This spring I developed a series highlighting standout leaders. At inception, Millennials - Evolving Perception One Changemaker at a Time featured Vikas Mohindra, a 29 year old Vice-President with Merrill Lynch. The series has since featured Khoa Phan, one of North America's most highly sought stopmotion animators, and Jeff Boodie, Founder and CEO of mobile app JobSnap. Next is Tara Ansley, a Georgia-born (TV and Crew Member turned) Feature Film Producer, Startup Advisor, Forbes contributor, Co-Founder of Gauge (a market research app for anyone launching in 2016), and working globetrotter (the latter becoming a growing trend amongst this cohort).
On Motivation and Making It
At 27, Ansley's resume includes the likes of Sony Pictures, HBO, FOX, and the Sundance Institute covering motion features (TV and film) such as the Hunger Games, American Idol, Alvin & The Chipmunks, and the Vampire Diaries. Later this year, she will also start filming the dark comedy Tragedy Girls. She cites living globally (dwelling in multiple cities) as a main source of motivation, as well as reaping authentic success past monetary gain to include positive community impact, environmental sustainability, and personal and professional fulfillment.
Daily must-haves include books, hydration and an iPhone to keep productive, and like most Millennials, efficient, collaborative, and multi-channel communication is the norm. Email, Slack, Trello, and (live) phone calls maintain momentum and progress amongst cross-functional project teams. When asked "How do you know you've made it?" Ansley's response goes against the grain of most her vintage: a pension plan and health benefits ranked at the top, next to travelling as a perk of being self employed.
Contrary to common assumption, Millennials are not selfish. Ansley considers advances in technology and volume of creative content as a main concern in the film industry for the coming one or two decades, stating "There was once prohibitive barriers to actually filming: having access to a camera, funding, finding an audience, and distribution. Now - anyone with a smart phone can make a film - this is both thrilling and terrifying."
For Ansley, the rise of digital technology has commenced a slow death of "actual film", and the film industry has shifted to focus on preservation, research, and exhibition of past moving images. For this Millennial, preservation of traditional film is front and centre in her craft. On the contrary, she asserts basic education should start to integrate formal computing as a foundation of academics, to push the boundaries of creativity and learning in a digitally relevant way.
"Children must have tools to solve problems and be adaptive, self-efficient free thinkers."
She explains the drastic impact tech has had on the way we work in 2016 - urging consideration of how the future of technology in 2036 - when it combines physical, digital, and biological worlds. Ansley further encourages future generations to pursue careers in artificial intelligence, 3D printing, genetics, machine-learning, robotics, nanotechnology, and biotech.
Ansley credits Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, Barbara Broccoli (of the James Bond film series), and scifi maven Gale Anne Hurd as women she looks up to - those unafraid to push limits. "We need those types of women in the next generation, and lord willing, will try to come close over my lifetime."
Her key is persistence and thriving in the unconventional life. In film, and in living globally, she explains that 75% of the job is hard work, and the other 25% is pure magic. The magic, she says, makes the hard days worth it. "To be able to call childhood heroes coworkers still gives 'pinch me' moments. I've never done it for the money, which I think has helped me make better choices."
With two films on the go, Ansley hopes to secure release dates by the end of 2016, as well as have one app developed and launched in the app store. She strives to continue working remotely on a global scale, and in contemplating a legacy, wants to leave the world better than she found it. Tara Ansley truly embodies a Millennial Changemaker, and one to watch in 2016. Connect with Tara on Twitter at @TaraInReelLife.