Interview with Filmmaker: Simone Waugh

Simone “Moni” Waugh is a writer, owner of an events and social media management company, and Arts educator in Brooklyn, NY. She began sharing her relationship woes on  (launching in March) and on other platforms in the U.K in 2009, and released her first book “Bubble Baths, Sex & Hot Chocolate,” filled with anecdotes and poetry about love and heartbreak in 2015. She considers herself to be one part sweet, and one part magical, so naturally she’s addicted to Starbucks Hot Chocolate, and all things related to Harry Potter.

What was the moment that defined you choosing filmmaking?

I have always been drawn to filmmaking. Whenever I was given creative license on a project at school, I would make a video. But for some reason when I chose to go after a creatively driven career, I leaned on my love for writing. The defining moment came when I wrote a script and someone I knew offered to help me bring it to life. In the preliminary stages of trying to get funding we tried to make a video explaining the characters and the plot. When it was time to edit the video, I was told that I couldn’t have any input because I was “just a writer.” In that moment, I decided to learn everything I could about filmmaking. I was going to write, edit, produce, direct… everything. I chose to put the execution of my vision into my own hands.

What movies or stories inspire your creativity?

I’m a sucker for a good love story. Most of the stories I tell are about romantic relationships. I also love movies with magical themes. But no matter the genre, if the story makes me sit in the theater until the lights come on, and then plug my dying phone into a random outlet in the theater, so that I can write down my thoughts, then it’s my type of movie. I love characters with layers. I love the stories where I feel like I can peek into the character’s brain, fill in the holes in the story, pick up where the story ends, and create new characters that could live separately in their universe.

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?

When it comes to honing your own voice and style, I say observe, and learn but don’t copy. When I was younger if I loved a genre then I would write only stories from that genre. I fell in love with a Michael Crichton book in 7th grade, and only wrote sci-fi stories that whole year. Then I read the Fear Street series by R.L. Stine and only wanted to write about teenagers who were being tortured by some paranormal figure. I grew as a writer because of that. Without knowing it I was learning how to write well rounded characters from other worlds.

Every writer I admire says if you want to write then you should read everything, and write often even if it’s bad. The filmmakers have said to read every script you can get your hands on. I completely agree. I would also add: Watch everything more than once. I watch the movies and shows I love first for the story. I am listening and imagining the way the script looks. Then when I watch it again, I study the technical aspects. I’m looking for how they transition between scenes, how they use lighting and sound, how the characters are positioned, etc.

After doing all of that, I create something or go over what you’ve already created, and make sure it’s so uniquely yours that when someone reads it or sees it then they know without a doubt that it’s yours.

You are just getting started with cinematography what has been your go to camera to film on?

I’m obsessed with filming on old cameras. I own a Super8 camera, and before that I would use apps that simulated the look of VHS or the Super8 format. Right now, I am learning to shoot on the Panasonic AVC models 40, 80, and 90.  My favorite is the 90. I am looking forward to getting my hands on some of the other high tech cameras that I ogle over on the @filmschool feed on Instagram.


How are you working on growing in the craft of cinematography?

I started out by purchasing books on filmmaking but it was pretty much gibberish to me because I didn’t understand many of the terms. I did research on film schools but I found that the local public access station in my city was offering classes on everything from shooting, producing, and editing, to how to produce in a television studio. I have already taken some of the editing classes and their field production classes. I have found that I have a love for editing, and though I want to be able to do everything, I will leave the lighting to someone else on my crew.

Now that I understand more about how the cameras and editing software works, I am back to reading as many books as I can, and I’m reading scripts. I’m also watching as many tutorials as I can on the craft.

What suggestion do you have for someone who is considering filmmaking and don’t know where to start?

Write. Shoot something. Try everything. Find someone who is already immersed in the film world and ask how you could be of help. When I realized that I would learn better if I had hands-on experience I sent a formal inquiry to acquaintances who I knew were actively making their own film or web series. I didn’t ask to pick their brains, I stated all of the experience I have that could be helpful and then I asked to volunteer on their sets in exchange for an opportunity to be around active filmmaking.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

After I pout and hit the like button on several memes about writer’s block, I re-read some of the things that I’ve written that I know don’t completely suck to gain the confidence to start writing. If I’m stuck on a storyline, then I try to just focus on one of the characters. I put that character through random situations. If it doesn’t break my block, at least I kept in the habit of writing. I think the worst thing to do when you’re blocked is to stop writing. When you try again you still end up having to write out of the crap that was blocking you from the good stuff anyway.


