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Find a Way: Serena Stevenson

Big VOICE CEO and documentary artist Serena Stevenson talks about how a 'no' is a chance to recheck your direction and find a way to turn it into a ‘yes’.

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Big VOICE CEO and documentary artist Serena Stevenson’s work has been screened and exhibited in New Zealand, America, Europe, China and Tahiti.

In this Generator QnA Serena talks about how 'no' means 'yes' to her.

Big VOICE CEO and documentary artist Serena Stevenson’s work has been screened and exhibited in New Zealand, America, Europe, China and Tahiti.

In this Generator QnA Serena talks about how 'no' means 'yes' to her.

"The ‘no’ is a good way to recheck my direction and find another way to turn it into a ‘yes’. You always get to where you want to go, but maybe not the way you originally planned. Be flexible."

Have you ever had knock backs, lost confidence and started to doubt your talent? What did you do to get back on track?

Yes, I have had knock backs, not really ever lost my confidence or doubted my talent to any extreme during these times. I don’t have a gauge of my talent, actually I don’t think of my creativity as a talent, it is something that is part of me, part of my well being. It really is natural. I have never been competitive I just come up with an idea and make it.

The knock backs have come from the environment we sit in, the commercial environment. Usually it is when I have applied for funding. Anyhow, I get back on track by not relying on funding, but just by finding another way. Usually it’s to work harder and always having fun doing it.

If I measure my success from my own achievements I am happy. If I measure or judge myself from others then it’s not so healthy. I say just get into/onto it. Find a way and enjoy the process, rather than looking always at the outcome

How do you deal with a 'no' - particularly one that is important to your project?

Same as above, ‘no’ means ‘yes’ to me. The ‘no’ is a good way to recheck my direction and find another way to turn it into a ‘yes’.

You always get to where you want to go, but maybe not the way you originally planned. Be flexible.

When you are lacking confidence, do you wait until this passes or do you get on with it anyway?

Get on with it! Or take a break. Then get onto it fresh.

Has self doubt and a lack of confidence helped you achieve or bring a project to successful fruition? Please share the story of how.

It’s the drive and passion for the project that brings success. Self-doubt is healthy. Challenges your position.

What’s the best advice you have ever been given about dealing with knockbacks?

My Dad said to me when I was a teenager - the times that feel like there is no hope will just get shorter and shorter until you only have the good feeling that you can go on. So just pick your self up and do it.

I love making stuff, and it keeps me happy, basically. Not really much more to it than that.

Good luck to all!

  • Serena Stevenson

Serena Stevenson’s extension into transmedia has taken her established photographic documentary practice to innovative platforms. Her work encourages new experience of human intimacy for the viewer. An exhibition history both locally and internationally includes Stevenson’s recent work ‘Face Value’ featured in Beijing China, the Scotland Museum and locally at Wellington’s Te Papa Museum, along with a two year tour nation wide.

Serena’s work utilises moving film, motion graphics, music and stills resulting in music videos, short, medium and feature length film. Her work has been screened and exhibited in New Zealand, America, Europe, China and Tahiti. Her book publications include M.I.L.K, Friendship, (2000), Maori World, (2003) and A Peoples Capital, (The City Mission, 2008). In the last 6 years Serena was awarded travel photographer of the year, NZ photographer of the year, and her work was selected for National Geographic Channel for a worldwide screening. In February 2010 Stevenson completed a Masters in Design for a research project titled ‘Beyond Documentary’, focusing on innovative documentary collection and distribution. Serena work is currently exhibiting world wide and she is founder and director of Big VOICE Ltd.

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

5 Feb 2011

The Big Idea Editor

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