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Lara Everly's Change of Trajectory: Opportunities for Female Directors with NBCU's Female Forward

Updated: Apr 14

By: Rashida Ashley

Fresh from the NBCU LAUNCH TV Directors | Female Forward directing program, a program designed to systemically increase the number of experience directors of underrepresented backgrounds in episodic television, Lara Everly has cultivated her expertise to use comedy to disrupt the status quo. As an award-winning director, Lara has directed an episode of NBC's "American Auto," "I Can By Friday," "Like A Mother," and "Heritage Day."Additionally, some of her written and directed work have been seen on platforms such as Disney, Netflix Family, and Oprah.

In this interview, Lara discusses how her experience in the NBCU LAUNCH TV Directors Program | Female Forward program has amplified her trajectory and mission as a director.

Before going into the program, you've had notable projects that have already been showcased. How did you feel Female Forward could further hone your skills as a director?

I really wanted to get into television. I had done a handful of independent pilots and actually did a pilot with Geena Davis while I was in the process of applying for Female Forward. But it's really, really hard to get that first episode and to break into network TV, and I felt like I was on this hamster wheel of digital content which was great, but I didn't know how to uplevel.

I had actually spoken to an alumni from the very first class of Female Forward, Katie Locke O'Brien. She highly recommended it, and she was like, it changed my career. It changed everything. I will never not be grateful. It literally changed my whole trajectory.

What were some of your thoughts and goals going into the program once accepted?

For me, getting that first episode was huge. Beyond that, getting that second episode and that third and, you know, changing the trajectory, that's what I wanted. It's thrilling to be a part of the paradigm that's shifting to include more female directors and people of color and underrepresented minorities and all of that. So I'm just thrilled to be welcomed into that opportunity and into that equation.

I hope that it just keeps going from here, and then I get to tell stories that are very similar to the one that I got to tell for American Auto. I'm super grateful that I got the episode that I got. That I got to handle and tackle social issues, generational issues, gender issues, and all of those things. And that's the content that I live for and strive for. So I hope that I get to keep working in that dark comedy that's willing to take a little bit of a risk, a little bit edgy. Those are the stories that I want to keep telling.

How have the program's workshops shaped your essence as a director?

Well, in full transparency, because I was in the class of 2021, when we got in, all of our workshops were over zoom. It was not normal. I don't think that they are now. So that was its own unique journey. But to NBC and FEMA, for its own credit, they kept with it. The workshops were the same, where you are having really specific crafts for each one. So it would be like talking about posts and talking with TV editors, and then a whole thing about cinematography and how to work with cinematographers as a casting director.

I will say one of my favorite classes was something that we had actually as a class spoken up about and requested, and then Female Forward met the need. Which was to have a whole workshop on Scriptation, which is an app to go green. So instead of having a bunch of paper all the time on set and wasting trees-because, there are so many revisions in a script. Every day you might get a new script with different revisions, and it can be very wasteful. So there's a new app where you can put all of your notes in the script digitally, and then when there's a new script, it'll just transfer all of the notes over to the new script. It'll locate the words and literally take all your writings and photos and attachments and transfer them over. It is kind of like learning a whole new thing. So we were like, can we have a class on Scriptation?

We want to go green, we want to be more environmental, but it's very daunting to kind of learn a whole new program. NBC and Female Forward were like yeah and got one of the people that created Scriptation to teach us how to use Scriptation and what the different tools are, what the different icons are, what you can do with it. That was so helpful. I had some smaller shoots leading up to it. It was a great way for me to be like, okay, I'm going to take my iPad. I'm not going to be like, you know, pen and paper, and I'm going to use Scriptation.

So then, by the time I got to direct my episode, I was using my iPad. From the table read all the way through, [I was] only using the Scriptation. I think I have a little bit of a love-hate relationship with new technologies sometimes, and I think I wouldn't have had the urge to be like no, I'm good. I don't need the script. I'm going to be totally digital. If I hadn't had that Female Forward workshop where someone literally sat down and was like here's Scriptation for dummies, we're gonna walk you through it.