Ep. 18 – Kim Ray : Producer of GAGA Five Foot Two

If you’ve been following us for any length of time I’m sure you are aware of my love for documentary films. So, you can understand my excitement to sit down and chat with someone who produces life on such a grand scale.


Kim Ray is a writer, producer and director. She recently produced the documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two, that follows icon Lady Gaga. The film premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and then was released worldwide on Netflix.

Kim has also produced the reality TV shows, MTV’s Made, The X Factor and Kendra on Top.  She’s currently in post-production with her short film entitled Violet’s New Life.  Violet, a 72-year-old who has just downloaded her consciousness into a 35-year-old synthetic version of herself, insists on going to her own funeral with her daughter, Joyce, (30).


In this episode, we discuss:

  • Attending USC Film School
  • Working in reality TV
  • How she landed the project GAGA: Five Foot Two
  • Why she doesn’t have a personal website
  • Pivoting from photography to film school
  • Learning to brag on yourself as a creative
  • How she has been able to land jobs in the film industry
  • Are you cut out for the journey to become a director, producer?
  • Learning that marketing plays a heavy role in TV and Film

What Kim is watching right now? The Crown 

What Kim is reading right now? Altered Carbon

You can connect with Kim Ray on Instagram or Twitter 


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What’s in my Bag Series with LeeAnn

LeeAnn is a writer, director, and artist reared in Germany now residing in Atlanta, GA. Before the age of 18, she successfully amassed a handful of awards for her directorial presentations. She received her BA in television production from Clark Atlanta University. Aside from filmmaking, LeeAnn is also a contributing writer for Blavity, Black Girl In Om, and The RAW! Tea and brews a bombass kombucha.

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OK so here is what I call a “minimalist, one-woman-crew filmmaker/photographer’s” What’s In My Bag!
I included items that I use for when I shoot alone – for hire or docu-short projects (ie Food Diaries). Oh my cat, Kierkegaard, made an appearance in the photo.
A “Vintage” Camera Bag – My father-in-law lovingly gifted me this camera bag that used to be his own and somehow matches everything I wear. Brand name unknown.
Neewer 5in1 110cm Reflector – I like to use as much natural light as possible. I’ll often use this to bounce more light onto the subject without having to use any artificial light.
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 Lens – One of my more recent and most versatile investments. I rented a few different lenses before I decided on this one. Although I hope to be adding to the collection soon, this one’s not going anywhere.
Canon 7D – The first big purchase! I did my research and found the best camera at the time to meet my needs. There are better cameras out now, but the value is truly created by how well you know what you’re working with.
Canon 50mm f1.8 Prime Lens – The kit lens that came with the camera. It’s very handy in low-light situations I may find myself in when shooting documentary projects.
Notepad – I’m always writing down notes, and it’s pretty much necessary to have in interview settings.
MacBook Pro – Although it doesn’t fit in my camera bag, I always bring my laptop to film shoots typically to dump footage. For software I use the Adobe Suite and sometimes Garageband when I choose to create the score.
CF Cards – Tip: Always have extra memory cards. (oh and batteries – not pictured).
Neewer TT520 Speedlite – I use this solely for event photography, but it’s a necessary part of my bag so it made it into the picture.
Shure VP83F LensHopper Microphone – This microphone is convenient for when I’m working alone because it mounts right on top of my camera. But I will be investing in lavalier mics this year. If you are cutting corners anywhere, don’t cut them here. #soundqualityovereverything
Monopod – It’s a nice alternative to a tripod, but I honestly rarely use it.
Slider – My baby. It’s great for adding subtly camera movement.
Lightstands – I use Britek that came with a kit. No preference, but make sure you purchase quality.
Not pictured: tripod, headphones
Connect with LeeAnn

Interview with: Heidi Basch-Harod Executive Director of Women’s Voices Now

Tell us a little about yourself and what role do you play with Women’s Voices Now?

From a very young age I felt drawn to do something to alleviate the suffering of people. I’m pretty sure this came about from the first time I heard by grandfather’s story of survival in the Holocaust at about the age of ten. Coupled with a curiosity about the world, different places and different people in it, by the time I got to college I was ready to become an activist, to travel, but most importantly to understand for myself why and how there is conflict and suffering in the world.


When I look back on my work experience and my volunteerism it is clear to see that I was on my path to finding something like Women’s Voices Now. As Executive Director of the organization I have this unique opportunity to spend time understanding global women’s rights issues from the people fighting at the frontlines through community activism, filmmaking and other forms of creative expression, government, and personal anecdotes of bravery in the private spaces of life. Introducing people to the universal struggle of women and seeing that moment of recognition helps me believe that the work I do is moving in the right direction.


What is Women’s Voices Now?

At its foundation, Women’s Voices Now advocates women’s rights through film, education, and activism. There are several pillars of the organization as well. An online film festival; a film archive of approximately 200 women’s rights-oriented films in the experimental, narrative short, documentary feature, and documentary short categories; our e-magazine, The WVoice; creative workshops; curated screening packages; and our fiscal sponsorship program for small budget films aligned with our mission. We seek to move people from empathy to action in the realm of the global women’s rights struggle.

