Author - Gabrielle Alexandra Smith

Marcelo Martinessi Speaks on His Recent Film ‘The Heiresses’, Politics, and Gender.

ATM: How did you think to up rise the gender bias dynamic in your country and show it in this film?

MM: There are certain things that happen naturally in the society where you were born, but it takes you a long time to realize or analyze them. Growing up in Paraguay, as a boy, you are expected to be confident, to know all the right answers. We (boys) are supposed to show no delicacy. So, I found it difficult to have a man at the heart of this film. My aim with this story was to question many things that are given in my society and to try to explore the place where I come from. That angle would need a women’s perspective, will be approached better through female characters. Maybe, I see that most men in my society are shaped by a fake security and that doesn’t give room for any vulnerability. And vulnerability was key in this film.

ATM: How does your film being female dominated manipulate a male viewer’s observation?

MM: Perhaps the same thing might be happening to you when watching a film from Paraguay. It does not belong to your culture. It shows you other angles of life or a different sense of humor, other ways of behaving that many of you might not be familiar with. It is still the film I wanted to make. And it allows people to explore worlds that are culturally, sexually and age wise away from their comfort zone. It’s beautiful for me to see, for example, a 22-year-old straight man talking about the film and saying lovely things about it. Film affects us in different ways. I always try to present it as a universal story told through a lesbian woman. Many people who have different life experiences can still feel connected to Chela’s aspiration in the film, they can also connect to the desire of breaking from barriers. I always say that one of the starting points in the film was the feeling of confinement in Paraguay. As well as the strong class system.

ATM: When have you been pushed out of your comfort zone? How did you continue to deal with this?

MM: That’s a good question. Most of the time you learn a lot more when you are pushed out of your comfort zone. In 2010, I started working as Executive Director of the first Public Television in my country, during the only time in recent history when we had a progressive government. We created a project of communication with a public spirit. At that time, I felt that we were part of the construction of the country we really wanted. Most of us were excited and ‘in love’ with the idea of being Paraguayans.

But two years later a majority of the (corrupt) politicians decided to provoke a coup d’état against the president, with the support of the private media and the petit bourgeoise. So, the president was impeached and replaced by a new conservative government, belonging to the same group that ruled the country for more than 60 years.

Seen that, in order to keep their privileges, the social class I was born into supported a coup – that kicked out a democratically elected government – was very strong for me. More than abandoning my comfort zone, I would say I lost the feeling of belonging to a certain social class. It might sound difficult but at the same time, it was a moment full of excitement. I was 38 at the time. It was good because even though I lost the sense of belonging to the society where I grew up, it also opened many new possibilities. It gave me a possibility of reinventing myself and rethinking life. I lost some confidence and there was a sad side to all these. But at the same time, that moment helped me to understand the feelings of non-belonging. The Heiresses is somehow a result of that moment.

ATM: When the main characters started selling the objects of sentimental value, would you agree that this opened a new space to let them bring in more stuff?

MM: Yes. That is in a physical sense but also in a metaphorical sense. It forces the character of Chela to be exposed a bit more. It was not only about selling stuff. They lived in a very dark house and the crisis also pushed them to start opening the windows, then the breeze and the light come in. It is a moment of opening in many ways.

ATM: What is a sentimental object that you have once given away or may have lost?

MM: To tell you the truth, I have given up sentimental objects many times. Especially when I decided to get out of Paraguay because I wanted to become a filmmaker. I did sell furniture, bed and other objects I really liked in order to save money, travel to London and study cinema. So, I can easily relate to this feeling of giving away something you love. It can also be a beautiful feeling. It seems difficult but once you do it, it’s interesting. You are allowing some things to go for new things to come. Right now, I’m torn because I feel the need to sell my old 1978 Citroen. It is a car that I had for 15 to 20 years. I have to sell it because I cannot take care of it in the way I used to. Do you know the Citroen Dyane 6? It’s almost a collector’s item today and I will have to get rid of mine!

ATM: When you give up something, the universe will give you something better or more valuable in return.

MM: Yes. This is why I am not scared of doing it. Even though when you get rid of something you very much like, it feels as if there’s a part of you that goes with it. But I’ve done it many times. I’ve to move countries again and again. So, I had to get used to it, to letting things go.

ATM: What is the lifestyle or expectations of an average Asunción male?

MM: It’s a very macho society. It’s a country where men are expected to be a lot more independent, to leave the house earlier, to do whatever they want while women traditionally were expected to be taking care of house chores and needed to be very careful about any step they took. Happily, this is all changing. But there’s still a strong structural violence against women. It’s in the language and common practices of everyday life. We are a very conservative society, probably with similarities with some small town in America.

ATM: What do men do with their freedom? Do they use it in a less artistic way than a female would?

MM: I’ll try to explain myself better. Men were usually expected to support their family. So, on the one hand, the average Paraguayan men would look for a secure profession such as being a doctor, architect, or businessman, he’ll look towards traditional roles of a breadwinner father. Doing art, music, cinema is still not well seen by the older generation. For them, what we do is considered a hobby, even if we can support ourselves or our families with our work.

On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that the average men would always be responsible for the children he has. We have a huge number of single mothers that raise and support their children by themselves.

Ana Brun, the main actress of the film, has mentioned in many interviews that she always felt the need to postpone herself in order to support her husband in his profession or to raise her children. Now, when she is more than 60, she is finally allowed to do what she always wanted to do – which was acting -. I don’t think this is good for men or for women. Sometimes it feels like a society that wants to tag you or force you into being someone you are not. It takes some courage to break from this. Chela in the film would not usually have the courage to change, but the circumstances have put her in this specific position to rethink her own life and do something.

ATM: It seems as if women more inherently have to become selfless.  

MM: Yes, they always have to be there for other people, to abandon their dreams, or what they want, to support their husbands or families. Historically, it has happened like this, even though it is now changing. Cinema gives us a mirror and lets us rethink our roles as well. Many people told Ana Brun at the end of the film “I am looking for my car keys” which means ‘I am looking for a way out from my own prison.’ This means there are many men and women wanting to break from whatever circumstance is trapping them.

ATM: Would Asuncion be considered a third world country to you?

MM: I do not know what the idea of a third world country really is. Especially when it comes to people in the film.  Chela and Chiquita belong to a world where they probably live in a similar way then they would live in Kansas City. They have a car and they have all the means that a person in America would have. If you’re rich in America, you might also have maids, people serving you, have a gardener, etc. So, you have helps doing things for you that probably in a first world country it would be very difficult to afford. We have been fighting for a long time for the right of domestic workers. They get a very low payment for many working hours. They are exploited by the system for not having the means to survive. And their world (house, food, access to clean water, education, health system) is closer to what is conventionally called ‘third world’.

ATM: They are exploited by the higher class. This sort of fits into the term Karl Marx supported called relations of production. This is the domestic workers or the proletariat getting exploited by the aristocrats or the rich.

MM: In a Marxist logic, the means of production in my country are only owned by a very low percentage of the people, the ruling class. Our wild political history did not give us the sensibleness to discuss and change that. In addition, we do not have a strong or a solid middle class. So, the case has always been: a ruling class that exploits, and a working class that is exploited. And even today, the fight for worker’s rights is still not well understood.

ATM: This term was used to show the relationship between the people who own the means of production and those who do not who are the domestic workers. It shows how the ownership of the production is systemically used to exploit the domestic workers or the working class. They become used to it and they do not consciously realize they are being exploited.

MM: We did not have a revolution like 1917 Russia. Our country still needs a huge transformation. We need to rethink our social order. I was talking earlier about the 2012 Paraguayan coup d’état. It had to do with the fact that the country’s ruling class will not allow any government to take their privileges away. So, today, the rich still pay fewer taxes, they exploit their ill-gotten lands without any problem. Basically, no one cares.

ATM: I see why the coup d’état was started. The people aside from the ruling class had no power. It sounds like people are in power because of nepotism or red taping. This is sometimes the avenues as to how and why a coup d’état gets staged. Sounds like people are mishandling the government for various reasons. I do not think a lot of people over here in American knows of this.

MM: The United States has been a strong influence and one of the reasons why we could not have positive changes in Latin America. The dictatorships of our sub-continent historically had a strong support from the USA. Torturers from the Paraguayan police came to learn their lessons in America. So, we have always been very connected to America in many ways. I don’t know if that is known or not by the average citizens in the US. Today, America is still strong but has less control in our region, compared to the 70s and the 80s.

ATM: How did your hometown regain its social structure or go back to normal after the coup d’état was staged?

MM: Hmm. People do not realize it. Most of the country isn’t self-critical and doesn’t have the means to analyze what is happening. 98% of the population just continued with their lives. They have to worry about everyday chores, surviving, business, or earning money. So, they can only see political matters from a distance. And the media doesn’t help, keeping an agenda too close to their own interests. If we can help a bit from the arts: photography, painting, literature, or cinema, maybe we should aim at finding a way to rethink what happened in our recent history, or even in our history.

ATM: It would take people living where you are to know about their history and to become educated. I would assume your society should educate people to know what exactly is going on. It is important. You chose two lesbians, why did you choose two lesbians? I understand you wanted to make a female presence in the film, but why two lesbians and not two female friends who were just close together?

MM: For me, it wasn’t an issue. I’ve never thought of this. It’s a story about aging and an economic crisis. They could be sisters or friends. Considering their age, I thought it wasn’t going to be a scandal in Paraguay to portray their relationship as natural. But it was.  Two women who have been living together – I always use the phrase ‘as a fading couple’ – and they are no longer passionate about each other. The awakening of desire was new and key for one of them. This was one of the many things that will happen to this woman, besides feeling confident about doing a bit of work, earning a bit of money, and being a bit more independent. It was not well received in Paraguay because Chela and Chiquita are lesbians. But, at the same time, if we never force a bit the fundamentalist limitations of certain audiences, I don’t think we can ever make interesting films, and nothing is ever going to change. It was natural for me to have a female couple at the center of the film, and I’m glad we did it that way.

