For this month’s blog post, we thought it would be fun to do something more intimate and personal. Instead of our usual commentaries, we’ve decided to share a baby picture and a bit about our personal journeys in film and media.

And to get us started, here’s our brand new showreel – the result of all our combined journeys in film and media at GMS Media!

After you’ve watched, make sure to comment below and tell us what you thought stood out to you the most!

Alright, now on with the stories.

To start us out, here’s a story from childhood from yours truly, Emmy Wu, and what I’ve learned about myself from challenging my weaknesses. I hope something resonates with you! Enjoy!!

‘What My Grandfather Taught Me About My Strengths + Weaknesses’ – Emmy Wu, Sr. Producer

Circa 1981 in Taiwan, at my grandparent’s house in Taiwan before my family emigrated to Canada.

For as long as I can remember, I would always consider myself as someone who’s “bad at math.” After school, I would spend HOURS trying to solve math homework questions with snot and tears all over my face, only to get red X’s through my work the next day.

When it came to numbers and logic, I felt like a failure.

Last in class. Dummy of the year. My 9 year old self confidence was crushed by the years of trying so hard and still not making progress.

When my grandparents came to visit us in Canada, along with encouraging me to draw, my grandfather began to patiently help me with my math homework after school. We started with short lessons so I could finally experience those “little wins” after years of frustration.

“Okay break time! Good job today!” he smiled at me, his old eyes sparkling proudly. I gingerly closed my notebook and thought, “I guess that wasn’t SO bad!”

He would write out simple multiplication and division exercises in my notebook, and patiently pointed me in the right direction whenever I faltered.

He would smile and whisper a clue until I put two and two together. Then he would just smile as if I had done it all on my own.

He would remind me of what I did correctly LAST time so I could apply those same principles THIS time.

This photo was taken in Taiwan from my 3rd birthday as I watched my grandpa cut my birthday cake with anticipation. I guess he was always my hero!

As the weeks passed and my skills improved, I remember one day, running home giddy with excitement – I couldn’t wait to tell my grandfather that I had gotten ALL my math test questions right!

At first, I was SHOCKED to see my notebook filled with check marks instead of red X’s, but over time, my confidence grew and I would submit my homework KNOWING that my answers would be right.

By the end of my grade 4 school year, I finished top of my class – but more importantly, I had transformed something that I always felt I was “bad” at – into a subject I loved and excelled in – all thanks to my grandfather’s gentle and consistent guidance.

So why am I telling you this story?

I share this story to affirm for you that no matter what you’ve experienced so far, or how far “behind” you may think you are – with the right support and guidance, you CAN excel.

Maybe like me, early experiences of failure had created an impression – an inner story – that you’re simply “not good” at certain areas of study (or life!)

Maybe there’s a part of you that’s afraid to make a mistake – risking embarrassment when you already feel insecure about an aspect of yourself. 

Or maybe you’ve moved on – writing off those old experiences as “not your forte” and have chosen to focus on other areas of your life. 

But I want to challenge you, me, all of us – to think about ourselves differently. 

Instead of writing off your weaknesses as an inherent part of who you are – maybe you just need the right mentor to guide you, and gently pull you back on track when you falter.

Today, when I think about my grandfather, I think about how he not only changed the way I viewed math, but more importantly, how he changed the way I saw MYSELF.

Fast forward 3 decades and my work as a Producer is all about math and logistics.  

From running budgets to scheduling out our shoot days, it’s a world where I feel completely in my element when I can organize a project in a way that’s streamlined, organized, and efficient. 

Even when Especially when I have to tackle a mind-boggling budget with a million moving parts, I remember my grandfather’s gentle guidance – then line item by line item, I comb through and complete the task – knowing that my confidence stems from my grandfather’s patient guidance. 

Emmy Wu, Sr. Producer, Operations Manager

‘Toy Story & How We Are Defined’ – Gabe Lawler, Associate Creative Director & DOP

Story. It’s such a simple word. But for some reason, as we have evolved over thousands of years we have added more and more meaning to the definition of what a story is. Some stories are good, some stories are bad, some stories are just way too long to care about, some stories are short, sweet and to the point, and the list of story-types will go on and on. But the reason why I think we care so much about stories is because it is the best way to take in information and learn.