Seeing a film is the first step, channeling the emotion and, most importantly, empathy generated in the experience of viewing into activism is the next step. This can be on the personal level, such as seeking out help to remove oneself from an abusive relationship; to a communal level, starting a letter writing campaign to elected officials about women’s rights legislation. Through social media and storytelling we became so close to our sisters in all parts of the world and began to see the common threads in the struggle.



Why was it important to create a platform where women can use their voice to encourage women’s rights that inspire social change?

It is somewhat unbelievable to think about how little women have to do with the way women are presented in the media. More and more we know the statistics – it’s mostly men – from journalism to the Hollywood entertainment industry. Women’s point of view is often packaged by men, so bizarre. When women are telling the narrative it takes on different shades. Also, women’s issues are simply not the focus of most people’s attention so we need outlets that directly, specifically focus on women and their experience of the world.

We all need to be part of this conversation, but it is certainly important to first learn and listen to women’s experiences in the world, whether positive or negative, personal or professional.

You have a film festival portion of WVN, tell us about the festival and how we can enter it?

The annual Women’s Voices Now Online Film Festival celebrates and awards the best films from around the world that highlight women in film and women’s rights issues that inspire social change. Each year, films are selected from countries all over the world and are viewed by tens of thousands of people online, internationally. Filmmakers compete for in-kind and cash prizes, media features, and the opportunity to have their films added to the WVN Film Archive for global promotion and viewing.

We seek out films and filmmakers interested in exposure and advocacy, and teaming up with WVN to have their films incorporated into educational and curated screening programs with individuals and our global partners. We have a Film Freeway portal that is very easy to submit films. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

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Do you also have future plans of extending the festival beyond being held online?
Our first festival in fact was a live, traditional experience hosted at the Los Angeles Film School. It was a very exciting gathering for those who attended to watch the films, as well as the filmmakers who were flown in from Afghanistan and the Netherlands, and also other locales within the United States.

However, we seek to be something a little bit different. We are trying to reach not only those who have access to film festivals and films, but also those who do not necessarily have the opportunities to attend movie theaters for either economic or social reasons. To fulfill our mission, we want and need to reach individuals where viewing these films will be comfortable and, most importantly, safe. We choose films that carry powerful messages and transmit the voices of women. Women’s voices are very powerful.  In our 2017 online festival, over 45,000 people in 195 countries were viewing and voting on our films. Limiting ourselves to the live festival wouldn’t allow us to have the kind of impact we seek to have, reaching the types of audiences we hope to reach.


What advice do you have for women who are deciding to enter into a film festival for the first time?

The immediate words that fly out of my mouth are, “Go for it!” But I’ve learned over the past five years that to be heard, one has to get one’s message clear. And since we’re talking film, it’s worthwhile taking the time to make sure the story is being told well. It doesn’t have to be professional or high budget or fancy, but a story has to be told well. This is important to honor the experience/story being conveyed, but also to actually inspire the empathy our filmmakers should be seeking from the WVN content consumers.

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Do you believe as women filmmakers we have a responsibility to use our voice to inspire a younger generation of women to become filmmakers? If so, how do we go about doing this?

We aren’t just hoping to inspire a younger generation to become filmmakers. Film is our main medium for activism, but it is not the only means to the more just and equitable end we are trying to create for us all. That being said, we strongly believe that film is the most efficient vehicle out there today for effecting social change. The way the mode of storytelling through film can instantaneously help us to identify with “others” makes it the most powerful tool we have out there to get people angry, mobilized, outraged, and ready to make change or be the change.

You also include Educational Screening Programs, tell us about that and why was important to include that aspect.

Quite often we see heavy films that are very powerful but leave us with a sense of helplessness and apathy. The issue is too big, the problems are out of reach, the individual can do nothing. Our educational screening programs are built to avoid this missed opportunity to make citizen activists. We provide context, expert speakers and/or the filmmakers who are affecting change in the situation that a film or group of films presents. Again, we are not showing films for entertainment. We have an agenda to inspire activism and a sense of individual agency. Without a little deeper engagement we cannot do that.

What’s next?

Over the past five years Women’s Voices Now has become something truly unique and special. But it has not reached nearly enough people and I want this to change. The time is now, that probably goes without saying. So the work is getting the product out there. All of our services are free, they need to be utilized!

As for me, on the side, I am always trying to find time to research why it seems that the male population has such an ingrained disrespect for the females. I am a writer, that’s my mode of expression. In time I am hoping to put all of my findings down to be helpful to others. If I find the answer maybe I’ll be up for the Nobel Peace Prize.

How can we stay connect with your organization?

Signing up for our monthly newsletter is the best way to keep up with our local and global events and happenings. Following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are of course good ways too. Emails are always welcome.

