My "Pink" Birthday Party

Although it may look on-line that I haven't been very active the past handful of months, behind the scenes that has been far from true. Besides shooting several music videos and my first commercial (which I will blog about soon), I have spent a lot of time on my hobby of crafting/making things in December for Christmas , and then in February for my birthday as well. I've had a decade long string of bad luck with Birthdays (with one or two notable exceptions), and I wanted to stop the streak for good this year. So I pulled out a new Pinterest board for inspiration and put together exactly what I wanted - an all Pink Birthday Party with a bunch of the most special people in my life.

(Pro Tip: I made the wine gummies from my board with a full bottle of red wine, a cup of water, two boxes of Jello, and no added sugar or flavor of any kind, and they were divine!)

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Meet-Up with Nashville Scene Music Editor D. Patrick Rodgers

Patrick and I have been social media friends for almost four years but have never met in person despite living in the same city and surely both being at many of the same shows/concerts through the years. So we were both happy to finally put a face with the name when we met at new local tap room Hops and Crafts across from the Scene office in the Gultch for conversation and a drink. Patrick is the Music Editor at the Nashville Scene, does contract writing for several publications including Rolling Stone Country, and plays drums in the band And The Relatives. We each talk about our multitudes of jobs, and there are many places they overlap. There is definitely room for collaboration here in the near future.

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Meet-Up with Journalist and Musician Andrew Leahey

Andrew and I met on set last year where we both showed up to be extras for our friends Bear Cub in their music video for "I've Been Around". Today we meet-up at "flour. sugar. eggs." a brunch place in the German Town neighborhood of Nashville. We've talked about doing a music video together before, but our plans were curbed when Andrew found out that he had to have surgery to remove a brain tumor late last year.

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Meet-Up with musician and producer Ben Hardt

Back in March I took a Barista job to fill some of my afternoons and meet some new people. Who knew when I walked in the first day that the most interesting person I'd meet would be my new partner in crime behind the cappuccino machine?

Ben had only been in Nashville for about four months at the time but he came in swinging. Back in his hometown of Pittsburgh he had a solo music career and a band called the New Victorians. The band was successful enough that he raised over $10,000 from a Kickstarter campaign to get recording started on an album trilogy; two of which are already completed. There is an underlying theme to the whole set of songs and Ben plans to turn the pieces into a cinematic experience. As we drink our happy-hour whiskeys at a local sports bar (that thankfully is currently empty) we discuss concepts for the first video.

Ben's in negotiations for a publishing deal already and I can't see what will stop him...the New Victorians stuff is good. Like Trent Reznor and Arcade Fire had a baby, who then married the singer from The National and gave their kid an orchestra for Chanukah. Or something like that; I have only heard a few songs. But I believe he has the potential. And at one of his first Nashville gigs, strangers already knew his songs and were singing along. Just a matter of time before the masses catch on.

Check out some of his work here: https://soundcloud.com/ben-hardt/tears-will-collide-w-band

20 Meet-Ups Continued

I've been neglecting my blog for awhile because life has gotten in the way - which is great! It means that I've been so busy with work and summer fun that I haven't sat down at my computer to write anything for awhile. During this time, I've still been doing Meet-Ups, and even better, I still have a list of people who are interested in getting together and talking!

As for summer fun, I've been hiking and spending a lot of time out in my garden - which becomes my favorite place in the summer. There have been lots of birthday parties, wedding showers, cookouts, and friends from back home coming to visit. And my friends and I have just started a series of waterfall hikes that promise to be magical well into the Fall. And speaking of Fall, I'm looking forward to going to some weddings as a guest instead of as the photographer or videographer. I'm not sure I'll know what to do with myself.

To remind everyone of why I originally started the Meet-Ups, below is my original post back from January. It went so well, that I decided to keep doing them as long as there is still someone who wants to network...and I'm always meeting new people, and we always have a good time :) In the next few weeks, I'll be catching up on some meet-up posts. Until then...

