How to build a community who’ll bring your vision to life, with film director Elena Rossini

by Joanna Pieters | Follow her on Facebook here

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The board of TV execs seemed so positive. ‘Your presentation was the best one of the last round!’ they said. The film director Elena Rossini had been called back to pitch her documentary on the globalisation of beauty to the most senior figures in the network. She was excited, ready, prepared for years for this moment.

‘We love it. But tell us, can we help you find a male director for it?’

You’ve got a huge vision for a life-changing creative project, you know you have the skills, and you get fantastic feedback – and then all the people in positions of power try to change everything about it. What do you do? You go and build a community of the people who do believe in it, and in you.

Filmmaker Elena Rossini spent 8 years making her critically acclaimed film on the global beauty industry, The Illusionists, 6 of those with nothing but rejections.

We talk about how TV studios told her they loved what she was doing – but how their reaction was typical of the experience many women have in film. How they wanted to replace all the experts and thinkers so important to her with celebrities instead. The way the film festivals rejected her continually. And how she found her own path to building, crowdfunding and launching a film that has been shown around the world, and which has put her on international stages as a guest and speaker.

There’s so much other great stuff too, including:

  • The business she launched within 24 hours
  • The way she attracted interest from high-profile celebrities to support The Illusionists, including Stephen Fry
  • How she used Twitter to build a community that supported her at every step – from introductions to funding
  • How women are continually underrepresented in film, and Elena’s determination to change it


My favourite quotes:

When I see something that I’m frustrated about, I turn it into a creative project. It’s very healing and cathartic. Every time I do that, magical things happen.

One reason I never got really discouraged is that I like to take things that can be seen as a problem and turn them into a strength.

Make your own vision real

Get your creative vision out there! The Creative’s Distraction Buster is a guide to getting things done with a difference – it’s designed especially for creatives who are fed up with being told it’s all about to-do lists or time management. Download it for free here and start making your difference.

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