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Acting in the Age of Coronavirus with Joseph Reitman
Filmmaking during these crazy times is tough, if not impossible in some areas. Imagine acting on a set in the age of COVID-19. I wanted to bring a veteran actor on the show to discuss how these insane times are affecting actors and I could think of no better person than 25+ year acting vet Joseph Reitman. Many of you might recognize him as the co-star of my first feature film This is Meg. If you haven’t seen check out the trailer below.
Joe is best known for playing the villain in Happy!, Money Monster, Lady in the Water’, Clueless, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and The Perfect Storm. We sit down in this episode and discuss how SAG is handling COVID-19, what it’s like being on set, and what the future holds for film production as we know it. This is a very entertaining and informative show.
Enjoy my conversation with Joseph Reitman.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- DONATE to Feed America to help with people affected by the Coronavirus
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
- $1 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)
- The Complete Indie Film Producing Workshop with Suzanne Lyons (COUPON CODE: IFHFILMPRODUCE)
- Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story) (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
WATCH MICRO-BUDGET CASE STUDIES
- IFH Academy – Exclusive Filmmaking & Screenwriting Training
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
- Indie Film Hustle® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
- Filmtrepreneur™ Podcast
- Inside the Screenwriter’s Mind® Podcast
Alex Ferrari 2:18
Now, guys today on the show. We have an old friend of mine, Joseph Reitman, and Joe has been acting in Hollywood in some of the biggest movies and TV shows now for over 25 years. And I wanted to talk to Joe about what it's like acting in the time of COVID. And how sag is dealing with COVID how actors are being treated on set, how actors are being treated by their own union. All of those things because I know as difficult as it is to think about being a filmmaker at this time. Imagine what it's like being an actor in these crazy crazy times. Now you guys might recognize Joe from my first feature film, this is Meg, where he was a co star with Jill Michelle Milyon and he definitely was one of the most memorable parts of shooting that film I absolutely loved working with Joe was an honor. And Joe has been like in every movie and television show ever from the Punisher to charmed to perfect storm and Money Monster with George Clooney and Jodie Foster. m Night Shyamalan lady in the water, Kevin Smith, Jay and Silent Bob strikes back and Jay and Silent Bob reboot, which was just released this year. So I thought I'd bring Joe on so we could talk shop and to talk about what the future of film production is from an actor's point of view. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Joseph Reitman. I like to welcome back to the show actually. Returning champion Joseph Reitman. How you doing, Joe?
Joseph Reitman 4:05
Good to see you. How are you?
Alex Ferrari 4:07
You actually you actually made an appearance on the show? When we did that? This is Meg episode when we recorded the whole gang at the at the cinequest world premiere?
Joseph Reitman 4:18
I did. That's correct. We did the whole thing with that little thing in the middle of us, I think where we were in a hotel room, right?
Alex Ferrari 4:24
We weren't a hotel room and I busted out my iPhone. Iphone five whatever it was, I'm like, okay, we're just gonna record it here guys. And we just passed around the iPhone. It was
Joseph Reitman 4:34
It was it wasn't bad wasn't that conversation
Alex Ferrari 4:37
It was it was good. So for everybody who don't doesn't know, Joe. Joe was one of my main actors in my first feature film. This is Meg with the lovely Jill Michelle Milyon. And if you're watching this, you might recognize one of the sets from this is Meg, which is behind Joseph Joseph. shoulder, which is his lovely living room. And he he so kindly helped us out with on on the road to making millions with that.
Joseph Reitman 5:11
Yes. being highly paid for location, all that stuff, right?
Alex Ferrari 5:16
You have received all the checks, right?
Joseph Reitman 5:18
Yeah. All of them
Alex Ferrari 5:20
Good. Because we've been sending them. We've been sending, just let me know. As soon as I get them, you get them. So that's just the way it rolls.
Joseph Reitman 5:28
Yeah, well, you know, I must say about this is Meg. I mean, interesting enough, it is out of all of the indie things that I've done. Yeah. When people see it, I'm always amazed how people, people always talk to me about my relationship with Joe in that movie, because they're like, you guys really seem like best friends really are. You know, it's a really weird thing, right? I mean, super weird.
Alex Ferrari 5:48
It's not, it's not a lot of acting there. It's just, you know, we're just acting. And that was what I wanted to catch with you too, because you were just being yourselves like that silly scenes in those, all that kind of stuff. But I still remember if, if I may, when we when you saw the film, for the first time you were at, we were in the audio facility. And we watched it, and I still remember your face. And you look puzzled. Because like, I think you walked up to Jill afterwards, she like, that actually count that looks like a movie, like, shocked, because of what you saw. We were shooting and how we were shooting it. And you know, it was like it turned out like, like a real movie.
Joseph Reitman 6:30
Well, me, you know, a lot of like, budget projects, you know, living in Hollywood, and I have friends who like everyone's blue shirts open. So like, you know, you do that a lot. And and especially, you know, I mean, obviously, Kirby enthusiasm was a big hit and and just let's do something just off the cuff. And I knew she and I were having fun. And we had a crew of like, five, right? So there's nobody here, you know,
Alex Ferrari 6:55
5 like three? If you include you and Jill, yes, then five, and the dogs and the dogs.
Joseph Reitman 7:04
Also, like, you know, whenever we're moving stuff and ordering lunch, I say it's fine. So it's like, you know, so I was location manager. Like, I mean, you take a look at all that stuff. And yeah, you said you're like, Yeah, what's gonna you know, what, what are we going to have at the end of this thing? You know, it'll be fine. And but yeah, at the end of the day, I was like, this looks a lot better than I shouldn't. We thought it would definitely looked a lot better. If you bang for the buck on the screen. It was great. Really great.
Alex Ferrari 7:30
Yeah, it was it was it was just fun. And I still never forgot that because it was just kind of like, it's kind of like a real movie. And I think Jill, Jill felt the same way. And a lot of people who saw that movie because it had no business looking even remotely. Okay, not yet not sucking. It didn't have any reason. There was no reason for it to look halfway decent. It just No, no, no,
Joseph Reitman 7:54
I literally sat there. I'm like, No, you sit there. The phrase like, hey, this doesn't suck is actually I go real honest answer for like how you thought it looked? Right. You're like, this doesn't suck this is. This is pretty solid. Yeah. You know, it's, it's false in a weird zone for me, because like the stuff with Jill, it's not in a place. That would make my reel necessarily, right. It doesn't really fall into that zone. But it's also much better than like, 90% of the crap that's out there. So you know, it's a weird position to but it was a it was very good. It was really good.
Alex Ferrari 8:30
So for people, the people who are watching, you know, they might see that face and they go, I've seen him somewhere besides Mac. I've seen him. You've got it? Well, obviously, no, no. Not recently, not not not not for years now. Not for years. But you have you are one of those actors who have been in everything. But before we get into this filmography, how did you get into the business?
