I’m not sure what it is that I do. On the surface it’s easy to describe: I provide weekly commentary on CNN in response to ethical dilemmas that viewers submit to me. I write a syndicated column, and I direct documentaries. But at the end of the day, I often wonder, “What is the effect of all of this activity? Does it really lead to a change in attitude or behavior, and is that even what I’m trying to accomplish?”
All I know is that I’ve felt a force pulling me along ever since I saw a film called “You Only Live Twice” in 1967 when I was seven years old. The combination of beautiful music and colorful imagery during the opening title sequence mesmerized me, and I knew that I wanted to be involved in this kind of work for the rest of my life. The screenwriting guru Robert McKee said (during a seminar paid for with my Kellogg Fellowship!) that a film is “an idea wrapped in an emotion,” and I think that says it all about what I’m working toward. Whether it’s as “The Ethics Guy” or as an independent filmmaker, I want to leave the audience with something to think about and something to feel—and perhaps motivated to make a difference in their own lives.