Interview & Photography
Born in Bundaberg, Queensland, Brodie Lancaster made the move to the big city lights of Melbourne in 2008 to study Media at RMIT University. I remember meeting Brodie during our very first week at university. Seated in the library, we recognised each other from a cinema studies class and immediately fell into an engrossed conversation about Australian drama series Love My Way. I can still recall the glimmer of excitement in her eyes – it was that special kind of glimmer that alerts you to when someone is talking about something truly meaningful to them; something they will one day be known for.
In 2012, after a year-long writing and editing stint in New York, Brodie returned to Melbourne feeling somewhat restless and itching to create something of her own. Combining her love for cinema with her passion for feminism, Brodie launched the zine Filmme Fatales as a way to write about the things she cared about and vivify a much needed feminist perspective in the world of film commentary.
An editor at The Good Copy, staff writer for online publication Rookie, inspiring guest speaker at events such as Amazing Babes, and One Direction's greatest fan, the bright 24-year-old is in high demand.
Balancing the task of Founder/Editor/Writer/Producer for her quarterly zine with a flourishing career, I was eager to find out how she manages to juggle it all and land so firmly on her feet.
From the gentle awakening of her Sleep Cycle app at 6:45 each morning, to falling asleep to the tail end of a film, Brodie is a shining example of how making the most of those seemingly hidden hours after work can set your project on a limitless trajectory and lead to unimaginable opportunities.
The Sleep Cycle app wakes me up around six forty-five. I find that I am most refreshed after about seven hours sleep – if I sleep any longer I'm generally a little lethargic. I would rather have a little window of time in the morning than rush getting ready for work. I have a chance to lay around, scroll through Instagram a little bit, check the weather, work out what I want to wear, decide whether I want to spend any time doing my hair that morning – which I generally don’t. [Laughs]
I like to be at the tram stop before eight, any later and it's a shit-fight – they only put on single carriage trams every fifteen minutes, it's ridiculous!
It takes me generally about twenty-minutes to get to work at The Good Copy. I wish I carried a book or a magazine as I have so much I need to read, but twenty-minutes isn’t enough time. Instead I listen to music and just kind of be in my brain.
I start work at nine, but I try to get there around eight-thirty to manage the social media pages for Filmme Fatales, read articles and check emails before work.
Morning coffee and get down to it. I work out of Magic Johnston creative studio space, which is filled with talented, cool and nice people.
Each morning I like to sit next door in Everyday Coffee as my boss/mentor/friend Penny Modra doesn't mind where I work from. So it’s good to get a couple of coffees, some breakfast, and everyone knows where to find me.
We have a fifteen minute pow-wow meeting with the team. On Mondays we might have a longer meeting and talk about our week, or take a conference call with other agencies we are working with.
I do copywriting for a major CBD retailer, so I spend one day a week taking photos and writing articles about stores. My morning is usually spent on client work, emailing and writing content.
I don’t really take a lunch break. I usually bring something like sushi, pad thai, or a Vietnamese roll back to the office and eat at my desk. I try not to work while I’m eating because I’m bad at typing, so I usually watch a video or catch up on reading.
I get really distracted by social media. I’m trying to take at least an hour break from emails and social media in my day, but I tend to reward myself for tiny stretches of work with long stretches on Facebook [Laughs]
If I know I'm going to have a busy day, I go into Google Calendar to block out time to let everyone know, Don’t Disturb Brodie. It also motivates me to work as I know it’s there and I tell myself, this is what I need to do today and I need to get it done, so stop looking at One Direction pictures on Tumblr.
I usually leave work around five or six. Penny lives really close by, so in the afternoon she will go home and work from there. Sometimes I finish my day drinking Coke Zero, chain-smoking and talking about stuff we need to do out the front of her house.
On the walk from Penny’s to the tram I go past my friend Sarah’s – friend who lives alone so we might have dinner or watch TV. I like to have dinner out. I love cooking, but even when I make a basic pasta it’s an hour by the time I’ve prepared and eaten, then once I've helped my roomie hem a dress and answered emails, it gets to ten p.m and I still need to clean. I love it, but I do it when I have time. If I cook I make enough for leftovers.
Arriving home signals the second part of my day as I switch to working on Filmme Fatales or writing features for Rookie. At night I write, organise interviews, give feedback to writers or anwser emails. Emails are done in bursts during the week, which is bad, but eh.
I have all the TV shows I keep up with, so I download an episode while I have a shower.
I always say I want to put my computer away and read before bed, but I never do that – I’m pretty much on the computer until I’m asleep! I usually turn the lights off and watch something, or I do a tidy up of clothes so the next morning it doesn’t stress me out.
My weekends are mostly spent writing Rookie features or working on Filmme Fatales.
A few weeks ago would be close to the ideal weekend. I had the work car so I could get a lot done. I decided to stay in on Friday night and wrote some lists, watched some things on the computer and had a good nights sleep. I woke at seven-thirty on Saturday morning feeling fresh.
I got in the car and went to St Ali North café. I got there early, had the seat I wanted, ordered a really nice breakfast and had like three coffees and just wrote for two hours.
Then I went to the post office, shipped copies of my zine and headed to Nova Cinema and watched a press screening of a movie.
