THE YAEL SHAVITT INTERVIEW

THE YAEL SHAVITT INTERVIEW

Yael Shavitt is humble.

Take a quick glance at Yael Shavitt’s IMDb page, and you will see a considerable list of notable accomplishments.  If you’ve followed her crowdfunding campaign for Split on my facebook page during the last week, or on Split’s actual Seed & Spark page itself, you’ve seen her add some additional exceptional accomplishments.  And yet, over the course of our discussions during the last month, not once — seriously, not once — has she ever given herself a well-deserved pat on the back.  Instead, with her ever-present candor and grace, she is always quick to point out that any recent success she has enjoyed is attributable to two things:  Her female-based production team, and her very loyal followers (in other words, YOU).

I tried to dig a little deeper into Yael as a creative and what makes her tick.  You’ll see her graciousness in her answers, as she always brings it back to her team.  So without further ado,  my interview with Yael Shavitt begins here.

JON:     Good evening Yael. Thank you for letting me ask you a few questions about you and your new project, Split. Describe for my readers the premise, where the idea originated, and why it was important for the protagonist to be female.

YAEL SHAVITT:     Hi, and thank you so much for taking the time to chat! Split is a web series about two possible paths that one life might take. An early decision in a young girl’s life creates a split in her world, sending her off on two parallel paths into alternate futures. A few years ago I simply woke up early one morning with the seed of the idea for Split in my head. I think it literally woke me up. Many drafts and re-writes later I can say that I wanted to explore this premise because in my own life I often look back at events and try to follow the thread connecting them. Sometimes I can clearly see how seemingly unrelated events led to each other. From there it’s an easy path to playing with the thought of taking one of those events out of the equation, and wondering how it would affect the rest of my life. I do believe we need more stories with female protagonists, and I personally both seek out and enjoy consuming these stories. The reason Split’s protagonist is female is because I’m a woman, and I was telling the story through my own eyes. I didn’t make her female as opposed to making her anything else. It was my default. Once the script started taking shape, however, it did become clear to me that I wanted to have a female team of filmmakers leading the project into production. And I’m so happy I made that decision.

JON:     Thank you Yael. You just said the protagonist (Sammy/Sam/Samantha) is a woman because you’re a woman — in addition to your gender, what other parts of you did you bring to the creation of Sammy? Did your upbringing inform her in anyway?

YAEL SHAVITT:     Some elements in my life have certainly inspired parts of the story. Like Sammy, I too auditioned for the theater department of an arts high school at 13. I’ve always felt that the experience of attending that unique school for four years made a big impact on my life. And I think getting into the school or not getting into the school, like any other audition, is as much about luck and circumstances as it is about skill or potential. So that was a crossroad I wanted to look at.

JON:     Of course. That makes total sense, Yael, Split tackles some pretty big themes, such as Destiny and Choice. It brings to mind my personal awareness of the truth that a decision you make on Monday doesn’t just affect the following Tuesday; it affects some event or some person on a Tuesday twenty years into the future. Talk a little bit more about that in general, Yael.

YAEL SHAVITT:     Well, I like to take a positive approach to how I think about this, and I believe that’s influenced my writing as well. Yes, we make a million decisions every day and any one of them may have repercussions we can’t even imagine. But I also think there are certain milestones in our life that we can potentially reach, no matter what path we take. So that one way or another we do get to the places we’re meant to end up at, and we do meet the people we’re meant to meet. And I don’t think we can mess that up with one “wrong” move.

JON:     Interesting. It’s almost as if there’s a larger all-encompassing plan, not our specific plan, that’s going to completed no matter what. Like in Numbers (or In The Wilderness), Moses starts towards the Promised Land with about 70 people — 39 years later, Moses didn’t make it, but over 600,000 people wound up where they were meant to be. The story is in the journey between the Promise and the Place, isn’t it? Speaking of place, the all female team behind Split appears to also be an all New York team. How did you pull this team together, and how does a New York sensibility inform the project?

