It’s been over a month since our last blog post and this has been intentional. The election in November shocked us deeply as women, as citizens, and as a company. We took time to reflect on what tangible impacts it might have on FLOWSTATE and how we shape our business in 2017.
The question we asked ourselves was, what can we now do to make the biggest impact to promote and give voice to issues we care about? How can we further promote racial, economic, and social justice as media makers? This has always been at the center of what drives us as a company and in the films we make, but the election reminded us of the fragility of sustaining these core values in our society and we will be exploring and actively inviting collaboration with others with the same intentions moving forward.
As we come to the end of this year, we are also reflecting on our first full year in business and want to share the major lessons we have learned along the way.
#1 A Solid Operating Agreement
We spent a few months before we formalized the business talking about our goals, expectations, and the realities of our lives. We each had outside business projects and personal demands that impacted our availability to work entirely on starting up the new business. By talking through our individual levels of capacity openly we were able have realistic expectations on each other and avoid some of the resentment that could have emerged if some partners had more time to give than others. We also made sure to have honest conversations about our financial needs and therefore our financial expectations on the business. Working through potential disagreements and how to solve them in the beginning has made on-going decision-making much easier.
#2 Candid and Honest Reflection
As three creative and passionate people, we each have strong opinions about our work, the company, and our creative output. There is no creative hierarchy among us. Instead, we are highly collaborative. But, this can lead to heated creative disagreements where our feelings are at stake. Over the last year or so there have been conversations and disagreements about how to collaborate. While we are still navigating this, we have learned that openly talking through our process and how we like to receive feedback has proven key. By knowing how someone prefers to receive feedback on their creative work we end up helping each other grow while communicating more effectively.
#3 Staying True To Our Mission
Looking back on the bulk of our work in 2016 a pattern emerged - much of our work has been exploring individuals and organizations who contribute to making their communities a better place; whether that’s profiling innovative faculty at George Washington University, exploring the contributions of African American diplomats during the cold war, or celebrating great acts of charitable giving. These stories inspire us on many levels, but, they have also proven that by making films for and about individuals, companies and organizations that we admire, we continue to see new doors open for similar projects.
#4 Our Friendship Is Imperative
At the end of the day, we were friends before FLOWSTATE Films started and want to stay that way. By relying on radically honest conversations, self-reflection, and just being friends to one another, we are building a business that we all want. One that is allowing us more freedom and control over this phase of our careers, the ability to cultivate projects we enjoy, work-family balance, and a creative partnership that builds each other up.
We are excited for 2017 and what lies ahead for FLOWSTATE Films as we continue the process of building a sustainable business and creating media that has impact.