WIFMCO October 2016 Member Newsletter
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Women in Film & Media Colorado Newsletter
October 2016
A letter from Membership Chair Mariel Rodriguez-McGill:

Happy Fall, WIFMCO Members!

        I find that the changing of the seasons is a great time for reflection, and I took a moment this month to look back at all of the fascinating WIFMCO events I’ve attended since joining the organization in May. I am a curious person by nature (which comes in handy when conducting interviews in the field for my day job!) and I find that having the opportunity to learn from other women in my field is such a treat.

Here are a few take-aways from WIFMCO panels over the past few months.

In May, I attended my first WIFMCO panel: “How to Break into Writing for Screen & TV as a Woman in Colorado”. While my work tends to be on the non-fiction side, I found myself inspired by the stories shared by Trai Cartwright, Kathryn Gould and Sibyl Gardner, three incredible women who have found a niche for themselves in the world of narrative writing. During this presentation, Sibyl shared that she took some time off from writing for television (ahem, she was a writer on three seasons of Nashville!) to explore who she is as a writer, to find her voice. Her experience buying a cabin in the Colorado mountains and taking the time to write every single day – whether it was poetry or in her journal – made me realize the importance of taking a step away from day-to-day tasks to let those creative juices flow.

June’s panel, “Behind the Lens: Women in Cinematography” shed light on the women capturing the visuals we all love to view on the silver screen, on television, or in Tricia Mentor’s case, at one of the most beautiful venues in Colorado – Red Rocks Amphitheatre! I loved Tricia’s stories of working with an all-female crew of cinematographers at this venue! Now, when I attend shows at Red Rocks, I feel pride knowing that Tricia and other talented women are the ones behind the camera – women cinematographers rule!

In July, I loved hearing Allison Otto’s experiences working for CNN’s Great Big Story (along with myriad other projects!). As a consumer of Great Big Story’s digital content, I found it intriguing to hear how these well-crafted videos are conceived and produced. A great audience question encouraged Allison to discuss her favorite cinematic shots (she films many of her own projects), and Allison’s explanation of capturing the smallest details left me with a desire to make this a priority in projects of my own!

Just a few weeks ago, WIFMCO hosted a panel up in Boulder focused on “Marketing for Film.” I think this is an important topic for any woman in the industry – because let’s face it – you can make amazing content, but if no one watches, did it ever really exist?! My biggest takeaway from this discussion was that the future of marketing one self as an actor, or promoting independent films, is on the internet! Facebook! Twitter! Instagram! Even LinkedIn! Having a consistent online presence, ranging from documenting behind-the-scenes photos on set to sharing exclusive trailers are now a requirement to aid in building an audience before you are even prepared to screen!

Over the past few months, I have realized that some of the best teachers in our community are our sisters in the industry.
The relatively new presence, Women in Film & Media Colorado is an important one as it aids our learning process, because (to paraphrase Lou Holtz) if you’re not growing, you’re dying. So ladies of WIFMCO, let’s grow together and continue to expand our education in the industry! I encourage you to tap another fantastic woman in film and encourage her to become a member, or at least drop in on one of our fanatic education events! I hope to see you at our November panel: “Lights, Camera, Acting!”
Enjoy the changing of the seasons, and be inspired to grow as a woman in film and media!
Mariel Rodriguez-McGill
Documentary Producer/Director
Membership Chair, Women in Film & Media Colorado
Halloween Schmoozer & Costume Party!
Co-Sponsored with CFVA!

WIFMCO 1st Annual Screenplay Contest!
Deadlines: CLICK HERE to Enter
Early Bird Deadline: Nov 15th - Free to Submit
Regular Deadline: Dec 15th - $10 submission fee
Late Deadline: Jan 31st, 2017 - $20 submission fee

When you enter the Women in Film & Media Screenplay Contest, you put your script in the running for $500 in cash prizes, a table read with professional actors and director, and feedback meetings with 3 Colorado producers!

In association with Colorado Extras Casting and the Colorado Film Office

Awards & Prizes

1st Place Winner receives: 
• $350 Cash Prize 
• A table reading with Professional Actors and Director 
• Script feedback meetings with 3 Colorado producers. 
• Two tickets to the WIFMCO 1st Place Winner Table Read

2nd Place Winner receives: 
• $150 Cash Prize 
• Script feedback meetings with 1 Colorado producer. 
• Two tickets to the WIFMCO 1st Place Winner Table Read

3rd Place Winner receives: 
• Honorary Mention 
• Two tickets to the WIFMCO 1st Place Winner Table Read

Finalists receive: 
• Honorable mention in WIFMCO newsletters and other outreach materials. 
• Two tickets to the WIFMCO 1st Place Winner Table Read

Rules & Terms
To enter, send us an original feature script in any genre. 
Screenplays should be between 90 and 130 pages. 
You must own the sole rights to the story. 
You must be a woman or identify as a woman. 
Writing teams are welcome so long as one woman is on the team. 
You must be living in Colorado. 
You do not need to be a member of WIFMCO, but members enter for free.

