Natasha Mynhier is a Los Angeles-based writer and director. In 2011, she founded the production company 37 Laines, which produces high-quality creative work for clients across the US, including commercials, short films, music videos, digital content, web-series, live events, documentaries and branded content. Her team has created content for brands like Netflix, Marvel, ESPN, and Vogue and has been featured in festivals such as the Voice of a Woman: Cannes and the Utah Dance Film Festival. Her passion for narrative and dance most recently culminated in the award-winning short film, In A Beat. I met Natasha at a Hollywood Hills screening in 2018. As a fellow female filmmaker, I found we had a similar work ethic, and I ended up working as assistant director of the film.
Since the pandemic started, Mynhier's company innovated and moved to Remote Camera Cart productions. Building the cart was a challenge for the team, but they were glad to have the means to keep production going.
Jessica Peterson: How did you get started as a writer/director?
Natasha Mynhier: I was a dancer most of my life, which was where I first started experimenting with storytelling. Once in college, I started focusing on words by joining the screenwriting department at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
JP: Tell us about 37 Laines and the challenges/rewards of starting/running a production company.
NM: Being both an artist and a business person is the most challenging aspect of running a production company. As a start-up, you don't benefit from having a team of experienced financial advisors or MBAs guiding you on business decisions. And without an MBA of your own, you have to learn business skills on the fly.
Managing an entity that creates a positive and creative space for employees is a challenge—doing this while trying to sell work and create quality content is even harder. After many years we are just starting to get the hang of it!
JP: Who or what inspires your work? Any female directors?
NM: Reed Morano, Sofia Coppola, Chloé Zhao all inspire me. They take on challenging stories and technical roles on top of their directing. It's a level of hands-on creation that is really inspiring to me. They are willing to dive in and get their hands dirty while also bringing their unique female perspective to the storytelling.
JP: Is there a lack of women doing the work you do in your community? In general?
NM: Slowly more and more women are diving in. In production, there are certainly few women in the field, but that is changing!
JP: What are the challenges of working in a male-dominated industry?
NM: Some people are self-proclaimed authorities on topics they are not experienced in. But it's important to value the leadership of balanced, thoughtful, and honest people. I believe more women will contribute to the rationality in the field and will devalue the obsession with bravado.
JP: How important is it to work with other women in the industry?
NM: I have found an incredible amount of purpose, compassion, and inspiration by working with other women. There is nothing quite like having others around you that understand the life experiences you have had to help you maintain honesty and integrity in your stories.
JP: What are you most passionate about?
NM: Telling socially conscious stories. Purpose-based storytelling is the only avenue to help combat the misinformation rampant in the media these days. I am passionate about contributing to the researched stories that give voices to underrepresented perspectives.
JP: What are you most proud of in your work?
NM: I am most proud of the research that went into my work to create an honest depiction of an underrepresented lens in my film, In A Beat. My goal was to give catharsis to a community that had not been shown on screen and to have hundreds of comments from people who felt the story represented them and touched them—that meant the world to me.
JP: What advice would you give women who want to be directors?
NM: Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. The female directors in my life whom I admire (like Jessica Peterson) are the kind of women who go out and learn about whatever they have to learn about to get something made. Dive in on gear—find a rental house to work at if you can't afford to buy a camera and learn the gear. Build a set if you want to make a wacky scene. Dive in because your voice is beautiful and shouldn't be squandered just due to a fear of gear being heavy—they have rigs for that! There's always a workaround.
Jessica Peterson is a travel and documentary filmmaker with a background in journalism and marketing. She has 20 years of experience producing content in 114 cities and 25 countries. In 2016, she directed and produced her own documentary about her then-home of Guam. Working under the name Global Girl Travels, her clients include CNN, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Matador Network, and Tastemade.