In April of 2009 my second child was born, my son Zander. My wife and I pretty much knew that 2 kids would be plenty for us, so I figured right away that Zander was going to be the youngest sibling and the youngest person in the house. Being the youngest of 3 brothers, it was kind of exciting to know that I could now help my son, by addressing some of the issues I had growing up as the youngest. Issues like never feeling like you are being heard, and never feeling like your opinion was ever really taken seriously. I can still hear everyone in the house teasing me for always saying “nobody listens to Fred.”
At the time Zan was born, Mackenzie was 3 years old, I was working a full time job and freelancing as a photographer on the weekends, so you could imagine life was pretty tiring and stressful. With all that going on, why would I choose this time to also try to finish up work on my first feature length film, Average Community?
It seems pretty ridiculous when I look back on that time now. I’d go to work at 7:30 in the morning, come home and help with the kids in the afternoons and evenings, and once everyone would finally go to sleep at night, I would sneak off into my little office and work on my film. I was so tired I couldn’t even see straight, but that was the only time I had to work on it. I didn’t have any executives at Paramount Pictures asking for my cut of the movie, but for some reason I felt like I had to get it done. The longer it took to complete, the more I was afraid that I would eventually lose my motivation and it would never get completed. And then what? I really didn’t know, but I kept moving.
A few years later I made a short documentary called, Create, in which I went out and asked some other artists why they create their art. I was looking for the source of this crazy impulsion to create something, just for the sake of creating. If it’s your job, and puts food on the table, the whole conversation is different. However when you feel the need to create something, just for the sake of creating, even if it gets in the way of the rest of your life, I wanted to know why.
There are plenty of people in the world that work a day job, come home and hang out with their families, watch football, grill out on the weekends and just generally enjoy the American lifestyle; never really feeling the need to paint a picture, write a song, or God forbid go out and make a movie. So why is it different for me? Why do I feel this unrest when I’m not working on something creative? And why in the name of all that is holy did I decide making movies would be a good creative outlet?
I still don’t know if I have a really good answer to the question of why. Why do I feel the urge to create? And why movies? After many years of contemplation, lots of meditation and even a little therapy, I’ve come up with two things.
1… watching movies as a kid took me out of Trenton, New Jersey and into places that I could only imagine. I was suddenly able to fly with E.T. and beat up Nazis with Indiana Jones and still make it home in time for dinner. It was an escape, it was an inspiration.
And 2… writing and directing a film is the ultimate way of sharing your point of view. So maybe it’s my time to inspire? Or maybe it’s just the youngest sibling in me still fighting to be heard, or those voices in my head that still echo “nobody listens to Fred.” Either way, if I can get you to sit down, just for a little while and watch one of my films, I no longer need to say, nobody listens to Fred, because you know who’s listening? You are.