Yolanda T Cochran 0:00
You know, if you have something that is has an authenticity to it in a voice in a real story and you and you know, you kind of adhere to that and continue to, to hold to what your idea was, I feel like there's so many the people, the people who are part of the business, want sure things like they want to share a bet. So a lot of times it's about Okay, well, what worked before, let's do that again, you know, and they're trying to, you know, recreate a formula so that they make sure they protect themselves from a financial standpoint, but often in their risk. They can be risk averse, except for a few examples that I can think of. But, you know, a lot of times the things that have become this breakout success has been stuff that has broken the rules or was unanticipated, and it's because the artists behind it stayed true to what it was that the creative choices and things that they were trying to do to make that project yo.
Kathleen Shannon 0:58
Hello, and welcome to being boss, a podcast for creative entrepreneurs.
Emily Thompson 1:01
I'm Emily Thompson.
Kathleen Shannon 1:04
And I'm Kathleen Shannon. I'm Yolanda T. Cochran, and I'm being boss. Today we are talking with Yolanda T. Cochran all about her background in the film industry as a producer, and we dive in a little bit about bringing more mindfulness and awareness to race and gender in industries that are typically male dominated. As always, you can find all the tools books and links we referenced on the show notes at WWW dot being boss club. Okay, bosses, I was shocked whenever Emily shared with me this week that she once had a coaching client who had a stack of unsent invoices for clients, and they were like months old, she was literally leaving money on the table. Now, I don't know about you bosses listening, but I've got bills to pay. And sometimes it can be hard to stay on top of billing, not to mention getting over the anxiety of asking someone for money, even if you earned it. And this is why I love fresh books cloud accounting so much. It makes billing your clients so easy, professional and even automated freshbooks has so many invoicing features, including getting paid a deposit upfront, setting up recurring invoices for retainer clients, and even being able to see when a client has opened their invoice. Try fresh books cloud accounting for free by going to fresh books comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section? You guys, Yolanda t Cochran is a creative powerhouse. Her most recent project is producing a documentary short and podcast miniseries entitled breaking the glass, highlighting and seeking solutions to challenges specific to gender and race in the entertainment industry. In addition to that endeavor, she's a writer and principal of a small production company that focuses on stories of human interest. She's consulted for the likes of Netflix, and worked on film projects such as beautiful creatures, The Blind Side, the book of Eli, and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, too. And if that isn't a full enough plate, She currently serves on the PGA national board of directors and producers Council and is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures, arts and sciences. All right onto the show. So we met you Yolanda through our mutual friend, Ron, and he told us that we had to have you on the show. And then once I started digging into you and everything that you're doing, I was like, what you were just a powerhouse. So can we just start this off by telling our listeners who you are and what the work that you do is sure. So
Yolanda T Cochran 3:47
my name is Yolanda T. Cochran. I am a producer. I am a member of The Producers Guild of America and also the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Some of that is recent. I'm a recent member of the academy I've been a member of The Producers Guild for I don't know how many years now close to 10, I think. But I started out in accounting because that's what I went to school for. However, when I was at USC, all of my friends, including my now husband were in the film in the theater art school. So I naturally started gravitating over toward the arts, even though I continued and got my degree in accounting. So all throughout school and early in my career, I was running around with them doing all these artistic projects, you know, some plays a lot of small film projects, many of them I mean, in the early days, it was they were student projects, but then they transitioned over to you know, very, very indie film projects. And then I just continued you know, migrating further and further into the business. And after having started out in public accounting, and you know, getting my license as a CPA, about three years after college, I basically just, you know, I started working for Disney Studios. And at that time, it was like mostly in production finance, because obviously, my background was accounting. And that was how I was getting hired. And, and so I started a Disney Studios. And then I did that a couple years. And then I started freelancing directly in film. Again, that was mostly in production accounting, because that was my background. But at the same time, like I say, I was running around doing a lot of film production, because many of our, you know, friends, and my husband and myself, were doing our own project. So like, nights and weekends, I was doing production. And so eventually, my, quote, unquote, day job kind of lined up more with production. And so I've been able to oversee, you know, feature films, predominantly for over 20 years.
Kathleen Shannon 6:10
And you've worked on some films, like The Blind Side book of Eli. So like, what goes into the production side of huge projects like that, like, literally, what are you doing?
Yolanda T Cochran 6:23
Well, there's a lot, okay, so I always kind of boil my job down to project management, when I especially when I'm talking to someone who has no idea what you know, filmed entertainment, you know, how does that work? What does that mean? You know, what do you even do? What does you know? What does a line producer? So I tell them, it's project management? And essentially, you know, it is, imagine if you were building a building, like all of the pieces that you'd have to think about, okay, what are the materials? You can I can't even imagine what is it going to cost? Like? Who are the people you're going to need to hire? When do when do they start? When do they not? You know, when are they done? You know, when do you know, what's all the legal stuff, what's all the safety precautions, you have to you know, consider, you know, all of these different things. So it's really, my job has been predominantly until recent years, which we can talk about in a bit entirely about project management. And so in the early stages, it starts with a script that everyone decides they want to do. And so then it becomes, okay, we have the script, where are we going to shoot it? And how much can we afford to do it for and who do we want to be involved in how do we get it, you know, finished into the theaters and make sure that we do it responsibly, that, you know, we all the legal is taken care of, we haven't exposed yourself to any risk, we've done it safely, effectively, and we've done it in a way that everybody's gonna want to show up and buy a ticket. So it's, so it's then becomes all those pieces. And for me, that includes budgeting and scheduling and getting proper insurance and hiring, you know, department heads and finding the right location to shoot in and figuring out if we can get, you know, good production incentives, that's the big thing right now is shooting in locations where they offer like tax incentives, you can add more money to what goes to the project. So and then once you've done shooting, it becomes an exercise in Okay, now we have a post production schedule, and we have a release date. And we may have visual effects. And we need to make sure that we're, you know, completing the visual effects on time to meet our schedule and on budget. And then there's music and scoring and all different things to do all the finishing touches, and have a completed, you know, film project that we're delivering to our distributor in all the technical specifications that need that they need the various you know, like license agreements that they need, etc, etc.
