Monday, 29 June 2015

An Open [Love] Letter to the Swagger Team

Greetings, dear readers!

I have been a member of the Swagger team since 2012 when I joined as a marketing and production assistant. Since then, so many things have changed - I'm now a Creative Director, our team has doubled, tripled, quadrupled, and whatever you say when it's five times the size it started as, we've moved from a tiny corner of the third floor to a fancy schmancy office on the second, and we've collectively produced and executed hundreds of video and marketing projects that I never could have imagined doing in such a short span of time if it weren't for the dedication and talent of the Swagger team. 

As of last Friday, my run with Swagger has come to an end - it's time for me to follow new dreams and opportunities and all that - and it's got me thinking about some of the moments when I've been most proud of Swagger and the things that never change, even though everything else around us seems to do so oh so frequently. If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to share a few of those stand-out impressions and memories with you.

1. We are never NOT proud of the work that we do. 

Deadlines are always tight. And budgets are never generous. Yet there is not a single person at Swagger that would allow us to put out a subpar product because of those limitations. I could name a hundred projects that when we were given the details, we thought, "There's no way; it can’t be done." But Swagger always finds a way. I will always remember this and respect the integrity of my coworkers for taking such pride in their work.

2. We are able to laugh together.


Whether it's hunting down who "murdered" Adam's balloon friend, dressing up in costumes (and Joy always shows everyone else up), drawing silly cartoons on the walls, playing murder mystery through the office, playing kickball, one-upping each other's animated GIFs, or just laughing at some goofy tweet, we're all able to get silly together. Being a silliness enthusiast myself, this has been clutch.

I'm eternally grateful for everyone for humoring all the themed parties and activities that I've propagated over the years, which reminds me of another Swagger tradition...

3. Beer-thirty.

4:30pm every Friday. Never let my legacy die. (And please, if you can, avoid the macro stuff... ;-))

4. On Set Food Adventures

(I love food, so obviously this is going to make the list.)

One of the things I love about going out on location is getting to try whatever local hole-in-the-wall restaurants from each little neighborhood and small town we can find, and I was lucky that Michael, our videographer, was always game for these adventures. We ate giant cheeseburgers out of an airstream van, we ate giant cheeseburgers covered in peanut butter and banana at Hub Cap while trying to keep the stray cats away, we ate giant cheeseburgers with donuts for buns (ok maybe that was just me), we stuffed ourselves with Mexican food in El Paso (I didn't want you to think it was ONLY cheeseburgers), the list goes on and on. Michael may still think that Subway makes "good"/"edible" sandwiches, but I like to think our adventures and my food mentorship has elevated his palette a bit (although I still can't get him to enjoy a decent IPA...)


5. We started a freaking film festival together!


Swaggerfest is like Cannes, but for the cool kids. Swagsquatch. 'Nuff said. I can’t wait to see y’all take Swaggerfest to the next level. (And I’m available to be a guest judge… just sayin…)

6. Swaggrrrlzzz



The Swagger office is a very female office, which is not something you are lucky enough to see in many companies in our industry. We edit, we animate, we direct, we manage, we do it all. I'm so proud of all of the women of Swagger for representing the Swaggrrrlzzz with talent and style, especially Sophia.

7. Pic-n-Post

While there are many Swagger projects that will always be memorable to me (directing my first television commercial, interviewing Lou Ferrigno, traveling to various locales for various clientele...), this was one of the most important projects of my time at Swagger, because this was the first project that I worked hand-in-hand with my righthand lady, Ms. Cortney Naylor. We worked together to design, film and animate this short marketing video over two years ago, and we quickly realized that we spoke the same language, had the same vision, and I just downright enjoyed her company - all of the things that make the perfect collaborator. As Swagger has grown, so has our relationship. As Swagger's two Creative Directors, we share an office (and she's never begrudged me for taking the window). At this point, we basically don't even need words to know what the other is thinking. She's always there for me - whether I need support with a project, or whether I just need an enabler to tell me it's ok to stress eat a couple of cheeseburgers when the going has gotten tough.

I respect you deeply, Cortney, and not just because you agree with me pretty much all the time. I respect you because you're the most passionate, empathetic, intelligent, PATIENT, and hard-working person I've ever had the pleasure to work with. I’m so lucky to have had your yin to my yang.

I'll feel jealousy toward whoever gets to collaborate with Cortney next, and it all started with Pic-n-Post.


As my journey continues, I will miss the whole Swagger team. Jarred, Cortney, Crew, Michael, Mariana, Nathan, Daniela, Joy, Tricia, Adam, Olivia, Emmett, Brenda, Laura, Lizzie - You’ve helped a New Yorker make a home here in Houston, and I'm proud and honored to have worked with all of you. 

Taken the first time I went on set with Swagger.


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