In my mind I was pretty much done making movies.
Since high school I had dreamed of being the big Hollywood director, but physics and the ability to make a living steered me into that scientific profession. This evolved into computers, then spiritual practice which dovetailed back into computers when my spiritual teacher had all of us create products, build companies and try to sell them off for big bucks.
Which I did. Twice.
But now I could make a movie since I had some money to work with. After a couple of misfires I decided to make a tiny documentary about my 2 big interests — science and spirit. “Tiny” became “little” became “big”! I was obsessed with the idea of getting these notions of spirit coming together with science out into the public. In the public. And that meant theaters.
Since I had no experience with making movies I brought on my 2 fellow filmmakers — Betsy Chasse and Mark Vicente — and we dug in and somehow made "What the BLEEP Do We Know!?", a film about science and spirituality. Quantum Physics and our innate divinity. A dramatic/documentary feature film that every distributor said was doomed to failure. “Who’s going to come out to a theater to hear about the double life of electrons?”
It turns out millions of people. A $22 million worldwide box office and millions of DVDs. A film that according to scores and scores of viewers “changed my life." I had accomplished what to me was the ultimate. At that point I was done.
But after a year or so I started to think, “If I could do something that would help people, would I be willing to do it?” Sure, why not, BUT, the Universe would have to make me an offer I can’t refuse. The funny thing about letting the big U decide, is that he/she/it will probably come up with something so out of left field that you don’t even know WHY you can’t say no.
It was thus that E Raymond Brown showed up with an hour long pilot of a film version of his book “Will the Real Pimps and Ho’s Please Stand Up!” The humor, the insight, the outrageousness was too much to ignore. Imagine talking about lofty figures — politicians, admired celebrities and even the Pope as players in the pimp/ho dynamic. (If you’ve ever seen the Pope all dressed up for a ceremony — he makes the Pimps look like amateurs.) So without so much as a backward glance, E Ray and I were off and running and I was back making movies again.
The film — now retitled “GhettoPhysics” — is based on the premise that what you see on the street corner is the same as what you see on the global level. It’s an archetypal process that repeats through all levels of society, business, government, you name it — its a power dynamic that is everywhere. But those at higher levels are very good at hiding the manipulations, whereas the Pimp and the Ho on the corner are not hiding what is really going on.
When the advertisement comes on, with some actors smiling and telling you you’ll be a success if you buy this deodorant — it's a pimp job. When a politician waves around patriotism as a way to send the Ho’s off to war, that’s the Pimp/Ho dynamic. But it goes even further. That selfsame politician might as well put on stockings and pumps as they take money from the lobbyist, then go out and do what those lobbyist tell them to do and say.
See what I mean about the Universe deciding? I’m an average white guy who does physics, meditation and computer software. What am I ever doing with Pimps and Ho’s???
It turns out what I’m doing it presenting the dynamics of power in a raw form that is, as my collaborator E Raymond Brown says “undodge-able." And saying it in a way that is not preachy or moralistic. I mean, how can we be moralistic since we’re talking about pimps and ho’s?
Yet as "GhettoPhysics" evolved it became a film about seeing the power dynamics in the world, at all levels, and inspiring viewers to examine their life choices, and then make their decisions in the awareness of “the Game” coming at them.
To do that we went once again to the “hybrid documentary” form where there is a dramatic story (actually two) going on with interviews and animation. Although the topic is often heavy, we wanted to keep the film entertaining. From the brain research I did for "BLEEP" I knew that learning and receptivity (neuro-plasticity) goes way way up after a good laugh. So we intercut some very funny stuff with some really heavy interviews. All the while keeping our goal in sight: that the film will make its contribution to a better place for us all.
As for me, maybe this time I am done!