About the project

What made you go with this concept for FAIL?
I had one concept in mind that I thought was getting somewhere until it wasn’t. Then out of the blue, my Dad calls me and says “Hey, let me know when you have time to take a ride.” I knew immediately what he meant: the 1932 Ford Sedan Delivery he had been building for years was finally road-worthy.

When I think of my Dad’s street rod, I immediately think about how long he has been working on it. For years people have been asking me, “Is your Dad’s car done yet?” with a heavy sarcasm that he might never finish it.

But my Dad wasn’t just building a car. He was creating it, crafting it out of this dream image he’s had in his head. Setbacks, failures searching for the “right” parts are par for the course, but the time it has taken is what sticks in people’s minds. Sure, the process has been frustrating for him at times, but it’s also been fun to see him experiencing a creative journey. He’s like a kid working on that thing.

So I thought this is the perfect subject for FAIL—and I’ll tell the story from the car’s perspective. Honestly, it’s been the car that could probably say it was the most frustrated with thoughts of failure, not my Dad. It was interesting to imagine that the car has been sitting in his garage all this time, where it can “see” the road so closely, but just can’t get there.

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This piece feels very personal…a tribute to your Dad in some ways. How does the idea of FAIL play into your relationship with your Dad?
It is a love letter to my father for sure. And if anyone truly lives with our failures, it’s our parents. And every creative bone I have in my body comes from him. He taught me photography, layout, design, the power of words and a tenacity for taking time to do things right, even in the midst of failure. For me the film is about this one example of how you need to see failure from another perspective, that creativity doesn’t always come in thrift, that inspiration needs breathing room. Most of us work on so many projects, then they leave the nest, while some never even see the light of day. But this car, his dream: he lives with it; it’s a part of him. Just like his lessons are a part of me and honestly, he’s the one who made me see the value of failure growing up because he could always see the better in me before I could.

Why do you think people are afraid to fail?
Because we never think about the other side of failure. Taking a chance on an idea or an opinion means we might be wrong or look stupid. So fear keeps us from being better most often. But failure keeps us educated and keeps us from failing in the same way again—at least until we fail again, differently. Hopefully, we come away smarter and a little more fearless.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Nope, but I think I’ll go call my Dad.

About the FilmMaker

Owner, Initial Here Creative Services


China’s giant pandas are an endangered species, with only about 2060 of them left in the wild.