Interview with Yovanka Sanchez
Founder @ La Mariposa Films

As a veteran film producer, what advice can you give young entrepreneurs hoping to generate quality video content to strengthen their brands?
This is such an interesting question. My advice is that today more than ever everybody can produce videos. We can go out there and basically become our own directors or filmmakers of our own stories, and be able to video ourselves, as well as brands. But when you get into the business and you want to build your brand as a storyteller or a filmmaker, it's so important to distinguish being that from a traditional videographer. We always try in our case to say to brands that we are not videographers, meaning we like to tell stories, we are filmmakers. So the elements we use to produce something is quality equipment, we try to distinguish ourselves by the kind of cameras, the lighting we use, the way we put together a production. We don't go out and just film straight. We look for the cinematic elements, the hands, the look, the pauses. Obviously, we put that all together in post-production. My advice will be if you really want to distinguish yourself focus on doing videos on using the best as possible and as budget possible as you get the best equipment and really focus on capturing the human essence, and human emotion. When you are able to do that then you can bring your vision and your story, and you can connect emotionally, and that's important.
Many of the films produced by La Mariposa have a socially conscious message. What is the best way to create a film that both entertains and moves your viewers?
Entertaining and moving audiences and viewers. We use the same rule that any big film in Hollywood film, or like anywhere else in the world would use, we try to have the narrative arc. Meaning to have a hero/heroine of the story, and this hero is trying to accomplish a certain role or arrive at a certain point. So when we do that, this hero has to go through different feelings, where he will have difficulties, he will have successes, he will have inspiration. When we think of that the hero can be a brand, a person, it could be the message itself. What we try to use all those elements we use in traditional stories or narratives in film. I think that's the rule that we try to have in mind, in order to be able to entertain and at the same time for people to receive the message. We think by just trying to push that social message out there, we are not entertaining and so you will disconnect your audience and perhaps they will tune out and say that they I don't want to watch it. But I think people today, before anything, they’re an audience that wants to be entertained, and then you get the message across.
You started your career at Televisa, the largest mass media company in Latin America, how did your experience at Televisa prepare you to run your own media company?
When I was in Televisa, I did a lot of things in front of the camera and took a lot of great classes as well. They had an acting school with Adriana Barraza, whos actually an Oscar nominee in a film of Alejandro González Iñárritu, in Bilbao. I did a lot of work in front of the camera, and I also watched a lot, I analysed and experienced a lot. At that time I was doing a lot of work and taking great classes even though I wasn't planning to be an actress, it gave me the tools to use behind the camera. I believe when you’re able to dominate both fields, you will be much more successful to be able to direct actors and talent. Because you've been in front of the camera, you’ve been front of the light, so you know how it feels. So you can connect with both behind and in front. Televisa was great and I use those skills that I learnt in my company today as a lot of the job requires me to have actors, and actresses, and talent and be able to work with them and that experience.
La Mariposa, which means the butterfly in Spanish, is a really unique name. What inspired your company’s name?
La Mariposa films, yes, it means ‘Butterflies’ in English. What inspired me to call it La Mariposa films is because first of all, I love butterflies. I think they’re very unique and beautiful animals, their colouring, they are very delicate and mystical at the same time. Some people believe that they are in heaven. They have all these beautiful colours. They have this mystical side. On the other side, they go through different transformations until they become a butterfly. It's the same thing with stories, with films and content, everything starts with an idea, with a concept, then it develops into a storyboard or a script. So it goes through the different stages until it becomes a film. It's very similar what happens to butterflies. There's also this connection with inspiration and elevation with butterflies, and this what we hope to accomplish with projects, to inspire, to elevate people. To hopefully put you in a better energetic mood. That's why I thought it was important to call it La Mariposa films because there's this connection with different personal things, and with the metamorphosis with films. So yes, La Mariposa films!
What differentiates your storytelling approach from traditional productions?
The difference from a traditional production to storytelling is the way you bring to life that project. A traditional production obviously could fall into someone going out shooting straight on, making quick cuts, put some music on and get it out there. But when you’re trying to tell a story then you need to use a lot of the storytelling and cinematic elements, a lot of the filmmaking elements. Which goes from having a script, a storyboard, having a sort of equipment to use, the way you shoot it. Usually in a traditional production you have a cameraman/woman, whereas in a film or storytelling you have a director of photography where he is much more immersed in telling a visual story, more than a cameraman/woman where they just go out to shoot and capture, and not really focused on those little details that a director of photography can capture and tell visually, even without words, it's the way he just captures it. So that is key today when a client comes to us, really try to really differentiate ourselves from saying that we are storytellers. We say that we like to tell stories and we want to help you tell your story we the professional tools, with the elements of a film. It’s your film, your brand’s film, or your organisation’s film and in a traditional production like I said, and that will be the difference.
What strategies do you use to capture an audience’s attention with La Mariposa’s short films?
What we usually try to have in the mix, in the ingredients, is to have an emotional connection. We believe that if there is no emotional connection then its very hard to move people, to motivate them, to get them to understand the brand and the message. So, we definitely try to work on the emotional connection, I think that for us it's important to pick the right the elements to use, like the right music to use. Perhaps the pauses or the colouring. So there's a variety of things we try to evaluate when we're going to do a short film so that we know we’re going to be able to connect. Today more than ever, emotions play a key role for audiences, everybody has an iPhone everybody can watch anything, at any time or not watch it. I think the only thing that will keep people there is if they connect emotionally with whatever they're watching. Sometimes it can be a very organic thing, something that wasn't produced, could be that someone is just talking in front of the camera, and sharing their story about something that happened to them and it's very raw and organic. Sometimes it can be pushed like what we do with a lot of cinematic elements.
What role will storytelling play for entrepreneurs and brands in 2018?
Storytelling is going to be so key and important for 2018. Today we are seeing the shift between people wanting to watch stories, whether that's on Facebook or Instagram, it doesn't matter where. When you are able to tell a story and the entrepreneur is able to use his emotional reasons for following his dream of launching his business and able to tell his story. Being about to talk about how he went from A to Z, it's very powerful. Even when you’re pitching to investors and raising money it’s key. They are more interested in learning about the entrepreneur's story, and his journey. Compared to a person with a powerpoint presentation with numbers, which obviously complementary. But statics has shown that storytelling is much more powerful. For entrepreneurs, I think it's important to be able to tell your own story, how to engage emotionally with your audience, and at the end of the day, brands are not only selling services/product they’re opening their arms to a whole other bunch of possibilities. Where actually putting content out there, whether it's a blog or videos, whatever it is, but using these storytelling tools is so important, so key, and so powerful. They say that 2018 is the year of storytelling.