In the afternoon I went to a garage sale and bought a poster one of my friends had made. Then came back home and watched TV before working at an event from eight till midnight.
I’m an introvert and I need time to recharge. I’m around people all day everyday, so when I come home I just need to zone out.
So that was super productive [Laughs] Ideally, there would be a dinner out with friends, or a brunch with friends. I also love just watching TV, doing my nails, getting Thai takeaway and eating ice-cream in bed. I love spending my time like that.
I always feel weird health-wise on Sundays. I have a little bit of a headache and feel a little nauseous like I haven’t eaten fruit in like ten years... Always on a Sunday! It’s like a Sunday allergy or slump.
"I’m an introvert and I need time to recharge. I’m around people all day everyday, so when I come home I just need to zone out."
BEHIND THE SCENES
On how it all began…
I had just got back from living in New York and for an entire six months I felt like I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do.
I don’t let jealousy or comparing myself hold me back. You can either sit on your ass and look at how great someone’s life is on Instagram (no-one's life is that good) or you can fucking make your own shit happen.
I saw that my friend Tavi Gevinson had released the first issue of of Rookie magazine, and I was like, “Fuck it, she saw a gap and she made something to fill it, people love it and this is where she is at.” I couldn't feel jealous, or sad, or left out from the party... I needed to make that party happen for myself!
"I don’t let jealousy or comparing myself hold me back. You can either sit on your ass and look at how great someone’s life is on Instagram (no-one's life is that good) or you can fucking make your own shit happen."
On surrounding yourself with the right people...
After being on the receiving end of a petty, jealousy-inspired email, I wrote in my journal: “Never feel guilty for my success. I will never let any basic bitches bring me down because they can’t bring themselves to do something with their lives… I don’t owe anything to jealous people.”
I’m not pertaining to act like I have everything under control, or have everything I want, or that I am exactly where I want to be in life, but I’ve made shit happen that’s worked out well for me. And you can too.
Amy Poehler once said something I find really helpful:
“Only hang around people who are positive and make you feel good. Anyone who doesn’t make you feel good kick them to the curb. The earlier you start in life the better. The minute anyone makes you feel weird, or not included, is the minute you beat it or tell them to beat it.”
"I’m not pertaining to act like I have everything under control, or have everything I want, or that I am exactly where I want to be in life, but I’ve made shit happen that’s worked out well for me. And you can too."
On making the most of those precious moments of downtime...
If I don’t have anything to do I’ll watch a TV series or movie. But I’m doing other things when I’m doing that – I can’t do one thing at once! So I’ll write my lists, plan stuff, do my nails. I’ll do my nails twice a week and it’s a solid hour. I find it’s a way to stop me from doing too much because I can’t touch anything!
I procrastinate with online stuff. I get distracted by just scrolling through Tumblr, looking at pictures of One Direction. I like to college – I have a box that is just images and pictures.
Also online shopping. I will browse through ASOS then exit forty-minutes later with $3,000 worth of patterned pants just sitting in my cart. I own too much ASOS – It was my 2014 thing to stop buying ASOS.
On the wonders of having a mentor...
I call Penny Modra my boss/mentor/friend as there really is no other way to describe our relationship. She is a million miles an hour, she is brilliant, she remembers anything anyone says to her or reads... She will remember something I said in November and stores it and references it! I love her more than a lot of things.
I think it's important to have someone there for when you fall into those spirals of self doubt. Penny will come along and say, “you are doing the best job" and having her tell me that is very validating because she is my hero.
"That’s key: Ask for help! But there is a point where you have to become self-sufficient enough to ask for specific things."
On putting an idea into action...
I came up with a name, made the social media pages, paid the money for a URL and a Tumblr theme and I was like, “Now I’m invested… gotta do it!”
I committed my nights and weekends to working on Filmme Fatales. I just did it. I would reach out to people who knew about specific things like print, design, and so on. I had designers around me at Lifelounge where I was working at the time, so I would ask them questions, but other than that I would just work it out.
That’s key: Ask for help! But there is a point where you have to become self-sufficient enough to ask for specific things
On managing the day-to-day chaos...
I’ve always been a list-maker, but it’s more just a way to unclutter my brain.
The back of a notebook is where I do all my work. A lot of it’s cash flow – what meals can I afford before pay-day, who do I need to pay, budgets.
Then there’s some to-do lists, interview questions, brainstorms, ideas for photoshoots, people I want to pitch to, planning postage for my zine, even the time I went to an event and this lady made me annoyed, so I wrote down all the things that made me annoyed so I wouldn’t forget. [Laughs]
On finding inspiration...
I don’t know if I have a creative inspiration. TV and movies inspire me a lot. A theme for Filmme Fatales was Working Girls because I binge-watched Mad Men and I got straight into working on issue three inspired by Peggy.
I’m really into Dance Moms and I love reality TV, so then I made a theme Reality. I just love TV. I don’t think I’m the kind of person who looks at say fashion or art and says. “Ohhh, I’m so inspired by that.” I feel like I just like the things I like.
I think my inspiration comes from other people making great things.
"It helps to remind myself that we all have
the same hours in the day as Beyoncé."
– Brodie Lancaster
Diablo Cody's 'Red Band Trailer' interview series
The Tina Fey episode of 'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee'