We are so proud to introduce Laurie Collyer, the amazing filmmaker behind the Golden Globe nominated masterpiece, Sherrybaby starring Maggie Gyllenhaal.
As you will see, Laurie Collyer is passionate about and devoted to both her role as a mother to two-year-old son Willie and her career as an independent filmmaker.
Sherrybaby is now available on Netflix. Troubling, inspiring and thought-provoking all at the same time, we think this film about an addict trying to recover so she can care for her daughter is well worth your time.
So tell us, what are the hours of a Golden Globe nominated filmmaker like?
I work exactly 20 hours a week, which is the amount of time my son is in preschool. If my son gets sick, I don't work. I am not getting paid for the work I am doing now so I can't justify hiring a babysitter on top of the already exorbitant preschool fees. But it's okay because when he is sick, I want to be the one to take care of him.
What are the best and worst parts of being an independent filmmaker?
The best is the freedom and creativity. The worst is that I am still "independent" and barely get paid.
We assume that there are factors other than money that make your work rewarding, no?
When I first gave birth, I thought I would only want to take care of my child and nothing more. But now it's been a couple of years and I realize that my movies are babies too. Sort of. I need to do what I do. It keeps me vital, connected and compassionate.
Do most of your friends work outside the home?
Of all my friends, I only know one stay-at-home mom. Some of my friends freelance, some work part-time and some work full-time.
If you have a spouse or a partner, what does he or she do for a living?
My husband is a librarian. He has a full-time 9-to-5 office job. We need his stability and normalcy in our family.
How do you divide up the domestic workload?
I'm home more so I do more of that work. It just happened that way. Sometimes I yell at my husband about it, but really it is fair.
Did your mom work while you were growing up?
My mom was a caterer who worked from our house until she got to the party or event site. I get my ability to boss people around from her. I worked for her too, and watched first hand how she ran the show.
Do you have to travel a lot to produce and promote your films?
I have travelled a fair amount this year to film festivals and to do press in L.A. I always ship my son out to his grandparents. He has three sets and they love to get their hands on him.
Do you have a formal or informal support group of working moms that you rely on for advice or support? If so, what do you chat about most often?
Conversation topics are often: (1) Toddlers are anarchists; (2) Husbands are anarchists; and (3) Family life is the best.
Given that you work a fair amount from home, how do you keep your spheres of existence separate?
I never call my manager, agent, actors or producers when my son is awake. I always wait for naptime.
What is the one thing you vowed you would never do when you had kids that you find yourself doing?
Letting him watch TV.
Do you have a date night?
We have proven ourselves pathetic at romance and date night. Our romance is when we three are together.
Forgive us for asking, but how often do you — you know, have sex?
Certainly not as much as we used to.
Got any advice on maintaining balance or at least some semblance of sanity?
Love what you do both inside and outside the home.
What do you do when you feel totally overwhelmed?
Drink alcohol, yell at someone, or both.
Describe your worst working mom moment.
Being with my 3 month old son in the edit room and pretending to listen to my editor but being too tired to actually concentrate.
Do you exercise?
Not at all. Pathetic.
What is the best piece of advice you've received on juggling it all?
There is no good advice. Everyone has different needs. For example, this whole "date night" advice I've gotten a million times doesn't apply to us. We are happy at home.
What do you think about the Mommy Wars?
What do you think makes a good mother?
Spend time with your child and show them you love them. Don't outsource your parenting. Also, give them limits. It doesn't do anyone any favors to let your kids do whatever they want all the time, least of all them.
What is your guiltiest pleasure? Do you ever have time for it?
Smoking pot. No.
What are you reading now, if anything?
Variety and scripts.
What are the three best adjectives for describing you?
Funny, passionate and empathetic.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Movies, baby and marriage.
What inspires you?
Film fans, if you liked this Working Mom interview with Sherrybaby director and screenwriter Laurie Collyer, don't miss our chats with 9 to 5 screenwriter Patricia Resnick , Gray's Anatomy writer Krista Vernoff , In Treatment director Melanie Mayron , and The Business of Being Born producer Ricki Lake .