A self-proclaimed neurotic freak, Katie Schwartz is a comedy writer. “I know this sounds lame, but writing is my oxygen and when I discovered producing theatre years ago, I felt a love I had only experienced when I wrote and again when I started producing film.” She has produced over 20 vignettes and pilot presentations and broke into filmmaking only a year and a half ago.
“I noticed that if you have the passion to execute your vision, people will get involved, generously donate their time, and participate in a collaborative environment. In my opinion, I think anyone can get out there and produce.”
Schwartz recently had the opportunity to work with many of her comedy writing heroes and mentors on her first political satire. The short film, currently in post-production, deals with women’s rights and equal rights.
She says she is excited and nervous about popping her festival cherry at the LA Film Festival, with two episodes accepted from her web series, You’re Thinking of Someone Else, a semi-autobiographical comedy about the awkward and embarrassing situations many women would rather not discuss.
Right of Passage – You’re Thinking of Someone Else
Schwartz and her team are in the process of planning for the second season of YTOSE. “I want to write five episodes, and I know a lot of other women want to write episodes, too. I also want to allocate episodes for women writers just beginning to write sketch comedy, so they have an opportunity to get their voice heard.”
Donuts – You’re Thinking of Someone Else
Schwartz is currently working on several projects intended for television with various production partners. Working in television is her greatest aspiration, but she says she will never give up making web-series and short films. She sees the Internet creating exponential opportunity for independent filmmakers. “You can always get something made and immediately get it out into the world. I love that independent filmmaking spirit. Living in both worlds is important to me.”
And for Schwartz with respect to feedback about her work, “There’s no time to have smoke blown up my ass.” With less than five hours of sleep on any given night, she gets up at the crack of dawn to write, produce, hock, follow up and study people, et al. With years of experience sitting on stoops in New York, she found inspiration in every neighborhood. Schwartz explains that she’s pretty much comfortable with anyone, including flashers and the guy who pees in her alley and babbles about Vietnam. “I’m kind of obsessed with him and steer the conversation towards his fascination with one particular trash can.
Her advice to aspiring writers and filmmakers “Is what I’ve always believed and had validated by my mentors, to always write for yourself first. I never sit to write and think, OK, who is this for? But once you have something you feel good about, and you’re ready to send it into the world, you get into the business of writing. Staying open to critical feedback and not being married to your words is important and allows you to continuously grow as a writer.”
She says that in her experience, filmmaking today is about the greater good of a project and supporting each other’s endeavors. “What I love about ZoomTilt is the deep sense of collaboration, passion for filmmaking and what a great breeding ground it is for writers, producers and directors to gain support on every level, community, and marketing, and production opportunities. ZoomTilt genuinely supports the artists they focus on.”
Schwartz is eager to continue working with established and burgeoning writers, comedians, directors and producers. “Speaking for myself, I learn from everyone I work with. I feel lucky to work with the people I have and look forward to more.”