Wondering how easy it is to find the perfect woman director on our amazing database?
The team at The New Yorker put our site to the test when searching for a comedy director for one of their latest issues. Hoping to find an experienced comedy director to shoot TV comedy auteurs like Issa Rae & Abbi and Ilana of Broad City, a search using our skill-set filters led them to discover the work of LP, who was ultimately hired for the job!
“That was the best experience of my life, better than any birthday, any family,” joked Ilana Glazer on the experience of working with LP. “Hire this queen!”
Check out this behind the scenes video, featuring LP on set, and read on for further conversation with the director, touching on the need for women’s voices to be amplified, the importance of empathy for others, and…prenatal pole dancing?
The team at The New Yorker found your work in our database when looking for a comedy director. As a director, do you get the sense that more and more jobs are going out of their way to seek out women, or do we really have our work cut out for us?
Hmmm. I do hear that in conversation a lot – “People want to hire women! Isn’t that great?!” And sure, yes it is. But I don’t know if it is actually happening. Movies and TV shows still have such lopsided percentages for how many women are being hired. It’s not equal. Or even close. So I’m grateful that the New Yorker team made it a point to hire a woman for this project.
How did you initially find your voice as a director?
By trying things, succeeding/failing and then trying again. I started at Funny or Die which was a great place to try things, experiment and get feedback from people who I admire. And after making some things, I think you start to see patterns of what you like, what works for you and that kind of becomes your voice.
Your work for Funny or Die has made us die laughing over and over again. Can you talk some of your favorite work that you’ve written/directed for Funny or Die?
I’m so grateful to Funny or Die for all the opportunities it gave me. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I really loved working with Christina Applegate on Prenatal Pole Dancing. She was really pregnant at the time and that did not stop her from dancing in crazy shoes and giving her all that day. I think she got an actual offer to go dance at Scores in NYC.
As a woman director who works in comedy, have you ever encountered people who underestimate your skills or work based solely on gender? Are there gender-based stereotypes that you’ve dealt with?
It’s hard to tell if someone is underestimating you solely on your gender unless they flat out say that, but there are patterns of discriminating behavior that are noticeable. The one that I run into a lot is being in a room with mostly men, a woman (myself or another) will say an idea that is ignored or not heard. Then moments later, a man will say the SAME IDEA and the room will commend him and get excited as if they just heard it for the first time. This has happened to me and to women I’ve been in rooms with so many times I can’t even count. And this goes for women, no matter their position. I heard something that was happening in the Obama White House that I find inspiring and crucial – amplification. When a fellow woman in the room states an idea, other women repeat it, giving her credit so that it makes it harder to ignore or steal the idea. It works great and feels great to be supported that way.
How do you approach working on commercial content? Does it draw on the same skill sets that inform your non-commercial comedy work, or is it a totally different process?
Working on commercials is different than non commercial work because I feel like I am in service to the brand and am working to carry out a vision that has been brought to me. Production wise it’s not that different and my directing style remains the same on set, but it’s the final goal of the content to work for the brand. It’s my job to give them what they want. Whereas if I’m working on a comedic piece for myself, I’m driving the vision and am trying to give myself what I want.
Any particular big goals for your work? What are some dream projects you’d like to be hired to work on?
My big goal is to make a movie that people watch over and over again. Something that makes people so happy that they want to rewatch it. I have a few movies like that in my life, that I can watch over and over when I want to feel better. Oh did you want to know which ones? Overboard, Old School, Big Business, A League of Their Own…
What are you working on next?
I’m developing a few films that hopefully will be shot this year or next. We’re working on scripts and reaching out to talent. Movies have a lot of moving pieces that need to fall in line to make that happen. And in between those, I’m reading a lot of scripts and watching a lot of movies so that I can get better at my job.
Who are some of the women who inspire you most, creatively?
Women being authentic and creative in general inspire me. Abbi and Ilana (and their director, Lucia) of BROAD CITY inspire me so hard that sometimes I can’t even handle it. Patty Jenkins has been inspiring me because of WONDER WOMAN’S success. I just saw ATOMIC BLONDE and Charlize Theron’s cool action star confidence inspired me. I could go on!
Free The Bid is committed to advocating for diverse perspectives and points of view. What do you think are some of the benefits to diverse representation on both sides of the camera lens?
It’s crazy that we have to illuminate the benefits of diversity on both sides of the camera because that seems obvious but yeah! Diverse points of view are interesting! The world is full of different types of people, seeing more stories and journeys creates empathy for other people. And boy do we need empathy for people different than us these days.
Finally, what’s the best piece of advice you’d give women who aspire to become comedy directors?
Don’t give up. Just keep going. No matter what they say. No matter how you feel. Keep working, keep getting better, and keep making things. Persistence will lead to success.