Tag Archive for: Director


Diane Bell is a screenwriter and director of several indie films. Her first feature, Obselidia, premiered in Dramatic Competition at Sundance in 2010 and won two awards. One award was the Alfred P. Sloan Prize. Her second film, Bleeding Heart, is a drama starring Jessica Biel and Zosia Mamet, which premiered in 2015. Her third feature, Of Dust and Bones, which tackles the aftermath of violence is currently playing the festival circuit. In addition to writing and directing films, Diane teaches workshops on how to make a standout indie film. Her step-by-step guide to successful indie filmmaking, SHOOT FROM THE HEART, will be avail in bookstores from Oct 1, and online course is coming soon. The most valuable thing she has learned and that she likes to pass on in her instruction is to always trust your heart and to never back down from what you love. You can contact Diane through her website, https://www.dianebell.com/.



Interview Show Notes

[01:43] Getting started

  • Becoming a cinefile in school.
  • Teaching yoga in Barcelona.
  • When you’re told you have a great writing sample, but that it will never be made.

[04:00] She decided to find Mickey Rourke to give him her script.

  • Carrying around copies of her script, trying to make connections, and meeting a producer who loved the idea.
  • Connections through the producer brought the script to Mickey Rourke.

[08:10] Going to Wyoming to read and discuss new scripts.

  • One of the best creative experiences of her life.

[14:40] Making the decision to become a filmmaker.

[15:21] Overnight three films to be produced completely collapsed.

  • Losing these films almost felt like having a miscarriage.

[17:01] Writing Obselidia on her own.

  • Maintaining humble and low aims for this film.
  • Frustration at screenplays not getting made initiated her directing career.
  • Her movie wasn’t finished when it was submitted to Sundance.

[22:52] Feeling like Obselidia was a disaster.

  • Sundance accepted the film the next day.
  • Programmers told her Obsolidia was “just pure love,” making it stand out.

[27:55] The experience of Sundance.

  • On getting thrown into the deep end.
  • Her first film review was brutal.

[35:27] Mark Ruffalo’s advice…

[36:10] Critics don’t respect filmmaking in a certain way.

  • You have no right to hate on the work of others until you’ve made your own.
  • Good reviewers help you learn a lot and provide intelligent criticism.
  • She was told that she needed to do something bigger.

[44:44] Making her second film, Bleeding Heart.

  • Having to give up a lot of creative freedom.
  • The most important thing she has learned…
  • Feeling fear that if she didn’t sign for Bleeding Heart, her career would be over.
  • The energy behind an action is more important than the action.

[54:21] Teaching the filmmaking process to others because of this experience.

  • She realized that she chose herself to do what she wanted and that no one could stop her.

[59:30] Of Dust and Bones came out of her creative depression.

  • Questioning if it’s possible to change the world by telling a story.
  • Wanting to jump into intuition and go with her instincts.
  • Of Dust and Bones requires some work from the audience because…
  • Respect for films that give you space to wander and think.
  • No significant dialogue until 40 minutes into the movie.
  • The aim of her new film is to get it across digital streaming and let it find its audience.

[1:16:36] To make a film that has any chance of standing out and making an impact, you do need a certain budget.

[1:20:07] The best way to fundraise…

[1:23:34] Her book, Shoot for the Heart, is available for pre-order on Amazon and will be out in October.

[1:26:55] Loving LA but moving to Denver to raise her son.

  • Feeling like she didn’t know any “real” people because everyone was making films.

[1:32:17] You don’t need incentives to make movies.

[1:35:10] Working with Alex Ferrari of Indie Film Hustle on Obselidia

[1:39:30] The biggest lie we tell ourselves about making films is that…

[1:43:09] Throwing money at everything does not make for good creativity.

[1:45:53] The potential for people to monetize their work is incredible with today’s technology.

[1:47:25] As an artist, you’ve got to hustle and diversify.

  • Find a job that pays your rent until you reach a certain level that makes you money from the creative things you do.

[1:51:45] Colorado needs to make great indie films for the industry to boom.

  • The need to nurture the talent and support each other to make great work.
  • Diane would love to make a TV mini-series.

[1:56:28] Her best advice…

Links and Resources


Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!


