Chelsea Myers of Tiny Attic Productions fame (www.tinyatticproductions.com/). She's a storyteller, documentary film-maker, and quite the visual artist. She's a quick thinker and extremely articulate. She weaves visual information like DNA, or you know, one of those tight ropes people use to walk from one building top to another. God those people are insane. She's a workaholic but will give you the time of day. She's a world-traveler and just recently got back from Africa, but I won't spoil it. It's in the interview. Dream Pizza: Pepperjack cheese, Mushrooms, Black Olives... cooled off a little first.
Recorded on 2016-02-08
Speakers: Joseph Weidinger and Chelsea Myers
OK, Eso Josie Meyers You are local artist who specializes in the creation of visual media, everything from traditional documentary style projects to promotional videos, trailers, teasers, music videos, experimental storytelling. I'm interviewing you because you are an artist that that's entrepreneurial, ambitious, hard working, your friendly, outgoing and you're welcoming. So welcome to this table and this fine pizza eating and making establishment that has pictures downtown on today.
Monday, February to them six. The first question is, if you're at a party and you are asked, what do you do? What you say? I'm a storyteller. I've gotten as this question a lot. And the best possible answer in all story is it's a storyteller because whether I'm making films or drawing or animating, or just doing audio recording or whatever, the whole intends is that it's to be the messenger for someone else's voice to some else's ears.
That's good. We thought that that was very concise. Describe yourself in three words, all starting with the same letter we did this at my party. I think I said creative, careful and compassionate, which is the last ones more of, ah, desired to be. So so I don't know. I mean a continual, ongoing pursuit, but I shouldn't say more than those three words, Should I? Good now, for now, Good memory. What's the best thing for human beings?
The best thing for a human being. Sure. Knowledge way. Also talked about this, But, uh, do you want just one word? No. You, Khun sake, you're gonna spend on, um I would say knowledge based on especially my more recent travels, which I know will get two five. The one thing that seems to form corruption and evil and just everything that I hate about the human species as opposed to other animals that seemed to be without, um it's it's formed in a lack of knowledge, lack of education.
So knowledge, So a lot of things in the system. But basically, if there's if your knowledge or have more knowledge, the more knowledge, the less in this big, chaotic system everything will make more sense and settle down, be peaceful with knowledge. Well, with knowledge. Yeah, yeah. Like through through experience or education On classroom people come to understand each other and situations better. And therefore tolerance is born, which, really I think is the greatest virtue.
Although I mean overall for mankind. But for me, with my craft, it happens to be patients we'll get to that, too. Um, what's your favorite form of information? Visual. Definitely. And I I want to say it really broadly like that, because, you know, when you look at a work of art that touches you and it's not something that you can describe. But, you know, like, if I say I love black and white art, that's more true than just saying any other broad term.
But it's not all black and white art. It's the black and white. Are that really like the details on the texture and the value pull me in, right? So, like I'm way more open, tio that kind of information on the get go and I sit and look at it longer Number two would be NPR of maybe. Why do we collect their gathered information? It's a desire to feel important because we hope that were included in that database, that archive of humanity, archive of humanity.
That's a good Did you read that somewhere? Actually, H. P. Lovecraft is one of my favorite authors and that he invented the six dimensional being that lives in all time and space. They basically know everything that ever was ever is and ever will be. And that sounds like a Catholic prayer. I don't think they have religion, which is great. But being knowing everything has no conflict because it accepts everything.
So what it spends its time doing is becoming a parasite basically in a host of the dominant species of whatever planet, in whatever time in the entire universe. And they they go through the world that they're on, and they collect information, and they archive it in this giant universal archive. And it's just so beautiful like that, if you have no conflict, that you're one motivation might be Teo Document.
So the documentarians and historians are like the sole beans that the human most manifestation of these perfect, Yeah, alien species or whatever this. Well, they're definitely not perfect. They're they're hideous. Oh, I don't know this. It's in a shadow out of time, A shadow of time HP fiction, some creative nonfiction Prophetic nonfiction hasn't happened yet. That's good. What's your earliest memory? Yeah, I've thought about this before, and the reason I'm has stating is because I thought I knew my earliest memory.
But then I have been told by adults in my life that it's not true. It's like the memory that you thought was the earliest one didn't exist at all. Yes, and everything else, right? Like my own personal memory, the one that I can claim no one else can validate. Where is everything else like from early childhood? I remember, but I think it's sort of someone else's words like, I don't remember being there. I remember it was a third person.
So my memory that no one else believes is I. When we moved, we I was born in Colombia and we moved to D. C. I was packing up all my bags, and my favorite toy at that point in time was camper Barbie. And how old are you? Four. Okay. And, uh, Camper Barbie was my favorite because she would go outdoors with me. And she had, like, a little tent. And she had a kettle. And she had a raccoon, which I think I stole from a poke.
Johannes. Anyhow, camper Barbie was the shit and awaken acres. And, uh, I got to D. C. And there's no camper Barbie and I was freaking out. I was like, Mom, where's my camper? Barbie? And she was like you, never You never had one. And I was like, That doesn't make sense because I have the ten cattle out there. I could I mean, like, I have this. This thing existed. I have, like, periphery proof, but no one remembers.
Camper Barbie has suffered me, huh? That sounds like everyone else's. Your family members are very sorry, but you have never gotten the strength to apologize for losing. Yeah, maybe it's like the whole goldfish thing where the goldfish died and got flushed down the toilet and replaced in the dead of night. And no one ever wants to admit it. Yeah, that sounds. I think you're onto something. Is memory Maura curse or a blessing for you?
Oh, definitely a blessing. Quite. Although I'm cursed on that, I don't have a good memory. A short term or long term. It depends. I have a really good long term memory with numbers for some reason. But names not like you remember numbers. Like, remember how much your first barbree costs or something like that? I remember my high school soon I d number. I remember my next door neighbors. One number, a little slumber price tags on things that I bought you.
But like the actual thing I buy, I don't know. Ten years ago, I spent seventeen ninety eight on something. Exactly. Um, who were your earliest role models within your immediate family and how they affect you? My uncle Nick, hands down, was the only person in my giant extended Catholic family that was a visual artist of any form. He was a craftsman. I worked in wood art specifically, and just the most amazing ornaments, boxes, chairs, Meers, whatever.
Was the entrepreneurial with it? No, no, not at all. Here's a plumber. He did as a passion. Only it's right because you're outside of your family. They big a lot of plumbers in the business. I come from a confluence of plumbers and farmers conflicts that's which is hilarious because I got none of those practical skills. But, yeah, Nick was the first person that really connected with me, and he was the one that got me into travel because while we connected on visual arts room a very early age, I mean, he saw it at me when I was five years old.
I saw this beautiful love of travel in him and how it changed his life through his stories, and it made me want to travel I wanted to see your because next Europe, right? I wanted to go on a motorcycle ride around the United States because that's what Nick said. I should dio when I was sixteen. I haven't learned how to ride a motorcycle yet. Uh, but you have you taken motorcycle, right? As a co writer? Yes.
OK, yeah. That's how you get a look around London. You never You never want to drive. He threw the tube or a motorcycle tube. Is that that's the subway called the tube. That sounds fashionable. Is he still influence in your life, or you guys kind of, like, disconnected over the years Or he died a few years ago? Yeah, he had cancer, but yes, he's still constant influence in my life. His widow, Susan, and I actually go on yearly trips in, like his stead.
I feels place in a little tiny way special that we went to the International Green Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin, this year. International green found Crane crane. OK, like the bird I was, like, Okay, not the construction instrument. Plumbers crane's. She's a psychologist, not a plumber, okay. Interesting is that? Is that his bird, or was it called orthe technology or something like, Gosh, I don't know, like the people who like birds, study birds.
Oh, I actually have a great little anecdote about that because that that is, it's not just like a path of study, it's it's like a in eight part of a human being. No is when we're every human being either think intense love of birds or not is OK, So we were on this this cruise on the Nile on this trip on me, the most recent trip to Africa? Yes, so we were in northern Uganda on the Nile, and we're going down the river, and, well, it kind of stopped for five minutes or so to look at hippos, giraffes, elephants.
It's never long enough for me, but then we'd stop and look at these birds for like, thirty minutes and all these people on my dick LeBeau would just get up with their giant four foot long lens and be snapping away and like their binoculars and just doing denying and and there's this doctor and his wife, and they were like, you know, they should really make a separate tour for bird cares and bird, not carers were just sitting there.
Like All right, well, look to despair in her thirty minutes. Now, unfortunately, people who love the birds the most had were in charge of the steering wheel. Yeah or well, the people who were paying the most money, right? Yes. What is it now? Get them. What is what was thie, the trip all about you. How long has it been playing? And it was always something spontaneous. Or did you go with, uh, four years ago?
