The Sun Makes Me Brave

Friday, August 7, 2015

It was last year when I first inspired to pair words with visuals. I started coming across some poems on Pinterest (most likely by Tyler Knott or Christopher Poindexter :) and they would just move me. I remember thinking how beautiful it is when someone can hold such intensity in such few words. So much meaning and emotion. All I wanted to do was translate those words into video - into motion.
So this Spring, I thought - why not? I partnered up with Kennedy Dawn who is a stylist for Free People and I decided to come from the perspective of creating this poem for the actual brand (Free People). Which gave me the idea to address: What does it mean to be free?

Malori of Hoot and Holler was the floral stylist - as most of you know I am drawn to fresh blooms :) Then I partnered with Dianne Tubbs who is an incredible singer/song-writer here in Phoenix.
I don't usually film without a very specific story in mind, but for this particular project I did. We were in a spot that had windows and dark spaces, so I basically just filmed her where the light looked most interesting. When I saw the window, I went to the other side and told Kennedy (who was inside) to walk towards the window longingly, as though she were yearning for something on the other side of it. I got chills because the room was so dark that it looked as though she suddenly appeared from the dark.
Once I had the footage filmed, the ONLY thing I knew is that I wanted to answer "What does it mean to be free?" and that I was drawn to the dark/light idea. Dianne came over to my studio office, and I showed her my timeline draft - full of clips that only made sense if they had a connecting story. I told her my idea about light and dark, and she asked me to keep playing the footage. She would listen to the music and just start writing down words. It was a pretty killer moment just watching it happen. We discussed the writings, and the story came alive. I was pretty emotional because these words meant so much more to us as believers. Here we were, inspired by a Free People campaign, but then the words became so much more than these 4 short lines. How many of us struggle with the comfort of the darkness?

What does it mean to be free?
To be drawn to the day.. and abandon the night.
For the dark brings me comfort,
but the sun... makes me brave.

And that's the first of my mini-narrative series. I realize that the beauty in the poems and words I've read is when the message, above all, grips me and speaks right to me. I don't know what that will continue to look like or evolve, but I'll definitely keep creating from that place. Whatever it looks like :)


Flora Apothecary Campaign

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Sooo... there was no way I could JUST post the video for this project. The amount of talent involved and the planning behind all of it deserved a closer look into not only my standard campaign process, but how exactly these ideas brew to the surface...

 1. Create Character // 

Alex May and I partnered up to dream up who this "Flora Femme Fatale" would be. We didn't base this on what our desires would be, but instead researched the visuals, the brand, and what words Nikki (my client + owner of Flora Apothecary) used to describe her process. I also had Nikki fill out a questionnaire and some of the words she used was "restoration, mysterious, mother nature, the Sacred Feminine, healthy.." Through all of this research, Alex and I decided that Flora needed to be the ultimate alchemist. Based on Nikki's summary, it felt like this character needed to come from the earth. That she created from the earth but had this air of ethereal mystery - a message of restoration and beauty.

2.  Assemble Team //

Because Flora Apothecary is product-based, I wanted to be sure to have a product stylist in addition to a creative stylist. Fawn created the most beautiful arrangements, incorporating the actual ingredients in Flora Apothecary's products. I also brought one of my favorite florists - Malori of Hoot & Holler - because she loves experimenting with blooms just as much as I do. Such a freaking talent! I was also lucky to snag Stephanie of SN Makeup on her busiest season :)

Here Alex is spraying water to create a "dripping" effect on the petals. I wanted to create a scene that the earth was waking our Flora Femme Fatale up with its drops of dew falling on her back.
Here, Stephanie is helping us create a "foraged hand" by mixing lipstick colors and loose petals on our model,  Taylor (from Ford Agency).

3. Storyboard //

This can only be made possible once the story/character is established. This is actually quite challenging because it isn't necessarily a "chronological" story. This was more of an establishment on what the Flora Apothecary brand is about and the mood, intention, and values of the company.  I do all of my storyboarding on Pinterest and specifically pin for 2 things: movement + art direction for my team. I want my team to know exactly the mood of the story by seeing the Pinterest board. After this, I pull specific images to create a seperate Storyboard that serves me as a "timeline guide."

4. Create + Communicate!

This is all about direction - which is one of the roles that I've realized is a huge part of what makes my work ... me. There's a particular way that I communicate to the model(s) I work with to get specific movements. I do this also with my team when communicating the story and character. This plays a huge role in the kind of props, fabric, and locations we use. But honestly, at the end of the day - I have to make it happen with the model. No prop or location can replace the connection I must establish with the person in front of my camera. But all of these things together? Oh, that's the magic...

With all of that said, here is the video portion of the campaign. One of my most eclectic and mysterious films to date...

A huge thanks to Mark Gabriel for post-production assistance and inspiring me to push the envelope on movement. AND a special thanks to Brooke, my studio manager, for the behind the scene photos and always ninja-style assistance the day of.

Now, you MUST MUST MUST visit Flora Apothecary (link) and try her Elixirs which are my personal favorite product in her shop. I promise, hands-down, it is one of the BEST items you can have with you for travel, yoga, nighttime routine, or for any smell-like-a-garden moment you crave :)


Lavender and Lace

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

I've had this vision for about 2 years and finally executed on it this past September.

The last time I organized a concept shoot like this was when I did Frida back in 2011 - AHH. Remember Frida (link)?! That was one of the MOST memorable shoots I've ever done. This will be one of those too...

This shoot was featured as a Valentine's editorial on Disfunkshion Magazine (link). I love what that magazine stands for and am constantly inspired by their visuals. So honored to have this piece featured with them.

