Published on March 7th, 2018 | by Biz Books
2018 VIWIFF Interview: Laura Adkin
BizBooks.net is pleased to showcase a few of the local filmmakers at the 2018 Vancouver International Women in Film Festival.
In this interview, we talked to writer-director Laura Adkin about her film, The Ride Home.
Can you start by telling us a little bit about you and your VIWIFF film?
My name is Laura Adkin and I’m a writer/director (and occasional producer) here in Vancouver. My sophomore short film The Ride Home is about one woman’s journey as she deals with her difficult decision to end a pregnancy.
What does this film mean to you?
I think this is a really important subject to talk about. Women’s reproductive issues in general are so taboo and there is a lot of shame around not only abortions but miscarriages and infertility. I feel like if we can start having a dialogue, then women might begin to feel like they aren’t alone and they can talk about what they’re going through.
What can audiences expect from the film?
It’s not an easy film to watch, but it’s not meant to be. It’s raw and gritty and the performance by our lead actor Taylor Hastings is heartbreakingly beautiful.
What was the biggest challenge for you in making this film and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge in making any independent film is money and available resources. We were lucky to have a lot of in-kind services donated to us and we couldn’t have done it without the amazing crew who all worked for very little money. Of all the films I’ve done, this one was probably the least stressful. We had a 2-day shoot, minimal locations and with such a pro cast and crew, we were able to move through the day fairly seamlessly. The support for this project has been pretty amazing.
“Learn to say no. As women we tend to want to say yes to everything, which often means saying no to ourselves. Be powerful.”
What’s the most important lesson that you’ve learned in your career so far?
To keep moving forward but to also create boundaries. I can’t say yes to everything or nothing gets done. Being able to set clear boundaries for myself and in my business dealings is a continual struggle for me but I’m getting better at it! And not everyone is gonna like everything you do, and that’s okay. It’s important to surround yourself with people who not only believe in you but share the same value system. Making a film is a big commitment – these are people you have to be with through pre-production, production, post AND a festival run. Making sure everyone is on the same page before beginning a project is key.
What would your advice be to women who are aspiring actors, writers, directors, or producers in the industry today?
My advice to anyone is to keep doing it. Don’t give up. It’s not gonna be easy and there are gonna be bumps along the way but if it’s your passion, if you want to do it more than anything else then you need to keep going. And don’t forget about your 10,000 hours – don’t expect to be perfect or have all the answers right away. Put in the work.
As for women, you have a voice, so make sure you use it. What you have to say matters and most importantly, people want to hear it. Never think of yourself as a “female filmmaker”, you’re a filmmaker (or actor or writer or whatever). And learn to say no, as women we tend to want to say yes to everything, which often means saying no to ourselves. Be powerful.
Who are the women in the film and television industry who have influenced you the most?
That’s an interesting question. I feel like there are a lot of women who have paved the way. Locally, Amanda Tapping has always been a huge influence on the direction of my career. I met her years ago and she gave me a lot of good advice (and has continued to give me good advice) and was the one who first sparked my interest in the idea of directing. I’m also always so amazed by the women in my peer group, seeing what they are doing and what they are creating. And then there are women like Patty Jenkins who proved to everyone that women can make big budget, successful Hollywood blockbusters.
What film and television-related books and authors have been influential in your career?
Wow, hmm, that’s a tough one. When I started directing I read a lot of books. Robert Rodriguez’s Rebel without a Crew was the first book on directing I read and it blew me away. I would recommend that to anyone about to venture into making films. I really liked Sidney Lumet’s book on directing – Making Movies. The Writer’s Journey is an invaluable guide for screenwriting as is Save the Cat! – which if you’re starting out as a writer, it breaks things down into a pretty easy way to follow.
What other projects are you working on right now?
I’m looking into doing my first feature – what it’s going to be, I have no idea but I’m excited for the challenge and the creative process of figuring it out. A long form narrative like a feature feels like the next logical step for me.
Where can we find out more about you and your film online?
Thanks to Laura Adkin for speaking with us!
You can check out The Ride Home at the 2018 Vancouver International Women in Film Festival as part of the High Stakes Shorts Programme which screens on March 10th at 3:15PM.
For more information the VIWIFF, please visit WomeninFilm.ca.