Kudos to Andrejka for being the first guest! This was before I even had mic stands!
Andrjeka Hirsch is a photographer with a serious travel bug. For the past 12 years she has travelled the world photographing people, places and events.. many of which I’ve been to! She has been featured in magazines, blogs and marketing campaigns.
Andrejka was the perfect guest to start with and our conversation touches upon everything from breakups to moving cross country to the careers we both could have had. I love her dearly and I’m so happy she came on the show!
Listen to the end of the episode to catch and share Andrejka’s #TheUnpluggedCreative Challenge with the community!
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While I can’t promise perfection (yet) when it comes to transcripts, I can promise that I’ll always do my best to provide them for you (I am a one woman show after all). Because I believe that podcasts aren’t just for people with great hearing.
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Hey there. It's the very first episode of The Unplugged Creative - that is super exciting! And more exciting is today's guest Andrejka Hirsch a photographer with a serious travel bug. For the past 12 years she's traveled the world photographing people, places and events - many of which I've been to. She's been featured in magazines blogs and marketing campaigns but mostly Andrejka is my friend and a constant source of inspiration. In this episode we talk about our mutual would be careers, moving across the country, an unexpected career with a top Hollywood Producer and making the shift into running her own successful multi city photography business. Without further ado here's Episode 1.
Welcome to the unplugged creative podcast that explores the weird wild and wonderful things creatives go through to do what they love. I'm your host Arielle Zadok, and this is the place to be reminded that wherever you are you're exactly where you're meant to be.
ARIELLE: Welcome to the very first episode of the unplugged creative This is super exciting.
ANDREJKA: Oh my gosh I can't believe I'm first. I feel so honored.
AZ: I know. I think it's perfect that your first because as we were talking about right before we got on I have definitely told you about this podcast and you thought it was already started. So why not. I.
AH: Now I'm kind of nervous you added like extra pressure.
AZ: Definitely no pressure. Super chill. That is the whole name of the game here. I am going to put those headphones back on though because I can actually hear a little better or be a little bit more. It makes you look very official. Right. I like the official about it. I like being official now that I can hear
AH: Oh I think I think your voice changes as the man does it.
AZ: I don't know maybe maybe because I feel more official it's like getting real. All right. The headphones are on the mics are on it's about go down totally in a really comfortable sofa. This is a fantastic sofa. It's decorated beautifully so we are sitting right now in under Andrejka's old apartment slash sometimes apartment.
AH: Yes. Yes. I love this place. Should I talk about talk about it. So here's a little backstory I lived in this apartment for three years three years before I met you. I met you in say St. Pete three years ago. Before that I lived here. My roommate never got a roommate. Thank God for rent control and I think she honestly thought that how could she get another roommate that was as great as me not because I'm fantastic but because I'm never around.
AZ: As far as roommates especially in L.A. are concerned a roommate that's not around is like right. I would say a year round rent.
AH: Yeah I would be in Michigan six months in the summer and then I would travel all the time all the winter. So I was like never here. I was there just enough to be a perfect friend and then leave and not make a mess and invade her space. So when I moved out I kind of told her like Heather. I don't think you should try to get a roommate. I think you should just keep the place open. Even realize at the time I was actually helping myself out so that now I have my place in L.A. every time I come back. Those little things we do. Now it's decorated better than when I lived here. She had a decorator in here so it's super cool.
AZ: I wish I could do every interview in a super cool apartment. I will not be able to. Most of it will be over Skype. So this is extra exciting to have you in person and to be in a really dope apartment.
AH: Yeah, well, I mean your apartment has to be amazing because then you will be doing it from a dope apartment with Skype.
AZ: True. I mean it's cool. I got a cool apartment I have to get one of those designers that came in here and will fix it up with your own stuff. That's a brilliant business plan by the way right.
AH: I think she has a great Instagram. I can't throw a shout out to her because I don't know her name or who she is but I can get it for you.
AZ: We'll find out and we'll put it in the show notes.
AH: Maybe she'll be somebody you interview.
AZ: That's right. I would love to interview her. Yeah but this one's about you. So tell me a little bit about how you came to California.
AH: I was born in the Midwest too. I'm going way back here way back way back way back. So I was born in Michigan and I never thought I would ever live in California. In fact my mother said to me when I graduated college my brother at the time lived in New York and she said Honey go and do anything you want just don't move to California. And I was like No I'm not going to move to California. Why would I do that. Who lives out there. I'm going east I'm going to New York and going to Boston. Well then my best friend moved out to Santa Barbara. I came and visited and I was like Wow this place is kind of great I don't know. I think I want to be back here. And then funny enough 9/11 happened to me. Yeah. And I was the time I was living in Podunk country town Dobie Brown. I love my foot on country towns. But I was living there in the middle of 9/11 and all the hoopla and I was like nope get me back out to California. Get me out there to that mentality and I want to be surrounded by all that is there things that are so I thought I'm thinking of. Bright and sunny literally and creatively and creative. So much creativity. So I moved out here or I moved out. Yeah. Santa Barbara. Here. That's where L.A. and I intended on going to. I don't think you know this I intend I'm going to make it my master's in education really. I did not know that. So what was your first degree in first degree was in history huh. History major in history major in art. And I think that was my first major was history. My second My minor was English and the head of the art department came to me and be like a month before graduation I said do you want to have an art show. I'm like I'm not a major you check your credits. I was an art major and I don't even realize what's. Yeah I just like randomly taking art classes randomly taking photography classes because I liked it. My thought was actually that I was gonna go into museum work and work as a curator.
