Moms of Reinvention



Acclaimed Writer, Film Director & Mom
There's one type of reinvention we haven't yet addressed and that's what happens when you must figure out how to handle an incredibly demanding job after you find out you're having a baby. That's exactly what happened to writer/director Laurie Collyer when sherrybaby, a screenplay she had written, was about to be produced as an independent film at the same time she learned she was pregnant with her first child.

The film, which recently won best film at this year's Karlovy Vary Film Fest (1st American ever!) in the Czech Republic as well as the Stockholm Film Festival, stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as a recovering heroin addict and mother who tries to reclaim her life and her child after returning from prison. The project was Laurie's first foray into the world of film production and directing - a field that while seems glamourous to the outside world, is best known for its grueling work schedule.

Little did Laurie know that this interesting development would prove to be a blessing in disguise. "If I ever was upset, I could always blame it on my pregnancy," she quips. She adds that the timing of her pregnancy actually worked well with production. She was already in her second trimester during the most physical part of the project - where cast and crew members braved the elements and spent 12 hour days shooting scenes for the film. "I actually had more hormonal energy during this time." Plus, members of the crew were very responsive to her situation. "The art production people always said to me, 'oh I feel sorry for you'." By the time Laurie gave birth, she said the film was in post-production and she was able to bring her newborn to her editing sessions as she put the finishing touches on the project.

Laurie says that part of the reason she was able to successfully write and direct sherrybaby was due in part to producer Lemore Syvan, who was incredibly supportive of Laurie's pregnancy and her commitment to the project. In fact, as more women take on major directing and production jobs in the entertainment industry, she believes the key to sanity and success is to work with producers who are responsive to the needs of working parents. Some accomplished directors even have childcare arrangements such as a nanny on set, worked into their overall production agreement just so they can accommodate the work/life balance.

sherrybaby recently received critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival and even snared a Golden Globe nomination for Maggie Gyllenhaal - who also became a new mother after the film was released. Laurie recently attended the Golden Globe Awards for the first time and is now currently at work on several exciting film projects, including a screenplay about growing up in Beverly Hills in the 1980's. While she is uncertain of what the future holds, Laurie says if her next project takes her away from the east coast, her son, who is now a toddler, will definitely be coming along for the ride. For Laurie Collyer, being a good mom means finding a way to pursue your passion while raising a family.

Beginning January 23, sherrybaby will be available for order through Net Flix - check it out, place an order and get ready to watch a really great film. To return to the Role Mommy home page, click here.


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