Interview with Shelly Tuscano at 'SHOUTOUT ATLANTA' Magazine
We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather Fusari and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heather, what was your thought process behind starting your own business? There is definitely a lot of work in starting up and running your own business, but on my path, the pros outweighed the cons by miles!! Creating Badb Films has given me a platform to create my own roles as an Actress and films; projects I care deeply about, and ones that can shed light on subjects we rarely talk about, or people in history who’s voice has been muted for far too long. Also, starting my own business allowed for me to gain respect from my brilliant peers and filmmakers as I have been showing what I’m creatively capable of, rather than merely speaking. Which I’ve discovered a lot of people in this industry flood conversations with their talk, not their walk or the doing of the task, unfortunately. Creating Badb Films has also helped me find my tribe. I am a huge advocate of surrounding one’s self with people who are brilliant (never be the smartest one in the room), encouraging (crucial in a creative setting), people who challenge themselves and you- on a daily basis, and who motivate you to create your best work!!! These are ALL incredibly important to create a successful business but also films that you are immensely proud to tell. Filmmaking is a lot of work, so it’s necessary to have the experience be around people you vibe well with, and telling stories you actually care about.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work. My art form is split one- between the visual sense of ‘what can I convey in this one shot’ whether it’s the frame, the angle, the lighting, the depth of field- every aspect helps to consciously and subconsciously draw the audience into your story, and two- the written form. Writing a script- creating a world filled with depth, conflict, empathy, carefully constructed climaxes, and resolutions. These are all part of an entertaining art form that, if done skillfully, can cause the audience to leave their world for those two hours, and transform them into a world beyond their own existence. What I’m most excited about is exploring new worlds, telling stories that are beyond me and in truth, scare me. Though there may be scary adventures, these endeavors I’ve found to be the most fulfilling. It thrills me when I feel that spark, that adrenaline rush of ‘holy mother what am I doing?!?!’ but going along for the ride anyways. Going after your passion, your love, your dreams is not easy by any stretch of the imagination, and it’s a coined phrase for a reason… “if it was easy, everyone would do it.” But is it worth it, F*** YES! is it worth it to wake up knowing you have a purpose and you’re working each day to fulfill that purpose? To feed your soul rather than someone else’s bank account? ABSOLUTELY!!! What has helped me overcome challenges I’ve faced along the way was first reflecting, journaling, praying, meditating- all the things I need to do to get my mind clear and refocus on my WHY. Then I come up with a plan, and the steps to stay the course. And challenges happen along our journey when we decide we want growth, happiness, and to live out our dreams. But the discomfort is temporary, so find what helps snap you out of ruts and back on track- this is imperative! Your future self will thank you! Lessons I’ve learned along the way, and of which I’m still learning, believe me, are to trust my instincts and to go in the direction that brings me joy. To trust that quiet voice that speaks up when I’m facing a crossroad; though there may be outside conditions telling me otherwise, but when I’ve given myself the time to be still and just listen, the right action to take always reveals itself to me. But again, I’m still learning to be still because my mind likes to just push through and keep going, but that’s not always the best measure to take. Another lesson, do something that feeds your soul EVERY DAY! For me that includes going for a hike in the mountains, doing yoga, writing, listening to my record player, singing, dancing, reading a play, listening to an interview from someone who inspires me, etc…. So explore, and find what makes YOUR heart flutter! What I want the world to know about me is that i love collaborating, I love making films because I have the greatest opportunity to connect with remarkable artists from all walks of life, and many different paths – from cinematographers, gaffers, art directors, stunt performers and composers to makeup artists, wardrobe stylists, and set builders. And I LOVE watching people thrive in their element, their creative space!!! So this path as an Actress and Filmmaker and working in films and on stage is my greatest dream come true, and I only hope to contribute some of the inspiration I’ve received over the years to others who are on the verge of taking the ‘easy’ path or going after their passion! Go great your dream, no matter what your present circumstances may be. Make it happen!!!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to? Honestly my favorite spots are usually hikes in Roswell area, doing hot yoga in downtown Roswell, a place called Korsi, going to awesome coffee shops like Ground & Pound in Alpharetta. One of my other favorite spots to hang out is at the Stone Mountain Public House! The guys there are amazing, the food is excellent and the atmosphere is filled with walls of books! Not to mention, they were so wonderful in allowing Badb Films to shoot our last film in their cafe!!!! One of my favorite spots to grab a drink is called The Whiskey Project- I love a good scotch or whiskey!!! One of the best places to paddle board is on the Blue Ridge Lake where you’re surrounded by gorgeous mountains and crystal clear waters!! I think one of the most interesting places to check out for fun is the Swan drive-in theatre in Blue Ridge, they play old films like The Goonies!!! There are some amazing places to rock climb and repel in Sandy Springs, but I would wait until it gets warmer because climbing when it’s freezing hurts a lot.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition? Along my journey I have had enormous support from people who have maybe come in my life briefly or those who have been in my life from the beginning such as my Mom- a single mother of five children, who growing up, always made sure we had food on the table, a roof over our head, did our homework, she taught us the importance of hard work and going after what you want, and who is still one of my biggest supporters today; to my best friend and sister, Jacq, to my partner in crime, Steve who never ceases to amaze me and always puts a smile on my face. To my family who are such beautiful people, who would drop everything to help you if you needed anything. To artists who have come before me in acting and filmmaking who have pushed the limit, tried new things and of which I have learned a great deal! I have been tremendously blessed to have mentors like my acting coaches Tim Phillips, Susan Batson and Carl Ford who have shared their wisdom and guidance with me. The film group in Los Angeles, We Make Movies, where I was surrounded by independent filmmakers and writers every Wednesday while I lived in LA. It was also where my producing partner, David Beatty and I created an event to help other filmmakers with their projects called ‘What’s Next; and created our first webseries together ‘Get Spy’ which was ridiculously fun!!! Film Festivals and their directors who have believed in our work and premiered our films at festivals around the world along with nominations & awards for Best Pictures and Best Actress!!! There’s a great sense of validation in your work as others not only want to watch our films, but recognize the depth of work involved through their awards and nominations. This question as to who should get recognition in my story deserves more than a page worth of acknowledgements, but rather a novel. Because there are acts of kindness from people in my lifetime that have left incredible impacts on me albeit a brief connection, certain words of wisdom, acts of faith, love, guidance, they all are pieces of who I am today.
* great books that have impacted my life and which I read over and over again:
– The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
– Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
– PLAYS!!!! and SCRIPTS!!!!
– Story by Robert Mckee
– Truth by Susan Batson
– Biographies from master crafts people in my industry who have come before me
– books by Louise Hay
– books by Tony Robbins
– books by Rachel Hollis
– and so many others but that’s a good list to start with
Website: www.badbfilms.com Instagram: @badbfilm Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/badbfilm Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/hfusari1
Image Credits Stills from Within Reach – Director of Photography: Blake Studwell Stills from Her Calling – Director of Photography: Jonathan Hammond