AZ: You know something similar happened to me in theater because fans of one class I have a minor in theater because everything I did every single class I took was in theater I just had fun just for fun. I took costuming. I mean I was in all the shows but I took costuming I took makeup I took scene design I took obviously acting I did everything and so by the end of it. And you got credits for doing shows. So by the end of it they were like you if you take like one more class which was the history of playwriting and I had to write a bunch of papers online now I'm cool. You will have a minor in theater so I totally get going under the radar and just doing what you love. And then all of a sudden you're like Oh shit.
AH: It's kind of like the things follow you. That's kind of funny how the photography thing follows so I actually going back even further and kind of skipping around in history when I was in high school. I wanted to be on the yearbook staff in order to get a hall pass just very strategic of you. I was very strategic. I wanted a hall pass by the way teachers if anyone's listening. I've still really respected you at the high school. I really did. But I wanted a hall pass to walk the halls and kind of do what I wanted and I knew my English and my writing skills weren't good enough well enough. And you know the right word to say see while you're winning so you're great. So I think you were good on that. I thought no one's going to want to have that crappy photographer job is literally what I thought in my head was right. No one on the job I was the only person who went for it. I got it. That's how photography started. Wow. And then after that I went to college randomly again. I needed to work. I'm like well I kind of did this I'll make work for the newspaper and I'll work for the magazine and I'll shoot pictures when they need me to. And I'll just do it here and there and I want to stop studying all the academic stuff and so I would take the art classes pose them as you did with theater and escape all that crap. And in the end I ended up with this degree but then I thought Oh this is great for teaching. Yeah yeah. So I'll move to California and get a teaching degree was my thought.
AZ: You know that's so funny because I went to college thinking that I was going to be a teacher because when I was in high school my mentality was and this actually came from what was the teacher's name his first name was Tim. Weird that I would remember his first name and not his last name. But in any event you know not at all. He was a total nerd but he was great theater guy. He said you know you taught English. And he took over Theater one of the things that he said in his class was because somebody asked you know why if you love acting in the theater so much why are you teaching. And he said well the curriculum is my script you are my audience and this classroom is my stage. So I am on a stage every day and I am reading a script every day and I am getting to act every day. And so that seemed like a really great idea for me. Also my boyfriend at the time was going to school to be a teacher and then half the people I knew. So whatever boy I was a bit like everybody I think said that's what you do. You become a teacher.
AH: Yeah. It was like we were in that generation of they pushed teachers.
AZ: Yeah I think so. I think so. Meanwhile all of us had those terrible tenured teachers that were the worst.
AH: I wanted that job. Like what you can be terrible and still get paid is like the weather guy. My dad used to always say. That's the only job where you can fail every day and you'll still be considered great. I have a teacher that made me cry. Fourth grade and it's funny because to this day when my mom was living still back where I grew up she would go in to vote or do it. She'd run into this teacher and the teacher would always ask about me and my mom would think to realize my child is like scarred from you. And yet she thinks he's the best. And that I love her. Like wow teachers are clueless sometimes but they are.
AZ: I mean they're obviously there are a lot of exceptional ones and it takes a lot. That's a tough job.
AH: I feel like we're getting off path and like bashing teachers
AZ: Doesn't matter and we're not bashing I'm bringing it back I'm real in it back in. And to be fair hey this is The Unplugged Creative. We're just going to have conversations. That's totally what this is about and it's about truth and reality and all of that and I think that teaching is a very hard job to do and I think a lot of us like you and I at some point we're like yeah cool I'm going to do this. And I was a camp counselor like I did all the things. But then at some point you realize I'm a little too selfish. I want to do something different and it takes so much selflessness to be a teacher and I imagine that they're passionate about it and whatever. But I also imagine that especially for some that are older than I've 10 years they may have given up the dream that the two of us and many other people listening have decided to take the gamble on. Yeah that can be part of what as well as working with kids for 15 years is hard work especially in high school when they're at their worst.
AH: I still dream of being a teacher. Really. I do.
AZ: It's wonderful and it's needed and they should be paid a hell of a lot more than they are. But it's not like it's like film production it's not glamorous. Believe you me it is not glamorous.
AH: Teachers should definitely be paid more. It's crazy when you think about all this. All those crazy stories. I was someone was telling me that he is a teacher and he's no longer a teacher because he's going to get paid more working in a grocery store than being a teacher.
AZ: That's wild. That's been a huge problem in our country. That's what it is. How are we possibly going to support our children and how are we possibly going to survive anything. That's a whole other topic. It's serious. Hey look if it goes serious I'm all for it really but that's the truth and that's the journey. And she gets real and I think that part of why I want to be here and doing this is to talk about the stuff that's real and is to explore the shadowy shit because we don't talk about it and I know I curse a lot. There will be warning in the beginning of the but you know it's is so much value in the serious and there's so much value in the darkness that I think if we skip over it we're doing ourselves and everyone else a disservice because that's how we're not going to learn from. Things are great. You learn from this works for me. This will work for you. Maybe no. But what didn't work and how did you deal with it. So let's talk about when you first got California then.What was that like. It's a tough place to come to L.A.
AH: So well first I went to Santa Barbara and you know here's the thing and I think you know you would ask me what my low points are. And my problem is when I look back in life my parents and thank goodness this is how I was raised. Is that my low points turn into good things. So I moved to California. I moved to Santa Barbara after 9/11 because while I'd been there and visited for a few weeks few months and then I went back to Michigan going well that was fun. I did my little stint in California. Now I can move on and settle down in my life at 22 23. Right. Because at twenty two point three you think you've got it all figured out. I was in that boat too. I moved to Santa Barbara. I think I'm going to become a teacher and I go for all the job interviews and I answered an ad in the paper that said an executive assistant for a small company. And my thought was how boring. I don't even think I want to go to this job interview. I also thought to myself prior to this the only job I want. I wanted to be in a creative environment. And at this point can't remember I'm not looking to be a photographer. I just want something cool and fun while I get ready to go to graduate school. I want a creative environment and I don't want to have to wear a suit or nylons. Fair enough right. My lines aren't even a thing anymore. Know if you can buy them or even call nylons anymore even if you can buy them maybe not so that old Midwest upbringing was like Nope. You said you're got to be somewhere you better be there you better do that interview it's good practice. So here I am the sweet Midwest girl pulling up to a gated mansion and going Oh this is going to be interesting. I've never seen a place like this. And as I pull into the driveway I see this huge mansion that looks like a 1970s. Honestly I'm thinking they're porn or mafia. It's got this wrap around porch and this and I'm thinking I have no idea where I am but this is gonna be a great story like the one you're telling I look like right now. So then I pull up to this interview and again I know nothing about executive assistant for a small amount of company. That's all I know. So I pull up to this place and I walk in and the girl kind of meets me is pregnant she's wearing a sweat pants and flip flops and I'm thinking yeah. All right I don't have to wear nylons. Firm and firm Adidas. So then she walks me down this long hallway and I'm like All right there's going to be fun. And I sit down and I'm sitting there in this kind of office and I'm looking around and there's like this Lichtenstein print behind a desk and there's this Julian Julian's piece of work that's just amazing. And I'm like okay there's some cool art. And I go into the office and the woman goes Ivan Reitman meet Andrejka to meet Ivan Reitman. I'm like huh. That name sounds familiar. I don't know why I know that name. And I don't think anything of it. And I keep working and I keep going through the interview and then halfway through he said Why do you want this job. Halfway through. He said Do you have any questions for me. And I said your ad was a little vague. What exactly do you do now. I don't know your listeners know who Ivan Reitman is. He is an incredible director and a producer. He's been around for decades. He's pretty well known. Kind of a deal kind of a big deal kind of big deal. Then I'm clueless and he looks at me and he goes I'm a director and producer and I do about two films a year. And I went thinking Gosh now I know why the name sounds familiar.
AH: So here's Donnie and I don't know if I ever told you this. My brother who's 10 years older than I am dreamed of being an actor. I remember being like a 10 year old girl sitting in the back of my mom's Subaru with my brother so going at the age of 20 moving to New York become an actor moving all around going I just dream of being an Ivan Reitman film. Wow. This is why this name is in my head. Yeah I literally thought it was a graphic designer. My brother was a graphic designer and the connection. So I walk out of there and thinking Well that was fun. There's no way in hell I'm getting a callback on that one and I get the car I call my brother I'm like bro it's just happened. This was my story. This this was the extent of my late California moment. My California story two days later I got a call back from the office. We'd like you to come in for a second interview and I'm like wow all right that works. That might be fun. And that means you too at this point. I had interviewed at a school who was a grade school that wanted like an assistant to a headmaster. And I was like oh my gosh I really want the headmaster job. I didn't know who I was. I didn't know about this whole thing. I wanted to work in the school because I thought that's where my life's journey was going to go. That felt like your dream job but that did totally. It was a perfect transition to everything but I never got. They never called me back. And so it's kind of over Christmas as well. And so over Christmas break up and I walk in I interview Ivan's like why would you want this job. You don't have anything in your resumé about any of this stuff. And this is funny. I said you know I want to work in a creative environment. I want to live in Santa Barbara California and I want to have fun and work for nice people.
AH: He's like All right. And then here's where he gave me the best advice that I have carried on with my business for ever. And a lot of photographers even look at me like I'm crazy. He said I can teach anyone how to be a good. I can teach anyone the film industry. I can't teach anyone how to be a good assistant. SAM Right. And it's been I mean I've carried that into everything I can teach anyone how to carry a camera I can't teach someone how to be good and know how to deal with a bride. Yeah. So it's funny how that job which I gotta admit and Ivan if you ever listen to this I did not think I'd be at that job longer than six months. I may have lied at my interview and said he's like I need someone for two years and I was like Oh yeah yeah I'll do that and I'm going to graduate school eight years later I walk into his office cheering up going I think I have to quit because my photography job are taken off.
AZ: So let's talk about that a little bit.
