Inspired Profile: Gabrielle Shepard
Gabrielle Shepard is a writer and director working in Los Angeles. I was lucky enough to attend a screening of her two short films Candid, and Queen in Beverly Hills at the talent agency William Morris Endeavor. So many people showed up for the event that the audience had to divide into two consecutive screenings to allow everyone a seat. Gabby's drive and talent is impressive! All her creative work gets done after the hours of her full time work - big budget film marketing, and production. She believes that women (and women of color) should be the ones telling their own narratives, which is why she goes far beyond her day job, bringing those stories to life. Her projects have been mentioned in Variety and Deadline as well as shown at festivals world wide.
Jill: What woman living today do you find to be the most inspirational?
Gabby: Michelle Obama is truly one of the women that I look up to very highly. I admire her fearlessness and how she carries herself with a fierce gracefulness all in the same blink of an eye. Particularly as a black woman, she is an image of hope and drive for so many young women today and for many years to come. Michelle is the woman of our ancestors wildest dreams and I strive to one day ignite a trailblazing fire as she has.
Jill: What were the roots to your creative career?
Gabby: When I reflect and trace back the roots of my creativity all roads lead back to my family. So many of the stories that I tell as a filmmaker and experiences that influence me stem from my close-knit upbringing. As far back as I can remember my mom hosted Friday night movie nights for myself and four younger siblings. No matter what was going on in our lives we knew we had to come together for a night to lose ourselves in the magical world of cinema. It gave me an appreciate for the art form very early on.
Jill: What did your parents do for their job, and did it have an impact on the path your chose for yourself?
Gabby: My mom is a government worker and dad a truck driver. My mom always pushed and inspired me to follow my heart and pursue what I am passionate about because she didn't always have the luxury to choose. I'm blessed to have a whole family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) who fully support me in my filmmaking journey. They've had the largest impact not necessarily on why I became a filmmaker but how I was able to.
Jill: Can you describe your creative process in a couple of steps?
Gabby: The Big Bang Theory is the closest metaphor for my creative process and how the ideas for my films come together. In the beginning, a pool of seemingly unrelated ideas swirl around until the one special moment when I discover the glue that connects them all. From there its an explosion of connecting dots, themes, storylines and characters. I'll then write a general outline of the script in bullet form then move on to writing the script. As both a writer and director, the process doesn't end with a finished script. Directing is like a merry-go-round rather than a staircase since so many pieces happen simultaneously. But somehow, magically and by miracle, you have a movie.
Jill: What is your dream project?
Gabby: I would love to direct an elevated superhero movie with a black female badass lead.
Jill: Tell us about how you styled the piece you chose:
Gabby: I love the coat with the grey dress because it reminds me of a different and unique era of fashion - a homage to the 50s trench coat and long dresses. Wearing the two pieces together feels fierce and empowering.