LOVE IN REVIEW: Family, above all else. by Love You Back Productions

We're back, again!  We have a revised format.  Week in Review is now a monthly blog post, affectionately titled—"Love in Review."

On the heels of that announcement comes a much more substantial announcement.  On April 23, 2018, Love You Back Productions experienced the most incredible honor.  We screened our documentary for an entirely filled theater at the culmination event for the New Orleans Tricentennial Story Incubators!  The "Corner Store" documentary is now officially titled— "The Place To Be." 

"The Place To Be" screened as 1 of 5 films in the New Orleans Tricentennial Story Incubator Program.  It was a family affair.  Family, friends, cast members and crew gathered.  Food and drinks were served.  Smiles beamed bright on everyone.  Julia got to sit in a director's chair.  Folks loved our film.  

 This is my family.  An unorthodox family, at that. - Julia  Pictured from the left— Zensuke Omi (Associate Producer of "The Place To Be"); Weenta Girmay (Producer of "The Place To Be"); and Julia Elizabeth Evans (Director of "The Place To Be").   

This is my family.  An unorthodox family, at that. - Julia  Pictured from the left— Zensuke Omi (Associate Producer of "The Place To Be"); Weenta Girmay (Producer of "The Place To Be"); and Julia Elizabeth Evans (Director of "The Place To Be").   

 Our cast and crew!! From the left— Daniel Turner (Sound Design & Master),  Weenta, Julia, Larry Washington ("Mr. Larry," Main Character), Dustin (featured in documentary), Carmen (interviewed and featured in documentary), Anuraag Pendyal (Score Composer)

Our cast and crew!! From the left— Daniel Turner (Sound Design & Master),  Weenta, Julia, Larry Washington ("Mr. Larry," Main Character), Dustin (featured in documentary), Carmen (interviewed and featured in documentary), Anuraag Pendyal (Score Composer)

 Julia and Carmen giddy before the screening.  Photo by Weenta Girmay, April 23, 2018.

Julia and Carmen giddy before the screening.  Photo by Weenta Girmay, April 23, 2018.

 Neighbor and dear friend, Ira congratulates our Associate Producer with a big smooch. Photo by Weenta Girmay, April 23, 2018.

Neighbor and dear friend, Ira congratulates our Associate Producer with a big smooch. Photo by Weenta Girmay, April 23, 2018.

The strongest motif realized in our film, "The Place To Be," a story about one corner store in New Orleans, is family.   

Following the screening, Katie Williams of Film New Orleans conducted a director Q&A (which Weenta documented, so well).  Katie Williams asked me (Julia), "having documented so many corner stores for so long, how did you choose what footage to include in the final documentary?"  [Note: that is a paraphrased version of Katie's original question.]

The strongest motif realized in our film, "The Place To Be," a story about one corner store in New Orleans, is family.  Back in March 2018, during feedback sessions for the film, Julia's twin brother, Robert Evans, explained: "your documentary illustrates how the idea of family can be stretched to accommodate more unorthodox interpretations."  So, we went with that.  

Therefore, to answer Katie's question, the theme of family guided our decision-making process for the documentary's visuals.  

Now, you all are probably wondering, how and when can I see "The Place To Be?"  At least, I hope you are. :)  We have one more round of edits to complete to finish the film.  It will be available to all our Kickstarter supporters by the end of June! :

Woohoo!  Hold you breath.  We love you, all!  Stay tuned for next month's, "Love in Review."

Sincerely,

Julia Elizabeth Evans

 

WEEK IN REVIEW: Tips for Those of Us Wearing Many Hats by Love You Back Productions

Our Favorite Ways to help you keep your blog and not lose your mind.

Satire from Love You Back Productions’ Week in Review. A smile and a nod to Deep Fried Advertising bi-weekly?...annual… semi-regular blog, from which this post is inspired.  

 Photo taken during Tucks Parade on St. Charles Avenue, on Saturday, February 10, 2018.

Photo taken during Tucks Parade on St. Charles Avenue, on Saturday, February 10, 2018.

Finding the time to blog can be difficult, especially when working in the go-it-at-your-own pace startup environment. Furthermore, blogging is more than just finding time to sit down and type up a few fresh sprung thoughts. It’s about relating to your non-existent audience.  It’s about presenting quality content that is informative and worthwhile, so your parents, your boyfriend, and your affectionate business advisor, all of whom already love you sans weekly blog updates will feel connected to you.

Since Weenta is working at our post-production video editing desk, I’ve decided to say “hello” to mom and dad…and to anyone else out there listening. 

Below is a list of pointers for “today’s ‘Busy Bloggers’”or as I like to put for those of us wearing too many hats.  Note: this blog post is not a thorough, well-thought synthesis of other people’s pointers. Have fun plucking sincerity out from the satire. 

**Here's a few photos of the past few weeks since we've been away!

 Photo of Weenta Girmay, taken by Julia Elizabeth Evans on Saturday, February 10, 2018.

Photo of Weenta Girmay, taken by Julia Elizabeth Evans on Saturday, February 10, 2018.

TIP #1:  FIGURE OUT A FORMAT —

Whether it’s simply mimicking the NYTIMES Daily news round up or outright stealing from your peers’ blog posts, as I’ve done for the post you’re currently skimming, format is everything! Format allows you to streamline your content.  

TIP #2: SAY IT WITH ME...ROUTINE! —

When you’ve got your business partner’s boyfriend’s brother’s band’s Mardi Gras float performance to edit as well as Aikido practice to get to, efficiency is key.   Routines help.   For instance, I go to Aikido every Wednesday at 6PM.  Similarly, I write The WEEK IN REVIEW every Thursday at 1PM.  Routines encourage accountability. 

Either you do it or you don’t.

 Singleton's Mini Mart, Uptown New Orleans.

Singleton's Mini Mart, Uptown New Orleans.

TIP #3: ORGANIZE YOURSELF, CHILD —

Deep Fried suggests—“create an outline.”  Yup. That’s actually some sound, knock-out advice. Copied and pasted by yours truly: “You’ll save significant time when building your actual content if you structure your posts with an initial outline.” 

 Inside Our Family Farm's hydroponic garden! Photo by Bron Moyi (our drone operator).

Inside Our Family Farm's hydroponic garden! Photo by Bron Moyi (our drone operator).

TIP #4: CONSISTENCY —

Here’s a synthesized opinion for y’all.  On every possible internet article, blog post on blogging, entrepreneur advice listicle, the consensus screams this one guideline— “consistency, consistency, consistency.”  That means, posting your blog on a fixed schedule, e.g. on the same time, on the same day, every week.  No pressure. And by no pressure, I mean don’t follow that rule.

If you miss your scheduled post time, don’t just leave your blog to gather dust. Write something. Post it!

TIP #5: USE YOUR VOICE, HONEY —

Screw the pressures of consistency and fixed timelines.  The #1, most important quality to have in your blog is VOICE.  Write from the first-person ‘I’ voice.  Write to directly to your audience.  Again, hi mom and dad!   Also, don’t forget to thank them for taking the time to read your off-brand writing. 

 Photo from Brittany and Quinntin's wedding on February 25, 2018.

Photo from Brittany and Quinntin's wedding on February 25, 2018.

TIP #6: DISTRACTION —

Do you really want to keep a blog?  What about adopting a pitbull, instead?  Huh?  Weird, seway. 

At the end of the day, a blog hones your writing and thinking skills.   The way I see it is— this blog hones my writing but it also improves the output of my stream of consciousness.

The best stream of consciousness happens sans distraction. Make sure to close any superfluous Chrome/Safari/Firefox tabs.  Of course turn FB off; Instagram, too.  Be ruthless.  Peace is hard to come by and peace is what you need.   Peaceful quiet and healthy routine will unbridle your writing productivity.   

