Madison Mackay and Stewart Bounds contributed to this article.
Caroline and Rachel are sisters whose personal and professional lives have become one. They are constantly advocating for each other in the rough working conditions that the industry brings – whether it’s the physicality of the job or the mental fortitude it takes making a place in a male-dominated industry. After years in film (20 years between them), they now work together at Caroline Boyd Productions.
Caroline enjoyed editing at a young age. Editing was a hobby, but she didn’t know that would spark her future career path. Caroline began her college career at Oral Roberts University with a major in English, but her advisor soon noticed her storytelling prowess and firmly recommended she switch to Journalism with a minor in Multimedia. Caroline enjoyed visual storytelling because she felt that it strengthened her writing, but the prospect of journalistic storytelling proved too practical for her to deny.
CAROLINE’S PROFESSIONAL CAREER
Caroline seized an opportunity to work at Clarion Events as an intern. Clarion acquired PennWell Corporation and opened a video division that she worked in. Their magazine advertised events through articles and videos. Caroline utilized this opportunity by exploring both the visual and written styles of building narratives, earning her a full-time editing position at Clarion Events once she graduated. Even while she excelled in her post-production role, Caroline wanted a place behind the lens.
Though she enjoyed her work, Caroline faced challenges at Clarion. She was the only woman producer in a male-dominated video production department. She was adamant and passionate about her work. Caroline advocated for herself and her desire to share the set with her co-workers, to both travel and shoot. She provided her co-workers with an ultimatum: “Take a chance on me and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll go back to editing.” They gave her the chance, but wanted her to “prove” she could “do the job” by requiring her to lift a 50-pound bag and hold it over her head while in heels. She did it.
She was the company’s fastest editor, so they gave her a break under the condition that she continued fulfilling her editing role alongside shooting on set. She would complete her tasks and spend two-to-three weeks out of every month traveling to sets and shooting videos for major international corporations and trade shows. She did this as the youngest and only female on the traveling team, walking a minimum of 10 miles per day filming the trade shows - also in heels.
After breaking ground and making a name for herself at Clarion, Caroline realized she lost her passion for storytelling through her exhaustive schedule. A new opportunity arose, allowing her to pursue what she really wanted. Caroline was apprehensive about the new position and asked herself, “Am I really willing to do this?” Caroline’s response derived from her time at Clarion, “If I am, then I have to advocate for myself.”
She took a media directing position at World Compassion, a non-profit for global relief in the Middle East, China, and Cuba. As the Media Director, Caroline explored the visual dimensions of film and combined that with her background as a journalist. She channeled inspiration from a professor who told her, “Stories wouldn’t be anything without the people behind them.” With that in mind, Caroline became an every-woman for World Compassion, having a hand in graphic design, advertising media and filming. She helped craft the “Safe House Project,” the story of safe houses for women in the Middle East. Caroline also played a part in international humanitarian projects like orphan relief in Myanmar where children were trafficked and abused, and she created work that brought attention to the food and housing crisis in Cuba. Caroline sharpened her skills in all facets at World Compassion.
Her experiences – advertising, editing, producing, shooting, and writing – gave her the confidence to start freelancing. She was apprehensive in her journey, but despite that fear, she pushed herself as she had before. She believed in her abilities, knowing that her drive for storytelling would carry her to new heights. Caroline found success freelancing, and after a year, she developed the idea for Caroline Boyd Productions.
Rachel’s draw to the digital arts started as a young teen. She loved photography – the aspects of light, texture, and color, all captured in one beautiful moment. Her initial interest in photographing nature eventually transitioned to photographing people. Her hobby quickly turned into an entrepreneurial venture at a young age, shooting her first elopement when she was just eighteen. Rachel attended Evangel University where she earned a degree in Digital Arts – a degree covering Photography, Video, and Graphic and Web Design – with a Minor in Advertising and Public Relations.
RACHEL’S PROFESSIONAL CAREER
Rachel rose through the ranks of Evangel’s yearbook during her three years there to become the Photo Editor, as head of the photography team. With that, she honed her photography, editing, and leadership skills, preparing her path for digital media production. For her senior project, she chose to produce a comprehensive, interview-driven video campaign so that she could hone her storytelling skills, and give herself more hands-on videography and editing experience. Through her developing skill set, she landed an unpaid internship at Convoy of Hope – a non-profit organization focusing on disaster relief, children’s nutrition, agriculture, and promoting women’s empowerment.
Rachel believed in what Convoy represented – the message they spread, the stories they shared – and aspired to work for them full-time. To facilitate working for Convoy without pay, she worked two part-time jobs as the Lead Editor at a media start-up company and a Graphic Designer in the Evangel University Marketing Department. With her goal in mind, she committed herself to three jobs, working up to 80 hours a week.
During her internship, Rachel worked closely with Convoy’s Video Director, Jess Heugel, and full-time Producer, Nikki Simmons. Rachel’s work and dedication especially caught Nikki’s attention, which drove Nikki to advocate for her— pushing Convoy to offer Rachel a full-time position from day one. As a result of Nikki’s advocacy and Jess’ mentorship, Rachel was offered a part-time role which— after another 6 months— led to her receiving a full-time job offer on the video team. Though the salary was barely livable, Rachel was thrilled. She wanted to work for what she believed in – something that aligned with her morals and skillset, and allowed her to do what she wanted to do: capture and share stories. After accomplishing her dream at 21 years-old, she had more obstacles that lie ahead.
She worked as a producer, videographer, and editor, traveling across the US and around the world to gather stories of impact. She was enthusiastic about the work she did, but it was difficult. Convoy often assigned male workers and freelancers to places like Africa or the Middle East with the intention of protecting Nikki and Rachel from traveling to countries where women held fewer rights, but the women felt excluded from this decision-making process. Rachel felt her gender was often seen as a limitation when it came to her traveling and production assignments, which spurred Rachel and Nikki to advocate for traveling together, as a team. They supported each other as partners on shoots at home and abroad, filming stories in El Salvador, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Nicaragua, and more. When Rachel reflects on these experiences, she knows nothing about her time at Convoy would have been the same without Nikki’s partnership, talent, and character.
With an increasingly excessive list of projects, Rachel began editing more than shooting. During Convoy of Hope’s Hurricane Harvey disaster relief response, she and Nikki produced over two hundred “Thank You” videos for all donations and partners in a single week. While the work was fulfilling, she missed shooting because she felt, “more alive behind the camera.”
After working at Convoy of Hope for three years, she felt she was ready for a new step in her journey, and she and her husband moved to Utah. She landed a filmmaking job at the Arbinger Institute just before the pandemic, and spent the next two years producing documentaries and video products that helped Arbinger endure the economic downturn. But after two more years of learning from a skilled creative team, she felt ready to move on to a dream she’d had for half her life: to work side-by-side with her sister.
CAROLINE BOYD PRODUCTIONS
Caroline started her production company in Oklahoma and moved to Utah in 2019, where she has been growing her network and business. After having worked together on multiple freelance projects since their college years, and dreaming of partnership with one another from adolescence, Rachel was Caroline’s first choice to hire onto her team as her business grew. The sisters shared similar perspectives and career experiences: working in non-profit organizations, the corporate world, and in a male-dominated field while advocating for themselves to take on more because they knew they were capable. They have a well-rounded dynamic where both Caroline and Rachel are skilled in all areas of productions, but have unique specialties: Caroline excels in writing and post-production editing, while Rachel’s strengths lie in photo and video production. They came into the industry with a unique perspective that allowed them to share a philosophy of empowering women in film.
Moving to Utah, Caroline and Rachel found that the work environment has insensitivities to women. Not anything that they haven’t experienced before, but Caroline decided that she would create a healthy and inclusive working environment for women. Caroline Boyd Productions prides itself on having an integrated workflow where over 75% of their project collaborations are directly with women in decision-making roles. Caroline and Rachel feel that women have an inherent motivation to prove themselves, where “we strive to do our best in their fields, but we need to learn to be less self-deprecating.” Caroline and Rachel want to instill the belief that confident women spread confidence to other women surrounding them. Now, Caroline Boyd Productions has worked on over 3,000 projects, spanning across twenty countries around the world, with over seventy-five collaborations.
Primarily, Caroline and Rachel believe in a comfortable and inclusive workplace where women and all minorities are seen and understood. Spreading awareness across not only the industry, but the world is necessary. “Others are noticing the value of women’s perspectives in media,” say the sisters. But progress is slow. Rachel describes a recent on-set experience:
“I was the only woman on set, and multiple male crew members spent the entire shoot talking over me, ignoring my instructions, and even mansplaining my own camera to me. And I was the Director. Stuff like this still happens. But even when you feel belittled or disregarded, please remember that women do belong in these spaces— and we are needed.”
Caroline and Rachel firmly believe that each person brings their own perspective to each project. They want women to be confident in themselves – their skill set and experiences – and to be proud of their accomplishments.
“As a woman in a male-dominated industry, it feels like we aren’t given the benefit of the doubt and that we have to constantly prove ourselves. In a world where there are so many people already critiquing you, don’t be your own worst critic. There’s no space for that. One of the most powerful things you can do is learn to advocate for yourself and others— and the first step is learning to accept compliments on your work.”
They feel that there is a constant aspect of learning in film so “you don’t have to know everything, just have the confidence to start.”
“It is easy as a woman to rob yourself of an opportunity when you suppress your skills, sensibilities, and your voice. Don’t do this. Let your opinions and perspectives be known.”
STAY UP TO DATE ON THEIR STORY
Refugee Relief campaign video (written & edited by Caroline)
Women's Empowerment Story: Matilda, Tanzania (edited by Rachel)
Women's Equality study with Dr. Tinsley, Professor of Management and Director of the Women's Leadership Institute at McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University (Filmed & edited by Rachel)
Disaster Relief Story: Bill, Hurricane Irma (produced, filmed, edited by Rachel)
Even Recap: PowerGen Asia conference (filmed by Caroline & Rachel, edited by Caroline)
Utah State University program: Healthy Relationships (Produced, Written Directed, Filmed, Edited by Caroline)
Join us on April 20th to listen to our guest speaker Jen Hansen!