Hillary is a writer, director, and producer. Her background is in television development - she previously worked at the Emmy-winning production company, Lion Television, developing unscripted series for national cable networks like TLC, AMC, and A&E.
She has produced branded content for clients including 1000heads, MME, Arm Technology, and Palmer’s. Hillary’s comedic web series, Keep Me Posted, was called “hilariously accurate” by Refinery 29, and her short film, The Cheeseburger, has been shared by multiple popular food bloggers. Hillary also co-produced Pay to Stay, the latest short by award-winning director Heather Taylor, and Art Opening, a film by Claire Dub.
Hillary's personal essays have been published both online and in print, most recently in McSweeney's Internet Tendency and Eating Well magazine. You can check out her earlier work on late night reruns of the hit series Cash Cab, for which she worked as a writer and researcher.
WEBSITES: HILLARYNUSSBAUM.COM/KEEP ME POSTED SERIES/CHEESEBURGER
SOCIAL MEDIA: TWITTER/INSTAGRAM
A Q&A WITH FILMSHOP BREAKTHROUGH SERIES 2017 FEATURED ARTIST Hillary nussbaum...
What was the inspiration for your project?
Keep Me Posted was inspired by a low point in my own life - a moment where I was feeling depressed, dissatisfied, and lost. I wasn't quite connecting with my friends, and I attributed it to the fact that our lives were moving in different directions at different rates.
I decided to explore the way friendships evolve as friends hit adulthood, and wanted to be sure that whatever I wrote stayed true to the way people communicate now. But as I started developing the series, it became clear that the texting and social media was more than just a storytelling device. It was the story. I realized how much our modes of communication shape our interactions, for better or for worse. And how, in my own life, I had been hiding behind my phone. That became the crux of the series.
If you could do one thing differently, what would that be?
This is a tough one. I'm really happy with the way things turned out, but of course there are always things you wish you did differently. My answer to this question probably depends on when you ask it. There was one narrative thread that got dropped in production. It was primarily a visual storyline, and we didn't have the time or resources to get the footage that we needed to support it. The series works without it, but it added an additional layer to one of the main characters, and it would have been great to have given her that extra dimension.
How did the Filmshop community contribute to its development?
When I joined Filmshop, all I had was an idea. Filmshop held me accountable for meeting my writing goals, and I workshopped early drafts and outlines in my chapter. One character—Kavita's mother—played a much smaller role in early drafts. But when I brought in pages to workshop, people thought Kavita's scenes were too slow; she's depressed, she doesn't do much. It felt inauthentic to make her more lively, so I developed the character of her mother to address that note, and it ended up making her story so much richer.
The Filmshop community also really rallied behind the project, supporting our crowdfunding efforts, attending our first screening, and helping to spread the word.
And, in true Filmshop fashion, two key members of the team are Filmshoppers: DP Taylor Stanton and Editor Dane Benko.
I'm developing another web series that I plan to write in the coming months and produce in 2018. I've also been collaborating with other writers and directors on a few short films, and that's been great. It's so exciting to work with and learn from other creative, motivated people.
What keeps you up at night?
Film-wise? The sheer amount of content out there—there isn't enough time to watch it all! More content means more opportunities to bring underrepresented voices and perspectives to the screen, which is awesome. But it also means that great things get lost in the shuffle, that a series or film has a moment and then is quickly forgotten as everyone moves on to the next thing. So I've been thinking about that, and about ways to support and promote other indie creators.