New Year New Desk: From Intern to Associate Producer February 23, 2018

New Year New Desk! Yes, you heard that right: the La Croix is still free…but my labor is not. I got a desk, a chair, a title, and a new pair of jeans to try and keep up with the Hidden Woods high quality denim aesthetic. I should mention that the desk is thanks to an exciting office expansion that involved a lot of IKEA-based team building, listening to Pat and Dave bicker about life insurance, and most importantly, the purchase of a Nintendo 64 for the conference room.  All of these developments are exciting for my parents because I purchased my own jeans, but also for Dave because he is no longer the worst Super Smash Bros player in the office. But I’m training, so watch out. A month into 2018, I can say with confidence that a lot of growth will be happening this year.

After wrapping up a year of exciting projects for Arm & Hammer, Silk, Conservation Colorado, Evan Your IT Guy, The New York Stock Exchange, Vibra Healthcare, and RX Green Technology to name a few- we’re starting the year in preparation for a big upcoming shoot with Sherwin Williams. Aidan helped the Hidden Woods team kick the year off right with an inspiring (and excellent) Lululemon spot on pro soccer player, Drew Conner, and Co-Produced, Co-Directed and shot a commercial for Frontiere Natural Meats.

Did I mention that I was Aidan’s Co-Director and Producer on the Frontiere Natural Meats shoot? Yes, I got to be (the taller, handsomer, black) Patrick for a day. I say that not to toot my own horn (my only other credits are Katy Perry dance music videos that my best friend and I produced, directed, and yes, starred in), but because I want to talk about the type of honest and sustainable growth that Hidden Woods stands for- and puts into practice.

I got a great education, but I was not a film major, or minor. I also had minimal experience- mostly in photography and screenplay writing. When I graduated college, all I really had was a vague idea of what it actually means to produce film and video content- and a whole lot of motivation to learn. If you go to most production companies and tell them that (and I contacted many people), you will be offered a professional coffee retrieval job, a permanent position in the mailroom, a career building C-stands, or most likely, nothing at all. Even with an Ivy League Degree. Talking to people at all different levels in “this industry,” I have come to understand: It’s all about who you know. Even if these companies take you on, they don’t bother teaching you anything, and don’t care about your growth. They want you to work for free, for as long as possible. There is little to no potential for “moving up.”

After graduating in May and realizing that film and video production something I really want to pursue, I was stuck. How do you get experience if you need that same experience to get the job? How do you learn anything when no one is teaching, the equipment is extremely complex, and super expensive? It is not easy to get started in this industry, to get started in this industry as a woman, and especially to get started in this industry as a woman of color.

When I sent an email to Hidden Woods last October, I didn’t know anyone, or anyone that knew anyone. It was just an email. Pat, Dave and Aidan began pouring knowledge on me the day I arrived, and they haven’t stopped since. I bought my own jeans. And now I have a desk.

In an industry- and in a lot of ways, a world- that can be so backwards and suffocating, my experience with Hidden Woods has been so honest and organic. The company is growing, and that’s exciting; what’s more important, though, is that the people that work with and for Hidden Woods are growing too. We’re writing our own company story in an honest and sustainable way, and helping our clients to do the same. I’m excited to keep sharing what this year has to offer. Until next time!

-Katie Leonard

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