June 2020 – I have been following so many wonderful people on Twitter and Facebook. People that keep inspiring me and motivating me, while they work on their own projects and promotions. I’m curious to know who they are, where did they grow up, and how they handle their writing and creative process and their everyday life. I also want to know how did they get to where they are.
I have the great pleasure of presenting another awesome person. I present to you producer Becca Carroll Guido. I met Becca on social media. We follow each other on Twitter, as we are both fans of Hallmark. Yes, another big fan of the Hallmark Channel network and their movies. That’s how I met this talented lady, who has become one of my biggest supporters since I started my blog and my aspirations as a writer.
Becca is from Chicago, Illinois, and before being a producer, she was busy raising her family. She met her husband while she attended Knox College, and received her degree in International Business and Marketing from Dominican University. While raising their family she pursued her interest in photography and focused in particular on sports photography. With her husband’s encouragement, she eventually followed up on her original passion and attended Post Grad Film School, with a concentration in Directing and Producing.
She recently served as Executive Producer and Festival Consultant for the movie Homeless Ashes (2019), a project from Marc Zammit, who made his directorial debut, plus he was the executive producer, and protagonist. The movie received great reviews, was nominated and won awards in a few film festivals: Glendale International Film Festival (winner for Best Actor), Overcome Film Festival (winner of Best Actor and Best Feature Film), Pitch to Screen Film Awards (winner of Best Music Composer and Best Cinematographer), Southampton International Film Festival (winner of Best Feature Screenplay), and World of Film International Festival Glasgow (WOFF). (Information retrieved from from IMDb -International Movie Database- movie guide https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4677134/?ref_=nm_flmg_msc_1)
Becky has spent a number of years, behind the scenes, in Production Consulting, more recently stepping back into producing, with a number of films in various stages of production/development on both sides of the “pond” (referring to both United States and United Kingdom). She recently, in 2019, opened her Film Production Company Bcreative5Films. They have several films in development. Becky has written the story and is co-writing the script for their upcoming film Primrose, to be filmed in its entirety in United Kingdom (UK).
I’ve invited her to share a cup of coffee and a nice chat. Here’s our conversation:
Welcome to Full of Coffee, Becky! First, I want to know if you like coffee, and if you do, how do you prefer it?
- Thank you for having me, Nydia! Sadly, I have not been able to have coffee for years due to health reasons. But I do love waking up to the smell of my husband grinding his coffee beans! I drink a lot of herbal and decaffeinated teas, no cream just sugar. One of my great joys is being in the UK (United Kingdom) where there is always lots of good proper steeped tea!
Ah, I also love the smell of coffee. As children, we helped my grandmothers grind roasted coffee beans. Tell me, where did you grow up? Do you have any siblings?
- I am the eldest of three, with two younger brothers. We grew up in River Forest, part of the Oak Park River Forest suburbs of Chicago. This is where I was blessed to attend an excellent Performing Arts Program in high school. While there I had several pieces of poetry as well as works of creative writing published in their literary publication.
Did your childhood have any influence in your interest in reading or writing?
- With a mother and a father who were both professors, we were taught in word and deed that life is a classroom. My mother was an English professor and my father was an Economics professor and a University Provost. In the last weeks of his life, though weak from cancer, my father completed creating a new program of studies for the University. My 80 year old mother still takes notes from every book she reads, as if she’s still preparing for an English Class. We are three voracious readers and we inherited our father’s visionary spirit and entrepreneurial soul.
Wow! Well, in my opinion, I think you were very privileged. How and when did you decide that you wanted to become a producer? When did you decide to give professional production a try?
- I initially attended the Performing Arts Program because I was a classically trained flautist (flute). However, we were encouraged to expand our interests and I chose Drama. The Director of our Drama Program said he saw the heart of a Director in me and he mentored me from that point on. Our program was as well versed in Shakespeare as in big stage musical productions. Many of our alumni have gone on to be Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy and Tony Nominees and Winners. We had three theaters and, when I was a Senior, I was awarded one the two coveted positions as Student Director of my own production. I chose The Diary of Anne Frank, which was highly controversial at the time. I was the only Producer and I oversaw the lighting department, set design, casting and directing. I chose to do the production “in the round” which had not been done before for this play. It just flowed and was effortless. I knew I had an affinity for this, but I also wanted to spread my wings and see the world.
- I received my degree in International Business and Marketing at Dominican University. While in Grad School, I worked in the University Internship Department, consulting with companies and students to find the right matches for their needs. I had no idea that I was cultivating a skill set that I would use in my future film industry career. I married, raised my family of four now grown children and pursued my interest in sports photography. All the while I was teaching myself about filmmaking. I devoured anything I could read or watch on the process and industry. As the children got older, my husband encouraged me to take a film class. I did not see what the point would be, as there was no way I could envision a new career in the industry at that point in my life. However, I attended Post Grad Film School at Columbia College, in Chicago, and never looked back.
Interesting! So tell me, how has your work affected your personal life?
- That’s been a bit of a learning curve over the years. When I was primarily consulting, I could wrap my schedule around my family’s needs. Not so with producing. I always say, my best preparation for producing was being a Mom! The work is never done and something always needs tending to. Especially working on projects internationally, the time difference has to be factored in. There can be a steady flow of late night and early morning meetings, calls and work. My New Year’s resolution was to have 2020 be my year of “Balance”! Well, while the world has turned upside down somehow, I have managed to find my groove work-wise and I know my husband would agree.
You work as a producer, but also as a consultant. Tell me a bit about that:
- I began noticing the rise of T.V. productions interacting with their audience on Social Media. With my marketing mindset, I found this exceedingly fascinating. The increased interaction and live tweeting between cast and audience during live shows, was directly linked to increased viewership and higher ratings. With my training in Demographic Specific Marketing, I was tapped into by the influencers and social media marketing consultants to help achieve goals and facilitate various campaigns. This ultimately led to me assisting in crowdsourcing campaigns for various studios and films. Crowdsourcing refers to the practice of obtaining information or input into a task or project by enlisting the services of a large number of people. The process and results were not only fascinating but were also successful.
- By this point there began to be a merger in my mind of the world of film production and the world of demographic specific marketing and crowdsourcing. I saw how relevant it was to the Film Industry doctrine “know thy audience” and how important this was to have in play, as early on as the conception phase of project development.As I continued to explore and study this demographic specific marketing/crowdsourcing develop in the industry, my name began to be circulated as someone to chat with about just this subject. This began, not only a new chapter in my life, but a new tangent of learning for both me and those I spoke with. It appeared the more people I spoke with, and with whom I shared my insights and observations, the more I discovered that this area was something that could help and be used in all stages of the production process.
Tell me about “Homeless Ashes”. How did you become involved in its production?
- I was intrigued with the growing and evolutionary world of independent filmmaking. I wanted to learn more, but I was also at a new place in my life and wanted to seek out filmmakers and projects that spoke to me. I tipped off my network of friends and colleagues, that I was interested in finding projects that were purpose driven and had a message that compelled me.
- I was also interested in exploring the indie film scene in different countries, in particular Canada and the UK. With all the projects that friends and colleagues forwarded to me, I was able to find projects that matched my criteria. I set about approaching the filmmakers, offering my services on set for free or investing in their projects. This began a steep learning curve for me, while introducing me to the most amazing creative people. I call this chapter of my life “The Gift”, for in putting myself out there, I was blessed tenfold with new friends and colleagues, who have not only become lifelong friends, but with whom I have gone on to make wonderful movies.
Your next project is filming the movie Primrose. Although the COVID pandemic put a pause in the production, you’re the writer, producer, and you’d also be an associate director! Tell me, how you came up with the idea? How’s the project going?
- In addition to the other films I have done and those I am producing, I am still consulting. However, yet again my husband prodded me to be the storyteller and make my own films. This was echoed by my industry friends and colleagues. Even though I knew I had fully formed ideas in my head, yet again I could not envision how this could all work out. But God has bigger dreams for us than we have for ourselves. Somehow things fell into place and I opened my film production company Bcreative5Films in 2019.
- Our first one up is Primrose. It’s a period drama, set in the lush countryside of Edwardian England, to be filmed in its entirety in the UK. It’s the story of a young aristocratic woman who supports the women’s vote, not realizing the effect it will have on her family. I’m blessed to have an amazing creative and writing team and the film will be directed by Marc Zammit. It’s an original story that took root in my head and after three plus years of research has taken root in my heart and soul. With the pandemic having shut down and thrown off the industry schedule, we are focusing on doing all the creative work and planning we can do now. We are also being kept infinitely busy with the business legal end of production planning.
Exciting news! Any other future project you want to share with us?
- I’m doing another film with Marc Zammit and the Aptitude UK guys, called Sitting Under The Chestnut Tree. This one will be filmed in the states and deals with the subject of autism. The lead is being played by a well known actor, who I’m sure will knock it out of the park!
- At Bcreative5Films we have four films in various stages of development. The first one up is Primrose to be filmed in the UK, as well as a Faith Based Drama Welcker’s Point to be filmed in the U.S. Everything is hinging on safe reentry into to the new pandemic awareness filming process, but meanwhile we have more than enough to keep us busy with the business and creative end of things.
You’ve been very busy, Becca! These are many great projects you’ve been working on!
- As I used to tell my university students, “never miss an opportunity to work for free”, whether it be for a non-profit or for an indie film. For it offers the most amazing ability to learn through hands on experience, in ways that you never would have in a traditional work environment. As the old adage says, “it is in giving that we receive”.
To check more about Becca, please follow her on Twitter @BeccaTwoPoint0 https://twitter.com/BeccaTwoPoint0. Also follow her new project @FilmPrimrose https://twitter.com/FilmPrimrose and https://www.facebook.com/FilmPrimrose/ on Facebook.
I thank Becca for this opportunity of sharing her story with me, and for her unconditional support and friendship. I hope you all enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s a great deal for me to get to know all of these amazing people. Becca’s story also interested me as she is accomplishing so much after raising her children. Getting to know her has helped me find my own inspiration and create my own process, and she has given me so much support.
I’ll keep reading, I’ll keep writing, I’ll keep dreaming! Thanks for reading! It’s time for my tacita de café. Salud!
Para versión en Español, vea https://fullofcoffee.blog/2020/06/22/una-tacita-de-cafe-o-de-te-con-la-productora-becca-carroll-guido/.