I got connected with this woman, Robin Nessler, who happens to be the sister of one of my best friends in the entire world. Polly Sweitzer, who I traveled the world with. Wei went to Asia together in Hawaii. So Polly's trying to get me to go to Africa from the get go, because she's like, I know you love to travel. And you should go help out my sister's organization, which is a nonprofit, a group in Kampala, Uganda, called Set her free.
And it's It was actually, I had no idea what they did at first. Like suffered help. Young girls. They don't necessarily have a formula for how they approach that. Because people come from such different situations in that environment. But they have two centers and wench. They house about thirty girls. Each ends those girls like moving there permanently for the course of a couple of years while they older than you.
Ford Teo, twenty two, I believe, was the oldest. It's. It all depends on your education level. So the girls live at the center while they completely certificates or degrees or normal courses in school. And and that's the main point where the program exists to get girls in school. Okay, so it's not at first I thought, Okay. Are these, like, girls that come from, like, very abuse situation? Yeah. If your parenting or other No outside, whatever or is it primarily not necessary?
People come from a bad place, but people already good place in more education. What we're not. Yeah, it started, actually is an organization to help girls and brothels. So they have these grill emissions. This wonderful woman named Rubina who is a local you canon in Kampala. I would just go into brothels and talk to girls and get them out. And that's how it all started. But since the girls that are there also come from situations of domestic abuse with their parents, homelessness in general or a lot of the girls that are too had very sick parents, whether it's because of alcoholism or HIV, just physical and mental, yeah, no place to take care of their child.
So it is a very diverse group. Some of the girls there even have daughters and sons of their own. So there's infants running around? No. Yeah, I went over there because four years ago I made this little promotional video for them. And ever since I I did that, I just use some photographs they sent me and turn them into these like animated butterflies, which was their logo at the time. Robin's been trying to get me a plane ticket, and she set aside enough money to get me over there this year.
So the whole point of the Africa trip and you brought cameras this time, or we had more stuff than well, I never went before. Yeah, right. But primarily before you're animating pictures and now you got like, some footage, a lot of film for two weeks straight. Wow. And I was working probably ten to fourteen hours day, depending on, uh, what you call work, which is multifaceted, with, well, making. A lot of that was getting to know the girls and just being around them and becoming comfortable with each other and getting to know each other.
My I have a friend who says he tries to encourage people to get their personal life in the world, like, as mixed up and confused as possible. You sound like a moment of that. Yeah. I often say that I'm married to my job and that my camera's my baby because people tell me to, like, leave my camera in a car often when I'm on the issues because I carry around twenty five pounds of gear. And that's the smallest amount that I have at any point in time.
No, I go Just leave the just leave the bag. But But I'm like, would you leave your baby in a hot car alone? Okay, well, posit that we got a pizza coming one second what? What? What? Oh, that was so good. Just like the old days. Do you like olives? Yeah. Like I'm I'm so happy. And yeah, I have a rule of Shakespeare's. Um, I have to wait, like, ten minutes before. Yeah, Otherwise, everything troops on down the chin on the microphone is always where it looks like.
He just got done cutting a little, you know? Yes, these big Carhartt jackets on. And as soon as this pizza's ready, he's like, Yeah, I'm gonna let you sit there, cool off for, like, five minutes every time. And it's cab annoying because, you know, you're constantly shuttling. You have this like, pizza just never leaves. And then he's, uh and then, like, maybe between, like, twenty five and thirty minutes later, he'll actually come back from the bar, you know, after calling his name out five times, you know, but so I understand.
It's like you probably eat like cold pizza, too. That cold Shakespeare uses one of my favorites. Actually, I don't necessarily like cold pizza from other places, but Shakespeare's it works. Probably just because that's what I'd get, you know, on breaks like it sliced it well, they put out the house pie, and then I'd get to it forty five minutes later, Right? So after you get done chopping onions. So you're on this trip for a month and was, is the daily routine of the trip similar, or was like every urine, many different places and had many different routines and many different focuses.
That's a really good question, because I think this is the most commonly misunderstood part about my job. When I'm hired to do O do a documentary somewhere, all expectations and all planning go out the window. I've This is what happened in Tijuana where I would try and set the schedule like, Okay, this interview this time we'll go to this place at this time we're in Mexican time, which is like within a two hour period, usually after the fact of what you you say, you're going to dio I've learned Ugandan time is even worse then Mexican time because, OK, for instance, when you ask someone like this is a different, different thing.
But if you're like, how far away is this place that we're going to there, like near they say near for everything or or it's near near it's never far near means we'll get there sometime within the day. Near near Means we'll get there sometime, maybe in the next hour. But who really knows traffic might be terrible, so it's the same way with time. It's like one. Is this gonna happen soon? They like today? Yeah.
Today sometimes it never happens at all. We're supposed to film this extraction of a girl from a slum where they go in and they get the girl from her family and they bring her to the center. You're goingto film that. I mean, that's kind of a confrontational event. Our affair. I mean, is it or is it maybe, like it can be you? Should they get the permission of the parents If they are in the position of being able Teo, give Okay, uh, consent or if there is a parent present.
But with this girl, it actually never ended up happening because the the organisers, Rabin and Robyn figured out that the parents were just trying to use the set her free in order to get money. So they just wanted a payment without actually sending the girl to school. Right. So, like, we went out to the slums four times and it never happened. And I was even going to extend my trip for an extra few days to see if it would finally happen, right?
It's like, Now this is just so you went out to try to find her and you couldn't Yeah, we went. Actually, this is a crazy story, some of it which I can't on footage. But we went to her home. She was gone because they were being a little aloof like her, and her mom apparently went to a funeral outside of town. They knew that people were way, had an appointment. We had four appointments and they cancelled all of them.
Or they were somehow not that when we get to her home. And there's a four year old girl named Gift who is her young cousin, and she's there holding a sick, crying baby baby apparently got out of the hospital with measles or something. A couple days before this four year old is in charge of taking care of this second Finn. She is in charge of running the alcohol business for her mother while she's gone and keeping all the phone numbers in case anyone needs to contact in by like what?
And providing a cooking food for herself and then waking up and going to sleep. All that stuff. Yeah, that's it, either insane or incredible, Maybe both well, infants run around the streets of Kampala, butt naked with no adult around. We were amazed. It's like they pop out of the room and they hit the ground Running people are very self sufficient over there, seemingly for thie. Lack of amenities that they are actually able to have that makes sense.
Can you explain that, like because of the lack of women in these? So let me get in the other words they have to be, Yeah, uh, what I saw of compel O was really disgusting and that basically there's like six parts of Kampala. There's a wealthy city centre that's on the middle on this hill, and that's where all the business is conducted and all the wealthy government officials like live and Go to work.
And then around this hill is a swamp and in circles, The whole hill and everyone else lives in the swamp in the slums there five boroughs of the slum. And it's just like there's no middle class, just poverty. I talked to a highly affluent filmmaker there who started a project called the Ghetto Film Project. Who lives There Is From Somewhere Else, or who is from Complete on that. I consider him successful, based on one he's achieved and he still lives in the slums.
It's just there's no getting out of that situation, And when I talk about that situation, I mean everyone lives on the side of the road. There's a gutter in which all trash and wastewater is dumped into that constantly will flood homes because there's no kind of sewage system that the government cares to establish. In these areas. People are living in trash and sewage, and it's not of their own mistake.
It's the government's fault for not providing that same with roads. The roads are terrible, or when a good road is built, it's because of a wealthy government official who now needs to use that to get to work. So they expand the road. They knocked down an entire row of some houses, and then all these people are homeless, right? In order to secure, maybe at twenty five minute faster right to work for a government official government.
So it's disparity between this incredible Yeah, So you see kids all over the place, probably because their parents have to work all day. I mean, I assume that there's no such thing as a baby sitter when you're in a situation like that, right? Our baby sitter is like the the four year old older sister and in this case, like you couldn't just show up at this person's house and taking away, like, finally got Repo Man or something.
You know, that's the situation that happens with the brothels. But, yeah, the families. If there is a surviving parent, they really try and get their permission. And usually the parents thrilled that their daughter's getting an education that they could never give them, right? But not in this case. Yeah, that's so unfortunate. That one, the one chance you had to film that home. I mean, I guess you take it for what it's worth being a documentarian and going different places and having no schedule or having not necessarily know schedule.
But you're very aware and accepting out of the way possibilities or the possibilities. Things working out to your satisfaction are ideal and or not at all like that happens all the time. It's part of the job. Well, by the time that we were on our our fourth trip to the slum, I had it become grounded that this would be the opening scene to my phone. Like I'd seen it all in my head. It was in the last few days I was there.
I was like, Oh, my gosh. This is just how the film opens its going to introduce all the characters because we're going to take her to the center and you'll meet the other girls that I ended up focusing on. There's no other way the film could go in my head. And Teo to realize that it wasn't gonna happen was crushing. As as someone who is like, technically my own employer and my unemployed like So I've got, like, a dual system of guilt going here where I'm like, feeling like I didn't do my job well enough and feeling like I didn't push myself hard enough.
