Published on July 18th, 2013 | by Elizabeth Coleman0
Premiere LADYPOINTS Episode Inspires DIY Punk Ethos
The premiere episode of LADYPOINTS, a webseries that celebrates the individual successes of women, was released June 18. The Brooklyn-based filmmaking team — Keiko Wright, Samantha Knowles, Rekha Shankar and Jamie Li — was recently featured on Art Animal during their Kickstarter campaign, which reached its initial goal of $5,000 in just five days, and has now raised almost $8,000 to help fund the project.
LADYPOINTS’ first episode featured Mindy Abovitz, self-taught Riot grrrl and founder of Tom Tom Magazine, a print magazine dedicated to female drummers.
“I’m really defiant by nature,” says Abovitz in the episode. “If someone tells me not to do something, I think I’m interested in doing it. I felt, whether it was real or not, that I was being told not to do a lot of things because I was a girl.”
Abovitz started Tom Tom Magazine after Googling for a magazine about female drummers, and realizing that there were none already in place. Forging your own path with whatever resources you have is one of the big takeaway messages from the LADYPOINTS episode.
“That confidence to just go and learn it and do what you have to do is incredibly empowering,” said LADYPOINTS’ Knowles about Abovitz.
Despite years of experience, Abovitz did not think of herself as a drummer until she volunteered with the Willie Mae Rock Camp, a nonprofit music education and mentorship program for women and girls. Her assignment was to teach the rudiments of drumming. Not knowing rudiments at all, she went home and learned them that night.
“I really love that Mindy is so frank about where her knowledge and skill level were starting off, especially with [Tom Tom Magazine],” LADYPOINTS’ Wright said. “I think it’s really motivating to hear how someone who knows nothing about publishing can have an expanding quarterly magazine with 14 issues under her belt!”
This same D.I.Y. mentality is exactly what led to the birth of LADYPOINTS. The filmmakers felt that there was a lack of accurate female representation in the media and had a strong desire to tell these stories. Using the resources they had, they launched a Kickstarter campaign and reached out to a number of female writers and artists for support.
“I think we run LADYPOINTS with the D.I.Y. ethos in mind,” Li said. “We decided very simply that we were going to make this webseries with the resources we had. We did all the research and planning to extend our resources through Kickstarter. Now, we’re constantly figuring out through research, getting advice from people, and trial and error how to run our project better and expand our reach.”
“There are some people who — when they don’t see the type of media, art, or events that they want — they just clam up and accept the status quo,” Wright said. “But others realize that if I don’t do it myself, I might never see it happen and that isn’t okay.”
Although the intention of LADYPOINTS is to inspire others, the filmmakers themselves were inspired by Abovitz.
“I was genuinely surprised by how much I needed to hear some of the things Mindy said in the episode,” Knowles said. “I went into this project thinking that it would be a great way to inspire other women. But I think I underestimated how affected I would be by Mindy’s stories as a young freelancer in the film industry.”
“I was surprised at how relatable Mindy’s message was,” Shankar added. “I know nothing about the music world and I felt I could relate to a lot of what she said about how to get better at a craft and how to share information with peers to strengthen yourself and the artistic community.”
The LADYPOINTS team is currently working on the rest of the episodes for the first season. Upcoming episodes feature improv performer Nicole Despel, puppeteer Liz Hara and Andrea Plaid, the associate editor at Racialious.
“I think the women we’ve interviewed are inspiring examples of taking the initiative to get what you need to achieve your goals,” Li said. “With what these women have accomplished, they are proof of what’s possible if you keep working at what you love.”
For more about LADYPOINTS and to watch the first episode of the webseries, visit ladypoints.tumblr.com.