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Heidi Kaisand 0:00
Good morning and welcome to Create with Heidi. I'm Heidi Kaisand, owner of Hen and Chicks Studio in Conrad, Iowa, and lover of all things creative. Each week here on Create with Heidi, we like to cover topics that educate and inspire you about how people are being creative. Whether it's quilting, scrapbooking, food, wool, or this week, we might be adding log rolling bourbon making canoe building to that list. But whatever it is, whatever creative Mojo, they've got grooving. We are excited to share these things with you.

And as always, I'd like to start with a quote. And today I chose one from Vincent van Gogh that says, One can speak poetry just by arranging colors.

Well, I think the same thing can be said about other other creative forms, like video. And when I was first introduced to the website called Midwestern Gentleman, it's Midwestern I was immediately in love with all of these videos that were like a good poem or a good painting that told a story and brought me into the world of somebody doing something creative. So of course, I started poking around on the website. And you gotta love when it says, Let's chat. It's amazing how far Hello can take you. Send us one. Let's create something together. So this morning, I would like to say hello to Andy from Midwestern gentlemen. Good morning, Andy.

Andy Case 1:54
Good morning, Heidi.

Heidi Kaisand 1:55
We're so glad to have you on Create with Heidi this morning. And I'm excited to learn more about what it is that you and your partners are doing at Midwestern gentlemen. So why don't you tell our audience a little bit about what it is you're doing?

Andy Case 2:15
Yeah, absolutely. So Midwestern gentlemen, calm is a kind of a hodgepodge of, of creative outlets were part of our lifestyle brands, Art Media collective. But our goal is really to just uncover the the people, the places and the products around the Midwest. And what we call that is the Great Lakes, good life. So it's just getting out there. Understanding people's stories and knowing and providing people with kind of a an outlet. But also realization of the identity of a Midwesterner is something to be proud of. And it comes through in the people in places.

Heidi Kaisand 2:57
Absolutely. I'm a Midwest girl, born and raised in Iowa. And I left Iowa for one summer. And boy did I learn at that moment, not that where I was, was it it was beautiful. And I met some great people. But I realized what I had in the Midwest, and what I enjoyed about the Midwest, was near and dear to my heart, and I wouldn't be leaving again. And I bet you find I bet you find that kind of thing in in the stories that you're finding.

Andy Case 3:31
Oh, absolutely. And it's actually kind of the origin of Midwestern gentlemen was, as I was a right after college, and I had a lot of friends leaving for the coast. So New York, LA, so I'm going down south, and there was kind of this, they felt this need to, I don't know if it was escape or find something new, but I really use it as a tool and a blog really to, to begin just kind of identifying things around the Midwest that made it cool. That made it exciting. That's a it wasn't, it was just I didn't feel that I may have had a bit of an identity crisis. So that was really the main point of the Midwestern gentleman in the beginning was just to identify the, again, the the excitement in the area, and then one that had kind of made me the man I am today.

Heidi Kaisand
So in what kinds of stories, you know, do you typically go out looking for is there, you know, is there a certain niche that you that you're always kind of drawn to? Or, or is it a big, vast variety? Tell us a little bit about the kinds of stories that you're drawn to

Andy Case 4:44
all of them and I give credit to two other guys on my team. So we had a have a chief storytelling officer. His name was Neil Steen. Oh, and he is out of Milwaukee. But really, it's we identify people that we meet in everyday life and so Neil is one of those guys too, that was doing a lot of traveling and would just meet various people on the road and he would get back to me and say, Hey, you know, we've got a guy who's making cologne up here in Northern Michigan, we should talk to him. You know, this guy's the minivan buck Hunter was a famous one that we did where this guy is traveling, you know, traveling around the Midwest, and living out of a van, but hunting but his he's cooking in these very traditional ways are kind of exquisite ways through his training in France, and all these kind of wild stories, and then all the way up to the businesses. So Outfitters, outdoor, really anybody who's doing anything unique and exciting in the Midwest, you know, we are always game for conversation, and highlighting them.

Heidi Kaisand 5:53
And that is so interesting. And I think it certainly shines through in the type of video and content that you are creating on your website. And you know, we're off to a great start, we're going to take a quick commercial break, and we'll be back right after this. Welcome back to Create with Heidi, and Today my guest is Andy from Midwestern And we're talking about the kind of stories that that Andy and his Do you partners, you've got several other people that are involved with you, Andy, is that correct?

Andy Case 6:34
Yes. So we have, I've got to two other gentlemen, that are part of this collective. So Neil, you know, out of Milwaukee, he's kind of our chief storytelling officer. And he's kind of one who's, you know, really kind of identify people to interview and discuss with, and then we have Adam powers, who is our brand liaison. So he's, he's kind of our, our hunter and finding kind of the unique and cool products throughout the Midwest for us to, for us to highlight,

Heidi Kaisand 7:08
and in what is your role in in that trio.

Andy Case 7:12
So I am the creator, founder, and overall creative director, I kind of focused in on the on the marketing. So a lot of the things you see within social media, the video editing, the content on the website, I kind of just be the overarching,

Andy Case 7:33
creative director for this.

