What do you actually do

4.8 What Do You Actually Do? Q&A with Emily Baker by Ilsa Melchiori

I've got a range of diverse and interesting people coming up on the What Do You Actually Do series answering a few nosey questions about their work within creative fields. Over time I'll be sneaking in more and more 'not often asked' questions including those about the all shameful, yet all necessary, money. But that's later.

Up today we have teacher and documentary film maker Emily Baker talking about how she splits her time between teaching children in custody and working on Mariposa St Flims upcoming project I Am No Bird.

Describe what you do in 5 words or less.

E: Make docs and teach kids.

Now expand...

E: I direct documentaries, so that's half of what I do. I'm currently directing my second feature, working title I Am No Bird, which follows 4 women from around the world through their wedding ceremonies. And then the other half of what I do is work in the Vocational Education team at Parkville College, a school serving students in custody. I love both my jobs.

Movie still from I AM NO BIRD 

Movie still from I AM NO BIRD 

What has your career journey been like?

E: Really fortunate, and continually supported by other people. I started out as a journalism under-grad who felt pretty unenthused about mainstream media. I wrote to some guys who made a short film I really loved, and they told me to come to the States and work on their feature, Beasts of the Southern Wild. That was an incredible opportunity, which led to me working on other great films and documentaries. That, in turn, gave me the confidence to do my own documentary, SPOKE, for which I rode my bicycle across the United States. When I got home to Australia, I worked in VFX on a bunch of big Hollywood things, before deciding I'd like to teach. I'd volunteered to teach Saturday school for a few years, and it was something I really loved.

Best part of your job?

E: The best part of making documentaries is having a vehicle to step into someone else's life and see something you otherwise never would. On this film, that's included experiences like seeing traditional Naga dancers in North-East India and visiting a Pentecostal Church in Dandenong. Both are experiences I wouldn't have had without film. The best part of teaching is seeing a kid's confidence grow. It's a great feeling to take a kid from thinking they'll never understand a concept, to getting it and feeling great about themselves. It's the best.

Worst/hardest part of your job? E: The most boring part of filmmaking is trying to get funding. I'm pretty impatient so for my last project I just used Kickstarter funding rather than grant bodies. I just wanted to make it, I didn't want to wait. But I'm taking a different, slightly more professional approach with this one! The hardest part of being a teacher is wanting to protect your students from harm.

Movie still from I AM NO BIRD 

Movie still from I AM NO BIRD 

What does your typical work day look like?

E: It really varies a lot! When I was in production, I was basically just following these generous, patient women around and filming their everyday lives. Now I'm in post [production] I spend a lot of time in the studio, huddled in front of a computer with a cup of tea.

What percent of your time is spent on work that pays the bills vs your own creative projects?

E: About 50/50. I'm very lucky.

Movie still from I AM NO BIRD 

Movie still from I AM NO BIRD 

What are yourfavourite apps to use for work?

E: I don't really use any apps for work? Sorry, not cool enough.

What is it like working for yourself?

E: I don't really consider it 'working for myself' because while I do earn a little money from SPOKE, it's nowhere near enough to cover costs. All that comes from my day job, and I have bosses there. I used to do more freelance film stuff, but I found it didn't leave much time or energy for my own work. So I don't work for myself, I definitely have a boss (hey Dan)! But I'm really fortunate to work somewhere that's been flexible and happy to accommodate me.

What is your current work playlist?

E: Haha. WELL. At the moment on Spotify I'm digging of Montreal, LION BABE, Coda Conduct, and some old Turkish stuff by Nilufer that's getting me inspired for my film. Also that one DJ Khaled song with the Biebs that's everywhere right now.

Movie still from I AM NO BIRD

Movie still from I AM NO BIRD

Best career advice/tips you could give someone?

E: I don't really feel qualified to be giving advice to anyone, but I would say to ask for help and be grateful when you receive it. People are only as good as the help they are given, I don't believe in the 'self-made-man' concept overly.

Can you tell us about your next project?

E: My current project, I Am No Bird, follows 4 women from around the world in the lead-up to, and on the day of their weddings. We shot in Australia, India, Turkey, and Mexico, on a BlackMagic as well as Super8. Currently, we're in post-production and seeking finishing funding, so if you have too much money give us a ring.

I AM NO BIRD 

I AM NO BIRD 

What's your next step/move? Any future dreams/goals?

E: To finish this film and let everybody meet the four intelligent, strong, and diverse women it features. Also to get a cronut.

I Am No Bird is currently seeking funding to finish the project. If you are interested please head over to the website to get in touch with the team and find out more.

24.4 What Do You Actually Do? Q&A with CC from Little Hurricane by Ilsa Melchiori

i-am-ilsa-melchiori-what-do-you-actually-do-cc-little-hurricane-bycorypiehowicz-e1492995424146.jpg

Next up in the What Do You Actually Do series, we pry into the busy life of CC, from the San Diego alt-rock band, Little Hurricane. With a new album recently released and a jam-packed touring schedule, what exactly does the daily life of a busy musician and business woman look like? We ask CC all the usual What Do You Actually Do questions, along with a few bonus style and beauty questions (because let's face it, I couldn't help myself).

