“Purpose Pictures” is the company name under which my husband Ryan and I make movies. We write as a team and produce as a team, but sometimes we help produce on other people’s films as a producing team as well. Our main focus has always been acting, but we definitely have more stories to tell than just what we are working on for other people. Purpose Pictures isn’t a limited genre or limited team. We are a filmmaking team that works on projects chosen on a case-by-case basis. But one thing we feel strongly about is education. We make sure to include an educational opportunity per project or in-between projects using the information we gathered from each project. This company education initiative can be seen in many ways:
Yes, we use interns (film students) in almost every department on our major feature film projects.
We have a relationship with the head of the film department at more than one College/University and do our best to include students anywhere between 1 day and the whole film schedule. Each department head is made aware that they will be training while on the job, although it may seem like a burden, it actually makes us all better at our jobs. Being watched is a good way to make sure we’re all doing our safest and most supportive work. Learning experiences come in all shapes and sizes and being on set is the best supplement to any formal film school education. Being on OTHER people’s sets is a relatively safe place to learn the job without totally being responsible for your role.
The students have loved our program and we have loved training and watching our students grow into crew members and JOB CREATORS themselves. We are generous with our support, time, and recommendations (written or otherwise). We recognize the responsibility of taking care of a person’s education as well as their safety on a working set. We also recognize and are humbled at the low-cost support we receive from these eager and amazing beginners. They inspire us, and we are undeserving of the joy they bring us. It is a beautiful thing to be able to have a mutually beneficial relationship with growing artists. It’s like I have 50 kids now!
I am a monthly contributor for MsInTheBiz.com, an acclaimed entertainment industry focused publication.
I am lucky to take what I’ve learned and reflect on how it could best be shared with others searching for ways to be the best they can be. My mistakes, pitfalls, and less-than-successful moments all have greater value to myself and the world as I share with transparency in solidarity or as warning to my peers and colleagues.
I am lucky to have written for Artemis Film Festival’s #WomenKickAss Forum, FilmmakingStuff.com, WomenandHollywood.com, Legacy Arts Magazine, Produced By Magazine (the Producer’s Guild of America” magazine), and many other sites depending on the subject.
I write from the perspective of an Indie-Work-At-Home-Parent-Filmmaker. It is who I am. I love what I do, and I love having a platform to love on my colleagues with inspiration or tips or just funny stories. We all need places we can go to read real life experiences of those in a similar field. It’s life-giving.
Ryan and I make sure to take personal BTS (Behind-The-Scenes) pictures and videos of all our projects but ALSO encourage others to do so and share them with us throughout.
We are sure to budget in an on-set photographer and, occasionally, a videographer to capture all that we do. Social media is great in so many ways. But the real reason we do it is to capture our journey for publication.
We have released a docu-series called “Landing In Arkansas” chronicling the first 3 features we shot in Arkansas with ALL the ups and downs and real life gritty details for all of our fan base to observe. So far, we have released the first 3 episodes while the last 3 episodes are in post-production. There are other types of documentary footage being compiled for future docs-projects as well. It is time consuming and costly, for sure. But it is worth every moment. I imagine we will ALL look back on this stuff with joy. I imagine my kids will love seeing a full format documentary with footage of them running around our sets. I’m sure some of our interns will love looking back on those first few movies and feel deep emotional nostalgia for a time less complicated on set, for a time in which they began falling in love with their life’s work. I look back on our work with such mixed feelings. But it is THE BEST! Make documentaries about every single project you make. It is invaluable.
Production binder compilation
For any film department or any film student that works with us, meets us at a speaking engagement, or finds us online, we offer a free dropbox download of our film’s production binders (often referred to as a production bible).
After a film is in the release cycle, I spend a lot of time compiling all the paperwork, including context, showing templates as well as filled out documents, redacting redacting redacting, and them making a zip file to add to the download link(s). Really, anytime you ask for this from us, I say YES.
I was inspired to make films once I had acted on enough film sets to come to the conclusion that I have leadership qualities, a knack for organization, and a passion for details similar to all the producers on those sets. I know that the body of work I have accomplished was built on the work of those that came before me. As it is with you. You will build upon the knowledge you’ve gathered from me. Just seeing it is paradigm changing. Visualizing yourself accomplishing each simple task over 150 tasks makes filmmaking seem less overwhelming and totally possible.
I like to demystify the process so that people with important stories to tell can feel that barrier to entry in the film industry is just a little more conquerable. And it’s an exercise in faith. The more I give, the more I put out in transparency, the better the industry will be. By design, indie filmmakers could never unionize, but if we assumed we had the powerful solidarity that we could have, then big things could change.
Public speaking engagements
Any time Ryan and/or I can speak at film festivals (multiple film fests in multiple states so far), School/College/University presentations (multiple in 2 states already), filmmaking camps (road scholars program), or other types of workshops and/or masterclasses concerning subjects on which we feel confident, we’ll do it! We almost always say yes. Giving links of information/resources is good, but what good is it if no one knows that we do?
At each speaking engagement, we talk about our education initiative and let people know that we will happily send YOU, attendee, our link as well. This is a great place to come in ready to learn and ask tons of questions! I LOVE answering questions! Speaking of: @JennicaRenee for any and all info I am legally allowed to share. Please send me questions, I’m happy to share one of many tried and true perspectives. There is no one type of journey, ask everyone the questions you have and weigh all of the advice to make your best-informed choice.
I am a blessed woman. I have been surrounded by and empowered by amazing people in my life. Not all in the film industry. I feel an alarming amount of confidence and am happy to be the object of ridicule or exposure. I want the world to be a better place and no amount of shame will keep me from sharing the lessons I’ve learned in the small hope of demystifying life for others. We can all progress beyond our mentor’s wildest dreams if we are transparent to a fault. I don’t need to give advice as much as I need to be an open book. In earnest. For the sake of everyone.
Consider how you can share what you know with people that aim to do what you do. Consider adding a commitment to an education initiative to your film collective. Consider what the indie content creators working together could do to the predatory distribution world if we all were readily sharing details about all the companies! It requires quite a bit of legal literacy about what is and isn’t legal to share, of course. It also requires a lot of humiliating honesty. I feel the temptation to bolster my profile in the world with careful wording in this age that values a ‘spin’ on events about how smart/talented/successful we want to believe we are. But if we could be painfully transparent, people could know us better and, more importantly, connect with us truthfully where we really stand. And your trials, tribulations, and failures can have a second life and purpose for others and yourself. Processing trauma and loss through connecting to others and sharing truthfully is HEALING to you. It has been healing for me.
I want what is best for you. Ask me your questions and I’ll give you my 2 cents. That may be all it’s worth, but it gives me pleasure to give it.