ATM: How would you express the black race and immigrant presence in Asunción?

MM: Our racial issues have a lot to do with the class system and are kept underneath the surface. It’s awful to realize that many people want to see themselves separate from their racial or class origins. It’s a society where today, the only and main parameter to measure people is money.

People do not care where you get your money from. We had drug dealers becoming presidents. If you have the money, you can buy almost everything. In recent years, a man that comes from an obscure background bought the main political party to become president. And he was president for five years! Politicians are at the service of anyone who has money. It does not matter where it comes from.

ATM: Are white people dominant in Paraguay like in America?

MM: No, It’s people with money. There is no racial issue when it comes to power. It does not matter if it comes from a dirty business, drugs or corruption. It is just whoever has money.

There is supposed to be a democratic government. But when it comes to real politics, the dominance always has to do with money.

ATM: It seems like the government is more so through monetary nepotism. The true depiction or authenticity of what a high political figure is sometimes scraped away, and it is replaced here with the dominant trait of money. The media does not concentrate on this. The average American would not know what has happened or is happening.

MM: Of course. It has to do with American international policies that you guys do not really know. Perhaps because they’re government’s secret issues. America begins wars, but people have no idea why. This is the decision of politicians and the country’s elite. I do not think the decisions are ever made by people in America.

Eugene Cordero’s TruTV Show ‘Tacoma FD’

ATM: In American television, what are the expectations and stereotypes geared around the channel TruTV?

EC: They have a show like I am Sorry and Impractical Jokers. They are moving into comedy. I have noticed this recently that if I were to turn on the channel, then it would be more comedy based. As far as the general public people saw it kind of like this crime and investigation type channel before it made the switch into comedy. TruTV used to be court TV. They would show cops and judge shows. Then it became more of a national network. They started making original content and a lot more of the reality shows and comedy shows. Within the last few years, it has hit its mark with the comedy side of things and trying new things and giving indie comedians some chances to make some T.V.

ATM: How does seeing firefighters dabbling in comedy make us see a softer side than what the world perceives of them?

EC: To be honest, the focus of the comedy is to give a situation that these guys are just real people. It is more of not poking fun of the work. Especially in Tacoma FD, all the firemen are great firefighters, but they are just bored when they are not fighting fires, and this is what they do in the meantime. It is just a show of them being regular guys like otherwise. They will do goofy stuff. It is like if you went to a barbecue or a family party, then sometimes you would be surprised to hear what these people do for a living. They are just normal people. It is finding the funny in a situation that surrounds a firefighter rather than a situation that surrounds a couple living home in a new neighborhood type thing. All the stories are loosely based off of real stories the firemen have told the writers. There is a basic truth. It is not that far off some of the situations that happened to these guys.

ATM: This show exhibits that even with a prestigious job you can still be funny and do your job.

EC: Yes, but it is not a dramedy. It is a straight-up sitcom comedy. It does not play the same serious tones that some of the one-hour firemen shows are doing like Chicago Fire or anything that has light moments in it. There are other comedy shows and movies that are policeman and firemen. It is not necessarily like a territory that has been touched before. It is having fun with the firefighters in Tacoma, Washington because this is the wettest city in America. It is playing off the idea that there would not be as many fires if it rained so much. This is why they are in the fire station for a longer period of time.

ATM: What are your observations of the brotherhood that is acquired while working this job?

EC: It is like having brothers without being actually related. A fireman shift is like three or four days in a row. They sleep at the firehouse. These grown men are each other’s roommates for a couple of days a week. They talk about everything in the family. This is as closest to family than any other jobs where you know you are going to your family at night. These guys are around each other for the next couple of days. It takes a certain type of person to feel comfortable or excited to be in this type of environment. They find some real like comradery with finding a group of people that they support. It is something that happens here with firemen and policemen that do not happen at other jobs. You are watching these guys that you are working with risk their lives every day. There is a closeness you automatically have they you know the person standing next to you at work will do anything to help you live, this is crazy. Even though it is a comedy you have to see this kind of togetherness going on no matter what. This show shows this in the goofiest and funniest ways.

Producer David Joseph Craig Discusses ‘Boy Erased’

ATM: Explain both of your roles in the film.

David: He works at the facility of Love and Action. He is a militant got converted. He has been through the program himself and brought 100% into the program. He believes he has changed and wants everyone else to get turned. My characters the others should live and die by the rules of Love and Action. He is the militant one of the facilities. As the co-producer, I have worked with Joel for nine years. I got to see this project from the ground. I got to see him prep it from him getting the book and reading through drafts with him. It has been a whirlwind experience from seeing a movie from its flesh to its eventual birth. 

ATM: How does this film give us a view of homosexuality in males? 

David: A lot of our performers are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. The sensitivity of getting close to the material was telling a story that was a part of a memoir.  The book described the true story of a man’s life. We were honoring this. Regarding it talking about a homosexual man, it also spoke about what Garret said in his own words. The message of the film is that there is no fill in. A lot of what was done by these parents and by the program to these kids specifically was done out of love.

Even though it was harmful to him, it was done out of love. The one exact message we want to get out it is to respect the love of an individual regardless of them being gay, straight, or what gender that identifies. It is about love and listening. If we are able to preach this message in a real way, then talking about homosexual would not be a thing in the mainstream, but a normal thing.

ATM:  How could another real person going through this event see themselves in this film? How could they be more comfortable in their identity?

David: The major issue is that a lot of these therapies are in remote areas in the country that have no another outlet to other ways of thinking. I am not speaking for all. Majority of these conversion therapy facilities are within the church community where the church is the lifeline of the community. Unfortunately, there is no huge access to other information. If your community is telling you something is wrong with you, then it is tough to decide this is not the truth. The lucky part is that we have some big hands with Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman in showing this film in areas where it would unusually get seen

The author Garret and I partnered up with Radiolab and created a podcast that dives into the history of conversion therapy. We also have a website. I thought conversion therapy was this backward thing that happened before the 50s. It was more about the physical things happening to these kids. Now, it is much more mental and emotional. Getting this information is a way for them to levitate some of the stress. We must give people options. A lot of times you do not have options because of where you are. 

ATM: How could we see the love of a parent regarding their child as they go through this event?

David: I can only say this from my own situation. There is a lot of ignorance, and a lot of parents chose to parent because it just happens upon them. These are certain elements where people do not know how they will parent. When they become a parent, and they just do the best they can for who they are around. The lesson like situations in this story is the truly understand and listen to your children in what they want and protect them. This is how I would parent. In this idea, their way of protecting their child is sending him to conversion camp because the world around tells them this is what they need to do. If they listen to their kids, then the protection is from this world they are putting him in. A parent could get a sense of listening to what your kid needs and protecting them from the things they do not need.

A Critical and Analytic Approach to the term Wish

Final Wish is a horror and suspense film that shows the serious effects of when a wish goes wrong. Michael Welch is the star of the movie and is at the forefront of the devastating climatic behavior. Welch talks about wish as a subject matter and what a wish truly entails in our society and culture as Americans and humans.

ATM: Did you ever make birthday wishes when blowing out candles at a young age?

MW: Oh sure. I am sure I made a wish every time.

ATM: Reflect on a wish you made as a little boy.

MW: Wow, do I remember any of my wishes? As a kid, one of my constant wishes were, this is probably common, it was for a genie to give me more wishes. In retrospect, I am glad this did not work out. We have seen a lot in movies when you end of getting this and something else in your life ends up turning out not so great. This is sort of what happens in this movie. With a prospective of age and a little more wisdom, now I would come up with different wishes. Now, if I had one wish, then I would wish for infinite wishes. It seemed like perfect sound logic to me.

ATM: It is interesting in the American culture, not speaking for every culture, but American’s culture — We have preconceived notions that any wish that we make will come true. I do not think we have the intuition that the opposite or the negative side of the wish can also come true. This never crosses our minds. Pertaining to the movie, when we wish, we think it is positive. For example, what if you wish for 20 dollars today? But what if your wish does a reverse and you end of losing 20 dollars.

MW: Absolutely. Something specific in America that is prevalent is wishing for other people’s lives. We do this a lot. We see what others have their public persona. We go “Man their Instagram pages just looks so happy. They must be the happiest person in the world. I wish I had the things in my life that the person has in theirs. I would be happy too.” The truth is that we have no idea what the realities are in their lives. We do not know their anxieties and insecurities. Or the kind of sacrifices they must make to get this point of perceived success. In a way, this is kind of a problem with the Instagram culture. A good thing moving forward is for people to be a little bit honest about the realities in their life where others do not feel alone. Especially young kids do not have much of a preference of life yet. They might feel certain and perceive what others are feeling and go “Well what is wrong with me?” We should be a bit honest with each other about what is going on in our lives.

ATM: Sometimes this person that feels alone and wants this life could be living a better life than whatever person they think they want to be. This is one of the biggest issues with the nonentertainment society and the entertainment society. The less fortunate mirrors with the fortunate do. Regardless of what you are trying to imitate, you cannot really imitate it. For example, if someone in Hollywood dyes their hair pink, then this could have stemmed from an emotional explosion. Sometimes the most genius’ things have come from the saddest moments.

MW: 100%. You are right. We are so result oriented. We want to skip steps or something. Maybe this genius came out of immense sadness. This was the soil from which this grew. Do you really want this? I agree with you. We just see the end results and have no idea what went into the process.

