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December 15, 2022 41 mins

In this week’s episode of Let’s Be Real, Sammy Jaye chats with writer, director and actor James Morosini about his evolution as a filmmaker, writing process, his most recent film ‘I Love My Dad’ and much more!

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Speaker 1 (00:02):
Hey guys, it's Sammy Jay and welcome back to this
week's episode of The Left Bureau Podcast. I hope your
day is going well and I hope this episode hopefully
makes your day a little bit better. This week I
got to chat with the incredibly talented writer, director, actor
James Morrisini. And you may know him from the film
I Love My Dad, which he wrote, starred, and directed.

(00:25):
We talked about everything from filmmaking to college days and
everything in between. I hope you guys enjoyed this episode
and I'll see you in a bit. By James, Welcome
to the Last Bureau Podcast. How are you? I'm good,
I'm ready to be real. I am so excited for
this because it's so rare that two people from the

(00:46):
East Coast find each other in l A. Is it
that rare? I find it very rare. Most people I
know are either from the Bay Area, Seattle, or like
twenty minutes outside about or l A. It's good to
meet fellow East Coaster, you know. I can feel it
in your spirit. Really, that's so interesting because a lot

(01:06):
of people say are very surprised when they find out
I've gotten like, are you from San Diego before? Like
quite a few times. No, there's like a knowing edge
to you. That's that's that's how he coasted me. Yeah,
you're like, I don't have time for this. It's the
part of me that can cut through crowds that when
I can feel that kind of that, I can feel

(01:28):
that attitude in you. I really can. It's ingrained in me.
I don't know how it's not when you're born and
raised in like in a city. How do you think
you'd be different if you're raised here. I think I
was thinking about this actually because over the summer, I
traveled for the first time by myself, and I went
to Paris. It was like a big trip, and I
was thinking, like, man, being in New York really taught

(01:51):
me to kind of like I know how to go
forward and walk forward without looking at anybody and just
getting my way through. And I think that kind of
way helped a lot when traveling especially. I don't know
if i'd have that. I think I'm somebody that when
I walked down the street, I'm like kind of trying
to make eye contact with everybody. I don't know why
I do that. I think I just if you don't smile,

(02:13):
if you can get a little I don't know if
I'm looking for a smile or what what is going
on in my brain that causes me to do that,
but it is something I do. And then I'm like,
I'm like, oh, that person doesn't want to look at me.
I guess it's because I'm not good enough, you know,
I know what you mean. I'll be walking across campus
and I just I like to try and make sure

(02:33):
I don't have a resting bitch face, just because you
never know when opportunities arise to meet people, so I
try and have a nice face. And I'm just like,
how do you feel when somebody just comes right up
to you, a stranger and it's like, hey, I guess
that doesn't really happen that all. I don't. I don't
know happen to you. No, I don't. That's not really
something people do, like a strangers coming up to you

(02:55):
and being like hello, I'm this person. And it's weird
that happen, Isn't it weird the that doesn't happen more
often that people just go up to you and go hello,
I'm Johnny and you're like, hey, Johnny, what do you want?
And they're like nothing, I just thought i'd say hello
and you're like, well, dude, you want something, Johnny, what's
going on? I mean movies and TV. I think gave
me a very false sense of what reality would be

(03:18):
like just going to high school. I thought it would
be high school musical, straight up, I feel like where
And then it was a bunch of prepubescent boys. I
was like, this is high school. Yeah, high school. You
were saying on the way up here that high school
is tricky for you, and I really relate to that.
It's I mean, high school is tough because everybody is
trying to figure out who they are simultaneously. So everybody's

(03:40):
trying out different versions of themselves and they're all just
kind of colliding into one another. And meanwhile, you're trying
out a version of yourself and you're like, I remember
every summer, I feel like I'd discover a version myself
that I thought was maybe more likable, and then that
first week or two of school I'd be like, this

(04:02):
is the new me. Everyone. People would be like, oh cool,
and like they would enjoy the novelty of this new
version of me, and then I would run out of
steam and then I would just revert to whoever I was,
and ever would be like, oh, it's just him. Still,
it's just so much easier to be yourself. It's so
hard add social media onto it in this day and

