When I met Courtney at a dinner party last year, I instantly knew that I had met a true soul sister. We chatted about some of my most valued and favorite topics: our dogs, art and painting, writing and living an examined life. I have always admired women writers, women screenwriters and women directors~ especially women writer-directors breaking down barriers in Hollywood~ all heroines in my book! Here’s to Courtney’s Top 10 things that she is grateful for: it’s honest, real and amazing! Thank you Courtney, you rock sister! Cheers!
- Jimmy, my husband. He believes in me, and when he gets excited about my writing, it gets me excited about my writing.
- Working with friends. Shooting with people you know and enjoy, that you have a history with, makes every step of the process more fun.
- My dogs. As with all animals, each is a character. I like taking breaks from work to pet them and hang out with them.
- Others’ feedback. It’s helpful to hear which parts of my writing resonate with readers/viewers and which don’t.
- The things other people make—paintings, music, books, movies. When Steven Soderbergh was accepting an award for one of his films, he commented, “Art makes life worth living.” Trying to imagine life without the arts is like trying to imagine the planet without trees.
- Doing a mix of things makes me happier than spending too much time and energy on only one thing or another.
- Iced matcha lattes. I drink two a day. I’m so addicted to this healthy ‘treat,’ and the matcha powder is so expensive, that I lick any undissolved grains of it off the bamboo whisk and glass the way people in movies rub grains of leftover cocaine into their gums.
- The wisdom of others. Reading books like “The War of Art” and “The Alchemist,” and clipping interviews of successful people talking about the lessons they learned on their journey helps me feel less alone and it fortifies me to keep working. Current favorite bit of wisdom: “Do not look back. And do not dream about the future, either. It will neither give you back the past, nor satisfy your other daydreams. Your duty, your reward—your destiny—are here and now.” (Dag Hammarskjold, “Markings”)
- Tracy Anderson. I’ve done a lot of different types of workouts and I think hers are the most efficient way to get in the best shape of your life. I will probably never do anyone else’s workouts. They make me feel great, and energized, and better able to tackle film production, which is draining.
- I’m grateful to God. Obviously I don’t know if there really is a God, but I choose to have faith, because I would rather have the comfort it provides than not. Some people don’t need it, which I get and respect. But it has helped me a lot, having God to talk to when I need strength or courage to keep taking risks. I feel like everything is a risk—even the smallest step can make you feel vulnerable and exposed to rejection and disappointment. To keep taking small and big steps every day… well, I think this is why L.A. people are famously “woo-woo.” Most of us need a lot of faith (or other coping strategies, like meditation, yoga, etc.) to keep moving forward.
Courtney Daniels grew up in Houston, attended the University of Texas at Austin, and lives in Los Angeles. After writing feature screenplays on spec for several years, she wrote and directed a short film that premiered at LA Shorts Fest. She then made a feature, “What Other Couples Do,” which premiered at the Pasadena film festival. Courtney writes about people, books and things on her site, Sugarinsixtyseconds.com, and is currently shooting the pilot episode of a web series she’s writing. Her film, “What Other Couples Do,” can be streamed on Amazon and on the indie film subscription site, Fandor.com.