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Episode Summary

In this episode of Marketing for What Matters, host Jam from Peaceful Media is joined by Tristan Cummins and Cori Chong, founders of Wakeful State, a video production company based in Honolulu, Hawaii. They share their journey from digital nomads to business owners, highlighting their passion for sustainability and storytelling. The discussion delves into their impactful projects with organizations like Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and Kukua Hawaii Foundation, and their approach to video marketing that prioritizes high-quality, emotionally resonant content. Tristan and Cori also offer practical advice for small businesses on creating effective video content with limited resources.

Key Takeaways

  • Origins of Wakeful State: Tristan and Cori’s journey from meeting in Hawaii to traveling as digital nomads and starting their video production company.
  • Focus on Sustainability: The types of clients Wakeful State works with and their commitment to promoting sustainability through storytelling.
  • Impactful Projects: Highlights of significant projects, including work with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, Kukua Hawaii Foundation, and United Airlines.
  • Importance of Storytelling: The power of storytelling in emotionally connecting with audiences and driving action.
  • Advice for Small Businesses: Tips for creating high-quality video content with limited resources, including the importance of planning and understanding your audience.

Action Items

  1. Explore Wakeful State’s Work: Visit Tristan & Cori’s Wakeful State website to learn more about their upcoming projects.
  2. Support Sustainability Efforts: Check out the Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii website to get involved or look for your own local cleanup efforts.
  3. Create High-Quality Video Content: Identify your target audience and goals before starting a video project and invest in quality visuals and sound to enhance your brand’s credibility.
  4. Get Comfortable on Camera: Engage with your audience regularly through video content to build trust and connection.
  5. Incorporate Storytelling into Marketing: Highlight personal and impactful stories related to your business or cause.

View Transcript

JAM @ Peaceful Media (00:01.754)

Hey Tristan and Cori, we’re live here in the Marketing for What Matters podcast. I’m Jam at Peaceful Media and I’d love for us to start with just a brief introduction to you guys and what your roles are and what Wakeful State is all about.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (00:18.611)

Absolutely. Thank you so much for having us. We’re super stoked to be on the podcast. I’m Cori. I’m Tristan. Yeah, thank you, Jam. Gratitude for having us on. We appreciate it. Yeah. So Wakeful State is our video production business that we founded in 2017.


We’re located in Honolulu, Hawaii, and we work with forward thinking businesses and nonprofits to help solve problems through video storytelling.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (00:44.942)

Beautiful. Why did you guys start this business?


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (00:48.718)

Oh, you go first, Claire. OK. So it’s kind of like a long story, but I guess the origin story would be after graduating, I traveled for a few years as a digital nomad. I was a graphic and web designer, ended up traveling across the globe pretty much, met Tristan in Hawaii, and we really connected over our love of storytelling, ended up becoming a couple. And within just a few months, because I was Canadian, I had to leave the country.


could not stay in the US. And so I convinced Tristan to sell all of his things, sell his car, everything, quit his job that he had, and we began traveling nomadically around the world. And in that time traveling, we were in Europe, North Africa, Asia, and we began filmmaking. So we would meet business owners, people that just needed help making video content, and that’s kind of where we got started.


We shot a video for a boutique, kind of like a boutique hotel in Morocco. We ended up shooting a dog treats commercial in Ireland. We were shooting in Japan. We shot for ecosystem restoration camps in Spain, which is, I know, how you found out about us. Tris, do you want to jump in? Oh yeah. Yeah. I think when I met Cori, I was working in hotel management and I didn’t love that. I was pretty tired of that.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (02:14.228)

What? Weird.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (02:15.118)

Yeah, it was a nice, yeah, it was a good, it was like a nice to be young and have a job in Hawaii. But after a while, I was totally over it. And I met Cori and she was traveling and she was a programmer and that was pretty inspiring. Just somebody kind of going down their own path. And I had been working also in sustainability and sort of an environmental activist on the side outside of my day job.


with an organization called Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii. And that was pretty early on in like the ocean plastic issue sort of reaching the public consciousness. Friends and I founded this beach cleanup organization and for a long time that was really fulfilling. But I think when I met Cori, I was ready for something, something else outside of that sort of specific issue. And I wanted to sort of expand.


my storytelling skills and try to sort of raise consciousness around other issues and sort of apply that storytelling skill set. And we ended up picking that up on the road and then returning to Hawaii to found our company and plugging into that network of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, a friend of the organization who had businesses and other nonprofits. Those were our first clients.


That’s really how we built out our portfolio on the job and just being taught, learning from the web and YouTube University and just production courses that we found online.




