Strategically Leading The Hollywood In Heels | An Interview With Cindy Maram | Dig IN Magazine
Inspired by her business pursuits, she channeled her creative urge to build IN Close Entertainment, a creative and production agency that is redefining the entertainment industry through its strategic PR, marketing, and consulting.
However, all this was just a start for her. Cultivating early relationships in Hollywood, Cindy's talent could not stand unnoticed for a long time. She soon worked as a personal talent publicist representing global award-winning directors, producers, and actors alongside production companies, movie studios, and film festivals–also serving as an Executive Producer and Producer for independent feature and short films.
As she opens the doors to her new golden opportunities, this associate producer and a thriving entrepreneur shared her journey with us.
1). What inspired you to launch Dig IN Magazine?
Growing up in Los Angeles County with many friends who were actors in movies and television, as well as athletes who went on play professional sports, inspired me to develop the celebrity news and entertainment publication, Dig IN Magazine, which I founded in 2008 after my experiences working in the corporate media, publishing and marketing field. Dig IN has provided me with opportunities to travel the world and form lasting professional and personal relationships with other creative people in the film industry such as actors, directors, producers, festival directors, and programmers, and well-known celebrities.
To expand, the idea for the magazine began when I worked with a number of companies that published print magazines and later experimented with blogs. When online publishing was in its early stages, I decided to jump on board and start my own website, which later evolved into Dig IN Magazine. As a marketing professional, you have to wear a lot of hats, so overtime I had obtained web and graphic design, photography, and video production and editing skills— everything I needed to launch a digital publication, the YouTube Channel Dig IN Magazine Celebrity Interviews and more recently Scooped Podcast.
In the beginning, when I launched Dig IN Magazine, there weren’t many blogs and online publications out there. The print held more value than online publishing. Mainstream businesses had yet to jump on board the digital publishing train, so it was very difficult for blogs and online magazines to be seen as something of value. For the first few years, I basically interviewed people I knew or friends of friends. At the time, the A-List events seemed out of reach. However, I sensed a shift occurring as more businesses were adopting websites and blogs. Therefore, I pushed forward, continued interviewing talent and reviewing films until that shift from print to digital grew stronger and solidified. And indeed it did. Suddenly print magazines were holding less value and online publications had gained momentum. I, then, began receiving invites to top
A-List events and exclusive movie premieres at Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Venice International Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival and more. And with these event invites, came invitations to interview A-List talent—stars like Tessa Thompson, Erykah Badu, Machine Gun Kelly, Charlize Theron, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Emma Roberts, James Franco, Awkwafina, Justin Chon, Spike Lee, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Martin Scorsese and many others.
2). Let's talk about IN Close Entertainment. How did it start for you and, how would the future look like for IN Close Entertainment?
I decided to develop IN Close Entertainment, my creative and production agency, when I began producing films. I had a few friends that were screenwriters and directors who I had already been working and collaborating with on other projects, so it was a natural progression into filmmaking. With my background in media and publicity, as well as having worked for years with my publicist friends and other public relations firms on the red carpet at film festivals and movie premieres, I gained a great deal of insight and knowledge into the entertainment public relations and marketing field. I had also studied entertainment PR and mass communications in regards to marketing and film in graduate school and in my post-graduate education, which was useful.
Working on both sides of the red carpet with my media background and experience as a video journalist interviewing celebrities and talent informed me regarding what press and media found to be interesting quotes or sound bites in a brief red carpet interview, as well a how celebrity talent would be best projected in the media. This has enabled me to advise talent as a publicist on how to best position themselves in the media, as well as possess a grasp on what publications would find appealing and want to publish about a movie, actor or director.
As for the future for IN Close Entertainment, we have some short film projects in the works that we plan to the produce. We are also expanding the entertainment public relations and marketing side of the business, as we’ve had some really great success in promoting filmmakers and their films by getting placements for them and their projects in print and online media publications and websites.
Further, It would be great to host some virtual, as well as in-person events with more panels on important topics in the entertainment industry, as well as live events surrounding movie premieres and talent while partnering with film festivals and other film-related organizations.
In addition, we’ve been able to incorporate some corporate product sponsors to the events we’ve partnered with. For example, Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water was our drink sponsor for the Women Is Losers post-screening reception for the movie’s 44th Mill Valley Film Festival Bay Area Premiere. So I hope to partner with more companies like this who are supportive of our work and bring them in for additional sponsorship opportunities for the events we are involved with.
3). What's one change that you'd love to see in the television and film industry and how are you working toward making that change happen?
This is an ongoing effort that is currently in motion in the film industry, but my desire is for more diversity and inclusion in all areas of the film industry. I continue to uphold the values of diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry, while highly valuing and uplifting the stories of minority filmmakers, talent and artists about their life experiences and communities. Also, I would like decision makers in the film industry to provide minorities in this arena more opportunities as they have been traditionally and previously underestimated and overlooked for many jobs throughout history.
Coming from a minority background with family members who were immigrants from China and Hong Kong, I always believed it to be important to be open to those of varying backgrounds and to use my platform though Dig IN Magazine and IN Close Entertainment to raise the visibility of underrepresented artists, their respective communities, as well as their voices and stories. I believe film, and art in general, are invaluable vessels to express and covey ideas, and distinct points of view. It’s a way to get others who may possess a different life experience, to see varying points of views that they may not have considered perviously.
4) What does the creative process look like to you?
My life experiences, world travel, fashion, art and film continue to inform my creative process. I love to surround myself with creative people. The best way to do that is to get involved in events where other creatives congregate. That’s why I stay so active in the film community. It’s an opportunity to meet others that can open your eyes to new and different ways of thinking. Watching movies that inspire me, as well as attending runway fashion shows and talking to artists and designers about their process is extremely invigorating.
5). We know how movies and television have always intrigued you. What do you consider as your first big break in this industry?
I would say my first time working and attending the Sundance Film Festival in 2013 and capturing my first red carpet celebrity video interview was huge. Things really took off after that for me as a video journalist and film critic, which later allowed me to interview multiple Hollywood A-Listers and even gain annual access to film the red carpet premieres at the Cannes Film Festival in the South of France. Also, my accreditation as a member of the media with Dig iN Magazine for the Academy Awards really solidified my work.
My involvement in these world-renowned film festivals and exclusive Hollywood events brought me into the film industry to meet other industry professionals eventually evolving my career into the filmmaking side of movies as a filmmaker and producer.
6) Finally, how are you planning to shake things up in your professional life?
I want to do more work as a filmmaker in regards to writing and producing my own films, And I’ve always liked and been interested in acting, which I dabbled in when I was a young girl. It is also helpful for directors and producers to understand the acting process. The expressiveness and creative nature of acting is really fulfilling. I believe trying new things is good for you and I am a strong proponent of personal and professional growth in order to keep those creative juices flowing and to stay open to possibilities and opportunities, as well as to keep you motivated and passionate about your career and life in general.
In addition, I plan to get involved with more brand partnerships as I am often being approached by brands and am an Official Facebook and Instagram Partner. I’ve always had my foot in the door in the fashion industry as I modeled as a teen and possess a passion for fashion as whole. So, I’m used to being in front of the camera and love wearing clothing that is fashionable and stylish. I really like how the film and fashion industries collide as you always see celebrities wearing the latest designer fashions on the red carpet at movie premieres and at Hollywood parties or sitting front row at Fashion Week runway shows.