(04:22):
age when everyone's still trying to figure out yourself. When
you have like pressures that you didn't even know existed,
it's how do you navigate this? It's funny you're closer
to the high school experience than I am, So it's
it's more it was your what was your high school experience?
Like what I mean by closer is just it time wise,
You're it happened more recently for you, whereas for me,

(04:43):
I think I've had an opportunity to process it, and
I don't know like you have, like the distance, Yeah,
like a few years out from high school? Is that
kind of where you're at few years out, two or
three years out? Two years out? Yeah, it's like I
was still going, how did I even? Like? That? Was terrible?
And so, but like you know, now I'm like, you know,

(05:05):
like like twelve years out from high school, so I'm
kind of like, huh, I'm able to see the more perspective.
Encountering people from that period of my life has been
really Um, I guess you just see them as people
and you're like, oh, man, that they're they're not really
scary anymore, and you put them on a pedestal that

(05:26):
they're not bigger than life as a character kind of yeah, exactly,
like a character. And because you don't know when you're
that age, you also haven't met that many people. So
each person you meet feels like much more of a
distinct presence that you're that feels like a character like you.
You're like, oh, that's this person and that's the Whereas

(05:47):
when you're older, I think you just are like, if
you don't like somebody, you can move on a lot
more quickly. High school you're trapped without just yeah, you're
literally trapped with them, Like, how's that at all? Ten?
I couldn't do that now. It felt really big. I
remember everything felt really big. But for me, what was

(06:08):
my outlet was my work. So it would give me
a perspective to be like, Okay, this feels really big,
but wait, there is a whole career out there, something
that I want to do that's bigger than myself. And
that kind of pulled me away from the high school.
And so I think having an outlet was really helpful
for me, and having it be around adults made me
realize like, Okay, this is only temporary, because I really

(06:32):
did not thrive in that, and I've always gotten along
better with adults just because I've always felt older than
my age. I've always felt similarly, it's hard to remember
the temporariness of high school when you're you're like, this
is what it is. Everything, this isn't what it is, yeah,
and you can't really wrap your head around what it
would look like after high school. When you're in high school,

(06:53):
I know, I remember it like college, what is college?
And then when I got to college, I was like, oh,
this is just a different type of social experiment, Like
this is just really you put a bunch of people
from all over the country, all over the world, grown
up in different you know, places, different areas, different people,
and then put them living together in two or three

(07:16):
people a room, share a bathroom and just post pandemic
and see what happens. So I feel like that's a
reality show in itself. I feel like it is. Yeah,
living through it felt like was like something that I
didn't realize going into college was that I was like, oh,
my goodness, there's gonna be so many more mature people.
But I didn't take into account that it's just people

(07:37):
from high school also going to college freshman year and
sophomore year. There is that transition of this isn't high
school anymore, this is life. And some people, you can
tell there, will always be stuck in high school a
little bit. But it's really interesting kind of seeing that
evolution of people just in the past couple of years.
Are Yeah, I think some people get to high school

(07:58):
and then they stay there for ever and they're kind
of always locked into that version of themselves. What a
shame not to grow. Well, that just doesn't sound fun
to me. So was it during high school or college?
I know you went to college for film, but when
did you start making films and being interested in filmmaking

(08:19):
and creating as a whole. Yeah, it's funny. So I
went to college for theater and film that so yeah,
So I was studying acting and then I was also
making a lot of things. And when you're studying acting
at like a conservatory, you're doing like voice classes and
movement classes, and like seeing study and voice and movement classes,
you're I mean, you're essentially you're like rolling around on

(08:43):
the floor. I mean, for anyone that hasn't taken a
voice class, if you solve voice class, you'd be like,
this is the craziest thing. You're like on the floor
basically doing like different yoga positions a lot of the time,
and then and then making like sounds like you're trying
to connect with your like your diaphragm and your because
it's for theaters, it's super vulnerable, and you're also trying

(09:05):
to like learn how to access the emotion that lives
in your body through sound. Similarly with movement, just on
the movement from But so that's what my college experience
was like. When you study theater in a program like that,
you're you're really you learn a lot about who you
are and about your I hate myself for saying this,

(09:28):
but your instrument and what what you're made of, But
you know, I didn't. I've always been a creative person.
When I was a little kid, I remember I would
go up to my room and I would make comics
and I would like come up with stories and then
I would get really into the world of the story
and I would I would write and draw these comics.