Original Post

"My birthday is coming up next month, and as with all birthdays I find myself evaluating what's been happening this year. For most people I feel this happens around the New Year, but for me, I always find it happens around when I'm about to officially turn a year older.

This year, I've been thinking specifically how little I am involved in this community and it's happenings compared to how fully immersed I was in many things back in Columbus, OH (where I moved from 3 years ago.) There I was involved with an annual book where we showcased the Hot 17 bands of the year. I helped to book, plan, and run an annual charity concert and raffle where we gave the proceeds to breast cancer research. I helped countless bands with promotions and photographs....I was part of the community, and I knew most of the others in my community. I know that there's a lot more here that I could be doing as well, so I figure I need to get out there and find out what I can get into.

To facilitate this, I'm going to try to meet with at least 20 new people before my birthday (or roughly the end of February) with the topics being "What can I do for you?" and "How can we help each other?" Then I'll blog about your business and our time together. It's a win no matter how you look at it.

I am a special blend of grassroots marketer/promoter, videographer, photographer, & designer. The bands I used to work with back home always said I had magic powers because I could get a lot done with little resources. Let's see what I can do here!"

Photo Featured in Levi Weaver's CD Jacket

Amazing musician and good friend, Levi Weaver, released his new full length CD last week. During the first day, I watched him climb the charts to surpass The Lumineers, Ed Sheeran, Old Crow Medicine Show, Amos Lee, Nora Jones, David Gray, and a slew of fellow Nashville artists (ahem, Matt Wertz and Ben Rector) to make it to the 23 spot on iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts! I couldn't be more proud of my friend and co-worker!! Oh, and did I mention that I got a very appreciated nod in the "thank you" section of the CD jacket for all the promo work I do with him? And a photo of mine is in there too (see below)!

As one reviewer said, "Be brave, prepare to face your heartache, and get this album." Grab a copy of Your Ghost Keeps Finding Me now: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/your-ghost-keeps-finding-me/id858771118

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Meet-Up with photographer/filmer Jim Cook

Jim pulls up on a motorcycle, even though it feels pretty cold outside to me, and tells me that he drove nearly an hour to get here and has been riding his bike almost everywhere he goes since he got it in October. Brrrr. But that's just how he rolls. He is an enigma with great stories and great ideas that just roll out as he talks.

Jim tells me that he grew up in San Diego where he liked to surf and skate. He spent some time playing in a rock band that once shared the stage with POD. He co-founded a company that developed a new way to share music on-line in '07 called Bandbox. They did the pre-launch of Taylor Swift's Fearless album and worked with Keith Urban, Paula Abdul, Jewel and all sorts of other musicians you know. Then he meets a girl who's a photographer (Ilde, now his wife), falls in love, and learns to use a camera in one night! Together they run a very successful photography studio based out of Nashville. This is where we are now.

You can tell he likes people and he probably is into psychology a bit too. He tells me about some of the exercises he and his wife do with clients to get great emotional interaction from the couples in their photos. It's brilliant. Then he turns some exercises on me and ends up asking some questions about where I see my career going that I wasn't prepared to answer. He likes to ask the hard questions, get you to think, and get you out of your comfort zone. I think it's his way of really getting to know people. He says that every six months or so he likes to get himself into a project where he's in way over his head. He knows that once he's committed to something, he will make it happen no matter what, and that's how he accomplishes new things and grows. Again, it's brilliant...and definitely something I want to implement in my own life and career.

For my first trick, I will jump head-first into working on a scripted web series - something I have no background in doing and in which I am definitely in over my head. Hopefully my next "over my head" adventure will be with a project along-side Jim. Look for us to do a music video together soon - it's gonna be great!

