This video was filmed for The Female Lead by Marian Lacombe, with photography by Brigitte Lacombe. The Female Lead is a non-profit organization dedicated to making women’s stories more visible and offering alternative role models to those ever-present in popular culture. Visit The Female Lead website to send a free copy of The Female Lead book and teaching resources to any US or UK school.
If there's one person whose career advice I'd take in a heartbeat, it's director Ava DuVernay. The writer, producer, and director is behind hits like Selma, the TV show Queen Sugar, and the upcoming adaptation of Wrinkle In Time. In a video for The Female Lead, a non-profit and book dedicated to promoting women's stories and achievements, the director sat down and talked about her illustrious career, starting from the very, very beginning, and ending with the advice that any person looking to create something needs to hear.
After growing up in Compton, DuVernay got into publicity. While she hadn't studied film in college, she always loved it, and that's why doing publicity for films seemed like a natural fit. Turns out, being behind the camera was even more natural.
She started with documentaries, slowly exploring more of the medium, and rather than working up to buy a house at age 25 like her mother, she used her money to create her first narrative film, I Will Follow, in 2010.
Fast forward, and that risk obviously paid off — and then some. So she says her advice for people looking to break into the industry is always the same: it's to work without permission.
"So many of us work from a permission-based place and we don't even know it," she said. "We're waiting for someone to say it's okay, waiting for someone to give us a green light, give us money, tell us how to do it, shepherd us through...some people get lucky, but most of us have to do it for ourselves."
So go out and create! But first, watch the video above.
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