I knew from the time I was 11
years old that I wanted to be a filmmaker. I have had many amazing
opportunities in the industry including working at the studios—directing,
writing and producing for nonfiction television and documentaries. I’ve also
had opportunities as a member of the PGA. One that I’m most grateful for has
been participating in the Mentoring Program.
After optioning an original theatrical screenplay, I
wanted to find out more about the process of how to get a feature film made.
What does it take to get a film from script to screen? How do you make that
crossover from producing nonfiction television and documentaries to
feature-length fiction films?
As part of my "quest for knowledge,” I applied to
the PGA Mentoring Program. I vividly remember the day I found out that my
mentor was Lauren Shuler Donner, whose impressive credits include You’ve
Got Mail, Free Willy, The Secret Life of Bees, and X-Men. I was
thrilled. I reached out immediately to her office to set up a meeting, then
started preparing my questions and doing my research. I wanted to be respectful
of her time and knew that I needed to go in well prepared.
We met at Lauren’s
office. I have to admit, at first I was a bit nervous, but once we started
talking, I quickly felt at ease and the conversation flowed naturally. Lauren
asked me about my work as a nonfiction/documentary producer/writer and about my
other projects. She was supportive and insightful and encouraging.
Lauren helped me to
understand how the skills I have as a nonfiction/documentary producer and
writer translate to working in feature film. For certain, I knew I’d bring to
the table dedication, tenacity and loyalty, along with a keen sense of humor
and the ability to roll with the punches. She was open to my many questions,
and I appreciated that she was so forthcoming. Our conversation was exactly
what I had hoped it would be. After our meeting, I knew I was on the right
track and I just had to keep at it and move forward, even if it took years.
As our mentoring period came to an end, Lauren
graciously offered to help me in any way she could and left the door open for
continued communication. I honestly can’t thank Lauren enough for her time and
encouragement. She helped me realize the possibilities we have as filmmakers and
that with persistence, our dreams can come true.
I am grateful to my Guild and to my colleagues
who dedicate their time to the Mentoring Committee. It is an invaluable
program! Thank you.