Early Bird Deadline: Nov 15th - Free to Submit
Regular Deadline: Dec 15th - $10 submission fee
Late Deadline: Jan 31st, 2017 - $20 submission fee

To Enter
Go to for details, or enter at

November 16th Panel
& Networking Event
A panel featuring the women who work in front of the camera, and those who get them there. Come take part in a community discussion featuring some of Colorado's premiere talent, casting directors, and talent agents. Whether you're an actor, director, producer or crew member there is something in this panel for you.
Learn how to host a casting call for your next project, how to conduct auditions for adults and children, how to appeal to casting agents, and how to find your light!
Offers, Programs and Workshops...


This is a one-of-a-kind class in which 6 screenwriters submit an entire draft of their feature film and as a class we read, table read, and analyze every page, every beat, every image. 
A very exclusive class for writers who are ready to pull their script apart and rebuild it with 5 other screenwriters and 1 Hollywood development pro. No lectures. Just your work, improved page by page.
6 writers. 6 weeks. 1 script per week.
Instructor:  Trai Cartwright
Fee: $250
Tuesdays, Dec. 6, 2016 - Jan. 10, 2017
1101 W. Mineral Ave., Littleton, CO
Register Here:

Grants for Women Filmmakers
Compiled by Christine DeHerrera 

Do you need an influx of cash, support or new professional eyes in order to complete your project? Three grants with upcoming deadlines offer the opportunity to take your work to the next level. Check out great programs for non-fiction features, cinematographers and students. 

Chicken & Egg Pictures Accelerator Program

Deadline: November 6, 2016, 5:00 p.m. EST

Projects Accepted: Nonfiction feature length films currently in development, or up to mid-production with no more than 40 percent of their footage shot by the date of application. You have a leg up if your film covers social issues.  

Each year the Accelerator Lab identifies and supports first and second-time directors, with a special focus on underrepresented voices. The grant includes mentorships and workshops with industry experts over a 12-month period. Ten grants are awarded each year.

Founded in 2005 by three award-winning female filmmakers, Chicken & Egg Pictures has provided mentorships along with $4.5 million in grants for more than 210 films. Among these films are Academy and Emmy Award winners that have drawn attention to global social issues, including human rights and environmental concerns.  

According to their website, “Chicken & Egg Pictures supports women non-fiction filmmakers whose artful and innovative storytelling catalyzes social change. We envision a world in which women filmmakers, representing a range of experiences and backgrounds, are fully supported to realize their artistic goals, build sustainable careers, and achieve parity in all areas of the film industry.”

Learn more:

Digital Bolex Grant for Women Cinematographers

Deadline: Rolling

This grant offers female cinematographers approximately $10,000 worth of gear and accessories loaned to shoot any narrative short, music video or feature film project for up to 21 production days.

  The Bolex website states, “The relationship between a director and cinematographer is the most important on any film set, and the most famous director/cinematographer pairs have collaborative relationships spanning decades. We would like to see women cinematographers and directors involved in that kind of intimate collaborative process, and hope that we can start to help move our industry in that direction.”

Learn more:

Horizon Award for the Next Generation of Female Filmmakers

Deadline: December 1, 2016

Open to female students or recent graduates who submit a directorial effort no longer than two minutes in length.

The Horizon Award was created to showcase up and coming female directors and provide access to some of the best minds in the business.

Finalists are awarded all-expense-paid trips to the Sundance Film Festival, as well as mentorships during the festival from the likes of acclaimed producers Lynette Howell (Blue Valentine and A Place Beyond the Pines), Christine Vachon (Boys Don't Cry and Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and Cassian Elwes (Dallas Buyers Club and Lee Daniels' The Butler).

Learn more at:

Look for information on additional grants, mentorships and fellowships in the coming months.

Christine DeHerrera has published more than 500 articles and writes novels and screenplays. She is a WIFMCO member and currently serves on the Marketing Committee.

Leonard Dozier VO Workshop WIFMCO Member Offer.

Leonard Dozier, SAG Actor
November 12th, Denver
To Register, call 888-670-3373.  Mention you are a WIFMCO member and get 50% off!
Seminar will cover 4 phases:

1. The basics of voice acting, technique and vocal preparation, how to use your voice. The industry needs all types of voices!
2.  Careers in voice acting (commercials, audio books, documentaries, animation, and interactive media).
3. The business of voice acting, the major players int he business, union versus nonunion, creating work opportunities for yourself, producing your demo.
4. Putting your voice and skills to the test (recording real scripts on the spot, simulating auditions - and you will receive a copy of your work!)

Leonard is an accomplished and award-winning voice actor for, among others, Coca-Cola, Ruben Studdard, and the Miami Marlins. He brings this workshop to Denver for a once-a-year opportunity to work with a pro!
http://www.leonarddozier. com/the-artist/workshops
Advice from Female Filmmakers


“Don’t give up. You’re going to get kicked in the teeth. A lot. Learn to take a hit, then pick yourself up off the floor. Resilience is the true key to success.” – Melissa Rosenberg (screenwriter for Twilight and Dexter)

Being a woman in the film industry is a tricky endeavor. Whether you are fighting for a role, equal-pay, recognition, or for success, women often have to fight for their voice and artistic vision to be heard in careers surrounding film and media. Thankfully, there are intelligent, brave and determined past and current female filmmakers who have battled the political trenches of the film industry who have come out the other side happy and successful.

Hear their words of advice, envision your future, and take actions that further your goals.

1) Create do-able goals – a short film.

“I love the short film format. It’s a great to place to experiment as a filmmaker and it is a different type of storytelling than any other form. You need to engage your audience right away with little time for development - that’s a unique challenge.” — Jen McGowan (director of Touch)


“My advice is let it flow; see more of what’s around you and what’s happening there at that moment. Don’t focus so much on what you planned.” — Beatriz Sanchis (director of They Are All Dead)


2) Stand your ground when asking for money.

“Without risks you don’t go anywhere, you don’t learn anything, and the movies that have been least enjoyable for me have been the ones that have kind of been by rote. Directors should always explore their boundaries — that’s where really exciting things happen.” — Ellen Kuras  (director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)


“Don’t lose faith in what you are trying to do, even though you will get pummeled emotionally left and right. There are a lot of NOs to any YES. And that’s OK.” — Jennifer Lee (director of Frozen and Wreck–it Ralph)


3) Build your network.

“One nice thing about being a woman in Hollywood is that the women tend to be very close-knit. All of us writers and directors know each other and cling to each other for safety and support, and it’s really a completely different vibe than the men experience out here, where they’re all trying to murder each other.” — Diablo Cody (screenwriter for Juno, Young Adult)

“It’s a team effort. It takes a lot of people to invest their money in you, to invest their time in you, to really believe in you. They’re taking a risk on a first-time director, and on a woman. There’s no reason to do it alone.” — Leah Meyerhoff (director of I Believe in Unicorns)

4) Write low budget so you can do it yourself.

“Don’t listen to the naysayers who say you’re a woman you can’t do it, I think there is a bit of self-fulfilling prophecy. I hear so many women saying ‘I couldn’t make it because I’m a woman,’ There is no excuse, get a RED camera, get a 5G, and make a movie, find actors. Just do it.” — Stephanie Joalland (screenwriter for The Quiet Hour)

“Save some of your energy for the production phase so that you can be more alert and active on set. Don’t kill yourself; give yourself a little bit of a break before you start filming so you can be your best.” — Nisan Dag (director of Across the Sea)


5) Stop waiting and make it happen.

“If there’s specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can’t change my gender, and I refuse to stop making movies.” — Kathryn Bigelow (director of Point Break, The Hurt Locker, and Zero Dark Thirty)


“Don’t let anyone undermine you or question your ideas because of your gender. Make what is close to your heart.” — Beryl Richards (director and writer of Recession)


By: Maddy Bombardi WIFMCO Marketing Committee

FILM in Colorado
WIFMCO Member Happenings

Happy F-ing Valentine's Day, co-written and produced by WIFMCO member and VP, Sheila E. Schroeder, was accepted into the Denver Film Festival and will screen Nov. 6 @ noon and Nov.8 @ 7 p.m. as part of the Colorado Shorts program. Valentine’s Day provides the backdrop for this comedy short that asks the question: How can trying to do something so good turn out so f-ing wrong?
The film features an all-Colorado cast and crew and is part of Project DU F.I.L.M. (film initiative linking mentors) at the University of Denver. The film starring fellow WIFMCO member, Jessica Anguiano, was shot on location in Nederland, CO.

