I was working in Calgary, Alberta and getting ready to tell my father that I wanted to go to SAIT for film instead of staying at my brand new, high paying job, when my father passed away unexpectedly in 2006. This moment marked my life as I had to be patient to realize my passion. I had to walk before I could run.
In 2007, I came home to Nova Scotia and registered at a private career college for Digital Filmmaking. Months later, the only reason I was still at the school passed away. His name was Daniel Gaynor and he had such a passion for life and film. He encouraged me to join AFCOOP and I did. This led to a job as a PA on the set of Paper Hearts, a Film 5 Production. With hope in my heart, I left the school and started my own company naming it after my father – Charlie Mac Productions Inc. I took a Production Workshop at the New Brunswick Filmmakers’ Co-op with Julian Grant. This workshop changed my focus at the school and I knew, in my heart, that I could do this. Hiring people I knew and opening up two offices seemed logical until part of my private investing stepped back and led me to drastically change my work environment. In the first few years Charlie Mac Productions won various awards but lacked major clients. I was forced to start networking and moved the office into a home office. Then, I met Jacqueline Kelly, MBA through LinkedIn and through her I acquired clients plus more investors. Caroline Ruyle joined the team as a Stills Photographer and she recently completed work with award-winning Director Julia Phillips Smith.
Despite facing some obstacles, we’ve succeeded in building a small business. I stayed in the business due to other filmmakers reaching out to lend support and time through the years. We also reached out for professional training at Maine Media Workshops. They not only helped us train for larger clients but also reaffirmed my love of film as producer/writer/director. Whenever I’ve been tired I’m reminded by the greater vision of film – reaching an audience with your story. That is the best moment of my career when you get an email from someone in a different country interested in the films you produce. Also, working with David Kellogg was a real joy in Maine.
Now, I am taking things extremely slow and concentrating what I want my company to look like. A huge help for me was Jac McNeill of Highland Coaching who offered business coaching that provided me with my compass for the direction of the company. I still network but recently moved Charlie Mac Productions Inc. out of small contract work so we can focus on feature film development.
The heat that I received from working through the past few years does not compare to the rewards of production. Never let a bank, accountants, fellow filmmakers and private investors dictate your company’s vision and get in the way of what you want to accomplish. With help from freelancers and new investments in the film community such as Steve Richard’s new studio in Bayers Lake, I know that I will always remain a producer long after the life of my company. I’m inspired by other women that are filmmakers and mostly, my determined Mom. My Mom dragged me as a small child to all sorts of artistic events and I’ve never forgotten the appreciation I gained for the arts community.