Jamie Lee Hyde: A Calling for the Clapboard

Kristen Catterson, Editor of Global

Female directors are few and far between in the film industry. The male-dominated profession is filled with popular names such as Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, and Christopher Nolan. However, familiar female names have also been popping up such as Greta Gerwig, Sofia Coppola, and Ava DuVernay. As a young filmmaker, Castaic High School’s Jamie Lee Hyde, a current 11th grader, is aspiring to make that list of household names with her prolific plans, and she’s already gotten started.

Many students grapple with discovering a profession that will keep them entertained and satisfied for a majority of their adult lifetime, but Hyde had an epiphany younger than most. It all started in 4th grade, when Mr. Schneider from Northlake Elementary School assigned his students to creatively represent their book of choice. Hyde chose to prepare a short film, unaware she would unearth her calling.

“It allowed me to put what was in my brain on the screen, which was really cool for me,” Hyde said.

After her newfound insight, her experimental projects consisted of “terrible” home films, including an original adaptation of “Frozen” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Once middle school began, she joined CMSTV at Castaic Middle School, where she became producer of the school morning show. This is where she began to dabble with leadership and managerial skills to create live shows.

Jamie Lee Hyde directing the ‘Frankenstein’ trailer for Theater 3. (Courtesy of Jamie Lee Hyde)

“I liked being in the creative side of it, and it was really great to have experience, but it wasn’t what I was going for,” commented Hyde.

It’s worth noting that she’s worked on many projects concerning Castaic High. Hyde produced Good Morning Castaic before switching gears and filmmaking for our theater department. One of her most recent projects was a trailer for Theater 3’s fall performance of Frankenstein by Danielle Mohlman, in which she also created video projections for the stage. You can read more about that here.

Hyde really began creating and directing videos outside of school through her father’s off-road motorcycle training company, RawHyde Adventures. As a part of RawHyde, she had the opportunity to create videos for major companies such as Harley Davidson, BMW, and off-roading brands. While she plans to continue creating those impressive videos, she also has something new up her sleeve.

“The most exciting project I actually have coming is a feature film I’m working on for the Sundance Film Festival,” shared Hyde. “It’s not entirely for the festival, but that’s the first place I’ll be submitting it. I’m working with a bunch of professionals on a really cool project to be released later. It’s going to be great!”

She plans on submitting her original feature film in 2023. Hyde’s not at liberty to reveal any more, due to the contest’s guidelines and copyright laws.

Hyde’s success early on is not to say she hasn’t hit a few roadblocks along the way. 

“My least favorite part of filmmaking is that no one takes me seriously because of my age. It’s really hard to get started in the film business. Even though I know the steps I need to take, because I’m 17, no one will take what I have to say seriously unless they don’t know my age,” revealed Hyde.

She went on to remark that not mentioning her age to other professionals has been a huge advantage for her, because then people will consider what she has to mention as viable input. Additionally, if some people knew she was a teenager, they could take advantage of her age and commit plagiarism.

There’s so much ahead for Jamie Lee Hyde, and her resume is impressive already. Although she would love to create a comedy, dramas are really where the cinematography of film can shine. The message of a drama is reflected in the use of camerawork, visuals, and editing—where the director can call all the shots.

She is sure to succeed in whatever path she takes, no matter what genre she decides on. Make sure to tune into the Academy Awards when she wins her first Oscar!