Today we have the pleasure of Spotlighting filmmaker America Young, the beloved Co-President and Co-Founder of The Chimaera Project. Thank you for speaking with us today! Besides the aforementioned titles, what would you claim as your passion in this business?
Filmmaker. Storytelling. But I have also found myself to be a Follow Your Dreams Cheerleader!
Yes! We love that. Do you have a signature or goal in mind when choosing projects?
I am a director with a long history in stunts and comedy who loves genre, action and sci-fi stories. Comedy and sci-fi are such powerful tools for asking “What if?” Exploring tough topics in safe ways that make us laugh and think. As long as I can tell a story that is entertaining and thought provoking, I know I’ve done well. I also specialize in finding what lights up others and encouraging them to go after it. This is what my participation with the Chimaera Project was born from. Meeting other filmmakers with incredible stories to share, I want to hear them all. And through TCP, we are able to support these talents and open eyes to new perspectives.
Do you mind speaking more on your part in TCP and how it was created?
A few years ago someone was talking with awe about having worked with their first female director. I remember thinking, “Whats the big deal?” Women direct. So I went to my IMDB page and started a list of all the projects I had done that had female directors. I’ve worked on a ton of things but at that point, there wasn’t one female director I had worked for. I have actively changed that. I have sought as diverse filmmakers as possible to work for and support. But that was a huge moment for me. It was such status quo that I didn’t even NOTICE it. Girls!Girls!Girls! was a film I executive produced with Jenn Fee and April Wade which required that each film had a filmmaker identifying as female as director, writer, editor, DP and producer. That had so much success, it then evolved into TCP. Every day we work to support diversity in filmmaking because we truly believe the stories being told and the way they are told can change the way people think and therefore change the way they act.
You have been creatively involved or spearheaded every step in the film making process and even film festivals. What would be a nugget or two of wisdom you can share with our readers that may encourage them in their own processes?
I’m going to plagiarize myself from another interview. “Just make it. You don’t have to show anyone. Start small if you need, a contained story in one room. Two page script, shot on your phone. You will make mistakes. Learn from them. Make another one. You will make mistakes. Learn from them. Just keep doing it. There is literally no other way to do it. Books have tons of information but until you dive in, you won’t really learn anything. Keep telling stories that mean something to you, because if they are important to you, they will resonate with others.
You don’t need to be in LA. You don’t need expensive gear. And you don’t need movie stars. You need a good story. Good stories cost nothing. You are human, you have stories. Stories you wish you saw out there. Stories only you can tell. Tell those.”
Thank you for that wisdom. I would love to take it way back for a minute to when you started out. How did you get the “bug” as they say to pursue this passion of storytelling.
Storytelling has always been such an important part of my life. I’m horrible with names and faces of people I have met, but I recently had an epiphany, if I get someone talking about themselves, I remember their stories. Once I remember their story, then the name and face fall into place in my memory and I know exactly who they are. This is how my brain works, story fuels everything for me. So it was inevitable I’d end up here, telling stories for a living.
Has there been a moment during your pursuit that you are most proud of?
I’m currently directing an animated series for Mattel that we have worked very hard to make a source of light for kids. And a reviewer just compared us to Mr Rogers for this generation. I cannot even express the pride I felt for that comparison to someone I have admired my whole life. His nonstop and earnest desire to inspire kids, support and change the world for the better is beautiful. I strive everyday to continue to earn this compliment.
You are a light, and we are are so delighted to spotlight you! May we ask for one more word for our readers to inspire them throughout their day?
When you go off in search what what you think your dreams are, the road is never smooth. Even if it’s where you belong. Sometimes it not smooth because your concept of what you wanted, was not fully formed or informed. Sometimes it’s because you need some struggles on the way to test your resolve. Sometimes it’s because you picked the most challenging possible dream to follow, a dream that not many have tried or dared. In every case, these challenges are a gift. They help form and inform what you are going after so you can do so with more clarity. They strengthen your resolve so any further obstacles are less daunting. They mean you are clearing the path, a new path, for others who dare to dream what you dream. You led the way, and there is nothing more inspiring than that. It’s hard to see it when you are in the middle of dealing with an obstacle, but try to remember there is so much to learn from the process if you are smart about it.
Thank you again, America. We can’t wait to see whats up next for you!