Shine On, WV
'Shine On, WV' is an umbrella 501(c3) to give West Virginians' stories and creative work a platform, create an arts network for richer creativity, debunk the myth that Appalachians can only be in certain career fields, and help demystify the inner-workings of the arts and entertainment industries.
Mission Statement'Shine On, WV' videos can help change the perception of West Virginians and their abilities (inside and outside of the state!), assist WV artists by expanding their platform and market, and creating educational resources for art students in schools where arts budgets are continually cut.
About The Project
Shine On, West Virginia is an online resource for arts in the mountain state with its cornerstone being a web series of 5-8 minute videos showcasing West Virginians working in the arts and entertainment industries. These short documentaries will tell their stories, share their work, and give advice to other West Virginians wanting to be in creative fields or hobbies. West Virginians are talented creatives, and maybe that's because our state builds courage, community, resourcefulness, creativity, and self-starting in our individuals. Our videos will put our stories and work on a platform, debunk the myth that West Virginians can only be in certain career fields, and help demystify the innerworkings of the arts and entertainment industries. We hope you can leave our pages feeling inspired with new content to follow and enjoy from artists in your own backyard.
We may know Don Knotts or Pearl S. Buck from our elementary West Virginia history courses, but there are West Virginians currently making a living in their dream artistic fields without any statues or recognition... from a television writer who was featured on Grey's Anatomy, to a Radio Disney DJ, to the announcer from Wheel of Fortune, to full-time Etsy artists paying their bills from their creations, to an actor in London's West End, to a Golden Globe winning actress, an award winning indie film director, famous podcasters, an Academy award nominated and Emmy winning documentary filmmaker, an animation technical director, dancers and painters who own their own studios and schools who perform on national stages. We need to celebrate these individuals, help support their careers, and share their advice for the next generation of West Virginian artists.
ART IS POWERFUL. West Virginians are the best ambassadors for our state, for our people, and for our future. When we are inspired by our state, when we create, it inspires others! Here's a comment we've already received on our first video about Podcaster-Author-Comedian from Huntington, WV Justin McElroy.
The best part about our content? We want it to be completely FREE to view and shareable. Rather than sending our videos into festivals where only niche audiences will be able to view, we want to bring it right to you on social media, making it accessible to all, easy to use in a classroom setting or on even just your phone. The shareable content also makes it easier for those outside the state to hear our stories and change their perspective on our state and its citizens.
In order to do this, however, we need your help to contribute to the efforts and talents of the artistic individuals creating our videos. We want to create jobs for Appalachians and West Virginians in their fields by providing compensation directly to them for the cost of their labor and talents. We are an umbrella 501(c)3 organization under the Appalchian Arts Academy by West Virginia filmmaker Jon Matthews. (https://www.facebook.com/appyart/) Your contribution is tax deductible as we continue to grow our content and our resources!
So, why am I - Jillian Carney Howell - creating these videos?
If I had to go to one more college or career fair, I was going to scream! In West Virginia, I understood there wasn't going to be a presence of film or media in my high school gynamisum. When I told career advisors my dream of working in film, it was always a pleasant head nod at my audacity to dream and then was told about broadcast journalism. The lack of tangible resources and the scarcity of network connections actually motivated me to be a self-starter and resourceful: Make your own opportunities. I saved money in a jar to attend a New York Film Academy high school summer camp, I lobbied my high school principal to let me take a screenwriting class, I made YouTube videos, morning announcement videos, I experimented with narrative filmmaking and music videos and commercials.
I went to film school in North Carolina, and when I bumped into people at home, someone said to me, "Congrats! You made it out [of West Virginia]!" Something about that always bothered me. So many people are quick to say, "There's nothing to do here. We're nobodies." But we aren't. We have voices and stories and rich vibrant creativity that spreads across the world. The life lessons I learned for a successful film career, I learned in West Virginia. West Virginia built me. In fact, my life now in Los Angeles came from a connection of my mom's from WSAZ's 1980s news room who helped me land my first internship at Disney.
In spring of 2018, my friend who works at the Oscars gave me red carpet tickets to watch the celebs saunter through the press. That happened to be the same year that West Virginian Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Curren Sheldon were nominated for Best Short Documentary. With them on the carpet were the ladies of Huntington featured in her film. Unrecognizable to the crowd around me, no one cheered. But my husband and I screamed so loud, causing heads to swivel. We've never met in person, but they're a slice of home. It gives you the courage to say, "If they can do it, maybe I can do it."
I now live in Los Angeles and work as a Production Assistant for Disney Animation - my dream job! When we were working in the building before COVID, I loved sharing my West Virginia pride with a large West Virginia flag adorning my desk that one of the artists found for me. I'm currently working on the March 2021 release of Raya and the Last Dragon.
(Look for my name in the Frozen II credits or don't blink to see me in Episode 4 of Into the Unknown: Making of Frozen II Docuseries on Disney+!)
Last year, I started jotting down the West Virginians I know who work and create and hobby in the arts and make awesome things and realized how many are having success and whose work I love. But also realized how little we were talking about it. In the 24 hour news cycle, the good stories and hometown heroes can get quickly buried. So, let's celebrate them. Let's change the conversation around the capabilities of Appalachian folks. And let's talk about them. A lot.
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team
You may notice our team is a little small... Ahem - non-existent. In fact, one of the major reasons we are raising funds is so we can create a team with financial stipends for work and create more sustainable content not just relying upon our Founder and Director who is also working a full-time job. We want to use the funds to create jobs for West Virginians with our content and to practice what we preach: you can have a career in the arts. In order to make that so, we need to pay our people!
Jillian Carney Howell, Founder and Director, Video Producer, Director, and Editor
When Jillian Carney Howell was seven years old, Santa Claus brought her a Barbie video camera and her love of filmmaking was sparked. A native of Scott Depot, West Virginia, there were not many narrative filmmaking opportunities in the mountain state, so she learned to create her own: winning online video contests in middle school, lobbying her high school principal to let her take a screenwriting course, saving money in a jar to attend the New York Film Academy summer camp, and creating work for Winfield High School's morning announcements. Carney Howell attended college at Marshall University and graduated with honors from University of North Carolina Wilmington's Film Studies program in 2017, where she wrote, directed, and produced her own narrative and documentary short films. Since January 2019, Jillian has been a Production Assistant at Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, California working in Production Management on the recordbreaking Frozen II. Passionate, enthusiastic, authentic, with a goofy sense of humor and often overdressed is Jillian in a nutshell. She is especially passionate about bringing arts opportunities and education back to the mountain state as often as she can.