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Robert Beaucage of Array Entertainment: “Integrity, diligence, and creativity are virtues she has in abundance”

I’m a producer who’s raised money for films and other projects in the past, but a fundraiser for a friend with cancer is certainly a whole different kind of thing, with a learning curve of its own! That said, I’d say my producing experience is useful in the sense of having learned how to figure […]

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I’m a producer who’s raised money for films and other projects in the past, but a fundraiser for a friend with cancer is certainly a whole different kind of thing, with a learning curve of its own! That said, I’d say my producing experience is useful in the sense of having learned how to figure out how to make things happen in whatever way works.


As a part of our series about stars who are making an important social impact, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Robert Beaucage.

Robert Beaucage is an award-winning director and writer, and co-founder of Array Entertainment, a company dedicated to filling the demand for a greater number and variety of female-driven movies with the development, production, and delivery of high-quality movies with wide commercial appeal and strong female protagonists. He is also a co-founder of Symbolic Arts, an entertainment design and build studio specializing in creature and makeup FX, specialty costumes, and production design.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share with us the “backstory” that led you to this cause?

Breast cancer in the entertainment industry — and in the world in general — is more pervasive than people think. In the U.S., one in eight women develop invasive breast cancer. After my good friend Tonya Kay was diagnosed, I wanted to help her, and in the course of that journey, I learned things that I want to share to help other people with their own friends who have breast cancer.

What would you advise people who want to help their friends who have breast cancer?

Tonya’s health insurance is covering only a fraction of her medical costs, and so her financial burden weighing on top of her health burden is the primary thing I wanted to help her with. For people who want to organize a fundraiser to help their friends financially via gofundme or other campaign platforms, please feel free to check out the campaign for Tonya Kay for inspiration. I would give the advice to collaborate with a nonprofit organization, if possible, to funnel the funds through (in my case I was able to enlist the help of Kalopsia), which allows people’s donations to be tax-deductible.

On a deeper level, during the course of raising funds for Tonya I have been able to see a little of people’s interactions with her when they discover that she has breast cancer, and I’ve seen how the interactions affect her, so, based on that, I can offer some advice on how to interact with your friends with cancer. People who’ve given Tonya emotional support have been helpful to her in ways that can’t be measured. Simply telling her that they love her or that they’re rooting for her, or anything emotionally positive like that, does so much good for her. Additionally, helping to spread the word so that others will know what she’s going through and will also have the opportunity to offer her support is incredibly positive. That’s how I would advise people to interact with their friends who have any type of cancer. On the other hand, I’ve also seen people offer Tonya advice on what to do about her cancer, and I know that what they’re saying comes from a place of good intentions, but I would really advise against offering any kind of suggestions about how to treat cancer. There are many types of breast cancer and many types of people, so even if you are a breast cancer survivor there’s no way to know whether the advice you are giving would really help — and it could potentially be very dangerous. Tonya is already getting all the medical advice she needs or can handle from her doctors! So unless you’re their doctor, please don’t offer your friends with cancer medical advice, and instead please offer them all the love and emotional support you can.

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life?

Tonya Kay is a person overflowing with love to such a great degree that I have rarely seen in anyone. Integrity, diligence, and creativity are virtues she has in abundance. It’s all rooted in love — love for her relationships, her work, her art, and for the world and the great potential of the people in it. The profound impact she’s had on my life has been cumulative, just through the way she lives every day. She genuinely listens, in every conversation. She is a generous, nurturing spirit. She wants the best for everyone around her, and she does whatever she can to help make that happen. She has played a lot of villains, but in real life she is one hundred percent Hero! I’ve known Tonya for twenty years, and over the course of that time she has helped me become a much more loving person by her example.

How are you using your experience to work on this cause?

I’m a producer who’s raised money for films and other projects in the past, but a fundraiser for a friend with cancer is certainly a whole different kind of thing, with a learning curve of its own! That said, I’d say my producing experience is useful in the sense of having learned how to figure out how to make things happen in whatever way works.

Are there things that individuals, society or the government can do to support this effort?

Individuals can support Tonya (and others with breast cancer) by spreading the word, and by reaching out with emotional support, and of course by offering donations if they are able to. (The fundraising page for Tonya is here.) As far as society as a whole goes, I’d love to see less of a stigma around cancer patients — don’t stop hiring them, don’t treat them like there’s something intrinsically different about them; statistically, really it’s only a matter of time before you or someone you love is afflicted with cancer. And certainly, the government could do a couple of concrete things to help. They could make information more publicly available about doctors providing clinical trials and/or alternative therapies for patients who are not good candidates for traditional approaches. The government could also fund cancer studies rather than those studies being almost exclusively funded by private entities. This is an issue much larger than just cancer. In America, federal funding for biomedical research has declined over the years, and, at the state level, universities and nonprofit research institutes have experienced funding cuts. This is a bigger issue than I can address here, of course, and, while we can be grateful that there are private companies funding medical studies, there should also be other sources contributing to such important research.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

So many women in entertainment have gone through this, I would love to offer my gratitude to them for their courage in helping to raise awareness, such as Shannen Doherty, Robin Roberts, Melissa Etheridge, Olivia Newton-John, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kylie Minogue, Betsey Johnson, Suzanne Somers, Jaclyn Smith, Diahann Carroll, and so many more.

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!

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