Joseph Reitman 8:57
Oh, how far back? Did we want to go? Like how to become an actor? or How did I get into Hollywood?
Alex Ferrari 9:04
I say how do you get into Hollywood? Because that's kind of like where the stuff kind of starts.
Joseph Reitman 9:09
And sort of, I mean, it started with me in high school, like, you know, when I was in high school, we'll go back for a second. And we'll go through this quick, but like I wasn't, you know, when I was little, I would always like act in front of the mirror to myself, whatever. And I never took an acting class. And then in high school, there was a company going to London to do a show. And, and without telling anybody, I wouldn't audition for the company. And I came home and I went, Mom, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I got into a theatre company that's going to London to perform for two weeks. And she was like, What? And I said, Yeah, go bad news is we have to find out how to pay for me to go to London for two weeks. So I was like, No, I don't know what to do. Now. I go, I she's like, what did you do? I go, I went an audition. Just did this thing. And so I got into the company, and I went formed in London for this theater, a festival called the new ham International Festival Theatre in New York. And nifty and right. Yeah. And we pulled all over London and we did a show at this all girls school and after the show there were like 40 girls waiting for me. I went I might be pretty decent this big, you know, this is gonna work out this is gonna work. I kind of like kinda like this. I was like, you know, 16 being like, Oh, this is this is a good for me. And so I kind of knew at that point, but went off to college and studied theater and film at the Claremont Colleges State Theatre, Pomona. While I went to Pitzer, then I then I graduated. Well, what and then was there? Back in the day before there was the internet, you remember, right? There was a bulletin board at our school and there was something put on the bulletin board about asi looking for an actor, right. They wanted a guy who play a high school football player, and I would play I was playing college football. And I was like, I could do that. And I didn't know how to drive. Because I grew up in Boston, I have a license and friend of mine from college, drove me into town, grew up in Beverly Hills drove me to asi and I went for an audition to play. This high school football player was making out this girl in the backseat of a car and drinking and being me.
Alex Ferrari 11:12
Me at that time. Sure.
Joseph Reitman 11:14
Exactly. In the end, I got the job. And that was the first thing I'd ever done. Like I'd never done anything. And my first audition I was like, this is amazing, you know, so
Alex Ferrari 11:23
It so easy to be an actor.
Joseph Reitman 11:24
Yeah, right. Oh, my God, I got my first audition. This is crazy.
Alex Ferrari 11:29
And you thought you made it, you made it.
Joseph Reitman 11:33
I mean, compared to everybody else in my school, Look, everyone else in my theater department, who graduated me who are very good actors. Only one. One girl who was was brilliant does voiceover and everybody else did that to get you know, I mean, and I said I'm going to Hollywood. And I thought and I thought it was easy, you know, and I got an agent pretty quick. And, and I sent him an audition, they were looking for a long haired motorcycle, kind of like guy for this commercial, right? And I went, Oh my god, I have a motorcycle. I have long hair. I'm perfect. And I drove to this audition. And there were 40 motorcycles parked outside, like the place that the casting and it was, before I even went in the room. I was like, Oh, no. And it was like a super huge awakening for me thinking that I was so unique. And and I walked in and there were 40 long haired leather jacket wearing guys, just like me.
Alex Ferrari 12:24
And that's the thing. That's the thing about Hollywood that people don't understand. And la in general, it's like when you come out from because I come from, I come from the east coast, you come from the east coast. When you're there, you're that big fish in the East Coast or outside of LA. But when you get here, what made you thought you made us look so unique? You show up to something like that. And you're just like, oh, there's 40 guys who look just like me, and most of them look better than me. And most of them got insane credits.
Joseph Reitman 12:51
Yeah. And I've seen half of them on TV. And I was Oh, no, my first audition was it was so eye opening real, like punch in the gut. And I tell people, you know, Hollywood is the land where the elephants come to die. You know, I mean, that's what I tell people. That's, that's good. You know? Yeah. Right. It's like, you know, this is where the elephants come to die. You know, you're the biggest, you're the biggest and the baddest where you grew up, and you come here. And that's it. And then next thing, you know, you're walking down Hollywood Boulevard falling between the cracks of the stars on the foot and walk of fame, you know, you're like, Whoa, you know that trying, just try not to slip in between the cracks. That's all you're trying to do. You know, you walk in Hollywood Boulevard, and you recognize one and every five names that you see on that sidewalk. And at some point, each one of those names was the biggest thing what they did, every single one of them at some point. You know, and you sit there you go. That's how fleeting it is. Like, I only know like 20% of these names, and 80% of them are fantastic, and powerful and strong. And here we are, you know, just hoping that somebody just pays attention. Now. Now with all that said, I've also spent all my time since then trying to create a unique voice for myself. I mean, that, you know, wakes you up and makes you realize I might not have been that different than everybody else or 40 other guys, but there has to be something that makes me unique. And that's a big part of like what I've focused on in my career. Even if it's hurt me at times, it means that I can't play your average school teacher all the time.
Alex Ferrari 14:15
Boys when I saw you on just magic the other day when my my my daughter's my daughter's were watching it on Amazon Prime. And I'm like, oh, there's Joe. And I think they said, Isn't he the actor who was in this is Meg. I'm like, Yeah, it is. Yes, it is. He's like, I was just telling Joe before we came on, like I was just watching like an episode of monk and he popped up and I was watching the Punisher and he pops up like he's just that face that pops up everywhere. And for people listening I don't even I don't even know if I told the story when we first had you on the show, but I had reckon I knew I recognized your face. And I only knew you at the time as the guy who was charmed, because I was like the dude who was uncharged because you had such a unique look. And I was selling olive oil for my olive oil company at the Calabasas farmers market. And you would show up with your dark jacket and your helmet and you would go and buy your stuff. And I always just remember seeing you because like, oh, there's the dude from charmed. You know, I think I think Bo bridges like followed you in one day. And I know there's no bridges. But it was and then years later, I'm talking to Jill, she's like me and my buddy Joe should be in this and I look at him like, Oh my god, I can't believe it's, it's the guy from that guy. That guy tries my balsamic every week. It doesn't buy anything. It doesn't buy a thing. So you didn't buy the bow bridges bought me bought some balsamic for me, sir. Yes, but not you. I apologize. But to be fair, though, you did Lend me your house for a photo film shoots up. So for that, we're even even even even Steven sir, even Steven. Yeah, charm, was it that was it but you have such a unique look. You have a Joseph reitman type, as you were saying earlier. Can you tell? Can you tell that story?
Joseph Reitman 16:09
Anything is that you're it's funny because people have no job. I did like and I also did supernatural. It's the same people who watch both those shows really, you know, and people sit there and they go, Oh, God, you're so much older. I'm like, Yeah, I did Trump 20 years. Like, yes, yes. Yes.
Alex Ferrari 16:25
ILike reruns. t's called. It's not live. It's reruns
Joseph Reitman 16:29
20 years ago. They're like, Oh, you look older. And I do. That's exactly what happens. You know? What that apologize?
