This Man Interviewed Himself 38 Years Ago, and He Has the Footage to Prove It
At 18 years old, the farsighted Peter “Stoney” Emshwiller had a crazy idea. He decided to interview his older self. Specifically, he sat down with his filmmaker father and asked his middle-aged future self a whole bunch of questions, and then recorded it all.
38 years later, 56-year-old Emshwiller has answered those questions, and the result is a crazy, awesome, kind of trippy video that spans almost four decades of one man’s life.
It’s called Later That Same Life, and it’s absolutely worth a watch, if only to marvel at the feat of interviewing your future self 40 years later.
In this actually sort of mind-boggling video, 56-year-old Peter answers questions posed to him by his 18-year-old self, made possible by the fact that in 1977, Peter recorded hours and hours of footage not only asking questions, but providing reactions, commentary, and phrases like, “That’s disappointing” or “I’m happy to hear that.”
Present-day Peter presents his past self with an iPhone, saying, “You’re gonna love this” and also calls his past self a “pain in the ass” and calls him out for having a stupid beard. Apparently, younger Peter wanted to be rich and famous, and the older one takes offense for having to deal with the judgment of his younger self for “not doing everything the way you expected.”
The video above is only a sizzle reel, and the entire project is currently on RocketHub to be crowdfunded. As of time published, the project has received $5,000 more than its goal of $10,000, so it looks like the entire project will appear sometime in…the future.
However, Emshwiller now has a new “stretch” goal of $20,000, for which he has big plans:
If I reach my new stretch goal of $20,000 I’ll not only be able to digitally restore the original footage, but I’ll be able to rent a black box stage to shoot the “interview” section of the movie, and pay the crew in actual money (instead of paying them in Twizzlers and Fresca). It was always my plan to do this thing on a shoestring. But now maybe I can do an entire shoe! Feature length film. Music. FX. Sound design. Locations. Equipment rental. Post production editing and sound work. Mix. Plus, most important, I’ll be able to travel to film festivals to promote the final project when it’s finished!! Woohoo!
In the full film, Emshwiller plans to interview his 18-year-old self, instead of having to answer all the questions posed to him.
Emshwiller, a published sci-fi author, poses questions larger than himself by shooting such an unusual video. Questions that all of us think about from time to time, questions like: “What is success? What is failure? Who decides how to judge a life?” Nobody’s life turns out anything like they had once imagined, so this project offers an opportunity to self-reflect on your past selves, your accomplishments in life, and how you’ve defined success—hopefully on your own terms.