Are there any particular foods or meals that you consider essential for maintaining your energy levels throughout the day?
Eggs. I’ve always loved eggs. Eggs are really great. Oatmeal’s something that I used to eat a lot, stopped, and now I’m eating it again and it’s been good for energy. I’ve been drinking a lot of yerba mate tea because I was told of its benefits. I also drink a lot of coffee. Probably an unhealthy amount. You gotta let yourself have your little vices here and there and I’d say coffee is my main vice.
How do you take your coffee?
One of the changes I made is that I used to always take it with cream and sugar. Now I take it without milk or almond milk, and I won’t add any sugar to it. It took me a while to get used to it because I like my coffee sweet, but now I’m so used to it that when there’s sugar in my coffee, it just tastes too sweet.
In terms of physical and mental preparation, is there a difference for you in preparing to shoot for a film or TV series as opposed to directing?
When I was directing Shortcomings, directing is such a grueling—especially an independent film—it’s such a grueling job. I definitely wasn’t eating as well as I should and wasn’t being very conscious of my diet. That’s part of the reason why I decided to embark on this fitness journey. After directing that movie, I looked at myself and I was like, Oh, gosh! I don’t feel good. I don’t look good. I need to make some changes. I don’t want to go into my fifties feeling like this. From here on out, I don’t think I’ll think in terms of getting in shape for a specific role or getting in shape for the arduous task of directing. For me, it’s going to be a lifestyle that I will always incorporate into my life no matter what circumstance I’m in. It’s about what it does for me, mentally and emotionally.
Would you mind elaborating a little bit more on the physical demands of directing?
When you’re directing, your job is all encompassing. You’re involved in every aspect of the process. When you’re an actor, you’re responsible for your lines and your role. You have your call time, you get there before your scene is about to shoot, and you leave after your scenes are done. A director is there before all of that and leaves after all of that. There’s so much constant interaction with actors, but also with every department—wardrobe, you’re talking to the editor, you’re talking to the DP. Your mind is constantly firing. You’re susceptible to mental exhaustion. I think a lot of exercise, fitness, and self-care revolves around staying mentally sharp, keeping your mood in a good place, and allowing yourself to think fast. Directors have to think very fast, because unexpected things happen all the time, and you have to figure out the answer to very complicated questions in a very quick short period of time. It’s that mental agility and problem solving skills that come into play.