Alex Ferrari 16:37
I try. I try. I tried it, I think and as good as again, you know, man, I get it looks 60 You look great for 65. But I don't know, I don't care what anyone tells you.
Joseph Reitman 16:49
Before there was color movies. And I was performing the Borscht Belt. Oh, with Ave. in they, they did this thing. They started talking about who's on first and I go That's funny. You should do that more often. Next thing, you know, boom, they will no longer there.
Alex Ferrari 17:09
Joseph Reitman 17:10
Friggin old man. Yeah,we were talking about what we're talking about. We're talking about Yeah, a type, right.
Alex Ferrari 17:17
Yeah the Joseph Reitman type.
Joseph Reitman 17:20
So yeah, I had kind of created by, yeah, about 20 years ago, right about the time just before charms in that area. I started kind of finding my own voice, right. And it took me time. There's a short version that leads up to that to kind of we just breezed by how I got to Hollywood too. But that doesn't matter. But, but we can go back to that one too. But like what happened was I was running a stand up room in LA. And a guy in the stand up room. There was a comedian named Eric Edwards, who was at the time, like 400 pounds, he was enormous. And, and I would introduce all the comics, I did like the openings for all of them. And so before I introduced him, I said, Hey, our next comic is next time What we have is the biggest comic that we have coming up tonight. And when I say big, I mean friggin huge. He's enormous. And like the joke, and then he got up on stage and he was like, That's really funny. He was but what happens when you audition? There's what 2000 guys who look like you and LA, he's like, there's only four like me. Now, it kinda like Dean. I was like, Oh my God, he's absolutely right. I'm competing against like, Casper van den and for him like at the time, you know, and the guys who you know Jason Priestley I'm as audition is all these guys that were not that I was not competing with really, like, I don't have a look like them, you know, and I was learning even if I tried to softer myself ever had my short hair and you know, tried to be chiseled, it was not working. And I had a motorcycle accident and grew my beard and my hair grew out. And next thing you know, I was getting cast. And it was in I was like, Oh my god, like it's, I've grown into this thing. So I started getting cast as, as this character's long haired, scruffy kind of like guy, and it was really working for me. I had done some married children's playing Kelly bunnies boyfriend, which was my dream job in either picture on my wall in college. I can on my wall and I was like, in love with her. And, and also, I told my friends, I could play her boyfriend and they're like, What makes you so sure I said, because I can play a guy that thinks she's smart. And that is all I need to do. And I did and so I end up playing that role a few times. I then booked a show on ABC and and I was not available for a lot of the year and what happened is that married children released a breakdown saying looking for Kelly boyfriend Kelly's boyfriend for a role on the show. We're looking for a Joe reitman type right and I happened to be off from the show is working on my agent ghosts. You never gonna believe this. This is what they said. We're looking for a Joe reitman type. And I said, we'll call them tell them available. My agents had a did they don't want and I was like, but they want my type. They would Yes, they want people know what they were looking for, but they don't want you
Alex Ferrari 20:00
We want someone who looks like you, but we just don't want you.
Joseph Reitman 20:04
Well, you know, there's the five stages of Hollywood. You've heard that before, haven't you?
Alex Ferrari 20:08
Please, for everybody in the audience,
Joseph Reitman 20:10
right. For those who don't know, the five C's always like, you know, who's Joe reitman? Right. We want Joe reitman. We want somebody like Joe reitman. We want a young Joe reitman. Who's Joe reitman? Right. I'm currently in stage five. That's, that's
Alex Ferrari 20:28
I want a young Joe right? Oh, that's, that's what it is. It's funny, but it's the truth. It's the truth. That is the absolute truth. And that is the lifecycle of an actor in Hollywood. It's, it's, it's brutal. It's brutal. I mean, I think, but I think nowadays, more than ever, there's so much more opportunity for actors to build something outside of just acting and maybe do their own work or produce their own projects and things like that to just, you know, or, you know, to do like, what you do you teach, you know, teach and other things you can do to generate revenue, that's not just act, you know, you you at the whim of somebody else, for your time
Joseph Reitman 21:11
You moved to Hollywood, you had a choice to wait tables, bar 10, pretty much and then you just had to hope that you could hold on to that job long enough until you had a break. And now, that's changed, because you can't make enough money acting to do that, like adding money is not as good as it was 20 years ago, it's not the same, right? Because there's less channels. And because of that, you know, obviously, everything's blue water down. My day rate, if you do like the like interest and kind of like inflation, the day rate of an actor has gone down tremendously. And as you know, you pay people $125 a day to back to the movie now, you know, if you want to and then right, so it's crazy. When like, I did, er, 25 years ago, they paid me $1,000 for the day, and I had no credits and I did one line on that show.
Alex Ferrari 21:55
And you got residual and you still are getting residual payments off of that. yesterday. Yeah, totally. Yeah. Is it a Seinfeld residual check. Is it like Pat, it's like, two cents. Remember that episode, where he got like, 5000 to said checks?
Joseph Reitman 22:08
Yeah, they've gotten better at that in the sense that the last one I got they've now bundled it like Warner Brothers bundles it so like, I got like, it was er, Supernatural, blah, blah, blah. It's like a bunch of right. But Mary children's still kind of comes in at two sets. Yeah, so Mary children's now. your marriage, your now is like when I get to check your residual check. I'm like, not really, that's not really gonna,
Alex Ferrari 22:30
it's gonna cost me more to mail it I beat.
Joseph Reitman 22:33
It's no more a latte is no more like, oh, coffee today. It's not that but but residuals are still for me. I mean, a big part, this whole during this time of struggle, where a lot of people struggling, I've had a few decent checks from some movies. And that goes up.
Alex Ferrari 22:47
So let's talk about Yeah, so I wanted to bring you on the show, not to just chat, because we could talk for hours about your career, and, and we're gonna get to some of your Hollywood stories, because I have been privy to some of these stories on set. And they are, they're legendary. But, but as far as COVID is concerned, I mean, obviously, this is the elephant in the room. And, and now it's, you know, I long for the days of January 2020. Or, or November 2019. You remember those days where you could go out to eat and do all these other things, and maybe just work as well on assess your friend or like, you know, she's aiming, we have to go that far. If anything, sit in a room with somebody else. Yeah. Without a hazmat suit on? Oh, somebody who I don't really know that, well, whatever it may be. Anything, I'll take anything. So right now, I wanted to hear from the perspective of an actor and from what you're hearing on the quote unquote, streets, from actors and how, you know, because it's like we were just saying, acting is rough. To off from the get go in great circumstances. It's it's a brutal side of there's so many brutal sides of this business screenwriters direct mean, everyone's everyone gets a hit. But actors I feel so much more because I think a lot with actors, they don't have control their their their passengers on the on the on the in the car. They have no, yeah, chess pieces. That's Yeah, we don't they have no control of where they're going. They're just I have to jump on this. of this destruct look like it's going somewhere. Cool. Let me jump on it. As opposed to a director or a producer or even a screenwriter. They have somewhat more control.
Joseph Reitman 24:31
You know, I mean, here's the thing. It's like, you know, depends, right? Like I'm in a position where I get to choose whether or not I want to get if I want to be a passenger in something I'm luckily to be in a place where I need to call. I also have a lot of actors who I coach who are just basically running around traffic open not to get hit by a car. I'll do anything. Oh, yeah, go with me yesterday. She's like, should I do non union stuff I'm like right now, absolutely not. I would not even consider doing something on you. Even right now, you know. And to go back, we're saying in this COVID time, actors are panicking, right? actors are panicking being like, should I do non union shoots? Everything seems to be non union. I'm like, that's because some people don't want to follow like the COVID-19 regulations. And I don't want to be on a set that doesn't want to do that.
Alex Ferrari 25:17
Okay, so Alright, so let's, let's talk about that. So from from an actor's perspective, the union sag AFTRA, they actually put out specs on what has to happen in order they just shut down like a Michael Bay production. Yeah. So yeah, they shut down a couple of things that they weren't abiding by this. So can you talk to you tell the audience what is what is that? What are the rules for sag? And then why you would not work with a non union situation right now?
Joseph Reitman 25:46
Well, the songbird shoot issue is a little bit different in the sense that they sent out a breakdown asking actors to make tapes to send in, and then they were going to decide what they were going to put in their movie. So they're acting, asking actors basically the shoot content for them, right. And if you take, if you took a look at their release, it was one sided, you know, pretty much you sent to them, you know, they have all rights to your material, they can decide what they want to pay you, it really wasn't, you know, we'll pay you sag wages, but no, no way of knowing there would be one or $20 or whatever. But for shooting your own content, which you and I both know, it's not like, you know, it's just not up and up, right, it's not the right way to operate it know, when they get called on it. So you know, that that much I know it's true. And then I don't know what else they've been called on. But I know that came up. But you know, I wasn't really surprised. But I saw the contract that they had offered. And I did I chose not to shoot something, even though I had a lot of friends who did write hoping to be in a Michael Bay movie, right? But when we take a look at, like, what's going to happen in this universe, and we did talk about, like, what sads guidelines are gonna be? Who knows how much they're gonna be able to protect people. Now, you and I both know, you have to protect the actor, right? You have to write because you can't have me get sick and shut down the production, you have to protect me. So I know that a shoot that I'm a lead in, is going to take every precaution they can to make sure I don't get sick, right. But I'm a day player. That's a problem.
Alex Ferrari 27:14
Oh, God forbid, or God forbid, extra extra, right?
Joseph Reitman 27:17
Yeah. Because then they're not going to care. Because then you're in and out and like whatever get infected. So being in a position of power matters, I think taking an acting job, depending what it is right now. Right. And some productions, I've talked to people up being made a producer on the project. So I actually have to say, in some of the protective situations that take place, if we're going to be going in a film like this is Meg. I'm like, I need more control in what my safety precautions are going to be. I know who do we I mean, I mean, we couldn't shoot mag today, there's no way there's just no, no way that you would allow all five of us to come into your house. But if we shot entire movie, just the five of us, and we'd all like no quarantined for like a week or two before we all agreed, because we know each other and you know, there's right you, there's control to other guys and be like, no going out. This is what we're doing. And they go Okay, and like, you know, if you offer them some money for being at home, I mean, there's a way to do it,
Alex Ferrari 28:15
we can make it work. Absolutely.
Joseph Reitman 28:16
That to make it kind of work with a group of five, you can't and you can do avatar, because you can buy a friggin city or buy like, I would shut down the Sheraton on the top of the hill at Universal. And I would turn that into like a quarantine building, and then have a tunnel, and vans that specifically Go to the back of the building with our own elevator that, you know, they could do that too, right? For a $200 million movie. The problem is, is those movies that are half a million to like 3 million, and everyone's wearing more than one hat, like, and then you have to wipe down the sets and you ever want to get tested in the morning. You're losing an hour a day, just because of PBE issues. Right? So you're losing it extra 10% of your day because of those things, which obviously astronomically affects the budget at the end of the day, you know, plus, you can't give me a honey wagon anymore, right? Like you can't you have to like get half bangers for all the actors because you're walking us down.
Alex Ferrari 29:09
Just real quick, just for everybody who's that? Tell him what a honey wagon and a half bangers?
Joseph Reitman 29:13
Oh, I'm sorry. It's my bad.
Alex Ferrari 29:15
I know what it is. But just tell
Joseph Reitman 29:18
You can you explain to me how this works?
Alex Ferrari 29:22
So other lenses What is that?
Joseph Reitman 29:25
Exactly as a camera, so you sit there? When we go to set as an actor like your part of what goes into your contract is the size of your private space. Right so your dressing room in that end? A honey wagon? Is you is a trailer that has usually six rooms in it. I'd say right six, six. Yes. 18 Wheeler, almost every room is like it's broken to six. It's literally a tiny space.
Alex Ferrari 29:50
It's a cell. It's a cell. Let's just call it what it is. It's a cell.
Joseph Reitman 29:52
Yeah, really? Yeah, it's like six by 10. Right. I think I'd say it's about six by 10 feet. And and I've changed women. There's a bathroom in that. room. And there's this place that you light on sit down in a mirror and there's nothing in it. It's really just a changing room where you can plug in your radio and sit on the steps and kind of wait, you don't even want me in the room. Right? Because it is smaller than pregnant. solitary confinement in a prison. It's smaller than that. Right? So you really live in it. Half banger is a truck that has two, two rooms in it, that's why it's called a half banger be the half half of it is is a space, that banger usually has a couch, TV a fridge and has more space to move around in. And then when you see like, you know, movie stars, or like their entire truck that goes with their own private things, and
Alex Ferrari 30:36
we'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Or if it's, if it's Robert Downey Jr. On Avengers, he's all the other Avengers are envious of is such. Yeah, the city, he like a city that was all brought. Yeah, whenever he wants.
Joseph Reitman 31:01
Yeah, I mean, look, the thing is, is like some actors by their own, like, you know, you know, you know, air streams, you can deck them out too. And they kind of have their own built out things that they build. But it's interesting, the different sides, but honey wagons, kind of we're going to be a thing of the past for actors that you want to have on set for a long time. Because usually Donnie wagons there just to be there. And then the actor walks around, he kind of like, you know, goes to craft service, which no longer exists. And, uh, you know, and he would go, and I would hang out in video village, because I'm watching over the shoulder because I'm, I want to watch it, you know, playback, I always want to watch directors direct, because I like learning from directors, and always studying them, that will no longer happen, I'm not going to get that, that opportunity to be on set and kind of observe, which is, is a big part of why I've taken some jobs in the past is just to be on set and watch. People like Schrader work wherever it might be, you know, and it's like. So because of that, if you're going to put me on, I'm in my room, or on set you to give me a bigger room, because you can't confine me not expect me to be able to function. So I think there's going to be kind of like it, the half trailers are going to be kind of like the norm for every actor who has a bigger part, craft services gone. So everyone's going to get delivered their own little baggie of like, it's great for natural like me who has allergies and stuff. Because I'll say my allergies are a little bit of a bag with my gluten free whatever I want. And that's fine. You know, but it's going to be an issue. And you know, I don't know, you and I both know, like every set has that one dude who like doesn't like to follow the rules and goes out and get hammered at night and it gets wasted and shows up. I wonder. I don't I'm concerned. I'm concerned about what's going to happen, you know,
Alex Ferrari 32:40
but then that's the thing. But like, I mean, being on set, you have to the risk is so massive now. I mean, look when we're recording this, we're are in July of 2020. So we you know, if you're listening to this a year from now, either the world has come to an end. And this is just the last things that have been left. If that's the case, good luck to you get gasoline and toilet paper. My boy, but we really don't know like when i have i've had interviews and talks in March, and April and I've been brought on to shows to act as What do you think's gonna happen? Like, I I can't see us shooting like 200 million. Right? If you're Tyler Perry and you want to just quarantine people on your back lot because you're one person in the country that has that opportunity that option? And yes, that works. But if your $200 million movie maybe you can go to New Zealand and shoot after you quarantine for two weeks.
Joseph Reitman 33:42
You can go to you go there you can you can if you're doing a film that's in a small town in Alaska, you can shut down entire town in Alaska, right? If you're shooting on an island like survivor, you can shoot intact you can quarantine for two weeks and go to a small private island, or do a movie on an island like Castaway. And you know, come and go right there are there are options. And as you and I both know, the TV world has sent out a mandate to everyone saying like figure out episodes that don't require any guest stars and just contain our
Alex Ferrari 34:08
No and no extras and no extras.
Joseph Reitman 34:10
Right? Yeah, yeah, no extra is narrowed down guest stars keep it self contained. green screens. Great. And that's what their mandate is, which hurts the entire industry because guys like me, pop up on shows and you're telling me that you don't want to bring me in for a week. If you're shooting in Austin. I normally get flown to Austin do TV shows they're not going to fly me they're not going to put anybody on a plane. We're going to hire locally if anything, you know. And,
Alex Ferrari 34:35
but but how can you as a producer of a film, right? The risk is just too great right now like what insurance? no insurance is kind of covered. There's no production insurance is covering this. Oh, and you're you're taking it's Russian Roulette at this point right now at this point in July of 2020.
Joseph Reitman 34:57
Right July 2020. Is what you're saying is apps And I think that's the thing is we're talking about, you know, they'll have a vaccine by January, and they'll have a better idea. I know some reality shows, I know. But I'm missing reality shows that have been functioning. And they've been testing people. And you know, some documentary type shows, and they test everybody, they go out and shoot for a week. But you know, when you're doing a documentary, everyone's who's behind the camera, you can lose them. And if you know, the camera guy gets sick, or the first or the first day he gets sick, you get a new one, too. You want to take that risk, you get to switch him out. And I understand why they're doing that with a young people who are healthy, and I get why they're doing it. I also know those executive producers producing that show aren't going to set because they don't want to get sick, which is also freakin sick. Like, you know, I mean, you're willing to put other people in danger, but not yourself is a hard, I'm not a fan of that. That was good. I am now with what you said. And this is, I think, a huge, huge thing. I have a lot of actor friends who are like, I just want to go back to work, right? I just want to I don't care anymore. I go. Alright, let's say we're on set. Let's see one set with a scene where like, you need to shoot somebody today, right? And the prop guy Hanzo comes over and hand you a gun. It goes here you go goes to walk away. And you say, are we going to do a safety check? And he goes, I don't think we need to. I just wanted to be that close to you right now. I don't think we need to worry about the safety check is what happens. If you shoot somebody, if you pull the pull the trigger? And there was a bullet in there and it hit somebody? What are the odds of it hitting somebody? And if it does, they're only like 5% to die? Right? So don't worry about it. Yeah. Do you? Do you then call the producers and be like, we're doing a safety check? Yes, you do. You don't just sit there. If you if I told you there was a 5% chance you killing somebody on set because I handed you a gun, you would check the gun, you would not just go and say it's okay today
Alex Ferrari 36:44
or, or stunts or any of that stuff.
Joseph Reitman 36:47
What do you put on to rehearse it? What are the odds of you dying doing this stuff? Right? We're not to worry about it. It's not it's not
Alex Ferrari 36:52
It's just, it just dramatically alters the entire filmmaking process in a way that has never happened in the history of our industry.
Joseph Reitman 37:02
Alex Ferrari 37:02
It just hasn't even during the Spanish flu, in 1918, which Hollywood was up and running by then it was still in its infancy to the but there was there was there was still an industry. And they were still figuring things out. But even then it didn't stop. I mean, this has stopped everything. I mean, I can't, I can't in good conscience produce a film unless I had a complete if I had a Tyler Perry scenario, right? Where we just okay, the there's going to be two weeks of quarantine, everyone's staying at this hotel or at this house. It's a lockdown, and there's no in and out and it's gonna be you're locked up with us for the next six weeks, we're shooting, and we're only going to shoot on this mountaintop. And we're doing The Revenant.
Joseph Reitman 37:52
there too. So this is the thing I have a friend who has like, Who's much like you, you know, is a indie guy, but he has his own like he has his own soundstages in New Mexico, okay, and a friend of a friend. And he said he would not open up and when he posted a thing that I read and he said, here's the problem is how can I just rent out my studio to some like horror film that wants to make a movie, knowing that there's a pandemic out there. And knowing somebody gets sick, the whole crew gets sick. If the whole group gets sick, the odds are one of them dies, the odds, the math is if 20 people get sick one dies, right? That's the math, right? He was I can't live with myself in that conscience knowing that I'm putting somebody at risk, just because some people are hungry to make some crappy $200,000 horror film, but I'm not going to do it. And I think you know, that's admirable. I also know it's difficult in this environment. But like
Alex Ferrari 38:41
financially financially, like, Look, there's entire that I know you and I both know, so many people, crew members who are just not working. And some of them like I know a lot of people aren't posted like, yeah, we're still finishing up something that we were already in post on. But that's going to run out in the next, you know, month or two a month. And then after that, you're just like, what do you do you know, animations basically the only the only game in town right now as my show? Yes, sir. animations. You know, my buddy works over at Disney and he's working at home. He's like a major animator at Walt Disney Animation. And he's like, I'm at home and it doesn't look like any of us are going back, at least for the rest of this year. And I kept telling people in March I go, I promise you, things will not even remotely start to look somewhat like we were before until next summer. Just last summer.
