During the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Don Thacker, writer and director of the inventive, absurdist film with the talking mould: Motivational Growth. Now, Don’s a wonderful guy. But to say that I spoke at all would not only be an understatement, but it’d be a downright lie. Neither myself, nor my two fellow interviewers, got a word in edgewise save for asking all of five questions. The beautiful thing is that we didn’t have to. In spite of the months he’s been doing his festival tour, Thacker was just as excited to sit down and chat with us, as I’m sure he was on his first interview.
I don’t even think we had a chance to ask how he came up with the concept for Motivational Growth before he started his story. “I was living in LA,” he began. “I did this foolish thing when I was 19 where I was like ‘I’m gonna save up $3000! I’m gonna go out to LA! And then I’ll be famous, and make all the movies! It’ll be great!’ I went to LA, and found that there’s a giant wall. […] [A]nd it’s built on broken dreams. It’s forded with hell tears, and it’s made metal by the aspirations of the young. […]And at the top is this giant line of networking that you have to get through to even get near the wall.
“At 19 you don’t know this,” he continues. “[…] And L.A. […] can be like a giant meat grinder from hell that destroys souls. My soul was one of those souls! I got into a bunch of bad business, worked with people who were shifty. And at one point I was living in this Australian lady’s apartment, but I was living in just one room of it. I didn’t have access to the common areas. […] And in the middle of the night […] I’d wake up, sneak out of the room, and I’d walk over to the couch and quietly turn the television on. And I sat there depressed. It was the only thing I had in my whole life. I couldn’t afford rent. […] I had no money. […]So I’m sitting there in my underwear, flipping through channels, and every time something went bad or I didn’t like something I’d just [change the channel]. And I just thought ‘wouldn’t it be great if I could just click and change to a different life?’ And then I [thought] ‘if this TV went away, I would fucking kill myself.’ That’s where I was. […] I was a kid, I didn’t know shit. Everything’s melodramatic when you’re 19, right?” Would you like to know more…?