how filmmaker Lori Schmon does by way of documenting
Filmmaker Lori Schmon spent all of April 2018 in the Middle East documenting the Jordanian women's soccer team's attempt at qualifying for the World Cup—something that is breaking barriers for women in their country. She's felt passionate about telling this story for several years, so she did.
Occupations, affiliations, and projects.
I’m a filmmaker, producer and visual storyteller. Prior to filming my documentary about the Jordanian women’s soccer team, I worked as a Senior Producer at Vevo. Currently, I’m working on my doc, freelancing and looking for that next great opportunity!
PEOPLE WHO DO FOCUSES ON THOSE WHO TAKE ACTION TO PURSUE MEANINGFUL LIFE PASSIONS. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU TO “DO”?
The desire to “do” is ingrained in me. Sometimes I wish it weren’t because it definitely makes life more complicated, like making a big decision to leave my job/life for a few months and take a chance on a documentary in the Middle East. But, I now know that I would rather try to “do” and make a mark on this world, however big or small, than to do nothing at all.
Tell me more about why it's important for you to create this documentary?
My passion is to understand people and tell their stories in hopes of revealing truth about the world we live in today. I think many people in the United States have preconceived notions and judgments about the Middle East. And while some of them may be true, I really want to open people’s minds and tell a different story. The women on the Jordanian national soccer team are doing something completely out of the norm and breaking barriers for women all across the Middle East. The more stories that we tell like this, the more we’ll start to see actual change in the world.
What's one thing you want people to take away from this documentary?
I want people to know that no matter where you come from, we’re all connected in more ways than we might think. The more we can connect with people from all walks of life—from different societies, cultures and religions—I think we’ll begin to understand each other a bit more and have more compassion.
To date, what accomplishments are you most proud of?
Going to Jordan and making this film was a huge accomplishment for me. While working at Vevo, I created an election series called “Why I Vote” that featured short docs on artists talking about the personal reasons why they vote. Many of the episodes were emotional, with artists telling great stories they hadn’t shared before. This was a huge moment for me professionally and personally because I took something I was passionate about and inspired many of my colleagues and the CEO to back this project. It was the first time I proved to myself that I could do whatever I set my mind to.
#1 motivating mantra to get through tough moments.
I look at everything as a massive learning experience. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but it’s important to accept the tough moments for what they are, and then learn from those experiences. Also, mistakes happen. It’s how you respond to those mistakes that make all the difference in the world.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve learned so far this year?
The importance of living life out of the comfort zone. Go out. Explore. Experience and embrace different cultures. And be present.
What’s your favorite lesson you’ve ever learned, ever?
I don’t know if this is a lesson, it’s probably more of a belief. One of my favorite moments is when an interviewer asks Nina Simone, “what does ‘free’ to you mean?” After thinking for a bit, she finally responds, “no fear.” I mean, isn’t that all we can ever hope for? Living a life without fear. This clip hit me with great force because at that time, I realized I was doing the exact opposite. Now, I try to live life without fear holding me back.
What's your go-to song to put you in a better mood?
Can I pick three?
Favorite method for logging any kind of inspiration.
Disconnecting is really important for me, which of course is so hard to do in our current society. I don’t necessarily mean going on a wellness retreat in the woods for three weeks (although that would be nice—who’s in?), but sometimes going on a run helps me decompress and re-set from everything I’ve taken in recently. Of course, I think being connected to the world and everything in it is really important for inspiration, but it’s also just as important for me to take a beat and let it all sink in.
What’s the best piece of advice that you can give another filmmaker?
I think this goes for all creatives, but if you have a film you want to make or project you want to pursue, you just gotta do it. Because who knows what can happen? Trying and failing is better than doing nothing at all. (At least that’s what I tell myself!)
3 words that you want to be remembered by.
Passionate. Adventurous. Spirited.
What’s the next goal?
Finishing my documentary! We have more filming to do in Jordan and potentially some other parts of the world depending on where our main characters end up.
By "do-ing", you create your own unique legacy. How do you want your legacy to look?
I want to be remembered as someone who gave it their all. As a passionate person who loves meeting people from all walks of life and hearing their stories. As someone who wholeheartedly wants to make a difference. As a loyal friend who can always be counted on.