By Craig Michaels

Lovely Villa Portofino in Palm Desert set the stage on June 5th for the annual scholarship event hosted by Palm Springs Women in Film and Television (PSWIFT), a local 501(c)3 non-profit. The audience, filled with entertainment industry professionals, witnessed heartfelt speeches congratulating and inspiring the scholarship recipients. As a former weathercaster myself, I found the event particularly engaging and resonant with their stories. One anecdote stood out to me.

Janet Marie, a member of Women in Film in Los Angeles for over twenty years before relocating to Indio, shared invaluable advice with the recipients. “Before diving into my unconventional career path,” she began, “I want to emphasize two things. Firstly, every experience is a learning opportunity, even setbacks like getting fired. And secondly, in the arts, it’s crucial to diversify your income sources.” Her words elicited laughter and nods of agreement from the audience. “Everyone here knows what I mean—you might have rental income or a job with flexible hours,” she quipped.

Janet then recounted her diverse career journey. Starting as a Production Assistant for Campbell’s Soup commercials in New York, she worked alongside a renowned crew from the classic film “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” gaining invaluable experience. After graduate school, she ventured into the burgeoning music video industry in Los Angeles, managing productions for iconic artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire, Rod Stewart, and The Police. Her career then led her to ABC-TV, where she served as a Unit Manager for shows like General Hospital and later managed Special Camera Units for the 1984 Summer Olympics, a role she described as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that drew applause from the audience.


Following her time at ABC, Janet found herself drawn to music production, collaborating with Karen Soroca to create a catalog of songs licensed for film and television. Their latest venture, the musical “E=MC2: A Musical Journey into the Extraordinary Life of Albert Einstein,” received enthusiastic applause after a successful staged reading in Burbank. Janet revealed their partnership with a non-profit aiming to fund a full production, marking an exciting new chapter.

In her closing remarks, Janet emphasized the non-linear nature of progress in the industry, urging the recipients to persevere through ups and downs. Her words resonated deeply, echoing the sentiment shared by all attendees. For more details on Janet Marie and Karen Soroca’s musical, visit