Episode 53: Beyond Sixty — Becoming a Movie Producer at 65
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Prefer reading? Get the episode transcript here:
About Our Guest:
My guest, Melissa Davey changed careers at 65 and become a documentary filmmaker. For more than two decades she worked at GENEX Services Inc., where she was recruited to build and operate the company’s Social Security representation division.
Prior to GENEX, Melissa had almost twenty years of diversified experience in the field of disability.
Her second act is fueled by a lifelong passion for film and story-telling.
Her film, Beyond Sixty, is a documentary feature film about women over the age of 60.
The film features the stories of 9 women, ordinary in the way we all are and just as interesting.
They include Susan Bennett, the original voice of Siri, the Madam CJ Walker biographer, Paula Yankauskas,who, in September 2016, became the oldest U.S. woman to swim the English Channel. To name just a few.
“From a very early age women are made to believe that our relevance has an expiration date. My goal with the film is to show the power of resilience and the wisdom of experience we bring to the table. I created Beyond Sixty to challenge the way we think about aging and the value of our own stories.”
We talked about how young people see us—some told Melissa they were tired of the stereotypes of aging women as irrelevant, feeble, unhappy—and how we see ourselves and others our age.
It’s not always pretty!
Do you think you’re too old to follow your big dream?…
I asked Melissa if this felt like a really big leap.
“Yeah, it was a big leap. However, my whole life has taken a kind of circuitous route at all times. Mainly because I’m so curious about things. So, I will change it up here and there and try new things. But never anything this drastically different.”
How our perception of things changes
“There comes this sense of self, which is a much deeper as you get older. Fear is lessened. It’s not that it’s not there. You don’t want to fail. The fear, just it lessens somehow and it’s manageable and you almost like expect it to be there. And it’s like, okay, come on fear we’re going to go try something else now.
I wondered how much she had to sell her idea, herself as an unknown film maker, etc.
“I really didn’t have to pitch too much, which surprised me. I was just myself. And with the women that I brought in knew I’d never made a film before.”
The cool thing about the production company
“The three owners of this production company in Philly were three very young men. And I was referred to them just to have the conversation, to see if they could point me in the right direction. They were like, what a great idea. We want to hear these stories. These were 28, 30 year old guys. So that was exciting.”
Who says we can’t get along with the younger gens.
Some of my takeaways
· You really are never too old to make your dream come true
· Aging does not diminish a person’s ability to be relevant and contribute
· Everyone’s story has the power to help someone else at any age
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