Richard Feynman plays a central role in my film “The Challenger” and part of Feynman’s philosophy is what’s called a philosophy of ignorance. A philosophy of ignorance is something the scientist knows very well and is something he is comfortable with since scientists are always testing new ideas. This idea is a central theme in my Sundance script and Scientific America wrote a piece on it today. Check it out. Following this philosophy also helps when getting input on your creative work. It helps create a barrier between the work and the person. Admitting you don’t know or that you were wrong only creates opportunity for better creativity.
Archive for the ‘inspiration’ Category
I thought i’d revisit the Hierarchy of Needs chart because it’s one thing to have a theory and it’s another to put it into practice. This is how I plan to execute the pyramid. I thought I’d share.
1. Physiological: Eat three meals, get at least 6 hours of sleep, start day with 15 min meditation, exercise at least 45 min a day, end day with 15 min meditation. None of your business on sex, homeostasis and excrement.
2. Safety: Keep paper in my pocket (read keep day job/film jobs), save dough/reduce debt, secure safe and comfortable home.
3. Love/Belonging: Seeing family and friends weekly, entertainment networking, church or service to those less fortunate, emotional and sexual intimacy (again none of your business)
4. Esteem: Following through on items above takes care of this.
5. Self Actualization: Items 1-4 together with my life Mission.
6. Eye of Providence: Self Reflection on items below to ensure nothing gets out of whack.
Some of you may be asking what does all this philosophy have to do with filmmaking. Well nothing directly. But success follows those that are already personally successful. So it relates because if you can master yourself and your life then film success is simple right?
So how do you lead your life?
Well what happens in the end?
What will people say about you?
The truth is that you lead your life just like you lead anything else. With a plan. I found these leadership attributes useful. Ignore the fact that this article is geared toward an organization. You are the head of an organization… You INC. If you have a business you’ll need two lists but your personal list always trumps your business list. My personal mission is to use the gifts I’ve been given to help motivate others toward their potential. This blog is a part of that. The themes in my films always deal with this. What is yours?
I’m in the same starubucks where I mapped out my last film. I didn’t write the film here but this is the exact place where I mapped it out and here I am back again mapping out a new film. A science fiction film and this time and it feels easier.
It’s not easier but it feels that way; it’s quicker. But I’m bloging instead of writing so in the long run it’ll probably even out.
For the past several years and maybe more I’ve had turmoil in my personal life. I don’t intend to get into any detail but trust me I’m going somewhere with this. For the past twelve years if you were to ask me where I see myself in the future, my response would be a list of career goals as if it were my sole purpose for being on this planet. Science tells us our purpose is simple… to reproduce.
Well, yes but that’s not enough! It’s inadequate.
Then their’s the religious argument that I won’t get into because I’m no expert in that. But to be clear I have no problem with the religious argument so long as it produces persons that are complete and non judgmental which there are plenty of examples of.
Then I remembered a chart my coworker showed me which is shown above that I famously altered in ac3 fashion. Albeit slightly. (shout out to RL) A Hierarchy of Needs chart. I added the numbers to remind myself that order is important (more on that later) and I also added a 6th level which is the “Eye of Providence“. It is not a masonic symbol so don’t go there. It is there to remind me to look to God (or whatever name you chose to give him.. this is inclusive after all) who watches over all of the needs to reaccess that they’re all in order. That nothing has gotten out of whack.
The key in life, the path for me… is step 5/6 self actualization. Self actualization is the simply to reach the full potential of all of your abilities. Wikipedia quotes Carl Rogers as saying (self actualization is) “man’s tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities…to express and activate all the capacities of the organism”. This is not anything earth shattering. It is something we can connect to.. realizing our potential.
Arrogantly I thought, heck this is why I am an engineer/scientist/filmmaker. I could easily settle with a much simpler life just doing one of those things. But I spend all of my spare time obsessing over story and contemplating how to portray it on film.
I became serious about filmmaking nearly twelve years ago and have always thought that after I reached a quantifiable measure of success that I would be self actualized. Goals and waypoints were my measure for self actualization but I realize now that this is a trap. If you follow this model you will reach all of your GOALS but will have nothing to show for it. You will not be self actualized. In fact you will be worse off and disillusioned because your GOALS didn’t deliver what you expected. So now you’ve spent all of your life, delaying your life, waisting time, to reach a GOAL that didn’t deliver what it promised and left you disillusioned.
Fuck that! I want off this train. It’s destroyed every special relationship I have and would have had in the future. And It almost cost me my life. The damage is irreparable because you cannot undue actions, inactions or wrap the space time continuum.
Twelve years of my life wasted beacuse my focus in the wrong place. My Hierarchy of Needs was lopsided.
An imbalance that’s not healthy or fulfilling. The bright side is that I’ve caught this imbalance early so that I can bandage the personal relationships, make healthier choices and aim to live a self actualized life. You can too.
I am a helpless romantic and most of my films have been romantic comedies or love stories. This fact has always confused people especially if they know of my Aerospace Engineering background. The truth is that I have always steered clear of science based films because I was afraid my films would suck balls because they overemphasized the science.
But then “The Challenger” has gotten a good response despite my fears. Now don’t get me wrong there are still major hurdles for me to overcome with trying to boil the science into something that’s brief, actionable, non expositional, connected to emotion and palatable. But now instead of being fearful I accept this as a challenge that my engineering background (not to mention the helpless romanticism) makes me uniquely qualified for. On with scifi.
Firstly I cannot draw. I especially cannot draw the human form.
So instead of running and hiding I figured I’d attend a class featuring a nude model to practice. My rationale was that anytime I can sharpen my attention to detail and my ability to replicate the human experience is a plus, not to mention the fact that the model was a woman. I didn’t know that until I got there but that was also a plus. My rendition turned out to be abstract but it was still motivated by the model.
Attention to detail.
You can’t get more romantic than riding on motorcycle at night. There is just something intimate about racing down the road in an insanely dangerous machine that is “conditionally stable” at best. Here are the top 5 reasons riding two up is sexy.
5. Riding is just sexy in general
4. It looks bad ASS (especially from behind) to everyone else on the road
3. Riding two up is more technically challenging especially at night
2. She has to hold onto you closely
1. She trusts you enough to put her life in your hands
There are two obvious places to film in LA that would be way off the charts romantically. An obvious choice is the much overused (for car commercials) third street tunnel.
And the second is Vincent Thomas Bridge.
Below are two are my favorite motorcycle scenes from Fallen Angel and Love Jones (first 10 seconds).
the challenger takes on the incumbent
the challenger conquers itself then nature
the challenger inspires
the challenger hopes
the challenger bets the farm and picket fence
the challenger fears
the challenger dreams
the challenger fights
the challenger doesn’t give up
the challenger survives
the challenger wins….
Today be a challenger!