Meredith is a new friend of mine, and what I’ve learned about her so far is that she’s accepting, very positive, and very driven. She’s willing to be the catalyst to make the changes she wants to see within herself and her community happen. She moved back to Tampa within the last few years after having spent three years in New York building her experience in documentary production. She’ll be speaking at a New York story themed Travelogue in July. Here are her words.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a million things. I wanted to be an author, lawyer, historian, journalist, biologist, stand-up comedian, environmental engineer, politician, television writer, anthropologist, and I wanted to have every job there is to be had in filmmaking. Even now as a somewhat grown up, I still want to be all of those things. I want to tell stories, learn about new things, and help promote changes that will make life better for us all. Ultimately, that is why I fell in love with documentary filmmaking. It allows you to be involved in anything you want to be involved in.
What’s your biggest fear?
Fear is something I have a long standing relationship with. I have fears about not reaching my goals, making the wrong decisions, and not being the person I want to be. However, my biggest fear is having missed opportunities. That goes for every aspect in my life, not just in a strictly professional sense. I fear that the distractions of my day to day life result in missing out on doing things I should have done.
What do you tell yourself when things get difficult?
When things get difficult I remind myself that difficult times happen. They are a part of life and this time will not be the last time things get that way. It is important to me to reevaluate the situation and figure out what happened that made things difficult, but it is not going to help if I pick apart my mistakes and beat myself up for making them. I’ll become a stronger person and eventually things get better. If you are a person who never experiences bad times, then you are not a person who has many experiences.
Please describe New York in one sentence.
NYC is everything you think it is, while also being completely different.
If you could pick one, what would be your quintessential New York story?
First off, I should say what makes a ‘Quintessential New York Story’. For me, those stories come from the days when I went to bed thinking, “I had no idea any of that was going to happen when I woke up this morning.” What will always be the great thing about NYC is you never know where you’ll end up or what will happen to you. This is just one story of many. The first time I remember going to bed still unable to comprehend the day was after the second shoot I worked on in the city. I had just gotten a job working for a production studio and for many of our shoots I had the unglamorous job of working as a teleprompter operator. On this particular day, I walked into the studio to set up, but immediately stopped when I realized William H. Macy was sitting in the middle of the room playing a ukulele. He asked, “Are you running teleprompter?” I nervously answered “Yes”, and he waved me over. The two of us sat in the studio while he sang songs and I typed them up. After the shoot, I called my mom and all I could say was, “I can’t explain what just happened.”
What are you hoping to share in July?
While New York City is full of wonderful moments and great stories, it is often put on a pedestal it should not be on. Before moving there, I was definitely one of those people who put it on the pedestal. I thought I was moving to the center of the universe and it would be full of the life, culture, and diversity I craved. Eventually, I came to realize it is just a city, it has problems, and it isn’t the city for me. I learned a lot living there, but the biggest thing I took away was understanding what is really important to me.
[Click below for the full interview]