Thursday, January 7, 2016
Monday, September 14, 2015
Earlier this Summer I had the pleasure of working with Camp Reel Stories up in Oakland, CA with the inspiring Esther Pearl and many other big hearted individuals. Camp Reel Stories is a media camp for teenage girls ages 13-18. Their belief is that when women and girls are better represented behind the scenes, they will be better reflected on the screen.
The camp has two tracks available: one that takes one week and a more advanced track that goes for two weeks. Both culminate in a finished short film- either narrative or documentary- that is written, shot, and edited by a small group of girls and produced by an industry professional who is there to guide them through the film-making process.
I was assigned to the youngest group of girls and together we named our production company "Freedom Fighter Films." Each girl was unique from the next which probably sounds like an obvious statement, but it really blew my mind how smart they were. Sitting in the discussion about documentary film making, one girl brought up the sex trafficking of young girls in Oakland. Another brought up how she knew someone in this situation who didn't have the confidence to get out even though she and others have reached out to her. Really heavy stuff- especially that these girls were between 13 and 18!
Among the workshops presented, there was documentary, narrative, storyboarding, screenwriting, editing, sound design, lighting, and media literacy all taught by professionals in that field! Although I was here to pay my good fortune forward to the new generation, it was very beneficial to be able to hear these workshops, too. It was so inspiring! Brenda Chapman even spoke about story and her career from a young girl to college to being the token female in the story department to Pixar's BRAVE and beyond.
This entire week has reminded me why I love filmmaking. Whether it is animation or live-action, it's about a group of people coming together to tell a story- making something out of nothing! Breathing life into scripted word or finding a story in captured images. It wasn't all feather and flowers, but the challenges have made me stronger and this experience has changed me for the better. It was one of the major inspirations for moving forward with my podcast, Ink and Paint Girls!
Freedom Fighter Films made a documentary about something we all have wondered at one time or another, "What if?" Camp Reel Stories entered the film into the All American High School Film Festival and it has been named an Official Selection. It will be screened at the festival in New York this October! I am so proud of these girls!
If you'd like to see our film, you can see it below. Be sure to check out the other production company films at the Camp Reel Stories YouTube channel!
All photos via of Camp Reel Stories.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Finally- I'm excited to announce a project that I've been working on for the past few months.
The Ink and Paint Girls Podcast
My goal is to highlight Women working in Animation, to create a platform to share their stories and lessons learned. With each person I speak with, we discuss what they do, how they got there, what their passions are, and explore the time between graduating and getting that first job. I love hearing success stories, but sometimes the hardships are glazed over or even lost. There's a lot of inspiration to be found here! Namely, that gut feeling- "If they can do it, there is hope for me, too."
So how do the Ink and Paint Girls fit into this? Well, glad you asked! In the early years of Animation, the only opportunity available to female artists was to work in the Ink and Paint Department. They were often referred to as the "Ink and Paint Girls" and here's a reply that interested parties would receive after applying for anything other than Ink and Paint...
The first female studio animator in America was Lillian Friedman in 1933 at Fleischer Bros Studio. The first female studio animator to receive screen credit at Disney was Retta Scott on the 1942 classic, Bambi. The first female studio animation director was Brenda Chapman in 1998 for Prince of Egypt as well as the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for Brave in 2012.
That's kind of crazy that we're still having firsts!
Numbers of female students going to Animation school are about half which means numbers are increasing overall in the Film and Animation industries which is fantastic! But there is still a serious lack of feminine presence the higher you get in the Studio system! It's understandable that not every woman wants to move up to Directing or Executive Producer, but I want you to know that you can if you want and work for it. Men and women, both! But as a woman, I get first hand how I can get in my own way and stress myself out. Through these conversations on the podcast, I will collect experience and advice on how other women working in Animation have gotten their start and navigated their careers so far. "Ink and Paint Girls" is an icon reminding us that we are more capable of getting to our dreams than we think.
Here's the first episode. I hope you enjoy it!
Thursday, August 13, 2015
My wonderful and talented friend, Stina, co-founded a new convention back in May up in San Francisco celebrating popular culture, art, music, comedy, and most prominently, film. She and her business partner named it Hellacon. Haha! I only wish I had a finished film to share in their festival!
My side kick and new HUSBAND (!!!) was with me and covered the booth while I snuck away to attend the Key Note: Sarah Mirk, Bitch Media's Online Editor and host of their podcast "Propaganda." The New Parkway venue has comfortable and quirky vintage chairs and couches, so I sat in a dark corner and continued sketching on a commission while I listened to her presentation. She spoke about the media and the responsibility of media makers. It was very enlightening!
Here are some commissions and sketch cards sold during the convention.
It is a small convention as it was it's first year, but none the less, I would say a successful one for only being put together by two people for the first time. Wow! What an undertaking! I'm so happy to have contributed and been a part of the inaugural event.
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Its been a few too many months since the Red Dot auction at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity happened but here is my piece which I donated. The Center really knows how to throw a party and create a welcoming ambiance. I look forward to donating and attending again next year!