Researching upcoming film festivals, she discovers that a renowned filmmaker will be holding a screenwriting seminar a few hours away. Later that day.
She explodes into action.
“Take the kids, Patrick!” she yells to her husband, tossing him children and grocery list, before zooming off toward the Provincetown Film Society (PFS). She makes the 115-mile trip in record time and bursts into the seminar with minutes to spare.
Her death-defying drive pays off. The screenplay she completes, EsCape Cod, about mutant lobsters, wins Top Honors at two International Film Festivals, and she begins an internship at PFS that ultimately segues into her choice of paid employment.
She chooses Social Media Manager because, she confesses, “I’ll get to go to parties.”
Scene II: Three years later. Julie loves her job at PFS. She’s authored a television pilot, The Bird Herd, silver prizewinner at the Beverly Hills Screenplay Competition, and finished a script based on her parents’ meeting at Boston City Hospital.
“My mother was the first female surgical resident there,” she says. “It’s a pretty unique story, but I could say it’s like Call the Midwife meets Mad Men, with a little dash of Grey’s Anatomy.” Asked about parental approval, she laughs. “Everybody’s names are changed by at least one syllable,” she promises.
She’s also writing an action comedy set, yes, at an all-girls’ school’s 25th reunion.
“Write what you know,” she says, cheerily. In fact, Julie spoke at her own 25th Winsor reunion, where she deployed humor to address a serious topic: the niggling worry, common among women, that they won’t measure up, that they’ll be “found out” as imposters.
Julie credits Winsor with inoculating her and her peers against what she calls “this crippling fraud phenomenon.”
“Our ideas and thoughts were listened to and respected” at Winsor, she says. Teachers entertained all questions, and “didn’t roll their eyes,” even during the giggliest Sex Ed class. This atmosphere of respect, she says, was Winsor’s “greatest gift,” freeing her from “the useless notion that our words and insight don’t matter.”
As an artist writing and selling her own work, she summons this inner confidence often.
“For women particularly,” Julie says, “the best advice I ever got from a boss was, ‘You’ll never get paid what you’re worth. You’ll get paid what you negotiate.’ Don’t be afraid of being your best advocate. It’s the only way we’re going to close the gender pay gap.”
At the same time, she says, women must celebrate one another. She cites comedy as an example.
“Winsor was such a supportive environment,” she says. “But the comedy world is different, and funny women need to do a better job of supporting each other… Joan Rivers said that Phyllis Diller, who was already a successful standup comedian, would sit in the audience and laugh louder than anyone at her jokes until Joan hit it big. We need more Phyllis Dillers out there.”
Will Julie be one of them? Stay tuned for her next act.
Written by: Juliet Eastland ’86, a writer in Brookline, Mass.