Good morning. It's Wednesday, March 25. Society is at a standstill, the future is a question mark, and many people are out of work. If you happen to have extra time on your hands today: Have you ever thought about becoming a filmmaker?
The filmmaker and TV director Lynn Shelton would like you to know how easy it is to make a movie with the phone in your pocket.
She had never edited a film on her phone before, but she does it here for the first time. "It's all done on my phone," as she says. "And you can do it too."
Shelton used to live in Seattle and direct movies starring people like Keira Knightley, Emily Blunt, and Allison Janney. Now she lives in Los Angeles and directs shows like Hulu's Little Fires Everywhere starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington (she directed episodes 1, 4, 5, and 8), as well as Marc Maron's new (weirdly prescient) Netflix special End Times Fun.
"I thought I would use this as an excuse to learn a new skill. So the skill I'm going to attempt to teach myself is how to edit movies on my phone," she explains in the video about downloading iMovie onto her phone to create the message you're watching.
She adds, "The other thing that really uplifts me a lot is singing. I was kind of shocked recently to rediscover how many happy hormones flooded my body when I got into a bathtub and I put a song on that is a song that I like to sing to... I sang really loud and I could not believe how my mood just skyrocketed."
Her video today includes friends of hers sending clips of themselves singing, and Shelton edits them together.
For background about Shelton, read this 2008 profile by Annie Wagner, in which Wagner writes that Shelton "confines herself to miniscule budgets, largely pro-bono talent, and picturesque property owned by relatives and friends to stage productions that put risk-taking above commercial appeal. The financial investment may be minimal, but the results are astonishing."
Wagner goes on to observe:
Historically one of the few film-industry jobs available to women, editing is also the only component technique of filmmaking that has no precedent in other art forms. From still photography to theater, film borrows much more than it invents. But fashioning material from a loose, improvisational set into a coherent narrative is an act of authorship, not just assembly. Lynn Shelton's experiments in method are a tribute to the one thing that makes cinema unique.
Thank you so much for experimenting today with all of us, Lynn!
And thank you to everyone—Nancy Guppy, Kevin Murphy, Megan Griffiths, Cat Harris-White, Sandra Brown, Jason Scott Dodson, and Kate Micucci—who made cameos.
Thank you, also, for the reminder of how glorious it is to sing and take baths.
Have a good day at home singing and bathing, everyone.
Also in this series: