Women in Focus at Dodge College

Chapman Film Students Learn From Accomplished Women in Film and TV

Speakers were Dawn Taubin, Kerry Ehrin, Debra Martin Chase, Robin Schiff, Janine Sherman Barrois and Deena Katz  .


The event: . Professor Alexandra Rose kicked off “Women in Focus” by pointing out that all of this year’s Oscar nominated films featured stories about men. She named them as “American Sniper,” “Selma,” “Theory of Everything,” “Boyhood,” “Imitation Game,” “Whiplash,” “Grand Budapest Hotel” and the winning film, “Birdman.” Not one female-centric flick in the bunch.


The panel: And so, following that sobering thought, Dawn Taubin stepped onto the stage to moderate a panel of five highly successful women in the entertainment industry, who spoke of their experiences and offered advice to the audience to students. Taubin most recently served as chief marketing officer for DreamWorks Animation, after having spent 19 years in marketing at Warner Bros. Pictures.

Panelists were Kerry Ehrin, creator/ writer/ producer of “Bates Motel;” Debra Martin Chase, producer of “The Princess Diaries,” “The Cheetah Girls” and “American Girl” films; Robin Schiff, writer/ producer of “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion;” Janine Sherman Barrois, an executive producer of “Criminal Minds;” and Deena Katz, producer of “Dancing with the Stars” and “Real Time with Bill Maher.”


The scene: On the soundstage Apr. 17 at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, VIPs enjoyed a luncheon sponsored by Twyla Reed Martin, Eve Kornyei Ruffatto, Harriet Sandhu, Diana Martin, Bonny Schumacher and Sally Crockett. The talk followed and afterwards, all were invited to meet the panelists at an informal reception.


A few words of wisdom:

* If you’re the only woman in the room, you’re going to stand out. So when you speak, you will be noticed and therefore, you’d better say something smart.

* If there’s a TV show you like, write one of the producers a fan letter. Then call to request an appointment to talk.

* Instead of asking for help, do what you can to help others. If you’re helpful and make yourself indispensable, people will want to help you.

* Write your passion because in time, if you’re a good writer – and the industry needs good writers – that’s the area where you’ll end up working.


JoAnne Sellar, Sue Kroll, Bob Bassett, Dawn Taubin, Erica Huggins, Terry Press
Some history: Always a blockbuster event with top women in the field, last year’s lineup included JoAnne Sellar, producer (“There Will Be Blood”); Sue Kroll, president, worldwide marketing and international distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures (“Interstellar”); Erica Huggins, president, Imagine Entertainment (“Rush”); Michelle MacLaren, producer (“Breaking Bad”); Terry Press, co-president, CBS Films (“Last Vegas”); and Academy Award-winning producer Cathy Schulman (“Crash”).


Top Photo: From left, moderator Dawn Taubin with panelists Kerry Ehrin, Debra Martin Chase, Robin Schiff, Janine Sherman Barrois and Deena Katz at “Women in Focus” at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, Chapman Unversity (photo, SocietyNewsLA.com)

Second Photo: Speakers, sponsors and Dodge College dean Bob Bassett surrounded by, from left, Bonny Schumacher, Deena Katz, Debra Martin Chase, Harriett Sandhu, Diana Martin, Twlya Reed Martin, Sally Crockett, Janine Sherman Barrois, Robin Schiff, Kerry Ehrin, and Eve Kornyei Ruffatto (photo, Michael Munson)

 Third Photo: Four of last year’s six speakers, posing with Dodge College dean Bob Bassett and moderator Dawn Taubin (in red), were from left, JoAnne Sellar, Sue Kroll, Dawn Taubin, Erica Huggins and Terry Press (photo, courtesy of Dodge College of Film & Media Arts)



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Women in Focus at Dodge College

Published Apr. 20, 2015 – Ellen Olivier SocietyNewsLA.com