Impact Theory – exploring the mindsets of the worlds highest achievers

We speak with Axel about all the awesome things happening at Impact Theory. Impact Theory helps develop your passion, and make your mark on the world.

Panel:

Katie Chonacas

Axel Arzola

Warren Coughlin

Avril Jones

Sterling Bax

Transcript from Crew Talk

Katie Chonacas:

Hello everyone. I’m Katie Chonacas. We’re with a crew of people today. We’re all going to introduce ourselves and we’re going to say one thing that we love most and why we’re coming here today to add value and make an impact and Axel Arzola, he’s going to be with us shortly. He’s the producer and cinematographer at Impact Theory. And you’re going to learn today what impact theory means, what it is, the process. And we’re going to have an exciting conversation just for you today. I’m Katie [inaudible]. I’m an actor, I’m a voiceover actor, and I’m the host of the popular podcast called she’s all over the place. I’m Greek. That’s my heritage. And one fun thing I love about being in the filmmaking business is the creative color. The collaborations that we get to have that we’re doing right now with this awesome panel, who’s going to join me. So who would like to start up and introduce themselves and say one thing that you love so much about filmmaking and why we’re here today,

Sterling Bax:

I’d be happy to start. My name is Sterling Bax and my pronouns are she her, they them, and I’m mostly inspired by film and the way that we reach such a huge audience and actually deliver those different impact theories and change the way that people think that always gets me super inspired.

Katie Chonacas:

Beautiful. Beautiful. Yeah. We were just talking about communication before we jumped on here, the key of communication and behavior and being sensitive and being aware of those important needs and how they make an impact on ourselves, our choices, the quality of our choices and the stories that we’re going to be telling. So who would like to go next?

Avril Jones:

Okay, I’ll jump in. Hi, I’m a real Jones. And I think the most important thing that I find fun about being in the film industry is telling the story allowing people to voice their voice and whatever that story is because everybody has a story inside of them and that is impactful for at least one person in the world. So that’s what I find fun about filmmaking.

Katie Chonacas:

Definitely. Cool.

Katie Chonacas:

Introduce yourself. What do you do? How do you make an impact and where are you from?

Warren Coughlin:

So my name is Warren Coughlin. I’m based in Toronto, Canada, and I’m not a filmmaker. I’m a business coach. But I have a weird eclectic background. I was an actor and theater director. I did voice over work as well. My 13 year old daughter is an aspiring filmmaker. I’m also a mentor at two incubators at the Canadian film center started by Norman Jewison. And so I think filmmaking is, which is one of the most wonderful vehicles to reach lots of people with a creative vision and what’s happening as a business. And that’s one of my reasons why I’m here. I think people have great technical skills and creative vision, but to learn the business skills, to help it be successful, really kind of rounds it out. So I’m really, I’m really excited to be here. And part of the conversation,

Katie Chonacas:

Right, what you just said is so important. I just want to add value as a creative, as an independent person, like, you know, growing up in the world and sell financing. And I make investments like my network. I make investments with my health, body, mind, spirit education, reading, knowing knowledge, and then not only understanding and knowing knowledge, but hacking and applying that knowledge, which is huge. But on a financial standpoint, I heard it was really important to even like, you know, the wealthiest people in the world, they have investors. They’re not like using their own money. Some people, yeah. A lot of people use their own money. And then there’s like a saying, I just remember like going to go and saying, like growing up as a kid that like, you know, like, oh, like the smartest people they have their monies invested by other people.

Katie Chonacas:

So have sponsors and raising funds and capital. So, and then, so that’s one aspect and having the courage and the discipline and understanding the money aspect, because it’s not show art, it’s not show closet, it’s not show emotion, it’s show business. So like you know, attributes and what you offer and the education that you have to help be in the female filmmakers, all gender, you know, makers to understand like what it means from a fundamental level of the mechanics of finances. It’s super important. And it’s something I personally, I obviously you can see, I’m very passionate about because I love that because I just want it to like magically happen and I’m in my fantasy and my dream of like life, but then to be able to have different parts of the team, like we’re here today, learning and connecting with one another. So I honor you and thank you for sharing that.

Warren Coughlin:

Oh, it’s my pleasure. And actually one of the incubators in Toronto here at the film center is actually a feminist business incubator. So it’s, it’s, it’s all women owners who have a feminist business philosophy and how to learn the business disciplines as part of that. So it’s absolutely brilliant. And the last thing I’ll add is just, I’m also, I’m a podcast host as well. I have a podcast called business that matters spotlight and it’s for highlighting ethical entrepreneurs who want to build a business that matters.

Katie Chonacas:

I love that. That’s so great. Oh, how wonderful. Okay. We’re going to dive deeper and ladies everyone, if you want to chime in on what you think about those stories, please feel free and just keep, keep it going.

Warren Coughlin:

So what I’d love to hear, I didn’t hear from Avril with her focuses.

Avril Jones:

Well, I’m a lot like you Warren. I’ll just start with, I went to NYU Tisch school of the arts. So I’ve been in the film industry, the entertainment industry actually, since I was a teen. And then after that, I actually took a turn to learn more about finance. And I went into the automotive finance world before I came back to the entertainment world. What I do is I also do coaching, but I’m a strategist. So as a strategist and a marketer and a brander, what I do is I help companies tell their story in a methodical way, which is why I love now being an executive producer, PR strategists for Revere films and Rivera entertainment, still

Katie Chonacas:

Some questions when someone wants to find what you offer, what Warren offers, what are some questions people can ask? Because the counterpart of that is, well, how much is that going to cost me? Like people limit themselves and you know, are like, oh, what’s going to be in my block? Like, what’s going to be the hesitant thing. So I’m not going to be able to push paths and accelerate the boundaries for success. So what are some questions maybe people can have when they’re seeking your support?

