The Pierre T. Lambert Podcast Transcripts: Taylor Rees on Howling with Dogs and Tracking Frogs through Amazon Rainforest


Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Taylor Rees. Taylor Rees is a documentary filmmaker, Sony Alpha Artisan, photojournalist, and avid explorer of stories on landscape, natural resource issues, and above all else, the human heart. She's worked on adventure documentaries like Moonwalk, Down to Nothing, Sanctity, Under Nordic Sky, and The Last Honey Hunter.

Taylor's focus lately has been to bring a new perspective and deeper public understanding to the complexity of climate change, conservation, human rights, environmental justice, and extractive industries. What matters to her are the people within those stories, and their own experience of co-creating those narratives that break away from traditionally extractive forms of storytelling. 


In this episode, Taylor discusses how she directs adventure films, finds her creativity when it gets lost, her adventures, how cameras change communication with people and the practices that keep her grounded and focused. I hope you enjoy.

Transcripts may contain a few typos. With some episodes lasting 2+ hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors. Enjoy!

[00:00:00] Pierre: Good morning, podcast. And welcome to a new episode on the Pierre T. Lambert Show. I have missed you, guys. I hope you're having a beautiful day and that you're ready for yet another beautiful soul today. Her name is Taylor Rees. She is a documentary filmmaker, Sony Alpha Artisan and photojournalist, and avid explorer of stories and landscape, natural resource issues, and above all else, the human heart, as she puts it. Honestly, Taylor is one of those badass human that does a little bit crazy things, very extreme and adventurous. She's been involved in many adventurer documentary films that you might have heard of and seen. And I'll mention a few like Moonwalk, From Kurils with Love—I'm not sure I'm pronouncing that one correctly—Down to Nothing, What If You Fly, Under Nordic Sky, and The Last Honey Hunter.

So, Taylor's focus lately has been to bring a new perspective and deeper public understanding on the complexity of climate change, conservation, human rights, environmental justice, and extractive industries. What matters to her are the people within these stories and their own experience of co-creating those narratives, breaking away from traditionally extractive forms of storytelling. If you don't know what extractive forms of storytelling might be, think main media. They are trying to interview someone, but they are trying to put someone in a certain situation for them to say something that they want, versus really listening to the person and trying to share what they're sharing, you know, and not what we want them to share, in a way. That's kind of a gross picture, but that's… I just wanted to give you some insight into if you don't know what extractive forms of storytelling is. And photography can be very extractive, where we're just striving to take photos when people take, take, take, versus create photos with people, create stories, tell their stories, you know.

So, Taylor receive her Masters in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry. And she led the Yale Environmental Film Festival for two years before moving into this full-time career as a director, producer, and shooter. I'm not going to say more. Let's welcome Taylor to the podcast right now. Taylor, welcome to the podcast.

[00:02:06] Taylor: Oh, thank you. So glad to be here.

[00:02:07] Pierre: It's an honor to have you. I've seen a lot of your adventures across the years. It's been a while. Actually, I've been following that. And I've always been impressed by a few things. And it's mainly, I would say, this adventure feel in what you're doing. And I would say it's predominantly something where I see males, usually, and I don't see as many women—or at least how it's being perceived. And so, every time I see a woman, it just reminds me of my mom's adventures and I'm like cheering and I'm like super excited to see that, and also, just like share those stories, because I think it's important. It can inspire a lot of people. But beyond the inspiration, also, I'm just curious about like how you get there, you know, and what kind of experience you end up having yourself as a filmmaker, as someone who is on the field, and very, what most people would say, uncomfortable situations, you know. And although maybe it's comfortable for you, you know. So, what isn't comfortable is very different for different people. So, I kind of wanted to open up with the first question, which is, what got you to start howling with your dog?

