How to film a panic free commercial for your crowdfunding campaign

“Donatella Versace. Kimora Lee Simmons. Diane Von Furstenberg. Beyonce. Oprah, Oprah,Oprah.”

If you found yourself sitting to next to a black woman nervously chanting those names on the bus, I’d like to apologize for freaking you out. I was going through some things. I figured that in my anxiety I could evoke the energy of those women when I had to step in front of the camera. I mean the blog is called Fashion Week or Die Trying, not “hide in your closet, scared”.

 

Last week I filmed my first commercial. I am using the commercial to relaunch my collection p29:18 on Indiegogo this summer.  While I know that crowdfunding campaigns  are more successful when they have a video, I was scared to make that move. I am a behind the scenes person. Yes I’m vlogging, but I’m doing that reluctantly. I decided that since my passion is to grow this business I need to throw my fears in the garbage. I don’t have the luxury to hide in the shadows. I need to employ all tactics to make this  business a success.  So if you are freaking out about filming a commercial for Facebook or a crowdfunding video, explore these tips:

 

Work with professionals

nekia and key

I’m all about working with the homies, but professionals will ease your nerves. If you have been networking, you have probably added a few new associates that have the skills you need.  It was comforting to have friends on set, because I knew they had my best interest in mind. Additionally I could trust their artistry because this work pays their rent. I also hired a producer who used her network to round out the crew. You don’t have to be a Jack of all trades. You can hire people who know what to do  and learn form them.

 

Make a budget and write it down.

Money stresses me out. I’m learning to  have a more chill relationship with money, but I’m not Scrooge McDuck rich either. If you you are bootstrapping, don’t play yourself.  Create a realistic budget, discuss it with your team and pay people on time. It will help you focus on the important parts of the product.

 

Accept that your body is camera ready.

 Yo I was scared of them 4k cameras! They make everyone look crazy. Instead of being a 31 year business woman, preparing for a commercial I felt like 12 year old walking through a hallway full of bullies. I’m too damn old to be this self conscious and yet I was. I was so nervous that I couldn’t remember my lines, AND I WROTE THE SCRIPT! If  you have any insecurities know this: you are filming because you are a professional with a vision  to share with the world and you are good enough. If you hate your hair, eyes, weight, teeth, toes whatever you are good enough, do what you came to do. It is easy to  get wrapped up in this quest perfection.  Photoshop and Facetune have us  believing that only the flawless deserve to be seen. This is not true. A dope team and a smart budget can have you looking your best and you know what? Your best is good enough.

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New York State of Mind

I had a crazy weekend! I went to New York for a little work and play. I will make another post detailing what I learned about sourcing in New York soon. Right now I want to reflect on my free time in the city.

I stayed in an AirBnb in the Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York, during the trip. While the subway trips to Manhattan were long, it gave me an opportunity to explore New York’s second largest borough. As a kid I definitely romanticized the hometown of my favorite rappers, but it had more depth then I imagined. Brooklyn is basically a city on its own. It  has nicer and rougher neighborhoods, shopping, museums, families, parks, singles, bars, an oddly large quantity of churches, public housing projects and beautiful historic brownstones. I don’t think you could call this place one definitive thing, other than stimulating. Brooklyn is not boring.  I met up with a childhood friend and he showed me the sights in Fort Greene, which he taught me was an actual fort during the revolutionary war. I shared with him  my teenage dream of going to FIT, working for BabyPhat and owning one of those iconic brownstones the neighborhood. Refocusing on those old goals help to remember my  reason for building my business.

Another experience that helped change my perspective was attending Spike Lee’s Bk loves MJ block party. The city honored him by naming the block where he shot “Do the Right Thing” after the film. For the last 6 years he has been throwing a Michael Jackson themed block party to celebrate Jackson’s birthday. Dancing in the street with beautiful Brooklynites as Sway Calloway and Spike Lee  joked on stage was awesome! And more importantly it didn’t happen overnight. 27 years ago Spike released the controversial film on a small budget. Today he can use his business and celebrity to bring joy to his neighborhood. The shit is going to take the time that it takes. When your done you can dance in the sun to “ Rock With You”. Hell, I would even advise dance breaks at the beginning and middle of the journey as well, but always remember that it is a journey. It might take a couple decades to be an icon.

Lastly the intoxicating cultural experience known as Afropunk. I bought tickets to the two day festival at Commodore Barry park and it was money well spent! Afropunk is  black, indie, inclusive, and creative. The loving vibes and amazing talent displayed gave me life. Below are some of the beautiful souls I met. If you see yourself pictured email me so that I can link to your work, Instagram, SoundCloud, whatever. Peace Brooklyn. Thank you!

 

Networking is Awkward

Originally Posted 5/15/16

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 Why is networking so weird? I mean it’s like the first day of middle school, plus flirting in bars, plus any sort of public speaking; BUT WORSE. In those other situations, aiming for personal gain is frowned upon. I’m okay with that. I believe in building relationships and finding your tribe, but networking seems different. Some how you have to balance what you need, with the needs of who you are trying to network with. In that way this symbolic relationship is beautiful, like a dance. Unfortunately, I have two left feet.

Since I’m using this dance analogy, let’s say that I have committed to two stepping my way through the party. Instead of staying in my house, I have filled my calendar with events that connect me with other entrepreneurs, not just designers. I want to take full advantage of my city and meet people who will inspire and challenge me. Worst case scenario I have a new follower on Instagram ( are you following the line on insta? @p29:18 DO IT). Best case scenario I get a gem: an industry tidbit I didn’t know; a potential mentor; a sales lead.  Basically new dance partners can teach you new moves. So I’m gonna stay on floor long enough to learn something.

Okay, I know this dance analogy is getting hackneyed. I’ll stop.  

So who am I networking with? I attended designer seminars through Seattle Fashion Week lead by a buyer from Amazon. I have attended a number of local fashion shows. I joined two business incubators  Ventures and  Black Dot Union. Both have  helped me set up systems for my business even though neither are focused on fashion.

Maybe I’ll get good at all of this. My business card will be pretty and always in hand; my pitches professional and effective; and maybe I’ll even have a mentor or two one day. But that day is not today. I’ll just keep moving toward that put together, flawless moment.