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Filmmaker Elizabeth Blake-Thomas: “I actually think you should burn out”

Filmmaker Elizabeth Blake-Thomas: “I actually think you should burn out”

I actually think you should burn out. What I mean by that is go with the momentum. Build momentum and go for it. It’s hard work and tenacity. Once you’re at a place where you’ve built a career then you can even-out your work life balance. Then it’s important to prioritize as well as elevate what you’re doing, constantly striving for something better.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth Blake-Thomas. As a British filmmaker living in LA, Elizabeth Blake-Thomas has written and directed 7 films over the space of two years. Having won several awards for each of her films at Action on Film, Lady filmmakers and The Christian Film Festival. She has directed a variety of genres: Kids, Family, Rom-Com, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Teen suicide and Drama.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My mum encouraged me to take drama exams as a little girl. The funny thing was that I hated drama lessons. I didn’t want to have to sit and be taught. I always wanted to create and be running the classes. So as soon as I could, I set up my own theatre company. This allowed me to really grow as a director. I started writing plays and books. My daughter would then be the biggest influence on me. She started acting on TV and in Film aged 5 years old. I would have to be with her on set and so I picked a lot of how it all worked just through osmosis. I then set up a non profit which was to encourage other young people in the industry. Without realizing it I was producing and naturally directing again. Finally just over two years ago, an ex boyfriend of mine suggested I became a film director. I asked how I could do this. His words were “you just say you’re a film director” Those 7 words changed my life.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Every day is an interesting day. I could be sitting in Hollywood and meeting John Landis or the actor Justin Hartley to being in a meeting about my own projects. Or I sit with other filmmakers and help them with their projects. I think it’s about the variety, the huge variety that my life includes. I have honestly no idea how my day is going to unfold. I have to pinch myself everyday. If I had to pick one moment though it would be when I realized the actors I wanted for my rom com were all actually going to be in the film I had cast them in. That first day was a moment I will never forget.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’m always making mistakes. I’m always learning. I would always call certain equipment by the wrong name and especially because I’m British no-one ever understands what I’m asking for. ‘Can someone please pass me some kitchen towel” no-one understood what I was asking for and they all stared at me. This taught me to never assume anyone knows what I’m talking about. So the detail and description about everything that I need or ask for is imperative to a smooth running set.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

An epic film called “Fled” which is working alongside the production company GlobalWatch. It’s a Tom and Meg Keneally script. As well as a very personal story based on something my daughter went through. She will also act in that and I love working with her. We have written this together and are directing it together. I also have the film based on my published book “Arabella”. Finally I’m excited to be working with Rob Mayes again and Kierston Wareing in a film I’ve written.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

Al Pacino was a hero. He was a gentleman and beyond sweet and kind. There is nothing better than meeting heroes in the industry who are so humble. There are also a lot of people that are the polar opposite, they talk a lot but never actually get things done. They are the people in the industry that treat you as if you’re not good enough. It’s important for me to have experienced these people because it reminds me every day to never forget where I’ve come from, or forget the people that help park my car at the restaurants or serve my lunch. It is also a big motivator for me to make sure I never stop on my journey. I love working with anyone that has the same passion for me in this industry, they could be crew members or cast or studio execs. I loved being on set with my daughter, meeting the cast of Once Upon A Time was magical. I will embarrass myself here, but, I cried when I met Lana Parilla. It’s because she represented so much for me. I feel like I connect with her as a person and a character. Obviously meeting any of the greats is also motivating, any directors. Jason Reitman is one of my latest directors. I actually wouldn’t stop shaking his hand. I felt so motivated by watching his work.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I actually think you should burn out. What I mean by that is go with the momentum. Build momentum and go for it. It’s hard work and tenacity. Once you’re at a place where you’ve built a career then you can even-out your work life balance. Then it’s important to prioritize as well as elevate what you’re doing, constantly striving for something better.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

An educational outreach program where every film set has to have a certain amount of people that are being mentored and having real life experience. Not in a school and not special events but actually during real life shooting. That is the ethos behind my production company Mother and Daughter Entertainment. I ensure every set has people learning from other people. I’m constantly learning, not just from people that have more experience but also newbies. They have a lot to offer. I also feel movies should be encouraged to have a certain non profit section that allows this to happen. It is about making money so we can make the next project, however I want to ensure that money is used to help others.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

People can offer advice, however I do believe we are all on our own journeys and so the advice needs to be generic as I wouldn’t want to influence someone else’s path.

I’m glad I’ve had my journey as I’ve learned on the way and found my own route.

Thank you so much for your great insights!


Filmmaker Elizabeth Blake-Thomas: “I actually think you should burn out” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Marco Derhy

❖ Marco is the CEO of Derhy Enterprises, a boutique international consulting firm. Derhy Enterprises aids with the management and growth of businesses, particularly for public figures. ❖ Marco is known as an Entrepreneur at heart, building a Los Angeles based private-label fashion company (in his early 20’s shortly after his Military Service) into a dominant industry force with numerous employees and $50M+ annual sales. This success fueled his launch into financing, Humanitarian Aid, Film productions, Real estate, Tech, AID for hospitals, Producing articles/Interviews, Writing book series, and worldwide profiling inspiring people. ❖ A “Positive” Influencer. Marco has more than 19 years in the publishing industry. Created many unique series that highlight the empowering lessons learned from the experiences of high-profile entrepreneurs. ❖ Marco has worked with legends like Nelson Mandela, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mark Wahlberg, Carlos Slim Jr., The Jackson Family, Mr.Sumner Redstone, chairman of Viacom, and Robert Evans" The Godfather, "to name a few. ❖ Marco is Known as a Philanthropist who produced quite a few lucrative fundraising charity events. Working With Dr. Juan Montero II MD for medical supplies for children, including the champ Manny Pacquiao, UNICEF—established a partnership with the Jackson’s Family/Foundation. He produced a 2day Mega events - 1st Day in Beverly Hills Mansion, and the 2nd Day at the famous “Neverland,” at Michael Jackson home, with over 2,500 global VIP guests. He also produced charity events each year during the Cannes film festival. ❖ At CityGala, Marco Produced the famous first significant black-tie Gala event at the Beverly Hills Vineyard. He also helped raise funds to support A-listers Celeb foundations, The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP), LA Youth, Health & Medicine, Domestic Violence support programs, U.S. veterans, to name a few. ❖ Marco is an Author and helped create and inspire a mini-movement among writers, with scores of writers worldwide profiling inspiring people to share their positive, empowering, and actionable true stories in prominent Platforms. ❖ A regular contributor to Arianna Huffington’s, Medium, Buzzfeed, Thrive Global to name a few. ❖ Marco is also producing for his clients - TV Series programs / Documentaries/Films with an award-winning team. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0220357/ ❖ Marco recently published one of his Book series#1 called; "Heroes of The Opioid Crisis” https://www.amazon.com/dp/1705343147/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_43JWDb2PMRSEH and working on new book series. Enjoying; Family, Friends, Philanthropy work,(Giving back to the less fortunate), Martial arts, Swimming, Tennis, Meditation, "Torah study", Nature, Hiking, Tennis...... 🙌🏼Praying for global peace, Health, Prosperity, love, and Happiness within our global society🙌🏼 ~ Life is Good~Be Good & Do Good~®️

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