Introduce yourself?: Hi there! I’m Ethan Paisley. I am a 17-year-old writer and film producer based in San Francisco, CA. I started as an actor-model at five, then began a YouTube channel and fell in love with the idea of filmmaking. Ever since, I’ve worked for three production companies, started my very own, and accumulated 20 awards worldwide. I’ve also had the opportunity to speak at TEDxSonoma and Variety’s Digital Hollywood. Most recently, my third-ever feature screenplay was optioned by Sleeperwave Films (Supremacy, My Suicide). My dream is to create a philanthropic version of Netflix where I produce my own TV series and movies.
What inspires you everyday?: Mistakes and failures constantly motivate me to move forward in my career. Whether one of my artistic works failed or I got out of a really bad meeting, in my heart, I always know there is a second chance. Personal idols like Roman Polanski and Elizabeth Taylor and their flaws help me to see mine more clearly, and demonstrate the importance of authentic determination and passion.
What is something you would change about people in the world?: If I could change one side to all humanity, it would be the way in which the general public regards disenfranchised people. Ex-convicts, war vets, and homeless teens are just a few examples of people our society has grown to categorize as “inferior.” This conflict reenforces the idea that, ultimately, we are all equals. No level of income, achievement, or beauty can alter that.
How do you feel about the people in the world?: The nature of our character has been monotoned by the age of social media. Everybody is in a rush to be a “somebody” or “a great.” Followers, views, and likes qualify these titles. The problem is, we all have access to this media, and it desaturates the idea of celebrity. I wish people would recognize how it’s more unique to be “average” than “extraordinary” in this day and age.
What is something you’ve struggled with in life?: Like most artists, I wake up with self doubt everyday and work to push through it for the rest of my day. It’s also hard being a teen working in entertainment when you try to balance friends and academics with everything else going on. Lots of people don’t understand how much work it takes everyday to stride farther in this business, and how the core of that hard work is your emotional resilience.
What is a positive message you would give others?: I want to remind everyone of the law of averages: no matter what happens in life, your failures and successes will even out and you will be okay. This requires you to live fearlessly with every ounce of determination and confidence you can find within yourself. Most importantly, just do what you love and follow your heart. Anything someone else says is their problem.
if you could make a difference in the world how would you do that?: As a filmmaker, I use art to tie people together and make a difference in the world. I am an activist against human trafficking and consistently develop media projects to fight against the issue. Currently, I’m in the pitch stages for a feature film about trafficking at the moment. I would also like to visit Russia, China, or India this year to make a documentary about the sex trafficking industry for American distribution.