Don't Change The Subject
   Movie coming in Winter 2012

Director's Notes

You want to stop a conversation quickly?  Tell someone youíd like to make a funny movie about suicide.  Itís a little like asking a stranger about their favorite masturbation techniques.  A sour look is followed by uncomfortable silence and a quick exit. 

When I set out to make this movie I foolishly thought I was going to get off easy.  I imagined Iíd chat with a few celebrities whoíd had some sort of suicide experience and then pepper in light hints about my own family experience using some of my comic writing from past work.  It seemed so simple; a famous stand up comic cracks a few wise but thought provoking jokes, a renowned dancer reflects on his past work and how his motherís suicide affected his view of the world, a rock star sings a poignant song and weíre done.  I would nod and listen and we all would be just a little wiser without getting hurt.  Then the celebrities, many of whom I had worked with before, all said no.  It began to dawn on me that maybe not everyone feels like chiming in with extremely personal and often difficult stories about their lives.  I also realized that I was avoiding the subject as well by trying to take the easy way and not delving into my own very personal experiences. 

So, after a few rounds of cocktails, my incredibly talented team and I decided to take a different approach (thankfully the team did not say no, even if they probably should have)  First decision: fuck the famous people.  We talk to real people and ask them questions that come from my experience with my own momís suicide.  Then we find incredibly talented but not so well known performers to give us their takes on how they would handle the subject.  We create our own odd little suicide community of survivors, attempters, creators, destroyers, whatever, and let whatever happens happen while trying to avoid anything that seems precious or easy.  Thus was born Donít Change the Subject. 

It has been by far the most enjoyable creative experience of my life.  I got to make the movie the thirteen year old me would have wanted to see after my mom died.  Itís irreverent in places, incredibly sad in others, yet still funny and fun and in a very weird way upbeat.  This is because of the amazing honesty and candor of a lot of really incredible people.  Thanks to them I also got to make this movie for my mom who, if she had the chance, might have made it herself. 

This is for anyone out there who has ever wondered what the hell he or she is doing here and perhaps questioned whether or not sticking around is worth it.  The answer is yes.  It is complicated and you are right to question all the ridiculousness but please stick around.  Let us show you our reasons why.      

Letter to Survivors

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Contact us about Don't Change The Subject ... mikestutz (at) dontchangethesubject (dot) org