Dedicated to her mission creating original, fantastic roles for women of all ages and sizes, Mandy was one of four directors chosen to receive the Sony Pictures Television Directing Fellowship and recently was named Best Filmmaker of the Year by NewFilmmakers Los Angeles.
As a writer, I’ve been lucky to have wonderful people read my scripts and give me notes and thoughts… Amy Fox, Ligiah Villalobos, Marco Pennette, Don Roos, Dan Bucatinsky, Seth Greenland, Dan Rush. As a director, Eric Stoltz, Pam Fryman, Tom Verica, Mark Cendrowski, Andy Cadiff…all people who were extremely generous in helping me rise to my best work, by guiding me there, and sharing their wisdom.
Biggest challenge is probably having a low budget, which makes you have to shoot more pages with fewer resources and crew members. Since time was always tight, I made sure to storyboard and plan very specifically so I didn’t waste time getting shots I wasn’t planning to use. That said, with fewer resources, glitches happen that can eat up half your day and you still have to get the thing shot, so I’d recommend learning how to edit so you can change your plan on the fly and still get your story told effectively.
An actual flirty conversation my mother was having on the phone in the back of my car. It was so surreal and kind of horrifying and funny, and I thought, “This would make a great scene in a movie.”
I always appeal to people’s love of storytelling. If they loved the script, they’re going to bring something special to it. If I can tell they’re passionate about it, then even with little to no experience, they’re going to bring their A-game and a love of filmmaking and when you have no money, that is the currency we trade. Personally I think it’s the most valuable when it comes to making art. Without that, and all the money in the world, you get a hollow experience. But with that, AND money, you’re unstoppable and it’s definitely easier to make better films.
Just think of filmmaking as problem-solving. There’s an answer to every question, one at a time, and the answer is never, “Oh well, let’s not do it.” Oh, also…MAKE SURE YOUR SCRIPT IS WONDERFUL. Ask everyone, do re-writes, make it the best it can be. I’ve seen so much money, time, and energy poured into so-so scripts and it never really works. It starts with the story.
As a creator, I’m definitely seeing more doors open for me, which is thrilling because I’ve been training for this shot for years, so I’m grateful and ready. You have to focus on your craft, without attention to how it’s going to go, if you want to be excellent at what you do. As an audience member, I am totally moved and energized by all the fresh storytelling that’s being done…it’s just so refreshing to visit worlds and characters you haven’t seen done and re-done a hundred times.
Paul Feig or Judd Apatow. Or Amy Poehler. Or Bruna Papandrea. Honestly, I love collaborating, so it’s hard to choose.
I’m finishing up a final draft of a screenplay that I’m super excited about, pitching a TV show around town now, and planning to shoot my first feature in the spring. I feel very lucky right now…like I’m finally hitting my stride and doing the kind of work I’m really proud of, and I get to share it with others.