My name is Cheryl L. Bedford and this is my very first blog, so be gentle.
My story begins in Baltimore, MD, where I was born and raised and continues in Los Angeles, CA, where I currently reside. I am a Producer and Line Producer by trade. I had been teaching Producing and Line Producing for 3 years at various local Film Schools, including UCLA Ext. I recently resigned as Chair of Diversity at one of those schools. That is where I was going to begin, talking about leaving a job and re-entering the Independent Film World. Then something happened to change all of that…
One of my matriculated students was killed in an auto accident. Maral Servat-McDonald and her husband, Gil McDonald, were hit by an unlicensed, uninsured drunk driver at 4:30 pm on May 27, 2015. She died instantly. Her husband is okay. But Maral Servat-McDonald, new business owner and newlywed was gone, just like that.
Maral was a firecracker and we were close. Maral told me when she got engaged, sent me a handwritten thank you note for my help in landing her first paying job and when she found out I had resigned, vowed to stay in touch and work with me professionally. Maral had started building her own casting company. She came to me to help her set her fees.
Maral’s thank you note used to sit on my desk. She walked by one day and noticed it and asked me about it. I explained that when I am having a bad day, I read her note and remember it’s never about me, always about the students.
Maral and I discussed how difficult the entertainment industry could be for minorities and women. She was originally from Iran. I wanted my students to incorporate more diversity into their films, in front of and behind the camera. Maral understood that. Within months, she was working constantly as a casting director. So proud of her.
So this blog is about all that Maral embodied:
Seize the day, because life is too short.
Do what makes you happy, because life is too short.
Never stop dreaming, because life is too short.
Continue to learn, because life is too short.
Be true to yourself, because life is too short.
Love hard, because life is too short.
Be passionate in all that you do, because life is too short.
Remember to be responsible to yourself and others, because life is too short.
Make a difference, because life is too short.
And make an impact, because life is too short.
We say these words and phrases over and over and they become overused and predictable. That doesn’t make the truth any less valuable.
Waking up one day, after grieving, with the realization that Maral was happy was inspirational. Maral was smart and capable and in love.
There are times when, as an artist, you feel like you have to settle. There is nothing wrong with a “day job”. Just don’t let that become the beginning and the end. Continue to work on your craft, continue to grow and continue to protect the art form that you love.
Maral, in such a short amount of time, made an impression on all that knew her, including me.
This is for you Maral Servat-McDonald; I will miss you.