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Episode 149: Filmmaker Jordyn Romero on Living Your Purpose & Creating Through Grief

Updated: May 23, 2023

"I am such a believer in taking the risk and finding your passion project."

This week's guest is award-winning filmmaker Jordyn Romero. Jordyn discusses the act of living your purpose, the importance of passion projects, and the learnings she's found through navigating trauma and grief. Hear about Jordyn's latest film project, how she feels content in her current life, and the effect of on-set group dynamics.

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Episode Transcript

Jordyn: Grief is interesting because it's like the one thing that everyone on this earth is going to experience at some point. Yet I feel like we don't create the space to feel it.


Lisa: Welcome to Outside by Design. I am your host Lisa Slagle, and today is an awesome episode. I say that every time, but today's episode is with one of my favorite people. Her name is Jordyn Romero, and she is a director. She's a DP. She's Oscar nominated. And she's also like a magical surf goddess who has taken me surfing and was so nice.

Jordyn, yeah, Jordyn is a tremendously talented filmmaker and I love working with Jordyn. Her - I talk about it in the podcast - but, like, my favorite thing about Jordyn is her work ethic. She's just so fun, even on like the hardest, longest shoot days. And you know, like one time, one time we ate fast food in a parking lot off of the highway in Colorado because that was the only thing that was open. And she was just like, happy as could be with potato oles. You know, it was like the worst craft services ever, but the shoot ran late. And I just remember thinking like, what a special human who just can make things and create in any conditions.

And I think creating through good times, through bad times, through adversity, through grief, which we talk about on this podcast, is something Jordyn is really, really good at. And there's just something a little extra to Jordyn. So yeah, thanks for being here. Enough about me - over to Jordyn.


Lisa: Jordyn, thank you so much for being on the podcast today.

Jordyn: Thank you, Lisa. So good to be here, to see your face. It's been too long.

Lisa: I know. I'm so excited. I didn't realize how excited I was to see you ‘til I saw you and then I was like oh!

Jordyn: I know! Yeah, the anticipation's been building all morning. So I'm happy to be here.

Lisa: And where are you in the world and what are you looking at?

Jordyn: Right now I am in Santa Barbara, California. I actually recently moved to a new spot so you haven't been here, and I'm up in the hills of Santa Barbara in just the most California-feeling bungalow. And I just moved in three weeks ago and I'm obsessed with my house so that's where I am today.

Lisa: And then how close are you to surfing? What's, what's your commute life to waves?

Jordyn: Well I can probably get to the beach in ten-ish minutes, to get to a good surf spot probably more probably inching towards 20 but that's because Santa Barbara is a hard surf town. You know, it's the best surf town when there's waves but the worst surf town when there are no waves because you have to drive out of Santa Barbara to find some waves. So. I don't mind. It's still 20 minutes, way closer than I was when I grew up so I'll take it.

Lisa: [laughs] Exactly. I’d just like to open it up, like, we've changed the podcast a little bit from talking about the business side of creativity which is still super important. But this season I'm really focusing on the people behind their own businesses. You are self-employed, kicking ass, making beautiful films. You’re Oscar nominated. I love working with you, your work ethic is amazing. So I guess I just want to open up with, like, how did you… how did you decide that you wanted to design a life that looked like this?

Jordyn: Oh. Starting with the big questions. But… I'll start from the beginning of how I ended up sitting here today. And I think I never thought that I would be working for myself, I never thought I'd be working in the film industry. And I remember in high school, not really having… I had a lot of hobbies. But none that I was… I never felt like I had passions, like I never really knew what I wanted to do for a career. But it's funny because looking back now I realize, like, I loved winter, snowboarding was my absolute favorite thing to do in the world. I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico - yes, it does snow there - and yeah, I worked at the ski hill, it was 30 minutes from my house. And me and my best friend would get dropped off before we could drive, we’d get dropped off before the lifts open and picked up like an hour after the list closed. Because that was the only time we could get rides from our parents was before and after work.

And I remember for Christmas one a year I got the GoPro 4, revolutionary camera at the time, and I would just get so lost making ski edits that were so bad but so good at the same time. I'm hoping one day it's gonna be a cult classic. “Crispy Powder” was my first ski edit of me my best friend. Some gangster rap, us getting like a foot of air. You know, the best of times. And I just remember editing that video and spending like hours a day after school like putting all the transitions in and finding the music. And it's funny because looking back, I'm like, wow, it's kind of come full circle. I never really thought that those fun silly GoPro edits could turn into a career.

And it wasn't until I went to college in California, that's what brought me out here. And I went to Chapman which happens to have one of the top film schools in the country. And I was actually studying computer science my freshman year. Yeah. I loved coding and making apps, I actually have a minor in computer science. But I was just the little computer nerd and I watched this - kind of documentary - but this surf edit by John John Florence it's called View From A Blue Moon. It's one of the most beautiful, stunning surf movies you can watch. Highly recommend. And, I don't know, I was in my dorm room and I was like, you know what? I go to Chapman. I'm just gonna see if I can get into the film school. So I applied to their documentary program and got in and that completely just changed the trajectory. Computer science, I just couldn't care less about it anymore. And I just got so into filmmaking. And I think film school really taught me, like, the power of storytelling and how you can really, you know, make an impact with the stories you tell. And it turned from wanting to make, you know, surf porn and snowboarding movies to, you know, I want to be outdoors, but like what is the human experience that I can bring into these stories and bring to the world and actually make a difference? And so that is how I ended up in filmmaking. That was, like, sort of the switch.

Lisa: When I met you, weren't you working at an agency?

Jordyn: So yes, I wasn't - I wouldn't call it an agency… how to call it? I was working… so, straight out of college I went straight into freelancing and working at a coffee shop. So… but I was doing anything under the sun. You know. Editing insurance videos, you know, shooting events, just anything that had a dollar sign attached. But I did work with this one client in the surf industry, they’re a surf media outlet. And I actually, like, I interned with them in college and was working with them freelance and ultimately, they offered me a full time position as like the video team. And so I worked there for a year and I think I was just - I was only a couple of months in when I met you in Whitefish. And then ironically when we reconnected again, that was like my last month working there.

Lisa: Yes.

Jordyn: So yes, I did work full time. And I'm not sure if I got super burned out at this company because I was working on someone else's time, working on their projects, you know, I don't think we necessarily saw eye to eye with the creative aspects. It was often me shooting everything, one man band and being able to like think bigger and operate more as a production company versus a surf media outlet. It was just really hard to… like they were trying to be a production company but they weren't. So I had a lot of frustrations and - love them to death, I'm still freelancing for them, and it's just a way better fit me being able to be my own boss.

Lisa: Mhmm. I love that. I love working with you, by the way I think you're I think you're such a wonderful own-boss. Like you show up really well, you're like the funnest person on set, even when it's like a 14 hour day. And I think, like, anybody out there looking for an amazing filmmaker should hit up Jordyn and because Jordyn, you're like the best. So… and your work speaks for itself. So like, how did you… are you just like that? How did you learn? You're just really athletic so you, like, I make you run through all kinds of weird like weeds and things and with a gimbal to film mountain biking and like you… the shots you get are gorgeous, you know, so I'm curious… how, like, how… how do you do it, are you just like this?

Jordyn: [laughs] Mom, dad tell me how! That's a great question. I mean, I grew up doing every sport under the sun. I remember being a kid and I'm like a fifth grader, right, at this point, and I am, you know, getting out of school, driving to swim practice, getting out of the water half an hour early, putting my hair in a ponytail, and then running over to soccer. And you know, some nights I had cheerleading, maybe I had basketball. I just love sports and I love activities.

So I think… I also just am someone with a lot of energy. I'm definitely an extrovert. And yeah, if I don't move my body every day I am the most crabby human on the planet. So I love our shoots together. Give me a 14 hour day, I want to be dirty, I want to be laying in the weeds and… ah, nothing beats that feeling when your legs are just so tired at the end of the day. I, like… that's like the best feeling in the world. And yeah, I think one of my favorite parts about freelancing and like owning my own company is the hustle. Like, that is so satisfying to me. It's funny because I, you know, gave up my full-time job to work for myself, create my own hours, but I probably work so much more, like way more than like a standard work week. But it flies by. I love all aspects of the hustle. So I… it's funny how I have more energy now than I did working at the company.

Lisa: I love that. I love that. And it aligns with… it aligns with what I'm doing with Wheelie lately which is like a lot less W2 employees and more collaborations with independent contractors and freelancers and filmmakers. Because you have this ownership and like you just described, this sense of like, you're representing yourself and you're doing the work that you are proud of and like we come together and we collaborate and it just feels like a really healthy, clean ecosystem of creatives working toward the same vision.

Jordyn: Yeah, I think that's such a good point. And, you know, when you're - especially on our first few shoots, you know, you are representing the brand and it's inevitable that what you bring on set is a reflection. And if you… you kind of have only have one chance to prove yourself as a freelancer and if you don't work really hard… like I think you're… you just can't make mistakes, or if you make mistakes you got to compensate in some other way or or really work hard to make it happen. Let's not forget, remember the gimbal? And I couldn't figure out the darn gimbal? And I stayed up ‘til like 2 in the morning trying to figure out how to make this stupid gimbal work for the camera and you're like, there's no way we can not have this for the shoot. And I was just like, great. I just ruined this whole relationship. So I had to kill it the next day, I had to, you know?

Lisa: I remember we were on the phone like… we were on the phone at like 2:00 or 2:30 in the morning and our call time was before sunrise so it was like, I'll be at your house in Boulder at 4:45. You know, and I was like… oh and then I had like a thirty five, forty minute drive and I was like, I slept for an hour.

Jordyn: [laughs] I know. and you were… you were being boss woman. You know, you were, you were stern. Like you weren't like, it's okay! You were like, no, like, figure it out. Which of course was so scary. But obviously what you had to do. And we figured it out and it worked out and magically just redoing it at 4 in the morning, it just, it decided that it wanted to work. So yeah, good times. [laughs]

Lisa: [laughs] And then yeah, you killed it. You were amazing that day, you were amazing that whole day. That was a huge shoot day, we had like 7 different locations. It was a lot.

Jordyn: Yeah, middle of the summer so the sun rose super early. It was the longest day of the year, it was the longest day of the year.

Lisa: Yes, yeah. And I, like, something I love about production is that you work with what is, in the way that life is. And even when you plan things to a T, like you're never going to plan the weather. And you know, everything - we had so many things that were all lined up and different, like, I kind of call them stations.

Jordyn: Yeah.

Lisa: When we're trying to get that many - for this project, we were trying to get a lot of different bodies and body types and different women on bikes. So we were all over the front range of Colorado just chasing, literally chasing people on bikes.

Jordyn: Literally.

Lisa: So I want to follow up on something you said before we started recording because you were like, ‘I'm in my mid 20’s and I'm just in it.’ So what did you mean?

Jordyn: Yeah, it's such a funny time. I think… for those you don't know, I'm 25 going on 26 in August. And yeah, I'm just really trying to figure things out. I feel incredibly fortunate, when I look at my friend group, that I feel like I'm really living in my purpose. I found… I found a passion, I found a way to make money off of it, and it's something I like. It's something I really look forward to every single day when I wake up. But, you know, there's still so much to learn and owning your own business… and truly the business side of it is what's really been testing me this year. And, you know, starting off as a filmmaker, kind of the one man band, directing, producing, shooting, editing, distribution. All of that. I did it was one of my first films and I absolutely loved doing every single bit. But every single year I seem to be like letting go and tuning into… or refining what part of filmmaking I am called to. And then the business stuff has been just so tricky this year. Are we in a recession? I don't know. I think we are.

I mean, this… setting up an LLC, I finally am legit now this year with one of those. And the business bank account. But it's really… I've been tested a lot this year in terms of, you know, I feel like I kind of plateaued a little bit, in a way. And it's been really difficult for me to find really good, like, mentor figures, I suppose, that are following my exact path. Or I just feel like I don't know how to up level from where I am right now and I've kind of been struggling with that the last few months. And, you know, I think I'm really falling victim to the social media thing where I go on Instagram and everyone's doing this project and doing this project and then it's kind of hilarious when I am with people and they're like whoa you were working on this project? And it's… it's just that face, that that brand that we put forward. It's just yeah, it's a constant battle.

And, you know, I've also had a few like massive personal traumas in my life this year that I wasn't able to work for all of February or March because I was just processing really big emotional times in my life. And yeah, just, you know, realizing the balance of, you know, saving for those times and, ‘oh gosh maybe I should have saved more last year’ and kind of just these learning lessons that I think are inevitable. And the only way to learn them is to do it, is to go head on and you know hit $200 in your bank account. And then realize, okay, tomorrow I'm gonna send out 50 emails and get on the phone. And yeah, I'm just in it right now, I feel. Like, yeah, it's been a time. [laughs]

Lisa: I have two things. One, I have had a lot of really talented people that I have worked with through the years email me within the last month being like, hey, got any projects? Hey, can you get me on a shoot? Like, more so than ever.

Jordyn: Yes.

Lisa: So I feel like there is a little bit of, like, funk out there. I also have seen a lot of brands giving their film budgets to influencers.

Jordyn: Mhmm.

Lisa: So I think budgets are getting dispersed in some different ways. There are very, very talented people such as yourself that like the work is coming and ebbing and flowing more than normal when like, the faucet’s usually just turned on. So I'm seeing that across the board. Secondly, while maintaining your privacy, you have been going through some absolutely huge shit. So… like, huge. And you do not have to talk about that or what that was, but I am curious… you are kind of coming out of that. What's your biggest thing that you've learned as a human?

Jordyn: Hmm. That's a great question. I'm also, like, not afraid to not talk about it too. If you think it would be valuable. That's just a side note. That's a good question.

Lisa: I think you'll turn it into something powerfully creative, when you're ready.

Jordyn: Yeah. I feel like I should just talk about it. Okay, for context, dear audience, in 2018 someone was breaking into my house in Santa Fe while my family was home and my dad was shot and killed trying to protect the house. And we went a couple of years without having any leads, no idea who was responsible, until genealogy came into the question and they were able to track down the murderer through genealogy. And so in February we finally, after nearly five years, had a trial. And it was the best outcome possible, and… yeah, it was… it was really heavy. I realize now, looking back, I realize how much this event has really taken a toll on my productivity, my emotions over, like, several months before and still to this day. I mean, I've learned… one of the biggest things I've learned about grief is, you know, it's something that you learn to deal with but I think that no matter how long it's been or how much work you've done, when you go to that place, the pain is always just as hard. If that makes sense. You know?

Yeah. Grief is such an interesting emotion and I've been thinking about it a lot because I am wanting to do a creative endeavor with it this year, hopefully. My dad was a huge mountain biker, that was his life's passion. He's the reason that I love the outdoors and I really want to just make an absolutely beautiful poetic piece. But, I don't know, grief is interesting because it's like the one thing that everyone on this earth is going to experience at some point, yet I feel like we don't create the space to feel it as a society, you know? You're allowed to be sad, but the world just seems to move on without you. And even though people… I have the most amazing support system, you know, you still feel like you're going through it alone. And yeah, I think we just need to be in a place where we're able to take time for ourselves and, you know, really feel it every day and not have the pressure to get back to normal and get over it right away. But how do we incorporate it into our daily lives and keep, you know, their spirit alive on a day-to-day basis? So yeah, I'm really… I'm really looking forward to my project that I hope to shoot this summer. I've had it in my head ever since it happened and it's never been the right time to do it. And now that the trial is done and there has… I mean, it's crazy, I wasn't expecting to have a huge amount of closure from the trial because my dad will never come back. But it is… it is crazy how much it does feel like this chapter is finally, you know, at least the trauma of the death is coming to an end. And now I can do a project that will celebrate his life. And it's absolutely daunting because I've spent my whole life telling other people's stories, and so to flip the switch and have to put my own story out there is a challenge that I'm looking forward to taking on this year.