What is your ultimate goal as a filmmaker?

I want the credits to roll on a film and for it to say: Written by Simone Waugh, Directed by Simone Waugh, Produced by Simone Waugh.

I want to make romantic comedies/ dramas that men will volunteer to go see. I want to make movies that touch everyone.

What’s next for you?

I’m spending this year taking more classes, and practicing working with the software and equipment. I am securing an apprenticeship with a filmmaker who has worked on big projects and who has made his own films as well. I’m writing my butt off.  I hope to be in the casting stages for my project by the end of 2017.


How can we keep up with you?

Instagram/Twitter: @moniwaugh
Shivawn Hill, is a writer, wanderer, and visual storyteller at heart. She’s currently in production with her short documentary film, Lifting Crowns. She believes that one day soon she’ll form the ultimate group of storytellers who will travel the world to share the stories of creative peculiar people. Come and hang out with her on Instagram

The Monthly Roundup: Top Competitions, Grants, and Crowd Funding News for Women Filmmakers


Can you believe that it is the first of February already in 2017? 

We hope that you took some time the first month of the year to iron out your filmmaking projects in order to make them a reality this year.

In doing our part to help you along in your journey, we thought that it would be a good idea to begin sharing top industry news for competitions, grants, and crowdfunding for filmmaking.

Below is a recap of all of the tips that we shared in the month of January:


1. Eyeka is a talent sourcing site where brands post needed content such as commercials and branded videos for their upcoming projects.
Filmmakers can select a project, create the desired content, and then submit it to that brand.
If you win, you will receive a cash prize (it ranges). Categories includes:
Creative Writing
Script Writing
This is a perfect platform for aspiring and new filmmakers that are in need of some motivation and incentive to create your first projects.

2. is searching for original TV pilots from new and up and coming screenwriters. 

3. Two weeks ago, Will and Jada Smith announced that their non-profit foundation will financially support Sundance Institute’s @sundanceorg Screenwriters Intensive. The program provides mentorship and work shopping opportunities for 10 underrepresented screenwriters! (Go apply ladies)


1. Women Making Movies is currently accepting applications from women filmmakers for fiscal sponsorship opportunities.

2. has open for submission their SHORT FILM Production Fund Grant. This program is for emerging screen writers that have a project to launch or complete. Grants awarded start at $5K and go up to $20K. If selected, you will also receive creative development mentorship from the @screen_craft team! (Sign up for their screenwriters newsletter, it will be a game changer for you)
3. Creative Capital works with artists (including filmmakers) who desire to build a career around creating art for their local community or greater good.
They provide funding and mentorship for 1-3 years.
Documentary filmmakers and narrative filmmakers that desire to produce work that highlights a social issue would be ideal for this grant. However, you will need some projects under your belt already to be considered but major careers have been launched due to the Creative Capital nonprofit leadership.


1. The Grove Center for the Arts & Media
The Grove Center is a nonprofit organization that provides fiscal sponsorship for artists driven projects. (Fiscal Sponsorship is an agreement between a nonprofit and an individual or private sector group or project that desires to fundraise tax-free donations from the public and the registered nonprofit manages the funds you raise and distributes it to your cause minus a small fee).

With The Grove Center you can crowd fund for your film or project under their umbrella. They have an extensive network, an in house marketing team, and a dedicated Indie Gogo presence. They will keep 10% of what you raise and there is a $99 application fee but considering how deep their reach is, its worth partnering up with them. is a growing crowd funding platform that is for filmmakers only. They are also an indie film streaming service. Your film could be included with the donation round if you create a campaign with them. They have a heavy amount of films that are directed, written, produced, or staring women, so you should feel right at home crowd funding there. (Read their blog to explore topics such as distribution options to negotiations for filming, it’s a gem!) We hope this helps you in your bad-ass filmmaker’s journey! – This slightly relates but could be used to leverage your crowd funding efforts. Slacked is an emerging social network for filmmakers only. I myself created an account there and have already made connections with others.

We hope that this list can do you some good and maybe lead to a contest, an idea, some networking, or an introduction, that can lead to further breaking of the glass ceiling in filmmaking as a woman!

Remember: #thefutureisfemale 


CJ Childress is the co-founder of The Creative Outsiders. 

Freelance copywriting pays her bills why she inks out more short stories, poems, articles, and full-on books. Cinematography is her jam and she can’t stop obsessing about Beyonce being pregnant with twins! You can catch up with her HERE or on INSTAGRAM.