…no single person’s walk of life is the same, and when you’re exposed to seeing someone else’s journey, it can provide hope, cause empathy, and evoke thought and conversation, which leads to change.
As a part of my series about leaders helping to make the entertainment industry more diverse and representative, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Taryn Sims. Taryn is the Head of Production for NYLA Media Group. At NYLA, she oversees the production of all in-house projects, both in the US and in the Dominican Republic, and partners with independent producers on the execution of NYLA financed properties. Prior to NYLA, Sims Arriola served as a Producer on UP NORTH, a television series purchased for Byron Allen’s network. She also served as one of the Co-producers of ONLY FOR ONE NIGHT, currently on NETFLIX. Prior to producing roles, Sims Arriola worked in the Art Direction on A WEEKEND WITH THE FAMILY, also on NETFLIX.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’ve always been interested and fascinated by the art of storytelling. I initially thought my path in storytelling was in advertising as a creative director, but unfortunately that career path didn’t pan out and I was given the opportunity to work on a film set as an Art Director. Although production design wasn’t right for me either, it did spark my interest from a producer aspect and from there I took more jobs that led me to producing.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
There’s not one single story I can tell, but meeting passionate, creative, thought-provoking artists with compelling, vibrant stories and ideas has always been exciting and interesting to me.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I wrote signs around set directing people to craft services, I unfortunately spelt it “Krafty.” I haven’t been able to let that one go. My advice is, if you don’t know or aren’t sure, don’t be afraid to ask.
Can you describe how you are helping to make popular culture more representative of the US population?
By paving a path for all storytellers to tell their stories that traditionally have been overlooked. As head of production, I vet projects that possess a unique perspective that audiences can relate to. I’m a huge supporter of all things women in film and as a LGBTQ Latina woman, it’s a mission of mine to represent the Latinx and LGBTQ community in stories. Another key is to be accessible to these overlooked creatives — the hardest part is getting your foot through the door, however, my door is always open.
Wow! Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by the work you are doing?
It’s hard to speak about a particular individual, but with some of the collaborations throughout the years, I’m happy to see the career growth of many women I’ve worked with. I find great joy in seeing the Focus Puller of one of my projects now a Cinematographer or the 2nd AD go on to produce her own series. I do make a point to join discussions/panels in hopes that my experience can guide someone else.
Can you share three reasons with our readers about why it’s really important to have diversity represented in Entertainment and its potential effects on our culture?
It’s important because no single person’s walk of life is the same, and when you’re exposed to seeing someone else’s journey, it can provide hope, cause empathy, and evoke thought and conversation, which leads to change.
Can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do help address the root of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?
First, be accessible to a diverse pool of talent. Second, listen — everyone in the entertainment industry thinks they know best, so instead of listening, they do a lot of talking. Three, be compassionate.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
Leadership is surrounding yourself with others that excel in your weak areas, putting your team before yourself and listening. Many problems can be solved when you listen.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Take risks.
- Follow your intuitive instincts.
- Vocalize your opinions or thoughts.
- Don’t be afraid to disagree.
- Work on projects that resonate with you.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Be conscious of your plastic/waste use. Avoid plastic straws, lids, silverware, etc. This will help the planet, the ocean, the air and your body.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
It’s never too late to start — I’ve always battled with the ideology that certain milestones in your life were to be reached at a specific age. I threw that idea out the window and accomplished so much more without those false expectations. You’re never too old to go back to college, or start a new career, or be fit.
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, especially if we tag them. 🙂
1999 Women’s World Cup soccer team or Serena Williams. I love sports; the 1999 women’s soccer team was inspiring for me as an adolescent because it was the first time I saw a women’s team bigger and better than a men’s team, and Serena because she’s the GOAT. She’s a mom, a wife, a daughter, sister, a fiercely unapologetic athlete, and the best in the world.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
@tsimmadown on IG
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!