One of the directors I spoke to (Kimberly McCullough) had an interesting insight. She said that making independent film is a lot like starting a business… over and over again. In my experience that is absolutely right. Every project you make is it’s own entity that you hope has a long life of it’s own from inception to distribution. But you are always starting from the beginning, and that’s hard work.
So it’s really important if you think you want to make a documentary or any kind of film to think about the whole journey.
Ask yourself, “Who is this story for, really?”
This will guide you through every step of the decision making, and get ready because there are tons of decisions to be made.
If I’m brutally honest with myself, I started out making this film for me, because I felt really lonely as a director that happened to be female. Every festival I took my short films to was crammed with dudes. In 2015, I didn’t see any women treated like “up and coming visionaries,” only young men were. One time I was given a “producer” tag when I was the producer, writer, AND the director, as well as costume and production design… In short: it was my vision! My film! And someone doing the tags at the film festival basically couldn’t believe it.
(note: the pink sticker, qualifying me as a “producer only.”)
This, as you can imagine, sucked. And then I won an award for “Best Comedy Drama Short!” Ironic to say the least.
I recall looking at the few women who were at these festivals. I can’t say they looked that happy about what they were having to deal with either, which was, if it boils right down to it, a basic lack of imagination.
Men aren’t the only people who can have a vision and execute it. What’s so hard to imagine about that?
Because of these experiences I realized that I couldn’t just make the film for me or even just for women in the field, because the issue isn’t relegated to women directors.
It’s much, much bigger than that.
The issue is one of perception. How we as a culture SEE women.
Sometimes it feels like any time a woman really steps out and stands up for something, like crabs in a barrel, there are thousands of people (men AND women) who are ready to tear her down for her smallest faults or imperfections.
This really needs to stop. We are all so much better than this.
One woman’s success does not mean your failure.
In fact, it means there is a strong possibility that YOU COULD DO THE SAME THING.
Bethany Rooney, a director of over 200 episodes of television, gave me this wonderful quote: “Can you live without comparison?” Think about it. Instead of comparing, how about we get inspired by great women? Instead of thinking, “Oh I’m not good enough,” saying, “What do I need to do in order to be my greatest self?”
Here’s a fantastic video to help you start to see just how powerful and amazing women can be! Yes, someday, YOU could join this amazing list of women who have overcome incredible obstacles.
And how wonderful would that be?