We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren & Garrett Foltz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren & Garrett, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
We view risk as a necessary part of life in addition to change. For without great risk there is no reward or great success following it. We have taken risks throughout our lives together—starting our careers and videography business, uprooting our lives moving to another state, and balancing the risk-reward every time we rock climb.
Lauren: I started my own videography business, Red Rascal Films, back in 2014 after people requested to have their weddings captured. It was a big shift from working retail at REI and editing personal outdoor adventure highlight videos, but I soon discovered visual storytelling is one of my passions.
There’s nothing more satisfying to me than stitching together unscripted, raw emotions of a couple’s big day for their loved ones to remember. When I’m able to move the viewer emotionally, that’s when I know I’ve done my job well. Filming weddings also gave me the opportunity to capture events in the climbing industry. The opportunities I get to shoot for a climbing gym or organization always reminds me of why I started this business. It’s about the community of people behind the story, the relationships with each other and the shared stoke for the sport and the great outdoors. I am very thankful for my husband allowing me to take that risk and for believing in me from the start.
Garrett: From the beginning, I would say that the odds were stacked against me and the probability of success felt slim in terms of achieving my desired career. When I knew I wanted to be an engineer in grade school, there were no other college graduates in my family. Without getting into all of the details, I had a very tumultuous, unstable, and sometimes impoverished family life during my adolescence. Luckily, by my friend from high school and grandma giving me support and a place to stay when I needed it, I was able to get into Cal Poly SLO and complete a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering. I feel this is an example of taking risk when you know you have nothing to lose. There were so many times in the process that I thought I could fail, like taking the SAT, passing my classes, keeping my GPA high enough to qualify for financial aid, and getting my first internship.
I constantly made the decision to risk failing, to risk the pain of it. Because I knew the alternative was giving up on my childhood dream. Fast-forward to today, and I have been with my company for almost 10 years in an expert position, having just submitted my first two patent claims. Once I told a recruiter that my greatest achievement was getting into college to become an engineer, he responded, “Lots of people go to college.” I know for many people, especially of more privileged backgrounds, that is true.
Success is the expectation. For me, however, it truly did feel like the exception; because at the time becoming an engineer felt like the greatest risk and reward of my life. One of the biggest risks we’ve ever taken was uprooting our lives moving to another state. It was a decision we didn’t hastily make but instead was a long-drawn conversation over the years. We imagined a life having a family in a place where the outdoors is a lifestyle. The coast, the mountains, and the desert is all a short drive away in Oregon. We weighed all the risks—job stability, proximity to amenities and open spaces, and what we would be gaining or losing—but ultimately the pieces fell into place for us. Garrett was able to work fully remote and the idea of settling down in Oregon was only a short plane ticket away to visit family and friends back in California. Lauren would have to rebuild her client base, but she already has a portfolio to work off of. One of the added gems to our decision-making was finding community at The Circuit Bouldering gym. For us, the idea of a home is not defined by location but found in people. We didn’t see ourselves as losing anything. Where we’ve settled now isn’t permanent but rather another chapter in our lives all attributed to taking great risk. We actually met in college rock climbing at a small bouldering gym in San Luis Obispo, California. Both of us have been climbing for over a decade. Since then, we’ve weighed the risk-reward on every route we jump on.
Rock climbing is a delicate balance between pushing yourself mentally and physically, constantly finding that threshold of what’s personally safe and physically achievable. In some ways, taking on a long-term goal in climbing is a risk in itself. With every trip planned, during the perfect weather conditions, during the peak of your training, you consciously choose to prioritize one route over all others. You risk the entire season and trip for a single, nearly unachievable experience. Garrett’s first long-term project, Nicole’s Overhang in Joshua Tree National Park, took years to complete. Despite only being a few moves long, the route had him coming back year after year to dedicate time to his project. There were many missed opportunities to try other routes with less pressure and intensity.
Instead, you risk succumbing to failure, considering you may just not be, or will ever be, skilled or strong enough to finish your project. But to finally stand on top of the rock, having gone up the one way you have dreamed and commiserated on for years, such an experience could not be replaced. The sense of achievement and elation after years of struggle shared with your climbing partners makes it all worthwhile. Now, we have a toddler who shares the same interest in climbing. We’re excited to show her what we do and the places we go, and most importantly, the community centered around it.
What should our readers know about your business?
We take every story personally. We know that each client coming to us puts their trust in our vision and editing style. So, by honoring their trust, we work closely with the client to produce a timeless piece that they can be proud of. Most video and photo services tend to give up to 6 months turn around to hand over their work to clients, but we aim for 2 to 4 weeks because we give all of our attention to each project individually. When we started, it was not always easy getting clients our way. Living in wine country helped attract clients because it was a destination wedding location, but we faced a lot of competition. In fact, we heavily rely on referrals and our portfolio to attract new clients. We’d say it took a couple years to finally get a steady flow of inquiries and bookings.
In addition to the slow start, our equipment was minimal. We had to figure out how to make our batteries last 12+ hrs of shooting because the last thing you need to worry about is cutting off someone’s speech during a wedding reception. Another challenge we faced was how to stay mobile without sacrificing quality equipment. We eventually dialed in our setup and found what works best for us. We realized that you can have all the pricey latest equipment to do your job, but it all comes down to your artistic style to produce a heartfelt piece. With Lauren’s Journalism background and Garrett’s additional artistic skill, we’re able to produce work we’re proud of without compromising our clients’ voice and values. It’s been a fun and fulfilling journey being entrepreneurs, but we stepped aside from the business in 2018 to welcome our first child. We often think back to those days of capturing wedding vows and event speeches, how we cherish those new business relationships and personal friendships. We’re unsure of what the future holds for the business, but we’re hopeful it will take on a new direction one day.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are a lot of great places and things to do unique to Oregon.
For places to see: we would drive out to the coastal towns like Cannon Beach, pack a lunch for hikes in the Mt Hood forest and enjoy a picnic at nearby lakes, hit up some outdoor bouldering spots and more waterfall hiking in the Columbia River Gorge, and do a day trip to Smith Rock while visiting Bend.
Depending on the time of the year: we would take them to the annual Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, celebrate Halloween at Halloween Town, and treat them to Marionberry treats at the local farms.
For staying more local: we would introduce them to our friends at the Circuit Bouldering gym, explore Sauvie Island, shop for books at Powell’s Bookstore, grab some coffee at Coava Coffee Roasters, hit up food carts, enjoy ice cream at Salt N Straw and donuts at Blue Star Donuts, and at the end of the day, take home some beer from The Oregon Public House while we climb at our home gym.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We would like to give a big shout out to our friends and family who have supported us throughout our lives, especially this past year. We love and appreciate you all—The Gans, The Boeks, The Levines, Tavia Meredith, Sandra Mendez, Jon Hsieh, Anthony Green, and Grandma June.
A special shoutout goes to The Bangtan Boys (BTS), Audrey Truong, and Karen Isabella Set for helping us get through 2020 with some positivity. We would also like to recognize the climbing community at The Circuit Bouldering gym for giving us a second place to call home. We’ve made a lot of great friendships here and owe a lot to the people that work hard to maintain this place.
The photo showing us as a couple was taken by Bethany Edens.