Raise Up Extraordinary Women: Paige Feldman

Paige Feldman traveling in Thailand

For the month of December, I’ll be shining light each day on some extraordinary women I know. They represent various fields and backgrounds, and I admire each for their passion and strength. These are bold, beautiful, brave women — artists, businesswomen, union organizers, nurses, writers, teachers, movie makers, designers, reporters, and all-around badasses.

Paige Feldman is a filmmaker and writer originally from St. Louis, Missouri. She followed her passion for film school at USC, then decided that she needed some time to decide if she really wanted to work in entertainment. So instead of finding herself via backpacking in Europe like a sane person, she decided to go to law school (at Northwestern in Chicago). Halfway through getting her J.D., she realized lawyering wouldn’t be her thing, but she finished the degree anyway and moved back to Los Angeles. She works as a film/TV development executive by day and can be found later that day writing young adult novels and writing/directing/producing romantic comedies with wit, feminism, and a dash of raunch. In her free time (hah!) she is an avid baker, cook, and escape room aficionado.

1. What did you want to be “when you grew up?” I’ve always loved telling stories. Before I could really even read, I would dress myself, my sister, and my cousin in costumes and put on plays. I would feed everyone lines and make up the stories on the spot. So even when my answer to “what do you want to be when you grow up?” deviated into strange territory (there was the week that I wanted to be an optometrist and also an NFL cheerleader… or a quarterback), writing and telling stories was always a part of it (because how cool would it be to tell stories about your life as a doctor and football player?). But my most common answer was always an author and filmmaker.

Paige Feldman, Director

2. What makes you the most proud of yourself? I have this thing where I feel weird being proud of myself, sort of an impostor syndrome thing where I wonder, “If I can do something, then is it really that special?” I’ve felt that way about the marathons I’ve run (I’m slow guys!) and moving to Los Angeles the first time (“everyone” goes to college) and going to law school, then moving back to L.A., after law school when I decided I didn’t want to be a lawyer (because there are a lot of lawyers who have discovered being an attorney isn’t for them – like John Grisham!). The great thing about this is that I can diminish big decisions into being no big deal, so I don’t feel pressure about taking huge leaps! But I think one time I really have felt proud of myself and acknowledged that was in making INTERROBANG, a short-form comedy series I wrote, directed, and produced this past summer. I’m super proud of myself for raising money to make the series (cold emails are terrifying to write, even to friends and family), organizing the whole shoot, hiring a crew, casting actors, and actually making a whole 6 episode season of a series! I’m finishing post-production now and have submitted the show to festivals, so hopefully, there will be more to be proud of soon.

3. What darkness have you overcome? How did you find strength? Related to the previous questions, I tend to not think that anything I’m doing is that special, which includes good things and overcoming the bad. What I really struggle with is self-doubt (and panic attacks, but I haven’t overcome those as much as learned how to manage them). Being a storyteller and looking to make that into a career can be a lonely path to walk. There’s a lot of working in a bubble and hoping that someone out in the world somewhere will connect to something I’ve made in the same way I connect to it. There’s also a lot of silence on the other ends of emails, asking people to read something, or querying agents for representation. While these feelings of despair, of nobody cares, of this is all pointless, will never go away (and that’s okay!), the best antidote to them I’ve found is to connect with people who are in the same boat. I have friends from school who are also struggling to be heard, writers who I’ve worked with in a professional capacity in my day job who I’ve become friendly with, and a writing group (that I’m about to leave for!) that has become as much of a bi-weekly emotional support group as it is a place to critique scripts. Basically, community is essential. As for the panic attacks, I’ve found slowly eating an apple and watching reruns of FRIENDS helps me find my center (also, high ratio CBD gummies).

4. Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.? On a Saturday morning at 10am, I am most likely getting ready to go to the gym. I have a membership at OrangeTheory, which is a gym that has group exercise classes that involve treadmills, rowing machines, and weightlifting. I love endurance sports and challenging myself to get stronger and faster. Often, I’ll go into class feeling anxious about what I have to do that day or about an email I forgot to reply to last night or I read too much Twitter and now feel like I’m “behind” on my career or life, but once I start running or rowing, or lifting, none of that matters. I’m focused on the task at hand and pushing myself to do more than last time. Going to the gym is an essential part of maintaining my mental health and it’s always a nice way to start the weekend.

5. What makes you smile the most? Gah! This is a tough one! I think I have the opposite of resting bitch face, so I’m smiling almost constantly, plus, there’s so much I enjoy that makes me feel alive and connected to the world: good food, museums, being with friends, seeing movies… But nothing makes me smile big as consistently as when I finish writing a draft of a script or a novel. It’s such a heady feeling to write “Fade to Black” or “The End” and know that I’ve taken something that existed abstractly in my head and made it a tangible thing that can easily be shared.

Bonus: What advice would you give your younger self? Don’t worry about being perfect or being an expert before you start something. You are smart enough to figure out how to do anything you want to, so get off the couch and go make things!

Today’s #OneGoodThing is sharing this extraordinary woman, Paige Feldman, with all of you! We are stronger together, so let’s shine a light on our extraordinary sisters! If you’d like to participate or nominate a woman to participate, please send me a note or leave a comment! What was your #OneGoodThing today? Please share in the comments! Kindness is Everything.

Day 346 of 365. And Day 1,442 in a row (here’s the first 366, & the following 365, & the third year of 365 good things)!

1 year ago today: Back to the bead shop

2 years ago today: Happy Chanukah!

3 years ago today: Abby’s paw print in stone

5 years ago today: Nesting — Or, Making IKEA Our Bitch

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