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Hey Baby: New School Production with Old School Roots

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Meet the Los Angeles based community of filmmakers advocating for “free flowing creative energy”

Hey Baby: New School Production with Old School Roots

Hey Baby’s tagline - "a sweet collection of filmmakers based in Los Angeles'' - exudes a distinct old school charm synonymous with California. At the helm is Johnny Parker, experienced partner/EP who has run production for both large studio based shops as well as nimble integrated scenarios. Driven by an unadulterated affection for the craft, Johnny set up Hey Baby Films - an enterprise that merges free-thinking with new fangled filmmaking.

Wholeheartedly devoted to its roster of visionaries - knowing full well that the industry would be nothing without the artistic output of those tirelessly toiling away behind the scenes to create on-screen magic - Hey Baby is a space for directors to feel trusted and supported. These efforts were amplified as a result of the uncertainty brought about by covid, with Johnny taking stock of the most effective ways to encourage and nurture artists in a rapidly evolving industry. 

Having witnessed the various highs and lows of the industry first hand over the course of his 15 year career, the founder/EP knows exactly what he wants to achieve through Hey Baby, as well as exactly what to steer clear of. From collaborating with like minded storytellers who are capable of zeroing in on the beating heart of a story, to rolling out environmentally friendly measures on set, in a bid to establish an eco-conscious workplace - Hey Baby Films does things differently and plans to keep this up for the foreseeable future.


Inspired by the heydays


Johnny’s start in the industry was much like many other creatives - fetching coffee, driving trucks, and generally getting his hands dirty. Coming up through the ranks in the artist-driven, free-spirited environment of San Francisco in the 90’s, he cut his teeth alongside the early adopters of digital content, witnessing the dot com boom unfold in real time, as a revolution of new creative practices surfaced. Being immersed in such a creative community saw Johnny get stuck into ‘the mayhem’ of production, igniting a fire within the born and bred Californian, and it is these early influences that motivate him to this day. “Those were such fun, free times,” Johnny remembers, “I want Hey Baby to channel that same kind of free flowing creative energy.”

What came next was a series of priceless professional experiences, including a role as head of production at a digital content studio that eventually was bought out by Disney, and exec producer at ACNE. Working across both traditional and non-traditional media, this hands-on experience allowed the producer to achieve exactly what he set out to do - working with filmmakers to tell meaningful stories. Johnny then decided to pursue a more boutique approach to production, one that would allow him to focus on storytelling. “I got into this business to tell stories, that is my passion, so I pivoted. I had gained all this experience which meant I could go where I wanted, so I decided to go back and start a new shop.”


Sincere storytelling at the heart of Hey Baby


Five years later, Hey Baby’s boutique business model is operating exactly as intended: small enough for things to stay ‘well-oiled’ and for talent to feel seen. “Every director has an idea of where they want to go,” explains Johnny, “So it’s important to always be communicating about not only the work that they're doing, but also the work they want to be doing more of, and supporting that.”

Drawn to stories that move you, Hey Baby tends to seek out projects which resonate and pack a punch. “Our work falls within the ‘story driven’ category for sure. Our attention to the look and feel of the work we create, is how we make it powerful. We recently crafted some powerful Ad Council spots about teen adoption, which were really special.”

Above: Hey Baby's powerful spot for the Ad Council


With a soft spot for powerful narratives, Hey Baby’s collection of filmmakers have crafted large campaigns for Amazon, Capital One, Starbucks, Walmart, Blue Shield, Patagonia, and Cadillac. In addition to this, the company continues to service global campaigns for European clients including Mercedes, Puma, Audi, VW and Vodafone. Every time Hey Baby executes a project, they are afforded exciting new opportunities, and Johnny takes care to ensure the right directors are on each new job. This requires an ability to pinpoint precise artistic criteria - “We look for filmmakers who aren't just waiting for things to come, they're always out creating. We look at the work they’ve done, engage in conversations about where they want to go, find out what their taste level is and whether their vision matches what they've done. You see little glimpses in past work, but I think a lot of it comes down to opportunities - getting the right opportunities and having an understanding of a higher level of aesthetic. If they have a vision that resonates with our vibe, that's when I see the match.”

 

A sustainable approach to production 


One prime example of a creative vision that resonates with Hey Baby’s core principles is Campbell Brewer and his work with outdoor brand, Patagonia. One of Hey Baby’s early teammates, the director/DP/editor has been pushing sustainability efforts for the global brand, through campaigns such as How It Works and A Brief History of Hemp in the US. “Campbell is very ingrained in the sustainability world and has played an active role in pushing the eco-conscious agenda, working with brands directly, which is a hard nut to crack.”


Above: Campbell Brewer's work for Patagonia's Hemp Collection

As a company resolute in its commitment to establishing sustainable practices within the creative industry and beyond, Hey Baby holds Campbell’s work with Patagonia in high regard. Having kickstarted their own reusable water bottle initiative during shoots -  each team member receives a reusable Miir water bottle as opposed to the usual novelty hoodie or hat - Hey Baby is passionate about sustainable practices, keen to find long term solutions that fit the changing landscape of production. This proactive view of the world is one of the many shared principles that connects the entire team at Hey Baby, ensuring a supportive and inclusive dynamic across the board. “Hey Baby runs like a family, and I want to keep the approach very hands-on,” concludes Johnny, “I will continue to talk to my team, working through processes with them, making sure they are getting what they want out of the creative. We work hard, but we also value time out, mental health has to be prioritised and that's part of our ethos.” 

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Hey Baby Films, Wed, 28 Sep 2022 14:11:02 GMT