When I was a student at NYU, I was lucky enough to find a great teacher. His name was Haig Manoogian – and he spoke with such passion
about cinema. When I started directing, I met Ludwik Margules, a theatre director
who I was fortunate to study with. Those three years changed my perception
of what it meant to be a director. I was fresh from San Francisco Art Institute;
came to New York. I was introduced to Lawrence Weiner. I always knew I wanted to tell stories. Mr. McKenzie, my biology teacher, he encouraged us to create
a theatre arts group. Lawrence would challenge me. Why are you making this?
What is the purpose of it? What is the purpose of art? Ludwik taught me to question myself, and to embrace uncertainty
as part of the process. He came up to me in the hallway one day and he said,
“you have unlimited potential.” When you’re 14 and somebody tells you
you have unlimited potential… that’s a really cool thing to hear! He set a fire in our hearts and he inspired me to believe in myself. Beyond transmitting knowledge, Ludwik gave me confidence
and helped me bring out the best of myself. All of those explorations, they live on with you. His words have stayed with me forever. We build on the shoulders
of the people that came before us and then we have to pass on what we know
to a new generation.