We had the good fortune of connecting with Demi Cartwright and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Demi, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Honestly I used to be all work and no life. It was drilled into me as a kid that I wasn’t going to be successful unless I completely dedicated my life to my work or passion. Over time, I’ve realized a couple of things. The first being the whole “all work and no play” idea for success is just not true. The second being that there are more important things in life than work. I’m a huge advocate for mental health, and you just can’t be mentally healthy if you don’t have an even split between work and life. I also think that it’s important that you feel like work is a part of your life, in a good way. This doesn’t have to mean that you have to follow your childhood dreams of being an astronaut rather than work a 9-5 job. It just means that you have to enjoy what work brings into your life. If you’re not happy with the people you work with, you won’t be happy with your job. That goes for any line of work. As a filmmaker and photographer, I’ve realized that no matter how much you love what you do, if you don’t enjoy working with the people that you work with, it’s going to feel like a chore. I feel so lucky to have realized this from a young age because now I do everything I can to have a happy life and surround myself with those who contribute to that happy life whether that be in work or leisure. Regardless of what’s going on in my life, I always feel like a pretty lucky girl. I’m just really grateful for the outlook I have.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Honestly, I’m still shocked at where I am today. It’s been difficult figuring out how I want to change the world because I’m passionate about so many things. Earlier this year, I realized I wanted to teach filmmaking to high school students. It seems like a small goal, but I want to be more than just a teacher. I want to be a mentor. I want to be someone that kids can turn to and rely on. I want to be that person by teaching filmmaking. In film school, I learned so much about life and the real world. I took lessons away from filmmaking that maybe my peers didn’t see at first glance. I want to share those lessons with the generations to come. I didn’t have a mentor that could teach me about film when I was in high school. If I could help foster those dreams and passions before they decide what they want to pursue in life, I know there’s such an immense amount of potential to change these kids’ lives for the better. Today I’m a lead film instructor with Joey Travolta’s Inclusion Film camps which teach filmmaking to kids and young adults with learning and developmental disabilities. I hope to eventually run an organization that installs film programs into high schools across the country. The difference that filmmaking has on the lives of the kids that attend the Inclusion Film camps is the kind of difference I want to continue making for the rest of my life. I feel so grateful to be where I am today, doing the work that I do. I definitely thought this was something I wouldn’t be able to start doing for years. But because of my consistent hard work, passion, and good timing, I’m already doing work that means the world to me.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I absolutely love Los Angeles, and I’ve already given plenty of loved ones tours of the area. My go to areas are definitely the Venice Beach Boardwalk, Hollywood, and Santa Monica. Seeing the different people, vendors, and just life around each of these places is incredible. I always have a good time. My favorite restaurants are definitely The Original Pantry Cafe, Bea Bea’s in Burbank, and Mel’s Diner in Hollywood. I don’t think you can order any bad dish at any of those places. I’ve loved everything I’ve ordered from them. Also make sure to get rolled ice cream! My favorite is definitely the Rolling Factory in Glendale. And if you have time to check out any of the local farmer’s markets, I highly recommend doing that. I’ve been to almost all of the ones in the greater Los Angeles area, and they’re all pretty great to me. Finally, an absolute must is driving along Mulholland Drive and stopping at the various outlooks. I’ve taken some pretty amazing photos up there. If you want to see the city skyline, that’s the place to go.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I could honestly talk about so many people, but I think those who have had the absolute biggest impact on my life are my parents, Jeff and Judi Cartwright. My dad and step mom have been my number one supporters since I was a baby. Even when I’ve gotten lost, or been an atrocious brat, they have always seen my potential and encouraged me to embrace that potential. I have had some really low points in my life, but they have been right by my side through the entire roller coaster. When I wanted to move across the country to study filmmaking in Los Angeles, they supported me 100%. They inspire me beyond anything I could ever put into words, and I always just hope I can be half the people they are, because even half would make me a pretty damn good person. My two best friends, Charlie Stewart and Fiifi Godwyll, also deserve an immense amount of credit. They have made my life infinitely better from the moment I met them. They are incredible human beings that already have made, and will continue to make, an immense impact on this world.
I also would like to dedicate my shoutout to the two teachers who pushed me out of my shell to finally start achieving my true potential. Rebecca Harkavy and Scott Moberly saw the amazing woman I could be even when all I was showing was a timid, quiet girl. Without them, I’m not sure I would have found my love of filmmaking, much less gone to the film school that would provide me with an irreplaceable education.
Isabella Bertilsson, Demi Cartwright, Kristina Kim, Cory Moore, Joy Yue