We had the good fortune of connecting with Lizz Henderson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lizz, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
This is a good question, and one that we struggled with for over 10 years. We tried balancing full time jobs, raising a young toddler AND trying to making a career out of filmmaking. Our film career would get sidelined of course- because – you know, life – paying bills, raising a kid – it would get demoted to the hobby corner – like when we have extra time – we’ll get to that. Not until we completely changed our mindset, did this change, this included doing years of internal work, meditating – and figuring out EXACTLY what we wanted out of life and who we wanted to be. Once we got into the mindset of THIS IS WHO WE ARE AND THIS IS WHAT WE DO. And finally listened to our intuition – we quit our jobs (and it wasn’t easy), put 100 percent of our attention into our film company. On top of that, we also had hard faith in ourselves that we would succeed, and that the universe would have our back. When you do the things you love the most in this world there is no work/life balance – because you are always doing what you want, when you want. When we stopped separating work/life, and combined the two – even including our kid – it all becomes one and it is very MAGICAL.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Rich and I started a small indie production company called Dancing Silly Productions almost 14 years ago. We went to film school for a minute, got bored, dropped out and made our first feature film Suicide is Easy. We spend no money on this film. We used all our resources around us. We used our friends, their things and their houses. We did everything Guerrilla style, no permits, no unions, no permission – we just went and shot our movie. No excuses. That film went to various film festivals and won a bunch of awards, but it didn’t pay any of our bills. Because we were young – in our 20’s, we just wanted to create. So that’s what we did. What we did not do, was think about the business side of filmmaking. So throughout our 20’s we made dozens of short films and a couple feature films on our time and our dime, and didn’t make a penny. Because of this, we worked dozens and dozens of random jobs in the entertainment and restaurant industry to pay our bills and to fund our films. Then in 2012 we had a kid. Now for years we’re juggling raising a kid in Hollywood (one of the most expensive cities in the country) and we’re barely making it, the term starving artist is a real thing. We have full time jobs now (that have nothing to do with filmmaking) and we’re barely home and barely with our family. We’re certainly not creating like we wanted to be, but we never gave up. We kept creating. Even with a baby. Even with a toddler. Even after working 10 hour days. We got together and we created. We sacrificed going out, watching tv, going to the movies so that we could work on our creations, Why? Because we wanted to succeed as filmmakers more than we wanted anything. While we were full timing it, our feature film ENVISAGE (one that we shot in our 20’s) got distribution (thanks to our tribe) and went on Amazon Prime. That was big for us. That set us up as distributional filmmakers and we were able to get future distribution because of it. We stayed working full time jobs for years throughout our 30’s and raising our son, who is now 8. Within that time, at about the pace of a snail, we made an episodic series called The Green Room (also on Amazon Prime), we made a dozen more shorts and we’ve helped many of our fellow filmmakers make their films. Finally in 2019 we were able to take the plunge and quit our jobs (one was on purpose, one was not – that’s life for you!) We figured out ways (out of necessity) to generate income when we are in between projects that also align with what we want to be doing. We have started consulting fellow indie filmmakers, as well as doing script consulting. At the moment we are in development on 2 very important projects that will impact the world of kids television, as well as a nature documentary about finding nature’s heroes. As we get older, and we truly listen to our intuition and our higher selves, we are understanding more and more of who we are and why we’re here. We’re here to help. We’re here to raise awareness. We’re here to tell other people’s (and animals) stories. We are writers, storytellers and filmmakers who use their voice for good. For love. For nature.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend were coming to visit, our plans would definitely include nature. Hiking. The Ocean. Maybe go on a whale watch, see some animals. San Pedro is fun for that. San Diego is a blast and has the best zoo out there. Altadena has some great nature trails with waterfalls. Big bear is the best for the snow. The hollywood bowl is a must – especially at night, with wine and some classical music. Maybe some goat yoga!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We would not be where we are today without our tribe. Our Family. My husband Rich, and I, moved from NY to CA almost 20 years ago with nothing, we knew 1 person and had less than $1500 in our pockets. In the past 20 years we have found our chosen family. Our supporters, our cheerleaders, our motivators, critics, sponsors, mentors, editors, fans, and our best friends. These people (and they know who they are) have read every script we’ve ever wrote, they’ve attended every fundraiser, screening and award show we’ve ever had. They’ve donated money, time, art, love and support to every project we’ve ever done. These angels in our lives have kept us alive and thriving, and we will be eternally grateful for them always.