After toiling for a dozen years in the New York film industry, Jill Sprecher broke through to the ranks of writer-directors with the independent feature Clockwatchers (1997). Raised in Madison, WI, Sprecher stayed close to home for college, studying philosophy and literature at the University of Wisconsin's Madison campus. Relocating to New York City after college, Sprecher earned a graduate degree in cinema studies at N.Y.U. and got her start in the movie industry as a production assistant on the cult favorite Liquid Sky (1983). Remaining an avowed New Yorker, Sprecher worked as a production manager and/or production coordinator on a number of New York-based independent and studio productions, including Enemies, A Love Story (1989) and Where the Heart Is (1990). Supplementing her movie income with temp work, Sprecher drew on the experience when she decided to co-write a screenplay with her younger sister and '90s New York City roommate Karen Sprecher. Working with producer Gina Resnick, indie talents Parker Posey and Toni Collette, and Friends star Lisa Kudrow, Sprecher also opted to direct the film almost by default, and became a successful Sundance Film Festival hyphenate. Centering on four twentysomething female temps, Clockwatchers proved to be a smart, character-driven satire of corporate hell for women, and won accolades at several film festivals and as an art house release. After she and her sister finished their next screenplay, 13 Conversations About One Thing (2002), Clockwatchers fan Michael Stipe signed on as executive producer. Despite Stipe's presence and such names as Matthew McConaughey, Alan Arkin and John Turturro in the cast, though, the Sprechers were forced to go deeply into debt to finish the film. A contemplative, personal work interweaving five stories about fate and human connections, 13 Conversations About One Thing garnered good reviews at festival screenings in 2001 and again on its release in 2002.