If I’m being honest, I wouldn’t say anything, either. I’d have been like, ‘What kind of person do you think I am? What is my creative approach?’ There are so many times when someone’s like, ‘You really are a film maker.’ Or my wife is like, ‘You’re a terrible film director.’ It’s so much like, you’re a person who has a certain kind of taste and a certain kind of work ethic, but I don’t really know what film making is. I feel like I probably don’t.
AVC: I think it’s something you might experience as a kid.
JOHNSON: No way, absolutely not. When I was a kid, that’s all people told me. When I was a teenager, people called me crazy. So my point is this, it’s funny when you’re like, ‘Oh, there are a lot of movies made about you.’ The ones that do are in reality, if you like. Like, I was a huge fan of American Pie; I’m a big fan of The Office; and they’re not made about me. When I was the guy behind the camera, I was a fan of The Office and that wasn’t the point. It was for the show the show was doing, for the writers and for the writers. To me, it’s always about the writer and the writing.
I mean, they wrote all the episodes to sell it, and the scripts. [Laughs.] So even if it’s not my fault, I can’t blame them for that. I can’t see people saying, ‘Oh, they did this and this and that,’ and then I’m not there to help them because I don’t know how, like, how you make an experience where people say, ‘Yeah, that was great’ and you could explain how you made it and what inspired the process of writing and storyboarding, and also how it all turned into a film. There are so many different things going on that’s important. Even if it’s not my fault that it’s a bad film.
AVC: One of the things I love about The Office is that it’s so clear that you’re not a TV writer. It’s not that you’re a scriptwriter, it’s just something where you’re not in charge or just a writer or a director.
JOHNSON: That’s all I really am in my mind. My only job
studio binder directing, uncsa filmmaking summer intensive 2020, explore filmmaking: from script to screen, filmmaking app, filmmaking definition