(09:51):
I don't know where they came from. I never really
showed them to anybody storyboarding before storyboarding, and I was
super I was just like I was always really into
this idea that like I could tell a story, and
the more of the story I told, the more real
it felt, and that I could just keep exploring, and
there was like more and more the further into it

(10:13):
I went. I remember I wrote this little comic book
about I think I was probably ten or eleven years old,
about like a bunch of like misfit medics like E. M. T. S.
It was called Breathe and they were all these like
funky characters that were like trying to save people and stuff,
and I like wrote several issues of it, and then

(10:35):
I started the first like big creative endeavor I think
I had. I mean, my dad got me a video
camera when I was a little kid, and uh, I
would like make little movies of my action figures and
I would like do stop motion with my action figures.
Well it did, yeah, And so it's like I did
a lot of that kind of stuff. I was always

(10:56):
directing my home videos, but I didn't I didn't necessarily
think about it like I'm a film director. I just
liked the idea of crafting things and putting it together.
And then in high school I made a lot of
shorts and stuff with my video class, and I would
act in other people's things. But I didn't really do
any theater in high school. I don't know. I found

(11:17):
it hard to connect with the folks at my school
that we're doing theater. And I was more than like sports.
I was boxing, I was wrestling. I was like, I
smoked a lot of pot when I was in high school.
Would you say smoking weed helped you creatively? No, I
think it hurt me creatively. It made me really paranoid
and neurotic. And it's funny because I remember watching like

(11:39):
Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Dazed and confused and
half baked, and I was like, I loved stoner comedies
and I was always looking for the experience that characters
in those films were having around weed. But but I
could never get there. I always just felt like it
made my brain move too fast and made me have
this like meta experiences to whatever I was actually experiencing,

(12:02):
Like it like oversensitized me and made me question everything,
and I like I couldn't. It made me super paranoid.
I think a paranoid bad high is the worst feeling.
And that was like every time for me, and I
smoked every day. I don't know. I think I think
I was like I liked the identity that it gave
me of like, oh, I'm a stoner. I think I

(12:25):
fetishized the idea of Like I don't know, there's a
part of me that thought it was kind of luxurious.
Like I get home, I smoke a blunt. But I
would do it and then I would just panic for
the rest of the day wants not exactly like I
would try to make it enjoyable for myself, Like I
would make a bunch of food and like put on

(12:45):
a movie, but I'd be like breaking out. You're like,
I like this, I promised why exactly? So then in
terms of the filmmaking I was doing, I would like
film when they were like fights at my school sometimes,
like if they were people that were mad at each
other in school, they would like plan a fight. They

(13:06):
would go like, Okay, we're gonna meet up the basketball
court after school. Uh. I was participant to a couple
of those throughout my high school experience, but we would
I would film those and then share them with people
because they were crazy looking. Um, but I was like, yeah,
I was like really into that. And then I was

(13:27):
like making kind of Jackass type videos. I was really
in the c k Y at the time, which was
a predecessor to Jackass. And I was also really in
the Jackass and and I was watching so many films
and it's funny, I wasn't like. I wasn't like, oh,
I'm a film kid. I just was obsessed with movies.
And I didn't really have a ton of friends that

(13:47):
were also obsessed with movies. I was kind of doing
it on my own. And then after school, I took
a year off and I was in New York and
I tried working as an actor. Um, not super well,
but you know, at least you did it. I tried, uh,
And I just like it was just like I didn't.

(14:10):
I hadn't really developed like life tools yet to to
really be able to navigate the ups and downs of that.
And I think so much of any creative work is
about like really being okay with yourself in a way,
or or like having confidence in your voice, and I hadn't.

(14:30):
I didn't have that confidence in my voice. I don't
think now I have extreme confidence, not in the most confident,
but it's funny I'm saying that. I'm also like, sometimes
i feel like I'm creating from a place of my insecurity,
and I'm like doing it to express what that feels like.
So it's it's funny. I don't know if you necessarily

(14:52):
need to feel confident to be fake it till we
make it, or just be really honest about like I would.
I think I've gotten a lot more comfortable being really
honest about who I am and what I'm feeling. And
I think that's uh, that's helped me create from a
from a place that I that resonates with me more.

