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Occasional updates from the front lines…

Judy Chaikin on the Swinging Lil Hardin – Look What She Did!

Hello friends,

Here’s our latest video on jazz marvel Lil Hardin, told to us by filmmaker Judy Chaikin. I know you’ve heard of Lil’s husband— Louis Armstrong— but you may not know about Lil, a genius in her own right. Check it out.

Also, I’m excited to announce we’re launching our first fundraising campaign during the month of March, Women’s History Month.

We’re thinking about it as a month of Creativity and have been working away on a series of new videos, which we’ll post at the beginning of each week. (We’ve got some good ones on the way…) We’ll also be sharing stories and anecdotes across social media, celebrating lots of astonishing women.

Our goal is to raise $15,000 which will be used for our first out-of-town shoot in the Bay Area this summer. We’ll be in Silicon Valley filming women in Tech, in Berkeley with women in Science, and in Sausalito interviewing women in the Arts.

When we started this backyard video project we had no idea it would connect with so many people. Our videos have been shared thousands of times and are being used in classrooms around the country. As we build our library, expand our audience and develop partnerships with schools, museums, and community groups, we realize the moment is right for us to grow into a thriving, sustainable company with national impact.

We’d love your help to make this happen.

Right now, as we prepare for our campaign on March 1st, I ask you to share Look What She Did! with your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. It’s easy. The videos are short, friendly, informative, and pretty inspiring. A sweet distraction that’s good for you and doesn’t add to your waistline.

Please go to our website (www.lookwhatshedid.com), find your favorite video and forward it to folks who would enjoy it. This small action will mean so much to us, and your friends and family will thank you.

Thanks for sticking with us. You’ve been our first community, our founding audience, so to speak, and we are so grateful for your presence and your support.

Cheers—

Julie Hébert

Click here for Judy Chaikin on the Swinging Lil Hardin.

‘The Smartest Person in the Room’ Podcast

Laura Tremaine, host of  the podcast The Smartest Person in the Room, interviews Julie Hébert about her career in theatre, film and television. Julie takes us on an inspiring journey from small town Louisiana to her current position as Executive Producer/Writer/ Director on the award-winning ABC series American Crime.

We get a glimpse of the dynamics in the Writer’s Room of a television drama and the responsibilities writers feel to their audiences. Julie discusses being a woman in a male-dominated industry and why it’s important for directors to wear boots. We also get a sneak-peek into current and future projects.

Laura leads a fascinating conversation giving an inside view into the workings of Hollywood and the life of a free-lance writer/director.

Click here to listen to Julie’s interview

Check out more from Laura’s Podcast here

 

 

Julie Moderates “Good Girls Revolt”

Hi friends! I’m delighted to be moderating a discussion Friday night November 11th with Dana Calvo, Jeanine Oppewall and Cynthia Pusheck, creators of the new Amazon show Good Girls Revolt. We’ll talk after a screening of their pilot at the beautiful Wilshire-Ebell Theater. I’d love to see you there. Come and get some inspiration from this true story of women banding together to create change.

By the way, this is now a FREE event!

For ticket information go to http://ebelleventtickets.com/

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Check out the trailer here:

Directing American Crime, Season Three

Hey ya’ll, I just finished directing the second episode of this season’s American Crime, written by the almighty John Ridley and involving a conflagration pulled off with the help of my old buddy Tom Bellissimo. The episode will air in January. So loved working with our returning ensemble… Felicity Huffman, Regina King, Richard Cabral, Benito Martinez, Connor Jessup… and with our stellar new cast… Cherry Jones, Sandra Oh, Dallas Roberts and Tim DeKay. A real honor.

 

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NEW LWSD! backyard video shoot

We completed our latest Look What She Did! shoot at the end of August in Julie’s backyard (and two in the front yard– we got wild). Our all-gal crew was amazing (!) and we filmed nine interviews in just one weekend, our biggest shoot ever. Two incredible, inspiring days filled with crazy-great women talking about other crazy-great women. Stay tuned, we’ll be posting new videos soon.

Here are our newest co-conspirators:

Writer/director Julliette Carrillo on writer/director Jo Anne Akalaitis

Writer/director Julliette Carrillo on writer/director Jo Anne Akalaitis

Theater Critic Sylvie Drake on the mind-blowing Queen Hatshepsut of Eqypt

Theater Critic Sylvie Drake on the mind-blowing Queen Hatshepsut of Eqypt

Screenwriter Anna Thomas on anthropologist Carobeth Laird

Screenwriter Anna Thomas on anthropologist Carobeth Laird

Documentary filmmaker Grace Lee on Civil Rights activist Grace Lee Boggs

Documentary filmmaker Grace Lee on Civil Rights activist Grace Lee Boggs

Filmmaker Tamar Halpem on journalist Nellie Bly

Filmmaker Tamar Halpem on journalist Nellie Bly

Actress Elisa Bocanegra on playwright Maria Irene Fornes

Actress Elisa Bocanegra on playwright Maria Irene Fornes

Downtown Women’s Shelter communications director Ann-Sophie Morisette on homeless advocate Mollie Lowery

Downtown Women’s Shelter communications director Ann-Sophie Morisette on homeless advocate Mollie Lowery

Musician/writer April Wolfe on badass aviator Pancho Barnes (yes, she’s a woman…)

Musician/writer April Wolfe on badass aviator Pancho Barnes (yes, she’s a woman…)

Playwright Laural Meade on suffragette Sara Bard Field

Playwright Laural Meade on suffragette Sara Bard Field

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had an absolute blast and can’t wait to show you these new stories! Keep an eye out for the new ones but meanwhile check out our other videos at http://lookwhatshedid.com/index.php/videos/

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check out our Instagram. Please tell us, who is YOUR astonishing woman?

American Crime goes to the Emmys… and has a peanut butter sandwich!

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PB&Js courtesy of Jimmy Kimmel’s Mom

Okay, second visit to the Emmys– way more relaxed. We knew our way around this time, starting with driving up Pico instead of Olympic to get there, which saved us at least 20 minutes of waiting in a line of cars. Good start. We also knew to eat a little before we left, AND I brought almonds in my purse in case we became desperate. Turns out this was unnecessary because not only did they have mini-burgers in the lounge when we arrived (Kenn had one and said they were good) in the middle of the broadcast Jimmy Kimmel sent around lunch sacks from his mom filled with peanut butter and jam sandwiches, a cookie, an apple and a juice box. By that time everyone really was hungry and we — along with 7000 of our over-dressed colleagues — scarfed it up. It was a kick to see elegant men in their tuxedos and women dripping in diamonds licking their fingers and enjoying the pbj’s. One of my favorite moments. Thanks Jimmy’s mom.

Walking thJulieHredcarpete red carpet was more chill this time, too, despite the 100 degree heat because they’d erected a cover and hedges and had water available and all the folks guiding us along were cheery and helpful. They did a great job of moving thousands of socializing people into place for an on-time start to a live broadcast. Not easy and they did it with grace. I don’t know if it was aired on the Emmy broadcast, but before the show started three kids from Stranger Things sang and danced Uptown Funk and I LOVED it. They were adorable and fun and super-talented. Glad I was in my seat ahead of time to see it.

I’m pretty bad at recognizing famous people and I kept saying to Kenn: Look, that’s so-and-so! and he’d say: No, it isn’t.  And he was right. I mis-identified several seat-fillers but thank god I didn’t request their autographs. Meanwhile, I was so delighted to see some of my favorite people up on the big screen for their nominations, including Lili Taylor, Felicity Huffman, Lesli Linka Glatter, Lily Tomlin and many more. When Lily Tomlin didn’t win, you could see her mouth the words “Oh, damn it!” I love her. Also absolutely loved that Susanne Bier won best director for a limited series. She is a phenomenal director and it makes me so happy for women of talent to be recognized. Then, of course, our own Regina King won best supporting actress in a limited series for American Crime, and we leapt from our seats with tears in our eyes. Okay, Michael McDonald and I did, not Kenn, but he was proud of her, too. Turns out Regina’s win was the ONLY win of the night for anyone from broadcast television. Gave us a little lift.

Afterwards,GovBall we tromped over to the Governor’s Ball (my feet in stiletto heels were beginning to scream at this point… ah, vanity…) but when we walked in– the decor was breathtaking. Kenn says it’s like the most over-the-top high school prom you can imagine. Last year it felt like we’d been catapulted out into the universe and this year it was more Hobbit-like with lush, draped greenery GovernorsBall
hanging from the fifty-foot ceiling. An elevated, wedding-cake-like platform in the middle held an orchestra and singers who keep shifting through the evening. Magical.

 

We found ourJulieemmys2016 table then wandered around talking to friends and colleagues. Very happy to see some of our brilliant Season Two cast including Joey Pollari, Elvis Nolasco and Connor Jessup, as well as Ms. Cherry Jones, who will be joining us for Season Three. Damn, it’s fun to know amazingly talented people who are all such sweethearts.

Dinner was yummy and at our table we ate, drank and chatted with writer-producers Diana Son and Keith Huff and his wife Georgette, as well as our AD Kayse Goodell. Really lovely.

And we were out– except for the long walk back to the valet. I admit removing the stilettos and enjoying the red carpet in bare feet! Goodbye 2016 Emmys.

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Regina King accepting her Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress

Me, Cherry Jones, and Kayse Goodell

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Diana Son, Kayse Goodell, and me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LWSD! Founding Board meeting

The Look WhIMG_7377at She Did! team convened the first meeting of its Founding Board of Directors on Sunday May 15th, 2016.  It was an inspiring gathering of brilliant women in support of our project and we are truly grateful for their wisdom and vision as we create a sustainable organization to celebrate women of achievement long into the future.

During the meeting we passed the By-Laws of our new company, discussed future interviews (including out of town shoots!), made plans for fundraising and partnerships, and of course elected Officers and Committee Chairs.

Board members include Ellen Gavin, Courtney Graham, Julie Hébert, Janice Hebert, Lucia Jacobs, Tegan Molloy, Julie Sgarzi and Melinda White. Like all Look What She Did! gatherings… the food was yummy. Onward!

Grand Isle, Louisiana

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On Mother’s Day weekend the Hebert clan gathered on Grand Isle, Louisiana for a little family reunion. My family has been coming to this funky beach town on the Gulf of Mexico for over a hundred years. We have photos of our maternal great-grandparents there before 1920. Our paternal grandfather built a camp on the island in the forties and we went there every summer to play on the beach, fish, boil crabs and get eaten up by mosquitoes. One of my very favorite memories is sleeping underneath the big window fan on the porch, to the sound of the waves. This is the island Kate Chopin wrote about in The Awakening, first point of landfall for many hurricanes. Since the ’60’s it’s been inundated by the oil industry; Grand Isle was one of the areas most affected by the BP oil spill. Happy to say it’s rebounded– beautiful, clean and thriving with migrating birds, wildlife and sea creatures once again. We watched porpoises frolicking in the breakers every morning.

My two brothers and my sister came with their extended families and we were able to introduce our own little 16-month old Mari to her many cousins. When we were leaving she shocked us all by saying “Bye, ya’ll.” Her first Southernism! Turns out she loved the warm Gulf waters as much as we do.

We ate like Cajun royalty– a shrimp boil, a crawfish boil, a fish fry, charbroiled oysters and a homemade chicken enchilada dinner (courtesy of island fishing guide and hostess extraordinaire Anne Smith, who also brought kayaks and lots of beach toys.) We also devoured shrimp and oyster po-boys from the Starfish Diner. And we drank, yes, you bet (including a pitcher of the notorious Red Knot concocted by good-timer Lecta Bourgeois). A flaming great time was had by all– oh did I mention the bonfire on the beach and the non-stop dancing? A beautiful long weekend. We have all vowed to continue to get together now that Mom, Dad and Mitch are gone, and times like this one on Grand Isle make it easy to keep that promise. One of the best parts is seeing all the young cousins playing and getting to know each other. Love those kids.

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Look What She Did! Website Launch

-1Julie is thrilled to announce the launch of the cool new website for her backyard video project Look What She Did!

Check out the mosaic homepage with all the beautiful faces (and videos) of the women who have been interviewed so far. It’s a quite an inspiring collection. Some have even called the mini-videos addicting! See for yourself:  www.lookwhatshedid.com or click on the image to the left.

The mission of Look What She Did! is to share stories about the lives and impact of under-recognized women who have transformed the world. Please go by our Connect page and tell us about an astonishing woman you know who deserves more recognition.

