Producers and Elle Luna in Occidental, California

Behind the Scenes on Adobe Create’s Elle Luna Video Shoot

By Summer Wilson

Camping under the stars, flowers for the crew—Adobe Create’s Elle Luna video shoot was anything but typical. Video producer Summer Wilson shares her impressions:

I made plans with Elle Luna to spend a couple of days with her on some land near Occidental, California, where she had been painting and living out of her camper van for the past few months. As the producer of the shoot, and having just read her empowering book The Crossroads of Should and Must, I was excited to meet Elle in person. I love an adventure, so when she invited our three-person crew to bring tents and camp out with her overnight, I jumped at the chance.  

The director, the cinematographer, and I drove up in the morning, meandering through small country towns and redwood groves until we reached the nondescript dirt road her directions led us to. When we arrived at the property, Elle, with her dog Tilly following close behind, met us with a hug and flower for each of us.

Elle Luna's Camper van near Occidental, California
tents near Occidental, California

The property sits down a hill, away from the road, with views of the Pacific Ocean on clear days. Elle’s camper van is cozy and filled with her favorite possessions, including art from friends and a small wooden shrine she brought with her from her studio. There’s also a simple concrete garage where Elle has been doing most of her work. After a quick location scout, we began filming.

Elle set up her canvas in a large field overlooking the valley. She often talks about being a channel when she paints, and we witnessed this first-hand. Her concentration and pure joy were evident, and it was difficult to pull her, and our cameraman, away from the gorgeous scene.  For about an hour we watched her paint. A woman figure emerged from the canvas with eyes floating above her head. I asked Elle what the eyes symbolized, and she didn’t immediately know. Later, we realized that the eyes must have represented the three of us on the film crew, closely watching her.

Elle Luna writing in her notebook

At the end of a long day of filming, we set up our tents as the sun went down. Elle pulled out a folding table and chairs from the garage; then we strung up Christmas lights, made veggie burgers, and shared a bottle of wine under the stars. Our director, Trevor, set up a couple time-lapse cameras, to capture the movement of the stars overnight and the morning fog rolling in. We went to sleep with the continuous clicking of cameras next to our heads.

Drawings by Elle Luna and Elle Luna's dog
Nighttime sky near Occidental, California

About the unique experience, Trevor said, “The ability to spend so much time with your subject—to finish a day and begin a new day with someone—is a rare opportunity. Spending so much time together gave us the chance to experience her world, witness her daily rituals, learn what’s important to her, and see how she lives her life. It all gave us the opportunity to connect at a deeper level and in turn helped us tell a better story.”

I think the resulting video is something very special, and we’re grateful to Elle for the intimate look into her life and her artistic process.

Watch “Elle Luna on Her Path and Her Journey.”

sleeping dog

October 6, 2015

Camper and tent photos: Summer Wilson

Marquee photo and other photos: Trevor Gavin