I recently had the opportunity to exclusively interview Paige Irene Bruns to learn five random facts about herself and how she would describe her film Anchor in one sentence. Check out my interview with Paige Irene Bruns below:
Loryn: What advice do you have for aspiring directors?
Paige: I’ve been fortunate enough to have directed several projects. Each time I walk onto a set I learn something new, but the thing that I keep closest to my heart and something that I am constantly reminding myself of is that vulnerability leads to authenticity.
As a director, I am completely immersed in the emotions and mental arcs of my characters, which is something I used to be absolutely terrified of. I am constantly putting myself in the shoes of other people - oftentimes, people that are living lives and experiences that are far different from my own.
Creativity is a very private thing until it’s not. By allowing yourself to surrender to every element of the story, you’ve all of a sudden made it very personal which makes the idea of sharing it with anyone, let alone the entire world, a bit daunting. At the same time, it’s what enables you to tell an authentic and truthful story. Acquiescing to those emotions gives you the ability to craft characters who reflect real human beings and at the end of the day, storytelling is all about relatability. We all want to see a piece of ourselves in the characters we watch on our screens.
Also, make your own content! You can watch all the “how to” videos in the world, but nothing beats the knowledge you’ll develop by being on a set and gaining hands-on experience. With all of the new technology, you can shoot a quality short on your phone!
Loryn: What inspired you to become a screenwriter?
Paige: From the age of three, when I first saw ‘The Wizard of Oz’ I have been mesmerized by storytelling.
As I moved through school and started taking creative writing courses, I became completely enthralled with the concept of exploring human psychology and relationships through stories. I remember working on a short narrative in my 8th grade English class with Mrs. Brewer - she had pulled me aside and said “You write really well, but focus too much on dialogue.” The characters were so alive in my head that their emotions and words just flowed out of me. That should have been my first clue!
In high school, I was on the Varsity swim team and every day during practice - as I swam back and forth across the pool, I would make up scenarios to pass the time. I always had characters and their stories running through my head.
There was never really a moment where I said “I’m going to be a screenwriter.” It just kind of happened naturally and it felt right. I think for me, screenwriting has always been my way of working through and understanding emotion.
Loryn: How would you describe your film Anchor in one sentence to new fans?
Paige: “Anchor” tells the story of Haleigh Emerson, a bright and independent college student who experiences a traumatic sexual assault at a party and simultaneously, how the handling of it effects her relationship with her best friend Cam - a nationally ranked swimmer with his eye on the Olympics.
Loryn: What lesson did you learn from writing and directing Anchor?
Paige: Making “Anchor” was a learning experience from start to finish. It really provided me with the opportunity to develop a clear idea of who I wanted to be as a storyteller and allowed me the space to fully delve into that vision both as a writer and as a director.
One of the most monumental things I learned from this process was the importance of being able to identify your actors' breaking points. As a director, you are the actor's biggest advocate - it’s your job to create a safe environment that sets them up for success. If you think about it, you’re essentially asking your actors to emotionally expose themselves in front of a room full of people, sometimes for hours at a time. Filmmaking is a very tedious process and we’re filming scenes for several hours, which is tiring no matter what the nature of the sequence is, but when you’re dealing with heavy emotional moments, everything is heightened.
Understand that while they are acting, the emotions are still very genuine and it’s never going to be more real to anyone than it is in that moment. Being able to identify when your actors have given you everything they have and then being prepared enough to take a step back is vital. The second you see they’ve hit that point and you ask for another take, you are no longer their advocate.
Your job as a director is to be there to support and help guide them, not to override them.
Loryn: What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
Paige: People might be surprised to learn that I am naturally more of an introvert. Oddly enough, I think directing has really helped me push out of my comfort zone and become a more effective and interpersonal communicator.
Be sure to check out “Anchor” and check out Paige Irene Bruns website: http://paigeirene.com/. Be sure to follow her on her social media platform: