Female Filmmaker Friday with 2nd Assistant Editor Lauren Stevens

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Hi Lauren, thank you for joing us today! To kick things off, tell us what you do here at Blue Sky?

Hi guys, Lauren Stevens here! I have the pleasure of working at Blue Sky Studios as a 2nd Assistant Editor.

Did you always know you wanted to be an editor for a feature film studio? What was your journey like to the role you're in now?

Oddly enough, when I started out I didn't really know exactly what I wanted to be, I just knew I wanted to work within the media production industry. What I did come to find along the way, was that I could sit in the cutting room for hours on end editing together school projects and side videos for other people and the positive feedback that I was met with after showing a finished cut, served as positive reinforcement. So I kept at it and even after a long day in the cutting room well into the night, I could walk away and go right back to it the next morning with fresh ideas. And while most of these projects were side gigs since I didn't fully connect the dots on how I could pursue editing full time, I took on various different media production jobs ranging from being a Technical Director at News 12 Connecticut and various other administrative roles including a production management role here at Blue Sky. It was here at Blue Sky where that passion and dream of being an editor became a reality. :)

Who are some of your female role models? Why do you feel it's important for young girls to see more female representation behind the "camera?"

Film Editor Anne Coates, Film Director Gina Prince-Bythewood and my mentor/ Animation Production Supervisor, Dana Bennett, are three amazing women that immediately come to mind when I think of female role models. I think it's highly important to see female representation behind the camera for two main reasons. The first being the feeling of having someone there who you can identify with, even if you come from completely different walks of life, that mutual understanding and at times even perspective can help foster a warm sense of community.

 Secondly, it's helpful to show young girls that their dream of working in film is possible. Just seeing a female’s name in the end credits can make all the difference in a young girl’s mind. She can utter the same words I once did, 'I hope to see my name up there too!"

What are some of the biggest challenges in your role and how have you broke through them?

It was truly a blessing when I received a call back from Blue Sky, offering me a full time job as a Production Assistant six and a half years ago. I remember like it was yesterday, and yet, the time it took to get where I am at today did bring many challenges. One of those challenges was making the jump from my entry-level management position, to the artist/editor position I'm in today. 

During the normal workweek, I would take notes, literally, of all the different creative notes, tasks and ideas being thrown around by everyone else in the room. As a PA, I was tasked with coordinating and managing the artists’ creative feedback and relaying them to various other departments. After work, however, I would go home and hone in on my own creative abilities by challenging myself on various small side projects and then attempt to implement them in my edits. Night after night, weekend after weekend, I would try different approaches to my cuts and during the day I would try to absorb as much as I could, eventually working my way into the cutting room right along side the editor taking their notes. Well, when the time came, and an opportunity opened up for me to apply, I had a portfolio of work, a solid working knowledge of the editing platforms at Blue Sky as well as a good working rapport with the editors and management folks and was able land the job as a 2nd Assistant Editor on our current film, Spies in Disguise!

What makes you excited to come to Blue Sky every day? What makes this place such a special place to work?

Blue Sky has become an addition to my family, and so coming to work doesn't feel like work. The company culture has a laid back and yet professional dynamic that I haven't seen at any other media job that I've held during my time working in this industry.

What advice do you have for young women trying to break into the industry?

It doesn't always hurt to start small, but it also doesn't hurt to dream big. Seriously, start with a little idea, and put it together using a laptop, iPad, cell phone or whatever you have and just create, create, create! The more you work on your craft and come up with different ideas, the more you have to work with when it comes to figuring out what you’re not only passionate about, but what it is you're good at! :)

Thank you Lauren for taking the time to chat with us today. We can't wait to see your incredible work in Blue Sky's next feature film Spies in Disguise (2019) and in Blue Sky's following feature films!

Be sure to follow @blueskystudios for more behind the scenes updates and for our next #FemaleFilmmakerFriday.

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