[00:03:17] Taylor: That's a really good question — what got me to start howling with my dog? Well, he… I mean, when he was a puppy, when we got him, he howled himself. And that's just our way of communicating. And it's really fun. In the mornings, he actually comes up on the bed every morning once I wake up. And he like will sing and will like sing. And if I stop and go quiet, he goes quiet, and he waits for me. And then I'll like start again, and he starts again. And yeah, it's just really fun.

[00:03:46] Pierre: That's awesome. I'm asking because I saw the TED Talk.

[00:03:50] Taylor: Yeah.

[00:03:51] Pierre: Let me see. I'll link it for anyone who wants to watch it. I think it's really insightful. And there's actually so much we could unpack just from the TED Talk. But I remember you were howling on stage with him. How did that… how did that feel?

[00:04:05] Taylor: Well, I didn't know if he was going to do it.

[00:04:08] Pierre: Okay.

[00:04:08] Taylor: You know, we didn't practice.

[00:04:10] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:04:11] Taylor: I wasn't even sure if he would come on stage. So, I… you know, I was really hoping it would work out. And I had no idea if it was going to. So, I did the TED Talk, and at the end I had the dog. My friend was holding the dog kind of in the side of the stage.

[00:04:22] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:04:22] Taylor: And he let him go, and he came out. And it worked. You know, he howled, and then the whole audience howled, and everybody howled together. It's, yeah, I think a very… it's a good way to bring joy to experiences.

[00:04:35] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:04:35] Taylor: Sometimes, TED Talks feel very like serious and intense. So, yeah.

[00:04:37] Pierre: Yeah, yeah. There was a lot of like joy that came through, you know, in the TED Talk. And that was pretty good. And you used it to illustrate something you were talking about, which was communication, right, between individuals, like between peoples. But can you… can you elaborate a little bit of what was happening or what got you to connect this with the communication we might have between humans, even?

[00:05:03] Taylor: Yeah. I guess like the reason that I brought my dog out at the end of my TED Talk was just to reiterate that, you know, we can communicate across species' boundaries.

[00:05:14] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:05:14] Taylor: I'm working on another project at the moment around a whale that's communicating with people in different ways. And I think there are so many amazing books coming out right now and research that talks about, not just the communication processes of different species, but also interspecies communication, how trees communicate with bugs, you know, through scents and pheromones and fungi in the soil and animals and all these things. So, you know, I think all life is always communicating with-

[00:05:42] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:05:42] Taylor: … with each other. And, of course, with, you know, cultural boundaries, language boundaries, just within humanity, it's, you know, obviously, we get pretty… we find ourselves seeing each other as different. And I think that like we are and we celebrate all of our unique differences. But also, I think we can always find commonality and friendship, even if it's like we, per se, we don't necessarily speak the same language.

[00:06:09] Pierre: So, I'm curious here because, do you find the camera actually helps in the communication? Or, do you think it actually kind of functions as a barrier, almost, you know, like…

[00:06:21] Taylor: Well, I mean it's certainly a thing.

[00:06:24] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:06:24] Taylor: Like, when you travel or meet someone new and you're just building a friendship and learning about each other, sharing stories, you know. I'm sharing stories of my life. I'm learning about someone else's life. If the decision is made to introduce a camera and to make that story into a film, for example-

[00:06:41] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:06:41] Taylor: … like it does change. But I think that there's ways to bring camera technology into the communication space, such that everyone kind of feels like it's a tool that's being shared, where we're kind of co-creating a scene or a situation and there's consent across everyone participating to be documented. And so, I don't think it has to be. But certainly, there's a lot of cases where, you know, even when I first started using a camera, I think I would go into a situation and start filming before I really learned how to just kind of look at it all differently and be more gentle.

[00:07:15] Pierre: What would be the one skill or like the one helpful thing that you learned in that process that actually made you go from like, “I'm super awkward, and I feel like I'm intruding on people,” and, you know… you know that feeling. You probably even had it.

[00:07:30] Taylor: Yeah.