Kathleen Shannon 9:05
So there are a lot of like words that people use to describe hard jobs. And, you know, like, from putting out fires to pulling teeth. feel like you're constantly putting out fires and pulling teeth, like
Yolanda T Cochran 9:18
Yes, yes. And, and, and you missed handholding? Yes, yes,
Emily Thompson 9:27
it sounds super encompassing. And I have to wonder with you going from like a quote unquote, traditional degree of being an accountant or a CPA and then moving into this, this role of producing movies, was that an easy transition? Did it just sort of go from flow from one end to the other because it sounds like you're using a lot of you are like CPA skills, or mindsets even in the Yeah. Did you ever regret that degree or do you know eating into what you're doing so well, that it just makes sense? Well, Funding I
Yolanda T Cochran 10:00
have. So I have several thoughts on that question. So, interestingly, when what so the reason I even got into this whole industry, People sometimes ask me, why do you know what, what is about film or what led you to film? And I was like, did you think about it when you were growing up? And I was like, No, like, the crazy thing is I go to the movies. I grew up in Houston, Texas, and I go to the movies. And it didn't even occur to me that this was like a business or, you know, a discipline or job. Like, I was like, I don't know what I thought, I guess the movies just magically showed up in the theater. So but then, which is how it should be? Yeah,
Kathleen Shannon 10:35
yeah. Movies done? Well, you're not thinking
Yolanda T Cochran 10:38
exactly when in? Exactly. That's right. And so the whole reason I even got into the business was because I met my husband who was in the theater, theater, art school, and he was also getting a second degree in cinema. So then I that opened up a world to light now I have a very large group of friends who are all in television and film, and they went to SC, and they went specifically to be in film and television. But when we all graduated, Funny enough, like I was the first kind of to get, you know, a real inroads into the business through my finance background, because I was doing a lot of like, you know, film accounting. But when I first first started, I started as an auditor, and it as it so happened, because I had the interest from college, most of my clients were like, you know, related to the industry. And so as an auditor, a lot of what you need to do is understand the operations of the business, no matter who your client is, who or whoever you're going out to audit, you need to understand the operation of how it works. So that you can make sure to verify that the financials and the financial statements are, you know, stated accurately. So you need to, you know, understand the processes. So it's really about operations. And so many auditors have a good operational background, and that's entirely what a producer, line producer does, you know, is all about operations. Again, project management. So it completely fed into it. It was like a perfect background. And actually, a lot of a lot of people who, there's a decent number of line producers who start out and production accounting, so Yeah, perfect.
So I feel like with, okay, here's where I want to go with this is I was just talking to a client today. And they were like, are you sure that you want to work on my project, like is not nearly as sexy as all the stuff that you're putting on Instagram is? And I was like, Yes. Because like, it all feels the same, right? And so what I want to ask you about this is, whenever you're working on this project, and you're putting out fires, like what we do you see is that magical moment of a movie, and we're not thinking about everything that went into it. So my question kinda is maybe two part like, Do you ever feel successful? Like, do you feel like you get to sit down and watch that movie and just like, feel a big sense of relief? Or are you already on to your next project? And I got some asking this because like, in some ways, I never feel successful, because I'm constantly raising the bar. And I'm constantly behind the scenes just like hammering stuff out, right? Yeah. So do you experience that at all? And because I think that movies especially is such like a glamorous, right, yeah. There's a lot of not so glamorous things that obviously go into it. Yeah. You know, it's a really great question that I hadn't really thought about it in those terms, until you just ask it. And it's, I did, I think I felt successful every time. Like, it's a tremendous, like accomplishment. And actually, when I was at Alcorn entertainment, I spent 12 years there, which was like the bulk of my credits and the projects that I worked on. At a certain point, when I was, you know, in my position, I had a direct report to the heads of the company, the owners of the company, who were producing all the projects and, and so at a certain point, I said to them, you know, what I said, when we wrap our art, we wrap photography, we should have a champagne toast at the company, it was a small company, so we could do that. I said, we should have a champagne toast on rap date. And you know, the day that we wrapped or the day after, we should have a champagne toast because it's a huge thing we just pulled off even though we weren't done. I mean, there's a ton left to do and put in post but and so we started doing that. And I'm a big believer in like marking those milestones and in any kind of like, is particularly with feature films, but also in television, like when you even when the stuff is bad. It's such a tremendous effort to get that project completed and into theatres. That is, particularly from my standpoint, it was always a success now. That is, is because of where I'm setting the standards of what I think my role in the processes. We did plenty of movies that lost a fortune. We also did you know, more than one movie that the critics that really sucked. Some of which I don't necessarily disagree with. So interesting, you know from that, can we talk about this for a second? Yeah, yeah. What what happens?
Unknown Speaker 15:41
Sorry, not, ya know,
Kathleen Shannon 15:43
what, how does a movie go downhill? Like, whenever I'm looking at these budgets, if I, I mean, obviously, I don't know. But sometimes I think if I add that much money, yeah, like, and it's so much was on it. And even you know, Emily and I are writing a book right now. And every detail, like there are things where we are having to kind of pull teeth for what we want and really stand up for it. But making sure that that end product is exactly to our vision. So like, what goes wrong, whenever a movie goes wrong, and like that much money goes into it? Is it in the editing? Is it that maybe the director wasn't a great fit? Isn't that the script? I mean, like, how
Yolanda T Cochran 16:20
does I mean, the biggest the biggest, when you were asking the question, I was thinking to myself, Oh, my god, there's so many answers to that question. But typically, when you when you mentioned, you know, like the director and the editor, I then thought to myself, you know, it always starts on the page, like, you know, if you're starting with a great story, it's pretty hard to screw that up. Now, you can screw it up from like, a financial perspective of like, oh, it didn't make any money, because, you know, got a terrible release date. And nobody knew, you know, you didn't reach your audience to know that it was in the theater, or, you know, something crazy, something beyond your control could happen. For instance, one of the very first movies that outcome did lost a fortune because it came out, I think, the day after Columbine. And so like, you know, the, you know, the news was, like, flooded, calm, but like, people just weren't going in theaters. So there's things like that, that you could have potentially a great movie that circumstances happen beyond your control, and suddenly, you know, you've lost your shirt. So if you start with something really great, in my opinion, it's hard to Unless, you know, unforeseen forces like that happen, it's hard to get it wrong, although it's possible. But I mean, there's so many things that happen from, you know, unfortunately, the art is not always what's driving the machine. So the further you get from the art, the bigger the trouble you get into, and there's, you know, it is a business, it's show business, and people are in it to make money, and they need to make money. I mean, you know, companies like you know, and alikhan, or big movie studio, like Disney or Warner Brothers can't stay around if they're not making money. So they need to have the commerce in mind, and do it, you know, strategically and smartly, so that they can continue making money, maybe necessarily, you don't necessarily have to make money on everything, I mean, you just need to average it out so you can keep your doors open. But typically, what happens in I think, in filmed entertainment is often what gets things off the rails is much is driven by ego, and much is driven by money that pulls you away from the art and that's basically where a lot of it just kind of goes wrong.
