About

I have lived at the center of digital storytelling, ethnography, global lifestyle and youth marketing for the last 15 years. I founded and now film, write and edit My Small Story, a blog/vlog that features 100s of unscripted conversations with artists, entrepreneurs, small businesses and everyday people (www.mysmallstory.wordpress.com) (in NYC and around the world). A number of the stories have been sited in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Gawker and AnimalNY.

I started out with a pretty keen eye spotting international urban cultural trends (I was actually engaged as trend spotter/videographer for major brands, travelling to Japan and Europe with my camera, a New York sensibility and the ability to commune with almost anyone, in hand. I have a library of over 3,000 hours of conversations).

The late Guru/Gang Starr (Keith Elam) personally gave me my first film producer project, hiring me to document the making and launch of the seminal Jazzmatazz albums (featuring Erykah Badu, Isaac Hayes, The Roots, Pharrell, etc.).  I have filmed on behalf of and conducted marketing research on 4 continents for Nissan, Virgin Records, Robert Graham Clothing,  TBWA, Prescient Research (UK) , GURU, NOKIA, Trace TV (France), TRUE Agency, Coca Cola and Universal Music (Japan), among others.

The story behind My Small Story…

In February 2010, I was informed that my mom had only weeks left to live. Sitting by her hospital bed for the last 3 weeks of her life in Detroit, I began filming hospital moments, then email them to family members as updates on her state of being.  I was documenting and sharing the love and support displayed towards my Mom.

At some point, maybe day 10, I began filming conversations with some of her visitors about Detroit’s urgent need of recovering from its present-day economic and social dire state. How can we move Detroit FWD?  And so it happened: One day, a conversation I had with Pat, a certified Urban Farmer and a longtime friend of my Mom, inspired me to film our conversation. During that conversation with Pat, I realized I couldn’t save my Mother, but I may be able to revitalize or breath some life into  Detroit, New York City and other places I lived or visited – London, Paris, Johannesburg, Tokyo, Ibiza, Moscow, New Delhi, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Florence, Zurich, Amsterdam, etc. –  by disseminating  my library of filmed conversations with artists, musicians, DJs, actors, designers, snowboarders, politicians, poets, teachers, entrepreneurs, creative people, strategist, hippies, photographers, creative directors, architects, night lifers, managers, street people, restauranteurs, students, parents, children….filming, editing and sharing stories from yesterday, today and tomorrow…MY SMALL STORY was born.

My Mother demonstrated leadership as the President of  the  College Park Community Block Club, member of the Women’s Justice Center, March of Dimes, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and was recognized at her funeral by the Governor of Michigan via a letter read by Council Person JoaAnn Watson for her passion and service to her community. And her friends are similar. My Mom’s friend Pat began talking about the 100,000 vacant lots in Detroit and how urban farming can be “a solution.” During this filmed conversation I knew “I want to film,  share people’s stories and see if I can be a part of a solution.” Film.People.Conversations.

I filmed and own about 15 hours or more while I was in Detroit and over 2,000 hours from the last 10 years of traveling. I have been fortunate enough to work on “glocal” projects such as:  Nissan, Virgin Records, Robert Graham Clothing,  TBWA, Prescient Research (UK)  artist GURU, NOKIA, Trace TV (France), Coca Cola, Universal Music (Japan) and special projects.

Like in Detroit and during those travels, I had the intuition, without knowing why, to film what was going on around me when with friends, strangers, artists, business owners, restaurateurs and entrepreneurs I met along the way. These conversations always encompassed good times,culture, questions,  nothing, work, advice, randomness. But ultimately, what I understand now is that I was filming people’s stories -Unscripted Life Conversations – from Lilliput Kids to Eminem. I have filmed some amazing conversations, b-roll and expressions that I will continue to share.