Avril Jones:

Absolutely. I think that’s a great question. You know, we are just as limited as we allow ourselves to be. So I think one of the most important questions is not what I don’t know, but what I do now and start from there. And then as a coach, I always try to meet people where they are. And also as a business, I always try to help them see what they already have is a great strategy instead of reinventing the world all over again. So starting where you are taking that and really upping your game right from your strengths instead of trying to work on your deficits first, because what that does is it empowers you, it helps you feel that confidence. So if you’re a storyteller, for example, Hey, it’s hard to write a story, it’s even harder to make it into a film or video. Correct. So just start where you are and don’t try to reinvent the messaging. I mean, it always has to come from your heart in order for it to resonate with somebody. So starting where you are and trying to just meet people where they’re at. And I think the biggest question is where am I now? And then ask the question, where am I going to be a day from now a week from now, five years from now? And then we work backwards

Katie Chonacas:

One step at a time, right? Just one build one step at a time. Good, good, good, good, good, good. And there’s going to be those down days. We’re going to feel bad, but the point is showing up, making an impact and doing it again and just keep with the discipline of just showing up, but just be our best, right? Like the four agreements, one of the agreements is just to be our best. It’s not wrong. Yeah. Yeah,

Avril Jones:

Absolutely. I think everybody should read that book by the way. So you should tell them what it is because it is an rentable framework, not just for business, but for life. Right?

Katie Chonacas:

For sure. So for anyone tuning in who may not know Miguel Ruiz wrote the four agreements, his other books are amazing for anyone who’s making films and just creating stories. It’s called mastery of love by Miguel ruins. But the four agreements, even if you don’t read the book, it’s only 200 pages. It’s a quick read is amazing. But there’s four agreements. You can look up. What are the four agreements impeccable with your word? What I’m saying right now, what people are saying here, we understand that your time is very valuable. I was at a keynote at worlds with Gary V one time. And he said, the number one most important thing is our attention. We can only focus on one thing at a time. So what are we choosing to focus on? So by everyone tuning in and being here now we, you know, respect and honor each other’s times and, you know, cause we can be anywhere, but we choose to be here. So how, what are we learning? What can we grow from these things? So the four agreements is definitely amazing. Yeah. Great.

Warren Coughlin:

And if I could add just one, you know, when you ask, what are the questions is that there’s a, there’s a couple of questions that I think are important too. And just given the word we’re here, talking about impact theory and about social impact. One of the questions is what do I not, where am I going necessarily, but what do I want to achieve? What do I want to create? And what impact do I want to have in the work I do with ethical entrepreneurs? That’s one of the core questions I come to with people is what’s the impact I want to have with my business because money is lovely, but legacy really matters. And when you’re in an art, you know, an artistic creation, your impact potential is really profound. But one of the things that happens to a lot of entrepreneurs, there’s, there’s kind of a pressure to do what other people have done.

Warren Coughlin:

And it’s really easy to get caught up in that. If you don’t take a breath and say, this is the impact I want to have. And then the second question is what are the skills I need to develop to achieve that impact? Just doesn’t film. There are, you know, there’s, there are concrete technical skills and artistic skills, businesses and art form, and there are disciplines and skills that are necessary to make that vision of your business to be realized. And when you can kind of get an inventory and say, these are the skill deficits I have, and these are the skills I need to add, then all of a sudden, you know, it becomes like its own form of artistic creation.

Katie Chonacas:

Beautiful, beautiful Sterling. Would you like to add anything?

Sterling Bax:

Totally. It’s just really fun to hear that all of us are able to talk about the four agreements that wasn’t something that we planned at all. So I love that. We’ve all read that. That’s so cool. Which I think kind of speaks to the type of people that we’re all, you know, interested in having this conversation together. And that’s really powerful and a great place to start from. The one thing that is really coming through for me with thinking about investments and the way that Larissa and I, when we talk about hard knock productions and our social impact filmmaking, we really think about the investment we’re making in our community and in our crew members and in what whole kind of family looks like when we’re creating a project and thinking about investment, of course, as the financial aspect that as we’ve been talking about, it, obviously that’s a huge problem, but thinking about investment in all those different entities a couple of you alluded to it, but you know, our time and the way that we want to make a change within a specific community, whether it’s the land where we’re filming or the story like whose story we’re telling and thinking about what that impact is going to look like and our own investment of storytelling, really as like its own kind of currency and what that or long-term measurement can look like

Katie Chonacas:

And what is hard not productions. Can you elaborate on that a bit?

Sterling Bax:

Yeah. I realized I didn’t get much of an intro, but for hard enough productions for an indie film production company, we’re based in San Diego and LA and we do social impact filmmaking. So for us, that’s really thinking about the impact. We’re making it every step of the process. So we’re asking ourselves questions about whose story we’re telling in the very beginning, we’re looking at scripts who’s in the room with us and we’re actually developing that. And then when we’re on set, we’re thinking about crew members and how it works with being cared for the people who are on set with us, what there’s actual stories are and then what they need to feel taken care of. And then when we’re actually telling the story, like thinking about consoling the lens and what impact are we having with that story and where it’s eventually going to go. And then in post-production thinking about social impacts, everything that we learned, this particular project around, like what worked, what didn’t for changing the way somebody might understand something. No. What, how are we making sure that the right people are being changed or that, or being challenged is maybe a better way to say that how

Katie Chonacas:

Many people are on your team there right now?

Sterling Bax:

It’s Larissa. And I

Katie Chonacas:

Just, the two of you?

Sterling Bax:

We’re a tiny production house, but we obviously like our ecosystem partnership and community building. So understanding really who we’re partnering with and also kind of considering like our resources and our connections as investments. And then what we bring to each set in each project that we work on and really making sure that its social impact strategy is our main, our main thing. So what are we bringing to help the environment on each part of the side?

Katie Chonacas:

And that burst just from your own personal needs, the two of you, those were really important for you and that’s how you collaborated and then started the process of the production company.

Sterling Bax:

Because we both have a background in creativity and she is the founder, I’m her main support, but she’s the founder of the company. And we both deeply care about art and understand that artists are, we believe that art is the best vehicle to really challenge and to be part of birthing a new world and it’s kind of consciousness around impact. Right? Yeah. So it’s interesting though, because Larissa and I actually met at a medical device company. And so coming from the healthcare space and working within a very different fortune 500 medical device kind of environment really changes the way I think that you look at the world and again, like thinking of investment, the impact you’re having, we saw the negative aspects of the healthcare industry, which are huge, especially in America, of course. And so being in an environment like that, I think really challenged both of our own value systems. And then when we thought about what do we want to change? Like how do we want to have an impact? And then addressing that with things that we are passionate about and the vehicles that we believe in, that’s kind of what it took to combine our resources and just create some, some vehicle that we can really work with. Other people.

Katie Chonacas:

I love all this. And speaking of resources in the environment, let’s talk about, you know, how we’re resourceful when as filmmakers and we’re creative, I would love to, you know, start with Sterling and then open it up. And let’s talk about those important topics, if that’s cool.

Sterling Bax:

We just finished our feature film, serpentine pink, and that was filmed out in Joshua tree. So I, I mean, I know a lot of us are coming from LA, so we’re familiar with Joshua tree area, but it’s, you know, a delicate desert zone and most people specifically assume, well, I shouldn’t say I’m from Montana. So I assumed that the desert was a dead kind of ecosystem. I didn’t think that there was much life there to take care of. I’ve been very schooled in that. I love the desert now,

Katie Chonacas:

But I love the desert

Sterling Bax:

It’s so subtly alive and really beautiful in that way. And so that was something we’d be were filming. And we went out to bring the crew on set and we were thinking about all the different ways that we want to interact with the environment, as well as take care of our crew, take care of our sex. So a lot of that for us was also where we’re going to be filmed. Like we’re operating a small budget

Katie Chonacas:

Because that small budget is what it, what could that be? Is that like $5,000, $20,000, $50,000? Like how, how could that look? 50,000. Cool. Cool. Okay. So speaking of we have good news in the house, Axel Arzola from impact theory is joining us. So step into the conversation. Axel, please. Thank you so much for being, we love you and honor you, and we’re talking about the environment right now and being resourceful as filmmakers. So I’m Axel from impact theory. He’s a producer with impact theory and also the cinematographer. So I, we’re excited to dive in deep with you right now. Hey Axel, how are you?

Axel Arzola:

Hey. I’m doing great. Thank you so much for having me.

Katie Chonacas:

Nice to see you. Cool. So did you two want to chime in about the environment and resources as filmmakers and then Axel maybe you wanna share with us what you think about that too, as a filmmaker, when you’re going through a project how you can be more sustainable with the environment and you know, being resourceful.

Axel Arzola:

Yeah, for sure. I had the chance to work before I was at impact theory, I worked at a feature film with Melissa McCarthy for a runner. And I was one of the assistants there and they actually had a company-wide policy where they were trying to be more sustainable. So, you know, when you’re on a film set, you have crafty, you have 150 people in the crew, you have sodas and all kinds of like plastic bottles and all of that. And they literally hired two people just to go around with water paper, little paper cups that could be recycled later, super easy. And we were basically like a green production and that’s something that lately in the last few years has been pushed by a lot of the major studios. And I think that is something really smart because when you look at it, it’s a complex topic, but at the same time, there are so many things that we can do as filmmakers to try to reduce our footprint and the impact that we’re doing in the environment. And just, you wouldn’t think that it’s a big deal, but just removing all the plastic water bottles from a an actual film production, if it saves so much in plastic and just waste in general. And that’s, that was really interesting in, at first is having those changes are always, is always something that is going to be hard at the beginning, but then after a while you kind of get used to it. And then you asked yourself, how did we ever not do this before? You know,

Katie Chonacas:

So much sense. And it feels so good. One time I was on set. I mean, it’s been more than one time where people will just get one bottle, one bottle, and then you write your name on it and you just refill it and, and that’s it. And it’s like, that’s the way it’s going to go out. It’s, it’s having a new phone level of respect in the workplace, but then for our fellow peers in one another, you know, so thank you for sharing that. That’s really beautiful. Yeah. Yeah.

Avril Jones:

One of the things that I think is really important and people may not know this, but how you can make another impact on the investment side is to do brand partnerships with companies are sustainable. And that means not just for craft, but how about this brand partnerships with eco friendly automobiles with echo friendly? Do you see what I’m saying? So not only are you saving money on the budget because you’re doing a brand partnership for product placement, but you’re also making a statement about who you are coming out as, as the studio, as the producer, as the crew. And I think that’s really, that helps spread that message of we are a global citizen and this is how we show our stewardship in that.

Katie Chonacas:

Yeah. And they have massive boutiquey companies that go in their RVs and they’ll show up at sets with people like Mark Walberg. This is like one film I was doing when they did a baby boss tour or whatever. And I’m like, there’s these things. And they come and they give all these like honeybees and like all these beautiful guests and it’s environmentally friendly, like on the set with craft service and the choices of what craft these brains for like gluten-free and the quality. So things aren’t processed and there’s not a bunch of Cheetos or like wastes going on. So like the, the smart investments of those qualities are really important. Yeah. Thank you for bringing that up. Definitely.

