Adam Torres and Joey Katches and Brandon Vedder discuss content creation.
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Creating great content that lasts is no easy task. In this episode, Adam Torres and Joey Katches and Brandon Vedder, Storytellers In Residence at Innervoice Media Inc., explore content creation at Innervoice Media Inc.
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About Brandon Vedder
Brandon Vedder is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Brandon’s career began touring with and making films about musicians. His early days had him shooting for concert films like Pearl Jam: Live at the Garden. In 2013, alongside Transcendental Media, Brandon produced, edited and shot the acclaimed documentary La Source, narrated by Academy Award-nominated actor, Don Cheadle. In 2015 Brandon directed, shot & edited A Certain Kind of Light, a documentary short that received six best short documentary awards and aired on PBS in 2017. In Pursuit of Silence, which Brandon produced & shot, premiered at SXSW and released theatrically in 2016 where it became a favorite of critics, boasting a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. Brandon’s feature directorial debut, Strange Negotiations, premiered at SXSW early 2019 to critical acclaim and went on to play 30 cities across the country. The film is now available worldwide on streaming platforms and even made it on to a couple “best of 2019” year-end lists.
About Joey Katches
Joey is the type of person who loves to make cinematic images with a camera. He lives and breathes cinematography and he jumps at every opportunity he can to tell a story using a camera. he worked in both the theater and the film industry and specialized in narrative, documentary, and commercials.
When he’s not filming, he most enjoys spending time with his best friend, his wife Amanda, and three boys Vincent, Julien, and Jeremiah.
Full Unedited Transcript
Hey, I’d like to welcome you to another episode of Mission Matters. My name is Adam Torres, and if you’d like to apply to be a guest from the show, just head on over to mission matters.com and click on Be Our Guest to Apply. All right, so today is a very special episode. We have the Inner Voice Media crew with us today.
So we have Brandon Vetter and Joey Kees, who are the storytellers in residence over at Inner Voice Media. Hey guys, just wanna say, first off, welcome to the. Thank you. Thank you. Happy to be here. Thank you, Adam. It’s great to be here. All right. So always love working with the inner voice media company and we’ve had, we’ve had quite a few individuals from your from your crew over here and on the show.
And excited to go further into today’s content, which is gonna be really hot to create great content and from the storytellers and residents who better to have on the show. But we’ll start this episode the way. Start them all with our Mission Matters minute. So we at Mission Matters, we amplify stories for entrepreneurs, executives, and experts.
That’s our mission. What mission matters to you? Yeah, you know, I think the longer I’ve been doing this , the more focused my mission has kind of gotten on creating empathy, you know, telling stories, giving people an honest look into other situations that they would not find themselves in, in a way that that creates en empathy.
Which is I think, kind of the wellspring where a lot of world-changing you know, kind of motivations come from, whether it’s innovation. Or you know, it just, it kind of all comes from there. And, you know, I think filmmaking and storytelling is it’s kind of this, this superpower of all of these different art forms that create this, this thing that makes, you know, true kind of empathy possible.
Hmm. So, yeah, that’s, that’s kind of one of probably my guiding writer. The question that I ask myself when I’m approaching a story.
Brandon said it so well. Yeah. To piggyback on what Brandon was saying when I think of mission, I think of purpose and our purpose as filmmakers is to tell the story and mission matters to me because when you tell the story those behind the camera are impacted working as a. and those who get to see the story as it’s told are also impacted.
So this visual language is powerful and it’s a wonderful thing to be storyteller and residents working with inner voice cuz that’s what they enable us to do is to, to tell the story and to impact people through story. Yeah. And so we’ll, we’ll go further and thank you for sharing that, by the way, and we’ll go further into inner voice as well, media and, and the things that you’re doing there.
But I, I think, let, let’s go a little bit further back in your career. So when did you first really want to get on this path as a filmmaker? Like where did all that begin for you? The creative process? I, I can attribute it two things . One is the movie Jaws. No movie had more emotional impact on me than the movie Jaws.
It’s a movie that struck fear into my heart, and to this day, I am afraid of the water. Because of that film, it ruined a whole generation. I think you see the effect , it, it ruined me. True. It ruined me. You see the effect a film could have on, on a person, you know, on a psych, a psychologically, the way the film could impact you that way.
Just spoke to me as a six year old when I saw that film, and I think that drew me into film. right from the GetGo. The other one that I I really loved was I used to work as a V h S repairman. That was my first job. I would fix v h s tapes that had snapped or become broken. You know, nobody in this generation even knows what a VH s is anymore.
