An Intro: Blogging, “Success”, and The Little Cow that Could

New York City • Monday, October 26th, 2015

On-location at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. Photo snapped by the great Christina Varotsis.

I’ll be honest, I have mixed feelings about heading back in to the blogosphere. Not that I was ever actually in it — I dabbled in all the various blogging platforms over the past few years, posting a few stories and then fading out. I was often writing about the entertainment industry, commenting on trends and movies and TV as if I was an expert in the field. Let’s be clear about that: I am not. However, I am a moderately successful independent producer of film and television in Chicago, and, only recently, do I feel like that success justifies me to write about it on a public medium in hopes of inspiring a small handful of others.

With that in mind, a bit about me.

I’m originally from Boulder, Colorado, and will forever remain a liberal, organic, health-nut hippie at heart. I grew up on stage as an actress, starting in the theater at age six. (I had the critically-acclaimed role of “The Cow” in Jack and The Beanstalk: it was actually a semi-terrifying experience). From there, I led a dual life until the age of 18: playing pretend on stage for 3–4 months out of the year, and playing competitive softball for the other eight.

Currently, in my hometown of Chicago, people often seemed shocked when I tell them I grew up in Boulder and no longer live there. “It’s beautiful!” “How could you leave?” “Does that mean you get free weed?”

Yes. Because I wanted to. And no — certainly not for you.

Don’t get me wrong, Boulder was an absolutely amazing place to grow up. I have a great family who encouraged me to follow my dreams and supported me in whatever endeavor I chose. It’s also f**king gorgeous. I love going home to visit. However, I also very honestly felt like it wasn’t real life: it can feel like (and probably is) an upper-white-middle-class-recession-proof-bubble.

So, after becoming a ripe, almost-legal, emotional young adult at the age of 17, I left for DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. It was there that I somewhat stumbled in to film. Long story short, because of my less-than-refined acting talent, I got recruited to help out for an audition for a film at Columbia College. The producer asked me if I knew how to Script Supervise (a job on a film set that tracks continuity and other important things), and I eagerly nodded my head yes, got the job, and spent the next 48 hours trying to figure out what the hell a Script Supervisor actually did. The rest is history. (I was actually terrible at it).

Since then, I’ve worked on (almost) countless commercials, branded content initiatives, feature films, web series, short films, and indie TV shows. I started my own company, Black Apple Media, while a sophomore at DePaul in 2010, was hired as an Executive Producer at The Onion before I graduated, and recently launched an entertainment incubator, Stage 18, in partnership with Cinespace Chicago Film Studios.

Only recently have I started to see myself less as a “filmmaker” and more as an entrepreneur. I love working in creative business — being the mediator between the creatives and the suits, and working to create a community that’s larger and richer and smarter than any singular project or person within it. It is for this reason that I’ve decided to start writing again.

My hope is to share my experiences, insight, successes and mistakes with you — and to challenge myself to continue to learn more about this industry and the people that make it so unique. Perhaps it is a bit self-promotional, but I firmly believe that everyone has an opinion and the right to share it. As I said: I’m not an expert. I say that genuinely and honestly. However, I do hope that by blogging on a semi-regular basis, I can inch a bit closer to becoming one.

Thank you for reading.