MMO: Let’s start
with a little background on how you came up with the idea for this
Weissman: Four years ago, I was working as a professional film editor, and
just as the dot-com bubble burst, I had my son. Two weeks after
he was born, I was laid off. I was bummed. I’d been thinking
I might go back to work part-time, but, the decision was made for
me. So, I thought-Great! I can be with my kid. But, it felt like
something was missing, so I tried to get back to working. But, it
was hard to do freelance film work. I couldn’t always pay
for childcare, and childcare wasn’t always available at the
times I needed it. Film jobs often require unusual hour, or they
wanted me to suddenly pick up and go somewhere, and I couldn’t
I decided to rethink my career. I did a little bit of teaching
and started writing. I also listened to a lot of music. Some of
the singers, like Shawn Colvin, have kids, and I started to wonder
and think about how they got all that together— childcare,
going on tour, breastfeeding. Then, I got a freelance job editing
a documentary on a rock n’ roll camp for girls, and again
I thought maybe someday I could work on women and music. A couple
years passed, and I hadn’t done anything. I was frustrated.
MMO: Given this frustration
and the fact that you have a child, how were you finally able to
find time to begin working on the film?
I decided I needed to get time away to write. So, I started applying
to artists’ colonies where everything was paid for. I ended
up at Yaddo for two weeks in early 2004, and my plan was to work
on a memoir. I also ended up writing a proposal for the film. The
time there was transformational. I had so many stimulating conversations.
I had two weeks to do whatever I wanted. In a way, two weeks is
not enough, but it was still great, and I got so much done. It gave
me time to get focused.
MMO: When you came
back after Yaddo, how did you move the documentary project forward?
got some money and equipment together. I got a corporate credit
card. I found people interested in working on the film through message
boards. I took a writing class with Ariel Gore. I interviewed her
for the film, and then she introduced me to Fern [Cappella], I interviewed
Fern at LadyFest in San Francisco. Through Fern, I met hip-hop artist
Ms. Su’ad, who has a son like Fern. Then I met Lisa [Miller]
of Lisa and Her Kin. Lisa’s the wise one about music
and family. She’s been doing this for a long time.
MMO: Caring for children
is very demanding and unpredictable, and so are a lot of careers,
especially artistic careers. In a way, it seems like combining this
type of career with raising children is like the immoveable force
meeting the unstoppable object. Is there anything these women have
Weissman: It seems like they exist by a force of will. They’ve figured
out how to be in charge of their home life, work life, and creative
life. In their day jobs, many of these people are managers or do
independent work, so they’re in charge.
MMO: In the film, you
show a lot of the women’s home life, scenes of them with their
children or just trying to get things done.
Weissman: The home is where their power center is. They deal with so much
minutia to get everything done. It’s draining and energizing.
They always have to be present to what is going on because something
could change at the last minute. I feel that’s part of these
women. They need to be creative, and they make a home life that
allows them to be.
MMO: Some people say
that creativity comes out of chaos.
Weissman: I’m fascinated by that. Their creativity is very
cathartic. You really have to juggle. You have to pick jobs with
flexibility or where you’re in charge. If you need insurance,
you have to figure that out. For example, Ariel [Gore] teaches.
Teaching is more flexible than other jobs. Ms. Su’ad doesn’t
work full-time, and Lisa [Miller] does the scheduling where she
and her husband work. Of course, living like this can cause problems.
You don’t always get respect for putting other things ahead
Talking to Corin
Tucker [Sleater-Kinney] was very eye-opening. She has a
successful music career and could hire people to help take care
of a lot of details, but doesn’t. It’s an issue of being
able to maintain control over her life with her child. In May, I’m
going spend a few days on tour with Kristen Hersh [Throwing
Muses] to see what that is like with kids. She has four children
she homeschools. Her husband is her manager, and they all travel
together on the bus.