Check out the site and learn about some crazy-great women as told by some crazy-great women!

Don’t forget to follow Look What She Did! on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

PRATFALL MONOLOGUE

For the last few years I’ve been writing prose in addition to my usual scriptwriting. I’ve taken a few workshops with the inimitable Jack Grapes which have been instructive… and a blast. I’m working on a collection of short stories, but meanwhile here’s a crazy lighthearted piece to get started. I’ll be posting more prose and poetry on my website periodically. Hope you enjoy it.

PRATFALL MONOLOGUE

Adam and Julia come over for dinner. I grill oatmeal skirt steaks, sea bass and rotisserie a chicken, which takes much leisure-suit longer than anticipated because we run out of propane in the middle of it. They’re cool, especially because I ply them with Margaritas. I make Adam’s beach umbrella twice as strong, doubling the tequila, but he slurps it down so fast I stomach-pain to get him another before Julia and I are even half way done with our screened-in porches. Julia helps me finish up the grilling while the guys chat in the interview room, nibbling on handcuffs and olives. The ears of corn keep going up in flames but I’m not bothered, I’m writing my play. Jim calls “Emergency!” but I say we have to pick tomatoes first. Finally, the flurry of food and smoke settle and we sit down to eat. For some reason, Jim starts talking about the Monkees and we can’t get off the living-room-floor subject for an hour or more. It’s crazy. Jim is trapped in a pratfall monologue. Julia keeps asking Red Buttons questions and egging him on and Adam and I are falling asleep in our meaty-rific plates. Suddenly Jim stands up and yells, “Okra in my nose!” and runs into the house. We’re mystified, but secretly relieved the Monkees story is over.

We start talking about movies and other things, a regular conversation, not a monologue and Hushpuppy swamp girl is being dissected when Jim sweeps back in saying, “Where was I?” Oh Lord. He tries to pick back up with the Monkees but I ask what happened to his rainbow suspenders and he proceeds to describe a stalagmite in his nose, which no one wants to hear about. “I thought it was pepper,” I say, but he corrects me, no it was a giant grandma falling out of his nostril and he wanted to save us from seeing it. But now he’s talking about it and it’s just as bad.

How about those Jets?” Adam offers, grinning bleachers through his lips. Back to the Monkees and we settle in for a long make-out session on the sixties. And of course the possible murder because of greed and the hot-cha-cha-cha third wife and her criminal brother. Oh yeah. Disco halter tops, white-jeans-so tight-youhave- to-zip-them-up-with-a-hanger days. We’ve floated around to the seventies, I guess. Eventually we realize something is wrong with the skirt steaks, way, way, way too coast of Spain hot, wait I mean salty. Briny. Salt-lick-like. Yeah. Jim takes a bite, warns off the others and throws them away. What a coyote dinner.

When I bring out the tarte tatin for dessert I put the platter of French window-box chicken onto the coffee table to get it out of the way, then race back inside for the whipped cream. When I come back down the hall vacation people are screaming and the dog looks guilty. Magnolia. She stole the chicken and dragged it across the kissing-in-a-tree patio, smearing Julia’s pretty red flats in the process. I walk out with a sequined parrot on my head and serve the whipped cream. Ta-da. When Jim disappears to clean up, we talk of work, Adam and I, with Julia asking the probing pogo-stick questions, as usual. Leading us into the John Street of it all.

Was your dad a good dad?” How’d we get to that?

Jim walks out and looks at me to see what I will say. Little League, check; hardworking, check; still married to my mom, check. Yellow-gray-hair-involved, I say, stern from a distance. “Not engaged,” says Jim. “Involved, but not engaged.” Okay. I begin the defense, the tidal wave of good deed and sofa-talk moments with my dad. Before he blew it. Now I’m in my own Monkees monologue and I can’t creature-destroying-Tokyo get out of it. Adam is drunk on tequila so he doesn’t care and Julia seems deeply fascinated. I think she can turn her hi-beams in any direction.

The looks begin, time to leave, they’ve had enough of motel parking lots. Easing toward the front door and an elegant Walker Percy goodbye, I notice Julia is barefoot. I don’t realize until later her dark red satin roses were smeared with chicken grease from Jojo’s caper. Bad dog.