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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

 
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  • 15 Sep 2021 4:13 PM | Katarina Dulude (Administrator)


    Laura Kennedy is an actor who recently starting working behind the camera as well, working as a Locations Scout for the indie film Over/Under. Find her and connect on Facebook, here. 

    How did you get started in the film industry?

    It’s funny, I went to school for theatre. I got my BFA in Acting, and I never really saw myself getting involved in the film industry. As somebody who is classically trained, I just didn’t think that I would ever venture over because it was intimidating, honestly. But recently, kind of after that dip in the pandemic, I toyed with the idea of location scouting. I had no idea what went into it, completely ignorant to the in’s and out’s, so in my head, I was like ‘well wouldn’t it be nice to be able to do a job where you just go where the work is? Learn a town or a region and get paid to make connections there.’ I learned pretty quickly that that’s not how it works. But then, I was at a friend’s birthday party and I just happened to say in passing to a mutual friend that I was interested in location scouting and he was a location scout for a project and he was like ‘you can come with me for a couple of days and just ride along and see what it’s like.’ So I did and it was incredible and a couple of days later he texts me ‘I just got a different offer that I can’t pass up, would you take over my job on this project?’ I had no formal training, just those two days in the car with him and I ended up enjoying it and excelling at it. I spent the next couple weeks driving around Rhode Island and Massachusetts finding the last handful of residential locations for an independent feature film-- the working title is Over/Under-and at the end of the scouting process the producers called me and asked me to come on as the locations manager for the rest of production, which was insane. Obviously I said ‘yes’ and that’s how I got into it, it was the sort of thing where it just fell into my lap and I ended up really, really enjoying it. 


    A location Laura found while scouting at Jetty at Bevertail State Park, Jamestown RI.


    What do you love about the work that you do? 

    The first thing that I really connected with when I was scouting was -- I noticed the requirements of that job are sort of like this mishmash of hobbies of mine that I have. I’ve got a really good eye for architecture, I love design, and I have a really good memory when it comes to places and people and things like that, so those were really beneficial. These little aspects of myself that I found were being nourished by going out every day, driving for hours on end, and meeting people, seeing houses, taking photos, and referring to the lookbook so I could make those aesthetic choices and give the producers what they were looking for. It was cool to supplement those parts of my personality. Then when it came to the managing aspect, my favorite part was being at the convergence of every aspect of production. Dealing with G&E and production and design-- hair, makeup, wardrobe--, and my producers and everybody, even the town a little bit. Just being at that crossroads where you get to interact with everybody and make relationships with people from all different kinds of backgrounds, I thought that was insane. It also meant I was pulled in a lot of directions at once because it was a small production and I didn’t have any PAs under me. But I loved it. It’s nice to be involved and I don’t want to say needed, but I appreciated the fact we were all as a production unit able to rely on each other. I couldn’t have asked for a better job to come in and be introduced to the industry on. 

    What has your experience as a woman in the film industry been like?

    This was an incredibly fortunate first experience with the film industry because all four producers were women, the writer and director were women, and it was about the childhood friendship of these two girls who happened to be the writer and the director. It was still intimidating because I came in with no prior experience, so dealing with people who were not only women, but my age too, was incredible. To see these creatives out there, doing a passion project-- it made it really easy to get up every day and go to work and want to do my best because I could really relate to them and connect to them in a way that would have been terrifying if I had come onto a project that was headed by people who were maybe older or more experienced or dudes. 

    How has covid impacted or changed your work?

    I work at the contemporary theatre company in Wakefield as an actor and a frequent collaborator for a lot of different projects. We had a season lined up that we had to scrap because the pandemic hit and I’ll never forget, once we felt comfortable enough to sit outside in person, I sat down with my friend Chris (the artistic director), his wife, and a couple of other friends all of whom had gone to college for various theatre degrees. We were talking and discussing how , ‘You know what’s so funny? We got into this business thinking theatre withstands literally everything. You can be in a war torn country with political upheaval and theatre has to go underground, you could be dealing with some really nasty social change, and obviously this is all happening at once while we’re having this discussion, but like theatre is essential and it’s always needed and it’s always happening and it can’t be stopped.’ The only thing that gets in the way of it is a literal plague and none of us had counted on that. It was really difficult for, I would say, the first eight months, waking up every day and being like ‘oh my god, I have nothing to do.’ You don’t know where to put the energy, not that you even have it looking at the world completely in shambles in so many different ways and wondering when is it gonna come back and when it does how has it changed forever. Inevitably we’re gonna start thinking about the way we interact within performance spaces and with each other, and I think that’s a natural response to something like this. 

    The pandemic put a temporary hold on my life as an actor in the world of theatre, but at the same time I was able to get this incredible opportunity and start working in film. For me it’s a fresh start. I think I experienced it in a way that not many people did, it was so detrimental to so many people, but for me the door opened, which is something I never expected and I’m so grateful for.


    A location Laura scouted at Horseneck Beach, MA


    Why are you a member of WIFVNE?

    I love the idea of getting my foot in the door in a way that’s not-- I feel like so much of the industry is male-dominated-- and I thought it would be really nice to be building connections with people that I felt more comfortable with and have more connections with just by virtue of being women, so that was really exciting. It can be intimidating dealing with men in the industry. I also just find the creative processes for men and women are very different and I kind of just dig the idea of being involved with a bunch of like-minded people.

    What are you currently working on?

    Right now I am kind of free, open schedule. My friend who got me this first job asked me if I would be available to do a film on Cape Cod at the end of October through the end of November, but I haven’t heard from the line producer yet so I don’t know if that’s happening. I’m focusing on is building myself a locations kit and interacting with as many people in the industry as I can. For example, I got a wonderful email from a another WIFVNE member who wants to know more about locations-- she happens to work in hospitality at a national hotel chain. It’s super cool that people are already willing to start these dialogues with me and talk to me about the industry. 

    What advice would you give to other women in the film industry?

    I think there’s this concept of having to ingratiate yourself to people and do the work grind, which is to make yourself visible, be your own advocate, be your own press team or your own agent or whatever. That’s true to a point, but I think that the best way for people like me, for women my age to get involved, is to sit down with other people who are in the industry if you know women who are in the industry-- just sit down and chat with them. It’s so much more organic to sit down with people who are of a like mind and have spent time doing these things in the film industry than it is to, say, do email blasts or go to cattle call auditions. I think that can be really intimidating. 

    What I like about WIFVNE is that it’s inclusive and you don’t have to hunt down people to make a connection. The point that I’m trying to make is my advice to young women or any woman wanting to break into this half of the film industry is just do it. That sounds so reductive, but if you know somebody, reach out. If you are interested, ask questions. It is an industry that makes room for people who are curious and hardworking and want to learn because that was my experience having none prior to Over/Under
  • 27 Aug 2021 12:07 PM | Grace Guerin

    Victoria Hersey is a 2013 graduate of Colby Sawyer College with a degree in communication and media studies and has since used her education to build up an array of experiences in the film industry. Beginning as a production assistant, Hersey has worked on many diverse production environments and labels herself as a tech-savvy and creative individual. She is most passionate about the “art of storytelling” and has used her interests and talents to land her impressive opportunities with companies like Warner Brothers, HBO, and Hulu. She provides in depth insight into the film industry as a woman as well as the ins and outs of a production set during the COVID 19 pandemic.


     How did you get started in the film industry?

    I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at first.  I studied communications in college.  I started expressing interest in my video classes and getting involved in theater.  I started learning as much about production as I could.  I kept my creative gears turning with theater and learned lots of technical skills through my classes.  I found opportunities to learn more.  I got a school job where I was in charge of renting out the school’s video equipment.  I could then use anything I wanted. I started networking with alumni and volunteering at video events.  Before I knew it I was ready to start working production assistant jobs.  I looked out for opportunities and got really lucky with networking.

    A college professor told me about an independent feature film filming in my area and that they were looking for production assistants.  At the time I had been working on commercials and took this opportunity to see what the industry was about.  I started on independent films and short films.  One project led to the next.