But, you know, in the forty five minute drive through traffic to the centre afterwards, I kind of figure out another way, though it could be approached at the center from the slum. Yeah, last time. So you're always trying to figure out the holes to your story and how you can best fill it in the time that you have. Because there's no way that you can tell the story of someone's life or there situation.
You just try not to tell untrue ce like you make it as truthful as possible. And true is ah, things that are true is a big thing and not only and film a documentary filmmaking, but also with your job true, false to fall. Sorry. Um, I have a question about that later, but we'll get to it, but I also want to ask you a few questions while you're talking about, like, kind of formulating your own story and, uh being being an artist, if you will.
And the creation and creativity involved in storytelling. The first Only prep it with a few things before I get back to Africa to what was first attracted. Beautiful to pursuit filmmaking, filmmaking as abroad. You know, documentary's that's abroad every Where you going? Me? Abroad? No, no, no. As it has a broad's boy get a cz abroad. You know that's a female film is a general. You know, visual media as a non fiction filmmaker.
Okay, right. I mean, that's really the root of it. I'm not interested in pursuing fictional stories or my imagination. What intrigues me is real people stories. And I've known that since I was eight years old, I wanted to be a journalist since I was eight years old, but I just was misguided. I really wanted to be a storyteller. I thought journalism was the path to do that. But I also was creative my entire life.
I always tried to figure out new ways to do something. It was the moment that you lost the sort of faith in journalism as a like. Was there a moment or is it evolved over time? Oh, Yeah, Uh, it was when I I asked my professors at the university, too, if I could pursue an independent study in documentary. And they told me no documentary is not a valid form of reporting. It is manipulative because it's subjective.
And I was like, wait, really? Because isn't trying to be objective, more manipulative because you're telling someone that this's exactly how it is. This is the absolute truth that your perspectives not involved, but you could never limit your bias. So isn't it better to be open about your bias and all of the perspectives involved your subjects and yours, and let people evaluate it as they see it? And their response.
Did you did you have Is this all like stuff that you thought of? No walking away? I got in full arguments with them. I thought I was going. I thought they were going to fail me. That's why I told you I got my degree. Was my middle finger held. I pretty much because it was just like I wanted to be. Like, I can get a degree in this, but go do something else with this information that I've gained was over a moment.
You're like, I'm just gonna I'm just gonna I don't need a degree to do this. Oh, yeah. I actually have never used my degree except for if anything, those school taught me tolerance. I mean, use your degree as in, like, I didn't learn anything from this year's Or do you mean, like, I never put it on a resume for our job application or for a gig or something? And they said, Oh, you went to the school joke.
Like what? Wait, You mean kind of both. So I've never made a rest. May never once made a resume. I get all of my jobs by word about people who have seen what I do, and they're like, All right, can you do that for us? I've been really fortunate in that respect, but yeah, I've never put my degree in a position that that's what got me the job. Um I think the only like re a lesson that I learned at that school was how to deal with people that drive me nuts and not murder them.
I was really, honestly, like the school wasn't that bad. Except for maybe more. So my class, I didn't have any passionate piers and that Germans. And that's interesting, because I don't know, I'm just saying stabbed, but out of all the all the people that I meet on campus, right? You know, I can always tell the journalist because they don't look. They don't seem like they're from Missouri first of all, but they also just they seem more passionate and maybe passionate is, well, you know, pure, passionate Mohr, less like they seem very outgoing and enthusiastic.
And, uh, you know, they want to tell the story. You know, it's that maybe it's just an illusion and you know these people personally or from it, you know, without their facade because you're their classmate and you get used to each other in the facade disappears and you think, or you, you believe that there's a lack of passion And maybe the better way to phrase is it was the perfect storm of of people being given work that wasn't nurturing their interest, not knowing their interest to begin with and just beans so busy that they never found time to figure that out.
Because the way that which okay, I kind of agree with this and also discreet. The way the journalism school set up was we're going to push you so hard that you're going to feel like you're in hell so that when you go out into the real world, you can handle it. Looks like now I know the real world was help. I want to be in college and, like, figure out my style and experiments. I'm paying for this. So, like, don't put me to work at three different news stations on DH.
I'm talking really paying toe work there, you know, as an intern, um, making a story a week like we never got to in depth, investigate anything or really form relationships with their subjects. And that's what I was interested in documentary. And by the time I finally got to a capstone project and got a few other students on board with my idea and of doing the whole project by myself because there was just like they never had the time to developed.
That kind of appreciation for like, what you put in is what you get out of it because we just had such crazy deadlines. That's probably you think that's unique to the journalism school in this university. I think its unique Teo United States of America because I I got this distinction or just even awareness that there is another way from London. We had one class that met my other three classes when I was studying abroad.
Never held class. The teachers were like, If you're having a problem, come find us at our office here are ours. Sometimes the homework would be Will it be totally personalized? I'd go to see my professor, Peter Dukes, and he'd be, like, All right, I see where your your brain is right now. You know, you should read this book and drink a bottle of wine and sit in the bathtub and think about it like I didn't have Batam.
But, yeah, it was. It was way more free form. And we had, like, two assignments. Do all semester and these were in multimedia. So in video production of some form or another was doing animation, multimedia installation, advertising and and what I saw was, Yeah, students would go out and party, but when they went on party, they'd have these Socratic step seminars amongst themselves about their projects.
They go out the next morning and spend thirty five pounds on Venetian blinds because it was the only blind that would be appropriate for the scene that they were shooting. There's so much passion because there's so much freedom and the journalism school was really constructive and formulaic, and if things didn't fit into their model, it didn't work for them, right? And I think that that really hampered passion is just by creating this sort of fake business that you know you don't have.
You don't have that passion, which is probably self motivation and discount like a wild ambition. We don't have time to find or cultivate that, because, uh and do what you truly want to do because they just kind of create the structure for you. Exactly. And which is funny because I mean most journalists, I don't know this for a fact But journalists are freelancers inherently in away. Unless, I mean not in every situation, but kind of by definition, you have to be.
Your own person with your own style, is that you, uh, love and can do. And you don't just go out and work for the May. I'm not sure what I'm trying to say, but but it's kind of it requires that it's interesting how I wonder how it started. Regionalism school here. It'll kind of regimen. There's the same I get it's kind of like the whole idea with art. You have Tio, make the rules and order Teo, really allow a phenomenal journalist to break wth.
Um, it was funny because my first date in journalism school I was in a lecture hall of seven hundred people. It was a class specifically designed to weed people out. It was so boring. Yeah, exactly. People dropped out just because they're bored to tears. And the first day they were, like, Okay, so can we name some significant journalists? You know? Ah, Nicholas Kristofferson, People. They're like raising their hands, right And left eye finally get called like Hunter s.
Thompson on DH there, like, uh, everyone last like nervous laughter is like he was a great journalist. He got hired because of his name alone because of a style because of the way he captured a culture. Yeah, it was alternative. Super Alter knew, but that kind of reinterpretation of reporting documentation storytelling was not allowed from day one, right? And so it definitely was. Institution built on rules.
And it was in my mind it was this, like house of cards that was can toddle since the first day You're and you may not realize at that point, but there were there clues from the first state that, like God, not right. Yeah, it's funny because I think someone once told me that all are his form and content. And, you know, it doesn't have to be our missing beacon. Probably substitute lot of whores in there.
But, you know, an artist, it was Sub will change the form, too. And the content, you know, No. And it sounds kind of like what J School does is keep the form the same, but change the concert. And so so Thompson was someone that changed the form to the way in which tell the story or the is messing with all that stuff in that lab sets a lot of people for some reason, because the way they're used to receiving information they wanted to be consistent in.
But huh, artists or people who like that kind of thing are more open towards the the way in which the story's told, Not necessarily just what stories, what the story is, the constant story is but the form of the two. And I think that thrived in journalism because of the deadlines we had tto operate on an inverted pyramid, you know, Hook Lee. Bulk of the information taper out because one that's how an editor knew how to get through the material before a deadline and make sure that you know the facts were correct.
Information was there. And two because you're catering to a client, which is three audience and most people don't have the attentions Ban Teo, get through an entire article was always understanding. That's how we built every single story till about that story. Just cause I don't know you mean a reverse pyramid is that we said inverted pyramid impairment. You mean, like the most interesting hooked? So you do, Ah, hook a lead on, then it's an inverted pyramid and that all the information that is important to your lead is top heavy and the information kind of fizzles out as you go through.
And is that the word? The word They used to describe it. Which, Yeah, it was all part of my big issue because not everything fits into that inverted pyramid perfectly. And yet they would try and squeeze it. Yeah. Okay, so at this point, it would be good to just identify the difference between journalism and filmmaking, because filmmaking is also school thought where their rules as well. But as opposed to journalism, I really admire the rules of filmmaking set forth by people like Werner Herzog.
