Thanks so much for having me on this forum Stephen! The foundation has been so supportive of Finding Joe from the very beginning. I’m going to answer all of your questions in a very brief origin story. If anyone wants more details feel free to ask 😉
The origin story of Finding Joe actually started when I was a teenager. I was introduced to Campbell’s work by a teacher in high school and shortly thereafter the Bill Moyers interviews were first aired on PBS. When I heard the phrases “Follow your Bliss” and “Heroes Journey” I was hooked. I bought every book authored by Joe and devoured them. My decision to become a film maker was a direct result of my study of Joseph Campbell’s work. My bliss was film-making, so I followed it!
I was also into a lot of sports at that time, skateboarding and snowboarding and motocross etc. So naturally those were the subjects I filmed. As my career shooting commercials blossomed, I harbored this secret desire to make a film about Campbell’s work though I had no clue what it would look like or how I would get it made. I held onto this desire for more than a decade.
Then, as in most good stories, a crisis came along. An actual full blown, therapist approved mid-life crisis. Whatever you imagine a mid-life crisis to be multiply it by 10… horribly embarrassing. In the midst of this nightmare both of my parents passed away inside three weeks of each other. I’m not going to get into the details but the metaphor “lost in hell” sums up where I was pretty accurately.
Here I am in hell and over the course of about a month the desire to create a film about the work of Joseph Campbell bubbled to the surface and after about another month I became obsessed with the idea. In hindsight, I’ve no doubt that some part me knew that following this path would lead to salvation from the current hell I was experiencing. It’s important to note that my wife, who had just dealt with her husband’s mid-life crisis, was instrumental in the creation of the film. I think she saw the same value in its creation as I did.
So, I did what everyone told me not to do… I put my career on hold, I mortgaged my house to fund the film and set off on my forest adventure to create Finding Joe… what could possibly go wrong?
The creation of Finding Joe remains the pinnacle of my career. I still get emails and comments from people all over the world saying that the film changed their life in some way. My favorite still is a group of women who, after viewing the film, took turns breaking up with their boyfriends.
There was definitely some fall out from following my bliss. Financial fall out, which brings me to the film I am currently working on. It took almost three years to make Finding Joe and in that time I didn’t work. I lost my commercial accounts and my career took a pretty big blow. I think the lesson was that following ones bliss does not automatically equate to a paycheck but I wouldn’t change a thing.
As I toured the film around and did live Q & A’s there was always some joker who’d stand up and say “Hey, I’d really love to quit my job and become an artist but I need money. I need to pay rent and put my kids through college and put food on the table etc.” This comment was consistent and I always hated it but it was true. It got me thinking about money though. What is money? Why do we need it? At base money is just an idea, it’s symbolic thinking, it happens in your mind… and that’s freaking weird! So my current film “What is Money?” is an exploration of the psychology of money. It’s not about how markets or banking works rather it’s about our relationship with money. The goal is to explain to people WHY they behave the way they do with money and HOW to be better with this stuff!
So, that is past, present and future in a nut shell. I think I’ll wrap it up right here Stephen. Giant covid safe hugs to you all!!!