Interview with filmmaker: Natasha Straley 

I am an independent filmmaker based in New York City (originally from Texas). My work tends to explore the uncomfortable aspects of the human condition while pulling hope to the surface. My directorial debut, FINISHED, will release fall 2016. I am scheduled to direct three more short films and produce two more projects before 2017.

When did you fall in love with the art of “storytelling” screenwriting (your defining moment)?

I remember watching films like American Beauty and feeling my mind bust open. Then along came then Black Swan and now Tallulah shedding light on aspects of society I thought we aren’t supposed to talk about. I realized then that filmmaking is a powerful way to shift an audience’s perspective. I now work on projects that provide a healing element while holding up a lurid mirror, boldly reflecting society.
How do you determine if someone is truly worth collaborating with?

I seek people who appreciate the delicate nuances within human relationships because this concept is typically at the core of the stories I tell. I find it important to work with folks who have a similar, strong work ethic while bringing a unique perspective to the table. It’s also important to me to surround myself with a balanced crew of women and men who are good at what they do. If I can trust you to do your job and do it well in a timely manner, we’re golden. If you have an idea to support the story, I want to hear it. If you are passionate, driven, excited, supportive and focused, I want to work with you. Bonus points if you have a sense of humor.
 How do you earn a living and sustain a career doing what you love?

I am still working toward filmmaking full time, but I am grateful to have the situation I have. I am able to choose which projects I take on because I maintain a day job where I work in an office a few days per week. I feel empowered to only accept projects I am excited about. Someday I’ll be able to let that desk job go, but it works really well for now. 


How does a typical day (for you) begin when you are in full swing production?

I wake up at 3am and stare at my phone waiting for the first emergency of the day haha

No, but really, I’m pretty good about lining up everything before the shoot so we’re ready to go and have a smooth production. It’s important to me that my cast and crew are smiling, that we’re all having a good time, so being fully prepared is essential. We are filmmaking. Find the joy while we get work done. 
Do you work in multiple areas: film, television, web, or are you focused in one area?

I resonate most naturally with the indie film world. I’ve done some webseries projects and TV and enjoy them as well, but there’s something very special about the film world.


  How easy has it been for you to move between areas if you do? What do you see as the appeal of the various formats 
I love film because of the depths you can explore.

I love television because of the speed at which you work.

I love web because it’s just a good time.

All areas have a particular flow I enjoy and embrace.

 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve heard (not necessarily given to you directly)?

Attempt to be present in everything you do. Live in the moment. Listen.

What’s next for you?

I have a film I wrote and directed, FINISHED, now in post production. I’ll be dedicating a lot of my energy to finalizing sound design and color correction soon. I am also excited to say I’ll be co-directing a short film, SHOW & TELL TANGO, with interpretive dance interweaving with a love affair’s demise in November. I’ll then direct a sketch comedy with a dark core, CAULIFLOWER, at YouTube Studios in December. I am in preproduction for a short dramatic film I’m producing, GONE. We are set to shoot this spring with a stellar team (can’t announce names just yet!). And, of course, I am always looking for and/or writing the next script.
How can we stay connected to you? 

Natasha Straley 

@natashastraley (Insta/Twitter/FB) 

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