Meryem Ersoz is one of Colorado’s top film producers and has worked on projects ranging from the $200,000 to $3,000,000.  Her local production company, Red Pine Studios provides local Colorado production services and supported the major motion picture Dear Eleanor, directed by Kevin Connolly.

Meryem has worked as a cinematographer and digital imaging technician for the Discovery Channel, Nova, Nat GEO, CNN, Vice and more.  Her latest venture, Blackwing Air Sea Land Cinematography is set to be a game changer in high-speed productions.

Meryem’s background as a Ph.D. academic and professor give her a unique and cerebral take on the business of filmmaking. Meryem talked with us about her unique insights into everything from understanding and distilling film, to her favorite adrenaline-inducing moments with her latest venture.

Show Notes

[0:53] Meryem is one of the only high-end producers who has her own cinematography reel.

[1:11] These days, Meryem is largely focused on running productions for Blackwing Air Sea Land Cinematography and being the occasional driver of “The Porsche.”

  • Blackwing Air Sea Land Cinematography is a specialty camera company that focuses on getting the difficult shots.
  • The Motocrane is a crane that can do 360 degree turns around a car from high to low

[2:36] Partners are John Firestone and Chris Delagarza.

  • Chris is the DP for the Discovery Channel show, “Shifting Gears with Aaron Kaufman.”
  • The team launched the product with a guaranteed set of uses on the Discovery Channel show.
  • “Shifting Gears” shoots in Dallas, but the team was able to shoot in Pikes Peak Speedway for the first use of the car.

[5:20] The high-end industry standard for markets outside of Colorado is to run these on a high-performance Audi or high-performance Porsche.

  • “We have ours on a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. It can carry all that weight and all that gear and still keep up with anything you could throw at it.”

[7:11] The team’s gimbal operator is John Firestone who has been a dedicated gimbal operator around Colorado ever since the Movi Pro came out.

[8:48] They want to be able to work with everybody in Colorado.

[10:15] “The way this car rig works…it’s camera ready, it’s meant to be driven.” The car can travel 30-40 miles fully rigged, which is value added for the industry.

[12:20] “We call ourselves Blackwing Air Sea Land because that’s our intention. For our demo reel, we’re going to rig up one of our jib systems to a boat, because we can do that.”

[12:35] The company has “three flavors of crane.”

[14:46] Meryem is excited about the flexibility the systems offer. “We can do high-end productions and smaller budgets as well. We’ve got choices.”

[17:19] Contact Meryem directly on www.blackwingasl.com to talk about pricing and services.

[21:00] Meryem has an unusual pathway into the business

  • Meryem has a Ph.D. and taught Film History and Theory at the University of Oregon and the University of Denver until her daughter was born in 2000.

[23:43] Meryem took a leave of absence in 2000 to raise her daughter Lucy, but quickly started looking for a creative outlet.

  • Made a documentary after Lucy was born.
  • In 2000, she started a women's film group.
  • “I was very compelled by shooting…I basically caught production fever.”
  • Two years later Meryem started doing it as a business in Boulder.

[26:23] Started making web videos.

  • Within a year, we had managed to land a gig shooting and producing for Television—The Boulder Peak Triathlon
  • In way over our heads, but we worked with a couple of mentors to make sure we succeeded

[27:41] That business partnership eventually dissolved, but both partners took away from it a vast amount of experience in a short period of time.

[28:06] Today there are so many great models and so many great reels.

  • If there would be one thing Meryem would tell aspiring filmmakers, it would be “look at the models, look at the reels.”
  • All the great masters studied under other great masters. They are all constantly learning from each other.
  • Fincher and Deakins didn’t work in a vacuum.

[32:34] Meryem's new business.

  • Services are run under Red Pine Studios.
  • Meryem owns a lot of gear and can bundle services and be flexible for clients.

[33:43] In 2006, Meryem connected with Jim Jannard (Red Digital Cinema Camera Company) on DVinfo.net and began having a conversation about frustrations about camera manufacturing.

  • Jim was collecting info to build this disruptive camera technology, which became the Red One with 4K resolution, raw recording, red code.
  • “These cameras just had a film-like quality. So I put down my down payment.”
  • Getting the RED camera was a defining moment in what she describes as leveling up.

