Joy and the Art of Film

One of my favorite parts of filmmaking is working with new people; there’s always a special appreciation in my heart for people who strive to excel in any endeavor, and to see people in this industry work their guts out to perform their role, whether it’s as an actor or as the crew, it warms my soul. And I love being around greatness.

 I feel that some people take their ‘careers’ or lives too seriously though. If I ever get to the point where I no longer tell storeies for enjoyment, where I look at the paycheck before looking at the fulfillment, where it becomes more about business and less about expression and storytelling, that’s the day I will get out of filmmaking.

Yes, it is a business. The entertainment business makes a lot of money. But your life is not about money or business. And when you’re on your death bed looking back, you won’t care about how much you got paid, you will only care about whether your life mattered; were you fulfilled and authentic? Were people glad you were around? Was your life and example an inspiration to others? Were you proud of the person you became, were your friends proud of you…was your mom?

I’ve never known a singer who does it for the money, she does it for the love. And that love, that passion, has translated to money. But it’s just a bonus, it’s not what drives her to be on stage. She follows her bliss. That is what’s important. And she would sing even if no one would pay her. In fact, she would pay others to let her sing. And that is the brilliance and paradox of life.

I’ve never known a director to get into film because he wanted to get rich. When he created worlds as a child in his mind, he did not think of ‘business’ and ‘getting what’s mine.’ No, he thought of creating, of imagination, of joy.

I’ve often heard of producers or directors being jerks to their cast and crew, and throwing tantrums on set. Even James Cameron had this reputation when he first started out. It’s very stressful as a filmmaker, there’s a lot you’re responsible for and a lot you have to do. I have to remind myself in that moment of anger or frustration that it is, after all, just a movie. How I treat people and who I am being is far more important than any film.

Money, business, being ‘serious’…these are just worldly concepts we grab hold of to give ourselves self-importance and meaning…but they’re not real. And they’re certainly not important.

I am a storyteller. I love to tell powerful, rich, stories. Whether as filmmaker or as an artist with comic books. Film is the the ultimate realization for any story; there is a certain satisfaction with seeing your imagination come to life in this way, the impact it has on people, and film stretches you to expand who you are since you always have to push yourself to work with others and learn new things and meet new people.

Life is never about what you do, it’s about what you are. Enjoy life. Follow the thing that makes your soul sing. Be alive. Have fun. Life is too short not to.

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