#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Resources for Hiring Women!

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First up, obviously, it’s illegal to discriminate based on gender, skin color, religious beliefs, disability, etc. Don’t do those things. But it’s also important to have many different voices making up your set experience, so I’ve gathered a few resources that might help you find women to hire who you might otherwise not bump into in your search.

All the Resources

Alliance for Women Film Composers
The Director List

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#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Who is Who on a Set

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An overview of each department on most film, television, and digital sets (especially the bare bones ones!)

– Actors – These are the people on your screen. I encourage you to go SAG and to pay these people. Generally the actors are the first to go unpaid and that gets so old and so unfair after a while. If you’re a shoestring, at least give them gas money.

You must feed the actors. They get hangry.

– Producers – On a TV show, these are also your writers. On films, they tend to be the money people. On a digital series, they’re everything. Both. All of it. They are probably doing eight other jobs as well on your super low budget material. It’s tempting to ask a producer all your questions, but please do not. They’re the top of the food chain; only go to them if you have already checked with other departments.

– Director – The dude in charge of the shot! He’s the one we think of as holding his hands in a little viewfinder box. He’s the one with the baseball hat and the chair. Directors are in charge of ALL the different departments and are responsible for the integrity of the entire piece. I personally hate it when directors go on about MY VISION, but at the end of the day, the piece you get is, really, a lot about his or her vision.

– Makeup/hair – Sometimes combined into one wonderperson, makeup & hair makes the actors look good. I’ve found that this team sets the tone for the entire shoot day: if they’re happy and friendly, your day will be happy and friendly. Make sure they’re happy & friendly. 90% of their job is telling the 1st AD to calm down and they need 4 more minutes, REALLY.

– Wardrobe – In charge of the costumes for the actors. They tend to work fairly closely with hair & make up and have the same kind of time crunch from the AD. Hire someone good with a thread and needle and with a creative eye!

– Art Department/Props – They make your world. They’re in charge of dressing the set and supplying all the STUFF that populates it. Art has a great eye for what the camera will pick up and dresses for it; they want to make sure the frame isn’t just actors standing by a wall.

– DP (aka, cinematographer) – He or she works very closely with the director to create “the perfect shot”. They agree on the look and tone of the movie and the DP directs his department to light and otherwise fill the environment to fit the tone of the piece. The director and DP also create a color palate, a shot list, and are basically in charge of everything visual.

– Lighting – they’re in charge of moving lights around! To put it very simply. They work with the DP to create the right mood for the moment.

– Sound – Do you want to hear the words your (paid?!) actors are saying? Hire a sound mixer for the day. He or she may or may not have equipment, but budget for it. You might need to rent microphones or other bits and bobs for sound.

– 1st AD / Production Assistants (PA)  – The first AD is in charge of keeping everyone on schedule, which is one of the toughest jobs on set. They have to be upbeat and kind enough to make people love them while they’re cracking a whip. That’s hard. That’s a skill. Bless you if you are an AD. PAs work under the 1st AD and run around like crazy people making sure everything is where it needs to be; they are also wonderful.

– Scripty – In charge of the script! Actor goes up on a line? Scripty’s on book to tell him what it is! Actor changes a line? Scripty says so or makes a note if the director doesn’t mind.

– Crafty – THE FOOD. Be nice to crafty. They feed you!

Next month (June!) I’ll be sending out an even MORE in depth break down of a lot of the roles on set by sharing how I break my budgets. But it’s for Patrons only! If you’d like to see that, make sure you join the community here at katehackett.com/patronage!

#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – How to Get Better at Acting

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#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Stop Being Afraid of Being Annoying!

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I’m afraid of being annoying on social media. How can I promote my work and not bother people?

My very short advice is: stop caring. …but I know that’s not very constructive.

I think this particular question is one a lot of women face in many capacities: how do I make sure I am not perceived as annoying/bitchy/bossy/mean/rude. On social media, the fear is exacerbated because we can’t see the people on the other side of the screen and we don’t really know what their reactions to us might be.

Case in point, when I was working on Classic Alice, we ran two crowdfunding campaigns; the only way to really drive traffic to the campaign (or to the series) was to write about it All. The. Time. and Ev.Ery.Where. There is no other option. I bumped into people in the community upset with me for being aggressive and I remember thinking at the time:

Do male creators get this much guff for something so vital to the longevity of the show?

So I poked around and didn’t see a whisper directed to male creators working in similar spheres or running crowdfunding campaigns. That’s not to say it never happened, but I wasn’t able to track it down. And I thought: well, why? What is the difference?

I have a very hard time believing that the audience for Alice actually ever would believe women should be quieter than men, but somewhere along the line, that notion gets so deep within us it’s hard to shake. I wound up writing a post explaining why I was aggressively promoting my campaign but I was, if I’m being super honest, kind of resentful of it: why do I have to explain myself? Why do I have to defend my desire to keep 80+ people employed for a few months?

The reality is: I shouldn’t. I shouldn’t have to do that. But my choice was to either ignore it or try to embrace a teachable moment, which is what my longer advice to anyone struggling with feeling obnoxious on social media is: first, of course, stop caring. But second, can you reframe the entire thing as a potential for learning? You would learn to develop the patience for dealing with disgruntled fans and your fans, hopefully, learn just how fucking hard it is to keep a low budget digital series alive.

I know that made the whole thing more palatable for me: how about you?

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#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Agents, Managers, and Representation

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#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Promoting the Show When It’s Over

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How do you keep promoting work that’s finished?

When the show is “running”, it’s super easy to post about it — after all, you have new content to promote every single week. But all good things come to an end and, at some point, you’re going to want to wrap it up. By the time you’re finished, you’re probably pretty drained anyway — on top of creating your masterpiece, you’ve also spent so much time and energy on social media.

