The Filmmakers of Writers House

Mimi Zander
Major: English
Class of 2011

As part of a collaboration with the Institute for Women’s Leadership, Mimi Zander, a leadership scholar at the institute, interviewed Alison Bechdel, author of the acclaimed graphic novel/memoir Fun Home. View Inked: An Interview with Alison Bechdel.

Mimi ZanderHard work: The most significant thing I learned was that filmmaking is hard work.

This seems fairly obvious, but I really did not know anything about cameras, microphones, Final Cut, or how to mix sound. There are a lot of details to get caught up in.

Focusing on narrative: I also learned how to interview. I’ve conducted many interviews before, but I had to ask the right questions that would somehow help me create a narrative down the line. I had to think very carefully about story structure throughout the whole process.

On-the-job learning: The biggest challenges for me were time management and learning how to use Final Cut. I came into this project with a lot of big ideas—multiple interviews, follow-up sessions, awesome b-roll, etc.—but I had never done a project quite like this one before.

I had to learn how to use Final Cut off the cuff. I knew I wanted a short animated sequence in the middle of the film, but I had to teach myself how to do this as the idea came up.

Support matters: The Writers House staff was incredibly supportive. This project could not have been completed without the help of Chantal Eyong, Steve Holloway, Sasha Taner, Dena Seidel, and the Institute for Women’s Leadership.