CCI 2019: Women Game Changers

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On the bustling first day of Comic-Con 2019, excited fans gathered to hear the secrets of creative experts on the “Hollywood Game Changers: A Conversation with the Creative Women Behind Popular Films and TV Projects” panel.

The conversation featured a panel of Emmy-winners and established creatives including sound designer Paula Fairfield (Game of Thrones), composer Anna Drubich (Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark), costume designer Mona May (Enchanted, Santa Clarita), animation director Anna Hollingsworth (Unikitty!, BoJack Horseman), costume designer Meghan Kasperlik (The OA Part II, Watchmen), production designer Judy Rhee (Better Call Saul), and costume designer Melissa Bruning (Space Jam 2, War for the Planet of the Apes). The panel was moderated by partner and director at Neer Motion, Chandra Feltus, and cinematographer Fiorella Occhipinti.

To kick off the panel, Paula Fairfield talked about pulling from personal experiences to create her art, “I lost a number of people I love when I started working on Game of Thrones. The first thing I did was to express my story through my sound design. I had people hearing my story through beautiful dragons. I put my heart and soul into the dragon sounds and in return they sounded as I was feeling and it felt like people were hearing my story.”

Discussing the iconic costumes on Clueless, Mona May commented, “Clueless married the two loves of mine, which are costume design and film and the rest was history. You start with a great script and the outfits come from there.”

Speaking about translating a character’s personality to the costume design, Melissa Bruning spoke about Regina Hall’s character on Black Monday, stating “The amazing thing about Regina is that she comes with such internal power. We hit the right tone based on the time period, but also made it feminine enough that she was known as the woman in the office.”
Sharing her wisdom on how to succeed in animation with the audience, Anna Hollingsworth suggested, “As a mom can you have it all when you have a strong support structure. It always helps having a support system, but it is still hard to balance both. However it does make you a great multitasker!”

Judy Rhee shared her experience about being a woman of color in the entertainment industry, “There were very few people of color when I started, but now there are more women than ever, especially of color. As a production designer I am grateful for the people that believed in me from the beginning. We have made progress and I believe it is changing.”

The conversation then transitioned to further discussion on specific highlights on the creatives’ respective shows. Meghan Kasperlik reflected on her Emmy-nominated work on HBO’s Fahrenheit 451, discussing “I researched about firefighters all around the world. I wanted to make sure that the fire reflected off of the jackets when used at night. The textile artist would rewax them every day or week based on the amount of heat that hit the jackets.”

Talking about her work on Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, composer Anna Drubich commented, “On the one hand we wanted a good traditional orchestral score. But there are all these different textures, which we wanted to use to inform the story. So we came up with the idea that every horror sequence was going to have its own sound center to elevate the individual monster stories.”

The panelists closed the panel reflecting on the future of storytelling. Ultimately, they all agreed that female creatives are dominating all over the industry, and are continuing to succeed and grow. Comic-Con attendees left the panel with a newfound appreciation for these fantastic group of trailblazers and female Game Changers, eager and excited to continue their day.

Photo Credit: Art Vega/Impact24 PR
Poster Credit: Impact24 PR