Your Name: Heather Taylor
Business Name: Archetypal Images, LLC, a documentary film studio
Type of Business: Arts & Entertainment
Business Location: Columbia, Maryland, United States
Reason for starting
I was looking for my own path in life when I stumbled upon the first women’s air race from 1929. I grew up in a family of pilots, so was shocked that I didn’t know about the race or any of the pioneering women in the race other than Amelia Earhart. When discovering that there was an entire community of women supporting each other in aviation, I felt compelled to share the women’s story as they were incredible role models. When I found footage of the actual race and saw this amazing light in the eyes of the women who were flying, I wondered how they found their passion and if there was a way to harness their enthusiasm to inspire others. I immersed myself into the women’s story. My hope was to inspire others to follow their own passion, no matter how illogical it may seem. It took well over a decade, but I finally produced a documentary on the subject and have been sharing this story ever since.
How do you define success?
A big part of success is touching people’s lives in a positive way and inspiring them to follow their own energy/passion, no matter how illogical it may seem to others. If I can really reach people like that, then I know they will go on to inspire others. This gift, in turn, will re-energize me as well. This is what reciprocity is all about.
There have been so many successes in my journey with this film: The National Aviation Hall of Fame honored me with their prestigious Combs Gates Award. Harrison Ford, Gene Cernan (last astronaut on the moon), Bob Hoover, Clay Lacy, and other top male aviation legends were on-stage to present me with the award as I represented 20 of the pioneering women in aviation. I was also able to induct the women into the Women in Aviation Hall of Fame. In addition, I have been in contact with many of the family members of the women. In fact, families members of 5 of the women were represented at the film’s premiere. To have their seal of approval has meant the world. Of course one of the biggest measures of success is when someone tells me how much the film impacted them in a positive way or inspired them. That is, after all, the main reason I produced the film.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Getting the film onto the public’s radar has been one of the top challenges with the film. Marketing and publicity appear to be the key to success. Unfortunately this is very expensive and independent artists are rarely paid for their work. Most everyone wants to show the film for free. I have put everything I have into the film financially, emotionally and time wise. I quit my job to produce the film (right before the recession hit). I have not had an income in over 5 years and took on a debt that exceeds my house and car combined. I work hard every day following leads regardless. I consistently post on social media, enter festivals and try anything I can think of to get the film out there. While I have won many awards and received some recognition, there has not been a true tipping point to date. I continue to work on it, though as I believe the story is too important to ignore.
Who is your most important role model?
The women of the derby inspired me to quit my job to tell their story. Each woman had a distinct and strong personality racing in a competition against one another, yet they supported and collaborated with each other. They, in turn, formed a community among themselves, in the aviation industry and the general public at large. Hundreds of thousands of people got together to support the dream these women had to break through the clouds. Therefore, I have at least 20 important role models to thank.