Youth Blogger

/Youth Blogger

Youth Blog: The Archer Shoot Part 3

By | 2018-01-26T23:32:10+00:00 January 26th, 2018|Behind the Scenes, Youth Blogger|

The Shoot!

It is a beautiful thing to finally see something you have spent so much time on come to life.

November 5th was a day I had been looking forward to for almost six months. As the four other Archer girls and I showed up to Julie’s house, we entered into a familiar, all-female environment. It was so odd to think that all the hard work and preparation was about to come down to the next five or six hours. We were excited to soak up as much information as possible from our Look What SHE Did! mentors and then begin working by ourselves.

These were our roles for the day:
Cat Oriel: Producer
Sophie Evans-Katz: Cinematographer
Lucia Barker: Director
Rose Shulman-Litwin: Photographer/Interviewed about artist Hannah Wilke
Nelly Rouzroch: Sound recordist/Interviewed about journalist Ethel L. Payne

Similar to the Ebell Shoot, my tasks included making sure we stayed on schedule, updating the slate and changing camera batteries. Since I had already shadowed Courtney, I got to work right away backing up data.

The plan was for us to watch the Look What SHE Did! crew do two interviews with social media influencers Brittany Ashley and Gaby Dunn, and then for us to take control for the last two.

First, we observed Sev Kastrati work behind the camera as Julie directed and interviewed Brittany Ashley. Brittany spoke about research professor Brené Brown, who is well known for her TED Talk entitled “The Power of Vulnerability.” For the second interview of the day, Gaby Dunn spoke about NASA aerospace engineer and mathematician Dr. Christine Darden.

In the afternoon, it was our turn. Rose spoke about artist Hannah Wilke, and then Nelly told us about journalist Ethel L. Payne. Lucia asked them questions, while Sophie filmed.

I liked how Rose and Nelly spoke about how those women have influenced their work as an artist and a journalist, respectively. It made me realize that Look What SHE Did! does more than simply tell the stories of women who deserve more credit. By talking about those who inspire us and sharing their stories, we are also talking about ourselves. We are revealing our own values and beliefs. The people we look up to give others insight into who we are and who we strive to be.

Rose and Nelly both spoke so gracefully, comfortably, candidly and passionately. I was impressed by Lucia, because I could tell she helped them feel comfortable. She made it feel as if they were having a normal conversation, just like Julie does. And when I transferred the data onto the computer, I admired Sophie’s beautiful camera work. I was so happy to have such a great team of girls working with me and making this all possible. I couldn’t help but feel extremely proud to be their fellow Archer girl and friend.

Although the shoot is complete, there is still a lot of work ahead. Once the videos are edited, we are going to plan a screening to further promote the organization. I hope we can create a model plan so that other schools could host a similar mentorship project themselves. And perhaps it is time for me to start planning my next video! Wherever the future takes us, I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store. I know that there are big and exciting things coming for LookWhatSHEDid!

Comments Off on Youth Blog: The Archer Shoot Part 3

Youth Blog: The Archer Shoot Part 2

By | 2018-01-14T23:40:06+00:00 January 14th, 2018|Behind the Scenes, Youth Blogger|

Planning the Archer Shoot

Looking back at our initial ideas, the actual shoot looked a lot different than we originally thought it would. From the time we started planning in September to filming day in November, a lot of things happened and changed. But, as I’ve written before, sometimes things don’t go according to plan, and it is usually for the better.

When thinking about the location for the shoot, our high school seemed like the perfect place to film, and we were excited about the idea of filming in Archer’s beautiful central courtyard. However, because of the amount of construction on campus, Archer was not able to accommodate this activity, but still offered to support us in any way possible. We decided to film in Julie’s backyard instead.

When writing the grant, we were planning to have 8 girls total on our team. These roles included a producer, director, cinematographer, sound recordist and 4 interviewees. I initially wanted to reach out to members of different leadership club who could fill out applications about why they should be selected to be interviewed, but I did not want to add more stress to girls’ already hectic workload.

I sent out an email to my entire grade of about 80 girls, and I reached out individually to the girls who attended our small meeting in May. I also approached girls who I thought would be interested, like if they were in the film class or theater. Since this time of the year is really hectic for seniors trying balance schoolwork and extracurriculars with meeting college application deadlines, a lot of girls who were interested simply did not have the time. I still was able to put together a team of 7 other girls that were very excited about the project.

A few weeks before the shoot, Courtney Graham reached out to me about how LWSD! started working with a few consultants at Buzzfeed to help the organization increase their social media presence. She told me that they offered to connect us with YouTubers/social influencers who wanted to be interviewed about the women who inspired them. This was perfect timing because three of the crew members were no longer able to make it. Plus, when I told the girls on the team that we would have the opportunity to work with members of Buzzfeed/YouTubers, they were even more excited to be part of the project.

