Where to begin? How about 2012. My sis Mai and I began conceptualizing a new web series based on my struggles to get my first feature film made after finishing the graduate film program at NYU. My class of 25 or so had become known as the “magic class” because already many of us were climbing the ladder of success with first and second features winning awards at Sundance, Berlin, Venice, etc., you name it. My thesis short film did very well, winning the coveted Wasserman and King prizes at NYU as well as a Student Academy Award. But as time passed, I began to worry that I had peaked in film school. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth. I was always a late bloomer and am pretty happy to have peaked anywhere, and thank God it wasn’t high school. But I had convinced myself that my thesis film would pave a smooth path towards my first feature, and while it did open doors and get us a few absurd Hollywood meetings, a couple of years passed and I didn’t feel like I was getting closer in any tangible way to the all-important first feature. Added to the pressure was the fact that I started film school older than most – 33 – so I was no spring chicken by the time I finished. Meanwhile life went on, as it is wont to do, and I settled down with my paramour Ben and began to think about children. At nearly 40, as my holistic health care counselor cousin was constantly reminding me, I may look young on the outside but my eggs are getting old on the inside.
I had never been the girl who fantasizes about the dream wedding and the golden years with her grandchildren. I was the girl who staged plays in the backyard with the less than enthusiastic neighbor kids, or grossed out my sister and her friends by stealing their Barbies and placing them in lewd positions. I didn’t have a word for it at the time, but ’69’ seemed to be my favorite. Some things never change, I guess. But, I digress. So all of a sudden, as I was barreling towards 40, I felt myself reconciling a newfound and bewildering desire for sweet domesticity along with the familiar grittiness that had kept the flames of ambition smoldering in my gut for so many years. It became harder to write, harder to focus. Meanwhile, my sis was raising her babies in LA and feeling frustrated at her lack of creative outlets. And so “Livin’ the Dream” was conceived. The result is (hopefully) a humorous and satiric look at a woman on the cusp of career success and middle age, navigating the fiercely competitive indie film world.
Livin’ the Dream will hit the web, complete with Barbie mauling, July 2015.