We met with Melissa Ames about her amazing campaign, filmmaking and life-changing mission of Runfully
Learn more about this extraordinary woman below!
RUNfully Global is a documentary series, community, and movement that uses running as a metaphor for life to inspire people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to achieve their creative dreams, find happiness, and connect globally on their wellness journey. Our iFund Women Campaign is live with more info on the movement: https://ifundwomen.
How did Runfully get started?Crossing my first half marathon finish line was where it all began. Before that, I thought I couldn’t run past 3 miles. It was so hard for me to push past that distance. I loved running, but my mind lead me to believe that it would be painful to train, so I always thought someday. Someday I’ll run a half marathon. But without plans, someday becomes it’s not going to happen.It was a moment when my life was a mess - I was about to lose my job, I was out of shape, depressed, and I didn’t think I had talent left anymore. On the worst day, I was crying in the post office and found a book on gratitude. It spoke to this fire burning within me that said Do not give up Melissa, keep going, DO NOT LET YOUR STORY END THIS WAY, you’ve got this. That’s when something within me decided to go for it, I started practicing the principles of gratitude, dragged my butt to the gym - crying and all, and signed up for a half marathon. Someday became in 3 months.Within one month, I was so full of joy, my job was going amazingly, and I landed a dream job working in the entertainment industry for actor, director Justin Baldoni.That job stretched me in so many ways. It was the hardest I’ve ever had to work. It was there that I further developed my love for documentary filmmaking and social good.In 2018 when I moved on from the job, I went from not being able to run 3 miles to running 13 half marathons in the year! As I sang and danced while I ran and shared what I was learning. People began to reach out and connect with me on more than just running. They asked me questions about life. I loved the deep connection and realized there was something to it.I gathered a group of girls together and we started an inspirational production company. RUNfully was our first show.Since then, through our premiere documentary series, it’s grown to have a global impact.
What are the biggest challenges that Runfully has faced and how did you overcome them?The biggest challenges have been funding, learning how to run a profitable business, and finding the balance between work and play.Connecting to community and taking small steps forward has been the biggest game changer. As well as constantly remembering to have grace for myself in the process.The number one thing I recommend is to do something that brings you peace before you begin to work on a project. Talk to a friend, listen to uplifting music, pause, spend time in nature, dance, go on a run, stretch, do a meditation.And we are overcoming the funding now by starting an iFundWomen Campaign!!! https://
ifundwomen.com/projects/ runfully-global-docu-seriesTell us more about your exciting new film project!I solo traveled to 7 countries in a month to prove we can connect beyond borders through fitness for my 30th birthday. The challenge was I had to find someone to run with me in each country. I ended up interviewing over 14 people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. It shows their culture, why they love running, and how fitness relates to life no matter where you’re from.My hope is that the documentary series encourages others to push past their own walls to achieve the impossible.What does 'RUNfully' mean to you and how does it connect to all of us?RUNfully is about more than just running, it’s about following the map of your heart. It means tapping into your intuition to go towards your biggest dreams. It connects all of us because we are all running towards a better tomorrow together. You can run fully towards joy, towards community, towards connection, towards the art that’s on your heart. It also stands for Are you in fully?When did you become a filmmaker?I made my first film in High school - the edit was in camera straight to the VHS tape. It had no sound and my parents and myself were the actors. Gotta find that someday! It was for a book report. The next time I made a film, it was for my thesis project in college - a documentary about a boy with 4p- and how he overcame the odds and bonded with his nurse and family.So I suppose I became a film maker in college.Then I worked at Taco Bell corporate doing internal video production including editing and production coordinating and worked on various film sets and projects in development with Wayfarer Studios and Diane Guerrero.What have been your greatest achievements in film? in life? personally?Transcribing 20 hours of footage was a huge acheivement for me with this current film! Gotta celebrate the small wins :) I did the transcription while traveling in over 3 states and in Costa Rica. I also loved coordinating an episode of the CW Primetime special "My Last Days”. That show was the biggest reason why I started working for Wayfarer, so it meant so much to actually coordinate an episode. Some of the people featured have become my closest friends.In life, my greatest achievement has been running 13 half marathons in a year, this documentary series, and sticking with it to actually see it come out in the world!!!! Some people let projects die, or never fulfill their dreams. It was painful at times, but I did not give up.You have a big, amazing life! How do you juggle it all?Whooo, sometimes it all flows and is easy. And occasionally I've found myself laying on the floor not wanting to get up. Without my Momma and close friends, I would not have made it through. I’d say that’s how I’ve managed to juggle it, by having a strong and beautiful support system and by giving myself grace to rest. Up until now, I’ve been go, go, go. Adventure after adventure. More and more I’ve been feeling the call to settle down for a bit, get RUNfully off the ground. That’s what is currently making my soul feel at peace. I also listen to a lot of heart chakra frequency music, participate in community groups, and make sure I get at least 1 important thing done each day.What is your biggest wish for the world right now?My biggest wish is for so much abundance to make its way to those that have big hearts and dreams to change the world.So that there can be more play, joy, peace, people living out their wildest creative dreams, and most of all love over fear.Our clients love having their logos branded onto chairs! You have an amazing logos! What went into designing it?Our company began as a film production company with people I met from coordinating a Carnival for the homeless.Our logo was hand drawn by one of those girls, Michelle Meyer. I loved it so much we haven’t changed it since. A friend of my co-founder, Anthea Gavin, designed and added in the runner girl to the logo. It was actually just RUNfully at first, but the fact that the name was taken on Instagram became such a blessing. RUNfully had been moving in a more international direction, so Instead of waiting to get the name, we decided to add Global.What has been the biggest challenge you've faced in the past year? / How have you been dealing with the challenges associated to the pandemic?Because RUNfully has so many moving parts and new inspiration that wants to come in, consistency has been a challenge and looking to the past 3 years with love instead of wasted time. It can be easy to be frustrated with everything that’s happened to slow down this movement and with all the fear this world has had to experience. But I’m reminding myself to look back and celebrate the adventures as accomplishments. For instance, I held my first retreat by myself in the middle of a pandemic when people where still fearful of travel! And I learned so much in the process.That’s why the Global 5k will be focused on celebration. A celebration to end this era and help participants step into a new chapter.What genre of film is your favorite?
Disney for sure!!! I love uplifting fun films. They make me happy and light my soul on fire. I also love a good chic flick and comedy.Do you have a favorite director?Niki Caro is awesome. I loved her film “McFarland USA” about a track and field team. I got to met her at a Women in Film event and she was so sweet.What new innovations or communications are you seeing in wellness?
I’m seeing a lot of large scale wellness events that are bringing things like yoga, dance parties, and deep connection to the mainstream.Where do you see this industry headed in the coming years? months?
I see the film industry headed to spreading more love and joy through documentary films, animated films, and more. Through my years in the entertainment industry I’ve seen more organizations trying to be birthed like Gaia streaming into the mainstream. It is my dream that these organizations reunite and that I am part of it.We see you love director's chairs and we were thrilled to work on some with you! why do you think director chairs good for your film project?
They help whoever sits in them feel badass and special which is so important to calling in our higher selves and they give events more of a professional classy fun feel. Basically they elevate the experience.What advice would you give to others designing their own canvas?
Think about the setting of your events. Our premiere event is at the beach, so we’re going with wood and a blue canvas which I am excited about! I think it’s ok to take an out of the box approach to the traditional black and white directors chair if the event calls for it and it’s so cool that Film Craft LA provides that option.What creative hobbies do you have outside of work?
