We’re proud to introduce another Paxeros team member! Meet our wonderful Executive Assistant, Gabrielle de Boucaud! Who’s Gabrielle? Let’s find out!
PAXEROS: Gabrielle, to kick us off, we’d love to hear about your background prior to joining the Paxeros team. Give us the deets on what brought you to this point in your career.
GABRIELLE: Well my interest in film and creating digital content started from a really young age. I started making videos when I was 13 as soon as I got my first camera, which was a little point and shoot. My sister and I, and her best friend started making a little show about mermaids called “The Magic Shell” and it unexpectedly grew a little fanbase on YouTube. I was blessed to grow up in San Diego which provided the perfect backdrop for the show and definitely inspired a lot of the scenes! We had so much fun making it that we shot a full season before we even published anything online. I would hold the camera, feed them their lines and direct, and then edit everything in iMovie.
I wouldn’t say it went viral but it picked up a few hundred thousand views which then grew to a couple million and I was so shocked. What I loved most was actually interacting with the comments. I loved seeing who liked which characters and what scenes. It was all very rudimentary- I was like 13, 14, 15 doing this, but from there I really caught the bug… That experience of people consuming the content you create- it’s just such a cool feeling and yeah, I’ve just been chasing that feeling ever since.
P: Hot damn, a couple million views?! That’s impressive. Tell us a little more about this mermaid plot...
G: It’s about these girls who are going for a walk down the beach and encounter a magical shell which once they pick up and listen to, turns them into mermaids every time they touch water and, that poses a lot of challenges for an elementary school student as I’m sure you can imagine.
P: That’s brilliant! It sounds like you were so ahead of your time. So many kids are making shows on YouTube these days and they’re making bank… I hope you were able to monetize on it ;P
G: Sadly, I wasn’t able to make any money from it because I used copyrighted music, and also didn’t really realize monetization on YouTube was a thing until a few years later.
P: Gah! Such a bummer. They should be teaching this stuff in elementary school- “How to monetize your YouTube content and save for college.” So after “The Magic Shell” did you continue your film education formally or continue on the path of learning-by-making?
G: My junior and senior year of high school I went to an after-school film conservatory program called Cinema Conservatory which really introduced me to the structure of filmmaking and gave me more insight. I knew it was what I wanted to do for life and so then I applied and was accepted into Loyola Marymount’s Film School.
Shortly after graduating I did some production and coordination on a few random sets and projects and was a Talent Coordinator on The Christmas Cupcake Wars, which was pretty wild. Not too long after, I discovered Paxeros through Julia Elihu who found you guys through the Women of Color Commercial Directing Program (WCCDP), who you obviously know quite well, and she recommended me for the job!
P: Julia is a total badass and we’re so grateful that she brought us together!
G: I know, I was so excited when she told me, “I have some cool people to introduce you to!”
P: Let’s talk about your future- what aspect of this industry are you most interested in?? What’s your dream job?
G: I would love to direct. Directing and screenwriting were my favorite courses in film school and directing a few web series through Roar Studios, a film/TV production club at LMU, and my thesis film at LMU are what truly solidified my decision to pursue film production as my career. I want to tell stories about deep sibling bonds, particularly sister to sister relationships and the complexities, nuances and beauty of them. I love stories about female friends and mother-daughter connections. Feminine relationships are really magical and I love seeing them in film whether they take place in reality or in a fantastical setting.
Other than that I just want to bring people to worlds they wouldn’t get to experience otherwise and highlight other people’s voices who have less of a platform. I think it would also be cool to direct TV series, stand alone movies, and I’m also really interested in doing documentaries and exploring the world! I want to give audiences a peek into a life they wouldn’t typically experience.
P: That’s incredible- this all sounds very aligned with Paxeros’ dreams and goals. We love that you have such a clear vision of the stories you want to tell and there’s an underlying goal to lift up unheard voices, as well as wanting to provide a unique experience for audiences around the world. Speaking of TV, what are your favorite shows? What content inspires you?
G: My favorite tv show is The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Watching that show is just a treat and Rachel Brosnahan is amazing. The show is just top tier; every aspect of production is just out of this world. The costumes, the acting is great, the pacing… it’s timed like a play, you know, there’s a consistent rhythm to the whole production and it just works. The story is so unique too, with Midge (Mrs. Maisel) being a female comic as a mom in this strict world, surrounded by people who don’t really believe in her. But she believes in herself which is what is inspiring.
