Photo: Tammy Blanchard and James Frain i

Photo: Tammy Blanchard and James Frain in “Olivia Martha Ilse”
@indigovalleyfilm: Why did you decide to get into this industry? My decision to work in the film industry actually happened by accident. I had been a performer my whole life, and thought I wanted to perform on Broadway (of course, I still do), but that was much more of my focus growing up. I have always been a storyteller, even before I could write I drew pictures on big pieces of card board pieces of paper and had my mom write in the text to put together the story. I produced/directed and starred in my own version of Annie when I was eight, which was performed on my backyard’s terrace stage for an audience of neighbors and friends. So I guess, I was exploring my multi-hyphenate skills very early on! In university I explored strictly acting and knew that deep down I really wanted to do that. But, it was scary and competitive, and I had moved to New York from a small community in Mississippi so I had a few years after college where I continued to act but explored other areas of interest, such as fashion and art direction before discovering I didn’t have the heart to make that my entire career. I got a random opportunity to direct and perform in an Off-off Broadway show, a showcase of Tennessee Williams scenes, and that really cemented it for me. I realized I had to do this, somehow, someway, and would do anything to make my dreams a reality. At this stage, I spent two weeks hold up in my Midtown apartment writing what was to be my first short film – Olivia Martha Ilse, set in 1930s Mississippi and inspired by Chekhov’s Three Sisters. I still stand by the fact that this was probably my best script (the original version) because it was so raw and true to me and I had no idea what screenwriting was or there was a right way to do anything. (Indigo Valley, my feature film script, comes up very close to this in terms of a script I am really proud of.) It all happened very quickly.


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