Lara Everly: Director, Writer, and Actress
Lara Everly is a director, writer, and actress. As a director, she celebrates female-driven comedy and women's issues. Keep reading for real life advice on parenting and success and read all about Lara’s journey, how she balances her career and being a new mom, her current project “Milk Money” here:
When did you know you wanted to work in the film industry? Has being a director always been a dream of yours?
I mean I would say it goes back to the 80’s when I would boss my friends around in playdates to “put on shows” and then film them with my dad’s VHS camcorder. After college, I stayed in my comfort zone of acting in film/ tv but directing theater for a while until Stephen Chbosky, offered to exec produce and fund a little play I directed and so we could make it into a short. I couldn’t walk away from that opportunity, so I put myself through my own film school experience and I’ve been directing since.
How did you achieve your goal of becoming a director and getting into this industry? Did you have a solid plan? Did you go with the flow? Walk me through your journey to success.
I think the key is not to wait for opportunities and create your own. A ton of the content I have directed I also wrote or helped originate the concept. I’m not saying you need to pour your own money into things but you can ideate, write, pitch and collaborate with platforms to create your work. If you wait for all the jobs to land in your lap it’s going to likely be a long wait.
What are a few attributes needed to be successful in this industry and what are some of the biggest challenges in this industry?
Persistence. Grit. Confidence. Mild insanity and mild narcissism. For real - you have to be crazy enough to think you can beat the odds. Also for the love of all that is holy - collaboration! It’s a team effort. If you can’t collaborate, this isn’t the right field for you. And at the heart of it all - creativity. There’s a lot ideas in the world. You gotta know why your ideas matter.
What advice do you have for someone looking to break out into the film industry?
-Apply to grants and programs.
-Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.
As a director, actress, and writer- if you had to pick just one of these roles, which would it be and why?
This year I’ve been pivoting to really focus on directing but I think it’s all just about being a creator and I try not to get too hung on labels.
With fur babies, your own babies, directing, writing, acting, and just life in general- how do you mange to stay focused and balance your work and social life?
I don’t! It’s hard and it’s a struggle. I don’t want to pretend like I have anything figured out! Especially in this pandemic working moms are doing a crazy circus act and are the real sheros. Also what is a social life in the age of covid?? Ha.
Overall I think having a village is key, whether it’s a supportive online mom group or your parents that live nearby or paid childcare, etc. No one can do it alone.
And letting go of perfectionism has been a personal journey. At this stage in my life I can’t do everything to full extent I ever want to. Everything is interrupted all the time. You have to get real comfortable with things being good enough.
Photo Credit: Instagram.com/Laraeverly
Where do you find inspiration for your films?
I tell female-driven comedies and mother-driven comedies because those are the stories I am living and interested in telling. I wind up doing a lot of advocacy-related content as well because I find it an inspiring way to reach people.
Milk Money is a 10 episode series on the price of parenthood, where did you come up with the concept of “Milk Money” and what is the meaning behind the name?
When Million Stories asked me to pitch some ideas on the topic of financial literacy, I immediately thought about how having children was the biggest perspective shift I had personally had in regards to money. You go about living, budgeting, saving, spending for yourself and then all of sudden you are responsible for another person’s life for a long time. It’s like someone just racks the camera focus real quick and suddenly what mattered financially changes overnight. I wanted to explore this paradigm shift and open up the conversation about the rising costs of raising children and the general pressures this generation of parents are grappling with both financially and emotionally.
What do you want viewers to get out of “Milk Money”? What message do you hope “Milk Money” delivers?
Solidarity, support, community and empowerment.
What are your biggest struggles as a parent and how do you overcome them?
I work at lot in the home. In 2019 I made the choice to invest in a women only communal office space called The Jane Club for more interrupted time to work away from the kids. I only went about once a week but it was really great. Sadly, it’s closing due to the pandemic and I have never taken more work meetings and calls with the kids around than 2020. It’s hard for them to not interrupt and for part of my mind to be thinking about them when I am at work. Not sure I’ve really overcome this issue! But again, you just gotta get cozy with the concept of good enough. :)
What is the best advice you received before becoming a new parent?
Sleep now! It’s true. Sleep will never be the same.
What is one piece of advice that you would give new parents?
Listen to yourself, not others. You will get a ton of advice about to raise your child. You know best. You know her/ him in way no one does. Trust your instincts and try to quiet the chatter.