Once I got into my car and sat in the driver's seat, I stared at my award - now in its box lying next to the flower my mom gave me. It was at that moment that I realized "this is so much bigger than me."
The Ceremony = Cocktails
I arrived at 6:30pm on the dot for the cocktails portion of the ceremony. I had one sip of beer and that was all I could do - I was not about to drink before an event like this. I also had the fear of "spinach dangling from my teeth," so I barely ate.
We all took photos prior to entering the auditorium. The USC Cinema School was highly represented at the evening's ceremony. Two winners and one Jury winner came from the Trojans. Fight on!
At this point, I was well aware that I would actually have to get on stage for a "thank you" speech. This was not brought to our attention prior to the event, so I spent the first hour of the ceremony thinking of what I was going to say!
We watched one-minute clips from the Runner-Up's films. Then we watched the Asian American category winner's film and his speech. Then the Latin American category and his speech.
Now it was my turn. I had seen "Friday Night Fright" MANY times, but I was still so incredibly nervous!
After it screened, Gene Reynolds went onto the stage and said, "50 years ago, a woman could not yell 'action.'" I matured a little in hearing that statement. I do question that statement because my mentor, Joan Darling, was certainly yelling action 50 years ago!! It does get you thinking, though, about where we really are in our journey to become equal parts in this industry.
Then they announced Mary Lou Belli, the Woman's Category presenter. She is a well known director among television, including "Sister, Sister." -- ROGER!!!!--
She gave me the award and scholarship check, and it was time for my "thank you" speech.
The group photo -- expect it in DGA Newsletters near you!
With some Twilight Zone fans -- Once they heard "Friday Night Fright" was inspired by The Twilight Zone, they had to come and see it! The event was actually open to the DGA members and this woman was a part of the DGA Women's Steering Committee. She told me they discussed "Friday Night Fright" at the meeting the night before...cool!
Which brings me to my original statement -- how this whole ceremony was so much bigger than me.
In the weeks prior to the event, I received mixed responses to the award. "Oh...you got it because you're a woman?" "Why aren't there white male awards?" And all I could think was "Give it back!!" Give me back my award! Don't take it away from me by belittling its meaning!
Sitting in that auditorium, receiving congratulations from women who pioneered their own way in this industry, just blew me away. I can't describe it. I had their support. Support of my peers, my future colleagues.
I say "this is so much bigger than me" because while I may feel down when someone says "oh...you got it because you're a woman," other women are proud of me and pick me up. Women I don't even know. We protect each other. They gave me this award to encourage me, inspire me. It's now my turn to take that support and run with it. Women need other women as role models.
In my application for the DGA award, I mentioned how little role models there are for women in this industry, especially the comedy and thriller genres, and if I could inspire one woman to become a filmmaker -- to not be afraid -- then I've done my job.