Wendy Mccolm

 

I met Wendy a few months ago when a mutual friend told me she needed a photographer for a monthly short film night she puts on called Cinema Darlings. Instantly she was the kindest, warmest human of all time. We have recently been spending more time together and having long conversations about self reflection, boundaries, vulnerability, shame etc. She's very refreshing to be around, so authentic and eager to always be self improving and seeking the truth. She has a feature film called Birds Without Feathers that will be screening in LA soon, so keep an eye out!

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What do ya do?

Director / actor- filmmaker ...I just like to express, in whatever format that is. I like to express with vulnerability and try to rise up and be a mirror for anyone who needs one. Hopefully, so they feel that they can express themselves too.


What was your “aha!” moment?

Oddly enough I wanted to do acting probably in Kindergarten, I did my first play in first grade The Little Red Hen, I was a little red hen. I still think about that! How did I learn those lines? I don't remember any parent helping me with that, but I remember it very vividly.

As far as directing, I directed forever without really acknowledging or knowing it because I was like “I’m going to be an actor! This is it.” I directed everything, I taught my friends every talent show since first grade, and then I started directing VHS videos, but I never thought I was a director. I was like “I’m going to be a music video girl!”  which I ended up doing too, which is pretty embarrassing. But also pretty awesome because I did it, and that was my dream. It wasn't until I was 20 or 21, when my friend who was obsessed with Scott Pilgrim took me to see it, and I was like “How did they do that?” The shots. Edgar Wright did so many cuts, dollies and whip pans and that’s when I realized all of the camera movement stuff and got really interested. So that was an “Aha moment” as far as long-term directing.


Did you go to school? If so, what did you study?

I didn't go to college, I took a few classes here and there but I didn't really feel helped with acting until I took a Meisner class at Playhouse West. I suggest Meisner technique to any actor, director, or writer because I saw a lot of people change their lives in that class. You are not allowed to be untruthful, and if you are, you don't get to proceed. Ever. Some people don't last 2 days in that class, it shines a light on you real quick. You're like "oh, I guess the basis of acting is truth, and also listening, and knowing how you feel about every single thing”.  It helped me become the person I am today. It also helps me direct other people and it helps me write.


Have you ever almost given up on your art? If so, what kept you going?

Remembering that I could possibly make a difference in someone else’s life.
 

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How do you move through fear?

Compassionate non judgemental self talk. The no judgement is important, it allows you to express and hear yourself, and then takes you to the next step which is: what do I need in this moment? or what am I afraid of?
 

Best advice you’ve received?

Don’t compare yourself to anyone ever. Try it, you will probably do a lot more.
 

When do you feel the most inspired / creative?

That can hit at any moment. I feel creative when I'm riding my bike, I’ve come up with many ideas while on a bike. It’ll be like “Oop! Going home! Making that today”. Also the beach, just sitting. I used to call up my DP who used to shoot everything with me and I’d be like “Hey! Want to shoot this tomorrow?” and he’d be like “Ok!”. Those were the lucky days, when it was just me and him, but now the ideas are bigger.

Now maybe it’s the same thing. Sometimes I’ll just get in the car and drive at night and I don’t really have a place to go, but maybe I’ll go sit on the cliffs at the beach. Just being with self, you know? Allowing what you are feeling. Maybe it’s acceptance that helps you feel inspired. No shame. Which is something I am working on right now and moving through it. Shame can stop you from expressing where you truly are in your life, you could hide the opportunity to help somebody else.


What is something most people don’t know about you?

What if I say something really sad, like: my dad used to tell me that nobody likes me, and if i didn’t change, then nobody would ever like me.

Maybe that's worth sharing. I don't know who thinks I have a really great life, I mean I do have a great life but you don't know where somebody comes from. So hopefully people can understand that people are growing, they’re not going to be who they need to be until they can accept love and see love. I'll tell you what, coming from something like that, it took me a long time to receive love, a hug, anything.
 

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Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

Now a days? Both. I like to take time to feel out my energy and needs, so I can nourish my soul and in turn hopefully nourish others. I used to be go go go, but when I learned how to listen to myself and my needs and wants, I need more time at home to generate so I can be full and give more love to other people. To do what I want to do which is provide love. To grow into that, I need to spend time alone and I am grateful for the journey I am going through now to become the person I want to be.


Any interesting first date stories?

What’s a date?
 

If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or not) who would it be, and why?

Hm… Robert Altman or Elaine May? Two amazing directors, and Elaine May has done it all… also, Bergman but he intimidates me.
 

Book(s) everyone should read:

If you're depressed: Joy: The Happiness That Comes from Within by Osho.
That book knocked the possibility of depression out of my life when I first read that.

A book I am reading now is How to Love by Thich Nhat Hanh. If you're anything like me, which I think there's got to be one other person in the world like me, you weren’t really taught exactly what it means to be loved. This books says little things that you will probably resonate with or learn something new. A line from the book is “true love has the power to heal and transform any situation and bring deep meaning to our lives”. To read that that is what love is supposed to do, just kind of confirms for you in your mind, that if it’s not doing that, maybe it’s not right. Maybe you need to go pick another mirror.

 
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Film(s) everyone should see:

Persona.

I suggest seeing older movies in a movie theatre. I like to pretend that I time-traveled and went to the movies when they first came out. You get to experience with the audience. Sometimes the audiences are pretty vocal, which is fun.
 

Is there an album that’s gotten you through something?

Oh yeah if you want me to be dorky about it: Frou Frou. I listened to that every day while getting through my first break up when I was 17.
 

What kinds of restaurants do you enjoy going to? What do you usually order?

Anything Vegan.
 

Favorite snacks?

Coconut chocolate ice cream with chia seeds and crushed walnuts is a really good snack when I have a sweet tooth every once in awhile. Churros from Hugo's. They’re vegan and gluten free.
 

Favorite beverages:

Coffee, Yerba Mate, Kombucha.
 

Are there any foods you dislike?

Meat.

 

Are you good at impressions? If so, who can you do?

I am not good at them. Well I have a Don Knotts impression I did, there’s a video of it somewhere. When I auditioned for SNL once I did an impression of Joan Rivers, and it was just not good. For some reason I also did the mom from back to the future, which basically you can just say “Marty”.

 

Who / what do you think you were in a past life?

I’ve never really thought about that... I was probably just me!

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Where do you like to shop?

Thrift stores mostly, but I haven’t even really done that in awhile.
 

Guilty pleasures?

Not embarrassed about songs I listen to. I once had someone tell me they wanted to die when I was singing to Justin Bieber and I thought that was the meanest thing. Who can’t get down to Bieber? Fuck off.
 

Do you like to cook? If so, what are some of your favorite things to make?

I love to make this sandwich: Tempeh with coco aminos on it, hummus, avocado, yellow peppers, and spinach on toasted gluten free bread. Someone’s going to look at my photos and be like “of course she’s gluten free!” I like to make these really thin pancakes with lemon and powdered sugar for the sauce instead of syrup. I also like a tomato sauce I make: Purple cabbage, onions, diced tomatoes, a little bit of curry powder on there, lots of garlic, and orange pepper.

I love colorful food because it’s pretty and you’re filling your body with more beauty. Receiving.
 

What does your ideal day look like?

Every day of my life is ideal, even bad days. Of course in the moment it doesn't feel like it, but then maybe three days later you realize you learned from that. I do so many things in the day sometimes I’ll go to the beach, work, go to a movie, then go to the park, I’ll edit for a job or write a script, sometimes I’ll get to do yoga. I try to exercise every 3 days or so, swimming or riding my bike. Journal. If I can listen to what my body is telling me and  just do what my intuition is telling me that's an ideal day.
 

The last funny or interesting dream you remember having?

I had a dream where a woman held a tarot card which pictured a camel. She then said “Don’t worry, he is coming. The Ethereal Man.” She also in the beginning told me I was beautiful, and I then said so was she. It was nice.

I usually don’t dream unless someone is dying or it’s a message.

In another dream I was going through a field of tall golden grass and I was walking with a wig on through the grass and as I walked the grass was getting taller and taller until it slowly pushed the wig off of my head and I just was there. As myself. Then I woke up.

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What’s your sign? Does it mean anything to you?

Cancer ummmmmmm Virgo Gemini - Owl or Christi would know.
 

Where are your happy places? Real or imaginary

The beach. A happy place that I can’t go to every day would be Zion, the water is healing there. Anywhere I can find peace in myself with no criticism or judgment, no voice looming for a bit. That's the place.

 

Do you believe in soulmates?

I don’t know what I believe in anymore with that. I’m working so hard on other parts of my life that I haven’t gotten to that point yet.

I do believe everyone you meet is for a reason.


What has been a force of inspiration in your life?

A lot. Everyone I meet.

My drama teacher from high school. She was badass, did everything she could without any compliments. I learned to direct without compliments so that was very off putting to a lot of actors at first so I had to learn that quickly.  I recently said goodbye to her because she was moving out of the country. It She moved out of the country, and I was at a kind of low point in my life, and luckily I see her again. This woman is amazing, she has changed so many people’s lives. She changed my life. She’s a hardass and badass and I would never want her to be softer or gentler or something else. The fact that I loved her like that fully and would never want to change her; that was a force of inspiration. It’s also little things daily like how a person smiled or hugged or told the truth. Also watching Persona for the first time, the first five minutes I cried. The first 5 minutes changed my life for filmmaking forever.
 

Are you messy or neat?

Very much both.

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Do you have any irrational fears?

Are fears irrational?


Are you a morning or night person?

Night. Even though I just love that morning light. Ah! So good.
 

Do you think everything happens for a reason?

Yes. Keep going.
 

Something you’d like to learn:

I’m learning Boundaries right now. It’s tight.

I would love to learn to play a tenor Guitar. I think I will, so I can express.
 

Two truths and a lie:

When I was little I used to go door to door to try to get money to wash people’s cars

When I was 8 I burned my arm on the stove and no one was home.

When I was 21 I worked at a strip club
 

Pet peeve:

Lying.


Do you get nervous / stage fright? If so, how do you move through it?

The last time I did I just told all my friends exactly how I felt and all of them luckily we're there for me I told him exactly how I was feeling. I was very authentic with everything I felt.  Luckily I was aware enough to pinpoint what I was feeling.

Sometimes I’ll wait until the last minute and it's up against the wire and then I'll be like “okay go!” and then I go and that’s it. It’ll be one minute to showtime and maybe you weren't prepared. The most important thing is just do it, start.
 

Advice to younger self:

You are going to be everything you know you are. You already are.
 

What are some of your favorite  products: 

Honey, put honey on your face while you’re in the bath.

Anything you’d like to promote?

Birdswithoutfeathers.com  my debut feature film.

It screens in LA two times before January. TBA.
 

Where can people find you / see your work?

wendyfilms.com or youtube.com/wendymccolm

 

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