Magazine article Filmmaker

Friend Zone

Magazine article Filmmaker

Friend Zone

Article excerpt

The first article I ever wrote for Filmmaker was a survey and analysis of an ascendant film movement called "mumblecore." The label was still new enough ten years ago to get quotes around it. I interviewed Joe Swanberg, Jay and Mark Duplass, Ry Russo-Young, Aaron Katz, Matt Dentler, Greta Gerwig, Frank V. Ross, Andrew Bujalski, Anish Savjani and many more. The article was very long, and Scott put it on the cover. I have forgotten everything I wrote in the article, but I have never forgotten a post on Gothamist about it, which read, "Note to film journalists: Don't interview people just to become friends with them."

Could this be true? I mean, sure, I had liked getting to know all these film nerds and hanging out with them at festivals and getting to see their movies early and hearing news about who was working with who - but that all seemed like fair professional game. This blogger was talking about something else, something I thought I'd kept well hidden: that I had also liked knowing how many of these people were feeling, that I wanted to tell them what I thought and was up to, and that I was already arranging situations in which I would both see their films and - it was true - hang out. He was right, I was guilty, and since it was clearly wrong to make friends through work, I resolved to set boundaries and toughen up.

I was working as a production manager when I started writing for this magazine, and soon after the story ran, I started to produce on my own. First for Lena Dunham, then for Ry Russo-Young, then Joe Swanberg with Anish Savjani, then Frank Ross with Joe, then Lena a couple more times, then almost with Anish, then Joe again, and in between with a lot of other people I eventually considered not interview subjects I became friendly with but genuine friends. At the end of my twenties, Gothamist's attack rang in my ears all over again, when I noticed that figuring out a way to spend some time working with my friends was sometimes as motivating to me as doing the actual work. …

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