We sat down with Abbey Brubaker to talk about her influences and goals as a filmmaker as well as her experience taking our courses. Read the transcript of the conversation below or watch the video here: Haylie: So how did you first become interested in filmmaking?
Abbey: Probably. Yeah, my aunt lived in Florida and she would come down a lot and like hang out with her family. And she would always tell me about how she used to do light box animation, before they had computer animation. And so she would show me how he would, you know, move it ever so slightly every frame and it would make a picture and move. And so that was really cool to like my seven year old mind haha, and that's pretty much how I kinda got started.
Haylie: And which role in a film crew, if you were to assemble a crew, which would be your favorite? Writing, producing, directing...
Abbey: Umm.. I think, I think I enjoy directing the most. I really like seeing it all come together. Especially like being given the freedom to kind of change things as they go a little bit like, Oh, that doesn't look right. I kinda want to change that a little bit. Or, I really like getting the opinion from the cast and crew too. Cause it takes a big weight off my shoulders.
Sophie: What do you find most challenging about being a filmmaker? And what part do you think is like the most rewarding?
Abbey: Um, I would say, say I find it really challenging to kind of like hone in on what exactly I want to do because I do watch so many movies and because I am a little bit obsessed with it haha, I constantly have all these ideas rolling in my head. I have a hard time like picking one and finishing one before I move on to the next. But I think it's really rewarding when, people will come up to me afterwards and say like, Oh, you know, that really made me like happy or I could relate to this in some way, or it made me sad even. When I watched films, a big part of why I like it is because I can always relate to it in some way and kind of draw an emotion out of it. And I think that's part of the reason I do it so much.
Sophie: I know that me and my dad especially, we always talk about how we get so emotional and movies can make or break us! Haha, like I can draw so much emotion and like feel something from movies, and so I totally understand what you mean.
Haylie: And that's probably the best inspiration is just like watching other movies.
Abbey: Yeah, exactly.
Sophie: So, do you have any goals with your filmmaking?
Abbey: It's a little hard to say just because I don't have a particular idea of what I want to do. I just want to make films. I think, I think it would be really, really amazing and a great opportunity if I was able to do like more independent films. This is so weird, but I really want to stay away from like big companies, you know?
Haylie: I don't think that's weird at all.
Abbey: Yeah. I just feel like, um, I feel like big, you know, blockbuster, Hollywood production companies, they kind of, in a way, like stifle the creativity of especially young filmmakers. Cause they always have, you know, an agenda they want to push and the money they need to make for certain films.
Haylie: And I think that's really good to know when you're younger, that like the end goal is not to be huge and famous in Hollywood with your films, because, you're just going to enjoy it more if you can really do what you want to do with it, you know?
Haylie: So what films have been most inspiring or influential to you and why?
Abbey: Um, so the first one is actually the animated film, the Lorax… I think I probably watched the first time I was like eight and I just like, I loved it so much and I honestly, I can't explain why, but I just thought it was, so amazing. Like the animation, everything about it. And so I watched it over and over for a few months until I had the complete thing memorized entirely. And then I guess like Avengers, you know, that was like one of the first live action movies. I really liked focusing on more green screen and like world-building and characters. And my favorite movie now it's called the imitation game. It was the first one that I saw that really combined like great, you know, uh, screenwriting with like really great acting and the cinematography is just really, really good. And so that was kind of the defining moment. I feel like of like what kind of films I like to make.
Haylie: Do you have any special memories from your filmmaking, or like an experience that sticks out to you?
Abbey: Um, I think when I was in the advanced filmmaking class. So it was, it was my favorite class I've taken, but it was also pretty tough cause you know, we had to write our own screenplay and everything. And I remember when I was filming it, I decided to do it in one day and I just remember spending like nine hours crying my eyes out laughing because we had so many times we were like, cut, do it again. It was just like the longest day, but it turned out pretty well.
Haylie: And like you create really, really great memories! That kind of segues into our next question because you're kind of VIP because you've taken pretty much everything we have to offer! You've taken Intro, advanced, YouTube and acting now. So what have you liked most about them? What makes you want to take more?
Abbey: Um, I think, I think like once I took the first one, I was like, maybe I won't need anything else. You know? I know the basics and stuff. And then as you guys kept releasing stuff, I found that the more I took, the more I understood the previous one that I took. Cause even though like all filmmaking is different, I think that understanding it all equally really helps the big picture, especially because I want to do a lot of it myself and so understanding it was a big deal.
Haylie: Wow, well that's awesome. And that's really good to know for you specifically for wanting to be more on the independent side of filmmaking.
Sophie: The next question is, is there anything you found unique or special about the way we teach those subjects?
Abbey: I think, I think the biggest thing was that it was a combination of teaching me how to be like individual and kind of trust my instincts more instead of like always saying, Oh, this probably isn't a good idea or something. It kind of learning to like run with it and um, have individualism, but also doing it for the glory of God, which seems contradictory. But like you can do it.
Sophie: Well, God made us all unique and we all really are individual. And so even if you're doing it in your own way and you're kind of doing what you want to do, God placed that in you and gave you that creativity so that you can find your individual niche. And so I think that's really cool.
Haylie: We were talking about this a little bit earlier, but our advanced class, it involves like weekly mentoring kind of. So it's a little different from the other ones. And how did that experience help you develop your skills? Did you like being able to like talk to someone in person?
Abbey: Yeah, filmmaking on my own is obviously, it's still really fun. Um, but doing that coming back every week and having someone say, okay, maybe you can add this or take this out or it might be like more emotional if you cut this part or something. Cause I think that when I'm making my own film, it's almost like everything I create is kind of precious to me. So it's really hard to say like, Oh, we need to completely cut that out. And so having someone else say that who is more experienced and kind of understands the way it works better was really helpful.
Sophie: Yeah. But it's good to have constructive criticism sometimes. Yeah. Um, so to wrap up this interview we're going to ask you, what advice would you give to other young people who want to make films?
Abbey: I think, um, just from my experience, I would say it's good to learn to adapt. I think that when, um, when you're making anything, especially in young filmmakers, we have these huge imaginations because we're so inexperienced that we don't really know the reality of like all the things it takes to make a film. So we have these big ideas. And then you'll start actually trying to do it and realize you have none of the resources. And so learning how to kind of adapt your stories and be content with the resources you have at the time. So you can get further, I think is really important. Cause going into filmmaking and stuff and not knowing that, I got disappointed a lot.
Sophie: It's important to not let those dreams die. Cause you can get so disappointed so easily, but like you have to think about one day when you can accomplish those crazy ideas in your head, like you're going to be so thankful that you didn't give up when it wasn't achievable.
Abbey: Yeah, exactly.
Sophie: Well, you were definitely an inspiration to a lot of people and you are just an amazing filmmaker and we're especially happy to have you in all of our classes and we really loved talking to you today!
Abbey: Thanks for having me on!