 Photo taken on March 4, 2018 at the Ole and Nu Style Fellas Ball. 

Photo taken on March 4, 2018 at the Ole and Nu Style Fellas Ball. 

TIP #7: WAIT TILL YOU’RE FINISHED, THEN READ YOUR BLOG OUT LOUD —

Some more sound advice from Deep Fried.  Don’t stop and start, editing along the way.  That process is woefully ill-productive.  Write all your thoughts down.  Then read your post. Outloud. 

If for nothing else, your grandma will appreciate your superior grammar and typoless text.   

TIP #8: FUN —

Another hot tip from Deep Fried, treating blogging as a chore will take all of the fun out of it. Instead, think of it as a time for you to creatively express your ideas and stay connected with others. 


 He feed us, coffee-d us, gave us zip ties, and drilled holes into our wooden rig.  All in a matter of 10 minutes and while hosting the  Laissez Boys  Social Aid and Leisure Club before the Tucks parade! Thank you, thank you! Photo taken in Uptown, New Orleans on Saturday, February 10, 2018.

He feed us, coffee-d us, gave us zip ties, and drilled holes into our wooden rig.  All in a matter of 10 minutes and while hosting the Laissez Boys Social Aid and Leisure Club before the Tucks parade! Thank you, thank you! Photo taken in Uptown, New Orleans on Saturday, February 10, 2018.

Thinking critically and engaging in self-mockery is an interesting cocktail experience.  Pheww! Got that out of my system.  By this post, my disengagement with Love You Back Productions' WEEK IN REVIEW has been reversed.   

Also, the "Corner Stores" documentary is wrapping up.  Expect regular WEEK IN REVIEW's from here on out; however, I will say...Again for anyone listening, Weenta and I are considering a MONTH IN REVIEW format.  

Thanks, all for tuning in! 

Love You Back,

Julia

WEEK IN REVIEW: "Nat Geo Experience." by Love You Back Productions

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This WEEK IN REVIEW is a quintessential week in review.  Let's plow through it.

On MONDAY

On MONDAY, I was jazzed after a jam-packed weekend of Aikido, wherein Weenta and I met with 3 funk musicians of the Soul Project.  We hashed out pre-production logistics, scanned a video production budget, and penciled the Saturday before Mardi Gras into Love You Back Productions' calendar.  

Our Monday morning meeting ended with 1 of the musicians saying, "We're performing on a float. Man, I've never even been on a float!"  "Me, neither!" I exclaimed!   More on the Soul Project and on Mardi Gras float shoots to come in future weeks. (!!!!)

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TUESDAY

TUESDAY began before dawn, before first light even.  Weenta and I chased the son on the Mid-City bayou in order to prepare for our commercial shoot with Our Family Farm.  Following those shenanigans, the two of us raced over to the river where Crescent City Farmers' Market hosts its Tuesday market.  

With gray skies overhead, our drone operator captured the market's bustle, Our Family Farm's cheer, and New Orleans unique environs.  On the ground, Weenta and I captured Our Family Farm interactions with customers and the details of its stall, all of with brightness and cheer.

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WEDNESDAY

Wednesday arrived all too quickly with a 3:30 AM Call Time. Yup.  Our 3-man production crew banded together, and we set off for Amite, LA at 3:57 AM.  Early even.  

What followed a dark but giddy, hour-ish long ride up river was magical.  Here's the preview.  Those sheep were hard to wrangle into a decent shot on the camera.  The herd kept skipping away when I went in. 

Imagine.  Me, squatted in the meadows. Wrapped up in a right yellow rain slicker.  Trucking along with my A7sii and a long 70-200mm zoom lens, stacked on a monopod.  I'd run and crouch. Run and crouch. Trying to get THE SHOT all while the soft light of sunrise rapidly distilled into daylight.

