Taylor Swift says she had to overcome imposter syndrome as a music video director
Not even Taylor Swift is immune to imposter syndrome.
The Grammy singer opened up about her foray into directing at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday, where she screened her short film All Too Well and chatted with filmmaker Mike Mills (20th Century Women, C'mon C'mon) about bringing the 10-minute song from Red onto the screen.
Swift's experience directing her own music videos, including "The Man," "Cardigan," and "Willow," ultimately led to her writing and directing the companion film for "All Too Well," she said. "I was always very curious," Swift said, per Variety. "I was always looking and learning and trying to absorb as much as I possibly could."
"A few music videos [into my career], I just started going into the edit and making changes," she continued. "It started with meddling, and it went from meddling with the edit to then writing the treatments for the music videos. That was almost ten years ago."
Her first experience on the music video director's chair came after all of her favorite female directors were too "booked and busy" to helm the video for 2019's "The Man," prompting Swift to take it into her own hands following advice from director Lana Wilson, who directed her 2020 documentary Miss Americana.
"Once I started directing music videos, I didn't not want to do it," Swift said, admitting that she felt out of her depth at first. "I had this imposter syndrome in my head saying, 'No, you don't do that. Other people do that who went to school to do that,'" she said. Swift, who called being on set "such a fulfilling experience," revealed she wanted to direct a feature film next.
"It would be so fantastic to write and direct something… a feature," she said. "I don't see it being bigger, in terms of scale. I loved making a film that was so intimate." Swift tapped Stranger Things breakout Sadie Sink and Teen Wolf alum Dylan O'Brien as the leads of the short film. Sink portrays a younger version of Swift, while O'Brien may or may not portray a version of the musician's ex-boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal.
"I wanted it to feel like them falling together was inevitable and them falling apart was just as inevitable," Swift said of the short film. "I wanted it to feel like there were forces at play and they couldn't stop from colliding or being dismantled... There are a lot of ways in which I do feel both characters are protagonists. I spent a lot of time thinking about the way they are."