Joseph Reitman 39:37
I mean, people said do you think this year I'm like, by when we get to know. If we get to Thanksgiving, it's over anyway, no one does anything from November to December. It's over anyway, right? So you're over if you get to, if you get to October, you're done for the year, you're done. You can't just start in pre production and get anything shot before then. And I've been offered a movie in August. Right very, very Like, you know, a short end to end a feature, but often two projects, both them say they're gonna follow PP rules, both of them are gonna, like, you know, follow the rules. Yeah. And I'm like, okay, and look to both of them. I've been like, yeah, let's see where it goes, right? I mean, I'm willing to listen, I'm willing to see where they where they head, I can't imagine either them are going to actually happen, you know, but like you said, the feature film, two actors, one house 80 pages, eight days,
Alex Ferrari 40:27
right? And it's in a very controlled, like, it's like a cabin in Big Bear. Correct, then it's doable. It's a that's a doable scenario. And even with that, you've got to be super careful and the quarantining, and you just can't, that's the thing, like, I'm, you and I both are a little psycho when it comes to going outside. Because we have I follow your Facebook and you see mine too, that we have our big masks, and all that kind of stuff would go up, because I've got a family, and you know, you have dogs, and I don't want them sick Now, obviously. So, um, you know, we want to protect ourselves, I can't see you, I don't I don't know, I don't know how we could even move forward on a project.
Joseph Reitman 41:10
That something is like, you know, a crew of like, it would be like, this is what we're talking about a crew of five people and two actors, we're talking about in the house. And it's being sponsored by PBE company, prove that they can do this stuff, and we're doing it. So I'm like, well, then they're taking extra care. You know, I know kind of like, what we're going to get into, over an eight day period. If I'm being exposed to like four people, it's really less than me just going outside, no one's gonna have time. Yeah, no one's gonna have time,
Alex Ferrari 41:39
you'll have more risk going to the supermarket.
Joseph Reitman 41:41
That's what I'm saying exactly, more or less, and no one, you know, we're gonna be working 12 hour days, for sure, over an eight day shoot for 10 days of the day. So I'm like, I'm like, Look, it's not like anyone's gonna have time to go out and cause trouble. So it is the safest of the options that I can think of, if I was to do anything. You know, the short is a little actually more difficult than that, to be honest, you know, you know, but and
Alex Ferrari 42:05
unless there's a major Pay Day involved, which I doubt areas with a short, I mean, why I would never in a million years, put a risk for short, if I was an actor, or even as a director as a feature. Again, there has to be man, there has to be a big want and need to get that thing done.
Joseph Reitman 42:24
And let the good they need to want is that they're going to run out of content. And that's the that's the pitch right now is they're gonna write content, we can sell this thing pretty quickly. They give me points in the back end, it's one of those conversations that you sit there and you're like, they might be right. This might actually be
Alex Ferrari 42:38
It might be in it might not be I mean, that's that I feel if I if I may do a little mythbusting. You know, I've been I've gotten deeper into the deep pool and the pool with distribution. Recently, recently, it's like in the last year or so. And I've been talking to all the distributors and been to the film markets, and I'm still constantly figuring out what the deal is. I know, I know, the film right now that has a decent cast, not marked not like a name, but a decent cast. Good production value. Nice genre. And, you know, there's so much content sitting on the shelves right now, that if anyone right now listening thinks they're going to make a feature and just because they're one of the five features that are being made this month, they think that that's going to be an automatic payday. You are wrong. It and I agree that it's you're wrong. It's not and please don't if anyone listening don't make a quarantine movie. Don't make a COVID movie. Nobody wants to watch it. I don't want to see a COVID movie. I don't want to see an outbreak movie. I don't know. No, no, just like after 911 nobody wanted to see a 911 movie. That's why in 1972 nobody wanted to see a Vietnam film. Like you need time. Please, please. So yes, it will be
Joseph Reitman 43:58
there'll be a quarantine like romantic comedy that does work somehow but I don't think I know why see right away
Alex Ferrari 44:03
I don't want to see right now. I don't want to see this right now. No, I mean in 10 years five to eight years out like When Harry Met Sally, but quarantine. Okay. All right, you know, maybe we can go back and revisit and you know, at that point hopefully we'll be past this or it's Mad Max and we're just fighting for gasoline on water. So it's it's either one or the other at this point. There's no gray there's no gray area and this is you know,
Joseph Reitman 44:29
but that's the thing is like you know, I'm always up for a challenge and like you know, I don't have a lot to do it on trickier note on a similar kind of like tangent. I need to make my health insurance money this year.
Alex Ferrari 44:40
That's why because you're because you're sag so if you don't make a certain amount of money, but I got to believe that sag has to say it's not gonna take care of their people even a little bit but during this time,
Joseph Reitman 44:51
I went to check on the shag Health website and the website said, we're here to help click here and I clicked on and said, ways that you can get help And someplace else. And that's not even a joke. They were like, have you thought about getting on your spouse's account? Have you thought about Medicare, that's what it listed, it did not list how I thought that's it did not say anything else. But that. That's what it's Wow. Not even like we're going to help you with Cobra, we're going to bring Cobra down. Nothing. They're just going to let people hang. And we're already a quarter of the way into the year. And actors are not working. I mean, I have some residuals coming in. But to make sure that I make my minimum like I need to make, I need to make a couple of movies,
Alex Ferrari 45:31
residuals, do residuals count as income? Okay, so residuals do come out as an IT, but you have to make something to kind of push you over the minimum, to get the keep set health insurance.
Joseph Reitman 45:40
Yeah, I mean, I make it you know, I make money in residuals, but like, is it guaranteed it's going to be enough? It's not, I don't know, who's gonna watch what, right. So a couple grand here, a couple grand there, just to make sure I pull in an extra, you know, 10 grand is your kind of is important. You know, and I sit there and, you know, I don't know if that's gonna, I don't know
Alex Ferrari 45:57
now. So I just want filmmakers listening right now to understand, you might have to put yourself at risk, to make money to get health care to protect you from putting yourself at risk.
Joseph Reitman 46:10
That's correct. That 100%
Alex Ferrari 46:12
Joseph Reitman 46:14
Yeah, because I can't, I can't lose my, they're gonna tell me that I'm going to lose my health insurance, because I haven't gone to set because they won't let me go to set because it might be bad for my health.
Alex Ferrari 46:25
And that, I thought the union was there to kind of support and help, you know,
Joseph Reitman 46:33
They have some time to figure this out. It's not over today, I mean, people are not, you know, but in three to six months, there are gonna be some actors hurting that have not been able to work. And that's gonna be a big deal. By the end of the year, by the end of the year, it'll be
Alex Ferrari 46:46
I'm gonna argue most, most actors are not going to be working, you know, and there's going to be a wild wild west and kind of atmosphere with this whole, you know, everything's gonna start going non union actors are gonna start jumping to non union because like, I got to get paid, I got to screw the union, and I got to, you know, they're not taking care of me, there's gonna be kind of that I could see you could see it, too. You could see it all fall apart.
