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I had an interesting meeting this past week where the topic of AI was brought up. The person I was meeting with brought up an interesting point:

The future will enable anyone to make a film. So the question won’t be “can I make a film?” But “why should I make a film?”
Of course, the reality of this hypothesis is still playing out. But, like the digital camera, new tools are coming on the horizon that will make the barrier to entry all that much easier. So the question we will need to ask ourselves then, is one we should be asking ourselves already:


This is a question every artist and filmmaker that burns out has forgotten to ask themselves. Creating anything takes a tremendous amount of effort. Just thinking about a concept uses time and energy. So before we even start thinking of embarking down this long, dark but oh,so fulfilling path. We need to have a reason to keep on venturing into the unknown.
Ultimately, it comes back to this internal question:
What do I want the world to know and learn from me?
One of the many events that changed my life was the death of my father. He succumbed to alcohol addiction when I was 29 which left our family in pieces. Before he died, he tasked me with being the executor of his estate. And one of the duties I was left with something we don’t think about when we pass on:
What to do with all the stuff.
One of the items I discovered was an old sketchbook from his college art class at Dartmouth. There were a lot of drawings of nature and some of people. He was in that middling stage of artistry – not good enough to present, but there was talent there. There was a final note from his teacher:
There’s something you’re trying to say. But it’s not quite there yet.
I still have the sketchbook. It sits on my desk and I pull it out from time to time. It reminds me of why I keep going. And some of that is attributed that I know my father would have been a much happier man. Had he tried to fully explore his artistic potential. So in a way, my career is a tribute to his legacy.
But that alone isn’t enough to build a career, and ultimately a lifestyle, upon. It’s mostly a reason not to stop. But there is a reason to keep going. And that’s to build connection. To let other people around the world know:
I explore race and identity. Because the world tries to divide us. The first way it’s done is by having us see the division in ourselves. And my efforts are a way of helping people see themselves as whole again.


The wrong lesson was taken away from the pandemic by the large gatekeepers of the industry. The lesson was:
We did more with less. Let’s cut what we can.
Crew sizes were shrunk, talent would self shoot, all to keep the content machine running. But what was forgotten is part of what enabled the explosion in streaming and digital media was the knowledge that it was a shared experience. We were glued to the people who either distracted us from reality. Or encouraged us that we could get through it.
And even with this shared experience. We still succumbed to feelings of anxiety and depression.
Because at the end of the day. Human beings are wired to be connected.


So while companies fight to make the barrier of entry so low that anyone can create their own film. They haven’t stopped to think – will they?
Think about your work week right now. At the end of a hard day of work (which is seeming to get even harder). Will you have the energy remaining to craft the story you want to see? And if so, you’ll still have to ask yourself the question:
What is it that I’m trying to experience?
Without trying to imagine the infinite number of future scenarios of how art will be created and monetized. Anyone with the ability to create will have to ask why they are doing it. And also, who will we share it with? As much as we hear artists say they are creating for themselves. We are also creating to share part of ourselves with other people.
So whatever the future holds. We will still have the need to create. We still need to learn, share and grow from each other’s experiences. If you are a filmmaker, this is your mission. It’s the broader why of what you do. The specifics are left up to you. But the mission remains the same.
Life can take from you as much as it gives. And we are in a moment in the creative space, where those with a large amount of power are trying to take it from those who have little. So it helps to imagine a world where the opportunities from before are gone. But the need to express ourselves still remains.
Many will give up. Many will stop trying. But there are those of us who will still keep going. Will still keep trying to have our voices heard. Because we spoke for more than ourselves. And it’s those people who will change the world for the better.