Six years ago, Justice Woman was a domain name that was available and I acquired because I thought it was cool. I grew up a fan of Wonder Woman and Batman, especially Batman, a mere mortal without super powers who cares about the people of Gotham. I had recently graduated law school and couldn't stomach working as a lawyer - my true passion was acting. However, I had bills to pay so I stuck it out with law and opened up my own law practice that I ran for two years. It was during that time that I experienced the genesis of Justice Woman. Hanging a shingle was an eye opening experience as I got to see firsthand how our legal system and the people in charge of it can work for both good and bad under the guise of the law - it was enough to make me want out of the practice of law and back into acting so, I went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. While there, I began writing. After graduating, I needed an actor reel to showcase my work. However, putting one together proved strenuous as I found myself hounding down directors to get copies of films. I figured with all the energy I was expending, I might as well write and film the story for Justice Woman since it had been percolating in the back of my head this whole time.
As I wrote Justice Woman, a series of tumultuous events were happening throughout the world that fueled my desire to write not just on my behalf, but also on behalf of others who had suffered some form of injustice. I began writing about the many unfair things that exist in our society pertaining in part to homophobia, immigration, discrimination, double standards, sexual hypocrisy, class power, political corruption and so forth. Those became the issues that I wanted to set forth in Justice Woman. However, I took to heart Oscar Wilde’s saying that "if you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you" and put a humorist twist to my writing.
|Justice Woman and Roberta|
Being a fan of the Batman movies, and Robert Rodriguez's Sin City, I definitely wanted that Gotham/Sin City comic book feel to Justice Woman. We accomplished that mostly with the lighting setup in production and color correction in post.
I was going to do a pilot at first, but I was too anxious to get started and wasn't going to wait for a cable network to pick it up so I opted for the web series format. I researched web series and was inspired by Felicia Day and her web series "The Guild".
I didn't go to film school and I didn't have much of a budget so I had to take on as many tasks as possible to make Justice Woman happen. It was challenging, but doable thanks to those who kept me going with their encouragement and support. Thanks to the generosity of friends and former business associates, I was able to secure locations and props when needed as needed. It does get hectic for me at times being the writer, director, producer and lead in the series, but the cast and crew keep me going. Everyone gets along so filming is such a pleasure and we have so much fun on set - no drama and tons of laughter. The majority of the cast are personal friends who I have worked previously with on stage, in films and even as attorneys so to them this is not just about showing up to act and then moving on to the next acting gig - this is about our friendship and it shows in the end results - they come on set, give it their all and help out with production matters when needed.
For first season, we used the Canon EOS 7D because it was what our first DP (Director of Photography) had in terms of equipment. I wasn't well versed in camera equipment then, but I did like the crisp and sharp look of the images so I went with what he had. For second season, we had another DP and he had a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, which has better image quality. However, he left to get a master in London so, for seasons 3, 4 and 5 we reverted to the Canon EOS 7D, which seems to be the popular choice with DPs and also fits into our production budget.
Well, I'm always shooting before aiming, which has gotten me into trouble at times, but it has also made me realize that if I just go for and push through I will end up getting my way.
I started the series with $2000 and soon realized I needed to double my budget. So I decided to film solely on weekends so that I can work during the week and save up. I started bartering services and goods - living quarters in exchange for filming - called in favors, begged for favors, and relied on the generosity of friends and family - the generosity rarely came in the form of money, but every form of assistance was a huge help for me.
The series will go on for 6 seasons with a total of 18 episodes. However, that's not to say that more cannot be made. The series could go on into infinity because "as long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other" – John Stuart Mill. If history serves as a precedent, the battle for justice is ever ongoing and I would love nothing more than to keep "Justice Woman" going. It's something we're definitely exploring.
Advancements in technology have drawn the prices down thereby, making film-making accessible to just about anyone with the will and desire to become a film-maker or a motion storyteller. Therefore, I'm sure we will be seeing more diverse and rich stories in the years to come and with the advent of web series distribution, we'll get to see and hear from voices we would have not had the opportunity to see or hear before. Thanks to the Internet we can choose what we want to see and not be stuck watching bad TV programming.
Watch first episode: