There was so much negativity surrounding body image. I remember thinking how screwed up the culture and industry seemed. Women were hated for being too fat, too skinny, and/or having "not big enough" or "too big" body parts. I hated that the fitness side of the industry was warped, and had nothing to do with health, and everything to do with image and fitting people into molds. The funny thing is that the molds were created by fashion designers simply trying to cut costs. Obviously, making clothes for more than one body type would not be cost effective.
I hated the blatant racism. Casting agents were set on me being "Eurasian" and I could only play "Eurasian" roles. Let me ask you something. WHERE IN THE WORLD IS EURASIA???? ANYONE??? ANYONE??? That's because Eurasia doesn't exist. Is there any other industry that limits you based on your race or ethnic background?
I hated that having a family was frowned upon. I hated that being married was frowned upon. I hated that as a woman, I had a much better chance of climbing the ladder to success if I was single, and willing to expose myself as much as possible. Dignity isn't for women obviously. Dignity is for selfish prudes, religious fanatics, and body shamers. So the moral of the story is show everything because that's the industry standard. Because showing everything shows that you are unashamed and dignified. But of course if you choose to not show everything, then shame on you. Shame. Shame. Shame!!! So ladies (and even gentleman), just do what you're told.
Ultimately I found myself always working with people that I trusted. And that is what made Hollywood wonderful and interesting. If I stayed away from shady producers and directors, and put my focus and energy into people and projects that I trusted, then I would have an awesome experience. So I loved every moment I was working. Sure I had some bad experiences too, but I learned and moved on, all the more wiser. We could of stayed in Hollywood, and climbed that ladder. But something inside me kept saying the same thing. "Wouldn't it be nice if you could create everything you love about Hollywood minus the traffic and the shady producers and directors?" Ah yes, that would be soooo nice!! But I had no idea how that could be done. It seemed Hollywood was so set in her ways. How could little ol' me do anything about it?
Then something wonderful happened. The year I graduated from Film school, was the year DSLR cameras hit the market. It was also the same year that HD technology was released. Before digital technology, filmmakers had to spend around $120 per minute of film. Digital technology erased that cost completely from the equation. It was an exciting time. I saw the power of media, was being placed into the hands of the artist. So I started creating my own content, secretly, with my husband, and over the course of 10 years we created a box of IP (Intellectual Property). As we were growing our family, and starting our business (Free Flow Academy) we kept creating. I had a vision of taking our Academy and our students to build "New Hollywood" right here in our own community. We started talking about this vision, and people started listening, and coming on board. An old friend, Michael Poole joined our team, and he had his own box of IP. We partnered with Jack Kohler, a teacher and artist, who also had a box of IP. Our dear friend James Burton, a comic book writer and artist, also a box of IP. Between all of us, we have about 50-100 years of solid content, all of which have been developed over the course of a decade or more. And our list of partners, and our list of IP, keeps growing.
Michael, an animation graduate out of Silicon Valley then introduced me to an important essay written by Paul Graham (VC) called "How to be Silicon Valley". After reading this essay I realized something, "New Hollywood" was already happening, and it wasn't just me and my friends that were creating something special, it was happening on a global scale. Artists are the media. We just have to be willing to invest in ourselves.
In January 2017 our Academy launched our Stunt & Film Program (aka Media Academy) We shot 1 feature film, 1 tv pilot, and 17+ other projects (shorts, tutorials, behind the scenes documentaries, and more). This is just through our Academy, and doesn't even touch on some of the side projects we are working on. How are we doing this? Well, we spent 5 years building up our Academy, and now we are like an oiled machine, ready to churn out content and products to match that of a real production studio. Our goal is to release up to 10 feature films and/or tv shows per year. We plan on being titans, and to build an industry. We plan on creating jobs and opportunities for artists and athletes right here in our backyard. Don't spend thousands of dollars moving to Hollywood. Stay right here, and join our vision. Join a company and a community of artists and creators you can trust. Invest in yourself.
|Red Carpet World Premiere of our film "Immortal Fist" screened at the Action On Film Festival - Palms Casino and Resort, Las Vegas, NV|
|Students and Staff getting the good seats at our world premiere screening.|
|One of the reasons I love working with kids, is that they know how to enjoy the journey. They know what's important, making friends and having fun.|
|In our environment students and artists are encouraged to follow our 3/7 Core Values, and are never pressured to do something they feel is against their own personal values. We make family friendly action oriented content, and it's important to us that families feel they can enjoy this experience TOGETHER.|
|Many of our artists are working professionals, or just getting their career started. Our Stunt & Film Program accommodates artists from the beginner to professional level.|
|Whether you are in class, or on set, we have a good time.|
|The coolest thing about filmmaking, is that there is truly something for everyone. You may not like being in front of the camera, but perhaps you love creating props, doing makeup and hair, or creating special effects. |
|Perhaps you're a tech junkie and love making fireballs. You are only limited by your own imagination, and in the world of filmmaking, you are constantly on the cutting edge of technology and innovation.|
|Filmmaking is a physical activity. During the pre-production and production process, you are on your feet and working out sequences. Actors and Stunt Performers learn choreography, and movie magic tricks.|
Check out this Clip from Class
|Photo Credit: Dann Mann|
Filmmakers are part storyteller, artist, athlete, pirate, explorer, entrepreneur, magician, techie, musician, general of an army, event planner, social commentator, and community cultivator wrapped into one package. Filmmakers have to know a lot, about a lot of things, and are often criticized harshly for their work. Filmmaking is not for the faint of heart. And one thing is for certain. Filmmaking is the most influential and powerful artistic medium known to man.