International Women’s Day: Advice From 4 Women in Film
It’s time to #PressForProgress! In honor of International Women’s Day 2018, we’ve compiled inspirational advice from four of the most inspiring women in film today. Whether you’re a screenwriter, producer, director, DP, or another artist in the industry, we know you’ll be motivated by these powerful artists.
Amy Schumer: Don’t Change Yourself For Society’s Standards
Amy Schumer, who will appear in the upcoming film I Feel Pretty, told Bravo’s The Feast that she’s done starving herself for roles. “I lost some weight for Trainwreck and I was like, beauty and body, that’s not my currency, that’s not my thing,” she said.
“I feel beautiful and I feel strong and sexy, but I’m not going to be the most beautiful girl, so I’m not gonna try to market myself or get myself there. And I don’t think that sends a good message. How about not striving for some other version of yourself? Like, why not love what you’ve got going on right now rather than this eternal dissatisfaction?”
Amy knows how important it is for women in film to represent different body shapes on screen. She refused to let her image be edited in post-production on I Feel Pretty, even in scenes where she’s revealing skin. “I feel excited about that,” she said.
Rachel Morrison: If You’re the Only Woman Around, Lean Into It
Rachel Morrison, who was the first woman nominated for an Academy Award for Cinematography for her work on Mudbound, says when she switched from photography to cinematography and noticed she was one of the only women, she didn’t let it bother her.
“Cinematography speaks to everything that women do inherently well: It’s multitasking, it’s empathy and it’s challenging visuals into human emotion,” she told The New York Times. Little by little, I realized that I was an anomaly, but I tried not to focus on it, or at least see it as a way to stand out in the crowd and bring something to the table that most people don’t.”
People like Rachel pave the way for other women in the industry because they prove that there is room for women in every role on set.
Ava Duvernay: Stop Asking For Permission
One of the most inspiring women in film today, director of Selma and the upcoming A Wrinkle In Time, Ava Duvernay says that young creatives need to stop waiting for permission from more powerful or experienced people to make their art.
“So many of us work from a permission-based place and we don’t even know it,” she told Refinery29. “We’re waiting for someone to say it’s okay, waiting for someone to give us a green light, give us money, tell us how to do it, shepherd us through…some people get lucky, but most of us have to do it for ourselves.”
Go ahead and try something that’s never done before. Try something you don’t have experience with. Make mistakes! That’s how the most powerful art gets made.
Liz Hannah: Don’t Give Up – Write What You’re Passionate About
Writing, directing, producing, acting, and other creative fields can feel impossible. If you’ve already tried a few projects and haven’t gotten much traction, it’s understandable that you might feel discouraged or ready to put down your camera. But Liz Hannah, the screenwriter of The Post, got her big break right after she almost gave up screenwriting for good. Luckily, her boyfriend (now husband) encouraged her to write the story she was most passionate about — the story of Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham (played in the film by Meryl Streep).
“[Graham] had been told time and time again by basically everyone that she wasn’t good enough, that she wasn’t smart enough, that she didn’t have the education to do anything that she wanted to do,” Hannah told Refinery29. “So, she believed them. She believed she wasn’t supposed to run the company, she believed she wasn’t supposed to be the one answering the hard questions. That was sort of what drew me to not only her, but also this moment in her life.”
We can learn an important lesson from Liz: find the stories that inspire you — and don’t give up until people start listening! For more advice from inspiring women, check out FilmUp’s interviews with wildlife cinematographer Shannon Wild and filmmaker Marina Bruno. They both believe that passion and perseverance are an unstoppable combination.