A Director Solves the Role Model Problem - So Can You

By Amy-Willard Cross

A little while ago, Juliana Lukasik thought there should be more women directors. She ended up buying the company she worked for so she could hold the camera.

A few years later, she realized that young women in the business didn’t have many role models. So she became one—in just two hours.

Quit talking and do something—that’s the action-mantra of commercial producer and director Juliana Lukasik. After all, the word "action" is how directors start.

Lukasik, owner of @ Large Films in Oregon, created her own "quick-n-easy" Job Shadow program to help young women who want to become directors.

She merely simplified as multi-tasking women do. What she did can easily be copied.  "I want to see it spread, it’s super easy. I did it purposefully," says Lukasik. There’s no big time commitment, no academic credit. She says it’s a no-brainer.

So far two young women have followed along: one to a shoot for a culinary college,and  the other for the national Banfield Pet Hospital, which did result in a kitten on Lukasik’s lap.The clients felt good about it too; helping out a young woman was tweetable and made them feel as though they too were helping out. 

"When I was coming up, I worked on hundreds of projects as a production assistant, but never once worked for a female director." After Lukasik bought the production company she had been working for, she tried to hire women directors, but there weren’t any. She was so frustrated, she started to direct. She says, "If you have to buy a production company to direct, there’s something wrong with the system."

Calling the shadowing a great opportunity, student Felicia Mauna says, "It gave me a resource to ask any questions that I may have along the way to entering this industry. More importantly, Juliana has showed me what a great director looks and acts like, and that my goal of becoming a director is possible."  

Lights, camera, action.

4 Step, 2 Hour Job Shadow DIY Program

If you work in a business with few women, you can help change that ratio. Let a young woman shadow you for a specific project—a UX testing round, a pitch to clients, or patient trials. Easy peasy.

Here’s the recipe:

1.    Send an internship offer to a local college or high school. (20 mins)

2.    Read through the resumes. (1 hour)

3.    Arrange a date for the best candidate to come and observe (not participate).

4.    Sign any relevant paperwork the day of (NDA, waivers etc).

In a few years, you should receive a note from the young woman who has landed her first job, award, financing, client, grant, TEDtalk, research lab. or Nobel Prize.