Emily Thompson 18:53
Oh, man, that's such a good point, though. And like such a different scale of viewing this than what Kathleen and I are used to where usually we're thinking about, you know, small businesses or small creative businesses that and that just like a single person is going after profit more than creativity or whatever it may be and seeing those things happen, but seeing it on such a large scale project that is such an art but is equally as much a business Yeah, like a model for monetization. I I love that. There's still a parallel there for sure. But it's also super fascinating to consider to consider
Yolanda T Cochran 19:32
and I love like projects. I love listening. I love listening to other people who do it particularly the artists because you can always get a lesson from them. And I've just been doing a lot of listening, going to panels and listening to people who've been successful at it and doing it well particularly creatively. And I just what I've done a few things, a few creative things is wrong and one of the very first times I ever did a podcast with him, you know, he asked me, you know, like, what would you tell someone, you know, what would you tell someone starting out about, you know how to make it or how to get through or how to break through the noise. And I said to him, I said, you know, my biggest advice is just to have a really great compelling story. Because, you know, it might take you a long time to get it through. But you know, that's what, that's the core of it. And if you can manage to somehow keep afloat, because a lot of times, it's about, oh, you know, well, I have to, like, sustain myself, I have a life, you know, I have to, you know, I have to pay the bills, and I totally get that. And so, my philosophy is, if you can somehow find a way to sustain yourself, you know, if you have something, you have a project or projects that are that are actually good and have real creative value that you will eventually get it made. And I'm, I'm taking that away more and more as I listened to other people who've been successful at it, and like, you know, if you have something that is has an authenticity to it in a voice in a real story, and you and you know, you kind of adhere to that and continue to, to hold to what your idea was, I feel like, there's so many the people, the people who are part of the business, want sure things like they want to share a bet. So a lot of times it's about Okay, well, what worked before, let's do that, again, let's you know, and they're trying to, you know, recreate a formula so that they make sure they protect themselves from a financial standpoint, but often in their risk, they can be risk averse, except for a few examples that I can think of. But, you know, a lot of times the things that have become this breakout success has been stuff that has broken the rules or was unanticipated, and it's because the artists behind it stayed true to what it was that that the creative choices and things that they were trying to do to make that project, you know, go.
Kathleen Shannon 22:00
Yeah, I feel like I mean, you can speak to this, probably even more so. But the rise of indie films definitely seems to speak to that. And I even think of this is probably like a bigger indie film. I even think about Sofia Coppola's lost in translation, like projects where you know, whenever you start hearing about the behind the scenes, that they weren't even sure if Bill Murray was going to show up, or that they write, you know, one camera for 24 hours, and then that was it, and that there's a lot of boundaries that they have to be creative within, but they're willing to risk it in order to hold true to their vision. So I'm, you know, curious, and I don't even know if this is like, where you fit into the industry. But like, I just think if I were like a big powerhouse like Warner Brothers, I would have the big blockbusters like the Chris Pratt, like action hero movies to pay the bills, and then I would almost invest in little indie films as if they were startups. Yeah. And yeah, because if it's low funding, but like a high return, it seems like those could even be bigger moneymakers for them.
Yolanda T Cochran 23:04
You know, it's funny, I had a somewhat similar conversation recently about like, the sad disappearance of like the mid range budget movies. And that idea, but you just said is something that actually used to be the case, like, I'd say, like 10 years ago, maybe a little bit longer. Each of the major studios had a small like, quote, unquote, indie arm, like, you know, and even like, so Fox still has Fox Searchlight Warner used to have I forget what it's called, I forget what I think it was Warner independent or something like that. And, you know, Disney had Miramax, and like, you know, all these major studios, Paramount had Paramount Vantage. And like each of them had, you know, they because because what happened was like in the mid 90s, there was the first big boom of independent film. And Sundance was huge. And like these movies were coming out and they were getting, you know, huge recognition and all these things. And it was kind of, you know, the the start of film being more democratized about you know, you could do things on smaller budget anyway. So there was so much recognition about the creative value of all those projects that all the studios wanted to get in on the act and but they were like, Okay, well, those are our smaller, like art house movies, but we need to do it because everybody's paying attention. And I think over a course of years, what ended up happening is those big studios Didn't they kind of lost their way about how to do those movies smartly, so that they weren't losing a lot of money on them. Because the other problem of what how these a lot of these movies lose too much money is, you know, the advertising, you can make a movie for nothing and then spend $20 million minimum especially from a studio standpoint, trying to get it into the market. And then if it doesn't, you know, then it suddenly has to make no, call it 35 40 million to break even. And suddenly, it's not infinite movie, they've lost all their money. And so they ended up losing a ton of money on all these movies, and they completely stopped doing them. And they still don't know how to do them, quite frankly, they don't know how to do them smartly from you know, the full investment standpoint, and then what they need to make back in order for it to make sense. And so they've just stopped doing it. And that's why you see these, you see these independent producers making these movies and then selling them off at the end? You know, and then they kind of, you know, make their way into the market that way. Interesting. Okay, so,
Kathleen Shannon 25:46
are you and your husband still producing like your own indie films? Or are you guys making your own projects? And how does that fit into the landscape? of? Yeah, your entire industry? So that's a fun question. Because how do you afford it?
