Megan Griffiths
  Are you creatively fulfilled by what you do?   I love what I do and feel incredibly lucky to be able to do it. Before I was directing, I spent a decade working on the crew side of the business. I learned a huge amount in those years, but I was always yearning to be more fulfilled on a creative level. As a director you are required to think about both big picture and small details simultaneously, which can be either completely crazy-making or incredibly energizing. For me it’s almost always the latter. I never feel as fully engaged anywhere else as I do on set.   When you’re not feeling incredibly inspired, how do you conjure that feeling? By this, I mean: sometimes, when I’ve had a bad day, the last thing I want to do write.  What would motivate you to get your proverbial butt in the desk chair?   This last year has been a big writing year for me—I just completed my third screenplay since January. As a highly undisciplined writer and chronic guilt-sufferer, I’ve been wrestling this year more than most with the concept of what it means to be productive. What I’ve been realizing is that I always experience this conflict when I’m writing, but at the end of the day, I get things done. So, I’ve been trying to embrace the idea that procrastination is a part of the process. The project at hand is still swirling around in there while I’m out walking or doing the dishes, or when I’m ingesting other media (even if those things are not of particularly noble quality). In fact, those things are feeding my mind in their own way and allowing different parts of my brain to light up and tapping into things that may eventually wind up working themselves into the writing that I will do. All that justification aside, I’ll add that I also think deadlines are crucial—for me anyway. I need to set attainable goals for my work and adhere to them or I don’t think I’d ever actually end up delivering anything.
   
  
 
  
    
  
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     When do you feel the most yourself? Why?   When I am surrounded by friends and loved ones. They make me the best version of myself.   When do you feel the least yourself? Why?   When I am in a new environment where I know no one. I have always had a very difficult time feeling comfortable immediately around strangers.   What do you love about yourself?   I think I’m really good at looking at the world through multiple perspectives without judgment. It informs my filmmaking because it helps me to be more empathetic towards a wide variety of characters, and it enhances my life because it makes me a better friend.   What don’t you love about yourself and why?   I am probably too calculated. I don’t take a lot of risks without really weighing the situation and I think I sometimes miss opportunities because I worry about being too vulnerable.
   
  
 
  
    
  
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     Describe your greatest professional achievement, and remember that this does not have to be a traditional accolade. Just something that you have done that makes you feel proud of yourself.   I think I am most proud of the way that my film THE OFF HOURS was made. My producers (Lacey Leavitt, Mischa Jakupcak, Joy Saez) and I spent many years trying to pull the film together in a more traditional way with name actors and a million dollar budget, but it ultimately happened when we let go of our ideal version and embraced a different approach. We decided to stop desperately seeking money and start acknowledging the resources we already had, such as talented friends, a supportive community, and good old-fashioned scrappiness. Once we made that switch everything just seemed to fall into place and this amazing production arose from all these small, unassuming, lovingly curated bits and pieces. The film was fully formed through the generosity of an entire community and I think that shows through in the end result.   Talk about one instance that made you feel vulnerable, unprepared, and/or scared:   Every time I start a new job. Every single time. It takes me a while to find my comfort level in new situations, so I always have to go through a few weeks of uncertainty before I feel like I can find my footing.   How did you make it through that time?   I’m a big believer in the “fake it ‘til you make it” approach to uncomfortable scenarios. I don’t really consider myself a good actor, but I’ve been able to master the art of appearing calm even when I’m decidedly not. In the film world, indecisiveness and timidity get you nowhere and no one cares if you’re naturally shy. You have to have a vision and you have to be able to communicate that vision efficiently and effectively, so finding a way to get past your own discomfort is part of the gig.
  Describe a time when you felt incompetent:   I spent five years working as a first assistant director, who is basically the person who runs the set and makes sure the film gets made on schedule. Most people who do that job either work their way up through that department or they train through the director’s guild, but I didn’t do either. I got asked to fill the role on a friend’s film in Pennsylvania, then came back to Seattle and observed that there weren’t many people willing to do that particular job on the independent level (which makes sense because it’s a tough and pretty thankless line of work which, when you aren’t getting paid anything, becomes hard to justify). Anyway, I learned the job on my feet and that approach led to a great number of very humbling experiences. The worst was when I was working on a set in Spokane with a crew I didn’t know very well and we were preparing to do a driving scene on what’s called a “process trailer” (which is when the actors are in a car mounted on a trailer and towed by another vehicle so they don’t have to drive and act at the same time). As we started setting up for the first shot, a few members of the crew confronted me (publicly and loudly) and asked if I’d ever done a proper process trailer shoot before. Painful as it was, I had to admit that I hadn’t, at which point they refused to continue working. It took a long conversation with them about the steps they needed to see taken, as well as a lot of pride-swallowing, to get to the point where we could move forward and get the scene shot. At the center of that meeting I felt completely incompetent, but like all humiliating moments this one taught me some lessons. In this case, the importance of acknowledging what you don’t know and asking questions to ensure you do your job properly (especially in a case like this where other people’s safety is involved). And also a little side lesson about persevering (and not running away and crying) in the face of extreme shame. Both have served me well since.
   
