1. When was this audio recorded? What for?
The audio was recorded a couple of years ago at San Francisco’s monthly Porchlight storytelling series.
2. Did you know that you wanted to make an animation before you performed it to a live audience? Is this animated over the actual footage of the stand up routine?
I had no intention of animating the story when I performed it, so I didn’t bother to videotape my performance. I later ended up videotaping myself lip synching to the original audio in my bedroom.
3. I noticed the animation switches between a cartoony and more photorealistic style, what were the motivations behind this?
I once read somewhere that ancient Greek drama developed organically out of oral story-telling. A bard (Homer, let’s say) would tell the story of, for instance, the Trojan War and act out the various parts. Later, they decided to have different people play the different parts, and that’s how theater was born. But I kind of like that interim stage, where there’s both a narrator and a dramatization occurring at the same time.
4. I imagine that after “Tripping with Caveh” you learned something about the pros and cons of working with people on drugs, but has it ever been this personal before?
It’s always this personal.
5. Was this your hardest on-set experience? Directing or other.
6. There is a little delay to the laughter after Mark states he has been raped, were you ever worried that the audience would be too sensitive for the material?
Yes, but I enjoy making people uncomfortable.
7. All your work has a deeply personal element to it. What is it like having people know so much about your personal life?
It eliminates the need for small talk.
8. What are the things that you are not comfortable discussing on film.
I can’t think of anything.
9. What is your philosophy on drugs?
The word “drugs” can mean different things. I’m not a big fan of addictive drugs, and it’s pretty obvious that certain drugs (heroin, cocaine, crack, etc.) can and do destroy lives. But psychedelic drugs (psilocybin, LSD, DMT, ayahuasca, peyote) are non-addictive and often spiritually transformative. I don’t think psychedelic drugs are right for everyone, but they’ve been very helpful to me personally.
10. What’s your favorite film? Favorite director?
I love Lars Von Trier, and I especially love Breaking the Waves and The Idiots.
11. Why did you beat me so badly at tennis? Did you ever think of throwing a game or two just to make me feel better?
I’m sorry. I should have.
12. What are you working on now?
An 18-hour real-time adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses.