Thursday, September 27, 2007

Playing Catch - By Director Dana Glazer

Today our 10 month-old-son did something rather extraordinary. I plopped a tennis ball in his lap and he grabbed it and flung it back at me. It was one of those dad-son moments that one hears about and I can't tell you how excited I was. Images of years to come - playing catch with this boy floated through my mind. I thought back on my own dad and I in our backyard, tossing a ball back and forth.

There is truly something iconic about playing catch with one's father and then one's kid(s). It's somehow ingrained in us. Ralph LaRossa does a good job at dissecting why this game of catch is so important to us. He speculates it is a result of the glorification of baseball and suburbanization - both taking place in the Mid-Twentieth Century. I think the game of catch is a symbolic form of communication between fathers and kids. There's a rhythm to the gesture. It's a connective action. A tangible link between generations.

Whatever it is, it feels good to have Jamie joining in on this long, iconic tradition and I certainly plan to include footage of fathers and their kids tossing together in the film.

More Housework For Guys = More Sex?? - By Director Dana Glazer

There's been a lot in the news recently about how there's a correlation about how when men do more of the housework it puts their wives more in the mood. A recent conversation with Sociologist Dr. Michael Kimmel further echoed this. It's certainly a great headline - at least from a guy's perspective (you know what's mostly on our brains:)

However, I felt that a little more research was needed, so I did a little recon at a mommy community know as Kaboose. You can read the whole thread here

The results were consistent with what I've been hearing - that YES! there is a correlation. It seems quite obvious, if one really thinks about it. More housework on the man's part makes for a more cooperative family situation. And yet, statistically speaking, men are still lagging way behind in the house care dept. It goes back to male identity issues, I suppose, something I hope Dr. Kimmel will elucidate further in the film. Hopefully, the message will ring loud enough to make a difference in terms of helping create a more balanced family situation. And if you're reading this and you are interested in sharing your experience on film in this regard, please reach out to me at

One of the challenges I face as a filmmaker is to make a film about dads that plays to dads and men (although certainly not to the exclusion of women - don't get the wrong idea.) Using sex as an impetus to promoting dads being further involved with the family isn't the big picture but it's definitely a useful catalyst.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Evolution of Dad Production Vehicle - From Director Dana Glazer

Only with a film like this can one get away with a stroller-turned-equipment-truck. That's Jamie, my 10 month old, at the wheel. Lucky for us he hasn't joined the teamsters yet:)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The SAHD Myth?? - By Director Dana Glazer

Recently I happened across a blog entry by Penelope Trunk aka "The Brazen Careerist", titled "My Own Marriage and the Stay-At-Home Dad Myth." It was definitely thought provoking and anything that stops to make one think, in my mind is a good thing.

Is the concept of the happy Stay-At-Home Dad doing the laundry, shopping, schlepping the kids, etc, a true and accurate generalization or is it, as Ms. Trunk would say, a "myth"? Obviously, the discussion bares a lot of significance, given the topic of our film and the emphasis on the extreme version of involved fathering: SAHD's.

I can honestly report that the majority of Stay-At-Home Dads I have met and spoken with are satisfied with their work. Is it possible that only the happy, contented ones are open to talking about it? Possibly, although I certainly have talked to some that are unhappy with the arrangement. Being an at-home-dad, just like an at-home-mom, is something that some people shine to while others don't. It really has to do with one's personality, what one values as fulfilling and one's outlook on the world.

For many men or women, the idea of tossing out one's career dreams and ambitions to the wind, because one's partner is making more money, can be quite upsetting. The cultural messages to excel in the marketplace can exacerbate this. So, for dads and moms at home to be working on a side project, is a way of maintaining one's identity outside of being a parent - something, personally speaking, that can be essential to making the situation work. I think this holds for many moms and dads alike.

The only difference is that being an SAHM is more culturally accepted (albeit with its own degree of negative perceptions) than the SAHD. At-Home Dads are also more isolated because there are fewer of them, they feel shunned by society as a whole, they often feel apart from other moms - and if there are other home-making dads around, the mutual commonality of being at home with kids that works so well between women, doesn't translate quite as well for men.

The bottom line is that our culture does not make it easy for families to cope, given all the conflicting messages we've been told. We're all still so caught up with antiquated gender roles that don't necessarily have a place in our own personal lives.

The other part of the equation is: what is best for kids? The way I see it, the more involved both parents can be their children's lives, the better. What dads and moms each bring to the table are unique and mutually enriching for the kids (and themselves in the process.) And from everything I've read and the experts I've spoken to, it's fairly clear that both parents are equally able to care for their kids - although they may do so very differently.

Going back to Trunk's assertion that the happy SAHD is a myth - let me say this: It may very well be for some people, but for others this role could be a very meaningful, fulfilling experience - something they'd never considered in their lives before children. Better that we promote this new design of dad and pave the way for others considering becoming SAHDs than to get stuck on outmoded, limiting cultural models of what dads can and can't be - something Trunk's "myth" back-handedly supports.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

THE TROOPER AND THE HARE - by Tracy Russell, Associate Producer

Two Saturdays ago, Dana and I had the good fortune to meet dad Kevin Knussman and his family in Easton, Maryland. Kevin, a retired State trooper, sued the state of Maryland in the early 1990's, upon their refusal to grant him leave to provide care for his ailing, pregnant wife Kim and, later for their newborn daughter, as Kim recovered. Kevin and his family slowly and steadily persevered through a ten year legal battle that ultimately awarded them minimal financial gain but became the landmark case for fathers in the US seeking leave under the FMLA and being met with employer opposition.
Kevin Knussman says that he just had to take a stand for what was right and what was right for him was and is, that, family needs come first. You may think what I was thinking- that ten years is an incredibly long time to maintain focus on any goal, particularly one that carries with it an element of discomfort. It takes a person of incredible resolve to continue employment with an organization that he or she is in conflict with and that is exactly what Kevin Knussman did. Not to mention the razing by his fellow troopers to be endured, as you can imagine.
He remained employed by the State, as the court battle progressed, until he had accrued 23 years of service and was able to retire. He now works part time as a volunteer firefighter and is the primary caregiver for his two daughters, while his wife Kim works full time outside of their home. The societal consensus seems to be that, if a man prioritizes family over work, then he is somehow less of a man. Kevin's wife Kim; however, contends that her husband is the "manliest of men," for putting his family first, for stepping, with open arms, into an opportunity to be an involved, engaged father and for creating and maintaining a true partnership with her, in not only the raising of their children but; also, in the maintenance of their home.
As I sat there listening to Kevin and Kim speak about their life together, something became as gorgeously clear to me as the weather that day in Maryland- something having to do with commitment, something about how truly and fully committing yourself to- a cause, a partner, your children, or any goal really; insures, that no matter how tough the fight, no matter how gargantuan the demons, no matter how many hurdles or how long it takes, you can do it.