JAM @ Peaceful Media (03:56.327)

Right, right. Yeah, as many small business owners do is go out and hustle and find what is that next skill you need. Yeah, I would love to have the sustainable shorelines on as a as an additional episode. I think the work you guys are doing there is brilliant and impressive and like overwhelmingly positive and needed.


As a side note, my daughters absolutely love your logo. I don’t know of Cori, if you designed that with the dolphins in the shape of the recycling triangle.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (04:27.95)

I was in, actually, so Tristan was one of the co-founders of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii. I actually ended up meeting him a couple of years after the organization was founded. And that was, I think, something that initially attracted me to him and that we connected over was just our passion for environmentalism, for wanting to make a difference. And like Tristan said, after the two years of travel, we came back and we decided, you know, we’re gonna make a commitment to filmmaking and continue with this endeavor and just help local organizations where we can.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (04:56.502)

Yeah, and I know with a company this small, you’re not this sprawling corporate behemoth, it still has a lot of soul in it. And usually in a peaceful media’s case, it’s an expression of the owner’s soul, the type of projects you’re doing. I’m just in the sustainability realm, there’s so many facets. I think the UN has like 17, 18 different facets of sustainability initiatives.


I’m kind of curious to hear from you guys. What are the initiatives that are most important to you guys to demonstrate if you’re like kind of thinking of dream projects and dream clients, what would you be sort of listing out in terms of in the sustainability space?


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (05:43.802)

Mm hmm. Do you have a dream client? I have to think about that for a second. Why don’t you go ahead? Yeah, for me, I like the broadness of the projects. I mean, people they niche down. I don’t really want to niche down necessarily as a creative. I think we have sort of just through our work, we’ve created a brand just by the people that are attracted to us.


I think it’s sort of organically happened. You can kind of see the energy of the projects that we’ve done. Yeah, personally, I think I have ADD, so a variety of projects. I’m diagnosed, but self-diagnosed through research. But I think, yeah, I think I’ve found a good, after much trial and error, deep into…


Deep into my life, I think I found a good career that’s a good fit in terms of like, bringing sort of a Zen beginner’s mind to every project and then diving deep into something new. I think in the hotel world or past jobs in my life, I’ve done a lot of different things. Like I would be bored with like sort of the repetitive nature of something. I did real estate appraisals, hotel management, and by the end of hotel management,


I could predict what a guest was going to say coming up to me. It was kind of bizarre. Like it was just repetitive. I mean, it’s tourists coming in and. Yeah, I mean, I could predict like somebody coming up and be like, oh, you lost your wallet at Waimea Bay and you need me to call the police for you and be like, how did you know that? Just I’ve just seen so you’d see it sort of the repetitive nature of the requests and things coming in.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (07:33.104)



JAM @ Peaceful Media (07:39.564)



Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (07:40.722)

Just being able to apply sort of that, taking that beginner’s mind as a strength, going into each project and diving deep with the client. Yeah. And in terms of the clients we do want to work with, I mean, it’s anyone who’s really prioritizing a triple bottom line, anyone who, any organization or brand that is really prioritizing.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (07:48.654)



Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (08:06.774)

I don’t want to say quality, but they’re interested in sustainability. They’re interested in making the world better, making it a more peaceful place, making it a better place in general, rather than just going after profits. So that’s the type of business that we want to work with.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (08:23.442)

Amen. That’s probably why the crowdfunding piece I saw for ecosystem restoration camps stood out. It had that imbued within the material and the way you guys produce it. Are there any other pivotal projects that you’ve done where it really clicked that this service you’re providing through your business is a mission alignment for you personally?


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (08:52.019)

Yes, there have been actually a roll that come to mind. Do you want to go first? I could go. Yeah, I think expanding on like just the thought of like what the businesses that we want to work with or nonprofits that we want to work with. I think it’s just things that resonate as solution based and that are going to move the needle and move humanity in a positive direction.


I don’t think of sustainability as like the separate thing in business anymore. I think of it more as just like it’s part of the way we need to move forward if we want to keep moving forward. I think it’s just like should be integrated in just the way we approach any type of business if we want to continue to do business on the planet. But some of the things that have really stuck out to me, I think it was it’s…


really in the beginning it was helping friends, organizations, and adding value. I think for us it’s always about just delivering the most high quality product we can with the small team that we have and the resources available. We’re always looking for ways to up-level the production. There was a fun full circle moment more recently when Sustainable Coastline Hawaii.


got its first, the nonprofit that some friends and I started in 2011. Um, it got its seed money from, uh, the Johnson Ohana Foundation, which is a Jack Johnson and Kim Johnson’s, um, he’s a famous musician. It was their sort of, uh, philanthropy, um, organization. They gave us $10,000 to really get going after we.


a small group of friends and I each put in like $60 to start our first cleanup. And that was our little investment seed money. But they saw what we were doing, took a chance on us, fast forward like last year. So like 2023, fast forward from 2011, the Kukua Hawaii Foundation, which is Kim and Jack Johnson’s nonprofit, that’s been a long or been around longer than sustainable coastlines.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (11:10.486)

by a number of years, they’re having their 20th anniversary. And they asked us to do a 20 minute short documentary on them. So it was kind of this full circle moment for me personally. It was kind of trippy to be sitting behind the camera filming with their amazing organization, which is mostly a female team. And to be interviewing Kim and Jack Johnson because I never imagined being a filmmaker.


