On November 14, 2018, BCPC officially hit 10,000 members on Facebook, bringing our worldwide membership officially into 5 digits. Katie Hinsen shared an oral history of BCPC’s origins.
“In early 2014, I started a new job at a post house in New York. This idea had been brewing for some time... I wanted the younger people, the machine room operators, the assistants, the online editors and interns from different facilities to meet each other, because I knew they had a lot in common but never a chance to meet.
James Reyes started the same week as me, so I asked him to invite his old colleagues, I'd invite my old colleagues, and we'd invite our new team to drinks at a bar pretty equidistant to all the post houses.
When drafting the email, I called it "Blue Collar Post Alliance". Blue collar refers to the fact that these people in particular are usually not invited to other events, nor do they have opportunities to professionally network. The so-called Blue Collar workers are those who get it done and aren't fancy, often overlooked for their contribution. That original name is why this facebook group's URL is BCPANY.
The first meetup of 12 people was a huge hit. People knew folks at other facilities they wanted to invite. Soon we did it again, and the email invite was forwarded on. We had over 40 people at the second meetup. The email chain went all over town by the third one, and when almost 100 people showed up, we decided to try and manage this thing beyond the people we knew.
I set up a Facebook group so people could hear about the meetups without knowing me or James or the original few people personally. We put together a little committee of Michael Hernandez, James Reyes, Janis Vogel, Pat Gerrity, Matt Levy and myself. Matt saw one of my tattoos and suggested it would make a cool logo...
After an article about this rapidly-growing, underground club of young post professionals ran in POST MAGAZINE, we had some challenges. We were getting big, and wildly successful, and that meant we were seen as a threat to some groups. This forced us to change our name to Blue Collar Post Collective, formalize our structure to be above board and legally sound, and dig our heels in with a strong determination to not be scared off doing something we truly believed in. I'll never forget Thanksgiving weekend 2014, being so upset and angry and fiercely determined to let nobody take this away and nothing stand in the way of this wonderful thing we had going. For a while though, it was really hard. Most of the original committee were unable to remain officially involved because being part of BCPC made you a target of industry bullies.
Me and Janis Vogel pushed on, and we officially launched as a formal organization in February 2015.
Shortly after, one of our members, Alex Etienne, was invited to present a technical paper he wrote to the SMPTE conference in Los Angeles. What nobody there knew was that he was an intern in New York, and couldn't afford to go to the conference. Missing out on what could have been a career-making opportunity because of the barrier of cost alone was something I never wanted to happen to anyone ever again. I wanted to start raising money to send people like Alex to every damn conference to change the face of "experts". To do that I had to go through the process of making BCPC a 501c3 non-profit, which was a long and difficult legal process that we had to do ourselves as we had no money for legal help. With the help of Grace Ryan I quickly became a bit of an expert on tax and non-profit law! That work allowed us to begin the PDAP program.
BCPC has since grown exponentially, and under the leaderships of Janis Vogel, Kylee Peña, Chris Visser, Siân Fever, Chelsea Taylor - our board and various committees, we are now on the ground in New York, Los Angeles and London. We have members worldwide on every continent (including those who have worked in Antarctica). BCPC facilitates over 20 programs to make the industry more accessible and inclusive, and from 12 people in a bar in Manhattan, we now have 10,000 members in our Facebook group.
The thing I'm most proud of about Blue Collar Post Collective is that it's started a movement of making our industry more open, kind, generous and friendly. This movement has inspired companies and organizations across our industry to think about diversity, including folks from a wider range of backgrounds and valuing those who are younger, older, and otherwise traditionally overlooked.
I had this idea to start a thing. What it has become is beyond what I ever dreamed it could be. The community has inspired and contributed, and BCPC is 100% the product of what its members have made it. It's a really amazing thing, it's the love of my life, the greatest thing I've ever done and I love sitting back these days, watching it grow and do so much good in our little world.”