Rachel is a writer, director, film professor, wife and mother. She’s written and directed: movies, episodic television, shorts, and branded webisodes. She’s a member of the WGA and the DGA where she was Chair of the Women’s Steering Committee. She’s happy to help you navigate the murky waters of a film career in Hollywood. Ask her anything. She’ll tell you the truth.
“I’ve been up and down and over and out and I know just one thing:
Each time I find myself layin’ flat on my face,
I pick myself up and get back in the race.
Written by Dean Kay & Kelly Gordon. Immortalized by Frank Sinatra
This week: “Womb is me.”
I feel kinda shallow asking a personal question in a column about careers, but I’m in my 30’s and I want to start a family. I don’t see any models of filmmakers who are also mothers and I’m worried that if I have children I’ll be hammering a nail in the coffin of my career.
Signed, Womb is Me.
Dear Womb is Me,
I too shared this common fear and if it were not for my husband who urged me to think about having children as a “giant art project” I’m not sure I would ever have known the supreme gift of parenthood. The truth is there is never a good time to have kids and if you wait for that perfect moment you’ll be waiting forever.
Careers are amorphous, you may grab that brass ring or not, but your family is your rock of stability and the very thing that will keep you sane in a career of unknowns. I’m not suggesting that everyone needs to be a parent, or that the formula for happiness needs to include children, but if you are a filmmaker who feels the desire to be a mother, please don’t worry that having children will have a negative impact on your career. Love is all you need, remember?
The thing about our creative, free-lance careers is that there is no prescribed map to follow. It’s a terrifying lonely road and I know it’s tough not to hear that loud ticking of having to score your first deal, or win your first festival by a certain age. But try to push that noise away and know that your path will be unique and hand-made.
Becoming a parent is perhaps the most creative, psychologically rich experience you can have in life and as an artist it will fuel your work in ways you cannot yet imagine. I was lucky to bring my children on many sets, on many locations, and while there was a great deal of juggling involved, the experiences enriched us all. Don’t think you have to “act like a man” in order to succeed. Many successful women directors have children.
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