I was like a 17 year old kid who I can remember watching his surf films. He was a cinematographer. I can remember watching- Yeah, before he was a musician. His surf films as a kid in New York, just a surf stoked kid, just eating up these like 16 millimeter beautiful films that he was filming with his amazing crew of friends that were all professionals at the time.


But yeah, it was just a cool full circle moment to have put in that work and then be able to deliver them a good product in the final film. And just because the work of Kukua Hawaii Foundation is so amazing, like their environmental nonprofit focuses on teaching kids composting, local food systems, farming, you know, like all this eating healthy, all this stuff that we’re.


interested in. So it was cool because it was a 20 year anniversary video we got to interview around like 50 people that had been a part of the organization over the past 20 years so we could like see kids that had gone through the program that are now like professors at University of Hawaii teaching sustainability so just seeing the impact of the organization that was an amazing experience. And then the other project that I think was really pivotal was I think it was


two or three years ago now, we worked with United Airlines and Conservation International in Kanu, Hawaii, to create a video for something called Pledge to our Keiki, which is a pledge that was like a stewardship pledge that was written by Hawaiian school children about taking care of the island, about, you know, if it’s…


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (13:17.238)

Mindful tourism. Exactly, mindful tourism. So it’s a video that actually plays on the United Airlines flights now coming into Hawaii, reminding visitors and returning residents to take care of the islands. But what was really cool about that project is we got to work with so many kids and we got to go across the Hawaiian islands, fly in an open door helicopter, all of that good stuff, just collecting footage of kids in nature. So that was a really, really fun project.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (13:42.622)

Yeah, I love these stories of when the entrepreneurs are doing good in the world and suddenly like new doors that they would never have access to are suddenly opened up to be able to work with Jack Johnson, for instance. I was going to ask you like if Warren Buffett gave you a huge budget to explore an initiative that you think would help shape the world. But I think you may have already like started this project or completed the project for the Jack for the Johnson Foundation.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (13:55.373)



JAM @ Peaceful Media (14:12.202)

there. So I would love to like share, like imagine a small business owner who’s listening to this podcast or a big business, doesn’t really matter. It’s, I would love to share some practical advice and insights about how you tell these stories, how you start approaching a project like the 20-minute documentary for that foundation, and what’s the kind of a framework that business owners can use to tell their story and


the consumers who are watching it.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (14:44.858)

I think the main thing to begin with is just who is your audience and what is your goal? To get really clear and really specific on what you actually need to achieve, and especially with video storytelling and video marketing, you’re moving, you could either be moving people through a sales funnel, you know, to purchasing your product or your service, or you’re just telling a story in general that’s maybe raising awareness or something like that.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (15:14.39)

When we work with a client, we really try to understand what the organization has done and where they wanna go so we can create something that really is honed in and will help them achieve really specific outcomes. Another key part is really just an understanding of storytelling and an understanding of human psychology.


The reason why storytelling is so effective is because it has the amazing power and ability to emotionally move and connect with an audience. So I think a key part of that is understanding what’s actually driving your audience, what’s gonna pull at their heartstrings, what’s gonna create empathy, what’s gonna create an actual relationship with them rather than just a hard sell of a product. One example that comes to mind is


We’ve been working with Hawaii Island Humane Society for the past couple of years doing fundraising videos for them. So in the case of their audience, their donors really respond to animal stories, specifically learning about their personalities, their history, maybe they got run over by a car, maybe they were abandoned, whatever it is. So when we put together these fundraising films, we have that in the top of our mind and…


with the help of their team, you know, we’re capturing stories of these individual animals and what they’ve gone through. So then when they show our video at their fundraising gala in the past two years, I think each time right after, you know, they show our film, they get everyone to raise their paddles and they raised probably, I think, what was it? Like $500,000 each time, just because you’re pulling at people’s hearts.


heartstrings, you’re emotionally priming them to want to give because they’re connecting with something that feels bigger than themselves, that they want to be a part of. Yeah, often the animal story is one of like healing or like a transition from coming in like ragged to being looking like a beautiful sort of thriving animal or cat that is in a loving home. So it’s a bit of a tear jerking sort of story on the animal spotlights.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (17:26.306)

So that’s helpful, but yeah. I have another thing that I think is important for businesses and people that wanna get into video marketing and storytelling. I think quality is just really important. You really need to invest in quality visuals. The sound needs to sound good, needs to sound realistic. Like high production value is something that I think sometimes newer companies, younger companies kind of overlook because like it’s a process to get there. You don’t go from doing these huge high value productions overnight.


