Vicky Mara Story is a fierce force with an excellent affinity for business. Vicky has defined her entrepreneurial skill set as an art and is the ultimate Creative Entrepreneur, within both her family life and business. She excels as a Producer and all facets of overseeing a business. The loveliest part — she’s humble about it. This makes her a “gem” as we say. Gemma Magazine is excited to cover an inspiring woman with both business and creative talents in addition to managing a family, as we feel the journey of empowered women is to empower others.
How did Vicky Story become a Gemma Magazine aspiration? After speaking with her for ten minutes at a social gathering that Gemma was covering, we knew. Story is soft-spoken, remarkably calm, and has an inner strength. Vicky is a gorgeous woman but more importantly; she’s a beautiful person. She has concrete goals and a creative business sixth sense. The more she talked about her path, (both within business and life), we wanted to know more.
For a bit of backstory, Vicky did not have the most comfortable childhood. Both of her parents immigrated to the states from the Philippines. Their first stop was Ohio but eventually landed in sunny Los Angeles. The Mara family lived on 37th Street (across from USC). Walking to school in South Central L.A. with her siblings consisted of survival, and as a young Filipina girl, she did not always feel safe. However, her home was filled with love, and her father represented strength to her. Both of her parents instilled a strong work ethic within her that Vicky carries with her to this day.
Vicky is also married to acclaimed film Director Tim Story (https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1103162/). Vicky and Tim founded The Story Company (http://timstorypictures.com), an entertainment production company, in 1996. They have a wonderful partnership while continually achieving both family and business goals. They also are the parents of three children. Vicky explained how it could be challenging working together at times, yet, it’s also a beautiful collaboration. While Tim is immensely busy directing, Vicky handles all business affairs and logistics for The Story Company.
When she had a moment, she sat down with us to chat. We must note, there could not be a more appropriate last name for the Story family. The entire family is lovely and Vicky has set the tone for the family environment. Tim Story is very supportive of Vicky’s projects and they both are advocates for education.
After hearing your story (Both ups and downs), it’s apparent that you have so much love and respect for both your parents. How did they inspire you?
My dad and mom had an incredible work ethic. My dad was a real businessman — he ran rental properties, owned a market in South Central L.A. and managed a nursery. He was terrific under pressure and never cracked. My dad was a self-made entrepreneurial businessman. My mom worked for LAUSD for thirty years, and her consistency was such an influence. They sacrificed so much for their children, and it made an enormous impact. My interest in a business career is most likely from the importance of having a strong role model as a father and watching him succeed through good and hard times.
Why were you drawn to production?
For me, production is inspiring. I naturally am attracted to business — numbers, organization, logistics, budgeting, and scheduling. I probably got it from my dad. I received my degree in Operations Management from Cal. State L.A. Many of the characteristics of Operational Management consist of the production process. I eventually started producing music videos. I worked my way up from PA to Production Manager to Producer. The hours were long (first to arrive and last to leave), but I loved it!
Did you and Tim meet through work?
No, we were friends for two years before working on ‘The Firing Squad,’ the first independent movie we made together. After ‘The Firing Squad,’ we moved on to music videos. Tim directed music videos before getting into the film industry. However, I never produced for him, only for other directors, but would oversee all his business affairs at The Story Company. He’s a true creative storyteller and is in his element when directing a film. We are both very supportive of each other’s career achievements, and it’s a great balance.
As Executive Producer of The Story Company, what type of productions would you like to bring to fruition and what are you currently producing?
We want to broaden the scope a bit and start branching out more into the television sector as well as producing more as a company, whether it’s an episodic, cable, network or other streaming platforms. Currently, ‘Prince of Peoria’ (https://www.netflix.com/Title/80223556) has been the most recent production airing on Netflix. It centers around a prankster prince who wants to experience life as an ordinary teen leaves his kingdom to live incognito with a single mom and her studious son. We are excited about The Story Company’s upcoming film project. Tim will team up with Eddie Murphy for New Line Comedy Inspired by the hit Walter Matthau-Jack Lemmon comedy ‘Grumpy Old Men.’ Tim will direct and produce the comedy through the Story Company banner, and Sharla Sumpter Bridgett is also producing.
What do you like about production?
I love the energy of production. As soon as you walk on set, there is this fantastic setting for all creatives from all departments to thrive. It allows me to be in my own world and be an entrepreneur. The beginning is always exciting because the project gives you a clean slate, and you get to build in every department. I love dealing with budgets, negotiating, and money. I’m a businesswoman at heart and production allows me to do that on a per project basis since there is a beginning, a middle, and an end. Therefore, I get to treat every production like it’s a new business venture.
You are also a devoted wife and mom. Do you find the balance difficult?
Well, the kids are a bit older now, so it’s not as physically taxing. I’m very good at time management and setting my priorities for each day (both family and business). Of course, as a mom, there are so many sacrifices we make. I have recently had a renewed sense of wanting to take The Story Company in different directions as well as take on other business opportunities I’m developing. With three children, there are always activities, homework, and sports. We are big on family life, and it’s our priority.
“Mindfulness represents unconditional love towards the self (without judgment, resentment, or past mistakes), that will transcend and produce a beautiful sense of peace. Ultimately, it is about understanding your true core and letting go of others opinions. My path is in front of me and I take one step at a time.” (Vicky Mara Story)
You are so calm and centered. Do you meditate or practice mindfulness?
I do, but it’s a process. With meditation, it took a while for me because I had to learn that there is more than one way to do it and the most important way is what works for you. In my personal experience, meditation and mindfulness go together. If we are truly able to clear our heads of all the clutter and distracting thoughts, we can have an authentic presence with just “being.” Then, we are completely living in the present moment. I had to get “out of the box” of what it’s all supposed to look like and tap into me. For me, it was honoring myself, accepting myself, being mindful of my time, and understanding what I can give back to others and family. As women, we have a lot of responsibility placed on us as wives, mothers, and work. Mindfulness represents unconditional love towards the self (without judgment, resentment, or past mistakes), that will transcend and produce a beautiful sense of peace. Ultimately, it is about understanding your true core and letting go of others opinions. My path is in front of me and I take one step at a time.
What does self-empowerment mean to you?
For me, Self-empowerment is to stand in your truth authentically and being confident in who you are. It means sharing with people you trust through selfless conversations and giving them insight, empowering them, and having an impact on others. Personally, being authentic with yourself and others is the ultimate empowerment. It has represented understanding my power and accepting it. It has also consisted of standing tall and moving forward without reservation and affecting others who we love.
Vicky Story is such an inspiration as a woman, entrepreneur, and someone who gives back to the community. On behalf of Gemma, I would like to thank her for her time and thoughtfulness for such an insightful interview.
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