WEEK IN REVIEW: HUGE announcements!!!! by Love You Back Productions

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Howdy, y’all!  HUGE annoucements:

WE LAUNCHED OUR NEW WEDDING FILM WEBSITE!  Check it out, loves!

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LAST WEEK.  Corner Stores documentary has a facebook page!  

Woot woot! (Finally.) 

Julia created a source of information for her Corner Stores documentary.  Check out her   She's been working hard on the documentary front.  The project is now sponsored by New Orleans Video Access Center.  

CALL TO SUPPORT! For all our dearest friends, y'all, Weenta and Julia ask that you 1) "like" the Corner Stores facebook page and 2) invite 5-10 of your interested, curious, close friends to like the page!

This kind of stuff has a pattern to work exponentially! :)

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...

Flip the script. This week has been hard.  Our neighbors and loved ones over in Houston, throughout Southeast Texas, and in West Louisiana are stuck handling the onslaught of Hurricane Harvey.

In New Orleans, we had minimal rain.  Today, I am counting my blessings.  From Austin to LaGrange and over in Houston, all my loved ones are safe post-Harvey.

...

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As for our WEEK IN REVIEW, on MONDAY, 350.org hired Julia as their local sound and camera operator.   She worked with Colette Pichon Battle on a narration piece.  Colette Pichon Battle is a local attorney and founder of Gulf Coast Center for Law & Police. 350.org wrote Colette’s script.

An excerpt from the 350.org narration script:

"Twelve years after Hurricane Katrina, Gulf communities continue to fight for their rights to stay on their land, for clean air and water and to live in save affordable communities. The true crisis facing people in the south has been built over decades by industries that drain the Gulf region of its resources. But Frontline communities are resisting policies and practices that extract power from their communities.

In Plaquemines Parish, the impact of extractive industries have a direct correlation on the erosion of Louisiana’s southern coast and on-going damage to residential homes and local businesses.

…. It’s up to us to stand up to big corporations, hold our leaders accountable and protect the human rights of communities that call the Gulf South their home."

Very heavy content.  It's important to note: 350.org contracted Love You Back in order to make a commemoration video for the 12 year Katrina anniversary.   Turns out, this year's commemoration is eerily poignant.

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This blog is not political, but right now, the Houston, the Gulf South’s largest city, is flooded.  It's time to get to take note, y'all!  Protecting our environment is not about politics.  It's about basic security and basic posterity.   

These are our cities! These are our homes.  The fact is our Southern cities suffer the immediate consequences of global climate change.  If you are from the South, conservation is important to you.  20 years from now, the American South could completely vanish.  To be real with y’all, that's the most painful thing about Harvey and about Katrina's commemoration is the ever-precarious state of the South. 

350.org is right.  It’s up to all of us. 

Where do we start?  Conversation and reflection.  We need to talk about ideas.  It's time to clear up our notions and clarify our consciousness about climate change, environmental protection, and conservation.   

The big thing Harvey proved is…. Protecting the environment means protecting the American South.     

If we listen, the big thing as 350.org explains is….Protecting the environment means standing up to big corporations, whose industry create irreputable harm to our land and homes in Louisiana, Texas, and across the Gulf South.

Where do go from, here?  Let’s write to Senator Kennedy.  Let’s make sure conservation and environmental protections are a hotbotton issue for our local election.

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On TUESDAY.  The historic Carver theater screened BIG CHARITY to commemorate the 12 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  After the film, Alexander Glustrom, the documentary director, came by for a short Q&A. 

“…are you from New Orleans, why did make the documentary?” a woman asked Alexander Glustrom Tuesday night. His answer: “I am not from New Orleans. I’ve just always had an obsession with abandoned buildings.”

Glutstom's answer was exactly the same 2 years ago when he answered the same question at the 2015 Patois Film Festival. His honesty was the same, too. Glustrom was humble. Charity is sacred.

The story is, Glustrom had been working at the now-closed Boys and Girls club on Iberville, which sat in Charity’s shadow. Curiosity inspired further investigation. Thank goodness, too. The story of Big Charity is not only essential to New Orleans. A story of politics, federal relief budgets, and ordinary people, who are the heros, Big Charity is critical story right now. Southeast Texas continues rescue mode.

Seeing BIG CHARITY and hearing from the Director at the 2015 Patois Film Festival inspired my production on the Corner Stores documentary. It also inspires Corner Stores' ongoing production.

BIG CHARITY took 5 years to complete.  “The story keeps unfolding,” he explained last night after the last night’s screening.

Photo taken by Julia at the 2015 Patois Film Festival, where she saw Alexander Glustrom discuss his process of documentary filmmaking.  Blast from the past!