But given whatever your resources is, whatever your research sources are, or what team you have available, you want to create the highest production value possible because when you look at something and it’s not done well, your brand loses credibility and it loses authority. So you want your audiences to trust you. You want them to have a relationship with your brand or with you. And the way to do that is to create something that’s just very high.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (18:24.842)

Yeah, which segues perfectly into that question I have about for businesses who are starting out, have less resources, but are doing good in the world and want to use video. What would you say to them to do what they can with what they have to make an impact?


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (18:45.058)

That’s funny because that’s something I wrote in my notes when you sent over your questions. It’s like, do what you can with what you have. Literally just that. Yeah, I don’t know who that quote is attributable to, but I think it’s a number of people if you Google it. But yeah, I would say like start where you are and you can progress from there. You have to get like a foothold. And it’s almost…


better to walk in sort of naively with the sort of gusto of like someone who wants to do whatever the goal is that you have, whatever you want to share with the world, whether it’s your business, whatever you have, like whatever the elixir is that you have from your experience that you want to share with others, just get a foothold. And there’s so many resources out there, as I was saying earlier, like


you can learn how to incrementally increase your production value as you go. And I think it’s about, for me, I think it’s about keeping it fun. I’d like to do more fun projects. Having fun, that’s very key. More fun, like, branded content. I think that was something that was really helpful in the early days of the Beach Cleanup nonprofit that I’m…


And we tried to stay close to like beach culture and surf culture and make the events really inclusive and fun for the whole family. So I think if you can keep your content fun and educational, if you can entertain people, I think that’s really, really powerful. And if you can do that with short, short content in the beginning and get creative, if you have a small team, you can do it with your iPhone, like the newest iPhone is unreal.


the quality of that is wild nowadays. And that takes a lot of the sort of the technical aspects out of it and creates a beautiful picture. Another suggestion would be to spend a day really planning or even multiple days really planning out the content so that when you go to film, you can actually batch the content. So.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (20:59.338)

Because filming can be such a stressful, overwhelming process, maybe you require props, maybe you have lighting, whatever camera, you’re nervous on camera, it’s really, really helpful to plan it out ahead of time. And so then when you have the camera set up, you can film multiple videos. And then later on, when you want to post to social media, for example, it can be split into small pieces that can be posted on a more regular basis. So then you’re getting that regular engagement with your audience.


I think if you’re starting out, another great thing would just be to get in front of the camera and get comfortable. That’s a skill that you have to learn. It doesn’t just happen overnight, right? So especially if your brand is one where you’re forward facing, you really need to get on camera practice. And I think nowadays people just connect with people. So when they see your face, when they’re interacting with your brand a lot and they’re feeling connected to you, it’s going to build that trust, which builds the relationship.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (21:56.622)



Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (21:57.11)

You have like seven hours plus of time, like with somebody whether online or offline is building that trust to potentially make a purchase. So I think what Cori said is really powerful, like the reels, batching the reels, you could have your new iPhone set up, have a colleague or maybe find a freelancer in your area with a minimal light set up and.


If you are running your own business or organization, you’re an expert in whatever it is that you do. You might not value your expertise as much, but there are people out there who have, who don’t have your level of knowledge in your area. And to educate them and inform is a powerful thing. And the internet will sort of help you find that audience and they’ll be appreciative of that information. I do have one.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (22:53.529)

Yep. Yeah.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (22:54.574)

idea, but if you want to go ahead. Yeah, my last, my last suggestion for new business owners is to consider the idea of a video sales trifecta. So in video marketing, you’re moving a customer through a sales funnel, capturing their attention and interest, providing valuable information about a product or service, building trust, and then ultimately persuading them to take a desired action, like making a purchase, becoming a loyal customer. So the idea of the sales trifecta is.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (22:57.058)

for it.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (23:21.334)

It’s a strategy that starts with a promotional video on social media that will hook and attract viewers and send them to your website. And then when they get to your website, you’ll have a brand video or a brand storytelling video on sort of front and center on your homepage that builds more trust, establishes more credibility, explains what your offerings might be. And then as they scroll down the page, you can have testimonial videos that would finish off that sales trifecta where you’re creating social proof, you’re…


