A few years after graduation a terrible mistake was made and I found myself directing an adaptation of an essay by David Sedaris.
So, the rest of this web page is packaged like a web page. Cast bios, crew bios, the usual.
Having succumbed to the pressures of adulthood for the great majority of the web page I hope I'm allowed to be a little self-indulgent here and break the fourth wall, or lift the veil, whichever seems right.
If not, I'm sure one of the two or three people that proofread this will say something along the lines of... "Phil, it's good, what you wrote. I mean, it's clear that you care a lot, but uh... I don't know if it's in service to the film." That's how obnoxious I am, I'm writing lines for my friends in real life.
Why this story?
The cool thing, well, one of the cool things about art (I find) is that the conscious reason you start something is rarely (if ever) the reason you continue to do something. You discover things about the project, and yourself, along the way. It's a little bit like dating, the reason you initially (get/give) that phone number is rarely the reason you find yourself making pancakes for the kid that you made with that person years later, I would imagine.
Okay so maybe not too much like dating.
David, in this story, and I should say this adaptation of this story, because it would be (insane) presumptuous of me to speak with any sort of definitiveness about what the real David feels about this part of his life. But for me, what I took from it is that he's a person that really wants to be good at something, and wants the feeling of love/acceptance/support that comes from doing that thing well, as an added bonus.
I love movies. And I just...
What am I doing? I know what I'm doing. Have you ever seen someone win an award, and they're SO TERRIFIED that they might never get the podium again so that they just go on and on and on and they start to sound like Chunk from The Goonies when the Fratelli's ask him to tell them everything "from the beginning." Meanwhile the Daniel Day Lewises of the world stand up, say "Thanks, see you next year." I am not a Lewis (yet), I'm a Chunk (now). I almost don't even need to point that out, because I'm taking time to write an about page, when really, it's a short film. It shouldn't take you more time to describe why a thing came to be than it does to actually experience that thing. No one's autobiography is longer than their life, right?
This thing is already way off the rails so I'm going to reign it in right now and leave you with this:
Being a first time director felt exactly the way the character of Sedaris felt walking into the classroom. I felt like I was a bit of a fraud, and that everyone was going to see straight through me. By the time you get to direct a movie, if you're smart, every single person around you is INFINITELY more experienced at their job than you are at yours. It would be insanely stupid to surround yourself by people that are less talented than you are. What's the point?
So, if you want my objective opinion, this movie is great. It's great because every single person that worked on the set (and away from the set) was an absolute super star at what they did, and I'm so glad and lucky that they did it. Is that what this movie is about? That's what it's about, to me.