“Honestly, my biggest piece of advice stems from Patton Oswalt, which is, ‘It's chaos. Be kind,’ because there are a lot of people in this industry that are not kind, and scream, and yell. Honestly, I've gotten where I am because of kindness. That a
Chelsea Stardust is the director of two new fantastic horror features; FANGORIA’s Satanic Panic and Blumhouse’s All That We Destroy. Chelsea began her career working for Ivan Reitman before moving on to Blumhouse where she was a personal assistant to Jason Blum for years, during which she learned an incredible amount about the business of horror.
With the release of two new feature films in less than a year, Chelsea’s been on fire! We got to chat about her career history and what she’s learned from working with industry forces like Ivan Reitman, Dallas Sonnier, and Jason Blum. We also chatted extensively about Satanic Panic, and what she has in store next.
But first, here are some key insights from this conversation with Chelsea Stardust:
- Work at a company that will invest in you. Jason Blum knew that Chelsea wanted to be a director, so he did everything in his power to give her hands-on experience and was a mentor to her while she worked as his executive assistant. People like Jason Blum, who care about their employees’ career development to this degree are very rare in Hollywood but they do exist. Try to find them and work for them in any way possible.
- Talk through everything with the writers. Talk through every last word of the script with the writers so you can comprehend every element of nuance, story, and subtext. This will enable you to extend the script’s deeper meaning to your actors, which makes for a much more cohesive movie. This is particularly important if you can’t afford rehearsals.
- It’s chaos, be kind. This Patton Oswalt quote is a credo that Chelsea stands behind when the going gets tough. Filmmaking is tough, and sets can be incredibly hectic, causing many people to lose their temper. As a director, it’s not only your job to keep it together but to be kind, respectful, and generally fair to all of those around you. Doing so will enable you to be a positive outlier in an industry full of screamers. People want to work with people they like and respect, so the kind example you set can only help your career. Chelsea partially credits her career success to being consistently kind.
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