If there’s specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can’t change my gender, and I refuse to stop making movies.
Ignore the glass ceiling and do your work. If you’re focusing on the glass ceiling, focusing on what you don’t have, focusing on the limitations, then you will be limited. My way was to work, make my short… make my documentary… make my small films… use my own money… raise money myself… and stay shooting and focused on each project.
I think it’s a mistake to write something you think people will like, or a combination idea, or this year’s version of last year’s movie. I don’t think you’ll ever get noticed doing that. I think you’re only going to get noticed by following your own instincts and doing original work and writing the thing that only you can write.
Painting is a lot like writing, I think. You have a blank page before you. Or a blank canvas before you. And you must fill it. And no one else can really help you fill or — or finish it. Or know when you're finished. Knowing when you're finished is such a weird thing. You have to know.
Truly creative things happen when one thinks differently, yet nobody wants to think differently.
The idea that women don’t like each other or undermine or sabotage each other is a big myth. It is not true at all. Smart women connect with each other instantly and help one another.
I’m not going to continue knocking that old door that doesn’t open for me. I’m going to create my own door and walk through that.
Don’t give up. You’re going to get kicked in the teeth. A lot. Learn to take a hit, the pick yourself up off the floor. Resilience is the true key to success.
Humble perseverance and the ability to observe and grow in pursuit of making what you love and believe in. Really. THAT is the secret.``
Sometimes, you just have to go in there and bowl people over with your sheer force of will.
Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Don’t lose faith in what you are trying to do, even though you will get pummeled emotionally left and right. There are a lot of NOs to any YES. And that’s OK.
Don’t take no as a full stop, treat it like a comma.
If I learned one thing, it is that self-doubt is one of the most destructive forces. It makes you defensive instead of open, reactive instead of active. Self-doubt is consuming and cruel. And my hope today is that we can all collectively agree to ban it... Think to the moments of your life when you forgot to doubt yourself, when you were so inspired that you were just living and creating and working. Pay attention to those moments because they're trying to reach you through those lenses of doubt and trying to show you your potential.
How do you edit? You just start tearing away at it... It’s impossible to see what it is at first. You just keep taking away and taking away, and it begins to shape up. Story, you know — you just keep following the story.
Without risks you don't go anywhere, you don't learn anything, and the movies that have been least enjoyable for me have been the ones that have kind of been by rote. Directors should always explore their boundaries — that's where really exciting things happen.
To embrace how truly hard, it is and always will be, to be really honest with yourself about whether that’s really what you want to do with your life, and then to put one foot in front of the other relentlessly. Also, to try to keep your eye on the ball about what you want out of it, and not get distracted by things you don’t care about.
I made my first film when I was 35, so I firmly believe that you don’t have to be one thing in life. If you’re doing something, and you have a desire to do something different, give it a try.
Let your characters talk to each other and do things. Spend time with them — they’ll tell you who they are and what they’re up to.
What’s the trick to writing anything at all? Discipline. And readers who are honest with you.
What’s the trick to writing a great female character? Make her human.
What’s the trick to writing a genuinely funny comedy? The trick is therapy. Take notes.
Directing is a way of looking at something and then communicating it. It would be hideous to think that either sex took a script and, in any way, pushed it toward any point of view other than the author’s. I don’t think it’s important whether you’re a man, a woman or a chair.
Film is not like a book; it’s not a writer’s baby at all. So many people have put in their talent, by that time that you feel grateful for what they’ve done, you don’t feel possessive about it in any way.
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
I can connect with whoever I want to connect with in the world. And I can also write my own script. I don’t have to follow rules. I can sort of just be unconventional.
For me, it’s a question of the way we pursue our creative dreams. There is something in our culture that says your dream or the thing you’re pursuing has to happen immediately and all at once, and that is destructive to the creative spirit. I just embraced the idea that this was going to be a gradual exploration of the thing I was interested in – making films – and gave myself permission to go slowly.
It seems that the greatest difficulty is to find the end. Don’t try to find it, it’s there already.
You want to be a writer? A writer is someone who writes every day, so start writing. You don’t have a job? Get one. Any job. Don’t sit at home waiting for the magical opportunity. Who are you? Prince William? No. Get a job. Go to work. Do something until you can do something else.
I think anybody can write about anything. I just never subscribed to the theory that there were certain subject matters that I had to write about.
I love it when actors come to you with a problem and you have to listen. You’d like them to just get on with it, but it often means that there is a problem with the script.
Time will tell… whether folks want to point and stare at the black woman filmmaker who made a certain kind of film, and pat her on the back, or if they want to actually roll up the sleeves and do a little bit of work so that there can be more of me coming through.
‘A big part of getting a ‘shot’ is about studio execs seeing themselves in you. As a woman and a black filmmaker, I’m often not that person.
I think it’s worse than 10 years ago, so we can’t even tell ourselves it’s slowly evolving.
It’s kind of like the church. They don’t want us to be priests. They want us to be obedient nuns.
I’m so fatigued by this superhero mythology and the notion that one guy with a cape who can fly is going to save the world. It’s so completely juvenile.
Maybe even to the great men, a woman directing is like a dog playing the piano: at best, a novelty or fad; at worst, an aberration.
I used to assume that Hollywood would let anyone who could make them money get behind the wheel. But now I think there is some deep-seated aversion to letting women drive.
The thing that’s so hard is, most of the female directors I know are spending a significant amount of their lives waiting around.
I can’t stand most of the movies marketed to women. They are all about finding guys and weddings, weddings, weddings. I don’t care about weddings.
I don’t want to be called a female director. I want to be called a thin director.
Chick flick is not a term used to praise a movie. Nobody says ‘it’s a great chick flick.’ It’s a way of being derisive. I’m not clear why it’s ok to do it.