[38:22] “My interest in film as an academic was turn-of-the-century film between 1895 and 1920.” Being involved with this new shift in filmmaking felt like living through a huge revolution in film.

[40:00] Making features was another leveling up process because it was a whole new way of seeing….”seeing actors turn themselves into someone else on camera…I was taken with that transformation.”

  • She asked herself again, “what can I do to level up?” Which led to her decision to produce a film called Minds Eye, also known as Quantum Voyage for DVD.
  • Meryem loves Donnie Darko and David Lynch movies. Anything that's cerebral and mind-bending.

[42:40] She admits that there are things that turned out well in the film and some that didn't. The cinematography was great, while a lesson learned was ensuring that the script is impeccable before the film is shot.

[43:26] A big problem in independent filmmaking is too few people wearing too many hats.

  • She tried to not do too many things on the film and primarily shot the secondary cameras.

[46:36] Working in a smaller market, everyone does some ‘one man band' work.

  • Meryem points out that the higher up the food chain you get, the more focused you get and the more dedicated operators you get.

[48:52] The film Dear Eleanor was yet another leveling up for Meryem.

[49:16] Mind's Eye was produced under the old tax incentives that existed before Donald Zuckerman came into town.

  • Meryem had applied for and received those incentives.
  • Mind's Eye was the first film in four years in Colorado (in 2010) to qualify for the film incentives.
  • The reason qualifying for the incentive was significant is because it shows how dead feature filmmaking in Colorado was. No one was making films that qualified for the incentives ($100,000+).
  • Denver Post article about Mind's Eye.
  • Today, the Colorado scene is very different….the state now has Robert Redford and Quentin Tarantino…and other films like Dear Eleanor.
  • Meryem says that now as Denver has grown significantly there is a lot more demand for commercials and other film content.

[53:39] Dear Eleanor really needed to be coast to coast and the team felt that Colorado could accommodate the production of it.

  • She got the script for Dear Eleanor and started the process of validating whether it would work by personally taking photos of potential sites for the films.
  • She says that doing the front end leg work is what likely cemented the decision to film in Colorado.
  • Dear Eleanor was filmed all over the state, with the crew stationed at a local Best Western.

[01:00:18] Meryem recognizes that making a living in Colorado as a film professional is a scramble.

  • You have to take every job you can until you get to the point that you don't have to take every job you have.
  • “You gotta love it. You've got to have production fever.”

[01:04:37] Colorado has a number of unions including SAG, Local 600, Local 7, and the Teamsters.

  • Colorado is a right to work state, which Meryem says has its upside but it also has its downside. It can be advantageous in bringing money in, but there is a disadvantage because big productions can't get the right crew.

[01:12:37] Meryem's number one piece of advice for people aspiring to make movies is: “You can't skip the steps.”

[01:13:44] Meryem's favorite projects include shooting at the Snowmass Fossil Excavation.

  • Snowmass ended up being one of the largest boneyards ever found.
  • “They were digging up bones so fast, they were having to devise whole new techniques on how to dig.”
  • “We were seeing all kinds of stuff… Ancient leopards, ancient buffalo, gigantic sloth teeth, teeth from mastodons and whole skeletons from whole mastodons….that was an experience of a lifetime.”

[01:19:47] The weirdest thing she ever shot was in Steamboat Springs.

  • She explored a series of connected caverns with an experienced caver known as ‘Caver Dave'.
  • Meryem had the opportunity to explore one cave, in particular, that was filled entirely with Sulfuric acid.
  • Caver Dave had discovered a life form–a sort of worm–that was able to live in the cave.

[01:27:00] Meryem says that the industry has a lot of ups and downs and that there are times when she is waiting for the phone to ring.

  • She now feels like she has done the work to trust that the phone will ring eventually.

[01:28:57] Meryem is an introvert in an extroverted industry.

  • She concedes that it's been hard for her to push herself and says that working with partner Chris on Blackwing has shown her how important it is to put yourself out there.
  • Meryem says that branding can be a lot like learning film. Look at people who are doing it well and accept the fact that you are, in fact, a brand. The sooner creatives can learn that lesson, the better.
  • “[Your brand] is as important to focus on as your craft.”

