We recently celebrated five years in business, which was marked with a rebranding (shout-out to our incredibly talented Brand and Logo Designer, Melissa Yeager!) and a lot of thoughtful introspection — namely, revisiting and expanding Grey House’s Core Values. Over the course of the next several months, we’ll be sharing our Core Values in detail on the blog, to offer a glimpse of how #TeamGreyHouse operates.
Farm-raised work ethic
Championing service and work ethic isn’t just something I value in a production. These are traits I value in life, because I learned them at a young age, growing up on a rural Midwestern farm. From working on the farm, to its eventual transition into a summer camp, I saw and learned that value of serving with a heart of hospitality. These traits are innate to me as a person — so naturally, they transferred to my production company. Of course, me as a person and Grey House Productions, the business, are separate. But a lot of myself is reflected in my business. It’s not something that I can just turn off.
Hospitality flows through my veins. It’s an everyday thing, not saved for special occasions. Recently, we were hosting a casting and the photographer (a client of ours) asked, “Do you have some hand sanitizer?” Before I could reach to find him some, he answered his own question: “Oh wait, I have some in my bag — and it’s actually some that you gave me!” I always try to anticipate what people will need while on the job. (Hand sanitizer is key, so we always include it when !) Wwe leave gift bags at the hotel, always with a hand-written note. I’d estimate I’ve written around 250 thank-you notes to date, and I just ordered 1,000 more.
Full plate = full heart
Grey House is pretty well known for having good food. I believe that if people are working hard, especially for multiple days in a row, food matters. Every day, it’s got to be healthy but delicious. If I just throw out a spread of carb-heavy food, after lunch my team will deplete. So we always strive for nutrient-rich food with lots of options. We even have a 5-category “dummy” check (Sweet, Salty, Chewy, Crunchy, Healthy) to make sure we’re catering to a variety of cravings. For instance, on one particular shoot over seven consecutive days, I worked for a long time to make sure every single breakfast was different. Which is no small feat! I think healthy, delicious food is a form of hospitality that reaches everyone on the shoot.
Making magic happen
Hand-in-hand with hospitality — making sure everyone feels welcome and appreciated — is the ability to actually, well, produce. Yes, there are to-do lists and checklists and list-lists that I run through for every single shoot in chronological order, so that our whole team is efficient and we don’t miss anything. That’s pretty simple. The crux of the business, though, is the high-level strategy that happens at the drop of a hat: problem-solving with panache. Any chef can cook with a good recipe. But can you open up a box of weird ingredients and make an amazing dessert in 15 minutes? That’s production. Or, as Liz Miller Gershfeld said…
At Grey House, Logistics and Hospitality come together and create something new — something even better than they stand for on their own. Individually, anyone could say they are necessary and valuable; but together, they are even better. It’s kind of like how salty and sweet taste even better together. Sure, they’re good by themselves. But when you put them together, they’re magic…just like the salty-sweet snacks in our spread.