Greg Merril is different from most 22-year-olds who still live at home. Merril claims he will make $70,000 this year in his parents' basement.
Merril is president of High Techsplanations Inc., a company he operates out of his parents'Rockville home. High Techsplanations makes videotapes that explain -- simply -- complex equipment and techniques that Merril says are awkward and hard to explain in written form. Since May, Merril has made one video and has another in the works.
"I thought there was a need for it because of all the high-tech companies that are producing gadgets," Merril said. "Too often, the literature that accompanys high-tech products is written by engineers, and is not easily understood by the general public."
The videos produced by Merril's company are designed to provide easy-to-understand explanations for complex procedures. Merril researches and writes a script for each video, plots the action on story boards, and then shoots the video himself.
Merril said he got tired of school during his last year at Western Maryland College, and when he graduated in May he toyed with the idea of going to graduate school. "I really wasn't driven in college," he said.
Just two weeks after graduating with a degree in psychobiology, Merril and his 25-year-old brother, Jonathan, who is vice president, formed High Techsplanations -- the name combines "high-tech" with "explanations." Jonathan Merril is a third-year medical student at the George Washington University School of Medicine and works for the company during breaks from school.
High Techsplanations is working on a video for Silver Stain, a product developed by Bio-Rad Laboratories, a California biomedical products firm. Silver Stain is used to stain electrophoretic gels -- gels that are used to detect proteins in blood, urine samples, or spinal fluid. While the Bio-Rad contract still is being negotiated, Merril estimates its value will be in the six-figure range.
Merril bases his income projections on his production budget, tape duplication sales, and translation of tapes into different languages and into international videotape formats.
Merril and his brother first became interested in video when they were students at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville. There, they won first place in the Montgomery County Film Festival in 1980 for a video that they produced on a dramatic interpretation of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein."
In February, Merril plans to take on two new employes: a script editor and a writer. He also plans to move the company out of his parents' house sometime in 1988.