I make films. I'm also a nerd.

Q&A: Beginnings, Influences

Anonymous: I’m going to be selfish and ask two questions. 1) What got you into filmmaking 2) Which directors inspire you or whose work you admire?

My response: I grew up in a little town in Southeast Tennessee. There wasn’t much there in the way of cultural enrichment, so those of us who craved it would create our own. I started out as a bassist, and played in a lot of bands. By the time I was eighteen, my friends and I were experimenting with any number of creative outlets. One friend and frequent collaborator of mine had a VHS camcorder, and we started goofing around with making movies. I found that filmmaking suited my temperament, and that the need to grapple with the multiplicity of creative disciplines within filmmaking appealed to my control-freak tendencies. It was fun. So I stuck with it.

As for your second question, I could probably ramble on for days and never really get anywhere. I suppose if I had to map out my current filmic “neighborhood,” and provide a list of filmmakers whose work is most relevant to my own at this point in time, I’d begin with the Maysles Brothers (more at the Salesman end of their output than Grey Gardens), cruise through Hal Ashby, and end up next door to (early) Mike Nichols. I’ve been pretty fascinated with Alain Cavalier lately. Haskell Wexler and Conrad Hall are a couple of cinematographers whose work influences mine–and maybe I might include Michael Chapman in that latter list, if only for his efforts on Ashby’s The Last Detail.