I have so many hopes for how the finished film can potentially help the American dad as well as the family unit overall. There really is the possibility of changing people’s perspectives on how we see fatherhood and creating an impact not only on father/son/daughter relationships but to possibly influence corporate and governmental policies regarding paternity leave. However, if nothing else happens, I hope the film can redefine what it means to be a Stay-At-Home Dad. This was the initial impetus for making the film and although the scope has changed, fundamentally it’s still extremely important to me.
Personally, I have felt the angst surrounding being an at-home dad. In the past I felt emasculated, angry, alone, helpless and belittled. God bless my wife for the continual emotional/financial support and reminders that what I was doing regarding care of the kids was the most important thing I could have been doing at the time – and still is.
I used to think I was cursed in some strange way. I have always had a passion for filmmaking and have always had a talent for making films but the segue from being a starving artist to a paid filmmaker has been a struggle for me. It’s been frustrating to watch the years go by, trying to screenwrite my way up the Hollywood chain with some success but not enough to push things over the edge. The values they have over there are somewhat poisoned and I found myself writing things that neither fit what they were looking for nor was satisfying for me on a deeper level; and after ten years of banging my head against the wall, I let it all go to focus more on family and to do this project on the side.
It was the best choice I could’ve made.
Making a film about fatherhood is the most integrative thing I could be doing with my life right now. Talking to so many people about what it means to be a dad and studying fatherhood in every possible way has allowed me not only to make something that goes to the core of my being but also to grow as a father and to really appreciate the precious time I have with my kids.
At this point I see jettisoning my former ‘sideways’ career as being the best blessing I could’ve been dealt. Had I not been granted this hand, had I succeeded in being that Hollywood director that my whole life had been geared towards, I would not know my kids as well – and they wouldn’t really know me, warts and all.
So, thanks for allowing this private digression and let me get back to point: if nothing further, I hope the finished film will allow you to view what an involved dad does from a more meaningful, empowered perspective. Below is a video I just put together for the possible supplemental inclusion in a Time.com article. It is a brief sample of what this larger film is about. Dallas Hayes, the subject this short piece focuses on, has the potential for redefining our cultural assumptions about Stay-At-Home Dads.
I hope you find him as inspiring as I have and look forward to hearing what you think.