Um for instance, like he says. The best way to become a filmmaker is not to go to school. It's to be a parking lot attendant or bartender or some job that gets you to talk to as many people as possible. And I kind of I wish that was like journalism school more. It was like get to know people becoming an ethnographer in a way, or sociologists like figure out how society works and individuals within those cultures and then try and report on it.
There isn't like no research of humanity. It's just like going straight in interviewing someone, that there's even a structure that you interview someone like, you know, putting together interview questions. But it's like you kind of build up. So you build up Tio the more deep and like you don't want to ask someone immediately. Well, what if you like? When your grandmother passed away? You work up to it.
I have. But I think the best knowledge of that comes from just talking to people, right? And that's You don't have to read from a book with the correct Or is that when you put those decisions together, What questions I wanna ask first. You should. It should be intuitive. And you should know or or go how the composition goes or whatever. But your intuition should guide that. Not a rule book. Basically, Yeah.
As a human. Right. What? You initially asked me and I said, You know, that answers a human or a filmmaker. Artists weather was like to be the best filmmaker. You, Khun B is to be the best human you, khun B. Although it does get limited when it comes to like you'll find yourself, you know, stifling laughter because you don't want to corrupt audio, right? Like here, if your subjects that something funny and your role in campus, you're a documentarian hoo hoo Like includes that stuff, or just as kind of messes with the form of like, Oh, gosh, just broke the fourth wall.
Everything Oh, yeah, there's so many times of documentary. There's actually a lot of really interesting discussions going on about how to subdivide it so that we're not just saying documentary ubiquitously for all non fiction filmmaking. So I think it's a great idea. Terms like cinema, Very tae aren't widely known by people who are going to see documentaries and theaters right Yeah, I'm never going to be that person because the whole idea for filmmaking for me, why I got into it.
I guess this kind of answering your former question really is I It's the motive. Storytelling in which I include myself, the least like you get to hear from the person directly in their own voice. I'm not paraphrasing. You hear their inflection, You hear their laughter. It's not in parentheses. You know, um, you get to see their face. You're going to see their life in moments when they're not even trying to describe it.
So you get to come to your own conclusions. It is the most direct way for me to transfer someone story to another person, right? And I try and keep myself out of it entirely because of that. Yeah, my perspective comes in every edit I make and every angle that I choose. Point camera. But hopefully that's it. The in the in the sort of our technique of making films or documentaries, documentaries or divisional related things.
All right, how does that fit? How does that all the work that has to be done, You know, like editing you as a human you seem It is like this big contrast, and I was wondering how you feel about this, uh, because you spent all this time talking people in Howdy. But you also spend a lot time editing in, like, sitting in front of a computer all day with final cut, our premier whatever out which is very, like, isolated work.
And you probably that probably takes the most time. I don't know for sure. Oh, but, um, does that balance something that you can't stand? It drives you nuts or that you like. Jives with you. I love post production, the editing side, because I finally feel control, whether it's not ah, ah, lot of times when it comes to my independent documentaries, the things I produce under the name Tiny Attic Productions that work I film direct right at it all the parts and like I was tiny earlier, you can never tell what's gonna happen in front of your camera, and you know, you try and be as patient as possible.
Toe let as many opportunities unfold to have a wealth of information that you can bring back to the editing bay. But really, there's I. I have no illusion of control in that part of the process. Just more is better. And so then, when I get to the editing bay, it's like I have this exact amount of material, audio and visual. How do I sort this so that it makes sense for someone else or make someone feel something more like because I got a little crazy when I'm just try and make it make sense?
It doesn't have to make sense. It just has to make someone feel something right. And that is the most fascinating part of the project. Actually, I would love to just be hired as an editor for other people's work. Really, I don't ever want to be hired as a director or a cinematographer unless it's for, like, a commercial marketing thing. But for someone's documentary, Yeah, I want to get my hands on with everything that you say that because you say you like being in control and and I don't really understand completely the process of filmmaking when you know it's not Chelsea Myers doing everything all right.
But when you have something for everything, it would seem to me that the editor would have the least amount of not control. They have a lot of control. They're making so money, more decisions than anything. But I don't have control over the final product r I assume, um, Well, it depends on the director. You work with a lot about the actual control that goes into it, but think about it like a controlled universe.
Your universe is like what you understand of your universe is just the footage that you have like that that is the material that Yeah, yeah, there might be other universes that exist in this multiverse that other people can perceive. But all you worry about is what you have and howto to sort it. So it's a beautiful saying, like human in the human experience with our own physical eyes is like is like, there's someone in our mind that is basically in the editing room trying to put everything together like you say, Exactly, obstacles are your opportunity when it comes to this kind of thing.
Like the more challenges that you have, the that the more creative you got to get more of a positive challenges because freedom of these all about solving problems No, it makes sense. The more problems you have them or the more, the more solutions you have to come up with in the act of finding solutions. Creativity. So But here's something I just thought of is that if if like the goal of an editor, uh, or are film producer in general is to take a bunch of footage and put together and make someone feel something.
On some basic level. Then if you're talking about our eyes in the editor and scatterbrain who's making sense of everything, what is the goal of that? What you estimated? I guess humans are category whole creatures, right? Like from day one. We put things in boxes like dangerous, friendly, healthy, unhealthy and editing is kind of in one way breaking those boxes and then rebuilding them, if that makes sense redefining them.
Yeah. And the projects that I choose to take on our things, situations and people that I think are misunderstood by a minority or a vast majority and I don't interest you most is making clear of this misunderstanding. Yeah, like I would never do something like queen of her side where it's pointing the eye at public figures. I don't want to document people that are already in the spotlight, and I want to give voice to the voiceless.
I want to just be okay. I want to be a tool. Take that. Like, I just want to be this instrument that people used in order to tell their story that don't get any other opportunity or platform. Right? So wanna be You wanna be a a cello? You want to be the cello string, So And you want people to bow you? No, no, no. It's the opposite. I got this's gonna get really dirty fast. Sorry. Do me thinking there. But, hey, I understand what you're saying.
So, yeah, In many ways, it's at the point of editing is to make something consumable. And I feel like when I go see a movie and it makes me want to walk out or it makes me want to slip the channel that the editor messed up because their job or the editor or director, their job is to make the story consumable. Yeah, also one of the parts of that is to portray their styles and artist for sure. And if you are just catering to a certain crowd after awhile, then that's fine.
But if it's something like in documentary, I'm sorry, Screw your style, like the important thing is a subject who really needs their story told, or at least in cases like mine. So if if I don't make the video watchable all the way to the end, then I messed up somehow in my understanding of my audience and the subject right in putting it all together. Yeah, but if you are working with someone else and they say the Chelsea or you having this sort of collaboration where you're the editor, for example, and there is a lot of back and forth and like Chelsea this isn't This doesn't work or I don't like this cut or I don't.
Whatever does that ever? No. Have you take those those criticisms or even and say you disagree with them. Even sometimes like no, that that's the way it should go because that that's the way it looks. But O, but I'm the one that's paying you. So you're into my way or somebody that when collaboration sort invites all sorts of opportunities. But when this happens to you, are you just type of person that gets out?
You know, I just I hate this. I can't stand this. I'm not going to do this. You know, not goingto collaborate with you anymore like this, Or do you say, Oh, no, I I'm totally open for the criticism, and I love it. There was certainly that frustration in the beginning, but then I realized very quickly I spent more time being argumentative with the person I was working with. Then it would take me to just do the edits that they recommended.
So I would do the edits that they asked me to do. And often they tell me to go back to my first draft. Really? They're like, Oh, yeah, you were right. It worked much better that other way. You kind of like a craft that way, like, All right, I'm going to do what he says, but make it look really shitty so that I can or you know, I'm not going toe Now, that's funny, but no, it's usually like when it comes to editing.
It's a very there's a motion involved for sure, because you form an emotional connection with the subject or subjects. But sometimes materials just not there. So, like, for instance, the way this happens most often the situation you're talking about is the director will be like, Oh, well, this scene should really have more of a punch. Put this song with it or this, like, score. And can you put in this footage?
And they're trying to force this emotional reaction that they just don't have the footage back up. It's like, I understand that you were there, and you got to know this person, and this might be an emotional thing, but I've looked at all the footage three times. You don't have the material tow, tow land this. I mean, it's like a gymnast with a sprained ankle who's like trying to do a triple vault summer flip thing.
Ana, you know, they just don't have the physical capability of doing what they want to in their head. I can't do that for them. So that's usually what happens when they come Stylistically. Yeah, sure. Sometimes the director, I'm working with this totally right. In a different style of choice. I just get caught up. Especially when it's something I shot. I have I actually do like this term from the journalism school drowned.
Your puppy is drowned. Your puppy is somebody's he Sometimes you have to drown. Your part of the explanation needed that s o You'll get attached to these gorgeous shots that they're just perfect in every way. Technically or like the light, the color, the tracking, everything is spot on, but it has nothing to the story. So at the end of the day, if if I added and shoot a project, I'm drowning a lot of my puppies.
So it's a particularly emotionally exhausting yeah. Free to do that. Both of a combination. Exactly. Which is why I love Teo. Just take someone else's footage and hack away at it. Write again, mass murder their properties all day. How did you come up with the name Tiny addict? I mean, I can Yes, that you first. I mean, is it as obvious as it sounds? Guess what? This guess. I mean, we said anagram for when you spell it backwards, it's reads something else.
I would be Sit, sit. He and Mitt City in it. It's a city in a is from, yeah, Chinese proverb. Good guess. No. It comes down. Teo. Ah, Probably accidental hallucination I had. I was living on Stewart Avenue. It was my senior year in college and my house had no central air. It had a very tiny attic that had this magical rainbow staircase that went up like each stair was a different color. Carpeting, like owners from various times decided tow put one.
This is rear of carbon. Okay, this Israel. And so I would go up to my my little tiny attic. The ceiling was no more than five feet tall, its highest point. And I would sit on a mattress up there and use it as a poor man. Sana. Basically, because it was so hot, it was like one hundred six degrees. But I'm pretty sure there's a specious or some kind of chemical coming out of the walls because I definitely was love there for like, an hour one day.
And I somehow got to the crazy idea that I should start my own business trying to make creative multimedia storytelling. And this I named my business after that tiny attic. Lia's best. This is a Yeah. When I was your man solution, Injun apartment. That's you. We'll guide your decision making, Allen Ginsberg says. First thought, Best thought. Other people say point decisions are always useful or fast decisions.
Um, what's your take? Kind of what I referred to earlier. You should always be thinking about what the end product might be, what the end story is, but you have to constantly be ready to just slash and burn that and rebuild it over and over again. So often times I'll have one good idea that I really think it's a great story and I'll pursue it. But by like Day three or Week three, it's a completely different story than what I imagined originally.
Um, usually the thing that motivates me is the person I'm intensely during by humans. I don't think I would take on the subject of environmental conservation or, you know, guys like I wouldn't take on an issue without a human right behind it. I would love to do more issue pieces, and I think issues are emerging from the work uptown, like and Tijuana. They're three characters in my short film, Khalifa's, but the issue was illegal immigration on and what it means to have no home.
So in your short film, a film that you already made? Yeah, that's not available on your video. And the Teamsters up. It's being submitted to festivals right now. So you have to finish this I in June, I finished it on DH the way that the festival's work like deadline's just opened up in the fall. And so you can't publish anything? Well, it's in the festival limbo, which I hate. Hate that so much. But yeah, that film is about three illegal immigrants to on the Tijuana side of the border and one on the San Diego side.
She's still living there illegally. And did you go with the same group of people are It was a tiny attic production, So I sought it out because I'm done volunteer work with this organization S O s children. And we went down there to do a little promotional video for, uh, this foster care village that they had. But we're there for two weeks. And while we were there, we got all of this in between footage like, I call this like my in between film.
It was a film that was never meant to happen. It's made from every single moment that we shot. Well, we're driving that. While we were out on the streets, all the interviews we got were accidental. We just met the people, and they were really excited to tell us their stories and get their voice heard. And, yeah, it was an accidental film. It was never supposed to be made. I would never go to Tijuana with the balls that I could make a film.
That illegal immigration. It just happened. But But you went there for what was the reason you were there, Is it? While you were helping for S. O s children? Yeah, so is doing them. You just happen to bring your camera along anyway, And film lost because that's just what you do. And you weren't intending on making a film necessarily. I mean, so you're saying that you film stuff at times with the intention of never making a film?
Uh, well, it's what I was saying earlier. It's like you film more than you think he could ever use. Because when you finally get into the editing bay, who knows what's going on, You know? You know, you probably, I think, is that true? False couple years ago, I didn't see it, but I did talk to the guys. Somehow I can't remember, but undefeated that they film like a re Dan Lindsay. Dan Lindsay. Thank you, uh, filming a ridiculous amount of footage, and I don't you know, in the made documentary out of it.
But I can't remember the proportion to, like, you know, the length of documentary versus the link with the film. But it was insane. Can they must have spent weeks just like watching all the footage they had. I don't know how that must be so time consuming, but the same time, it's probably enjoyable work. The work is not too taxing our fatiguing. Maybe I don't I don't really know. Any work can be if you're not enthusiastic about it, which is why I think it's so healthy that visions constantly change for projects for me.
If I get upset with the way something's going, I'll just totally change it. If it's an independent project, obviously not for client work, but yeah, like, Okay, So, in the example of undefeated for me, I just was filming in Kampala, Uganda, for two weeks, and I'm probably going to make a short film from it. Either that, or I'm going to have to go back again in orderto get enough material to make a good solid feature.
But I've got, you know, I was working ten hours a day for two weeks, every single day of the week. No, some of it's in slow motion, so that's actually double the speed if you convert it down. So it's half speed. So you don't film something in in sixty frames, and then you convert it slow down. It's the stylistic choice, something that would be totally unethical in journalism. School time. Remapping. Um Oh, yeah.
I mean, I'm going to end up making maybe a twenty minute film from eighty hours of of material. And this happens all the time. There's a A film that came out where Hannah Pollak filmed her subject. I'm feeling the name of the film right now, but she found a subject for ten years and she made a feature film. You know, that's funny, cause there there's like, feature films that are fiction or something that are shot over there, of course, of like ten or twenty.
I can't ruin movie it was, but it was a Hollywood thing. And they film the same people over ten years with the intention of Richard Linklater. What is that? The director? Yeah, boy. Good boy. That's it. That Richard Linklater's one of my favorite directors. Well, time. And he's actually someone who highly sculpted my theology when it comes to my work. Really? Yeah. Ah ha. A big shot Hollywood film. Yeah. Have you seen many of his films?
He did. I've seen boyhood, but I don't think I've seen the other ones. Or maybe I've seen it, but without the knowledge that was his. What are some of my favorite film of all time? That obliges, like more than anything else before sunrise, he did this. It's a trilogy before something, Eyes before Sunset and Before Midnight, and it's about Ethan Hawke and Julie deputy. And it's just a conversation between French girl, an American boy who mean happenstance.
Surely you know, that's not a word, but I use a little time on a train and they decide to explore being together and just talk the whole night through and kind of explore. This romance said, You know, may have happened in another reality, and it's so. What he does with his phones is he experiments with the subject over time, and he relies on a heavy improvisational system. So a lot of the conversations that unfold in those films are actually something that was improper between the actors who got into their character enough that they could just pursue a conversation topic in that character.
And that material was good enough to use in the film. So that's the thing. The part of the framework for how I choose to do my documentary work. I don't view it like I'm a fly on the wall. The camera modifies the reality that happens before it, no matter what a lot of documentary work realizes this and acknowledges that somehow breaking the fourth Wall. But the way I view it's more like a collaboration between subject and filmmaker.
Like a lot of times I'll tell them I'm like, This is kind of what I'm like, needy or like This is how I'm thinking about shooting this. I'm planning on tracking you like I'm mounting my camera on a glide cam because I'm going to follow you around, so feel free to move around, you know, like I give them little cues about my intentions, and sometimes they're going to be like, Oh, well, this thing's going on at my church.
I'm dancing in the chorus to you and I've come to that. It was like that scene would never be in my film. Except for that. The subject recommended it to me. You know, Do you do all that to his much pushes footage as possible in order to keep the fourth law down and that the subject can act how they would normally, which is not acting. I mean, everything is acting. But is it so that the subject feels comfortable in front of camera?
Is that part of your goal? Ah, it's just filming as much as possible so that the subject can give the performance that that they most honest performance that they could have. I think it's Ah Mei. Humble acceptance of knowing that I'll never be able Teo, get the film I want. So if I make it a collaboration, even if it is a Chelsea Myers production where I'm doing all the work, like in Kampala, I don't feel like it's my film like, in a way it's a way for me to just five mistakes because it's like I couldn't control everything they're involved in a lot of this.
Yeah, I don't know. It's a most comfortable way for me to think about documentary film without it bursting my name framework like it's the way I'm not going to become bitter with my job. If I think about it as this dance between me and my subject, where that's healthy, it's a given take. Yeah, I would like to keep this job until I die and you don't plan on retiring, meaning you always wanna be creating and but also, um I don't know what I was trying to ask for that.
But you're comfortable with the idea that you're I'm going to be working up until you die because you want to give you work or you have your work and personal life mixed up is possible. And is this, uh, is this how long have you been doing tiny attic and just making documentarian films? Or what? Like when's the last time you had a Shakespeare's type of job, for example, and you may consider maybe, like working at the university or something like that.
More along that side of scale. But, you know, expect Shakespeare's is off the deep end on that scale. So but how long have you been either, you know, making films or involved in the process of filmmaking or documentary filmmaking? Whatever. I think the distinction for me would be between the last time I had a job that had a schedule and the last and now where I have no schedule. So, yeah, that would been like I worked at Shakespeare IUs.
