Interview with Director Lindsay Penn (NO STRINGS ATTACHED)

Played at the FEMALE FEEDBACK Film Festival – August 2017

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Lindsday Penn: The moment I heard the song I instantly connected to it. I didn’t share the experience as a musician, but I absolutely experienced it as a YouTuber. On YouTube there is can be a facade that it’s all about expressing your true self, but often in reality the very audience that claims to adore you only loves you if you serve their expectations of you as an entertainer. There’s a constant push-pull as an entertainer between expressing yourself and doing right by the folks who are supporting you. Listening to the song I couldn’t get the idea of presenting that visually out of my head.

From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

I started developing the idea in July of 2015 and it was finally released on YouTube on January 1st 2016. I would say my life was devoted to it for about a half a year.

How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Honestly? I don’t know if this is what you’re looking for, but I gotta go with “my baby.” LOL!

What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Doing right by everyone who contributed to it. 30 people volunteered to be a part of this project. All I had to offer them in return was food, and the caterer didn’t show up! And every time someone paid money out of their pocket, I tried my best to keep track of it all so I could pay them back. I never want to have to ask people to volunteer again – I want to pay a fair rate. I want people to think, “if I work with Lindsay Penn, I’m going to be treated well.”

What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I was just stunned that people watched something I made and took it seriously enough to think about it. And I didn’t even have to be there in person to beg them to watch it!

How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

I was really inspired by a Japanese pop singer named Ayumi Hamasaki. She is hugely influential in Japan and has made many music videos that make commentary about her objectification as a performer. I wanted to make a video that captured the same kind of feeling.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Easy. In 5th grade I used to watch Terminator 2 every single day when I came home from school. It got to the point that my mom had to ask me politely to make it every OTHER day instead. I can still recite every word John Connor says. “You can’t just go around killing people!”

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It is a dream come true. So simple to find out where festivals are, when they are, and which festivals are looking for a film like yours.

What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

According to my iTunes, “Rise and Shine” by Bonnie Pink. Hugely recommended if you’ve never heard it!

What is next for you? A new film?

I’ve recently revitalized my YouTube channel, I’ve recently switched to an animated format so I don’t have to stress about lighting and shooting and dolling myself up. Hopefully people will choose to support me there and have some interest in my more ambitious projects. I want to keep those projects a secret for now! Tune into my YouTube channel to stay up to date!


Directed by Lindsay PennFans or dollars? A surreal exploration of the inner conflict of the independent artist.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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