It Girl | LIZZ RANTZE
I connected with Lizz when she was doing a giveaway on Instagram a while ago. It was a book on branding and to enter I had to watch a video on her Youtube channel. I immediately loved her personality and unique skillset. I knew that she would have some amazing insight for us all to learn from.
Name: Lizz Rantze
Job Title/Company: Founder and head producer-director-editor at creative boutique and production company, Rantze + Raves. YouTube contributor and creator of the show “#sheraves.”
Education Background: BA, Double Major in Theatre and Communication, Marymount Manhattan College, NYC
1. Tell us a little about who you are.
I’m a girl from San Diego who has been enamored with the arts since I was a kid. I’ve never been able to do things the “normal” way, so I finally took my crazy ideas and began making a business out of it. At Rantze + Raves, we create all sorts of unique video content, but recently we have mainly been working with brands and branded content.
The YouTube show “#sheraves” sparked from two things: 1. I had been building Rantze + Raves for 8 years and I was looking for something new I could do that would help others while also getting me out of the edit bay and interacting with other creatives and 2. with the social media explosion, people were asking us to create content that they could easily create themselves, they just didn’t have the tools. After some research, I found there was a hole in the market for something simple, quick and entertaining that taught people how to create content on their own (i.e. how to make a cool insta story or visually brand themselves). There is a lot of content for professionals, but not much for beginners that was particularly entertaining or simple. Last year I had that “ah-ha” moment of “wait, I know how to do this stuff and I know how to make videos!” And a YouTube channel was born.
2. What sparked your interest in video production?
Being an 80’s kid, I had always been enthralled with music videos and movies. I danced and did theatre most of my childhood, so my plan was to end up in front of the camera. But my senior year of high school I was mistakenly placed in an advanced video editing class. I hadn’t edited a day in my life. I was the only girl in the class and all these bad ass boys were making these incredible skate (boarding) videos. I had no choice but to learn as much as I could as quickly as possible. Lucky for me a few of those guys helped me out and I feel in love with the process of creating my own videos. I then realized I wanted to explore what happened both in front and behind the camera.
3. Who are you most influenced by?
Personally, my husband, my family and my best friends are the reason I am even able to sit here and create a coherent sentence. They influence and support me in the most profound way, on a daily basis.
Professionally, there are so many. But the one I am going to mention is a woman who gave me my first job at production company Tupelo Honey in New York City. She was a young producer at the company and had hired me as an intern. We worked on some pretty large shoots where she was in charge of hundreds of people and moving parts. We often hadn’t slept in days, yet she always handled everything with such grace and kindness. Even when I knew things were going wrong and any normal person would snap, she always found the calm to get to the root of the problem and get it taken care of with no emotional drama. Being a witness to that changed me. I learned how much farther you’ll get in life by leading with kindness and respect. And I feel so fortunate to have learned that lesson at such a young age. And it’s no surprise that she is now a complete boss who is wildly successful producing huge shows like the Golden Globes and Billboard Music Awards. And she’d be mortified that I am bragging about her achievements.
4. What was your first job and how long did you hold that position?
In my sophomore year of college I was an intern for Tupelo Honey Productions in NYC. I would answer phones, get coffee, work on paperwork and be a PA (production assistant) on any big shoots they were doing. I stayed with them for about a year full time before school obligations took over. But they would bring me on as a freelance PA for big projects throughout college. I really lucked out, I learned so much and I am still so grateful for them to this day.
5. Can you share one of your proudest achievements with us?
Ya! I’ve got to say I’m pretty damn proud of Rantze + Raves. It started as a nickname someone gave me, then it grew into a small idea in the back of my mind and now it is a full-on business. We are pretty well branded and our content has a style that people have come to recognize. I’m very proud of it, but I’m also very grateful and humbled by our client’s support.
6. What were your initial goals with your practice? How have they evolved?
To be real, the initial goals were to take every shred of possible business that I could get my hands on and produce the best content possible. You ladies who are just starting your business understand where I am coming from. It’s a hustle.
Now, while it’s still a hustle, I take more time in assessing a potential clients need before automatically saying yes to a project. I ask myself, can we help this person/company? Are we the right fit for this project? What do we bring to the table? Are we a sound investment for them? And after this assessment, I will go back to them with a proposal and if for some reason it is not a fit, I will give them alternative options. Sometimes you spend months working with these clients, you become close, so it makes sense that you take a moment to make sure it will be a correct fit.