Just showing potential customers how your product or service changed their life. Then that’s the thing that can seal the deal and helping the customer decide to make the purchase.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (24:03.986)

Yeah, I love it. I love that you infused so much sales and, you know, sort of marketing psychology into the filmmaking work that you do. It’s clear that you have a, uh, not necessarily a marketing background, but you understand digital marketing, uh, in modern times. And I want to go back to that, the Sustainable Coastlines example, because I think, um, I think consumers are the linchpin here. Like they’re the keystone. If we can compel consumers to think,


just a little bit more about that plastic bottle that they’re tossing or even purchasing. If we can compel them and persuade them that it is in their best interest to shift out of some of the conventional packaging and ways of doing, ways of living, right? Then we can really move the needle across the globe. It’s gonna take a lot of consumers demanding businesses to behave and package differently. And so,


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (25:00.523)



JAM @ Peaceful Media (25:02.338)

In the context of Sustainable Coastlines, what have you found moves the needle moves consumers to think, be, do things differently as it pertains to their purchasing decisions and also their behaviors on the islands?


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (25:13.675)



Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (25:22.642)

Wait, so I just want to first correct you. So it’s actually sustainable coastlines Hawaii, not sustainable shorelines, but it’s all good. Tristan, your answer. Yeah, that’s a good question. I think it’s connecting that to something that people… Connecting that decision to something that people care about or feel that they’re a part of.


Yeah, whether it’s surf culture, beach culture, or the ocean in general, it’s for me, it’s like showing what your decisions are impacting. And then if there is a better choice to be made, making it easy for the consumer to make that choice and helping them sort of see that they can have an impact.


and maybe that can be, that making a better choice can become part of their identity in a way that they are the type of person that will do that. For me, like early on, that sort of project was really in the early days before that knowledge of like ocean plastic was really in the zeitgeist or like the public consciousness.


friends, two friends, Kahia and Louise, Pekaro, they traveled to New Zealand and they met people focused on the issue down there. It was actually called Sustainable Coastlines. Those guys gave us permission to basically start Hawaii chapter. Wasn’t super connected to the New Zealand branch, but there was collaboration and sort of, it became its own thing.


But yeah, I think nowadays, early on, it was about getting people out and showing them the impact. The New Zealand crew came for a conference and we were surfers. Our group of friends were surfers and I think we were looking for a way to do an experiment and do something positive together. And those guys came to a conference, these two friends, and they…


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (27:45.858)

they pointed to the ground to us. And like Hawaii was one of the ground zeros for ocean plastic. It was on the beaches that we were frequenting, but we didn’t see it until they pointed it to us. So part of that is like, it’s showing the public, showing your audience what it is that they should be aware of, or they might wanna be aware of, or what it is that they’re not seeing, I think.


Nowadays, to me, it’s like, it’s not as much as on that issue. It’s not as much an issue of awareness and education. It’s, I think we need innovation in materials, material science to really make an impact in that space. That’s kind of where my head is at these days. I think we need to replace these products with a new material.


to give the consumer a better option. Plastic is pretty effective for a lot of things. It’s just, we need new innovation to deal with that problem, I think.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (28:58.058)

Yeah, I, um, sorry, by the way, for butchering the name, uh, I, my mind seems to like the alliteration, um, the sustainable coastlines. I’m, I’m actually, I’d love to dive just a little bit deeper into the psychology piece of this, uh, cause I think this is like the, the key for, uh, other storytellers and business


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (29:06.018)

It’s all good.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (29:27.938)

How do we compel a consumer to understand that by paying an extra dollar for the organic version, they’re doing something wildly positive for nature, for instance. Or yeah, so I’m kind of curious, what is the framework for persuading people to assign higher value and to be able to do that?


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (29:45.934)



Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (29:53.026)

Thank you.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (29:56.266)

and look at that purchase. Yes, it’s an extra dollar, but it’s in their best interest to pay that extra dollar so that the farmer can not kill all of the pollinators within their farm, for example.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (30:08.157)

Yeah. I think it’s just about the change really has to happen in the consumer where they’re recognizing that we are part of the environment. We are not separate. The actions that these like, when we litter, when we, you know, continue to produce plastic products that


never really go away. Or pesticides. Or pesticides or any of these things. Like we’re hurting ourselves. So that’s where I feel like there is sort of a lack of education or it’s maybe it’s not a lack of education. There’s just a disconnection between people and the places that like, especially in the natural spaces, in cities, in like, you see, you see it even here in a place where you can be so connected in, you know, to nature, where there’s


mountains, ocean, natural beauty all around us, and you still see people who are disconnected. So I don’t really know what the solution is. I just know for me, becoming more aware of how my actions affect the environment have led to us making better purchasing decisions. And it’s as simple as that. I think your query was alluding to like the interconnectedness of everything.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (31:25.698)



Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (31:31.334)

and painting that picture for your audience from the perspective of whatever it is that you do and what part of that you want to communicate for your brand or organization. And then, yeah, just showing the impacts and showing a hopeful worldview that they can be a part of in community and maybe become more connected to.


your community and the world that you envision your brand sort of having an impact on. Yeah, exactly.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (32:11.866)

Yeah, I made a connection with the CEO of a World Wildlife Fund for a particular country. And so she was witness to a large scale consumer behavior campaign. So trying to help people shift out of the old school light bulbs and just do the LED. And what they found was that by


JAM @ Peaceful Media (32:40.47)

and the environment and so forth, just completely bombed. Like that story did nothing to move the needle. Whereas if they came through it with a frame of, hey, do you wanna know how you can save $500 in electricity across the year for your family? That like, that moved the LED bulbs, that moved it.


And so I’m curious about how you technically look at that framing when you’re thinking about the sustainability storytelling projects that you take on.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (33:15.214)

Mm-hmm. When you were just sharing that last point, it made me think of, yeah, I think it’s about, for me, it’s about positivity and where can we move to that is maybe better than where we’re at. I don’t like sort of the doom and gloom. I don’t think that moves people to action. I think it’s like we wanna inspire folks to


move forward into a future that is hopeful. There’s a lot, I mean, even in the stories that we tell, there’s a lot of like Armageddon sort of storytelling. There has been a lot of that. For most of my life, it’s like the movies and books and films, but there is a new sort of genre that is trying to take hold that made me think when you were mentioning the sort of energy.


saving solar punk. It’s sort of like a cyberpunk genre, but solar punk. Yeah, technology is integrated. I mean, there’d be green walls growing food in cities and solar powered drones like helping with farming, but it’s like a marriage of like technology and nature for like a hopeful worldview.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (34:17.834)



JAM @ Peaceful Media (34:21.436)

I like it. That’s clever, Brian.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (34:43.102)

So I think inspiring, we try to tell inspiring stories. We don’t want to focus on the doom and gloom aspects to like bum people out. I think if you’re bumming people out, you’re not going to get them up and drive driven to take the action. It’s not just, it’s not just bumming them out though. It’s literally inciting fear in them because when you watch those types of things, like you feel afraid and you don’t want to make things better. You feel hopeless. So like Tristan said, yeah, we’re all about


creating content that is inspiring, that does show positive solutions and really amplifying organizations and people who are doing that type of work. And one other point I was gonna say, I think people on sustainability, we can get like perfectionistic and like sort of, maybe get a little bit frozen in action, like thinking about our impacts, but I think it’s about progress.


Um, and, um, new ideas like the, like the bar, um, of what like today’s, today’s problems were solutions and, uh, innovative solutions decades ago. And like that bar is just going to always be, uh, ahead of us. Um, and we’re always going to have to like the solution that we come out to debt with today for X problem.


is gonna work for a while and then we’re gonna see unintended consequences and we’re gonna have to pivot for that down the line and just knowing that like you have if you’re gonna make an omelet you have to break a few eggs and you have to learn and you have to like get started and like move forward


JAM @ Peaceful Media (36:26.294)

Yeah, yeah. When I think about your guys’ business and the marketing that you guys do, have you found any challenges or?


JAM @ Peaceful Media (36:39.97)

Let me start that question over again. I’d love to shift over to how you, how you market and how you use this sort of sustainability and doing positive things for the world to position yourselves differently than another production house would do and, and just, just curious how that lands and what that does to, to open doors.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (37:07.618)

You ever thought? I mean, for us, we just try to lead with authenticity. Like we are as you see us. When we’re connecting with people, whether it’s online or offline, we treat their business like it’s our business, if that makes sense. Like we take the approach of just working as hard as we can on each project and making sure that our client is like,


really, really happy with the final product.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (37:42.478)

Sorry, I don’t know what I was going with that. No, yeah, I think it’s, I mean, it’s for us, it’s per project basis, it’s a lot of referrals. And it’s kind of the energy that we’ve put out there and having good business relationships and trying to over-deliver. It comes back to you as a creative and as a business. Yeah, I think it’s just always about continual learning, like being an auto-didact, someone that can…


learn on their own and continue to level up their skill set to produce a better product that a place will notice and value.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (38:25.678)

So as consumers of media yourselves and people who deeply understand storytelling to persuade, you know, most documentary films, most promo videos are trying to persuade the viewer to believe, do or have something different than where they started, right? So are there particular pieces of media that you’ve seen recently that have really opened up your awareness and inspired you guys to?