Heidi Kaisand 7:35
Sure. So Andy, tell me when you find a story, and you identify or kneel, it helps to identify that who that next story is going to be, you know, how do you how do you go about getting that story? Are you spending hours, days weeks, with an individual? Are you going in just yourself and a little video camera? You know, tell me just a little bit about the process that you go through to get to me, it looks like most of your videos are in that? Would I say two to four minute timeframe? They're not? They're not super long, but they're enough that you absolutely start to feel who this person is.

Andy Case 8:23
Yeah. Yeah, we so we, there's a couple different ways, we we've kind of gotten past that where we used to go after and it goes back to that Hello, where we would identify a person or place and then how to send a sales pitch. And I think it's almost kind of a uniquely Midwest thing that we were just getting a Hello can take you so far. It's because in the Midwest, everybody is very open and friendly and cordial with each other. So anytime we would, you know, identify something we want to a story we want to go after we would ask we would find an email, we find a social media town and just say, Hey, you know, we're we, we saw this piece of content you have, we'd love your story, we'd love to learn more. You know, we're going to be in that area at this time. And we'd love to stop by and it's always Yeah, come on through. So it's just that again, it's just that initial asset Hello, that has taken us so many places. And then just in general, our travels around if we're going to be in an area in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, you know, we may take a little time to kind of look around at some of these places that we want to check out. And again, it's just that simple. Reach out. Email is a direct message of just being genuinely interested in their story, which we always are.

Heidi Kaisand 9:46
And so then and then when you go to do that, what again, are you you know, these days technology? You know, you got you could do a video on your phone. I mean, are you just using basic tools are you using more sophisticated equipment, you know, what kinds of things are you doing to capture those unique

Heidi Kaisand 10:08
yields unique people and the things that they're doing?

Andy Case 10:11
Yeah. So the, the, some of the stories, it's a little bit of both. But we try to bring, you know, DSLRs. In some cases, we have a drone. As some of the more brand and product items, we do have a creative team, we have a network of videographers and producers that help us capture that stuff. So anytime you're seeing it myself and Adam out there, we do have, we do bring a small crew. But I never want to shortchange the power of that phone. And even when we're, when we're on site, or on location, whatever it may be, especially when we're profiling a person. The goal is really to be flies on the wall. And our whole thing was, we would go spend, say, an afternoon. And, you know, our direction is just do what you would do. And we'll kind of ask some questions along the way, but just show us. And when you allow people that that kind of open forum to just begin talking about their craft, about their business, I think that's where you get the most genuine content. And the most exciting because, again, we're there not to frame any, to kind of frame it in a particular way. We're here just to show exactly what it is you do, what it is exactly, you love to do. And I think again, that just that kind of openness, and that general direction allows for the for the best of people to come out.

Heidi Kaisand 11:41
And and then there has to be such a

Heidi Kaisand 11:43
creative element for you to be able to take those images and video clips and to edit them into something that that is inspiring and interesting for people and two different clips that I watched of yours. I thought it was really interesting that the the log rolling gentlemen, World Champion, I believe he was that one had had like almost like an interview or he was talking and you had you had bits of him talking and then I believe it was the bourbon making with with the monk the monk Burbage making one that I don't know that there was any words that I like, I don't remember, but it was all visual. And I totally got the process and like felt like I was going along in this journey of the of the bourbon making process. But there weren't words attached with it. And so it looks like you have a lot of creativity, maybe no rules kind of thing, like every video is just different based on the topic. Would that be? Would that be true?

Andy Case 12:59
Yeah, again, I think it goes to that the kind of the direction of just following and just just kind of being in their shoes for a day or for an afternoon. And that was the as as you know, for example, that will ashlars feature was not the lumberjack World Championships. And Neil and I had showed up with a press pass. And we did not understand that when they said they start at 10am. That didn't mean the professional stuff. So we got there way too early, and will was actually there early to kind of get ready. And he was the first person that we ran into, we almost didn't say anything, because we were like he's a professional athlete. Let's, you know, let him do his thing. And then we're like, no, this is why we're here. Let's just go say hello. And we did. And next thing you know, we are at their family's, their family's cabin and land in northern Wisconsin, following him for a day getting this really unique story of how he's back after four years, his entire family is in log rolling. They run a great company out of I believe it's out of Minneapolis called q log rolling. They're really ambassadors for the sport. So as we're doing that, as we're following, you know, we have very open ended questions during an interview, that interview is done, you know, after the fact. And then when we bring it back, it's really looking at all the puzzle pieces. So we don't really storyboard before we go out or anything like that. It's looking at all the pieces. I'm putting together a video timeline and then listening to the interview and begin just kind of attaching these clips to each other. Again, because you're you're listening and filming and they're natural kind of elements. So it's amazing how even that kind of lack of direction on our part from kind of going into it actually comes out and that's I think where the you kind of get that that genuineness in our videos is because it is we are merely just following and listening

Heidi Kaisand 15:00
Absolutely, we're gonna take another quick commercial break. And we'll be back right after this. Welcome back to create with Heidi, and we're having a great creative conversation with Andy from Midwestern gentlemen, which is a website Midwestern Now in the website is just one element you, you have videos there, but then you also sell merchandise, you have all sorts of things going on there, correct, dandy.

