Many paths to success in filmmaking
By Keshia McEntire
Despite reports of gender inequality in the film industry, these local ladies are bringing much-needed girl power to a male-dominated field. With years of experience under their belts, these pros with Indiana ties share their secrets to success.
Meet the experts
After writing a story and realizing no one would be better at bringing it to life than her, Kate Chaplin’s passion for film production was ignited. She worked on projects that have aired on CMT, the Discovery Channel and VH1, before her recent retirement from the industry.
After starring in a commercial with Jay Leno at the age of 15, Amy Pauszek caught the acting bug. She currently works as a scouting and casting associate for Talent Fusion, an agency in Indianapolis, and she writes a popular arts and entertainment column for Current Weekly Publications.
Rasheda Randle has worked on the sets of well-known titles including “The Real World,” “Bad Girls Club” and “Deal or no Deal.” She has written, produced and acted in many interesting independent titles.
IMBM: How did you gain an interest in film?
Chaplin: When I was 10 years old, I saw a Charlie Chaplin movie. There was a scene where he starts eating his own shoe, and my 10-year-old brain wanted to know how they faked that. I learned all about Charlie Chaplin, the film industry and movie tricks. I learned the shoe was made from licorice, and he almost went into a diabetic coma from doing so many takes.
Pauszek: I’ve always had a love and fascination for cinema since I was a kid, so when a local filmmaker asked me to be in one of her independent films as an extra, I figured I’d give it a whirl. After acting in a few films, my interests started to lean toward producing, and that’s where my passion for making independent films began.
Randle: I grew up in the ’90s, and ’90s music is still my favorite. I would visualize videos to the songs, so that sparked my initial interest in the film industry. Initially, I wanted to direct music videos.
Did you go to school for filmmaking and/or have any type of mentors to help you learn new skills?
Chaplin: I did go to school — UCLA, in fact — until I couldn’t afford it. I never finished that degree, but I took classes and found mentors. I just decided to make my own projects. I went the indie route and worked with and learned from the best people I could find.
Pauszek: I have a degree in fine arts and theater from Ball State University and studied in London. Volunteering at renowned film festivals such as The Heartland Film Festival, Indy Film Fest and Sundance has given me the opportunity to meet amazing directors, producers and actors who have encouraged and motivated me to pursue my dreams.
Randle: I went to Indiana State and majored in radio, television and film. I worked with the campus news station, and I would do videos for campus artists, rappers and whatnot. I graduated, moved to New York and interned at BET, then I kind of fell out of love with music videos. I have always been a writer, writing short stories, so I started to get the filmmaking bug.
How can aspiring producers get their foot in the door with bigger production companies?
Chaplin: There are a lot of networking databases out there; Production Hub is one of them. I got a VH1 job through that.
Randle: This business is all about who you know and who is willing to help you. There are jobs that I received, for example “The Real World” and the “Bad Girls Club,” that are produced by the same company. Make a good first impression; they will continue to keep calling you back.
Can you tell me about starting a production company?
Pauszek: I started Wonder Woman Productions LLC with my business partner Julie Easton, who lives in Atlanta. We realized there was a need to help market and document film festivals so we started attending festivals trying to capture the important moments and successes of filmmakers from all over the world through photography and personal interviews. The best part of our jobs is the one-on-one friendships that we make with these filmmakers, and many have gone on to become famous.
What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers who want to know where to start?
Chaplin: Look at the resources you have. You can make a quality movie on your smartphone nowadays. You learn so much more by doing, and if you have an interesting story, people care more about that than the production value. Just make as many as you can, even if you do not show them to anybody; you will learn what you are good at and what you are not. Then team up with people who are stronger where you are weaker.
Pauszek: I would tell aspiring filmmakers to get involved with films that you personally believe in, love and have a strong passion for, because when you surround yourself with positive people with the same goal and (work on) stories that excite you … your work will always shine. I live by the words and mission of Wonder Woman Productions — Grab your capes, find your story and see you at the movies!
Randle: Research; don’t just jump toward the first modeling agency that comes to the mall and claims they will put you on the Disney Channel. Invest in yourself, and do the work.