Huge, huge thanks to my team that made this happen - Hair | Jenny Strebe, Makeup | Jessica Fierro, Model | Alexandra Smith (Agency AZ), Florals | Posies Florals


Le Secret d'Audrey - A Paris Elopement Film

Monday, February 23, 2015

If you count the day that Audrey first contacted me, this has actually been a year in the making.

The story? Oh, that's been in my head for the longest time. I will always gravitate to a love story. But an elopement in Paris?!! ... I could barely wrap my head around this. Audrey and I communicated over e-mails and long distance calls. I remember when I first heard her French accent over the phone I could BARELY contain myself. I'm such a dork!!

Actually, after hearing her voice - it immediately occurred to me that we needed to incorporate her speaking in French. Her target market is American brides and if *I* was freaking out about her accent, can you imagine listening to her speak in French?!

And that's how it all started. I filmed on the plane, the story tucked away in my head, anticipating other moments to film while Jose and I made a trip out of it. In the car, I filmed the buildings, the people on the street, even the noises in the cafe. Though I had an idea of the story, I needed to have enough content with me to give me options when I went home.

Audrey teamed up an incredible group of vendors, and when we arrived on set, I knew that day would always, always, always live in me. This truly, no doubt, was a day I dreamed of. After getting back to the U.S., I committed myself to not rushing this film and executing every idea I had. Narrative, voice over, sound effects... all of it. And I know this sounds crazy and dramatic, but this film changed me - it changed me as an artist. I'll have to explain another day.

Here it is guys, my heart is in my throat. Turn up your volume, and enjoy...


Epiphanie Campaign - Behind the Scenes with Ale Vidal

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

So here is an inside look into our approach for the Epiphanie Fall 2014 campaign.

Before I ever begin ANY visuals, a significant part of my process is understanding my client's promise, values, and vision. And I don't mean understanding their colors or descriptive words only, I mean what their brand stands for. Sometimes I have clients that have a hard time verbalizing it, but they have a clear vision. I help them with this process too. It's deep y'all. I push hard for this because this is how I humanize a brand and make them stand out. I don't ever compromise on this because that would mean compromising on my client. This is what Maile, owner of Epiphanie, summarized hers as:

"Beauty. Connection. Adventure. I am endlessly inspired by people who live unconventional lives, who go beyond the status quo of what is expected to find whatever it is that fulfills them. I'm inspired by passion, and by the general idea that it's possible to design your life, rather than just react to it." 

Um, heck yeah.  I completely connect with this on so many levels.

Once I had this, Alex of AVE Styles and I collaborated on a Pinterest board to initiate what the visuals would look and feel like. My focus, as usual, is on mood and story. Alex's focus is on styling and art direction which are the tangibles.

From that, I created a story about a graphic designer/photographer that we would follow and experience parts of her really awesome day. Sort of like the journey that the epiphanie bag gets to go on - without focusing on the bag as a product, and more like an experience.  These details also guide what hair, make-up, and location should look like. I also noted in the story that she had a connection with the guy in the film. That while they're "just friends" - they do things like having their own handshake. This gives the film a sub-story and more depth to play with :) Here's a look into my "bedroom scene" storyboard:

Once my team has translated the visuals right before me (models, clothing, hair, make-up) - this allows me to do what I believe I'm made to do: direct and connect. On the day of filming is when my brain goes into a world I can't describe. I guide the people in front of my camera to understand the character and how their movements need to feel authentic and true. I give them visual and emotional cues that occur to me on the spot, or I've thought about in advance, and capture it on camera. Sooo, that happens...

And after all of that - the inner soul searching, the visual planning, the tangibles, directing, and emotional cues - we get the point that I refer to as "bringing it to life." Sounds dramatic but I don't know any other way to describe it. The story goes from idea to tangible. It's in front of you as a character. It has emotion. It is ... alive. And the most thrilling, yet also scariest part, is YOU - the filmmaker must capture this and immerse your viewer into THIS world that you and your team have created. Phew.

I was able to do both the lifestyle photos and the brand film for Epiphanie with my incredible team. This is some of the content that our planning translated to:

And the film:

And that is a just a little glimpse at what I do and a preview into more of what I'll be doing this coming 2015. My heart has been set on campaigns for the longest time and I feel insanely proud of watching this bloom. Huge thanks to my team:

Styling: Alexandra Evjen | Video Assistant: Matt Hail | Assistant + Behind the Scenes: Audree Lopez |  Hair: Jenny Strebe | Makeup: Stephanie Neiheisel



Thursday, July 24, 2014

YES. I finally did it. I cleaned up my blog design. AHHH. Do you love it?!?! I do! I'll be adding a few things in the coming weeks, but ohhhh it feels so good to see my images on this layout.

I could photograph this girl ALL DANG DAY. Madeleine Alexandra - she's a beast. I just finished editing the video to this. Oh. My. Word. It's different from anything I've done. Sometimes I crave the freedom to experiment and there is nothing like creating movement to a song that is plain and simple, sick. I am completely fine if half of my time is spent making music videos for women or love stories. Yessir. Seventeen year old Ale would be living her DREAM.



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I remember watching the bench dance with Travis Wall on So You Think You Can Dance years ago and having the same response to the commercials I would watch as a kid. I FELT them. I don't know how to describe it, but it fired me up inside and every fiber in me wanted to be dancing within them.

That's what I want to do with video and stills. To feel it in your bones.

The first section of a project Madeleine and I worked on together. Oh yeahhhh.. there's more :)

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