But I used to watch all those films as they would come in. I just really grew in my love for filmmaking and, and the way films speak to people. Every film sends a message and just the ability to tell a message with the camera is really exciting to me with images. Oh my gosh, that’s a both great stories.
I remember it. Think Jaws. First off, I, I’m from Michigan, so the lakes, great Lakes, right? And I remember, you know, being really scared and my parents being like, even if there was a shark coming, it wouldn’t be in, in, like Lake Michigan is not happening. Number one, . But then another thing I learned here, I didn’t know there was VHS repairmen.
I know what a VHS tape is. I didn’t know you could repair them. So learn learning today, Joey. What about for you? What about for you, Brandon? How’d you get started? Yeah, you know, I kind of started as a musician and a writer and, you know, kind of on the periphery of all these different art forms and, you know, I think I started to realize that.
putting them together in this kind of filmic way, you know, was the first time that I’ve, you know, making a first film or a first documentary was kind of the first time that I ever felt like I was able to, to communicate fully. Mm-hmm. , you know, truly, you know, make it a film about a trip or something like this, where it’s like telling the story.
Just mi missed so much of kind of what I wanted to get across to whoever I was telling the story to, but making a film and being able to kind of imbue it with those moments and those cliff hangers and the pressure and the, you know, yeah. This thing aided by music and visuals and colors. Like I, you know, it just kind of unlocks something in me where it was like, oh, this is how I speak.
This is my language. Mm-hmm. , that’s great. Yeah. . And so going a little bit. So after you have this, this passion, you know, so in your case it was in your case Joey, it was, you know, being, being traumatized by jaws or for branded for yourself, you found a means of communication, . So now you have this.
Thing that’s in you and that you have to get out of that. You just can’t. I, I’ll say for myself, it was like entrepreneurship, media, like what I do. I couldn’t get away it from it if I wanted to. It’s there, I’m, I can’t help it . I’m like, that’s how I think, that’s what I do. That’s where I, that’s how I sleep.
Those are my dreams, unfortunately. But it just happens. Right. So you have this. Thing inside of you that you maybe love and you, you love going to do or you can’t get rid of whatever it is. How do you start to kind of go down that path to start to express yourself and to kind of make it something that you actually do like as a profession?
Yeah, that’s a great, great question. Brandon, do you wanna Yeah. I mean, you know, it’s, it’s such a weird business because it is just, everyone has their own path when it comes to this. And, you know, I. talking to someone about my film school class, which is now like 20 years ago and recently and kind of realized that there’s like two or three people out of, you know, maybe 80 to a hundred people that are still doing this.
And you know, I find that a lot, I find that, you know, kind of people that are persistent, you know, usually are, are able to kind of like make it further because it is just Unlike most other things where you can kind of like, there’s this set pathway where, you know, you can make a manager and then corporate manager and, you know, jump through these hoops.
This is just a completely different setup and which is a curse and a blessing because you know, the gatekeepers don’t stop you so early. But you know, there obviously there are gatekeepers. Mm-hmm. . So, you know, I think. . One of the things that I’m really thankful for is being able to kind of figure out who I, what my voice was and what I wanted to put out into the world, what kind of stories I wanted to put out in the world, and realize pretty early on that that’s the only thing that matters about me.
You know, like trying to do someone else’s thing. Is, you know, which, which all of us do at beginning in film school, and you kind of have to emulate. But I think the, the sooner that you realize kind of like. , why you’re weird and specific and your life experience is the only thing that people want out of you.
You know, like making the movies that only you could make as early as possible. That’s where it led me , so, yeah. Yeah, it’s really just how you cr how you further yourself down the path. And I think, I think you answered the question Great actually. In, in terms of like how people do it. Cause I feel like especially for the creatives out there, like there’s so many different ways to be creative nowadays.
Versus let’s just say when when Joey was, was fixing those VHS tapes, we didn’t have the same technology Right. . So, so we couldn’t, we couldn’t do what we could do now with, with cameras, with anything, right? It’s just so much easier to at least produce content. But I think when we talk about creating the story and what we want to do and, and like what matters to us, I think that’s something special.
And that’s so. Different and unique. And I think it’s also very unique too not saying one content’s better than another or anything like that, but I think it’s unique to those that have that filmmaker mindset versus maybe just going to shoot content or going to shoot something different. Like there’s something else that goes into that.