    After college I started going to WIFVNE events in Boston.  I met an actress who very loudly promoted the short film I was working on.  She became my unexpected wing woman and got the attention of another producer who had a short film premiering soon.  I was invited to see this short film and really liked the way she ran her production.  This was Jennifer Potts.  I really liked the way she believed in young people, their talent, the way she told a story, worked with her team and the way her passion was infectious. The same night this short film Charlie and Poppy premiered she asked me to join her next project.  Next thing I know I’m sharing drinks with her crew and joining her team.  After helping the seed and sparks campaign for her short I became the production manager on, and was involved on set for the filming.  From here I connected with the line-producer Erica Hunter as I helped with SAG paperwork and day to day organizer of the production.  After this short film Erica called me and asked if I’d like to work on a Lifetime movie in CT.  This was my first experience with Synthetic Cinema International.  I joined as an office production assistant and got so much more experience than I expected.

    The first thing I was asked to do was take Mario Lopez’s lunch order and I didn’t think they were serious. 

     As an office PA for Synthetic I go to do everything hands on.  I wrangled background and directed them through food trucks surrounding a Christmas tree.  I was learning a lot more than the tasks of an office PA.  I was helping make the production report, the sides, I was helping set up food for the crew, I got to sit next to the writer/AD, I was locking up during shooting. I was learning so much in such a short period of time.  It was incredible.  I got started in the film industry because I love the creativity of storytelling and making that process happen.  Networking with Women in Film was the catalyst that began to pave my way in the industry.

    What do you love about the work that you do?

    I love that not one day is the same.  I love working with passionate, talented and wonderful people.  I like the challenge of working in organized chaos.  I like the opportunity to be part of a project that feels huge and will be enjoyed by many.  I love reading a script and then seeing it literally come to life before my eyes as sets are built and actors walk to their marks.  Lighting.  Production Design, Props.  I really enjoy being part of a film family that I’ve built over the years.

    What can you share about what you are working on now?

    I’m currently working on a feature film called Chili or Spirited for Apple TV as a Covid Location Manager.  It’s public knowledge that it is a musical involving Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell, and Octavia Spencer.  I wish I could tell you more but I can’t at this time. 

    What has your experience as a woman in the industry been like?

    I’ve been lucky enough to have many positive experiences as a woman working in the industry.  I’ve made connections with many. I have found unexpected allies. Have I been harassed in the work place…yes. Have I been underestimated …yes. Have I  been made to feel uncomfortable …yes.   I have had more positive experiences than negative. I have found my voice in the industry so that I when I come across something difficult and possibly harmful I feel I’m getting better at knowing what to do. I’ve grown a backbone. 

    How has COVID changed your work? 

    At first COVID meant I was out of work. Then it created new jobs entirely. My job now as a covid locations manager didn’t exist before the pandemic.  We’ve become more familiar with cleaning services, air scrubbers and testing vender than before.  Now I’m worrying about how to keep people safe based on a building's ventilation and how many air changes it has per hour.  We’re investing in more table top barriers, and personal protective equipment than before.  Before we knew COVID wasn’t transmittable through surfaces we were wiping down equipment and making sure door knobs were clean. We are quite the adaptable industry. Filming during the pandemic became the new norm. Like any production you learn to adapt to the needs. Focusing on health instead of creativity was new but I’m happy to have had work through it all and still be apart of it all.

    Why are you a member of WIFVNE?

    I’m a member of WIFVNE because I value being part of a community that lifts each other up and encourages learning. I’m all about it. I enjoy being part of a group that can show other women we have a place in this industry and that we can lead an artistic vision. I’ve benefited from the networks I’ve gained with WIFVNE and I plan to keep supporting others as I continue on.

    Were you told or did you learn a piece of wisdom or advice you now tell others in the beginning of their career? 

    Network!  It’s all about who you know and your attitude. Learn names. People will notice if you call them by their name….and they may learn yours in return. Make it known what you are after.  Sometimes all it takes is you voicing interest to reach the right set of ears. It’s uncanny sometimes how things happen when people know what your goals are.

    What are some things you wish could change/would help if more women were in the industry?

    I want to empower other women and show them that we don’t have to be in stereotyped female roles. We can make things happen and get our voices heard. I want to see more women working in leadership positions and their voices being respected.

    Where can people learn more about you?

    I have a website victoriahersey.com that showcases some of the projects I’ve worked on. I have an Instagram for my photography @vh.adventures. People are welcome to reach out to me through messenger on FB as well or if you prefer to email me contact me at victoria@herseyweb.com.

  • 05 Aug 2021 1:18 PM | Grace Guerin
    Stephanie Stender, a 3x Emmy nominated producer, received her BA at Hollins University and went on to graduate with her Master of Fine Arts in Film Production from Boston University. Stender’s passion for creating led her to establish Doorstop Productions in 2001, a company focused on women interested in all things film related, including directing and writing, aiming to give them a safe space to create. She has had her work featured in several international film festival locations from Australia to the United Kingdom and has been featured on networks like PBS and the WB in addition to her work on America’s Test Kitchen, “the number one lifestyle show on PBS.” 

    To stay up to date with Stephanie’s work, be sure to check out  www.doorstopproductions.com, as well as her socials InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.


    How did you get started?

    Oh gosh. I started really young making horror shorts and comedy sketches with friends on my parent’s camcorder like most film kids. I went to Hollins University for Film & Photography and Creative Writing (with a focus on screenwriting) and then Boston University for my MFA in Film Production with a focus on directing.  After that, I worked on a few PBS shows, from Antiques Roadshow to WordGirl, where I was the editor and special effects artist. I then landed at America’s Test Kitchen as a PA and moved my way up to Co-Executive Producer, before moving over to Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street as Executive Producer.

    What do you love about the work that you do?

    I love storytelling, and filmmaking allows me to combine my love of writing, editing and directing.  I enjoy telling stories that people may not have otherwise heard.  That’s the power of storytelling for me - allowing people to see the world in a perspective that they would not have access to otherwise.  Filmmaking allows for empathy more than any other art form, by giving the audience an opportunity to live another life for a bit of time, and I think our world can benefit from more empathy, especially right now.

    What has your experience as a woman in the industry been like?

    Work 150% harder for the same amount of recognition. As a woman in the industry, there really was no room for error.  I had to bring my A++ game to get the same opportunities as men who were coasting. Unfortunately, I am unsure if that has changed.  (I really hope it has!)  I have to say, it was an eye-opening experience when I shadowed the comedy director Gail Mancuso, who had the utmost respect of her cast and crew while leading in a sympathetic way.  It went against the advice I received that in order to gain respect as a director, you need to handle the set like a stereotypical man - bellowing voice and all.  That’s why it’s important for there to be more women in the director’s chair, not only for female viewpoints to be on the screen, but also for women to recognize that they can direct. Like Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media’s slogan says, “If she can see it, she can be it.”  Representation is key.

    How do you think the industry has evolved in the last year due to COVID?

    It’s funny because I feel like I’ve been in my own little bubble basically because I’ve just been working remotely for podcasts, film wise I haven’t been on set or getting tested every day… It seems like covid isn’t going away. I wish everyone had gotten vaccinated. But I feel lucky that I can work remotely doing podcasts...It’s a little scary... 

    What are some of the things you wish you could change for women in the industry? Do you think we have made progress or have ways to go in terms of representation?

    It seems like we have a long way to go. There’s not women in the seats making decisions on what gets funding. I think it’s harder for a woman to get an opportunity, if a woman does get a directing opportunity on a show and doesn’t excel, they won’t take another woman again, where that would never happen to a guy. You might get an opportunity, but it seems like the weight of all women in the industry is on your shoulders. It’s not fair, it would never happen to a white man. But hopefully women get into positions of power and it won’t happen. A lot of the female focused work that’s coming out is still made by men because it’s making money, and that’s still a problem. 