After finally figuring out my team members and everyone’s roles, I also worked with our film teacher to borrow the necessary equipment, like cameras, SD/video cards, batteries and tripods.We figured it would be best to use Archer’s equipment, since girls should be learning on the cameras that we have available to us at school.

What was once a crew of 8 shrunk down to 5, but I always had complete faith that we were going to make it work. With everything ready to go, I left school on Friday with the cameras and other equipment from our media space and prepared for our shoot on Sunday, November 5.

Comments Off on Youth Blog: The Archer Shoot Part 2

Youth Blog: The Archer Shoot Part 1

By | 2018-01-14T23:35:25+00:00 January 14th, 2018|Behind the Scenes, Youth Blogger|

Applying for the Center for Cultural Innovation’s Investing in Tomorrow Organizational Grant

On May 31, more than two months after attending my first Look What SHE Did! event, I received an email from Julie Hébert about applying for the Investing in Tomorrow Organizational Grant through the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI).

With the support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, CCI created this grant program to support new arts leadership in California. They were looking to invest in art/culture projects that would help address issues such as intergenerational leadership, multicultural leadership, inclusion and equity. The projects were required to be authored and led by diverse and/or junior-level leaders that are part-time or full-time employees or in some other way formally affiliated with the organization.

When Julie found out about the opportunity to apply for the grant, she thought of me and the Archer shoot that we had begun to talk about. Our idea was to approach the grant from an intergenerational point of view, because we wanted the shoot to be a mentorship program. Girls would have the opportunity to be mentored by a director, cinematographer, producer, etc. and then take on that role themselves. We also wanted to shoot to serve as a template for other schools in the future.

Since the grant writer was required to work for the organization, I became a youth blogger for LWSD! and wrote my first blog back in May then I began to work on the grant. I wrote about the project’s goals to encourage intergenerational leadership, foster new, diverse young female leadership in media arts and allow girls to improve their video making skills while introducing them to a large network of professionals. In addition to working on the writing portion of the grant, I helped create the budget. After a lot of drafting and a few revisions, I was really happy with the final narrative.

A few months later, we found out that we did not receive the grant. I spent so much time working on it during my summer vacation, so I was initially a bit disappointed. However, I know that everything happens for a reason. I still gained valuable knowledge from this experience — not many 16 year olds can say they’ve written a grant before!

Nevertheless, we continued planning the shoot.

Comments Off on Youth Blog: The Archer Shoot Part 1

Youth Blog: My Look What SHE Did! shoot

By | 2017-11-13T07:37:55+00:00 November 13th, 2017|Behind the Scenes, Youth Blogger|

As the News and Features editor of my school paper, I have interviewed countless classmates, teachers, administrators and even random strangers. I’ve always been a good listener, but I haven’t had a lot of experience being interviewed myself.

During Look What SHE Did!’s Ebell Theater shoot on August 13, I broke out of my comfort zone — I was interviewed about Dolores Huerta, Human Rights Activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers. I was extremely nervous for my interview, but in the end, I thought it went really well. During the interviews before mine, I noticed that they get better as they went on because the subject calmed down and became more comfortable. Initially, I was worried about not saying the right thing, but I soon realized that it was just like having a normal conversation. Plus, I think the candidness and lack of continuity are what make Look What SHE Did! videos so unique.

Aside from being interviewed, I also shadowed Courtney Graham and learned about what a producer does. My tasks included keeping us on schedule, charging camera batteries, doing the slate and backing up data. When we ran into difficulties, like noise coming from the busy street next to us, car alarms going off and the sun ruining our lighting, Courtney was there to help problem solve and continue on. She taught me so much, and at the end of the day, I jokingly told Courtney I was ready to take over her job. I also joked with her that being a producer means waiting for things to go awry so that you can fix them. What I said was so wrong, but funny and sort of true. I think of producers as creative problem solvers that are ready to tackle any situation and let everyone know that everything is going okay.

I loved being on set and finally being part of the magic that happens during a Look What SHE Did! video shoot. It was great that this shoot allowed me to experience being both in front of and behind the camera. I’m excited to apply what I learned during that shoot to LWSD!’s upcoming mentorship shoot with other girls who attend Archer!

Comments Off on Youth Blog: My Look What SHE Did! shoot

Youth Blog:Look What SHE Did! visits the Archer School for Girls

By | 2017-07-29T20:49:04+00:00 July 29th, 2017|Photos, Look What She Did! Announcement, LWSD! Announcement, Youth Blogger|

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In life, nothing ever goes according to plan — but sometimes it’s better that way.