ATM: Tony Todd in the film says “With life, there is a balance. When you have life, you have death.” Often times, when someone wishes for a 20-dollar bill. They can lose this 20-dollar bill. Another person finds the 20. This is technically another person’s wish coming true. Could also a wish be a let down from another person? One person’s misfortune or mishap could be another person’s fortune.

MW: 100%. This is important to keep in mind. From an example in my own life, last year my wife and I were looking for a house. There was a house perfect for us. There was another family that wanted the house. We ended up in a bidding war and securing it. I have no idea what the situation was for the other family. Did they need it more? I do not know what their life circumstances were.

I do not know what to do with this knowledge. It is good to keep this in mind and empathize with people.

Your 20-dollar example is interesting because this happened to me recently. I had found a 100 bill on the street. So, the first thought is “Oh this is cool.” But then the second thought is “Aw, man I am so sorry for the person who lost it. I hope they did not need it.” For some cosmic balance, I tried to use this 100-dollar bill to do good for someone else. Just for all the reasons, we are talking about. Not to pat myself on the back, but to talk about the perspective of keeping this in mind. So, we do not all live in a kind of bubble. You are right. You never know the ripple or the ramifications of how things turn out. You can reverse this.

Who knows how my life would have turned out if the sadness or this other stuff that seemed like hell at the time did not happen? If this hadn’t happened, then I would not have met my wife. This beautiful daughter would not be in the world. I would not trade this for anything in the world. You just never know. It is an interesting idea to explore. This is why we are drawn to it this way. We have seen so many drawings of this story so many times. Especially, if I am going to tie it to the movie. This character has lived a very selfish life up to this moment. He has no perspective. Now that his wishes are coming true, he is not able to see the ramifications because all he is concerned about is his own interest. Of course, this all catches up to him. He has to face these demons both literally and figuratively as the movie progresses. It is an interesting thing to explore.

ATM: We as humans without trying to be selfish often make some wishes from selfishness. If a person of the nonentertainment wishes to be famous or a millionaire, then they might have to go through a lot to get there. Once they are a millionaire, then they do not want it. You know the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for.” Especially if you are wishing something before the pieces of your life have unfolded. For example, if someone wants to become a singer. If they would have waited, then probably they would have gotten a record deal. We are impatient because of human nature. I would sort of predict this is where wishes derive from.

MW: It is important to go through the process than to be so focused on the result. Someone might be going to college, having a specific plan for their lives. Over the course of these four years they come out with a completely different set of ideas. You have to go through the process. If this person made this wish at 18, then this was their perspective at the time, and they had nothing to pull from. Who knows? Life could turn out differently and not as fulfilling.

In my case, I started acting at ten. It all came out of let’s just see what happens here. We are playing with house money. We have nothing to lose. There was not a crazy drive to succeed at first. This was not what drove it. I continued and received more of an instinct for it, enjoyed it, and had fun.

My parents did a good job keeping and maintaining balance in my life. At a certain point, you flip the switch and want to pursue it full time. Again, it is be careful what you wish for. Now, I have a whole other set of things to worry about. Now, every time I go on any set to do any job the mentality, I have is that everything is riding on every job for me. My ability to secure future work depends on the strengths of my work for the current thing I am working on. If I cannot deliver, then I have no way of providing for my family. There is this level of anxiety that is constantly with me. I am not complaining. But if we are being honest, I am pointing out the reality of what is to have some level of success in this industry. The other things that come with it.

ATM: I would say “prayer” is the religious term of a wish. What if the terms “prayer” or “wish” were not a part of the American custom? How would life truly be if we did not pray or wish? Would we truly become what we asked for? We just went with the flow of life and did not wish.

MW: Wow, this is a great question. How different would this world look if people essentially allowed the universe to take them on whatever journey they were met to go on? I do think it is important to have goals and to set your intentions. Do you know what it is? It really comes down to collectively becoming more process-oriented than result oriented. We are so married to what we think the results should be. Maybe we are wrong, and this is not what it is supposed to be. Maybe we are developing blind spots from our narrow view of how we think our lives should go. I am not sure if I would eliminate the idea of settling your intent, which is a part of what a wish or prayer could be. Shifting the way we view could go a long way of our health and psyche. This would be great for all of us.

ATM: Another example. A kid who dreams to be an NBA star, doctor, actor, or anything. As a kid, we all have notions or dreams of our lives. As soon as your mind is fixated on “Oh I want to be a doctor, NBA player, or actor,” then all your next moments or positions start to surround this idea. You start looking for a medical show, playing basketball, or watching a lot of films. The kid who wants to be an actor will now gravitate to artistic things. What if they never dreamed to become an actor? Would this change what they might have initially or innately gravitated toward? Would this person really become an actor? Everyone should have short- and long-term goals. I would assume the kid who became an NBA would ask “What if I never dreamed to become this and just let life run its course?” Sometimes I feel regardless of what you dream, pray, or wish, that life finds you or what you want finds you.

MW: It is funny you say this. Whenever you met someone in the entertainment industry and hear their success stories of how they got to where they are everyone has a different story, but it is almost always “Oh yeah, I just kind of fell into it.” You rarely hear. . . pick a random celebrity. Hugh Jackman for example. He was like “I was born ready to do this thing. I pursued it and then it happened.” It is always like ‘“I was sort of over here doing this. Someone over here said, “How about this?” I said, “Ok, cool. I will check this out.”’ It is always something serendipitous. I agree. It is almost like the concept of the beach ball and the pool. If you push too hard to try and grab it, then the water will pull it away from you. I do not know the answer here.

Without goals, then your life can be without also. I am not sure if I have any solutions then to say it is an interesting thought. I am astounded right now. I do think it is interesting that success stories, at least within the entertainment industry, always seem to come about in a similar way, which is “I was open to possibilities. We had a series of things that happened. I took advantage of opportunities as they came to me.” The best thing you can is to try being as ready as you can be to the advantage of opportunities as they arrive. Maybe in the process of developing yourself, you develop certain things. You either end up working in the industry or doing something else. Focus on the self-development rather than “How do I get a million Insta followers so I can sell myself to some commodity?” It all goes to focusing on the process and letting the results go however they are.

ATM: When you mentally result oriented, you are close-minded. Going back to the example about the kid dreaming a dream, wish, or pray, they become close-minded to anything else outside of their notion. People should be open minded to other things.

MW: This ties into acting too. I need to work on this a little. I am controlling about my ideas and what I think the results should be. Sometimes when you are so narrow-minded about this, you can close yourself off to other possibilities. Working with Lin Shaye in this movie really showed me how to open up and follow my instinct. To just try some things. Maybe it works and then maybe it does not. They are going to edit the movie later and pick the best stuff. You do not have to present a perfect package every time when they say action. As a result, she ended of finding some cool and interesting things that were not in the script or discussed beforehand. She was not thinking at the time “Is this right for the character? Are people going to judge me?” She does not care about this, but this goes for some real jinn. I agree. It is important to stay open to all possibilities.

ATM: When you are more oblivious to the results more things will happen for you.  

MW: This is great, but this is tricky. This requires real internal motivation to be process driven than result driven. This is not natural for human beings. I am not sure if this is a universal human thing or specifically an American thing. It is not the way we are taught to navigate through this life. It is much healthier and creates better results to do it like this.

ATM: When you live by the process than the results, people will have others saying they should not do this or that. They do not see the end of the road. Whereas others do. You could be focused on the process and someone is asking you about what will happen in six months based on the reality of what is currently happening. I would not even say these are naysayers. It does not let you become process minded. For actors when auditioning, I would assume people ask “Well, what are you going to do in six months?” Of course, no one truly knows. Actors just audition and audition to try getting a part. It makes you internally freak out and come out of the process-oriented mental space.

MW: As an actor, you cannot have this mentality. Even though it is constantly shoved in your face. Whenever you tell anyone you are an actor, it is what is next. You have this, but what is after this. Your whole sense of value is wrapped up to what you have lined up. It is assessed on how high it is in the industry. It is everything being shoved in your face, which is all about the results. Somehow you have to find a way to put all of this aside and focus on what is you have to do. This is to keep improving your acting. There is so little discussion about “acting” in the world of acting. It is always about these other things. At the end of the day, none of this matter, but I have to figure out how to do this performance.

My entire life has been like this. Whether I am finished with my next job, I am back at ground zero. It is like this for every actor. You are back out on the grind with other people that are applying for the same parts. It requires a lot of throwing your hands in the air and going “Listen I am going to do my part. I have to have faith that on some level this will all sort itself out.” Whether this is the universe, God, or luck. You have to put control in forces that are beyond yourself because you only control so much. There are things you can do. I am trying to take more control of my career in some ways. I am trying to develop my own projects. This takes time. A lot of what we are talking about is having faith to some degree or some mentality or you will go insane.

This was fascinating. This is not what I was expecting at all, but I loved it. Usually it is like “Hey, tell me about the movie. Tell me about the part. Tell me about working with so and so.” This is very refreshing. I appreciated this conversation.

Darren Brass Talks Tattoos, it’s History and More

ATM: Tattoos started during the period before Christ.

DB: It’s funny. Tattoos are one of the oldest art forms. Graffiti was another art form that I grew up in. Then you go back to the cave paintings. I had a likeness to the deep roots of this culture. This culture evolved all the way through no matter where you came from.

ATM: The cave paintings was considered hieroglyphs, which were a part of the logographic writing system. The artwork that was put on scribes was classified as an art form. Tattoos were not called tattoos but were seen as the only way for communication. Now, we can compare the similarities and call them tattoos. 

DB: It was an adornment. It placed you in your tribe. There is the show “Where you are from?” You were ranking it. It made them look more beautiful.