The entrepreneurial spirit and launch pad for me began in New York City in the 90s. I began sharing the NYC SMALL STORIES on Facebook about 4 weeks ago, which I filmed and edited using Flip video/software ( my experience is with professional cameras and avid/final cut editing).  And it is great to know people connect with them. It has spilled over into my off-line life as I walk around New York City:  “I liked that story about…,”, “Looks good, nice flow to the stories, interesting subjects…tight!”; “I love watching and learning from people who are doing what they want and how they want”; “This Series is fantastic, Batch!”;  “Like the zoot suit story! When i visited NYC I fell in love with my experiences and really knew its someplace I need to spend more time! I love seeing your documentation of the small businesses surviving and the stories behind them, I am all for supporting these.”; “I want to visit that store” and the text from my aunt, “I must say u r articulate, intelligent, worldly, I can go on – your mom’s legacy lives on – Thank u – I am truly proud of u:)”.

So here we are: more than 10 years of entreprenuerial experience and 2,000 hours of video conversations later and counting.  This V-log is a precursor to www.mysmallstory.com. The goal is to share “glocal” stories from yesterday, today and tomorrow serving as a passport to life experiences beyond one’s borders. A comment I received summed it up this way, “I really love the idea – it makes me see the world from a wider angle.”  There is a small business story everywhere and an entrepreneur behind it. If you have or know of a compelling story that needs an audience, please send me a message cvtrust@gmail.com and thank you many times over for viewing and supporting  My Small Story.

I dedicate  My Small Story to my mom and grandmother ( my Dad’s mom) who inspired me to be me.  I always visited them before I left the country for a project. I also dedicate it to artist GURU. GURU gave me my first film producer project 10 years ago –  filming the making of Jazzmatazz, which featured Isaac Hayes, Erykah Badu, The Roots, The Neptunes, etc. Priceless footage and experience.  He also trusted me to put together a Japan tour performing Gang Starr, Jazzmatazz and Ill Kid songs in 5 cities across Japan, which gave me the opportunity to film Japanese youth culture, architecture,  unscripted conversations and visit almost 10 times. Japan accounts for at least 300 hours of my content library. Honestly, without  my Mother, Grandmother and GURU, I would not be the person I am today. Its true. Its true. Its true.

That’s MY SMALL STORY.

April  26, 2010

32 Comments »

  1. Laron has always been there with his hunger and curiosity for life and his faithful camera by his side. Keep searching and connecting bro. Love the Grotown piece, wise words.

  2. Dope “About” man. Good to hear where the inspiration came from and some of the general background. Keep it up!

  3. this brought tears to my eyes…i know how much you have been through and how hard you have worked to get here. you have changed the lives of so many people with your generosity and kindness, myself included. i am so proud of you. you are giving a voice to those who matter the most although often times go unheard.

    you are my brother and my new york city. i love you always. n

  4. hey.. this ‘project’ of yours is awesome stuff. keep it up! and btw, you’re linked from my site through the comment you left on, all the way from Malaysia 🙂

  5. Hello out there–Its Tuesday May 4th and we are waiting for you.
    Its a great day in the east village. Jesse
    Galleria J.ANtonio 47 ave a New York 10009 212 505-9400

  6. Feedback via emails, text and facebook:

    ” Thank you, thank you, thank you. It’s so special to be apart of YOUR movement. And this is something we can show our moms!!!
    Love it! Keep us in mind for anything else.” Jodie & Kiara, founders of Georgia

    “great work laron – i genuinely think that if it is
    “in your schedule you should come pay us a visit in phoenix soon. there are so many stories of individuals here that NEED to be documented and told. it was reported this morning that members of the nationalist socialist movement of arizona have handed out flyers making cinco de mayo “report an …illegal day.” the ever present and growing anti-immigrant sentiment is sickening and obviously affecting masses of people. i could connect you with a wide range of individuals….” Phoenix

    “The producer,camera person,interviewer, narrator,technical director, editor, writer, sound engineer and lighting director were great! His energy and POV is a breath of fresh air.Great people- great work.” Miami

    “i love the lives of regular ny’ers. many are so obsessed w/celeb’s and i always tell em’ my friends are much more interesting then the celb’s i meet through work. thanks laron” NYC

    “i love the concept….have been tempted to steal it for Beijing…wanna do a series? Djakarta, Dakar, Lagos…tu m’entends? Fonce, je t’accompagne avec plaisir 😉
    LaRon , in the final phase of a Chinese J-V for GH. Almost done. ” Beijing

    “As a Motorcity baby, I’m with you all the way. Let’s trade “Mistake by the Lake” for “Motown>Growtown”! I love that… I’ve been doing a short research project about philanthropy and the economy in SE Michigan. I’ll send it your way when its done. Keep up the inspiring stories LaRon.” Detroit