    What can you share about what you’re working on now?

    I’ve been working on a documentary since about 2013 about the Boston Drag Scene. I started filming... not before Ru Paul’s Drag Race but before it was incredibly popular. And it’s funny because I initially thought it was going to be a short but after doing some of the interviews I realized “Oh wow there’s a huge story here that’s not getting covered.” You would think that the mainstream drag would benefit the local drag scene, but it wasn’t. There are two queens in particular who were the stars of Boston in the 90s, and when Ru Paul’s Drag Race became popular the club owners kept all their money for when the Ru Paul’s Drag race queens came to town. It’s kind of about the business drag and how social media was changing the scene. 

    Stender continues to be hard at work and is currently working on a podcast, an animation short, and a long term documentary feature. Stender also plans to begin shooting 2 more feature films, one of them next summer. 

    Why are you a member of WIFVNE?

    I love being a member of WIFVNE.  Being part of a supportive community of women creators in the film and video industry is so important.  It’s wonderful to have a group of women to learn from and be inspired by.  I’ve gained a lot of valuable guidance on how to navigate my career through the members I have met, especially the powerhouse board members like President Alecia Orsini.  You can’t help but be inspired by these women.

    What short word of advice do you have for other women in the industry?

    Don’t ask permission and go make it happen.

  • 27 Apr 2021 1:34 PM | Sophia Ciampaglia

    A member of WIFVNE and Harvard Square Script Writers since 2015, Missy Cohen-Fyffe earned a Master Screenwriting Certification from ScreenwritingU in 2016. She is represented by Stephanie Rogers & Associates in Las Vegas, NV. Cohen-Fyffe also sits on the board of the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund, a cancer charity her family established in 1993 shortly after her sister was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. To date, the fund has raised over $8 million; 100% of which has gone directly to MGH to fund novel and innovative breast cancer research at MGH in Boston. Cohen-Fyffe resides in New Hampshire with her husband.


    Meet WIFVNE Member Missy Cohen-Fyffe! 


    How did you get started in the industry and explain what you do currently? 
    I got started in the industry in a silly way. I had been running my own business, making and manufacturing baby products that I patented, but after a while what I really wanted to do was write movies. So, I wrote a script and said to myself, ‘Okay, if I place in a contest, I’ll get rid of my business and I’ll write movies.’ Definitely not the smartest business plan, but as luck would have it, I placed. It gave me the feeling (however fleeting) that I could write movies.

    Once I realized how little I knew about screenwriting, I decided to take some classes on the subject. I lucked out when I found ScreenwritingU. My coursework culminated in an 18-month Master Screenwriter Class. In order to finish the course and receive my Certification, I was required to pitch managers. It was unnerving, to say the least, but I was fortunate to be signed by a manager as a result.

    During the masterclass, I also took on two writing assignments. Even though they paid little, I earned writing credits. The writing credits gave me credibility and helped earn me representation.

    From there, I just kept writing scripts. I’ve since optioned four of them.


    What do you love about your job? 
    I love being in the zone. When the dialogue is flowing and the action is working, the hours fly by. I love that I can work anywhere at any time. And it’s a nice bonus that watching movies and TV is all part of the job. I also love reading scripts, specifically well-written scripts like those from the Black List. They’re such enjoyable reads; fast-paced and artfully crafted. Reading a good script is like watching a movie play out in my mind, and I love movies.

    You worked on BABYBULLDOG...
     This was one of my writing assignments. I came across a  posting by a producer on a screenwriting website. The  producer wasn’t planning to pay much, but also offered  an IMDB credit for the work. He wanted a writer for a  dog story, and I had previously written a talking-dog  story so I sent him the script. Soon after, he reached out  asking me to write his script for him. The turn-around  was three weeks, which would be a really tough  turnaround if you were starting from scratch, but he had  already provided a 3-page outline of what he wanted. He  liked what I wrote and asked if I would do another for  him. I did. I don’t think I ever got the final payment from him, but by the time those projects were going into production, I had signed with my manager and was in an entirely new ballgame. And, I did get the IMDB credits.

    Can you share any advice about how you got your work into competitions*? What does a solid first ten pages look like? 
    Getting into competitions is not difficult. Winning them is where it gets tough. You can go to Coverfly and search the competitions that match your genre. The earlier you submit, the cheaper the cost. If you’re new to screenwriting, select competitions that provide notes. Even if you aren’t new, getting notes is always a plus. As far as your first ten pages go, you have to create characters and a story that someone (producer, director, actor) can feel so passionate about that they’re willing to spend millions of dollars to produce it. The first ten pages are key because they set the tone for your story and showcase your writing capabilities. If by page ten no one knows what they are reading (who’s the protagonist, what’s their goal, etc.) then there’s going to be a problem with the rest of the script.

    What has your experience as a woman in the industry been like? 
    I’ve been fortunate to have a female manager, and a lot of female mentors that I look up to and follow. Meg LaFauve and Lorien McKenna are fabulous women and they also happen to be incredible screenwriters. I love their podcast, The Screenwriting Life. I also enjoy Pilar Alessandra’s podcast, On The Page. She interviews all sorts of feature and TV writers. For me, being a female writer has been a positive experience. When I first started, there weren’t a lot of female writers winning awards, but now I feel the industry sees what we bring to the table. As a female writer you are able to open doors that weren’t available to you before. You have a voice that is fresh and new, and now the industry is interested in hearing it. 

    Do you have a mentor? 
    I have to credit Hal Croasman, who is the head of ScreenwritingU. He has revolutionized the teaching of screenwriting. And when I look at a project now, I not only look at it from a creative perspective, but also from the perspective of what a producer needs; it’s a business decision I weigh with my creativity. I credit Hal for pushing me to continually move projects forward, and honing my craft.

     

    Photo:  Missy and other Feature Screenwriting Finalists on stage at the 2018 Broad Humor Film Festival


    Can you share what you are working on right now, and what your next steps are? 
    I just finished my latest rom-com which went to my manager last week. I’m also working on new projects to pitch to her. As far as next steps go, I’ll likely begin my next screenwriting project over the course of the month. I’m always hopeful that one of my script options will be greenlit. Until then, I keep working on concepts and writing. I am also in the early stages of producing an award-winning short script, Café Amor, written by my friend and fellow writer, Judi Mackenzie. We’re aiming for an October production. But writing is what I love. And I’m lucky to be able to do what I love.

    Why are you a member of WIFVNE? 
    WIFVNE has so much programming, and that’s what I love about them. I came across the organization because my acting friend, Amy Evans, thought I needed to get out of my tiny office-cave and network with fellow writers. She told me about an upcoming WIFVNE meeting, and I went. Someone was kind enough there to introduce me to Genine [Tillotson] from Harvard Square Script Writers, and we hit it off. I became a member of HSSW, too.


    *Given our 2021 screenwriting competition, can you tell us what writers should keep in mind when writing a ten page script? Any advice for writing powerful short form content? 
    Short form is a challenge because you don’t have ten pages to establish your story, you have to grab your reader before they hit the half-page mark. You need to establish your character, tone, and what the story is right off the bat! But the good thing about shorts is that, unlike features, your second act is literally four pages.


    This interview was conducted by WIFVNE member and volunteer Sophia Ciampaglia.  Sophia is an impending college graduate who is passionate about development, and pre-production. Currently she is interning with Circle of Confusion, and is eager to keep learning more about the script to screen process of filmmaking.
  • 09 Oct 2020 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Delores Edwards is the Executive Producer of GBH's "Basic Black," the longest-running program on public television focusing on the interests of people of color. She is also the owner and Executive Producer of her own company, Marblehill MEDIA. Learn more about Delores on her website, and connect with her on Facebook at Delores Edwards or on Twitter @deeadrian.

    Meet WIFVNE Member Delores Edwards! 

