What does it take to build and connect with an audience in the digital age of independent film? Taylor Morden of Pop Motion Pictures discovered the answer in his early musician days: make friends, not fans. The transition from music to film was natural as the do-it-yourself punk rock work ethic made sense in the world of documentary film. Learn whatever you need to learn, do what you need to do, and always build your community. From his first documentary about the band, The Refreshments, to his films about ska music and the last Blockbuster Video store in Bend, Oregon, Taylor brings movies to life that matter to both him and his audience. On top of that, he makes sure to have a good time.
I’m always fascinated with stories of how people have built long-lasting and sustainable careers. But what happens when someone burns out doing something they love, decides to learn a new trade, and ends up not only rebuilding a career but creates a more meaningful life in the process? That is the story of Robb Mills, an independent audio contractor for over 20 years, working on films and video games as a sound designer and music composer. From the hustle and grind of his early days to resetting his life with yoga therapy, Robb candidly shares story after story of honing his craft around his love for sound and music while serving and sharing life with others.
I met Benjamin Ironside Koppin in 2013 on the set of his indie horror feature, Made Me Do It, where I ruined a long handheld take by dropping the camera into my lap. Fortunately, he was cool about it, and we went on to collaborate on several other projects throughout the years. The philosophy of his production company, Ironside Films, is simple: tell the stories we want to tell in the way we want to do it. Partnering with his wife Kristin, they work together to bust through limitations and manage expectations to make one feature film a year.
A statement on their website is boldly simple yet deeply profound: “We only make Good things.” That’s Good With a capital G! The founders of Farsighted Creative, Maggie Hart and Brittany Zampella, are here to talk about what it means to not only create media that’s good but also put good into the world. They also share how their creative partnership’s power propelled them forward to create short films, write music, launch two podcasts, and work with ethically sourced clients. It’s refreshing to talk with two passionate professionals who are doing work that truly matters to themselves and the world.
How do you learn to speak up and step into the power of your voice? For filmmaker Jhanvi Motla, it started with a physical journey from Mumbai, India, to the United States to study filmmaking and bring stories to life that matter to her. In this engaging conversation, Jhanvi shares story after story about how she had to become resilient and disciplined to be independent while also learning to accept other people’s support. Throughout the conversation, the weight of family and culture is present as she steps into her voice to tell the story of herself, her mother, and the unacknowledged heroes of the home in her upcoming documentary feature, Household Heroes.