This is an interview we did with BrightGirlWrites about the conception and creation of “Imbalanced.” The picture shows our talented cast and crew on the set.
(From l to r: Braverman & Taylor)
By: Denishea Bright
Fourteen year old, Claire Braverman, talks with BrightGirlWrites about her new television teen drama pilot “Imbalanced”. The show is based in a mental facility and touches on many of the biggest issues that some teenagers face everyday such as, eating disorders and mental health. Braverman and her partner, Tori Taylor, are hands on with this project writing, directing, producing, casting, etc. You name it, they’re doing it, even if it’s on their school lunch time…
Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites): You guys met in school. Was it this year?
Claire Braverman: Yeah it was in August at the beginning of 8th grade.
Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites): So how was it when you guys first met? Were you friends right off the bat or did it take some time for you two to become friends?
Claire Braverman: It was kind of right off the bat the first time she actually talked to me. We were in our multimedia class and she said to me, “Your hair!” And I was like, “Thank you.” And then she says, “What’s your name?”, and I was like, “Claire.” And she said, “That’s such a cool name! Ok I am going to stop being weird now.” And I was pretty much sitting alone for the first two weeks of school because I was new and one day she just asked me if I wanted to sit by her and I did. We pretty much just talked all through lunch and the rest of the day. And then we texted all throughout that week non stop.
I texted Tori one day and told her that we should make a tv show based in a mental hospital and she thought I was joking. But I wasn’t joking…
Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites): You guys are writers, producers, and directors. Where did your love for this come about? Did you have previous writing experiences or was it kind of a spur of the moment “lets try something new” type of thing?
Claire Braverman: I think what happened is, well the first time Tori and I hung out we made a video to the song “Perfect” by Pink—
Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites): –I love that song by the way.
Claire Braverman: Yeah I love it too. It was about bulimia and stuff. And my mom is involved in the International Film Festival of Miami called The Jewish Film Festival and there was a category for young filmmakers and she really wanted us to enter but no copywritten music was aloud. So we decided that we will take some of the clips from the video that we made, film some new ones, and then I would write something over because I always loved writing. And every time we would write something in school the teachers would be like “you’re really talented”. I never really followed the way that they told me (writing technique) I just kind of wrote the way I wanted to and it usually turned out well. And so I wrote something and acted in it and she (Tori) filmed and edited it. And then we realized from that moment on that we really make an ideal team because we have skills that really compliment each other.
Check out this Miami Herald Video of the team talking about “Imbalanced” here.
Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites): So how do you guys manage your time being students and all while you’re working on your project. Because I know that time management is hard for me and I am no longer a student in school. And it’s so hard, I’m a writer also, and so how do you guys manage your time?
Claire Braverman: Yeah it is hard especially because I’m especially really studious. I get straights A’s, I’m in honors classes, and I love school and I beat myself up if I do something wrong in my writing and in my business career. And so I kind of realized in class when it’s necessary for me to pay attention and when it’s not. Tori and I talked some of the teachers into letting us work when we weren’t really doing anything in class. And basically If we have any downtime , we do work. But for finals week we had to put the project on pause and do school. And I think really the key with us is really prioritizing our time. We would write and work on the show during lunch. When we went to each others houses, we wouldn’t watch TV, we would work on our show. We would call people, we would do casting. Pretty much before the show started we were always working and when we were in school, we would do school.
Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites): So what made you guys want to do a project like “Imbalanced”. How did that come about?
Claire Braverman: I think we always kind of have been really interested in the subject of mental health. What better place for everyone to meet than a residential center. So at first I think the idea of a mental hospital which is often confused and it’s pretty different because mental hospitals are usually more short-term. I texted Tori one day and told her that we should make a tv show based in a mental hospital and she thought I was joking. But I wasn’t joking and we talked about it for a while and she was like “wait that’s actually a good idea!” And so we kind of just started on it right away.
Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites): And you two worked on 6 short films together, is that correct?
Claire Braverman: Yes.
Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites): Okay so how was that? How was working on all of those projects together as well? Are you guys getting used to working together now? Is it easier now?
Claire Braverman: Yeah it’s amazing. We just click especially as business partners. We have the same eye kind of. We like the same things. We are interested in the same types of movies and short films. We have different ideas and all together it really works and it’s really easy. Because honestly we fight more when were just being friends. We don’t fight as business partners.We basically know how to handle ourselves and how to handle each other. From being best friends for so long and working on something really seriously, we do know how to handle each other, what pushes our buttons, and what to avoid touching on.
Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites):You guys are in the 8th grade now? Or are you freshmen?
Claire Braverman: We’re going to 9th grade. Yes.
Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites):So do you have a preference for writing film or television?
Claire Braverman: I think I like television because I can draw things out in television. Some of the rules are a little different but I really do like writing anything that I can write. I write a lot of poetry mostly but I do like television and films and stuff.
Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites):I read that you won a Short Film competition. I believe you mentioned this earlier, the 14th Annual Broward County Jewish Film Festival for “Perfect”.
Claire Braverman: Yeah.
Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites):How does it feel to have your work recognized especially at your age because you both are so young. So how does that feel?
Claire Braverman: I mean I think it’s actually amazing. Before this year, me and Tori were always like, “I never win anything.” And now we do, we win a lot of things and it feels really good. It’s not a random drawing its something that we actually put actual effort into. And the film “Perfect” was actually seen in the judging conference by a couple of Israeli directors which I think is really amazing that we are recognized by people in this business and that they like what we are doing it’s really a great motivator.
Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites):Do you guys have anything coming up as well or is your main focus right now on “Imbalanced”?
Claire Braverman: I am trying to get into doing more writing competitions. So when Tori and I get together again we are definitely going to make more short films but I think our main project right now is “Imbalanced”. And we are going to start pitching it to television networks.
Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites):What is one piece of advice that you live by?
Claire Braverman: I don’t know if its advice but I really like the quote, “this too shall pass,” because I think a lot of times you’ll get into something really hard and especially teenagers or younger people they tend to think, “yup this is the whole world. I am never going to live pass this!” But you really do. You always live pass it and it’s never bad forever. Nothing ever lasts forever. Everything is temporary and it’s really reassuring to know that. For trouble times, its nice to know that it wont always be like that.
Denishea Bright (BrightGirlWrites):I think its beautiful that you have that kind of quote in your head. I think when I was younger I was one of the kids who always felt like “Oh god is this ever going to end. I’m going to go through this forever!” So I think it’s beautiful that you have that kind of mindset. What’s the most challenging thing that you had to deal with while being in school thus far?
Claire Braverman: Thank you by the way. I really didn’t have a lot of trouble in school. At the beginning of 8th grade I went to a new school and the day before (the first day)and for the first week I had like a million panick attacks. And I was like, “what’s happening?” And so I went to a psychiatrist and learned that I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder and put me on medication. And I think over coming that was really hard but it was also kind of an nice ending as to why I was always nervous about grades and everything.
Follow up with Claire Braverman on twitter
Email Tori Taylor and Claire at pointsofviewfilms (at) gmail (dot) com and talk with them personally.
Check Out The Short Film “Perfect” here.