We had the good fortune of connecting with Daniel Jaffe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Daniel, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Honestly, I find risk taking extremely difficult but essential. Primarily as a filmmaker the risk is mostly one of confidence. It’s a risk to make a film and convince a group of people they should be a part. To invest countless hours and money into a story. Ultimately you have to believe in some aspect of it dearly to drive you through the lengthy process of making a film.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ll be the first to say that as a filmmaker, I still have a ways (I feel) to go. Of course I’ll never really see my life and work from the outside so there’s always that aspect of it. But I am proud of the small successes I’ve had. You have to be! It’s a success to get out of bed these days given the state of the world. It’s funny: in regards to what I’m most excited by, I’m drawn to both ends of the spectrum of making films. For example, I recently completed writing my first feature and am itching to make it. However, that has always been a difficult feat, requiring money and extreme effort, etc. Additionally, given the pandemic, making films is even trickier if not almost impossible. Given that, I’ve also decided to focus on making really small films using just a sort of touristy handycam and limited actors, etc. It’s been so liberating and really encouraging to remind yourself that all you need is a camera and time. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned along the way, and regarding both of these approaches, is that adaptability is imperative to making films and having a career. I know so many people (including myself) that are “not where they want to be” career wise and ready for more. It’s human nature, I get it. But if we at least attempt to redefine this idea and do what we actually can do, it’s just as gratifying. Making films has never been more democratic and accessible. Focus on the immediate.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Hmm well, I actually live in New York these days but my parents live in San Diego and I grew up there. It’s changed a LOT since my “youth” (help me), but I have plenty of favorite things upon visiting. All the things you might know San Diego for are true and great: beach, weather, outdoors activities, etc. So of course we’d absolutely indulge in said things. The beach of course. I grew up surfing so that’s a must. No shortage of options there. Whenever I go back I also really enjoy hiking and biking. I grew up in La Jolla but had a ton of friends in Mission Hills and I always enjoyed that bike ride. Or just a Mission Bay, Mission Beach ride. My dad and I always do that so it holds a special place in my heart. Another important activity is obviously eating. San Diego has become a culinary paradise and I miss it dearly (sorry New York). Quatro Milpas is one of the most special places and an absolute must. Bahn Thai in University Heights is incredible. The South East Asian food in San Diego is mostly so good. Also of course coffee. Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, Dark Horse, and the Cafe Moto in Logan is an amazing visit. Miss that coffee. Lastly, there are some landmarks and museums that one really should do. Balboa Park is special and will always hold a place in my heart. The contemporary art museum in La Jolla is really, really great and picturesque in location. And as long as you’re there, seeing the Cove and seals is fun, not gonna lie. I really love the drive along the coast past Torrey Pines, Del Mar, Encinitas etc. Chino farms is incredible and I recently went to the Botanical Garden which was mind blowing. I love plants and San Diego does not disappoint in that regard. Lastly, its always fun to walk around North Park, South Park, etc. Lots of cute stores, etc. I could go on but thats roughly my trip when I go back!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents. They are the most steadfast and encouraging people in my career and would do anything they could to help. I’ve been extremely lucky to have people like this in my life, as I know it’s not always the case.