I worked in the advertising department at the engineering school at the University of Missouri. I would group that moron the Shakespeare's level, even though I was doing multimedia production for them and video editing. I was supposed to show up, you know, for certain shifts and do things Even if there was nothing to dio Where is with my job? Sometimes there's nothing to do for two weeks. But then sometimes I worked through the night for a month straight, Right.
So you get a gauge what you put in based on what you have to dio Which eye? If I was in anything other, I would go insane in right. You go insane. If you had a schedule, I would go insane if I had to show up for a certain amount of hours without necessarily having things to do during those hours. Like I read this really amazing quote. I believe his freedmen, Dyson, who's a quantum physicist. And he was like, the great thing about creatives is that they can funnel their energy like a laser beam, which means that once they get an idea and they're hooked onto it, they can just power through.
And they can push until that idea comes to some stage of completion, even if it means a week without sleep or arrest or food or whatever. But that also means because we funnel our energy so so thoroughly that we need a period to recharge. So we might take a few weeks off afterwards because their batteries air super worn down. And how do you? How does Chelsea Myers recharge? I really like illustrating. So if I'm not filmmaking, I am usually drawing or, you know, out enjoying live music.
I love live music, but, yeah, creating something. But that's the cool thing about what I do. It's like if I get sick of filmmaking, that I'll draw and if I get sued, drying that I'll I'll take those trying scandal man and animate them. And if I get sick of that, then I'll experiment with audio design, something that I'm not good at. But I would like to be, and I'll teach myself something, you know, So there's always something that you can shift into and you're getting irritated, right?
And it's it's they're all kind of shooting toward the same general direction, which is kind of advancing skills that are related to documentary filmmaking. It's being a historian to like, I don't draw from my imagination. I draw from real life. I draw people that I see are animals, that I see your scenes whatever so and drawing and you said scanning them. So I'm assuming you mean physical media, pen and paper, or maybe use charcoal or something.
I don't know. Yeah, for all of that you were just working on something, and now you're gonna pull it out. Oh, you have a book? Oh, my. So that I just started that one on this trip. I didn't have too much time to draw, but I always, always, always carry a journal with me. And, yeah, if I'm not filmmaking, when I'm traveling, especially I'm drawing something. I'm during little patterns or people are whatever, because, yeah, there's something about amazing shit.
Thanks. Oh, that's compel a an official. Wow. Things that screen so well. I got a ton of driving footage will compel you're never going to see a shot like that. Art's Actually, art is my therapy to balance out. Every time I kicked myself in the butt for not getting a shot, it's like, Oh, that, like, there's a lady in here. She's wearing like a three times more absorb, absorb, absorb. I saw that one tampon apron and she walked by and I didn't know that's what I thought was for like, a paper towel.
No, it always it's it's tampons. So she's wearing this apron that has this advertisement on it. Who knows if she's aware of it or not? But a lot of Western culture is just appreciate it over there, regardless of its meaning. You know, there's people were football Jersey is was like, obviously, like, you're not a fan of New York state. I don't know. Maybe you are. But so all these moments pass me by that I don't catch on camera.
And I think the only way it can go to sleep at the end of the day is like I caught that at my brain. You're specifically saying that this woman was someone that you saw. They wish you got either a picture or some footage of, but you didn't. So you drew her from your memory? Correct. From memory. Well, it's amazing who's carrying asparagus. And the hand placement, on the other hand, is interesting. It all happened.
That's so good. You're such a good artist. Holy crap. And you've been drawing as long as you've been since eight. Or for Yeah, I've been joins. Unser been walking? How do you remember that? And physical proof. My mom kept all my old stuff. Uh, interesting. So, no, you mean timing? I thought you're going to be like my mom kept all my drawings applies in the cabinet. And the only way I could get there was by walking there.
It was something like that, actually. Apparently, I learned how to run before I learned how to walk. So I probably sprint it there to get my Gran's in before turning over. We're your parents. Very encouraging of of all the things that you didn't like. What do you How do you feel about your parents? My parents are the reason why I have the work ethic. Ideo work. We're nothing alike in any other way suffer. My dad likes to travel, but other than that, the only thing that I inherited from them is is my work ethic.
And is that something that you like? You're very happy about. Or do you? Are you saying that because you're like, I'm really wish there was more? Actually, I'm I'm so thrilled with it. I mean, I'd rather have learned a good work ethic from my parents than learn and artistic technique. My mom's actually, she's pretty creatively shows got really craftsy on Hayley, my sister and I birthday party is themes. Decorations, cakes, whatever some.
But yet I work ethic isn't something that you could pick up now, you know, I'm twenty five. It's like, I'm really glad I had that injected in me any hung age. That's like learning a second language, he learnt in Young. And it doesn't seem like that much effort now. But I never got that second language. So I am having the hardest time in the world, learning other languages, and it's a big struggle. And I think that would be how I'd feel about working long hours.
You mean you can't? Uh uh. I've got questions, but you can't use your work ethic to wanna like evidently. Or it doesn't translate the same because work that takes now as a twenty five year old keys very enormous it's like a It's a characteristic. It's not a skill set like I I would like to think of that as a characteristic of me, like when people describe me to other people. Usually that's how I get all the jobs I get because they're like she'll buster but getyou that video that's supposed to take fifty hours and three days, you know?
So, yeah, I think it's It's something that was programmed into who I am. And how did your parents to that, like, just by living life, for example? Or were there other like the big man, that you do these sort of activities or or get a's in school or that's everything. It was definitely the former I never actually looking back. Maybe at the time I felt like they put a lot of pressure on me. But looking back on everything like they really just let me become the person I was supposed to become.
And I just became this person because they would volunteer every every hour of their waking day for something or another if they weren't working like my mom was a stay at home mom. But she was the head of my sister's Girl Scout troop, and she was in the p. T. A. And she was a band mom on driving kids around all the time and my dad when he wasn't working his super grueling job, he would build a pavilion for an outdoor classroom at my school.
So it was just, like, seen themselves. We're seeing them throw themselves into every project like they were getting paid to do it, never complaining, that's that's what I took away from them, Raising me. Just you see something that needs to be fixed, fix it. Or if you see a hole that needs to be filled. You know, they're very proactive, takes the initiative and does a good job and works hard. Exactly. And they just live that throughout their life.
Still, presumably. And that is that something that, like, Oh, that's the best way to parent. Like, does that strike you as, uh, I mean, I don't know. That sounds so ideal. That's what an ideal set of parents you have. That's our say. I think they're pretty ideal. Yeah, that's all you can ask for as a child, or maybe out of here. Parents are the expectation of being a child, parents and their children or something is that they just convey these very basic but strong and important moral codes.
Kind of. That's what I base it on, and it feels very moral to me. Like it feels amoral with my construct to see something that's wrong and not do anything about it. Which is where, where their work ethic comes from, where you raised a particular religion. Oh, man, that's so cool. Actually, I love what my parents did. What they did here is ideal. I think we were not raised. My sister and I were not raised in a church.
They both came from very religious families, and I think my grand parents were kind of confused enough put, but that at first one, my grandparents still is. But, yeah, we we grew up without any religion, any symbology, anything like that in our home or in our way of life. Instead, the first time I had a like, I was obviously reading about things in books and that school in history. But the first time I had a really conflict with religion was when I had a friend who is Christian come up to me at lunch and she condemned our entire table one day like it.
She just did a total personality flip on us and like she was our friend. And she I guess I heard something from her parents that she didn't quite understand and basically told us we're all going to hell because of what our parents believed her didn't believe. And when that happened, I went home and I held it back all day. But I started crying is like, not that it like I'm going to this fiery place of brimstone and destruction.
But like that, someone would turn against me for something that I didn't understand, and my parents bought this like, giant, abbreviated illustrated book of the world's religions there, like here do a little reading is purpose. Yeah, because this happened. What, after this happened? Yeah, they bought this book in there. Like here, Rina Fun. You know, the framework of these different religions know that they're different people that believe in many different things.
And so adamantly sometimes that it causes strife and war even but that you never have to choose any one of these like reader. If if you like one. Yeah, sure. You can pursue it or you don't never have Tio. And And I guess it wasn't until I was seventeen that I had the state of mind actually asked my dad what he believed. But at the end of the day, he was like, you know, I don't have religion. I If anything, I'm going to identify as a humanist.
And that is that you should follow the golden rule with no sense of reward. You should just do good onto other people with that. Expecting to goto have it or whatever, So Yeah, that's what I guess I would consider myself a swell. Yeah. Nihilist. Humanist. Have you ever heard secular humanist? Yes. He was kind of redundant, but maybe it's not, I don't know. Or maybe I mean one can be a Christian humanist or something.
Maybe I don't even know. Maybe it's just you veer more on the side of of being understanding I. The thing that really bothers me is just when religious expression turns into religious oppression, believe whatever you want. But as soon as you're telling someone else what to believe, that's where you're crossing a line. So maybe it's more. It's like, Come, it's an understanding that you are and a belief structure in your head that is Christian, but you're gonna behave.