Yolanda T Cochran 26:01
I know. It's funny. So my husband and I did an independent, like, a really, you know, micro budget independent feature that we released in 2005 2005 2006. Literally, we mortgaged our house to do it. And we were super proud of it. And we were like, Oh, you know, we set out thinking this is gonna be it, you know, this is our ticket. And you know, everyone, we'll discover it. And the next things we'll be doing are these big, you know, budget movies, well, that didn't happen. We did go to some festivals and had some successes, we didn't go to like the the larger big name festivals. We didn't leverage it. Like, you know, maybe we could have to get additional work. But at the time, I actually took a bit of a hiatus from my work as an executive with al-khan entertainment to go and do the move to produce the movie. We also co wrote it. And so we were very, very happy and proud of it after it was done. But then kind of nothing happened. And then we got and, you know, we went on with life. And we It was also super taxing financially, physically, everything I lost, like 20 pounds making the movie, it was crazy. And so great weight loss. I know, right? So we were kind of very exhausted after, like, in multiple ways, we were exhausted. So then we were like, oh, we're not gonna do that, again, you know, for at least not for a while. And then about three years ago, we we actually had a creative idea for a feature for a big feature sci fi that we had at the same time. And so it was just something that was in the back of our mind, it was really, you know, high concept. And it kind of wasn't much more than that. Other than this big concept idea, but we're constantly like, we'd constantly come back to like, I'd be like you, you should write it, you should write it and you know, he'd be doing other stuff. And then finally, three years ago, we're like, that's it, let's just do it, we're gonna write it. So we started writing it, we've written it, and we're trying to get it out there to the market. And then in the course of that, I actually left al-khan entertainment in my executive position, just, I needed a break. And then I also wanted to pursue things more as a creative producer. I'd gotten drawn to it more and more. And so I did some creative projects. Actually, Ron and I partnered on a mini series for he has a podcast series that is about filmmakers and filmmaking. But we did a sub series related to women in the business and kind of the challenges of being a woman in the business. So
Kathleen Shannon 28:53
let's talk about that. So that that series so Ron is our mutual friend who has a podcast and Emily, have you been on Ron's podcast for together? Okay, so I've been on Ron's podcast, I can't remember if we did it together or separate. Anyway. Um, he's really great. And so you guys created a podcast series together called breaking the clutch. Right? Yeah. So tell us a little bit about that project. Yeah. Why? Why we need to break the glass and really kind of discussing, you know, gender and race and especially in the entertainment industry, where it's maybe not quite so represented. Yeah.
Yolanda T Cochran 29:26
Yeah. So it's interesting. So Ron, you know, to his credit, actually did a subset. You know, his podcast is all about filmmaking and filmmakers and storytelling, and it's fantastic. And so he did, you know, a separate episode or a few episodes on Women in Film. And so, he was kind of wrapping up, you know, a few episodes in, you know, had had women on the show when he was recapping. And he was also, you know, referring back to some of the women who've been on the show and so one of his you know, take away He had three takeaways. I can't remember them just at the moment, but one of them was that women need to act and think like men or act, you know, act, yeah, basically behave like men in the business to be successful. And I mean, he was getting this, he was, you know, restating something that some women have said, and so, my husband and I are frequent guests on his show. And so we were on on another episode, I was like, Hey, I, you know, I heard your wrap up, and you know, I have an issue with your summation. So, we ended up having this big conversation, which led to the series, and because I have so many friends from school who are in the business, you know, half of which are maybe more are women. And so, we're like you Well, I was like, well, we should get everybody on the show. And we should talk about this, whether or not women need to act to behave like men. And so this whole series was born, which was, like, amazing, because it was such a great, wonderful, personal and creative journey for me to do it. And, you know, I was able to dive deeper into the topic of, you know, the challenges of Women in Film, and quite frankly, what a, you know, the takeaway was that it's the challenges of women in any industry. But specifically in the entertainment industry, in industry, and also, particularly now there's a lot of conversation, and I'm involved with a lot of groups. And in fact, The Producers Guild is looking at this issue as well. There'll be some, you know, upcoming information about that, but I've had lots of conversation about it. And one of the big focuses has been, you know, the tremendous shortage of female directors, particularly, there's other areas, you know, other departments and other, you know, places within the business, certainly that there isn't a big representation of women, quite frankly, all over, but some particular departments, there's just really, you never see any women. And right now, there's a lot of focus about how few women are female directors, there are which it's crazy, it's like, you know, it's, it's like less than 20% of all projects are directed by females. And, you know, we actually did one particular episode called based on quotas. And we talked about this more in detail. And my my large point on that episode was, you cannot tell me that where you have a population, a general population, where the general population is 52%, female, that in a job that does not have anything to do inherently with your gender, or a skill set that's specific to your gender, for instance, if it were something where you were having to lift, you know, heavy equipment or something you needed to be, you know, stronger, like a guy, because someone who can't, or whatever the case may be, it's like, you don't have to be a man to have this, you know, you have a skill set of man to direct something. So if that's the case, then it doesn't make sense to have such a low percentage of, you know, women there, there could be some other inherent thing that like, you know, other barriers outside of, you know, a gender thing that might, you know, maybe women aren't interested, well, that's not the case. So there's obviously, you know, something at hand, some barriers that are happening, that we don't see, you know, unexpected representation of the gender and that, you know, in that job,
Kathleen Shannon 33:36
do you feel like you've experienced sexism or racism firsthand, just even within your roles in the industry? And how, how do you address those challenges in the moment? And what do you recommend for people who might also be experiencing that to deal with it? Yeah.