    How did you get started? 
    My interest in journalism began as a teenager while in high school in a journalism honors class. I was also accepted into the 
    Dow Jones News Fund Program, a summer program for high school students at NYU, where I was fortunate to meet journalists of color, and the opportunity to learn more about working in media. I also began to learn about the power of writing and the power of words. It wasn’t until later that I would combine words with visuals in order to create and produce stories.    

    Later, as a student at Northeastern University, I was able to obtain work experience through their co-op program. While the work wasn’t always entirely specific to journalism, I did come out of school with two years of full-time work experience when I graduated with honors.
     
      
    My first job was at ABC News. During my time working there major news events like Tiananmen Square, the San Francisco earthquake, and later the numerous Gulf wars occurred. While at "Nightline," I was exposed to so many things
    —stories, correspondents, and producers, reporting worldwide events. It really was my training ground. I also worked in-and-out of ABC for various projects and programs throughout my career, which was pretty cool. 

    Being a young woman from the Bronx, I didn’t have connections in the industry, so I had to hustle and network. At the time I remember reading an article in Essence magazine about producer Marquita Pool [now Marquita Pool-Eckert] and thinking that it would be great to speak with her. I remember calling CBS and asked to speak with her, unsure if I would be able to talk with her. When the person on the other end of the line said sure and put me through to her, I was surprised. It seemed too easy! I was able to visit the studio, talk with her, take a tour, and later spoke with the CBS talent development person. 
      
    I also went to talks and workshops conducted by the 
    Center for Communication (CFC), where I heard experts in news, public relations, music, advertising, and other types of media talk about their experiences. During one CFC panel event, I was able to hear national network Executive Producers discuss what it was like to produce their programs and later connected with a producer at “20/20” while touring ABC. She provided me with names of people to contact. The contacts she provided to me helped me to land my first job in television. From there I was able to get my foot in the door and make connections for myself. 

    What do you love about the work that you do? 
    I love telling stories, especially being able to tell other people’s stories. Where I grew up in the Bronx, I knew a lot of people whose stories, issues, and concerns weren’t always told. They were often overlooked and other people weren’t aware of both their struggles and their happiness. They weren’t seen. I say this because the Bronx gets a bad rap so the opportunity for me to tell stories from various viewpoints and facets in the media due to my diverse backgroundfrom news, entertainment, documentary, talk, to network programming, and now at “Basic Black,” has been great.  
      
    What has been your experience taking the helm of a legacy program like “Basic Black”?
     
    “Basic Black” started out in 1968 as “Say Brother,” and it grew out of the unrest of the timespecifically the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was an acknowledgment that there was a need for Black voices to be heard, and through the prism and voices of Black creators. The show has evolved over time. In the past there were music segments and producers traveled. Now the format is closer to a panel show. That being said, the mission of the showtelling those stories that aren’t always told about Black and Brown communitieshas continued throughout the history of the program and continues today to also include communities of color. Since I have joined the program as the Executive Producer, we reshaped and added topicsfrom discussions about mental health, art, and politics to conversations around the history of hair within communities of colorI also had the opportunity to spearhead the redesign the show set and new graphics, which was fun to do. And it is stunning! 

    You have had a very successful career and won a number of awards, including being nominated for a number of Emmys and "Basic Black" receiving the Boston/New England Governors' Award. Tell us more! 
    We were very pleasantly surprised when we received the 
    Governors' Awardand acknowledgement of the legacy of the program. We've been working hard over the years and it’s really nice to get the recognitionlike, “we see you.” 

    It’s also been great because there aren’t a lot of shows around focusing on communities of color. Growing up, I remember Gil Noble’s "Like It Is." It was a worthy program, but went off the air several years ago. To its credit, GBH has been supportive of “Basic Black,” and the contribution that it provides to the community.


    How has the current political and social moment affected your work at “Basic Black”? 
    We're a live show, however, due to the coronavirus, we've been taping our episodes that air in the evening. 

    We’ve always sought to make the show as timely as possible, such as recent program episodes covering the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, BLM protests, COVID-19 and the health disparities for BIPOC to the travel ban, immigration and hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in the past, but going virtual has definitely changed the dynamic. We’ve been able to keep the format pretty consistent with our guest panelists joining the program remotely, however, we’d like to go back to in-person taping once it’s safe. 

    Since we also have viewers who watch the show on the web, via Facebook and Twitter, we’ve been able to broaden and expand the audience a bit, which has helped increase our viewership and ability for more people to see the show. 
     

    Year-after-year we have been able to bring on more guests, more new faces as well as more experts. We’ve really been able to give more people living in our communities of color the opportunity to share their stories.


    What can you tell us about marblehill MEDIA? 
    marblehill MEDIA is primarily my banner where I work on my own independent projects and creative interests as well as some freelance work. The name comes from the Marble Hill projects in the Bronx, where I grew up. 
      
    What I’ve learned is that if you work long enough in the industry that jobs come and go. You’ve got to have something for yourself, a little side-hustle—things to pursue for you. It also keeps the creativity flowing!
     
      
    What has your experience as a woman in the industry been like?
     
    I would say that it’s been mixed. I think there’s been a lack of accessaccess to opportunity, information, and better pay. As a Black woman, I have experienced racism, micro aggressions, marginalization, and prejudice. I don’t think, sad to say, that it is unusual. However, I’m glad to see that people are speaking out and speaking up about these issues as well as the lack of diversity and about ageism, too. It’s important that women, a diverse group of women are included, who are decision makers to greenlight projects, and take part in those top-line discussions about hiring, direction and approvalsbasically have a seat at the table, maybe a couple of seats at the table! We’re seeing more of it; more female directors, producers and writers working on their own projects, starting companies and heading up film and television divisions. 
      
    Were you told or did you learn a piece of wisdom or advice you now tell others in the beginning of their career? 
    What I have learned? Relationships. It’s old advice, but relationships really do matter. We call it “Networking”
    but really it is getting to know people. Don’t just reach out when you need a job.  Make the relationship meaningful and well-rounded. You can find people that are great sounding boards and willing to share and give great advice. 
      
    What are some things that you wish could change/would help if more women were in the industry?
     
    I think ACCESS is huge. We need more opportunities for women, people of color, and other underrepresented people to direct and producemore people to greenlight projects. We also need to spread the wealth better. There needs to be paid internships and paid trainingand there are so many areas of the industry that need to diversify. We are beginning to see more people on the air and a diversity of actorssome who are creating and producing projects for themselves, but what if you want to be a gaffer or a make-up artist? Is there support for these positions and others to diversify? 
      
    There are some great programs, like 
    NYWIFT’s Writers Lab supported by Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, and Oprah Winfrey that helps and supports women screenwriters over forty
    but there needs to be more. Conferences need to be more affordable, too, and there can always be more of them to give people greater access to the resources they need. Due to the health pandemic, there is plenty of content online to learn and engage. 
      
    And finally, we need diversity in the C-Suite
    we need a range of voices and experiences in those positions. 
      
    Where would you like to go in your work? 
    With my personal work, I’m developing some programming and ideas for film projects. I’d also like to take one of my scripts, a film short, that made it into a festival and make a film. I also have an idea for a podcast. All of these ideas and more helps me to stay creative and curious about storytelling.    
      
    As for “Basic Black,” we will continue to expand our topics, continue to reach new audiences and include new voices on the topics and issues presented. I’m looking forward to seeing where our work goes.

      
    What can you share about what you are working on now? 
    The podcast idea that I mentioned, writing and hopefully work on a panel series for women with WIFVNE. I'd also like to raise money for my quirky New York story film short. I have also written a children's book with a diversity theme that I am hoping to get published.
     
      
    Why are you a WIFVNE member? How do you think WIFVNE can support filmmakers in New England? 
    I’ve been a member of NYWIFT for a few years and joined WIFVNE through the dual membership program when I moved to Massachusetts. I am a member of both organizations because I want to stay connected to creative women in the industry, learn, and forge new friendships and potential partnerships with like-minded individuals. 
      
    WIFVNE is doing outstanding work with the newsletter and the website. I like how the newsletter and website has evolved, and the availability of information. I am learning a lot about events and projects in the New England area. The emails have also been an excellent resource of information to keep members informed. Plus, the virtual events during COVID-19 have also helped to spread the impact of the organization. One of the ways WIFVNE can continue to support filmmakers in New England are through more workshops and bringing more diverse voices into the organization. I also think that once we’re able, having more engagement in person through both big and small networking events will also help members. Every year NYWIFT presents the Muse Awards, showcasing women creatives in vision and achievement. Perhaps WIFVNE can produce an event to recognize its members and/or creative women in the industry.  
      
    Is there any final take-away you would like to share? 
    Hmm. Probably those reading my story will understand that if you really want to work in the industry that you can. Many people still think that you need the right connections to enter the business. That is not true; it really comes down to desire and perseverance. Just keep going, find your own path, seek guidance, stay creative and have fun.
     
     

    Photo credits 
    1. Meredith Nierman 
    2. Delores Edwards
  • 28 Sep 2020 12:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This Member Spotlight interview was conducted by Rosemary Owens. Rosemary Owen is a non-profit administrative professional with a passion for film and the visual arts. Along with five years of experience in fundraising, event planning, and cultivating community relationships, Rosemary has recently received a graduate degree in Arts Administration from Boston University. She is looking to bring her expertise to nonprofit arts and culture organizations needing assistance in development and communications.

    From her time at Quinnipiac University to her current career with Marshfield TV, Jennifer Palmer works hard to tell local stories and keep the community informed. Whether partnering with nonprofits and local businesses to share their stories post-COVID or picking up new skills and techniques, Jennifer is on it! Get to know up-and-coming producer and new(ish) WIFVNE member Jennifer Palmer! 


    Meet WIFVNE Member Jennifer Palmer!

    How did you get started?
    I got started when I became involved with Q30 Television, the student-run television station at Quinnipiac University. With the great experience I gained there I was able to land an internship with the video department at Greater Media (now Beasley Media Group), which was home to five of Boston’s most listened to radio stations, during the summer of 2014 and winter of 2015. After graduating from Quinnipiac with a broadcast journalism degree, I was offered a part-time role at Greater Media, where I stayed until I got offered a full-time position at Marshfield Community Television in November of 2016.

    What do you love about the work that you do?
    I love that it’s not your typical desk job and that I’m able to have a creative outlet. I’m constantly trying to improve my skills and experiment with new shooting and editing techniques. It’s also great being able to collaborate with other local nonprofits and share their message and the great work they’re doing within the community through video.

    What can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
    Right now at MCTV we’re trying to support many non-profits in the surrounding area as they adjust to this “new normal.” In the coming months, we’ll be promoting fundraising walks that have gone virtual, as well as helping businesses host remote conferences.

    What has your experience as a woman in the industry been like?
    On top of being a female in a male-dominated industry, I’m 5’1 and look like a high school student despite being 27. Because of this, I always try to carry myself with as much confidence and professionalism as possible in order to make sure I’m taken seriously when on a shoot and dealing with clients.

    What has been your experience working with Marshfield Community TV?
    My experience working with MCTV has been extremely positive. I’m given a lot of creative freedom in the projects I take on, which has given me a lot of opportunity to grow and get better at what I do. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of great people within the Marshfield community and across the south shore of Massachusetts through working with various groups and nonprofits. The work I’ve done has been very rewarding.

    Do you have a mentor?
    I don’t have any one particular mentor, but I do have a lot of friends from college who work in the industry and previous coworkers that I’ve kept in touch with whom I’m constantly comparing notes and experiences.

    Were you told or did you learn a piece of wisdom or advice you now tell others in the beginning of their career?
    Some advice I try to pass along is that when you first start out in the video production industry, it’s inevitable that you’re going to make a few mistakes along the way. I always try to tell others that it takes practice, and that (usually) mistakes aren’t the end of the world. But with that being said, it’s very important to pay attention to detail while also working quickly and efficiently. Also that good audio is just as important as good video, if not more!

    What are some things you wish could change/would help if more women were in the industry?
    I would love to get rid of the stigma that video production work is only for men. I can count on my hand the number of women I’ve worked alongside, and it would be great to see more women get involved. I believe this starts at the college level. If journalism professors taught more about the behind the scenes work instead of making students believe they can only be news anchors and reporters, we might see more women pop up in the industry.

    Where would you like to go in your work?
    My ultimate goal is to have my own production company so that I can be my own boss, form my own hours and run it out of my home. I’ve done a lot of freelance video work including wedding videography, promotional videos and commercials, which I’ve enjoyed doing and would love to dedicate more time to.

    What can you share about what you are working on now?
    One project I’m working on now is in collaboration with NeighborWorks Housing Solutions, which is a local nonprofit that develops housing and provides housing resources for individuals and families in need. They are currently developing a home for veterans in Marshfield, and I’ve been producing video updates of the progress of the renovations in order to keep the community up to date on the project.

    Why are you a member of WIFVNE?
    I’m still fairly new to WIFVNE, but the courses and seminars that have been offered during the pandemic have been extremely impressive and relevant. I’ll be looking forward to getting more involved and hopefully attending more in-person events when we’re able to do so.

  • 28 Sep 2020 12:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This Member Spotlight interview was conducted by Rosemary Owens. Rosemary Owen is a non-profit administrative professional with a passion for film and the visual arts. Along with five years of experience in fundraising, event planning, and cultivating community relationships, Rosemary has recently received a graduate degree in Arts Administration from Boston University. She is looking to bring her expertise to nonprofit arts and culture organizations needing assistance in development and communications.

    Shannon Vossler has been working in media since infancy (literally) and has traversed a number of roles in non-fiction production. And on top of it all, Shannon's also a former WIFVNE Board Member! Check out her story below, and visit her website here.


    Meet WIFVNE Member Shannon Vossler!

    How did you get started?
    Media has always been in my blood:  my father was a communications professor, and my mother was a producer who gave up her public broadcasting career to raise me! I made my TV debut at 3 months old, co-authored my first book at age 4, and produced my first “documentary” at age 15. While I wasn’t fully sure if I wanted to pursue television or psychology after college, my first internship at Scout Productions in Boston sealed the deal -- I fell in love with non-fiction television!

    After several years working my way from Scout to Powderhouse to my own production company, FOA Entertainment (with a few other pit-stops in between), I had developed and sold television shows that ranged from a ridiculous Animal Planet series about cats to an emotional documentary series for PBS about veterans’ issues. Wanting to explore the nonprofit world for a while, I chucked it all and moved to Memphis, Tennessee to work at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for four years before returning to the Northeast and joining Green Buzz Agency in DC.



    Still from This Old House Homes for Our Troops Project

    What do you love about the work that you do?
    On the best days at the job, I am entrusted to authentically tell the stories of some incredible people: whether they’re cancer patients, investment bankers, HR professionals, or scientists. These people are strangers when we first meet, and they trust me to share their thoughts, feelings and their livelihoods with the world. That’s an awesome responsibility to have: to hold someone’s heart, soul, and professional reputations in my hands… and the onus is on me to get it RIGHT!

    What can you tell us about Green Buzz Agency? 
    Green Buzz Agency is a full-service video production company that partners with major brands and Fortune 100 companies to share their stories and messaging through documentary content, motion graphics, live-action video, or live-streaming events. We are a nimble in-house group that has team members with expertise across television, digital and social media, and we always put creative storytelling at the heart of everything we do.  

    What has your experience as a woman in the industry been like?
    I’ve been very very lucky in my career. I’ve been able to work on a wide range of teams, across reality TV, documentary, in-house nonprofit, and now corporate/agency. Sometimes I’ve been the only woman in the room, and sometimes there’s only been one man in the room. I haven’t (to my knowledge) been specifically excluded from any opportunity based on my gender, and have always felt at home among inclusive teams. I do fully recognize that the women who came in the decades before me didn’t have as smooth sailing as I did, and fought hard so that I'm able to have these experiences, so I consider myself very lucky indeed!

