By Leah Curney
New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) member Misha Calvert’s latest series, Step Into My Office, is a new dark comedy that reimagines workplace harassment with sexist female bosses interviewing aspiring young male employees. After the series launch on August 29, 2019, fellow NYWIFT member Leah Curney interviewed Calvert and her collaborators about their experiences and insights.
What drew you to this project?
Ashley Menard: (Episode 1 – “Alexis”): I read the script and thought this is provocative and the right time.
Taylor Coriell (Episode 3 – Director): Misha. She’s so prolific and her work has such a bite to it, such a specific point of view, that when she asked me to direct an episode…. how could I say no?!
What do you hope audiences will take away from this series?
Lisann Valentin (Episode 2 – “Dr. Brenda Lopez”): Humor lets us talk about things that we don’t want to talk about, and while it can be funny or even odd to see women with such bad behavior, I hope it gives people pause when they remember that these stories are real and that they happen(ed) to women. Truth be told, versions of this have happened to men too. And so I hope the big takeaway is that it’s not OK. It’s not OK to treat people this way, ever.
Taylor Coriell: I hope it shows women just how ridiculous the behavior we put up with is and empowers them to speak up for themselves when they feel something isn’t right. I hope it shows our male viewers the extent to which women are preyed upon. I hope it opens their eyes to new solutions to how they can alter their behavior, even in small ways, to ally themselves with us, and help even the playing field for their female+ friends and colleagues on this most basic level.
Ashley Menard: That the time is up, and with more women and diversity, new stories will be told – rich stories like this one that make you think.
What was one of your favorite moments during the making of this series?
Misha Calvert (Writer/Creator): Watching women cry in the audience is deeply moving. Hearing men say these episodes are “unrealistic” is also moving, in another way.
Ashley Menard: Working with Misha, she’s a gift to cinema. She had a very clear idea of what she wanted the character to be and she ripped away some of my excess fluff to get to the root of a person. When I look at the show, I marvel at the precision of her vision.
What’s one practical thing people can do to combat sexual harassment – in the workplace or elsewhere?
Lisann Valentin: For me, the most practical thing I have done when confronted with harassing behavior has been to name the behavior and to name my feeling: “When you said/did X, it made me feel disrespected/demeaned/unsafe.” Admittedly, this wasn’t easy. But it should be the norm to call it by its name, as opposed to the norm of silence and shame.
Ashley Menard: Bottom line: consent is necessary, not optional. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Taylor Coriell: Speak up. We’ve been conditioned as women to go out of our way to make everyone else comfortable at the expense of our well-being and safety, and while I think being polite and firm is the best way to be heard, do whatever you can to be sure that you’ve not only been heard, but acknowledged.
New episodes of Step Into My Office premiere every Thursday through September 26th. Watch current episodes online at https://www.stepintomyoffice.show. You can learn more about and connect with Calvert on Instagram @MishaCalvert and at MishaCalvert.com.
Welcome to NYWIFT, Evelyn Fogleman! Evelyn is an NYC-based intimacy coordinator, writer, and content creator. For the past decade, she has worked on film and television projects for Netflix, Marvel Studios, Amazon Studios, Warner Brothers, CBS, and A24…. just to name a few! Before her current roles, Evelyn enhanced her filmmaking experience by production assisting, assistant directing, and performing stunt work. During this time, she worked as a Second Second AD for the 2016 Oscar-nominated film Jackie. She also earned a Screen Actors Guild nomination as part of the stunt team for her contributions on the Netflix series Daredevil and a Directors Guild Award for working alongside Bo Burnham in the 2018 critically-acclaimed indie hit Eighth Grade. Learn more about Evelyn as we discuss the gradual and much-needed omnipresence of intimacy coordinators on film sets and how she turned lemons into lemonade during the pandemic!READ MORE
Amy Emmerich, Chief Content Officer, Refinery29, launched Refinery29’s video business, which includes the critically acclaimed series Strangers, the Webby-award winning mini-series The Skinny as well as their Shatterbox Anthology film series, which was created to cultivate and spotlight the voices of women directors, telling stories outside the narrow lens of this overwhelmingly male-dominated industry.READ MORE
Our NYWIFT member abroad, Heidi Philipsen, sits down with WIFT Hamburg co-founder Verena Gräfe-Höft to talk the state of the industry and her new film Pelican Blood, which is making waves at both the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals.READ MORE
Diversity Wins: The Oscars this weekend proved historic on several fronts: Black Panther costume designer Ruth E. Carter (one of our first Designing Women honorees)...READ MORE