Her best advice for people entering the film industry? Carry your own notebook and be prepared to book a hotel room for monkeys.
What were you like as a kid?
As a child I was happy-go-lucky. I was active, involved, and made good grades. I was pretty dutiful as a child and I believe that has followed me into adulthood. I am an Enneagram type 2 - I am a helper. It is my nature through and through.
I am a Leo, so I love to be a part of big things, and I love people. I was in musical theater in high school and college as well. There is something I really love about a team working together to accomplish a goal.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I've been fickle about this in my past, and was a little jealous of people who had this figured out early. I wanted to be a dancer, then an architect, then an engineer. My first two years of college were spent in pre-Engineering classes, but I wasn’t in love with it. It was work. There was no passion.
My uncle had suggested that I be a news anchor, so I changed my major to Communications with an emphasis in radio and television. Luckily, my dad lived across the street from (then) CNN Headline News anchor, Don Harrison. Don took me under his wing and helped me get an internship at Headline News. I had a great time working in all the different departments, which led me to realize that I did NOT want to be an anchor. I wanted to be an editor.
I eventually got an editing internship at Whoa! Films in Atlanta. There I began working on shoots as a production assistant and craft services in addition to learning how to edit. I discovered I was not an editor, but I did want to produce! So, long story long, I began freelancing as a production assistant and craft services and worked my way up to production management and producing.
What do you love about your role?
I love getting to talk to so many different people. I enjoy managing talent rights, dealing with contracts, and trafficking out commercials. I have a good overview of everything that goes on in the business and I love that my tasks are varied and none of my days are the same.
To be fair, this is my love letter to Sara. I love working for and with Sara. I met her at a Speedway commercial shoot in Lexington, Kentucky before I moved to Cincinnati. My first job in Cincinnati was working for Sara. We remembered each other and became fast friends. I began working as her coordinator and we came up through the ranks together.
What do you love about working at Aras?
When Sara started Aras, Sara felt like this would be a good role for me to get back into industry. I had taken a break while my children were small, but knowing Sara and her values and ethics, I jumped at the opportunity immediately.
I am 100% on board for Aras’ mission. I get to work for and with women who are driven in the same manner and have the same goals. Sara has always had a vision and I believe in her! I can’t think of anything I would rather do than be part of Aras. I feel grateful everyday.
What motivates you about your work? In general?
To be super corny, I am doing what I love and I try to make every decision with love and kindness in mind.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I have two teenagers, so besides the teenager stuff, I walk a lot. I play guitar and sing, read, cook, and workout. Some of these still sound like mom things, but you know, there is only so much time in the day. I have to read about how to deal with teenagers, cook for the teenagers and walk to keep from worrying too much about the teenagers. P.S. I plan 36 hour days.
What advice do you have for people entering this field?
For operations? Know your field, read about your industry and companies that are on the cutting edge. Get Grammarly and know Quickbooks. For the film and creative industries in general? Be flexible, open-minded, and always have a notebook on you. You won’t be able to remember everything. Perhaps the greatest skill is the ability to navigate a spectrum of personalities in moments of extreme stress.
True story. I was working on the Outkast music video “Bombs over Baghdad” as an assistant coordinator and the producer burst in the production trailer at 11 PM to demand that we book a hotel for monkeys the next night. There’s a scene in the video with two angry monkeys on pedestals (see for yourself). (Technically, there were three monkeys - “Phyllis” was off-camera and just there to make the other two mad.) The point is, at times this industry moves fast and demands a lot from you. You can’t stop to be mad or stressed - you have to figure out how to make it work!
If you were a brand, what would your brand attributes be?
Loving. Inclusive. Kind. Thorough. Organized. Dutiful. Warm.