Lisa: I love that. And I've never biked with you. What's… like, what's your relationship to mountain biking?

Jordyn: Mountain biking. It's so funny, I really do love mountain biking. I am shocked that I wasn't more into it when I was younger. Well, I'm not shocked at all actually, because do we ever do exactly what our parents want us to do deep down? I don't think so. [laughs]

And I think I kind of resisted getting into it after he died because I was like, I didn't want to mountain bike because my dad mountain biked. Like, for some reason I just didn't want it to be that way. But there's no way it's not, because whenever I'm on a bike - and the bike that I ride now is his mountain bike. It's a super sick S-Works, I mean, it's just so beautiful. It kind of doesn't fit me but I love riding it. And whenever I'm in Santa Fe I ride my bike all the time - Santa Barbara, I don't know why but the trails are so scary here. They're just, like they're not flowy. It's straight up and rocks everywhere, like, I wish there was better trails because I'd go all the time if I could. And I love climbing and that's what my dad loved. I think I got his legs. Like, give me a hill, I will go as high as I need to. That's where I feel most confident. It's the going down part that I seem to have adopted some fear around. But yeah, we need to mountain bike together.

Lisa: I know, I know. And I… so, like, you're going to make a film, I think this is amazing. With his friends.

Jordyn: Yeah, it's… honestly I'm really excited because we - really became better friends with them. They all came to the trial every single day. And sometimes we'd go to the breweries after and just, to like, hear their perspective, like, I know my dad from my perspective, obviously. But to hear about it from his friends and the people that knew him, like, while he was doing the things that he loved, it's awesome. And there's this term we call in Santa Fe, Santa Famous. And I think my dad was a very Santa Famous mountain biker because I mean… he was a maniac on a bike. Like, he loved to climb. He'd be gone for like 8 hours every weekend. He actually competed in races. He was never a pro, but he always won his category. Like, he was an incredible cyclist. And it's really cool because I like to give… I used to love to give him shit thinking, like, yeah yeah, you're great and all, whatever, are you really that good? But he really was. And it's really cool to hear because he influenced mountain this biking group so much and he always gave back and taught them tricks and, like, worked on lines with them. And so yeah, I'm really excited to connect with them. And yeah, just… it's a celebration. I'm not trying to make it a sad film, a trauma film. I'm trying to make it a celebration of his life and allowing others to join in the process.

Because I remember that on the anniversary of his death I was actually conceptualizing everything last year and putting it into a little pitch deck. And that process, you know, I was working on it for several days and it happened to be around the anniversary of his death. And that was the best year I've ever had on that day. I felt so grounded. And I think it just is the power of working and putting your experiences into something creative. It allows you to, you know, process and to really… you know, massage and… But yeah, it just allowed me to process that grief in a way that really helped. So I'm excited for the film. I'm actually, I'm really, really, really excited about it. So.

Lisa: And I like that through line of adult friendship and like why that matters. And like, yeah, I don't know, because like biking is just so fun and it's kind of like something you do when you're a kid and then when you do it with adults and you are an adult and then you have adult friendships and like… then suddenly that person isn't there anymore, like it just… yeah I mean it's hard. But I think that friendship and camaraderie and community… it’s going to be such a celebratory film. So.

Jordyn: Exactly. And it's like one of those films, too, where… I don't know. I'm someone who loves film festivals and I love you know, seeing how to make a film as successful as possible. But I feel like something like this, what success is for this film is being able to show it in Santa Fe with the people I love. And it's really a film for them. It's a film for me, and it… I really don't care about the rest of it for this. Which is cool.

Lisa: Yeah, that's a spirit of generosity. You know, you're like making something from a place of generosity and wanting to share. Yeah, that's it's gonna be - obviously it’s gonna be awesome.