YAEL SHAVITT:  One of the things I love about New York is that anyone can be whoever they want to be here. It’s such a diverse place, in various respects, and in my experience it’s also a place that’s accepting of diversity. That’s something that I hope to capture in Split. There are different ways to be, and as long as you’re not hurting anyone, they’re all legitimate. I want the characters of the show to reflect that. New York is also such a wonderful place to be looking for artistic collaborators, honestly. I found our director Molly McGaughey and our DP Samantha Pyra through their previous work, online. I reached out to each of them, we met up and we clicked. Producer Hannah Hancock Rubinsky and I met a few years ago in a writing class. Together with anther writer from that class we later formed our own little writers group. It was to this group that I brought the very first drafts of Split. So it was so lovely when Hannah decided to come on board as producer!

JON:     That’s all very true about New York. Las Vegas is a lot like that too, and yet the sensibilities are so different. Anyway, this will be the last question, Yael. I’ve really enjoyed our conversation, and we should definitely do it again sometime. So, as we close this interviewing, you are preparing to launch your Seed & Spark campaign. Since this interview won’t be released until later, when you are on the verge of some milestone during that campaign, I’d like to skip ahead to the day after the campaign ends. You’re exhilarated and you’re pumped! Your batteries are charged and you’re ready to go! What’s the first thing you do, and then what’s next?

YAEL SHAVITT:     Well, the first thing I’d like to do after the campaign ends is go off for a few days and simply rest. Preferably on a beach. With minimal engagement with technology. After that, my team and I will be going into pre-production and production for the remaining five Split episodes! It’s going to be exciting and challenging, and so much fun. Just like it was when we filmed the pilot, only multiplied by five. I can’t wait!

JON:     In May, I spent 19 days in a cabin in the woods without internet. Great idea on paper. (beat)  On paper.  (long beat)  So… thank you Yael Shavitt for your time. Sounds like you’ve got a great plan for proceeding. You are an awesome interview, by the way. Stay in touch. Don’t be a stranger. I’ll be watching Split’s Seed & Spark campaign, and look forward to watching you hit 100%.  And, of course, when it is completed, I’ll be watching Split!

YAEL SHAVITT:     Sounds good, Jon.  Thank you, I really enjoyed your thoughtful questions as well!  And thanks so much for everything! Let me know if you need anything else.  Cheers.

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UPDATE:  As of this writing, on 07.10.17,  5:30AM (EST), Split is at 119% of their target goal on Seed & Spark.  HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP.  Would you be so kind as to go to Split’s Seed & Spark page, and follow them?  IT’S FREE, and if they get to 250 followers by the end of the week, Seed & Spark will contribute $10,000 worth of perks to the campaign.

Split team 03

 

Split’s Seed & Spark Page

www.facebook.com/splitwebseries

www.instagram.com/splitwebseriesofficial

www.twitter.com/splitwebseries

www.yaelshavitt.com

Yael Shavitt’s IMDb Page

 

FEATURE PHOTO (L to R): Molly McGaughey, Yaeel Shavitt, Hannah Hancock Rubinsky

BOTTOM PHOTO (L to R):  Yael Shavitt, Hannah Hancock Rubinsky, Molly McGaughey, Samantha Pyra

 

FEMALE FILMMAKERS SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE A 72 HOUR CHALLENGE … IN JUST 7 HOURS !!!

FEMALE FILMMAKERS SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE A 72 HOUR CHALLENGE … IN JUST 7 HOURS !!!

ICYMI, I just posted this on my facebook page

[Additional Ed. Notes from me in parenthesis.]

 

*****STOP THE PRESSES*****

So this happened. As Yael Shavitt announced [here]on my Filmic The Page blog Friday morning at 7AM, Split: the Web Series had a matching donor for a 72 hour period to help them reach 100% on their Seed&Spark campaign.

Being the powerful influencer/incentivizer/rocket booster that I am, I had intended on releasing my EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Yael 24 hours before that 72 hour period ended.

Well, #GuessWhatNowWhat. SPLIT became 100% FULLY FUNDED in about 7 hours, not 72. By Friday afternoon they had reached their goal. Thanks to many of YOU (and many others across the interweb).

NOW, it gets even better. I just received this email from Yael and her team announcing her STRETCH GOALS, so let’s not stop now. Besides telling you what a little more $$$ will mean to this female-driven production, NOTE WHAT 250 FOLLOWERS ON SEED & SPARK will give them. Here’s the email:
100% & BEYOND

Dear Split Supporters,

Yesterday was a very eventful day [part 1]…

We reached and exceeded our initial goal of $8,000! You all pitched in so beautifully that we raised $1,015 in a single day (!) which in turn became $2,015 today, after being matched by our Anonymous Donor.

