We had the good fortune of connecting with Haley Ahern and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Haley, how does your business help the community?
I believe cinema and digital media is one of the most impactful forms of communication in the world. It has the ability to reach people from all around the world, give viewers a new experience and information, all while being entertained. At Refuse Reality Productions our goal is to give people a glimpse of the world in someone else’s eyes and bring to life thought provoking stories. We want our audience to walk away feeling like they learned something new, about others or themselves.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
At Refuse Reality Productions we are a one-stop-shop that creates everything from music videos, to fashion campaign videos, to photos at our in house studio as well. We believe it’s about much more than creating content, it’s about creating a world for our viewers to live in. We stop at nothing to make visions visible and truly believe in executing an idea to the highest level of achievement.
My favorite part about what we do at Refuse Reality Productions is that we have the ability to immortalize people. Just like classic movies that have stood the test of time, so have the actors in them. I love the idea that future generations will be able to view what we have created when we are long gone and still learn. We work in the field of magic by capturing time and eternalizing the briefness of a moment.
I grew up as a professional dancer and was always in front of the camera helping to create other people’s visions, I then discovered the unlimited opportunities to create behind the camera as well. I then took the initiative to start my own company where I was in control of the messages we chose to share. I love being able to take concepts that were in my head and make them tangible for a whole audience to view. It is something truly special to me.
It definitely was a challenge at first, especially doing full scale productions with a 3 person crew. However, it taught us to streamline and be as efficient as possible. This is now what sets us apart from other production companies, we have the ability to accomplish the same amount of work (if not more) with 1/10th the amount of people as it normally takes by others. Throughout the process I’ve learned you have to take initiative, don’t compromise on your goals, and be as proactive as possible. This job isn’t 9-5, 5 days a week. It’s 24/7 but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
At my company it is important to me that the people I hire share the same values as me. Everyone I work with is positive, ambitious, and has the same drive to accomplish their “unrealistic” goals in life. That’s why my business is called Refuse Reality, it’s for the people who know deep down in their hearts that this is their purpose and will stop at nothing to make it a reality. Although the world has told them otherwise, they refuse to accept it and show me day in and day out that they’re making it happen.
Any goal with the right game plan is executable. That’s why our slogan is “A rational company, for irrational people.” We take people’s wildest dreams and make them a reality for the whole world to view. If I can make the world better one video at a time…I will ride this road long after the blacktop ends.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting Los Angeles for a week I’d recommend they stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel. They can start off their morning with silver dollar pancakes and a hot cup of coffee at the Fountain Coffee Shop located in the hotel. If the weather is sunny and 75, which 90 percent of the time it is here in LA, they can spend their day relaxing by the pool and ordering lunch from the Cabana Cafe. The palm tree lined pool and striped lawn chairs will have them daydreaming, I know I always have a good time when I’m there. For dinner there’s the one and only Polo Lounge, where they can eat at the same table as Frank Sinatra or Marilyn Monroe once did back in the Golden Age of Hollywood. My go to order there is a nice, big steak and trufffle fries, but I always have to save room for the funfetti soufflé. They could hit up Rodeo for shopping, but the amount of history and ambience in the Beverly Hills Hotel is enough to have cinema enthusiasts like me swooning.
On another day I’d take them to the beautiful Huntington Botanical Gardens located in Pasadena. You can walk around the grounds and view different gardens of the world. My personal favorite is the rose garden, as I love Renaissance styled architecture and grand fountains. Not only can you walk the endless paths of lush greenery, you can also just sit under a huge willow tree and soak in the fresh air.
If they wanted to get some shopping done, so they could return home with some one of a kind LA outfits, I’d take them to Iguana Vintage located in Studio City. This place is a vintage emporium! They’ve got fun wigs, glasses, jewelry, and my favorite…old letterman jackets. You never know what you’ll find there and it’s like a trip back in time whenever you walk in.
I’m not only into old clothes, I love old cars. So the California classic car scene is something I’d just have to show them! Every Friday Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank has a classic car show. I’d take them there in my 1962 Lincoln Continental, formerly owned by the Presley’s. You can get milkshakes there and just walk around looking at all the gorgeous cars. They’ve got everything from old T-Buckets to fully original 50s Cadillacs to some Lamborghinis thrown in the mix. It’s a great place to just chat up people, hear old stories about Jimi Hendrix and The Who in their hay days, and just walk around on a hot summer night. You might even be able to pose in a hot rod with a trained iguana on your shoulder or ride in a souped up low rider with full hydraulics like a roller coaster ride at Bob’s. You never know what to expect when going out in LA, that’s for sure!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate my interview to my father, Michael Ahern. He always told me, “There’s those that do and those that watch others do. Be a doer.” He is the hardest working man I’ve ever known and taught me that anything is possible in life with consistency, hard work, and the complete and utter drive to make your visions tangible.
Instagram: @Haley_Ahern and @RefuseRealityProductions
Photos by Alyssa Barker, Alexander Kawasaki, Arian Mahboubian, Irina Logra, and Vince Trupsin.