By: Brian Kendall
If you went to Visit Fort Worth’s Annual Meeting and Breakfast in February (or, at least, follow Fort Worth accounts on social media), you’ve probably seen the work of Make Something Beautiful, the local film company behind Fort Worth Stories — a series of cinematic shorts featuring interviews with influencers around the city — from photographer Rambo to TCU’s associate athletics director Drew Martin.
Behind the series — Jules and Warren Cook, a husband-and-wife duo who’s celebrating 27 years of marriage this month. Between traveling, raising a family and telling stories of people in the city for their Fort Worth Funky video series (a personal passion project of theirs), the Cooks stopped by the Fort Worth Magazine offices to talk life, love and what it means to, well, make something beautiful.
How did y’all meet?
W: Wow, so long ago. We came from San Diego, both of us. [During high school] we met at a little church called El Cajon Wesleyan. One day a group of us were at Fuddruckers, and I saw her as more than a friend and decided to ask her out.
J: He sent a dozen red roses to my school with a note asking me out. So romantic.
W: We went to see a movie, “The Pick-up Artist.” That has been a big theme of our life — watching and now producing films.
And you have kids?
J: Four. Two that are out of the house now in college, and two still at home.
So, why Fort Worth? What prompted you to move here?
J: We had visited family here several times, and when we were ready for an adventure outside of San Diego, we moved here. It’s been 14 years, and we love it … I remember being in the grocery checkout lane and the lady [starting a conversation] with me — it was so foreign to me. I knew that she was sincere. That was not something we were accustomed to coming from California. People here have a lot of heart. They find these things they love to do.
Which part of Fort Worth would you say is the most fun to film?
J: Our neighborhood. We live in Fairmount; we love that whole area.
Your videos have a noticeable cinematic feel and grittiness to them. What’s the mindset behind this aesthetic?
W: Some people go do an interview, and it’s like, blurred out background, focus on the people — we make it look like a set; tell a story from what you’re seeing all over the screen. That’s important to us. That’s definitely a style thing. It’s fun to light a room and show their story where they’re sitting.
J: A lot of people just feel like, “Oh, I’m not anything special, not anything important.” We’re able to come and be like, “No, you are amazing.”
W: It’s so cool when somebody gets to see how cool they are, when you’re able to pull that out and they go, “Wow, that’s me.” That’s what we feel so proud of.
What are you doing when you’re not filming?
J: Traveling, hanging out with the fam — Warren plays music, so definitely checking out local music.
What do you play?
W: Guitar. Right now I’m with [Dallas band] Reinventing Jude.
So, what’s next for y’all?
J: This year we will be adding more funky characters to our lineup of [Fort Worth Funky] stories and are producing our own short film that will be entered into South by Southwest. We’re also partnering with several local agencies in producing commercials.
Y’all are going to be married 27 years this month. What has being in this business taught you about your relationship?
W: Wow, we don’t want to go there.
J: It’s like a counseling session! [laughs] I think we work together well because we have defined roles. Warren is the creative side; I’m the business side.
W: She runs the business, and I just play — no, I’m just kidding…
Jules and Warren's Essentials
1. Warren’s hat. He’s almost always wearing one.
2. Drone. The Cooks are fond of drone footage. “It takes you where we’re at,” Warren says.
3. Stickers. Wherever they go, the Cooks like to leave a sticker where they’ve been.
4. Passport. The Cooks aren’t always in Fort Worth; they love to travel.
5. Audio recorder. Interviews are a big part of telling the video subject’s story.
6. Jules’ planner. “I’m not an electronic calendar girl,” she says.
7. Laptop. Obviously.
By: Brian Kendall