Sterling Bax:

There was one thing that we did that was hit and miss, but he was similar to that where we partnered with a solar trailer company. And so they actually mainly work with construction companies and that’s where they’re most successful, but it was a small trailer that was pulled behind the solar panels on it. And then on the inside of the trailer, you could plug in. So we use lights going into it. We had our cameras and charging. We told them to use that for their phone chargers. And it was really awesome to get to experiment with that because there were days where we were able to actually power a lot of our night shoots through using the solar trailer. Okay. Yeah. Which is really cool. But there were definitely some days where we were trying to mince the trailer cause we’re out, like I said, in Joshua tree and there were places that we could not get the trailer to go.

Katie Chonacas:

And at night it’s so windy and cold there. I mean, you want to mention something and then I’m going to zone in on what is impact theory?

Warren Coughlin:

Just one comment that I think would be really interesting for, because the conversation so far, it’s like how social, you know, the social utility of doing reigning the business, but you’ve got producers who are getting investment and they want to return. One of the conversations that I think will be really interesting is to quantify the savings by doing green, like the show, the economic argument, not just the social argument, because when you can align those two things, then the producers are going to get online, right? When, when there’s a conflict between the social objective and the financial results, then you’ve got kind of a difficult negotiation. But if you have a, you know, a tight procurement methodology where you’re comparing to, you know, like from laundering costumes, using green laundering products to the craft, to, you know, the whole, the whole supply procurement chain, when you can show an either economic equivalents or an economic savings by going green, the argument you win now, the first time you do it is going to be harder. But once you’ve done like a couple of films where you started to build a roster of suppliers, that argument is going to be increasingly easy to make.

Avril Jones:

Very true. We’re actually working on some of that stuff right now. And you’d be surprised how many times when we go to speak to someone who was at that C level to make those decisions, they actually are asking now, you know, what are you guys doing for crafts? What are you guys doing as far as plastics, are you teaming up with other Cubs? And part of it is because they also you know, like Sterling was saying, there’s an echo system that goes across the board of who you’re working with. Right. If you have a car company that is electric and they’re putting out, let’s just say Neo right is electric and they’re putting out electric cars. They don’t want to also be in a film that is, you know, has Hummers in it, let’s say. So I think that’s important that you bring up a great point, absolutely AXA and anything with, with this type of negotiation so far. So I don’t know if he heard me,

Axel Arzola:

Was that directed to me?

Avril Jones:

Yes. I’m sorry. I said, Axel, have you been able to negotiate anything with organizations on the green side of things?

Axel Arzola:

No, unfortunately I don’t have any experience with that yet.

Katie Chonacas:

Yeah. Kelly from ECOS the brand, it, she has an amazing brand and she talks about this recently on my podcast. I honored her and had her on for earth day earth, week, earth month, but it’s earth every day, every day. So things are bringing up to that point. It’s so important to bring up the conversation and ask the right questions and, and shape shift our way of thinking that may be uncomfortable or unknown, and we can explore that more. So it’s really, really important. Cool. all right. If everyone’s cool with that, I want to, we are talking about impact today and making a social impact and just making an impact in the world through storytelling and how we’re here together, making an impact for everyone tuning in and watching. So you know, Axel, I want to start by asking for, you know, the people who maybe aren’t familiar with impact theory what is impact theory mean? Let, let’s just go on a tangent here.

Axel Arzola:

So Impact Theory is a full multimedia studio founded by Tom and Lisa Bellevue. They were the founders of Quest Nutrition and they grew that company credibly. They went from Sierra to $1 billion in less than five years. And they were doing impact on the nutrition side of things with their protein bars and all that. But there were filmmakers and they exited from that business and they took all, everything that they learned and all the resources to go now and create Impact Theory Studios, where literally what we’re trying to do is ignite human potential, inspire people through storytelling and content, so they can be the best version of themselves. And so they can go out and like make their dreams happen. So that’s what we do at impact theory. Every piece of content that we create is trying to give you the tools and resources and the growth mindset. So you can go and execute on your dreams, whether it’s on the social side, whether it’s for business, for art, whatever it is that people are going after, which is one to empower them to do like the best and just make cool art at the same time.

Katie Chonacas:

Definitely. It’s. I mean, I’m we’re all here. Part of this collective mission, we’re all like, yes, you can say yes, that’s me. Lisa is a boss. Oh my God. I’ve been watching Tom for years. My sister Anna shout out. She’s like amazing. So Huber met Dr. Hubert Huberman was just on the podcast. Hello? You probably shot it. Right?

Axel Arzola:

I did not shoot that one, no.

Katie Chonacas:

Okay. Okay. So I see like Mel Robbins, like who are some other, what kind of people are on Tom show and like what kind of people do they select and why

Axel Arzola:

Basically we have the top minds of any field that you can think of. And right now people might not know this, but we actually have four different shows. So we have the main show impact theory where you have Mel Robbins Jay Shetty we had

Katie Chonacas:

Ryan holiday,

Axel Arzola:

Ryan holiday was on the other day. We have athletes. We had Gracie, the guy who created Brazilian jujitsu. We had jockowillink and Gary Vaynerchuk. We had Ray Dalio, one of the most brilliant minds in economics in the world. And we also had Joe dispense and it ranges on the main show on all kinds of topics. Then we have another show called conversations with Tom, which is basically the same caliber of guests, but instead of just an interview kind of talk show is more of a back and forth discussion where Tom can interact with the guests and they have more of a back and forth on ideas. And like we tried to think of it as a conversation where they’re just free flowing and they’re able to think in real time and talk about issues. So we have been doing a lot of episodes on the cryptocurrency space NFTs because there is a huge change that is coming to all media and technology based on that. And we also have Lisa’s show, which is called women of impact that has the most incredible women in business media, psychologists, doctors, and nutritions, all kinds of all kinds of topics. And we also have another show called health theory, which is basically the best doctors and scientists. And we have episodes on sleep, the brain nutrition, all kinds of diets, all the different, you know, there’s like 200.

Katie Chonacas:

Yeah. homeostasis, mitigation. Those are really important topics.

Axel Arzola:

We cover all of those ranges. And it’s really interesting. And we have it’s a small team still, but it’s about 30 people now in the company.

Axel Arzola:

That’s awesome. We’re actually hiring like crazy. We’re trying to Find certain thingsfind new producers, new editors, new people, and yeah, that’s basically it.

Katie Chonacas:

Yeah. So talk about that. How people can be more a part of the community and get involved more with impact theory.

Axel Arzola:

Well, the biggest community right now is online. So we have the main YouTube channel has like 2.3 million followers and we have new episodes coming out two or three times a week. We’re pretty active on Instagram, Facebook, and all of that. And we also have, which is a huge part of the, of the company. We have an online university where we have large amount of material that is already put in like categories. And you can follow a path as if it was a university, but very, more way more flexible. And we cover everything on the mindset side of things, there’s business classes. And we have a very vibrant community with a strong Facebook group where all of the students were enrolled in taking the classes and we have live classes with the instructors to where you can jump in and like the same way we’re doing here.

Axel Arzola:

You can ask questions to Tom or Lisa or Evie or Jim Craig, or like the person that is giving the class. So we have one of his classes is part of the university. So we’re trying to create this huge, like library of really high caliber of classes meant for people to come in. And it was probably going to take you a year to go through all the content. But basically you can learn anything that you want in those topics. And then you have access to people who are learning the same things and who want to do the same kind of thing. So the Facebook community that we have for the university is super cool. And that’s actually how I was able to make my way in and like finally be able to work with Tom and Lisa and all that. So,

Katie Chonacas:

And become a boss. And you are so being an actor, being in films, you know, being acting the craft is inaction. So it’s not, you know, trying it’s, it’s y’all are inaction making it happen. So major kudos to you and the team shout out to impact theory. We love you. Is there anyone on the panel on a jump in and ask questions or thoughts, comments percolating from what Axel just shared?

Avril Jones:

I just think it’s amazing because every single one of those individuals I have actually looked at for years, and it’s so nice that they’re all in one little place instead of all over and they do make an impact, you know I use lots of them for very different things. As a matter of fact, I use them when I coach my clients. I think that’s important. You know, we were talking about that earlier. What kind of assets and resources do you use in business? Well, you’re right. The rich invest in, have people invest for them, but you have to invest in yourself. And part of that is seeking out someone who has experienced in a different realm than you do, and using them integratively into, you know, your self development. I think that’s very important. I think that is one of the biggest growth aspects that many entrepreneurs miss in whatever industry you’re in is you can’t go it alone. You have to have somebody that you can lean on and somebody that has a different perspective so that you can grow. And so I think it’s wonderful Bravo and congratulations on making your way in.

Axel Arzola:

Thank you.

Warren Coughlin:

I think an interesting question maybe around, because it is called impact theory and we’re talking about impact and there’s always, there’s always an interesting tension even in the work I do. I find between education and action. And so do you have any ways of measuring impact or observing the impact that impact theory does? I mean, cause you’ve got, you’ve got the educational pieces, like just free educational pieces and then you’ve got the university and the courses. Do you have either anecdotally or statistically information on the difference that it’s making for participants?

Axel Arzola:

Definitely. Yeah. We have Amber and she’s the lead of our community in the university and she receives all the messages and all the letters that the students send and every month we have challenges. And this was actually really interesting because when I first went through the whole university program we have all this challenges where we have spreadsheets, where people get teamed up. And the challenge, for example, we had on the business track, we had a challenge about building audience. So the whole challenge was in this in the next 30 days, where are you going to do to reach your first 1000 committed followers for people who were starting their business and doing their marketing. So basically you had all of these people that you are accountable to, and we have spreadsheets with your name and the actions that you’re going to be doing by week and tracking the goals were very very hard on like, how do you track progress?

Axel Arzola:

Because if you don’t know where you’re going, like there’s no way, oh, this can be all nice and dandy, but if you don’t have the numbers to back up the progress, there is no point. So we were doing those challenges. And then on every every week we have a big team meeting where we go through the top three goals that the studio has and they’re pretty transparent and everything is with numbers and with revenue and with how many people get into the university and all of that. So we go through all of that. And at the end of every, of every one of those weekly meetings, we have, Ambra read a message from someone in the community. And we had all kinds of stories. We have a lady who started the university and she created this nonprofit to bring to a, a third world country, this incubator so that they could take care of babies.

Axel Arzola:

And like she sent this huge letter, it was a lady that was already in her late fifties. She had this dream of something that she wanted to do and she never thought that she could actually do it. You know, then she starts on the university, she starts taking the classes and take an action with the students and all the friends that you make in the community. And then she sent us the picture she had like over like a few dozen of these incubators in this country. Like I think it was in the, in Russia or someplace like that. And we were all like, you know, this is what we’re doing, all this content to actually get people the knowledge that they need to go out and take action. So that’s a great question, Warren, and we’re all about results. Nice.

Katie Chonacas:

Yeah. Yeah. So I have a question as a cinematographer and you’re shooting Tom and the guests and Lisa like aesthetically, how are you feeling? What’s your process as a cinematographer lenses? You like to use lighting you know, some technical, but the vibe like you’re like, okay, we’re going to go to this location. And what, what kind of, is it the same camera? What kind of cameras do you use and rotate?

