Seven Questions with Micole Williams

Micole Williams is the director of 365 Days in L.A.. In the midst of a pandemic and after a health scare, a veteran high school teacher halts her life and leaves all she knows behind, vowing to recover 100% while pursuing a matter of the heart.

1. Who are your film influencers?

I’d love to work with Spike Lee, Kasi Lemmons and Ava DuVernay. They each have inspired me as a visual storyteller.

2. What are the toughest aspects of making a film today?

Financing a film and being able to produce something I see in my head has been the toughest aspect of making a film. The dream: to do it with a big machine capable of executing my vision. The reality: being creative and resourceful with the average bank account of an indie filmmaker with a day-job.

3. Best advice you’ve received as a filmmaker?

Back in 2010, I used to write a filmmaking column where I interviewed many filmmakers for advice before taking on my own project. I learned a lot about the confidence that the director has to have in order to not fold during all the stages of filmmaking. I gained a sense of understanding that the director has to be all in – being passive was not an option. You really have to believe in yourself in this line of work.

4. What does it mean to you to be a Black filmmaker or to create films with black stories or characters.

There is a void that really needs to be filmed and as a Black filmmaker, I have an opportunity to add my own POV to that deficient space. The Black experience is so vast and so layered. I feel my work is rooted in the south and I like curating diverse modern-women stories. I want to see more of that and since I don’t – that is what type of filmmaking I am dedicated to creating.

5. What does it mean to you that your film is on Aspire TV and other platforms?

I have been a fan of Magic Johnson as a business person and I remember when he started Aspire. I also remember watching the short film showcases and being really happy to see a station highlighting rare finds. So it’s pretty awesome to now be able to participate with my very own film. Being able to share my stories with a larger audience is really a blessing. I hope it encourages someone to bank on themselves in some way and go after their dream – whatever it is.

6. Advice you would give the next gen following you?

Know that your story matters. Know that how you see the world matters. Find creative ways to retell your experiences and represent for your generation.

7. Are there any inspirational films, articles or books that you would recommend to go deeper into the topics and themes in your film?

Since my film is about nourishing the creative within, I have found these resources to be helpful and encouraging.

Teach Yourself Screenwriting by Raymond G. Frensham was my first screenwriting book I bought myself when I was in high school. It’s old and dog-eared now. It even looks like my little sister got a hold of it and wrote in it when she was younger. It really helped me understand more of the world I was trying to enter.

Before earning my MFA, I was on the fence about going back to school. I was walking around TJ Maxx and asked God for a sign. I saw Renegade Women in Film  & TV by Elizabeth Weitzman. I felt that was the push I needed to go through with the program and read it for inspiration along the way.

I am still reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It’s been really good and relatable.

Films about women entrepreneurs and artists have always helped me push through challenges – Love Jones, The Best Man, Joy, Little Women and Big Eyes come to mind.

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