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Meet Rosa Maria and Elizabeth Ruvalcaba of ALAS Media in San Fernando

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rosa Maria and Elizabeth Ruvalcaba.

ALAS Media started when a group of friends decided to follow their passion for telling stories. In 2007, co-founder Rosa had graduated from grad school at the University of San Francisco and moved back to her hometown, the City of San Fernando. After moving back, she had been offered a job in Mexico City. Having only a few days to decide if she wanted to move, she reach out to close friends to think things through. A picnic and conversation at the park with friends helped Rosa decide that telling stories was fundamentally what she wanted to do.

Rosa started working out of a friend/co-founder’s garage that summer of 2007 until they saved enough money for a dedicated studio space and invited a few more friends to work with them. At first, it was very much a collective with each partner working on things they were passionate about; that included, video, photography, art and education.

In the fall of 2007, ALAS Media was officially born. Elizabeth, Rosa’s sister, was finishing her last year at UC Berkeley and had decided to go to grad school until Rosa convinced her to move back home and join the company. Since then, the rest of the team has moved on to their own ventures–still collaborating with ALAS Media when the opportunity arises–and to this day, remain good friends. Rosa and Elizabeth operate and run the company, as well as direct, shoot, edit and produce projects. They knew the focus and heart of the business was storytelling and sharing that process with others through their videos was key in the development of ALAS Media throughout the years.

Rosa, Elizabeth – please start things off for us.  Tell us a little about your journey.
We have been very fortunate to travel the world through the stories they have captured. From going across the U.S., Mexico, Australia, Canada and Europe, ALAS Media travels across the globe to help people share their stories with the world. People who don’t know us might see ALAS Media as a video production company, but to us, we believe that you aren’t just hiring camera people; you’re hiring a team that fundamentally believes in the work they do. We will sit down, figure out how best to tell your story and include you in the process of sharing your company, school or nonprofit’s message with the world.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We started our business in 2007 when the economy was going through a recession and most businesses were eliminating video from their budgets. We refused to get part time jobs to supplement income because we knew we had to give it our 100% if we wanted our business to be successful. We made a huge rookie mistake right off the bat and had one large client that made up 90% of our work. When we had delivered a big project we were working on, the client stopped answering phone calls and emails and eventually filed for bankruptcy. We were owed money–a substantial amount–and were left scrambling for new business. We contacted everyone we knew and asked for referrals. We took on projects that we weren’t particularly passionate about but used them as good opportunities to practice our skills and we got really good at writing contracts!

We were always confident in our ability to capture and share stories through our videos, but we lacked some business skills when we first got started. There were a lot of learning curves in regards to the business side of things—filing paperwork, accounting, budgeting—but we were constantly debriefing after each mistake. The best thing we did was reach out to others who were smarter than us and asked a lot of questions–we still do! Looking back now, we’re thankful for every hurdle because those early lessons have made us stronger and taught us valuable lessons.

ALAS Media – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
ALAS Media is a Los Angeles based, certified woman and minority-owned video production company that we founded in 2007. We help businesses and organizations find, cultivate and share their stories through video. From business profiles, to fundraising videos for nonprofits and school profiles, to corporate videos, we really enjoy helping people showcase who they are.

We’re most proud of the passion that we capture when filming and the relationships we build with our clients. Most of our work is documentary based and usually involves non-actors. We interview everyday people–owners of small businesses, school teachers, business executives and being on camera can be difficult. We work hard to establish a connection with the people we are filming, gain their trust, and bring out the amazing stories that they want to share. We don’t like to script our videos–we enjoy hearing the genuine response of a nonprofit that is helping the community it’s in or the startup that’s excited to share their product with the world. We feel this really sets us apart from most production companies. We’re storytellers who use video to communicate and we recognize the importance and impact of genuine human connection. It’s that authenticity that helps the organizations that we’re working with raise money to help them continue to serve our communities, helps that passionate startup raise the needed funds to launch their product, helps schools showcase their successes and also helps highlight how a corporation is having an impact.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Persistence has been key to our success. We decided to start our business in the Northeast Valley–the community we grew up in and we knew this would be a challenge in itself. We started our business during the recession. We’re a female-owned company in a male dominated field. We didn’t have family or friends who owned businesses that could help us get started. We didn’t have investment funds. But regardless of the challenges, we were determined to be successful. We have always believed in the power of stories and knew that we wanted to help others share their messages with the world. We’re turning 10 this year and continue to have tremendous drive, are still learning to navigate through bumps along the road and continue to wake up excited every day to do what we love–storytelling.

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3 Comments

  1. Matthew Llamas

    June 20, 2017 at 18:27

    These ladies are amazing and inspiring! So honored to have them as friends. Congrats on the 10 years, Alas!

  2. Emily Reyes-Ramirez

    June 21, 2017 at 16:50

    Congratulations Ladies on 10 years of owning your business. You are amazing role models for the young women in the community and beyond. Best wishes for continued success. You both deserve the best!! Inspiring is just one word I know you exemplify.
    Su Amiga,
    Emily Reyes-Ramirez

  3. Juan aldana

    June 22, 2017 at 00:30

    I had the honored of meeting rosa and Elizabeth ruvalcaba an no doubt that they are the jewel’s of the community .

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