[01:36:01] Meryem’s biggest learning lessons are compounded into two sayings:

  • “You can't skip the steps.” Skipping the steps, rushing the thing that you want to do vs. doing what you need to do doesn't work. There are reason and logic to the order.
  • The other is: ”It's never about what the other guy is doing. It's always about how you are going about your business.”

[01:39:12] “Filmmaking is a vast expansive universe.” There are always people that are going to be accomplishing more than you. If there are people doing better than you…they are working hard to do better.

Links and Resources


Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!


A true renaissance man of film, Alex Ferrari worked his way up through the ranks from the bottom to become an award-winning director and writer, as well as a producer, editor, colorist, cinematographer, podcast host, consultant, and all-around indie film guru. His commitment to making the art of indie filmmaking accessible and relatively inexpensive to the masses has garnered a massive following of dedicated fans worldwide. He can often be found on the guest list as a speaker at any number of film and media events, and his films have screened at festivals around the globe.

In addition, Alex Ferrari is the creator of the Indie Film Hustle website and podcast. He has also created the podcasts Bulletproof Screenplay and Ask Alex, and has recently launched Indie Film Hustle TV, which is a fantastic resource for filmmakers on the internet.

Show Notes

[2:06] Alex’s background

  • Born in Fort Lauderdale, FL, raised in NY, living in L.A. for the past ten years
  • Full Sail Film School
  • Inspired to create a guerilla film school on DVD to make it affordable for lower-budget filmmakers in order to give back to the film community  

[6:42] Alex’s take on the value of film school, then and now

[11:11] Connections that filmmakers make and their value

[12:27] Alex’s experience with his first job as a tape vault operator, and how he got it

[13:50] Building his first demo reel

[17:06] How Alex discovered that he was meant to be his own boss

[18:05] How Alex made his first director’s demo reel

[19:15] Going into business for himself

[20:06] How Alex got into color correction and a brief history

[21:52] Jumping on the Red bandwagon, and adding more tools to the toolbox

[23:13] “You always ask for forgiveness, not permission… you just gotta hustle, you gotta be bold.”

[24:20] The highs and lows of Alex’s career

[26:49] Alex’s take on the allure of the film industry

  • The sizzle of the American media industry
  • Discussing the Indie Film Boom
  • Advances in technology and the next generation of filmmakers

[36:21] Building your entire business on someone else’s platform

[37:25] The history of Indiefilm Hustle and Alex’s olive oil “odyssey”

[45:43] Alex’s initial motivation and plan for developing Indie Film Hustle

[51:31] The benefits of having your own podcast

[54:02] How Bulletproof Screenplay was born

[58:27] The art of curating guests according to Alex Ferrari

[59:40] The exploits of Faith Granger

[1:05:02] Alex’s favorite podcast episodes:

[1:09:44] Indie Film Hustle TV and how people can get involved

[1:12:28] Alex’s typical work day

[1:19:06] The top ten books that will change your life… (see Links & Resources)

[1:13:32] Maintaining a balanced life

[1:21:35] Who would benefit from watching Indie Film Hustle TV? What kind of content is available?

[1:25:08] The best piece of advice Alex has ever received…

[1:32:35] ”I’m super happy making small, little independent films that mean something to me, mean something to my audience.”

Links and Resources

Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!


Kate Lowell is a director and conceptual artist and is fascinated with the unifying powers of an original story. She loves the harmony between visuals and sound and the way that they work together to create an emotional impact. Her experience includes work for American Idol, Odesza, and the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, American Ninja Warrior, and several others.

Currently, she lives in Denver, Colorado and enjoys avocado toast.



Show Notes

[0:42] The wonders of avocado toast

[1:25] Kate's background

  • Grew up in Lakewood, Colorado
  • Works for Profectum Media

[2:33] What is a conceptualist?

[4:35] The role Cody plays in the company and all things music

[6:34] Kate's media and video journey

[11:11] Kate's take on film school and how it correlates to real-world work in film and media

[14:25] How Profectum Media got started

[16:18] What do you do for entertainment when you work is all about entertainment?

