While in Toronto for TIFF Kids this past month (where our film BROWNSTONES TO RED DIRT played to nearly 1,500 people in just three screenings – not so humblebrag!) Clay, Dave and I were part of Q&As after each screening.  During these Q&As we were asked a wide variety of questions from, “What was your budget?” to “How’d you come up with the idea for the film?” etc.

Most of the questions are the same no matter what city we are playing in.  You get into a little routine/groove of who answers what and how you answer different questions.  However, on this last trip up to Toronto there was a question that we hadn’t heard before, one that gave me pause.“Why did you feel the need to finish the movie?”


Sensing my hesitation Dave quickly gave the crowd an amazing answer – how the only thing the kids in Sierra Leone wanted was for their voices to be heard and we felt a great commitment to them to honor this.  This answer was and is absolutely, one-hundred percent true.

1.)  Do not work in a vacuum.  You should not underestimate the importance of bouncing ideas off of other people.  Surrounding yourself with like-minded people not only is a great motivator, but also can help when you feel stuck.  There have been too many times to count when I am editing a scene and it just doesn’t feel right, so I sit down with Clay and Dave, and within minutes we have figured out a solution.

2.)   In the famous words of Kevin Costnar in the classic film TIN CUP, “Perfection is unattainable.”   I know people who get so caught up on having the perfect opening for a sequence that they sit there for weeks or months not doing anything else but that.  Nothing can be perfect.  Get that straight right now.  Move on, come back to it.  Sometimes you have to know where you’re going to know how to start.

3.)  Do it because you love it.  Don’t get side-tracked thinking about where your film will or won’t play until you are done with it.  Make your film because you love making films and you love the subject you are working on.

Okay, so maybe the answer to, “Why do you feel the need to finish something once you’ve started it?”  isn’t as simple as, “Because we started it.”

But it’s not much more complicated.  I might just add, “Because we love making films, and we love making them together.”

PS: “We know they aren’t perfect.”