Lisa Belcher - Writer, Director, Accidental Actress
Updated: Mar 13, 2019
Ever since high-school, Lisa loved the whole idea and thought of making movies. She dreamt of majoring in film when she was preparing to go to college, but was cut short by her parents because they didn't feel that she'd be able to earn income. So she went to the University of Arizona and majored in marketing and business.
After that she moved to Austin for work and ended up starting a family here. While staying at home with her kids she started a videography business (self-taught). Going on to make some corporate videos and some wedding videos, this was her first contact with producing videos. Soon after she decided to further in that direction once again by taking some screenwriting classes.
Lisa: “To try and learn more on filmmaking I got on some film sets here in Austin - I worked on a feature film called Angels Sing (starring Harry Connick Junior). I was Connie Britton's stand-in and also did some extra work on that. My kids joined me on a couple of really awesome scenes watching Willie Nelson play. It was the easiest background work ever - we each got paid around a hundred bucks I think. So my 10 year-old son decided he wanted to be an actor 'cuz he thought that was just a great deal what we just did and how easy that was. So we responded to a casting call from an agency here in town (Acclaim) looking for talents, and the two of us went. I had never acted before and my son said “Mom are you going to audition also?” and I said “Okay, sure, I'll try it out”. And we both did. He quickly realized he doesn't want to be an actor, he actually wants to be entrepreneur. But through my audition, Acclaim wanted to sign me - which I was surprised but I signed with them. Then started taking some acting classes, but still mainly to help my screenwriting.”
Soon after that, they moved to Hong Kong because of her husband’s job. That’s where things really started happening for her. She worked on Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut “Man of Tai Chi” and I met a lot of people from the Hong Kong film Community. From there she worked all sorts of jobs crew-type jobs and even did quite a bit of acting - from theater to a bunch of commercials. After getting well-connected and involved she had the opportunity to direct her first short film: “The Gift”. Soon after that they moved back to Austin, where she has since directed two more shorts and is in the works with many projects. She usually ends up producing a lot, because she has to, but her loves are directing and acting - which is very curious as this last one she fell into unexpectedly. And of course, writing is always present in her mind.
What interests you about filmmaking? “So many things - I literally love every stage of it! One thing I love is how collaborative it is. I love working with people who are experts in different areas that I may not know as well as. I love pulling a team together and creating! Telling a story and creating this project, this film, that everybody has had a hand in and just sort of leading that group and creating something together - that just thrills me to no end.”
She’s currently directed three short films: “The Gift”, “Every Tuesday” & “Guest of Honor” - this last one is still doing the festival circuit. She’s written many more, as well as features which she hopes to develop, and as for acting she’s done all sorts of things in both commercial, narrative and theater! And for that last short film, which she also starred in, she’s already picked up two “Best Actress” awards!
On pitfalls and hardships and failure “I think all those things are so important in building your career, your journey and who you are. There's a ton of rejection in this business so I think learning how to deal with it and learning the lessons that go along with them while always being aware of those things and most importantly not letting those failures feel bad and make me who I am. There is a poem by Rudyard Kipling called “If” and there's a section that says: [...] of triumph and disaster, treat those two impostors just the same - meaning the awards that we win at festivals and all those accolades, those shouldn't define me, as well as the rejections and the “failures” those shouldn't define me either. So I try to keep my head in the middle there, somewhere.”
Now she’s working on various projects, including three features, some possible shorts and has several acting gigs lined up. Her dream is simply to continue making films, while growing and getting better each time. She has some pretty big goals as well - her eyes are set on a feature film as her next big one, which she is already starting to try and figure out how to tackle. She loves the Austin community and hopes there continues to be a relevant film scene here, and what’s more, she hopes to have a hand in growing and developing it!