We had the good fortune of connecting with Cindy Baer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cindy, what do you attribute your success to?
I think my success probably stems most from my “can do” attitude. My motto is: “Anything is possible, just figure out how”. I am also extremely focused and tenacious. I’ve been told my enthusiasm is infectious, and I’m known for working magic with a limited budget.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
All my life, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a creative self-starter who has loved to work. In grade school I made beaded bracelets and designed my own T-shirts, which I sold on the playground during recess. I created hand-sewn dresses, modeled with clay, knitted scarves and painted unicorns. I have always loved making something out of nothing. In the fifth grade I sold greeting cards door-to-door, which paid for my first stills camera and led me to photography. I developed my lifelong love for theater and acting in high school, and moved to Los Angeles shortly thereafter to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
Fast Forward twenty years: I’ve founded four successful companies, and through Free Dream Pictures have directed and produced two critically acclaimed features and five shorts that have appeared collectively in over 100 film festivals, garnering 40 Festival Awards, 8 year-end “Top Film” lists, and distribution for all. Along the way, I’ve become an expert in self distribution (which I think is the way of the future), and an advocate for filmmakers. When I’m in between my own projects, I work for other production companies, speak on film panels, freelance for Canon USA, and teach filmmaking classes.
During the pandemic I’ve been busy writing my latest screenplay IMPOSTOR SYNDROME, a fun romantic comedy in the vein of such classics as YOU’VE GOT MAIL or SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE. It deals with healing relationships, and women supporting women in a lighthearted way. These are the types of stories that truly make my heart sing. I am most drawn to quirky stories that chronicle people learning to become their authentic selves, overcoming difficult childhoods, feeling marginalized or invisible in our society, and the ways in which the media shapes who we are. I love working on projects that make a positive difference in the world — whether it’s my own productions or collaborating as a work-for-hire. You’ve gotta love what you do.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
A visiting friend who’s never been to Los Angeles might enjoy having dinner at Musso & Frank Grill, watching a movie at the Hollywood Egyptian theater, and then checking out the celebrity stars on the sidewalks of Hollywood Blvd. Some other yummy favorites to hit while in town include Pink’s (for chili dogs), Genghis Cohen (for amazing Chinese Food –and live bands in the back), India’s Oven (in West L.A.), Real Food Daily (healthy stuff!), Unami (get a burger!), and my favorite little hole in the wall: Hank’s Pizza in Playa Del Ray (get the Hanks Salad with homemade dressing). Of course many people may want to grab some In-N-Out Burger or camp out by the food trucks — including Lobsta Truck or Cousins Maine Lobster for lobster rolls. Delicious!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shout-outs go to two great books and a few great humans: The first book is “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” by Susan Jeffers. You’ve gotta love a book that’s entire premise is the actual title. The one thing that always stayed with me was the idea that 80% of what we fear will happen never does. The second book is “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, which provides solid tools for optimizing priorities and productivity. And my final shout-out is to my husband Matthew and my circle of authentic girlfriends, who are the wind beneath my wings.