Photography is a powerful tool for storytelling. Did you know that it only takes the brain 13 milliseconds to analyze a photo? That means that in less than a second your brain has already put together a story which gives you vital information. Let’s have some fun with this one and take a look at a couple of old photos of myself and see what story you can put together.

Ready? 3… 2… 1… Look away! (You probably already looked at it)

So what did you get from this photo besides that I was devilishly handsome from the get go? I clearly am dressing up for something, could it be halloween? And there is clearly somebody older who is getting me dressed, is that my grandmother? Where was this photo taken? Now before I give you the true story behind this photo, I think that you already have a pretty decent story built up in your mind. You just took a photo of me and made a story in less than half of a second, and take a second to recognize the power of photography and how fast a frame can transfer information to your brain in an instant!

NOW THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO. I was (and still am) a huge fan of Toy Story, and even though it was not Halloween, I wanted to dress up as my favourite character, Woody. My Nana, who was a wonderful woman who was not related to me but helped take care of  me while my parents were working, is making sure that the outfit is fully zipped up. The huge smile on her face really indicates the labor of love that she is pulling off with three year old Gabe. All this to be said, this photo shows how much Toy Story, became such a big story that I loved early on in my life.

Ready to analyze one more photo? Here we go!


Now the great thing about this photo is that I have no idea the story about it, but yet, I can piece it together very easily. I clearly am dressed up for an occasion and I couldn’t be more displeased to be dressed up and have the family paparazzi snapping off a picture before I get a snack and a juicebox. But even though it seems like at the time I couldn’t bear the thought of taking a photo, I am so happy that this frame was captured. It is a part of my story.

Story. Such a simple yet complex word. But who would have thought that I would devote my life’s work on crafting stories for so many amazing clients. At GMS Media our team focuses on the story that each of our clients are trying to tell and how to tell it in the best way. If you have an interest in the stories we tell, check out our new 2023 showreel with an action packed showcase of the stories we have been telling the past couple of years!

Gabe Lawler, DOP & Associate Creative Director

‘What Brought Me Here? How Jason Hooper Became A Filmmaker’ – Jason Hooper, Producer

March 29, 2023 – 8:23AM EST

I’m awkwardly ducking behind a snow white Audi Q7 in a cold Boston alley to avoid the gaze of the cameras in the car flying past me. What brought me here? I’m filming a chase sequence for an upcoming project called “The Instigators.” That’s why I’m in this alley at this moment, but what brought HERE – to filmmaking.

I was a child of the 70’s and would sit inches away from our tiny, black and white Sylvania television set. I was always fascinated by the combination of images and sound to create a story. It was pure magic. Admittedly, it was mostly martial arts classics like “The Flying Guillotine,” but I was enthralled.

I would close my eyes during breaks and wonder how movies were made, but was always drawn back into the story. Eventually I would forget to imagine just how things were done. Looking back, that’s how I know I was hooked. I would get taken over by the magic and live in that world. Even though I’ve been behind the curtain for many years, I am still giddy when the trailers start at the movie theater.

March 30, 2023 – 4:57PM EST

We are on a closed Boston highway. I’ve worked on many chase scenes on many highways. There’s still something eerie about standing still on a road where vehicles normally travel at 70 miles per hour. These are the moments where I reflect on the nature of my work. They remind me that one of the joys of filmmaking is that you get to experience things that most people never do.

Granted, an urban highway is not the most romantic of locations. I have spent a month of nights in a limestone quarry drenched in the October rain, descended into subterranean mushroom tunnels where you’re warned not to wander beyond the lighted area because no one will ever find you, shivered on frozen lakes and filmed on countess bridges where the wind is carving at your soul.

I’ve also worked in pieces of paradise that the general public is not allowed to see. The camaraderie of the crew and the magic of spending your days telling stories makes it all worth while.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world making movies, of being in the service of telling stories. Creating the combination of sound and images that were magic to me as a child.

March 31, 2023 – 5:34AM EST

It’s pouring rain as we set up for the morning work. Being so cold, wet and fatigued that I cant speak doesn’t dissuade me from filmmaking. Each experience makes me more excited for the next.