Weenta and I laughed later on because our little sheep shoot felt like a real Nat Geo experience.  Returning to New Orleans around 12 noon, I spent the rest of the day, drawing and watching Gilmore Girls.  Hehe.  Here's the preview. Check back in mid-February to see the final product.  :)

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THURSDAY, OOF!

Oof! With horrendous Call Times behind us, Thursday finally settled in.  Feeling a bit groggy, Weenta and I started our day with a detailed conversation about financials.  The operating question being, when will the business pay us back for our new cameras?

BIG NEWS— Love You Back Productions invested in 2 new cameras for yours truly. Yippiiiee! Now, when will the company pay yours truly back for those new cameras?  We settled on March.  

 "Thursday, oof! Friday, yay!" - photo taken on December 29, 2017 of Ryuta Iwashita and Zen Omi by Julia Elizabeth Evans

"Thursday, oof! Friday, yay!" - photo taken on December 29, 2017 of Ryuta Iwashita and Zen Omi by Julia Elizabeth Evans

FRIDAY, YAY!

Now, it's FRIDAY, YAY! Weenta and I have a whole day of interviews for the Corner Stores documentary coming up on Sunday.  As I write to you, we're preparing for that.  See you on the flip side.  It's time to GO AND MAKE A MOVIE!

Thanks for reading, everyone!

Love You Back,

Jules

 

 

WEEK IN REVIEW: From Senegal to New Orleans, with Love by Love You Back Productions

 From our latest wedding film: A love story that takes place in two worlds, between two languages and across many cultures. 

From our latest wedding film: A love story that takes place in two worlds, between two languages and across many cultures. 

It's 2018!

I don't know about you, but my year started off right. 

Just as 2017 came to a close, I was hard at work on the most ambitious wedding film Love You Back Productions has ever produced. I completed the documentary-style highlight on New Year's Eve, with enough time to spare to join in on some New Year's eve festivities.

In mid October of 2017, Love You Back Productions was hired to film the wedding of Anna and William, a couple who work for the United Nations.

Anna is American, William is French. The two currently live in Dakar, Senegal. William's lived in a dozen countries before, Anna's lived in 8, and they've traveled to countless others. 

They wanted us to film not only their wedding day, but the flurry of friends and family coming together from all around the world to celebrate their marriage in the days prior to the wedding. 

So why get married in New Orleans of all places? 

Anna and her sister Jocelyn jointly own a shotgun double in the Lower Garden District neighborhood of New Orleans. The two bought the home as a part of their family tradition of buying and renovating old houses. Jocelyn's lived in New Orleans for the past couple years and was a student at Tulane University. She's now moving back to Pittsburgh, her hometown, where both sisters grew up.

Anna's traveled to New Orleans a handful of times in the past and she loves the feeling of the city. Many say it's the place in the U.S. that feels most like you're in another country--which knowing Anna, is probably why she's drawn towards it. 

She said her and William are looking for a place to settle down after years of traveling around the world, and New Orleans is a serious contender. 

After an initial Skype conversation with Anna, we came up with 4 project keywords for her wedding film:

  1. Family
  2. Blending
  3. Reunion
  4. International

We also got a sense of who the key characters would be.

On Anna's side the key family members were:

Ndeye - A close family friend from Senegal who Anna regards as a sister 

Fatou - Ndeye's daughter, like a god-daughter or niece to Anna

Emily - Anna's long time best friend from France

Bebe, Fatouma and Moussa - Anna's close family from Nigeria who she has adopted into her family as children

 Anna, William, Ndeye and her daughter Fatou.

Anna, William, Ndeye and her daughter Fatou.

On William's side the key family members were:

Nathan - William's Franco-Thai son from a previous marriage

Naomie - William's Franco-Thai daughter from a previous marriage

 Anna, Naomie, Nathan and William.

Anna, Naomie, Nathan and William.

