1) Why did you decide to get into this industry?


I decided to work in the industry because I have a deep passion for telling stories. I also wanted to create social change, and filmmaking is such a marco level way to do it. The impact is beyond numbers and understanding at times.


2) What’s a defining moment in your life?


One of the biggest defining moments of my life was when I took “the leap” and quit my 9-5 job. Such a huge portion of me is a realist, so to completely trust my intuition and passion was so big. I had to trust the calling I had to make films and speak nationally full time. It took guts, trust, and confidence and because I did that, my life has been changed for the better.


3) What is your biggest concern with the future?


My biggest concern is always “what is next”. What project, what passion, what calling do I follow and how will I tackle that. I want to leave this life feeling like I did everything I was set out to do on this earth and more. I also concern that my voice and my work is being heard.


4) What is a successful moment in your career so far?


One of the recent moments was having over 1,000 people show up to the premiere of my latest documentary Gridshock, a film about sex trafficking in Iowa. The film started with an all or nothing– $35,000 Indegogo campaign. To see my community show up for me and the film was more than I had imagined.


5) What advice do you have for other women in the industry?


Advice I have is to keep moving forward. Many of us feel like we have to wait for the “right time” or “right circumstances”, sometimes we just have to go for it and trust that things will fall into place. That’s not to be confused with going into situations blindly, it means that we have to work hard knowing that we have to create a space instead of waiting for a space to happen for us.


6) What, if anything, do you collect?


I collect meaningful letters that people write for me.


7) What are you working on next? In addition, if people want to find out more about you, where can they find you on social media?


Website: vanessamcneal.com

Insta: @thevanessamcneal

Facebook: Vanessa McNeal

I will be starting another Indiegogo campaign at the end of this year to raise money for my new feature length documentary about child pornography.


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