Public eye: Valerie Bischoff, 31
New York street interviews: Stories from the sidewalk as told by real New Yorkers about their lives in the city that never sleeps.
Wed May 1 2013
Photograph: Allison Michael Orenstein
Park Pl between Carlton and Vanderbilt Aves, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Please tell me you’re heir to the Biscoff cookie fortune. [Laughs] Those cookies you get on the airplane? No, unfortunately, I’m not, but maybe I should try to pass as one.
What do you do? I’m a writer-director. I also freelance edit and do all sorts of things like that. I recently made a short film, Derby Kings, about two brothers who reconcile through a demolition derby.
So you’re actually finding time to make your own work. Yeah, I’m stubborn. I have parents who encourage me. My mom is the first to tell me to quit my job if it’s holding me back from my larger goals.
Do they support you financially, too? No. They were in construction, and when the housing market crashed they lost everything. But my mom is an insane optimist, so she went back to school at 50 to get her bachelor’s and started a business designing futuristic, off-the-grid houses. She saw losing everything as an opportunity to build something new.
Did you inherit her optimism? I think I inherited my dad’s pessimism. [Laughs]
Well, you’re persevering in what must be a difficult career. That’s because I just don’t feel right if I’m no making progress doing something I really care about. There’s no other choice, really.
What’s your next project? I’m currently working on a horror-film script. I guess I have a soft spot for…
Murderers? No, but close—outcasts. [Laughs] The script is about a woman who gets stranded in the desert and meets this group of outsiders. She eventually realizes they’re part of this underground militia that kills people to train for bigger operations they’re going to carry out.
Jeez. Do you have nightmares of your own creation? Yeah. I’m also really interested in the Manson group. I just keep digging deeper into what my biggest fears are and what our biggest fears are as a society.
Where do you get your inspiration? I’m from Reno. That’s enough of an explanation, right? [Laughs]
More from Valerie
“Living off the grid is my eventual goal, I think.”