Filmmaker Feature: Aysha Wax
Name: Aysha Wax
Film: Grief Vigilantes
Logline: A grief-stricken office worker decides to take revenge on her boss with the help of her grief group.
Festival(s): Women’s Comedy Festival in Chicago, Atlanta Comedy Festival, Women’s Comedy Film Festival in Atlanta
City you’re based in: Los Angeles, CA
Short Bio: Aysha Wax is a writer, director and comedian. She is fun, witty and unintentionally the loudest person in the room. Aysha has had her sketch videos featured on Buzzfeed, Funnyordie, Wifey TV, and WhoHaHa. Aysha has performed improv and sketch around Los Angeles at iO West, the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, Westside Comedy Theater, and the Groundlings. Aysha also toured her one woman show Hebrew School Horror.
Aysha has written for the 2016 CBS Diversity Showcase and has directed three shows with The Braid Theater. Aysha’s first short film Grief Vigilantes has won best comedy and best director at numerous festivals.
Favorite Quote: “Deal with yourself as an individual worthy of respect and make everyone else deal with you the same way.” Nikki Giovanni
Interests/ Hobbies: The pandemic has forced me to explore new hobbies because I am horrible at handling downtime, so my new hobby is cross-stitching. I also love doing yoga.
How did you get started in the Film Industry?
I started in the comedy scene in Los Angeles after college making sketch videos. I also performed improv and sketch comedy at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade and Groundlings. This forced me to be a multi-hyphenate who knew how to produce, write and direct on a shoestring budget.
What are your upcoming and active projects?
My next short coming out this year is a comedic stop-motion/live-action exploration of my breast reduction. It will be very sweet and also strange. The movie is called Breast Friend and it is a love letter to the breast fat that was removed from my body.
What type of stories interest you and why?
I love all kinds of story, but I love comedy with a hint of darkness/sadness. I think that life is hysterical and I love to make stories that balance the sweet and the bitterness of life.
What is your genre of choice?
My genre and main passion is comedy.
How are you creating a path for yourself in this industry?
I am creating a path in the industry by creating projects that celebrate and elevate women’s stories. Our stories can be pushed to the sidelines, but I am making them front and center in my work. I want to live other female creators up.
What inspires you as a storyteller?
I am inspired by my own life, but also by everything around me. I am currently working on a pilot inspired by characters I watched in one episode of HGTV’s Househunters. There is weird inspiration all around us and it is not limited to high class art. I love the intersection of high brow and low brow.
How do you prep for a film, from writing to being on set?
Personally, I surround myself with a great team at the inception of a project. Once I have my team assembled, like the avengers, I can create in style. We will keep each other in check when it comes to limitations, but the team helps me soar. I usually write a draft and then have them look at it. Once I am ready for preproduction I create a ton of spreadsheets and shooting lists, so that I am ready for the madness of being onset. Creating a movie is like hosting a wedding, something will probably go wrong, but that’s part of the experience and excitement.
What is the first thing you do when you get a script?
When I get a script I read it one time through and then I start writing notes. I want to make sure that I understand it completely and can still make it my own.
What are a few lessons you’ve learned from your recent project(s)?
The biggest help is to surround yourself with good people who want you and your vision to succeed. Obviously, filmmaking will be difficult, but its best when collaborative. Also, it is OK to feel imposter syndrome on a set. You, as a director are doing the best you can and you may make mistakes; that doesn’t make you any less of a leader or visionary.
What practical tips do you have for indie filmmakers (budgeting, marketing, directing)?
I recently spoke to a friend’s class at USC about how you don’t need to be limited by finances when it comes to making short films. If you have a good iphone you are already ten steps ahead of some people. When I worked in sketch comedy the only thing that really took me out of a video was bad sound or bad coloring. So, if you want to invest in those two things over impressive locations I think you will be a winner.