Barbara Stepansky: Nicholl Fellow & Award-winning independent Director/Writer

My NativeAdVantage:


Barbara Stepansky is a Nicholl Fellow and an award-winning independent director and writer. She has written and directed feature films, web series and short films. Her work was short listed for the Academy Awards, featured on the Black List, the DGA Diversity Award, the Student Emmy and and most recently garnered the WGA Award for the TV Movie “Flint”. Barbara pursued her Master's at USC SCA and in Directing at AFI.

What do I do best?

I am the world’s best daydreamer. I am never bored because I can drift off at any given moment. I cherish all the things other people tend to dislike, e.g. doctors’ waiting rooms, long car, train and plane rides, spurts of insomnia and power outages, pretty much any situation that allows me to be alone with my thoughts.

What makes me the best version of myself?

I would have to say self-criticism, because it makes me constantly re-work, re-write and re-focus, which ultimately brings about more successful work and a more empathetic me. I don’t know how to walk around thinking that what I’ve done and who I am is perfect. And most of the time I’m glad that I’m my own worst critic because I’ve honed that quality to such an extent that not much else can touch me.

What are my aspirations?

My personal aspirations are to raise my son to become a decent human being. Business-wise I just want to be able to keep doing what I’m doing and make movies, tell stories, capture moments the best possible way I can.

My Biggest Success?

I’m proud of my accomplishments and accolades but the business I’m in is such a roller coaster ride that I’ve learned to take the good with the bad every day. A success that meant a lot to me was winning the Nicholl Fellowship as the first non-English native writer.

My Most Challenging Moment?

I was an extremely sensitive teenager, a typical introvert. I had a particularly hard time after I started to write stories and the pressure of being top of my class, running a theater society, working etc. got to me. I got over it when I visualized all the characters I had created one afternoon and I stopped feeling alone.

(Click to watch REEL)

My Motto?

"I'll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide." - Emily Bronte

My Favorite People/Role Models?

My father for pretty much everything in life. His opinion is the only thing that every mattered to me and he is as wise as he is tempestuous but he’s never been wrong.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

I love London and Cracow. Both exude history around every street corner. London has the Tower and Cracow has a Castle with a dragon. They’re amazing cities.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

My favorite things are soft graphite pencils, brand new notebooks, e-readers and one day I will find a decent program that won’t make me lose my mind putting look books together. I also really love Coffee and Brie. Not at the same time.

My Current Passions?

I’ve rediscovered drawing and am doodling whenever I can to get better at it. Art used to be such a huge part of my life but it’s definitely taken a backseat to family and work.