Ep. 17 – Lori A. Butts of Eric O. Moody & Associates

For Filmmakers it can be a very intimating process to bring a Lawyer on board as a part of your team. We wanted to take some of the uncertainty out of this process and equip you in taking the first step of working with a lawyer for your film project.

Today’s guest is Lori A. Butts, of Eric O. Moody & Associates Law Firm. Ms. Butts earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in Sociology from Fayetteville State University in 1993 and later received her Juris Doctor degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law in 2000. She was admitted to the Virginia State Bar in 2001. Ms. Butts is an active member in good standing in the Virginia State Bar.

On this episode, we discuss:
Don’t be intimidated to work with a lawyer.
Determining if your lawyer is a good fit for you and what you specifically need as a filmmaker.

Do filmmakers depict lawyers correctly on television or the movies?
Getting out of the mindset that you can’t afford a lawyer.
Why you avoid sole proprietorship as a business entity.
Why contracts are a absolute must and avoiding using Legal Zoom.
Should you share your script, or creative idea?

In addition Lori is offering 15% off of her services if you mention you have listened to The Creative Outsiders Podcast when contacting her.

What Lori is watching right now? Law & Order SVU
What Lori is reading right now? Safe People by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

You can connect with Lori on Facebook or Eric O. Moody & Associates


Legal Disclaimer:  All information on this podcast is for informational and educational purposes only.  Your listening to this podcast does not create an attorney-client relationship with me, Lori A. Butts, or Eric O. Moody & Associates.  If you have any specific questions, please consult with an attorney authorized to practice law in your jurisdiction.

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Instagram @thecreativeoutsiders or @shivawn_adrienne

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What’s in my Bag Series with Vanessa Crocini

Vanessa Crocini is an Italian journalist, documentary filmmaker, photographer and Emmy Nominated producer currently located in Los Angeles. Vanessa has worked on several film, commercial, music videos and documentary productions in Italy, Los Angeles and in the African continent. She has collaborated with the Italian national television RAI, Bonsai TV and Agon Channel. Her passion for documentaries has brought to several journalistic collaborations for several Italian film magazines and blogs. She mainly highlights and writes about films, filmmakers and stories that have a social interest.

She is currently working on her second feature length documentary, Street Poets, which will be out in 2018.

Let’s find out what’s in Vanessa’s filmmaking Bag?


Tripod Ultra 7000TM

LowePro Camera Bag

Headphones Sennheiser HD 280 pro

Panasonic GH4 + 2 batteries

Metabones T Speed Booster XL 0.64x Adapter for Full-Frame Canon EF-Mount Lens to Select Micro Four Thirds-Mount Cameras

Canon 50mm 1.4

Canon 85mm 1.8 (not in the picture)

Canon 16-35mm 2.8

Rokinon 14mm 2.8 (not in the picture)

Rode microphone NTG2 and accessories

Pelican Case for Cards

5 SanDisk Extreme Pro 64GB Cards

Hand-Free Shoulder Mount Stabilizer Support Pad for Video Camera DV / DC Camcorder HD DSLR

Ep. 16 – Minaa B. : Mental Health Maintenance for Filmmakers + Creatives

The New Year is here and we all have a long list of goals we want to accomplish. But, it can be overwhelming for my fellow filmmakers because we don’t have a blueprint for success as other careers do.


So I solicited the help of one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram to get us moving in the right direction of taking care of ourselves so our art doesn’t suffer.

Minaa B. is a writer who authored her first book Rivers Are Coming back in 2016 where she talked about her journey through depression, her addiction to cutting herself and her many suicide attempts before she finally found healing. This journey lead her to becoming a social worker, graduating from NYU with her Master’s in Social Work and she is now a licensed therapist.

She’s a big advocate for self-care and mental health.

Minaa’s goals is to offer hope to those whose stories have been erased and their voices made silent.

When Minaa is not writing for her website or working as a consultant doing psychotherapy, she is freelance writing for the Huffington Post and Conscious Magazine. She is also running her all natural skin care shop Sunday Mornings.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How to develop your Inner Strength. Affirming who you are, becoming firm in who you are.
  • What is Psychotherapy? Dispelling the stigmas behind therapy.
  • Why your girlfriend doesn’t qualify to help you as a therapist.
  • Do creatives have responsibility as filmmakers to depict therapy in the correct light?
  • Why you should avoid the superwoman syndrome?
  • Redefining what self-care is.
  • The importance of Creatives being a part of a community.

What Minaa B is watching right now? Binge Watching on Netflix The Office 

What Minaa Bis reading right now? Big Little Lies 

You can connect with Minaa B. on Instagram @minaa_b

Disclaimer: The information shared on this podcast is not a substitute for a relationship with a licensed mental health professional. If you need immediate assistance please contact:

Suicide Prevention 800-273-8255Mental Health Hotline 866-677-5924Center Against Sexual Assault 866-373-8300National Alliance on Mental Health 800-656-4673National Sexual Assault 800-656-4673Listen to Episode 16 here

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