“Listen, and you will realize that we are made not from cells or from atoms. We are made from stories.” --Mia Couto
Everyone has a story, and Called 2 B Free founder John Luttrell has a passion for telling those stories in video.
A Gibson County native, Luttrell studied broadcasting at Vincennes University and earned a BA in Telecommunications from Ball State University. Ten years in radio and television production followed, along with a family: wife Michelle and two daughters Madeline and Anabelle, ages 8 and 5.
With Michelle traveling frequently with her job in health care, John took on the role of stay-at-home dad for a time. Discussions about minimalism and a desire to travel with Michelle led to full time RV life…just in time for the pandemic shutdown. And in the process of traveling, Called 2 Be Free Productions developed as a travel vlog and YouTube channel. Not only did the video production scratch a creative itch for John, but also developed into an opportunity to help small business promotion, namely the mom-and-pop shops and restaurants the Luttrells supported during their travels.
Since then, Luttrell has developed short commercials, helped a local church with podcasting and several videos to spotlight their various ministries, and most recently developed a private documentary for a local family. And it all centers around one main value: storytelling. "If you would have stopped me in the halls of PCHS and said that as an adult I would work freelance or be an entrepreneur, I wouldn't have believed you. But, here I am telling people's stories with video and sound under my own banner."
Luttrell focuses on small business because of their valuable role in the community: “I think they have a passion that is missing a lot of times with chain stuff. You’ve got people who grew up here or transplanted here for some reason. That means there’s a connection to the community plus the passion of what they’re bringing to the table.”
Inspired by his own late father-in-law’s ability to “genuinely root for people,’ Luttrell’s goal is to help small businesses tell their story and cheer them on in the process. As he says, “a lot of small business owners need a cheerleader because it’s hard.” Luttrell is committed to collaborating with clients to identify their needs, message, and target audience, and develop the best plan to do so. Encouragement is thrown in as a bonus.
The HUB 127 is a big fan of John and his work. You’ll often find him here in the morning sipping on coffee (one of his favorite perks of membership), editing video on his laptop, and genuinely interacting with other coworkers. And the coworking space is a great benefit to John: “The value for me is tremendous because I live in a small space and don’t have the ability to focus on my work when I’m at home. But it’s also given me the opportunity to be present in the community and to let people know that Gibson County has options for anyone who wants to communicate with a customer or audience. I get to learn others’ stories, to hear about their business and what they’re doing remotely. I also love being in the heart of town, having an amazing space to meet with clients, and the ease of access to grab lunch at the Palace or coffee at Portside so someone can tell me their story."