By Jessica Espinoza
Barry students of diverse majors attended an event featuring writer Gisselle Legere, a deaf Cuban woman who made her break into the behind-the-scenes Hollywood industry after a long journey inspired by recording her very first short on her iPhone.
Alexander Orozco, a junior double majoring in English and Spanish, heard about this event through his professors and wanted to attend because it seemed interesting.
Orozco said, “It’s not often that television writers come to campus, so opportunities like this are wonderful, especially someone who is as honest as Giselle.”
“It is fun to be in a room with other prospective writers and listen to how interested they are about writing for television and film,” he said.
Legere told students about her experience in the industry and what it took for her to make it in Hollywood. It was an informative, almost conversational lecture between students and speaker, while guests enjoyed a slice of pizza and a cookie.
Legere told students what it is like to work in a project room, which is where you do an elevator pitch—where you sell yourself to producers and showrunners for an entire minute—and how far a good personality can take you.
She became vulnerable with audiences when she mentioned her failed attempt at a novel while working as an epidemiologist and how she made connections that circled back to her four years later.
“One piece of writing is a hobby, multiple [pieces] show passion or talent,” she said.
She wrote and shot six shorts in one year, albeit not her best work – at her own admission. She said they gave her a big push to where she is today.
She started with her first feature script, landing her at Sundance Screenwriters Intensive, along with Dr. Greenbaum. The next year, she wrote a spec–a sample for an existing television show– which landed her a gig in the Disney-ABC program, which later got her on “Quantico."
Orozco found her story memorable.
“Gisselle’s story is very compelling because she is a deaf Cuban woman [who] is working her way through a male-dominated industry, and it is both interesting and compelling to know that there is a growing representation in Hollywood,” he said.