Please come check out her film and others in the Colorado Short Narrative.
Tuesday Nov. 8th at the UA Pavilions 6:45 p.m

Tickets and details available HERE

Congrats Sheila!

Lisa Weber is a broadcast producer, writer & director specializing in non-scripted programming. Her work has appeared on HGTV, CNN, Food Network, Travel Channel, DISH Network HLN, DIY and more! 
As non-scripted programming continues to grow in popularity, we wondered if women in Colorado were involved in this ever-evolving industry. WIFMCO member, Lisa Weber, is well-seasoned in this arm of the industry, and we asked her to share a few highlights from her experience, and a few nuggets of wisdom.
When did you know you wanted to jump into producing television?
When I was a kid I remember wanting to work in TV. I loved those old “PM Magazine” shows that aired after the local news. (This was WAY before cable entered the scene!) In elementary school I used to “act out” fake newscasts when I had to present a report. I guess I was a TV dork at heart. Since I was such the creative type, I majored in theatre at Appalachian State University, then received my masters in journalism from CU-Boulder.     
What was your path like? Odd jobs? Internships? Career connections? How did you arrive where you are today?
Like many people in my industry, I started my career as a local news television reporter (yes, chasing tornados, covering city council meetings, and going “live” in front of dark buildings at night). I set up stories, conducted countless interviews, learned how to edit video (on tape!!), even shot footage. I definitely paid my dues. I worked in Wichita Falls, TX, Little Rock, AR, and Kansas City, MO. Throughout my news career, I loved feature stories the most, or the pieces that helped the underdog or highlighted the positive. Sounds cheesy, but it’s totally true. So about eight years ago, I transitioned into non-scripted and documentary programming. It’s where I belong. Plus, I don’t have to worry about looking good for the camera anymore, which was always a pain in the butt!     
Any anecdotal stories from your early experiences in the field?
When I first started out in the field, I used to be shy when asking people for interviews. I quickly learned that would get me nowhere and I had to take charge. Today, none of my co-workers would ever describe me as “shy.” Hah hah! 
Describe a 'typical' day on the job.
My duties change depending on the project. I could be working in a production house, my home office, or on location. Currently, I am field producing for HGTV’s “Tiny House, Big Living” series. A typical day starts with me working in a city other than Denver. I work with a production crew that includes a DP (Director of Photography) and other camera/audio operators. It’s our job to follow the contractors and family as they build their “dream tiny home.” This means I figure out the plan for the day, conduct all interviews, and decide which scenes to highlight and shoot, and manage the attitudes of everyone appearing on camera. As the field producer, you have to be the “cheerleader” on location to make sure the train keeps moving. At times it feels you are herding cats. I try and stay positive at all times to keep everyone else motivated. Then, at the end of the day, I type out all my notes (with time codes) to help the production team back in the office.  My work is then handed off to a writer who whittles all the footage down to a 23 minute episode.
What motivates/inspires you to continue working in television/media?
In my job, I meet lots of ordinary “average Joe” people accomplishing creative, mega-cool things! I love helping them SHINE on camera. I’ve interviewed so many people with a passion for what they do… teachers, dog handlers, chefs, designers, contractors, foster parents, dreamers, artists, seniors, people with disabilities, soccer moms, domestic violence survivors, travel buffs, soldiers, etc… the list goes on and on.  Also, my career has taken to me to some unforgettable locations – Madagascar and remote Alaska are definitely the top two. 
What is one thing you have learned in this industry that you would like to share with other women in film?
The entertainment business can beat you down. Don’t let it. Avoid jealousy. Stay away from work drama. Don’t compare yourself to others. If you don’t get that “big gig,” just move on. Something else will come along I promise. (Since I hit 40, I’ve gotten better at this.) Have friends outside the business too so you are NOT talking about media and TV all the time. Remember that in the end, we are working in entertainment. If you mess up, you can fix it. This isn’t brain surgery. And most people would love to be in our shoes.
If you are reading this newsletter and haven't joined WIFMCO yet. Please consider a membership. $50 annual dues. ($25 Student membership available)

 If you attend 5 events, your membership will pay for itself! Once we reach our financial goal to reach our non-profit status, we will be well on our way to being part of the WIFTI association where your member benefits will help you flourish in your film & media career!  CLICK HERE to JOIN
Copyright © * Women in Film & Media CO * 2016 All rights reserved.

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3435 Wynkoop, Denver, 80216.

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Women in Film & Media Colorado · 3435 WYNKOOP · Denver, CO 80216 · USA

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