Conversations

Conversation No. 41 – Talking with Ethan

Ethan is from Brooklyn, New York. He was living in Brooklyn as a third-year college student/filmmaker at the time of his interview. He spent his days “doing what I believe to be the most crucial thing to do at this point in my life, and that’s learning and laughing.”

Ethan’s Most Likely To Is: Most Likely to Have Fun

Ethan explained where his ‘learning & laughing’ philosophy comes from:

“Birthday to birthday, I like to assess how far I’ve gotten or [how many of my] goals I’ve achieved. And for this year of being 20, I decided this is the year that I need to learn everything I need to learn.

And the laughing thing came secondary; I realized that you have to take life with a grain of salt. Being able to see the humor in everything really opened my eyes to a lot of things.”

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We talked about setting big goals at a young age:

“I feel like I’m right on time…or in route to being on time. The thing is; I have life goals set by age years. For example, by the time I’m like 25 I want to have my first feature [film] in the theaters. At 25 I want to have that. The thing in today’s climate [of] the film world [is]; most guys are not young [and] doing that.

No one is young, or like below the age of 30, really directing movies and getting their vision out in that way…and film isn’t the only thing I want to do, so that makes it even more crucial to be on my ‘P’s and ‘Q’s.”

Ethan discussed how he balances his “the party should be wherever you are” approach to life with the fact that so many creatives use pain and sadness as inspiration for their work:

“What I would say is absolutely necessary, is to be excited. I think a lot of people, you know they’ll start off that way, and then as they’re going they’ll lose the excitement. Here’s the thing about excitement, especially [for] the creatives.

Say you’re a music producer, or an artist, or whatever it is you’re doing – when you’re excited about it, and you’re dying to show somebody – you know you’ve got something…I believe excitement is the key. And that laughing portion, it can help with that, or be part of it. And for me, it helps keep the excitement alive.”

He shared his thoughts about the relationship between the definition of art and the skill/craft of art:

“Art is allowing yourself to make mistakes. And then when you’re good enough, and you’ve got some experience, you really become an artist and you know which ones to keep. Going to school will just teach you the basics, the foundation of it.

And only when you have mastered the basics, can you really be an artist and freely do what you’re feeling and express this or that; because you know the ins-and-outs and how it will affect whatever it is you’re trying to do.

In a lot of ways, learning the basics is essential. School isn’t for everybody, and school isn’t always like the best answer to getting those foundations, but definitely learning the basics and mastering them is like essential…no matter what you’re doing.”

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We talked about some of the people in entertainment who inspire him, including comedian Kevin Hart:

“Remember when I said earlier about reaching people and art? Kevin Hart reaches the people in a way that the other comedians don’t. That’s what puts him on top. [His rival comedians] may not see him as the funniest comedian ever, but the way he’s reaching the people.

…he’s reaching them in a way that everybody is not and that is the key thing that makes his art so great. His style and what he does is something everyone can connect with and he’s positioned himself [so] he can win.”

Ethan described the moment in his childhood when his goals changed:

“I’ve always been ambitious. I remember telling everyone in my house that I was going to be rich one day, and they would work for me! And they’d always ask, ‘oh, what’s your plan? What are you going to do?’ And originally, you know, the plan was…go to the NBA. I loved basketball, that’s when I was twelve.

And then I turned 13, and all my friends hit their growth spurts, and I was still 5’2”. And everyone else was like 5’7” and up. And this is when I was keeping up with everything. High school ball, college ball, the NBA…I was into it, like that was a destined thing.

I did intense research on it. I saw that the average point guard was like 6’2”. And I was already taller than my dad and my grandpa and my uncle by like 9th grade…so I was like, ‘uh, this might not be the thing for me!’

Since then, it’s been a constant pursuit of trying to identify what it is I want to do. And as the journey continued, I would say everything that I’ve developed a strong interest in, [or] a love for, I will be doing…or will incorporate into what it is I’m doing. Except for playing professional basketball.”

Listen to our full interview with Ethan | Check Out Ethan’s Latest Projects on his DirectedXFrome YouTube Channel

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