Viewing "The Graduate" in high school led Griffiths to film school and a master's degree. After 10 years of film crew work in Seattle, she made a movie that got into Sundance.

Share story

FILMMAKER
Megan Griffiths

What do you do? I am a Seattle-based writer/director of independent films. Since 2010, I have made four narrative features, “The Off Hours,” “Eden,” “Lucky Them” and “The Night Stalker” (all available on iTunes).

How did you get started in that field? I always loved film, but a viewing of “The Graduate” in high school really awakened a deeper level of appreciation and a desire to know more and more. I eventually went to film school and then, MFA in hand, moved to Seattle and started working on any film that would have me. After about a decade on the crew side, I was able to make my film “The Off Hours,” which got into Sundance and laid the groundwork for the career I now enjoy.

What’s a typical day like? It varies wildly depending on whether or not I have a film in production. When I’m shooting, the day starts with me arriving on set, getting a cup of coffee, then doing a blocking rehearsal (where you determine your actors’ placement and movement) for the first scene of the day. 

Once that’s done, the actors go off to hair and makeup, and I spend some time with my cinematographer and assistant director to talk through the shots we’re trying to get, and the order in which we’ll tackle them. Then, as the actors get ready and the set is lit and prepped, I usually take a moment to center myself and think about the scene’s place in the larger context of the film.

Once everything’s set, we start shooting and continue getting takes until we have what we need, then move through the rest of the shot list for the scene. That cycle repeats over the course of the day until we’ve shot everything on the schedule.   

What’s the best part of the work?
I adore being on set. There are thousands of decisions that have to be made every day, but I know I’ve done the work, and I always feel very attuned and alive in those moments.

What surprises people about what you do? I generally find that my job is a great icebreaker. Pretty much everyone watches films and has favorite actors or genres, so when people find out I’m a director they’re stoked to dive right into the subject. 

Do you have a cool job or know someone in the Seattle area who does? Email us with your recommendations for people to feature in Cool Jobs.