[17:03] The definition of profectum, and how it represents the company's business attitude

[18:01] How Profectum Media is getting involved in virtual reality (VR) 

[19:05] The value of hands-on school vs. online education

[20:51] The future of Profectum Media

[22:28] Why Kate chooses to work in Denver

[24:52] How much do you travel, and how does that impact you?

[25:59] Discussion of how to handle all the gear while traveling

[28:13] The availability of work and logistics while in Denver

[29:46] Out-of-state vs. in-state business

[30:31] Best advertising and marketing practices, and client acquisition

[34:13] How Kate survives in slow times

[36:02] Recent projects

[39:59] Freezing time with Odesza

[42:41] Budgets then and now

[48:44] How do you deal with cash flow and clients?

[52:53] Dealing with conflict and how they affect contracts 

[54:01] Seeking legal advice

[55:18] What makes great clients, and how to deal with clients that aren't right for you

[58:44] The benefits of saying “no”

[1:01:08] The admiration of Kanye West

[1:04:46] The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papsan

[1:07:55] Siddartha by Herman Hesse

[1:09:29] The best piece of advice for Kate, from the late Patrick Sheridan

[1:10:46] Why Kate's believes “fake it 'til you make it” is horrible advice

[1:16:44] Kate's biggest lesson over the last year

[1:21:36] The best life lesson


Links and Resources


Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!


As a youth, Jeanne grew up in New York.  Then, as a young adult, she made her way out to Colorado studied art at the University of Colorado.

Over the next few years, Jeanne worked as a graphic designer and then art director for the KUSA television station.  Early on, she started requesting opportunities for creative direction on set. People took notice of her passion and talent, and she was recognized with 12 Emmys during her time at the station.

Jeanne then moved on to Colorado Production Group, which eventually became Citizen Pictures, and that’s where her career as a director really took off.

About 10 years ago, Jeanne and her husband started Mrs. K, which is based in Boulder, CO and focuses on creating branded content for networks.  Jeanne has worked with clients such as ABC, Animal Planet, the Cooking Channel and many more.  She’s worked with talent such as Oprah Winfrey, Anthony Bourdain, Mike Tyson, and on and on.  The list is very large.

Jeanne is known for a calm directing style with celebrity talent and for her ability to draw out performances not only from actors but also from “real” people.

Jeanne Kopeck On Set With Anthony Bourdain

Show Notes

[1:23] Jeanne’s background

[12:30] The value of formal education vs. on-the-job training

[15:12] Learning how to learn

[15:53] The value of networking during film school

[16:47] How Jeanne got started with KUSA

[18:26] What is art direction in television?

[19:45] The pace of production working on a news program

[21:34] Growing up in the industry, and finding local support to blow up buildings

[27:38] All about Mrs. K

[30:43] Work outside Colorado vs. in-state

[31:45] Dealing with gear and traveling remotely

[35:20] Why Jeanne resides in Colorado

Jeanne Kopeck on the Set[37:42] Growing a network of clients

[38:57] Marketing then and now

[41:53] Dealing with the competition

[43:49] Advice for someone just starting out

[48:18] The advantages of becoming the lowly PA

[50:29] Dealing with the ups and downs of freelancing

[51:59] How Jeanne learns and keeps up with the times

[52:45] The value of downtime

[55:20] Things that can help keep the creative juices going

[58:56] Remembering that working in media is a group endeavor

[59:57] Current projects

Jeanne Kopeck's Epic Work

[1:09:07] Working for Disney+

[1:11:48] Typical budget ranges for productions for Mrs. K

[1:13:18] Determining how much to charge for a project

[1:16:32] Good projects, bad clients, and how to deal with it all

[1:20:57] The reality of life vs. art

[1:25:42] Being a working woman in what has historically been a “man’s world”

[1:30:23] The best book Jeanne has ever read

[1:33:13] Words of wisdom that made an impact

[1:35:45] “Your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness”

[1:36:41] The greatest lesson ever learned

Links and resources


Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!


Sara Elizabeth Timmins established Life Out Loud Films in 2008 to create quality, inspiring, impactful films that champion women. Her films have been seen in theaters, the Hallmark Channel, Starz, Showtime, and internationally. She's worked with talented actors such as Jane Seymour, Ellen Burstyn, Chris Cooper, Josh Lucas, Mackenzie Foy, and writers like NY Times best-selling author David Baldacci. Most recently, she field produced an HBO docuseries for Mark Wahlberg‘s company and is in development on several feature films and a series. She also works as a consultant for both films and filmmakers and has produced national campaigns for companies such as Meyer Natural Foods & Laura's Lean.

Sara Elizabeth believes she has a responsibility through film to spark conversations that spark action, that spark change, and remains dedicated to encouraging the work of talented writers – and championing female leaders behind the camera while providing strong female roles in front of it. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, SAG, both DGA– and PGA-eligible, and was a qualified independent producer for NBCUniversal/IFTA.

Show Notes

[1:39] Sarah's Background

  • Grew up in Warren, Ohio
  • Attended Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Was always very involved in front of the camera and theatre until graduation
  • Discovered her love of film while volunteering her time on the production of Tattered Angel with Lynda Carter
  • Moved to LA for 7 years producing for others
  • In 2008 she decided to start her own company, Life Out Loud Films
  • Did a lot of work in Southwest Virginia, now works out of Atlanta

[4:06] The impact that working in Atlanta has on Sara Elizabeth's business

[6:44] How does a market make its own work when incentives are small?

[10:26] The production value of working in rural communities and locations

[12:29] What About Bob? and how to give back to the community as a filmmaker

[13:50] How Life Out Loud Films dealt with the economic downturn of 2008

[18:44] Braveheart and finding the proper perspective

[21:21] Finding the balance between business and creativity

[24:35] How constraints of business can be a boon to filmmakers

[25:54] How Sara Elizabeth fosters quality, inspiration, and impact to produce films that champion women

[30:21] Crew building inclusive sets and finding a balance

[34:13] A day in the life as both a creative director and producer

[36:41] Sara Elizabeth's workshops, and working with the assets you have

[42:47] Budget ranges and saleability

[45:36] The merits of attaching recognizable talent to smaller-budget films

[50:14] Ways to sabotage your film

[53:06] Some of the realities of commercial and theatrical distribution

[55:50] Walking the fine budget line with your cast and crew

[59:06] The feasibility of involving SAG and union workers in low budget films

[1:05:16] Fundraising money as an independent filmmaker

[1:14:18] The quality of investors and why they invest

[1:19:37] Developing a community model for filmmaking projects

[1:21:35] What you should have in-hand when approaching investors

[1:23:04] How much a professional-sounding pitch can cost you

[1:27:11] Consulting services can be a source of invaluable shortcuts

[1:31:20] Finding funds to put towards professionals to elevate your project to the next level

[1:33:37] Sara Elizabeth's advice to young filmmakers

Links and Resources

  • View Sara Elizabeth's credits on IMDB
  • Visit Life Out Loud Films
  • View the Life Out Loud Films Demo Reel
  • Connect with Sara Elizabeth and Life Out Loud Films on Instagram and Facebook
  • Keep an eye out for a new program coming soon: No Film School, No Trust Fund, No Problem!


Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!


Audrey is the executive director the Heartland Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). In this podcast, Audrey explains what it takes to enter a project for the regional Emmy awards. The discussion covers who's eligible, who does the judging, the costs, and the deadline.



Show Notes


[2:11] What is an Emmy meant to recognize?

[2:48] What qualifies as an entry?

[4:56] What exactly makes up t

he Heartland Chapter?

[7:09] The process of entering a project for a regional Emmy award

[9:42] Specifics on how to determine if your project qualifies for a regional competition

[12:47] Identifying your viewership

[14:41] What kind of entity/entities enters and wins?

[16:16] The call for entries

[17:19] Do you have to be nominated?

[20:12] How judging works

[21:32] Are you missing 50% of the picture?

[22:20] Understanding compositing

[23:26] Length matters… really

[24:35] Other benefits of entering your project for a regional Emmy award

[27:37] All about the Heartland Regional Emmy shows

[31:15] How many entries are typically submitted to the Heartland Chapter?

[32:31] Award logistics

[33:54] The costs involved in submitting a project for entry

[35:39] Credits on your project

[37:00] Determining the contribution values

[39:37] The best ways to reach Audrey (and the proper etiquette!)

