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" Having to stake out your identity and have people question whether or not you're being yourself was a tension that I could relate to. "
" I was always going to direct. I wasn't going to hand my characters over to anyone else. "
" In an industry that's uncertain and when you're in a lot of situations that are anxiety-causing, to have someone there who has your back unconditionally and cares for you and the material and would give anything to make sure everything is OK, makes you feel so much better. It gives you a sense of security as an artist. "
" I want people to get from 'Pariah' that it's okay to be you and not to check a box as a parent or child. "
" New York offers people the anonymity to be themselves without judgment. "
" I kept getting offered all this young adult stuff. I don't want to keep telling teen coming-of-age stories! "
" When I'm on set, I know what I want. "
" I was never physically abused, but when I came out to my parents late in life, when I was 27, they definitely had an intervention. "
" I can't put anything out that's not me. "
" It's a failure of imagination if you can only write what you know - we have to be able to imagine different worlds. "
" You can't be limited by your own experience. "
" If I can go three grandmothers back and find a slave, that means someone else can go three grandmothers back and find a slave owner. When you interrogate your histories, it forces you to rethink who you are and where you are. "
" I had this thing where I only wanted to work on original material, no adaptations, and obviously, that changed. I really wanted to have the resources and have the space and the time to tell stories that I've really cared about. I've kind of changed my approach, but I've gotten to do that, to tell stories that I really care about. "
" For me, like, obviously, I want to see myself onscreen. "
" There's a line that runs between everyone and their ancestors, and you cannot sever that. Maybe disassociate from those ideas but not how you are connected to them. But, you can realise how you've benefited and change how you raise your kids. "
" For kids who are struggling, who are of faith, just reconciling yourself to the fact that God loves you, accepts you for who you are, is a big step in the healing, especially when your biological family is unaccepting of you. "
" I'm not a writer that writes every day. I just kind of have ideas. I jot them down when I have them, and when I have enough, I just start. And for me, I start more around noon, and I'm all about feeling. Once there's a theme, I can't not write. "
" People have almost been lulled into complacency because there are no signs over the water fountains. But the signs have been in the policies. There's still housing discrimination and wage discrimination. "
" Filmmaking in general is my second career. I thought that writing wasn't practical, so I went to business school and got an MBA, and I worked three years in grant management. "
" There's a lot of power in saying no to big things that you don't want to do in order to say yes to the kind of things that really inspire you. "
" You don't get to hand footnotes to the audience or explain what you were trying to do and what it's supposed to be. Everything has to be on the screen, and it has to be clear. "
" With 'Pariah,' at the time, I had just come out. I had a coming out experience, and I was writing about it, transposing my experience as an adult: What would it have been like if I had been a teenager in Brooklyn? The funny thing was people thought I was from Brooklyn. I had to be like, 'No, I'm from Nashville.' "
" To have a simultaneous global audience as an artist is more than you could ever hope for. "
" For me, books were my source of affirmation. Alice Walker, Audrey Lord - it was these authors who wrote about their experiences. It was this weird thing where I was censored in terms of what I could watch but not in terms of what I could read. "
" Contemporarily, we struggle with people worried about representation sometimes. It's a burden, as artists, that we take on that limits the work. It limits the characters people play. It limits the roles they want to do. "
" I still want to do features, but on my own terms. "
" For each character, I try to understand what is driving them. "
" I've always liked to write, but I never thought I could make a career out of it. "
" I'm interested in characters and relationships. "
" Our country is pathologically violent. "
" Both grandfathers fought in different wars. My mother's father fought in World War II, and then my father's father fought in Korea. And they're both these country boys, one from rural Tennessee and one from rural Louisiana - and they never went back home. "