By Carly Brantmeyer
Carrboro Commons Photo Editor
Working for Figure 8 Films in a small yellow house in Carrboro, former UNC-Chapel Hill advertising student Kristin Brewer is discovering what it means to be successful.
Before graduating in May 2005, Brewer landed a job with Apple as their junior worldwide advertising manager, and relocated to San Francisco for the reputable position after graduation. People around Brewer constantly commended her for having such a “successful” position at Apple, eventually causing her to examine her own definition of success.
Brewer left San Francisco in search of a place where she could work with people and stories, knowing that she had always loved storytelling.
She returned to North Carolina in 2007 and found Figure 8 Films, a storytelling company at 307 W. Weaver St. in Carrboro that tells stories about incredible people in challenging situations. In August 2008, the 26-year-old became Figure 8’s production coordinator.
Located in the heart of Carrboro, Figure 8 Films produces documentary-style stories for television stations such as The Discovery Channel, Discovery Health, National Geographic, TLC and Animal Planet.
They produce TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8” and “17 Kids and Counting.” Figure 8 Films started 20 years ago by first producing medical documentaries, and has produced over 200 documentaries.
“I like knowing who I’m working for and the people I’m working with, and I find that this is a house where we know each other,” Brewer said. She explained that she did not before find that sort of intimate atmosphere in a corporate setting.
Brewer believes that being located in the town of Carrboro helps preserve Figure 8 Films’ authenticity and fosters swift, meaningful work.
“Our company is able to act as caretakers of stories, largely because of this creative environment,” said Brewer. She is inspired by the creative energy of Carrboro and admires that it is a town where people are genuinely interested in one another.
Brewer believes storytelling is about the people and knowing what their stories are. She describes storytelling as a dance of dialogue between the speaker and the listener.
“Inside me, but also inside everyone else, there is a fierce, scared, sacred determination for dialogue,” she said.
When Brewer was working for Apple, she was challenged to be both the speaker and listener in her own story. Brewer explained that it was difficult to ask herself challenging questions that she did not want to face, but said they taught her the invaluable lesson that “the only way to grow is to pursue who you really are.”
“So often we get caught up in what everyone else wants for us, that we are not able to stop and look at what we are really wanting,” Brewer said.
Brewer has found a home in Carrboro, showcasing the stories of people around her, while her story is a work in progress.
Brewer said, “[Stories] are all about the process, not about the end result.”