  
 
  
    
  
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     Name one person you admire and why (perhaps you know him or her, but you don’t have to)?   I have huge admiration for screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, who has made a career out of allowing his vulnerabilities to spill onto the page. In his words: “If you’re honest about who you are, you’ll help that person be less lonely in their world, because that person will recognize himself in you and that will give him hope.” I think people go to the movies to see humanity examined on the screen, and Kaufman is better than almost anyone at showing it at its most flawed and complex while still managing to keep things entertaining. He did a  BAFTA lecture  in 2011 that I recommend highly for anyone interested in writing or frailty or intelligent words on human nature.   Name one woman you have a girl crush on (again – maybe you might know her, maybe you don’t)? Why?   I simply can’t narrow this down to one person. Any woman who is living comfortably in her own skin and pursuing a life that fulfills her is crush-worthy, in my opinion. There’s a huge number of girl crushes in our very own Seattle backyard, so I’ll narrow it down to these borders and try to at least scratch the surface. Here goes: Lynn Shelton, Lacey Leavitt, Mel Eslyn, Rachel Flotard, Cheryl Waters, Lindy West, Alycia Delmore, Hannah Levin, SJ Chiro, Jennifer Roth, Faustine Hudson, Robynne Hawthorne, Kimberly Chin, Kate Bayley, Sue Corcoran, the creators of Project Girl Crush and probably hundreds more.   At what age did you feel most vulnerable/uncomfortable in your skin, and why?   This is probably the same as anyone, but it had to have been the pre-teens. Such an awkward moment in development happening right at the same time as you’re supposed to start becoming appealing to the opposite sex is just rough timing.   What advice would you share with that former self?   You are way more appealing when you are relaxed and happy with the person you are. (I’m still trying to fully integrate this advice, by the way.)
   
  
 
  
    
  
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     Tell me something pretty. A quote, a lyric, a drawing… however you choose to express yourself.   “A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead, really. They're just backing away from life. Reach out. Take a chance. Get hurt even. But play as well as you can. Go team, go! Give me an L. Give me an I. Give me a V. Give me an E. L-I-V-E. LIVE! Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room.” – Ruth Gordon as Maude,  Harold and Maude
   
  
 
  
    
  
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     Do you have a particular vision of your life 30 years from now? What does it look like? (This can be purely conceptual – maybe it’s a feeling, maybe it’s a picture. Allow yourself to dream).   When I was growing up, my mom always repeated the old saying: “I’m going to stay young until I’m 96, then grow old gracefully.” By that standard, I’ll still be young in 30 years, so hopefully I’ll still be discovering new things about people and finding ways to explore those discoveries on whatever kind of screen we’re watching by then.   What are you doing today to help yourself realize the vision described above?   Trying to remind myself all the time how much there is to learn, and how truly exciting that prospect is.
  Ok-super-quickly-without-hesitating-write-down-the-first-five-words-that-come-into-your-mind.   Humanity Flight Element Chaos Beans
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