Photo taken by Julia at the 2015 Patois Film Festival, where she saw Alexander Glustrom discuss his process of documentary filmmaking.  Blast from the past!

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When Harvey gets you down, you wanna know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming!

THURSDAY.  Julia moved to MidCity!    Weenta and I are neighbors!! Woot Woot!

FINALLY, on SATURDAY….Weenta returned home!  Starting Tuesday (after Labor Day), summer officially ends.  With the new fall season, we return to our regular work schedule: meetings, deadlines,  weddings, sales pitching, call sheets, and constant renovation.

Sending our spirit and all our strength to Houston and Southeast Texas!

Love You Back,

Julia

WEEK IN REVIEW: Saying Goodbye by Love You Back Productions

As my time in New York comes to an end, I feel strongly that I'll miss this place. I built a little life here for myself and I am bracing myself for the culture shock of returning to New Orleans. 

Reminds me of the nostalgic feeling embodied in this Madonna song...

Last week I went to a fundraiser at The House of Yes, a party/event space just two blocks from my house. It was a circus themed line-up, and every performer was phenomenal. I was invited by my friend Ana, who lives in New York. In the middle of the show, Ana and I both turned to each other and agreed: this is why New York is amazing. 

Below are gifs from some of the more special moments of the show.

A dramatic reveal at the House of Yes.

A dramatic reveal at the House of Yes.

A 40 ft. lasso trick.

A 40 ft. lasso trick.

A class act--reminded me of "Singing in the Rain."

A class act--reminded me of "Singing in the Rain."

Here's the biggest news of the week: Julia is MOVING TO MID CITY! Not just Mid City, but only 3 blocks away from me.

My partner Seth had a vacancy in the house he owns next door, so it was a no-brainer; Julia and her partner Nik are moving in. 

It's been a long time coming. Now we'll be able to walk to on another's houses, which makes for a much easier work week. Our lives as friends and business partners are overlapping--kind of like that solar eclipse we had a few days ago. 

I ended up watching the eclipse from the real estate office where I work in New York. I was so deep into my work that I almost forgot it was happening. A ton of people in my office gathered around and used the one pair of special eclipse watching sunglasses. I don't have my own pic to post, but it looked pretty much like this, except in New York:

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Julia and I are in the midst of launching a new wedding website, which we've been tweaking for the past week. 

Check out our facebook page for updates on the launch of the new website.

WEEK IN REVIEW: What are you sick of seeing? by Love You Back Productions

Watch and see! ^_^

This WEEK IN REVIEW covers the whole summer.

This summer was so alive!  Still is!

TUESDAY, the MAJORVLOG arrived!  Similar to this WEEK IN REVIEW, the vlog covers the whole summer.

THURSDAY, I was out of the office - location scouting!  Corner stores, corner stores, corner stores.

FRIDAY, I am at my desk, doing some reflecting.  So alive, this summer was all about seeing novelty inside familiarity.

My summer trips took me to all-familiar spots.  I returned home to Little Rock, Arkansas.  I gathered with family in Aspen.  2 weeks later, at my grandmother’s house, we gathered again.  The final rest stop was Boston.   Running along the Charles, stomping on the most familiar old cobblestones, I realized: novelty and familiarity are not exclusive experiences.

For the first time, I experienced Boston without anxiety.  No impending classes, papers, or final exams.  This time, I was on vacation, and I was free agent.  The freedom expanded my appreciation for the city.   Boston was on display.

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EARLIER, this August.   I spent 4 hours with my mother and grandmother at Eugene Richards photography exhibit.  Gary Knight of the VI Photo Agency introduced me to Eugene Richards back in 2013.  To this day, Eugene Richards is a critical and infinitely relevant influence on my style of documentary storytelling.

Curious, still? Please spend some time on Eugene Richards' personal website.  Also, here is the link to the exhibit - "Eugene Richards' Run-On of Time."

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NOW. Let me leap frog contexts.  Rather jabber on about experiences, let’s talk ideas.  Ideas about business.  About creativity.  Ideas about familiarity and innovation.  In an interview with Dan McGinn, senior editor at Harvard Business Review, Jerry Seinfeld gets to the heart of things:  

DAN MCGINN: How much was your lack of familiarity with the rules the key to your ability to innovate?

JERRY SEINFELD: You know, it’s very important to know what you don’t like. It’s good to have an idea, but a big part, I find, of a lot of innovation starts with someone saying, you know what I’m really sick of? That’s where innovation begins.

Like for me, it’s like I’m really sick of music playing while somebody walks out to a desk, shakes hands, sits down, how are you? How are you? You look great. So do you.