There were many other supporting family members and friends on both the bride and groom's side, but these were the people that meant the most to the couple. 

I realized that in order to capture the true spirit of their wedding, we'd need to follow the couple at 3 crucial points. Here's what we decided to film:

Family Time - Baking Cakes with Margaux, Anna, William, and family - Anna's friend Margaux, a master pastry chef, would bake four small wedding cakes in lieu of one big cake. The whole family would get together to help bake. 

We loved the idea that this would be an informal family gathering centered around a wedding-related activity. We couldn't have asked for a better opportunity to film the family interacting. 

A Virtual Call (same day as Baking Cakes) - We noticed that the children on Anna’s side of the family, Bebe, Fatouma and Moussa, couldn’t make it to the wedding because of visa issues.

It was clear that Anna and William's family in Dakar were a big part of their lives and we wanted their presence to be felt in the film. We realized that as filmmakers, we had the power to incorporate those people into the film even though they couldn't be there in person.

So we came up with a plan to film a video chat with between Anna, William, and Bebe, Fatouma and Moussa.

This shoot date touched upon the following keywords: Family, Blending, International

 Outtake from the Skype call between the wedding party in New Orleans and family in Dakar.

Outtake from the Skype call between the wedding party in New Orleans and family in Dakar.

Party the Day Before The Wedding - The party took place at Anna and Jocelyn's shotgun double in the Lower Garden District. This is where we captured greetings, hugs and first time meetings of the couple's friends from all around the world.

This day was essentially a "rehearsal dinner" -- I put that in quotes because it was a much more relaxed environment than the typical wedding rehearsal dinner. Many of the couple's friends and family members would have already arrived by that point or be arriving earlier in the day.

This shoot date touched upon the following keywords: Family, Blending, Reunion, International

 Ndeye, Fatou and Emily hang out at Anna's house in the Lower Garden District. While Anna and William went over the catering menu for the rehearsal dinner, Emily and Fatou got busy scrapbooking.

Ndeye, Fatou and Emily hang out at Anna's house in the Lower Garden District. While Anna and William went over the catering menu for the rehearsal dinner, Emily and Fatou got busy scrapbooking.

The photos below were taken two days before the wedding. I visited the house where the rehearsal party would be held to scout the location. I hung out with Ndeye, Fatou and Emily while they waited in the kitchen.

I'm so glad I tagged along on this day. This is when I discovered Fatou's scrapbook about her journey to the United States. I didn't know it then, but this scrapbook would be key in deciding the structure and story of the final film. Just goes to show, "hanging out" and pre-planning scouting always, always pays off.

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With multiple pre-wedding activities and shoot dates, it was hard to sit down and compile the final film. What would be the beginning, middle and end? 

I structured and re-structured the order of the film at least 3 times during the course of editing.

In the end it was a poem from Fatou's scrapbook that would become central to the final organization of the film.

The poem she was assigned to read at the wedding, "Vive les Mariés" told a story about the journey of a husband and wife as they experience both the closeness and hardships of marriage. It served as a great vehicle for much of the pre-wedding day footage and carried the love story to its natural conclusion.

On the day of the rehearsal dinner, I asked Fatou to go over her scrapbook with Naomie and read the poem out loud. 

Fatou also read this poem during the ceremony--a moment that was visually stunning and intimate--but in the end, I decided that the interaction between her and Naomie better underscored the closeness and diversity of their family.

Take a look at the final film below.

"Vive les Maries" -- Anna and William's custom wedding highlight documentary. 

Bonus: Anna sent me a photo of the family in Dakar watching the wedding highlight for the first time on New Year's day. This was the sweetest thing ever!

I always send the final film off via email and am left guessing at the reaction. Seeing this picture makes me feel truly appreciated.