ATM: They were at its high during the times of Hammurabi who was the sixth king of the First Babylonian Dynasty. The code of Hammurabi was written in what can be considered tattoos. They did not think to put it on each other’s skin yet, but it took the place on stones. This was essence and origin of tattoos before coining its name. Then it moved to be the portrayal of a tribe. It was taken seriously. You have to have this type of ink to show you are with us. I would assume it became popular in American during the mid to late 20th century.

DB: Yes. The military was what brought it into here. The sailors were sailing and saw the tribes. They were intrigued by it and it just grew with them. They got it. This was a mark distinguishing. If you were from the Navy or the U.S Army, then you had something to represent you. Something that represented your ranking, where you had traveled, or where you had been. Army, Navy, it was similar to any other tribe. You have to be distinguished to this and that. It is all playing a part and going around no matter the culture. When you bring in Japanese culture, they have been doing this for centuries. They are inherited to their culture. Things are done a certain way and it does not change. It is a purpose and a reason for everything, which is amazing and remarkable.

ATM: A person’s body replaces a canvas, which can get seen as a metaphor or simile.

DB: Absolutely, your body becomes your technique.

ATM: Why did you move your artwork to a person’s body rather than stay on paper or Adobe Illustrator?

DB: It was where I was at during the time. I have been doing graffiti since I was 14 years old. Graffiti did not have the same presence as it does now. You were not making money doing graffiti. You have to survive. I was in school at the time pursuing an Illustration degree. I had friends that were getting tattoos and I knew people that were getting tattooed. I was in the punk rock hardcore scene. The bands watched our tattoo. My friends were coming to me asking why you are not tattooing. I was drawing designs for everyone. I was like no, I have to finish school. I got bored with school because I was bombing every night and going out doing graffiti. I was bored with school. I was not getting that much out of it. I said I wanted to do it. I went to the shop and started to tattoo.

ATM: It is like you said, “I do.”

DB: Yes, I said “I do.” I did a hardcore and out school apprenticeship. I started as a piss boy and worked my way up. I worked at the end of the shop, made needles for everyone.

ATM: You crawled before you walked.

DB: You have to.

ATM: You have to start from the bottom and work your way to the top. It is the hardest, but the best way.

DB: You have to work your way up. You have to know every aspect and every angle. Kids nowadays do not know how to make a needle. This to me is astonishing. Ok you know there is a needle, but do you know why you are using this needle? Do you know why this needle as supposed to that needle? Just technical things. There are certain things tattoo artists coming into the game should know every degree about the business like anything. A mechanic knows a car grader in and out.

They might not be working on the car grader every day, but they know how it works, how to build it, why it works the way it does, and the parts of it. This aspect of tattooing has been lost a little bit. You can buy a tattoo set up on Amazon like everything else. There were only two tattoo suppliers. You had to be verified to work in or for a shop. I was not allowed in my shop to order my first machines. I was given them when they felt I was ready. I had worked with what I was given. How can I make it better? This was a part of the apprenticeship. I am thankful for it as difficult as it was. I can go anywhere and tattoo with what I have.

ATM: Some people what to get into it not understanding the reality of it. You cannot just draw on a piece of paper or on Adobe Illustrator and then say, “I want to work in the tattoo industry.”

DB: There are more shitty tattoos then there are quality tattoos. It is a shame. It is exactly what you said. “I can draw on a piece of paper and now I can draw on skin. What is the big deal?” It is a very few that can make this transition in such a flawless way because there is so much in it.

ATM: Okay, describe the moment when you made a mistake with a tattoo?

DB: (Laughs).

ATM: Come on. I know you have.

DB: Look everything is like building blocks. A part of knowing how to do a tattoo is if you do make a mistake you know how to cover it or hide it. I spelled two things only in all of my 25 years. I was able to fix every single one of them. I was ten years into my career. Only thing I should have done was put West on a compass. I was tattooing a sailor who works on a ship. He knows a compass. He knew the “E” should have been on the right and not the left.

Why did he not tell me? It is a team effort here. I was looking at the ocean and it was at the left of me. I was thinking this was east. I mean being on the east coast and all. It was just a stupid mistake. The first thing I did was spell Friends wrong. This was after 10 years of tattooing. After I was done, I looked at it, and went “Oh Shit.” Then in a meter-second. I was like “Wait, five people just looked at it and liked it.” Everyone cannot be wrong. I showed it to them before I did it. I noticed it and called the person. “Hey look. I just looked in the design stencil. I flipped the “I and the “E.” It was an easy fix. We are human. We are not with flaw or error. Now, I always show it to them and let them spell it by letter.

ATM: We need the flaws. DB: It makes us human. In every mistake no matter the part of life, you learn from it. This is it. I was mortified the first time I spelled something wrong. Like was someone of an intellectual. “Did I just do this?” I lost sleep over this. Do I want to make this mistake again? Hell no.

Julien Landais Talks the Romanticism Period, Paris Culture & More

ATM: How would you express the moment when your modern day thinking of today’s period intertwines with the thinking of the period piece?

JL: Human nature does not really change even though we have different eras. Some of them are suppressed and others are open. We live in a world where it is more periods than it has ever been. It is weird, but it is history. I was drawn to the story and characters because it was done in Europe. Henry James said he had the idea of the story when living in Florence. I wanted people to understand what was behind the story that Henry James was saying but did not want to go too far. It was a very cinematic story. It is harder to do period pieces. It is kind of a miracle that we did it at all.

ATM: How did you observe the way in which Henry James embedded imprisonment in the story?

JL: It was a very difficult period. All of these characters feel kind of imprisoned. We can feel the constant spur for more. This is with the three main characters in The Aspern Papers. They knew it was original. It was in Washington Square. You have the double climax in the end. They find marriage and love. This could speak to so many people today with love and relationships.

ATM: What elements of expressing love do you feel has shattered from our perspective of love today?

JL: People are not writing as much nowadays. Love letters were popular during the time because of the Romantic period. There is incredible sexual freedom nowadays. We still love in remnants of the 19th century. Mixing marriage and love was not the case before. It is very pervasive to our modern society.  Before Romanticism marriage was of interest, but it was not loved like it is today.

ATM: Explain the reality of love that transpires through typical storytelling.

JL: We all want love, but when we do have it, then what is there to do with it? It is sustainable. I love Henry James because he asks questions but does not give answers. I do not think anyone has answers. Sort of like the Hollywood romantic comedies we have seen that is changing now. Happily, ever after is a great dream. We need to have it and everyone has it, but is it a reality? He asks questions and then everyone can make his own answers. I try to do this in the film. I am a bit more explicit than he is.

ATM: What was the mentality of the people living in the Romantic era?

JL: It was different. Henry James was not the Romantic era, but you can embody it. They were much passionate, expressive, and longing for this type of love. Romanticism was violent. People wanted to get back to the rough ages and middle ages. It was the time of the Napoleonic Wars. There was a sense of everything was possible after the Revolutionary War. It was very idealistic at the same time. This is the way they expressed their love. Their love lives were very cruel.

ATM: This version of love was stripping away the fantasy in front of people.

JL: There was a lot of this in the love letters. It was much expressed this way. In reality yes.

ATM: It was more so seen in literature such as romantic letters. Now, it is more expressed physically.

JL: They were inspired by the letters sort of like music. They were much sexualized through this.

ATM: A modern version of a romance letter is texting. Back then you could see the ink smudges. The crippled-up marks on the paper where their tears once laid.

JL: Times have changed for sure. It is accelerating in our 21st century world. It is a new version of it.

ATM: How would they have responded to texting?

JL: The poets? They would have been like everyone and still written books. It would be something like the Mick Jagger letter. The early music composers made music but it was very visual. It is an equivalent of these people these days. It is subjective to the times. The rhythms of different eras.

ATM: If texting went away and romance letters came back, then how would this change the current era of love being shared?

JL: Technology and the media. It is about the notion of time and how people relate to time. People do not take the time to discover others and think there are so many possibilities. This is the problem today with all these dating apps. People swipe these days. You do not get to explore all the great human beings. They do not get trapped, but at the time they did not have the choice. People can move on more easily. People can escape more easily without any means.

ATM: Would you agree that you are a cinematic poet with how you direct movies?

JL: This is because some of these things I have personally lived. I hope through cinema I touch people. Even if is a few people. I am a classical musician as well, a pianist. I want to appeal to people through people and also the visual elements.

ATM: Any relations to the main characters in the film?

JL: Yes of course. I would not say I identify with one of the characters, but all three in some ways. It is the same for Henry James. We have all been in this situation. It is never the same level of love. People respond to love differently.

ATM: What does the air showcase about love in Paris?

JL: The walls are beautiful. You can feel it when walking out at night. It is very romantic.

ATM: You feel the love through the air?

JL: Yes. It is a beautiful city full of mystery. It is great to listen to music and write.  

ATM: If you feel it through the air, then the art that is from renowned artists, the love is still repressed in their artwork. What does this air of love feel like?

JL: Yes, definitely. It inspires you. It makes you feel connected to people who have the same feelings. We are social creatures, so we need to relate to others. There is a responsibility through the art. You can feel in amongst human beings much more in New York. There are more socializing people than French people.

ATM: You believe New York people are more likely to socialize than people living in France.

JL: Yes. They are not as open in the French society compared to the American society. The language is more internal and less emotional. My music friends think about it like this as well. In English, it is similar, and you stretch the syllables. In French, the language creates a disconnect from emotion. You feel it amongst the people the way they express it.

ATM: What is the remedy? How do you all create expression through language?

