Today we’d like to introduce you to Rae Benjamin.
Hi Rae, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I decided to transition into screenwriting after a career in graphic design. I was frustrated with the lack of transparency about how the entertainment industry works. Most jobs are unlisted, training is basically non-existent, and people don’t know where to begin. Even worse, misinformation is spread at an alarming rate. People easily take advantage of those with limited knowledge by charging exorbitant fees for unhelpful advices and courses. For the Black community and other groups who have been historically shut out by traditional Hollywood “gatekeepers,” it can be even more difficult to build a network and learn vital information. I created In the Cut to help bridge the knowledge gap and spread information. I wanted to start a company where people could learn relevant information from currently working professionals.
In addition to running In the Cut, I’m a staff writer on season 3 of The Witcher (Netflix). I’m also currently writing an animated feature for Netflix as well. I was previously the writer’s assistant on season 1 of Bridgerton (Netflix) and the script coordinator on Our Flag Means Death (HBOMax), an upcoming comedy series from EP Taika Waititi.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Covid was my biggest obstacle. I intended to produce live events and my first one was a success. I had a second event planned in March but Miss ‘Rona had other plans. I was extremely discouraged, but a friend suggested I do a webinar to replace the live event. I had zero experience with online events but after I saw how beneficial it was, I decided to convert to a virtual learning model and continued to produce 1-3 webinars, courses, and networking events per month. The pandemic started out as a challenge, but pivoting my business actually allowed me to expand and reach a much larger audience than I ever could have with live events. We’ve had people attend our online classes from London, Australia, South Africa, and across the United States. It really blows my mind how my business has largely grown through word of mouth and social media.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
In January 2020, the first ITC live event sold out in a few hours. Since then, the ITC community has grown to more than 7,000 artists and filmmakers across the globe. We’ve been able to partner with companies like Sundance to produce online classes and have had instructors from hit shows like Bridgerton (Netflix), Insecure (HBO), The Mandalorian (Disney+), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), and many more. My goal is to provide vital information and create inclusive spaces for people to network and build with one another and learn about writing, producing and directing for TV and film. ITC classes are low or no cost and taught by respected BIPOC professionals currently working in the entertainment industry. Unlike similar offerings, ITC classes dedicate a significant portion of time to Q&A so that all participants can get their questions answered in a meaningful way. Through research and experience, ITC has created a space where you can learn from real industry professionals and receive actionable, thoughtful advice on how to advance your career.
We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
My whole philosophy is based on taking action first and figuring things out as you go. I never had a business plan for In the Cut, I just had an idea and clear intentions and went forth! I don’t know if that’s the best way for everyone to operate to be honest, but I find that many people are paralyzed by planning, overthinking, and fear of what could happen. I avoid that but just doing. I may make mistakes, but it’s better to correct a mistake and learn from it than to do nothing at all.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.inthecutla.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/inthecutla
- Other: in-the-cut.mn.co
Goodnight Photography Modupe Thompson