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WEEK IN WEEK: 1 tiny story from 2017. by Love You Back Productions

 On Thursday, Julia spent the day photographing her 2 best friends, Zensuke Omi and Ryuta Dutah Iwashita Suderman, for a New Year's postcard.  Not pictured are Zen and Ryuta's gorgeous kimonos.  Head to toe traditional.  Of course, we stopped in a corner store.  Check out the Sly's reaction! - Julia Elizabeth Evans 

On Thursday, Julia spent the day photographing her 2 best friends, Zensuke Omi and Ryuta Dutah Iwashita Suderman, for a New Year's postcard.  Not pictured are Zen and Ryuta's gorgeous kimonos.  Head to toe traditional.  Of course, we stopped in a corner store.  Check out the Sly's reaction! - Julia Elizabeth Evans 

This WEEK IN REVIEW is a tiny story.  While Weenta and I run the last stretches of 2017,  we've had ample time to reflect on the future.

Just kidding!  

Amidst holiday cheer and New Year's resolutions, Love You Back Productions has video proposals to finalize, 2 more wedding films to complete, all of our kickstarter rewards to create and send out, and I have holiday thank-you notes to stamp.  All in a day’s work, ay?

In between all of that, I'll at least take this blog space to look ahead. For 2018, I am personally resolved to be more GRATEFUL.  Here's a tiny story for why?—

Over the holidays, I spent a week with family in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Tarheel country.  On my first night home, I jinxed UNC. Tar Heels suffered its first at-home loss to an unranked team during a non-conference basketball game in over 10 years. 

[That's all quite technical.  All I need to say is UNC lost to Wofford.  Ever heard of Wofford? Nope. My point, exactly.  It was a very big upset.]

When the game ended, my father, a UNC alum and die-hard North Carolina basketball freak, looked down and turned off the TV.  No words, and his head stayed down.

My father then turned to bed.  He moved like a silent arrow in the direction of general darkness.  Sensing the effect Carolina’s tragic defeat was having on my father, I thought to say something.  Thank goodness, it spilled of me, jeez.

“Thank you for staying up and watching the game with me, Pa. That was great," I said.

For a man, always working to culture his kin on Tar Heel fandom but never quite succeeding, he was stunned.  Generally, if someone stays up to watch the game, it's only upon his urging.  Or "better yet," he might say, "let's all drive to Dean Smith Stadium..." At first, this man didn't really hear me.

“That was memorable,” I added. 

I guess my father did hear me. At that point, disappointment flowed into a sudden feeling of affection.  His silence begot a teeny, weeny; tiniest of smiles.  

Upon that note, he went to bed.  That was that, but allow me to speculate, I believe my dad slept better after hearing my "thanks."  Therein, from that night forward, I decided to say “thank you” more often.

  • “Thanks, Pa, for cooking dinner!” 
  • “Thank you mom for helping me find the scissors.” 
  • “Thank you, Grandma, for your dinner conversation, re: the perfection achieved in the last 5 minutes of Casablanca."

Quickly, this little intention started to fly out of me like rapid-fire. “Thanks; thank you; thank you so much,” to whomever I came across. Family and strangers, alike. 

After a few days, however, I grew melancholy, feeling like no one was hearing my "thanks."  No one seemed to heed my enthusiasm nor care about my overtly, copious gestures of gratitude.  "Thanks" after "thanks," family went about their business. Holidays were as usual. Nobody's demeanour towards me changed, at least, not as much as my father's did on that first night, home.  

On my final morning in North Carolina, in the car ride to the airport, I rounded the trip out with, “Thanks, Dad, for hosting me this past week."

A man of few words, my father smiled.  Except this time, he smiled big and bright. “Julia, you don’t need to say that.  This is your home."  I nodded.

"But, Julia, it has been so wonderful to have you this week.”  The sincerity of his voice was deeply moving.  This last interaction with my father speaks to the effect small gestures of gratitude can have on individuals, over time.  Later on, my mom quoted my dad as saying, “Julia’s stay at home was magical.”  She then added, “everyone else thought so, too.” 