To tell deeper stories and return to that place of fascination and wonder that brought me here.

Jason Hooper, Producer

To end things off, our writer, Spencer Bonnell, has decided to go off the beaten path of our assignment and instead to write an piece of original narrative. Since this post is all about evolution and how we’ve grown – we figured this would be a nice way to round off our month’s post. Enjoy!

‘Give Away’ – Spencer Bonnell, Writer

On the horizon there is an absolute darkness. It cuts a line so sharp, you almost feel forced to avert your eyes. Over there, however far away it is, is night. To your left and right are long tracks of green and blue. You stand at their intersection, a thin recess marking their separation. Pushing your eye against the lip, a small draft of wind blinds you for a moment. Forcing your way in, your finger is greeted by the same stark nothing that loomed in the distance. Your pinky barely fits between the planes and you cut yourself pulling out. But what was sharp?

You think it best to move on. Looking back you see a wall of gray, a definite wall, not like the blackness in front of you. You’re listless, looking for direction and find none. You have been trying to work on your anxiety though, so you decide in an effort to prove something to yourself, you’ll walk forward and presumably into the void. Not to say that it called to you.

Boredom strikes quickly. After walking for only… well who knows? An hour perhaps? There’s no landmarks here. Aimless legs begin treading the line between green and the blue, gradually careening you further into their distinct realms. You practically jump when you notice you’re straddling a different line. It’s not like the one you first crossed, it has no depth, you barely even register it. The only thing giving it away is a slight deviation in its green color. How had you missed it before? It peaks at your feet, quickly receding off into the distance. Tracing its path with your eyes, you see that it ebbs and flows, with a jagged precision like a mountain’s silhouette. Looking back, you have to squint to see the blue.

A pit in your stomach urges you back, away from the deviation. Turning, you make out the whisper of something… words? Maybe music? You beat a hasty retreat, forcing the sound from your mind.

Scanning the distance, you notice another anomaly. There’s a hole in the path you hadn’t noticed before. But how could you have missed it? It’s enormous, you guess a mile wide at least. As the questions begin to fervently accumulate, the green and blue path snaps back into place as if nothing had been amiss. You run towards the edge, spurned forward by a curiosity you didn’t know existed.

Winded, you shove air back into your lungs, hands on knees. There is no evidence of the chasm except for another thin recess running perpendicular to the familiar one. Thinking about following it, you decide to continue on your course. You decide to try your odds on the blue side of the line, and begin walking.

‘This isn’t right’ – Spencer Bonnell, Writer

You hadn’t noticed it at first. The blue material differs from the green. It has a glass like quality to it, solid under your feet. You hadn’t thought much of it until you bent to tie your shoe laces. Light reflected from the material catches your eye, and you notice a subliminal flash. Pink and saturated, a peculiarity in your otherwise dichromatic landscape. Angling your head just right, you make out the distorted picture of a person. Taking a step forward, the image advances. The person – no it’s a man- the man’s mouth has opened a fraction of an inch, enough to reveal a pair of porcelain teeth. Not eggshell, not ivory, but white.

It crashes down upon you like a wave, shaking you internally with enough force to bring you to your knees. You stare at the man’s face and recognition sears your brain. You run to the green, kicking yourself for not listening to the audio when you had the chance. You pause. Cloth settles, revealing an unshakable near tangible silence that you realize has been following you like a companion. Your ears strain.

“Like… this vi… over”.

Nausea washing over you, you throw your ear to the ground. A sound – no a voice, fills your head resonating from somewhere deep in your brain. 

“‘Thanks for watching y’all, I’m Mr. Beast and this video… is over”.

Your mute companion returns, forcefully pressing itself against the back of your neck. It writhes around your body, engulfing you. Then the silence is broken. 

You yank your head from the ground, expecting it to be scorched as if you’d been pressed against a stove. The unthinkable reality of your situation washes over you like a bucket of ice. He probably did the challenge himself. Mr. Beast. You’re in a Mr. Beast video. No, you’re in a Premiere Pro timeline for a Mr. Beast video. You look around desperately, your eyes hooks, trying to find something, anything to latch onto.

They catch on the void. The void pulls back.

Spencer Bonnell, Writer.