By Margarita Sophia Cortes
Our new column asks our members about their favorite tool, software, article of clothing, shoes on set, favorite scriptwriting software, etc.
Kathryn O’Kane – television director and producer
What is the one thing you can’t live without in production?
I LOVE a wipe board. Worlds are created on wipe boards. Recently I went to a meeting at Viacom, and the conference room had an entire wipe board wall. My fingers nearly tingled as we covered it in color-coded ideas by the end of the brainstorm session.
What are the essential tools in your production kit on location?
Comfortable shoes and a big tote to hold my phone, questions, callsheet and a pencil to adjust the schedule as the timing of the day shifts. I bought some awesome boots that feel like sneakers when I was going back and forth to Georgia to film on set of The Walking Dead, so I call them my zombie shoes. I’ve replaced them twice already because my feet feel great in them.
What do you do for nourishment?
On the road, I always have a poached egg on toast for breakfast before coming to set. It’s like a ritual. I can’t really eat much on shoot days, so the protein keeps me going until we break. Also, I try to figure out what my crew loves. When filming in Texas earlier this year, I had a small doc crew who were crazy for Topo Chico mineral water, so we made sure to stock it for the duration.
What do you bring to help de-stress?
Fitbit tracks my steps throughout the day and reminds me to walk around when I have a full day of sit-down interviews to conduct. And I have a couple of games on my phone which are a necessary distraction sometimes.
What’s the most out of the ordinary thing in your toolkit?
In this increasingly digital age, I still really like to work on paper. Writing in the margins, highlighting passages, and scribbling down notes really help me retain information. And studies have shown that using pen and paper boosts memory, so I’m sticking with it.
Welcome to NYWIFT, Ruthie Marantz! Born and raised in NYC, Ruthie has been making films on public access TV since she was 13 years old. Since then, her works has been shown at BAMcinemaFest, SeriesFest and Seattle International Film Festival. She has her M.F.A. from NYU’s Graduate Film Program, where she was recipient of the Leo Rosner, Maurice Kanbar, and the Academy of Arts and Sciences Scholarships. Ruthie has directed and produced commercial work for clients including Netflix, LG, Samsung, Vice and Hearst. Her autobiographical pilot Rainbow Ruthie, which received funding from director Spike Lee, was accepted to the IFP Episodic Lab and premiered at SXSW, becoming Oscar eligible in 2019. More recently, she co-wrote the pilot to Southfield Supernovas, which won the 2020 SXSW Seriesfest Pitch-A-Thon. Read more about Ruthie’s amazing stories from set and upcoming adventures here!READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT, China L. Colston! China is a SAG-AFTRA actress and award-winning filmmaker. As an actress, she has embodied emotional women, from the guilt-ridden mother in Strings Attached to the dealer in Sweet Thang. China’s unwavering dedication as the star, writer, director, and producer of Dark Seed led the film to acclaim from the Validate Yourself Film Festival, African American Arts Alliance of Chicago, and the Dramatist’s Guild Success In The Arts Award aka SITA. She is the recipient of a 2021 NYFA grant for her script To Cook or Not to Cook, which follows a chef in Harlem repairing his relationship with his family through food. She is the recipient of a 2021 NYFA grant for her script To Cook or Not to Cook, which follows a chef in Harlem repairing his relationship with his family through food. China brings us through her incredible journey as a creator here!READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT, Toby Perl Freilich! Toby is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker and writer, focusing on cultural reporting. Her work explores all sorts of perspectives, from senators to artists, spanning across the world. She co-produced and co-directed Moynihan, a film about the late New York senator, policy expert, and public intellectual. She also directed, produced, and wrote Inventing Our Life: The Kibbutz Experiment, about one of the world's longest running and most successful experiments in radical, secular communal living. Right now, she is producing and directing I Make Maintenance Art: The Work of Mierle Laderman Ukeles about the pioneering ecofeminist and the first Artist in Residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation. Read about Toby’s inspiring past and future projects here!READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT, Melisa Ramos! Melisa is a filmmaker and professor from Puerto Rico, bringing 14 years of post-production and motion graphics experience to New York. Her first production, Puerto Rican Voices, a docu-series about the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Following Puerto Rican Voices, Melisa continued to share Puerto Rican and Latin American stories. In 2020, she directed and produced From Performers to Spectators, a doc-series showcasing New York City performers during lockdown. She is currently in production on Hoop Warrior, her first feature film. Read all about Melisa’s journey as an editor and artist here!READ MORE