It’s like– I’m sick of that. I want to hear what’s the first funny thing this person said. I’m also sick of people who really, talking is not their thing on talk shows. But they’re there to sell their show, their product. The same thing with my TV show. That’s one of the places where I start. What am I really sick of?

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For Love You Back Productions, the main point is this: 

To produce innovative content, Weenta and I have to ask ourselves, “what am I sick of seeing?”

TODAY, I’ll go first.  I am sick of seeing, conventional business testimonial videos, different strains culture being mutually exclusive, i.e. trap music and Schubert piano quartets, linear storylines, the American South being a mystery, Business to Business videos completely devoid of comedy.   There.  That’s off my chest.  

There.  The initial brainstorm is over.  (Rubs hands together.)   Innovation should be just around the corner.  Perfect timing!  Weenta and I have a production-filled fall, coming up!

Want more?

RIGHT HERE: Another plug. Check out my most recent Youtube upload.  Similiar to this WEEK IN REVIEW, the video leap frogs contexts, returning to the question: what are you sick of seeing?

RIGHT NOW! Inspiration.  Check out what I am not sick of seeing.

Love Y'all Back!

Julia

WEEK IN REVIEW: Finding My Voice in New York City by Love You Back Productions

This week, I lost my voice. 

Turns out I've been putting myself under too much stress and pushing too hard as a real estate agent. I should've taken a full day to rest it, but I didn't and then I lost it almost completely. 

It's been a trying time. I've made fewer deals than I thought I would have at this point, and just last week one of the few deals I did make, fell through.

I said to myself before coming here that if I at least made back what I spent to get here, I'd be happy, but that's not the story I was building for myself in my head. In truth, I'd set goals much higher for myself. I thought if I put all of my effort into it, that maybe I would make $10,000 by the end of the summer. Now that the summer's almost over, I'm at a point where I'll be lucky if I make $3000. 

Sometimes I board the bus to get to an apartment showing because I don't want to take yet another $10 Uber ride and I think about how I've been boarding the bus my entire life. I wonder if I'll ever stop being poor. If I'll ever have my own car and not be afraid to drive it. 

The past two days, I started losing my voice at a time I could have been showing tons of apartments. It was frustrating to see lots of opportunities to make money go by, but it also made me pause. I think everything in life happens for a reason. I think losing my voice happened because I needed an adjustment in my approach to this job. In this time of silence, I've keep returning to the same thought: working harder doesn't necessarily always mean making more money.

I'm not saying that hard work doesn't count, but one thing I've been trying to figure out about this job is what kind of hard work gets results and how I can work hard without burning out. I've been doing tons of showings but I still don't have the results I expected. I'm trying to figure out if there's a different way of doing this where my time is used more effectively, especially because I have so little of it left here. 

Last week, someone offered me $175 + tips to pass around h'ordeuvres at a fancy party in Manhattan. I said no. Why? It's not that I'm above working as a waitress at a party. I've done that job many different times in my life. It's because I wanted to escape the hustle. I wanted to stay focused on my goal--making money at real estate.

Do I need the money? For sure. That money could pay for meals or offset the cost of the frequent Uber rides I've taken to show apartments.

I talked it over with my partner, who reminded me of a speech we heard at the Women and Business Challenge back in March. The keynote speaker was Bevy Smith. 

She asked, "who in here considers themselves a hustler?" In a room full of entreprenuers, almost everyone raised their hands. Then she said something the effect of, "I don't want to be a hustler, I want to be a boss."

I thought about how I would feel rushing over to Manhattan, serving food while trying to look cute, then rushing back home and waking up the next day to refocus my efforts on real estate.  It takes all of my effort and energy to be halfway decent at this job. I knew that taking a serving job, even for one night, even for just a few hours and some good cash, would have done more harm than good. 

Sometimes you have to choose to be a boss, not a hustler. Sometimes, working harder does not mean you make more money. And sometimes, you have to shut up and rest your voice.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW: "It's an alternate universe!" by Love You Back Productions

Last week, Love You Back Productions had its biggest production week to date!  During the Love You Back Productions pre-production meeting with BBC Destination Management, I asked BBC's Director of Operations, Denise Malo, "what makes this event unique?"   The amazing, super-star spectacular Denise took off her glasses for dramatic effect and answered, "this event is the kind of event that happens once every 10 years." @bbcdmc

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THE WEEK IN REVIEW: New York Living by Love You Back Productions

Rooftop life.

Rooftop life.

It's been 3 weeks since I started working in real estate, and I've made 3 deals so far. My co-workers say I'm doing great, but as July comes to a close, I'm eager to pick up the pace. 

