We all have the people we look up to. We listen to their stories, and we build on traits those people have to influence aspects of ourselves and how we tell our own stories. Like any historical leader, some of them we respect, some of them we love, and some of them we fear.
I’ve decided to start a series of posts that highlight and honor individuals, living and dead, who I am inspired by based on their career paths and outlooks on life. They could also be some pretty attractive people, too, don’t get me wrong. My posts will mostly focus on filmmakers and musicians, based on my career interests in film and music videos, while others may be people who influence these interests from a different spectrum. I honor them, draw inspiration and encouragement in their stories and success, and may try to get their number.
First up is documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker. A native of London, England, Lucy started her directorial roles working on theatre productions in high school and as an undergrad at Oxford University. After graduating with a B.A. and an M.A. with honors in Language and Literature, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to attend the NYU Tisch graduate film program. She received an MFA, directed three award-winning short films, and shot a music video for the Toronto band Cowboy Junkies. She has since gone on to direct four feature documentary films, two of which have been nominated for an Academy Award in Feature and Short Documentary categories two years in a row.
So here’s why she’s my career crush. As a graduate student at NYU Tisch, Lucy moonlighted as a DJ to support herself and her productions. She appeared frequently at the Soundlab and at many other venues in New York City, as well as Los Angeles, San Francisco and parts of Europe, as a solo artist and as part of the illbient group Byzar. She has since become close friends with several electronic musicians, including DJ Spooky and Moby. She is known to remix and license versions of her colleagues’ songs for use in her films.
I find it incredibly inspiring (and attractive) to see a well-educated woman like Lucy take on two career fields that are historically dominated by men - film directing and DJing - simultaneously, as well as combining them in creative ways to express her storytelling. Her career validates two things for me: that these two interests of mine can be done, and that they’re being done by women who I can call my peers. I will say that these posts in the future may lean more towards the male side of filmmakers, musicians, etc., based on who has worked in those fields historically and currently and, honestly, the themes they highlight in their work. But I definitely mark Lucy Walker as a welcome change to those I’ve looked towards for inspiration, and I look forward to the fact that there will be more women like her behind the camera and the decks.
Did I also mention her looks? She’s got a combination of elegance and confidence in her expressions, both on-screen and as a person (check out an interview with her and a trailer for The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom below.)
I’ve actually had the honor to be in her vicinity recently, while shooting event footage for an after party for the nominees and winners at the 2012 Vimeo Festival + Awards! I had the chance to catch a shot of her coming out of the elevator into the penthouse where the party was taking place, occupied by many other web and media luminaries. I was too nervous and too preoccupied with shmoozing with other attendees that I didn’t get a chance to speak with her. I might say hi at another party, we’ll see.