086: Media for nonprofits and small businesses. Filmmaker Debbie Vu is on a manifold mission with IronWorx Media.

Debbie Vu is the founder of IronWorx Media, a media collective that specializes in creating promotional documentary-style content for nonprofits and mission-driven small businesses. Today we discuss the aspirations and growth of IronWorx as a business and collective, Debbie’s role as founder, leader, mentor and visionary, and her own narrative films and creative process. [As a side note, I first heard Debbie’s name mentioned by actor Maxine Eloi way back in episode 034 when Maxine talked about the film Roll, Pin, Punch written and directed by Debbie Vu. Several months later after that, I found myself enjoying a coffee at a cafe with my kids and eavesdropping a little (like yah do) when I heard someone at a nearby table talking about the films she was making, After listening for awhile, I walked up to her, handed her my business card and asked her to be on the podcast. Turns out the person I was eavesdropping on was Debbie Vu. It’s a small world right?]

Debbie Vu
photo credit: Brett Seay


Debbie Vu, founder of IronWorx Media and an award-winning documentary and narrative filmmaker is based in Durham, North Carolina. She started her filmmaking journey while studying at UNC-Chapel Hill with a double major in electronic journalism and media studies and production. Her life’s mission is to share untold stories and provide a platform for leaders and members of underrepresented communities. She also wants to create shortcuts for her team members and anyone else she encounters by giving life advice, creating paid filmmaking opportunities, and mentoring others.

This is a wide-ranging conversation so fasten your seatbelts. Enjoy the episode.

Mentions: 034: Actor and filmmaker Maxine Eloi takes control of her career and her stories

This episode is brought to you by the Soapboxers, the official patrons of the Artist Soapbox. If you like these episodes and want more, get on the Soapbox!  This episode was recorded at the ASBX home studio. Artist Soapbox theme music by Bart Matthews. 

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IronWorx Media “specializes in creating promotional documentary-style content for non-profit organizations and mission-driven small businesses.”

What’s the origin story of IronWorx. How has it grown? [How do interns figure in, how that process works, how many people are in the collective, etc. — mostly functional and structural context.]

You often refer to your biz as a Collective — what is the collective element and why is that important? [Learning is a huge part of the experience.]

Why did you decide to focus on nonprofits are your niche? What does that mean for your business? How do you think your doc films aid nonprofits and mission-driven businesses?


What is it like to be an artist and an entrepreneur? What have you learned?

You are very committed to leading and teaching young filmmakers. In our pre-show phone you call you mentioned that your two biggest words of advice were: visualization and vocalization. Why are those concepts important? What do you recommend? You are a strong advocate for diversity in media — you wrote, “There’s a lack of fair media representation of marginalized groups so I aim to bump up that number as much as I can.” Say more about that?


What is next for you (either with your narrative filmmaking or the business more broadly)? What do you hope that IronWorx will be five years from now?

If you have feedback, questions, suggestions, please email artistsoapbox@gmail.com. FEEDBACK IS EVERYTHING TO ASBX.

Artist Soapbox

Artist Soapbox is a platform for original scripted audio fiction and an opportunity for artists to discuss their creative work in their own voices. We do this through our interview podcast, our blog, live events, and original audio dramas.

Artist Soapbox is an anti-racist organization. We believe Black Lives Matter. In addition, as a podcast production company, ASBX has signed the Equality in Audio Pact on Broccoli Content.

Artist Soapbox is more than just a podcast.

We lead writers groups, accountability support, workshops, and events. We produce and create audio dramas too! Listen to the Master BuilderThe New Colossus Audio Drama, Jesus Pancake, Declaration of Love, Food for Thought, and ASBX Shorts. Stay tuned to hear about more projects written by the Soapbox Audio Collective Writers’ Group.

Audio Dramas

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Jesus Pancake

Jesus Pancake is the newest scripted audio fiction series from Artist Soapbox. Nine episodes of zany dark comedy.


The New Colossus

The New Colossus Audio Drama is a totally unhinged dark comedy reboot of Anton Chekhov’s classic play, THE SEAGULL.


Master Builder

This audio drama was adapted from Tamara’s 2018 stage play produced by Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern and inspired by Henrick Ibsen’s classic, The Master Builder published in 1892.


Declaration of Love

Co-producers Aurelia Belfield and Tamara Kissane of Artist Soapbox commissioned eleven NC playwrights to craft short audio scenes based on the prompt “Declaration of Love.”


Food for Thought

Three pilot episodes of new scripted audio fiction series inspired by the prompt Food for Thought.


ASBX Shorts

ASBX Shorts are six short audio fiction pieces created and produced by North Carolina artists. Artist Soapbox Shorts were specifically contributed by the artists to aid in fundraising and to get everyone excited about Jesus Pancake, our new audio fiction series in development.

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