Whiplash' was just a lucky kind of convergence of events in that I'd been trying to get a bigger project off the ground with no success for a while, and then finally, out of frustration, I just wrote this leaner, meaner, personal script about my experiences as a jazz drummer, and that's the one that wound up getting made.
In some ways, jazz is the most precise of art forms and the loosest in the sense that it's all about improvisation, but the musicianship required is kind of insane. To actually play with real jazz musicians is a different level of musicianship that almost has no equal in any other form of music in the world.
The first thing I did as a child was draw. I wanted to make animated movies. I think Disney's 'Cinderella' was the first movie I ever saw. 'Peter Pan' was the first movie I ever saw in the movie theater. I grew up with 'Dumbo' and 'Pinocchio' and 'Sword in the Stone.' Those were the movies I wanted to make.
There's something very particular about the kind of rage you feel when you're alone in a practice room by yourself, unable to master a simple thing like a rudiment. You keep trying to master this very basic thing, and when you don't get it, you just scream. I broke a lot of drum heads, and I broke a lot of sticks.