AH: I remember it so clearly I kind of knew I quit in May of 2009 and Ivan was the best. Like that job had that job from 06 until 09 and it was such a great way to build my business and still have that. And it was I couldn't ask for a better scenario and 0 9 came along and I knew I was getting to the point my business that I couldn't handle. And I remember again crying weirdly enough at his Super Bowl party. Weirdly enough I'm sitting watching the Super Bowl going so this could be my last Super Bowl party here because I just knew it was coming. Was that one of the first realizations that you had. I had the realization there was a TV show back then that only had one season called wedding day and it was basically with A.A. and it was basically like what was that. What was that show with the the redid the house for people who are in need always made you cry. The worst my guy and the worst thing there was that cute guy who was the construction worker who told me you know what I'm talking about. You know what you're talking about right. Yeah. Real. I don't know. But you know it was like it was. Yeah it was like 2009. Yeah yeah. And like this like the beginning of those show that was like or there was like property brothers and a million different like that whatever. Yeah yeah. Like the wedding version. So like a family who was a need would a couple that was in need who couldn't afford their wedding was their friends and family and this production team would like build this dream wedding. And I know what that one is to call the wedding day. Yeah. And I was asked to be on it and they flew me out to Detroit from L.A. to do it and it was kind of neat so I'm in Detroit. I'm doing this. But I had to ask for the time off for it. And I was like All right I started to push push my limits. This is interesting of stress. Stressful moments in my career. That summer before I left I had 10 weddings in northern Michigan but I was working full time for Ivan. I would take a red eye on a Thursday night fly to Michigan get to Mackinac Island which is like five hours from Detroit meet with my couple Friday night shoot their wedding on Saturday fly back on Sunday and be back at work Monday morning at 8 a.m. 9 a.m. for meeting 10 times in one summer. Wow. Yeah. And I had more anxiety about missing my plane on Sunday than I did shooting the wedding. Wow. And so did they know that. Or did I even know that you were off doing that. And how would you navigate that how we totally did and I think you know he was like at that point I'd earned enough trust and respect. Look do your job just do your job but don't fuck up if you fuck up you're walking a fine line. And that's what I knew. Like I think there was this mutual known and respect and when it came to this show I went in I was like I just got offered this I don't know. And this is actually kind of cool about it. He was actually kind of father figure to me and was like What are they covering. Who is the producer like I guess I didn't take an advantage on this Roger percent and I was kind of like fine. Was it it was good care of you. I mean for me at the time of like whatever an album I would have taken anything like I was like I get to be on TV. I saw something I could put on my resume. But at that point I was like All right. And then comes spring of that year I was like It's gonna be tough next summer to continue and I have to give something up and I don't know what it's going to be and you know how you start to almost know something's going to happen before the tipping point occurs. So your body feels it your eye would everything up in the middle of the night. I was having panic attacks. I was like what's going on. It was it was scary and I remember saying to a photographer friend of mine to the panic attacks ever stop. And she said no they just happen less often and less intense like OK good to know. Yeah there's lots of good advice I always have kept with it because twelve years in business I still have them. So I realized I just have to weather the storm. And I think that's kind of the biggest lesson to learning how to weather all the storms because they're never going to stop. What were some of those tools that you use in those moments or were you not even equipped with them yet. I don't even know if I was equipped with them. I mean luckily I think I always had a great circle of support with family and friends and I always honestly I think this is something about you know we were talking earlier a little bit about what California and L.A. and the environment around such a creative environment can inspire when you're surrounded a bunch of people who are thinking outside the box. No one's putting you down no one saying well you should think realistic. There's no real estate.
AZ: This is the most unrealistic place you could possibly live. I mean I'm in New York and I'm very real and I can you know I'll be a dreamer but I am pretty sure it's the New Yorker and me that is very real about things. But I still dream but you come to L.A. and everybody's heads in there are in the clouds and you know maybe that's not always a good thing.
AH: But for the most part that creative energy is here and I think it's creative too like meeting in St. Pete. I feel like I've been really lucky in seeing that St. Pete has such a creative environment as well so as long as you're surrounded by this people that can bring you up when you're feeling down so then that kind of tipping point I was like All right. The easiest decisions I've ever made have been the hardest decisions. Does that make sense.
AZ: Oh hundred percent of the hardest decisions have always been that easy easy Yeah because you know I think that there's always that inner knowing. And I think that it's it's not the decision that takes so much because I think we always know they're like what you were saying with your body there's an inner knowing you know what you have to do. It's the action that takes a long time. And it's that all of those feelings of turmoil and all the torture that you put yourself through until you're actually not knowing what that what you know where it wants to go but you don't know what it looks like to get there.
AH: Lets circle back to that because that's what I'm currently going through in the newest stages of my business. Let's do it let's circle well. But then so then basically my tipping point was I got offered a job in Macedonia.
AH: Yeah. So I did a wedding in Macedonia and it was they said that I could it. It was a friend who is getting married to Macedonia. And she said I'm getting married in May. And this was April March and I was like Great. Next year no. In two months I'm like I can't not do this I can't do this. And that's what then prompted me to go off on my own. Was like I can't not do a wedding in Macedonia to a political figure like this huge 500 person like that was like the jumping point.
AZ: It was this thing that was in front of your face that you just couldn't say no to.
AH: Exactly. And it was almost like it was so outside any norm and all the anxiety was up until that. Once I decide to do that wedding it was like All right. What's the next crazy thing that's going to happen. It was like a blank slate from then on.
AZ: Well that was the action that you took. It's the pressure right there. Yes the pot is boiling. You've got to take it off. The balloon is getting blown out. You got to stop blowing or let it pop. There's there. It's that pressure and everything you were feeling was all of the pressure of I know what I need to do. I'm just not doing it yet. And until I do it I understand it's going to feel a little weird.
AH: Well it's funny you say that. I'm now at a place where I'm like OK I know where I want to go. I know how big I want my business to be. I know what I want it to look like and I don't know what the doing looks like. And it's that uneasy part of Lake and self-doubt comes in and fear of it like oh my gosh can I really do the things that I think I can do. Can I really like only shoot 10 weddings and 15 weddings a year and just give that much to my clients can I really. How does that look and what do I do and how do I get there.
AZ: Well I think that's also in a very interesting point because and you're coming it from the perspective of your in your business you already know what it feels like to shoot these weddings to run a photography business to to do the thing right. And I think a lot of times we have an idea that is like I want to be an actor I want to be a graphic designer I want to freelance. I want to do this. I want to do that but we don't quite understand what it takes to do that job. And if you knew what it took to do that you wouldn't want to do it. You know I mean there are people OK actor that's a great example. Cool. You want to be an actor you want to be on stage. You want to be on screen. You love playing pretend. Fantastic. But you don't like going to auditions. You don't want to market the movies you're in. You don't want to have to go to the gym or take care of your hair or spend money on clothes or any of those things well then you want to be an actor because that's the job. The job is all of those things.
AH: The job versus the hobby.