JL: I have been living and studying in America for some time. I travel and meet people from all kinds of worlds. It enriches you, makes you more open, and able to express yourself. The world we live in goes faster. Even with social media. You meet people and there was not a way to speak before. This is great. You get to meet people all over the world and gain different perspectives about cultures. This is what people are afraid of in the world we live in nowadays. We have never communicated as much and shared as much. People are withdrawn because things go to fast. People would adapt. In the first revolution, we went from monarchs to republics. Society changed and now we are going into something else. People cannot live disabled from the world from others. It is too late. You can build walls. People want to preserve culture, and this is a good time. We are looking at what is different and singular about our time.

ATM: How would you observe the Honore Balzac’s term Rastignac as used in French society?

JL: Yes. Rastignac. This means ambition. It is the person that is willing to sacrifice and end everything to succeed. He is the architect of ambition and was a young ambitious fictional male character. This is pretty lost in French society. France is a country that does not value ambition culturally like Americans. It has been like this for the last 200 years.

ATM: So, you would agree that people of the American culture have adapted more of the tendencies of the French originated term Rastignac?

JL: Definitely. Ambition is not a bad word in America, but it is in France.

ATM: If you do not look toward ambition like Americans, then what do you all look towards?

JL: It is the normal level of ambition to be able to succeed, do better, and achieve things. This is exciting and the adventure of life. Ambition is an English word. This is not in France anymore.

ATM: America has the term ‘The American Dream’. What is the ‘Paris Dream’?

JL: This is a complicated question. You can speak for the whole nation. People do not know what they want especially right now. They are caught between two worlds because of communication.  I always felt in Paris that whenever you had a dream it was considered impossible. You always heard things were always impossible. This is true because of our culture. I felt this as a teenager and still today. People in America are more willing to give people a chance. When you fail, you fail. People try. They do not in France. It comes with so many things from the huge administration. It is much slower. It is in all fields of life. Everything is connected of course.

ATM: The typical thing in America is everyone wants to become a millionaire and to become famous. It was not like this 50 years ago. People more so looked to survive. Especially during the Civil Rights era.

JL: It is the same thing in France. It is a part of human nature, but we do not say it in France. It is kept a secret. They want to but do not say it like you all. It is a derogatory word in France. They do not say what they want, but they only say what they do not want. Not all people but the majority hold it in.

ATM: You just released a film. Do you go home and say nothing?

JL: I have some friends who knows. People are different. It is not the same as in American though. People know me but I would not say I am a celebrity.

ATM: If you are in a store, is someone more likely to ask for your autograph?

JL: Yes, but it is done more discreetly. People are less expressive over than in America. Natalie Portman would say people here are not complimentary. When she came back to America, she was in an elevator with a child. A woman came to her to give a compliment and she had forgotten how it felt. It felt so good. She had been living in Paris for a few years and had spoken about it.

ATM: And everyone wants to go to Paris.

JL: It is a very beautiful and good city. Living here is something else. Haha. It is very different.

ATM: Do you consider yourself a Rastignac?

JL: No, because I am not willing to end anything to succeed. I have a normal deal of ambition. I am not ready to sacrifice anything for a higher level of ambition.

ATM: Why?

JL: Because of the feelings and my love life is very important. I want to keep a balance to keep the ideal thing. I am ambitious of course but to a certain point.

ATM: Are you not willing to embark on the sacrificing part of it?

JL: To sacrifice everything for this? No. It would be bad because life is too short. I have a normal deal of it. When I started doing my film, everyone told me it was impossible, and it would never get done. They would never say yes. You will not get to do it. You will never get the financing to do it. I just followed my instinct and met the right people. The only person that did not tell me I would not manage to do the film was James Ivory. He was very supportive and knew how hard it was to do period pieces. I did not tell you, but I did not think it would manage after doing the film. I did not listen to the people who told me not to do it. It is here and it did. People are very happy. I fought for it. It was a real war. There is a creative part, but cinema is also related to politics and business in many ways. The reality of this makes it a war and a fight.

Extraordinary Measures on Love, Growth, & Grief

Frank White plays Derrick in the web series Differences that focuses on relationship tendencies when the male is the “good guy”.  His character does all the right things, but still receives bashful labels from his girlfriend. White discusses relationships and coming to terms with the growth in social bonds between two people.

ATM: It is interesting to see the powerful bond that takes place when a man and a woman enter a relationship. It is a friendship that goes the extra compared to friendship. Love, commitment, and romance are mixed into it. They say you should marry your best friend.

FW: This is true. This is one of the points the show was looking to portray. Things may work conveniently for the moment, but over a period . . . if a person or situation presents themselves to be a more natural or genuine fit, then it will create some issues.

ATM: In the series, Tiffany touched on a part that started the decline in your relationship. She did not believe in your dreams as a cinematographer.

FW: This is correct. This is one of the main plot points. It is subtle, but also powerful to understand. It was a turning point in the relationship. It is first the doubt or the lack of seriousness or involvement in the career chosen as my passion or dream. To go far as putting these things down and diminishing these things not being on the same level of what she is doing. This realization causes you to take a step back and question things.

ATM: It does make you question. This is where the imbalance happens. In a relationship, you are constantly growing. When you grow the other person is growing also. Your character is also trying to establish a career. If anyone does not support you, then your significant other should support you. The support is a part of love.

FW: I agree. This is a big part of love, which is accepting the things you might not agree with the other person. You are still supporting this person and seeing them through. For Derrick’s character, it was how in love am I really with this woman? How in love is this woman in love with me? She would have to love my dreams and the things I want to pursue in my life. It is one of those things or do you love me, love? Do you love me because it is a convenience of what you possibly see what this could be? Do you love the person I am now or the potential? There is a difference.

ATM: Tiffany represented a female character that was selfish. Why? She is thinking about marriage and other things. She does not care about how you feel. I could see how you feel because of your facial expressions. A relationship should not start to feel like a job or a chore.

FW: Right. There is a difference between working on your relationship and feeling like you are working for your relationship. When you feel as if you are working for your relationship, this is when things start to question themselves. Everything will present themselves naturally. If a person is not supposed to be with someone, then things would eventually surface because of certain situations or predicaments. The different ways you will handle them will present themselves. This will create different issues in your relationships.

Certain things might be deal breakers. If I do not want to have kids or get married, then this is kind of a deal breaker. I do not want to put myself in a position knowing long term this is what I really want, but it does not look like the things I want for myself. I am not in this convenient love relationship. I am comfortable at the moment. Again, things will start to fall apart at the seams. Eventually, someone is going to get tired of not being their genuine selves. This is what it comes down to. How long can you put up this front before it comes crashing down? This is where a lot of people make mistakes in relationships. It is when the rushing into the things that starts to play a part as supposed to really getting to know someone. You have a lot of aspects of relationships that happen over time in which sets it apart then a friendship to more.

ATM: Sometimes women try to mold men into what they want to them to be. This is when a man is not what they want them to be. If a guy likes to dress in street clothing, then some women get into the manipulation stage to change them.

FW: Oh, yes. There is a saying that an older man told me a long time ago. “Men get married in the hopes that woman never changes. Women get married in the hopes that the man does change.” I have also kept this in the back of my mind when certain things happen, and I am in a relationship. I completely agree. It plays a part in it.

ATM: When has a female ever tried to change you?

FW: Oh yes in my last relationship. It was a unique situation. We had known each other for a long time. When you get into a relationship, the person that you thought you knew, turns out to be the person you are not with. People get comfortable and start to show themselves. There are certain patterns that start to happen. You start to realize these things and say this might not be the best situation for me long term. It is the “I can barely into this kind of thing.” I am a busy person and a busy body. I was doing 50 million other things when first meeting this person.

This person requested a lot of my time. I respectfully decreased certain hours at work to accommodate. Well, what I had thought was accommodating. This was the slow manipulation into how far she could push me in this area. It goes from its cute you want to see all the time. Now, it seems there is a deeper reason as to why you want me around all the time. Is it because you do not trust me? It is it because of this or that reason? What is it? This type of stuff starts to surface and shows itself over time.

ATM: Sometimes a woman is stereotyped to wanting a lot of attention. Any significant other should never get comfortable. The spark goes away when you get content. You have to find new things to bring joy to their lives. Wow, you changed your job.

FW: I was raised that if you focus on this person and believe that this is something you want you will make the necessary adjustment to your life to ensure these things have the best chances of working out. If my significant other is requesting that she needs more of my time, then I will do the best of my time to accommodate without jeopardizing the entire foundation financially. Making the best decisions that I can within the confines that I am in. Women do not make it easy sometimes when it comes to deciding between these things. There is a lot of guys that do not know what they want. It makes it difficult for the significant other to play a part in what they need.

ATM: Is it okay for someone to risk their dream for a relationship?

FW: You do a lot of crazy things for the people you feel like you are the most about. You will subconsciously sacrifice your dream. People do it every day.

ATM: But is it worth it?

FW: Now, this is a very great question. My answer to this is that there is no real answer. Everyone would have answers that are either for or against. I feel as if you must have some type of faith in something to guide you. For me, when it comes down to choosing to love over my dreams. I am not going to be able to make this decision on my own. I get this spiritually. I will pray. “Hey, God I am in a situation. I need some help to do this over here. I want to give it to you and not worry about it.” It works out one way or the other. Now, if you had to make a conscious choice. I am right here. I have to choose between the love of my life and my dream. You will always feel unfulfilled if you do not go for your dreams. It does not matter who is around. How deep in love you are or your family? There is always going to be that void of if I had done this and that. This is what gets tough. How do I balance being a good boyfriend to my girlfriend? Also, being available for the time to do other things that will make me feel I am moving forward as an individual. Some factor weighs higher than others.

ATM: The first three arguments are often the most challenging. Most relationships cannot make it through the first argument.

