This is the final chapter in my post-college life story—the book on which it’s been written. I’ve been working all my life now, and there was this moment, right at the end when I finished a post-grad internship (which I found to be the most liberating experience of any I’ve had), when the idea of filmmaking came up.
I was looking for a project to pursue, and I read an article in the New York Times about the way a bunch of former students in the film, advertising, and television industries were writing and working on film and TV projects, and it sounded pretty intriguing. I wrote a few words on the phone, and then my girlfriend called me and said, “What the hell! We need to talk about you.” She was very clear, “This is where I wanted to be when we were growing up—doing something. I saw what a documentary could do for us.”
And I said, “It might be something I’d have to do again sometime. Right now you’re the only thing I’m interested in.” And she said, “You sure? You’re not being yourself.”
So I said, “Yes, I’ll do this.” I said, “Let’s go talk to each other.” The next day I went down to her place, and we decided we would do it, and we got a day job doing a documentary called The Uninhabited. It’s an experience about traveling around North America to capture what’s left of the natural habitats.
At the time, I was a freelance cinematographer, and I’d traveled around Africa, Asia, and South America before. Now I was back home—this is what I’d been looking to do for years, to go back to the place I loved the most. The film was shot mostly in Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, but we also made two videos about the film. One was about Africa for a website called The Daily Meal; the other was for PBS’s Planet Earth.
It’s a film that I’ve always wanted to make. But the thing was, it wasn’t quite like any thing that I’d ever done before, and so as I tried to figure out how to accomplish something new. I realized that I needed to be able to make decisions, to be a creative force. But it wasn’t until I was working on The Uninhabited that I found the passion I’d waited so long for.
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