The Chimaera Project was excited to get to speak with multi-talented Kristin Windell of Sierra Madre, whose passion is hour long scripted TV. Kristin began her journey in editing and is now directing.
TCP: Thank you so much for chatting with us. We are also excited about hour long scripted television, but would love to hear more about how you came to discover your passion.
KW: I love crafting stories. I was an editor for 15 years in Hollywood and loved how you can shape or mold a story in post. Sitting in the editor’s chair I had the good fortune to interview hundreds of directors. I enjoyed the process and through this immersion, I saw myself able to do a good job of directing. I went to my producer and asked for the opportunity. He agreed if I did the work and shadowed a couple of directors, he would let me have a shot.
TCP: Talk about having an “Ah! Ha!” moment. It is great that you were able to see that and realize that you had something to bring to the table. Was there anything from your prior experience that you think helped you gain this wisdom?
KW: As an editor I worked on many shows and there were directors we worked with multiple times through a season. They would shoot the show with their own signature which many times meant it wasn’t complete. There were missing pieces. But they would keep getting hired. I was constantly scratching my head wondering what made them such a great director. In that process, I realized I possibly knew how to tell the story better. I decided I needed to be the change I wanted to see in the show.
TCP: That’s amazing. We are sure that it hasn’t always been easy even once you made your choice to move forward with directing. Have there been any challenges?
KW: I’m lucky in that I work with producers who have a lot of shows in production. In the end, it’s been a smooth road jumping from editing to directing. But four years ago, I definitely took a leap of faith. Realizing we only regret what we don’t do in life, I took a leap of faith and left something I loved – editing.
TCP: That is great advice. Do you have any other words of wisdom for our readers?
KW: Surround yourself with mentors and friends that inspire you to be the kind of filmmaker you want to be. Be true to who you are and trust your gut. Remember that small wins lead to big wins. If you have a story in your head, get out there and shoot it.
TCP: Yes!! Just do it: always sage advice! And trusting yourself and your gut. I mean, look where it has taken you, it is inspiring. Besides actually taking the chance on yourself, what are you most proud of?
KW: I was really proud of my Arrow episode “Lost Canary”. The episode contained a female driven plot, written by a female, produced by a female and had a female AD. The set reeked of Girl Power and I loved it.
TCP: Well, we are sure to love it too! Girl Power is always a power we can get behind at The Chimaera Project. So, what are your plans, now that you seem to be following your passion and true calling?
KW: For the moment, I seem to be in the “female who can direct action” lane, which is fine. Studios go with the proven thing which makes sense. But, directing an action fight scene can be the same as directing a martial spat scene or a prom dance. If you do one well, it doesn’t mean you can’t do the other. It’s all about your vision. I recently was on a show where everything just clicked. I had an idea for a scene when I read the script for the first time. We found a location that matched what I had in my head. On the day, the DP elevated it beyond my wildest dreams. I would say I’m a collaborative director on the set. Best idea always wins. I feel that listening to others ideas opens up a world of possibility.
TCP: It seems that everything you say is a gem of wisdom. Collaboration, opening up to other ideas, and using your experiences to move you forward. Thank you so much for sharing your positive passion and emboldening us to take chances on ourselves. We look forward to seeing what else Kristin Windell has up her sleeves and adding a bunch more television episodes to our watch list!
To learn more about Kristin, visit her online at www.kristinwindell.com or on social media at Instagram: @directorkristin, Twitter: @stinly.