Miranda July on Kajillionaire, Instagram Filmmaking, Creativity and More | Interviews

Me and my husband actually say this phrase that we learned in a child birth class, which was “soften into the contraction,” what you were supposed to do. I didn’t even up having like a normal birth anyway, so we never got to apply that phrase in the moment, but we apply it to our work all the time. 

It’s funny that you say you can’t be creative with a gun to your head—how do you keep that freeness on set? How do you not have the proverbial gun to your head?  

It’s not so much at that point, it’s just self-consciousness. I’ve got it down to an art if I’m totally alone, but how to maintain that … I think this may be the first movie where I was aware enough to realize that that was what I needed. I remember every single person I hired to work on the movie like crew-wise, my litmus was, Can I be relaxed enough to have a feeling around them? Because most people, you don’t have new thoughts around them. Somehow it’s dangerous, you stay on your paved road. 

I remember this moment on set, on “Kajillionaire,” where I must have been spacing out or had something on my mind, and I heard someone started to come up to me, and then someone on the crew said, “If you don’t know not to talk to Miranda when she’s in her zone, then you haven’t been paying attention.” [laughs] Like someone scolded someone out. I remember thinking, Oh, I think I’ve made it. This is it. This is the thing that you work for, to have your space protected by other people. 

When you’re working with so many people in the creative process, does the sense of when’s a good take change? Or is it back to the idea of a gut instinct? 

I’m not that creative, I just kind do the days in the way that the unions kind of demand them to, and I go along with that. But yeah, it’s a gut thing. I would say that I really trust in myself, and without being bonkers about the number of takes because it’s hard to shake your conscientiousness about money when you’re coming from an indie world. That said, I just don’t stop until I’ve got it. I always know when I’m sitting in the editing room that it’s there, I just don’t know what take it is, but I know that I wouldn’t have stopped until I had it. It’s like an insurance policy on the movie. 

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