(15:13):
And I feel like that's kind of the compass I
used to to determine if it's going to resonate with
audiences and other people. And it's kind of one of
those things where if you talk about something and no
one talks about it, and you talk about you realize
people are going through it too, and then other people
start talking about it, and it's just a chain reaction.
It's just about getting the first one going. It's so true.
I know, it's it's weird that many of us go

(15:35):
through the world, and there's this feeling like we all
have to pretend like we're doing great when in reality,
like when we're on our own a lot of the time,
we're not. We're anxious about something or that it's totally
okay and it's very normal. I think that's what drew
me to filmmaking, was like trying to capture that experience,
that universal experience that we're all that we're all having

(15:57):
on our own or in our own minds, and but
do it in a context that was super entertaining and
weird and funky. Do you remember the first movie you wrote? Oh,
that's a great question. I mean, so the first like
actual movie I wrote, Like, the first feature I wrote
was about my high school experience, and I still might
make that movie. I think movies about high school experiences,

(16:19):
like real high school experiences, need to be made more
like I think Eighth Grade showed that really well. I
hope that gets made because it can relate to it. Yeah,
that movie is called Acne, and it feels kind of
like eighth Grade meets Good Fellas. Okay, that's I love
the pitch. Yeah, that's that's kind of how I how
I think about it. Um, but the first movie I

(16:41):
think I ever wrote. I mean, it's it's hard to
remember exactly. I think I wrote something in college. It
was about a really sensitive t rex that I couldn't um.
He couldn't connect with anybody because everyone was really scared
of him. Sounds like an animated show. It was an
animated show. Yeah. It was like it was really sensitive
t rex that couldn't and and all the other dinosaurs

(17:03):
were terrified of him, and he was like and everyone
was like the other t Rexes were like, dude, you
gotta get it together, Like you're kind of like you're
kind of like, why are he's so over released? And
he was like he just felt really awkward with his
little arms, like he he felt uncomfortable in his own skin.

(17:24):
I think I was maybe working something out through this
sensitive t rex. And I remember I shared it with
a filmmaker that I was in school with. I think
I went were at Coachella and I told him about
it and there's always a great place for a business, bitch,
and he just kind of shipped on it. I mean,
he just told me how he just like made me

(17:46):
feel like it was a bad idea. And it's funny,
like thinking about it now, I'm like, that actually sounds
like a cool show. Like I I don't know. So
much of creating is just going like trusting your gut
and being like, if I think it's cool, then it's cool.
I don't care what anyone else thinks. It's like you
can listen to what other people are saying, but like
it's not no one has any idea what they're talking about.

(18:12):
And it's the people that are making brilliant work are
just the people that have really realized that the most fully.
And you're just kind of like, yeah, I think it's cool,
and I'm going to follow what I like. Yeah, And
it's having success mean to you, being like if it's
not successful, it doesn't make a lot of money. I'm
so proud of what I made because that's what it

(18:34):
should be. We have to take a quick break, but
when we come back, I'm going to talk about the
balance between the economics of filmmaking versus doing something that
satisfies you creatively, your film, I love my Dad and
so much more. We'll be right back and we're back.

(18:57):
You know, it's hard when you're a filmmaker. You have
to make a living and you have to be realistic,
but at the same time, it's your creative pursuit. So
how do you balance the two of those? Yeah, it's
a great question. I mean when I first got out
of college, I was catering and bartending and working as
a uh table service assistant to cocktail waitresses at nightclubs,

(19:22):
Like I was just doing anything I could to make
ends meet, uh And then I was also auditioning a
ton and um and it was a tricky time in
my life. I was getting these migraines constantly, like several
a week, to the point where they were debilitating, and
so it was kind of a dark time right after
college where I was trying to figure out work as

(19:45):
an actor and a filmmaker and I couldn't really I
was just like too anxiety written to to really land anything.
And then I was working long, long nights working in
the service industry and then barely making ends meet to
live in like this tiny, tiny studio apartment in Hollywood,
And so for a while, the balance was just like

(20:06):
how do I survive? And then how do I But
I held myself to account that I was going to
spend at least one hour every day on my creative work.
And and and was going to spend an hour day
just focusing on what really excited me creatively, and then
that hour grew and became longer. But I just knew, Okay,