While I've had successes these first 3 weeks, there have been plenty of stressors. So I took some time to unwind at a rooftop pool party courtesy of my close friend and fellow real estate agent, Jane. 

The view of the city skyline was spectacular and so was the sunset. 

Scavenging for hors d'oeuvres by the pool. 

Scavenging for hors d'oeuvres by the pool. 

Here's a few lessons I've learned in this short time: 

1. Keys. The right ones are hard to find. Sometimes they don't open the right doors, and there are just so, so many of them. 

2. Subtlety. It's an art. You have to provide "constant gentle pressure" to your client. You can't be too aggressive because they already have an idea of a real estate agent as someone who's there to sell, not to help. I tend to talk too much and not ask questions and listen when I'm doing sales.  I'm still learning what it means to apply "constant gentle pressure" and how to do it effectively, but as a first step, I'm working on asking clients more questions. 

3. Trust. This is the number one thing between you and making a sale, and sometimes it's hard to get. Again, people have negative assumptions about real estate agents, and many of those assumptions are based on real experiences. For instance, the other week, I had a morning appointment to show an apartment to a client. The lead came from my friend and co-worker Jane. I went into the office early to look over the details of the listing. Lo and behold, the apartment had been rented. When I texted this to the client, she accused me of "baiting and switching" her. This is a very common practice in New York real estate. You tell one client you have a fabulous apartment and you direct them to the amazing pictures online. They make an appointment to see the apartment and all of a sudden it's mysteriously "unavailable." That's when they try to sell you on another apartment. That particular client might have already had this happen to her, so she wrote a bad review--under my friend Jane's name! That was the most disappointing part--Jane had almost no interaction with this woman, and yet she was angry enough that she didn't care whose name she wrote the review under.

4. Emotions. These are very hard to control, and they are directly linked to trust. This is the number two thing between you and a sale. If you don't know how to set expectations and redirect a client's emotions, you'll have a difficult time doing this job. For me, it's a welcome challenge. I have a hard time not just being "nice" but in this job it's always better to be more direct than it is to be nice. Just a few days ago, a client was upset with me because I didn't realize one of the apartments I showed her had been taken off the market. She had come to see it twice. It was an hour and a half out of my way on the train to meet her there. We finally made a decision on which apartment, and when she found out it was taken, she was devastated. She's a single mom and wanted a nice place for her and her son. She had already started planning where the furniture would go. In the end, she took another unit in the same building, but we parted on bad terms. 

This is what it means to be in real estate.

This is what it means to be in real estate.

...but it's not all gloom and doom. I'm learning a ton about sales and I know I'll be able to bring back that knowledge to our business in the fall. 

THE WEEK IN REVIEW: Of the 50 states, which is God's favorite? by Love You Back Productions

Let’s start THE WEEK IN REVIEW off with a July 4th bang.  Last week, Weenta, you posted your July 4th-themed WEEK IN REVIEW.  Well, I also wrote about July 4th.

We’re all familiar with the adage, “the West is the Best.”  Two weeks ago, I spent time with family in beautiful Aspen, Colorado.

Of the 50 United States, can you guess which is God’s favorite?   It's Colorado, of course.  The saying, “Colorado is God’s favorite state,” is one I've been hearing all my life.   And I’m here to testify that… Yes.  Yes, Colorado is most certainly the best.  

Last TUESDAY.  My family’s tradition is to celebrate the national holiday in Aspen, Colorado.  Our tradition is to attend the town's parade, a rather homogenous parade.  This year was no different until a special spectacle turned the corner and made the holiday extra memorable.

The best July 4th in Aspen has to offer is the Sante Fe/Aspen Ballet.   Near the parade’s end, my family and I found ourselves camped out in the best spot to watch the Ballet's sweeping 10 minute Mexican heritage performance. 

The performance dazzled an entire block of spectators.  Check out the photos (above and below).

Spectacles, aside.  Last week was full of history.  On SATURDAY, July 1, my mother, father, and I went on a special tour of Aspen mountain. 

The tour's focus was silver.  Aspen mountain is a mtn. o’ mines, ladies and gentlemen.  Full of valuable minerals and bespeckled with stories.

Aspen, the little town of about 6,700, is known for skiing, luxury shopping, classical music, the Food & Wine festival, the Ideas Festival...and not much else.  But Aspen was originally a mining town!

Around the 1880s, when the silver standard backed our country's currency, businessmen, financiers, miners, electricity companies, train companies, laborers, security guards, lawyers, any and all persons of industry scurried into town.  The clamour and opportunity shooed out the area’s indigenous Ute Indians.     

