Film & TV

‘The To Do List’ Director Maggie Carey Offers Tips on Making Your First Feature

Film & TV

‘The To Do List’ Director Maggie Carey Offers Tips on Making Your First Feature

+

The To Do List, a raunchy sex comedy that hits theaters today, has gotten a lot of attention for a scene that features its star, Aubrey Plaza, touching herself in a way that can best be described as sexual. And while a scene like that does merit a few extra blog posts, let’s give it up for the writer and director of that scene, Maggie Carey, who with this film, has done that seemingly impossible: wrote and directed her first feature film. So asked Carey, whose husband Bill Hader costars in the film, to give aspiring filmmakers some nuggets of wisdom on how to make it to the director’s chair. 

1. Pretend. The only way to get a movie made is to pretend it’s getting made. Make-believe is a powerful force.

2. Prepare. While you are playing make-believe, meet with a bunch of people and perpetuate the myth that your movie is getting made. Find a great director of photography, production designer, costume designer and editor to role-play with about your pretend movie. Pretty soon they will start wishing it would get made so you will stop inviting them to coffee shops.

3. Tip your barista. They also need to pretend you are getting your movie made so they don’t pity you for sitting at the same table every single day.

4. Rehearse. Find actors that like to rehearse when you have no financing and no start-date. When you get your financing you will have no time to rehearse so then your cast will think you can see into the future and will respect your special power (and/or find you slightly creepy).

5. Don’t settle. There’s never enough time or enough money to do things right. That’s not a good excuse. That’s being lazy. But this is where you can’t always pretend. Instead, you just insist that things get done how you want them done despite having no time and no money. Sometimes people find this annoying; other times they think you must have special powers because how else would you have gotten that done with no time and no money?

6. Enjoy the process. It’s pretty incredible to do something you love for a career. Never take that for granted.

7. Pretend to enjoy the process. That’s the only way to get your next movie made.