I got to work with a dream team of women in front of and behind the camera and learned some important lessons about empowering each other to achieve.
Listen up folks, more and more over the last few years I have become a loud and proud spokesperson for the equality issues we face in the film, video and television industry.
Partially for my own benefit, but also because I know that we all benefit from experiencing stories and perspectives from people of ALL TYPES, particularly those that are different from our own.
It has come to my attention that the powers in place are not about to give up their seat at the table, and who can blame them. I can admit that I have desperately clutched onto my small segment of table from time to time. It's a competitive industry, it's hard not to get territorial and defensive.
I've been incredibly lucky over the last year especially to land a job that allows me a fair amount of comfort and stability. So, now I'm a little less freaked out about whether or not I have a seat anywhere because my livelihood doesn't depend on it. I also have a little extra time and money to spend on doing passion projects.
For my last short film, Lady Lillian, I made an attempted to work with as many women as I could. In hindsight, I now know I could have done better. Through that experience (and winning Best Picture) I suddenly had a little limelight and was allowed to express my problem with how bro-tastic filmmaking can be.
Now, I've been lucky enough to work with some really great guys in my career, but the thing is they get it. They get that even though I looked, acted, saw the world or thought a little different from them, I was there to do the work.
I've also been unlucky enough to work with a lot of really not great guys and women - yes, sometimes intrinsic bias rears its ugly head the worst at those people who are most like ourselves. I've been guilty of this, but that's something to unpack at another date.
So all of these experiences made me realize it's not my job to create opportunities and great working experiences for those of us who don't fit the mold and work to show the world what this medium can produce through a different gaze.
This all crystallized after the Z-Fest Film Festival win when my amazing editor, Cassie, said "let's do it again sometimes, only with less dudes".
Again, I love dudes. I am in love with a dude. Our dog is a dude, I love him too. Some of my best friends are dudes... so don't get all freaked out and defensive, this isn't about you.
This is about the rest of us and what we can do to create more opportunities for ourselves and each other.
So, my dude friend, Nathanael has a band and wanted to collaborate on a music video.
I had this idea swimming around in my head that I pitched to him about changing our perspectives on how we look at, as the French say, women with experience.
I wanted to create more opportunities for all this badass and amazing talent for these women I'm seeing around town that don't fit the hot, sexy, 20 something mold.
So I got a dream cast who were ready to rock, literally and figuratively.
Then I had to crew up. I did something I know A LOT of producers and directors don't, won't or are terrified to do: I asked a bunch of people I have never worked with before to help me make this. I wanted to provide an onset opportunity for people a little newer to the work and to as many women as possible. This meant a lot of going out on a limb, coming out of left field, and recommendations and referrals.
I had an awesome crew of 12, only 2 of which were men. 1 of which is my partner Nick, who relinquished many of his responsibilities to a badass camera team of ladies. As much as it makes him (and .... me) feel a little old, we know it's our job to start training the next generation of kick ass crew members to take over this town. This is just as much to our benefit as it is to theirs.
So, I got this crew together, many I had not met until the pre-rig/rehearsal the day before the shoot and we absolutely crushed it. I was getting compliments from the cast and some of the extras who were awesome enough to donate their time about how smoothly everything ran and how impressive the crew was. I would just laugh delightedly and say I've never worked with any of them before, they are JUST THAT GOOD and I got to give them the opportunity to rock it.
What's the point?
Don't be scared to give someone an opportunity that doesn't fit the stereotypical mold of what you think they should be.
It's on us to create opportunities for ourselves and each other.
I will be your champion
Also, if you want in on this sweet music video action, guess what!
I've got a pick up shoot coming up this weekend and I need some extras.
I would love to meet some new faces, especially yours.
Here's a link to a little Facebook event so I can keep track of who is coming and all of those silly details:
Thanks for reading friends!