AZ: The job versus the hobby it is such a distinction. And I think a lot of people starting out or in transition they have a passion they have this thing they want to do and they don't understand fully what it takes to do it. Especially I think when you're creating art and then selling your art there is such a difference between the hobby artist which is amazing and the professional artists that that's what they do for their job and earn their livelihood. There is an essence that is lost in that unless you're willing and happy to do all those other things and there's actually Elizabeth Gilbert I think is the one that said that she made a contract with herself when she was 15 with herself and her writing and she said I will never expect you to take care of me. I will always take care of you. And I think that is so interesting of her perspective because she wasn't I'm your writer and and this this thing that I do this creative outlet is going to be my everything. You know I'm going to do everything so that I can do this. And I think that's so interesting but where you're at is a different place because you already know what it takes and you're willing to do it. It's it's levelling up.
AH: Exactly. And that's where like we talked about low points and I think my biggest thing is to realize the ebbs and flows. The biggest hardship that's taking that person is to leave. That's hard to do it. But then once you realize what's involved that's another thing. And then once you've got it going. Like I would say in year 10 year nine eight nine ten of my business I was going good. It was fun. You have that plateau at that plateau and then all of a sudden I'm like oh my gosh what's going on I'm not booking things aren't going right. So it's to this. What's going on with me. Well it was a good run. I should just quit. And then I realized no I'm going to get a business coach or I have to like look outside what I've been doing and change and change it and you don't know what that change is that's a whole other leap of faith. So I feel like the leaps of faith never end.
AZ: There's a book and I don't remember who wrote it [Marshall Goldsmith]. And I have to read it but it's what's got what got you here won't get you there and it's based on a sense quote yeah probably I sense quote was You're not going to solve the problem from the thinking that got you there. Yeah something like that and it's true. I mean don't quote me know you figure that out. But if you just add that in the editing.
AH: Yeah exactly. I'll just insert a little voiceover over you. This is the quote interjection.
AZ: It's true I mean the things that and this is another thing that I think a lot of people don't recognize until you're like in the thick of it where you were that you can do X Y Z and it's gotten you to a certain level but you're there. Yeah. What's next. And if you don't have a goal then what's next. And then it will it won't keep you. No. Nothing is. Nothing is.
AH: Nothing ever stays the same. So if you do X Y and Z and it gets you to Z and you're great you still got to circle back to a you're still going to go somewhere from there and they see they're going to go up or down the loop. It's a loop and depending on where you're going and what you're doing. I think that's the scary part is like you want to be growing but you don't always know back to like you don't know what that looks like.
AZ: Well I think that's where the support comes in and that's where mentors come in and coaches and and your community and looking around you and finding those people that you're doing what I want to do. What does that look like for you. How does that affect your your money your life your relationships all these things. So for you when you got to that plateau What was it. What were things looking for you personally like the plateau.
AH: Oh the plateau. So at the time I was living in L.A. in this apartment. I was booking great weddings having couples. I think that year comes close to that year I was. I had flown to Europe like three times four different shoots from an outsider's perspective I look like I had it all together and then I started dating a guy I always kind of changes the dynamic in the formula above it every time every time. And so that part was going great but I was all of a sudden maybe I don't know who knows that this was good or bad or what it was but like I wasn't putting as much attention into the work I would plateaued. I was doing great. I can like let this go and work out a different aspect of my life. Maybe I'd been working too hard for so long. So finding that like work life balance you were comfortable. I was comfortable. I was comfortable where my business was and I felt like things were just coming including a guy. So you know I spend more time with him and then I end up moving out of L.A. and moving to Florida to St. Pete where I met your beautiful face
AZ: And your beautiful face
AH: But really not until after I'd made it out of my plateau actually down from plateau went down.
AZ: So were you in the down when I met you.
AZ: You were in downward dog though because we met at 108 sun salutations. You like that right?! I'm excited about that.
AH: Oh my god thats a good one. I kinda want to cheers our microphones.
AZ: It was a foamy cheers.
AH: When we me to know I was on the swing. OK great. So I'd moved to St. Pete Florida and I kind of moved in with the guy and I was like All right. So this is my next phase in life I'm going to like just continue with the business being status quo. Now was it your choice to move to St. Peter was that him would you have moved. It was his place but I kind of also felt like you know I'd always been looking for a partner and being in L.A. I was very business focused. I was traveling all the time but I wasn't finding it and I wasn't finding the dating scene and I wasn't. That part wasn't working for me. And I met this guy in Michigan and there was like he fit all the like the formula fit. And I was like All right this this could work. I'm like I don't know if I need to be in L.A. and. I don't need to be in California. And I knew Michigan was still gonna be there for my business I was like this could be interesting. Let's go for it. So it was our choice and I don't regret it one bit one bit. So moved to Florida and at this point I realized the business has been really falling. I didn't have my friends I didn't have my circle. The relationship wasn't working out as I had hoped everything. Everything all the same. And how is your money. Oh money was nonexistent and the boyfriend's money was nonexistent and it was just it was a whole hot mess. But of course in the time I think again because my view of life my view of life was like It's fine it's temporary
AZ: But I think we do that a lot.
AH: And I think it's where you adjust from there. Like yeah you're gonna swing up you swing down. And I think I didn't quit. And I knew it was temporary and I had enough faith and spirituality and all will work out okay. Even though I didn't have my yoga I didn't have my workout. It's funny now I look back in retrospect how much of the me stuff I had but I also looked at it like I've only been in St. Pete for five months four months. Kind of give it time to like get in there and I think sometimes we also use that as an excuse to not do the things that feed us. I mean I was adjusting to living with this guy for the first time. There were so many variables in which it was just a hot mess. Were you working at all. I think I literally took a job for 150 dollars and I had not taken a job for a hundred fifty dollars ever since Andre of photography became a business man and I was like I gotta go I gotta get a guy like that you know and when you're talking about business there's the need versus want. I don't think that's it. But like when you're struggling just to grab whatever you can. You just need desperation and you're not in a mental state to provide for abundance when you're just grabbing anything you can off the floor grabbing scrabbling versus reaching for the stars.
AZ: And what was that wedding like for you. What was that experience event or what was that event like for you.
AH: It was a lot more work. I worked like it was. It was not great. I mean I was actually happy to be shooting which made me think wow I need to shoot more. But I was like one of those things that when you're trying to find clients you can't find them. Like what am I doing wrong. What are you missing the mark. And that's when I got the business coach. I discovered station house I started at Lindsay station house of the CO workspace in St. Pete. I started meeting a couple of people. This was at the very end of the relationship and end of that kind of moment in before I went to Michigan and that period. And that was the shift that took a couple things like it's almost like the universe doesn't give you things that you can't really handle like it everything falling apart at the same time. It was on its decline but my business was on the uphill when the relationship started going downhill. So at least I had that to hold on to. It's funny because when the relationship was on the uphill the business was on the downhill right. And now is that spot of balance. How do we find that spot of balance is the question. Riding the waves. Well how did you kick things back into balance. Well my yoga literally balance. Yeah well I went back to Michigan and I kind of follow the signs and luckily I went right back in to. I had lost a lot of my patterned ritual ritual. I put the habits I have that I know are good for me. And I always I don't know if you know this. I always pull a Native American animal medicine card every morning not know that.
AZ: And how long have you been doing that for
AH: in fact I always up first I always read a meditation out of one of my books and it's a very short meditation. It's a little quote and it's a little reading like it's half a page and it kind of just sounds centres me for the day when things get off kilter. I can come back to that and read that and think about and sometimes it works sometimes it's just a I'm going through the motions but at least I did the motion so I started doing that. Funny enough I really started just looking for signs. I started seeing and I sort of seeing 1 1 1 1 1 1 person.
AZ: That's the emergency number in New Zealand.
AH: Yeah 99 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1. Anywhere from the series of 3 or 2 doesn't really count one eleven to one eleven eleven eleven I would see it on the clock three times a day. It only shows up four times a day. No joke from June 6 till I'd say honestly now I see it at least once a day. While there are moments where I see more and I kind of just took it as like got it it's OK. Everything's gonna be fine. I was like your assurance your validation like you're this is your good. Like sometimes if you can't find it within yourself you look for an outside reminder whether it's true or not true whether you believe this stuff or not it doesn't hurt anyone.
AZ: I mean I think we're always looking for outside validation right and sometimes that's a good thing. In your case and sometimes it's a bad thing. It's again one of those things that comes down to balance of what is it that you're looking for outside of you. Yeah if it's just a little like a butterfly that makes you smile and makes you feel like cool you're on the right path. That's legit and it makes you a better human to other humans.
AH: And so I kind of started seeing that and then this is the whole transition into St. Pete my true St. Pete. Like if you asked me when I came to St. Pete those first six months don't count. Yeah they really was until I met your face.
AZ: Well I think that it takes two years in any given new home to really get your footing to really build your community to know where what you're doing. I just feel like when you hit that and obviously we're talking six months by you know I think when you hit that two year stride you kind of like and you're how you meet.
AH: Yeah yeah. So the whole signs were out of nowhere. I got invited to a wedding show at the dances are which is a huge wedding venue and I was uniforms big you'd going on the beach if you're ever gonna get married there you should hire Andre photography. Wink wink plug plug do it. But I was like All right I know what's going on this guy and I but I'm gonna fly back to Florida to go to this wedding. Step one Don't know what's going to happen. We'll see. So I did that and I booked a wedding next time I fly in for something. Oh that time I ran into Lindsey at Station House and I said Lindsey I'm looking for a place to live. I have a room. Oh my gosh. And the rent was stupid cheap especially after moving from L.A.. Oh yeah. I was like oh my gosh I have a job and I have a roommate and I have a friend. Wow had this all happen. And then all of a sudden I got into the body electric community into the yoga community and all the things that feed my soul we're working out. And then I got into a whole work community. So it's like the community in St. Pete has been so uplifting that I'm like oh so my downside moving there has become such an upside. But now it's me. It's like a little mini L.A.. Yeah. Have you found that at all.
AZ: You know it's a little bit different for me because for me and what I do as an Assistant Director and even as a Producer there's not a lot of work there for me. The production work that's there is obviously very minimal. Most of it is running gun one man band or one woman band type thing. So for someone like you who is a photographer or someone that has a read and does everything the one stop shop it's a great place. It's an incredible place for building an entrepreneurial community for supporting your community for all those things but for me in what I do. It's not. And it was a very low place for me in a very dark place for me because I couldn't do what I do. And every time I would move out of Florida like when I lived in New Zealand my success skyrocketed and I was home and I was doing the things that I'm good at that I am valued for and I was being valued. And so you know when I came over here and granted I'm at that six month mark now too I've just come home and you know whatever I'm very spoiled. I was born and raised in New York. Hundred percent spoiled I know that. But that's also what makes it hard for me to live in smaller places where I don't have an abundance of data or where I don't have an abundance of creativity and of diversity and of literally anything I want at my fingertips. And I found that a lot in Auckland as well. Even though a lot of people be like oh it's it's New Zealand it's really small. Most of what I wanted was there. Auckland is a very robust place. It's obviously the biggest city there. I think it's bigger than Wellington but Florida was just always a very interesting place and I did found a job that was good for me resumé wise experience wise whatever but it wasn't what I do really. I've been here for six months and got three calls for jobs in the car on the way over here. So clearly something is clicking and it's the right thing to be the signs.
