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Daily Inspiration: Meet Elizabeth Todd

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Todd.

Hi Elizabeth, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
While growing up, cameras surrounded me. My dad was a professional wedding/events photographer and always had a camera on him; whether we were on vacation or it was a holiday, you could always count on him to get the best shot. When he wasn’t making me pose for pictures, I quickly became interested in the magic behind the lens and started to ask questions and take pictures of my own, hoping to be as good as him. As I got older, I remained very invested in photography and got my first camera for my 16th birthday. My dad taught me so much, from getting the perfect angle to editing, and I just knew that being behind a camera was what I loved to do.

Reaching my senior year of high school and deciding to attend Arizona State University for college, I was stuck on what to major in. At this point in my life, I wasn’t sure if photography was what I wanted to do professionally or if I just enjoyed it as a hobby. There was something that was missing about it. Surprisingly, I found myself starting to become more interested in video and film production because I also loved the idea of creating stories and seeing them come to life. Therefore, I settled on the Filmmaking Practices major at ASU and felt ready to explore it for all it offered and hoped it would be the perfect fit for me.

Throughout my first year at ASU, I learned how vast the filmmaking world was and all the different directions you could go in, and it was so exciting to learn about and have all these different options. Although, I’ve had to remind myself not to compare and that every creative artist brings their own special thing to their work. Honestly, I struggled my first semester because I had not realized how many students already knew what they wanted to do in their film career and how many already had experience in their desired field. I felt extremely intimidated and questioned if I had made a mistake choosing film as my major. It hit me that I had no idea what I wanted to do, which was terrifying.

Lucky for me, that fear was diminished when my sorority, Chi Omega (Psi Epsilon Chapter at Arizona State), had given me an amazing opportunity that same fall semester. It was during the time of our Philo week, “Wish Week,” where we host events to raise money for our philanthropy, Make-A-Wish. Our community service director at the time had approached me as she had heard I was a film major and asked if I could make a video capturing the whole week! Being a freshman and a new chapter member, I was shocked but very honored that they put so much faith in me despite having little to no experience. I was scared because I had never filmed anyone or any “real event” before, and the last thing I wanted was to let anyone down, but I felt it was a risk worth taking. Therefore, I said yes to taking on the project as I wanted to do something for my sorority, it was an exciting opportunity, and I thought it would help me sort out my confusion.

Thankfully, it did, because this was the video that set everything in stone for me. While filming throughout the week, my chapter did hire a professional videographer named Elyse, who I was able to meet and “shadow” in a way. I loved watching how she worked and captured certain shots and was able to ask her all kinds of questions, which she was always so kind to answer. I talked with her the whole week, and she gave me all kinds of tips and tricks when filming and even advice on how to get myself out there if this was something I wanted to take seriously. She amazed me, and it was the first time I looked at someone and thought, “I want to be like her when I grow up.” And I knew from when I was filming to when the final product was shown at my chapter, seeing how happy it made everyone, made me finally realize that I wanted to be a professional videographer.

Today, speaking as an incoming senior, on my way to earning my degree in Filmmaking at ASU, I now have my own freelance videography business, “Lillips Films.” I’ve never been happier to have taken videography on as my passion in life and have been given immense opportunities throughout these past few years. Shortly after making my first video, I became Videography Chair for Chi Omega, as well as an Assistant to the Marketing Director, taking on other leadership roles on our Cardinal Cabinet and Executive Board. I’ve continued to film and create many videos of my chapter’s events, such as our Valentine’s Day Philo, Spring Main Sisterhood, and Recruitment videos for both Fall 2020 and (most recently) Fall 2022. Outside my sorority, I also filmed and edited two ASU student short films, a portfolio project for a student-owned Greek Apparel company, TenFourteen Co., and even an apartment tour.

Every one of my projects has challenged me in different ways, and I will always say yes to a new opportunity. Still, they all have solidified that I only want to bring happiness to those through video. No matter how big or small a project may be, my goal for myself and Lillips Films is to truly capture people’s authentic joy of being in the moment and with the ones they love and allow them to have something they can look back at for the rest of their lives. In a world where a lot of us record memories instead of whole-heartedly living them, I hope to be the one to help them to enjoy their moments and allow them to relive those memories whenever and forever through my videos.

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
There have been moments where I struggled with confidence in myself and my work. I’ve always been worried that I “wouldn’t be someone who stands out” or “I didn’t have the best camera equipment.” Although I’ve had to remind myself not to compare and that every creative artist brings their own special thing to their work, I know one day I’ll be able to. Also, being a college student while trying to start a business is very scary and intimidating, whether it’s dealing with finances or time management. Still, I’m learning to overcome these obstacles one day at a time!

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My passion is videography and making videos for those who want to capture their happiest memories on camera. Therefore I specialize in filming, producing, and editing projects for clients. I’m best known for my work with my sorority, Chi Omega, for whom I’ve created multiple videos throughout the past 3-4 years. They have given me the most amazing opportunities to film at all our events. Out of all my projects, I’m most proud of the 2020 and 2022 ASU Chi Omega recruitment videos I made for my sorority and my first “look book” for a student-owned Greek apparel company, TenFourteenCo.

Personally, what I think sets me apart from other videographers is that I’m already such a sentimental person. Whether they are my memories or someone else’s, I always connect with them on an emotional level and feel what they are feeling. I also make sure to go out of my way to avoid overly “posed” shots and to capture people that are very in the moment, off-guard, etc… Those are the most authentic and beautiful shots within videos and sometimes the clients’ favorite as well. I’m someone who is right there with my clients as their joy becomes my joy, and I want nothing more than to make their moments something special to look back at for the rest of their lives.

Risk-taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
I think risk-taking is a wonderful thing. It’s all about having a positive mindset about the risk that will set you and your mentality up for a better chance of success, and it going in your favor. And even if it doesn’t work out, it’s still something you can learn from and a lesson worth having. My first risk was agreeing to make my first video for my sorority without any experience. It was the best decision of my life and the reason I know what my passion is now. So I say, take the risk!!

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