    “i ♥ your blog and all the amazing things that you are doing for small business owners. you are just plain fantastik! love you always” India

    “No, i couldn’ t copy you 😉 But you made me thinking
    Targeting Italians, a website with stories of entrepreneus, told with a stroong human touch, + strange jobs and the people doing them could be of interest to handcrafts associations, small business … and be an educational tool ( like work shadowing)” Italy

    “Good Sunday to you Mr Batchelor, very nice work indeed! The UI and architecture works pleasantly and its such an important way to get people looking at the blog primarily. Then the content…well I think its a mastermind of a concept and one that could only be created by a person who has much appreciation and passion for these small entrepreneurs stories. You have many traits that are instantly admirable and this comes across well in your blog, there is a piece of you all over and it comes through really well! Mysmallstories is personal to Laron and it has depth of meaning in many ways, you are supporting these businesses and putting your exp into practice. It’s attractive and interesting and its ‘forward’ executed through up to date chanels, creating this vlog and reaching out to your audience on a weekly basis sometines throwing in a few new short videos unexpectedly just because you found a story and wanted to share! its great I love it!” London

    “so much done in his life and told in 3 minutes…thats crazy!” https://mysmallstory.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/beans-anti-pop-consortium-radiohead-massive-attack/

  7. This is remarkably powerful. I’m so sorry to hear about your mother, but clearly she’s impacted your awesome art. Keep going…

  8. Laron,
    I am so sorry to hear about your mother…but proud to know that you were able to find the inspiration to build something important and beautiful in part to her legacy and in part to the credit of all the hard work and dedication you put to everything you do….I am sure she was so proud of the man you have turned out to be..
    We are all in some ways compilations of small stories…and I just wanted to thank you for all that you do and you may not have realized it…but you have inspired and changed my story in some ways…All that you do seems to be driven by the love and passion and genuine concern and interest for people and especially the little people trying to make it in the world….The people that despite difficult circumstances…find a way to thrive…and I am glad that you have found a way to offer those stories a platform where they can be shared…Thank You!…..
    Much Love, B

  9. thank u for the kind words..funny its the small stories and experiences i have witnessed by people home in america and abroad that inspired me. Honestly, I have wanted to share theses stories for years. I acquired 3,000 hours video from curiosity and some of the things i learned or conversations had to be filmed and shared. Thanks for the inspiration.

  10. HI BEANS,
    We met on the Bleeker Street subway late at night and talked all the way to Crown Heights-Utica. I can’t figure out your e-mail. I am impressed by your talent. Would love to talk with you again. Best of luck on your European tour.
    Shuli Graham

  11. this is beautiful and inspiring. So great to capture real people and their stories….bless you and your beautiful foremothers (your mom and grandmom). keep moving forward my friend,
    Lisa Williams Fauntroy

  12. thank u thank u for the kind words..the best smile is the one you put on someone else’s face..i have been filming and acquiring a content library for years ..i am glad i decided to teach myself to edit over the last year..thank you again for the support..i am having a ball..filming and sharing stories..

  13. Hey I met you at work the other day. I didn’t have time to give you my card, but I am an aspiring artist and would love for you to do a story on me. I will be performing Aug 25th at the People’s Lounge in the city. The show starts at 7 and I will go on probably around 8. I checked out the stories you documented and I love the way you documented them. I also admire your ambition to do what you love. This is why I want you to do a story on me, Dina (stage name GC). I work at Oasis so maybe you can drop by and we can talk a little more.
    Thank You for your time.

    Dina Hawthorne
    gcdh0610@gmail.com

  14. Thanks LaRon.. an intimate piece of film making…. you even made me look good. Thanks again. Cinema verite is alive and well in your hands. Could be a little more noir though…. I really look good in the dark. Your friend, Jerry Murphy

  15. Laron, this is really cool and beautiful. I’m so glad I found this but I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. This is such a lovely documentation about something so unbelievably important and timely. It’s brave and poignant. I’m going to add you to twitter so I can follow this up. Is this your main project now?

  16. Hello LeRon,

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    Looking forward to meeting you.

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