AH: Signs pulled you here. Oh my signs from Santa Barbara pulled me to L.A. like it's following the signs.
AZ: Yeah. Interesting. That's the hard part. And trusting yourself to and knowing that sometimes you get it wrong sometimes your intuition isn't perfect it's not right your intuition is such a strong powerful thing but it also doesn't mean it's not going to get it wrong sometimes.
AH: And that's OK. And that when people tell you Well that's wrong. No. Let me make my own mistakes. If you think it's wrong. Great. I don't own at the moment. Yeah it's OK. I think that's the thing that's hard especially as a creative because in and of itself being a creative you're going outside the box you're gonna have people say you can't do this. What do you think. I tell the time when I started my photography business I had people go. You have to take a photo because I mentioned this that there were five years when I lived in Santa Barbara that I never had a camera. Wow. I just put it away and was working on graduate schools or whatever everything else. And were you calling yourself a photographer at that point. No no no. I was very unlike a lot of the new world of photography and photographers. And actually this was something that I found in California versus Michigan and Florida like a sport doesn't excite so much later in my life. But in Michigan when I moved to California everyone was a photographer. Everyone has everything here. Everyone's doing and getting paid for. Exactly. And so when everyone would say I'm a photographer I'd be like I'm not a photographer I'm not even once I started my business was getting paid to shoot a wedding I wasn't a photographer. I remember how hard it was the first time I said when someone said What do you do. And I was like Well I am. I'm an assistant but I'm kind of a photographer. Like I was so scared to say it. Now it's like it's nothing. It doesn't mean anything.
AZ: Well there's two sides that coin too because I think that there's imposter syndrome which is what you've experienced. And then there is saying what you are before that's what you are. And having the confidence and the right to feel like this is who I am. Everything else will figure out the rest. So there's a little duality there because they're both good and they're both bad.
AH: Do you think it's us where we are now in society. Do you think 10 years ago people were actually 10 doesn't work
AZ: 15 30 years ago before we were. Yeah let's go whole different standard. Hold all did not say what you were. Well now I can bring in a whole other thing.
AH: You've heard the quote about the article about how if you see a job listing and it has the requirements a man will interview if they have what if they know one and a woman will interview if they they have to have all of them or else they want interview. Oh yeah. I wonder if it's kind of a similar type thing but now our society is pushing it so much more so that we are able to
AZ: well I will answer that question right now because I've seen it where men cinematographers these like 19 year old kids are like I'm a cinematographer. They don't know shit then you see a woman and I've seen this at Women in Film events and women in media events which I go to quite often. I'll find female cinematographers who are shooting they are doing the job and yet they won't call themselves a cinematographer and it's like there's a dude out there who doesn't know half the stuff that you know who is calling himself that you know you need to get over that and you need to just call yourself what you are if you're not doing it. No don't call yourself that. But if you are why are we so afraid to call it that way. When I moved to New Zealand my primary experience was as a production coordinator and little bit of production managing as well. But I knew that I wanted to be an assistant director and I had done the job. I was a second A.D. on a lot of jobs that didn't credit me for it. And so when I got there there was a little bit over the lectern to say that that's what I was but I was like No I've done it. That's what I am. I've done it. I can change whatever you wanted to say my resume. But that's what I am. I am a second lady and I happen co-ordinate as well. And guess what all the jobs I did there was. And when they needed someone for production or someone to do a little bit more on either end of the shoot day I was the person to do it because I had all that experience but I didn't hesitate to call myself an A.D. because I knew I knew the job I understood the job I had done the job and I could do it. But I don't think I would have bullshitted my way into it which a lot of people do especially in this industry and I can't say that I fully support it and I don't it.
AH: I honestly think it's just I think it started out here. Yeah I shouldn't say that I shouldn't be in California for it because I'm not even in the industry but in photography I would even see it all that I'm not able to and I feel like now it's here and everywhere. It's everywhere but I wonder if it's an age thing. It's a generation thing.
AZ: Yeah there's an entitlement thing going on and there's yeah I mean I think it's. We just live in a different time where people on social media and Instagram. Yeah there's a lot of lies out there. I don't think that it's that people don't value experience but I don't think people value experience. They want to pay for a new life. The rates that they're paying people for example if they want to pay for a kid right out of college but they want them to have 20 years of experience. So there is absolutely a disconnect. But to keep on the topic of fully embracing who you are who you want to be. I think there's a fine line between bullshitting and owning owning you know totally different.
AH: I agree. I say there is a definition of what this is and if you have had the job you are it. If you're like I want to but I've never done it. And yeah
AZ: Yeah you're working towards right. I'm working towards being a photographer I'm working towards being X Y Z. And that is totally fair totally legit and totally real. And we do need to be in support of this work comes on the people around you supporting you in who you are.
AH: Yeah I had friends that you have to be able to pick up the camera. Half the people said that they have said we've been waiting ten years for you to realise this is what you are. Yeah you know like those people who knew this is what you are. Yeah. And it does take people knowing you.
