Brit Marling has created one of the most original, mind-bending, and creative shows on television with Netflix’s The OA; an exploration of near death experiences, inter-dimensional travel, modern dance, and much, much more. But the thing the sticks with you, and the thing that underlies all of the sci-fi excitement, is a very human yearning for connection and community. Between The OA and her films Another Earth and Sound of My Voice, Brit’s talent for tapping into her childhood imagination to create unique stories is undeniable.
In a case of life almost imitating art, Brit nearly took a radically different career path. The parent-pleasing, Georgetown valedictorian graduated with a degree in economics that landed her at banking behemoth Goldman Sachs. She spent a year crunching numbers and cans of Red Bull before she realized that she was terribly depressed. “I couldn’t understand why all of these bright, excited young people found themselves here. No one was asking us to reinvent anything. It was just, ‘Here’s the model. Plug the numbers into the model.’ I had a moment there where I was like, ‘I’m going to die—is this what I want to do day-to-day?’”
Luckily, Brit got a taste of a more fulfilling and creative career when her two college friends, both aspiring filmmakers, came to NYC with an invitation to make a short film for a 48-hour film festival. The thrill of the experience forced Brit to recognize, “Either I can have this career with safe, predictable outcomes, or I can work my butt off doing something I love. Yes, it’s dangerous, and yes, I may be broke all the time, but I’ll be happy.” Goldman Sachs was left in the dust.
Brit joins Off Camera to talk about how wading through the acting swamp led her to screenwriting, why collaboration is the key to her success, and why death needs a redesign.