We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather Falenski and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heather, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
The answer to this question depends on why it is being asked. If I am doing something out of obligation, then I base my decision on whether what I’m currently doing aligns with my integrity and greater goals. If the opportunity cost is greater than the value of the current path, then it doesn’t make sense to keep going and therefore, the correct decision is to “give up.” If necessary, I process whatever emotions might be keeping me from voicing the right decision so that I can freely speak my truth. If the path I am on is worthwhile, but simply feels challenging and unlikely, then I make my decision based on one thing only. I quiet my mind and go into a neutral state akin to deep meditation. I ask myself the question silently and observe what happens in my body. I will immediately get some sort of response, whether a sense of expansion in my chest or a ping in my solar plexus. One could call it the voice of intuition communicated through the body. I have found that it’s always best to listen to the guidance I get and remember that outer circumstances do not matter. If I get a positive response, I press on and I have never once regretted it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Many people ask me how I became established as a filmmaker with my own production company in a very saturated and competitive market. When I came to Boulder after 10 years as a traveling independent cinematographer, I did not have any local connections, nor did I have experience running a business. I did not have a film school or business degree but rather a degree in the field related to the stories I was interested in telling — at that time involving international development and displaced populations (i.e. – refugees.) What I did have was an unwavering belief both in my abilities as a filmmaker and in my ability to create a company that filled a specific niche within film production. It was my goal to take immersive storytelling to the next level. Rather than gathering footage over a matter of days or a few weeks, I would relocate to the areas where I was shooting for months in order to intimately understand my subject matter and get a sense of the deeper story before the cameras even started rolling. My goal was always to capture the essence of the subject of my films — to tell their stories primarily through the language of emotion and ambience. In order to portray the nuances of this invisible quality accurately, it was necessary for me to fully immerse myself in what I was filming, so that I could feel and experience everything I needed to in order to understand it well. This was obviously not a particularly cost-effective way of producing a film, so I often took financial hits in the beginning to create in the way that I felt most honored my subject matter. These investments did lead to long-term rewards because the One World Media brand became increasingly known for telling stories with reliable depth and integrity. We began to attract clients with larger budgets that could support this type of filmmaking, so it became sustainable in the long-run. Our current business model also allows us to finance the production of a few worthy stories every year from lower budget clients to keep true to our mission of giving a voice to underserved individuals and populations.
For anyone who might be reading this pondering the best way to become established as a filmmaker or a creative in general, I still stand by what I have always believed. More than anything, it is essential to continuously create and find your unique voice. Don’t have a cinema camera? Film with your cell phone. Don’t have the money for film school? Find what you need in online tutorials and be willing to get out there and shoot anyway. Do not let a lack of formal education or resources deter you from taking steps forward. Make the best of what you have. You will make mistakes. You will fail repeatedly. None of that matters if you place the lion’s share of your attention on honing your own craft, regardless of what others are doing. The 50K camera kits, elite connections and theoretical knowledge can only get you so far and if it’s the only thing you have, you’ll never rise to your full potential. The funding, support and success will come as you follow the path of your deepest authentic expression. The beauty of what you’ve created from that place will automatically inspire others to want to work with you.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would hit the trails and explore the natural beauty around Boulder. Some of my favorite hikes are Lion’s Lair, which connects to the main Sanitas trail via a western approach. I also really enjoy sunrises at Bald Mountain up Sunshine Canyon. I would then take them to the iconic Pearl Street Mall to have a juice at Wonder, a cup of coffee at Trident or to enjoy a handcrafted chocolate truffle at Peace, Love & Chocolate. For dinner, I would take them to Sherpa’s for some authentic Nepalese cuisine, Salt for a higher end New American dining experience or Pizzeria Locale for the best Neapolitan pizza I have tasted in Colorado. I would finish off the day with a Yin / Yoga Nidra experience at Radiance Yoga or, if we still had energy left to burn, an aerial hoop class at Vertical Fusion.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There is one little book that I stumbled across last year that changed my life. It is called The Power of Awareness by Neville Goddard. I would not be where I am today without having read it. It completely revolutionized the way I understand myself, others and my ability to create my life consciously. After having read the book and applied its lessons, I have seen unparalleled success both in my career and personal life. I would, of course, like to give a shout out to all of my friends and family whose love gives me the strength to continue evolving into the best version of myself. I see myself reflected in my loved ones and I also see them reflected in me. So it makes no sense to separate my success from their presence in my life and unwavering support.