Introduce yourself! Who are you?
My name is Christie Will (Wolf). In addition to being a Mom, I’m also a Writer, Director and Producer in television and film. I’ve recently completed my 27th movie. Canadian born and bred, but lived in Los Angeles for 15 plus years… and it was within that great city that I got my first movie off the ground.
What is your favorite thing about where you live?
My daughters. Home is where the heart is, and most certainly home for me is simply anywhere I am with them. We currently live in a 1920’s Craftsman house that has needed a lot of work, but equally has an amazing yard littered with 5 fig trees, a cherry tree, and gardens of beautiful flowers. But as far as the house itself, it’s fair to say that I’ve become a pro at DYI projects. I’ve sanded and painted my floors myself, and renovated my bathroom to make it feel contemporary. The upkeep on our home seems to be an ongoing detail in our lives. I think shaping our physical spaces into a reflection of ourselves is when a house becomes a home.
What is one thing no one really knows about you?
I’d say one thing many don’t know about me is my story. Where I’ve come from… The experiences (like all of us) that have shaped me into the storyteller I am. My father died when I was ten years old, and my mom four years later. Simply put, my childhood was unusual, and I grew up quickly. And by “growing up quickly”, I mean I experienced some heavy emotional hits early on. Many also don’t know that I’m a single mom raising her two young daughters, alone
What do you love most about yourself?
I suppose I love that I don’t give up. I’ve never given up. I don’t understand that concept. I live my life to the fullest, with deep scars that prove it. I also love that I’ve built a stamina for the hard blows of life. Being blind-sided. Disappointments. Obstacles. They always come when we least expect them. I love that I know (from practice) how to stand strong. Chin up. Eyes forward. It’s the only way.
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
I’ve had many people doubt me. Over and over, and over, within my life. It made me feel the same as it makes me feel today — empowered and driven to step up and prove them wrong.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
As I said above, my parents died when I was a kid. My dad first, and then my mom. But mom became an alcoholic… and I had to move through that. I ended up at a boarding school with kids from some of the most prominent North American families. My first years there, I kept my childhood a secret, trying to fit in and navigate the waters within a school of privilege and wealth, shortly after experiencing the death of my parents. It was hard. Professionally, as a Director and screenwriter, I’ve equally faced some challenges. I started my career long before the #timesup and #metoo movements. Earlier in my career, my male colleagues found difficulty following my lead. My choices were consistently questioned, and doubt always seem to linger (merely just because of my gender). That dynamic still happens, but it’s now less frequent. Having a female at the helm in this industry is something that is new. And personally (as an adult in my private life) I’ve also faced adversity. I fell into a relationship that wasn’t healthy (on many levels), but luckily I eventually found my way out of it.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Life is as unpredictable as the ocean. The rip tides and hard hits will come quick and fast, and we’ll simply will never know when. So try and hold on tight, and focus on the positive. Enjoy the now. Money is just paper. Living the moments is what’s real. The moments within the minutes of every day are what count. And most of all, be authentic.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
History has shown that we (women) were left out. Of history. Let’s not continue that tradition. Be the voice you hear in your head. Speak up. Stand up. Let’s step forward with the knowledge our great sisters have shown us, and move the world. Our dear Mother Earth needs us more than ever. The world needs female voices at the helm. And it is up to us to shape our daughters, nieces and grand-daughter into the leaders the world needs.
Have you always had confidence in yourself?
I have not always had confidence in myself. But I’ve had tenacity and determination to be authentic. And when I learned to embrace my own authenticity, ease paved the way. And with ease, confidence bloomed…
Knowing what you know now, what would you say to 16 year old you?
Manifest what you want. Manifestation is real. See it. Believe it. And somehow, in some form (or capacity) our dreams can become our realities. Everything and anything is possible.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I’ve received professionally was to be brave enough to tell my own personal stories. My unique experiences are the key to making my movies fresh. Personally, the best advice I received was to remember at the end of the day, all that matters is how much we love and are loved back. So make your loved ones (and love, itself) matter.
Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career?
Kind of. Entertainment. Storytelling. Always.
Were you scared to start the process?
Scared only because I spent many years living paycheck to paycheck. Literally. I became so scared that I went back to University to get my MFA in Film and Creative Writing. Figured if my directing career blew up, then I could (or can) be a professor.
What motivates you most?
My daughters, first. And my dreams, second. I have a deep desire to make the unimaginable plausible and real.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
I have an amazing nanny who is my right hand with raising my daughters; I simply can’t imagine my life without her. Moreover, my family and friends have played a critical role in helping me balance work and a personal life. Being happy is a state of mind, and I’m so lucky that everyone is supportive of my desire to ensure my work-life and personal-life are balanced.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
Stay active. Write. Live in the moment. And express myself, when I feel the need to express.
Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you?
In high school my creative writing teacher, Joe Seagram, told me not to worry about my spelling. He encouraged me to just tell my story, unfiltered. I can remember that was so freeing. I felt like I had been given the “okay” to be authentic. I felt protected and secure. And most importantly, I felt encouraged. It was the time I started to write. Another mentor was a professor in University, Maidia Libkin. I was acting at this time… but also directing (and didn’t really know it!) More to the point, I didn’t even consider directing as a career; I mean, not many female directors at the time. Anyhow, she asked me if I wanted to assistant direct the main play at our University. I had assumed I would act in it, but she explained that while I was a strong actress, I had an unusual way of looking at things and she felt I would make a strong director. She was the first to ever put it in my head. She taught me to speak up, and communicate with my actors.
Who is your biggest role model? Why?
I don’t have one particular role model, I take my modelling from many. But the qualities of the people I respect most, are those that have enough integrity to ensure their actions always match their words (and vice versa). We’re allowed to be confused in the chaos of life, but I look up to those that have compassion within that chaos.
Where do you find inspiration?
I get inspired daily. On set, I often get inspired from a performance or from some person’s enthusiasm or perspective on a situation. Additionally, I also get inspired from those I spend my time with… something they do, or a story they might tell. I think one needs to have a positive take on life to allow inspiration to fully affect them. In turn, I make a daily effort to see my glass half full, rather than half empty.
What is your favorite meal?
Avocado, tomato, almond salad. And Barbara’s cheese sticks (is that a meal?)
If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be lawyer. Or an actress. Or a singer. Something along those lines, haha.
What is something on your bucket list?
That’s a hard one. But I suppose travelling to Italy, Greece. With my girls and a life partner. Something like that. But to be entirely honest, I don’t have a bucket list. Except for Directing a major motion picture (like a big big one). That’s on the list… and hopefully coming down the pipe.
What is your greatest fear?
I’d say my biggest fear is death. I want to live well into my 90’s. And I want my children to live with me that long… I just don’t want to lose anymore loved ones, nor have them lose me.
Christie Will Wolf
Christie Will Wolf is an award winning screenwriter, director, and producer, with over 26 feature films and television movies under her bra strap.