Elisa Trentham is #MadeForKnoxville.
With a mission to preserve legacies and inspire others, Elisa helps people share their stories confidently.
Since childhood, Elisa has cultivated a love for storytelling through video. From capturing her own family member’s stories to traveling the world to tell the stories of female athletes, her passion for storytelling has grown with her. As a young mom, she focused on raising her children but continued to create through small projects. She and her husband now work as a team to creatively convey meaningful messages.
Through her company, Sherwood Media, Elisa provides creative direction behind the camera as well as coaching for the person in front of the lens. She created her own story framework to draw out the key elements of a story and create a compelling finished product. She thrives on the collaborative nature of her work and looks forward to seeing more connected communities created through storytelling.
“I think sharing stories can bring communities together and shape the future.”
In Their Own Words…
I help people tell their stories with video because I think sharing stories can bring communities together and shape the future.
The problem I keep finding is not that people lack a good story, they just need the confidence to tell it. I’ve developed a framework to help guide people in how to tell their story, coach them on camera to give an authentic delivery of their story where they feel seen and safe, then edit it in a way that will honor and represent their story with beauty and hope.
I’ve loved creating videos since I was a kid, especially because it combines tech with creative, and brings a team together for a specific project and goal. I also love my city – I grew up here in Knoxville and started CAK’s first film club in high school. I went away to college to study film production, and came back eager to find opportunities for video and storytelling in my hometown.
One day that summer, I ended up at a picnic for refugees hosted by a couple professors at UT. They were so excited about story and video, and wanted someone to join their team to work on a grant with the State Department called “Empowering Women and Girls through Sport Initiative”. I jumped at the opportunity and traveled around the world with them for 3 years, telling incredible stories through video and honing my craft.
After the grant, I was offered a full-time position at Scripps (now Discovery), but in that moment, I had a strong sense that wasn’t the path for me, so I started Sherwood Media in 2015. That year, I got married and found out very soon after we were expecting our first baby. Due to extreme morning sickness, I dropped down to part-time/project-based work, and for several years continued that balance of working part-time from home and raising our babies while my husband worked outside the home. I loved the flexibility to take on projects without the burden of providing a full-time income for our family, but I also had a deep desire to see this business grow, and to work together doing video with my husband.
What led to entrepreneurship:
I grew up watching my parents start, take huge risks, grow, and eventually sell their software company. I think that’s where I really saw what was possible for work and marriage and family life. With their encouragement and support, and the huge support of my husband, we have made the ultimate flip this year.
He’s homeschooling our 3 young kids while I’m running Sherwood Media full-time. On production days, we work together, and he also helps me with the admin/creative flow.
I’m so thankful for his willingness and ability to come alongside me and support this dream and gift that we want to offer the community. He has believed in me when I wanted to throw in the towel. He has encouraged me and helped me solve technical issues so our production days run a lot smoother. And now, he’s learning to cook and keep up with the house and giving our kids a great education and environment to grow up in. I believe he’s the real hero in all this!
So many lessons, usually learned the hard way! Just throwing out a few – importance of knowing your “why” for business, who your audience is, not being afraid to talk about pricing, listening, and of having streamlined, repeatable processes that allow for creativity to flow.
Interested in sharing your “Made for Knoxville” story? Submit here!