Check out Jim and ilde's wedding and portrait work here

Then there's the time he went to Haiti and shot this great short documentary. It's really moving and shows you how he's able to really get people to reveal themselves. Also, what they're doing there is amazing. Watch it here:

Meet-Up with Bluewater Music's Cal Tucker

I opened an email last month from an unknown name. It read something like "My name is Cal and I work at Bluewater Music. I checked out your website and it looks like some very cool and creative stuff, so I wanted to let you know about something we’re working on." And a beautiful friendship was born.

I walk into a beautiful converted house close to downtown and am greeted by some enthusiastic and adorable French Bulldogs, or as I like to call all dogs - puppers. Someone greets me, brings me water, and calls Cal to come downstairs. I follow him through the maze of this glorious house - wood floors, grand staircases, everything about this place is great. But I digress.... Cal and his co-horts are developing a series of short drama/comedy episodes right now and they want me to be the Director! The idea is to finish a pilot and then shop it around. Since our initial meeting, we've met in rapid succession. A flurry of scripts, casting, and planning have happened very quickly and we've set a date to start filming next month. It's all very exciting.

Update May, 14: About two weeks before we were to begin filming, someone told Bluewater that they'd direct the series for free even though the rest of the cast and crew were getting paid, and they had verbally promised the gig to me. So after months of planning with them, giving them lots of my time in meetings, and sharing all my ideas for production and advertising the series, they told me they were going with the free person. Since I couldn't get them to sign a contract along the way, there's not much I can do. And they didn't return emails asking if they were going to still credit me in the series for the months of time, work, planning, and ideas I gave them. So, lesson learned...even when working with people who you think are your friends, always get everything in writing. Lesson two - there's no need to speak ill of businesses and people who are shady, they sink themselves - they've since lost business with other friends of mine as well for comparable behavior.

Meet-Up with Jewelry Designer - Freshie and Zero

My meet-up with Beth of Freshie and Zero ended up feeling to me more like catching up with an old friend. First, when I walked in I knew we had a mutual friend - I had mentioned it when reaching out to meet - but I hadn't realized that we were at that mutual friend's party together about a year ago and had interacted over social media in the aftermath. So we kicked off with reminiscing about the party and talking about our friends, and then we talked about her children who were dancing at said party, and that got the ball rolling.

Beth is the owner and designer of Freshie and Zero, a local jewelry making company located in the heart of downtown Nashville. Although they don't have a store-front now, she is looking to re-locate to a wonderful new mixed-use creative space that is about to open close to downtown. This year, she told me, is all about her business. After spending much of her time and money last year on a new house which she shares with her husband and two adorable children (I can say that cause I've seen them dance), she is looking this year to relocate her business, looking to expand it, and looking to hire some new employees. She's also branching out and hitting new craft shows as well as submitting to several catalogs around the country.

Yup, this year is all about the business, and I know that she's taking it to some great places! I hope to be able to do some product shots or perhaps a promotional film for her sometime this year...maybe even come on-board to help with her new marketing ideas. But you should go check out her beautifully crisp, clean designs at her on-line shop now!

Click here for the Freshie and Zero shop

And check out some of my favorite designs:

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Meet-up with filmmaker Mark Pfeffer

A few years ago, I met Mark at a mutual friend's Christmas party and in the few minutes of chatting that we did, I found out that he was responsible for an amazing music video that a friend's band had just released. At the time I believe I had just done my first video project (also a friend's music video) but the next year, I would dive head first into video work. But while I've been lucky enough to do some beautiful video work with names like Noisetrade and Sirius XM since then, Mark has been working on some pretty serious animation, digital composites, directing, writing, editing, and generally doing visual stuff that could blow any filmmaker's portfolio out of the water. Between his current company - Family of Renegades - & his former company - SmarkMark (that he built with his twin brother Matt) - Mark has got some amazing experience and cooked up quite the portfolio...which I suggest you click through to and watch.

For our meet-up, we sat down and swapped stories over some tea at a local coffee shop and before I knew it, almost two hours had gone by. We both talked about projects that we're getting into and found out that there is lots of room for collaboration. I was especially intrigued by the project that Mark and his brother are developing right now and plan to present to Netflix & Hulu...you know, no big deal. I don't want to give away the details, but with a good team behind them, I have no doubt they can pull it off. I hope to be a part of it!

