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. 

Connect and Follow!

Artist Soapbox on social media:

Twitter =@artist_soapbox

Instagram = artistsoapbox

Facebook =https://www.facebook.com/artistsoapboxpodcast/

Artist Soapbox podcast is a listener supported podcast. If you listen, please support the podcast by sharing episodes with friends and contributing via our Patreon campaign.



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.

Leave a Reply