Creating Opportunities for Women of Color in Advertising

This blog was written by QuickFrame maker Paxeros.

Welcome to Maker Corner, our monthly series where we feature guest contributions to our blog. This edition details Paxeros’ initiative to advance underrepresented groups in the advertising industry with the Women of Color Commercial Directing Program (WCCDP).

When we first began building out Paxeros’ roster of makers a few years back, it was really important for us to have a diverse slate of directors with different backgrounds and voices. However, when we looked around at the directors we knew, they were predominantly white men and a couple of white women. 

In searching for up-and-coming talent, we struggled to find women of color with enough directorial work under their belt to confidently pitch to agencies and customers. Oftentimes the women who did have a strong enough portfolio of work were already signed to major rosters. 

We’d come to realize that the odds were stacked against women of color in terms of accessibility, and so we felt a responsibility to help create opportunities for these women within the advertising industry. That’s how the idea for the Women of Color Commercial Directing Program (WCCDP) was born! In response to the building of our roster and the Black Lives Matter movement, there was no better time than the summer of 2020 to launch the program. In providing tools, funding, and mentorship for a full-scale professional level spec ad, the winner of the program would be able to provide a solid spot they could use to pitch to customers and get them more work in the future.

Learn More: Social Media Video Ad Specs & Placements Guide

An image of a film set with lights, cameras, monitors all filming a car.

With the help of our judging panel, we narrowed down the 100+ applicants to 25 semi-finalists and then down to the top ten finalists. From there, the judges played a crucial role in choosing the top three finalists and awarding the winner. Making sure our judging council was not only diverse in culture, but also diverse in entertainment and branding experiences with different points of view on the various segments of the film and advertising industries, was extremely important to us as well. 

Stacy Pascal Gaspard took first place with her spec treatment and script, “Isadora” a story about a young girl overcoming exclusion and insecurity through the help of her father’s loving support and passion for their Afro Caribbean roots.

An image of a woman of color directing a scene, with camera and crew

We supported Stacy all the way through the production and post production process, aiding mentorship and financial support in casting, scouting, booking, filming, editing and so on. We also simulated the customer experience to teach Stacy how to manage the director-customer relationship. 

We are so proud of the way “Isadora” came out and we are even more excited to lift Stacy up and share her work. So many of our applicants had such distinct and personal voices with unique ideas, and we’re excited for these ladies to continue bringing their joy to the world through their directorial visions, films, and artistic projects. We hope that Stacy and our other two finalists continue to use their artistic voices to inspire younger or newer filmmakers, especially women of color, to lift one another up on their journeys of creating art.

A behind the scenes image of a commercial, showing a videographer, director, and actor.

To see the positive reception that “Isadora” has garnered really warms our hearts and it’s exciting to see Stacy thrive. We’re also excited to share that our third place finalist, Julia Elihu, has recently joined our roster of directors and we are so proud of the work we’ve produced with her. Creating more space for marginalized voices within the industry and watching these dedicated women grow and excel has been an extremely inspiring experience and we are humbled by the outcomes of our inaugural WCCDP. 

We plan to host the next iteration of WCCDP in the summer of 2022. Keep an eye on upcoming developments, and learn more about the Woman of Color Directing Program, on our website!

To see Stacy’s award-winning spot, and learn more about her story, read her interview with Little Black Book.

Paxeros is an ethos-driven production company providing branded content, commercial, music video, documentary, and narrative film production services in the Greater Los Angeles area. With their versatile and eclectic roster of directors and their extensive in-house capabilities, Paxeros can cover a production from start to finish. In addition to working with ethically-minded brands, Paxeros places a strong emphasis on community give-back and does their best to highlight different nonprofits and causes each month.


Stacy Pascal Gaspard is currently a Directing Fellow at the AFI Conservatory and a former Development Intern at MACRO. Initially a Pre-Med student at Nova Southeastern University, she went on to double major in Theatre and Media Communications- the first in her family to earn her Bachelor’s in the US.

On the screen, Stacy strives to share her rich vibrant Afro Latin Caribbean culture and the intersectionality of Black girlhood. Stacy is a natural performer, with experience dancing Salsa, Hip Hop, and Modern. She has acted in national commercials, and earned diversity scholarships for both Groundlings and UCB. She also has experience singing and songwriting, and thinks she can rap- her siblings don’t agree. The oldest sibling of 5, raised by her single Haitian mother and grandmother, Stacy Pascal Gaspard doesn’t take her dreams lightly, and doesn’t think you should either.

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