Anyone who knows me knows I love the Sunshine State. It's home. The beaches, the swamps, the live oaks, tall pines, and the gators, as long (as we're talking about the wild kind, and not the orange and blue kind - I can do just fine without those, thank you very much.)
My Florida is different from the Florida most people from the north imagine when they plan a vacation. It's not so much Orlando, the Venezuelan pool boy at the hotel in SoBe -- it's a lot more Orlando, the city you drive to when you need something you can't get at the local bait shop.
It might be a little surprising, but I've lived in Florida for the majority of my life (just barely, but it's true.) My career has taken me from Atlanta to Columbia SC, to New York, to Vancouver, to Houston, and DC. But for many years, as a director based in New York, my real home -- between shoots, anyway -- was in Florida. While I grew up in a little town north of Orlando, I've lived and embraced Tampa and Miami. I appreciate the things all Florida cities have in common, and the things that are radically different as you travel the state. In short, Florida -- all of it -- is home. And there's no place like it.
Which is why, now that I'm a New York-based director once again, it's time to plant the in-between-shoot roots where they grow the strongest. I want my kids to know that the 21st street waves are a great right you can surf when the lifeguards go home. I want them to tube Rock Springs, camp in the Scrub, and understand that while rock shrimp can make your fingers bleed, they're worth it. I want them to grow up with the advantages I had (an understanding of how to defeat sand flies); as well as the ones I didn't (a familiarity with MOMA.) So as it has before, it once again makes absolute sense to me to be a New York director who just happens to live in Florida.
We'll be leaving DC in a couple of weeks. We found a little place in the north part of Central Florida. We'll plop for awhile while we assess more permanent space. Work will, as it has before, come from New York, Chicago, Philly, Pittsburgh, Atlanta -- and now, DC. And just like always, I'll be where I need to be when I need to be there. The only difference is, when I'm not shooting, I'll be near palm trees, waves, and....yes, swamps. I love swamps. I hear tell there's an airport in Orlando, and they seem to fly everywhere. They certainly fly to LGA on a very regular schedule. I promise I'll make the meeting. And I'll leave the waders at home.
As a director, I shoot where the spot decides I shoot. What goes in front of the camera is always the most important thing, and even if you're shooting in a studio, where you shoot defines what's in front of the camera. Once the shoot is done, though, where you go home to, I think, contributes to who you are as a person. Going home to Florida is the best thing for me, and the best thing for my family. To be honest, it's the best thing I can imagine.