Wednesday 14 December 2011

Inspiring Film Industry Interviews

I have been lucky and privileged to interview some of my favourite writers, directors & actors on Kid In The Front Row. I have also interviewed some fabulous producers, composers and DOP's. Here are some of my favorites. Read them, be inspired, and share them! 


Screenwriter: Beautiful Girls, Con Air, Gone In Sixty Seconds
"The biggest mistake I see young writers doing is thinking they are ready to be read after writing one or two scripts. Bullshit. You ain't. You are still learning your craft. Learning to crawl."

Screenwriter: Mousehunt, Zoom, Small Soldiers
Director: Look, Detroit Rock City, Look
"In Hollywood when you're pursuing a career in making movies you experience a lot of rejection. You just can not allow it to affect you one bit."

Screenwriter: Bring It On, First Daughter, Aquamarine
"In a weird way I know I'm branded that way, this female empowerment writer, but really, writing is writing to me, and I write what I am most interested in and am most enthusiastic about."

Director: Mean Girls 2
Various writing & acting credits.
"It is a crapshoot whether you get anywhere here. There are just so many very gifted people that come to Hollywood to try to realize their dreams, that the reality is it is luck, karma, destiny, whatever you believe.  But you do have to be motivated. "

Writer/Director: How I Got Lost
"Jake Gyllenhaal doesn't necessarily want to do "Scary Movie 9." So if your script is good enough and he gets his hands on it somehow, I like to think that you have a shot at making an ambitious character movie."

Writer/Director: Kabluey
"Getting a movie made at all is a miracle."


The West Wing, Sportsnight, Backwash
"Working with actors like Nicholson and Eastwood was not difficult at all. It never struck me as intimidating; I just saw it as an opportunity to watch how they worked."

" Obviously being 14 years old, after a couple of days you will begin meetings with Monica Bellucci to fall in love"

28 Days Later, I'm Alan Partridge, Uncle Max
"I think part of the battle for any creative person is um, not to reject themselves."

The West Wing
" one key to surviving in this business is to not live in it with blinders on. Because when it comes right down to it: it is a business. And a harsh one."

The West Wing
"There have been times where I do feel that the director takes the time to talk to me about what I'm doing --and I love when that happens-- but it feels like an exception rather than a rule."

Various independent and short films. 
"Success means doing what I love, and earning enough money at it to not be scared when I have to pay my bills each month."


Director Of Photography: The Hangover, Garden State, 
Paul, Due Date
"The main advice I have for anybody is: I never had a back up plan, and I think that’s kind of the only advice I can give."

Producer: Once
"I always knew it was going to be a very special film but never could have imagined how it would touch audiences around the world"

Editor: A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints, Howl, 
The Son Of No One
" The goal is to always get better. I just never want to lose the gut instinct that I had on Saints. I think that's where the true magic comes from."

Composer: Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Most Shocking 
(+150 titles on IMDB!)
"You never sleep. I'm always fried. It's not just me -- you talk to any composers who are working, you never sleep. There's no holiday, no vacation."

Care to share?

The Negative Elements Of Ambition

Ambition is good, I'm certain, but only when it's handled consciously. Otherwise, if you're not careful, it becomes this repetitive thing cycling around in your brain which gets more and more meaningless.

It's important to remember who you are, where you've come from and what you are capable of. But the key thing is:


If you're so busy trying for success that you go to bed unhappy every night, or if you're so restless that you can't sit through movies, then something is wrong.

And yes I speak from experience.

On my better days I'm a Kid In The Front Row, loving cinema and life and everything in between. Other times I go months spiralling downwards in my head because I feel I should be achieving way more than I am.


Come on, that's why we're here. This is our passion and we need to be in love with it.

The stress of failure and rejection stings like crazy, you fall into burn out -- but you need to heed that message, take a trip, rest up, spend a whole day in the cinema dreaming.

I see it a lot when I audition actors. They seem tired of the process, of the rejection. So what happens is I reject them, based on rejection residue they've built up in the last seven auditions. It's the same with writing -- we figure we'll rest when we've succeeded, so we follow complete failure up with two new screenplays.

And of course they suck too, because there's no life flowing into them, no art, just bitterness and disappointment.

Film is a harsh business, and you've got to be focused and ambitious. But more importantly, you've got to be fresh, energised, and passionate.

Go rest.

Go watch Forrest Gump and The Godfather back to back.

Go hang out with the family for three hours without checking your email.

I am writing this advice for you but mostly for me.

Creativity needs rest, sleep, imagination, dreaming, randomness, unexpected experiences, love, a functioning mind. And many more things.

Ambition is good, but used blindly as an all consuming force, you strangle so many things in your life and your work.

Care to share?

I Will Talk And Hollywood Will Listen


Care to share?

Monday 12 December 2011

Bootlegs, Mistakes & Accidents

I've always loved the mistakes. So many of my favorite moments in movies tend to be the accidents they left in. They're the most real, and I usually spot them a mile off, as happened this week with 'Going The Distance'.

I guess it started with the radio. I was so in love with music that I'd sit there with cassettes and tape everything I liked. It's just that the sound quality was so bad, there was always interference. Months later I'd buy the clean record and I'd miss the interference.

Most of my favorite bands, I don't listen to their records. With Counting Crows, people remember 'Mr Jones' from the radio, but I remember the version from Woodinville 2001, or the Viper Room 1995.

At one time I was collecting bootlegs obsessively. Some guy would be muddled in with the crowd recording everything, and then weeks later you'd be laying on your bed listening to Springsteen or The Who, hearing all the mistakes, the cheers, the rare tracks.

The best artists have great albums, but it's the live stuff which really grabs you. And I never knew how bad the sound quality was. I'd make a friend listen to a track and they couldn't even hear it.

But that's what I love.

It carried over into film. I like imperfection, spontaneity, roughness. People try to do it as a 'style' but it's so false.

You can't plan it.

But sometimes you capture the weather, the moment, the insecurities of the actors -- little bits of realness that bleed out onto screen.

It's so hard to get, but occasionally you do.

It's like with blogging. I have no censor. No stop button. I let the words fall like rain, you get my off days and my on days. But when someone loves something from an off day, it's amazing, because you're more vulnerable when you give people access to the bad stuff. When they find value in it, you feel they really get you personally.

Ever heard Bob Dylan's 'Blood On The Tracks'? Or the outtakes sessions? It's his best stuff, and he just did it and disregarded it. Same for Springsteen when recording 'Darkness Of The Edge Of Town'. The discarded tracks were all genius.

'A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints' is one of my favorite movies. Listen to the director's commentary, Dito Montiel and the editor, Jake Pushinsky, continuously talk about doing things cause they 'felt right'. They kept in continuity errors and mistakes because they felt right. That's why I connected so strongly to it.

My favorite moments in 'Garden State' and 'Almost Famous' are mistakes. They're the moments that really let you in, where you make the human connection.

As I wrap this up I'm listening to 'I Will Be There When You Die' by My Morning Jacket. This version is so raw, you can hear the life around it, all the sounds you weren't meant to hear, but you do. And it's everything.

Care to share?

Sunday 11 December 2011


Life is short
Life is short
Life is short
I like you.
Life is short
Life is short
I really do.
Life is short
Life is short
Life is short

Care to share?