Sometimes a rural life - without agricultural culture, community, or land - it means that you're a very long drive from everything. It's a big cultural isolation in terms of any kind of schooling where you could get exposed to things that might push the positive buttons. The geography of where people find themselves situated, both in metropolises and in the heartland, really starts to matter.
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My first decade of living in a metropolis was like, I was a people watcher. It meant the world to me to talk to strangers. I got excited about the fifth time I'd see the same person in the same bodega. I loved getting to know a certain clerk or barista. It took on a whole big meaning for me because of that atomization that suburban people do start to feel.
Sometimes I wonder about the people who can do very reflective work about their own ethnic group or their own families, or comedies that take place in the life that they've grown up in. That's a very special fortitude. Other brains have a curiosity for what they don't know - the life they're not leading.
We all have to acknowledge the life and the path we were born into. And the things that define us, they're often somewhat narrow: our class, our race, our gender, where we grew up, what geography we were exposed to. The curiosity and wonderment of, "What it's like on your path?" - that's when you go into high alert.
I worry an awful lot about people and how they're faring. When I worry about people, whether their job is squashing their spirit, pushing them into a darker pathway of not feeling good about their life, that forces me to look for what's good. What's going well. That stokes a lot of positive feelings. Although I do worry, I look for the hope.
There are days when either filmmaking feels like an insurmountable practice - here's a lot of obstacles in the way to make it happen - or you think, "What does this all add up to?" You don't know what to do with the footage, and you've asked a lot of people for their time and a lot of people to be patient with you. And then you lose faith that you can actually make a worthwhile story out of this.
You gotta call it out first; it always has to be called out when we need social change, but this is how social change happens: you call it out. People had to call out child labor. People had to call out, 'Hey time's up; we need to vote. We live in this country.' People had to call out 'time's up' on enslaving people, you know.
There's a period where you feel very hinky and low about yourself, like, 'That was a lot of time, and there's nothing to show for it.' I've tried to tell myself that if you're going to be a filmmaker, you can't really talk like that about time, because you'll hate yourself or feel very worthless.