Today we’re joined by Meredith Dobbs. Meredith is a phenomenal filmmaker based in London. She specializes in narrative films, particularly improv drama. She currently works on short films and web series. Meredith hopes to get into indie features eventually. It’s very clear that she’s an incredibly passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m a writer, director, and editor of narrative films. I’m working on shorts and web series now, and I want to make indie features long term. As a writer and director, I work primarily in improv drama.
What inspires you?
I’m really interested in relationships, and I’m interested in space between reality and fiction. Films can feel so realistic, so much like life, without ever being truly real because at the end of the day, film is still an artistic medium. And that line between film and reality that you can strive for but never cross is really interesting to me. Not in terms of pushing people to that edge, but pushing the art to it. So I think my stories will always be about relationships, and my techniques will in some way explore that edge.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I always loved movies. We watched a lot of movies together as a family when I was a kid, and we still quote movies all the time. When I went to college, I knew I wanted to take some film production classes, but I only saw them as fun electives because I felt I had to do something “serious” like biology. So I arranged my classes to do a film degree alongside my biology degree. But after one semester, I completely fell in love with film, and I really found myself in it. I dropped the bio major and never, ever looked back.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?
I use an improv technique that I didn’t invent exactly, but I really had to work out for myself, so there isn’t anyone else that does it the way I do. My scripts don’t have any dialogue at all — they just describe the characters’ thoughts and feelings — and the actors have to improvise their own dialogue. I like how it requires listening and responding (the two key tenets of improv) between actors, but also between director and actor.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
I think the best advice, which is also the hardest to follow, is to do whatever you want to do. If you’re interested in something, try it out. I wanted to do this film production summer camp when I was in high school – I really, really wanted it – but I was afraid to ask my parents to pay for it, so I didn’t go. It makes me wonder how much time I lost not doing this thing I love so much.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Demisexual. I have a long term partner who has helped me explore my sexual interests, but I also know I would happily be on the asexual side of my spectrum if I were single.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Not in my field, no. Honestly, my work has been the most accepting place for me to talk about my asexuality. I’m currently working on a short film about a woman trying to tell her boyfriend that she’s bisexual, which was inspired by my experience telling my boyfriend that I’m demisexual. (I hope to explore asexuality directly in a longer piece in the future.) Everyone on the project has been nothing but engaged and accepting.
All the resistance and prejudice I’ve experienced has come from family and close friends. I also struggle a little internally. Understanding the in-between nature of demisexuality has been hard, because I don’t fit in either camp: ace or allo. I have to remind myself that fluid doesn’t mean unsure, because I’m certain demisexual is absolutely the right term for me. So I work really hard to understand myself and communicate to my partner.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That it’s not a sexuality; that it’s just my opinion, or just a phase.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Just knowing that a definition existed for me made all the difference in the world. There’s nothing wrong with who you are, and there’s nothing wrong with defining yourself differently tomorrow, or next year, or 10 years from now. It’s all fluid.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Meredith, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.