We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Fernandes of Living Locket Films and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, what do you attribute your success to?
Being a couple who owns a business together, having each other is what drives our business’ success. We are lucky in the sense that we are not only able to find balance between our business and romantic relationship, but this experience has truly allowed us to flourish in our personal and professional lives. Throughout our journey of building a successful business we have found an effective way to identify and nurture one another’s strengths, effectively work alongside one another towards the same goals, and establish clear roles, trust and respect which provide a space for each of us to create in our own unique ways. First and foremost, the goal of our business has always been to make meaningful content through our storytelling skills that would have a historical impact. Whether this is creating a heartfelt short film about the origins of a company and their growth throughout the years or it’s telling the life story of a woman from Mississippi, creating something that she and her family would cherish forever, our goal remains the same. Achieving that goal, however, varies on a project to project basis and in navigating that we have identified one another’s strengths throughout the process. We each have our own approaches to writing, filming and editing. Michael leads with empathy and is very creative while I am more of a critical strategist who leads with facts and statistics. This is not to say that I’m not creative or that Michael isn’t a critical thinker, but we each see things in a different way and that has allowed us to find a solid balance. These differences could easily make the task of working together challenging, but instead it’s become effortless and allowed us to intertwine our ideas while placing trust in one another. Finally, I know it’s said time and time again, but having respect is truly an essential pillar in finding success for your business. Respect needs to be visible in all aspects of your company, towards yourself, your business partner, your employees, your customers, etc. For Michael and I, after acknowledging our respective strengths and identifying our roles we have relinquished trust for one another to accomplish those tasks, knowing that those are our strong suits. For example, in our editing process, I string out the story because I have strong comprehension skills and can piece together bits and pieces of an interview to tell a concise and cohesive story. Then, Michael comes in with his creativity to incorporate style choices such as music, visuals, and other creative elements. Together we create strong, compelling messages that are effective and meaningful. While we’ve always worked well together, the stresses that come with having a business have put us in situations that luckily we’ve been able to grow from. The past five years have tested us in ways that most couples never experience. We have celebrated huge victories and also supported one another through moments of doubt and uncertainty and for all of that we are very lucky and grateful.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Living in Los Angeles it feels like everyone is in some way associated with the film and television industry, so it’s been incredibly important for us to find the “thing” that sets us apart. To us, that “thing” is our unique approach to telling a story. Our niche in family legacy filmmaking has afforded us a different perspective in storytelling. Finding creative ways to tell every day stories has really challenged our filmmaking abilities, leading to newfound growth and innovation, which has transcended into our art as a whole. We started our careers working at Nickelodeon, filming and editing television shows. From there we grew our relationships and began working on other big network shows, started filming branded content with A-list celebrities and also built a business where we produce affordable documentary films for families to capture their history… As untraditional as it was, we discovered that filming legacy documentaries provided us with a purpose we weren’t getting from industry work. Yes, it was fun and exciting to have filmed Will Ferrell in his Hollywood Hills home and interviewed Gal Gadot, who played Wonder Woman, but those jobs didn’t provide long term fulfillment. Balancing those projects with filming videos of every day people, making a direct and lasting impact on their lives, allowed us to feel complete. The experiences we’ve accumulated from producing legacy films is something that those with traditional industry careers don’t have. It’s taken a lot of hard work, dedication, perseverance and passion to get to this point and we still have high hopes for an even bigger future with our company. Our goal is for the world at large to know the power of documenting the stories of their parents and grandparents while they still have that opportunity. Through our work we hope that one day, when those loved ones are no longer with us, their stories will live on. We are the most passionate and dedicated storytellers you will ever work with. Each and every one of our clients receives all of us – our time, energy, talent and love. We are genuinely obsessed with our family legacy work and that happiness and passion translates into our industry jobs, making us successful in what many might consider an oversaturated market. We always knew that our experience in the industry would elevate our family legacy work, but we never could’ve imagined how much of an impact our family legacy work would have on our success in the industry. We are living our dream and it’s an amazing feeling to be able to say that we’ve followed our hearts and found a true sense of fulfillment through shining light on the lives of others.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As business owners, we often get consumed in our work and spend our off days relaxing in the backyard with our dogs, so we might not be the best suited to answer this question….but we do love the creativity that can be found in Los Angeles, especially on the outskirts of the city. We enjoy taking morning hikes through the Burbank mountains or indulging in a delicious Thai inspired vegan meal from H.O.P.E. in Studio City. Although a bit deep in the city, we love a visit to the Natural History Museum or MOCA. It’s also fun to find little food truck events where you can enjoy live music, try different foods, and be one with the great outdoors – Odd Nights at the Autry Museum is a great one! As far as nightlife goes, we’re not very much into that scene, but every now and then we enjoy heading to the New Beverly Cinema for a movie date.
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?
From the conceptualization of our business, Michael and I have been greatly inspired and motivated by the impact of my mom, who passed away from Pancreatic cancer in 2009. Her sincerity, warmth, determination for changing the world through teaching, and overall joy for life were all constant reminders for us as we navigated the course of turning our passions into a sustainable business. Her story was the first story we told and it taught us about the process of documentary filmmaking while showing us the value that these films would have for families and future generations.