Check out this photo of me making an awesome point at Digital Day at the Director’s Guild on July 31st. I was on the panel with Randy and Jason Sklar, Ondi Timoner, Akiva Schaffer, and Jesse Warren. I’ve known Randy and Jason since college, but it wasn’t until around 1997 when I had to crash for two weeks at the apartment they shared with Eric Friedman on 54th and 8th that we became super duper tight by going to standup shows all night then coming home to get high and listen to that one Pearl Jam cd that has Release Me. In ’07 and ’08 I directed the web series Layers and Back On Topps for them.
Jamie Babbit moderated the panel. I’d never met her before, but we walked into the DGA together and I thought “hey there’s a stylish lady.” Then two minutes later I was sitting on stage with her talking about production stuff. Not my best story, but I’m leaving it in.
I see Akiva Schaffer a lot at work, usually at the NBC commissary. Akiva directs all the SNL digital shorts. I was explicitly told when they hired me at Late Night that they wanted their own Akiva, and I felt like that was a lot to live up to. SNL digital shorts rule. His work is outstanding and he’s a super nice human.
A big highlight for me was sharing the stage with Ondi Timoner. She’s the one speaking in the photo below, and illustrating the size of the talent boner that I have for her. She directed Dig, which is tied with Sherman’s March as my absolute favorite documentary. Since the panel I’ve gotten caught up on all of her other films because I have grand plans of asking her to coffee and explaining how she’s inspired me. I always have this point in a documentary project where I’m jabbed with the reality that if I stopped working on the project, not a single person in the world would care. In fact, no one would miss it except the one or two people who are in it, and maybe some of them would even PREFER if it was never finished. Those are tough moments, because you are usually paying for everything yourself, which feels like you’ve turned recklessness into a powder and sorted it. When I’ve hit that wall on occassion I’ve thought of Ondi’s work, and imagined her perservering through the doubt. It has helped just a little. If you watch her movies, Dig especially, you will see. A person has a very limited mount of movies like that which they can produce in one lifetime. I think the official limit is 5.
This nothing to do with Digital Day but I should mention I’m writing on my non-unibody macbook pro, and this thing gets so hot that if it were a tray of baked goods coming out of the oven I would think “clearly this is too hot to hold, I had better put this aside for a moment.” But because it’s a laptop I somehow think it’s fine to place it on top of my balls.