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (38:41.134)



JAM @ Peaceful Media (38:55.615)

act differently.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (38:58.606)

You have one? Personal growth? I mean, there’s so many, yes. I mean, you’re not just talking within sustainability, right? You’re just saying in general or…


JAM @ Peaceful Media (39:09.054)

Yeah, in the realm of sustainability, ideally. Yeah, there’s something that a sustainable brand can look to as an effective piece of media that’s outside of that space that’s totally relevant too.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (39:12.202)

Okay, well.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (39:23.618)

Um, recently, let’s see, Trist, anything? Um, I think like, for me, sustainability is also about, it’s just about personal development and like, um, learning. It’s like, for me, I’m constantly learning. I’m on the web, just seeking out weird sort of rabbit holes that suit my interest. I’m interested recently in like Jungian psychology.


and trying to understand people and stories and characters in a deeper way. I did watch an old film and I kind of went down a rabbit hole of this one director’s films. This guy Godfrey Reggio, he was like a monk when he was younger and then he got into filmmaking later on, he put out this series of three films. He’s in his 70s probably.


but he comes out with films like not that often, like once or twice a decade. Koyanskotsy, I think it’s a Hopi, Native American word. It’s like basically world out of balance. And there’s no dialogue, but it’s sort of nature shots. And the filmmaking is pretty innovative at the time.


but that visual language is in a lot of what we see now with time lapses of machinery and like cities alive at night with lights. And he got permission to use this Hopi word, Kojanas Katsi. Basically there’s like something wrong with the industrial world that we’re living in now. And it’s like a world out of balance, out of touch. But he’s got a number of films that are pretty interesting.


I’m always looking for sort of new creative filmmaking inspirations to take into our work personally. And that’s a little rabbit hole that people could go down if they want to look back at that. And also to just continue what Tristan was saying about personal development, some books that have really also helped us would be How to Do the Work by Dr. Nicole LaPera, as well as Origins of You. Those two books focus on healing childhood trauma.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (41:48.714)

and it’s just really helped us as people. And I think when you heal your soul, when you heal yourself more, you’re able, you have more capacity, you have more willingness, openness, drive, ambition, just yeah, ability to get the work done. So that’s been really helpful to us. And then another, if somebody’s looking for a really inspirational documentary.


John D. Liu, who is one of the original founders of ecosystem restoration camps, now called Ecosystem Restoration Communities, I believe. But he has a documentary called Green Gold. Have you seen that one? Okay. That one’s really good. It’s really good. It’s all about… So basically, John D. Liu, he was a cameraman at first, and he ended up becoming a soil scientist later. But the re… Like his whole…


JAM @ Peaceful Media (42:29.55)

haven’t seen it. So we have my alley.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (42:42.314)

the inspiration for his journey in going deeper into environmentalism was he was put on a project filming the Loess Plateau in China, which had been severely degraded by years of over farming, over grazing. And so they let the land rest. They actually paid farmers to stay off the land. And in this documentary, you just witnessed this total transformation of a completely, you know, beat up, infertile land.


transforming like all of these waterfalls returning, the land regreening. In like seven years. In a very, very short period of time, yes, just a couple of years. And so it was just really, really inspiring. So I really recommend that to anyone. And then, and that actually led to me actually reaching out to John DeLue and we ended up working with him and like, cause he ended up becoming a filmmaker. So that’s how we got linked with him and ended up going to Spain and filming with him. But.


That was just a cool one because yeah, I watched the documentary, reached out to him, end up working with him. So yeah, I really recommend that one.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (43:49.774)

Do you find that a lot of people who are ambassadors for sustainability and restoring the earth are receptive to this type of outreach?


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (44:00.746)

I think it can be a really effective way to get your foot in the door. If you can be competent and offer competent enough in an area that you can then offer your skills as a volunteer to get yourself in the room with folks that you want to be in the room with. I think that’s a really good way to if you’re early in your career, that’s a really good way to.


sort of kick it off or get to different levels of the game. I actually have another story like that where I reached out to an environmental activist, pro surfer, Emmy award winning filmmaker, Cyrus Sudden. He was working on a film called Island Earth. This was like several years ago now. I was living in Thailand at the time as a digital nomad. I saw that he was making this documentary about GMO seed testing in Hawaii. And I had just traveled around the Hawaiian islands on my own.


and I was just really drawn to them. So I sent him a message on Instagram. He had, I don’t know how many, maybe like 100,000 followers at the time, 50,000, who knows? It was a lot and I thought, oh, this is gonna be a long shot, but I.


I didn’t have any experience in filmmaking at that time, and I’m approaching this Emmy award-winning director, wrote him a message, told him I’m interested in helping, and he actually responded. I think he was a little taken aback at first. He’s like, is this woman crazy? But anyway, connected with him, and he ended up inviting me to come out pretty much the next day to fly out to Hawaii to assist on the production, and we ended up traveling around the Hawaiian islands and meeting all these different people and filming with them.


