The Family Jewels
I come from a relatively large family where I am the middle of 7 children - 6 girls and one boy. I have no children of my own, but from my siblings I have 26+ nieces and nephews. It wasn't until recently that I put into perspective the pool of talent that exists within my immediate family. With this collection of "family jewels," we could almost staff an entire film production company without having to hire outside talent.
In January 2017, Coffee Bluff Pictures, the company that produced Olympic Pride, American Prejudice (which I line produced), held a screening of the film in the town where I grew up, Winder, GA. When the time came to plan this one-day-only specialty screening, I only needed to send a group text to family members to confirm all the volunteers needed: ticket sales, social media, photography, production assistants, sound and marketing were all handled in-house with family volunteers. Anyone who screens at festivals, museums, schools, theaters or any exhibition venue knows how hard it is to find good help. Interns and paid PAs sometimes baffle with their lack of skill, or desire to even perform the physical labor inherent in properly assembling a step and repeat or even unpacking and re-packing a telescoping easel in its accompanying case.
On this particular day, not only did everyone show up when expected, but after receiving their marching orders proceeded to set up, execute and break down the event with amazing speed and very little direction. What a breath of fresh air! My nephews Jason and Malik, on step and repeat duty, had the hardware broken down and backdrop rolled and tubed before I could ask them to take it down, reverse engineering the process that I had only shown them that day on how to assemble. My niece Miah took all the photos of guests at the step and repeat and Malik uploaded to DropBox immediately afterward and posted on social media. Malik, who has thousands more Facebook friends than I do, helped promote and spread the word to help fill the seats. The theater did not have house sound so my brother Ronald brought his sound equipment (he moonlights as a professional DJ!) and microphones needed for the post-screening Q&A. My middle school and high school nieces Shauna, Daisia and Saniyah (with friend Sharra) handled the ticket-taking and gift bag assembly for our special guests. My sisters Lynne & Sharon and niece Candace helped manage things on-site and Sharon helped to promote and get the local public officials to the event who came bearing a proclamation! All in all, the full spectrum of the family talents were not on display that day. If we had to assign a function to everyone, here's what some key positions in our "family film production company" would look like:
CEO/Managing Director/Costume Design - Lacy
Executive in charge of Production - Sharon (also skilled in hair and makeup/master crochet artist)
Hair and Makeup - Candace/Lauren/Sharon
Production Design/Social Media - Miah
Social Media/Set Design - Malik
Marketing/Finance - Lacy
Prop Master/Set/Production Manager - Jason
Production Coordinator - Saniyah
PA - Saniyah/Sharra/Shauna/Daisia
Cinematography - Saniyah
Key Grip - Lynne
...to name a few!
Check out some photos from the event: