What’s the most relevant business and/or creative lesson you learned in 2017 and how will you apply it in 2018?
I almost hung it up in 2017. Just before Thanksgiving, I came to learn that my newly signed director- with whom I was bidding several jobs- had misrepresented other directors’ work as his own. Yes, you heard me. I couldn’t believe it either. Who does that? And how did I get taken? It’s true I am a gut person; and I am trusting. But he presented a really convincing director persona with vision and passion. He had an agent who sent his work to me; and was in dialogue with other big production companies interested in signing. It proved to be a house of cards. It rocked my world and shook me to my core. But then I decided I would use it to help grow my business, not crush it. One bad apple does not define me or my belief in our industry and the talented people who populate it. Much like Trump does not define what it means to be an American. 2018 is my year to use my grit and determination, my passion and energy to seek out talented legitimate directors with whom I can collaborate; and whom I can champion. 2018 is my year to kick ass.
What are your goals for 2018, creatively speaking and/or from a business standpoint, for your company or division?
As mentioned in my last response, my brush with misrepresentation, combined with our current political climate, momentarily eroded my belief in humanity. It also made me determined to take that experience and create something good out of it. So to goals: first and foremost, I want to broaden our talent pool to bring on young directors who understand the world of content, and how to create beautiful film with an eye to an efficient production process. I also want to continue pushing the level of work that we are able to bring to our agency and client partners. To make sure that our talent pool matches the highest level of our network and our reach. And I want to continue to hold fast to the ideals that we live by— of being a trusted partner for our clients, being as invested as they are in creating smart, strategic, and compelling storytelling; and doing it all with authenticity, enthusiasm, and professionalism.
With gender pay disparity, sexual misconduct and worse in the entertainment industry—and specific examples of these injustices surfacing in advertising, media and other sectors—what are your thoughts on what should be done to make for a safe, fair and inclusive work environment for everyone?
We are one of a handful of women-owned and women-run production companies. For 20 years we have been on the forefront of having a thoughtful and inclusive work environment for everyone. It just comes naturally, I think, because I am a woman and I own the joint.
People have told me we feel different...as a place to work, as a place with which to do business. I came to own kaboom pretty much straight from the agency side and, as such, never really learned how other production companies work. All I know is what feels right to me: to try and be on every shoot so that I can represent the company, to be at the forefront of our “sales,” to bring a personal touch to all my dealings with agency, client and director alike; and to create an environment that I hope honors each individual and creates space for everyone to do their best work. So what can we do as an industry? Support new talent, mentor, discuss tricky issues and then shine a light on them. Go to the 3 Percent Conference and be inspired, then use that inspiration to make change. It is an imperative.