Launching “How I Made It”

Yesterday I launched a new series for my job (job? yes–I have a job! more on it later—I’m too busy working). It is called “How I Made It” and it profiles Black women who have made it in the fashion and beauty industry. Our first episode features Mikki Taylor, former Beauty & Cover Editor for ESSENCE Magazine. Mikki is a pretty awesome lady. Shooting this was the first time I have experienced her in the flesh, and I enjoyed every minute of it!

This is the third series I’ve launched for the job so far. Each project is special to me for one reason or another, and every new series is my new favorite. I am pretty proud of this piece, which is saying a lot–I am hardly ever proud of my work for longer than 10 seconds immediately following launching. The team I put together to pull all of this off was amazing. From the makeup artist to the motion graphics team to the director, editor and DP, to the producer, the musician who created the music and of course our regular staff who had lots of input. I think this may have been the first piece we’ve done that I couldn’t stop watching over and over again. I think my favorite part of this whole thing is I got it done right under budget, ha!

I really enjoy producing video content for the web. It’s happening for me really quickly, but being able to tell visual stories that you can’t find in mainstream media–especially those about and for Black people is kinda….cool. I am loving the opportunity to be able to do this.

Watch the video below. Continue reading “Launching “How I Made It””

Producing “She’s The Boss”

I’ve been super busy lately because I have been in the throws of producing  an original web series for a client. I’ve reached a milestone (the series debuted!), so I figured I would weigh in with some thoughts and an update.

Have I produced a web series before? No. Since high school, I’ve made small video projects over the years but nothing with a budget, an idea, and a team of people to work with to make it happen.  After a longtime client asked me to help oversee his production studio, this web series landed on my desk and I did my best to make it work.

I like challenges.

Enter She’s The Boss

The overall concept of the series She’s The Boss was semi-packaged by the time I stepped on the scene: it would be a series profiling NYC’s Black businesswomen and industry leaders. 20 women, 20 episodes,  5-7 minutes each and sponsored by General Mills. There were some big challenges though: we did not have any guests confirmed, the creative aspects of the series hadn’t been finalized, the client had just bought the show and it needed to go up ASAP. It would be a hustle to get this project up and going. We could do this, right?

Right.

The series debuted last week, and it’s been an exciting few weeks to say the least. We’re still booking guests, but the guest list and shoots have been awesome. We shoot almost every week and every shoot day is different, with its own set of challenges and personalities. The other day I was on set tearing up a bit by just how inspiring and awesome our guest for Episode 3 was. I did a walk through on location with the guest for Episode 5 today and she had the best energy. It’s an exciting time to be working on projects like this.

Episode 1: Ericka Dotson, Indique Hair

This was our first shoot–ever–and Ericka Dotson was great. She has awesome energy and her team is very well put together and fun to work with. I was nervous about the shoot but it went well. It’s not 100% perfect, so you know my inner perfectionist is uncomfortable, but overall I am happy. I look forward to our other episodes building on top of this one. Check out Episode 2 over here, featuring my soror Michelle James.

Being A Boss Lady

She’s The Boss is an aptly named series for my first project in this role as I get comfortable with being “the boss” of a team of folks.  I’ve worked for myself for the last 3 years, so it’s been a while since I worked with a team, let alone worked in a leadership capacity. I’m still growing, learning how to lead, getting my stride together, etc, so being on set with these phenomenal ladies has been a a great “learning on the job” experience. These interviews keep me grounded and reinforce to me what it means to a woman and a leader. It’s okay to be confident, it’s okay to be “aggressive,” it’s okay to be a perfectionist, and it’s okay to delegate.

I can’t wait to finish shooting this series! For now, you can catch a new episode every Thursday on MadameNoire.com/ShesTheBoss.

Why Being Creative Creates Insanity

Is it cliche to post TED videos and tell people to watch them right now? Hopefully not yet.

Anyway. Watch this TED video I’ve posted. It’s Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) talking about creativity and the creative process. I know ya’ll are Eat, Pray Love‘d out, but bear with me. It’s 19 minutes long, but it goes by quickly because she’s a good speaker (obviously, it’s TED, after all). Watch, then join me below the video for a little discussion.

Okay I don’t really have much discussion on this, besides: isn’t this an interesting concept? I know my creative process is often blocked because I fear how it will be received, or I think I can’t top my most previous thing I was proud of. My creative process is the the point where I won’t begin creating because I am already thinking of the output and whether or not it is growth over my last piece of work. I do this before I have even started the creative work!

But today I stop doing this. Today I will attribute my creativity to some pink invisible gnome that sits in the corner of my bedroom. Or, perhaps, you know maybe something a little more practical, like…God. Ha.

Business & Motivation: The Psychology of Drive

This is an excellent presentation (with fun doodles) on the economics and pyschology behind your motivation in business. If you have employees or are thinking about hiring employees, this is a must watch.

My thoughts? I completely agree. I can say for myself, monetary incentives for my creativity and general awesomeness never work in driving me to do better, or output more. And fundamentally, I just want to get better at what I do and feel like I am contributing something to the world. As I have gotten to know some people over the years of this career I’ve cobbled together, a few of these people don’t seem to understand this about me. I know I can’t be bought. I used to think this was a gift and a curse, but I’m glad to know it’s not just me and it’s not just a fluke.

Anyway, I think is a good concept for business owners to think about as they hire people for their companies and devise their company policies.