So first up — do you even bother continuing to post? Sure. But you can relax the schedule. You have a finished product now and that’s going to be more appealing to different people than the ones you attracted first. Some people like binging. Something I did for Classic Alice when we were totally done was I recut the entire series to be easily bingeable: I squashed episodes together, redid the title sequences, and uploaded it all to Amazon.

You can also take your project onto different platforms. With Classic Alice, we ran originally on YouTube then moved the entire show to Amazon/Amazon Prime, which (at the time) was offering a pretty juicy payment for us. You can move to Vimeo or Funny or Die or wherever — just make it an Event! around which you can push your social media content.

After a while, though, there’s nowhere new to go and you just have a completed show on your hands. I think it’s fine at that point to slow down your social hollering and share photos or tidbits once in a while — special days, when you’re feeling nostalgic… It just becomes a more natural part of your social media calendar.

And there is still value, once in a while, in looking around for existing conversations/threads and sharing your show specifically with people who might like it, or letting Reddit leaders know about your show, or any of the other tactics you originally used: it just shouldn’t be your main drive anymore because, I hope, you’ve moved on to other shows and still have so much more story to tell the world!

Did you like this post? Want to see more? Please consider joining the community here at katehackett.com/patronage — you get exclusive #FemaleFilmmakerFriday entries and so much more!

#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – How to Delegate …on set and off!

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#FemaleFilmmakerFriday — Dear Casting, Love Actor.

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What are some things you wish more casting directors would do for actors?

Most experienced casting directors know and do all of these things already and it’s a big, big red flag that a production isn’t going to be super professional if I get a breakdown or sides that have the following issues. But I’ll share them because …it’s happened!

Please, please, PLEASE do not give us scenes that are impossible to do in an audition setting. I’ve had scenes with complicated blocking, sexy-times, MONOLOGUES for the other character, and other weird roadblocks that are just a huge pain in the ass to try to figure out how to act around.  It’s more than obnoxious, it hinders my performance. 

Mark up the scripts if you want us to start or stop somewhere. It should say START, END, and you should cross out anything that you don’t want us to do in the audition. The scene should NOT skip like three pages; at that point, you’d be better off getting a different scene for us. Think about all the page turning we’ll have to do on camera and how distracting that is for everyone!

We’re often asked to do self tapes now! Patrons get a playlist of anything I can share.

NEVER, EVER give actors a choice. Just tell us what scenes you want to do. I hate it when casting gives us four scenes and says “pick two!” No. Just tell me what work you want to see. 

Likewise, figure out what you want us to work on BEFORE YOU SEND THE SCRIPTS & SIDES. Don’t tell me to prepare three scenes “but we’ll probably only do one! 😀 :D” It takes HOURS to work on a scene and fill up a character and her world; if you want me to learn nine pages, great! That’s fine. I’ll do it. But don’t ask me to do all this work and then dismiss it on the day. Can you imagine putting in days of preparation and having your boss just shrug it off and not use it? Not even look at it? That sucks.

excerpt of TLD sides for Laren

I know that for The Long Dig, Tom & I felt that we didn’t have a scene for any of our auditioning actors that was full and gave them depth, range, and adequate time; the actual movie is pretty sparse. So instead of slicing & dicing in a weird way to compose audition sides, we actually took the time to write full scenes for Laren, Ioseph, and Seamus. It gave the actors something more to chew on and gave us a way to watch for performance. If your sides don’t give the actors that benefit, consider asking the writer for a better audition scene… especially if you’re trying to cast a lead. 

Casting directors generally do know this but every once in a while … we’re not robots. We aren’t mind readers. We’re also not idiots. We audition for hundreds of offices; if you like something done a certain way, just tell us. We don’t need to be scolded about anything. 

Like I said though: most casting is great! Everyone I’ve met who is working at the indie/TV/film level knows ALL of this and is rooting so hard for me (and all actors!) that they stack the deck for us to win. That’s all we need — you in our corner. 

Did you like this post? Want to see more auditions? Please consider joining the community here at katehackett.com/patronage — you get exclusive #FemaleFilmmakerFriday entries and so much more!

#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Moving Up the Ladder

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How do you meet people with money or influence or power in the industry ? Everyone I know is broke and everyone I meet at networking events and parties is at my same level. I feel like I can’t move past the stair level I’m on right now no matter how many events I attend or how many classes I try to take. – Rayne

I think this is a really good question that we don’t ask enough because it feels a little skeezy to ask.  All the more reason to get some straight talk! And the answer here is:

You (probably) don’t meet people with more influence. You meet people where you are and you work with them. You offer your collaboration and expertise and do the work. Someone in that group will get staffed on a show. Someone will win an indie film fest award. Someone will book a huge editing job and need an assistant. Someone…

You get the idea. Build your tribe. Work hard, work smart, and be kind; those people will remember you and will reach out to you as they (and you) move up these stair levels. 

Don’t worry about meeting the “right” people because that’s an absolutely impossible battle. You will never position yourself correctly to meet everyone you think is “right”. Also… you never know who is right. You never know who will blow up. So I think it’s a much better return on your time to simply find who  you like, cultivate those relationships, and continue to do good work.

I personally find no value in “networking events”. There are way too many people all trying to make better contacts and that’s not the kind of relationship I find sustainable in this industry; I want to meet people I love working with. Think about it: you’re on set for 16, 18 hours a day. Who do you want with you in those trenches? Someone you enjoy or someone you think can propel your career? For me, 100%, it’s the former; if nothing else, because people are way more interested in THEIR careers than yours. 

So to sum up: don’t worry about your stair level. Keep doing good work, keep asking questions, and you will move forward. 

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#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Top Day Jobs for Actors & Writers

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