[00:07:30] Pierre: I've had it, you know, in situations, to… you feel like it's more respectful and people understand it better. Was there a specific tip or a moment that clicked for you?

[00:07:42] Taylor: I mean I still feel awkward all the time, but I think like awkwardness is fine.

[00:07:47] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:07:47] Taylor: You know, feeling awkward is okay. I think we're… it's a natural thing to feel when we're entering into someone else's life, too, or if someone were to enter into mine that I didn't know, to tell a story about me, which does happen, too. Like, they feel awkward, I feel awkward.

[00:07:59] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:07:59] Taylor: Like, it can be awkward. But I think the most important tip for me, I guess, is just, yeah, just like making sure that there's really a building of a friendship underneath all of it, fundamentally. And that's the biggest priority, more than like getting the story or something, you know, otherwise.

[00:08:15] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:08:15] Taylor: Because you would never hurt a friend. So, as long as you're building a friendship with someone, you'll always be listening and looking to see if people feel uncomfortable or something's going on in the filming process that's not, you know, not going well.

[00:08:27] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:08:27] Taylor: If you really, like, make sure that there's care and communication.

[00:08:31] Pierre: Which sounds super different than investigative interviews.

[00:08:35] Taylor: Yeah, yeah. It's so different.

[00:08:38] Pierre: Where you're trying to put people in clarity.

[00:08:38] Taylor: I think investigative interviews are important, too, for sure. Yeah, yeah, exactly.

[00:08:43] Pierre: Yeah. No, that's awesome. Yeah, it's… the communication and the conversation we have with people and with camera, it's literally one of the topic that comes up the most, even with me and people who I teach and people who watch my stuff. They're like, “How do you communicate with people you don't know,” you know. And how is that exchanged? So, that's why I thought it's always an interesting take, especially because… well, it sounds like you've operated in scenarios where you couldn't even speak the same language. And so, it's like, how do you go beyond language barrier, you know? And yeah, it's fascinating how we can evolve beyond that. How was… was there a specific experience or like shoot or moment where you felt like how you saw life, and it's kind of broad, but that you felt there was a shift in you and in how you perceive the world?

[00:09:37] Taylor: What a rich question.

[00:09:40] Pierre: Yeah, it's pretty vague, but it's almost like, you know, a turning point, kind of.

[00:09:44] Taylor: Yeah.

[00:09:44] Pierre: Where you're like, oh…

[00:09:52] Taylor: I'm going to have to think about that for a second.

[00:09:55] Pierre: Take all the time.

[00:10:04] Taylor: I think I would answer it in that I think every project has that, you know.

[00:10:07] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:10:07] Taylor: Like… and it's interesting that it's always there's a pattern building for me.

[00:10:09] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:10:09] Taylor: So, when I was in Myanmar, for example, in 2015, which was kind of at the beginning of this career for me, I went in with a specific kind of understanding of what I thought I was going to encounter, and then making sure we took the time to have these knowledge-sharing sessions at night, where we would sit around a fire with a translator and just open up the conversation to like be asked anything about us and where we come from, and what's going on our lives, and in return be able to ask the community what was going on in their lives and things that they wanted to share and discuss. Like, that process created a shift for me. It was really the beginning of my understanding of how communities can be conservation refugees, in a way. So, I think I probably had a really small understanding that, you know, national parks and the establishment of protected areas is just inherently good, and we want to protect earth and land and animals and like, you know, that that's just good, period.

[00:11:09] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:11:09] Taylor: But in those knowledge-sharing sessions in Myanmar, I really listened to how that process was being done in a really damaging way, because they were pushing the communities out of land they had historically lived on. If the communities left and tried to come back, they weren't allowed by the government. The communities weren't able to really participate in the establishment of the park or to like offer concessions. It was kind of being managed from the outside.

