The Creatives - Lara Reid

25 September 2022


How did you find the jump between being a student versus industry work?
Many of the industry professionals I’ve met and worked with have cut their teeth on set, most of them have had no formal training – like what is offered at Open Window. It has been such an eye-opening experience to see how the things I’ve learned at Open Window are put into practice in the industry, and you don’t stop learning once you’ve obtained your degree.
Collaboration is the foundation of EVERYTHING in the industry, so be sure to fully embrace it during your time as a student.

Who inspires you in your practice?
My family is a collection of prominent, bold personalities. I have found my greatest inspiration in the little moments that live between the big ones, whether it’s the wild stories of my grandmother or the way my father giggles at dumb memes.
Dr. Stavros Halvatzis encouraged me to write what I know, which took some time for me to truly appreciate but is now the source of my greatest and most meaningful creative works.

A favourite Open Window memory?
Every OWI campus party, ever.

Do you have any advice for an up-and-coming creative?
Avoid taking yourself too seriously – it is an incredible privilege to make creative mistakes as a student and as a storyteller. If you want to write a 10-page synopsis or make a film about guinea pigs, then do it! Allow yourself to get lost in the process, this is where the best mistakes can be made.

What is your favourite spot to work in besides your desk at work?
If I am not behind my desk, then I love to be beside a camera or in a rehearsal – here is where the vision can be realised and is such an enriching space to be.

Favourite coffee brand/supplier?
I am obsessed with Tribeca Coffee!

What is one thing about studying that you miss the most?
I dearly miss the pitching sessions we used to have in Screenwriting – every student had an opportunity to share ideas, questions, and concerns and these processes are not always available in the industry because time is money!

What is a work mantra of yours?
Focus on your calling. If there is a story you want to tell, an experience you want to cultivate, then know that it is your calling to bring it to life. An artist knows what they’re here to do, and does it – no matter what’s trending.

How do you keep yourself motivated to stay creative?
Whenever I feel down or unmotivated, I catch some sun! I live in Cape Town now and take many opportunities to spend quality time in nature. I believe that this time is worth more than any productive day at work because the present moment becomes the only priority.

What is an unpopular opinion you have?
People who wear flip-flops to the supermarket are a peril to society.

What is a dream you are still working toward?
I am currently re-aligning my focus to expand the variety and opportunities within the South African film industry. Ours is a rich, important cultural history and should be explored with as much imagination (and funding) as possible.

What was your major, and are you still working in that field?
I majored in Screenwriting and Film & TV, and I am still involved in both of these fields today.

Where do you currently work?
I am currently working on a freelance basis while completing my Honours degree in Writing.

Do you prefer online or in-person work?
In-person work is far more productive, in my opinion, although I can’t deny that I thoroughly enjoy living in my pyjamas.

Your go-to creative snack?
Sour jelly babies (RIP to my teeth).

How do you get past a creative block?
If I struggle to achieve a flow, I will either try a different creative outlet such as drawing, singing or cooking – this helps to clear my mind while some of my ideas incubate – or watch a foreign language film.
The best way to make films is to watch films, to study, analyse, and understand them. Foreign language films tend to be accented in ways that can really spark new ideas and can provide new eyes with which to see the world.

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