Axel Arzola:

Yeah. For the, everything that happens on the set, we have a pre-lab predone said, and we have this guides with the framing, the pictures of what the size of the framing has to be the diagram where the lights have to go. So we should, right now we shouldn’t, we kind of see two hundreds and we have six cameras and we should all have them. And we have a Sony camera that is on a slider that gives you that the moving shot for the interviews, everything, when I started in the company, they already have been doing the setup for so long. So they already had the system of everything. Then my, my position in the company, I’m a creative producer and I worked directly under Lisa and basically every, at least as the precedent of the studio and she’s, and she’s

Katie Chonacas:

Greek, and she’s a shout out to the Greeks.

Axel Arzola:

Yes. And she’s the chief content officer. So every, everything content-wise goes under her and then I’m her creative like brain. So I’m always pushing to make things look better. But also is this push and pull of it has to look amazing because we want to be the best, but it also has to come under time and under budget because we have a business that we’re running and there’s so only so much that you could do. So we try to play the balance and we’re always pushing both ways until we can get that balance. So when I started, w everyone in the company is open to say, Hey, that looks bad. And then you have to explain why it looks bad. So it comes down for me as a cinematographer, it comes down to, it has to be well exposed. So it can not be over the hundred nets, or it cannot, the shadows cannot be crushed.

Axel Arzola:

So we have way forms in the camera and I’m going to get technical because I guess the people who are watching the crew like they’re technical. So it has to fit that parameter with your wave form. And that’s how we judge that. So whenever I see, like I’m not on set all the time, we have another person, Eric Rios, he’s in charge of all the production. I’m more of a creative person and I oversee different projects that go out. And then I’m also on the lookout for anything that might not be looking the best. I’ve raised the flag and say, Hey, that show was underexposed. Why, what were the settings? So we are always trying to do that and also make it into a system. So anyone can like tomorrow, if, if I have to go and I have to shoot like a show, because Eric is, cannot do it. I can come in with a, we have a PDF with every camera. This is the ISO level. This is the opera show that we’re going to use. This is a wide balance that we’re going to use. So we created that system because it works on that show. Now we just started a new show called unstoppable. That is with Lisa and every been poor us. She’s a former secret service agent. And

Katie Chonacas:

Like, I always see her, I only follow her because Elisa, like when she’s great too. So it’s like, what’s up? You know what I mean? You got,

Axel Arzola:

Yes, they’re awesome. So that show, we were trying to push the envelope and do something different. So it’s still at its core. It’s a talk show and we have three main segments and they discuss one topic throughout the whole show. So it’s like a 45 minute show. It’s almost like doing like an actual, it goes out on YouTube, but we’re getting like that in two weeks, it already passed like 175,000 views. And her previous interviews has like 1.2, 1.3 million views. So it’s reaching a lot of people, which is really cool. And we’re trying to take that same interview. And now how do we break that down in add segments that are more creative and fond because also they love to do like new things. So we followed the same structure for the camera setup for the sit-down interviews. Then for the segments that we go to different locations inside the parameters of what we can do. We take two of those cameras and four that we mixed a little bit more of like whatever the lighting is going to be or all of that. We shot some things with with a Canon EOS R it was a smaller camera that we had some walk and talks and believe it or not like the main shot that is on the intro of the show I got to with my iPhone, because we were shooting we’re

Katie Chonacas:

Shooting.

Axel Arzola:

It was the 12th.

Katie Chonacas:

I have 11 pro. So I have the three cameras. Is everyone else to have the CRE three cameras around here? Shooting stuff on your phone? I phoned by chance. No, no, not yet. Not yet. Yeah. It’s yeah. It’s great. Great, great quality. So I have a question axle. So like, so when you’re mentioning stuff, it’s like, it’s so important. The technicality and the numbers and everything to be. So in sync, understandably, ultimately for success, financial, everything for the imposter syndrome of wanting everything to be perfect, but for someone just getting started or like overwhelmed and they don’t know texts, but they feel things. And obviously having a collective and a team is so important and the communication to have things written down to build language. So the stuff you’re saying, it’s because behind it, there’s maybe like if Lisa wakes up at four in the morning, he has ideas.

Katie Chonacas:

Maybe there’s like a Google drive where it’s a collected incubator of like a cloud of like, these are all the thoughts, right. So people can collaborate on Google drives and collaborate different ways than someone who’s maybe just wanting to shoot maybe a music video, or they have an idea, but they’re like, obviously the macro Steven Spielberg, or, you know, like Chinatown, like amazing film, but someone who just like, let me just tell a slice of story. And I’m so scared and to get past the emotional boundary and the fear intimidation, but the, the vigorous, like courageousness to like in the excitement to make that as well. So all the emotional stuff channeling right. Firing and wiring like Dr. Joe Dispenza would say like how, like, and not having the technical aspect, what it let’s talk about, like the imposter syndrome of just starting messy and just, just going and starting it and having your first, first baby out there to look at. Right. So maybe like they can say, okay, now it’s out. Now let me do another one. They can reference that back to someone as they grow a collective team, they had this idea, but then you could always shoot that the, the financial dream goal aspect that you’re talking about later. Right. And maybe someone could get finances that way and stuff. So if you could share about any of that process for filmmakers imposter syndrome would be really ideal.

