I think a lot of women don’t think they have something to say. Or that it’s not very original. Or it’s not very interesting. So I think knowing you have a voice is very important. – Heidi Saman
Check out my recent Rad Girls interview with independent filmmaker and radio producer, Heidi Saman.
I met Heidi about six years ago when I was still in college, doing my first internship at WHYY in Philadelphia. At the time, she worked on the locally-focused arts and culture series, On Canvas and has since become an associate producer at Fresh Air.
I’ve always admired Heidi and I’ve gotten to know her over the years little by little and mostly through her work online—as well as an occasional bumping into one another in the halls of WHYY when I later took a job there after college.
She continues to do awesome things and I had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with her recently on what’s next for her.
Here’s an excerpt:
What advice would you give to a woman looking to begin a career as a narrative filmmaker? What do you wish that you had learned early on?
One is confidence. I think so much of the trouble I had in even deciding to do filmmaking was thinking I had something to say.
I think a lot — I shouldn’t generalize, but — I think a lot of women don’t think they have something to say. Or that it’s not very original. Or it’s not very interesting. So I think knowing you have a voice is very important. I think that would have helped me get here faster, because you really have to have confidence…that’s unshakeable. Because you’re going to hear so many No’s; you’re going to have a lot of negativity.
The other thing would be to get out of your head. And just have experiences. Travelling was one of the smartest things I ever did. I think throwing myself into situations where I wasn’t the center of attention, where I had to grab the context of things, where I didn’t know the language — that forced me to be an observer.
That is such a skill that I have now; I already see it in my filmmaking style — which is paying attention to things that are not just communicated by language, but body language, social cues, music, change in lighting. So many of those situations put me in observer status, which essentially is what a director is.
If you’re always in the middle, or the center, or if you’re always in your world, you’re never going to get the wide shot.