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Video Archives - Ashley Maria



My first Virtual Reality video, and it looks amazing!

Before we kicked off the Pioneers in Skirts™ Kickstarter campaign, the marketing team and I worked on strategies to drive up buzz for the film. We planned for articles, blog posts, podcasts, and videos that engaged with people interested in our topic.

We planned for social media to play a huge role, too. I’ve been using Periscope to show people what’s happening real-time. I then save the live video on my phone to edit and re-purpose it…like when I had to answer a funding challenge: singing with a superhero character on Hollywood Blvd.

I’ve been trying to think of new and creative ways to engage with people about my films.

When I spoke to Vrideo about helping us make a 360 immersive viewing experience that explained “why this film, why now” — I knew I was also moving my career in a new direction! Virtual reality video is truly the future, and I plan to be ready.

Vrideo go pro set up

Early in September, followers tuned in on Periscope to watch as I recorded the Kickstarter VR video update using a Vrideo 360 camera set up.

By the way: the set up was 3D printed to hold and record 10 GoPros simultaneously. Way cool huh?

Vrideo taught me what I needed to do, loaned the cameras to the film, and stitched the footage together in post. Not only was it a career-changing learning experience, the end result was AMAZING!

Believed to be the FIRST Kickstarter update video made in the VR format, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my career in VR!

Here it is — what do you think?

Watch the virtual reality video





Behind the scenes videos — why post them now?

Making the investigative documentary Pioneers in Skirts™ has been a true learning experience for me, to say the least. The film development phase began when I was trying to figure out, soon after graduating with my master’s degree, why I was losing my career ambition. I needed to find out why I was experiencing things that my mother, and her mother, experienced.

Since then, and now that we’re in the production phase, I’ve learned a tremendous amount. Supporters, both women and men, have circled their wagons around this social impact film. It’s been great.

Learning has gone far beyond the investigation

But it hasn’t always been a hand-holding supportive learning experience. Early on my producer and I heard from people who misunderstood the topic, and our intent. Some thought we were making a film about older women who did great things. Some felt this was a “women against men” film. Or, “just another film about whining women complaining about how life is treating them.” We had complaints about the films name, “why do you have to use the term, ‘skirts’ to represent women? Women can wear pants too!”

Oh, and my favorite, “You’re trying to make a documentary about how to Lean In.” (The answer is No, by the way.)

Robotics shoot

A shot taken during a January 2015 robotics team shoot.

Even though the film has never changed it’s meaning or it’s approach, these inaccurate perceptions have caused us to work real hard at getting our messaging just right.

Pioneers in Skirts Logline: Dreaming big led to an impressive start to her career, but when this young filmmaker experiences her confidence and ambition slowly chipping away, she sets out on a personal journey to find out why careers are much more complicated and difficult when a woman tries to have one.

And when it became clear that not only were some people just not getting it, I couldn’t help but wonder if people reading (and denying) our film grants were thinking the same wrong thing!

Something had to be done

We decided to find ways for people to better understand what we’re doing. As the film was in production, my producer and I started to speak publicly about the obstacles that women face – and what solutions we’ve learned. We sought out interviews with the media, wrote blog posts and LinkedIn articles, and started to release behind-the-scenes footage for people to see for themselves.

Pioneers in Skirts update from Seattle Some of the footage we share include lessons for women trying to make it in their careers today. Some help to bring our story to life by introducing the people we interview. And other footage — well, I needed people to get to know me better too, so I decided to speak and share my thoughts on camera.

Sharing footage in advance of a films’ release can be a challenging effort. Not only does it take a tremendous amount of time and effort that we’d prefer to put into the making of the film, it’s a big risk. What if we share so much that we no longer have a fresh story to tell? Well, we’re doing it — and not only for those who just don’t get it, but for the many women and men who are looking forward to this films’ premiere!