Axel Arzola:

Yeah, for sure. I started about 15 years ago. I’m from Cuba. So when I started making little films and music videos, I was in Cuba and I had no access to the internet. We didn’t have cameras. I didn’t own a computer. Everything was like on borrowed equipment. The first thing that I would recommend the person starting out is work on something that you actually care about and that you are actually passionate about because it’s going to be so difficult that if you don’t have that to begin with, it’s going to be really hard for you to just keep working on it. So that would be the first thing, work on something that you’re really passionate and that speaks to you. Second step will be what version of that project can you actually create right now? And don’t go with, you know, if you’re passionate about a story and you want to make it is on a space station and you have aliens running around, that’s going to be really hard to produce.

Axel Arzola:

So is there a way that you can produce and be creative about how do I make the space station? Maybe I built a little model and then I, I’m going to light it in a way that it looks cool or I’m going to go and watch a couple of tutorials and after effects. And maybe I can use something that someone else use. You need to get creative, but what’s the version that you can actually make right now that you can actually execute on. And then third, I would say, find other people to work with you because that’s gonna make such a huge difference. Then people don’t realize how hard it is to make everything. And when you watch a movie, if you wait for the credits, it’s like 350 people, you are not supposed to know everything. And it’s okay. You’re not supposed to know everything on the sound, on the camera, on the editing, on the special effects on the script, on the directing or the producing, the, like I just mentioned like seven different categories that are completely its own world. And they’re so complicated. So don’t feel like you have to know everything, just focus on. What’s the thing that you want to be good at, and then find other people to create that team. And that friendship is going to be amazing

Katie Chonacas:

What you said. And I also want to add to that because I know you can identify probably you and everyone on the panel here. That a lot, when I was you know, producing other filmmakers and I saw their very first project, it’s like, okay, the producers, the financiers are like, let me give you a hundred thousand dollars, 50,000 for directing 50,000 for writing. And then, and then are just, here’s a hundred thousand dollars, but as a writer and, but there’s, but at first time, filmmakers are so attached to that passion and idea that you’re talking about, that they squeezed the life out of it, the life out of it. And they self-sabotage, and they don’t actually get, it made a lot of times. And it self sabotage because they’re so attached to their passionate idea where it’s like, I saw a lot of filmmakers when they come.

Katie Chonacas:

It’s like, okay, I’ve seen offers like, oh, here’s a hundred thousand dollars late. Take the money and run director, second picture, get your first one made with international foreign sales. Let’s get the right actor, let’s get the right number. Let’s get the movie made. Then you have money in building in your, you know, in your platform, in your account, you know, a cushion for yourself. So then you can go out to shoot the other idea. So have you seen that in your experiences? Choices, piece filmmakers have made to maybe disable them from having ultimate success in working with the team because they didn’t trust the bigger vision for the whole project and they just wanted to do it all by themselves.

Axel Arzola:

Yeah. I’ve definitely seen that many, many times and they always end up spending more money, more time, and then the product just not as good, there is plenty to go around. And the people that you run into who are afraid to share with you don’t even worry about it. They’re not going to get that far ahead because at least in my experience, whenever I’ve worked on a studio project and I worked on several TV shows and a features is so many people, and everyone is like trying to like play games on each other. But at the end of the day, if you don’t have a good team, like you either hate the project. And even if the movie is good at the end, all the people who worked on it, they’re like we don’t even care. So

Warren Coughlin:

I hope this is being recorded by 13 year old daughter just wrote a script for a short film, and she’s actually filmed the most of it herself with me as an actor. And it, and I just, what you said is, so I think inspiring and to hear it from somebody who’s been successful at it to give that kind of advice is, is brilliant. So I thank you for that.

Axel Arzola:

That’s awesome. When it does say that film.

Warren Coughlin:

Yeah. It’s, it’s actually, I, you know, I’m biased, but man, she actually did a wonderful job on the script.

Axel Arzola:

Great. I would love to check it out.

Katie Chonacas:

Cool. So Sterling, do you want to add any value or thoughts about what axle was talking about? So you just created your first feature film. Did someone want to chat about that?

Sterling Bax:

Yeah. And everything that access that was so, so spot on and very inspiring for sure. That’s one of the biggest things that, you know, we, as a team had to realize you have to have a crew that trusts each other, like that is kind of the first and foremost almost to bring it back to the original concept of currency and investment, like trust being so critical because there are really intense time periods that are happening. There are so many goals you’re trying to hit and tensions, aren’t going to get high no matter what, no matter how much prep you do, something’s gonna go wrong. And so there’s just, this really, there’s just this need. And I find it to be a really beautiful kind of community-based idea around you can trust the person next to you that they’re going to deliver. And then the idea of teamwork and working together for us, like our director and our cinematographer, what these two women that didn’t know each other hadn’t worked together creatively before, but there just started to be some decisions that had to be made super quick. And that was something where the two of them sat down together and our director just let Liz know. She was like, you know what? I can’t see the shot because I have to stand over here to do some direct things, like really crazy psychic scene. We were doing the rocks. So that was something where our director had to say, Hey, Liz, I trust you. And your vision, not a hundred percent.

Katie Chonacas:

That’s important. Trust is so important. Yeah. I love that. Does anyone else want to talk about an experience they learned about trust in the workplace with community and trusting yourself and trusting and, and how to trust, or like trusting your instincts, even, you know, and to go with the flow or you may be needed. If someone wants to tell a story of something, an impact of something that they learned from being on set or you know, it with your professions,

Warren Coughlin:

Sort of I’m interested, I’ve got, I got a ton of stories, but I won’t bore people with them. I’m interested from from axle within, within impact theory. I’m always, I’m always fascinated by organizations that have a very overt social impact mission and how that gets, how the, how the internal values get navigated. When there are temptations, like, you know, you’re, you were wanting to have a social impact, but as you said, you got a business and you got cost constraints and time constraints and resourcing constraints. And are there, are there times when those constraints and time pressures bump up against the stated values and how does that get navigated? Like did the, did the values yield or does the money yield and how does that get negotiated?

