On the set of Nickelodeon's "Just for Kicks."
Casey’s mix of artistic integrity, empathetic views and passion for helping her community produces heartfelt moments on screen that can bring you to tears. She just gets it.
Deirdre Spiropolous/President Impact 100 JC
Casey DeStefano displayed a willingness to learn about every aspect of our organization in an effort to shape a film that captures the essence of what we do. Casey walked us through each step in the process, took and contributed ideas, and in the end created a dynamic video that
will be the cornerstone of our marketing efforts moving forward.
Phillip Duck, /Director of Employability, Family Resource Associates
Casey was absolutely incredible to work with! She was professional, diligent, and a passionate storytellers that was determined to capture the emotion and mission
behind our cause and community. We cannot thank her enough for giving us a beautiful glimpse into the heart of what we do.
Lynn Regan, Founder, CFC Loud and Clear Foundation
Directing on the set of "Throttle Girl."
When I was younger, I wanted to be the first woman to win an academy award for directing. I even had those words taped on my computer. A do-or-die mentality. All or nothing. The pressure I put on myself was crazy.
Spielberg just recently gave advice to a young filmmaker on SGN, “Be in service of your dream, everything else will fall in place as long as you just serve the dream.” After years of inner struggle and strife to “make it big,” his conjecture brought me a sigh of overwhelming relief. Just serve and stop obsessing about the results. But could I really do that?
I’ve had a love affair with film & TV from the womb. I always kicked mom when
“I Love Lucy” came on. At age six, I snuck behind the couch to watch Johnny Carson. At nine I was caught on occasion directing an invisible Howard Cosell.
When I landed my first P.A. job on Nickelodeon’s, “Kid Choice Awards,” I knew then I was on my way. For the next 5 years I worked my butt off PAing, running locations, directing second unit on low budget films and directing my own shorts. Executive Producer Sean McNamara saw my drive & passion and fought for me to direct his hit series, “Even Stevens” at a time when only 7% women were getting hired to direct television. Boom, dream come true. DGA Director! Yes! He saw I had the talent to support my intense work ethic. I went on to direct many episodes on that series as well as his other shows such as Disney Channel’s, “That’s So Raven,” and Whoopi Goldberg’s, Nickelodeon show, “Just for Kicks.” Sean also granted me access into the mind of an executive producer and the challenges they face. This learning experience taught me empathy and respect. I have never gone over budget on any of my shows or with my clients. Never. I believe in throwing creativity at a problem, not money.
My diligence to succeed earned me the opportunity to shadow Marty Scorsese on the set of “The Departed.” I expected to take a deeper dive into the craft of film making and learn from the best. Which I did, yet, observing Marty, I walked away with a much more valuable life lesson. We are all vulnerable, we are all equal. I was blown away by arguably the best filmmaker of our time wearing his vulnerability on his sleeve. Marty wasn’t a dictator barking at his crew and actors, but this kind and humble human who created and asked for approval from all of his collaborators. Leadership at it’s finest. His set was filled with respect for everyone and egos were checked at the stage door.
I later expanded my skill set by jumping the line over to reality and magazine style shows like “What Not To Wear” which landed me my first pilot. It was another milestone in my career. I have fond memories of being stuffed in a trunk of a car feeding our actors their lines while almost passing out from car sickness! But well worth it. Our, “Making Over America,” pilot was picked up by CBS, our goal accomplished.
My only regret in life is that I didn’t work on “The Amazing Race” sooner when I had the opportunity. The crew was at the top of their game. I was honored to be among them. It was a life changing experience. I worked in production all over the world. I learned how to work with diverse groups of people and was moved by the human condition and how we are all so different yet the same. I applaud the producers that entrusted me with executing on a massive budget episode with water work, stunts and wild animals. The show pushed me to my limits creatively, strategically and physically. I know now that I can direct anything that is thrown at me while being able to make split second decisions in any circumstance. “The Amazing Race” was not a show for the weak,... or pregnant...
Yep, my time at “The Amazing Race” was cut too short too soon. I was pregnant. And on a plane home...
I tackled motherhood like any other production. I dove in head first, gave 100% time, attention, creativity, compassion and learned compromise on a whole other level. I never could have imagined that everything I learned from my career could be of use to me at this time in my life.
So here I am now, with my dream tugging on my T-shirt,....come back….I need you... you need me...Yet, as I begin my comeback, I sit here in anguish…
Will I be punished for being a mother? Will I be judged for my choice? What microaggressions will I face? Moms, can’t direct action? Or will hiring creatives want to be on the right side of things and collaborate with people that bring new perspectives And challenge their beliefs? Will they be curious and accept new and innovative ways to tell stories? Will they want to hire true nurturing leaders to lead their crews through times of uncertainty?
While I get busy serving my dream with no expectations of any results other than telling stories that move people. I’m going to continue to hone my craft, surround myself with people who understand it and make the world a better place one story at a time.