EP (60) Mary Neely: Exploring strong female storylines through film and creative projects as an actress, writer and director

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Mary Neely grew up in the city of glitz and glamour.

Her dreams were not dissimilar to those who walked the same streets, played in the same school yards and hit up the same coffee shops and restaurants. She wanted to be an actress.

After earning her B.A. in acting + Scandinavian culture from UCLA's School of Theater, Film & Television, she wrote her first feature screenplay THE DARK ROOM with Eli Russell Linnetz.

The script became a top 40 finalist in The Academy's Nicholl Fellowship and was hosted on The Black List. Mary then wrote, directed, produced, edited, and starred in her first short film THE DRESSER, which was nominated for the Golden Egg at the Reykjavik International Film Festival as well as playing the festival circuit.

If you were to ask her how she ended up being a director, you'd get an interesting story. She wasn't being cast in a lot of roles, and she was noticing that there weren't a lot of female focused storylines being produced in Hollywood.

Clearly frustrated with this reality, Mary decided to write and star in her female centric films. Basically, if it doesn't exist - make it yourself. And that's exactly what she did.

Since THE DRESSER was such a surprise success for Mary, she decided to try her hat at writing, directing, producing and editing an eight part digital series called Wacko Smacko based on THE DRESSER. It was hard work. There were moments of tears and moments of laughter - but the experience showed her that anything you put your mind to, you can accomplish.

That's why when she was presented with an opportunity to direct, edit and produce her second short film, Pink Trailer, she jumped at the opportunity. And clearly made the right decision, as that creative endeavour had it's North American premier at South by Southwest (you may have heard of this amazing conference?!).

Although it may appear that she's had a lot of success - we can't forget that there's many years of dedication to the craft, honing skills and perseverance. And the coolest thing is that her career is still in it's infancy...there's no telling what Mary will do in Hollywood over the coming years.

 
 PINK TRAILER

PINK TRAILER

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SOME QUESTIONS I ASKED:

  • Do you believe in a morning routine to get your day started?
  • What was it like growing up in L.A?
  • What did your parents think when you said you wanted to get into acting?
  • You have an impressive resume and you're only in your 20's - where does the drive come from?
  • How did you get into directing?
  • What was the first film you ever made?
  • How do you feel about it today?
  • Did you always want to be a director?
  • Is your passion still acting or is it now directing?
  • And so much more...

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: 

  • How Mary shifted from acting to directing
  • Who influenced her film style
  • How she ended up making her first film on a really tight budget
  • How to make things happen when people say no
  • The two biggest lessons she's learned as a female filmmaker
  • How she directs and stars in some of her own movies
  • What she was feeling when she found out her film was selected for SXSW
  • And lots more...

OTHER LINKS:

CONNECT WITH MARY NEELY

 INSTAGRAM | IMDB | TWITTER

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Edited by: James Nicholson