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Brittany Snow is hoping she can “do it all” — and she is.
The Pitch Perfect actress has realized that “as I get older, I’m a little bit more picky about what I want to do.” This year she’s been inspired by her personal life to write her own stories, starting with her directorial debut, Milkshake, a short film starring Shree Crooks and her Barden Bellas co-stars Anna Camp and Chrissie Fit.
“It’s been in my head for so long,” Snow tells The Hollywood Reporter of the film about motherhood. In the end, she not only wrote and directed it but also produced it. Now she has co-written another project, an unannounced feature, that she will direct, produce and star in, with production beginning in February. “If I can get through that, I can do anything,” she says.
Below, Snow talks to THR about her creative process and exploring her “knack for the process of making a movie.”
Why did you want to make your directorial debut with Milkshake?
I wrote Milkshake about two years ago, and it’s a short film that is a semi-personal story to me, but it’s also a story that I’ve heard through many different people with moms and daughters…. So I wrote it with the fact in mind that I wanted to direct it. I also didn’t know at the time that I was going to be producing it, because financing it for two years through other people was just getting exhausting, so I ended up raising the money myself and then filming it with these fantastic producers.
We just submitted to a bunch of festivals, and we are completely locked on it and went through the entire process. It was really a great experience. I’m getting to do so much more directing as of late, so it’s a fun new way for me to be creative and use a different part of my brain.
What was the inspiration behind writing, directing and producing the film?
I always knew that I wanted to direct. I definitely didn’t think that I could write. I still don’t think I can write, though I’m writing a bunch of different things right now, which is proving to be interesting. But I knew that I always had a knack for the process of making a movie. I really liked the script development and characters and really digging into the intricate parts of making it, not just showing up to set and working on the character with the director, but also seeing things from the ground floor up.
I didn’t really know how I was going to use that muscle, but I thought, “Why not try?” I spent many sleepless nights thinking that I was stupid, but I took a couple classes online and read hundreds of books and really gave myself a crash course in film school…. It’s definitely a learning process, and I think with everything I direct, I will only get better. It hasn’t been announced yet, but I get to direct my first feature in February, which is going to be really exciting.
I think the inspiration behind it is making sure that stories that matter to me, or stories that I think are relevant in some way and maybe can help someone or connect with someone, are stories that should be told. There’s a part of my brain that says, “Who cares, and why does anyone need to see this?” But then the other side of my brain is saying that maybe I should just do it, because it’s a creative outlet and maybe it will touch or help somebody.
#milkshakemovie Is finally locked & finished. After months of making sure it was perfect (which I’m sure annoyed many) it’s done! I have to thank @otbirds for making the film sound amazing. The sound in this movie is so specific & important. You guys killed it. Thanks for putting the final cherry on top. Audio Post Production: @otbirds Mixer: Andres Velasquez @idelgas Audio Post Producer: Shelby Sandlin @shelbe11 Photo by: @emaritraffie
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What is the feature you’re directing, and how does it tie into that creative desire?
I can’t talk too much about it, because it hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s a feature that I co-wrote with a friend of mine. It’s about a personal experience that happened with me and a best friend of mine. So it’s a really personal story for me, and I will be acting in it as well, which is terrifying. But it will be interesting to be able to direct, star and produce, and really just try not to have a nervous breakdown. If I can get through that, I can do anything.
What stage is it in right now?
We are completing the draft and going back and forth with casting, and just starting from the very ground elements of it now, which is really fun. Because I’m in it and directing it, the process of making sure the script is perfect has been really tedious but also really inspiring.
What was the biggest challenge on Milkshake, and how will that impact the way you approach directing your first feature film?
I’m such a planner that I really had my shots and my tone and these colors and things that I’ve really thought about for years, months. Especially on Milkshake, it’s been in my head for so long. And then you run into obstacles where you don’t have that location anymore or you don’t have that actress anymore…and you really have to adapt. What I found on Milkshake and what was the biggest learning experience is that usually those roadblocks led to something even better. And just not to freak out, and realize that that might be a lesson in itself.
And you’ve submitted to festivals?
Yeah, so that’s a process within itself as well. Who knows? I try not to think that I’m making it for other people to tell me it’s good. I hopefully just made it for me, but it would be nice for people to see it eventually, so we’ll see.
What was it like reuniting with Anna Camp?
It was really fun. It was a lot of talk at the beginning that she wasn’t going to be the mom character, because I didn’t want her to have to play a mom to a 12-year-old, because she’s not that much older than me, and I don’t want to play a mom to a 12-year-old. We went back and forth, but then it finally was decided that there’s no one better to play that part, and there’s no one better that I can work with than her. We worked so well together and had so much fun, and I think she’s the most talented actress.
You’ve been drawing from a lot of personal experiences. What kind of projects are you seeking to do next?
I get a lot of scripts that I could do, that I really like. But I feel like my creative side sometimes really likes to be around the entire process, with producing, directing, writing and really getting in there — and also, I love acting so much. But I think as I get older, I’m a little bit more picky about what I want to do. And if I can create in the meantime, then it’s really fun to be able to know that’s the reason I want to do this, is I get to hopefully do as much as I can and do it all.
You’ve also partnered with dog food brand Nature’s Recipe. Why did you want to do that?
My partnership with Nature’s Recipe actually came organically, because I heard what they were doing with their campaign Fuel the Wag, and it was really all about making sure that your dog is living their biggest and best life. That’s something that I completely stand behind. My dog is my life; she’s my child, and anyone who knows me knows that I put her first before pretty much anything. Her happiness and her sense of adventure out in the world is super important to me.
I was going to go on a road trip anyway with Billie, and we were going to see some sights and just bond together for a week…. So we hit the road together in an RV and I got to spend some time together with my best friend, and it was really good for her to feel like she was living her biggest life.
We teamed up with @NaturesRecipe to hit the road with the best dog around. We sang Billie Jean, saw sea lions, slept under the stars, met some cows & took pictures under a pretty famous bridge. Billie is living her biggest life. To #FueltheWag with your dog this summer see the link in my bio. #RVhavingfunyet
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