I met Stacey Storey in a women’s acting group she helped to organize – a super inspiring experience where women talk about their goals and hardships. After about the fifth time the feature film I co-wrote, Best Friends Forever, fell apart, I had dinner with Stacey and we talked about her producing it — something she had never done before — while I directed it — something I had never done before. Whether through luck, blind naivety, or just hard work, we somehow got the thing made. I asked her a few questions about producing, acting, and being a woman in the biz.
Brea: First, the question on everyone’s mind. Is your name real?
Stacey: That’s on anyone’s mind?! 😉 Yes. Indeed it is. My mom wanted a very American name for me when I was born (she’s from Thailand) and my pops wanted my full name to be my first name. Does that make sense? Most of the people in my life call me Stacey Storey not just Stacey.
Brea: What would make you take on such a crazy idea as shooting a microbudget movie in the middle of nowhere Texas?
Stacey: I love a good challenge and the excitement of telling stories; especially those that are on a small budget. For me, I feel like that is where real creativity is born, out of limited resources and awesome people such as yourself.
Brea: When I first moved to LA, I didn’t even know what a producer was (or a DP or a gaffer or a script supervisor…this is a big list…) For all the newbies out there, how would you describe a producer’s job? What interests would I have to have to make me want to be a producer? How do I know if I’m the perfect producer even though I have no idea what they do?!
Stacey: People often have no idea what a producer does and I simply tell them: what doesn’t a producer do? They are the eye in the sky. They oversee everything and make sure it is all working towards the common goal of making the best film possible. Have you seen the meme where they describe producing as someone who herds cats? Man, that is the truth. Each producer I know has a different approach to their job so I can see why it is a hard job to define.
As far as interests go…it is vital to have really great taste in films and an ability to connect with people and be very well read in life and well viewed in film.
I think you never know if you are a great fit for producing until you produce something. Producing is a verb. You have to have a product at the end of the day to show the fruits of your labor. Produce a short…see how it feels, see if it moves and speaks to you. Believe me, you will know really quick.
Brea: Producing is one place that I feel like I see more and more women entering into and I feel like (and I realize this is a very broad statement) it’s because we’re good at multitasking and dealing with people. Do you think women have special skills that help them in the producing field? Do you think it’s hard for women to enter into the producing world?
Stacey: Great question. We do have special skills as lady filmmakers; particularly the ability to be supportive yet opinionated. That is a major balance that must be present. I agree with you on the “dealing with people” aspect. You have to convince a lot of people to do a lot of things. You have to be able to put your ego aside and think about what is best for the greater good of the project. Producers in general have to be able to
create great characters that the audience can connect with and, in my opinion, some men don’t know how to write or imagine a female character. As lady filmmakers, we possess the ability to encourage filmmakers to take chances with their brave vision and go after it.
I think it is difficult for women to enter into any facet of the entertainment business. There are, of course, more and more fresh, original female voices out there but it is still mostly men.
Brea: You also act in the incredible film, “Best Friends Forever.” Is that more of your interest or have you moved over to the behind-the-camera side?
Stacey: It is an incredible film, isn’t it? I will always love acting; when it is in your bones, you can’t shake it. I do think of myself as a storyteller first and foremost (no pun intended) in whatever capacity that presents itself. I love to create stories and art and, hopefully, inspire people. I realize that from a business standpoint we are supposed to be honing our skills in one field in order to master that aspect of it but, honestly, it seems odd for me to just pick one title or one area of filmmaking. Why limit yourself when you have so much to say to the world?
Brea: Dream project. Go.
Stacey: The Mata Hari. I have always been intrigued by that story and the way the story could potentially unfold. I would let someone poke me in the eye for an opportunity to play her and to sculpt that story as a producer.
Brea: What does the future hold for Stacey Storey? More producing? More acting? More winning of pageants?
Stacey: Yes. I plan on winning every pageant title out there. LOL. I am trying to get my next project off of the ground from a producing and directing standpoint. One of the leads will be played by me, so again triple (or quadruple) duty since I wrote it as well. I love jumping in with both feet and just going for it. It is the only way I know how to live.