Patrick Takaya Solomon is the producer and director of the upcoming movie Finding Joe, a film about famed mythologist Joseph Campbell. The film combines interviews with people ranging from actress Rashida Jones to author Robin Sharma and includes enactments of classic mythical stories that guide us in our travels through the stages of what Campbell outlined as the ‘Hero’s Journey.’ Finding Joe aims to show the audience how Campbell’s philosophy is not only relevant today, but is the ‘narrative for how to live a fully realized life.’ In anticipation of the film’s release, Patrick shares with us some insights:
Can you explain Joe Campbell’s philosophy in three sentences?
Let’s see, his now famous quote ‘Follow your bliss,’ sums it up very nicely but it’s often misunderstood or passed over as new age crap. To me, it means constantly engaging in that thing (or things) that stoke you out the most. This sounds very simple but it’s really quite difficult. In fact, most of us have been doing the exact opposite our entire lives. Sorry, that was four sentences.
Why do you feel that it’s important to make a film about Joe and his work now?
I didn’t really time the film to come out in the current economic and political climate (which I would describe as ‘down’). I just started because it felt right. However, it feels like if there were ever a moment in my lifetime when this film should come out it’s right now. I think the world is hungry for the message and certainly could use a large dose of creative inspiration, even if it’s only for the length of the film.
There’s a broad mix of folks in your movie — from sports stars to actors. Is there a common theme that brings them all together?
The general idea behind the mix and choices was random on the one hand and planned on the other. I wanted to have a few people that had no idea who Campbell was but were ‘Following their bliss’…. Tony Hawk was perfect. I had a feeling that people like him would turn out to say the exact same things as people who were well read in Campbell’s work. On the other hand, I didn’t have a huge target list. One interview would lead to the next. Also, the interviewees are who they are because my personal contacts are who they are… if that makes sense. I skate and I surf, so I have connections (and personal interests) to Tony and Laird. I don’t golf, so no Tiger Woods.
In the movie, there is talk about taking up your calling when it comes along. The ambition of many creative professionals today seems to be to quit their jobs, join a start up, work hard, and make it rich. Does Joe’s philosophy support or criticize this mindset?
Hmmmm. If your actions, i.e. quit job…join a start up…get rich etc., are motivated by a sense of ‘this is what I really love to do’ then you are on the right path, and you’ll be so damn happy you won’t care about getting rich, and because you’re so so damn happy and don’t care about getting rich, you’ll probably get rich. On the other hand, if your actions are motivated by the end result of getting rich, you’ll be unhappy on your way to getting rich, you probably won’t get rich, and if you do get rich, no amount of money in the world will ever satisfy you… there will always be a person with a bigger house and a better car and more money than you… haaaa haaaa you’re in hell ;)
What would readers of PSFK learn from watching Finding Joe?
This movie is a tailored fit for anyone who has a shred of creativity in their bones! There is a lot on information packed in there. I think the big intellectual lesson is that you are on the same journey as every hero and heroine from every story ever told and every story that will ever be told. However, it’s not so much what you learn, it’s more about what you feel. It galvanizes your courage and makes you feel like you can do anything. If you were thinking of quitting your job and jumping into a start-up, don’t blame me if you walk into work the next morning and tell your boss to take a hike.
Where can we see the movie and when?
The film opens in L.A on Sept 30th at the Laemmle Santa Monica then rolls out nation wide. We are adding theaters all the time so check the website often for updates. Also, wanted to say thanks so much! I’m a huge fan of PSFK!