Yolanda T Cochran 33:52
So one of the biggest, I think, probably the biggest takeaway I had in doing the series, and he ended up doing probably about 10, podcast episodes. And three, I believe, we did three documentary short episodes. And I learned a ton. I mean, of course, I'm a woman, and I'm in the business and you think, you know, everything or, you know, inherently this is, you know, we're talking basically, we're talking about me, and I happen to be African American women, woman. So I have that as well. And so you think you know, things, but then you learn so much and what I learned the biggest takeaway that I had was that so much of our challenges, and what we need to do enact things to counteract is that there's engendered unconscious bias that we all have every one of us every child, you know, every person that starts from, you know, before your age five, and it doesn't matter if you're male, it women, unfortunately, will engender an inherently take on unconscious bias. against other women, like I actually heard are a separate podcast. I think it was on Freakonomics about language and voice and the voice of women. And how, when a woman says something, and a man says something, it might be the exact same thing, the exact same inflection or whatever, the listener, whether that listener is a male or a female will, will interpret it completely different just based off of whether the male or the female says it. So there's so many things that are unconscious that that we do, and then come into the workplace and particularly affect hiring practices. That, you know, I think that's the biggest issue. And the reason I say that an answer to your question is, have I been have I faced sexism, racism? Sure, but I would not stay say extensive, like, that is not my experience, thankfully. I mean, fortunately, you know, I'm a very capable person. I'm also pretty personable, I've had, you know, great opportunities, I went to a good school, you know, had all the advantages, basically. And so I've had opportunities, and I've worked my ass off, probably more so than, you know, my counterparts might have to in a similar situation, and would have been farther advanced, had I been a white male. But I, you know, there hasn't been, there haven't been many overt, you know, instances of sexism or racism that I could point to. And if you ask me, particularly on racism I have, there's nothing like, if I had to think of an example, I'd have to think for a good bit of time, sexism, I could think of many instances, and a lot of them, they weren't directed, you know, particularly directed toward me, but there's a lot of like, you know, what I'm talking about, like the unconscious bias, there's a lot of like, you know, being in a room where you're, you know, there's a bunch of people in the room, and you're the only female there. You know, there might be like, I've been in situations where I was in a professional setting, and sexist comments are made about a woman walking by those kinds of things. So I certainly have come across that quite often. But nothing that has, other than the hiring practice part of it, or the opportunity part of it, none of it has specifically held me back, except for the fact that I really, honestly feel like I'd probably be at a different stature. And, you know, as far as I've gotten, and I'm very grateful, and I in, you know, with precious few exceptions, I've loved everybody I've worked with, including, you know, all the crews and all that kind of thing. But, um, I do believe, you know, with my experience and my background, you know, the people that I've come across the people that I've run across, I know, I just by way of plenty of examples of other people's and their story and how they got there, and where, how they got to being a producer, or whatever. And I'm like, Well, nobody just handed me that opportunity. Just because, you know, oh, this person's my assistant. And he's so smart. And he's so sharp. And let me just make you a, you know, an associate producer on my next project or, you know, bring you along or those kinds of things. So, yeah. It's interesting. And that's that, you know, that's the story of a lot of women in the business.
Kathleen Shannon 38:34
Yeah. And so I mean, I think that this seems to be especially obvious in the film industry. And I listened to my friend Laura Tremaine has a podcast and her husband produces and directs like the jackass franchise. And she started out in Hollywood as a producer, and has interviewed a couple of other like, female producers, and just the amount of I don't know, demands aren't entirely. I don't want to say female friendly, but I think that there are these assumptions on women with whenever it comes to like our time and capabilities that are probably unconsciously many times put upon us. And so what do you think needs to happen? Maybe even specifically in the film industry, and we can kind of be thinking about this as it relates to creative entrepreneurs. Like what specifically do you think or did you maybe even explore in your podcast series? What do you think needs to happen to start to break through that glass? Yeah, yeah. And get more women. And I mean, I even think it's so interesting from entertainment, like how pop culture really does help shape our society at large. And if we could get more female directors behind the camera, and really sharing or, you know, making a movie through their point of view, and not that it's going to be wildly different than a mass by any means, but certainly Things might shift a little bit. I think it could entirely shift our society and maybe there'd be I don't know, less shootings or less, right, yeah, you can make a profound impact.
Yolanda T Cochran 40:11
Now, it's interesting. I was particularly I was so overjoyed, as many people have been, many women have been with Wonder Woman, you know, it's like, it really again, comes back to hiring practices. And what, when we did the quota episode, there was a clip in that episode of sound clip, an audio clip of, you know, the, there's a case with the EEOC that, that women have taken, you know, with the film industry, because of the low number of female directors, and it was on a morning show, it was being discussed in the morning show, and Scott bale was on and they asked him what he thought about the fact that this case was being brought in, he just thought, Oh, it's complete nonsense. And, you know, you know, these quotas, and I worked with plenty of female directors, and, but what, what it really needs to be about, and I said, I'm not a proponent of quotas, what I'm a proponent of is you need to have, you need to create hiring practices, and, and access and you know, a system of hiring people, such that you're least providing an opportunity, and access to a larger pool of applicants, a representative pool of applicants, that does not mean you have to hire those people, but you need to bring them in, in order to evaluate whether their, you know, their take in their vision is in line with what you're trying to do with your project as a you know, as a producer, as a studio as or whatever it is, and, and I and I quite honestly feel like and know that it does not have to be that complicated. If you do that I have, you know, real faith, that if people are giving people an honest shot, I think it's just gonna naturally take care of itself. And something else that we brought up in that podcast is in the NFL, which is an interesting topic right now in society. But in the NFL, what they did was, you know, they had a situation where there were no ethnically minority head coaches are, there weren't many. And so they enacted one of the owners, I believe, instituted this rule because it's named after him. It's called the Rooney Rule. So whenever a head coaching position in the NFL goes vacant, the team is required to interview a minority for the position, and are required to hire them. And so they enacted this rule, and lo and behold, after a while, there's like a, you know, a pretty good representative sample of minority coaches, and it was just that easy. And like, you know, we also talked about in our season finale, Ryan Murphy did something similar to that he created something called the hat foundation. And, you know, he This came to the forefront of his mind of how few female directors there are. And so he decided on his series, he's like, Listen, he's like, from now on 50%, I need 50 into his is more kind of a quota, which, you know, I'm still not so you know, completely on board with quotas, because like, I want 50% of my episodes of everything that we do to be directed by females. And prior to having done it, so they're like, okay, when you start bringing in doesn't mean, they're not qualified. It's like, no, we're going out and seeking qualified individuals to do it. And one season, he went from less than 20%, to slightly over 50% of his, you know, his episodes being directed by women. And it was like, it was that easy. It really just doesn't have to be complicated, like, just give, just let people come in the door and hear what they have to say and hear their ideas. And guess what, there's a really solid chance that you're going to be like, Whoa, that was great. Let's hire her.
Kathleen Shannon 44:02
How do you think we as like movie goers, and end consumers can support more diversity? Or, you know, women power in the industry? Like, is it by buying tickets to wonder woman? Or is there anything else that we can do to like, make it do?
