Since I’m waiting to hear from festivals right now, I thought I would let you all in on how and why I began Rock N Roll Mamas way back when in 2003.
In 2003 my son was three and I was struggling with finding ways to obtain freelance work without having a consistent babysitter. I looked for role models in the documentary film world but all the women I found with children were romantically involved with their film partners (my partner is not in film and works a lot so I was on my own there).
I saw an article in Salon.com interviewing indie rock musician moms about how they made their careers work (Corin Tucker, Liz Phair, among others) and then it clicked for me that indie musicians are very similar to documentary filmmakers. They travel a lot, usually have day jobs, and create art for little money.
I wanted to learn more about these rock moms I idolized. I figured if I wanted to learn more, others probably did too. So I started to write a proposal for Rock N Roll Mamas.
Since I had a toddler almost full-time, I desperately needed more time to work, more than my son’s two hour naps. I applied to an artist colony for a two week stay. Magically, I got accepted and spent two weeks during the summer there writing fervently. At that time, this was the longest time I had been away from my son. I am so grateful to my husband for helping me make this work; it was pivotal to my sanity and work at the time.
Most of the other artists at the colony were there for much longer, a month to two months. They scoffed at my two week stay, saying that I probably wouldn’t be able to get anything done. Little did they know that even a day alone for me with a space to work, my own room to sleep in, meals made for me, and beautiful paths to walk on were a major luxury for me. Simply having time alone was huge. I wrote my proposal in the first couple of days and then started writing essays because I was enjoying myself so much.
I was also struck at the number of men at the colony with wives at home taking care of their children while they made art. There were a fair amount of women at the colony but hardly any of them had children. This observation simply strengthened one of the issues I explore in Rock N Roll Mamas; it’s nearly impossible to create art, make money, and raise children unless you have support networks in place.
Before I entered the colony, I started networking with an alternative parenting magazine in Portland called Hip Mama. I interviewed Ariel Gore, the founder, and through her found my first subject, Fern Cappella, a single mom and hip hop performance artist.
I made plans to follow Fern after I got out of the colony on her trip to San Francisco to perform.
That’s it for now. In our next segment, I’ll introduce my original subjects and describe how I met them and started the filming process
Thanks for reading.