We are living in an age of making; yet many of us fail to pursue what drives us for fear of what the world may think. But go-getters know to never stop pushing, even if their work doesn’t float everyone’s boat.
Lucie Fink—a superstar On-Camera Talent and Associate Producer for Refinery29, an independent stop motion artist and a Millennial spokesperson—is a triple threat to say the least. Her creative spirit and #makeitupasyougo attitude has brought her enormous success in the media and production space in less than two years.
If you haven’t already seen her on Refinery29’s Snapchat Discover button, or spent hours skimming through her incredible stop motion films on her website, or caught her onscreen appearances on The TODAY Show, do it NOW (We mean it). We promise her stop motion videos will make you want to drop everything you are doing at the moment to make things. Plus, it’s a few minutes of pure joy. (See, this excitement is what 23-year old, Lucie, has been able to accomplish in her young career.)
“Being around creative people, I realized that everyone was doing things on the side and had projects or companies they were running”
After switching from neuroscience into creative writing and graduating from Johns Hopkins University in 2014, Lucie’s first job was a stab at producing for OgilvyEntertainment, the branded content arm of Ogilvy & Mather at the time. This was where she learned the basics of video production, under an amazing boss whose great lesson was, “It’s not about face time, but about making sure the work gets done.” But even so, the real lesson Lucie took away from this job was that every single one of her coworkers was working two jobs—the 10 to 7 at the global advertising agency and an entrepreneurial venture post-work hours. Once she realized this, and her growing urge to build a social media presence, Lucie began to invest more time and energy (i.e. work) in finding her unique creative vision and building a personal brand.
As a typical Millennial, Lucie’s world is a combination of never-ending social media feeds, feelings summarizable in 140 characters, videos transforming anything into art in the span of 15 seconds and life experiments recorded monthly for millions of users. When we asked what keeps her on her toes, Lucie said, “I love Instagram and have been really inspired by people and brands that have turned their feeds into art. I will come across an interesting still image and produce a ‘making of’ video of that image and give that account credit for the original idea, which is really important these days when stealing and recycling content is a real thing.”
Putting Things In Motion
Lucie admits that her motivation behind redefining an old form of art—stop motion—was pure coincidence. Yet it was a moment where, she quotes, “I felt like I had discovered fire and thought it was the coolest thing in the world.” Researching stop motion videos for inspiration, she realized that not one of them was celebrating everyday awesome things like toast, pizza, candy, doughnuts, ice cream, or the usual celebrities she followed. She’d watch those kinds of videos, and maybe other people would, too.
Her first video was made out of utter office boredom. A few days before, on a road trip with her boyfriend, she had discovered hedgehog marshmallow heads in a candy store. She schemed that these would be perfect #foodie posts to build up her Instagram following, because…what is there to do at work, when there’s no work? Why, you create your own work. So Lucie sat in a conference room and used a tripod and a high definition camera to take about 300 photos of these marshmallows in different positions. Four hours (and some snacks) later, as she scrolled through them, she realized that they were in motion! As an all-around producer, she ideated a story for the images, wrote the script, edited the footage and published a 30-second Instagram video. The next day was a whirlwind of followers, “Amazing job!!” comments from friends who she hadn’t seen in ages—and most importantly, a special request from her work team to produce more videos for internal client pitches. For this, Lucie does thank the culture that Ogilvy & Mather has crafted for their employees, where they are encouraged to “just go make stuff.” Moral of the story: Your first job and your first manager are central to the direction your career takes, so choose well!
The Art of Making and Selling
Aside from all that is a finger swipe away, Lucie prides herself on always having been an idea-doer, not just an idea-getter. From her initial attempt at producing videos in Baltimore to writing a page-long email to one of the TODAY show producers with a plethora of ideas, Lucie is a non-stop invention machine. Her work with stop motion videos has not only won her 12,000 followers on Instagram and 10,000 Facebook fans, but has also given her a whole new way of generating income. What started as a hobby in her apartment with a tripod, iPhone lighting and a desk, has turned into a business where brands pay anywhere from $500 to $5,000 for branded videos.
The biggest lesson she’s learned so far? She advises, "Generally, companies want more than people who are smart and have a track record of being successful. They want people who will make stuff. The only way they know you make stuff is when you do it for yourself, and they will then trust you with making things for them. But if you go in and say, yeah, I have all these ideas but I don't have a past of doing it, they are less inclined to trust you. At Refinery29, that helped me because they knew if they didn't take me, I would have gone and done it for someone else." To conclude, the work you do for yourself is your power.
Future Of Content
Constantly shining on the Internet isn’t easy, but Lucie seems to have the secret recipe from both a personal branding and business-branding standpoint. To leverage content for a personal brand, she says, “Pick your platform. If you’re a writer, maybe Twitter; if you’re a photographer, choose Tumblr, Pinterest or Instagram…do whatever you are interested in and keep doing it, not judging yourself and consequently, failing to share it with the world. Details matter, but don't be scared to put things out there because they are not 'perfect.' I like going through my old videos and seeing how far I have come; it’s a growth journey and I would have been upset if I had deleted those files.”
On the flip side, understanding the different audience segments across a company’s social media platforms is extremely important. “The future doesn’t have anything to do with posting the same content five times over on various channels. I think, on a larger scale, the direction the industry is going in is fast bite-sized pieces of content. What an organization is doing with its content should show what it stands for as a whole.”
Posting A Legacy
Like any good aspirer, Lucie wants to be remembered for certain things. (And she’s definitely on the right track for it!) “For my art, I want people to remember me as someone who always created something out of whatever she was given and who actually did things when other people were just talking about them. For my on-camera experience, as someone who just put everything out there and wasn’t afraid of what anyone had to say and took the good for the good and took the bad for the bad—but at the end of the day, powered through and did what she loved. Having young women from Peru reach out to me for advice on life, relationships and creative undertakings is the most rewarding thing for me. If I don’t affect anyone else’s lives other than those women, I will be okay.”
So the next time you shoot a mini video of your dog, or take a selfie with your friend, and you’re worried about what others will say (or not say) when you post—take a minute. Ask yourself, “Do you care? Actually care?” If the answer is “Hell no,” (or even if it’s more, “Well…”), go ahead and post it if it’s a true reflection of you, and what you do. For every one person that will judge you, there are hundreds who will love you for who you are and what you’re trying to make.