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Traci Hays: Director of Genre-Blending Narratives and My Bloody Galentine

Traci Hays

Please Introduce Yourself

Hello everyone! I’m Traci Hays, a film and television director from Northern California. I’m passionate about creating genre-blending stories that feature flawed, dynamic women at their core.

What Makes You Unique in the Industry?

With over a decade of experience as a union production designer on 30 feature films, I approach storytelling in a hands-on, collaborative, and visually driven manner. Growing up as a dyslexic homeschooled tomboy with a congenital heart defect, I rarely saw myself represented on screen. As an adult, I became a director to change that narrative.

The Moment You Knew

I was born with a rare heart defect and had emergency open-heart surgery at birth. Another surgery followed at four years old, and a third after passing out during a high school soccer game. During recovery, I found solace in films like “The Wizard of Oz” and “Anne of Green Gables.” Watching Dorothy step into technicolor ignited my passion for visual storytelling. Six months later, fully recovered, I began creating home movies with my siblings, determined to share my voice.

Directing “My Bloody Galentine”

When I first read the script for “My Bloody Galentine,” I knew it was something special. Eliza Maher’s script combined a laugh-out-loud dark comedy with thrilling twists and strong female friendships. As a Hitchcock fan, I saw it as an opportunity to draw on influences from films like “Vertigo,” “Clue,” and “Scream.”

The Best and Most Challenging Parts of Directing

I was thrilled to shoot the film in London, a city I love. Hiring local British talent and collaborating with cinematographer Vince Knight and a stellar cast was incredibly rewarding.

Photo credit: Adam Hendershott

Casting Philosophy

I work closely with my casting directors, seeking grounded, believable performances with that indescribable special quality. I love when actors surprise me with unique interpretations of their roles. Ultimately, a mix of talent, collaboration, and positive energy is crucial.

Audience Takeaway from “My Bloody Galentine”

I hope audiences enjoy a campy, over-the-top ride filled with laughter, smiles, and a heartwarming sense of female friendship, all while experiencing a few scares.

Lessons from Chapman University’s Film & Television Program

  1. Never fear stepping out of your comfort zone.
  2. It’s okay not to have all the answers.
  3. Taking an acting class helped me understand character development.
  4. Trust your gut instinct.
  5. Form lasting relationships with peers for future collaborations.

Advice from Mentors

Martha Coolidge emphasized only saying yes to projects that spark creativity. “Be as prepared as possible – do your homework,” she advised.

Favorite Project and Awards

Each film brings its own challenges and rewards, so I don’t have a single favorite. While I appreciate the recognition, my greatest satisfaction comes from sharing my work with an audience.

Future Goals

In five years, I aim to direct full-time on feature films and television series for major companies, working alongside supportive, like-minded individuals.

Photo credit: Adam Hendershott

Dream Project

I dream of directing a coming-of-age 90s feature, reminiscent of “Bend It Like Beckham” meets “Lady Bird.”

Masterfully Directed Films

  • Back to the Future
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Pride & Prejudice (2005)
  • To Leslie

Advice for Aspiring Directors

Don’t let anyone tell you you’re too young or inexperienced. Your unique voice and perspective matter.

Current Projects

I’m in post-production on a thriller, akin to “No Country for Old Men” meets “Hell or High Water,” set to release on Tubi later this year.

Connect with Traci Hays

Website: www.tracihays.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/traci.s.hays
IMDB: www.imdb.me/Traci

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Last modified: June 30, 2024