AZ: And I think it's also people seeing you. I did a job where I was a dealing and the guy pulled me aside afterwards the head of production over there was like a partner type job. But in any event he pulled me aside afterwards and was like you do produce your production manager like you just asked me more thanks again. Absolutely. And I met with him the other day and he said something that was just so incredibly rewarding because he said I saw your first lady I saw that you're awesome at that and that's not all you are. I saw that you're great at that but I could tell that that was just a tool in your tool belt. That you know and you do a lot more. And having someone say that to me especially that doesn't know me like you only saw me working for the that week. That was our only experience together and and yet he could see through the one job that I was doing who I really was which is a lot more I have a really weird set of experiences in production and I've done a lot of jobs in a lot. I mean all in production but in different positions in different areas of production and different outlets and mediums. So I am very well-rounded but if you were looking at Credits list or something it doesn't really read that way but for someone to actually see me and see through the one job that I was doing and he intuitively knew that I was more than that I think that was probably one of the first times that something like that has happened or one of the few times that it has. And it's an incredible feeling for someone to truly see past the one thing you're doing right now.
AH: So do you think we need to this this made me think about something we should all do more which is we just need to tell people when they do good jobs more. We don't do that enough. And I wonder sometimes if people are scared not scared but almost like too shy I think shy is the way to put it to go up and say You're doing a great job. They need to hear that. I think everyone. I actually had this moment and I even thought I should tell him and I just didn't. I had like a server at a restaurant at the Detroit airport yesterday and he was great but the food was really good and I was like I should tell him that the food was really good. I was really surprised it was. And as I walked away I was kind of like well myself here. His back is turned. He didn't make the food so I really do. And now I'm like Damn said the more you put out a positive compliment the more it ripples.
AZ: Oh yeah.
AH: It's like I feel like this is gonna be my new thing this week. I think we should cheers our microphones again and make a pact that we are at once a date. This week we're going to tell some one out of the blue a stranger that they're doing something good I love doing that so let's cheers that.
AZ: I do love that and I do try to make a point to do that and I don't always remember of course especially like when you're in the thick of it but especially if I'm just out on the street and I see someone with a beautiful dress or has gorgeous hair or whatever I'll just say that or someone that just did a great job or whatever. I think there's so much value in just taking a second out of your day to compliment someone else from a very real place. And we don't do enough consulting with humanity connecting with strangers. It is 100 percent connected.
AH: It's uncomfortable but it's needed in our world
AZ: But it gets less uncomfortable the more you do it it becomes more second nature to notice the good around you and comment on it.
AZ: And you don't know who needs to hear that even if it's not even the person you're telling. It could be the person you're with or someone who oversees and hears you that just needed that little bit of shit there is some goodness in the world right. There is something good out here.
AH: Yeah it's funny I've had that reaction. Three things have happened to me in the last 12 hours since I've been in L.A. I was standing in line yesterday say about my car rental situation now. Oh my gosh. I landed at thirty. I did not get here until ten thirty. It's a 30 minute drive from Halifax. I was at the airport. I was at the car rental place for over two hours and I'm standing in line with probably 30 people and the line is not moving. And you know in this world where we're talking race and gender equality and all of the shit that's going on and I'm standing and I'm looking at the people around me and there's a dude who's kind of like OK I'm in a cliché here not cliche with stereotype we had the classic L.A. older rocker looking dude tight jeans long hair a little older probably younger than what he is but he's been rock and hard. Then there was leg him and then there was like this white hipster dude probably 20 something and then there was this black guy and the three of them were 100 percent connecting conversation across the line about politics and about female equality. And I was like I'm just sitting there annoyed at everything but also just like feeling so good about humanity listening to these three men total different walks of life engaging in a controversial conversation in such an open environment with 30 people around
AZ: And how nice is it that there didn't have to be a woman that was in it or orchestrating it and I'm sure some people listening to this might argue like there ought to be a woman and mom but like no it was great that was all initiated by MAB because if we want something to change the people who are in power are the ones who have the ability to change it. It's not necessarily just the people raising the flag saying hey this is wrong. There's something going on here. It has to be the people in the position of privilege in the position of power who can talk to their peers and who can encourage and influence their peers to make the changes that we need to make to
AH: Did you listen to Anna Faris' interview with Terry Crews
AH: Oh man I love Terry. It's exactly what he talks about. Yeah but he was talking in the sense of the other side about the sense of the abolitionists that like it wasn't until the white man stood up for the black men that the big difference has happened and is like saying the same thing to the men it for the women that we really need big changes. I'm telling you tonight go home. I listened to a Santa Ana. Terry Crews you're gonna cry. You're gonna laugh you're gonna want everybody's homework. It's everybody somewhere in the Bastille still isn't all his verse. Oh yeah totally. Of course it was like it was amazing. And that's kind of the same whole idea as that. And then today I'm on the street and I'm walking along and it was like different races different genders all just like engaging in humanity. It happened on the street right now in front of my apartment was a dude that had a dog and I was chatting with him and then like in my dance studio where it was literally like 20 women all different ages all different races all different walks of life all engaging in the same movement and that's a beautiful thing.
AZ: I love that. I think that's a really great place to the feel good. And I want to try a little something. Maybe this will work, maybe it's not gonna work but I would love for you to give listeners a creative challenge and then they can share it with the hashtag the unplugged creative creative challenge whenever you want it to be.
AH: Oh all right. I'm going to do a photography challenge.
AH: Take three photos of the same thing in different angles. Great.
AZ: Say one more time.
AH: Take three photos of the same object from three different angles and then if you post that on Instagram #TheUnpluggedCreative and we will all get to share and we'll share it on our Instagram too.
AZ: Sweet thank you so much. This is a great conversation. I'm so happy that you were the first. This was just perfect.
AH: Oh yay, thank you so much for listening.
AZ: Head on over to The Unplugged Creative to get the show and link up with this week's Creative if you like what you're hearing. I would love it if you went over to iTunes and left me a five star review that's going to help other people learn about this podcast and probably help some other creative they are doing it. Thanks goes out to James Granger for his original music. I'll be here next week.