1- What's the best thing for a human being?
2- What is your favorite form of information?
3- Why do we collect/gather information?
4- Is this need or want to collect information learned or
5- What is your earliest memory?
6- Is memory a curse or a blessing? (Please note that we are
trying to get beyond either/or, and deeper into the meta-cognition of
it all. We know it involves the context and/or the specific situation,
but what is this question really about?)
7- Who were your earliest role-models within your immediate
family, and how did they specifically influence/affect you, briefly?
8- Who were/are your role models outside your immediate family and
how specifically did/do they affect you, briefly?
Earliest, and/or later in life.
9- Were you raised a particular religion? If so, are you still
10- Do evil people exist or does evil use people as a vehicle?
11- How do you deal with enemies? Consider - Alan Watts: "If you
acknowledge your enemy, you empower them." Coppola stole from the
Mob and Samurais: "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer."
Frenemies. JFK: "Forgive your enemy but don't forget their name."
Fellini: "I need an enemy." Chinese proverb: "He who cannot agree with
their enemy is controlled by them." Levi-Strauss: "Cannibals boil
friends, and roast enemies." Also, please comment on the first
12- James Joyce was the first projectionist in Dublin over 100
years ago. He checked out and asked, "Why should I go inside a
building and see a movie of a tree when I can go outside and see a
real tree?" Years later William Faulkner said that the best fiction can
be more true than journalism. Why do we have to recreate/reproduce
things in order to get them? Why do we go to a theatrical play of
people acting out life? Why don't we just live life?
13- Lewis Hines published photos of child labor in newspapers,
printed matter. Upton Sinclair wrote the book The Jungle. They
both have been credited as the tipping-point to change laws. Can you
tell me of any music, theater, art, or film that actually was the
tipping point to change laws?
14- A screenwriting teacher told me a great film is when you can
clearly see the intention of the maker. Stanley Kubrick says the
opposite: great art is when you can not see the intention of the maker.
What role does intention play in your creative process?
15- What first attracted you to pursue filmmaking?
(and/or writing, activism, painting, etc)
16- If clothing is an extension of skin, and knife &
fork are extensions of teeth, what human sensorium does the
moving image camera extend? (or the pen, paint brush, musical
17- McLuhan said there is no such thing as a good or bad movie,
it's a good or bad viewing experience. Any comment.
18- Peter Greenaway said that cinema is much too rich a medium to
be left to storytellers. Are experimental filmmakers telling stories a
different way or doing something completely different? Is Tony Conrad's
The Flicker storytelling?
19- If you and I were starting the Ann Arbor Film Festival with
George Manupelli many years ago, would you want to be more inclusive or
exclusive? Keep in mind that it's featured a fraction of animation
and documentaries, but mainly is experimental films. Chick Strand was
starting Canyon Cinema around the same time in the SF area. She told me
they were trying to recreate their 11 cent movie-going experience by
showing a feature along with a newsreel, a cartoon and then added an
experimental film. Stan Brakhage told them to just show
experimental because those other genres have venues. And what are the
possible motives and consequences of being more exclusive or more
inclusive (which means showing all genres: animations, documentaries,
experimental and mainstream movies too)?
20- What are the services and disservices of the ghettoization of
experimental film? When Jackson Pollock was on the cover of Life
Magazine in 1949, regular folks could start developing an
aesthetic on experimental painting. There was no Bruce Conner or Maya
Deren Life Magazine covers. Generally it's the
privileged (alot of rich art kids) who develop an avant garde aesthetic
and dominate the experimental film world. Any comments.
21- When I asked Michael Apted years ago why rock video makers
feel so obliged to edit fast, he told me "because we have learned to
take in information faster." Martin Scorsese also said that he edited
his films faster because of MTV. Can we indeed learn to take in info
22- "Film as an art form has been swindled by capitalism." Any
23- Jean-Luc Godard told Michael Moore his film Fahrenheit
9/11 was going to help Bush get elected. With the slew of
political documentaries over recent years, do they more activate or
24- Marcel Duchamp said there is no art without an audience. What
role does the audience play in your creative process (during the
25- What was the motive of the cave artists?
26- What is more important - conviction or compromise?
27- Is ambition based more on fear or joy?
28- Is loyalty based on reason?
29- T.S. Eliot said that poetry is outing your inner dialogue.
What language is your inner dialogue in? What form is your inner
30- George Manupelli says "Ignore yourself." Jonas Mekas says
there is no self-expression. Cecil Taylor says he is a vehicle and it
comes through him. Is art making more self-expression or more vehicles
for whatever dominant technology or culture is currently present? Can
art be egoless?
31- Is perception reality?
32- McLuhan probed Finnegans Wake by James Joyce:
artists dream awake. We all have creative powers we use to
dream while sleeping, but artists also use them while awake. Dream
awake. Have dreams played a role in your creative process? How?
33- McLuhan reworded Browning's "Our reach should exceed our grasp
or what is heaven for?" to "Our reach should exceed our grasp or what
is a metaphor?" How and why do you use metaphor in your art?
34- Why is it so difficult for humans to consider the possibility
that life may be pointless?
35- Lewis Carroll said "I believe in as many as six
impossible things before breakfast." Have you believed in any
impossible things lately?
36- What elements of your art have changed and what have remained
the same since you started creating art?
37- Moshe Feldenkrais said that it is literally possible to
identify a weakness and incorporate it to become a strength. We are
normally taught to overcome a weakness. Please tell me a weakness that
you have turned into a strength.
38- The American Indians and Eastern culture respect their elders.
Can you explain Western culture's disdain for old age?
39- Why would Joseph Beuys say "Make the secrets productive." Can
you tell me a secret?
40- Can anger be a productive emotion?
41- Can satire be destructive? Swift compared satire to a mirror
in which people could see every face but their own.
42- Is human progress cyclical or cumulative?
43- What the most significant difference between women and men,
physical aside? Why do women live longer than men?
44- "You create what you resist" and "You are what you hate"
Any comments. James Joyce wrote, "It is a curious thing...how your mind
is supersaturated with the religion in which you say you disbelieve."
"Thank God I'm an atheist" - Luis Bunuel
45- How do you find peace of mind?
46- If you were walking down the street today and you met yourself
as a 12 year old, what would you say to your 12 year old self?
47- Should toilet paper go over or under the roll? Why?
48- If a publisher was to release your autobiography, off the top
of your head, what would the title be? They want to scent the glue in
the binding. What smell would it be?
49- If a statue was built in your honor, where would it be
displayed and what would it be made of?
50- Please tell me something good you never had and you never
51- If you were in a vat of vomit up to your neck and somebody
threw a bag of shit at your face, what would you do?
52- What is the healthiest cultural shift you see developing today?
53- What gives you the most optimism?
54- What is the most overrated idea ?
55- Please answer the 4 questions of McLuhan's Tetrad for the
Ann Arbor Film Festival, or any human invention (tangible or not)
A: what does the Ann Arbor Film Festival enhance or intensify?
B: what does it render obsolete or replace?
C: what does it retrieve that was previously obsolesced?
D: what does it become when pressed to an extreme, what does it
56- Any rituals or routines in your creative process?
57- What is the function of poetry? music?
58- What questions remain unresolved for you?
59- What is it about your art that audiences resonate with?
60- Larry Jordan: "Human beings conduct their lives from much
stronger sources than the rational mind." Name other sources? How
do you navigate and understand their relationships. What about the
spaces between the sources?
61- Put in order what the most important "W" words are for you:
who, what, when, where or why.
62- Summarize your life in three words, all starting with the same
63- Are we hardwired for blaming? storytelling?
64- Consider: TV is light through, like stain glass window, right
brained, more female. Film (movies) is light on, left brained,
more male. Movies present reflected light ('light on') to the
viewer, while a TV picture is back lit ('light through'). McLuhan said
the cinema image, typically a 35mm frame, is made up of millions of
dots, or emulsion, and is much more 'saturated' than the lines and
pixels of the TV image. He argued that the TV screen invited the
audience to 'fill-in' a low-intensity image, much like following the
bounding lines of a cartoon. That made TV more 'involving' and more
tactile. The high-intensity film image allows for much more information
on screen, but also demands a higher degree of visual perception and
cognition. In that sense, he said, film is a 'hot' medium, TV a 'cool'
bath. Hearing is related to the associative thought attributed to the
right brain, while sight is connected to the left brain's rational
structuring. "The phonetic alphabet forced the magic world of the ear
to yield to the neutral world of the eye. Man was given an eye for an
ear." -McLuhan. "What can't be coded can be decorded if an ear aye
sieze what no eye ere grieved for." - James Joyce Finnegans Wake
65- What is the worst thing for a human being?
66- What artist would you want to do your portrait?
67- If you were a chair, who would you want to sit on you?
68- Who started it all? Are we going to make it? Where do we put
it? Who's cleaning it up? Is it serious?
69- Are we making it happen or watching it happen?
70- "I am trying to get more control over my spontaneity." Any
71- What moment (memory) in your life were you absolutely
72- Introducing Andrei Tarkovsky to an audience at the 1983
Telluride Film Festival, Stan Brakhage declared: "I personally think
that the three greatest tasks for film in the 20th century are 1) To
make the epic, that is, to tell the tales of the tribes of the world.
2) To keep it personal, because only in the eccentricities of our
personal lives do we have any chance at the truth. 3) To do the dream
work, that is to illuminate the borders of the unconscious." Any
comments. What are your 21st century's updates?
73- What qualities must an artist bring to their work regardless
of the era, medium or technology?
74- What is that thing in art (and what causes it) that makes it
transcendent and flips consciousness? Why is it often elusive?
75- What guides your decision making? Allen Ginsberg says first
thought, best thought. Jonah Lehrer (How We Decide) says
fast-blink decisions are not always useful. Malcolm Gladwell (Blink)
recommends gut-decision making.
76- "Whatever happened to letting kids stare out the window?" -
George Carlin (updated to "Whatever happened to letting kids stare at
their cell phone?" - GF) Any comments.
77- Will there ever be silence?
78- What is going to be after the Internet?
79- "A person's identity is a socially induced hallucination.
There's no such thing as a person. There's only a bundle of
consciousness that's constantly in flux." - Deepak Chopra. Any comments.
80- If you were an experimental film, what would your subject
matter be? (or a novel, painting, etc)
81- Are the laws of nature cruel?
82- If you were the ruler of the world, what would you do on your
83- Are we hardwired for competition? "Games were created to give
non-heroes the illusion of winning. In real life, you don't know who
really won or lost, but you can tell who is a hero and who is not." -
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
84- On what occasion do you lie?
85- "It's not what you are that counts, it's what you think you
are." Any comments.
86- Is that a real question?
"The silly question is the first intimation of some totally new
development" - Alfred North Whitehead
87- Thelonious Monk said there are no wrong notes. Agree
or disagree. Any comments.
88- Miles Davis spoke of the space between the notes. Any comments.
89- "The key is to bring the audience up onto the stage and into
the scene with you. It is they who must give you even more than you
give them in way of imagination and creative power." - Ruth Draper. How
do you accomplish this?
90- What is the difference between rights and responsibilities?
91- What is the difference between rebellion and revolution?
92- "Anarchy is making rules for yourself, not others." - Utah
Phillips. Any comments.
93- "Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where
the government fears the people you have liberty."- John Basil
Barnhill. Any comments.
94- In the 2005 film V for Vendetta, the quote from 93
was paraphrased "People should not be afraid of their governments.
Governments should be afraid of their people." Any comments.
95- Are you for or against the death penalty (capital punishment)?
How do you qualify your decision?
96- Discuss "them or us" and "divide and conquer." "In order to
become the master, the politician poses as the servant." - Charles de
Gaulle. Baudelaire wrote that the devil's greatest achievement was to
have persuaded people that he does not exist.