Yep. Yeah. Yeah. That’s well said. Yeah. If I could just piggyback even on what Brandon was saying you know, just again, What’s accessible today to filmmakers in terms of camera lenses, audio. You have so much accessible these days. That just wasn’t the case 15 years ago. But I’ve always encouraged people, you know, if you love doing this mm-hmm.
just get some buddies or family who you love making films with and get out there and do it. You know, that’s the most important thing is, is passion. education, learn from people and then get out there and do it. I remember when I was working as a V h s repairman, I had a little handy cam that my dad bought, me and my brothers, and we would just make short films and Wow.
We would put ’em on a V h s and distribute ’em around school and let other students watch ’em. Cuz there was no like internet then. No formal internet where you could get on. Throw it on Vimeo or YouTube. So we had to pass around VHS tapes around school, and that’s how we kind of got our audience. So yeah, you just take the tools you have, whether you have a $90,000 camera or your iPhone, get out there and make content.
Mm-hmm. , make films, make videos, do what you’re passionate about and don’t. Your mentality weigh you down or anything like that. Just get out there and, and create what you love to create and the stories you love to tell. Yeah. So I, I wanna jump around here a bit. So first off, storytellers in residence, other than being the coolest title ever , how did you get this title and tell, tell us a little bit more about what you do over at Inner Voice.
Yeah, I mean, I think that that’s, it’s a a, a way to kind of solidify or bring us into this team, you know, where mm-hmm. , joy and I are both have these, these kind of other projects that are taking energy and time. But, you know, to be able to kind of call this place a home base where we can. , you know, take this, this narrative and documentary experience that, that we have, you know, for 20 plus years, and kind of bring that to the table when it comes to, you know, even script writing sessions here, or documentary planning or, you know, just like it’s a great.
Way to kind of like keep us in the room, you know? And I think it’s so good for us as well in terms of just kind of like, you know, being able to work with all the people here kind of on a regular basis and, you know yeah, just like cultivate umhmm. and use our experience to kind of cultivate what we think is a, you know, the best version of a media production company but without having to worry about the taxes.
Yeah. That’s great. And so maybe tell me a little bit more about why you chose why you choose inner voice media as, as a home base, whether it’s the people and, and also, you know, tell us a little bit more about the facilities and what makes it great as a. Yeah, you know, that that title Storyteller in Residence, you know, that word residence makes me think of family, community team.
And that’s really what you get over here at Inner Voice. You, you have people who are talented. Incredibly good at what they do, but also supportive in the way like a family is. And so being able to work with them on projects together, but also to come to them and say, Hey, I’m having this issue, or I need this p piece of equipment, and they’re able to furnish that for you and for the project.
So, so yeah, it’s, it’s both talent and personality and, and what this team provides. Mm-hmm. , they also have a, a wealth of equipment here that supplies filmmakers like Brandon and I with the tools needed to get the. The story told. So it’s a both and I, I mean, if you come to their facilities, you walk in and you see , all these great movie props around and, and it’s just this fun filmmakers, like you said, Willy Wonka experience.
But then when you get into their you know, equipment, you see like, oh, they have this camera, this lens, this package that is needed to tell this. . So they really just provide you everything needed from personnel to equipment and it’s a beautiful partnership and, and I’m grateful. Very, very grateful for it.
I grew up here and, you know, lived in LA for 15 years making films down there and then moved my family back. Three or four years ago, and when I first came into this facility, you know, like we’re in a, a, a smaller town in mm-hmm. , Northern California, you know, the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. I never imagined that something like this could exist up here.
This, the equipment You know, rivals, I mean, it’s, there’s more access to equipment, high level equipment than most rental houses in la certainly San Francisco. And they’re, you know, like just really thoughtfully put together. camera packages. And you know, usually in LA when you have this kind of, of wealth of gear, it’s, there are gatekeepers that kind of keep you away from using that stuff, whether it’s a studio system or you know, just a a rental house that, you know, TV shows have their teeth in and they’re taking all the gear where this is, anyone can come and rent this stuff, which, Incredible and kind of unlike, you know, any situation I’ve ever seen.
Hmm. I was just gonna say, in addition to the rental, partnered with inner voice on at least, at least four narrative projects and Hmm. , the pool of talent here as well, from, from camera, operating, lighting sound design, boom, operators. They just, they bring a whole team that fills every role that you’ll need on a production.
You know, and, and, and Steven, you know, the projects he’s produced for, he’s always just pulled together resources and talent and, and really made projects come to life that, you know, wouldn’t, wouldn’t be possible without him and his team. Yeah. Yeah. He makes it happen. This is good. And I, so one, one piece of, that’s the way to put it.