That was just an amazing experience because it really taught me sort of a behind the scenes look at filmmaking. I had never been exposed to it before. And in a way, that was like the seed for our entire business because I just made that one reach out to Cyrus not knowing if he was going to respond. And he did. So my advice for anyone who wants to, you know, reach their goals or who has a vision for what they want, it’s like you have to connect with like minded people who are already doing it or try to find people who


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (46:09.806)

who you could collaborate with to make that dream a reality.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (46:15.298)

And it sounds like you took that one step further and actually volunteered like with the RFC, for instance, sounds like you guys took that on as a, as a pro bono, a give to that community and that mission. So for all you aspiring filmmakers who are out there trying to do more good in the world, take that note because there’s a, there’s a lot of those opportunities of, you know, I’m here to serve servants heart. Let’s go make an impact here. And just having that piece. Heck it’s, uh,


It’s, I know marketing for what matters isn’t a massive podcast, no Joe Rogan or anything like that, but heck, that’s what brought us together. Right. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. We’re on the way. Um, no, I really appreciate the, the last few segments that really helped aspiring filmmakers. It’s going to be, um, really insightful for, I know there’s so many creatives out there who want to do something with their talents to make a difference in the world. So.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (46:52.29)

Yeah. You’re getting there. Yeah, I was. You’re on your path.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (47:14.862)

Just hearing how you guys got that started was really insightful and motivating. Yeah, so I think we’re gonna wrap up here, but I would love to hear what’s exciting and new for Wakeful State and things that you’d like our audience to watch out for as you’re looking at 2024 and beyond.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (47:19.47)

Thanks, Shep. Thank you.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (47:33.454)



Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (47:37.374)

Um, let’s see. Um, we’ve been working with, um, Shangri-La Museum a lot lately. So the museum, uh, in Honolulu, um, it’s actually an old estate. Um, it was a Doris Duke estate. She was a, um, a, an heiress in the early 1900s who built a home on the ocean. And, uh, it’s all Islamic art.


but now they’re sort of bringing in artists and thought leaders on different social, sort of social justice and topics to speak and sort of using it as a world hub for conversations. And we’re doing a lot of event filming there and producing short content for social media about these conversations. One was on civil rights and like child welfare.


recently another one on like AI and ethics recently as well. Yeah, so if you’re in Hawaii, actually come check out Shangri-La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture and Design because we’re at a lot of their events filming, doing photography. We’re also working with the Domestic Violence Action Center right now on a short documentary with them. So that’s been an amazing project so far. What else are we doing? I wanna plug.


plug my friend’s course that he’s working on called Abundance Accelerator. We went through like version 1.0. He’s a friend and like a coach, life coach, business coach, and created this course that we went through that was super helpful for us personally and professionally. Sort of looking at your life and beliefs that you hold internally.


and seeing where there’s room for growth or where certain ideas you might hold might be conflicting. Self-limiting beliefs, essentially. Self-limiting beliefs. Yeah, identifying those. He’s a friend, Samir Vyas, and we hope to be filming that course maybe this summer, and hopefully it can be online and more people can have access to it if he’s able to get through Hawaii. Yeah. Yeah, that was really helpful for us. So helpful. We’re also working with


JAM @ Peaceful Media (49:56.043)



Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (50:01.738)

We’re kind of finishing up a project right now with Obama’s sister, Maya Satoru. She has a nonprofit called Institute of Climate and Peace, where they have programs that support the mentoring of young women around climate-related issues in Hawaii. So if you’re a young woman and you’re into climate stuff, check out Institute of Climate and Peace. We’re also doing like a series on e-bikes funded by Department of Transportation right now.


I don’t know, so a whole bunch of projects, but probably we could just talk about the best place to follow along and find us. So we don’t go on forever here. But we’re at Wakeful State on Instagram, wakefulstate.com is our website. I also have a separate portrait photography, event photography side hustle called SunSessionsHI on Instagram and sunsessionshi.com. Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Thanks for having us.


JAM @ Peaceful Media (50:59.594)

Yeah, we’ll include, we’ll include links to some of your pieces and your website and socials here on the show notes. And until next time, we will sign off and say, you know, let’s do everything we can with our professional energy to make a difference in the world and make this world a brighter place. Thank you so much Tristan and Cori for joining me.


Wakeful State is an amazing filmmaking company doing great work in the world. So I hope you go check them out and until we see you next time, peace.


Tristan & Cori @ Wakeful State (51:33.738)

Thanks for having us. Thank you. Bye.


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