Photography by Shari Hoffman

Introducing Point+Shoot, The Production Company That’s Reinventing How Beauty Content Is Made

A year ago, Michelle Phan—the beauty blogger who basically invented beauty blogging a decade ago—released a viral YouTube video called “Why I Left,” explaining her hiatus from YouTube and digital detox. Today, the video has over 11 million views.

Part of Phan’s return to the industry involved a rebirth of her makeup line, Em Cosmetics, which she initially launched in 2013. Unfortunately, the launch didn’t go as planned, forcing Phan to reevaluate her career path and take some time off. Now, Phan is doing things her way.

Part of that includes working with a brand new production company, Point+Shoot, to give Phan’s latest project a totally fresh look that feels very honest and very Michelle Phan.

We caught up with Toronto-born and raised producer and writer (and the brains behind Point+Shoot), Joanna Gryfe, who has a wealth of experience in creating content that is, above all else, creative and authentic—perfectly in line with the current state of the beauty industry.

What took you to L.A?
I started my career working on the Rachael Ray Show in NYC, then returned to Canada to hit the foodie industry here, working with Top Chef Canada and Food Network Canada, and penned a cookbook with Harper Collins. Then I returned to the U.S to do travel shows for Tastemade—what was supposed to be a quick three-month contract turned into a totally new life for me!

The travel producer gig turned into a role overseeing all of the studio production when Tastemade inked the deal to become a Snapchat Discover channel (and a content output partner for Facebook). It was on me to create a ton of content in our Santa Monica studio to feed the daily refresh of content—something insane like 100 new pieces of content a week.

It was like the Harvard Business School-education of content production and turned out to be a real gift, especially in this industry and the direction it has adopted. It made me an expert in maximizing the content output of a single shoot—taking the same footage and formatting it both technically and creatively for multiple platforms.

Now, equipped with all of that knowledge and experience, I’m launching my own business! But more on that below.

What are some of the most notable things you’ve created?
I’ve oddly never been drawn to creating feature films or long-form content. I really love short-form, so the internet has been the perfect medium for my career. Short, sensational, silly or stirring videos—I love them!

I would say that developing and producing the award-winning viral sensation Tiny Kitchen for Tastemade was definitely a highlight for me. It was a really fun moment of experimentation, trend translation (from Japanese to American) and just pure creative wackiness to be part of. When a single video hit some absurd amount of views, we knew it was something we had to keep pushing.

After going freelance, I did some videos with Vogue featuring some of their awesome covergirls, and getting to work with Elle Fanning (and the creative team at Supermarché Films) and the entire Kardashian and Jenner clan for those projects was really, really fun. I was so accustomed to working with food as the star of my content, and I’ve really lucked out with talent like them who are so laid-back and professional, that it kind of made my job a breeze! (And collected a few million views as well.)

What are you currently working on?
After leaving Tastemade and doing freelance and consulting work, I very quickly realized that everyone and their mom is in need of quality content for their digital and social platforms on a more-than-regular basis. Everyone I started working with, whether they were established companies or budding brands, was asking me to provide the same turn-key production studio resources I helped build at Tastemade for their needs and budget.

And just as quickly, I realized that didn’t exist.

So now I am launching my own flexible and affordable studio that essentially offers timeshare access to fully loaded production studios that include gear, crew, a prop library and all the resources you need to produce your content for a flat fee at a fraction of the traditional market price.

Tell us about Point+Shoot
Right now we are starting as a pop-up studio model running for about a week every month—operating in boutique co-working spaces that we convert into a production studio suited for photo, video, cinemagraph, stop-motion and gif content—as we’re in the beginning phase of our journey. And we’ve been popping up around L.A, with plans to expand to New York and Toronto in the fall.

Three-hour production blocks are available (up to three a day) and come with a three-person crew, lighting and camera gear, a growing prop library and production insurance all included in the fixed price per block.

What inspired you to start your own business?
My first job out of university was working at The Rachael Ray Show, and I was super lucky to crack the right joke at the right time and be taken under the wing of Michelle Boxer—Rachael’s right-hand woman. She gave me the opportunity to work on every piece of that growing empire: assisting the on-set culinary team, editing and writing on one of Rachael’s cookbooks, advising on product line launches, managing social media platforms—it was the first time I was exposed to a female-run empire, and I was working on something different every day. It was inspirational and seriously life-changing.

That, combined with my experience building the studio production operations at Tastemade, instilled a real passion in me to build something of my own, as a capable, driven female in a changing media landscape to connect all kinds of businesses, brands, and individuals with the resources they need to schmear the (digital) town with their thing—whatever it is!

Every client is different, which means every day and project and final product is different, but everyone is looking for the same thing—and I am an expert at providing that!

Who is using Point+Shoot?
The beauty of this model is that it really works for almost anyone who is looking for studio-based, simple content and doesn’t have or want to spend a massive budget to create it.

So we have had everyone from jewellery designers coming in to shoot lookbooks, to digital marketing agencies looking for a production arm to beef up their output and offering. We’ve produced for L.A-darling Block Shop Textiles doing stop-motion scarf-tying instructional gifs, as well as San Francisco-based tech firm, Fin, who came in to shoot a video campaign. We produced over 100 videos for them in a single day!

But beauty and fashion are definitely growing as top customers and users of our services. With the insane growth of beauty influencers needing quality content for their channels and feeds, and more money being flooded into beauty product demos, that’s definitely a market we’ve got our eye on to help more and more. We recently shot for Michelle Phan’s product line and beauty company, Em—that was an awesome moment for Point+Shoot. When the queen of Youtube and the digital beauty space comes to you for production resources, you know you’re doing something right!

How is Point+Shoot changing how beauty brands and influencers can create content?
The original version of Point+Shoot was actually dedicated to beauty influencers, like Michelle Phan, who wanted to grow their beauty tutorial, product demo and branded content production quality and output. While places like the YouTube studios and even Phan’s Ipsy Studios existed here in LA, there was a certain audience threshold that influencers needed to cross before they had access to those resources. I wanted to open that up to people who were just getting their start in beauty and all content categories. There is so much content out there that gets buried in a moment, how can new beauty-focused content creators stand out and keep up?

Beauty influencers are especially coveted by agencies and management operations right now—there’s so much more business that’s being funnelled their way. But content creators are much savvier now. They don’t need to sign half of their earnings away to MCNs (Multi-Channel Networks), and they can retain control of their creative, their content and focus on building their empires. The goal of Point+Shoot is to support them in that effort by putting high quality production resources within reach.

It’s a new age for content creators, especially in the growing beauty space.

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