You can check out some behind-the-scenes video at the Pioneers in Skirts bonus video page. Here we’ve thrown in a few videos to give people a flavor for the film, but you can see even more on our Pioneers in Skirts vimeo page – if you want.

Here’s an example: Behind the Scenes: Colorado – 2:04 min


Do you get it? Click through to watch a few more — they’re not long, super easy to watch. Do you get that these “obstacles” and “setbacks” aren’t your typical career-newcomer things?

My producer and I are trying to help women, and men — and me, and young women who are coming behind me…and their parents.

Do you see that we’re trying to advance a conversation that’s been treading water much more than it’s been advancing?

I hope so!

The film will, but it’s not ready yet.

Finishing the film

Pioneers in Skirts depends on individuals, foundations and businesses to help with funding. The success of a recent Kickstarter campaign will allow us to finish production of the film, and transition into the post-production stage.

button_donate-150x150But we’re not there yet! We need sponsors and people to donate to the film. Supporters who provide funding and in-kind donations are not only our heroes,  they get their name in the credits of the film, and depending on the level of support, they may get their own title page!




Star Wars: Force Awakens trailer – if directed by Kathryn Bigelow

Do you remember when everyone was re-editing the Star Wars trailer as if another director made the film? The Wes Anderson re-edit was the most popular – but none of the re-edits were from women directors. 

I decided to do a re-edit of the Star Wars trailer as if a woman directed it.

My search to just find options of women directors turned into a tough endeavor. Whose style is well-known enough that would lead the audience to guess the director right away? And of those who are known…who has a particular style that would make sense for this? Sure, there have been plenty of articles and studies to tell me that women directors are rare – but, in this instance, I was visually seeing it.

Most of the women I thought of were making a name for themselves in the independent world and working toward the opportunity to direct a big budget film. Ava Duverney came to mind; but, at this time, Selma was only talked about. I hadn’t seen her films yet, but loved her talk she did at the DGA. She’s honest and I appreciated it. Now that Ava Duverney has been left off the Best Director Oscar Nomination list, I felt I needed to finish this edit and, most importantly, share my experience making it.

I asked some colleagues, and we were all stumped. There are already so few known women directors to choose from; and, on top of that, women directors aren’t given the opportunity to direct enough well-known films to then develop a well-known style like Wes Anderson. Kathryn Bigelow is the only one I could think of with a style that is well-known. Well and Jane Campion maybe? THAT would be interesting…and difficult.

I started out making this trailer for fun, but then it turned into some serious (soul) searching.

I turned to Google. “Famous Female directors and their style” – well, of course, all I found were the dresses they wore and then articles suggesting, “We had no idea this film was directed by a woman!” Don’t insult me, Internet.

So I decided on the woman who is kind of like the beacon for all women directors – the only one to ever win an Oscar for directing – Kathryn Bigelow.  Fun Fact: The Hurtlocker was the first film I ever saw by myself, and it was amazing. I really respect her career. I’m more of a comedy/horror director, so I don’t see myself following in her action footsteps – but, at least, there are some footsteps to see?

The film industry has etched into my brain that I am rare as a woman director. I’m reminded of it everyday with every new study showing how few women direct television episodes and how few women, if any, direct studio films. I’m also reminded of it when I’m called just that — a “woman director.” But I take pride in being a woman who directs movies, and I take pride in the women around me who are going for it too despite the odds. I have a tough road ahead of me, I know, but this is the career I want. In fact, check out a documentary I’m directing to benefit women, like me, in their careers: “Pioneers in Skirts.”

Enjoy this Star Wars: Force Awakens Trailer as if it were directed by Kathryn Bigelow! I had fun. I took audio and some music from the Zero Dark Thirty trailer to totally change up the tone, and I think it turned out really well. I wish I had more control over the Zero Dark Thirty trailer audio – but of course, it’s all downloaded from YouTube so what can ya do? And let’s talk about my VFX skills. Yeah!

Tell me what you think! and try to find the “elevator shaft” sound effect…