Hourly is a humanist, right? But when someone you know comes up to you and says that you're going to hell, they're not. It's not oppression in the sense that they're telling what to believe, because you don't have to believe it in a way. But it's psychological torture unless but I liked what you said sake. Can you say that again? Um, when it becomes oppression in the words they said right before that you have a pizza canceling filter on this?
Yeah, okay. One religious expression turns into religious oppression. That's where across this line, I think you can express yourself in what you believe. And if people are accepting of that great. You found a new niche if if it's not accepted by the other people and they have opposing believes than that's fine to talk about something else. Talked about your family. Everyone has family. Somehow, some shape or form, whether it's born or made.
That's what. That's what you talk about when you have nothing else in common or something like that. Yeah, that happened to me on a layover. Actually, there's this very giant German woman, and I and we were drinking pints together, and I think it was Indianapolis or something. Has our plane got deterred from Chicago talking to her? Because Because Chelsea Myers outgoing person and you're like, I'm not going to stay here and just wait for my plane.
I'm gonna go to the bar way Both our travel plans got totally screwed because we're supposed to land in Chicago and right when we're about to land in O'Hare. We got diverted because of severe storms than were circle in Chicago forever. And then finally, we're going to run out of fuel. So we got to go to Indianapolis. It was crazy day, but we we were in this situation together. You're suffering together, drinking together.
And we started probably twenty different conversation topics. Sounds like, Oh, my God, I can't I can't talk to you. She worked for Monsanto first. That's all I need to say it, really. But yeah. Then you know, we realized that we had totally different perspectives on everything. So we start talking about family and it was a mutual thing. Or is that you? Kind of like, All right, avoid that. Avoid that. Or is it like she was also acknowledging that there?
Oh, yeah, she got it. Tio way, We're both very aware that we were talking to someone we would never speak to you for such a prolonged period in a normal circumstance. Now, every time someone starts comes up to me and and quickly divert. So, like talking about my family or their family, I'm gonna be like, highly insulting things. This person hates me. You were talking about work ethic and before we endeavor to that conversation.
But with hours of the day, do you work best or most? And I know you're You are flexible. Sounds like you work at night a lot. But, um, do you like it up? It's six. A. M Or Or do you have some preference? It completely changes based on my job at the time. So sometimes my clients in South Korea and I'm working, you know? Through the night because I have to get them something by eight a m. Like their time or what it is.
I have no regularity. I think my creative mind works best at night. If I really want to make progress on a film that I'm stuck on, I start working around eleven o'Clock at night and work until, like, three to six in the morning. In. Depending on how long of it run, I get out of it. But it's the time when no one interrupts you. You could just get some stuff done. Yeah, like, dwell with him yourself. Not yet not be distracted.
So I like the middle of the night. Best butt assed lungs. I have coffee. Right? So I was That was my next question like, Is that says something you find naturally. Or do you have substances? Two crutch cropping up on a crutch. Coffee and alcohol are an editor's greatest friends. Um, coffee for when your brain just won't start and alcohol for when your brain is going to best. Actually, I worked with a guy. He was an editor on a project and in his contract that he had it written in that he got a six pack of Heineken today like he was led to go through a six pack during the course of his his editing job.
He's British, so I think there's greater allowance there, but there's something along with the choice of finding. Yeah, yeah, there's definitely something that copy. I don't have to explain, but I think drinking a beer or a glass of whiskey at the end of the night when I'm working, especially on the more creative side of the A story assembly it It helps with patients a really important thing and also shows me like I take greater risks because I'm like, Oh, wouldn't it be funny to try this or like, what if I did this crazy thing?
And then often I'll look at it the next day, even if I had, like, a couple beers or something. Sorry for I look at it the next day. I'm like, Wow, I made the right choice there because it's taking a bigger risk. And just like in social settings like urine ambitions are lowered with alcohol, right? Yeah, And so alcohol has definitely been a powerful tool in helping to realize the course that a story is going Teo to take and how it fits together.
So in addition to taking more risks which are slight of things, both those things I'll just all around a good elixir. What? What? What's your What do you drink specifically? I really like whiskey, and I like to drink it straight because then I know exactly how much time consuming like any of those fruity tooty girly drinks I wanted taste what I'm drinking and know how much time consuming and not be misled by large, so much work I have to do.
That's three shots. All right? Exactly. Although sipping on a fine bourbon, as is preferred, you know, taking shots, sipping, sipping. Yes, that sounds more delicate. All right, more professional. Yeah, no, it's actually, it's funny. Beer has come in handy when I film Teo like I feel music festivals a lot. And I had a lady insult me one. She's like You're working and you're drinking a beer. It's like, actually, no joke, Mike.
My glide cam shots like where I'm doing a study tracking shot, improved immensely If I've had a beer because I'm just like I'm way more cautious or something, I don't know what it is but that you never judge someone you don't know? No, I totally would not judge in that circumstance. But maybe it's a conversation Starter, too, are in an opportunity to change that person's entire perspective on the sort of alcohol in the work environment doesn't go for your mean.
There are only a few fashions. I guess we could get away with it or demand it and get away with it. But, uh, that's interesting that you say that I'm I've hooked on this like a decision. It allows you to take greater risks because I went to this, uh, something on writing music one time and it was like film or something, but and West Coast. But one, the guys that was speaking there, he said, Um, something very unexpected, which was have a stack of cards that that you have a bunch of things written on it, like take that down in October or whatever, a bunch of musical things and change keys or just events.
And he said, And just like every twenty minutes, take one card or your at and just do it, you know, just like are you know, I got change the melody line to the to the tube or whatever it's like. Shake. I do this and in your professional work because, um, you get used to that risk taking and and just make you do something wouldn't ordinarily do in your normal judgment fight. But basically so inside card flipping is You drink alcohol or whatever No.
Two Give me that. It's an interesting thing because people always and I don't understand it fully myself, by the way. But you know, I, Jane, with a lot of people, play music with people, and there are a lot of people, really, I I can't I can't write a song. I can't I have to be high on something like that. It's so cliche in a way, at this point, or least from me talking to people. But um, and in some things kill productivity to And it's like, maybe I don't know where all these songs that you're writing, I don't know, I'm trying to say, but but people, they put in a different state of mind that allows you to make decisions differently and creative.
It's all based on decision making, so you can the effect, the more creative bye. More productive. Strange. I mean, whatever balance you have obviously what? Yeah, there's definitely a certain point where any creation is not a good tool, but yeah, with everything there's balancing the same if you have too much coffee. I've definitely made that mistake before. Where I have, like, two entire French presses of copy.
What? I'm working on a crazy deadline, and I'm so shaky that I can't even press the keys, correct. But I I think this is really funny and I'm going to sound like a crazy lady, but I have a cat and he's actually like, really great in helping motivate me. He's kind of like a substance of sorts, because till they on my lap and he's like a free seat belt like, I'm just like I look down and I'm like, Oh, he's so cute I can't get up and do this thing that I'm distracted by right now.
So I've noticed My work ethic has improved a lot since I got it, guys. Also because I was living working at home and write not having another human around for all elements of your life. You mean home? Meaning you're the place you would? Yeah, I have a home office. All right, that's it. That's it. Could be. It's distracting to do your work at home sometimes if you're not, if you don't have a technique for overcoming, is that we're saying it's bad for your mental health if you live and work at home and you never see anyone like I get you.
So the cat, the cat's like anti loneliness. Well, it's anti loneliness and also It's not like I can talk to my cat, but he doesn't talk back, so he doesn't distract me. You know, right? I recommend that every filmmaker get a cat. Why can you just talk to yourself? Because then it feels a little mental. Okay, it feels a little crazy. It was healthy. It's saying it. It's more seem to talk to a cat. I don't know.
I've talked to a lot of my film maker friends from London about this, and they all have cats, and we're in agreement. There's should be like a They still make her cat coalition. Helping Filmmaker is everywhere. Hook up with a good, trustworthy cat is the story that hasn't been told now. That was one of the questions that one of my last question and we should jump to these last questions because I gotta go.
But one two. But it was It was like, What's the story that what's today's most un reported story? No. Besides the film Cat Collision my immediate response to this is a female rights. But that's of course coming from a place of total bias, especially from this last trip of seeing how good I had it, I think is more the thing. It's like a Yeah, white privilege thing. We're so fortunate in this country. We talked about inequality all the time.
When it comes to paychecks, Yeah, that's a thing. But it's so much worse in other parts of the world I was talking to when I was in Kenya. I ended up going over to Kenya for a couple weeks after filming and Uganda and I was talking to a very well educated Masai warrior. He, like the Masai, are nomadic people of Kenya, and there's actually quite a lot of them. Their population doubled in twenty years because they all have two wives and a bunch of kids.
