From film school to founding a digital marketing company to writing two books, Nathan Pettijohn has forged his own path since graduating from Owasso High School in 2007.
His latest project, “Travels with Hafa: In search of ourselves” is a post-breakup travelogue that details an RV trip from California to Montana to Utah and many places in between. He notes in the prologue: “As an American, born in Oklahoma on the Fourth of July, it seemed a shameful error that there was so much of my own country I hadn’t seen yet.”
Pettijohn attended the University of Tulsa for a stint before moving to Los Angeles in 2008 for film school. After graduating from the Los Angeles Film School, Pettijohn worked as an assistant to Robert Lawrence (“Clueless,” “Die Hard with a Vengeance”), which is where he realized the value in his social media skills.
“We made a sizzle reel for a show that didn’t really go anywhere, and I ended up putting it up online and made (social media) pages for it,” Pettijohn says. One of the guys he worked with didn’t understand social media and encouraged him to make a company that specializes in it.
In 2011, Pettijohn founded Cordurouy, a nod to the Pearl Jam song “Corduroy.” The company handles digital strategy and content creation for clients, as well as talent management for people like Janice Bryant Howroyd, founder and CEO of ActOne Group, who is the first Black woman to own and run a billion-dollar business.
“She’s just a really cool woman that I’ve learned a lot from,” Pettijohn says. “I run her socials, book her to speak at events and on podcasts, and get press about her.” He also worked with Howroyd on her memoir, “Acting Up: Winning in business and life using down-home wisdom”
After working with a few other nonfiction clients, Pettijohn became familiar with the publishing process, specifically self-publishing and marketing. With Nic De Castro he co-authored “Zen and the Art of Admin Tasks,” about outsourcing administrative work, in 2018; Pettijohn also writes columns for Forbes online.
That path led him to writing “Travels with Hafa: In Search of Ourselves,” published by Cordurouy in September. One of his favorite stops was at a 17,000-acre ranch in Montana with a good friend.
“We had it to ourselves — us and our dogs,” Pettijohn says. “(Places) where I was boondocking — I wasn’t plugged in or near any other RVs or campers — were always my favorite.”