Lovely and Amazing

Lovely & Amazing

On Film School

It was a good place to make mistakes and be an idiot–but
learn. You make all these videos that nobody will ever see. If someone can pay for it, even better.

On Directing Someone Else’s Work

Directing others’ writing can be good and bad, depending
on the material. The Sex and the City scripts are
so good that it was a pleasure and I just wanted to do well for
the writers. And they are on set enough so that I know when
I’m doing well, or I can ask them questions. It’s hard to
work on a television show when the script is only okay, and I have
to drum up enough enthusiasm to get people through the day and make
it look great.

On Allowing Someone Else to Direct Your Work

I’d have to see some of their work, like their style
and see they understood the script. But if someone wanted to direct
something I wrote, they could do it. I say that now, but
it hasn’t been done. Maybe they’d do it, ruin the script
and then I’d be upset.

On Working With the Same Actors

Having worked with Catherine [Keener] before, I certainly
felt more comfortable. I think she felt she could trust me
right away. I wrote the part for her. She had more
confidence coming in and whatever she would bring would be right. I also learned about different ways she liked to be directed,
so it’s definitely beneficial and easier to work with someone more
than once.

On Progressing as a Writer

I gained professional and emotional maturity. It
is easier now to say something once and get out. I’d written
so much between the two movies–not my own stuff–that I became
a better writer. Which is not to say my next script won’t
be shitty, because you never know.

On Editing

I listened to feedback from everyone–actors, writer
friends. I’ll change dialogue based on an actor’s response,
such as during improvisation in rehearsal. I’ll take everyone’s

On Script Notes

I would get notes on the script like ‘the male characters
are too minimal.’ That comment is so stupid to me. Everybody
has to be front and center? That’s crazy because this isn’t
a movie about the male characters. I don’t have to be fair. I want them to be good and well written but they certainly don’t
have to be as dimensional. That’s sexism. You can
do that to a woman in a man’s movie, but you can’t do that to a
man in a woman’s movie.

On Getting a First Break

Years and years of trying to prove to people that
I could do it. Pitch meetings all the time, or flying to
Europe for meetings with people and trying to act like a person
who could direct a movie, not really knowing what that person is
supposed to act like. Who wants to give a million dollars
to someone who has never directed a movie? I still can’t
believe how fortunate I am, because I know a lot of talented people
who are not getting a break.

On Getting the Second Film Off the Ground

Good Machine was attached from the beginning and we
showed it to all the studios. We were told it was a great
script but they didn’t know how to market it. Until we sent
it to Blow Up Pictures, who said we should make it on digital video
and they would finance it. We spent about a year shuffling
it around. I was scared and discouraged that it wasn’t going
to happen.

On Creating for the Audience

If I had an audience in mind while writing, I would
be smarter about actually keeping them. I just write what
is on my mind, the kind of movie I would want to see.

On Breaking in as a Woman

I know plenty of struggling men. Sometimes
I’ve felt like it was in my favor that I was a woman. There
were three women coming out of film school at the time I was, compared
with 25 guys. If I made a movie that was interesting, it
was like "and she’s the girl!" But that can also
bite you in the ass. It depends on the type of movies you’re
making. It’s hard for everyone, and I think it can sometimes
be harder for women.