Creator of the documentary-series My Kid The…, Beatriz Browne has been producing short-form videos for multiple brands, and is bringing her international perspective to new documentary series for brands such as Fatherly and Hearst Media. Her work has been recognized by Good Morning America, Upworthy, among other outlets. We spoke with her to find out exactly who and what inspires her and her creative process is like when creating a new piece.
When did your passion for producing begin?
I’ve always had a passion for storytelling from an early age, as I grew up in the entertainment industry. I remember growing up and watching Charlie Chaplin, and quite literally having Chaplin posters all over my room, so I always knew I wanted to follow this industry. But the love story with producing happened during an internship on my last year at college. I thought I would follow the fiction route with filmmaking, but during that internship I got to “shadow” a producer out on the field shooting a documentary piece, and from then on I knew I couldn’t turn back.
Did you have a mentor when you began in the industry?
I’ve had many mentors at different stages in my career. A lot of them have been managers and bosses of mine which I’m very thankful for, in addition to my mom and dad being great critiques of my work and always encouraging me to be more creative. I’ve had college professors sit down with me for quite literally 5 minutes, in what always turned out be life-changing conversations. Shimon Dotan (award winning filmmaker of The Settlers) being one of the most recent ones, instilled me with ambition and the idea of nothing being impossible in my films.
How would you describe your style?
I would say I tend to have a very hands-off approach in my work. I like to portray life as it is, without any opinions. But it tends to vary per project, I normally marry my visuals with my storyline and sometimes that requires filmmaker interference, or utilizing interviews (which I’m not against at). I’m best at character-driven documentaries, because I am extremely fascinated by people, and body language, and personalities. I could watch people for days! So my style is to always make my subjects as comfortable as possible with me before I bring a camera to work. Personalization, comfort, and truth are essential.
What is the best part about your job? The worst?
The best part about my job is learning and hearing some of the most incredible human stories, and meeting new people that I build relationships with for the rest of my life. It gives me a sense of purpose. The worst part is not ever being satisfied with the final product, because there’s always more that you could have done (that might just be me though!).
What do you get most excited about shooting?
The unexpected. A huge part of my job is to over-prepare before I go out and shoot every single day. Even with documentaries, I have to at least come up with an ideal scenario of what my day will look like, and be prepared for every circumstance. But 99.9% of the time, there will always be something unexpected in the story that will pop up, and you have to have such a careful eye to notice it, take advantage of it, and incorporate it into your story.
What would be your dream assignment – is there anyone or anything in particular you would love to shoot?
I care about communities that are on the verge of extinction but have such an impact in our history as humans. It would be incredible to do a feature-documentary on indigenous tribes in Brazil, Mongolia, and even tribes in Papua New Guinea or Siberia. One of my favorite photographers Jimmy Nelson has a book called “Before They Pass Away”, which captures portraits of these different groups. With globalization, these societies and groups are about to be extinct, and my ideal film would be primarily to preserve their lifestyles, art and traditions.
What are some of the challenges of filming on assignment in another country?
It’s a merge between being accustomed to cultural barriers and exhaustion. You always have to be on your feet, learning, and putting yourself out there to take the best advantage possible of being in a different country. At the same time you’re shooting long hour days, with a possible jet-lag, while having to work with language barriers.
Where do you see things heading in the travel film sphere?
There’s huge opportunity for what I call “purpose content” — films that don’t necessarily following political happenings, but are there to celebrate a lifestyle, culture and people. Our society is at a place where we are surrounded by content on a daily basis that often the “feel good” content is what inspires us and puts a smile on our face to get through the day. By celebrating the world we live in and telling stories (which there are millions of), I think it can encourage audiences in many verticals for travel that can be integrated through several brands.
What tips for you have for aspiring filmmakers?
Stick to your vision. If it’s instilled in your heart, it’s there for a reason (even when others tell you it won’t work). I promise, somewhere and someday, that vision will be recognized.