Nicole Dorsey

Women Behind the Camera are Changing the Narrative
April 19 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: Lights, Camera, Female

It used to be that if you wanted to make a video or a movie, you needed loads of cash. Sure—you needed to be talented to some degree—but, hey, Howard Hughes had billions and made it work. That’s why my generation and subsequent generations should be excited. You don’t need more than an iPhone to create video content. Talent has the platform to rise, regardless of how little you make.

 Ready to make your own directorial debut? Here are some tips: Avoid a key amateur element (shakiness) by borrowing a tripod. Don’t be afraid to shoot close, as in, close enough to see someone’s eye color. Educate yourself on elements like metadata to reach a wider audience. And most of all, have fun, kids.


That money thing has long been a key destroyer in the ascent of marginalized creators. Take women, for example: For every 22 directors, only one is a woman. While we are seeing a rise in diversity, there doesn’t seem to be a clear pattern for those who don’t fit into the rich, white dude stereotype. In 2018, women directors who led the top 100 movies took a decline. There’s no doubt we need more women controlling the creative aspects of movies, from who’s being casted to who’s doing the casting.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Nicole Dorsey, Commercial & Narrative Film Director

If there are few women in a movie, chances are a woman didn’t direct it. If the women in a film are wearing 6-inch stilettos while making dinner for their kids, chances are a woman didn’t direct it. So, who are the women directors out there? Nicole Dorsey is one. She’s written and directed content that’s all about shining a light on the many layers of women’s lives, from getting ready for prom to solving the age-old problem of how to support yourself.

As a woman behind feature-length to shorter films, Nicole is able to relate to the audience in a way that draws them in. It’s no wonder she’s responsible for what might just be more memorable than movies for a lot of folks: commercials. Companies like Nike and Mattel have hired her to sprinkle a little Dorsey magic, which is basically just being super talented and driven.

Watching Nicole’s commercial reel reminds me just how impactful a succinct message can be. Two minutes is all it takes for Nicole to take us on a journey for Skype, one across the world to guide us into others’ modest moments when they simply say, “I love you.”

Nicole splits her time between Toronto and LA, and directs in a style that she refers to as “natural formalism.” It’s something developed over time and through education in her film production program.

One of the filmmakers who has inspired Nicole is Cèline Sciamma, a French screenwriter and director. It’s women like Cèline and Nicole herself who inspire others to follow suit. As she develops an original series called “Fraternal Love,” about a pair of twins beginning a life of crime, Nicole and her co-creator not only go for a particular cinematographic vision, but they are also part of a group of women who tell fresh, honest stories. And, hey, isn’t that what we need to hear?

Being a female director isn’t a walk in the park, but there are ways to make it an easier endeavor. Check out Nicole Dorsey’s guide for earning your spot in the director’s chair by clicking here or heading over to!


Nicole Dorsey said:

"Sometimes the best ideas come when you're not looking for them. Now good luck out there! It's a tough road, but if you love what you do, it's worth it for those moments spent doing it."

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