11- Getting in over my head

Remember that post where I said when I started working from home I wasn’t going to over work like I did in the past when I worked from home? Well it’s been tougher than I thought.

Yesterday and today marked some of the first days I haven’t had a shoot in the studio on a weekday for quite a bit.  So I had every intention of just checking my emails at my desk at home in the morning, then working out, then showering and then going to the studio. An acceptable 10 hours working day once totaled.

But instead what happened was I sat down in my pjs as soon as I woke up on Monday morning and then didn’t get out of my pjs. Like ever. 15 hours in front of the computer. Ewwwww.

Then I did it again on Tuesday. Upping my game to at least a shower and workout clothes. Sans the workout.

I would like to think I will not let that happen again. I have identified the problem. I bit off a little more than I could chew. Which is true. But I’m going to chalk it up to the fact that I am closing one business (more work than I ever imagined) and opening up a new business (I knew this kind of work, also a ton).

In mulling over being in over my head, it made me want to share with you a recent ‘dare to dream’-esq project in which in over my head was putting it lightly. But the right kind of in over my head that I can deal with on the reg. Let’s just say self confidence when it came to photo or video projects was never something I lacked. My mindset was always to just jump in and then see if I could swim. I never think I’m something super special, but I do think I am always ready for the challenge. Dive in.

Becoming a production company meant starting to toy with creating projects that were bigger than anything we had ever taken on before. I love video, especially music videos, and had done a few simple ones in the past. I love a musician in raw natural light. Up close, shallow depth of field, a gritty look. Straightforward and intimate footage. I feel 100% comfortable shooting that. So when I was given the opportunity to shoot a much bigger project, I gladly took it knowing that growth would be the number one reason. It intimidated me, so bring it on.

The song is by Angie Keilhauer, I’ll be sure to talk much more about her in the future, as I keep mentioning her, and she deserves more than just mentioning. And the lyrics did not call for a simple video. “Caught me going 108 [mph].” Hmmmmm. Sounds tricky.

The final video is almost done and I am excited to launch it in the coming weeks. It still needs one simple re-shoot that we have to wait for Angie to be back in town for. Funny how a 5 second clip can hold you up  that much in this world of storyboarding.

This project stretched me. We had a very fine tuned shot list that had scenes listed for 3 different days with specific times. Every second of this video was pre-planned and then coordinated into an excel doc so we would shoot it at the right time given the light of day, the people/cars/trucks we needed and if Angie’s hair would be up or down. And as always nothing ever really goes according to plan. Thank God I didn’t attempt an outfit change. I’m not ready for that cohesive editing complication yet! We had a 15 page google doc of logistics from to-do lists, packing lists, itineraries, equipment to rent lists, random stuff to buy, items to ask for like generators, flat bed trucks, and the needs went on.

The day of the shoot was the most chaotic and one of the most fun days of my life. Managing a crowd of 50 people, getting on a megaphone to tell trucks and cars where to drive at dangerous speeds, being cameraman and director equals total nonsense. Nonsense I loved and learned from.

Three major things that I took away from this gamble:

  1. Don’t wait to take on something that feels impossible. This is the kind of thing I want to be doing. Projects that intimidate me. Yes it was a lot of work, but not only did I learn so much, I also have something I’m really proud to show off. And that I know will only help me take on other bigger projects.
  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This came together and happened because of my badass friends that knew I was throwing in everything but the kitchen sink to up my game this past year. And my God did they step up and help. They came to production meetings, they drove RVs that I rented and was to frightened to drive on treacherous roads, they drove hours multiples times into the desert. They held things, and ran back for things I forgot. They told me I was doing a good job when they could see stress on my face. They laughed hard at me when ‘Marissa who doesn’t cry’ cried when her wide angle lens (my old faithful of 10 years) broke at the pivotal wide angle fast paced ‘truck-doing-donuts-shot’ shot and I was beyond exhausted. I cried over a lost epic shot. Lol.  An incredible drummer played drums, a shy non-bassist faked playing the bass. Even strangers we don’t know putting in hard work (see the behind the scenes video). An event planner I just met on FB helped me coordinate some off road forum logistics that intimidated me. Professionals came all the way out to second shoot. Why? Because I asked them to.In texts, in forums on Facebook, on phone calls. Kinda mind blowing. People are so good and kind. And it’s completely humbling and inspiring that so many would say yes because they saw someone ask. And I really learned to ask. Something I’m not entirely comfortable with.
  1. Here’s my favorite lesson; betting on yourself and your strengths is the only kind of gambling that you should take. It’s thrilling. And in the end even if you lose you feel empowered. 

Here’s our behind the scenes video….

A very special thank you to:

Leah & Chris Depaola
Brandi Pim
Anna Johnson
Chris L Kuwahara-Smith & friends
Brant & Baylee Bolton
Brian MacKenzie
Josh Fisher
Heather Shanahan
El Camino Pete
Bret with the donuting orange truck
Justin with the flatbed and the cool trucks

And all of the incredible people we met on FB that came out and shared their time and vehicles and happy vibes! I can’t tell you how very much you made this such a surreal day.

Much love,


  • Laura says:

    A-FREAKING-MAZING! Thank you for the lesson to not hold myself back. I do it allllll the time, and this is the year I am going to start pushing myself more. Also! I just bought tix to Angie’s show in NYC next month. Can’t wait to see her sing live! xoLB

  • Kristen S. says:

    This is an incredible undertaking! Amazing!

  • Heather Shanahan says:

    I’ve done quite a few awesome and epic things in my life. That video weekend is definitely towards the top. It really was so cool how everyone came together and was so into it and wanted to do whatever was necessary. I love having people like that in my life. I’ve noticed that great people make you want to be a better person too. Thought I’d share some of my favorite quotes from unknown “authors”

    “What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.”
    “She was unstoppable. Not because she did not have failures or doubts but because she continued on despite them.”
    “FEAR has 2 meanings: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise”

  • Anna Johnson says:

    I’ve shot a few videos but girl being a part of this was amazing. You could feel the amount of love poured into making this video happen and If I must say so myself you totally have some awesome friends. Thank you for asking me to be apart of this video, I only wish I wore something else so in the behind scenes I didn’t cringe (lol). This said I loved watching the behind the scenes video non of the less it reminds me of that awesome day. Angie did amazing and just went with the flow and Marissa you rock at directing.
    I can’t wait to see what the future holds and watch the final video of this. You were made for greatness!

  • Crystal says:

    Looks like an awesome day. Excited for the release!

  • Eris says:

    I can’t wait to see the finished product! So proud of you, what an undertaking. Wish I could have made it out to help.

  • boudoirdivasadmin says:

    There will be plenty more wild projects in the future that I would love your vision on! Love you cuz.

  • El Camino Pete says:

    Marissa and Angie…thank you for letting the El Camino being part of this adventure. Totally enjoyed the energy. I cant wait to see the video. The last shots you need will definately be a treat.

  • Tanya Smith says:

    Well, holy shit!! That frickin ROCKS!!! YOU rock! Way to dive right in girl. Impressive

  • […] I know I chatted about all the help we got to make this video. But my gosh am I still blown away by all that came together to make this happen. I made en extensive list of thanks in the last post, read it here. […]

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