I do have some theatrical background. I've written plays and seen plays and read plays. But I also read novels. One thing I don't read is screenplays.
I think of myself as a guy who tries to write screenplays and now has tried to direct one. Anything more than that is meaningless and it gets in the way of being a real human being.
When I'm writing, I'm trying to immerse myself in the chaos of an emotional experience, rather than separate myself from it and look back at it from a distance with clarity and tell it as a story. Because that's how life is lived, you know?
As a writer, or as a filmmaker, you have to present yourself, and part of what yourself is is what you're interested in, or what you think is funny, or what you think is sad, or what you think is horrible.
There's this inherent screenplay structure that everyone seems to be stuck on, this three-act thing. It doesn't really interest me. To me, it's kind of like saying, 'Well, when you do a painting, you always need to have sky here, the person here and the ground here.' Well, you don't.
I can talk endlessly about characters, or why someone did this or that, and what that dynamic and interaction is. I really love it, and I think that actors really respond positively to the fact that I like to talk about that stuff, because I'm not sure that all directors do.
I have a personality that tends to be somewhat compulsive, and I do tend to think in a circular way. I dwell on the same things over and over and I try to figure out different ways of looking at the same issue.
I think that people have expectations of themselves and other people that are based on these fictions that are presented to them as the way human life and relationships could be, in some sort of weird, ideal world, but they never are. So you're constantly being shown this garbage and you can't get there.
So when I write characters and situations and relationships, I try to sort of utilize what I know about the world, limited as it is, and what I hear from my friends and see with my relatives.
It occurred to me that every work of art is a synecdoche, there's no way around it. Every creative work that someone does can only represent an aspect of the whole of something. I can't think of an exception to that.
I hate a movie that will end by telling you that the first thing you should do is learn to love yourself. That is so insulting and condescending, and so meaningless. My characters don't learn to love each other or themselves.
We try to organize the world, which isn't organized the way our brains want to organize it. We tell stories about the people in our lives, we project ideas onto them. We project relationships with people, we make our lives into stories. I don't think we can avoid doing that.
I think generally I'm kind of interested in subjective experience, what goes on inside someone's head, that being all they really know of the world.
There's no way to approach anything in an objective way. We're completely subjective; our view of the world is completely controlled by who we are as human beings, as men or women, by our age, our history, our profession, by the state of the world.
I think you just assume that your memory is just sort of a video playback of your experience, but it's nothing like that at all. It's a complete refabrication of an event and a lot of it is made up, because you're filling in spaces.
I'm not a celebrity. I'm intentionally and defiantly not a celebrity. I don't have any interest in it. I don't have any talent for it. I keep my personal life out of my public life as cleanly as I can.
If you create something that is asking for people to respond as they're going to respond, you have to allow them to respond as they're going to respond. Some of the people are going to be uninterested and some people are going to be mad for some reason, which is their business. That's just the way the world is.
I'm interested in trying to explore what I think is the truth at a given time in my life, and part of the process of being honest is - in my mind - talking about the idea that you're watching a movie. You're sitting here watching a movie. And I like that. It appeals to me intellectually, and also in a way I can't even explain.
I've kind of come to the conclusion that what passes for realism in movies has nothing to do with reality and that my stuff is more realistic than that.
The only honest and generous thing for me to do is to give people myself. That's all I've got as an artist, so I want to do that in an unflinching way.