Then I also really love Euphoria and The Haunting of Hill House which I know other people hated. I just really appreciated that Hill House was the first piece of horror that I had seen that was terrifying while also maintaining a cohesive story that didn’t rely on jump scares for entertainment. I love Euphoria for its character development and its gorgeous camera work, plus Zendaya of course.
P: When it comes to movies, what are your favs? Was there ever a film that stood out to you and impacted you as a filmmaker in terms of what you’d like to emulate?
G: Gosh there’s so many great movies… I think a movie that really shaped my idea of filmmaking from a young age, even though I wasn’t consciously thinking like a filmmaker at the time, was Spirited Away. It just sort of rocked me as a kid. It was terrifying but also beautiful and wondrous, and it really opened me up to a different way to tell stories.
Spirited Away and most Studio Ghibli films don’t really adhere to the standard Disney formula where no one dies and everyone ends up happy… I mean Spirited Away does end happily but it also deals with more complex subjects like loss and humanity. In Spirited Away, Chihiro really has to deal with the loss of her parents, and finding her independence, which was interesting to me.
And then I would say another film that really shook me was Jurassic Park. I can’t say the same about the sequels but the first one is really amazing and cohesive and so effortlessly envelops you in it’s unique world. I was so amazed with how the dinosaurs came to life and the detail of it all. I just had a really strong emotional reaction to it.
I love films like Amelie, Interstellar, Donnie Darko; films that are mind-bending, films where you’re not just spoonfed the answer.
P: Oooo yeah, films that make the audience have to work a little. So good. Alright, are you ready for some rapid fire questions? I know you mentioned your sister, but how many do you have?!
G: I have three siblings! I’m the oldest, then there’s my little brother Niko who just graduated from college and studied Aerospace Engineering, my sister Lexi who I made my mermaid show with- she’s acting and singing in a band, and then my youngest brother Jeremy who’s still in high school, but plays soccer and works as a lifeguard. We’re all livin’ our good lives.
P: Ah to be the eldest- Chelsea and Sean are also the eldest! Any animals in the family?!
G: So I have my cat Coconut who I’ve had for about two years. Then back at home with my parents, we had my two childhood dogs. My childhood puppy actually just passed, which was terrible, but it was his time, and then my other dog we adopted 4 years ago. She’s this white colored wolf dog which is kinda cool. We thought she was a Husky as a puppy but she kind of just… morphed and is this strange wolf-like, German shepard mix.
P: Sounds like something straight out of Game of Thrones… Favorite places you've traveled to?
G: I’m half French so instead of going on a vacation at a resort or somewhere in the US, my family would go back to France every summer. It was a really nice tradition. I’ve been all over France with my family since my dad always wanted to teach us about the culture, but I would say that my favorite location is this little town in southern France called La Ciotat. And one thing I love about that place is this nature preserve area with beaches that have these beautiful rock structures called Calanques. They’re out in the water and you can take a boat around and just relax, it’s just so beautiful.
P: Next time you go, can we tag along? (Joking… sort of). So wait, do you speak French and can you translate the French tunes we play around the office sometimes?
G: Ha, I do speak French but understanding vocals in a song can actually be kind of hard since French words have so many hidden letters, it’s hard to grasp lyrics sometimes. But reading is actually way easier for me than understanding singing which is super weird! Sometimes when I’m in France and surrounded by the language, I find myself thinking in French which is always really cool. I think being bilingual is super great for my brain because it opens me up to a different way of thinking.
P: That’s an invaluable skill set. Besides speaking French what else do you like to do in your free time when you’re not working with us?
G: Well I picked up a few new hobbies over quarantine! I’m not the best but I love to go roller skating and I crochet which is a super soothing, granny hobby. I also love just being in nature and going on hikes, running, and relaxing at the beach. Surfing is another one of those things that I love to do, but I’m not that great at. I can stand though! I also love learning and I sort of miss college for that dedicated learning time! That’s what YouTube is for though, you can learn so many wacky things on there.
P: YouTube can definitely be used to learn just about anything… or get sucked into cat videos… ha! Well we’re so excited for you to be able to keep on learning and growing with us here at Paxeros! Thank you so much for opening up and sharing just how cool you are, we’re stoked to have you as part of our team.
G: I’m excited to keep on learning and growing too! Thank you so much for chatting with me and makin’ me feel so special.
P: Watcha talking about feeling special?! You ARE special!!
G: Haha, we’re ALL special!! Thanks so much again guys!