Rachel Shane and Jenna discuss her experience bringing the 10-time Emmy nominated series Genius to life and her team’s intention to show the humanity of its characters: Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, and soon Mary Shelley.
Rachel walks us through how her decision to take a leave from law school led her to an internship at Televisa and has evolved into an incredible career as an executive at MWM Studios and Red Wagon Entertainment and an executive producer on award-winning films like Lawless and Hell or High Water.
We also talk about the direct connection between creativity, grit and mindfulness and how making time for stillness in our lives leads to increased ingenuity and resilience.
Key Learnings and Highlights
- On Genius: “What we’ve tried to do with Genius for Einstein and Picasso is try to amass enough intelligence, narrative and fact around them so we can tell as much of the full story so that the ugly truth, the reality and the price of genius is portrayed in a way that doesn’t necessarily glamorize or cover up a life but exposes it for all that it is…We want to show humanity in a way that isn’t always portrayed when looking at these massive figures in history.”
- On intuition: “…Having the naïveté and guts as a younger person to recognize when a path isn’t the right one and knowing that you can pivot is important. I’m happy I had the strength to do that.”
- On grit: “It is so difficult to thread a needle of getting something done in this industry. Tenacity and the ability to not accept no as an answer is the trait that will get you to the beginning of your shoot. I think it’s one of the key traits for a lasting producer in Hollywood to really be able to stick to something and keep getting up. You can have an innate sense of it but it’s also something you have to cultivate.”
- On mentorship: “I thank God every day that there was a generation before my generation. I hope to pay it forward by being an example and helping the generation of women who are coming up.”
- On presence: “For me, being able to have the time and isolation from the hustle and bustle to sit in my backyard and look at my green palm trees and flowers and appreciate the here and now is lifesaving. That’s really all we have.”
- On creating space for creativity: “I used to feel guilty for having unscheduled time where I wasn’t working, reading, or making phone calls. But, I have realized that I need that time to just walk around the block or look at art or go for a hike and not have anything else floating in my mind so I can actually think, process and create new concepts and ideas. If you are just racing from one thing to the next you never have that space…It can be hard to turn your brain off when you’re in the midst of development or you’re trying to figure out a creative problem. But, sometimes it’s the best thing you can do because things will just come to you when you are washing the dishes. Your subconscious works in ways you can’t control.”
- On meaningful work: “Everything we invest ourselves in becomes a part of our narrative… In the same way that every book we read or movie we watch informs us in some tiny way, that we may not recognize until years later, the aggregate of the stories we tell becomes a part of our essence. I do think that what we work on ultimately becomes a part of us.”