Yolanda T Cochran 44:19
Yeah, that's a great question. I mean, here's the thing. You don't just the general consumer doesn't have the opportunity to support because the content isn't there because the women aren't getting the opportunity. Like I just went, I went to a general membership meeting of the Academy, and there was a conversation about it came up as a general member question about, you know, the the Oscars so white question or topic that has, you know, been over the last couple of years or whatever. And so, you know, the course of discussion about you know, whether that's a valid criticism or whatever, and, you know, a real takeaway, which is a valid one is The membership of the academy can only evaluate the projects that are out there. You know, and so if you know, ethnic minorities or you know, women, or you know, diverse sexually oriented people are not given the opportunity to make projects to be considered, then, you know, we can't start, we can't start the support. So I mean, it really has to, you know, the opportunities and access has to be there. Unfortunately, what happens is, again, a lot of it comes back to a bit of unconsciousness, although I don't want to let everybody just off the hook with it. But what happens is, you know, we have a really diverse, wonderful rich culture here in America. And unfortunately, what has happened is a, you know, a subset of that culture has been, you know, granted the, the entirety of the access and the keys to the kingdom. And as we kind of start to fill this out and make it you know, more of an even playing field, and we bring more people in, it kind of squeezes some people out, or whatever the case may be, because there's a finite number of projects, there's a finite number of jobs and, and so, lo and behold, those people who had originally dominated all of those positions, feel like suddenly, you know, they are being punished or, you know, somehow being penalized in some way. And naturally, it naturally creates more competition for those positions. And so whether or not there's a deliberate or, you know, a real strategic effort to say, No, we're gonna box these people out, because we don't like them, or whatever the case may be, there's an inherent, you know, understanding that, I'm now going to have a harder time, or I may now not get some of the things that I got before, because maybe I have slightly a little bit of an advantage. And so there's even you know, from an unconscious level, or whatever level may be, you know, efforts to protect that. So, we've got to find ways to break that down.
Kathleen Shannon 47:16
Yeah, this is where I get really riled. Like, this is where I, I can't even like with, you know, how this whole, like, how dare they take our jobs. But if it was another white dude jockeying for your job, like how is this any different? Yeah, I
Yolanda T Cochran 47:33
was just, I literally was walking on the street the other day, and I was like, you know, I really, like it hit my brain. I was like, Oh, it's like, oh, suddenly, now you have to compete at the same level that I've always had to compete. Like, now you have to fight as hard as I've always had to fight. And so it feels like suddenly, oh, my God, now I'm being penalized. Like, now I have to do this. No, like, That's not fair. Like, why am I having to fight more like, what it's like, no, you're now having to do what everybody else who isn't like you has always had to do in order to get that position or that job. Amen.
Kathleen Shannon 48:11
I mean, I even had a guy in a Facebook groups is surrounded by women saying, I feel like any minute now I'm gonna be telling you to check my privilege. And I'm, like, well, eliminated being surrounded by a bunch of women. And that makes you upset or defensive than Yeah, you need to check your privilege. Yeah. And what happens is, why are you so mad about being called out? Yeah,
Yolanda T Cochran 48:33
and the thing about it is what we have to realize, and I think probably what is key to hopefully bring people to the table. And the thing is, I've spent so much time thinking about this, that I'm kind of, like, I've come to the, you know, higher level of like, I don't know, the Dr. King or something, although by the time he died, he was pretty pissed off. But, um, you know, I mean, like, I have to put my myself into their shoes and understand, like, these people, people who have privileged, whatever version of that privilege that it is, have never understood that they're living there, their entire lives have been steeped in privilege. And so when it comes to the fourth, they just don't, to be able to take that on. That's a big pill, it's a big pill to really understand it, to grasp it, to own it to own up to it to then you know, have to situate yourself into like, okay, now, now, my privilege is being taken away, like, where would I where, where would I be if I had grown up in, you know, some circumstance and I had all these things that I didn't really realized that I had, and then suddenly somebody wanted to come in, and, you know, kind of, you know, take it away from me or relieve it from me or like, somehow, like, I'd be like, wait a minute, what are we talking about? Like, I didn't even realize I had that, like, you know that the bank. So like, for instance, here's here's maybe not a valid equivalent, but like, for instance, the DACA issue, like you have a, you have all these people who were brought here as babies. And they didn't know that they weren't born here and that they weren't citizens. And now people are talking about throwing them out and sending them back to a country that they never been to. They might not speak the language and all this stuff. And they're like, wait a minute, I'm an American, I've been here my entire life. What are you talking about? I'm going back to some country. And I'm like, nope, you're not American. And too bad. You didn't know and bye bye. So like, they're like, wait a minute, you can't take that from you can't take my American from me. And so it's like you're so it's not exactly an equivalent, but it's like getting someone to, to embrace their privilege and be ready to, you know, throw those robes off is probably, yeah, it's a hard pill to swallow. But they've got to realize it, and we've got to fix it. to that.
Emily Thompson 51:06
Oh, man, I feel like I have more questions now that I have clear thought. For sure. Because this is such a big topic. And it's obviously one that is at the moment, filtering into every single facet of life that we all experience from our workplace, to our neighbors, or like hanging out on social media, like every conversation, I feel like I'm having these days, on some level comes down to talking about, you know, the white man or, or whatever, I get the privilege in some way. And also like accepting my own, and trying to check my own. Yeah, and make sure that like, I'm trying to keep a playing field that I that I have like in check as much as possible. It's super difficult. And it is one of those things that that I'm glad we can have a conversation about it. But it's still not even something that I can like wrap my head around to contribute much to the conversation.
Yolanda T Cochran 52:04
Like it's so vast it is and you know what it's like it's in again, it's so ingrained in each of us. And I'll give you a quick example. So a friend of a friend of mine, a kawi. She's a white woman, she has biracial children. And so she was telling the story of being at the airport and going through security and TSA, and she got, you know, very, like, kind of aggressive, she was there with her children. They were all flying together. She got very aggressive with the TSA agent. And so eventually he like, let her through. And then, right after she walked through, she was like, Oh, my God, and she turned to her children. She's like, Listen, kids, she's like, I just realized what I did. Like, you know, I'm a white lady. She's like, you guys can't approach a TSA agent or somebody in authority, like I just did like, because you're not gonna have the same, you know, situation, he's not going to just like, let you do or not, it could, you know, be a completely, you know, 180 type, you know, altercation. So she was like, Oh, my, she's like, that was me and my white lady privilege. You guys can't do that, you know? So yeah, it's and you know, she's a great, perfectly wonderful individual. Like, she's like, Oh, my God, it dawned on her, you know, so.
Emily Thompson 53:21
Right. And I really do feel, at least like in the mass spectrum, that it's currently showing up. The only thing that most of us can do in most cases, not all cases, for sure, is stay super mindful. Yes, of like, keeping those things in check that as we are coming into those situations, we're understanding of it, because I think it's when we start taking privilege for granted. That ugly shit start sneaking up on Yes,
Yolanda T Cochran 53:49
yeah, it's really I totally agree. It's be it's about being mindful. It's about recognizing it, and, and then just counteracting it, and that's, you know, in a lot of ways I get I keep coming back to hiring practices, but it's also just like, what you're saying, being if you realize that you can, you know, you can adjust, you can say, Oh my gosh, you know, and I mean, I still believe in the basic goodness of human beings.
Emily Thompson 54:13
Right? Well, and I see it like as mindfulness coupled with opening the doors for people behind you. Yes. Like whatever that may be, because even mindfulness is not really enough. It's being mindful and then inviting people to join you. Yeah,
Kathleen Shannon 54:29
I think, I think that thinking about, like, really deeply ingrained, systemic racism and sexism is where people get really overwhelmed and just want to shut down. But it really can be as simple as looking at where you're spending your money. Who are you supporting, looking at who you're following on Instagram? Is there diversity represented? Are you seeing points of views that might be different from your own or that you grew up with? So for me, those have been the little steps that I feel like I've been able to take or even something as simple as you know, if we're invited to speak at a conference, looking at the other speakers and asking the person organizing it. Hey, have you thought about bringing board? Yeah, yeah. And if you have to decline, recommending people who are more diverse in your industry to fill in for you. So there are a lot of like, really little ways that we can start to be more diverse and more open and have these conversations without getting overwhelmed by like, yeah, a whole systemic, like, awful right, awfulness of it.
Yolanda T Cochran 55:39
And I think another key, I think, another key to a big key. One of our other big takeaways in our you know, in our finale, and also just listening and having this conversation is you have to have full buy in from, you know, the predominant group that has the power, you have to have full buy in, you have to have a, you know, a willingness and a desire to make it happen, that I feel like is maybe a smaller hurdle than we think it is. And beyond having their buy in, or in order to, to gain it or to garner their buy in, I feel like is to create an atmosphere where they can feel comfortable and, and don't like, having had this conversation in a different setting in the PGA. I said, you know, nobody wants to be confronted with being a racist, like, and when I say racist, I mean, like, you could be, you know, a perfectly nice person, but do things that, you know, have our tinge in systemic racism, and you know, that kind of you can, you know, you could be an active or, you know, unaware participant of things that are systemically racist. And if you say that to someone, no one feels good. When they're confronted with the idea of being racist, or I don't, no one wants to be a racist, or sexist, or a homophobe, they don't. And so I feel like we have to structure the conversations and the meetings and the gatherings such that it's a welcoming atmosphere, so that people don't feel like they're being, you know, attacked, or whatever the case may be. And it's part of what I try to do with that is, in a lot of cases, you know, really emphasize a lot of the unconscious part of it, because, again, it is a lot of uncut, you know, all of these things are ingrained in us without us realizing it is happening. And it's particularly a lot of the systemic stuff that, you know, no one's taking a look at, I mean, people who are, unfortunately, on the bad end of it, see it every day and recognize it all the time. But people who, you know, it never affects their lives, it can be right in front of their face, and they never see it. And so, and so then when you teach them to be able to identify it, they're like, oh, like, then they start to see it like that. It's like, Oh, you know, you bring up, oh, I want to buy such and such car, and then suddenly you see that car everywhere on the road, you know, that kind of thing. And so, you know, I feel like we have to be bringing, you know, white guys and whoever else into the conversation in a way that they can feel comfortable and feel like, you know, they're welcome. And they're part of the solution, and they want to be, you know, involved. So,
Emily Thompson 58:40
for sure, I think I think knowing how to have those conversations is definitely the next step. I think we're all becoming seriously aware. But the place where there is a big struggle is how to actually conduct those conversations, because I think it does usually go into that like that super negative blaming even though right, yeah, please. Yeah, first, yeah. But going there immediately is something that isn't going to help anything Kathleen and I were speaking recently, we talk all the time about setting intentions and being mindful and all of these things and, and I think I definitely see people getting it like people are becoming much more mindful and like understanding of their own intentions and like, making them do whatever it may be. But the next step of that is recognizing the intentions of other people. Yes. And yet you're not attacking everything that comes out of someone else's mouth, because you're not actually being empathetic enough, right? really know where they're in depth.
Yolanda T Cochran 59:40
Exactly. I know I was thinking about intentions today to like, you know, because these conversations are happening so much lately, unfortunately. And unfortunately, it's like being thrown into the public discourse daily by the leadership. Sadly you know, I was thinking, because a lot of times, I've also had a conversation about comedy. And you know, where's the lot, you know, where things offensive, and there's a bit of, you know, there's a lot of talk about free speech. And there's been a lot of talk about, you know, people being disinvited to campuses to speak because of their politics, and so on so forth. And, you know, I'm of a mind that I'm kind of not on board with that I have a big, you know, I have a big leeway, particularly with comedy. And like, you know, I know, for a fact that I've said things, you know, that in a certain, you know, certain context would be considered, quote, unquote, offensive when I said something that was intended to be a joke. Again, because I have this big leeway, and comedy has always been that thing that pushes the envelope of like, you know, reality, and people and socialism and all that stuff. And so, you know, the conversations I've had frequently are, are about well, you know, and this can get pretty nuanced, but it's like, what is that person's intent? And where are they coming from? And I'm a big proponent of like, you know, someone's not, you know, their intent, like, I'm not going to take it that way. Like, I'm not gonna take it there. You have to really know someone, you know, where someone's coming from. And it's not helping anybody to try and label somebody just because they did something unintentionally, or they weren't aware of their own personal bias, or they weren't aware that something that you might say, x and that is considered offensive, you know? Yeah. Oh,
Emily Thompson 1:01:34
I know, there's a whole spectrum also on all of these things, like there's always a time in place. And, and I think that that, again, forces us all do need to go into all situations, being a little more calm. And yeah, and quite a bit more mindful of ourselves and those around us, because
Kathleen Shannon 1:01:50
I'm included, because I'm like, let's go make some white dudes. I'm speaking from my own place of privilege, right? Yeah. As a white woman, like I can say that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, for sure.