FW: Some individuals make decisions based on their current emotions. People make irrational decisions all the time because of how they feel in the moment. Weeks, months, days, they look back to see they were beasty in the decision. They were feeling some type of way. There is the power struggle within the first three arguments. In certain individuals, you want to establish dominance. For women, you want to establish a certain independence. There are certain reasons people do certain things. Everything will reveal itself. If you are arguing like this and you cannot get past the first three arguments, then this is something you have to take a step back to handle. You had your three arguments. So, what happens after the three arguments?

When you came to a resolution? How quickly did you come to a resolution? Did it take a long time? Was there any grudge or hangover from the situation? Were you able to come together? Was it something you had to figure out separately and then come together? Who was the one that apologized first? Who is the one that is picking up the phone first? All of these certain intricacies play into the psychology of a relationship. Especially in a young relationship where these different arguments can make or break your relationships.

ATM: Women and men carry the residue of the hurt that derived from their previous relationship. This happens subconsciously without knowing. They try to make the next woman or man pay for it.

FW: I am going to refer to back to the story about my previous girlfriend. I knew for a very long time. We did not an officially date, but we had the friends with benefits thing. This was while I was a freshman in college. There were certain things I did as an immature 19 or 20-year old that she carried with her all the way to when we got into a relationship. She would bring these things up because she was extremely moved by them. This was a hard-staking point in the relationship. Can you move pass this? I do not know how to admit the wrongdoing of something I did ten years ago. If you cannot get past this, then how are we going to handle something when it becomes major? God knows what he is doing. My mother just passed away last year. My ex-girlfriend and I broke up the year prior in 2017. I have a girlfriend now.

It is amazing what the difference is in the people that you are with. This person was very supportive and encouraging during this time. My father had passed away during the time with my ex-girlfriend. She was completely unsupportive. People would leave condolences on my page. An ex-girlfriend from years ago was giving condolences and she would make it about her. She did not support me in the times where I really needed her. Certain situations we present themselves and people will show who they really are when these situations arise. This was a clear situation where I had to look somewhere else because the support I was needing and in the future was not there. I could not imagine if I was still with my them while my mother passed. How this would have been? God knows what he is doing.

ATM: Often times in the U.S relationship society or culture, we tend to start off knowing the positives and the perfect elements of one another. Later as time progress, we learn about the negatives or imperfections with one another. I feel we should do the reverse to learn the imperfections. If you express to someone your greatest failure or weakness, it does not even have to be extremely personal because you technically do not know them. If they can love you despite everything you tell them in the category of “imperfections,” then it is real and true. Then the good and the positives should follow. It seems like relationships these days are similar to walking through the woods and not knowing what to expect. You are hoping not to see a bear, which is related to meeting someone who is bad and evil.

FW: It is funny you say this. I had a prior experience where I met someone ten years ago. I met this woman at a car accident. She was pissed and cussing. I thought this was its worst. Oh, boy was I wrong. This is how I went into it. It was bad. This okay if it happens occasionally. I can weather this storm. I was wrong. It is interesting what you said about going into a relationship and seeing the flaws first. Yes, I saw the flaw first. The question that I always wonder for myself and others is why we ignore it. Why do we sit there to go “Oh, no I am not going to ignore this woman just cussed me all the way out or this person all the way out?” She is doing shady shit over there. Chewing with your mouth open. Oh no, it does not bother me.

You are smacking your teeth. Oh no, it does not bother me. Eventually, this shit is going to bother me. It is going to come down to bother you. It starts to be the little things and the little things building up. Like what you said before when you do not communicate, the shit starts to blow up. The little things you cannot stay anything about. This is who they are. You cannot say anything about someone smacking and popping their gum. You can but they are only going to stop doing it around you. They have to change who they are around you. The psyches of relationships are very interesting. Especially for me because I look at different situations. I wonder how people get to where they are. What you would have thought that was going to work out completely crash and burn to something that came out nowhere to working better than anything you have put effort into.

ATM: What has been your hardest heartbreak to date?

FW: In life or just period? Honestly, losing my mom last year. I just lost her in August. I am her only child. It has been tough. I am not going to front. I lost my pops in 2016. It has been tough. I am a faithful guy. I believe in God and in prayer. I believe if you keep good around and put it out there, then good will come back. This has been the biggest heartbreak. This was my friend. I am not a momma’s boy, but she was my homie. I have not been home in 13 years. I have been out on my own since 18. I never went back home. We had a great relationship and there are no regrets on this. I appreciate the person she grew me up to be. It is hard. I thought that falling out of love or breaking up with someone was tough. Nah. Losing your mom or dad or someone who has been always for you it is a tougher thing to handle. You get through it with faith. This is with any heartbreak or relationship. In my relationship or girlfriend aspect, it would probably be my last relationship.

I was taken so far out my element and the person I genuinely am that I did not recognize what I was doing. When you get out of it and think back you say “What the hell was I doing? Why was I letting certain things . . . ?” You go through these situations and you have to learn. People who are ignorant do not take the experiences and learn from them. This is where this separates immature people from mature people. Are you able to learn from the situation overall? I know to lose my mom sucks, but I learned so much in five or six months about estates, taxes, property taxes, school taxes, zoning, the power of attorneys, and loans. I would not have this opportunity unless something like this happened. I would have not taken the time to learn it myself. There is a reason I had to learn about this. Turning the bad the situations and learning from it.

ATM: How did your mother pass away?

FW: She had a rare connected tissue disease for eight years. She was on the incline. Her health was going up. She worked in corporate pharmaceutical for 18 years. Then she went into deep sea open water scuba diving. From there she turned into a teacher. This is what she did up until she passed away. She felt good and fulfilled while teaching. To tie back to my original point of dreams. This was my mom’s dream, which was to feel as if she could help people on the ground level. Not at the corporate level where you sign a piece of paper or give them a big bonus. You are helping them get enrolled in an academy so they can better themselves for their children. This is real. This where she wanted to plant her feet. The long road led her to this place. I say this because it was unexpected because she was on the incline. The actual cause of death was complications were from Morphea Scleroderma.

ATM: I would assume you still dream about her.

FW: Yes. It is funny. I do. It is weird. I have been on my own since I was 18. We had a great relationship, but I feel closer to her now when it comes to being connected. I picked up the phone to call before, but now I can just talk. I know she is there. Weird stuff would happen. I would sit at my desk in my office at home. I had balloons from a previous party. I would be talking to her, and the damn balloons would pop. I say “Okay, a little too much. I know you are here.” She knows I am not about this stuff. She is looking out for me.

ATM: She has never left you.

FW: I appreciate the different interview style. This was cool

Enrico Ballarin Talks the Precious Side of Memories in ‘A Head Full of Honey’

ATM: How has your memories help shape your life identity as a person and the main character’s?

E: The main character played by Nick Nolte is sick. He does not know he has a mental illness called Alzheimer’s. His niece, which is the girl who tries to bring him to the place where he had his honeymoon with his wife while younger. It was in Venice. While on the trip to Venice, we shot this on the streets, which passes through the mountains. This is in South Carola. She hopes he can find his memory back, but this is the place where he loses his memory. Also, this is the place where he is not comfortable. He is not able to recognize her anymore.

The film is a remake on the German version that was done in 2003. We did the same thing for this film. It was also made for Warner Brothers. This one was for international distribution. It is the second time that we worked the director and his company as an Italian executive company. We have only our memory. I think we are the products of our past while riding the bus. The memories are an essential part of our character and personality. We would not be who we are without memory.

ATM: What else do you see the main character decline in besides his memory?

E: The film is interesting because it is not only about the disease, but about the relationship between this old man, the little girl, and nephew. It tells a lot about the problem of having someone who has this kind of disease. You have to see somebody and take care of them. This is a big impact on your everyday life. It changes your everyday life. Suddenly you have to take care of your grandfather, uncle, husband, or wife. The day before he starts fishing. This is a very interesting part of the film. It does very well. It talks about the dilemma about how you could deal with this problem. If you can afford it or if you have the money for an institute or hospital. Even if the person is still there and does not have the memory anymore, then they still help with your memories and what they are.

ATM: How does age play a part of in this because he would be expected to have more memories? What can you dictate as to describing the type of person he is according to his past?

E: The past defines the person we are in all of us. This is the main subject of the film. The big thing for people around the main character is that losing his memory is no more the barrier of the person he used to be. It is dramatic and sometimes it is a comedy. Nevertheless, the film dabbles up and shows he gets less and less of the person he used to be. This is what makes it more painful for the people around him like his family, especially the younger. He used to rely a lot on his grandfather. The parents were very much involved in the business. When do you not have any more memories, then what do you have? It is very close to the end of life. At the same time, the film deals with it as a comedy. Some parts are very funny.

ATM: Were there any correlation to memories during the preparation process for this film?

E: Til is very precise and has his ideas. He is a very demanding director. Because he has such precise ideas, he does not want to lose time. This is not in a dictator way. He is doing a lot of the same things at the same time. He is directing, then he is editing the movie while it is shooting. He is very busy and does not want to be inserting. Once he makes a choice then it goes. He gets something to work on right away. He has a lot of proposals, but he is only picking from a few. He is very quick at choosing without any hesitation. He is sharp, clear, and neat. With someone else, they would feel dislike and imposition. I felt it was like a common choice.

This film shows autobiographical sides. We shot in an area that was very close to South Carola. This is a mountain region in Northern Italian. This is the place where he used to come on holidays while he was a child. He would come with his parents and brother. He would go with his family. Some of his family is in the film. He is very much tied to his family. He brought a lot of his childhood memories into the film. This is very interesting. The place where the young girl wants to bring the old man around were the places where Til enjoyed his happy childhood during summer holidays in Northern Italy.

Also, these are places where I loved to be, which was the greatest similarities. We knew the same places. We used to go on vacation in the same areas. These are mountain areas that I like very much. They have beautiful areas. I liked to go there hiking in the mountains, and this the same thing he used to do. They are the most stunning mountains in the world. They are the dynamites. It is really one of the beautiful places in the world. It is very relaxing and dramatic. There are lakes, mountains, villages, wine, and food.

ATM: How is the granddaughter setting an example for the old man living with the disintegrating mental illness?

E: This is a difficult question. The simplest answer is that he must rely on her because he is already in the middle of the disease. She is his guide in a sense. It is not only the easiest thing. He sees in the young girl that same spirit he once had while younger and in good health. This is what he gets from her. The same spirit of adventure, not willing to make any compromises, to be totally transparent, and honest. He recalls these things about himself through her. It is mutual for the little girl. She is the way she is because of their closeness.

Patrick Gallagher: Lover of Dogs

Patrick Gallagher stars as Teo in the recent film A Dog’s Way Home. He recounts moments in his childhood on how dogs became influential to him.

ATM: How does playing the opposites of light and dark in a character reveal a sense of you that was not disclosed before?

PG: You tap into different parts of yourself. The part of TEO is a little bit more empathetic and soulful. I do not get to tap into much as an actor like I would like to. It was nice to play. This is closer to my personality. You sort of figure out what is going on in the scene. You find as much truth as to how you would do it. You tap into that part of yourself. This film got me to tap into my empathetic side. The side that wants to help people. I play a lot of bad guys or “heavies.” Playing bad guys are fun because you get to do a lot of stuff you cannot do in real life. That is a part of what is fun about acting. The play-acting part of it like being a kid. For example, in film I get to shoot guns at people. I wouldn’t want or like to shoot a gun at anyone in real life but is fun to do it when it is all pretend. I like to do this . . .acting because it exposes more of what my personality entails.

ATM: Do you have a dog?

PG: I do not right now. I have not had one for a long time. I live in a building that does not allow me to have one unfortunately. I had German Shepherds when I was young. I love dogs and I am pretty good with them. My favorite on was Jason, then we had Shep and Sheeba who were all pure-bred German Shepherds. We also had a collie named rain when I was like 6 or 7. We had Jason the longest, he was my favorite.  

I grew up in a place called Chilliwack which is 60 miles east of Vancouver. We lived on Chilliwack mountain, which was very remote at the time. There were four houses when we moved there during the 70s. My friend Andrew lived down the hill. I would go to this house and we would hang out. I remembered I had to walk home sometimes while it was pitch black outside because no streetlights. I would call my mother to say I was walking home. She would let Jason out. Out of nowhere I would hear these paws on the pavement, and I would feel better and safer with Jason. He would always be there to help me feel not afraid of cougars, dogs, or bears and irrational kid fears. {laughs} He was such a great dog…. We went on a family trip one year and left him on the kennel. The kennel loved him so much they let him wander free instead of keeping him in a pen, and unfortunately, he drank cleaning fluid and passed away. 

ATM: This is very sad.

PG: I was 14 when this happen. The person was very sad and apologetic. This is how we got Shep and Sheeba. It was a replacement but never the same. The kennel owner liked him so much and let him walk free. He was a curious dog. 

ATM: So, you had conversations with them?

PG: Yes, I did. We had him from when I was young. We had him since I was nine. Yes, I talk to dogs and I still talk to my friends’ dog. They are the only animals I would want to own. They are the connections between humans and dogs. There is no other connection in the animal kingdom like it. We breed them to be loyal partners. Jason would always do this thing where he turns his head, like he was listening or trying to understand. I got the sense he knew what was going on. We have all heard the stories of dogs being able to sense a seizure coming on and things like that or of dogs that could sense tumors. There is some kind of sense dogs have that we do not understand. I saw the movie Alpha, which was a movie about how humanity domesticated dogs. Cats domesticated themselves. I am not a huge cat fan. I am more of a dog person. 

ATM: Why not cats?

PG: Cats make me nervous. You never know where they are. They only come out for a massage and when they want someone to clear up their bathroom. To cats, we are just massage therapists, bathroom attendants and smorgasbords in my opinion. {laughs}They make me nervous, they just appear out of nowhere. Eventually even when they seem happy and are purring, they will swat at you. I have only met one cat in my life that I trusted to never swat at me at some point, his name was Sofi. The never did by the way. I am not really a cat person. You cannot play with a cat. I do not feel any love between cats. I want to feel love with a pet. You feel love between a dog and a human. If you throw a stick at a cat, then they will look at you like you are crazy. 

ATM: They look at you with the question “Are you going to go get that because I am not?” 

PG: Yes. It is always on their terms. I saw a show where they put a tracker on some cats. Then stopped feeding them for a week to see what would happen. Three out of the ten cats bolted from their owners. They had been with them for years. See no love {laughs} (they all got returned by the way and the owners were in on it from what I remember). They are solitary individuals and I gravitated more toward animals that live in groups. My favorite animals are dolphins, chimpanzees, Orcas, and wolves. I have realized it’s the animals that live in a sense of community that I gravitate toward. This is probably why I do not like cats. I like the aspect of companionship and compassion. If people want to have cats, then this is fine, but I am ambivalent about cats.

ATM: Do you think it is possible that dogs can talk?

PG: They will understand a sound, and relay this to an action. I am not a biologist, but a scientist would know this for sure. From my understanding is that they feel emotion and they are incredibly intelligent. They can associate a sound with an action. They understand the word sit. They are not thinking “I have to sit down,” but they understand what action you want. They are intelligent animals in so many ways. Animals are much more intelligent then we give them credit for sometimes. I watch a lot of shows about animals. They are most more intelligent. Crows are very intelligent. Whether we can go to this point of actual language understanding, I do not know. I wonder if it will get to the point as to whether we can breed this into them, and this is sort of an ethical point. 

As our technology develop and science in 100 years, can we be able to do this? Well I guess the question is, should we? A lot of it comes out of breeding. I was watching a show where a Russian scientist wanted to see how quickly they could breed out feral instincts of foxes. It only took like five generations to breed a basically domesticated fox. It happens quickly with dogs how we can manipulate their characteristics and traits. I would like to be able to talk to my dog. They are wise and know things. I remember talking to my dog. I have friends that talk to their dogs, which is what we know is technically alone way conversation, but we are feeling something back from them. 

ATM: In some imaginary world, if they could speak would you become nervous?

PG: If I was walking down the street and heard a dog speak to me, then I would go “What the heck?”, but It would be a great thing wouldn’t it. It is humanity’s best friend. If we can talk to our best friend, then this is not a bad thing. They would be great at finding packs, as the movie is about. Sometimes they can find their way home when we cannot. They could be like living tour guides or google maps if they could talk This would be good jobs for them. If the animals were our google maps. “Take a left at the mountain. Head through Colorado.” They could help us with this. Do you have a dog?

ATM: Yes.

PG: Big dog or little dog?

ATM: It’s a little dog. York Terrier named Cocoa. 

PG: I use to not like little dogs. Like I said we had the Shepherds mostly. I have a lot of friends with smaller dogs and recently have grown to like little dogs, but I like all dogs. Do you talk to your dog?

ATM: Sometimes. I more so look to receive a comic relief. You just look at them and go aww. Your day becomes better.

PG: It is nice that they can. It is the silent comfort Sometimes you need or want to talk but want to have something there to feel better. I wish I could have a dog. It would be nice to have a dog that gives you unconditional love. This is what I love about dogs. You do not get this from cats. They are more of a one-way relationship, their way lol. Dogs love us and feel love I think This is why there is a big connection. 

ATM: They understand humanity even deeper than humans.

PG: True and they are loyal as hell. This is a great thing. This is what I worry about if they get the chance to talk. They are great the way they are right now. They tap into our humanity in a way no one else can. It is all about feeling when it comes down to it. Our ability to think separates us from the animal world. Our emotions and love deep down makes us human essentially. You are not in your head with dogs, but you are in your heart and soul with dogs. They are fun to play with and walk. Not to pick up their poop. Always feel bad seeing a dog having to poop. They always get that face like they know everyone is watching them. They have the look like “Do not watch. I am pooping.”  

ATM: They have to go the bathroom in front of people. At least we have bathrooms.

PG: They use the bathroom and then run away.

ATM: Yes. For a split second they forget the humiliation. 

PG: I do not know what we would do without them. They have been a huge part of human development. They have been a part of humans defending themselves and farming. I watch a lot of shows about the intelligence of animals. It is always fascinating. 

ATM: I always wonder what they think about us.

PG: A lot of it is feeling. I would like to think they like us. It is a symbiotic relationship. I think they do. I am glad they are around. People need to make sure they take care of their pets. 

ATM: It is sad for some people who contribute to animal cruelty. 

PG: It is really sad. I have never understood this.

ATM: They remember things when they get older. If a kid is mean to them as a puppy, then they will remember this. Some will attack you when you become older. 

PG: They also get to the point where it is not always with them. They can forget the trauma. If a dog feels safe and loved, then it will go away. I am envious of this. They do not hold on to trauma like we do. It is amazing that you hear stories from New Orleans and Katrina for example where they found their way home to owners who had moved across the country. Bella is going to find Lucas and she is not just go back to a town. People should go see the movie. It is a bit of a tear jerker, but there is nothing wrong with feeling emotion.

ATM: You cried?

PG: I cried a little. . . maybe. . . Actually, It was dusty in the theater. This is my story and I’m sticking to it. But yes, I did cry, and that’s good when a movie can make you feel.