So… and I saw that same thing happen in Guyana, you know, 10 years later, where we were moving through parts of the Amazon rainforest, kind of… well, not exactly the rainforest, but yeah, this Guianan Shield, where these big tepui mountains are and, you know, the indigenous people of that place. I mean I think going in, all I knew was that we were looking for frogs. And I knew I would… I would have a shift, like something would happen if I made sure to listen.

[00:12:03] Pierre: Okay.

[00:12:03] Taylor: And so, I… you know, we all did. And one of the things we learned was that the Akawaio and other indigenous groups of that region were also experiencing that, that they were… that the establishment of a national park, while could potentially serve to put in place important protections that make sure like bird species and amphibians are, you know, protected from mining and other threats, but that it was being done in a, you know, controlled by the government versus like run and supported by people.

[00:12:32] Pierre: Conscientious, yeah.

[00:12:32] Taylor: Yeah. And just like that they… that the communities that live there were involved and they helped to manage it. And so, there's an alternative in Guyana called COCAs (Community-Organized Conservation Areas). And I… and those are really successful. And I've had similar experiences around this in the Arctic, in Alaska, in Nepal, just in general, always seeing how the more ownership and involvement a people of the area can have in the healing of a relationship with earth or whatever, you know, natural resources or nature or environments are around, the better. So, I think that's a shift that's always been happening a little bit slowly.

[00:13:08] Pierre: Yeah, it's true. I had the exact same vision as you until recently where I was like, parks are great.

[00:13:15] Taylor: Yeah.

[00:13:15] Pierre: You know, like, yeah, we should conserve everything. And then I was in Tanzania and we went to see a tribe, the Hadzabe tribe. And I was like, but there is nothing to hunt on the land you're in right now, like you are hunting tarsiers and stuff, but you're talking… like they're talking that there was drought and all that. And then I learned that they were pushed out of the park.

[00:13:35] Taylor: Yeah.

[00:13:36] Pierre: And I'm like, so now you're fighting with the farmers to be there. And I'm like, oh, I guess parks are… you know, it's like until you see it or you like try to understand, it's like one of those things. It's kind of, you know, crazy. You're like, oh, whoa, wait. And yeah, I love what you're saying. It's literally both parties. And I think, if you can involve the local community that, at the end of the day, want to preserve what they have usually, you know, it's rare that they're trying… or would want to destroy their… you know.

[00:14:05] Taylor: Yeah, yeah.

[00:14:05] Pierre: So, that's really insightful. And I want to jump on the Guyana project because I've seen the behind-the-scenes, I think, with the… I think when they did the A1 launch or something. There was a video. And it looked very, very extreme. It slightly made me dream. And at the same time, it was like, this looked like hell at the same time, you know. It's like, oh, this is cool. And how was the experience for you? And can you just give us a little bit of, like, what did it entail? What, did you just get a letter that says, “Go look for frogs,” and then it disappears?

[00:14:39] Taylor: So, that story started with Mark Synnott and Bruce Means, who is the frog biologist that had been working in this region for 30 years, like had this harebrained idea to, you know, to take Bruce on his final potential his… potentially his last expedition to Guyana to continue to document the diversity of life there. And they were… you know, Bruce had been to the forest and he'd been at the top, but he'd never connected the two. To connect the two, the top of these tepuis and the forest below, he would kind of need to go up the wall.

[00:15:10] Pierre: Oh, yeah, those walls.

[00:15:12] Taylor: Yeah. Was that, we would find a climber to bring him up.

[00:15:15] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:15:15] Taylor: And so, Alex Honnold is the obvious choice of a good climber to bring him up the wall. And what we could not have known, although maybe we… maybe we could have, but yeah, just like the tracking was so much harder than we had thought it was going to be. I don't think it was too… really, it's too stressful or dangerous.

[00:15:35] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:15:35] Taylor: I think it was long. And for Bruce who is 80 years old and…

[00:15:38] Pierre: He's 80?

[00:15:38] Taylor: He's 80.

[00:15:39] Pierre: He was with you?

[00:15:39] Taylor: Mm-hmm.

