Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking was not just a hobby, but that it would be your life and your living?
I’m not sure that there was a particular time when I realized that filmmaking was going to become my life. The moments I realize that film is my biggest passion are the moments where nothing is going right. Victor Velle (8Billion Angels director) and I did a movie a bit ago where we lived on a boat for a week. We didn’t have a stove, so we couldn’t eat, we ran out of water at one point, and everyone was getting sea sick. On top of that, everyday felt like a life and death situation. Despite all of this, I realized that there was no place on earth that I would rather be because I love filmmaking more than anything else in the world.
What are personal attributes that make for a good filmmaker, and what do you do to foster them?
The personal attributes that have helped me be a good filmmaker are being creative while being analytical, and having endurance for working long hours. I foster these by continuing to study. I try to read a lot of books about the technical side of filmmaking while also making sure I spend time practicing my creative side as well. I try to write a few hours a week and I try to have a few projects developing at a time. On the other hand, I’ve had to learn not to overwork myself. I arrange my schedule to include time for myself, my friends, and my other passions like music and running. A mentor once told me that it’s important to keep living life outside of film because it will become difficult to get inspired for future projects without having life experiences.
What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?
The visuals of a movie are usually the most important thing for me. I love watching beautiful cinematography and coloring, and I will go out of my way to see films that I know are going to be stunning. I do realize that it’s the most important thing for me, but I wouldn’t say it’s the most important thing for filmmaking overall because there are a lot of films out there that might not look perfect but are still really good. When it comes to story, I always found it important to speak your truth. No matter the genre, it’s important to make the film something you’re proud of and want to say. I’ve always been able to connect with the films that the filmmaker put themselves and their passion into.
Most memorable moment while making 8 Billion Angels thus far?
I’d have to say that the most memorable part of making 8 Billion Angels would have to be diving in Shikine-Jima with our cinematographer Jake Mitchell to shoot the underwater shots. The little island was broken up into three parts that the scientists were studying. The first part I’ve heard called “divers paradise.” It was so beautiful and colorful. There were bits of coral and colorful fish surrounding us. These two blue fish wouldn’t leave Jake and I alone. One of them even head-butted my camera. The second part represented the amount of CO2 in a lot of the ocean right now. There were still some fish. but it was noticeably different. There was a lot less color and even the visibility in the water wasn’t as good. The third place we dove showed us where our oceans were heading. We actually went to each place twice and the first time we went there, I couldn’t dive because Jake and I both were feeling sick from the amount of CO2. The second time, we took medicine to prepare and it felt like a desert down there. There was no sign of life. It made me really sad, but I was also really grateful to have the chance to experience this underwater world like that with one of my best friends.