Rachel Feldman: Filmmaker

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My Native Admission Statement: I’m a filmmaker, a storyteller. I’ve been fascinated with character, story, and image since my earliest memory. I was a child actor, then became a visual artist, a writer, then started making films. I had early success with awards and grants but young women were simply not being hired as directors when I was coming up. It’s more than 30 years that I’ve tenaciously held tight to my ambitions, and I’m here to say that the film and television industries have been brutal to women behind the camera. Along the way, I became an activist for gender equity and a mentor to others, trying to build community and sisterhood. I’m proud to have survived long enough to see change for myself and for others. I think what makes me unique is that as a mid-career director, I remain optimistic and filled with desire to tell stories about girls and women. Now, I’m finally getting the chance! I have also been extremely lucky to have a husband and children who brought love and light into my life, offering replenishment when my creative soul was parched.

How did you get into the industry?

Storytelling is healing. It’s a way to express our unique visions of the world. I’m compelled to do that.

I came to Los Angeles from New York with several award winning short films. I worked as a storyboard artist for well-known directors on big studio movies, and after a decade or so, was introduced to Steven Bochco, who hired me to direct my first episode of television. That opportunity opened the door.

Any emerging industry trends?

The television industry is actually making inclusion a priority. Now we need the movie world to follow suit.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Work hard at your craft every single day. Humility is attractive, so is kindness.  

What do I do best?

I enjoy succinct, clear communication in writing and in speaking. Engage - then get to the point, elegantly. I consider myself a communication designer. I love great copy, and believe that screenwriting is poetry in motion.

As a director, preparation is the holy grail. I make sure to deeply understand the emotional goal of every scene and how it plays into the larger whole. I have a visual plan for the blocking and how the camera will best convey that story, and then I work with the actors to share this objective and help them fine tune their performances.

With regards to activism, I feel that it’s my responsibility to always be thinking of what’s next. The programs, initiatives, and objectives my industry still implements to boost the careers of inclusive directors are old and ineffective, and make many of us feel that they are only set up for appearances and not actual statistical progress. It’s my job, and the job of others who well understand the intricacies of our business, to continually be thinking of better avenues of creative employment behind the camera for women.

What makes me the best version of myself?

My childhood household was complicated psychologically with emotional warfare every day. My imagination was my refuge, the voices in my head kept me company. Being an artist, this talent ended up not only being my salvation, but the basis of my skill.

Compassion is the answer to every question. I believe what makes us all the best versions of ourselves is to be able to put ourselves in the shoes of others.

What are my aspirations?

To make movies and television that make audiences think and feel. To achieve a sense of mastery in my skill. To love and be loved.

To ignore the unimaginative, small-minded, and the petty in every aspect of life.

My Biggest Success?

Discipline. Raising healthy, happy children. Having a successful 40 year love affair – and counting.

My Motto?

Open every window and fly through.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

I like positive, kind, smart folks with generosity in their heart. I like to sing and laugh with others.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

The beach, the forest, the theater.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

I love a fine point pilot pen. I used to use a Rapidograph but that was messy.

My Daily Thoughts:

Goal of the Day: Avoid carbs and sugar.

Thought of the Day: Gratitude.

Action of the Day: Breathe.

Deed of the Day: Hold the door for others, use directionals.

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

Its amazing diversity.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Answering email after my power walk in Pan Pacific Park.

10:00 AM – Working.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal? At my desk.

7:00 PM - Watching news.

11:00 PM – Lights out.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Two espressos. I make at home.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

I loves Pages on my ipad. As a filmmaker I can draw and type on the same doc. Gamechanger for director preparation.

What should everyone try at least once?

Falling in love.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

In the woods. In the arms of my loved ones. Inside a great story.