Today we’d like to introduce you to Renee Reiff.
Renee, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in a small farming town called Woodland, CA. I always knew I wanted to go into film/television but my hometown didn’t have any classes I could take to learn about the industry – but we had theater. From a young age, I joined our community theater group and took theater classes all throughout high school – focusing on stage management and sound design. Theater will always be my first love and it taught me skills I still use today in TV. What I love most about theater is how collaborative it is and how it always keeps you on your toes. Anything could go wrong during a performance, and that forces you to have to problem solve quickly before your audience notices. TV also moves at a fast pace, which doesn’t allow you much time to dwell on certain topics like you would in features.
I studied theater, film, and television at UCLA after high school. I know its cliché, but college really was the time of my life. I took every class my program could offer and worked on tons of student films and theater shows with my friends. The TFT program was amazing and allowed me to intern at studios and production companies on top of my classes. A typical school week for me was classes for 3 days, an internship for 2 days, and then every night was spent at rehearsal in the theater. I would also work on some student films whenever I had the chance. It was an insane schedule but I loved it. I enjoy the hustle and that’s probably one of the reasons why I love the entertainment industry. Nothing excites me more than finding the next top talent for a project.
After college, I started working full time at Marvel TV Animation. From there I moved over to DreamWorks TV Animation, and then made the jump back into live action at DC Entertainment – where I’m currently a Creative Executive. I’ve been with DC for about 3 years now, working on all our superhero TV shows. 🙂
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
One of the things I constantly struggle with is being the only woman in a room. I’m still trying to navigate the dynamic but I’ve been lucky enough to have strong women help guide me in life. One of my mentors just told me about a thing called the “tiara syndrome”. I had never heard of it before but it’s the idea that we as women keep our heads down, deliver amazing work, and hope that the right people will notice – and place a tiara on our head. We are hoping someone else will acknowledge our hard work and reward us for it, so we don’t have to assert ourselves.
I think what is most frustrating as a woman is that if we are “too aggressive”, we are automatically viewed as bossy or overly emotional. But you’ll see men stomp around the office and assert themselves daily and nobody is calling them emotional. We as women don’t get that luxury, especially women of color. (another reason why intersectional feminism is SO important)
Going back to the tiara syndrome, I would give the advice that my mentor gave me which is to look up. You will always be amazing at your job so don’t wait around for something to happen. Don’t wait for someone else to acknowledge your work. Go out there and take what you deserve. Fight for that raise, speak up in meetings, speak out when something is wrong, etc. I know this is easier said than done, which is why I would also encourage women to stand together. Lean on your female friends/co-workers and lift each other up. Women supporting women is vital. We are stronger together.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Creative Executive at DC Entertainment – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I’m a Creative Executive in TV, which basically means I help oversee the creative process for a show. Part of my daily job is to read every story document, outline, and script that comes in, watch dailies/cuts, and provide notes on material. On top of that, I work with our Interactive & Consumer Products teams to gather materials for potential merchandising opportunities for current programs (e.g., character suits for games, action figures, etc.). I work with our Global Franchise Management, Marketing, PR, and Legal departments on various types of projects. One of my other favorite duties is to travel to set!
I have also been a two-year board member for the Warner Bros. LGBTQ+ Business Resource Group (OUT@WB). I spearhead multiple collaborative events for WB employees each year (e.g., panels, fundraisers, etc.). This is one of my favorite uses of my free time. 🙂
Who have you been inspired by?
My mother and my sister. They are the strongest women I know and have been there for me through my darkest times. I don’t know where I would be without their love, support, and guidance. I’m extremely lucky!
- Instagram: renee_reiff
- Twitter: rreiffer12