I realized this on Tuesday, May 2, when I invited Look What SHE Did! founders Jill Klein and Julie Hébert to speak at my high school Archer. After attending their fundraiser in March, I knew that I wanted to get involved by introducing girls at my school to the organization. Julie and I agreed that a good place to start would be for Jill and her to come to Archer to talk about the organization, its mission and watch a few of the videos.

I was hoping Jill and Julie could come during an assembly or Community Connection period, but since we only had two more weeks of school, the assembly times were full. Since I was extremely eager to get the relationship established, and didn’t want to wait until the fall, we picked out a time during an hour long X-block free period, which is a time for girls to catch up on work, go to meetings, attend presentations by guest speakers or just take a break. I attended successful presentations during X-blocks before, so I knew people would likely show up. However, I should have accepted that the final weeks of school is the most hectic time of year. I sent out an email to the school, talked to a lot of my friends who promised they’d come, but when the day of the presentation came, girls who normally would love to attend a presentation during that time were busy working away in the library or were off campus on a field trip.

Expecting a bigger crowd, I was disappointed in myself and embarrassed when only a handful of girls showed up to the presentation. I ran through a list of things I should’ve done differently in my head. I thought to myself, “I should’ve sent out more emails, I should’ve hung up flyers, I should’ve just scheduled this in the fall, I should’ve done this, I should’ve done that…” The list was endless. But when we began I realized that Julie and Jill weren’t upset at all, in fact, they seemed so happy to have an audience, no matter the size. Instead of the big presentation we had hoped for, their visit to Archer turned into a productive and valuable intimate meeting and conversation. All of us took turns sharing an inspiring woman we would choose to talk about in a Look What SHE Did! video. I began by sharing human rights activist Dolores Huerta’s journey, and my friend Rose shared the story of the chemist Rosalind Franklin. At the end of the meeting, we all left feeling excited for the partnership opportunities between the school and the organization.

This experience helped me realize that sometimes things won’t go the way you expect them to, but you can’t beat yourself up about it. I was extremely lucky that things ended up working out well in the end. Although it was a small group, they were able to talk to girls that were a good representation of our larger community. I truly admired that Julie and Jill were equally passionate and enthusiastic in front of just a handful of girls at 10 am on a Tuesday morning as they were at the fundraiser in front of a big crowd. This meeting was the first step in an exciting new relationship between Look What SHE Did! and Archer![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Comments Off on Youth Blog:Look What SHE Did! visits the Archer School for Girls

Introducing Look What She Did’s Youth Blogger and Consultant, Cat Oriel!

By | 2017-12-01T00:12:07+00:00 June 28th, 2017|Photos, Look What She Did! Announcement, LWSD! Announcement, Youth Blogger|

“Women were born with two hands — one to push ourselves forward and another to pull other women along with us.”

– Maggie Wilderotter

Cat Oriel and Delores Huerta

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this compelling quote ever since I heard former Chairwomen/CEO of Frontier Communications Maggie Wilderotter say this on one particularly special Sunday afternoon in March. On Sunday, March 5th, I attended Look What She Did!’s fundraiser at LWSD! board member Melinda White’s home in Mar Vista. During the event, we were able to hear Maggie tell her inspiring story and she offered amazing advice about being a successful woman in business. I was truly moved by her talk, and that one quote has really stuck in my mind. Ever since then I’ve remained thoughtful about all the ways in my life I could be pushing myself forward, while bringing my peers along with me. And I felt thankful for all the powerful women who have pulled me along with them.

One of the highlights of the night was meeting Dolores Huerta, activist, and co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association (which later became the United Farm Workers). I was a bit embarrassed that I didn’t know who she was initially. I almost felt angry with myself and with my history classes that I didn’t know who she was since she is left out of textbooks and lectures. But I think that experience really strengthened my understanding of the importance of the organization Look What She Did! There are so many women just like Dolores who aren’t talked about as much despite their vital contributions to society. Later at school when learning about Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, I made sure to tell everyone about Dolores and what she did as well.

Before I walked into the room, I didn’t know anything about the organization or its mission. But instantly I was welcomed into their community by founders Julie Hébert and Jill Klein and Producing Director Courtney Graham. When I found out their story, I was immediately inspired, but I was particularly moved by how palpable their passion for this project is. I couldn’t wait to share all of the videos with my friends, and after this incredible event, I left knowing that I had to get involved. I’m so excited to be joining the LWSD! team as a youth adviser and blogger!

Comments Off on Introducing Look What She Did’s Youth Blogger and Consultant, Cat Oriel!