In the Fall of 2014 I remember getting an email from Kat Schmoyer. She had a crazy dream and wanted to know if we’d be interested in filming the whole thing come to life. Her dream was the Creative at Heart Conference. She envisioned a place where like-minded creatives could come together and build purposeful, intentional community. 

And that dream officially came to life shortly after the new year in 2015. Since then, seven rounds have taken place. From Virginia to South Carolina, Maryland, Colorado, Tennessee, and North Carolina! It’s been incredible to see the creative community come alongside Kat and her vision for the industry and make it happen!

Ty and I have attended various creative conferences, workshops, intensives, and many online courses. We’ve also attended Creative all seven times and every time feels like the first time all over again. There’s just something about Creative that sets it in a completely different category for us.

I think the greatest void many of us work-from-home entrepreneurs try to fill in navigating through business is loneliness. I mean, if we’re being honest, it’s not always easy to “show up” to work every day alone. I think each of us longs to identify and belong to a greater, bigger group. I think we’re all innately born with a desire to “fit in” and just to be known and understood right where we are. And I think, the greatest place to find this is in a larger creative community. It’s this one place that is full of people who understand the nature of your work. People who “get it” when you talk about your lifestyle that looks different than a 9-5 goer. Where you don’t have to explain yourself or why your schedule looks like it does. Or how your family or friends don’t understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. They.get.it. And I think the best place to find a community like this is at Creative at Heart.

I’ve been telling Kat for what feels like forever that it is my dream to see more female filmmakers at Creative. Across the board, I feel like we are the biggest piece that is missing in the creative community. While I know that the majority of the film industry is male, I KNOW that there are female filmmakers out there looking for a community just like this one. And so, I’m finally taking the plunge to pray this into action. And I’m boldly praying that FIVE female filmmakers will sign up for Creative this round!!

So, by now you might be saying to yourself, well, this all sounds great, but why? Why should I sign up for this versus just showing up to an industry meet up? Or how will this benefit my business? What will I tangibly take away from this? Well, here you go!

You will be more aware of what’s working/not working

Sometimes the greatest gift in business is having the opportunity to get away from it. When we’re so immersed in our work every day, it’s easy to fall into a thought pattern of “well, this works for now” or “it’s fine, I have to sacrifice family time right now, this is just a season.” It’s not until you can step outside of your routine and into a place where you don’t have a deadline to meet, or someone to please, a goal to hit, or something to create and can just be – that you can see the truth more clearly.

You will be inspired with new dreams + goals

In that same vein, getting outside of your comfort zone, forces you to confront those things you’ve never even entertained before. For the most part, you’ll be learning outside of your niche (ie. not learning about filmmaking) but gleaning new thoughts and ideas that you can apply to your business. Again, the margin that is created by “getting away” from the every day grind, frees you up to think more future minded about your business and not so much “I need to do this, this, and this right now for my business.”

You will realize that people are just people

One thing I hear quite often about C@H is this – “oh, there so many big names at that conference, I have to go.” While it is such a gift to hear from so many talented creatives, educators, and speakers – it’s not the most important part. The best thing about Creative is how no matter what your role, (speaker, educator, panel leader, attendee, volunteer) everyone wholeheartedly immerses themselves in the experience. The speakers don’t just show up, give their talk and leave. They stick around. You’ll rub shoulders with them. Eat lunch beside them. See their families, their spouses, their real life. It humanizes them. You’ll quickly realize that these people that you may have fangirled over or idolized online – are just like you. They have struggles. Their businesses aren’t perfect. And they aren’t perfect. It gives you the freedom to step out of comparison and into freedom. Freely accepting that people are just people, no matter what stage of business or level of success they seem to have obtained. It will free you up from the trap of believing – “well, so and so does this and they are successful, so I have to do the same thing.” Every piece of information that is shared at C@H is done so to intentionally to push you to be a better business owner. In whatever interpretation you have of that! 

You will make lifelong friendships

This is the most life changing part. Human interaction is necessary for all of us. We were built for community. And fostering relationships in an environment like C@H is easy because we’re all starting in the same place by owning/building towards a creative business. But the greater part is that it doesn’t end when the conference is over. I can’t tell you how many people have made plans to continue building what they started at C@H. From planning styled shoots, to meet ups, to returning again to another Creative event or conference all because of a friend they connected with at the conference. C@H really becomes a family, in the best way. 

So friend, are you a female filmmaker? It would be such a joy to me to see you at the conference!!

I asked my female filmmaker Instafriends what specific questions they may have about C@H? These are three of the most asked questions:

What specific ways have you seen your business grow?

It has broadened our connection pool. Ty and I say ALL the time that the BEST way to network is to show up. People will never know who you are, why you do what you do, or even that you exist unless you’re showing up somewhere. Ty and I also do promotional work for creative clients – like promo films, course creation, and conference filming. And the majority of our clients have come directly from attending Creative at Heart. And that’s because we showed up to connect. We didn’t just show up and stand in the shadows. We made true, genuine connections with people. The best part is that 99% of the time, our conversations with people did NOT revolve around doing future work with them. We just built a connection and then they made the choice to reach out some time after and inquire for our services to help them bring their brand to life through film!

What specific ways have you grown, personally?

The biggest area of personal growth for me revolves around my third point – people are people. I think our culture pushes an “us vs. them” mentality onto us from an early age. I mean think about it. You think this teen pop star is cute as a middle schooler and if you have the chance to see them in concert you may feel like you’re going to die. Or being given an award by the principal or an idolized teacher and feeling like you’re going to faint. Or being recognized or complimented by the most popular guy in a group in high school. And so on, you get it! Most often, when you’re just getting started into a creative field – you’re looking for any and everything you can to help you grow in your craft and as a business owner. And slowly you may find yourself implementing ideas and making decisions based off what you see someone else doing. That’s not all bad, it’s just true! Being in physical contact with so many widely renown people in the industry and seeing the “human” side of them has broken down this lie that I slowly started to believe as a young business owner that I will never be successful because I’m not them. The truth is, I am the ONLY one who can define my success. It’s not up to anyone else! Learning this has given me the freedom to go my own way. Do things differently, but be encouraged to share my journey with other filmmakers who may be struggling in this same season! That’s the whole reason we started the educational side of our business!! Personal growth is hard, but putting yourself in environments that force you to grow, helps you confront the “yuckiness” that might be lurking beneath the surface! Being a part of the C@H community has done this for me!

Why is it so expensive?

I’m just going to cut to the chase on this one! Hosting a conference IS expensive. If you’re married, think about your wedding day. Do you remember how expensive it was to feed and host 50-200 people for just one day? And you had to rent a venue, and provide entertainment, and maybe you gifted favors, and so on and so forth. Can you imagine the price of this for 100+ people for 3 days straight. YIKES! Just swap the “entertainment” costs with “speaker + educator” costs and rooming and lodging and YIKES! It’s expensive! Here’s the thing though – you are investing in your business and you are also investing in yourself. People always say “when I have time, I’m gonna work on my business a little bit and not be so entrapped by my editing”…and when does that actually happen if you don’t put it on the calendar? Yes, Creative is expensive. But it’s not ridiculous. I’m telling you the truth because I’m a thrifty person ;] It is WORTH it and so much more, I promise you! Also yes, many of you asked – there is a payment plan option!! 

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Meet Ashley

A true sweetheart from Southwestern VA, Ash spent many Sundays after church sitting around the table with her grandparents, listening to stories about the “good ‘ole days”. A talented visionary with a true heart for people, she’s likely to be found reading, writing, and planning away.

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