[00:15:40] Pierre: Wow.

[00:15:40] Taylor: And he's 6'7″, you know. He's this giant human. And so, when he falls, it's a big…

[00:15:45] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:15:45] Taylor: It's a long way down, you know.

[00:15:46] Pierre: Yeah, yeah.

[00:15:47] Taylor: So, just the… just the danger of just the trekking alone. You know, we decided about halfway through that I would stay with Bruce in a little camp that we created, and he would look for frogs in that area while the climbing team went up the wall and look for frogs separately, so…

[00:16:02] Pierre: [inaudible 00:16:03].

[00:16:03] Taylor: Yeah, it was… it wasn't too bad. We had hammocks. And I got to learn how to make a fire out of wet wood, which was a really… a skill that I'll always take with me now.

[00:16:13] Pierre: Oh, yeah, I can imagine. That's, yeah, rainforest fire. How tall are those walls, just to give an idea?

[00:16:19] Taylor: The walls are like 1,000… about 1,000 feet tall.

[00:16:24] Pierre: Wow. Okay, yeah. So, it's not the small rock foundation. No, it's pretty big.

[00:16:27] Taylor: Yeah.

[00:16:27] Pierre: So, he was 80 years old. He was… how long did you guys stay in the jungle?

[00:16:32] Taylor: Gosh, we were in the jungle for about a month, I think.

[00:16:33] Pierre: A month?

[00:16:34] Taylor: Yeah, or a little bit longer.

[00:16:34] Pierre: Wow.

[00:16:36] Taylor: Yeah. So, we walked 50 miles in at about like four or five miles a day, because it's really convoluted and there's tons of roots and rivers and mud.

[00:16:47] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:16:47] Taylor: But yeah.

[00:16:49] Pierre: Did you guys survive?

[00:16:50] Taylor: We survived, yeah.

[00:16:51] Pierre: You survived. Once more, once more, you survived.

[00:16:54] Taylor: Yeah, yeah.

[00:16:54] Pierre: But yeah, I don't know. It looked… it looked a little crazy. And every single story I hear from them is [inaudible 00:20:26] of people who try to cross it and who do cross it. It's… they always like usually underestimate how hard it can be to walk through stuff.

[00:17:09] Taylor: Yeah.

[00:17:10] Pierre: And was there… how was it carrying gear? Because that's something no one sees. You know, it's even like in expedition stuff. Like, everyone like sees the climber go up or the athlete. But there is a team filming with the gear. So, how is it from your point of view?

[00:17:25] Taylor: Yeah. We had a really solid team that time, actually. Just as like a female director, I was a little worried in some ways with an all-male team. Like, you know, I was like, am I really going to be seen as the director, or all these cinematographers and our kind of support group that look to me for leadership? Or, am I going to be like fighting a small battle in the back of my mind all the time, not feeling, you know, respected or something?

[00:17:48] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:17:48] Taylor: I mean these… just from past experience is not… having it not always go well. And I just really put the intention out for myself that I was like, this is going to be great. Our team's going to work really well together. And I'm going to feel awesome in this position. And I'm going to be able to like really direct this, which I was so excited to do. And I think that that intention really shifted things for me, because if you go into something just assuming like, oh, this is going to go wrong.

[00:18:12] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:18:13] Taylor: And it's going to be super hard, and everyone's going to kind of fall apart and not treat each other well, like you take that energy in. So, I really like really focused and meditated on the intention of what I wanted it to be. And it was great. I think it was one of my favorite trips that we've done. We had Rudy and Matt and Snacks and Renan and just our whole camera team really supported each other, you know. And it is hard. You are… you are trying to keep up with the athletes while also filming them and also holding gear.

[00:18:40] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:18:41] Taylor: But, you know, everyone's there with the same goal.

[00:18:43] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:18:43] Taylor: So, everyone's kind of there to help each other to make it work.

[00:18:47] Pierre: Okay.