Jordyn: [laughs] And I get to shoot in New Mexico, which, I freakin love New Mexico. If I didn't surf I'd live there in a heartbeat. And I'm excited. There's just so many amazing and diverse mountain biking spots, deserts, the forests, red rocks. Places that look like the moon. I think it's gonna allow me to be really really creative. So.

Lisa: I love that. So we are, we're 10 years apart. I turned 36 in a couple days.

Jordyn: Yay, happy birthday!

Lisa: I’m, curious - thank you - where you see yourself in 10 years. And that's like such a cheesy question but like, I don't know if you like have a mood board or like… how you've designed your life so well for your twenties. Like, do you, what do you envision is next?

Jordyn: Great question. Because to be honest, I love the life I've built. Every few months I just reflect… you know, this is is really… it sounds dark. But I do this often - whenever I get on an airplane I have this sort of irrational fear that that's the way I'm going to die is an airplane crash. And, I don't know, every once in a while I’ll get on a plane and before we're taking off I sit there and I think, you know, if I were to die on this plane like am I happy with my life? And oftentimes I'm completely content. You know? I'm happy to leave this earth. And so I think there's a lot I want to achieve in the next ten years on paper, a lot of things I want to achieve. But at the end of the day I mean I want to continue the lifestyle that I'm living right now where I feel like I have a really good balance of work and play and really good community and friendships. And I want to be able to maintain this balance and, you know, I want a little bit more financial stability, that's for sure. I really do want to win an Oscar, that's a big goal of mine. I actually want to make a feature film, I really want to make a feature film. And… and really just continue on the trajectory I'm on, working with bigger clients and you know just doing everything I'm doing now but on a bigger scale, I suppose. So, yeah. I just want to get better at everything, you know, continue to grow and hopefully find successes that match the growth.

Lisa: Oh my goodness, I love that. And don't you love, like, being a professional creative? Like, your work in your play and your life, it's all kind of like one big thing.

Jordyn: It is.. it's so fun. I think it's easy to be afraid when you do have your work so intertwined with things that you love that you're going to get sick of it. It's going to always feel like work or it's going to feel like a job. And so I'm trying to constantly be cognizant of that and make sure that the projects I'm saying yes to light me up. And I think by saying yes to projects that light me up and having the power of saying no to ones that don't suit me, you know, that... It's a discipline, and that discipline leads to successes and more jobs of what you want. I think that when you start to sacrifice your happiness and you sacrifice things that… your creativity. You know, that's when you start to get yourself in a hole. And I… even though I've only been doing this for 11 years now, I've found that if I'm really strict on that and I am able to use the discipline to say no to projects that maybe pay really well or are working with clients that I just don't really agree with sometimes - I find that that sucks my energy so low that I've learned that it's worth it just to say no to some things in order to open up opportunities that are perfectly aligned and allow me to travel and to go and do these fun adventures where, yeah, it doesn't feel like work and it's just so much fun. And yeah, I'm feeling really grateful this past year, two years, where I've been able to do a bunch of fun projects and meeting amazing people and just feeling like I really have made a mark in this community, in the outdoors, where I just feel really connected with people.

Lisa: Have you… obviously, like, you know, remaining anonymous to who the brand is, have you ever had something that seemed like it was a dream project and then once you got into it you were like, ooh this is out of alignment? Or like, I don't know, something you said yes to where you're like, Wow did I learn that.

Jordyn: Oh gosh yeah. I was in college and I got asked to go to this amazing country to be the DP for this project. And it was with a photographer that I really looked up to as well as this woman and her partner. And essentially, the group dynamics of this trip were insane. The woman brought her partner and I guess the photographer and the host of the show, they'd worked together for over like 10 years. And so the dynamic between them was set in stone where they are very much like a family. And so me as an outsider coming in to that was really difficult and having to play with the group dynamics and wanting to do a good job but… you know. just the group dynamics were just off. And everyone kind of just seemed in a bad mood fairly easily and I don't know, I just remember feeling so lonely. Every night I would go to sleep and I would just put headphones on and like listen to music and that was like my safe space from the group dynamics. Which was a real shame because the project was really… could have been so amazing. But I think the group dynamics really led to its ultimate demise because everyone was just on edge all the time and I just felt like I was walking on egg shelves the entire trip.