    What has been your experience working with Green Buzz Agency?
    I joined GBA in April 2019 -- so my first year here was pre-COVID, but this year, of course, things are much, much different! I am incredibly proud of our team, who’ve been able to pivot from traveling around the country filming on location and in studio, to mastering a fully remote model of production and post. If you told me a year ago that my docket would be filled with creative directing animations, or remote directing shoots or figuring out new ways to zhuzh up recorded zoom calls, I woulda told you you were crazy. But hey, welcome to COVID-times!

    Do you have a mentor?
    I’ve had some absolutely extraordinary mentors throughout my life and career: Whether in high school, college, or beyond, they all encouraged me to explore ideas I hadn’t thought of previously, highlighted strengths I didn’t know I had, pushed me to always do more and be more. Above all, I always had their support, and often they helped me right the ship when I inevitably made a wrong creative decision. They’ve all been incredible models of leadership that I look to often when managing my own teams -- I even have a charm bracelet that I wear daily that reminds me to think “how would THEY handle this?”

    Were you told or did you learn a piece of wisdom or advice you now tell others in the beginning of their career? 
    If you’re in the beginning of your career, you have to decide what you really want out of this business:  Do you see this as a fun hobby? Or is it a potentially life-long career? If it’s a hobby, you can make your art when it is convenient for you, call in favors from friends and pay them in pizza, shoot on random weekends in borrowed locations til you pass out… the level of risk and commitment is relatively low.

    But if this is your career, you have to recognize that the TV/Film/Video industry is just that: an INDUSTRY. Industries run on money. (A mentor used to say: “It’s not called show FRIENDS, it’s called show BUSINESS.”) People in this industry (yourself included) need to make money, they need to pay rent, they need to eat. And for most of us, that means a lot of hard work to prove yourself, hustling a bit extra to make connections and earn your way up the chain of command. Very rarely does someone get “discovered” right out of the gate and given millions of dollars to write/produce/direct their masterpiece just because they had an idea for a good logline, or they did this one thing back in college. You have to build your credibility and personal marketability brick by brick, so that when a network/distributor/sponsor looks at you and your multi-million-dollar series pitch, they can say to themselves, “Yup, this person has proven that they know what they are doing and by golly, I think this is a sound investment for me/my company.”

    What are some things you wish could change/would help if more women were in the industry?
    I think women have made tremendous strides in the industry, but there is plenty of work left to be done. To me, it all comes down to point of view. Everyone brings their own life experience, worldview, and preconceived notions to the table -- no matter who they are -- and unless you have a truly diverse team with members who have true equity at the table, it can easily become one giant echo chamber. By having more women, non-binary persons, people of color, Asian-Americans, indigenous people, immigrants and/or other underrepresented communities at every level of production, you’re able to get a broader perspective. This creates richer narratives, more creative engagement, and ultimately a more authentic and inclusive representation in the final product.

    Where would you like to go in your work? 
    I’m excited to continue telling nonfiction stories that matter -- stories that have a level of emotional weight to them, or an important takeaway, or are just so darn entertaining that people actually want to go home and watch them after a hard day’s work. I love new creative challenges: ideas and concepts that haven’t been done before, or different takes on traditional storytelling… or simply good, genuine, and authentic storytelling that opens the audience’s eyes to new ways of thinking, doing, or being.

    What can you share about what you are working on now?  
    In addition to some special client work for a bio-pharmaceutical company that engages with the breast cancer community, and some food-adjacent television series pitches, I’m very excited to be working on two feature-length documentary projects at the moment:  one, in conjunction with a major league sports team, is currently in post; and the other is still in research and pre-production, and is centered around political personalities and events.


    Why are you a member of WIFVNE?
    Truthfully, any organization is only as good as its membership, and WIFVNE has some of the greatest members of any organization I’ve been a part of. The connections that I’ve made through WIFVNE have not only helped me staff up projects or offer advice on new business ventures, but they are also genuinely great people that I’m proud to call my friends. Even though I now live a few states away, it’s incredibly important for me to stay connected with the community -- and on more than one occasion, I’ve returned to the area for a shoot, and called up WIFVNE members to help me out!

    You were a Board Member with WIFVNE in the past. Would you be able to speak to the legacy and impact of WIFVNE over the time that you have been involved?
    I was on the Board 2011 - 2014, and it’s honestly a little funny to hear the word “legacy” used -- it feels just like yesterday! When I came in, our number one mission was to reinvigorate the organization: membership had waned, the Board was all but gone, and the valiant Juliet Schneider was almost single-handedly keeping the whole shebang afloat! It was a fun and exciting time:  we started to build out plans and committees, kicked off a re-brand and social media presence, and started to really offer programming again. It has certainly grown and taken off since I last sat in Juliet’s living room! Even the sheer amount of content in the newsletter…  It’s a much bigger and much different organization now! Living out of town, I will forever miss the in-person monthly Networking Nights that we held “back in my day,” but the way the current leadership has so expertly pivoted during quarantine to offer virtual events and webinars has been incredibly impressive, and allowed folks like me to re-engage from afar!


    Pictured at a WIFVNE event are former Board members Genine Tillotson (left) and Shannon Vossler. 

  • 28 Sep 2020 12:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This Member Spotlight interview was conducted by Rosemary Owens. Rosemary Owen is a non-profit administrative professional with a passion for film and the visual arts. Along with five years of experience in fundraising, event planning, and cultivating community relationships, Rosemary has recently received a graduate degree in Arts Administration from Boston University. She is looking to bring her expertise to nonprofit arts and culture organizations needing assistance in development and communications.

    Lani Rodriguez is a graphic designer and business owner making her way. Since embarking on setting up an art studio with partner Sarah Secunda in 2016, Lani has connected with many local artists and groups (including some fellow WIFVNE members!) and found a way to share her skills and build her brand. Check out her work below, and be sure to visit BackTalk Videográfica!

    Meet WIFVNE Member Lani Rodriguez! 
     

    How did you get started?
    In 2016 I got the opportunity to start a business with my partner Sarah. I had never studied graphic design formally, but I knew I had a knack for it, so I spent months teaching myself the craft. Eventually I put a portfolio together of personal work that reflected the type of work I hoped to be hired for. I stumbled upon an amazing community of women of color in the documentary field through a Facebook group called Brown Girls Doc Mafia. I promoted my work there and that led to opportunities designing film posters and graphics for film impact campaigns. 

    What do you love about the work that you do?
    I love connecting with filmmakers and I love the pressure and responsibility that comes with creating one powerful singular image to represent a film. There's often a series of ups and downs during the design process, but hitting that a-ha moment is the best feeling. I'm able to grow as an artist with every project I take on.  I also love the variety of jumping from one exciting project to the next. 

    What can you tell us about BackTalk Videográfica? What inspired you to start the company and what has your experience been running BackTalk? 

    BackTalk Videográfica is a visual resistance art studio made up of me and Sarah Secunda. Our goal is to create media that informs, provokes, and meets today's urgent need for complex storytelling. We surround ourselves with those who love their communities and value collaboration. We work with people, groups, and organizations engaging with, challenging, and changing our society. Running BackTalk has been an absolute joy. I never dreamed of starting a business, but after doing three unpaid internships at prominent documentary organizations that didn't lead to paid work I was feeling frustrated and looking for other opportunities, so we took a risk and created our own. 


     

    What has your experience as a woman in the industry been like? 
    I feel lucky because I've been able to avoid a lot of the horror story scenarios I hear about so often. When I connected with the Brown Girls Doc Mafia Facebook group I felt like I found a home. I've been able to connect with like-minded women and non-binary folks working on films that deal with social justice issues I care about deeply. I feel like we all know what it's like to feel unseen in this industry and we recognize that we are the forward-thinking leaders the film industry needs right now.

    What can you tell us about your upcoming projects? What have you been working on since the shutdown?

