We Always Do It Nice & Rough: Guest post by filmmaker Sheila J. Hardy of Eve’s Lime Prods.

Los Angeles, California —

Sheila J. Hardy

People often ask me the meaning behind the unique the name of my production company.

Eve is the first woman, mother of every race.

Lime:  An “ism” I picked up when I lived in Barbados.  It means to watch the movements of the people, usually done from a porch or a stoop:  a party.

This West Indian term is used in the Caribbean both as a noun and verb:  “Come lime by me.”  Or “I’m having a lime this Saturday night.”

So much is changing and has to change in our world.  In order to continue to inhabit this planet, we are really going to have to do things differently.  This is just one of the many reasons why I am committed to growing ideas about how we, as an industry and community, can better maintain a balance between what we take and what we give back.  That way we can have longevity in the work we do, as well as an impact that goes far beyond our original circle of collaborators.  I believe the first step in this is to open the dialogue on what “real” collaborative work is, as it relates to filmmaking.

Nice & Rough: Black Women in Rock (Poster features Starr Cullars)

I believe that with the right combination of collaborators, you can do anything!

This is why collaboration is such an important part of Eve’s Lime.  We are able to see just how prolific the concept of collaboration has become by just looking toward the Web and social media.  LinkedIn blows my mind daily, as it continually affirms that there are only six degrees of separation between me and those I need to connect with to get my work done.  We have everything we need at our fingertips to complete our projects.  Once we embrace that fact, it’s easy to move forward. There is an audience for every film; a community for every project and this is the approach I bring to my work.

Still from the "ecosystems production" for the California Science Center TV ad campaign, produced by Sheila J. Hardy

Eve’s Lime represents a convergence of collaborators – uniquely gifted directors, writers, producers, crew, industry executives, vendors, corporations, and non-profits committed to this mission, to bring real stories and authentic voices into the limelight via documentaries and commercials.

Last summer, I was given the nickname, “The Zen Producer” because of the energy I commit to build the right team, and to create a production environment in which people have the freedom to do their best work.  This experience, and others like it are the result of my need to create a framework that reflects what I want to do – work that is collaborative, humanistic, sustainable, enjoyable, and creates value.

I come to production as an entrepreneur and journalist/author. After researching writing my first biography collection, I decided I wanted to learn how to retell these stories through film, so I enrolled in the Writer’s Bootcamp two-year screenwriting program.  After I graduated, I realized that I was still very green.  I had never even been on a film set.  So I looked for work on various productions – first as a location manager on a PSA.  Then I began to associate produce, and on to taking the lead as Producer.

Part of the team from the Daniel's Place PSA, produced by Sheila J. Hardy

Often after a production I would feel wiped out … No.  Not from the 14 hour days, but from all of the drama and politics. I was determined not to let the madness of others control my experience.   The work had become dissatisfying because the voice of the project or creative brief would get lost in translation because of politics and egos that we are all too familiar with in this industry.  That’s how collaboration became the cornerstone of my production model.  In collaborative production everyone is equally valued.

My goal in creating Eve’s Lime was to develop a new paradigm and to create a space where talented people can come together and truly collaborate.  Collaboration is accessible, and solution-focused, to fill the needs of the project or situation.  I have had the opportunity to witness, first hand, how crucial collaboration is in my work with non-profits.

In this shifting economy, non-profits need to do far more with less.  Because of Eves Lime‘s collaborative production model, I am able to draw on a community of resources built through like minded individual, businesses and organizations, to produce an ad campaign for a non-profit, at a fraction of the usual cost. It is so satisfying to watch this work.

Camera crew from the California Science Center TV ad campaign

This philosophy lays a solid foundation for how the work gets done, creates a dynamic interpersonal space in which I interface with my clients, and it is a perfect methodology for creating real stories, authentic voices.  As a historian I cannot stress enough the importance of telling our own stories.  This model provides a framework for story-development that ultimately conveys the DNA of the community it’s depicting. – not someone’s fantasy of that community.  For example, in the research for one of my recent commercials we interviewed members of the organization being depicted and incorporated elements of their day-to-day activities into the story, providing a genuine feel that engages viewers.

Opening opportunities for new dialogues and new possibilities is a wonderful by-product of collaboration.  I am on the warpath to connect with people who want to support my doc project.  Nice & Rough celebrates black women in rock.  These women dare to do their thing – no matter what the norm dictates. And I am taking my lead from them.

I decided to direct this doc as well as produce and write it, because I have such a strong sense of what I want this film to portray and why it’s so important.  Plus, I was simply no longer willing to expend my energies convincing another bull-headed director that Melba Moore is not a black woman in rock. (Long story. . .but true.)

The best part of the work I do is to help people make connections.  As we drift through our lives, we come across countless others whom we don’t believe we have anything in common with– until we experience a story, a film that uncovers the human journey that we all share. It connects us through the universal themes that are revealed. Film has the power to bring people together. That’s what I love to do.

Nice & Rough has literally become a metaphor for my own process.  It’s the sweet satisfaction of doing the work I love, coupled with the imperfect scenarios I am challenged to rise above in order to continue this insane journey called filmmaking.  I remember shooting the initial footage for the trailer.  With not much more than $150, I was able to make what appeared from the onset impossible possible, and to secure the resources for a small crew to shoot in Boston.

The night of the closing concert I cried because all I could think of was that if I had given up, I would never have been able to witness a beautiful and ageless, Nona Hendryx climb onto Cindy Blackman’s designer drums and jump back to the ground in hard rocker fashion, sporting thigh-high, stiletto boots, and swaying her hips in African dance movements.

ZEN Production anyone?

A Facebook fan commented “I don’t even know these women, and yet they speak to me.” It’s because these women are warriors and represent the power and freedom we all want –  especially as women filmmakers – to be ourselves, do our thing, and not be restricted by race or gender.

“Come lime by me:”


Read more about collaborative production.

View Nice & Rough trailer and join the behind-the-scenes journey.

Become a Facebook Fan!

Follow me on Twitter @eveslime @niceandrough.

Check out Eve’s Lime’s YouTube channel.

Read about the Daniel’s Place PSA.

– Sheila J. Hardy is President & Executive Producer of Eve’s Lime Productions, Inc.


Many thanks to Sheila Hardy for writing this guest post!