Achieving the Impossible
My goal is to change the world with my art.
Change happens with big films like Schindler’s List. Or not. Of course, I, like everyone else pursuing our wildest filmmaking dreams, hopes to have a movie like that. Until then, what happens? For me, a movie doesn’t have to be a Best Picture winner, or within the drama genre, to change how people think or help society. Science fiction, action, and adventure movies, along with animated works, speak to young people when they are first forming opinions about the world. Introducing youth to powerful themes and characters works because it did for me as a young person. Through movies like these, I learned about the beauty of friendship, the boldest women you will ever meet on screen, and revenge coming silently in the form of winning the crowd so you “will win your freedom.”
I believe in bringing back old fashioned work ethics and ideals into cinema. For me, this means always being kind and friendly with people I work with, and taking inspiration from the range of pop culture, filmmakers, and animation houses I loved in my youth. I cannot ignore the truth that someday, someway, somehow I dream I can better this place through the work I create, or I don’t have a reason for having lived.
The “how” in achieving your dreams isn’t always there. We find it along the way when the answers jump out at us unexpectedly. I am figuring it out every day much like you are.
Young people write me all the time asking for tips. This section is for you!
• If you don't believe in yourself, no one will.
• Rather than focusing on working for someone someday, focus on becoming the successor to that person’s throne.
• Your brain is a computer. Whether you are a boy or a girl, there is no difference inside. Our brains are powerful! A brain can be slow, and like a computer, you upgrade the software by learning or getting better at a skill with practice.
• Dislike how others see you? Change your image! Do everything your way – clothing, mannerisms, career dreams, and all life decisions – because when you live for others, you will never be happy. The more transparent the real you is, the more people will know who that is, and the better you'll be able to live with yourself.
• You don’t have to have clothes, hair, makeup, or anything related to your physical appearance that will make you feel uncomfortable simply because many women dress like that. People will try to pressure you into dieting to be “prettier” or dressing “sexier” to look “more attractive.” The right people in your life as employers, friends, and love interests will come to you because of you not being like everyone else. Times exist when it’s cool to wear fun clothes like miniskirts or bandage dresses, like date nights with a special someone, but I have never felt comfortable dressing the way people do on red carpets when I am meeting people whose careers I admire. I want them to notice me. Not my body, not my “flirty” makeup, me, the person inside who is talented, hopefully funny, driven, happy, and outgoing once you get past the tinge of shyness. I might be one in a million within a crowd of “skin is in” ladies, but I will do my best so people like you, younger men and women, don’t have to partake in that attitude to achieve success.
• Have a list of things you love about yourself and achievements you didn’t think you could do. Read it whenever you have a bad day.
Never be the face of a project and hire everything out to skilled people. You look, and are, misinformed. You will suffer from imposter syndrome because you really are an imposter. Develop skills on your own before you work with others. People won’t respect you unless you have proven yourself capable of understanding their line of work. Secondly, you will need a full comprehension of what you are talking about. I learned how to animate my own work because I always want animators, digital effects, and practical special effects crews I work with in the future to be assured I understand what I am talking about. I need to describe what is in my mind to them. When people see me promoting my work, film lovers must know I am involved in every aspect of filmmaking.
• Never give up. When you do, you let the bad people win by proving them right about you.
• Does your mind draw a blank when asked about who your female role models are? When nobody exists who you want to be like as a female role model, become that person so you can be a role model for people like yourself in the future. People ask me all the time about my female role models, and I never had any because I don’t know of anyone doing what I dream of. A woman in Hollywood has never become a blockbuster filmmaker and savvy businessperson rolled into one like Peter Jackson, with the added bonus she composes sweeping film scores for her own movies. My lifelong job now is to become the person I wish I had looked up to when I was 12 years old, way back when people like teachers laughed at me whenever I shared my dream work goals. Girls and young women must be able to point to me, “She did it. Why can’t I?”