(20:28):
if I can, it's funny. Uh. My uncle was the
actor Christopher Reeve uh and very famous actor, very famous actor,
and I when he passed away. Philip Seymour Hoffman was
around my family a lot and was really good to
my cousin, Will Chris's son, and he told me that

(20:50):
I should just you just have to do one creative
thing every day, or one thing towards your goal every day,
even if it's small. But if you do that, if
you do one thing every day, it it occrets and
those small actions become big results or they become consequential.
So that's kind of that was kind of my mantra

(21:11):
for the first couple of years out of college. And
then I started working as an actor, so I had
some money, uh, not a ton, but I had enough
to pay my rent. I didn't have to cater and
barton stuff anymore. And then I started being able to
have free time to write and make stuff, and I
was able to upgrade to a more comfortable living situation

(21:33):
and started meeting having more friends out here and collaborating
with them. And but in terms of this balance of
like creative and financial, you know, at the end of
the day, like it's just the most satisfying thing is
being able to make exactly what you want to make.
So for the movie that I just made, I Love
my Dad, the person that financed it gave me final

(21:56):
cut on the movie, so I was able to make
exactly the movie that I wanted to make. Yeah, And
so contractually I was making every decision, uh, and having
that creative authority meant a lot to me and allowed
me to just give everything I had to the process.
But you know, now I'm getting presented with a lot

(22:17):
of really compelling offers that have big financial upside behind them,
and sometimes the scripts are not good, or sometimes there
are elements to the project that aren't creatively exciting, and
it's required a lot of discipline, uh, navigating quality over quantity,
quality over quantity, or just like not not operating out

(22:40):
of fear and going like, Okay, well I'll just take
this because it's a lot of money, and then I'll
do what I'm creatively excited by. It's like It's required
this kind of internal diligence of going, what is the weirdest, craziest,
funkiest thing that I can imagine? And how can I

(23:00):
how can I continue getting behind that? You know, regardless
of what I'm making for or whatever. That's that's how
I feel most myself. You know, that is so interesting
you say that because I've been living by that I
called the one percent rule, just doing one thing a
day to make yourself better in one aspect, and it's
I've also been doing one thing a day to make
myself uncomfortable. Boy, it's made me uncomfortable. And I I

(23:24):
am an anxious, girly at heart. Um so it really
pushes me. I'm an anxiously at heart. I love that
we finally always find each other. Um No, I found
for me at least. I've grown up with anxiety and
o c D my entire life, and it's just been
very interesting to navigate because I always felt like there
was something wrong with me or that I wasn't good

(23:45):
at something. And so for me, podcasting was an interviewing
was the first time I realized, like, wait a second,
there is something I'm good at. I can't tell a
story I can't talk to people, and so it's kind
of what I first fell in love. And so I
feel like just santly, like I never thought i'd fall
into this, and just I'm trying to immerse myself and
as many mediums and varieties as possible. So that reminded

(24:08):
me of that. Oh so cool. Yeah, what what was
the first Do you remember the first podcast you ever did? Oh? Yeah,
so I am the biggest. Do you ever hear the
song Anxiety by Julia Michaels and Selina Gomez. Uh, maybe
I'd recognize it if I heard it, Okay, So when
I first heard this song, I was like going through

(24:29):
it in high school and I was working for Radio
Disney at the time. Um, and I had interviewed Julian Michaels,
who sang the song, who, like I was obsessed with
her music. Um, and she remembered me and was about
the time the podcast was happening. UM, And I was like,
if Julie Michaels could be the pilot on my podcast,
like that would be a dream. And the head of

(24:50):
Radio Disney, who I told about the pilot, was like, oh,
I'm friends with her. I'll ask you interviewed her, and
then she agreed to do the pilot. I had never
done a long form interview before. Longest I've done with
twelve minutes, and then we did an hour and a
half interview. And then usually with podcast series, you you know,
waited until it's edited to see if it gets greenlight.
Mine was a little bit different because after nine days

(25:13):
still and edited, we got green light to series after
that episode. So I, oh, Julia like so much, you know,
And that was the start of it. And how doing
one thing a day, whether it's small or big, is
truly like just changed my life. So I live by that.
So cool. Yeah, I mean that's that's definitely how I've
proceeded through my life as well. I mean, what was

(25:36):
the last thing that he did that was uncomfortable? Oh
my goodness, I asked someone out for coffee. Wow, that's
always so hard. It isn't that weird that that feels
so climaxic, But you know what, it counts as my
one thing a day. I also my viewers, notice if
I've been doing tap this this semester, I've never tapped before.

(25:56):
I'm doing it again next semester. Just to pick up
some I took a ballet class in college. Um, and
it was it was, it was, it was, it was.
It was humbling. It was me almost all women and
then a couple, uh, a couple of football players that

(26:18):
I think we're taking it for balance balance, I think.
I mean, so it was. I feel like I would
like goof around with them, and then sometimes I would
get really into it and like it's it's it's fun
always like pushing forward your hobby or your passion in
one way, and whether that's writing an email to someone
or doing an activity to like progress yourself. Like it's
so simple, but just breaking it down has been super

(26:41):
helpful for Yeah, it's like I think, I guess I
think about it like the more like any time I
have like the quietest instinct in my mind, I try
to just bring it to the surface and I try
to listen to it and I try to just act
on it. I journal a lot, and it helps me
discover what those impulses might be. Uh, And when I'm

(27:02):
creating something, that's really my primary tool is having this
like ongoing long form conversation with myself so that I
can be like, oh, this thing is important to me
or that thing or like it helps me detect things
that might feel off about what I'm doing or like
something that might be bothering me. So much of my

(27:25):
creative life and the way I'm try to navigate my
life as a whole feel like they're operating around the
same principles, which is like sometimes like sensitizing myself to
to what things feel like or what I'm aiming at
um or what I want or what I don't want,
But like, how deeply can I listen to to what

(27:48):
is actually happening in my mind and in my environment
and what's being reflected back to me, And then how
can I work with that feeling and shape it really
or put it into a context like a film or
a story or whatever. But how can I express that
feeling in a way that is satisfying for me to divulge?

(28:10):
You know, I think it's such a relief when you
express a deep, nuanced feeling that you've been holding onto.
It's such a relief to express that and then have
somebody go I feel the same way. And so I
feel like, why I am a filmmaker or an actor
or any of these things, it is just because I'm
going there is I think it's my outlet, and I

(28:30):
feel like I'm inherently kind of often pretty uncomfortable, and
it's it's like it's like it's like a coping mech.
It's like, hey, does anyone else feel this? Like? What's
going on? This can't be right? Does anybody else? Is
anybody else feeling this? Or like if I have a
moment where I, you know, something strikes me as like
extremely beautiful and I'm like, oh God, I want somebody

(28:53):
else to share in this thing that I'm experiencing and
it comes from a place of like a real loneliness
really and like but wanting to share with other people
in that feeling and go like hey am I alone here?
Or or other people feeling this way too. Okay, we
have to take one final break, but when we come back,

(29:15):
I want to talk more about anxiety and how it
affects your filmmaking process. You're amazing movie, I love my
dad and so much more. We'll be right back and
we're back. How has your anxiety affect your filmmaking or
does it or do you feel more yourself and it

(29:37):
helps with your anxiety when you're working or does it
have the opposite effect for you? It's a great question.
I think it's a it's it's kind of both things, honestly,
Like when I'm making a film, Uh, sometimes anxiety, I've
found is helpful in that it forces me into action,

(30:00):
but it's often not totally, but it's it's often not
the kind of action that produces the best results. So
by that, I mean if I'm like anxiously we gotta
get this, I've got to write this, or I've got
to get this take, or we've got to do this,
or that it contaminates everybody else's headspace and makes them

(30:20):
anxious to which I think limits people's ability to be
free and create from a place of trust and playfulness. Totally.
It's like we're all of a sudden creating and operating
from place of fear, which is just not fun. Yeah,
and it should be playful, and I think that it's

(30:43):
hard to have Uh, it should be fun because you're
asking an audience to have fun. I look at the
experience of a film that I'm making is like the
experience I imagine of a of a good friend or
person of like, And you want that person to be
free and playful and silly and deep and dynamic. And

(31:03):
if you're freaking out. You know, you don't want to
be with a friend that's just like freaking out and
that and and nervous. So they're just making small talk
and don't have freedom of expression. So short, my anxiety
compels me into action. But I feel like I'm in uh,
I'm in my strike zone when I'm like letting go