This brings us to 114% of our initial goal. Wow. Wow! And once again, wow!

We cannot thank you enough for the amazing support you’ve shown us throughout this campaign so far.

– Wait, does this mean the campaign is over?

– So glad you asked. Not at all!

The initial $8k goal we set is only a portion of the overall budget we need to produce the remaining five Split episodes.

With 7 days left to the campaign, we’re now setting a STRETCH GOAL of $10,500.

Ending the campaign with this amount would mean we’d only need to secure an additional $5,500 from grants and/or personal funds to produce the rest of the episodes. This will pave the way for us to film these episodes this very summer with the full crew, equipment and mojo we had for the pilot.

So if you’ve been meaning to give, but haven’t had a chance yet, your contribution would still be just as helpful now!

https://www.seedandspark.com/fund/split

Yesterday was a very eventful day [part 2]…

We reached 200 campaign followers yesterday! Hooray! To celebrate we’re sharing this silly Blooper Reel with you, our loyal supporters. Enjoy…

https://youtu.be/hhvCvv8fVJc

Our next target is to reach 250 followers. This will make us eligible for Seed&Spark’s #DiversityIsAlwaysOn Filmmaker Perks ($10,000 worth of perks!). Check it out:

https://www.seedandspark.com/100days/perks

As always, thank you for your continued support,

Hannah, Molly, Pyra & Yael

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So there you have it. I want to point out that FOLLOWING IS FREE on Seed & Spark, so if you could SHARE this whole post, and we can get them over the 250 followers, they get all those perks ($10,000 worth) AT NO COST TO YOU WHATSOEVER.

Follow, follow, follow. SHARE, SHARE, SHARE.

And speaking of following, you’ll definitely want to follow my blog [this very one you are reading right now] now at www.filmicthepage.wordpress.com because due to this AWESOME turn of events, I will release the interview (FINALLY!!!) on Monday morning.

#FemaleFilmmakers #WomenInHollywood #GenderFairness
#IndieFilm #Indie #Creatives #WomenEmpowerment #Empowerment #Feminism

GENEROSITY TIMES 2

GENEROSITY TIMES 2

Before I let filmmaker Yael Shavitt make her BIG SURPRISE ANNOUNCEMENT, let me first remind you of the Inclusion Statement for her latest project, a web series, named SPLIT.

Inclusion Statement from Split

We’re proud to have an all-female Creative Team (Producer, Director, DP and Writer/Creator) as well as an all-female on-set production crew. Out of the five main characters in the show, three are women and three are LGBTQ. Our production is committed to casting ethnically diverse actors.

You want to help them get this series made, and help employ all those female filmmakers, right?  Well, not only can you do that — but starting today, 7/7, your generosity has just DOUBLED its efficacy.

Here.  I’ll let Yael Shavitt explain, via her BIG SPECIAL EXCLUSIVE ANNOUNCEMENT:

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: a close friend of the production is going to be matching all contributions made July 7-9 (up to $1,000)! That means anything you give on those days is going to be doubled. Give $10 – it becomes $20. Give $50 – it becomes $100. You get the picture!  Here is the link to our campaign:  SPLIT on Seed & Spark.

Our goal for the next few days is to reach 100% (yeah it is!) Lets see if we can get there by the end of the week. We think our special announcement might help 😉

 

And since YOU, my loyal blog followers, have been so loyal to Yael and her team so far, she chose me to EXCLUSIVELY release it here first.  This is my fourth scoop (on three different projects) in 2017.  Now I feel like Nikke Finke!!!   Immediately after this post, Yael will be sharing this big news on her social media (see links below), and I will too.

And look what Yael did for you.  She sent you this EXCLUSIVE picture, NEVER SEEN ELSEWHERE PRIOR TO THIS!

SPLIT commentary_413
SEATED, LEFT to RIGHT: Molly McCaughey (Director), Yael Shavitt (Writer/Creator/Actor), and Hannah Hancock Rubinsky (EP) recording the Director’s Commentary for SPLIT’s pilot episode, last Monday.

That’s pretty cool.

Finally, now here’s MY big announcement:  Last month Yael gave me and exclusive interview (I’m tellin’ ya–I feel like Nikke Finke) and I’m going to release it here, near the end of the anonymous donor matcher’s 72 hour period — 24 hours prior to the end of the matching period on July 9.  A bunch of you have been begging me to release a snippet or two, but nope– you’ve gotta wait, just a couple more days, and then come back here to read it all.

 

Split’s Seed & Spark Page

www.facebook.com/splitwebseries

www.instagram.com/splitwebseriesofficial

www.twitter.com/splitwebseries

www.yaelshavitt.com

Yael Shavitt’s IMDb Page

Choose To Change Your Journey (And The Journey Of A Handful Of Talented Female FIlmmakers)

Choose To Change Your Journey (And The Journey Of A Handful Of Talented Female FIlmmakers)

It’s live.   The Seed & Spark crowdfunding page for Split  is live.

 

Here’s their inclusion statement from that page:

Inclusion Statement from Split

We’re proud to have an all-female Creative Team (Producer, Director, DP and Writer/Creator) as well as an all-female on-set production crew. Out of the five main characters in the show, three are women and three are LGBTQ. Our production is committed to casting ethnically diverse actors.

You want to join them on that journey, right?

 

Remember,  since you read about it here first, Yael Shavitt is offering three (3), and only three (3), of you an exclusive opportunity:

The first three (3) contributors to the campaign ($25 or above) will get a private link to watch the full pilot of Split that same day.  TODAY!!!  RIGHT NOW!!!  You can see it before anyone else, if you are one of those first three (3).  How cool is that?

Split’s Seed & Spark Page

www.facebook.com/splitwebseries

www.instagram.com/splitwebseriesofficial

www.yaelshavitt.com

Yael Shavitt’s IMDb Page

 

 

EXCLUSIVE:  YAEL SHAVITT HAS A MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT…

EXCLUSIVE: YAEL SHAVITT HAS A MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT…

Destiny.  Choice.  A decision you make today could alter your journey for years.  And yet, is it possible you could wind up in the same place, the place where you were intended to wind up, despite distinct alternate, almost disparate, journeys?

That question is addressed in Split, an exciting new web series, coming from filmmaker Yael Shavitt and her all female production team.

Yael Team
The Brains Behind Split:  Yael Shavitt (second, left) leads her team as they prepare for the big upcoming events throughout this summer.

Split is a web series about two possible paths that one life might take. An early decision in a young girl’s life creates a split in her world, sending her off on two parallel paths into alternate futures.

After auditioning for a drama high school, 13-year-old Sammy makes a crucial choice that splits the path of her life in two. Flash forward twelve years: in one world, Sammy’s grown into Sam, a confident up-and-coming actress in a turbulent relationship with her girlfriend. In another world, she’s Samantha, an eager assistant director living comfortably with her longtime boyfriend.

Sounds amazing doesn’t it?  Well, here’s something else amazing:  I spent the weekend interviewing the amazing Yael Shavitt; and I will be posting that interview later this summer.  And speaking of exclusives, here are some more from Yael herself:

EXCLUSIVE NEWS FROM YAEL SHAVITT

Yael has asked me to announce this to you, my readers, here first:  Starting this Thursday, June 15th, you and your life journey can join Yael and her team on their journey, as they launch their crowdfunding campaign on Seed & Spark.  (Come back here, as well as to Yael’s social media links listed below, when we can announce the exact link, after it goes live.  Meanwhile, start following Yael at all these links so you can receive notifications as soon as the launch is, well, launched!)

EXCLUSIVE OFFER FROM YAEL SHAVITT

And since you, my loyal followers, read about it here first, Yael is offering three (3), and only three (3), of you an exclusive opportunity:    The first three (3) contributors to the campaign ($25 or above) will get a private link to watch the full pilot of Split that same day.  WHAT?!?  THAT’S FOUR DAYS BEFORE THE PREMIERE IN NYC!!!  How cool is that?

Yael Split Bumper

So, go follow Split and Yael, at the links below, and we will see you back here on the 15th at 1PM (EST) with the exact link to the campaign.  Change your journey by helping the women at Team Split change theirs!

www.facebook.com/splitwebseries

www.instagram.com/splitwebseriesofficial

www.yaelshavitt.com

Yael Shavitt’s IMDb Page

Split’s Seed & Spark Page (link coming June 15, at 1PM, EST)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We Are All Struggling to Swim to the Top…”

“We Are All Struggling to Swim to the Top…”

Yesterday, I had the great blessing of interviewing another fabulous filmmaker with a purpose, the amazing Carlotta Summers.  She has a new project called Butterflies coming out; and, she recently completed a successful Seed and Spark campaign for that project.

Carlotta Summers is an actor, writer, and filmmaker currently based in NYC. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, she holds a degree in theatre with a minor in psychology. She loves using a multitude of elements from her training to create complex characters grounded in realism. She started her acting career performing in a Text Alive performance of Titus Andronicus at Shakespeare Theatre Co., when she was 16. She went on to perform for the Strawberry One Act Festival’s Just Off the Pike and most recently finished a production of Coriolanus, From Man to Dragon. In her spare time she helps with fight choreography, most recently had the honor of working behind the scenes with Evan Cabnet on the Broadway production Therese Raquin.

Carlotta’s passion for film stems from the idea that the power of cinema can change perception, and with this provoke action. She is the President and CEO of Wild Cat Film, LLC. Her hub for all things Carlotta can be found at www.carlotta-summers.com

Carlotta Summers 2

JON MEYERS INTERVIEWS CARLOTTA SUMMERS

JON:     Hi, Carlotta.  Let’s jump right in to this.  We all have our causes, for instance, mine are invisible disabilities and gender equality (particularly when it comes to women in Hollywood) — How did bullying become a subject you wanted to address now?

CARLOTTA:     I have a lot of issues that I am passionate about so it’s hard to pick just one! A few years ago I found that I wasn’t getting too much work in the indie film scene and the roles I was given, were not the ones I ultimately wanted to pursue in my career. So, I decided to start creating my own work. I have always been a writer and freelance filmmaker. At NYU, I focused on crafting theater pieces with my studio, The Experimental Theater Wing. I asked myself, what would I like to tackle first?

Bullying has always been a personal subject for me. I am a biracial woman who was teased consistently throughout grade school for being different. I remember the shooting pain in my stomach every time I went to class and had to face my bullies.  I remember how I felt when being berated in gym class. I think it’s sad when young girls find it necessary to push down other young women, when we are all in the same boat; when we are all struggling to swim to the top. I wanted to create a film that showed, not only some of the things I went through, but the psychology behind bullying so that we can start positive conversations on what we can do to help the victims and solve the issue. I wanted to share what I did to overcome the obstacles that stood in my way, in hopes that some girl will see it and feel empowered.

JON:     I love that.  I’ve had some similar experiences, even as an adult, believe it or not.  I’ve discovered that the only way to move forward is to surround myself with positive people and have positive conversations.  Speaking of positive conversations, you just hit your goal on Seed & Spark.  Tell me a little about that, and how you move forward now.

CARLOTTA:     We are so lucky to have reached our goal! For those who still want to be apart of the journey, feel free to follow us on instagram, twitter and facebook.com! We will be posting updates on these platforms, consistently as we move forward with production!

If anyone wants to contribute separately to the film, but did not have a chance to do so during the campaign, feel free to email us for how to do so.  The short film is a part of a larger feature of the same name.   [ Editor’s Note:  Here is that email:  butterfliesfeaturefilm@gmail.com ]

JON:   Very good.  So Butterflies The Feature is next after Butterflied The Short.   What’s next then after the Butterflies? What does the next 4 or 5 years look like for Carlotta Summers? Anything you specifically would like me to mention?

CARLOTTA:   This is just the beginning. I have secretly — now not so secretly) — been working on another piece, just as long, if not a bit longer then Butterflies. But, I am going to keep that quiet for now.

JON:  Too late

CARLOTTA:   I also have a few short films in the works as well. All will be created through my production company Wild Cat Film and in collaboration with other producers and creatives. If you would like to keep up with what new provocative stories we have in store, as well as casting opportunities, follow or like the Facebook page at WildCatFilm.

JON:  I’ll put a hotlink to the page in that last sentence.  I know we are both crazy busy this week, so I’ll let you get back to your day.  Again, Carlotta, congratulations on hitting your goal for Butterflies on Seed & Spark.  I’ll be posting this on the blog before Wednesday.

CARLOTTA:  Thanks again, looking forward to it!

 

 

Butterflies emerging
(c) Photo provided by Holly Tomlin Photography

SUPPLEMENTAL LINKS PERTAINING TO THIS STORY

 

Featured Photo (at top) Credit: A.J. Wilhelm (http://www.ajwilhelm.com/)