Andrea Shreeman [Interview]

Today we are featuring an amazing talented and very intriguing filmmaker who not only has done some amazing work in the past, but has some very exciting work coming to the world in the near future. It’s Andrea Shreeman, Everyone!

I was very excited to ask Andrea about her work on some older projects like The Nanny and Tree’s Lounge, but ended up learning even more about her incredible musical short film Candle, as well as a very interesting documentary she worked on entitled Half the Picture that I am most definitely going to check out as soon as possible. Andrea and all her infinite wisdom within the world of film has made her become a part of so many amazing projects and has created some of the finest visual art to date.

So, please enjoy some pretty amazing words from one of the finest minds out there creating cinematic masterminds to date, the wonderful Andrea Shreeman!

When did you first discover your passion for the world of storytelling, whether it be on screen or behind the camera? When did you first realize that this was the world you wanted to live in?

As a young child, I wrote a lot of poetry. I even put together a poetry book of all my work in primary school and gave it to about thirty adults I knew (I figured only they would truly appreciate it). I think the moment I fell hard was in high school, when I auditioned for West Side Story at Mill Mountain Playhouse, a regional theater in my small southern hometown. That was the first of five shows I would do at Mill Mountain. Being submerged in the process of building a story captivated me, but I was equally enchanted with the tellers of those stories. They were vagabond dancers and actors, mostly from Manhattan, who relished the work, and celebrated life through community and creative expression. There was a real sense of belonging. Also, it was the most I’ve ever been paid to work in the theater, and the longest, most luxurious rehearsal process I have ever had.

Scrolling through your IMDb page, I can’t help but notice that you worked in your early days on The Nanny, a program featuring a friend of this site Charles Shaughnessy. This seems light and well attuned to your work with the comedy group No Time. How was your experience on set and working on this project?

Amazing! Working in network television was, and continues to be, the holy grail (though the definition of “network” has changed to include things like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon). The energy around that set was always positive, collegial and light-hearted. Network television meant respectable hours, a cozy dressing room, and endless craft services. In an interesting note, I ran into Fran Drescher at an event last week, literally LAST WEEK, after not seeing her for decades. I shared with her that I’m about to direct my first feature film, and she asked me to send her the script. It would be a real blessing if she somehow got involved. Readers, light a candle for me!

I see you were also a production assistant on one of my all time favorite films, which would be Tree’s Lounge, featuring our old pal Michael Buscemi, and directed by Michael’s brother, Steve. It’s surprising that at a young age, you had the opportunity to work on a such a dark, and highly provocative project during the height of independent cinema – if you don’t mind sharing, how did you land that job?

I had just moved from LA to NY permanently after working as Assistant to the Directors on a film that was put together in LA, and shot in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn (Love Is All There Is). Before I moved, I called up everyone I knew to see if they had any leads on work in NY. Brad Wyman, an established producer and the uncle of a little girl I’d been nannying in LA, happened to be one of the producers on Tree’s and got me in as a post-production assistant. During the time I came up in Hollywood, generosity was at a premium. I’m noticing changes now, especially among women, but Brad has always stood out to me as someone uniquely supportive. I never met Michael, but I did have one interaction with Steve that I think is pretty funny. I was asked to deliver something to the editing room, which like every room in NY was the size of a bread box. When I opened the door to the editing room, practically on top of him, I was taken aback to see Steve Buscemi with full head of white hair. I fancied this new knowledge an insider Hollywood secret – Steve Buscemi dyes his hair!


Your 2017 musical short film Candle may very well be one the most inspiring works I have ever seen. I’m continuously telling everyone I know to check it out. I am curious to know where your inspiration came from to make something surround such subject matter?

Thank you – I appreciate you sharing that musical film. I worked with Jamee Mae, the singer/songwriter to establish the world in which the story for Candle would have the greatest impact. We knew that the visual story for the song could go in any direction, that ultimately it was about solidarity and inner strength in tough times. Once we chose domestic violence as our story container, a lot of really magical things opened up to us; like working with Christopher Hicks and America Young on the self-defense training and choreography. And of course the Women’s March was still fresh in everyone’s consciousness, and we had some excellent donated footage to work with. My personal inspiration for the story came from Jamee’s lyrics, the intention behind her music, and this little thing that I have explored in some other pieces – the pain and real world impact of how people can be cruel to each other.

 

And while I hate that this question even has to be asked, I feel like if we don’t keep the conversation going, the problem will never cease. So with that: What are you thoughts on the current climate for women in the world of filmmaking? Is the staggering low amount of women being hired changing at all? Has there been any sort of progress over the last couple of years?

While the focus and feeling has improved, the numbers have not. I personally believe that a lot of power in this area lies with the agencies. The pathway problems for women in Entertainment remain dismal; meaning that lots of women start out in the programs at a young age and the numbers fall off dramatically as careers progress. Most women who make it through are kept in cycles of low paying product. Initiatives and pledges are nice, but only mandates work; like the Academy’s commitment to double its minority numbers by 2020. They’ve taken bold action toward that. But the Academy doesn’t hire directors and DP’s. I worked in the camera department on a stunning documentary that premiered at Sundance this year called Half the Picture. It features Lena Dunham, Ava DuVurney, Catherine Hardwick, Jill Soloway, Miranda July and other notable female directors. One of my favorite moments in the film is from Jill Soloway. She says, “A lot of the art that is getting made in the world, isn’t getting made by people who have had children. And whoever she’s become from being a mother, whatever she might know about humanity from having mothered, isn’t getting reflected into our culture… So that becomes a problem on the planet for empathy.”

 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Since my mother had her first stroke almost ten years ago, I’ve been very interested in what it means to “die well”. This curiosity prompted me to co-write a narrative feature comedy with touring author Gregor Collins called Best. Death. Ever.  I’ll be directing that film in early 2019. You are invited to join the discussion and follow the film’s progress at www.facebook.com/bestdeathever and www.instagram.com/best_death_ever. 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

One of the codes I strive to live by is to love, laugh and exercise every day. So as a mid-day break, sometimes I’ll head to YouTube for a laugh. Today, I watched Tiffany Haddish tell Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show about her dream date which included things like, “he’s not currently in jail” and “he can survive the apocalypse”. #shefunny

Advertisements

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: