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When I left Ohio when I was 17 and ended up in New York and realised that not all films had the giant crab monsters in them, it really opened up a lot of things for me.
What I did was I completed the half-hour film, but before really showing it, I wrote two more sections for a potential feature film which I didn't think would really happen, but at least I had it in case.
The intention was to shoot short films that can exist as shorts independently, but when I put them all together, there are things that echo through them like the dialogue repeats; the situation is always the same, the way they're shot is very simple and the same.
Poets are always ahead of things in a certain way, their sense of language and their vision.
It was a really interesting time in New York in the late 70s and early 80s, and the music scene was really, really interesting because you didn't have to be a virtuoso to make music, it was more about your desire to express things.
If you go into a bar in most places in America and even say the word poetry, you'll probably get beaten up. But poetry is a really strong, beautiful form to me, and a lot of innovation in language comes from poetry.
I've always loved films, always. I studied literature and I went to Columbia in New York and I went to Paris for part of one year and ended up staying there.
I'd wanted to be a writer and when I came back to New York worked as a musician too, but I found my writing starting to get more and more referential to cinema.
I wanted to make an Indian character who wasn't either a) the savage that must be eliminated, the force of nature that's blocking the way for industrial progress, or b) the noble innocent that knows all and is another cliche. I wanted him to be a complicated human being.
I think of poets as outlaw visionaries in a way.
I think it comes from really liking literary forms. Poetry is very beautiful, but the space on the page can be as affecting as where the text is. Like when Miles Davis doesn't play, it has a poignancy to it.
I started working with friends of mine and that, to some degree, continues.
I start with actors that I know personally or I know their work, and there are things about their work or their presence or their own personality that make a character, that exaggerates some qualities and suppresses other qualities. It's always a real collaboration for me.
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