    While in shutdown I've worked on WIFVNE member Brandon Sichling's film poster for their queer comedy/drama Intimates, which was a ton of fun. I also recently completed a poster for a feature documentary called For the Love of Rutland, which follows an ensemble cast of characters in the blue-collar town of Rutland, VT, who represent a cross section of the town's clashing ideological and cultural subgroups. The film is directed by Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, who I've had the privilege of working with before. The film had its premiere at Hot Docs 2020. 

    Do you have a mentor?
    Yes! Earlier this year I joined the team at Looky Looky Pictures, a film impact production company founded by Ani Mercedes. I'm the graphic designer on the team and I'm responsible for creating film websites and social media graphics for film impact campaigns. It's been great and Ani has really taken me under her wing and helped me grow my business. She believes in my talent and wants to see me shine. 

    Were you told or did you learn a piece of wisdom or advice you now tell others in the beginning of their career?  
    I've learned along the way that it's important to take all the risks you can. I started this business with no formal design education and now I've designed posters and impact campaigns for dozens of films and our business is growing. Take advantage of all the free resources out there, whether it's tutorials on YouTube, Lynda.com, Skillshare, etc. Cold email people you want to collaborate with and tell them you love their work. The worst they can say is no and other opportunities will be right around the corner if you just keep going. 

    What impact on the industry would there be if there were women working in the industry?
    If there were more women in the industry, films would be a lot better because there would be complex female and non-binary characters. Currently that's a rarity. Everything needs to change--from the number of female and non-binary cinematographers to directors to high-level decision- makers. 

    What are your hopes for the future of BackTalk Videográfica and your future work?
    We hope to continue to connect with bold, wild, and brilliant people. We'd love to work with some of our favorite directors, such as Laura Poitras, Alma Har'el, Ava Duvernay and Tanya Saracho. We're currently in production on our first feature-length documentary called No More Birthday Parties for Dad.


    What can you share about what you are working on now?
    I'm working on a poster for documentary filmmaker Byron Hurt (HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats & RhymesSoul Food Junkies) and I recently accepted a contract with the amazing artist/activist organization CultureStrike, for which I'll be designing graphics for several large-scale campaigns they're launching to mobilize young people to vote. 

    Why are you a member of WIFVNE?
    I appreciate the connections I've been able to make. I've been able to collaborate with awesome WIFVNE members including Ellen Brodsky and Brandon Sichling. It's deeply important to have a space that prioritizes the necessity for gender parity in the film industry. 

  • 28 Sep 2020 12:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This Member Spotlight interview was conducted by Rosemary Owens. Rosemary Owen is a non-profit administrative professional with a passion for film and the visual arts. Along with five years of experience in fundraising, event planning, and cultivating community relationships, Rosemary has recently received a graduate degree in Arts Administration from Boston University. She is looking to bring her expertise to nonprofit arts and culture organizations needing assistance in development and communications.

    Rosie Pacheco is an actor, producer, and storyteller who has spent time in many aspects of production across the US.  Learn more about Rosie on her website, check out her credits on IMDB, and connect with her on Instagram @roe.pacheco, Facebook, or Twitter @RosiePacheco11.

    Meet WIFVNE Member Rosie Pacheco! 


    How did you get started?
    I started many years ago in Chicago. I was attending college there, for design --  and I began modeling for some extra cash.  I started with a small agency and did some "bread and butter" modeling, as they call it, for retail stores. I went on a background call for a film that was being done in Chicago, called Vice Versa with Judge Rheinhold. When we got to the set, I was singled out by the director with another friend to dance on the tall podiums at the rock concert scene. You can see me if you don't blink...lol. However, that gave me a taste for the set, and I really have not looked back. I got engaged in Chicago and then married (here in Rhode Island, but lived in Chicago still). I ended up taking time away from the business to raise my daughter. I moved back to Rhode Island in 1990, and was a single mom for a bit, and it was difficult to follow that career path -- so I pursued freelance and later staff positions in jewelry and product design. I did go on calls and auditions, but now it's a whole new ballgame.


    What do you love about the work that you do?
    I am a storyteller and I love fleshing out the characters, from my vantage point. I am kinda fearless, so I will do things perhaps that another actor may not want to.  I'm always after the truth, always.  Also, the process of acting, for me, is emotionally liberating because I can experience something and be in it, as myself. I am not afraid to dig deep. I am not afraid to look unattractive on film.  I guess you could say that that is my truth, again. Conversely, I can be a glamour girl and feel that part of myself. I do enjoy, though, uncovering the weird, quirky parts of myself. 


    What can you tell us about "Wallie's Gals"? 
    Wallie's Gals is a fun project created by (WIFVNE Member) Mary Ferrara that I am happy to be a part of. It is the story of four women who reunite after they worked together in a retail establishment. Things are said and done that are somewhat surprising to the group. It's an array of emotions that pay homage to the older gal, and what we live through. It's about change, and maturity, accepting yourself for who you are.  It's about forgiveness, too -- for the things we did as a younger self, and knowing that these were our limitations, at that time in our lives. It's a dramedy that will make you feel a bit warm in the heart, with some raucous belly laughs thrown in.

    What has your experience as a woman in the industry been like?
    My experience has been good -- and getting better -- although I'd like to see more open-mindedness with older women in New England. It's getting there. We have so much to offer. It is a small market, and it is competitive, so you'll find that some of us don't even have agents in New England, yet we audition in NY and have agents in the Southeast, or elsewhere.  My experience on set has been really positive. I've been involved with projects in and outside of New England, and I am thankful for every single one of them. I learned at every turn and am still learning, something that will never cease.  

    What has been your experience working as an actor in New England?
    It is a small market as stated, and there's not a lot of part for the older "gal" -- again I think that is changing. The people I have worked with (most of them) were super professional and produced some good projects.  I can go either way, the older gal with the grey streaks who is a judge/ business executive or a loud mouth blue collar cop. I know my brand, and I am now in the process of revamping everything I have out there, everything. The business of acting is a business first, no matter how much talent you may have, you must think like a business that you run, and your product must fly off the shelves.

    Do you have a mentor?
    I am in a coaching arena right now -- a small group of about 9 people, with a person who runs a group called the AGR in NY. I resisted at first, thinking it was expensive and time-consuming, but working with Jen Rudolph of the AGR has already helped me tremendously. The confusion on where I come into the market, or what I should be "selling" is now clear. I know I can play all sorts characters, but where I enter the market, how my materials should look, and what I concentrate on in order to get into the good rooms is of utmost importance. That has now been clarified for me.

    Were you told or did you learn a piece of wisdom or advice you now tell others in the beginning of their career? 
    Yes absolutely! Back in 2012, I joined a group called HEA Hollywood East Actors Group, and from that group I founded a spin-off called the New England Kids Actors Group. It now has over 1300 members. We tell parents in this group, newbies and veterans alike, about legitimate casting calls, money practices in the industry, child laws and guidelines for set, post new calls, give advice from industry professionals to the parents, and answer questions about the industry for children under 18. I do not run the day to day group anymore, I am just a member now. The admins have done a fantastic job, and have created a new page as well for the kid's accomplishments. I've seen some of them grow so much over the years since 2012. I have worked with several of them too, and it's always fun and super professional. We have singers and models in the group. It really is a safe place for the parents of child actors/entertainers.

    What are some things you wish could change/would help if more women were in the industry?
    I would like to see more stories for the older woman. I have just started to see this now, and I do know that it will continue. I would like to see a shift in the mindsets of some of the younger producers:  seek out and write and/or put these stories out there because they are interesting! Most of our film work here is indie work, so I'd like to see a shift here in New England -- to utilize all the talents we have here. 