(31:24):
of that as much as i can, and I take
some deep breaths, and I'm I'm kind of slowing way down,
and I'm just giving myself permission to be exactly where
I am and creating from that place. And I think
the work I've done from that place is the work
I'm the proudest of because I think it delivers that
same experience to an audience. I mean, I definitely felt

(31:45):
that way with I Love my Dad. I genuinely love
how it's written, the social media elements that are throughout
the way. It's like it's just so well done. And
I know it's based on a true story from when
you're growing up. Do often pull from true stores or
do you like to create generally something fresh. It's sometimes

(32:05):
useful jumping off point because it feels like I have
something that's really something to say about whatever that you've experienced. Yeah,
I have some authority around that subject, but I I
generally am using it just as a jumping off point
because I think that that if I'm like trying to

(32:29):
capture it very literally, that's not the point and it
doesn't that it's bigger than that, and like it needs
to be a window into the universal. It's not just
the thing itself. I mean, it's like taking elements of
it and then going thinking about the theme and what
you're trying to say. Like with my movie, it's metaphorically

(32:51):
and poetically and emotionally all true. But I wasn't beholden
to beat by beat what literally occurred, because nobody care.
It doesn't matter. It's it's about how do I as
a catalyst, Yeah, and how do I deliver the felt experience?
So what was pre production? Like, how long did it

(33:11):
take you to write the script generally? And then at
what point did you go into production? Yeah? I think
I took like a year or so to write the script. Uh,
the movie was going to be called Age Sex Location
very different back in the day. For people that are
familiar with were you on like a O L instant messenger?
Was that before your time, I wasn't on a well,

(33:34):
but I'm very My mom is still on a well.
She has not gone to Gmail. There were like chat
rooms like a sl and then you'd be like fifteen
m M A or whatever and you'd like meet random
people that way. Uh, that that was the thing, and
so that there was I was kind of pulling from

(33:55):
that whole realm of my past. And then as the
story where he took more shape, the title shifted and
the subject really shifted to what it became, and the
writing process was super iterative. I would share it with
a lot of folks. I got a lot of help, uh,
And I continue to get a lot of help in

(34:18):
everything I do because I try to surround myself with
really smart creative people and really listen to what their
thoughts are. And it can only make your work better.
It makes you work better, and even if you get
feedback that you think is not accurate, it helps you
understand what you are chasing and what you are after.
And so yeah, I took it about a year, and

(34:39):
then I brought Patent on board, and then I built
the cast around Patent and then we shot it in
June and July of and um in Syracuse, New York
with the company called American High who had done a
lot of uh like high school set movies for Hulu.
So we had all of our production services and stuff

(35:00):
run through them, and then they may be good for acne.
You never know, right totally, and and um they were great.
We also worked with a great company called hands Motion
Pictures and burn Later and several other folks you know.
And I edited the movie, sent it off to south
By and then how long did take? Probably like eight
to ten weeks. The toughest parts of the process were

(35:23):
like getting the tone right in the edit, because it's
it's such a delicate tone, it's so specific, like it
could so easily feel like I didn't want it to
feel slapsticky, and I also didn't want it to feel
like hyper sentimentalized. It needed to kind of have this
balance of sincerity and sarcasm where there was this kind

(35:45):
of tonal ambiguity throughout where you weren't exactly sure how
you should be feeling about it. I wanted to have
the audience feel a little on edge, because that's really
the feeling that I think I had growing up, especially
with my dad, of just like where are what what's happening?
What's happening? Are you being ostening? Are you? Are we

(36:05):
in a good place? Are we? Is there tension? Like
this kind of feeling like you're on your back foot?
That that kind of push and pull throughout the story.
And it's funny. I was, I mean, I was kind
of making two movies in one where it's like in
my character Franklin's world, he's kind of in this rom
com where he's like, I finally found I found someone.

