Film producer Leilani Turner discusses challenges for women in the entertainment industry, producing Very Frightening Tales, and who inspires her.
When did you know you wanted to be in the entertainment industry?
I always had a passion for helping with charity events. This eventually allowed me to have opportunities to meet people within the film industry. I had a history of organizing events so production coordinating became natural to me. I started as a production coordinator and worked my way up to line producing and eventually producing. Having those opportunities also allowed me to work in front of the camera as an actress as well as commercials and print work.
Was there a specific person or actor who inspired you?
While working on events I was introduced to independent film producer Suzanne DeLaurentiis. After securing a position with Suzanne’s company, her drive and tenacity and type-A personality was a great fit for me. It allowed me to learn the craft which led me to produce my first feature with her on Middleton Christmas starring Michael Pare and Eileen Davidson which was just released this past December.
What are some of the challenges for women in the film industry?
Keeping up with the boys club. Sometimes people have the perception of women not being able to pull their weight in a male-dominated industry. That’s one of the great things about working at Suzanne’s company because she really inspires and promotes female filmmakers.
What projects are you currently working on?
I just finished co-producing a horror anthology series called Very Frightening Tales. I actually starred in and produced one of the episodes called Fortune and had the pleasure of working with icon Sally Struthers. I’m currently in the process of line producing the horror thriller It Crawls Beneath.
What advice do you have for other women trying to break into the business?
Networking is key, and always giving 110% in everything you do because you never know where an opportunity may lead you.
Sandy Lo is an author, blogger, journalist, and digital strategist. Her personal story is inspiring. Sandy started StarShine Magazine, an online publication in 2001, at the age of 18. She wrote her first novel in 2009, “Lost In You,” followed by the “Dream Catchers” Series. She was the first person ever to professionally interview Taylor Swift and has received personal endorsements for her books from members of boy bands Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees.