Every week on MoxieQ's "Smart Women, Smart Ideas" we showcase successful women entrepreneurs, their businesses, and the business advice they have for other women. Most recently we featured Smart Woman Ramona Schindelheim, a former CNBC executive producer and winner of two Emmys, a Peabody, and a DuPont for writing and producing over a 20-year career in news and entertainment. And, of course, it makes perfect sense to tell this story (and others' inspirational stories) in video form, so create a video pilot we did.
Ramona and her husband Michael, an N.Y.C. and L.A. theater producer and actor of stage and screen, are producing an independent, scripted TV pilot called Desire. It's a drama, with dark humor and original music, about an all-female rock band reuniting 10 years after an ugly breakup, and the mysterious death of a band member.
Our shoot focused mostly on Smart Woman Ramona, but we interviewed some of the actors starring in, and writing music for, Desire, as well. The focus of the show is on three band members and their turbulent relationship, but most of our additional footage was of Desire's lead singer, Hunter, who is played by Cathy Richardson, a real-life rocker out of Chicago who has great pipes.
Currently, Cathy is the lead singer for Jefferson Starship, as well as for her own band, The Marcrodots. She's also a Grammy nominee and made her off-Broadway debut as Janis Joplin.
The character of Hunter is "complicated" (uh-oh) and, in the script, her self-destructive ways lead to the downfall of the band. A decade later, Hunter is a changed gal: no longer a rocker, she's now a born-again Christian and a lesbian in a committed relationship (how's that for a switcheroo?).
Cathy is also a lesbian in "real life," and this piece of our interview became unusually interesting to me.
While there is much more to the character of Hunter than just being gay (this is, after all, not just a rocker story but a murder mystery), we touched on her sexuality and real-life "coming out" during the shoot. Cathy's somewhat painful recount of being a female rocker coming out in a straight-male-dominated industry struck a chord of familiarity with me, and probably would, on some level, with most who have been through this moment.
I clearly recalled the awkward, and, yes, somewhat frightening transition from being "out" to a few select family and friends to being "out" with ubiquity across all of my relationships, including the professional.
And then there was the great feeling of personal freedom and strength that followed.
The process of coming out is perhaps a little like honing your inner entrepreneur, which to me has always been sizing up your current assets and understanding how to configure them in a given situation to make a best attempt to win. And then going for it.
Personal identity is probably the biggest asset any of us has, and when this powerful piece of the equation is anchored, no matter whether you're starting a new business, seeking funding for a project, or being a kick-ass rocker, everything else seems to fall into place a little easier.
Desire is an interesting and provocative script, but what makes it an entrepreneur's story is that after losing funding for the project (they do have an agent), this well-credentialed duo decided to bring the pilot to market through the crowd-source funding platform Indiegogo.com. (There are many other such platforms; Kickstarter is an example.)
I encourage you to check them out on IndieGoGo.com/DesireTheTVShow.
Follow Heidi E. Lehmann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@heidielehmann