Today we’d like to introduce you to Cailin Lowry.
Cailin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
First of all, I am one letter from having one of the most common names in America which has been a very formative part of my life – it’s Cailin, not Caitlin but I respond to both. I define myself professionally as a video producer, writer and occasional director (but I’m working toward reprioritizing those three things!) and personally as a mess prone workaholic who loves coffee, dogs, medium length walks, and pop culture. I was born in North Carolina to Yankee parents and moved to Asia when I was seven which sounds like the beginning of an ‘80s family dramedy starring a precocious child actress (maybe that’s my next script?) I grew up going to international schools in Japan and China.
My understanding of (my own) American culture came strictly through watching movies and TV (on the English channel in Japan which was mostly five to ten years out of date, so I have the pop culture references of someone older than I am a lot of the time) paired with spending summers in my dad’s very small hometown in western New York. I would spend those summers watching as much TV as humanly possible with my older sister Erin to get our culture fix. TV and movies were a very fundamental part of building my personal and cultural sense of identity which I think that’s why I wanted to go into the entertainment industry.
When I was eighteen, I moved to Los Angeles to go to college at USC. Coming from Shanghai, I spent about two years being thoroughly culture shocked and then decided to be a productive member of USC’s student body, trying to expose myself to as many all-American college experiences as possible while also attempting to figure out what the hell I was going to do with a film degree. After graduating from SC, I sort of fell into a long-term producing job for a classmate of mine and ended up traveling the country for a documentary on and off for a year. Then I sort of domino effect-ed into music video producing, occasional directing, and my first professional (aka paid) writing experience and here I am today, sprawled on my couch on a Saturday answering these questions.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I doubt anyone’s road is ever smooth but I do feel deeply appreciative of where I am, where I’m going and the growth that the metaphorical bumps in the road have afforded me. What a diplomatic answer, huh? To be clear, some of the bumps have definitely SUCKED! My biggest struggle with young adulthood and my career path was learning that to some extent no one knows what they’re doing.
Growing up I figured that at some point, there’s a collective “a-ha” moment that adults have where they suddenly totally understand the world and how it operates. Spoiler: that is not the case! Success seems to largely happen with taking leaps of faith which requires confidence which requires self-esteem and wow we could really get into a long discussion here about all this but at the end of the day, my early twenties were largely about finding my own self-worth and working very hard. Now that I have confidence and continue to work very hard, life’s road is still bumpy but I am a better driver (in a non-metaphorical sense my driving skills have also improved in case you were wondering – I started off a very bad driver in both senses).
This is such a roundabout answer, so here is a quick list of some of my life bumps that continue the extended driving metaphor: running out of gas on the most narrow part of Mulholland Drive on the way to a shoot and did not have cell service, getting a flat tire on my way home from a shoot on a Sunday and not knowing that all cars have spare tires in the trunk (the more you know!!) so calling every tire place in a twenty mile radius but they were all closed and then being told about the spare tire secret and having to empty my very full trunk of crafty, props, and production supplies into a Baskin Robbins parking lot at 11 pm, renting a Mercedes G-Wagon for a music video on my personal credit card and finding out the stunt driver did not know how to drive it through sand dunes although he proceeded to drive it through sand dunes…
Shockingly, I have five more car related life bumps but will not disclose them here, feel free to email me for more stories.
Cailin Lowry – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Since graduating, I’ve primarily made rent as a music video producer (with a few months paid for by writing). As a producer, I really make an effort to only take on projects that are aligned with my personal values – for example, I have turned down plenty of projects that feature heavy gun violence or the mistreatment of women. Turning down work is definitely difficult, especially since I’m so early in my career but I need to feel like I’m not taking away from cultural progress with the videos I work on.
So, with that said, I’m most proud of maintaining a sense of taste and self within a field that is dominated by violent imagery and misogyny. After a few years of freelancing for other companies, I now co-own a production company called Nova Films with one of my good friends, which is also something to be proud of, I suppose!
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
In the entertainment industry, I consider not being pigeonholed a true marker of success. For me right now that means being defined (by myself and others) as a producer/writer/director instead of just as a producer. It also means being able to navigate away from and back to music videos as I see fit. In the future, I see success as having the flexibility to work on projects within different genres. I think Hollywood is notorious for putting people in boxes, whether it’s what you do or the types of projects you work on — once you do something well, that’s the only thing people want to hire you for. My version of success means straying away from any box.
I mentioned reprioritizing producing, writing and directing earlier — that’s my big plan for the future. I want to focus more on directing, specifically based on my own writing. I love producing and will continue to do it but also hope to transition to more narrative projects. I’m directing a short film called THE SOCIETY™ in August and am extremely excited about it (check out more about that at the Seed and Spark link!) that is proof of concept for a feature that I hope to shoot in the next couple of years.
- Website: https://www.seedandspark.com/fund/the-society
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/cailinlowry
- Other: www.cailinlowry.org