What do you enjoy most about working in the film industry?
I love being creative. Every film is different and there are always new challenges and I enjoy finding creative solutions.
Why is representation in film and television important to you?
I think it’s imperative that people with more varied life experience be a part of this industry. It’s important for young people to see leaders who look like them or who may share similar life experiences. Research has also shown that company health is better if there is more balanced representation.
What was the inspiration behind developing the Creative Coalition of Color and what advice would you give to someone who just started their career in the industry?
I started the CCC because I had to do more. (I’ve been in this industry a long time and I have often been the only woman or person of color that was part of the creative process). So I knew the efforts to reach out to underrepresented people were lacking. I’ve mentored and hired women, as well as a diverse array of folks throughout my career, but that’s just one person’s efforts at change-making. I was looking for a way to have a greater impact. With the help of some like-minded industry colleagues, we bootstrapped this organization, created a website and we’re now a non-profit. Our platform introduces people to our industry, connecting new talent with jobs at every level, but particularly at that critical Entry point to a career in our field. And we’ve seen that what we’re doing is working. Talented, passionate people are finding jobs in the Entertainment Marketing and Creative Advertising field, through our platform.
I have so much advice for someone starting out! Of course, the standard “work hard and be flexible” (revisions happen every day, so don’t get too attached to any cut or comp). Make sure you’re passionate about what you’re doing. Work/life balance means different things to different people and it can be elusive, so being excited about the work can help keep you going. Seek out a company that has a good culture and is a good fit for you. Make sure you’re working with people you like. You may be spending more time with them as your family and friends. Look for where there is opportunity for you to learn, grow and participate. I believe that the more collaborative an environment is, the more rewarding it will be for you, as you grow in your career.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career thus far?
There have been a few. Being considered incapable is one. People being surprised that I could have success beyond the genre of Romantic Comedy, because I am a woman (yes, it was said to me several times). Early in my career, I would share my work to get a foot in the door. When I met a few clients in person, a few were quite visibly surprised to see what I looked like. Mild embarrassment and apologies followed. This is pre-internet, of course.
What’s the one lesson your job has taught you that you think everyone should learn at some point in their life or career?
Being flexible. You’re going to be thrown a lot of curveballs – in your career and in your life. If you can reframe, reassess, or re-approach a situation, you’re bound to have more success. If you’re too rigid, you’ll most likely break sooner.
What has changed the most about the film and television industry since you started?
Fewer screamers??? I’m kind of joking but that is true.
Since I started, there has been an increase in the number of female creatives and women in company leadership on the agency side. But I’d love to see more diversity in ownership.