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Conversations with Meera Vaidya

Today we’d like to introduce you to Meera Vaidya.

Hi Meera, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I began to explore different facets of filmmaking from a young age. When I interned in the marketing department of a TV network, my favourite room was the editing room which created the promos & I realized I wanted to be involved even before that, creating and telling stories. In University, I often wrote for the Newspaper telling other people’s stories and events, although I loved it I always wondered what it would be like to bring my stories to life. It was here I took my first film class & that’s when I decided to apply to Columbia for Creative Producing. Before Columbia, I worked at an in-house advertising production company. I decided to do ad films since I knew I wanted to apply for film school & wanted to experience the whole production process multiple times. In fact, in my year of working there, I rose from Production Assistant to AD to Directors Assistant & was a part of over 15 adverts. This is what I wanted to do & I was finally doing it. I was contributing to the process of creating these films whilst understanding the production process from the root up. Coming to Columbia only strengthened the things I learnt at work. It made me a better writer & understand the world of Indie filmmaking, I wouldn’t have if not for it. I loved the things that others hated. I didn’t mind the paperwork for location permits, I realized that was where I was meant to be. In the middle of set, during the chaos in between shots or during pre-production from developing scripts to budgeting.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I came to the US because I felt that it would give me the freedom to make the kind of film and TV that I wanted to but a new obstacle appeared in my way. Being a young international woman of color is not the easiest hurdle to cross with people questioning my language skills or undermining my knowledge because of my age. I knew I would have to work even harder here. I made sure to be the best I could and be on as many sets as possible so I wouldn’t be undermined. Whether it’s on set or while applying for jobs, I knew being an immigrant would make things slightly difficult. My opportunities were half or less of many of my other peers. All I knew was that I could do the job I got because I knew I would work as hard as I could.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I have been educated and worked in the producing field for the last six years. The beauty of producing a film or television show for me is to see an idea come to life, bring people together and see it through all the way to the very end. I have always been keen to find new material that could and should be films and series, which is how I have spent the time by reading as many scripts and books as I can. I have made sure to read scripts from my fellow peers as well in order to find and keep in mind great ideas that could be good films and television series. As someone who wants to make television and films that actually start a conversation and make a difference, I admire the kind of content that is finally being developed in many companies. To be able to be a part of storytelling that has a positive effect on people is something I have always wanted to do.

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
The industry is finally telling stories of people which are being written by people who the stories are about. Women are writing stories about women resulting in more authentic storytelling. The same goes for people of color. We are in the room being able to tell our stories for the world to see. I think this is something that is going to keep growing, as it should. I also think global stories are finally being appreciated. Stories coming out of Korea, Spain and India are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

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