Lena Dunham – creator of HBO’s Girls

Lena Dunham profile

“Women have been having sex that confuses them and vice versa for as long as humanity has been around.” 

It is never easy to spot an up and coming actress or filmmaker, simply because every person in comedy or drama is relatively unknown (and sometimes fairly unremarkable) until they make their big break, possibly through a major role in a successful film where they can really shine.

But there are certain signs which you can look out for, and Lena Dunham should certainly be on your radar when it comes to up and coming actresses and filmmakers. While you may not necessarily have heard of her yet, she starred in a variety of shows and films, having directed several of her own.

The beginnings

What makes her so interesting and different is the fact that she is so varied in what she does. While a lot of people who work in film will simply stick to one medium of entertainment, Lena Dunham has really gone across the board. In 2010 she directed the independent film Tiny Furniture, but also stars in (and directs) Tight Shots, a comedy web series.

This is truly what makes Lena so different, simply because there are so few that would direct and act in major films (although Tiny Furniture was independent it is held in high acclaim), while also choosing to work online. On top of this, her other major work that is probably more well-known is the HBO series Girls, something far more mainstream which again has been incredibly popular.

So how is it that Lena has managed to produce such quality content? Starring and directing in such a wide range of different entertainment mediums (with more films on the horizon) and producing a successful TV series (with a second season having been given the green light) is no mean feat – it certainly takes some skill to be able to get that far. But Lena Dunham has managed it, and has made it look easy while doing it.

The interesting thing is that you may not be aware of her – if you have ever seen Girls you will most likely appreciate the sheer effort and quality that has gone into the show, and critics absolutely love it, but have you ever really thought who made it? Who produced, wrote and put all the effort in to get it off the ground?

“I seriously consider television to be the people’s medium. Like the idea of seeing your parents naked or having somebody go down on you and worrying about whether you smell or worrying about whether your body is weird or what goes across the face of a person who’s supposed to be experiencing pleasure but isn’t – those are things I’d love to normalize on TV.” 

Family and education

While you may have seen her name in the title credits, it is really interesting just how much one person can do yet not be as mainstream as other directors, producers and actors of the day.
So let’s find out a little more about her.
Born on May 13th 1986, Lena has certainly come incredibly far for her age, not many people are able to create a show airing on HBO by 26. Growing up in New York City with parents Laurie Simmons and Carroll Dunham, she went to Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn.

It is always fascinating just how much life when we’re young can influence what we end up doing in the future, and Lena Dunham is a prime example of this. It was at High School in Brooklyn where she first met Jemima Kirke, the woman who would go on to play lead roles in both Tiny Furniture and Girls, showing that she likes to keep her friends close in her work as a whole – and this has obviously proven very successful for her.

Lena Dunham in Girls

Oberlin College

Another nice thing about this story is just how positive it can make you feel. Often it is worrying to think about the future and how you may lose your friends and acquaintances as paths change, but Lena was able to attend and get through Oberlin College, studying creative arts, while still remaining in full contact with Jemima Kirke, producing the brilliant content which we see on our screens at the moment, proving that not all friends come and go – some will remain, and it will most definitely turn out for the best.

Carrying on thinking about her childhood, her parents most likely had a large impact. Her mother is a successful designer and photographer, while her father was a painter.

These are about some of the most creative jobs you can get, so it is interesting to see just how much this could have influenced Lena in her overall career choice and traits, leading onto study creative arts and become the successful actress, writer and director that she is now.

“Very culturally Jewish”

Her father is protestant and her mother is Jewish, though Lena herself has said that she feels “very culturally Jewish”, so again it is interesting to note how this can affect someone’s overall choices and techniques in creative acts – it is not so hard to see potential culture being reflected in some of the content that Lena has created.

All of these things obviously culminated into her creative achievements as they stand today. With Girls being internationally acclaimed with incredibly high ratings, it is going to be incredibly interesting to see just how far she goes. The fact HBO have commissioned a second season so soon obviously shows a huge amount of promise for Lena overall – far too many TV programs can become cut after just one season, so it is nice to see that Lena has done so well, on a provider as popular as HBO to boot.
So after many years of smaller videos and films it really is great to see Lena’s work coming so far, and it only makes me wonder what more is to come. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what more she has to offer, but what is currently in the works for the future?

Cooperation with Judd Apatow

Obviously Girls is going to continue for the rest of the current season and another right after, so this is definitely something for any fan to look forward to, as Lena is proving again and again that she has the ability to continuously create popular and original content in her shows.
Later this year Lena will be starring in This is 40 and Supporting Characters in more minor roles, so it will be good to see a return to acting for her, albeit on a smaller scale. The interesting thing to note is how she is working alongside those she knows, once again, showing she is continuing to work with friends and the like.

It is in This is 40 where this is obvious – the director, Judd Apatow, co-produced Girls with Lena Dunham, so the fact that she is now starring in his next major film can only be a good sign, showing that more good things are likely to come in the future as both Lena and Judd continue to create some really good content for all of us, I definitely can’t wait for Judd’s next movie (his previous have been so good), and the fact it includes Lena can only make it better.

Under the spotlight

It really is nice to see that Lena is starting to get the attention that she really deserves – seeing actors and directors break out of their shell and come into the limelight is always a good sight, but when it comes to someone whose content is as popular as this it is even better.

This is because new content creators have to come from somewhere – having films and roles from the same favorites over and over can be good, but because of this people are far too quick to judge those who are unknown, preferring to see the same content from those they know, making it harder and harder for newcomers to get their content seen.

But hopefully this is changing where Lena is concerned – becoming a favorite in Girls itself and with a lot more content in store in the future, she is definitely someone to look out for as more and more people realize that the content Lena is making is definitely worthy of giving a chance, so we can only hope that Girls continues to be as popular as it currently is.

Looking to the future

At only 26 Lena certainly has a huge career ahead of her still, and I am certain that there is a huge amount that we are still yet to see from her – maybe branching out even more in what she creates, stars in and directs. I am most definitely optimistic for all of her work, as it is certainly going to be incredibly unique no matter what she makes.

For any fans of her work it is definitely a matter of waiting and seeing how things go – her future will be positive, no doubt, but we are currently being kept waiting to see just where it will go. I definitely think that Lena Dunham is a name that you should really get to know and be looking out for though, and I won’t be surprised if you start seeing it pop up more and more in the coming months and years with more and more of her work becoming successful.

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