Alum Ashley Soto returned to campus in February to present: Building Your Own Table: Fundraising for Your Independent Production. Students from Amherst, Hampshire, and UMass participated in the four-hour class in Frost Library on February 23, 2024.
The workshop provided students with foundational tools to fund a short film or webseries. Students applied these principles to their own projects and drafted a pitch deck for fundraising. Students ended the masterclass using their pitch decks to present to Ashley Soto who gave feedback and advice on every project.
Ashley Soto '11 is a Mexican and Afro-Puerto Rican native of El Paso, Texas and a former high school teacher in Mississippi. Her writing credits include Emmy- and NAACP-winning THE PROUD FAMILY: LOUDER AND PROUDER (Disney+), VIDA (Starz), and FAST AND FURIOUS: SPY RACERS (Netflix). Serving as Co-Executive Producer, Ashley most recently ran and directed Broadway Video/Audible Original podcast series MICHELLE ROJAS IS NOT OKAY starring Dascha Polanco that was named one of Audible’s “Best of 2023”; she's sold and developed projects for Disney+; and her co-created pilot CHUCHI & ADALIZ premiered at SXSW this spring. She was recognized with the CALI Catalyst Award by the Center for Cultural Innovation for her work co-founding #RaisethePercentage, a grassroots initiative that connected working TV writers with emerging Black/Afrolatinx writers in order to reduce barriers to access in the entertainment industry. A graduate of Amherst College, she is repped by Circle of Confusion and Kaplan Stahler.