Freehold's Film Directing class, taught by Robin Lynn Smith and John Jacobsen, was a life-changing experience for me. For 13 years, starting in my late twenties, I worked as an Assistant Director in television and film. At age 40 I arrived at a crossroads and decided to become a psychotherapist, a profession I’ve lived with and loved for the past 20 plus years. So it was a surprise to discover, recently, that I had an unsatisfied hunger, one I’d buried deeply, to return to film making. I had started out focusing on becoming a director and gradually gave that up in the tangle and exhaustion of film making in Hollywood. But my hunger for creative expression hadn’t gone away, it was just buried under layers of fear and the stories we tell ourselves about the practicalities of life.
This class brought me to life. For the first time I wasn’t overcome with worry about how I was doing or whether I was good enough. I just wanted to learn ... to experience ... to grow. John and Robin live that approach to their craft and they create a safe place for their students to live it as well.
There was so much to learn, even though the 8 director-students knew a fair amount about film making already. I felt both excited and nearly overwhelmed. But Robin and John adjusted the course to fit our needs as we went along, making sure we got what we needed in order to build a foundation of competence and move progressively forward in developing our craft.
The final project, with its three iterations, was rich with learning. I privately set goals for each time I shot this final scene, ensuring that I achieved one more skill each time. I reached as high as I could, but reassured myself by setting what I knew to be a realistic goal for myself so I could feel the satisfaction of having achieved that private intention. I think this is the first time I’ve found this kind of inner balance in being able to take on something this important to me, without panicking and getting distracted by worrying about what others were thinking of me. It was very freeing and so I was able to work hard AND enjoy the process!
The final screening, in an actual theater, before an audience, was a revelation! I had no idea I would feel so thrilled, so emotional, so satisfied. That screening became a beginning, not an ending, of a wonderful journey I’ve only just begun ... with new colleagues, brilliant mentors, and Freehold, my new creative home.