Portland Helmich of Massachusetts – Producer/Writer at Northern Light Productions; I also freelance as an on-camera talent (TV host, spokesperson, VO talent, actor)
What’s the best part about your work?
Telling stories that have meaning and getting the chance at times to meet and interview intelligent, fascinating, and inspiring people who broaden my perspective and/or teach me something new. When I work as talent, I find joy in getting to express various sides of myself.
What challenges have you’ve faced in this industry as a woman?
There can be the perception that women are good at the organizational side of film and video, and the creative parts can be the province of the men. That has sometimes been a challenge for me. As well, working as a talent, the standards when it comes to appearance are infinitely higher for women.
In the age of #MeToo & #TimesUp, what do you hope to see happening in the future for women in our industry?
That more women will be in positions of power and that that shift will enable more stories about women and their perspectives to be told … and that THAT shift will cause men (and even some women) to view women with greater admiration and respect and treat them more equally in the professional world and in the world at large.
What’s one way you would suggest people “Change the Lens”?
Consume films and television series that are about women, written by women, produced by women, directed by women.
What advice would you give to a new female filmmaker?
If filmmaking is not your sole means of support, have a way of supporting yourself that doesn’t drain you so badly that you have no energy left to pursue what you care about. And … when you’re in the editing room, don’t be too precious about your work. Be willing to cut. Short and tighter are usually better. Nobody will know what you’ve left out.
What goals do you have for this year?
Honestly, more work-life balance.
What women in the region (New England) inspire you?
My colleague, Susan Gray, head of broadcast development at Northern Light Productions. She is a force. 🙂
Upcoming Events or Announcements? What are you working on?
I’m writing some short films for the Cherokee National Capitol Museum in Oklahoma, creating some soundscapes (soldiers’ stories from Iraq and Afghanistan) for the National Museum of the U.S. Army, and I’m helping to co-produce a film about the blues musician, James Cotton. I continue to write for the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, have been doing some voice-overs for Arnold Worldwide (for their PUR water campaign), and I’m waiting to see if I’ve gotten a callback for a role as a criminologist on a television series that’ll be shooting in Boston.
How can your fans find you!?