Andy Case 15:33
That is correct. And

Heidi Kaisand 15:37
how many how many videos and stories are you creating? I'm gonna say a week, a month, a year? Or

Heidi Kaisand 15:43
do you have a you have a

Heidi Kaisand 15:45
plan? As to I'm sure you do. But you know, what, what is your process of

Heidi Kaisand 15:50
how you're finding these stories?

Andy Case 15:54
Yeah, so we we do? We don't turn out I think, you know, and that's, that's deliberate, I think in a world of social media, where it's just that that constant need or kind of feeling to create content every single day, and it's, it can become overwhelming. You know, I think we, at some point learned that we felt we needed to go out and get stories, and it just didn't feel right. It wasn't fun, it was labor intensive. And then, you know, Adam, and myself really wants to kind of step back and say, you know, let's deliberately go after the ones we want the people we want to talk to, and let's kind of take a step back. So we do probably for a year, and they're often around, almost kind of seasonal, and they're really wrapped around these travel experiences that that we go on. So it's not, it's not in your face all the time. heavy stuff, feeling we need to churn it out. So we really just go after the ones we want and make sure we do it. Right.

Heidi Kaisand 16:59
Absolutely. And, you know, recently I saw that you were in Faribault, Minnesota. And you're talking about all the interesting things there. That's not so far from where I'm at just a few hours to the north of us. You know,

Heidi Kaisand 17:15
when you're out and about traveling, you know,

Heidi Kaisand 17:18
do you have any widow? I'll say, what's your most interesting story that you stumbled upon?

Heidi Kaisand 17:24
That might be a fun to tell us?

Andy Case 17:27
Yeah, there's there's plenty, but I think I'll focus in on one. And that was six years ago now. And this really was what kind of sparked our interest in covering towns around the Midwest. And that was our travel up to the Blue Ox Music Festival. We were there as pressed to interview bands and take photography for them. And on our way we, somebody had reached out of from I can't there's another word for it. I can't say it on the air. But the crap we'll call it the crappy barn. Okay, the name of the, the venue. And it was an email that just said, Would you like to see a show at the craft barn? And I just wrote back? Yes. That was that was the only communication and I looked it up in spring green, Wisconsin, which is just west of Madison. So we took a small detour to spend the night in spring green, Wisconsin, very small town. Right. Yeah, so very similar to much of the Midwest. It's the the the stop in between maybe two larger cities. And there's plenty of them around around the Midwest. But long story short, we ended up at this show, and we met this collective of nine people who own this music venue. And they just displayed that Midwest hospitality we got in there, they were giving us the story, letting us around the areas take photos, but we ultimately became friends and you know, we got to go downtown and they were telling the stories of of the Shakespearean theatre that is there. It's the second largest like Shakespearean school in the country. Frank Lloyd Wright's state isn't spring green, Wisconsin. And there's all these just incredible stories and everybody was so proud of their town. It was for us it was just it was we could have easily passed this, this exit and nobody would ever know that, you know, a mile off this exit. What is going on spring green. So we turned it from talking about the barn and the venue to spring green the town and and I think there's a lot of those stories around the Midwest and we're always ready to uncover those.

Heidi Kaisand 19:46
There's a great quilt shop in spring green, just so you know, the next time you go through there, so I've I've been there definitely will

Andy Case 19:54
be back. I'll have to look at that.

Heidi Kaisand 19:55
Yes. And you know, and, and I I have a love of The Midwest, in in so many different ways, you know, my husband and I, we collect antique john deere tractors. And we've gone on a tractor ride across Iowa many for many years, we haven't gone for the last couple. But when when we were in full force doing that every year, you know, the the people on that ride and the towns who drive through I mean, there's nothing like driving 12 miles an hour across the state of Iowa, and getting to really capture what I what the Midwest is about. So I think that's one of the reasons why I really connected with your website immediately was I love those kinds of stories, because there are some really interesting people out there. And for for, for us to be able to see, you know, the can like the canoe maker, and you know, those things that you were that you've captured. They're just really heartwarming.

Andy Case  21:01
You're This is literally the origin of how he created hearing that story of like of a people traveling across Iowa. In john deere tractors. We hear that and we say, we don't want to just talk about it. We want to go do it. Yes, I want to follow up with you on this. Yeah, getting involved with that. Those are the type of stories because we don't, we also don't want to just, we don't want it to just be on your phone. We don't want you to experience it through our videos, or our theme just kind of on a phone screen. It's exposing these things and providing an outlet for these these these events, these small businesses is independent artists. And the call to action is always you know, don't take our word for it. This is how you can go experience it and that is our tagline. Live the great life good life. It's a collection of all these experiences that you can, you can attain you can go do yourself. So never take our word for it. Never leave it at just watching a video. We implore everybody to go experiences.

Heidi Kaisand  22:07
And Andy that is a great way to end this segment. And I thank you for being a guest on create with Heidi. And I encourage everybody to go out and explore the Midwest, and until next week. Be creative

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