He makes it happen. I’ve seen it time and time again. It’s good. And I’ve worked with many of the team as well and interviewed them over the course of the last year or two and it’s, it’s been a delight. So, I mean, I can attest to everything you said for sure. Mm-hmm. . And so one, one piece of the business as you mentioned is definitely like the, the rental side of things, but then they’re also doing full production over there as well.
Whether it be for, for companies, films, other things. Maybe talk a little bit more about that. Yeah, every, every time I come here, I’m always so intrigued to see the shoots that are going on. I mean, just full on productions in their sound stage. Last week or the week, a week ago, they had a a music video shoot, and they had l e d walls up, and I think it was seven or eight cameras going on, and, and you know, this, this big production that they’ll do in.
But they’ll also take production outside of studio. They’ll, they’ll shoot, you know, whether it’s a film or a brand film or commercial, they go on locations. So they have the facilities to shoot things on a sound stage or go on location. But that’s the experience you get with their team is they bring a team.
of professionals who, you know, they could cover every role on a film set, so mm-hmm. From top to bottom, from producing pre-production, to actually executing the production with, with a full team and post-production. They, they do it all. They’re a full service production company. So it’s always a joy to work with them because, , you know, any role you need filled, they have it.
They can cover it. Mm-hmm. , it’s so important that they have this kind of breadth of, of knowledge and experience from the idea stage in pre-production all the way to post and delivering a watchable film because, you know, there’s production companies that are kind of specialists at, you know, online and post-production or, you know, just production or whatever.
And, you know, I, you’d miss. , you know, when you’re not thinking about kind of the long tail of a movie and making those right decisions that are going to bite you later, you know, because you’ve done it and you’re thinking about the entire thing. I wanna let’s bring it to to present day here. Is there any projects or things that you’re currently working on that, that you’d like to highlight or, or maybe talk about?
Either of you, you wanna talk about? Come on. Somebody gave it to me. I got you. Live talk, talk about some documentary stuff too. No, no. He’s, he’s got some great stuff, man. We gotta, we gotta hear from, yeah. I mean, it’s, you know, making a living in this business is all about keeping in as many fires in the, or irons in the fire as possible, you know?
Oh, yeah. Because everything with, with productions that are so big and vari. , they all take so long and need different things at different times and mm-hmm. , you know, maybe the money comes over here, but you’re also writing grants for this one over here. Mm-hmm. and you’re trying to cast this one, you know, so it’s like you really have to , yeah.
Just wear a ton of different hats and, and keep a bunch of different projects going at the same time. You know, because hopefully one of them will be paying you, you know, at, at, in that moment. So, you know, I have a feature length documentary that I’ve been working on with With a, a frequent collaborator, Patrick Chen called as Slow as Possible which is a film that we’ve been traveling internationally, finding, telling stories of, of humans’, interaction with time and.
Trying to uncover and promote long-term thinking you know, projects that, that instill and inspire us to think a little bit more long-term than, you know our kids or, you know, just one generation in a way that, you know Is really gets us back to, you know, some of these kind of cathedral type projects, you know, that assume that we’re gonna be around for a little bit.
You know, and that one’s been so fun cuz it’s very heady and kind of idealistic. You know there’s another documentary that I’ve been working on that’s about this. Specific kind of political movement in Northern California that’s like, you know, a little bit more, you know, feet on the ground. And journalistic you know, a project that Joey and I have been developing together which has been so fun since we’ve both been back in town is a, is a little narrative film.
That we kind of created and wrote around this incredible observatory out in the middle of nowhere up here that we have both been seeing since we were kids. And so we’ve, we’ve kind of written a film around this incredible handmade observatory. And yeah, kind of just this incredible. Location and putting themes to that.
And yeah, so we’ve been working on that together, which has been fun. And, and with, you know, the whole team here at InnerVoice as well. Yeah, that’s a, that’s a really exciting project cuz it’ll it’ll bring us together. InnerVoice altogether. It’s a, it’s a, a short film, but it will be a project that includes basically every.
Everyone that’s part of the Willy Wonka experience, man, so it’s gonna be really exciting. But yeah, that’s, that’s the project that I think I’m really most excited about in 2023 is, is that short film. As a cinematographer, when I see locations I get really excited and that observatory. is it just screams all kinds of fun sci-fi things like Interstellar, et all these films that I love.
