Karen: It’s really challenging. There’s a lot of people, particularly in this business, who are very young and very naive. There’s a lot of pressure on them to sell movies the way their parents sold Tampax. Some people don’t necessarily have all of the answers. How do they succeed, especially when you’re an independent filmmaker? How do you succeed as a filmmaker?
What kind of feedback do you get from the audience you work with while you’re making a feature film?
Karen: Not really. What I learned is that the way people react to a film—that has been a really great insight. There’s this feeling that, yes, this isn’t really about my movie, I guess, but it’s still a film. I would say this is probably the most powerful thing I learned to do, was the feedback of people who’ve seen my films. What you hear as a filmmaker who’s been making a movie for 20 years is this: Yes, it’s about a guy or a girl. Yes, it’s about time. Yes, it’s about a tragedy. It’s about sex. It’s about a love story. You hear someone who’s just starting out saying to me, “We’re seeing the work, and you know, it’s got lots of stuff that kind of speaks to the human condition. You have to know about these emotions and all that.” That’s really interesting. I’m excited to hear that. I get a lot of emails about this idea of “How do I make my movie about a certain topic that resonates with me”? Those are the most powerful ideas for me. And they come from people who actually get it. So, for me, it helps, sometimes.
How many of your films are considered indie or low cost film?
Karen: I don’t think there’s really a middle ground, necessarily. All the films are low cost. The only indie is I was fortunate enough to be able to start at the first day of shooting, and not start at the last day. But also, we really know that we need to create these films on a large scale, especially if we’re going to succeed as an independent filmmaker. It’s important we really understand our movie, so that we can do it. We’re very careful—at least from the beginning—about how much money we put into our movies. We know we’re doing more than a typical movie, but we don’t know how much
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