I never planned to go into the entertainment industry.
A lot of people are like, “Oh, the moment I saw this movie, I knew this was what I wanted to do.” That wasn’t me. I had no idea what I wanted. I got a basic degree and then ended up falling into a lot of project management type stuff. I have really good organizational skills, I’m pretty good with computers, so whatever job I had, those are the kind of tasks I ended up with. Then there came a time when I didn’t have a job. I was living in Shangri La, and I heard about an indie film nearby that was looking for help in the production office. I knew zero about filmmaking. But I had all these project management skills, and everything transferred over. So I applied, and I got the job.
By now, I know that on most film shoots, the production office is literally an office. Or at least a trailer where you can keep printers and laptops and signed documents. But this first shoot I worked on was so low-budget that they didn’t have an office or a trailer. Or even a staff. They just had me with a backpack and a laptop.
I was constantly running around on set with a clipboard, chasing people to get them to sign things, trying to keep track of everybody’s shit. So like I got my steps in. But overall, that part of the job sucked.
The funny thing was, because it was such a run-and-gun operation, I got to see what the filmmaking part was like. Like, I never would’ve experienced that if I’d been cooped up in an actual office.
And it was the most amazing thing ever. I’d never even thought about the possibility of doing anything creative with my life. But being part of this film, where everybody was basically just working for the love of it, it sort of awakened all these latent artistic feelings in me. Writing, acting, telling stories, taking pictures. These were all things I used to love. Like the childish things I’d put away when I became an adult. Now for the first time, I was like, what if I didn’t have to put them away? What if I could spend the rest of my life making movies?
So after that first film, I went straight from zero to a hundred. I thought I love writing, I love filming, I love working with actors – I’m gonna be a director. And I started hustling for every film gig I could get so I could learn the craft.
Unfortunately, since I was in Shangri-La instead of L.A. or New York or Atlanta or wherever most films were being made at the time, opportunities were really scarce. And since the only skills I had were office-related skills, I got stuck in this role of being the Clipboard Girl.
It was maddening. Like a few months earlier, I was totally fine with being in that sort of coordinating role. I thought that was going to be my life. But now that I’d been inspired and reminded of all the artistic things I loved, I wanted to be creative. And I realized very quickly that if I kept going the way I was, that was never going to happen. People love having a Clipboard Girl. They love having someone deal with all the paperwork and legalities and annoying minutiae so they don’t have to think about it. So once they saw I was good at that, they were never going to see me in any other way.
That's when I started hunting for an opportunity. And one day...