[00:18:47] Taylor: Yeah.

[00:18:48] Pierre: That's interesting. How do you… how do you see that space of being director and, like what you said, trying to have people listen to you, but at the same time it's all male or there's a mix, like through your experience, what have you, maybe, taken from it or learned through those experiences? I'm kind of curious, because even just as a male between other males, you know, or between the mixed group, it's always like kind of not weird. But, you know, there's a little bit of that, like up-down position somehow sometimes. And whether we want it or not, that's… I don't know, that's how I've been raised or like society kind of teaches us things.

[00:19:34] Taylor: Yeah. I mean it's really… you're asking, I think, an important question about leadership, and does leadership need a bit of a top-down hierarchy in order to function or, you know, I don't… I think everyone has a different… a little bit different style.

[00:19:49] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:19:49] Taylor: And we certainly have been taught that leadership means, you know, bossing everyone around and, “I have position,” and yeah.

[00:19:54] Pierre: Yeah, it's like the cartoon you watched as a kid, you know, where it's like…

[00:19:58] Taylor: You know, “It's my direction, and you got to do what I say, because this is my role.” But I think what we're learning in general and just as this evolving society and what works for me is leadership just through, you know, good communication and collaboration, too. I mean, obviously, it's not like an open kitchen where, you know, the AC and the cinematographer and the director and the guy backing up photos, like all have… can have input on like what we should film that day, per se, like… but it doesn't… I don't know. I don't… I don't really lead through getting too stuck on thinking like my idea is the right idea. It's like you have… you have the inner knowing about the direction of, say, a film needs to go or-

[00:20:40] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:20:41] Taylor: … it's been established with the client or the channel that like we're, you know, we're documenting this story. These are who our characters are going to be. This is the arc that we're looking for.

[00:20:48] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:20:49] Taylor: It's pretty well-understood. And if things go a little bit left or a little bit right, like, how do you bring that back? Or how do you shift the directions? But really making that process of doing that open and collaborative, so talking with the… with your entire team and saying, you know, “Okay, here's what I think our goal for the day is,” or, “Here is how I'm understanding this particular problem in our story that we're looking at. What do you guys think? You know, how should we…” And getting everyone's input and making people feel like they have ownership and agency within it, so.

[00:21:21] Pierre: Oh, that's interesting, yeah. It's like involving every single piece in the process, yeah. And how long do you… do you prepare those shoots and expeditions for, usually?

[00:21:31] Taylor: It depends. I think we prepared for that one for like a year.

[00:21:34] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:21:34] Taylor: Yeah, months of story development, working with really amazing producers at National Geographic, Bengt and Drew and Jeanmarie and Brian and John Block, with just like a whole bunch of people on there developed that story together and planned it. And then there's the actual expedition planning, you know, food and gear. And we had 80 porters.

[00:21:54] Pierre: 80?

[00:21:55] Taylor: 80. It was like-

[00:21:56] Pierre: Was 80 of you in the jungle?

[00:21:58] Taylor: Mm-hmm.

[00:21:59] Pierre: This is like a village.

[00:22:00] Taylor: It was a whole moving woodstock every day.

[00:22:03] Pierre: Oh, wow. That's crazy.

[00:22:05] Taylor: Yeah, and all these little camps, you know, because people would just kind of spread out and hang hammocks up and everyone just had little family groups. And you could just see these little fires all around. And you could… It was really cool to like walk between the camps in the just very cozy sweet situation.

[00:22:18] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:22:18] Taylor: Yeah. Just people singing and…

[00:22:20] Pierre: Oh, that's so cool. 80 people, wow. I didn't expect that, like really.

[00:22:24] Taylor: Yeah, a lot.

[00:22:26] Pierre: Even when you look at the result after, you're like, oh, it looks like it's a small expedition and you like were like six people who got lost in the jungle-

[00:22:32] Taylor: Yeah.

[00:22:32] Pierre: … to look for frogs. “Okay, I'm going to shoot,” you know.

[00:22:35] Taylor: Yeah, yeah.

[00:22:37] Pierre: And so, I imagine you involved the local communities as porters.

[00:22:41] Taylor: Mm-hmm.

[00:22:41] Pierre: Yeah. And do you… do you… are you able or do you feel like you want to tell their story at the same time when you're doing that? Or do you feel, I don't know how you say split in… sometimes in the projects when you're like, oh, this is… we're doing that story, obviously, but I also want to shoot this. Or is it something you're like-

[00:23:01] Taylor: Yeah.

[00:23:01] Pierre: … maybe I'll come back and develop something around it?

[00:23:04] Taylor: Totally. I mean that story in particular, the way that it, you know, came to be, the type of show that it was for, it's an exploration adventure show, you know, is always kind of set that Alex and… Alex Honnold and Bruce are going to be the main characters. We're kind of following this journey. And, of course, you then… then you're there with all these people and all these local people and all their stories, you know. This is so fascinating. And this is something we don't see all the time.

[00:23:28] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:23:28] Taylor: And what they were going through, too, just trying to figure out how they as a number of different indigenous groups were going to be forming kind of alliances with each other to have a bigger voice in the government, which is… which is new. And I really think Guyana is actually doing a pretty good job at. It's like allowing these indigenous communities to form organizations and have a collective voice around how, you know, yeah, again, how conservation was going to be established, how different types of resource-extraction could go down in, you know, somewhat sustainable and safe ways. Just amazing to learn and see and… yeah, I would've loved to tell that story, maybe go… maybe go back. But that wasn't the purpose of this particular show. So, yeah, I had to keep the cameras focused on the…

[00:24:13] Pierre: Yeah, I can imagine. Wow, 80 people. That's amazing.

[00:24:15] Taylor: Yeah.

[00:24:15] Pierre: I love hearing that. And I'm going to shift gear and go back to something else. I just love the jungle stuff. It's just so interesting. It's like do you… did you get attacked by anacondas? I'm joking. But you mentioned you meditated on your intention going into the role and even the project. Do you have a specific meditation practice that you… that you carry with you and that maybe either it's procreative or just like in general?

[00:24:45] Taylor: No, not really. I meditate. I mean I do a lot of my calming of my nervous system and of my mind. And if I'm having like emotional storms in nature, often, while moving, I find that that's, you know, sometimes the best way for me to kind of get out of my head — you know, walking in trees, really paying attention to the way that the leaves move and the light is moving and soften my gaze and, you know, feel and sense myself as a part of the forest. You know, sitting is hard for me.

[00:25:17] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:25:17] Taylor: But I will sit sometimes, but yeah. And I used to teach yoga. And so, movement, like slow, intentional movement, breathing, and being outside, I think, is where I can best take, yeah, things I need to like bring into my heart or put at the forefront of my intention. That's where I like try to give that like space and energy.

[00:25:38] Pierre: What do you mean by… I'm bouncing on what you said. You mentioned softening your gaze and… like, what does it feel like? Or what is… what do you, yeah, what do you mean?

[00:25:53] Taylor: Yeah. So, I think, we… I'm wearing my glasses right now.

[00:25:57] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:25:57] Taylor: I have these glasses so I can like see clearly certain things. But ultimately, I think we're a culture very accustomed to like, oh, I need to have like this visual acuity and clarity. So, I can like read the signs and read the billboards and read my phone and read the computer and read the chalkboard, you know.

[00:26:12] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:26:12] Taylor: But I've been reading a couple books. One is called Sight and Sensibility. One is called Take Off Your Glasses and See. And they're both really fascinating with the fact that, when you are hyper-focused on like, you know, you're wearing your glasses and you're really trying to like see and we're so, you know, we have blinders on in these ways literally, and I think we are losing a bit of a sense of our connectivity to space and land through that. And we're often in our heads and thinking. And we're not even really seeing what we're looking at. And the words around the stuff can get a little loosey-goosey, and I don't really have the best way of describing it. But I just go into the forest, and I just relax my eyes and I let like the sides of my eyes relax. And I let my vision move around in a relaxed way. And if I do that for a little while, I see and think differently. I really do. My brain changes.

[00:27:02] Pierre: That's beautiful, well-done.

[00:27:04] Taylor: Mm-hmm, it's a good practice, yeah.

[00:27:05] Pierre: Yeah, I've heard of a little bit of that research of like just having a broader field of you trying to broaden it or even just looking up more, which was like surprising.

[00:27:13] Taylor: Yeah, it's all kind of coming.

[00:27:15] Pierre: And then I tried. I just looked up. And then it was like even walking out.

[00:27:18] Taylor: Yeah.

[00:27:20] Pierre: It's weird. You feel different if you look up and there's the sky or then if you're just looking down. It's slightly strange.

[00:27:27] Taylor: Yeah.

[00:27:28] Pierre: Or it was just surprising because I never noticed, you know, until someone mentions it. And creatively, how do you find your expression in terms of… or where do you find your… How do you call that? Your… I won't say inspiration because it's a little bit too broad. But where, if you are in a creative difficult point, what do you… what do you do, or where do you go to connect back with your creativity?

[00:27:52] Taylor: I usually like dance or move, but it's not always to music. Like, my own personal practice is just it's kind of half yoga, half dance. I trained in lila yoga, which is… means divine play. And it's a yoga practice that's kind of like kayaking where, when you're kayaking, you're kind of, you know, you have your tools and you know your moves, but the river is dictating what happens.

[00:28:16] Pierre: Yeah.

[00:28:16] Taylor: And so, you're kind of playing with the water. And yoga, for me, like I… you know, the really strict practices are beautiful and amazing and I think work for some people. For me, I like to take those movements and forms and just kind of free-flow and breathe until I come to a place where I'm not judging myself, I'm not belittling myself. I mean all the things that block our creativity, you know, that you can't do it and, oh, that's horrible. And, you know, just kind of like letting that all go and having a little space and then, yeah.

[00:28:46] Pierre: That's beautiful. Yeah, that's interesting. Yeah, the… a lot of the practices is very strict and like square, which I understand. But it's very yang, also. I was like slightly masculine, you know, like I need to hit hard the wall to make it.

[00:29:06] Taylor: Yeah, yeah.

[00:29:06] Pierre: Or like to even break my own mind. But yeah, it's actually like free-flow is, yeah, that's awesome. I hope anyone listening will take that and like definitely try that practice.

[00:29:17] Taylor: Definitely.

[00:29:18] Pierre: Taylor, we… I want to be mindful with your time. We have a hard stop.

[00:29:21] Taylor: Yes, of course.

[00:29:22] Pierre: Okay, where do you want to send people to explore, either your work or something you're passionate about right now?

[00:29:28] Taylor: Well, it's interesting that you've mentioned that. I was like talking to… we're here at a Sony conference right now and having a lot of discussions. And honestly, lately, a lot of the projects I'm working on, I'm not really, until they're released into the world, like I haven't been using Instagram quite as much to share updates. So… but I do have Instagram. It tends to be a lot of photos of my dog and my family. It's Taylor Freesolo, which is my middle name. But in terms of updates and projects, hopefully, I'll have a couple of films coming out next year. And that'll be like a new… a new way to share.

[00:30:02] Pierre: Awesome. I'll link everything in the description below.

[00:30:06] Taylor: Okay.

[00:30:06] Pierre: Where you guys can find a show note on And Taylor, thank you so much for being here.

[00:30:12] Taylor: Thank you, Pierre. I really loved the conversation

[00:30:13] Pierre: Thank you for your time. I really liked it.[00:30:16] Taylor: Yeah. Second time's a charm.

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