Women in Business

Meet Woman in Business Diane Foster

Meet Diane Foster, the Founder of WallyBird Productions and this week’s woman in business featured story.

Tell us about your business

My audience is worldwide and is for people who love film and entertainment. My company is WallyBird Productions and we are a film production studio that fosters diversity and equality. We are committed to inclusion and the voices of storytellers that have not historically had the platforms to shine. We are collaborators and are always looking to produce content for aspiring or established writers and directors, musicians, and artists.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?

 I really enjoy the process of filmmaking and being creative. Cinema is such an important tool in our society to not only entertain, but change the world and how we view it. I am so grateful to be a filmmaker and be part of a team of people coming together and visualizing different worlds. Some are complete fantasy and some are real. We do features, shorts, music videos, TV shows, and documentaries. Because our range is so broad, we can work with so many dynamic storytellers. I originally started in this business as an actor and my first film, I also produced, so I was immediately thrust into the business side of show business and I really flourished there. I am a people person through and through and love putting teams of people together.  I have a knack for knowing which personalities will work well together and making unique content that can stand out in the oversaturation of media. 

What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?

My mother sisters are all very unique in the jobs they do and taught me early on, that being a woman didn’t mean not having a career. I am grateful that I have 5 strong and independent women to learn from. I also have been heavily influenced by actor/director/producers like Reese Witherspoon, who owns Hello Sunshine and not only makes it all look flawless but is doing good by the projects she makes. I am a huge fan of Ava Duvernay and have followed her career as a director and entrepreneur with her company Array Now. Seeing women like them and even a powerhouse like Oprah, shows me that it is possible to be a boss lady and change the world for the better while we do it.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Each project is special and unique and all of them truly are benefitting the world not only through their entertainment but the initiatives we have out in place with them. These are a few very special ones near and dear to our hearts. We are a proud sponsor of The Black Lives Matter scholarship through JUNO’s Guitar Bootcamp to give 20 Black students free guitar lessons on zoom worldwide with celebrity guitarist JUNO. We are in the second year of sponsorship and mentor the students that go through the program after they have completed 3 months of free lessons as they become part of the Extra Mile Mentorship Club providing them opportunities in the film and music industries with guidance. Our documentary “I Am America” about the Immigration Center for Women and Children (ICWC) was chosen through the Women Excel Fund and Creative Visions, to be given a $15,000 grant which went back directly to the ICWC to help undocumented youth and women. Our documentary “Does My Vote Count” is currently in production and explores the lives of disenfranchised voters and the inaccessibility that BIPOC communities and Americans with disabilities face when voting. The film shows us the side to voting that many of us take for granted and how our intrinsic right as Americans is not truly accessible to all. Our urban drama short film “Dissonance” is currently awaiting festivals. The film was funded on Kickstarter and a percentage of the proceeds went to the Trevor Project which is the leading national suicide prevention service for LGBTQIA+ youth worldwide. Being a part of the solution and providing outlets that go above and beyond the films or videos we make is very important to our mission at WallyBird Productions.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?

Don’t stop. And if not you, then who? Be bold enough with your dreams to continue when it gets tough because it will get tough and realize that your uniqueness is your superpower. There is no one else like you in this world and you have so much to offer. You may help or affect one person with your talents or your business and if you do, that’s enough. Never let anyone tell you can’t and if they do, show them, not because of how wrong they are, but how right you are!

What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?

Social media is a really important tool for marketing and I have heard so many creatives say they aren’t into it. That is the wrong attitude to have because the outreach is far and wide and global. It’s here to stay! I have met so many amazing people on social media and have worked with them because of the connection. Don’t allow it to turn you off from using it. It is a great platform if you can use it for all the benefits it provides.

What’s one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?

Say yes, because you never know where that will lead. Never of course to your own detriment but be willing to try things out because you may discover something about you and your business you never knew. Remember how intelligent, talented, and strong you really are, and that you don’t need a lot to make something wonderful. Your integrity and your own self worth is most important. 

Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business? If yes, please describe (and include links if available).

I would suggest taking courses online if you are looking into being in the film industry. Take writing courses, acting, directing. Study and keep learning. It makes you a more understanding business owner and a better person all around to realize you don’t know everything and it’s a chance to meet other people who you may end up working with.

Do you have any new projects coming up (or have you just completed a big project ~ reached a milestone, etc.)? If so, please tell us about it.

We have so much going on at Wallybird Productions for a very busy 2021. We have an urban drama titled ‘Dissonance” written and directed by Rafi Jacobs that will hit the festival circuit, a set of music videos from the incomparable JUNO filming and dropping, a feature we wrapped by Yaz Canli, titled “Street Tales”, our “SHIRi” film won the Stage 32 Short Film Contest premiering at Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts and Raindance and is still on the festival circuit, our “Make A Wish” film is in over 117 festivals worldwide and some of the Best in genre film, our feature documentary directed by Emily Karlsson titled “Does My Vote Count” in association with Creative Visions is currently filming, a television pilot about the perils of dating in LA is in the writers room, another feature documentary about one woman’s incredible story in weaving a beautiful death is filming, and a horror comedy feature that I am directing and starring in will go into production this summer. We are very excited about this year to say the least and hope you will all continue to join us, support us, and take this journey with us. 

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

I love to hike, swim, watch movies, play board games, eat good food, bike ride, go on adventures, and laugh until it hurts so good.

What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?

Expand my brand online and produce two more feature films and two feature documentaries. When those are in the can and out into the world, I can start writing the book about my journey to where I am and how I got here.

You want to write a book on …. my life____.

It’s been an amalgamation of so many amazing experiences good and bad, and it will share not only a different side of me, but hopefully a whole new side of themselves. My intention is that it will inspire and help others live out their dreams and see that they are worthy of making their life what they want.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I’d like to thank you all for taking the time to learn about me and WallyBird Productions and shout out my amazing followers and supporters. I am so extremely grateful for the fans and followers who support my work. It is because of them that I can continue doing what I love and I want them all to know how important they are to me and how much I love them.

What’s the best way for the readers of WE Magazine for Women to connect with you  

WEBSITE URL: www.wallybirdproductions.com

WallyBird Productions  Instagram x Official site
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