I watched. Then I wanted to make. At first, it wasn’t my own stories I wanted to tell. I was a child of course, but children have stories. Instead, when a film touched me, when I loved it, I wanted so much to be part of it that I wanted to make it. And I decided I would- but I wanted to make it exactly as it was, frame by frame. This wasn’t any Gus van Sant or Douglas Gordon style art. I just wanted those films to be mine.
Later I found my own stories, hundreds of them. I listed them in a note book with the words ‘Things To Do’ scraped with a ball point pen into the cardboard cover. My book had three sections- Theatre, Film, Books. After my time at the Lecoq School in Paris, I let the theatre section fade. The books section was kind of quiet too. It was just films.
I dreamed of being a big time famous director- the kind that got Oscars and Palme d’Ors, who was written about in books. The first few films I made were a nudge in that direction, short narratives. Not big time though- no prizes. I still love them, but I could see there were problems. Enough problems, that after three of them, I left my job as a camera assistant and went to California to study.
At the California Institute of the Arts I got my first introduction to experimental film. What excited me about these films was not just the ability to be free of conventional narrative structures, telling any story any way, but that they could be done so small and so privately. For me, who, despite my dreams of documentaries-about-me fame, am profoundly uncomfortable in groups, this was liberating.
The films I make now are made mostly alone, or with a few close friends. I don’t anticipate Oscars anymore, though I still have dreams. The telling of stories is still central to what I do, though sometimes the story is just about a moment.