Talking to Crows: Eyes through the camera
by Nikko Van Wyck
Chances are, you’ve come across a video or production done by the talented production group Talking To Crows. They’re fresh off a nomination from the Bellingham Music Film Festival for their “Local Ghost – Less I Become” music video, and have filmed various shorts and documentaries over the last several years.
The original founders of the group, Cassidy Elise Young and Justin Brooks started the production group back in 2013, though its creative roots stretch back to 2011, when Cassidy met Stacy Reynolds as part of a Northwest Theatre touring group performing Evil Dead The Musical.
“I started Talking to Crows with Justin and another gentleman who is no longer involved. We started by making this multimedia series called ‘American Pizza’ based around all this material from us working pizza jobs, and being a 90s kid, pizza was always cool,” Cassidy explained.
She continued, “We started investing so much time into it, we decided we needed to make this venture a company to protect our time and equipment. By this time, it was already 2015. Stacy and I reconnected when we had an Evil Dead reunion, and it turns out Stacy was on the same page as Justin and myself, so we kept moving forward with it. We were walking down the same path.”
Stacy added, “Cassidy and I really wanted to get into film, more so than Justin I think. He was really into just focusing on ‘American Pizza’, but Cassidy and I really wanted to shift that focus onto filming projects.”
What started as quirky film sketches and music videos evolved into documentaries, one of their first being “The Mann Behind the Canvas” featuring a behind the scenes look at local artist and muralist Ben Mann. Stacy explained that a lot of their filming and documentary projects are influenced by the culture they’ve experienced growing up and living through.
“We definitely draw on our experiences – looking at what’s bothering us in our lives and starting there. Observing what the larger culture focuses on is also a source. What do people watch and why, and is it okay? We also get a lot of inspiration from the people we meet on seemingly unrelated projects. Being a guest in someone’s world is where all the magic lives. We are so inspired by the people we’ve met in our personal and professional lives.”
Being a self startup film group is no easy task either. Funding for projects has come in a variety of ways. “In the beginning, it’d been all out of pocket. Relying on what we have, or what we can borrow from people in our network is how it’s been done (and sometimes it’s still that way),” Stacy explained. “Now that we are working full-time for the company, we have more control over our schedule to make our passion projects happen quicker. Crowd sourcing is what we are looking at coming this September. For passion projects, the funding is very much in the hands of our community.”
They are planning on doing a funding campaign this month for their upcoming piece Just Like the Men which features lost work by another Bellingham filming hero, Ella Higginson. As they put it, and drawing true to their style of looking at problems that pervade culture, “The significance of our female-majority production company filming a pre-suffrage political comedy written by a woman who failed in the film industry and ultimately faded into obscurity is very clear: this film is women preserving women’s legacy, because the larger culture does not.”
Talking to Crows has a keen eye for catching and connecting subjects just beneath our cultural surface. For more information on Talking to Crows, visit their website at www.talkingtocrows.com.