You know, it’s, it’s one that I’m really looking forward to. Aside from that, I have a few other short films I’m working on at the moment. One’s a period piece that’s civil War related that’s in pre-production as well as a. Another one that’s in pre-production that deals with a father-daughter relationship.
So I, I love shooting short films. It’s one of my favorite things to do. And like Brandon said, this location yields itself to some, some really great spots for, for narrative storytelling. Amazing. All right guys, so last question and whoever, whoever wants to go first up to you, but I’ll say, so if you could go back and, you know, talk to yourself earlier in the career and where I came up with this question is when you’re talking about the time thing, if you could go back and give yourself a, a word of advice or, you know, give yourself some tips kind of on the journey going.
Specifically to the profession, right? Filmmaking. What kind of things would you tell yourself? Mm-hmm. . Like if you could give yourself some tips on the, on the way. On the way going forward. Boy, man wants to take that one. I got a big last one. I told you. I gotta really talk to myself, man. No, take it.
Take it. Is it okay to jump in? Run. Okay. Run. So I would say, If I could boil it down to one idea, I would say do not fear. Hmm. I think what holds back a lot of creatives is fear. Mm-hmm. We’re insecure. We compare ourselves to others and that holds back so much creativity and art from pouring forth out of us.
Hmm. And so I would tell my younger self, I would say, don’t. You know, you’ll feel fear. Embrace it, but move forward. Trust God. Pray and just execute the project you have on your heart without fear of judgment or criticism. Just step forward and do tell the story that you want to tell. That’s what I would tell myself.
Quit living in fear. Move forward and make your project. It’s great. It’s great. I, I tell myself that one every day. Don’t, don’t be scared. Go do it. Adam , what, what do you got? What do you got from me, Brandon? I love it. I love it. . Yeah, I mean, definitely in that kind of big realm, you know, as well as what Joey was saying is just kind of lean in and I mentioned it a little bit earlier, lean into, you know, yourself and your idiocentric.
Synchronicities and you know, just kind of like the thing that is the most you is the thing that is the most interesting. And people can get really off track trying to do something else and make a, a film like Michael Bay or a film like Paul Thomas Anderson or whatever it is. But, you know, I think just having faith that you.
Our, your uniqueness is you know, kind of the thing that matters. Like, watching this Oscar season has been so fun because, you know, the, the Daniels, the directing team that made this film called Everything Everywhere, all at once. Mm-hmm. , which is just this crazy, crazy film that no one else on earth could have made , no one on Earth could have made that film.
and it’s this tiny film that, you know, these guys were music video directors, and now they have, they, they’re leading with the most nominations for the Academy Awards because they made, like, drove straight into their weirdness. And, you know, it’s like, I think that that’s, that’s what it is. You know, people wanna see you.
you know? Yes, they did. It was a great film. Somebody’s watching this and they want to continue to follow your journeys. And, and these new films that you’ll be working on and that’ll be released, I mean, what’s the best way for people to, to keep up with your content overall? . My last film that, that is released is on Amazon and all of kind of streaming channels.
It’s called Strange Negotiations. And it’s a, it’s a documentary about a musician who loses his faith, kind of in a way that his music tells the story as he goes. And. Yeah, that one’s, that one’s kind of available everywhere. There’s a film called In Pursuit of Silence that I collaborated with Patrick on who I’m doing the new film that film is, is available everywhere as well.
That’s about humans’ relationship with sound and yeah. You know, Brandon vetter.com is, is kind of the easiest thing for me. And, you know, all of the socials are just at Brandon. Joey, so how, how can people follow up and follow your content as well? You can find me on Instagram at Story Lit Films. If you wanna see other posts I’m doing with Inner Voice, follow their Instagram.
But that’s the best way to keep up with my current work and do to get ahold of me as well, oftentimes. Fantastic. And we’ll put all that information into the show notes so that our audience can can just click on the links and check out your films, and also check out the websites and social media handles as well.
And speaking of the audience, if this is your first time with Mission Matters or engaging with the Mission Matters episode. We’re all about bringing on business owners, entrepreneurs, experts, creatives, and really having them share their mission, the reason behind their mission, their work, and really what we can all learn and gain from that so that we all grow together.
If that’s the type of content that sounds interesting or fun or engaging or exciting to you, hit that subscribe button because we have many more mission-based in. Coming up on the line and we don’t want you to miss a thing. And Joey, Brandon, really, it has been a pleasure. I really appreciate you both making some time to come out on the show today.
So thanks again for coming on. Absolutely.