• Never starve yourself down to fit into clothes. Advice for young women and young men. Make the clothes fit you! The reason you have a muffin top, unflattering look or unflattering attire generally is the clothes are awful. Don’t be afraid to size up to make something work, or skip that item altogether. If it makes you feel bad, cut out the tag like old film stars did on set. My personal rule is, “If it needs shapewear, a strapless bra, or special underwear, I am not wearing it.” Too many people either have poor body confidence or starve themselves down because they are working with the wrong clothing.
• This specific advice is all about girls and young women who haven’t begun down their career paths or are thinking about changing careers. The world is oversaturated with women whose careers and businesses fall under the lifestyle category or exist around what you look like; few do it well. Why must I decorate my bedroom with perfection if perfection bores me? And, why have fashion choices gone from fun to peer pressure? We don’t need more people telling us what to wear to work. We need people who make us wonder, “What can we do at work?” My favorite feminist film characters as a young person were never found in movies where what you are wearing on tonight’s date is the primary storyline. Women from movies like the Alien series, Terminator’s Sarah Connor, Sandra Bullock in her mid-90’s action days, and other leading ladies made me believe women could have bold personalities ruling the world as they see fit. Today as an adult, I refuse to make stereotypical films now or in the future, animated or live action, because reinforcing the belief that the only value you have to add to this world is about what you look like and who you are dating is ridiculous. My tip is for everyone in every industry. You have the power right now to not be another one of many creating a business, career, and/or personal brand about superficiality. We don’t remember those who blend in. We remember those who stand out. Be the first to do something big involving your intellect and talent.
• Never say mean things about yourself on social media or when meeting others. A friend of mine used to say, “Half of what we joke about is true.” He called these things “half jokes.” I meet many people online and in person. Too many women tell me they are terrible actresses or “unattractive.” “Why do people hire me?” Too many men tell me they are untalented, ugly or stupid. You really mean what you are saying a little bit when you say these things. People who can hire you are going to see the second half of the joke, the negativity you mistakenly accept as your truth, and say, “Maybe he/she is right. We won’t hire this person.” When you make negative half jokes about yourself, you reinforce negative beliefs you should not have directly to yourself, creating a worse cycle. Don’t write on social media, “Hey! Here I am studying acting again because I suck.” People will believe you do—and you will never become good at it because you believe you can’t change.
• Nothing is wrong with being cheesy. Half of me inside is the cheesiest person you will ever meet. Find me in the aisle below the Swiss cheese! People will try to change you. They will tell you how you have to change your personality and hobbies to be attractive to others as a friend, prospective date or company employee. Someone who doesn’t value you for who you are isn’t worth your time. Enough people exist in the world, so much so, you will find the right people in work and life. Don’t change who you are—find a way to make being yourself marketable for work!
• Use free moments at school or work to learn about the profession you want to be in! Hang by yourself at the library or a quiet place Googling or checking out books.
• When people make fun of you, don’t reduce yourself to their level. Let them be the ones with the malicious gossip and cruelty. Revenge is best served in the form of accomplishing your wildest dreams.
• Be the person you wish to date in terms of INNER and OUTER beauty. Using myself as an example! I all through my life have been most attracted to people who are humble despite success, work in fields using their brains, don’t look like cookie cutter expectations of what society says we should such as existing for having six-pack abs, are not shallow, live for eating food at restaurants, and a list of things. When I read about that list, I always said to myself, “That person is who I need to be for someone to like me as a friend or more.” Of course, every day I wake up and begin anew, this is a learning experience. Bettering yourself doesn’t happen overnight.
• Have a website you frequently update. Be as active as possible on social media and online via any platform. If you don’t tell the world who you are, the world decides for you. I am so public online because I was tired of false assumptions made about my character, lifestyle, personality and entire self, half the time stereotypes assigned to me because I happen to be born female. You don’t have to be pursuing my same career goals to show the world your beautiful personality. Example: a scientist could have a website talking about life at the lab, with photos and funny chemistry humor abound.