Lisa: Ugh! I think like, the team you build for every project is critical to the success of the project. And like, I don't know, you're really really fast, like you're pretty run and gun. So, like, I know that I can put you on shoots that are like faster-paced whereas like I wouldn't do that for everyone. And like, I guess, kind of, for you, like what makes a shoot - like the actual production day - like super aligned with what you enjoy doing? Like, what's a good group dynamic for you? Or like a best case scenario or dream project scenario. Let's just put it out into the universe.

Jordyn: Okay, well group dynamics I think are huge because whether you're working with talent - or especially if you're working with talent - you know, you want your crew to be cohesive and working together. And I feel like a lot of our shoots in the outdoors, you know, so much can go wrong and you just really got to know how to roll with the punches. And group dynamic is huge because you guys ultimately only have each other. And being able to come together and problem solve and, you know, not getting upset when something goes wrong but instead turning that around and finding a solution is so key. And you know, if one person's off one day, it affects the whole morale of the group. And I think it's just crucial to come with a good attitude. And you don't have to be the loudest person either. You don't have to be rowdy and having a good time. It can be serious and fun. It can be serious and not fun, but as long as you're there and you're putting your all into something I think that just makes a huge difference at the end of the day, if everyone, you know, at least it feels like everyone's doing their best they're working as hard as they can. And then I think it just leads to less mistakes. And even if, you know, the clouds roll in and it starts pouring rain on your shoot, you know, like, you guys are gonna figure it out at the end of the day. And especially when we were working with talent, you know, you want them to feel comfortable and invited into your group and I think that that is such a huge aspect to it. So.

Lisa: It's true. And I think like yeah, being able to problem solve as a team is so critical. And just yeah, everybody… like, the energy that goes into it comes across on film.

Jordyn: Absolutely, absolutely.

Lisa: All the energy behind the camera, like, if it's like, [angry noises], like that comes through.

Jordyn: Exactly. And I am such a dork behind the camera. I have learned this through your epic taking of BTS. I'm like, what am I? What comes out of my mouth? But it works! So, yeah, I like to just be the cheerleader on set because it's just so fun. I like to have fun on set. I like to be serious too. But I feel like most of the time, I'm just there to have fun and make the talent have fun and so.

Lisa: I think fear is like the fastest way to kill creativity. We've had… we've had amazing sets and like good vibes going and then a very like assertive domineering client would roll up and like kill a vibe. You know? And then the talent gets freaked out and everybody gets freaked out. And then I was listening to like you know, do know Shonda Rhimes? The -

Jordyn: Yes, yes.

Lisa: So I love, I'm obsessed with Shonda Rhimes. But she was just on Armchair Expert, the podcast, talking about how when she doesn't even go to set because it freaks people out too much. And they get too like uptight and weird and she's like, don't do that! So she just like writes it, writes all the creative, writes the screenplay, writes the script, and then gives it - doesn't show up to production, and then gets back in in post-production.

Jordyn: No way.

Lisa: Because she said she realized the power dynamic when she would roll in and everybody gets freaked out. And that, as the writer, she's the only person on set not doing something. And that just added to the power dynamic.

Jordyn. Ahh. Fascinating.

Lisa: Isn't that?

Jordyn: I mean, that completely makes sense. But wow, that's nuts. [laughs]

Lisa: Isn't it? So yeah, I always I always try to be really aware of, like, power dynamics - not that I'm anywhere near Shonda Rhimes whatsoever. But like you know, just power dynamics of like if you're someone's boss or like if you're the client, like, just that that energy on set is incredibly impactful.