Yolanda T Cochran 1:02:02
Sadly, we're sadly we're all like getting less and less calm. Because, you know, the, well, unfortunately, the public discourse is structured that it doesn't it doesn't engender like, you know, calm conversations like I don't know if you guys saw the the 60 minutes with Oprah, when she she debuted on like this their 50th anniversary season or something. And she she did this panel of you know, like Trump supporters and Trump, opposers, and blah, blah, blah. And, of course, they you know, that that can create a very heated conversation very quickly, but it was like, I was like, wow, like, here's an example of how like, you know, people with very different views, if they're actually sitting down in front of each other and having to speak and hear each other's voices together. And, you know, maybe they totally are, you know, at opposite ends of the spectrum. Like, you know, the takeaway was, like, it's not like they walked out agreeing, but they at least had, you know, a civilized conversation, you know, and walked away feeling like, Well, I didn't, you know, I can I can continue to interact with that person. So, for sure,
Emily Thompson 1:03:10
all the nuances.
Kathleen Shannon 1:03:11
Yeah. And probably even like, you know, you have to think about it almost like a dinner party. Like if I'm going to bring someone okay. So for example, I know that there's been some initiatives for people who are incredibly homophobic to invite a gay couple over for dinner right after dinner, because I don't know like, how many how many of you probably have our listeners? Like, how many of your grandma's love Ellen? Like I feel? Yeah, Ellen is like the great. Like she, she can translate homos. Yeah. And it's like, Okay, if you had Ellen over at your table for dinner, like, you're gonna love her, you're gonna start becoming more compassionate to her and her point of view. Yeah, her laugh. And I think it's the same with, you know, race and gender and all of it. And I think that if we can just create more conversations, I could get into a whole spiel about like, 24 hour cable news, oh, my God, divide and all of that. But we better wrap this up. So Yolanda, thank you so much for joining us. It's been so cool getting to talk to you even just about bringing awareness to these topics from a place of calm. And it's been cool hearing your story and your background. It's really cool because we talked to a lot of creative entrepreneurs. And I think that you've been part of an industry that's incredibly creative. And by being in that industry, you've been able to create something even bigger than yourself, which is really super interesting. We are going to leave links to the podcast in our show notes, so be sure to check that out. It's called breaking the glass. Yeah. So if you guys want to hear more about this, definitely listen to that show. Before we leave though, we have one final question for you. What makes you feel most boss
Yolanda T Cochran 1:04:58
what makes me feel most boss I love this question. What does make me feel most boss? You know, it's just me, like, I make me feel most boss, like, I have so much personal confidence in myself and I, I have faith that I can excel in any scenario that I decide that I'm going to put myself into. And I just have such supreme confidence in my ability. And so I feel like I'm not in a place of having a resentment about where I am and where I think I should be. I you know, there's this there's a there's a quote that I quoted at the end of our season finale of breaking the glass and Zora Neale Hurston quote, and it's essentially like, you know, I'm not pissed off at all these people I who, you know, aren't inviting the end, I actually feel sad for them, because they deprive themselves of me, and I'm amazing. And that's basically the way I feel about myself. So that's what makes me feel most boss. It's like, wow, you know, I could be like, dude, I could be doing so many. I could be doing even greater things that I'm doing now, if, you know, once I'm granted the opportunity for access to whatever it is money, or you know, people who can greenlight my project or whatever the case may be so yeah,
Emily Thompson 1:06:35
I love it. That is a super boss answer. I love that. Yeah. Yeah.
Kathleen Shannon 1:06:40
All right. Cool. And where can our listeners find more from you?
Yolanda T Cochran 1:06:43
So you can find me on Twitter at at Ratana wheel with underscores under between the words if you just do a search on you want to craft a noodle Ratan will show up and I'm not on Facebook? I just have an issue with Facebook. Um, yeah, so that's basically I mean, if anyone wants to, you know, hit me up on Twitter, I am always happy to respond. Thanks for joining us so glad, your acquaintance to I love what you're doing. So keep it up. You guys are amazing. I love any I love people, you know, taking on like, you know, I find what you're doing to be very creatively rooted. And anybody who does that in my book and take that on and makes it a reality I am so I admire it. I admire it so much. I admire both of you for doing it.
Emily Thompson 1:07:38
We have gotten so much amazing feedback over the years from listeners about how our podcast has helped them start to grow and uplevel their businesses. So we want to celebrate you. Here's the boss we're celebrating this week.
Yolanda T Cochran 1:07:52
Howdy, my name is Verity Pryor harden and I am being boss. I am a full time actress with a growing side business of nutritional coaching, where I help people reach their health and wellness goals. This week I'm celebrating being cast and the two shows I really wanted to be a part of in the spring of 2018 as well as enrolling two new customers in the last month and watching them have amazing results in their first two weeks on my nutrition system. 2018 is shaping up to be a kick ass year for me professionally. And along with pursuing passion projects like graphic design and producing a podcast with my best friend. I am teaming up with my coach to build an exclusive coaching system for our nutrition customers. All while we both work full time jobs that we are passionate about. You can find out more on my Instagram at Verity EP h that's at the ER it YEPH Thank you for your inspiring podcasts and I'll see y'all later bosses
Kathleen Shannon 1:08:55
if you're feeling boss and when to submit your own boss moment or when go to WWW dot v boss club slash I am being boss. This episode of being boss was brought to you by fresh books cloud accounting, thank you to fresh books for sponsoring us and you guys can try it for free by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss. Thank you for listening to being boss. Find Articles show notes and downloads at WWW dot being boss club. Thank you so much to our team and sponsors who make being boss possible our sound engineer and web developer Corey winter. Our editorial director and content manager Caitlin brain, our community manager and social media director Sharon loogies and are being countered David Austin, with support from braid creative and indicia typography,
Emily Thompson 1:09:43
do the work. Be boss and we'll see you next week.