Interviews

Going Ahead With Gage: Interview with Katie Lawson

Do you ever just meet someone virtually and realize you’re meant to be friends? It’s definitely become more common as people have increasingly been working from home, but also because of the reach we have with social media. Some of my favorite humans live all over the world! And, well, that’s what happened when Katie and I met — we immediately clicked. We hype each other up on our work and projects, share weird stores (won’t go into details lol) and go to each other for advice on all the things. It’s a friendship I’m very thankful to have. AND!!! Not only have we become good friends, but we inspired each other to start a passion project together that we’ll be launching soon, so stay tuned 😉

Now, a little bit about Katie — she’s an incredibly talented host and video producer, an actress, a major supporter and master of promoting women and empowering them to be their best selves and such a wonderful human. I hope you enjoy our interview and feel inspired to live your best life and be your best self!

What initially attracted you to working with video?

I started my career as a theatre actress, and quickly realized that if I wanted to work consistently – and eat – I needed to open myself up to film, TV, and commercials. Actors spend most of their time NOT working – as the job of an actor is to audition, not necessarily to book the part – so readying myself for any and all opportunities was essential. Because of this, I learned, early on, what it meant to hustle and the importance of creating and showcasing my own work. I teamed up with a fellow actor and screenwriter, and together we produced two of his short films.

I also spent years training as an on-camera actress, which requires an incredible amount of nuance and technique. It’s not easy to act like a normal human being with a camera in your face. I learned not only how to be my authentic self on camera, but also how to coach and direct others to do the same.

“It’s not easy to act like a normal human being with a camera in your face. I learned not only how to be my #authentic self on camera, but also how to coach and direct others to do the same.” @thekatielawson interviewed by @GageGrammer #career

You have such a talent for interviewing and hosting on camera. Do you have a favorite moment or story that has impacted how you’ve moved forward in your career?

Well, first of all, thank you!

Now to answer your question…

In 2018, I created and hosted a human-on-the-street talk show called Katie Makes Friends. It was born out of my love for people, their stories, and making connections wherever I go. We produced a series of twenty-three video episodes, covering topics like mental health, LGBTQ+ pride, social justice, finances, relationships, and politics. After the mass shootings, gun violence, and immigration raids that defined our summer of 2019, I wrote an episode called “What Our Country Needs Now.” In it, I took to the streets with a camera and microphone, asking New Yorkers:

“Is it our human responsibility to do something? What can we do? And what does a country we want to live in look like?”

The messages I received – the urgent need for awareness, patience, understanding and acceptance, anti-bias, action, safety for all, fair and equal opportunity, empathy, and be SO. FED. UP. – are still, devastatingly, as potent today as they were two years ago. I remember one woman shared, “The moment when you think you’re comfortable is when you’re probably not doing enough.” I’ll never forget that and I’ll never stop telling stories that raise these questions and illicit these answers.

“The moment when you think you’re comfortable is when you’re probably not doing enough. I’ll never forget that and I’ll never stop telling stories that raise these questions and illicit these answers.” @thekatielawson interviewed by @GageGrammer #career

Is there something that you’ve learned while in Talent Acquisition that has influenced how you create video content?

Trusting an organization with a phase (or many phases) of your career is a big deal, and it’s my job to help candidates understand who we are, what we do, and what we believe in through content. I’m constantly thinking about our audience and asking myself: “How will they connect to this? How will this make them feel? How will this move them?”

Our teams looks at every piece of content we produce through the lens of career attraction and company culture, so for us, this means putting our people at the forefront. To be successful, our colleagues need to trust us with their stories, hearts, and truths and we must bring these to life in full integrity. It might sound hokey or over-the-top, but it is my honor to do this work.

“To be successful, our colleagues need to trust us with their stories, hearts, and truths and we must bring these to life in full integrity.” @thekatielawson interviewed by @GageGrammer #career #CompanyCulture

What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?

Bright. Determined. Warm. (Or, at least, these are words others have used to describe me.)

Outside of your family, who’s been the biggest influence on your life?

On my life? Wow. Probably my therapist. We’ve been working together – in person and virtually – for over eight years. Through our work, I have developed a powerful toolkit for emotional well-being and resilience.

Initially, I was drawn to a career in acting because of my deep capacity for feeling and expression. I remember as a child wanting to know the pain, the joy, the raw experiences of others. So when I was acting, my intention was for others to see themselves in my characters and to feel they were not alone, especially in their suffering. But, in order to share that fullness with others, I had to learn how to healthily process and take care of myself first.

What do you see as a big trend for video in the next few years?

The demand for video, even in traditional, corporate companies, is going to increase. (I’m proof of that!) To keep up with how we consume content, there won’t be a choice. Audiences nowadays are not only socially native, they’re video native.

More brands will invest in building in-house content and video production teams. We’ll see more Head of Content and Head of Video positions created; we’re already seeing this with brands like Nerf hiring their first Chief TikTok Officer. We’re also going to see more emerging video and audio platforms come onto the scene, offering new outlets for experimentation.

It’s an exciting time to work in and with video because of how few barriers there are. However, in order to cut through the crowd and truly add value, we’ll need to bring a new level of rigor, discipline, and excellence to our work as video professionals.

“Audiences nowadays are not only socially native, they’re video native.” @thekatielawson interviewed by @GageGrammer #career #VideoMarketing

What’s your secret passion?

I love to swim and to dance. Both of these bring joy, grounding, and freedom to my body and soul.

I also love to read paleo and vegan food blogs. I never make any of the meals (HA!), but simply looking at the photos makes me feel happy and calm.

What advice do you have for people just starting their career in film or video production?

Make your own work. You can’t wait around for some else to give you a shot; you have to give it to yourself.

How does where you are now compared to where you thought you’d be 5 years ago?

So close and yet so far.

In May 2016, I thought my career as a television actress was about to take off. I was auditioning regularly and part of a number of promising projects. That fall, I starred in an off-Broadway play and met a casting director through the process. She submitted me to host (I’d never hosted!) a commercial for an app development start-up and I booked the job. About a month later, I met with their co-CEO’s to discuss coming on as the full-time host of their new, live-stream game show. Because of my production experience, I quickly started to produce and write the weekly episodes along with the rest of their creative and marketing teams. I adored this job. It’s where I fell in love with hosting and producing, and started to see next phase of my career take shape.

“Make your own work. You can’t wait around for some else to give you a shot; you have to give it to yourself.” @thekatielawson interviewed by @GageGrammer #career #motivation

Stay tuned for the next interview and, as always, thanks for reading ❤ — Gage Grammer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s