7. What do you think is the most important life skill you learned through your work?
The most important life skill I have learned is how important it is to find moments of humor and lightness in everything you do. I use that in my videos and my life. And to be authentically yourself with no apologies! I know people say this and it sounds cliché, but hear me out for a sec. The great thing about being authentically yourself is you’ll weed out the bullshit: bullshit people, bullshit work, bullshit belongings. It all falls by the wayside. It’s refreshing.
So, that’s two lessons!
8. Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
The business answer, I hope to be in more of an executive, over-seeing role with Rantze + Raves, and that my YouTube community has grown to a level where the show is helping young brands and creatives all over the world.
The human answer, I want to be healthy, happy, grateful, inspired and to have finally figured out a work/life balance (any of you ladies know the secret?!)
9. What is a typical day like for you?
I’d like to say something wildly inspiring here, like I start my day with matcha and a cleansing breath. But alas, I am running a business and a YouTube channel, so I am at my computer a lot. If I’m not at my computer, I’m shooting content of some sort. However, I do work in Santa Monica where the weather is amazing most days, so I get a good walk in with my dog.
10. What was the biggest obstacle you’ve faced so far in the process of pursuing your goals?
The biggest obstacle has been finding a way to keep up my confidence and thrive in a field in which I am outnumbered and constantly underestimated. The world of production and videography is still very much a male dominated field. I have some amazing gentlemen that I work with (including my uber talented husband), but I have also come across a lot of jerks who believed that I couldn’t edit or I didn’t know anything about gear or technology because I was a woman. It used to break my spirit. Until one particular day I got so mad that I decided to fuel all of that energy into my work and use it to create something great. It is still inevitable that I will be underestimated at some point, but I have gained both the perspective and experience to know my worth.
I’m actually having to revisit this issue now with the YouTube channel. There are a lot of people looking at me like I have three heads when I tell them what I’m doing.
11. What is the best piece of advice you have received?
I don’t know who to credit for this, I’m stealing it and please claim it if it was you, but I once heard “always assume positive intent.” That changed the game for me, especially in a time where we mainly communicate over devices where we can not read people’s emotions. So we are left to assume their emotions and intentions. Now if I get an email or a text and I’m not sure how to read the message behind it, I go back to this saying and assume it was sent with a positive intention. It has saved a lot of unnecessary dwelling and drama.
12. When do you get your best ideas?
In the shower. No joke.
13. Can you share with us one time that you failed and what you learned from that failure?
Oh I try new things all the time that fail! That trial and error is really necessary in the biz of editing and videography. You kind of have to test things out and see if they work. Of course, you don’t decide to test things out on a huge job. You do it on your own time!
But my most recent failure (ha!) was I decided that Rantze + Raves should have a blog. I was trying to tackle the new YouTube show, the client workload and a blog. I’m not sure why I thought that medium would be a good fit for me, as my specialty is video. But it failed before it even had the chance to grow. There were actually a few good articles up there, so we’ve left it up for now. But no new posts are happening in the near future.
14. How do you unwind?
This is really hard for me. I really love what I do. I feel so fortunate to be able to make videos and play for a living. So it is really hard for me to turn it off.
But I do take breaks and normally those include: reading (a non-work related book), going on a walk with my husband and my dog, watching a movie or taking a weekend break down in San Diego. Oh man, that’s a boring answer.
15. What would you tell someone else who is interested in entering your field?
Work for free! Take every opportunity that comes your way! If you have the chance to get on a set or get in a production office, do it. If you can grab coffee with a producer/director/editor, do it. And become a sponge. Learn everything you can and find out where your specialty is. Hit me up on any of the social channels if you’re seriously trying to get into production. I’d be happy to help.
16. What do you hope people take away from your story?
I hope something in here resonated with you, and that this has been mildly entertaining.
17. Anything we missed that you would like to share?
Yes. If by some miracle you are still reading this, let me leave you with this last piece of advice that someone gifted to me. Please know that you are enough. You have a unique voice that no one else has. Don’t be afraid to be weird or different. Those can be the most interesting people.