Our Chief Creative Officer Jason Russell sat down with Oprah for his first on-air interview since March. No question was off-limits. Did you miss the Next Chapter episode? Fear not, we’re recapping it for you with excerpts.
Oprah: The purpose of the film [KONY 2012] was what?
Jason: It was actually birthed out of anger, to be honest. I was so angry. I was so angry I had to make another movie. We’ve made 10 movies, we’ve toured them, we’ve done 13,000 screenings, what else can we do? Out of that anger and frustration came a movie that was brief, simple, powerful.
Oprah: What was going on in your offices at the time?
Jason: [I mean] no one left the office. We had one PR girl…she had 4,000 emails, no matter what. So she was checking them relentlessly and going through them but it never got below 4,000 emails.
Oprah: All the media of the world.
Jason: And I was so excited, because we were excited to get local news.
Oprah: And at the time you were doing everything in a span of a few days.
Jason: 17 interviews in 48 hours.
Jason: Ten interviews in LA, red-eye to New York, I couldn’t sleep on the plane, I was too excited. By the end of that day, my mind was exhausted. My mind was starting to become so defensive. Because every chair that I sat in, it was “What about this?” and “What about that?” and “What about that?”
Oprah: So what does a breakdown feel like? Because we want to go through the anatomy of a nervous breakdown. Take me through it.
Jason: A breakdown feels like you’re on a special mission…my mouth wouldn’t stop talking. I talk a lot as it is, I’m a talker, but this was pressured speech to the point where I would have to go like this [covers mouth with hands.]
Oprah: Really? To stop yourself?
Jason: I couldn’t stop talking.
Oprah: Were you speeding in your head?
Jason: It was racing. It was just so much. The Twitter feed, the phone calls, the text messages, the meetings. It never stopped. My brain kept going.
Oprah: So did you go crazy?
Jason: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. It was like a soda can. And you shake it up and it explodes in the air.
Oprah: How do you end up on the street naked?
Jason: I wish I knew. I really wish I knew. But I want people to know that I take responsibility for that.
Oprah: What do those words mean to you? What does that mean?
Jason: I should have been listening to my loved ones, I should have surrendered KONY 2012 and Invisible Children to the people at large that aren’t my colleagues, I should have slowed down. Let go. And instead, I chose to keep pushing and keep pushing. And so I feel that responsibility, that weight. That’s something of course I’ll have to live with my whole life, my children will know about it one day.
Oprah: Take me back to the moment – you’ve seen the tape, right?
Jason: I’ve seen the tape.
Oprah: So when you look at the tape, what do you think?
Jason: When I look at that person, I see someone alone, I see someone who is totally out of control…I look at that video and think, “How sad for him.” Your mind is so, so powerful. You know this. It’s so strong. And if you feed it with this chaotic noise…you lose who you are.
Our new film, MOVE, is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the most viral video ever, the organization behind it, and the movement that made an African warlord famous. Watch & share at KONY2012.com.