This past rainy Friday I had the honor of joining a bunch of women for a Women in Film symposium. Even though I was incredibly stressed on the way there due to the traffic caused by Trump visiting the CDC. (Yes, I too I’m surprised that he actually came considering he originally cut funding to the CDC but that is beside the point)! At the Women in Film seminar, we all spoke about the fact that we need to start creating more quality content on our own. Stop waiting for the perfect audition to come along and choose you. We are all storytellers and now is the time to start sharing those stories.
The following women headlined as speakers Christine Adams from Black Lightning a series regular reoccurring – a dream role for many of us. Charlene Fisk a director and cinematographer who created a beautiful short film about her own coming out story. Caroline Slaughtera producer, writer, director, and actor who created a short film about the women who lead actresses to Harvey Weinstein. Sara Elizabeth Timmins the producer for the 6 part mini-series documentary Mcmillions. I’ve watched two of the episodes of McMillions and it really pulls you in. Listening to Ms. Timmins speak really made me think about investigative journalism. It’s a branch of film and gives the producer the opportunity to create the B roll that guides the story along.
At the seminar, we discussed how we all have so many stories to share and that we can’t sit and wait on Hollywood to come up with them, unfortunately, the majority of writers is not female therefore we need to be proactive in writing our own stories even if it means doing it on a smaller platform such as YouTube or spending the time to try to get on to Amazon or into different indie film markets. One fascinating way to go about doing that would be to think about the causes that really matter to you. I’m very passionate about Mercy Ships which is a charity that performs surgery on children that need their cleft lip to be repaired, helps with leg deformities, tumor removal and gives these children the ability to live a healthier life. If I was to do a movie involving a child with a cleft palate I could potentially reach out to Mercy Ships an ask if they would also like to Co-sponsor/promote said film this would be a great way to spread the message further and hopefully you get more people interested in the cause. Which would ultimately have a bigger positive impact for everyone.
I almost didn’t make it to the seminar because I was so stressed due to traffic and being an hour and a half late. If you know me I’m very punctual. It completely stresses me out to be 10 minutes late. I always like to come at least 15 minutes early if not half an hour. However, something in my spirit told me that I needed to be there that night and not to just skip out because I was stressed. That it was better to walk in late and be slightly embarrassed but receive the message meant for me then to stay home and wonder about what could have been.
The symposium was in honor of International Women’s Day and I was very empowered to be around a bunch of women of multiple cultures all proud to gather and share how we can improve our film industry in Atlanta. How can we get more women working behind the camera? What do we need to change to help women become better writers? One guy even asked for tips on writing female characters. One woman brought up that we all have a nurturing side and an aggressive side a feminine and a masculine and that he just needed to listen to that side. We also brought up the Bechdel test, and that you do not need to use a rape scene as a way to make the character “stronger” or give her an arch. That women can build character through other trials and tribulations the character goes through. We can all implore to be better in the film industry whether that means learning how to edit, become better behind the camera learn how to execute sound instead of the usual costuming position or being in front of the camera. It was awesome to have a bunch of men also in the symposium since the only way to move forward is to have allies. I ran into my friend Brittany who I shot a short film with. We both agreed that we need to write and update our material because we work so well together.
As I drove home I felt light. I realized I was meant to come to the seminar that night. I ran into a good friend I hadn’t seen in over a year and now we have a project we can work on together. I met a couple of great women who are working on a play and may need some help directing, casting a role or backstage – which would be really fun and great for my resume. After all, I always love the intimacy of a black box theater the buzz of the energy in the room as the audience anticipates the show that’s about to begin. So often we let the stress of the day and the little things block us from our blessings. I just want to remind you to not allow the little attacks to detour you from your true purpose.