Joseph Reitman 47:12
I've seen it already. I've been looking at the breakdowns and seeing that it's 80% non union. And it's because people and they're like, you'll be signing a waiver saying that you do not hold the production responsible if you catch COVID you know, things like that. I've seen that.
Alex Ferrari 47:24
And that's just horrible man. Like, how can you put your like, I can't put I wouldn't be able to put any anybody in risk for that. Like, it's not worth it, guys. I get it, I get it. But it's crazy. It's insane, dude, it's insane. Well, alright, so let's, let's talk a little bit less, because we've just brought the whole, the whole show down. Dark darkness or the reality of the world that we live in. It's starting to kind of really fall in there. So let's start bringing people up. I felt I felt you being like, okay, let's talk about bubbly stuff. Let's, I think we've beaten up everybody a little bit too much. Like my audience is used to, you know, the tribe is used to me telling the truth and the raw truth. And it's not always pretty. And I'm the first one that I've been yelling from the top of the top of the hill, like, the film distribution spaces is is burning, Hollywood is burning, the walls are coming crumbling down.
Joseph Reitman 48:20
And even before we move on, to me, I'd like to say one more thing from an actor's point of view, because it's a very interesting as well, right? Because I bet you ever discussed it, like, the casting world is totally changing. Right? from an economic point of view. I so I grew up in a town in a town where like, when I moved to LA, I had to like, add promise to call my agent every two hours, right? To get breakdowns. I had a problem because when you got here, you know, you'd be like, Okay, I'm going to check in with my machine every two hours. If I have an audition, I have to drive to the valley to pick up my sides. They would have like a milk crate in front of the agent store with a bunch of Manila envelopes and your name was on it. You grab your manila envelope and have the script and besides inside of it, you go home and work on it all night, you'd go to the audition the next day at the casting office, if they liked you, they said come back at three meet with the producers, because producers would live there you meet the producers and then they would decide if they want to hire you. Now I can be anywhere in the world. My phone goes point ping, you have an audition pane here, your sides pane put yourself on tape paying getting in by Friday at three o'clock. Right, right. You know, it's totally changed. Now that was changed a few months ago, right. Then in January, the world changed again, because I was still being told I had to go into casting offices a lot of the time, not all the time, but a lot of the time. Casting offices are now a thing of the past. I believe almost all casting offices will be gone by the end of May. Because why would a casting director pay $5,000 a month for an office that they're not going to use because they don't want to see people in person. Right? Right. The universe right? And the whole world we know we grew up in a world where like headshots used to be black and And I started with colored people like, Why Why are you doing color? Who wants to see color headshots, like everybody wants to color headshots. Right, right, who wants to add shots. So because that also there was a shift because it was cheaper, they could produce it, it all made sense. And then all of a sudden we had color because it was cheaper. But if people don't need it, people don't need to like you know, have a have an office, they don't need to like, spend 5000 a month for casting directors to be looking for headshots. If they know they can get actors to shoot themselves at home. So you don't need to hire an assistant to shoot them on location. If you know if you know all the producers are casting from their houses and watching actors perform on film the way they're going to hire them anyway. Why have a casting office? Why it's going to go away?
Alex Ferrari 50:47
And there are there there. I mean, I know there are services and platforms out there who actors can just use and filmmakers can go through and like I you put the ad out in that platform, and then you get 400 submissions. Yeah, from from actors. And you? Yeah, and again, that for name people, not for bankable actors, that's a different world. And for that, I do think casting directors have that access. They are still kind of that middle man, middle woman. I'm not saying casting directors won't exist. I'm saying their offices will be what right now. But but the world of casting in general like before, in correct me if I'm wrong, casting directors, maybe had a little bit of bread and butter with just casting everybody not just the big the main leads, but they would also cast out the rest of the movie or something like that. But now the power is a lot more in the producers and the filmmakers hands where they can go directly to the actor through one of these platforms is am I wrong? Are you okay?
Joseph Reitman 51:43
I think the thing is, is like you still need, there's too many like you don't it's not job that you want. That's insane. The producers cannot decide how they want the live stream, they can just change the lights themselves on set. No, you need somebody else doing that. Because you can't spend the time doing, okay, the cash register to weed out the crap you need. You need her to tell you that you need to get enough break people and sit there and be like, she needs to go through the forum submissions go like these are the 10 best, you still need the casting director to do that. Right? Okay. You don't wanna spend the time doing that. You want to look at all the crappy auditions. And I think that's, you know, you can reach more people, but you still need to cast your actors to weed through it. Right. And I think when you're dealing with, like, you know, and yes, a good casting director also was able to work with you and be like, I know, you're looking for someone who's like 12 to 18. I know, you don't know that many 1218 year old actors, I have a group that I think are very, very good, right? And then she can help or he can help you break down and get those breakdowns done for you. So there is still a calling for it. There's just no need for the office. There's no need for me to live in Los Angeles, like, yeah, my acting real my acting for me, my acting reel kind of speaks for itself. And I don't you know, half the auditions, half the jobs I get now are offers. So it's a great, you know, and then the other half, like, you know, I put myself on tape, you know, and when I'm in the running anyway,
Alex Ferrari 52:58
So so that's a very interesting thing I wanted to talk about real quick, because you brought it up LA. So you know, you're from Boston. I'm from Miami. I was I've been out here 12 years, you've been out here a few more.
Joseph Reitman 53:10
Do not move back to Miami, right?
Alex Ferrari 53:11
Joseph Reitman 53:13
After 2020 do not move up Miami. Okay, good.
Alex Ferrari 53:16
So I got out here 12 years ago, and it was always kind of known that if you want to make it in the business, you have to kind of do your time in LA, whether that you know, to a point where like, you've got to be here, you've got to make those connections, you have access to things here. There's just so much more and to a large extent, I still agree with that. You know, do you absolutely need to know anymore. Could you build a very lucrative filmmaking career outside of the system doing independent films in your hometown? I know these guys I know these guys. But if you want to, if you want to play in the in the in the big sandbox, you're gonna have to come out here at a certain point. But for guys like you and me, who've been out here established ourselves already. We have reputations we have filmographies we have you know, credits. Does it make sense to spend obscene amounts of money to live here? taxes and all this other stuff? Or could we move somewhere else and it doesn't affect our business?
Joseph Reitman 54:18
It's tough. A tough edit today. It's a tough call. It's a it's a coin flip today, which it never was a coin. Right? I felt I had to be here. You know, but when we deal with like the idea of what we're talking about it because I find it fascinating and I threatened every day to leave now. Every day,
Alex Ferrari 54:37
who do you Who are you threatening yourself? Like I'm gonna kill the dog. We're moving on moving to Toronto until the winter.