But, no sooner did everyone arrive, and the U.S government called it quits.  The United States' silver standard dissolved in 1893.  Aspen went quiet.  That is, until mid-1950s when skiing became the town's next money boon.  

In the 1960s, only a decade later, my grandfather (who skied up until his death at age 89) discovered Aspen. The rest is history. 

Here’s a photo of me and my sister…I mean.. my mom on Aspen Mountain’s very first nordic ski jump, repurposed from the wood of unused silver mine cart tracks. Wow!

Moving on to later in the week.  Still full of curiosity.  Last WEDNESDAY, bright and early (on the morning after the 4th), my father dragged the family to the Aspen Historical Society.

What was in store?  Another history tour, of course.

This time, we toured Aspen’s residential West end.  Even as a little girl, this part of town bewildered and intrigued me.  The West end is a glorious mishmash of architectural styles, namely Victorian and Bauhaus styles.

To both reinforce and preserve Aspen's architectural character dating back to the 1880s, the city enacted some bold design regulations.  One regulation, in particular, from the 1980s stands out:

All new buildings or development projects, even residential or home projects, must be designed in direct contrast with Aspen’s historic Victorian-era homes.   See below.  Aha!

Last THURSDAY, we took yet another tour.  History, aside. This time, the Aspen Art Museum!  

(Note: ASPEN Art Museum is an example of modernist architectural style, which directly contrasts the museum's surrounding historic buildings.)

There was an excellent photography exhibit by Peter Fischli and David Weiss, known during their thirty-three-year collaboration as Fischli and Weiss, and the American artist Wade Guyton.    The exhibit included a 30 foot, 10-panel led light-box.  Each panel displayed 100 colorful photographs from around the world. 

Where each photo was taken…you had to guess.  That was all the fun!

Fischli and Weiss exhibit was chalked full of images that reflected past photographs. 

While examining the exhibits' vast display, I explained to my ever-curious mother (as seen above) the importance of visual consistency. Visual consistency is a term to define the way one image refers to another image.  Visual consistency is used to create a cinematic effect.

For example, in Love You Back Production’s most recent wedding film, “A Deep Love,”   I cut from a medium close shot of a little boy running in circles to the bride twirling her hair in circles.  I used this example to explain the term to my mother.   She delighted in her daughter’s very personal example.

Back to reality.  Today is FRIDAY, and this post was written last SUNDAYWhy, again, am I writing my WEEK IN REVIEW post before the week begins?

"The rest is history." - photo taken by my dad, Bill Evans on Aspen Mountain on July 1, 2017

"The rest is history." - photo taken by my dad, Bill Evans on Aspen Mountain on July 1, 2017

Right now, Love You Back Productions is having an amazing production week!  I'm busy, busy, busy.  "Down in the trenches” as they say... or at least that’s what I've heard Weenta say.

Happy summertime, all!

From your favorite July baby,

Julia

THE WEEK IN REVIEW: 4th of July Beach Babes by Love You Back Productions

This dude is everything. 

This dude is everything. 

Rockaway beach is the exact opposite of everything that you think of when you think of New York. Open skies, water, sand.

Since most people leave New York for other destinations, the crowds were manageable. We took a train to the beach and were there within 45 minutes. Phoebe, Jane, and my friend Ana all met up with Jane's friend Corrine and her group of friends. Corrine, not pictured, welcomed us with warm friendly vibes. 

From left to right: Ana, Phoebe, me. 

From left to right: Ana, Phoebe, me. 

Ana was inspired to take photos of Phoebe and Jane in their fierce red, white and blue outfits.  

Jane's hat probably should have said, "Make America American again."

Jane's hat probably should have said, "Make America American again."

The water was pretty freakin cold, but refreshing. I'm not the most adept beach babe--the ocean and the waves freak me out, but my friends were sweet and held my hand and hung with me where the waves weren't crashing too hard.  

Later that night we were invited onto a rooftop to watch the fireworks that night. We were running a few minutes late, so we arrived just as the show was starting. It was by far the most amazing fireworks show I've seen in my life. I thought after so many Fourth of July's there would be no awe, amazement or surprise I could feel, but I felt all of those things. We had the perfect view of the city and the silhouettes of the people on the next rooftop were beautiful against the backdrop of explosions in the sky.

Getting home was chaos. It was such a tight squeeze on the train that my body weight was entirely held up by the people squished in around me on all sides. We went two stops before getting off the train again and saw a woman crying in the train station with her family. The woman had lost her 2 year old daughter in the crowd. She had already called the authorities for help and told us it was ok, but it was still sad to think of that lost little girl.