By Cade Martin

As a kid I spent many a dinner at a table surrounded by parents friends, an eclectic cast of characters — sculptors, writers, painters, creatives. That thread of creative community has remained in our offices, our teams and our collaborations. But that thread feels thinner in this moment. 

So I asked, with the purpose of sharing, and of supporting and caring for this creative community in its current, uncertain reality. I asked what people are doing, how they are feeling, how they are sparking creativity. It feels important to share what we do, when we can’t do all our doing.

Reaching out first to some of the talented people I’ve had the good fortune to profile though the Capitol Communicator portrait series.  It’s my version of a virtual dinner table of sorts. Grab a chair. 

Rachel Holmes, Lead Producer and Owner of Cat Eye Productions

Rachel, what, if anything, are you doing differently?

As a creative producer, I am accustomed to working anywhere really – hotel rooms, motor homes, planes, cars parked on scouts… much of our pre-production and post production can happen anywhere, so social distancing is no problem for those phases of production.  There is a lot we CAN produce without having an actual shoot (which is not safe now – and we do not recommend). We have some tools to still make awesome creative – UGC (user generated content), virtual interviews, tabletop shot from a home studio, stock footage and animation are our friends in a time like this. 

For Cat Eye Productions, Coronavirus has had a big impact on our small woman-owned business. We lost all our contracts and projects that we were pitching got canceled or postponed due to the pandemic. Business has essentially ground to a halt with the exception of our passion project – we are co-producing an independent documentary series “Flux” with Tangerine. Flux is a series of intimate portraits of people in various stages of transgender experience. With exquisitely shot, raw cinematic beauty, we follow our subjects through some of the most personal aspects of the transgender journey.  The series focuses, not on gender transitions, but on pivotal transitions in the day-to-day lives of transgender people. Our pilot episode is in the homestretch of being completed  – and we are entering it into film festivals that will likely not happen. We were about to start fundraising for the self-funded series but will now need to wait until the right time for that. People’s dollars need to go to essentials right now. #staysafestayhome

Are you staying creatively active?

To be honest, the juggle of being home with my 10-year-old twins (now with homeschool) and two dogs, all the household tasks, trying to keep a small business chugging along, and finishing up a pilot, it has been hard to find time for much else. But we are in the middle of finding some creative solutions for our second episode of Flux – as we were following our subject who was about to graduate from college.  Our next shoot was set up for the end of March in Atlanta. Now we are pivoting and leaning into the situation and documenting it as it is – we’re getting some gear shipped out so we can record virtual interviews over video conference and keep the documentary going. Creative solutions for the win!

How are you sparking yourself creatively?

This is such a surreal crazy time, I have been taking out my camera and documenting anything that strikes me as unique to this moment.  We can collect these images and contribute to an archive down the road. I am also so inspired by all the creative ideas I’m seeing on the internet – not just for production work but for ways for people to connect – moving our lives online and keeping social and productive when there is so much uncertainty and chaos surrounding us. I’ve already been to a virtual 50th birthday / dance party, several happy hours, yoga classes, home schooling has been enhanced with all the awesome and innovative kids stuff online (like drawing with Mo Willems) and I’m volunteering with an elderly neighbor, and contribute to the small local businesses by purchasing gift cards.  All this community engagement really gives me such hope and positivity – which is the place where all my work comes from. Authentic connections are the basis of my storytelling for my work. As awesome as all this online engagement is, I also find that consciously unplugging for some hours of the day is also necessary for recharging those creative cells and just giving your eyes a break. 

Rachel’s Capitol Communicator profile can be found here

About The Author

The only child of a university art professor and freethinker mother, Cade Martin grew up surrounded by shapes and images. His love of art grew out of summer vacations filled with trips to galleries, museums and art studios. At home he often found himself around the dinner table with an eclectic cast of characters – sculptors, writers and painters. They paraded through his childhood, shaping his art foundation and forming his appreciation for the candid beauty found in people from all walks of life. Cade’s been chasing characters ever since. He seeks out their stories-told through the architecture of their faces or the costumes they wear-whether he’s on a commercial production or setting up an Avedon-like photo booth at Comic Con. They are the heroes in his pictures. His thirst for capturing adventures took its hold while shooting stills on movie sets and then as a photographer for National Geographic covering the railways of India. And it is that sense of adventure that Cade brings to his productions elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary with a cinematic touch. It’s not just a picture. He’s committed to the experience, building beautiful environments and, sometimes for his portraits, simply building trust. A talented storyteller, Cade splits his time between the East and West Coasts creating images for editorial, advertising, fashion, and lifestyle clients

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