2016 JLLB LUNAFEST® Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series – Anna Schumacher Interviewed by Alex Weiss

2016 JLLB LUNAFEST® Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series – Anna Schumacher Interviewed by Alex Weiss

 In honor of the upcoming April 10th LUNAFEST event, a film festival highlighting women filmmakers, the Junior League of Long Beach (JLLB) has created the LUNAFEST Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series. It will feature interviews pairing JLLB members making a difference in the Long Beach community with women making a difference in the industry.

 Follow the Q & A Interview Series at twitter.com/JL_LongBeach to find out when the next interviews will be posted. For more information about LUNAFEST, visit www.jllb.org/lunafest.

 For our third interview, JLLB Vice President of Fund Development Alex Weiss will be interviewing filmmaker Anna Schumacher, who directed, wrote and appeared as an actress in Finding June, which will be screened at LUNAFEST. The short fiction film explores communication’s role in understanding one another through the eyes of a deaf women who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.

 Anna will be participating in the Q & A filmmakers’ panel taking place directly after the screening. The panel will be moderated by JLLB President-Elect Virginia Zart.

 Alex joined the Junior League of Long Beach in 2010 and for the past six years has had roles including Chair of Community Impact Programs, Vice President overseeing Community Programs and Advocacy, and now most recently, Vice President of Fund Development. Alex has always known that an innate part of herself has the need to give back to the community to make a difference and foster change. Professionally, Alex is the Corporate & Community Partnerships Manager for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and leads fundraising and corporate support for the western United States.

 Alex Weiss (AW): What is your current job/title (along with top projects in your career) and what was your first job in the entertainment industry?

Anna Schumacher (AS): Technically, I’m an American Sign Language interpreter by day, and an artist by night. I came to L.A. at the encouragement of a Deaf Studies teacher of mine from Berkeley City College to connect with Deaf West Theatre. At Deaf West I worked with the production team and quickly became immersed in the community. As I settled into L.A., I found more and more work as an interpreter, learning as I went and loving the language more and more. Through this I met an actor on the television show Switched at Birth, which became my Hollywood industry gig. As an artistic ensemble member of the theater and art production company cARTel: Collaborative Arts LA, I was also spreading my wings from theater actor to director, writer, and even clowning. I did my first film in the spring of 2013, about a year after I moved to L.A.

 AW: What does your typical day look like?

AS: It varies, though it certainly always starts with walking three whiny puppies earlier than I’d like! Freelance interpreting means on any given day I could be working in a school, court, or doctors’ office. This work takes me all over town with all kinds of folks. I make time every day to connect with me, via yoga and writing. I have an almost daily habit of reviewing previous writing exercises to re-write and re-imagine. My favorite days are when production is imminent and I’m in producer mode, tying up loose ends by scouting, making shot lists, and getting notes from those I send my work to.

 AW: What are three key aspects of your job (e.g., producing, developing relationships) and what are three qualities that are key to being successful in it (e.g., persistence, flexibility)? 

 AS: For this question I’ll call my job filmmaking as it’s a piece of what makes me tick. Three aspects of this work are candor, tenacity, belief. The people who succeed respect the time and talents of their team and believe in the work being made, full stop. They aren’t above sending email after email asking for help when they need it.

 AW: What is your favorite part of the job?

AS: Watching a project you love take tangible shape is humbling and empowering — two of the best feelings there are.

 AW: Who or what inspires you creatively?

 AS: I think a lot in pictures. An example I often use: sometimes I’m out and maybe it’s raining. I’ve forgotten a jacket so I’m feeling bemused, and then I see a woman at a bus stop with a plastic bag full of socks and a cat on a neon green leash. (I live in Hollywood!) What a scene. So I think, whose socks are those? Who is this woman? Who walks their cat anyway? And then my mind goes. Like the non-Spanish speaker watching a telenovela, I begin to imagine the life I’m seeing. It’s so cool to know that I can literally look at the world around me, pause longer than most do, and be inspired to write a scene, a life, a story.

 AW: What advice would you give to women who want to work in the industry or do what you do?

AS: Please do what moves you, and be kind while you do it, but without apology. As women we are conditioned to say sorry, or even to question ourselves and our ability. People will push back, they’ll require more from you. It can feel bleak out there, but I believe that if you embrace your true self, you can be a formidable player and make your mark. Or to say it another way, and to paraphrase fellow filmmaker Meg Smaker: Regardless of anatomy, if you’re embracing your femme self, you’re being a badass extraordinaire.

Find out more about Anna Schumacher below.

http://www.lunafest.org/the-films/details/finding-june

This interview was edited by Rachael Rifkin, a Public Relations member of the Junior League of Long Beach. She has been in the league since January of 2012 because she believes in positive community programs. When she’s not doing JLLB activities, she’s a ghostwriter/personal historian who blogs about the traits we inherit and the qualities we find only in ourselves.

2016 JLLB LUNAFEST® Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series: Sarah Feeley

Interviewed by Summer Smith

In honor of the upcoming April 10th LUNAFEST event, a film festival highlighting women filmmakers, the Junior League of Long Beach (JLLB) has created the LUNAFEST Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series. It features interviews pairing JLLB members making a difference in the Long Beach community with women making a difference in the industry.

Follow the Q & A Interview Series at twitter.com/JL_LongBeach to find out when the next interviews will be posted. For more information about LUNAFEST, visitwww.jllb.org/lunafest.

 For our second interview, JLLB member and LUNAFEST Event Chair-Elect Summer Smith will be interviewing Sarah Feeley, director and producer of Raising Ryland, a documentary that will be screened at the 2016 JLLB LUNAFEST Film Festival. The film takes an intimate look inside the transgender experience as lived by a 6-year-old boy and his loving parents. Sarah will be participating in the Q & A filmmakers’ panel taking place directly after the screening. The panel will be moderated by JLLB President-Elect Virginia Zart.

 Sarah Feeley is also the creator and executive producer of My Side of the Sky, a breakout Hulu Spotlight series, and has worked on the Corpse Bride, PBS’ documentary series This Emotional Life, the documentary TV series The Freedom Files, the movie Warcase, and a variety of commercials. In addition, she writes for film, television, and advertising.

 Summer Smith joined JLLB in 2013, ready to roll up her sleeves with other committed and caring women, and eager to take advantage of the leadership development opportunities the league has to offer. Summer’s day job is in non-profit fundraising and administration for an outpatient behavioral health care provider, servicing foster care youth in Long Beach and surrounding areas.

 Summer Smith (SS): What is your current job/title (along with top projects in your career) and what was your first job in the entertainment industry?

 Sarah Feeley (SF): Filmmaker. Top Projects: Raising Ryland, My Side of the Sky, Iraq for Sale, and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. My first job in the entertainment industry was a paid internship at Hanna-Barbera.

 SS: What does your typical day look like?

 SF: It depends on the day. Every day is a little bit different. I could have an early call time and be on set or in the field. I could be losing track of time writing, editing, or creating. I could be in back-to-back meetings trying to sell a project. I could be leading my team through a difficult production or creative challenge. I could be managing the health of my business.

 SS: What are three key aspects of your job (e.g., producing, developing relationships) and what are three qualities that are key to being successful in it (e.g., persistence, flexibility)? 

 SF: Three key aspects of my job are creativity, abstract thinking and connecting-the-dots. Three qualities that are key to being successful in the entertainment business are drive, resilience, and optimism.

 SS: What is your favorite part of the job?

 SF: I have two favorite parts of the job. The first is getting the greenlight, and the second is seeing the impact my work has on audiences. All the parts in between are exhilarating, excruciating and wonderful, often at the same time.

 SS: Who or what inspires you creatively?

 SF: I recharge every week by getting out on a trail and reconnecting with nature, myself and the love of my life. I am blown away by the staggering beauty of this planet and amazed at the sights I can see by exerting some effort. Our hikes are an excuse to daydream for hours on end. They are also a lot like the entertainment business. Each project is a slow, hard climb that takes a lot out of you. But, the payoff can be beautiful and that makes it all worth it.

 SS: What advice would you give to women who want to work in the industry or do what you do?

 SF: Dream big and go for it! Keep an open mind. Stay curious. Work hard. Have integrity. Ask for help. Help other women. The pay gap, opportunity gap and power gap are real. Become aware of the explicit and implicit biases that are holding you and all women back and change the system. Be bold. Be brave. Be yourself.

 Find out more about Sarah Feeley below.

 Company website: www.milemarkerentertainment.comFilm website: http://www.raisingryland.com

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @Sarah_Feeley

This interview was edited by Rachael Rifkin, a Public Relations member of the Junior League of Long Beach. She has been in the league since January of 2012 because she believes in positive community programs. When she’s not doing JLLB activities, she’s a ghostwriter/personal historian who blogs about the traits we inherit and the qualities we find only in ourselves.

2016 JLLB LUNAFEST® Women in Entertainment

2016 JLLB LUNAFEST® Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series: Karen Foster Interviewed by Ashley Hopkins

 In honor of our upcoming April 10th LUNAFEST event, a film festival highlighting women filmmakers, the Junior League of Long Beach (JLLB) has created the LUNAFEST Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series. It will feature interviews pairing JLLB members making a difference in the Long Beach community with women making a difference in the industry.

Follow the Q & A Interview Series at twitter.com/JL_LongBeach to find out when the next interviews will be posted. For more information about LUNAFEST, visit www.jllb.org/lunafest.

For our first interview, JLLB member and LUNAFEST Event Chair Ashley Hopkins (for the second year) will be interviewing Karen Foster, a producer at DreamWorks Animation and her husband’s aunt.

 Ashley is in her third active year in the league. She joined JLLB to serve her community in a meaningful way alongside other passionate, community-minded women. Outside of the league, she works as an executive assistant at a financial services firm.

 Karen Foster is a DreamWorks Animation producer who works on animated features, theme park rides, and live entertainment. She has over 16 years of experience in feature animation production and development. She started her career in theater, both as a behind-the-scenes person and an actress.

 Ashley Hopkins (AH): What was your first job in the entertainment industry?

 Karen Foster (KF): My first job in animation was as a development executive at Walt Disney Feature Animation. I had been working at a nonprofit theater that supported the development of new plays and the careers of the playwrights who wrote them. It was a fabulous organization, but funded by octogenarians. I knew that the theater’s lifespan was only as long as the funders’ lifespans, so I started fishing around for work. I told my friends that I needed a new profession, but didn’t know what it was. I hoped they would tell me. Sure enough, a few months later, a friend recommended the position at Disney. After five months of interviewing, I got the job.

 AH: What does your typical day look like?

KF: The nice thing about my job is there is no typical day. But in general, my days include a series of meetings with either artists and directors, or production people and executives. I am either reviewing scripts, recording actors, sitting in the edit bay reviewing footage and artist’s work, or sitting with production managers, accountants and production executives reviewing schedules, production strategies and budgets. If I am working on a theme park installation, I’m on site. But mostly I am at the studio where most of our animation is produced.

 AH: What are three key aspects of your job (e.g., producing, developing relationships), and what kind of qualities will help you succeed in those areas?

 KF: All of the aspects of my job are producing, but three key aspects are creative review, budgeting and personnel management. Keys to being successful in those areas are imagination, resourcefulness, patience and empathy.

 AH: What is your favorite part of the job?

 KF: I have lots of favorite parts. I work with amazing people, who are both talented and fun. I am challenged on a daily basis in many ways. I am always growing, using my natural creative skills and gaining new skills that are less natural for me. I feel incredibly lucky to have found such a demanding and rewarding profession.

AH: Who or what inspires you creatively?

 KF: I get a lot of inspiration from my colleagues. But the challenge of any given task is also inspiring, especially when it really is challenging. What is more exciting than creatively tackling the impossible and succeeding?

AH: What advice would you give to women who want to work in the industry or do what you do?

 KF: I have been fortunate to work at a company with many women in leadership roles. As a result, I may have had less barriers to success than women elsewhere. So, I am grateful for that.

 The advice I would give women is the same advice I would give anyone seeking work in the industry: follow your passion. Don’t let anything stop you from pursuing your dream. Don’t listen to people who tell you how hard it is. Sure, it may be hard, but some people break through. The only people who make it into the industry are the people who try to make it in the industry. That is the first step. After that, I would recommend relentless effort. Make calls, ask for informational interviews, do your own projects.

 The industry is rapidly changing. The methods of delivering entertainment are radically different than when I was growing up. The DVD market is dying and young men aren’t driving movie ticket sales anymore, they are playing video games. Young people looking to break into the industry should study the entertainment habits and appetites of their peers. That is the future market. Figure out the market and how to satisfy that market, and you will have a leg up on the people keeping their eyes on the past.

 Find out more about Karen Foster below.

http://www.dreamworks.com

https://www.shreksadventure.com/london/

http://www.dubaiparksandresorts.com  (Dubai Parks has a DreamWorks section in their Motiongate Park)

This interview was edited by Rachael Rifkin, a Public Relations member of the Junior League of Long Beach. She has been in the league since January of 2012 because she believes in positive community programs. When she’s not doing JLLB activities, she’s a ghostwriter/personal historian who blogs about the traits we inherit and the qualities we find only in ourselves.