By Lisa Charleyboy

UNGTV Episode Two ‘Photoshoot’ was the most fun day in the entirety of filming. We had this amazing studio, Pie in the Sky Studios, in Toronto rented out for the day. There was a trampoline, multiple sets, three musicians, and a full fashion shoot crew and filming crew to fill the space.

I’m also thankful for my fashion photo shoot crew who came together to shoot the Rising Stars: Jayli Wolf, Brendt Diabo, and Logan Staats. The fashion shoot crew included Photographer Keesic Douglas, Makeup Artist and Creative Director Summer Garcia, Hair Stylist and Creative Director Israel Garcia, their fashion stylist assistant, and Fashion Designer Sage Paul. I felt comfortable with this crew, as I’ve known them all for years, and we’ve worked together as peers in a multitude of ways over the past six years.

“Fashion is about setting trends and being open to new ideas and concepts.”

~ Sage Paul

As I wasn’t able to be as all “hands on the deck” as I wanted to be for the fashion shoot, I gave away the creative control to the team with Sage at the helm leading with her fashion design inspiration and vision. The team worked together to create the direction, and finally UNGTV Director Shane Belcourt brought the trampoline vision to light for the studio. Boss.

It was a really fun day, and I was so thankful and grateful for this opportunity. But then came the financial discussions after the shoot, and that wasn’t something that I hadn’t completely accounted for. I had hoped that the team would understand that I am of limited financial means, and that we are creating something to sell for the future so we can work together more – with advertisers and financial backers to help assist in the costs and cover our rates.

“If we want to respect our artists and our people that make things then let’s compensate them, let’s show them that we appreciate what they do. When Lisa made it about money, when she brought that up about compensating the artist, that’s when I really started to think about ‘Wow okay, well then let’s talk about how I need to be compensated’. We didn’t’ have a contract in place before doing it, we didn’t’ have even a verbal agreement, so there was no discussion of compensation or time or rights or anything … let’s wait and see the cheque that crosses my table before I release the photos or not.”

~ Keesic Douglas

I was really hurt by the comments that Keesic made, because we had such a great history of working together. We’ve done multiple photo shoots, and two short films together. We are great co-creators, as we always provided inspiration and creative energy for each other. I thought that this creative partnership was going to move forward, as I moved forward with the magazine, and gained financial stability.

I don’t make any money from the magazine. It’s essentially a volunteer position as I try to make things happen, and I work part-time at other things to pay the bills. I hate the struggle, and I don’t want anyone else to feel that struggle, but I can’t give what I don’t have. When I have more, I’ll give more.

“If you love it that much, then don’t give up on your dreams. I know that it’s hard, especially financially too. It’s hard the struggle of being an artist … but if you love it, don’t give up, and try to find a job that facilitates your dreams. Put your dreams first.’

~ Jayli Wolf

I’ve learned from this experience that I’m moving into a new space, and that I need to take charge and learn to be a better leader. That includes taking care of all of the administration and business things first, and creativity and doing the work comes later. This is why I’m not creating as much as I used to. I get that I need to be stronger, to be better, to work harder … and that’s what I’m up to now. Learning the business ropes so I can play in the sandbox a little better, but still put my dreams first.