Not because for the past two decades she has had steady work with the likes of Redford, Costner, Cruise, Witherspoon, Woo, Hopkins, Branagh, Whedon & other notables.
Not because she's a girl from the east who has carved a niche for herself as script supervisor for big studio films in L.A.
Not even because in a few weeks, she'll be traveling cross country in a bus with the likes of Skeet Ulrich and Christian Kane. (OK, maybe a little bit because of that...)
The reason Faith Conroy is my hero is simple: she refused to buy into the ageism and sexism everyone says abounds in the film industry. Perhaps even more impressive, she didn't allow herself to be constrained by a career box. After years of supervising other people's screenplays, she co-wrote a script of her own AND helped to produce it as well.
She got involved, took the reins, and got the movie made.
No matter how you cook the film industry stats, they show dismal career opportunities for women. According to the Huffington Post, screenplays written by people without a Y chromosome accounted for less than 10% of spec script sales from 2010 to 2012.
But my heroes don't let the odds tell them what can't be done. They saddle up, get their cowboy on, and ride.
Conroy teamed up with Oscar-winning producer Jim Wilson to make the independent feature 50 to 1 -- the true story of Kentucky Derby underdog Mine That Bird. Now that the film is finished, she is personally involved in promoting it and helping it find an audience -- things that only further elevate her in my Halls of Heroes.
Which brings me to that cross country bus trip...
The entire cast and crew of "50 to 1" have taken time out of their schedules and money out of their pockets to literally go on tour together. Starting in March, they're going to board a bus in New Mexico and make whistle stops across the country as they head toward Kentucky.
These days, it's easy to swallow the lie that the only way to "make it" is to sell a piece of yourself. But Conroy, Wilson, Kane, Ulrich & the rest of the tour are trying out a new paradigm. They're going to break through by giving of themselves.
They don't have a big studio backing their promotional efforts. Ten Furlongs LLC, the production company & distributor, exists solely because of this film. They don't care that the odds are stacked against them. They're going to do it anyway.