Indie Inspiration

Indie Inspiration: Lena Dunham: Why Not Being Jesus Is Important

Photo Credit: Mary Ellen Matthews

Have you seen ‘Girls‘? Maybe you’re a fan already. Or are you late to the party? Maybe you’re a fan of awards shows and saw Lena Dunham win a Golden Globe and thought “Her again?” or “Who’s that?”

There’s certainly a media furor over ‘Girls’, her cable series on HBO, produced by Judd Apatow. If I am being honest, after the first few episodes of ‘Girls’ I thought; “Yep. good, yep, talented. She’s not Jesus though, so what’s with the media deification?”

It helps to be championed by Judd Apatow certainly. It helps to be underwritten by HBO, of course. Continuing to watch ‘Girls’ I was still puzzled. “Sure, it’s good; she’s talented — but no more so than many independent artists with whose work I am familiar. What’s the big fu –”

Ah. That might be it. She is, like many independent artists, talented and productive, and has her own individual voice. That’s the gig, as it were.
My own father was an artist who grew up working class in Scotland — and though he had extraordinary talent, he brought that utterly matter-fact-work-ethic to painting. You just did it. You just got on with it. That’s all I knew growing up, so that’s what I have. Writing, acting, producing? It’s no big deal, just do the work and get on with it. Money or not, just do the work.

So Lena Dunham has just got “on with it”. She made her low-budget feature, ‘Tiny Furniture‘, as an indie filmmaker. It happened to get the attention of the “right” people, so she got a budgeted project like ‘Girls’ developed and produced. PR went to work, and now she and ‘Girls’ are everywhere.

But I think the real accomplishment by Dunham is not now she’s “won the lottery” and has been embraced by mainstream Hollywood, thanks, at least in part, to Mister Apatow. Strongly I suspect that had ‘Tiny Furniture’ not been seen by the right people and screened at SXSW, nor championed by Apatow, she’d still be doing it anyway, because that’s what writer-directors-performers do. So in other words, I think the real accomplishment is that Lena Dunham just got on with it.

You should too.

Listen FOR FREE to a lively, straightforward interview with Lena Dunham by Alec Baldwin on Here’s The Thing.

Follow Dunham on Twitter.
Follow Alec Baldwin on Twitter.

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