Two things excite me more than any other thing in the world: Being a filmmaker and being a father. The other thing that excites me is that these two things do not need to be mutually exclusive.
The other day I sat down with my daughter Faith to polish up the script for our upcoming short film, Duped. I was struck by how special it is to work with my kids on projects we are both excited about. We did this a few years ago with Lemonade. We set out to learn how to make movies and we figured it would be something cool to teach the kids as well.
This new story stems from an idea my kids had a while back. We have been tossing in and tossing out different plot/story lines for over two years, but nothing ever stuck. Everything we came up with felt flat. Finally, on the way to Walmart to buy ¡Three Amigos! on Blu-Ray (one of our favorite comedies) the story about three sisters who duplicate themselves to get out of doing their chores all fell into place. We rushed home and my sister Rachel and I beat out the plot on index cards in about 45 minutes. Faith then took the index cards and roughed out her first script in about 3 hours. I was so proud of what she had done and she was glowing.
We are a big believer in bringing our kids along as we chase after our dreams. Not as tag alongs, but as active participants. That way they feel pride and take ownership in what we are doing as a company and as a family. We laugh a lot and make memories. We work with their natural gifts and talents. While one of them might be excited to write, the other likes to be on set helping behind the scenes. While one likes to help with set design, the other loves learning how to edit.
If you put your career above your family, your family might resent you. If you put your family over your career, you might resent your family. If you can manage to make your career a family affair everyone has the opportunity to feel included.
I understand not every career path lends itself to a creating a family conducive environment. However, we as filmmakers have a unique opportunity to do this. There are a myriad of ways to incorporate our children. This is one of the reasons Francis Ford Coppola is one of my heroes. Over the years he’s done a masterful job of incorporating this family into what he does. Even to the point of having his baby daughter Sofia play the part of Michael Corleone’s infant son during the christening scene of The Godfather. Now Sofia is an accomplished filmmaker in her own right. One wonders what her life may have been like if her father had put his career above his family.
My kids may or may not ultimately decide to be filmmakers and that’s okay. They learn things on set that will translate into any field - team work, problem solving, meeting deadlines, finishing what you start and on and on. Like I said, the fact they get to learn this from me, their father, while we all make movie together thrills me above anything else.
For more info on our filmmaking family check out our About page. And don’t forget to check out Lemonade and be on the look out for photos, updates and videos about Duped as we head into production in two weeks. It’s going to a blast.