ATM: Did you use Kleenex or a napkin to wipe your tears?

PG: I used my sleeves. I am that type of guy.

ATM: You are a sleeve type of guy?

PG: Yes. I am a sleeve type of guy. I had used my sleeve. All my napkins had popcorn grease on them. 

ATM: Oh no, you do not want popcorn grease in your eye. 

PG: Nope.

Antjuan Ward: ‘Differences’ on Male Perception & Gender Bias in Relationships

Antjuan Ward is the co-creator of the Miami Independent Film Festival Officially Selected Series Differences. The series highlights how people are asked to process and react emotionally, mentally, and socially to certain events/situations that occur in their lives. Derrick Peters, along with his friends Malcolm, DeShawn and Ralph struggle to tackle various issues within themselves, those around them, and who they choose to be with. Ward talks about not only looking in the mirror but how each gender should see differences in their actions.

ATM: Why do you believe you are a force to be reckoned with your talent?

AW: Sometimes it is good to master one thing. It’s also good in our society and our community that you are a jack of all trades. That person can help guide the people that needs to master one thing in the right direction. I am not only a director, but I write, produce, and act sometimes. That’s just on the film side of things but I am also on the music side. I am good at songwriting, producing music, and rapping if need be. There are not a lot of people who can say they do all of this at a quality level. I make sure that no matter what happens, the foundations of my work always has quality. This has come with a certain work ethic behind it. I work hard to study my craft, be a part of the craft, and make sure it is up to a certain standard and acceptable to a lot of people.

ATM: What do you believe is so special about black love?

AW: I think it is because of how unique it is, which makes it different. Black love has to come with a certain type of acceptance of flaws in society. I have to understand that the black woman is the MOST underappreciated woman in society. As a black man, this is a must to be understood. I have to show you that not only are you appreciated over here, but you are more than what society says you are, and I have to stand by this. When I end up loving someone this shows. This raises the black woman up in her confidence and has value in herself and in society. Also, it is reflected on us black men because of how we are treated in society and in the
media. When you can put this confidence in someone else, it’s so easy going. I can feel like I can handle everything out here because of her and what she does. This is why black love is important because you do not get this from what I see as white love. This is just love and regular love. You might deal with things in your personal life, whether you have hardships in your life, but not the societal side of it.

ATM: Do you think it is both parties being naïve to accept the imperfections between one another? Do you think this naivety is what holds them together before getting to the stage of realizing no one is perfect?

AW: It is a little bit of being naïve, but also not trusting. You do not know the person to display all your flaws. You think they might judge you or not understand where you are coming from. Maybe the communication is not there both verbal and nonverbal. This beginning spark of the relationship is trying to see can this person really understand who I really am. This is where you bring in the representation of who I kind of am. It is easy to take this, and I can slowly show you who I am. If you can take this, then obviously the love grows from there.  

ATM: Once the two parties get to know each other beyond the looks and the material stuff, I feel as though their love is one the route of becoming unbalanced.

AW: So, once they show you who they are, it becomes unbalanced?

ATM: For example, I would assume the two characters Tiffany and Derrick in your web series
‘Differences’ were happy in the beginning. There love is on a different level just by looking at it. I would say the more you get to know someone in the relationship this makes the love unbalanced.

AW: I see what you are saying. There is always a tipping scale in a relationship. You try to get it down as much as possible. Not to tip it, so it weighs too much on one side. These are two different people. They will definitely have some commonalities, but the differences are what makes us different. The things I could accept about you and the things you could accept about me are just different. The resulting process, the way you move, and how you act. These are the things that make me ask “can I accept this thing.”

ATM: Derrick hit on a great point about the unbalance in any culture or race. He says something along the lines of “When have you ever took me out?” This is the stereotype of the man is the giver and the woman are the receiver. Even if the man imposes on an idea of asking “When will you take me out?” “When are you going to buy me something?” “When are you going to buy me flowers?”

AW: This is a good point. You get comfortable a lot of times while in a relationship. Let’s say this from a male perspective. If you have never had a good man and suddenly you get one, then you are going to get comfortable in receiving what a good man gives you. Sometimes you say, “Oh, shit I have not taken him out. I have not massaged his back when he came from work. He has been doing this for me. I have just been enjoying and receiving it.” From his perspective, he is like, “You have not really done these things for me as well. Where is the 50/50 here?”
Sometimes with this complacency comes a lack of love. You are like “here I am doing all these things for you and you are not doing these things for me.”

This happens a lot in relationships where the man is the giver and not the receiver. Does this happen vice versa? 100%. You feel if a man does not have a good woman and then gets a good woman, then he does not understand “I should be doing something helpful for her and show her my appreciation as well.” This is something I hope based on this series will start a conversation with a lot of relationships. “I should do more for my man because he does more for me and vice versa.”

ATM: This should get changed or modified in the relationship culture. Sometimes this happens, but it needs to be more celebrated. Men should be pampered as well as women. It would take each party to know the true compassion, worth, love and value of one another.

AW: I agree. I know the feeling of “We have been going on dates and I have been paying. Suddenly you say oh there is no big deal.” The woman should say “Oh, are you free today? I should take you out.” The guy would say, “Oh, you took a whole day out for me?” It is just a better feeling and it does matter.

ATM: When some men get into a real relationship that is not defined with appearance, he knows
whether he will marry her or not. The woman should not pressure him.

AW: It is some truth to this. When you are with a girl and it is good, and it feels good, you want to do so much for her. You know the way it is going. You tell your friends “She is good.” You know as long as things do not get left that this will go right. Sometimes you just know. Most of it is that you have a good inkling about it. You feel this is probably the one. It feels right and different than the other ones. Because it feels different, this is probably the one I will probably end up with.

ATM: Some men are more passive toward the topics of marriage and engagements. They do not talk about it openly like women. You always see in the film, T.V, or in general, the women thinking and saying stuff about marriage.

AW: We are more so simple. I am not saying women are complex creatures. It is simply the idea of “I want to buy a home for you. I want to have children. I want to be with you. I understand the cultures of marriage. You want to have a great marriage. You sign these papers then you are married.” For example, when you are dating a guy and he starts calling you his “girl.” He has already made up in this mind you are his girl. No title is going to make a difference. This is it. “My actions are not going to be with any other girl.” He is letting all the other girls go and he is introducing you as his girl. You have made the title, but I have made the title in my mind. Then at some point in the relationship, it turns to “this is my wife.” It also comes down to certain people’s religion, beliefs, and faiths. We just understand that we want to get married. Women fantasize. A lot of people think the wedding day is the woman’s day and not really the man’s day. “We are here. I am happy to be here with you. I am spending a lot of money.” A lot of marriages that have been together for 15 or 20 years got married at the Justice of the Peace. “We spent our money on things that matter. The house and paying off our debts. It is cool. We can have a little reception at the house inviting friends and family over. We were already married, but we just made it official.”

ATM: I am not a guy, so express the feelings of when you have ever received butterflies because of a woman.

AW: Aw, man. It is different for guys in every situation. Sometimes it can be a smile. This could be it. The lady can just be looking at you and you are like “Oh, yes. This is the one. I love this smile.” It could be a situation where you are out with a girl, having drinks and laughing. She goes, “Babe, I got you.” He goes, “Oh you got me!” He feels special. I tell a lot of women that, “You do not have to cook or clean for me. I can do this for myself. But if you do, then you’re winning. Now, I do not have to do as much.” You are already adding to my life. For a guy, it is nothing better to wake up smelling breakfast. It is not just you’re cooking. You got up out of the bed and you thought about me. This gesture alone feels good. It is different moments when you feel butterflies. “She really likes me.” If I am randomly having a bad day, then you just initially start rubbing my back. You got me like this. These things tell us “This girl is really rocking with

ATM: In relationships, the guy could be doing everything right, but the girl leaves or cuts off contact. I feel the female is afraid of love. When two parties have a connection, it is often described as an internal feeling. We might not have the right words in our dictionary to even describe the feeling. The female is afraid of it. When you go into the stage of love, you are figuratively ripping off the clothes to your feelings. You are potentially metaphorically naked. You can get hurt.

AW: It is a mixture of being afraid of love and commitment. This is one. Then you start realizing they are missing something you knew you wanted but you kind of put it away, to the side. Now it is starting to magnify. Maybe that something that you used to value is the one thing you are missing. Maybe you are being petty. Maybe he is doing everything right in a general sense, but not in a specific sense. It could be something about not taking care of the house, you are not cheating, you are not lying to me, but the sex is not good. Even with this, “why can’t you sit back and watch a movie with me? Why can you not ask how my day was? You make sure I am good, but you do not talk enough.” This could be it.

ATM: Women talk a good game about men among their friends but get nervous once they are in front of a guy. They get nervous. They do not want to make the mess up.

AW: This is also true. Maybe they think the guy is not good for them, and they are not enough. “I was dealing with a messed-up dude. I have not gotten over yet. He does not deserve this.” This comes down to one of the premises of our web series, which is communication or the lack thereof. I need to know while dating you where your mind is at. What is something that you were dealing in your past that you have not gotten over yet? I am with you with for four or five years. I go in front of a counselor and now I am hearing stuff that I have never heard. I am a firm believer of making your environment comfortable for someone to talk to you. “Why did you not tell me this?” Maybe I did not make it comfortable enough or you were not comfortable to talk with me about it. “Why did we have to wait for a third party to get involved?” I am not saying therapy is wrong because it does work. There are a lot of things we should be discussing in the house. I should not sit back and get used to negative emotions. I should sit back to hear
you out. “What is actually wrong?” “What is on your mind?” “Where are you at? No, where are you at?”

I enjoyed this and had fun.