In The Spotlight: Creative Entrepreneur Vicky Mara Story

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.

unnamed-1

The Story Family

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!

unnamed

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?

unnamed-3

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.


To follow Vicky on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/vickystory

https://www.instagram.com/vickystory/


Carhartt Men’s Acrylic Watch Hat A18, Black, One Size“>Carhartt Men’s Acrylic Watch Hat A18, Black, One Size

Event Planner Extraordinaire: Chad Hudson of Chad Hudson Events

Chad Hudson Pic IMG_3528Firstly, if you get invited to a Chad Hudson event, Go! It will be creative, memorable, and something you have never seen before. Chad Hudson — event planner to the stars, the studios and more, encompasses the rare talent of combining his astute business skills and endless creative resources in order to execute events on an epic level (chadhudsonevents.com).  He is the ultimate Creative Entrepreneur.  “CHE,” aka Chad Hudson Events, has grown to enormous proportions and keeps getting better. Hudson and his highly talented and trusted team have produced countless spectacular soirees with the goal of carrying out the client’s vision as their trademark signature style.

Since starting his company, Chad Hudson Events has become a nationwide full-service event production, design, management, special projects, and lifestyle services company. CHE emphasizes the relevance of developing unique ideas and implementing a creative design process that adheres to a strict aesthetic. CHE’s staff is divided between NYC and LA and has planned and executed more than 2,000 events to date, ranging from small receptions to the largest premieres in the world.

20160525A_0009-XL

Kingdom Premiere 2016

20160525A_0018-L

Kingdom Premiere 2016

Coinciding with the 10 Year Anniversary of the Legendary Twilight Premieres LOS ANGELES — Chad Hudson Events is coming up on their iconic Ten Year Anniversary of putting on the most exclusive and beautifully designed events for some of the biggest premieres and parties in and out of Hollywood and around the world. Hudson has remained dedicated to his work and he has reason to celebrate! He started his company in 2008, after working in the event department at Warner Brothers. Giving back to the community is also a priority for CHE; which is why Chad started CHE’s favorite WeHo Supperclub dining nights out, where 10% of our patrons’ bill gets earmarked to a deserving Los Angeles based charity. To celebrate this special anniversary, CHE will be hosting their most significant #WeHoSupperClub night ever, at the seven thousand square foot Farmhouse, on Wednesday, November 14. This special event will be benefiting The Trevor Project National Suicide Hotline.

2

 

Some of CHE’s notable events range from numerous Super Bowl parties to the legendary Twilight premieres (the largest-ever SoCal film opening, at L.A. LIVE, Microsoft and Regal Theaters), private celebrity events for Beyonce and Jay-Z, Kate Winslet, Bobby Flay and many more. Hudson is inspired by various creative resources such as art, architecture, travel, and even the fine details.

2

Breaking Dawn – Part 2

2-1

Breaking Dawn – part 2

After speaking with him, it’s very inspiring to see the time and commitment he has put into building his company. The pressure can be high-level, but also something Chad seems to thrive on. When Chad had a quick moment to stop, he took the time to speak with us.

20150709A_0342A-X2

ComicCon 2015

You were an event producer/manager at Warner Bros Pictures. That is a fantastic experience. Did your work there inspire you to create your own Event production Company, especially being able to foresee possible areas where you could change the game a bit?

Yes working at Warner Bros Pictures for seven years with the incredible event team there helped me learn all aspects of producing a successful event both from the client and planning side. My mentor at WB Courtney Saylor taught me a lot about logistics and budgeting, and I did a lot of our event design work in-house at WB and wanted to do more of that.

Did Chad Hudson Events start with smaller and more intimate events? Also, I’m assuming that the goal was to always go to a higher level? It seems like you have created a niche like no other: “An Event Production Company that can handle any talent.” That is quite the accomplishment. Can you please expand?

Yes when I started my company we took on a lot of pro bono charity work, smaller independent film premieres, birthday parties and such. But we then were able to prove ourselves and were awarded larger jobs. Regarding the talent – We have handled talent on many aspects – inviting them to events, managing their guest’s lists on the red carpet, booking travel, star and hand and footprint ceremonies on Hollywood Boulevard, private events at their homes, etc.

Chad Hudson Events has a perfect approach, yet there are so many details involved. You have an incredible team. How do you keep them motivated and what are your expectations from them?

I am very grateful to my amazing team. I’ve been lucky to be surrounded not only by the most talented event team in the business but that we are also friends outside of the office and that makes work fun. As far as expectations go, I trust them to get the job done. I try, and they’re great about running everything by me for feedback, and our relationships work great that way.

Netflix Bloodline Premiere 2016

Bloodline Premiere (Netflix)

Netflix Bloodline Premiere 2016

Netflix Bloodline Premiere at the Landmark Regent in Westwood

Do you thrive off of pressure? Event production (at your level) can be very stressful. What is your perspective on the event production industry? Also, do you consider yourself an “out-of-the-box” thinker? Some of the smartest business people are very adept to finding alternative solutions. 

I thrive off of pressure. I think when we are in one of our super busy stretches or rushing up against a deadline there is an excitement in the air of all that we are accomplishing together. I do consider myself as an out of the box thinker. I like to look a different way to accomplish the same goals for our clients. Some tend to get stuck in a pattern of doing things just because they work, so we try to mix things up a bit, so they don’t get boring.

How do you keep coming up with innovative ideas? I would imagine it takes a solid combination of business and creativity.

Creativity is the key. I like to find inspiration in unique ways. Depending on the event nature, we brainstorm innovative ideas from art, architecture, the event venue, lighting, etc. Sometimes if it’s a film or television premiere, the theme is evident from the synopsis.

Divergent Premiere in Westwood CA on March 18th, 2014. Sean Twomey/ 2me Studios

Divergent Premiere in Westwood CA on March 18th, 2014. Sean Twomey/ 2me Studios

You were quoted as saying, “Every step of the CHE experience focuses upon flawless guest list management and personal experience for all filmmakers, talent, executives, and guests.” How do you make this happen?

We have learned from trial and error over the years of how to successfully manage the front of the house and guest list for events. It’s a juggle and depending on the nature of the event frequently takes a lot of my team to get it done. But the bottom line is communication. We have a team who is in constant phone and email contact with the client, guests, filmmakers, execs, talent, etc to make sure they’re taken care of. We then translate that to talent letters with allotments, seating charts, confirmation letters, transportation booking, etc.

2-3

Breaking Dawn – part 2

What do you do in the small amount of downtime that you have?

I love to travel when I can. That’s my favorite way to escape. Because I’m continually working from wherever I am via phone, it helps to be somewhere without WiFi or cell service haha.

How do you handle your “promotional services” differently than your
“event productions”?
It depends on the promotion type. My first company was Chad Hudson Presents, and I did a lot of promotional events from Halloween, to nightclubs to product promotions, etc. So we have an extensive contact list of different demographics to promote to depending on what the client wants. For our promotions, we usually are working off of more selling tickets or driving guests to a product or service.

Stoli's Most Original Bartender Competition

Stoli’s Most Original Bartender Competition

How do you manage the logistics of both NYC and LA?

We have our main office in LA and a satellite office in NY. Most of our staff is in LA, but we have a few members of our fantastic team in NY who have been with us since our NY launch seven years ago. We travel back and forth quite a bit. We were there for two significant events last month for over two weeks.

ANY hints for the future of Chad Hudson Events?
We have to keep you guessing about something! 😉

050_CHE Twilight Breaking Dawn part 2-X2


CHE has produced countless events at the highest level. As you can see, the proof is in the photos. Gemma Magazine would like to sincerely thank Chad Hudson for taking the time to interview with us. Congratulations to him and his team on their 10 year Anniversary! In celebration of CHE’s 10 Year Anniversary, we have included the link to The Trevor Project: www.thetrevorproject.org

 

20140326C_007-M

Food Network Emmy Consideration Party at the Television Academy in North Hollywood on March 26th, 2014. Sean Twomey / 2me Studios

To follow CHE on Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/ChadHudsonEvent/

https://www.instagram.com/chadhudsonevents/

 

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=mygemma48-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B07JKMBKWM&asins=B07JKMBKWM&linkId=e2484363b6bd4f66446b2fff5c910f64&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff