What was your first job in the industry? What did it teach you?
My first job in the industry was a PA job for a web series. I got to travel out to the great state of Nebraska, riding with the talent, and hold a reflector for fill light for the outdoor interviews. I was on top of the world. I felt so excited to be a part of a crew and get to go on the road trip to film. I learned what it looks like to be a good crew member, and how to treat your crew well. This Colorado film crew was professional and kind and shared their knowledge with me every step of the way. I knew one day I would want to return the favor to other people early in their career.
What’s a creative risk you took recently? How did it turn out?
I was working with one of our tech clients, and they came to us with a project ask that I didn’t think fit their needs. Instead of listening to their exact ask and coming back with a pitch that matched their scope, I decided to fully build out a suite of videos that would serve their needs, but it had a budget that was three times what they said they had. The client was actually angry at first because we went beyond what they said they had, but by the end of the pitch, they were thanking us for the idea and had approved even more budget because this sparked ideas that they knew they would be able to use in their marketing plan. It was a good reminder that we’re here to not only be creative with the actual work, but also be creative problem solvers to holistically serve our clients needs.
What project are you most proud to have worked on?
The Social Dilemma was not only a fun challenge, but it made a positive impact on the world. I’m very proud of my work on that film.
What’s the best part of your job? What’s the most challenging?
The best part of my job is the people. I love meeting new people during sales and helping them solve their problems using story, and I love the people I get to work with every day on my team at Mass FX. We’ve got the best humans!
The most challenging part of my job is the people. People are complex, creative creatures, and the subjective matter of what we create can make it challenging to know how to be successful with our work, and it’s an endless process of needing to problem-solve and try new things.
What do you look forward to most as a new Judging Council member?
I love getting inspired by the work that’s being done in our creative community.
How do you unwind from work mode?
I unwind by watching movies, playing music, trying something new in my cooking, and enjoying time with my family.
How do you stay up-to-date in your industry?
I stay up-to-date using LinkedIn, IMDB news, reading the trades and staying in touch with colleagues and clients that are making the best work in our industry. It’s always important to do the industry networking events and show up for conferences and expos to learn the latest in our industry.
What inspired you to join the field and create the kind of work you do?
I have this wonderful memory of my mom renting a VHS camera from the library and doing home videos. She would set up a tripod and have us kids line up on the stairs. She’d record, then stop, and we’d all switch places or disappear, she’d record again, and it made this magic trick of in-camera editing. We’d all rush to the TV, plug the camcorder in and watch our magic. I feel like this earliest memory got me intrigued by video production, and I always loved acting out stories and writing stories. For my eleventh birthday, we picked up a layaway camera from ShopKo, and my filming career began. I would write out these little stories and do all in-camera editing, and I’d change my clothes and switch sides of the camera and film my stuffed animals, then present to my family when I had a good one. The glory of premiering your work and hearing people laugh is a high I never stopped chasing.
When did you realize your worth?
This is a hard thing to realize especially for creative people. When you do what you love, you’d do it for free, so it’s really hard to get to the point where you know how important and valuable your skills are as a filmmaker. I still think I haven’t fully embraced my full worth, but probably 6 years into running Mass FX, we had a business mentor guide us on proper bidding and rates and we raised our prices, and I was so afraid of the impact of losing clients, and they all were like, “yeah, okay, that makes sense. You’re worth that.” Our job as storytellers has always been valuable throughout all of history, and in the day and age of content, film and video is such a powerful tool.
What’s a work tool you use every day and what’s one that is obsolete that you wish still existed?
I live and die by ftrack, our project management system. I love that we can have our schedules, tasks, and reviews all in one place and all connected. I can’t say I’ve got a good answer for a tool that’s obsolete. I love learning new tech and keeping up with the latest trends, so I’m happy to leave those tools behind.