I love dancing - lyrical, salsa, bachata, hip hopI also love reading and writing. I read a lot of young adult sci-fi / fantasy. It’s my favorite!!!And I’m writing a book about my experiences with creating RUNfully.What do you and Runfully have coming up?We have so much we want to create together. I am so grateful that RUNfully choose me. That we choose each other. My dream is the ambassador program. First things first though. We need funding and to launch this movement. Here’s the premiere line up and ways you can be involved:iFund Women Campaign... with benefits that will transform your life and your company’s life while you give back to others in the process!The RUNfully Global Premiere event in Playa Del Rey - April 10th:A heart opening cacao ceremony, sound bowl intuitive meditation, silent dance disco, a panel of inspiring people in fitness and film, and a premiere screening of the RUNfully documentary trailer at sunset!
A Global 5K on May 29thThis donation based event is unlike any other. There will be a running mediation that’s like having your own personal trainer take you on a journey of celebration. And there will be a global connection call before and after the event with exercises that use running as a metaphor for life. Shirts, medals, and race bibs available for purchase for $35.
How can others support organizations like yours in the coming days??You can join a 22 day movement challenge beginning this Monday March 14th - April 4thYou move for 30 minutes each day and if you miss a check-in, you donate $10 to our amazing partner, Native Quest’s, We Rise festival.Native Quest also has amazing outdoor events: https://www.
nativequest.lifeWhat is your favorite place that you ever traveled to? If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?I loved the energy of Bali and would love to go back there! I also would love to go to Ireland because my families from there and I’ve always been fascinated by Madagascar.What do you think is important for the youth of today to know and learn?
Emotional regulation, grounding, the importance of stillness, and how to balance the return of magic to the world. I’ve experienced many new changes happening with the world that are coming fast and it scared me because I didn’t know what was happening. I wish I would have learned these things in school and it’s going to be so much more important for the youth to learn these things to have a smoother experience with less disease. I truly believe emotional and learning disorders can be healed through an alternative education system.Who inspires you?Nature, God, everyday people, ants, Disney movies, podcasts, and anyone who's overcome obstacles to continue finding love and connection to their creativity. #1 right now is Rachel Platten, Cathy Heller, Marion and Saul Blinkoff, Will Smith, J.K. Rowling, young adult writers, Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Reese Witherspoon, Dolly Parton, and my Mom inspire me.You are a true inspiration to others around you! What's the best advice you've ever been given? How has that influenced your current work?
The current advice I’ve been given that really influenced RUNfully is that it is necessary to sit in the uncomfortable moments. That it takes time and more than a days practice to breakthrough and create new habits. This advice has reached me in many ways. One is through reminders that when training for a new race, it isn’t easy at first - sometimes you want to give-up and in order to get stronger you have to increase your milage little by little over a period of time. Another way this has shown up, I would loveee to share in a podcast interview or on stage one day. It’s one of my favorite memories because it has to do with hot springs!What message do you have for the world?
That love really does help you rise above any challenge and is what it’s all about. And that art is what is going to create change. Filmmakers have so much power and influence, so let’s spread the good word and change the world together.What are you grateful for?So grateful for my strong Momma, she’s been carrying this family so beautifully. She’s the strongest most loving person I know. So grateful she's my Mom. Also so grateful to the communities I’m a part of - Powerhouse Women, Pursuing Purpose Love tribe, Native Quest, and my dance community. Soooo grateful for finding my tribe. Couldn’t do this without you. I’m also grateful for nature, moments of peace and bliss, reconnection to my path, people who have broken through their blocks to share their message of hope with others, and uplifting music.
iFund Women Campaign... with benefits that will transform your life while you give back to others in the process!
The RUNfully Global Premiere event in Playa Del Rey - April 10th:
Virtual ways to participate in the launch:
A 22 day movement challenge begins this Monday March 14th - April 4th
Move for 30 minutes each day and if you miss a check-in, you donate $10 to our partner, Native Quest’s, We Rise festival.
Join here: https://links.getspar.com/B7ac
The challenge ends with a Global 5k on April 10th, connection calls, and virtual premiere of the docu-series.
Join here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/runfully-global-5k-tickets-295428533697
IG/FB: @MelissaAmes / @RUNfullyGlobal