Axel Arzola:

That’s a really interesting question for us. I think it comes down from the top. So our founders, Tom and Lisa, they have so much money that they don’t care about money. Like they have stupid money, like stupid money. They sold that company for a billion dollars and they were the founders. They had other partners, but they took home a lot of money. And they literally said, we don’t care about this money, but we know that it’s useful. And we want, we want to be wealthy. Like they’re not going to blow their money away, but they’re taking all of those resources because they want to actually help people. And I think because of that, every decision that we do on content is, is this going to actually help someone like everything that we do is thinking of that 13 year old kid that is trying to make something of themselves.

Axel Arzola:

And maybe they don’t think that they can, maybe they don’t know what’s possible. That’s the person that we’re trying to inspire and give information to. And whatever we do has to match that. Like I’ve been in conversations with Lisa, where we have had people talking about, you know, we can go and produce this TV show and do this and do that. And it sounds super cool idea, super interesting. We can make a ton of money and she’s like, but you know what, like w is that really going to help someone, like everything goes down through that filter. So, and we all can push back. If anyone is trying to pitch an idea that is only going after the money, if it’s both, things can be fulfilled, making it a lot of money and helping people, we’re all for it. If it’s just for the money, we are not going to do it like a good example.

Axel Arzola:

People know that on YouTube, you can make a lot of revenue if you place ads. And if you do this and that, and like, if the thumbnail you make it really click baity, and it has like an incendiary title to make people click, we have to play the line where, how do we make the most compelling thumbnail? So people click on it, but it’s, it can not be like shady. It can not be fake. So whenever something feels like, Hey, that thumbnail, it feels like we’re, we’re getting close to that line. People like we have our text messages where we discuss things or like, yeah, that look that doesn’t look like us. Like, that’s not what we stand for. And everyone like the moment that you’re getting close to doing something, just to get the click, if you’re not in value, we’re like, no, we’re not going to do that because it doesn’t matter if we make money with that. It’s not who we are.

Katie Chonacas:

It’s so intricate too, because you know, even in the micro of YouTube using the colors, red, white, and black, just having a specific thumbnail that you create gets more clicks and you can’t sell people, foster, false dream and idea. People don’t like it. We don’t feel good. It’s all about our feelings, you know? Well, speaking of feelings I’m over emotional and excited and it’s been a great conversation just flew past. And I want everyone to stay connected and how can we find each other Axel, let’s start with you. How can we find you? What are your social media handles? And then yeah, let’s start there please.

Axel Arzola:

Yeah, if you just search my name, Axel Arzola, I’m on very active on Twitter and Instagram, and I love connecting with people. So I would love to know more about Warren and certainly Avril and Katie, of course, I think you were already on Instagram, so I, yeah, so I would love to connect with you guys. And I would love to watch a sirloin’s movie and wearing his daughter a short.

Katie Chonacas:

Yeah. And Warren, I added you on the LinkedIn. I added you on LinkedIn yesterday. You added me back. Where else can people find you? And

Warren Coughlin:

I just dropped in there. My, my website is Warrencoughlin.com. And if people, for people who are entrepreneurs actually have a ton of free resources on there that can help everything from managing team, managing financials, doing sales management, and then there’s some really, really cheap, low cost courses on there for developing entrepreneurial skills. And then I’m on, I’m heavily on LinkedIn and on Facebook, which is Warren Coughlin no, sorry. Facebook.Com/Business. That matters.

Katie Chonacas:

Great. Great, great. Who would like to go next?

Avril Jones:

Well, so actually it’s a thrill to meet you. I just typed in my Instagram handle. It’s @ajmec1, so you guys can reach out and I will follow back. I am all over LinkedIn. I do keep my Facebook page personal because that’s the space where I connect with my friends and family from over the last 50 years. My handle on Twitter is mavgirl2938. I’ll type it in. So the name of my company is actually Emmy and C, which stands for Maverick enterprises and consulting. So I think of myself as being a Maverick and a, you can just, you know, reach out and absolutely let’s stay in touch. I’d love Warren to see that short when it’s done, maybe she can enter it into Sundance darling. You have to let us know where we can get a hold of your movie. So that absolutely for sure. Katie, it’d be great to follow you. And I’m also on clubhouse.

Katie Chonacas:

I love Club House.

Avril Jones:

You’ll see me drop in a lot of the film and TV. And then don’t forget I’m one of the newest executives at Revere Studios and then Revere. Yeah, so I’m really excited that one of the only actually I’m the only female executive. So I’m really excited about that. Looking to do some hiring very soon. Once we get up and rolling, we’ll be in Florida and Atlanta to change the face of Hollywood. It’s going to be family friendly, very, very socially responsible films. You guys will all enjoy it. Great.

Katie Chonacas:

Cool. All right. And Sterling, you put everything in the box. Did you want to verbalize anything?

Sterling Bax:

Yeah, we just launched our social media, so we’re just like, that’s all fresh and you can follow it. And you also have a website and yeah, I’m excited to stay connected. And if anybody wants to reach out or just test questions or anything like that, we’re totally open to it.

Katie Chonacas:

Thank you Sterling. So everyone tuning in, it’s been a big pleasure. The power. Yes. Yes. Show up, follow everyone social. Say, Hey, I have a crazy idea. I just want to share you inspired me. I want to tell you this and that. I’m Katie Chonacas and the host for today. I have a podcast called She’s All Over the Place podcast. I would love for you to tune in and check it out. Connected with me more. I’m on all the social media platforms. Just Chonacas, my Greek, last name C H O N a C a S. All right. It’s been really real. Thanks so much for being here. Peace out.

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