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The MAKE IT podcast amplifies the voice of the filmmaker by exploring the filmmaking journeys of actors, writers, directors, producers, and a host of other creatives from across the film industry. We provide a platform for filmmakers to provide advice, lessons learned, personal reflections, and ins… read more


267 - Director Traci Hays - Going From Crew To Director, Finding A Mentor, and Learning To Prove Yourself Again and Again

Hello, Hello!


In this episode, we have a conversation with Director Traci Hays. We talk about her latest feature film ‘Tangled’ streaming on Passionflix now, how she overcame childhood health and learning issues to pursue filmmaking, the benefits of career coaching, overcoming barriers as a female in the film industry, the role women play in holding other women back, how to find a mentor, and so much more. Enjoy!


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More on Traci Hays






Tangled (film)

Frederick (short film)

40ish (short film)


Traci Hays is a DGA nominated director. Her work has earned multiple awards, including Best Director and Best Picture, along with being an award-winning Production Designer. Hays recently directed Disconnected, a short film thriller, as part of the Women's Weekend Film Challenge. With a diverse all-female cast and crew, she lead the film to garner a win for Best Director at the Independent Short Awards and Best Thriller at the Top Short Film Festival. Before this, Traci directed the short film 'Frederick' starring James Morrison (Fox's 24). The film premiered at Dances with Films at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. The film has won 20 awards, including Best Director at the LA Film Awards and Best Picture at the New York Film Awards. With her proven track record, Hays secured a partnership with Tosca Musk's production company, Passionflix, where she directed the film Dry Spell, written by New York Times Bestselling Author Vi Keeland. Hays graduated cum laude from Chapman University, earning her BFA in Film Production. She was awarded a coveted apprenticeship with legendary director Randal Kleiser (Grease) to oversee her senior thesis, an 1800s-period film Lions Among Men, starring Dayo Okeniyi (NBC's Shades of Blue). The film was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a finalist for the DGA Student Film Awards. She continued to develop her directing sensibilities under the mentorship of John Badham (Saturday Night Fever), Martha Coolidge (Real Genius), and Lawrence Paull (Back to the Future). Hays is also an accomplished production designer, having worked on various feature films, television, and commercials with companies such as Universal Studios, Hulu, BET, and many more.



Lucy Hale (actress)


Twilight (film)

Fifty Shades of Grey (film)

Bridgerton (tv series)

The Wizard of Oz (film)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (film)

Lawrence G. Paull (production designer)

Mel Cooper (set decorator)

Cinequest Film Festival

Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

Martha Coolidge (director)

I’ll Find You (fim)

Women in Film mentorship programs

Jean-Marc Vallée (director)

Larry Moss (acting coach)

Ludovico Einaudi (composer)

Kathryn Bigelow (director)

Zero Dark Thirty (film)

The Hurt Locker (film)

Back to the Future (film)


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