Introduce yourself! Who are you?
Hello! My name is Cady McClain. I started out my career as an actor but since then I have written books, painted paintings, contrived albums of music, built collages, and directed films. Born in Los Angeles, I lived in NYC for 25 years. I still long to live on a farm, someday, where I can have horses and a bunch of wacky chickens. Until then, I will live back again in Los Angeles and continue to work on my documentary film, Seeing is Believing: Women Direct, whose purpose is to help aspiring directors to find a pathway forward.
What is one thing no one really knows about you?
Although I worked in television as an actress for many years, no one really knows how much time I spent in New York focusing on anything OTHER than acting. I think this is partly what makes me a good director. I loved going to see all kinds of art, music, film, performance… I took college classes on the side in art history, international literature, and writing. I read the books that intrigued me and went to see all kinds of films: classic films, European films, art films… anything that helped me understand the history of artists and human beings. I EXPLORED New York, its history, its culture, everything it had to offer. I found this time very well spent when I finally started directing film, as directors need to understand the world in a deeper way than most people.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
The best advice anyone ever gave me was “Be your own Grandma.” Well, she actually said, “I mother myself,” but that kind of freaked me out. So I changed it to Grandma because to me the essence of dear old granny is kindness. I didn’t need “straight up” talk, blame or a guilt trip. I got plenty of that in my life. I needed gentle but true WISDOM. Now my “grandma consciousness” is all part of my creativity now. Being able to make a beautiful chicken soup is really not that different than being able to make a film. You need patience, attention, and understanding to get it made, and you need to be able to listen to the ingredients just like you listen to actors. “What is this soup telling me? Does it need an herb? What would that be?” is the same process as “What note is going to help this actor? What does she need to hear to move her to another emotional space?” It’s really all the same thing at the core of it, a form of deep listening. Grandma, in my imagination anyway, is a great listener.