(36:27):
She's amazing, you know. Uh, We're lucky to have Claudia
Saluski play that part I know what you talked to
and she was just phenomenal and killed it. I mean,
she really kind of captured the spirit of what was
required there. And then we're lucky to have Patton Oswald
to play Chuck, who plays my dad in the film

(36:48):
Franklin's Dad. The casting is just so it's so perfect
because it just it feels real and realistic. I don't know,
I felt like the casting of Claudie was perfect because
she's gorgeous, so she you know, could play a catfish,
but also has this great personality. We get to see
her character unravel a bit too, totally yeah, So it's

(37:08):
it's it's funny. It's like I was making this, I'm
a big believer that genre should come from the character
in the film, like what movie do they think they're in?
Because we're kind of subjectively rooted in them and sometimes
it's fun to subvert that and have the character think
they're in a different film than they aren't. And in
the case of my film, that was kind of the case.
My character thinks he's in a rom com and then

(37:30):
from Chuck's perspective, he's in like uncut Gems or something like.
He's he's fish like his life is unraveling and he's
just trying to keep up. In every decision he makes,
it just gets worse and worse and worse. Wow. And
so all in all of you spent about two years
on this film, I'd say maybe to two or three.

(37:54):
I mean it's funny, like once you release a movie,
you're you still do you know? I traveled around ound
the country doing festivals, which is a whole other world itself.
What was it like going into festivals? I mean, just
so fun. It's a movie that was really exciting to
see in theater because it's there are parts that are

(38:15):
so uncomfortable and and you're just like, it's so fun
to watch with other people because you're able to kind
of delight in the discomfort together, similar to how you'd
experience like a horror movie, where the more people you're
watching with, the more fun it is because you're getting
to hear people's people screaming and reacting to it. And

(38:36):
there's like another that's another part of the whole experience,
just going to the theaters. Finally, and being able to
be in a theater. I was with my friend when
I watched it, and my reaction, which is, yeah, it's
like and it's it's fun because you're then able to
like connect with the person or people you're with watching
this movie, and we'll be on Hulu. I think by

(38:56):
the time anyone who's listening to this, here's this and
so yeah, I just encourage people to watch it with
somebody else because I think it's it's kind it's a
tough watch. I think to watch solo, I mean it'd
be fun, it'd be fun, but still make you crawl
a little bit in your skin. Yeah, I mean it's
fun to kind of celebrate how heightened and uncomfortable like

(39:17):
that I definitely made it for that. You build it
up to the point like like how how crazy it gets.
I wanted to be celebrated like with other people, like
so that you're it's like you're like, oh my god,
I don't know. I'm a big fan of like when
somebody is telling me a story or I'm telling somebody
a story of like an awkward thing that happened. There's

(39:40):
something just fun about like collectively cringing. It's the collective
cringing not knowing what's going to happen. Now. Yeah, you're
like please, no, no, no, no, You're like, but yes, yeah, yeah, yeah,
you're like And it's weird. It's almost like this massochistic
appetite that we have to like see how bad it
can get, because I think it watching the car crash,

(40:00):
you can't look exactly exactly, and when we're watching like
a social car crash, I think there's something that's weirdly
healing about it because we can relate so strongly and
we've all been there where we're just like how am
I in this conversation or like there's this misunderstanding or
there's something in the unspoken and it makes us feel

(40:22):
so lonely because we're like, gosh, I wish somebody else
was witnessed to this feeling that I'm having. And so
you've communicated with anyone via the internet, you can relate
to totally. So the festival experience is great. It was
just exciting to see different parts of the country react differently. Um,

(40:44):
I mean, you get to see all these places that
you normally wouldn't. I got to spend a week in Nantucket.
I was in Seattle, I was in Traverse City, a
little bit everywhere, so fun. And then and then I
was able to go internationally. I was like, I showed
the film in London and they really dug it. I
was in Rome, and then the movie continued all around

(41:04):
the country, all around the world, and it was just
it's just cool to see all these different groups of
people experienced the film differently. And it's just going to
keep going. It's just gonna keep it's creating a life
over itself. I know. It's such a trip and it's
something you've created and that's awesome, and I'm excited to
see what you do next, whether writing, directing, acting. I'm

(41:27):
just I think you're the way you go about filmmaking
is really smart, just from the character's perspective and not
having an overall like it has to be this theme
because not a lot of people, I feel like, go
from that perspective, but it goes to the human element
of it, which is what we're all drawn to. Thank you.
Thank you for coming on my podcast and taking the
time and this was so crazy, This was really fun.

(41:47):
Thanks for having me. I appreciate
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