Huh? Interesting.  “Thanks for sharing that, Mom.”  Better still, my gratitude affected everybody! 

Writing that tiny story to y'all and reflecting on small experiences over the past week, I realize my New Year’s Resolution is about gratitude. 

Rather than, keeping to a business tone of defining my New Year’s Resolution according to a set of parameters or list of measurable goals, I will focus on idea of gratitude, generally.

Thus, for 2018, I personally resolve to let gratitude into my life.  Check out this elucidating NYTIMES op-ed about how to really keep New Year's resolutions.

Thanks all for reading!

Love you so much,

Julia 

WEEK IN REVIEW: Ay! When's the deadline, again? by Love You Back Productions

 "...a smidge more on edge." Photograph taken at Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans.  Art installation is part of  Propsect 4 The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp . 

"...a smidge more on edge." Photograph taken at Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans.  Art installation is part of Propsect 4 The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp

It's important to point out, right now— early December, right before xmas and the new year, we're all a tad more stressed, a smidge more on edge.... If that sounds about right, then hell yah!  

For this WEEK IN REVIEW, it's timelines timelines timelines and what else? Deadlines.   Y'all get what we're saying, ay?  Before the holiday, everyone gets crammed, smushed and revved up with project DLs.  Well, to remedy holiday busy-i-ness, winter time stresses, we've got the medicine— solidarity.  We're all in this together. 

First, checking in about our Kickstarter because....well, it's been awhile.  (Spoiler: this info was sent as Kickstarter update earlier this week.)

LAST FRIDAY, Julia, "Corner Stores" Director, trudged through the cold New Orleans sleet to meet with Darcy McKinnon at New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC).  Together, Julia and Darcy hammered out a 2018 timeline for "Corner Stores" production:

January - Collect interviews, cinéma vérité footage

Late January - Connect with y'all!, send Kickstarter rewards with love

February - Organize footage, create rough edit of "Corner Stores" 

Late February (Post Mardi Gras) - Present rough edit of "Corner Stores" to Story Incubators, receive feedback on documentary

March - Revise rough draft, add music score

Early April - Finalize documentary

April 18 - "Corner Stores" documentary finished and submitted to the New Orleans Tricentennial Story Incubators

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To give you the feel of— Julia at a meeting.  Here's Julia shaking hands with Zensuke Omi (camera operator for the "Corner Stores" Kickstarter video).   Julia and Zensuke basked in all the inspiration at the New Orleans International Contemporary Artist Exhibition: Prospect 4.  This photo was taken at the Contemporary Arts Center, on December 3rd, 2017—

Julia hanging out with Zensuke Omi (camera operator for our Kickstarter Video). Julia and Zen take in all the inspiration at the New Orleans' Prospect 4 Exhibit, Center for Contemporary Arts. All very exciting!

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On WEDNESDAY, Julia had a wedding documentary deadline.  She had 3 days and 9 minutes of video production to complete.  It was a rodeo.  Fortunately, the wedding documentary entailed the marriage Love You Back Productions' most eccentric, oddball couple—Mario and Rebecca McDonald.  The day of the wedding was Friday the 13th in October, nonetheless.  I'm sure y'all can guess the wedding's theme...

I'll give you a hint.  One word: murder. 

(If you're reading this, you're bound to be thinking, Huh??? Watch the video and you'll understand.)

Understand, now?  As the lovely, witch-ly bride, Rebecca, explains it, "he embraces my weird side, I embrace his weird side."  Put a smidge more succinctly, Mario responds, "we're weird-ass people." Now I only wish every wedding was as dark and magical as on this year's unforgettable Friday, October 13th.

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One of our inspiration videos: A video by Zagat published on May 27, 2016.  "Army ranger, Darling finds that providing sustenance for his community through farming is an honorable way to continue to serve his country - and perhaps change the way the average American views dinner."

On THURSDAY, I held a 3-day old baby lamb.  (No photos, YET.)   Again, if you're reading this, I'm sure you're having another, Huh??? moment.  Here's the context:  Weenta and I will produce a short commercial for our favorite Crescent City Farmers' Market farmers, Our Family Farm! 

Regina and Daniel Wadsworth of Our Family Farm have been selling us eggs, hydroponic lettuce, and meat bones to us for the past 2 years.  So, we know these farmers, personally. Finally one day, Daniel proposed a collaboration.  In the spirit of saying "yes," we wholeheartedly agreed! Here's an excerpt from our short commercial video treatment:

"Love You Back Productions will create a short video that takes viewers on an energetic journey from Our Family Farm in Amite, LA to the Thursday Crescent City Farmers’ Market in New Orleans, LA. The central focus of the 30 second video will be Our Family Farm’s humanely raised lamb and goat meat."

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 Photo courtesy of  Jordan Blanchard Photography .

Photo courtesy of Jordan Blanchard Photography.

Today is FRIDAY.  Weenta and I have 4 more weddings to finalize, export, package-up, and send out before December is over.  After a November full of fundraising, we couldn't feel more relaxed and happy to be doing the work we do!   

I must say, the business of wedding films and videography is truly gratifying.   There's no better experience than sending a finalized wedding film to a bride and receiving her reaction.    I'll just say this—we receive tons of emojis and plenty !!!!!!!!!.

Memories and storytelling, it's what we do.   Thanks all for tuning in to our WEEK IN REVIEW.  Talk next week? :) 

 Photograph taken at Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans.  Art installation is part of  Propsect 4 The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp . 

Photograph taken at Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans.  Art installation is part of Propsect 4 The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp

Happy holidays!

Julia

WEEK IN REVIEW: Re-Centering Ourselves by Love You Back Productions

 An oldie, but a goodie: Julia and I re-focus ourselves in our business and set our intentions.

An oldie, but a goodie: Julia and I re-focus ourselves in our business and set our intentions.

The past month has been a flurry of fundraising and Kickstarter updates. Now that we're through the Kickstarter campaign, Julia and I took a moment to re-center ourselves and re-focus our efforts toward the commercial side of our business.

We scheduled a sales meeting where we went over our short term sales goals for short commercials in the next 3 months. 

Before we got into the nitty gritty of what our sales strategy would look like, we asked ourselves this: 

What is our intention for the commercial side of our business?

This is a question I learned to ask myself from listening to Oprah, the all-time guru of intention setting. 

This is what we came up with:

  • To tell more distinctive stories
  • To be proactive, open and productive

What does that mean for Julia and I?

  • Say "Yes!" to everything
  • Get clients excited about the product we're creating for them

It might sound radical to say "yes" to everything, but we're clear that our yes must be for work that we're excited about and follows our intention to tell more distinctive, compelling stories. We'd like to release ourselves from feeling bound to our budgets and lean more toward making work and fulfilling our creative selves.

For the past year, I've especially been ardent about making sure that we charge what we're worth. Understanding the cost of our services was one of the main lessons we learned from the 2017 Women in Business Challenge. Charging what we're worth sometimes meant discovering our services were out of budget for potential clients, and that was ok with us. We were setting boundaries and expectations as women in business.

Now that we're trying to attract more commercial clients, our thoughts and views have begun to shift.

One of the reasons for this shift was a conversation I had with a more experienced female video producer. I asked her all of the questions I had about sales and managing crews and productions. One of the last questions I asked was the most enlightening.

If we charge less for our services in order to get more work, are we compromising the value of our work? 

She said absolutely not. Our business is still growing and still trying to figure itself out. We should only say no if we are over-run with opportunities. 

 In the mode of YES! 

In the mode of YES! 

That conversation changed everything, and it influences how we look at our sales now. Oprah would call it "an ah-ha moment." 

In the next 3 months, we'll be following our intention to say yes, and seeing what possibilities that "yes" brings with it.