“I think what a lot of people don’t realize is that sound is the most important. People tend to really think that the visual aspect of any story is the most important, but if you cannot hear the story being told, then you quickly lose interest and disengage. If you can’t hear the story, it doesn’t matter how beautiful it is. These days, we all have our phones; we can all make and tell stories. But as far as documentaries are concerned, you’re not only capturing information, you’re also capturing emotion. So don’t let anybody tell you that they can ‘fix’ sound in post production.”
People tend to really think that the visual aspect of any story is the most important, but...if you can’t hear the story, it doesn’t matter how beautiful it is.
“I think any kind of travel makes you have ears open, eyes open, heart open, and mind open. One of the best things about this job is that it’s a giant privilege to be in other people’s lives. For the DOVE® Chocolate shoot we did in Ecuador, we were walking into the lives of cocoa farmers who had been doing it all their lives. It was such a great privilege to go there and be in their homes and in their lives and to see their work. The great thing about traveling in the film industry is that you really do go places that you would never find yourself otherwise.”
“Something that has changed as recently as two years ago is the [surge] of more women crews — all-women crews. More specifically, the value that people are finally seeing in having more women in roles that were predominantly occupied by men — certainly in sound. The most important thing we can do is support each other and bring to light the facts that we are here and that we’re just as experienced as the men.
“I think what has changed is that there’s more interest in women’s stories. More women are making films and realizing that they can also have women crews. It’s almost like people just didn’t think of it. They just kept on hiring men; they didn’t think women did these jobs.
“Not seeing enough women in these roles was and is a big deterrent. If you’re a woman and you’re in a field that’s predominantly occupied by men, then you don’t see that you can be yourself and approach the job from your own perspective.
If you’re a woman and you’re in a field that’s predominantly occupied by men, then you don’t see that you can be yourself and approach the job from your own perspective.
“Mentorship can be as simple as seeing people in roles who are women. There were always a lot of women in the camera department when I was coming up in Australia, but there were so few in the sound department. It was still such a boys’ club that everyone had to be ‘tough.’ It was all about struggling, power, and who’s got the most important job. The job isn’t anything like that now. Now, we can get the job done in a way that we do it without having to act like men.
“The #MeToo movement was inevitable. I think a lot of men didn’t realize — it wasn’t on their radar the kind of behavior that was going down, whether they were contributing to it or not. Everything has to change; it all has to change.
The most important things we can do are support each other and bring to light the facts that we are here and that we're just as experienced as the men.
“I want [my daughter] to know you don’t have to be so polite, and you don’t have to be afraid of failing. You can say what you want, and it doesn’t have to be perfect or ‘ready to go.’ Men are much more comfortable with saying something and putting it out there as an idea. If it’s not right, it’s okay. I was certainly raised to be polite and well mannered. And on one hand, yes, it gets you through. On the other hand, though, women should feel free and feel valuable. Your opinion is as valuable as anybody else’s. Sometimes I think women don’t have that feeling. That’s something I want my daughter to feel.”
Every time I go on set and there’s an all-women crew or a nearly all-women crew, I just think it’s about time.
“I don’t know what my greatest accomplishment is — yet — probably just staying in the game. What’s helped me stay in the game has been the stories and the people. The camaraderie in a film crew is real and fun and lasting. The skills that you learn being a part of a film crew — the life skills — are so valuable.