Jordyn: Yeah, and I also think another aspect of like crew dynamics on set is having the correct representation there. You know? I feel so lucky that I work often with just women. And, you know, I love my guys too. But it's… it's undeniable that when you're shooting women and you only have women on set you're gonna get a completely different outcome. And yeah, it's just, it's such a safe space when you're working with women and I think that is so crucial on set. And you don't realize, like, what you're missing until you have it. Or you don't realize how valuable that is until that safety is broken. And yeah, I just… I love my ladies and it's so good when it's an all female crew. I feel like it's just such a good time. [laughs]

Lisa: I agree. It's so - it's so fun. I think it's important to, like, put a whole bunch of different people, like when you have remarkably intelligent people in the same room like working towards something and having like a whole bunch of diverse people, the work is better. But yeah, it's like secretly like just the best when it's all women.

Jordyn: I know it's yeah, it's great. [laughs]

Lisa: Do you want to talk about the project the very first time we ever worked together which was Full Frontal Freedom which was a fun, quick, branded film for our friend Jenny who owns Wild Barn Coffee. But yeah, why don't you tell your story like you… yeah, what's your story of how that went down?

Jordyn: Oh my gosh guys. Let me tell you about the most insane week of my life. I go on Instagram DMs, there is a message from either Lisa or Wheelie, I can't remember which account, and it says, hey are you free next Monday to shoot an all women's naked backcountry ski run? And I was like this is what I live for. I love being naked, I love women, and I love skiing like this is the trifecta. So yeah, like a few days later I fly out to Steamboat. You pick me up in the truck, you drive over the Bluebird Backcountry and yeah, the next day there we are. And over two hundred women show up for this event and it's just insane. It's… so it's one lap at Bluebird Backcountry. Everyone skins up with clothes on. You dropped me off earlier, you took the sled up, I had to walk the rest of the way. I have a snowboard in one hand and my huge camera and the easy rig. And I'm just waiting at the top for all these women. I can just see the little line slowly coming up the hill and everyone gets up - and before even the last woman is up at the top of the hill, people are just striping naked. And it was insane to ski…. and so of course, I had to get naked also. And so there we were, camera in hand, snowboarding at the same time, like, it was the best day ever. Such a safe space, women only, music, food, good storytelling, I mean it was... I would live that day every day and die a very happy woman.

Lisa: It was so fun. I have, like, the funniest photo of you, like you are filming and you're just wearing the vest with the easy rig. You're totally naked. You're in your snowboard. You have the gimbal going. Yeah, I mean it… and then yeah, you're just your ass is just hanging out. I'll text it to you. It's so funny. And I was like, look at Jordyn, she's just naked in the easy rig vest.

Jordyn: Yeah, truly… yeah, it hit all the boxes for me. I don't think I'll ever have a peak that - I hope I have another peak that high again, but that was probably the shoot day that I remember most in my entire life. It was. So much fun.

Lisa: Yeah. Anything else, anything I haven't asked you that you want to share with our audience?

Jordyn: Nothing to add necessarily. But I mean, if there are people who are trying to break out and, you know, follow their creative juju and, you know, break out of their corporate job, I am such a believer in taking the risk and, you know, finding your passion project. I am a sucker for passion projects, I always have at least one going on at all times and it is completely for my sanity, I think. I just I believe in them so much and I think that if you are even doing what you love, but you feel like you're, you're leaning too far into trying to make everything pay you, you know, it's a cycle. It's a vicious cycle. And it's just important to have projects where you can express yourself fully, and whether that's just being a painter or crocheting or actually if you're a filmmaker making another film, you know? I think that those types of projects are so valuable.

Lisa: Amazing. And where can people find you on the internet?

Jordyn: Internet! My website is Instagram is @JordynRomero. Jordyn with a Y, by the way, J O R D Y N, can't forget. Thank you mom and dad for making that a little difficult. And that's pretty much all I live on.

Lisa: Awesome.


Lisa: Thanks for listening to Outside by Design, hosted by me, Lisa Slagle.

This show is produced by my creative agency, WHEELIE. You can find us at our website, You can also visit to find more episodes, transcripts, and show notes. And of course, we're on Instagram. It's @WheelieCollective.

This podcast is a ton of work and a labor of love, and it would mean a lot to me if you'd like to support the show. You can do so by subscribing, leaving a five star review, or sharing this episode with a friend who would enjoy it. And as always, thanks for being here.

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