Check out Mark's portfolio here...I especially recommend the effects work in the Paper Route music video and the Gamma Storybook Animation video:

familyofrenegades.com

Meet-Up with visual artist Morgan Fite

Today we meet visual artist Morgan Fite. Morgan and I met awhile back when her roommate booked a house show with a musician I work with (Levi Weaver) and then moved out of the state unexpectedly just days before the show. Because of these unusual circumstances, we were thrown together very last minute to host a party of people we didn't even know. Needless to say, we bonded over this experience. But Morgan has spent the past six months painting her way through Europe and I thought that was worth a meet-up to see what she had been up to.

We met at a local restaurant here in Nashville called Fido. If you don't know it, instead of having permanent decor on the walls, it is a revolving door of talented local artists' work. It's essentially an art gallery/coffee shop/restaurant and it does all three well. While sitting in the middle of this place, Morgan told me about her adventures overseas, how it had changed her, and mostly how it had affected her painting. Then I started looking through her portfolio and her work has evolved beautifully. I immediately suggested that she should try to display and sell her art at Fido, as it would be good exposure for her, and would do wonders for the aesthetic of the place. She said she would like to, but she is currently in talks with one of the galleries on 5th about having an exhibit there! We got Fido's information though, and surely in the future, this amazing up-and-comer will have her work there too :)

As we talked, I found out that her art has been featured on television when they announced the hosts of the 2013 CMA's, on the TV series Nashville, and in a collaboration with Immix Eleven Amplification to create an amplifier benefiting a non-profit called Exile International. We talked about me helping Morgan promote her next big art show (or helping network to make it happen), about me taking photos of her art, about her commissioning a piece for me...all sorts of room for collaboration here in the future.

To keep up with where Morgan and her art will be next:

Check out her portfolio: http://morganfite.com/

Check out some of her paintings being displayed at a Starbucks in Hermitage

See one of the few new pieces she's posted so far from her Europe travels:

 
 

Meet-Up with Kate Hutcheson, Photographer

I was so glad to meet Kate Hutcheson through a photographer Christmas party this past December. Once she saw what I was doing here, she contacted me for a meet-up and it turns out that we have a lot in common! When I walked in, she was knitting a sweater; I just finished a bunch of hats, scarves, and baby blankets that I gifted for Christmas presents. We talked about traveling - she spent a year in Prague, I backpacked around Europe for three months. We both were radio DJs in college. And she designs web sites, as do I!

Kate is a wife and a mother to Jack and Poppy (4 1/2 & 3 respectively.) She specializes in family and children portraits and you can check out her beautiful portraits and design here:

www.katehutchesonphotography.com

www.katehutchesondesign.com

With so much in common, I can't wait to collaborate on a project soon!

Some favorite shots:

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Meet-Up with Weatherly Hulsey of BWH2 Productions

Today I met up with a wonderful woman that I had the good fortune to meet through my church. She is a wife, a new mother to a very well-behaved 4 month old named Blakely, a photographer, and a lawyer...WHAT? Yup, Weatherly not only has her own production company that has followed with her through moves in several states, but also has a law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law, and spent her last year as visiting student at George Washington University in DC to get her specialty in intellectual property. Whew.

Weatherly and I met up at her house, where we sat with her little - Blakely - and chatted over hot chocolates. We discussed the possibility of working together this year with photography/film, plotted to use my web building skills and her lawyer knowledge to start a new business, and since I have a marketing background we also started making plans for growing her Production Company - BWH2.

Weatherly and her husband just moved here in April and they had a baby in September, so she hasn't had time to get her bar license to practice law in TN yet. But besides her photography prowess that just helped her land an impressive gig as a photog for AEG/TMG here in Nashville, she is a brilliant graphic designer as well! So if you need cards, tags, posters, or just about anything designed, give her a ring.

I believe this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship and partnership! I can't wait to see what our next meeting brings.

 

Check out Weatherly's website and portfolio here: http://bwh2productions.com/home

For a glimpse at some of her designs, check out her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BWH2Productions

Meet-Up with photographer & mentor Jenna Henderson

This week, as part of my 20 Meet-Ups initiative, I met-up with a brilliant portrait photographer - Jenna Henderson - who I first connected with on Facebook (of all things.) We are both part of a photographer's meet-up group called Shoot To Kill and were first introduced when I commented on one of her posts. Other than photographing, Jenna is a wife, a mother to 2 yr old Clark (who I got to meet finally), and an amazing mentor/teacher.

This meeting was actually different than all the others will be because we already knew how we could help each other, and yesterday was the culmination of carrying it out. But Jenna is too great to leave out of this initiative I'm doing, so I'm bending my own rules a bit (I'm allowed to do that.)  You see, I've recently built three web-sites for Jenna, and we decided to trade the last web build from me for a mentoring session from her. Jenna runs a super successful photography business and because I haven't built up my photography business very much since my move to Nashville, I had a lot of questions for her. She pretty much had all the answers. From how she shoots, to how she sells, to how she delivers her products - Jenna was an open book.

She was very patient and thorough, listened to all my questions, and answered every one in detail...all signs of a great teacher. And right now she's planning for her first photography workshop that will take place in April. Truly, whether you are a very new beginner, or a seasoned person looking for new insight, inspiration, or tips - Jenna's workshop will be well worth your time.

Jenna's workshop website that I built: http://www.thearrowworkshop.com/

Jenna's business website (which I also built): http://jennahenderson.com/

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20 Meet-ups

My birthday is coming up next month, and as with all birthdays I find myself evaluating what's been happening this year. For most people I feel this happens around the New Year, but for me, I always find it happens around when I'm about to officially turn a year older.

This year, I've been thinking specifically how little I am involved in this community and it's happenings compared to how fully immersed I was in many things back in Columbus, OH (where I moved from 3 years ago.) There I was involved with an annual book where we showcased the Hot 17 bands of the year. I helped to book, plan, and run an annual charity concert and raffle where we gave the proceeds to breast cancer research. I helped countless bands with promotions and photographs....I was part of the community, and I knew most of the others in my community. I know that there's a lot more here that I could be doing as well, so I figure I need to get out there and find out what I can get into.

To facilitate this, I'm going to try to meet with at least 20 new people before my birthday (or roughly the end of February) with the topics being "What can I do for you?" and "How can we help each other?" Then I'll blog about your business and our time together. It's a win no matter how you look at it.

I am a special blend of grassroots marketer/promoter, videographer, photographer, & designer. The bands I used to work with back home always said I had magic powers because I could get a lot done with little resources. Let's see what I can do here!

The National Retweets Caitlin Rose's Video

A few weeks ago I filmed a video for Nashville-based musician Caitlin Rose. It was my first big solo shoot and we were doing a video for a cover of the song "Pink Rabbits" by The National. We released the video today, and when Caitlin posted about it, The National retweeted the post...making this one of the coolest days in my career.

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Caitlin Rose Noistrade / EastSide Manor Sessions on Nashville Cream

I've been asked to be part of a new film team for our local Nashville music gurus at Noisetrade. If you're familiar with Noisetrade, you know that they are a free music service with fans nation-wide. They've decided to add a visual element to their repertoire, and I'm lucky enough to be part of it. Noted photographer, and favorite collaborator of mine - Allen Clark is directing our group. Yesterday we released our first Noisetrade video session filmed at EastSide Manor here in Nashville. It's been well received so far with around 3,000 views the first day! Nashville Cream gave us a boost today with a little write up about the session.

http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashvillecream/archives/2013/07/17/caitlin-rose-reworks-some-tunes-releases-free-ep-talks-to-google-play

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