Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 19:12 Posted by Clash Saturday, 18 September 2010 01:02
Job-title: Christian Filmmaker / Entertainment Publicist / Actress
Web/blog site URL: http://www.examiner.com/x-57664-Christian-Movies-Examiner
Give us your job description in 25 words or less. A multi-talented creative freelancer, utilizing communication, promotion organizational and networking skills in a variety of roles: TV/film producer, casting director, actress, publicist and more.
Describe a typical workday. The fun thing about freelancing, especially when you have as many creative outlets as I do, is that no single day is the same. If I’m in preproduction on a film, I might be sitting in my office answering phone calls and emails, posting casting and crew calls, writing contracts, holding auditions, writing and distribution press releases, etc. If it’s the middle of production, I could be on set fielding questions and problem solving with cast and crew, escorting a TV news crew around set, holding an orientation for new extras, or coordinating behind the scenes interviews. If I am not doing a movie, then it’s a whole different life!
If I am in town, I am either working from my home office or from one of my favorite remote locations, like Starbucks! There’s nothing I love better than sitting in Starbucks with my laptop and a cup of coffee and calling that work! Sometimes my work day may not start until 10 AM or even noon because I was up until the wee hours of the morning working the night before. I am very much the “Night Owl,” so when I work late at night, I enjoy sitting on my bed in front of the TV, with my laptop and a bowl of popcorn. (Sorry, I know that’s not a very producer-like image but us creative types can really work this way!)
One task that is a part of almost every workday is, believe it or not, is networking on Facebook. Most teens think of Facebook as a strictly social activity, but it is also a very serious marketing tool in the business world. I also spend lots of time emailing, talking on the phone and sometimes video calls on Skype—all of this communication usually revolves around smaller publicity gigs, developing ideas, networking, and promoting and booking myself for future gigs. I also write for Examiner.com as the Christian Movies Examiner. (http://www.examiner.com/x-57664-Christian-Movies-Examiner). This means that I need to stay up to date on what’s going on in the Christian movie industry so I can write articles to keep my readers well informed.
I frequently have opportunities to travel: film conventions, festivals or meetups, attending acting classes, meeting with other filmmakers, and public speaking or teaching workshops.
What led you to realize that you wanted to do this type of work? Well, I honestly cannot say that I ever “dreamed” of doing any of the things I am now doing when I was a kid. It has all evolved as God has opened and closed doors for me. About the only early clue to my future career was an inclination I had towards being on stage or in the spotlight…even though I was very shy. Once I graduated from high school, I took me 7 years and 3 majors to graduate from college (Not because of stupidity, but due to lack of direction…I eventually graduated Summa Cum Laude!) and many years of struggling in the wrong field to finally find my niche. My current career path started with a job as a TV news reporter and grew from there into TV production and eventually film production.
Did you have any heroes or mentors in your industry that you admired? My friend Jennifer Parsons is the person who first got me started in the film industry. She is a costume designer of 40 years and worked with some of the best directors in Hollywood, including Steven Spielberg. We served on the Northeast Louisiana Film & Video Association board together for several years. I knew nothing about the film industry when I first joined the association, but Jennifer took me under her wing and taught me much of what I know about the production process. She encouraged me to go into casting which was the key that later unlocked the door my first producer role on a short film. I will always be grateful to Jennifer for her influence on my life.
What type of education or training was required to land your job? Some people major in film and television in college or attend film school but I did neither. I graduated from college with a Psychology degree!! I learned the business from working on film sets and talking to people in the industry. I also read a lot of books, research online, and attend film workshops at festivals and conventions.
What do you love most about your job? I love the flexibility and multi-faceted nature of my work in addition to the perk of hanging out with very interesting people and being in the middle of lots of activity and tons of creative energy. I also like the crazy hours. Sometimes during film production, you may arrive on set at 8 PM and get off at 8 AM and then sleep the whole next day like a bat. It’s way too much fun!
What one part of your job do you wish you could hire someone else to do? Without a doubt, that would be filing!!! My mind races way too fast with ideas for me to settle down to menial tasks like filing! When I have free time, I can be obsessive compulsive about organization, but in the middle of a big project, I am too focused on the big picture to deal with those kinds of details. I just pile up little stacks all over the place until I can get to the filing!
What advice would you give to teenagers wanting to get into your field of work? Realize that you don’t get there overnight. Everyone wants to experience the glamorous life in the spotlight, but not everyone is willing to take the steps necessary to get there. Don’t expect to jump from A to Z. Unfortunately, it usually begins with grunt work, which isn’t so exciting when you have stars in your eyes. But pay attention to the Biblical principal of being faithful in the small things in order to be trusted with the bigger things. (Matt 25:21)
Also, many times in this line of work, you will do lots of free work or low paid work…it’s called “paying your dues.” Don’t think you’re too good to volunteer. I attribute much of my success to the experience that I got volunteering at my church, on small independent films and serving on boards of professional organizations.
How does your job allow you to use your God-given gifts? There was a time in my life when I felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole…until the day I discovered a square hole that I fit into so well! That’s how the entertainment business has changed my life. It is a great feeling to have discovered my true God-given talents and be able to use them in a field that calls for my kind of creativity and people skills rather than trying to force myself to excel at things I was never meant to excel at.
Do you have any hobbies or off-hours pursuits that teenagers would find of interest? In the past, I taught modeling and directed a modeling school for Barbizon Modeling and Acting Centers. I still occasionally teach beauty and image skills to both teen girls and adult women. This is also a passion of mine since I struggled with very low self-esteem and depression as a teen. I have a personal image course I developed entitled Beauty Inside Out, in which I teach outer beauty skills, including poise, posture, hair and makeup, wardrobe, etc. as well as incorporating inner beauty secrets taught from a Christian perspective—self esteem, character, purity and relationship skills.