Venice: Sia Explains Why She's Directing Her Maddie Ziegler Screenplay
"I was too embarrassed to tell anyone I wanted to make a movie," she said during a panel. "And then last year, after I made the 'Chandelier' video, I realized that I was pretty good at directing, so I felt a little bit braver."
Speaking through her trademark blond wig topped with a huge black bow, singer-songwriter Sia showed up at Venice Days, a sidebar of the international film festival, to discuss her work in front of fans. While covering the usual topics such as why she covers her face, Sia revealed some hints about her new film project, Sister, which she’s written and will direct for her frequent collaborator Maddie Ziegler.
Based on a one-page story she wrote eight years ago, Sia said, "I was too embarrassed to tell anyone I wanted to make a movie because I thought it would be seen as a vanity project because I was a singer. ... And then last year, after I made the 'Chandelier' video, I realized that I was pretty good at directing, so I felt a little bit braver."
Having no past experience in the field, Sia sought help for her first go at screenwriting. “So first, I paid a guy from a juice bar to help me write it, who had gone to film school, and it turned out it wasn’t quite right,” she said. She then turned to another friend, children's book author Dallas Clayton. "He and I spent 3 1/2 weeks just on the sofa, mapping it out."
While completely different from her songwriting process, Sia noted that there were similarities between the two areas. "For me, the process was basically, I work out the movie. I’ll act it out, I’ll have the dialogue already in my head," she said. "It’s really the formatting. … I can’t be bothered to learn Final Draft. I’m not a technical person. Like, when I sing, I just want to sing the melody and write the lyrics. I don’t want to have to do production, which is very technical. I don’t enjoy that."
"What I do enjoy is the creative process," she continued, explaining that Clayton would take their notes, fine-tune them and bring back the results.
Before finalizing the script, Sia gave it to five friends for feedback, including comedian Whitney Cummings, actor Joel Edgerton and her husband, Erik Anders Lang. "Erik, my husband, gave the best notes, actually," she said.
Lang currently is working on a documentary about the game of golf, Be the Ball, that raised just over $50,000 via crowdfunding out of a goal of $170,000, despite the appearances of multiple A-listers in his plea video. We’re guessing Sia won’t have quite as much trouble financing her film.