David Lynch’s Weird, Wired World

When you started DavidLynch.com, you said the internet was still “sleepy” and slow. But now with a few years under your belt, has the sleeper, to quote Dune, awakened yet?

Lynch: The sleeper hasn’t awakened yet. It’s weird. Obviously, the internet is huge and getting bigger, but it is divided…. And I guess MySpace is the place where people go now, but even that’s divided, know what I mean?

But over here (at DavidLynch.com), we’ve got our thinking caps strapped on. We’ve got a great bunch in our membership who all really like each other and find things to talk about. And when we get new members, they really like the site and say that it’s different from other sites…. It’s all an experiment. I want to find things that fire me up, and see if it works for the people.

How do you feel taking your work onto the internet years ago has changed you as a filmmaker?

Lynch: Well, it’s huge, because I like to conduct experiments…. And because of the internet I’ve learned about AfterEffects, Flash animation and discovered and fallen in love with digital video. So I just think that going onto the web was so good for me. It’s just sort of starting, but it’s a beautiful world…. I always like random access, and I like the idea that one thing relates to another. And this is part of the internet: It’s so huge, that it is really an unbounded world. And I think that if we keep our thinking caps strapped on, we could find something beautiful out there in the ether.

Digital video seems to have made the process of filmmaking easier for budding auteurs.

Lynch: Digital video is so beautiful. It’s lightweight, modern, and it’s only getting better. It’s put film into the La Brea Tar Pits.

So you are serious about working exclusively in DV from here on out?

Lynch: For sure.

Because of its mobility and lower overhead?

Lynch: Everything about it. In one word, film is heavy. It’s gone, just gone.

DV is an easier route for new filmmakers to get their work seen, rather than relying on film festivals and the like.

Lynch: Absolutely. Like I always say, everybody has access to a piece of paper and a pencil. You can write a story with it. Anyone in the world can do that. And more and more these days, anyone in the world can make a film. There aren’t that many great stories out there — there’s a bunch, maybe — but at least now people have access where they didn’t before. Films used to cost a fortune to make.

Are you worried about the intellectual property issues? The digital world is easier to hack and steal from.

Lynch: Everybody would like it if people respected the work of others. But … I think things need to be balanced out. For sure, there are pirates out there who just want to do it (in order) to do it, but when you download something and really appreciate it, you should send something to the person who made it.

You have to support the artists or works you really admire.

Lynch: I think that that would be good.

Can that ideal survive in the digital world?

Lynch: Yeah, I think so. Of course, it all depends; you have to go person by person.

On to Inland Empire, your new film. What was it like shooting it in DV?

Lynch: It’s a new world. The quality is pretty terrible, but I like that. It reminds me of the early days of 35 mm, when there wasn’t so much information in the frame or emulsion. But … you act and react, and the medium starts talking to you. So I love working in digital video.

How did the actors respond to it? Did it make a difference to them?

Lynch: It makes a difference, because you’ve got a 40-minute take rather than a 10-minute take, so you can just keep on rolling. In my last couple of films, I’ve started talking to the actors while we’re shooting, which is not the smartest thing to do in a way. (Laughs.) Because you’re goofing up the soundtrack. But I like to talk, and with DV, it’s not like millions of dollars are flying through the camera every second. It’s a different kind of feeling. You can get into a mood and stay there without breaking it because you have to stop and reload.

It’s more like guerrilla filmmaking.

Lynch: For sure. You’re leaner and meaner, and you can get more good footage.

Why did you decide to start the foundation for transcendental meditation?

Lynch: Because I know what it’s done for me. I meditate every day, and I have for 32 years. And it’s a long topic, but there’s a thing called consciousness, and though consciousness is pretty abstract, it is also the ability to understand. It’s awareness, it’s wakefulness and it’s bliss. Consciousness is the “I am”-ness….

Of course, everybody has consciousness, but everyone doesn’t know that you can achieve more consciousness. There’s an unbounded, infinite ocean of it within every human being. You just need the technique to dive within and get wet with it. When you really and truly experience pure consciousness … it starts to grow. Then you’ve got more happiness, creativity and ability to understand the complexities of life. It’s very important for a filmmaker, it’s very important for a human being….

When you expand your consciousness, you can catch ideas at a deeper level, and understand them more.

Your work has always seemed to be open to consciousness, as far as I can tell. You seem to have more trust in your ideas, no matter what shape they may take, than other artists out there. Has meditation helped you build that trust?

Lynch: Absolutely. The ocean of pure consciousness is an ocean of all-knowingess…. Modern science calls it the unified field. And now modern science like Vedic science says that every thing that is a thing emerges from this field, which is unmanifest, yet manifestation comes from it…. Think about the intelligence that’s there, and the creativity that’s always been there, and you can dip into that.

And so I set up this foundation to raise money to give this to mainly students at first. We’re trying to raise enough money to give transcendental meditation to any student who wants it, so they can dive within … and get on the big, fast train to enjoying life.

On that note, I want to talk about your coffee — I thought you were considering a branded DavidLynch.com coffee.

Lynch: I haven’t found a coffee better than the one I’m drinking now. The idea is to really get … this is all subjective, but I know what good coffee tastes like to me. And if I got that, we might do a DavidLynch.com coffee.

This interview appeared at WIRED