Links and Resources


Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!


Jacob is an award-winning Colorado fillmmaker, a former mayor, and a former U.S. senate staffer. His films include a family short called Chasing Rabbits, and the feature documentary Waking the Sleeping Giant: The Making of a Political Revolution, which is currently in national and international distribution. He's also the executive director of a local government coalition advocating for stronger climate policy in Colorado.

Show Notes

[1:09] Jacob's Background

  • Grew up as a military brat, settled in Aurora, CO in middle school
  • Currently lives in Golden, CO

[2:16] Jacob's career path in environmental advocacy and politics

[5:25] Senator Bernie Sanders and Waking the Sleeping Giant: The Making of a Political Revolution

[9:00] The evolutionary process of budgeting when making a film

[14:59] “Making money” on a documentary; documentaries vs. narratives

[18:40] Getting access to characters for a documentary

[22:28] Building trust

[27:15] Utilizing referrals and taking chances with different location crews

[29:46] The difference a good editor and color correctionist can make

[30:47] Judging production length

[33:47] Thoughts on distribution

[36:31] A few different ways to offer screenings

[38:37] Working with distributors

[44:23] Where the most of the budget goes

[49:43] Mistakes were made

[54:30] Dancing on the Elephant

[57:26] Budgeting for a narrative feature

[1:00:33] Requirements for the investors

[1:05:00] Doing things differently with distribution for Dancing on the Elephant

[1:09:44] The costs of hiring locally in different locations

[1:14:24] The biggest “AHA” moments

[1:18:25] Jacob's biggest reaffirmation in the last year

[1:19:29] Jacob's biggest life lesson

[1:22:21] Advice for other aspiring filmmakers


Links and Resources


Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!


Denise grew up in Texas and graduated from Texas State University with a bachelor in Fine Arts and Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Directing. After working her way up in the film industry as an intern, PA, location assistant, and second assistant director, she became a member of the Director's Guild of America in 1993 in the category of Assistant Director. Since then she's moved from Second Second AD to Key Second AD, and on to First AD where she currently works on commercials and feature films.

During her career, Denise has worked on known projects such as Dumb and Dumber, The Bucket List, Switchback, The Laramie Project, and Things to Do In Denver When You're Dead.

Show Notes

[1:39] Denise's Background

  • Grew up in Bay City, Texas
  • Went to school at Southwest Texas State (now Texas State University) in San Marcos
  • Lived first in Houston, then moved to Denver in 1986
  • Currently lives in Arvada, CO

[02:19] The roles and responsibilities of an Assistant Director

[04:08] Defining the layers of an AD

[06:51] Applying creative problem-solving to people/time management

[09:02] The myriad of ADs on larger sets and what they do

[11:12] Denise's career path

[15:01] How much time does it take to become a First Assistant Director?

[18:25] How to do the time to keep your rep as an AD

[20:14] Scouting for commercials versus 30+ day projects

[21:32] The ups and downs of being an AD

[23:36] The advantages of meticulous planning in advance for every project

[25:09] Why Denise chooses to live in Colorado

[26:55] Advice for people new to the industry

[28:29] The value in going where the work is

[31:38] Making a living in Colorado

[33:50] What all is involved is a typical microbudget project?

[36:36] Trying to find microbudget projects

[39:52] A history of self-promotion and how it works best today

[43:54] The universal truths of being nice, working hard, and being ambitious

[45:12] Dealing with slow times in the industry

[48:41] Denise's current projects

[49:52] Current trends in the industry in Colorado

[51:30] How does an Assist Director get hired, and who does it?

[55:46] Denise's mentors

[58:49] How to turn troubles on set into triumphs

[1:00:57] The feminine First AD experience

[1:06:29] Unsafe and safe sets; car jobs

[1:11:26] Working with David Sosna; Denise's book recommendation for ADs

[1:13:14] The best piece of advice Denise has ever received

[1:15:53] Advice for people looking to get into the business

[1:18:19] The biggest lesson over the past year

[1:22:29] Denise's great piece of wisdom

[1:24:28] The evolution of the industry in Colorado

[1:34:05] Speculation on incentives in Colorado versus other markets

Links and Resources



Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!