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Meet Shivawn Mitchell of The Creative Outsiders in Central LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shivawn Mitchell.

Shivawn, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Originally, I started out writing books. I had just gone through a really bad breakup and I recalled thinking I didn’t want anyone else to go through what I had been through. So, I started writing at my desk secretly and before I knew it, I had knocked out several chapters. At that time, I don’t think I had too much humble pie and I walked into my then bosses office announcing my 90 days notice which I had to take back after much consideration and bills mounding. However, at that moment, I realized my ability to tell stories and speak for people who felt voiceless. That lead me to search beyond owning my own publishing company to attending film school for screenwriting. While attending the school, I was the only female in my specific cohort as my other friend ended up dropping the program. During that time, I felt alone and like an outsider. Everyone else in the program had experience and I felt like I was playing catch up. After graduating, I made a promise to myself that everything I learned, I would share with other women who didn’t have the background in film. It became my personal mission to show it was possible to be a filmmaker while also employing other women in film. This is how The Creative Outsiders came about.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It hasn’t been a smooth road. Immediately after graduating I felt ill-equipped for film and I decided to just take a leap of faith. That meant I didn’t at the time have a network that I could go to and say hey what do I do when I go for this meeting or how much should I charge for this. That meant I spent a lot of money than I should have, invested in equipment that I didn’t need to purchase and even blew footage that could’ve been planned a lot better.

Please tell us about The Creative Outsiders – what should we know?
The Creative Outsiders specializes in showing it’s possible to live your filmmaking dreams. We do this with our own version of film school while also creating the stories that we want to see. What makes us stand out is our goal to employee 70 percent of women on set from a wide variety of locations.

What I’m most proud of is our ability to meet women where they are, not only do we employ filmmakers but we also provide encouragement through our podcast for filmmakers. We have interviewed over 40 women from indie filmmakers, to women who have their work on Netflix and in the movies.

We also specialize in docu stories, short films.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My ability to collaborate across the table. So often, people look to network up when they are missing people right across the table from them that they can build and grow with. I want the people around me to evolve and grow with me. And I want people to stop diminishing their value because they believe they haven’t arrived. We are all growing and becoming better.

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