A diverse group of women seated at the SAG-AFTRA Plaza Cagney Conference Room.

For over a century, actors from around the world have flocked to Hollywood in pursuit of a breakthrough role. Modern performers, however, have begun taking matters into their own hands by producing their own content to showcase their talent. L.A. Local members got a crash course in content creation at the MOVE L.A. panel Developing Your Own Projects: From Concept to Completion at SAG-AFTRA Plaza on Feb. 7.

Organized and moderated by event chair Shea Scullin, the panel featured union contracts expert Jessica Johnson and a group of successful content creators. They included creator and star of the ABC digital series American Koko, Diarra Kilpatrick; awardwinning multihyphenate filmmaker and SAG-AFTRA L.A. Board member Elaine Loh; seasoned actor and WeMakeMovies film collective head of operations Aubrey Mozino; award-winning filmmaker Steven Calcote; and 50-year entertainment industry veteran Frank Crim.

When creating your own productions, the frst thing to consider is what your project’s message is and how to develop the concept. Calcote stressed the importance of having a friend or peer group who can provide honest feedback and tell you what does and does not work. Content creation is a collaborative effort requiring community involvement not only for peer review, but also for social and professional support. L.A. is full of capable student actors, filmmakers and crew members looking for self-produced and student projects from which they can gain experience, Crim explained.

You will most likely need to fundraise, but do not let it deter you. Kilpatrick lauded the effectiveness of crowdfunding websites such as GoFundMe and pointed out the surprising power of simply asking for aid, especially when you can demonstrate work you have already done. Mozino added that creative peer groups like WeMakeMovies
and NewFilmmakers L.A. are not only great places to network and meet fellow creators, but also provide extensive resources and information about gear, filming, contracts, insurance and more. Johnson added that the union is also here to help fnd a contract that fts your budget, help you get affordable workers’ compensation insurance and provide performance classes and workshops. She recommended productions call at least three weeks before shooting to ensure enough time for the process.

The discussion ended with panelists urging attendees to put fear aside and just go for it.

Photo: Seasoned self-starters gave SAG-AFTRA members a crash course in content creation at the MOVE L.A. Developing Your Own Projects: From Concept to Completion panel held at SAG-AFTRA Plaza on Feb. 7.

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