To find out more about Little Hurricane, look up tour dates and find out how to get your hands on their striking new album, Same Sun Same Moon, head over to their website: www.littlehurricanemusic.com

Describe what you do in 5 words or less.

CC: I'm an entrepreneur who drums

Now expand...

CC: I play drums and sing in a band, but my job is so much more than that. I co-run a small business with many components. I am in charge of all of our merchandising which we sell online and the road. Right now we offer t-shirts, tank tops, custom drumsticks, CD's, vinyl records, posters and a book. I have to find the right designers for all of the above, source a manufacturer to print them and order a proper inventory for both touring and our online store. I have to make sure what we are spending is cost efficient so these products can generate a profit. I am in charge of our marketing, which is focused mainly on the internet but also some physical marketing. I run our social media and our street team to keep our fans engaged with our tour dates and new content. I organize and style our photo and video shoots, and when we are touring I am our HR department, making sure we have the right crew at the right pay level for each tour.

I Am ilsa Melchiori what do you acutally do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group
I Am ilsa Melchiori what do you acutally do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group

What has your career journey been like?

CC: It's been a dream! I opted for culinary school instead of a traditional college and cooked into my early 20's. No matter how many kitchens I tried out, it never felt like the right fit. When I made the switch to playing in a band, it fulfilled me in ways I never thought possible. I get to tap into my entrepreneurial spirit, but I also get to travel and perform. Playing drums is the closest thing to my heart I love every aspect of being behind a drum kit. The fact that I get paid to do this is unreal! Although it's a lot of work being on the road, I have loved this journey so much and feel so lucky to have my passion as my career.

Best part of your job?

CC: Getting to meet people who have been affected by our music. I love hearing stories of how one of our songs helped someone out of a difficult time, or how I have inspired someone to leave their comfort zone and try something new.

Worst/hardest part of your job?

CC: Not having a drum tech yet. The actual act of carrying in, setting up and breaking down my drums. It sounds silly but I hate doing it they are so big and clunky and I dream of a day where I can just show up to a gig and my drums are already set up!

I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group
I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group

What does your typical work day look like?

CC: When I am off the road I am up early answering emails and getting busy work done. I usually practice in the afternoon, cook dinner and go to bed early.

How does this differ when on tour?

CC: On the road, I am usually up by 8 am answering emails. I eat a small breakfast and head to the van to drive anywhere from 2-8 hours to a gig. I don't do most of the driving, but do 2-hour shifts when I can. I find us a spot for lunch and make sure we are organized for load in. Usually, by 4 pm we load into the venue, which means emptying the van of all the music gear and merchandise. We have about 1000 pounds of music gear. It takes about an hour to set up and sound check, and then we break for dinner. I do my makeup and pick out an outfit and do some warm ups before the set. We usually perform for about 60-75 minutes, and after the set, we hang out and take pictures and sign autographs. Then we begin taking everything on stage apart, putting it back in the cases, and organizing it back in the van. It is usually midnight by now and we drive to the hotel, check in, sleep for 6 hours and do it all over again the next day.

I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group
I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group

What are your top 5 essential beauty products for tour?

CC: Dry Shampoo, Burts Bee's facial wipes, Bliss eye makeup remover, Tan Towels, Stila eyeliner.

What are your favourite apps to use for work?

CC: I use Yelp every day to find the best spots to eat in a new city. I use Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for work and Snapchat for communicating with friends. I love the Canva app to make graphics on the road as well.

What is it like working for yourself?

CC: I believe everyone should work for themselves if they want. The downside is you never clock out, the upside is you aren't selling your time to follow someone else's dream. It takes a lot of determination and commitment but even if you fail you progress.

I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group
I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group

How does your personal style differ from your onstage style?

CC: Offstage I am all about comfort. I usually wear leggings and an oversized t. Onstage I try to look pretty feminine - I love old-fashioned dresses and vintage looking clothes. I used to wear exclusively vintage dresses onstage, but have since had to get more updated clothes that will last through tours and nightly sweating.

Favourite new independent designers?

CC: Jennafer Grace out of San Diego is my favorite! She makes these beautiful kimonos that every woman should have in her wardrobe.

What is your current work playlist?

CC: Bahamas, Timber Timbre, Tribe Called Quest

Best career advice/tips you could give someone?

CC: Be your biggest fan. When you feel like giving up, be your own cheerleader and tell yourself you can do it. Be critically aware of your inner voice. It will make or break you.

I am Ilsa Melchiori What Do you actually do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group
I am Ilsa Melchiori What Do you actually do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group

Can you tell us about your next project?

CC: I'm looking to put together a girl group. It's something I have had a hard time sussing out, but I'd love to put together a group of female musicians that can make music together.

What's your next step/move? Any future dreams/goals?

CC: For now I just want to do our new record justice. Tour as much as we can, and bring our music to as many people as possible. My future dreams and goals are to do something totally out of my comfort zone and try something new. I have many different ideas for products I want to launch, I am just waiting for the right time.

Image by Cory Piehowicz