[03:38] - Took the leap—started his own company (over five years now) became Director, Directing projects is his primary role

[06:53] – The Philly Chapter 

[07:24] – Asked, what’s the purpose, what am I doing on this planet? - Philly had so much poverty

The Unique Factor

[08:18] - Read the Bible for himself, Jesus is love for the poor, the prostitute, a thief, a person society would have deemed as worthless Jesus was saying they have the highest place in my kingdom. 

[08:48] - Matthew 25, Jesus being with the poor, when you care for the poor you care for him.

[08:58] – This idea of meet Jesus on the street, Making friends with people on the street and learning their stories, many came from broken homes…. 

[10:00] – Teach the business side of filmmaking

[10:20] – “Most people thought I was insane that I could train a homeless person or a formerly incarcerated adult how to work on a high-level production.”

[11:24] – “The connections and the people you are meeting are so imperative to your success in this industry, so if it was purely like if I want to have a career, sticking with him [Sam Mercer] would have been a much stronger choice, but knowing what I wanted to do in my heart and I wanted this company to serve for opportunity for people on the margins, based on how crazy people thought I was I had to go do it myself.”

[12:13] - “Blessed with a burden you couldn’t shake” -Brian

Hurdles: from an idea to a company

[12:54] – “Biggest fear of launching was failure – Never knew I could care how much people thought of me until I knew I could lose the version that people thought of me…The reality of how fortunate I was, this man was known for turning out well classed producers and film makers.” 

[14:20] - Conviction, a burning in my chest, when I would think about doing this or not doing this.

[14:40] - Care for the poor, a belief in God that was growing in me 

[15:53] - Laid out everything that was on my heart and mind and growed it and shared it and kept refining it.

Best Advice Received

[17:15] - Albert- a friend of a friend, said, “two types of leaders that run companies, the leader who wants to run everything through their ego, they want to be the top of the pyramid all credit, all work is driven through them all sign offs are driven through them, if they go away the company collapses, they want to be the head of the beast.”

“But if you want to run a company that’s truly successful for the long term, you create leadership like a starfish. A starfish has five fingers and you cut one off it’s completely sustainable and it grows back.” -Staub

[18:40] - And something that I’ve stuck to is that I’ve empowered people to have ownership and buy in of the company, so if I were to fall away or maybe one day I don’t want to be apart of neighborhood, it doesn’t sink the ship for everyone else who’s spent time and cared about it.

What Neighborhood film company does on a practical level

[21:00] - Runs an apprenticeship, 8months paid to adults coming out of incarcerated. Working hand in hand with our production team. March-October. Real risk and reward, workings with legitimate clients.

[22:15] - Fixing the system: There’s resume building classes and all these programs, four week: how to win an interview class, “my friends were being sold a lie” that these programs would actually help change the trajectory of their lives, it’s a huge systemic problem.  

[23:05] - Offer them a new trajectory, starting a company that hires these individuals and train them on everything they actually need to know and they’ll acquire the skills they need to build a career based on recommendations from a highly qualified team.

[23:38] - It’s truly about who you know and matching that with what you know

Start fresh together

[23:46] - Didn’t have skills or contacts, if you spend any amount of time in prison or these neighborhoods, who are you reaching out to? Even if people say “well they made mistakes and that’s the choices they made” and ok that being said I come from a place where I’m reading the gospel and Jesus’ messages and he didn’t care if you are responsible for your downfall he was still forgiving of it. So my approach was yeah you screwed up but let’s have a fresh restart here.

[25:10] - Everyone is receptive to an honest opportunity. We’re not funded by the government, the company funds itself. Now we are partnered with two federal judges from Philadelphia. Should you make it into this apprenticeship you are no longer underprivileged. You’re no longer apart of that demographic, that doesn’t have opportunity. Therefore I will not withstand any excuses. The door is wide open for you to take every opportunity. 

[26:27] - it’s sink or swim, not a lot of wiggle room, if you’re not hustling or not working hard we’ll fire you. This is a business and we are here to make money and a lot of it.

[30:20] - Apprentice BluePrint- Our vision for growth isn’t that we train more people, is that other companies train 1-3 people.


Five Dysfunctions of a Team— Patrick Lencioni

The Power of Habit— Charles Duhigg

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership— Ruth Harley Barton


Instagram— @Neighborhoodfilm

3 Key Points

  1. Small Steps: The whole process is one foot in front of the other,
  2. Launching Out means embracing fear,
  3. The door is wide open for every opportunity.