The Reformers - Additional Scenes
Jim Solves Filmmaking
While filming The Reformers, I spent some time with James Lindsay at his leafy sanctuary in Tennessee.
He lives in a quiet and comfortable home with his loving wife who I affectionately call “Sass Queen”, or “Squeen”, on account of her talent for playful teasing and her no-bullshit attitude.
One afternoon I was out exploring the local countryside when I got a text message from James telling me he’d received a decision email for one of the hoax papers, and that I should hurry back to film him opening it. I was fairly confident the email was going to be another rejection so I decided to take a different tack.
James holds a PhD in enumerative combinatorics, a field of mathematics that deals with identifying patterns that can be described as a kind of complicated puzzle-solving. I think this is an insight into how he approaches the world more generally - reality itself is a puzzle to be solved.
Day and night, he consumed Woke academic papers and canonical texts, ferreting out definitions from the doublespeak, and identifying the underlying patterns. He’d then find ways to replicate those patterns in the hoax papers. During moments of respite, he'd methodically practice his martial art or prepare food while describing the chemical processes at play.
I got the sense that while I observed him, he was observing me, trying to solve the complex puzzle of my filmmaking. He’d ask technical questions about my equipment and wanted to understand why I’d shoot some things but not others. He interrogated my reasoning for structuring shoots in a particular way and then pulled me up when I diverged from the procedure.
With all this in mind, instead of rushing home to film another rejection email, I texted him some basic instructions for using my professional film equipment and told him to hit record before he worked on shooting the scene himself.
I thought it would be interesting to watch him problem-solve something physical, and that it might work to convey the difficult-to-capture character insights I mentioned above.
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