Mary Betsy
Filmmaker / Creative Director

mary betsy creativeprofile-photo.jpg

Mary Betsy

Filmmaker / Creative Director

San Francisco, CA

www.goforwardfilms.com
YouTube 
instagram @gomarybetsy
twitter @gomarybetsy
facebook

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I make videos that tell real stories for businesses and nonprofits.

My husband and I run a production company together called Forward Films
 

WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?

Hhhm. I followed my curiosity against all odds. A lot. I’ve never been very good at silencing the voice in my head that basically bullies me into creating something crazy. Those risks have pushed me to develop skills and connections that have helped me professionally, albeit not always immediately or intentionally.

To start from the beginning, though, I’ve never truly had a 9-to-5 job. I started freelancing after college out of necessity. When I learned that a financial broker had been writing checks to himself from my grandfather’s bank accounts (and my grandfather had Alzheimer's at the time), I got pissed and sued one of world’s biggest financial firms. That turned into a whole thing. Apparently, sorting through 5,000 pages of discovery documents takes a while. 

Having graduated with a journalism degree, I knew virtually nothing about law or investments, but I still ended up pointing my lawyer to several critical pieces of information in the case that he missed. In the end, the state attorney’s general revoked the broker’s license, and I learned that I could figure shit out no matter my “expertise.” Entrepreneurship since then has been similar, I’d say.
 

FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?

Business skills. It’s one thing to be a talented creator, but it takes a healthy relationship with money and a steadfast empathy for your clients to be a successful creative entrepreneur.

 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

That’s a secret, but I just wrapped a stellar passion project called Sheleader. It’s a fun show where I interview female founders in tech and digital media. I bet you’ll love it.

 

WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS? 

My style is documentary with a cinematic twist. I hate scripts and studios, but I love asking intentional interview questions and capturing moments that feel too authentic to be on camera.

 

WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?

I’m jealous of motion-graphic artists. It’s where two of my favorite worlds meet: video and design! But right now I need to focus more on growing Forward Films’ team beyond the bottleneck that is my creative control freak. I’m committed to delegating and becoming an amazing leader before I rack up more technical skills.

 

WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?

That I’ve been a giant wuss about hiring help. Also, Jake Paul and Donald Trump.

 

IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?

Production assistants! And for more an hour, I’m looking for shooters and editors, especially editors who are thrilled by the perfect color grade and audio mix. If you know any talented video nerds in the San Francisco Bay area, holler at your girl.

 

LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?

Job titles don’t matter. You shouldn’t be intimidated by them. Even though your job is untraditional, it’s no less legitimate than your Facebook friends who work at a company. You’re a goddamn hustler who helps people. Go slay!
 

IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?

Leadership, though I pretty much weaseled my way into gaining so many insights on this by interviewing women I admire on the Sheleader show. Flattery will get you everywhere.
 

WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

Any awesome brands that want authentic, credible video to tell their story! My company makes videos for your website, social media, recruiting efforts, crowdfunding campaigns, events — anything that doesn’t involve actors or scripted lines, count us in!

I’d also jump at the chance to teach more people about how to make their own videos. I know it can be hard to get in front of a camera when you’re first starting, but video is the most relatable way to share what you know in a scalable way, so if anyone is interested in a DIY video workshop, I got you.

DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.

I love working with brands that are making the world better and are comfortable letting it all hang out.
 

WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE? 

Video costs are very project-dependent, which is why we charge on a per-project basis. There are plenty of variables: How many people will we film? Where and for how long? What kinds of deliverables will serve your needs? 

We often jump on consultation calls so that we can provide a few options to consider. Once we start, we handle everything in the production process: brand research, story development, filming, editing, and sharing assets. 
 

HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?

You don’t need to have a shot list or narrative flow worked out by any means; you just need to know your brand inside out. Then bring us a goal and a budget for your video project, and we’ll help you figure out the rest.
 

HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?

I create just for fun on the regs.

 


This member profile was originally published in October 2017.