    Where would you like to go in your work? 
    I know exactly where I am going. I wrote a screenplay about a woman whose life is chronicled over the 19 years she spent as a single mom, and " finding the one."  The story has been picked up by HBO, and I am the creator, and have a role in it. A story that is not afraid to show things about myself and those around me, that may not be the most pleasant thing to watch. People need to know, especially now, that they are not or have not been the only one experiencing some unpleasant things in life. But on the flipside, those joyful moments would be expressed as well. Some of my inspirational folks are Phoebe Waller Bridge, Michaela Coel, Sharon Horgan, Sam Levinson, DuPlasse Brothers -- they create fearless shows. And they do it well. I want to work with them and be in those shows.

    What can you share about what you are working on now?   
    Well, as you can probably guess, that screenplay I mentioned above. It's hard. To know which thing will translate well to the screen and what is the most important things you want to depict. I did executive produce a short film called Dark Light of Day (Amazon) that premiered at the Rhode Island International Film Festival -- not an easy feat. The film was a good concept, but NOT done the way I would ever do it today. It premiered in 2017. I did not know a thing about film production, nothing.  Out of ignorance, I left a lot of it up to others. It costs a lot of money and time and effort and a will to not give up. You have to be crazy honestly to produce a film -- it's a life-changing thing. It takes over. But it's exhilarating too. The film is ok; it's a horror short about a mother and daughter, and how a walk through her mom's art studio causes a transformation in the daughter. We did the whole thing on $2,000. I had friends who stepped in and did some great work for nothing. It did not turn out how I wanted it to, but I am proud of the fact that it got finished and that it premiered in a rather prestigious film festival. (A piece of advice here:  know what your role is in the production, and your power, if you're producing. And for Heaven's sake, raise the money to make it. You've got to feed the cast and crew for days -- that alone takes up a huge amount of dollars). As you can see, I have learned quite a bit on that one film. Glad I went through the experience!

    I am a writer for Motif Magazine also, and used to be a film writer for them --  I hosted a film review show talk show also, under MoTiv, in Rhode Island. I am also working on a short film as a production designer called For Lily from On Edge Productions. I run a floral/DIY company called Daniel Rose Silk Effects, a 5 star vendor on Google. We are masters at upcycling, and I was asked to be a designer on the short; it's delayed til next Spring, but  I am looking forward to it. I m also working on a series of photographs with female actors from the New England area, with an array of elaborate floral headdresses and interesting makeup. I have expert training in makeup from the old master, Mr. Way Bandy, who was a famous makeup artist in NY in the 80's.  At that time, he was the highest-paid artist in NY doing all the Cosmo covers, and was makeup artist to Cher, Farrah, Joan Rivers, and more. His book, Designing Your Face,  is the bible for ALL skin colors and types and it is a Godsend. I have also been called back for a film on the Cape about older women, and recently met the director in person in June of 2020. Escape 2120 premiered recently in Ohio and I had a supporting role in it as a lady of science. It was picked up by Bridgestone Media Group and can be seen now on Amazon. A film I acted in called Blood PI will be released soon, so I am looking forward to that. Working some other things, but for now, I'll wait til they actually materialize.

    How do you think WIFVNE can support filmmakers in New England?
    I'm not sure if this has been done, because I am a new member, but I'd like to see a spotlight in general on women filmmakers of the olden days -- women that were pioneers and got somewhat written out of history, mainly by men -- or were not credited with the great works they did. In particular Alice Ida Antoinette Guy-Blaché (née Guy; July 1, 1873 – March 24, 1968) was a French pioneer filmmaker, active from the late 19th century, and one of the very first to make a narrative fiction film. She was the first woman to direct a film. From 1896 to 1906, she was probably the only female filmmaker in the world.

    Why are you a member of WIFVNE?
    I like to read about people, and to go to some of the educational events they have. I have not been able to do that now due to Covid, but will certainly when we resume normal conditions. I am checking out their online activities too, at this time. They inform the film industry folks about the latest news, workshops, feature profiles and the members. They spotlight women in ALL aspects of film and television and that makes me HAPPY. I have met people just because I read about them or gained knowledge about programs that exist that I did not know about at all. I am looking forward to more networking with people here in New England, and seeing what these ladies are up to! I have a special place in my heart for women documentary filmmakers, and want to learn more about them here.

  • 08 Aug 2020 2:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This Member Spotlight interview was conducted by Rosemary Owens. Rosemary Owen is a non-profit administrative professional with a passion for film and the visual arts. Along with five years of experience in fundraising, event planning, and cultivating community relationships, Rosemary has recently received a graduate degree in Arts Administration from Boston University. She is looking to bring her expertise to nonprofit arts and culture organizations needing assistance in development and communications.

    Brandon Sichling is a filmmaker, writer, game creator, and more. While working on a number of creative projects throughout COVID, Brandon continues to work toward finishing their first feature, Intimates. Learn more about Brandon, their feature Intimates, and other projects below.

    Learn more at Brandon's website here!


    Meet WIFVNE Member Brandon Sichling!

    How did you get started?
    I started filmmaking as a teenager at a summer camp, going on to make some music videos and eventually going to film school.

    What do you love about the work that you do? 
    What I love most about filmmaking is seeing people get excited about the work they're doing. It's thrilling and humbling to see collaborators get something meaningful out of working with me.

    What can you tell us about your upcoming project?

    Intimates is about a woman stealing her high school girlfriend back from her brother. When we were in high school, my younger brother had a girlfriend I was friends with and I wondered how it would play out if I tried to steal her. I struggled a long time trying to figure out the story, but as I learned more about myself, the main character, Robert, became Roberta, and it clicked.


    Right now I have WIFVNE member Katherine Castro (https://vimeo.com/castrofoto) on as DP, along with a couple other crew members and cast. Right now, I'm focusing on fundraising for a two week shoot. I want to know how much money I'm working with and pay people proportional to the budget. To that end, I've been raising funds through donations to my Independent Filmmaker Project sponsorship (https://fiscal.ifp.org/project.cfm/2222/Intimates/). I'm looking for investors, too.

    This is my first feature, and something I've learned a lot about on this project is how to ask for support. I've had a lot of calls, meetings, and events. Not all of them have been successes, and that's ok; I'll keep talking to people and asking for their support, because I think this movie is worth making.

    Since shutdown started, I published my second novel and my second roleplaying game, so it's been less cinematic work, but fun nonetheless. I'm also working on a video game at https://www.habitofforcegame.com/, which does have a trailer.

    Do you have a mentor?
    My film professor at Columbia Chicago, Ted Hardin, showed me how I wanted to think about art in general and cinema in particular. As I teach, I find myself sounding like him, and that's very reassuring. 

    Were you told or did you learn a piece of wisdom or advice you now tell others in the beginning of their career?
    Call and email people, introduce yourself, submit to festivals, shows, and exhibits. Don't tell yourself your work isn't good enough, because deciding that is judges', curators', and panels' job to decide, not yours.

    What are some things you wish could change/would help if more women were in the industry?
    I'd love to see more risk taking in storytelling. Two of my favorite filmmakers are Mary Harron and Lynne Ramsay because they make moving, evocative, and weird movies. More of all of that, please.

    Where would you like to go in your work? 
    I want to make a mix of mainstream and more artsy/experimental work. On the one hand, I'd love to make a superhero movie (ask me if you want to hear my dream projects/casts), but looking at my work overall, I enjoy exploring bizarre, self-destructive behavior in and out of "genre." On top of that, I work in a variety of media and would like to continue doing that, so really I would just like more of my time going to making work.

    Why are you a member of WIFVNE?
    When I started pre-production on Intimates, I knew I wanted as many women as possible behind the camera. This is a story about cis women, straight, lesbian, and bisexual, so it's important to me that the story is told in a way that's particular to its characters: it isn't "all women's story," because no story can be. My guess as the best way to do that is talk with and listen to women. This is the best setting and forum I've found for doing that.

    That, and I met Katherine at a WIFVNE event.

    What I'm most immediately happy about is that WIFVNE and its tremendous staff hold space for beginning filmmakers to find and benefit from resources, including me and my experience. It's great to get everything I've already mentioned, but it's important and fun for me to share what I've learned.

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