But I'm talking about highly intellectual subject matter for like, two hours. And I'm totally convinced this guy is brilliant. And then the subject of female genital mutilation comes up and and talking about how, Holly about just out of curiosity, I really usually he he brought it up. He made it go that way. Well, I was figuring out his back story, and he had learned English because a British filmmaker, I assume with the BBC or something, came to do a special on female genital mutilation as the traditional practice of the Masai people.
Um, so he's assisting this guy's a translator and learning English from him. And there, while this you know, white guy from England's inquisitive Lee, tearing apart an element of his culture and die, I you know, I ended up talking about it. Michael, what do you think about is like, Well, obviously, like obviously. Yeah, it was a bad thing to do because of the health risks. I'm like we wait. Okay. Yeah. The spread of disease was pretty predominant in the way that they did not approach, You know, sanitary techniques and, um, quickly and and that's the thing.
But don't you see any issue with, like the fact that you're removing thie sexual organ of a female that allows her to feel pleasure during sex. And he saw nothing wrong with that. And just like I'm like what? What is she talking about? Exactly? Which means female simulation. And so it's a clip. Iraq to me. Yeah, yeah, is what has been a traditional, not common practice tradition. I mean, it is the tradition to the point where I was talking to him.
He's like, If a woman hasn't undergone that, then she doesn't get to dress like a woman. She still has to wear the clothes of a girl and the haircut of a girl, and you address her like a child like the Messiah. Instead of shaking children's hands, they don't hug like they shake people's hands to greet them. But with kids. Ah, anyone who hasn't reached adulthood by the Society of Standard, they touch them on the head.
So they will. Even if the woman's thirty five and she hasn't had the clear ectomy, then they'll touch her on the head and treat her like a child. It's it's insane. His thing was like, Oh yeah, it was just a terrible. I can't believe we did all that because because you were healthy, We're destroying. Uh, they're emulating female bodies. Was just was unsanitary. Yeah, it was totally his issue was like there was elements of logic involved, But they're just whole parts that we're missing because that was never a part of that culture to respect women right like that, Right?
And that spreads so so many things besides, sexual freedom shouldn't even be called sexual freedom. Just natural being natural state of being, right? Yeah, exactly the way you're born, for God's sakes. But yet, with education, with job opportunities, it's so much worse over there. So I guess I still think that, Ah, female inequality and They're horrible things done to women over there that that's the most under reported story.
And I think hopefully the film that I'm doing might help to shed a little bit more of a light on that. Like one of the girls, Vivian, she is seventeen, and she was extremely physically abused by her mother. And so she ran away from home and ended up living on the streets of Kampala because someone who promised her job ended up screen her over and leaving. Heard alone and she was fourteen and she I was raped several times, living on the streets.
No one would stop it. People would be around like There's no way that you could be on the streets of Kampala and someone else isn't there. There are always people there. So she was raped and known prevented it, and eventually she ended a turning to prostitution in order to just have another pair of clothes on her back. She was like I had one bear close. I just like I don't have anything else that could possibly d'oh and okay, there's a chain over there and compel O.
There's a chain called Big Brothers Sisters in and it's a chain restaurant, like a chain sports bar. But it's a brothel. It's like a fucking Applebee's. Yeah, it's like a fucking Applebee's with With With prostitution Wow. And the horror is that seven at seventeen, she's probably one of the older ones that has been subjected to this, you know, and maybe it was much younger, but I've been reading a story about, like, sex trafficking in The girl is like ten or something.
It's it's ridiculous and and no. It's it's unbelievable. And I think one of most one of your videos. You, uh it was about someone who had a spouse that alcoholism and and and there was a moment where, you know, she likes stood up to her husband or something like that and to control her life. But but before that time, you know, see, probably wasn't empowered at all. And that's maybe the biggest tragedy of it all.
Is that is that maybe these these women are empowered, and that's the beautiful thing about these organizations. Or I can't move from your specific documentary what the organization was, but but that they empower these what did not only bring awareness to the people in the United States or other countries of all the stuff that's having but empowers the women themselves, too, sort of like take control and not be do what they can, too.
Two, I know that this is not This is not this doesn't happen. This doesn't This is in normal or this isn't this's right. It's not the way it has to be about the way has to be. Yeah, yeah. Reyna, son. Nicholas, this tiny little town in the mountains of Southern Chapas in Mexico. And, yeah, her whole village. Every single woman pretty much was being domestically abused by their husbands, who were alcoholics.
And it took an outside organization with individuals from other Mexican cities and also internationally, a set of nuts as those children was organization, which is originally from Austria. But it's internationalists in, like, one hundred forty seven countries now. But, yeah, so people from this organization came in and educated the women and just we're like, Yeah, you realize that your husband's just a drain on your bank account is using all your money on alcohol anyways, like just get rid of them, right?
You can take care of your kids already doing that. You're taking your infant children out into the field and you know they're getting bitten by ants. But, like, that's what you have to do because your husband is not going to take care of them and your pain for all the bills. Yeah, just get him out of the picture. So all of these women take their husband's out and formed a community center. And in the community centre, they could have, like one or two women stay and take care of the kids.
Well, they went and worked, and it was much that system float that worked. I was getting people out of this poverty gap. Like starting make them like Raina was like, I used to have nothing hanging on my walls like I walked in and she had, like, a a peso bill, like hanging on the wall. Like she was like, Yeah, like now. Now it can hang saying in money honors money. My first dollars. That wasn't anyway, yeah.
It's crazy that all it takes is someone, like, even with Uganda, All it took was like me to go into this this girl's home and point a camera at them for them to feel empowered. Like I had multiple girls. I didn't do any of my interviews, by the way, until the last day I was there. So is there for two weeks. Even slept in one other their beds and had a slumber party with my interview. You mean like a formal interview?
Yeah. Put a camera. You have questions? Yeah. You're talking to him all the time. And that's interviewing in the way. Kind of, but never on camera. Never. Okay. So, like, the first time I I actually revealed their story was the very last day I was there and ask some like, these questions. And a lot of these girls were super happy, positive people. The three characters that emerged from all the girls that I followed more than anyone else.
I didn't know the backstory at all. And I finally sat down with them and figured out Vivian had that background with prostitution. Another girl. Her mom has HIV and she's dying and thie other girl was abandoned by every single one of her relatives. She was just bumped around. Her parents were both killed and she's kicked out of every single one of her relatives houses eventually and just felt nothing but rejection her whole life.
But they're like some of the happiest people I have ever met, and I don't know that until the last day. And like, I don't know, for them they were just like movie stars for like, the two weeks those they're like. Like whenever I pointed the camera like they told me, they got, like, some feeling of South self worth from that mercy. I was one of the girls, and she's an amazing poet. And she told me, kind of like we're doing storytelling time with all the girls on Guy looked at mercy who I knew was by far, she's like one of the smartest people I've ever met.
Ah, it's like mercy. What? What have you got to share? Just like, Oh, well, I write. I don't really like to share it with anyone. And by like, the third day, I was there She was like, I'm ready to share a home with you and she read it, and we're just sitting in her room, and I didn't have any recording devices on. I was like, Oh, my God. Mercy. Yeah, yeah, English is It's supposed to be the first language of you, Donna, But it's the second they speak Lugano and still but ever and speaks English.
Pretty much, um, but yes, she she read it once to me, and I was just like, wow, that's one of the most incredible poems I've ever read. Like flat out. Can you read it again? I would love to actually get that on camera. And like this girl who originally was not confident enough to share anything, you could see her just start to go. She was like, Oh, really? You think it's good? Like Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'll share it again.
And I had to actually read it like, three more times to me. And by the time that she was done reading it all the way through multiple times, like you could just see like she was just like, I don't know Yeah, she she I told her she she has to pursue publishing her work and I could tell that she was really considering it by the end. But yeah, I think all it takes is like women empowering women, and that happens a lot through filmmaking and through travel and through education.
And and, yeah, uh, it's kinda like, as your parents are supposed to and still that sort of confidence empowering empowerment on you as a child. You a woman with the camera as it were, huh? With that tool you you're like and giving them that a little bit of parenting, or in that the culture didn't provide them with the parents and flooding with or some like that. I think it's just it's giving them the spotlight for a second, like telling them out of all the things in the world that this Missouri girl could.
We film and I want to film you right. It was the thing that really like even Vivian. When she was telling me her story, she, like Finish your story and I guess or anything else you would like to say before you stopped the recording, and she was like, Oh, well, I thought you were too busy, so I just kind of put it in a nutshell. But there's a lot more to my story, and I was like, Okay, no, let's tell me everything like Let's do this.
Like I don't want you to feel like you have to condense anything right now. Emily. Her realizing that she was the focus of that day and that day was about her like that look that that they get on their face when they realized that their stories were sharing. That's why I do what I do. That's awesome. Thank you so much, Chelsea for going to all the detail your today on. Thanks for your time. Thank you for the pizza.
Yeah, no problem. Take take that home, please. Um, might have to take some of it home in my belly.