As a film major in college, I planned to create good media content and enjoy what I did upon graduation. I knew even back then that in the entertainment industry, it was hard for women to make it to the top. This was partly evident in that there were only(3!) females in the entire film program in a school that had and continues to have a very large cinema department.
It's very important to me that people look beyond my gender and see my work for what its potential is. Since I wasn’t being given the opportunities to do the type of work for which I studied at school, I knew I would have to find a way to fund my own projects if I wanted to do the jobs to which I'd long aspired.
Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, I was finally breaking free of being a wheel in a cog that helped turn out show after show about which I felt less than nothing. I was tired of all the long hours I spent working on things that didn't interest me (and some things that, quite frankly, revolted me). With years of education, hard work in several departments across the entertainment industry, and dedication, it was finally time for me to create my own brand with my original content; whereas a woman, I could stand tall and make it in this male-dominated industry.
So in February 2020, the final preparations for my own full-length show were finished. After months of planning and conducting focus groups to find our audience, we were finally ready to start filming the pilot for Whiskey: A Chef’s Journey. Unfortunately, one act into filming, the COVID-19 lock-down descended, and we were forced to halt production. Not only did we need to shut down, but we had to rewrite the episode's finale since we could no longer have large crowd scenes. With the slow re-opening of our industry, we have been able to safely finish principal photography, but with all the changes that COVID-19 has brought, funding for post-production of our pilot has been lost. What seemed to be the start of a milestone year for my team and me has turned into one of the most challenging times of my career.
We are currently in post-production of the pilot episode, and we need to pay for editing, sound mixing, graphics, color correction, music, and the other unforeseen issues that typically arise during this final phase, including possible pick-up shoots. Your support will help us complete the pilot episode and help get it on the air. In addition, it will help deliver more diversity for women and people of color in front of and behind the camera in the television industry. This is something very important to me, and being able to produce female-driven content and provide high-level jobs for women and people of color is something I think our nation needs right now.
Whiskey: A Chef's Journey is a woman-created, woman-produced, and woman-hosted, high-energy, pop-culture, half-hour, docu-reality show that follows Chef Louise Leonard, winner of ABC's Emmy Award-winning The Taste, on her globe-trotting adventures in whiskey and food. With each episode, she's off to a new location, immersing herself in the food and whiskey culture of a given city or particular region, where she'll find culinary inspiration and cook up something special, serving a celebratory dinner at show's end. Across the series, we'll be entertained by Chef Louise's singular personality, as well as the many colorful characters—think distillers, chefs, culinary and cocktail bons vivants, and more—she meets along the way.
We visit a bar in Hollywood, a distillery in Pasadena, a pop-up BBQ in East LA and a unique spirits event space in Down Town LA. Through all of these places, Chef Louise learns more about her local whiskey and culinary culture, as well as some of the connections it has to people in far-off lands. To see videos and photos of what we have shot so far, visit https://whiskeyachefsjourney.com/
JOIN OUR TEAM
When you contribute to our campaign, you are supporting people who:
• Increase REPRESENTATION on screen by having a woman host who visits all types of people and immerses herself in their cultures.
• Value DIVERSITY behind the camera with a female Executive Producer and female Native American (Apache) Line Producer, and a diverse production office staff.
• Encourages ACTION to visit new places (even of only virtually for the time being), try new things, and meet new people.
With the rewrite of the show, we will be able to continue to series while following all COVID protocols and create jobs. Therefore, we hope to air Whiskey: A Chef's Journey on television or a streaming service by the end of the year. We are in talks with several networks and streaming platforms, so it's critical that we deliver the best possible pilot, particularly while there's a clear need for entertaining and educational, spirit-focused content.
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Los Angeles, CA