Joseph Reitman 54:53
But for me, Look, I work a lot like the Punisher was in New York right now, Jay and Silent Bob was in in New Orleans. Mom and Dad was in Kentucky, you know, a, you know, Money Monster was in New York. But a lot of the big projects I do are not Los Angeles, right? Happy was, you know, was in New York. So like I work a lot outside of LA. So why am I in LA? Why am I paying rent here when I have to leave here every time to kind of work anyway. And you sit there like if all the big jobs I get are simply sales and all those jobs. I did not meet with them in person. Like none of those jobs? Did I would did I meet with them? They just hired me from tape or they hired me because they knew me or they hired me because they saw my reel, right? So if those if that's the situation, where like, all my big jobs are that way. I'm living in LA to do what act in this is Meg for like, for, like for
Alex Ferrari 55:45
Joseph Reitman 55:48
A great movies.
Alex Ferrari 55:50
It's a bad connection, sir. It's a horrible connection.
Joseph Reitman 55:55
I'm saying like, you know, working for like working for my friends sure to live. It's like I could sleep on somebody's couch and do that I could still fly out and sleep on the couch and do that job and still not be spending the money I'm spending to live here. And it's not conducive to like having a liver? Because you and I have like, like you said, No, we really kind of like, we've spent our time here. We've paid our dues. Do I need to liver, I have a student who lives in England. And she and I were talking this morning, she's like, I really want to come to LA and take meetings. I'm like, honestly, right now. You're not taking meetings in person Anyway, you should be taking meetings from England over zoom with whatever agents you can talk to. Because all you'd be doing is talking about zoom from your apartment in Los Angeles right now. You would not be meeting them in person. So what's the difference? If you being here right now? No, she will eventually have to come here. Because she doesn't have the connections. She needs to meet people. Right? That is actually going to be part of the game. But you know, when I went to New York to do a happy for like five months, I told my agents I guys Hey, can we set up meetings with all the casting directors in town so that I can meet them here in New York? Because I'd like to work more New York. And they called everybody and every casting director said the same thing. We know director, we think he's great. Well keep in mind for stuff. If that's the case? Why do I have to live in New York or LA? Because the reason in LA is the same thing. I know all the casting people, so they know me. I don't need to be here. I only need to be here when I work.
Alex Ferrari 57:18
Do you have you heard the same thing? I've heard that a lot of agents and managers are like, this is so much better working from home and taking 10 zoom meetings as opposed to jumping in my car, driving an hour and a half in traffic, getting up for a 15 minute meeting, jump back in the car, go back to the office, I'm so much more productive doing these kind of meetings. Sure, you'll always want to have some dinner at the Chateau, or you want to, you know, the IV to have a lunch with an actor. Yes. But generally speaking, the agency is is like, do you need those giant agency offices anymore?
Joseph Reitman 57:56
Mike, if they're my agency gave up their offices, they gave them up. Right? You know, my, my managers give up their offices, the agents giving up the offices, right? You know, during this time period, one of them doesn't even live in LA anymore. They just left, you know, one left. Just out. She's actually working. She has a house up north and she's like, I'm there. And I know that and she's gone. And my other agent is here, you know, but he lives in West Hollywood, and he loves it. So it's like, but, but but like he's, you know, but he's working from home too. And he gave up his offices months ago as well. If you sit there and think everyone's giving up the offices, Oh, man. If they're giving up their offices, and they're not here, then why am I here? And they said to me, I said a year ago, I thought I started playing with it. I'm like, do I move to Vegas? Do I move to Austin? Do I move to Europe, you know, and they go Long's you near an airport? We don't care. That's what they said, as long as you're near an airport. And I'm like, yeah, I'm just getting to that point where I have a better I have a I can have a better life than I do in LA it just outrageous. You know?
Alex Ferrari 59:03
No, no, there's no Look, I mean, look, I get you, I get you 110% Dude, it's this is a ridiculous town. And it costs so much to live here. It's that a lot of people say San Francisco is the most expensive, but I argue LA is the most expensive because in San Francisco, people make more money than they do in LA. So that means you make a lot more money working in San Francisco from prostitutes and cocaine here is much more expensive. It's better. I mean, it's I mean, obviously. Alright, so Okay, so let's, let's get into so we've kind of, you know, the world's coming to an end. We all know this. Yeah, that's one of the reasons again, what I wanted to have you on the show because I wanted to hear an actor's perspective on what's going on how we're moving forward. So filmmakers can really get in their head. What an actor is going to go through in these next six to months to two years. I mean, This is, and I mean, I've said this before, I'm like, Look, if the vaccine shows up on December 1, we'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. It's gonna take a few months, I think a few months, I'm gonna say, let's say it takes two weeks to get everybody a vaccine. Two weeks, we get people vaccinated, up to two weeks tops, and then everything's gonna and then we have to wait six months to see what happens with the vaccine, because it's still like, Is it going to work? Is it not going to work? How long is it going to work? But there's, we're still a couple, we're going to be with this for a few years.
Joseph Reitman 1:00:44
And we vaccinate, how you vaccinate X amount of people, how many people get infected because of vaccination, right? I mean, there's all these other things are gonna happen.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:51
There's, there's so many other things, and we haven't. And I keep telling people, we haven't even seen the bottom of our economy yet. Not even close to that.
Joseph Reitman 1:00:59
I mean, look, as you and I both know, I have a lot of friends who've been getting the checks. I teach a lot. A lot of my students are giving. I mean, I understand they're getting this extra money from the government. And part of that is going to me because I'm teaching what happens when that dries up this month, I'm going to lose some students, for sure. My actor, waiter and bartender students, who are Uber drivers are going to be hurting next month hurting, it's not going to get better anytime soon.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:21
I mean, if I would have told you in January, I'm like, Hey, Joe, we're not going to have a blockbuster season, and Hollywood is going to shut down. And you know, that big Christopher Nolan movie? Yeah, that's not going to come out till next year now. And they're going to stop Wonder Woman, they're going to stop Wonder Woman and Black Widow, and the bond and James but all of it is going to go and there's going to be resurgence and drive in theaters, you would have looked to me and said, Dude, whatever you're on, where can I get some?
Joseph Reitman 1:01:51
You told me The Empire Strikes Back? I would have been like, what, what year do they were in? I would have no idea. No idea. Right? So
Alex Ferrari 1:02:00
for anyone to even think that they have a clear understanding of where we're going is insane. Because every day it's changing.
Joseph Reitman 1:02:09
I did this mat match reload and another blasters that's premiering tonight in a movie in a drive in in Austin, Texas. Right? Right and his movie a year and a half ago in in Arizona. And it's coming out on Sullivan DVD and on a video on demand. And I'm like this, these guys actually might make money in this movie with the movie that I didn't think I was like, this is just a fun movie. Who knows if anyone's ever gonna see it. I'm like, these guys are like, you know, I'm like, this movie actually is gonna play. I would have never thought that was gonna be playing theaters the way it's going to be playing because people need content and and it's a decent movie. You know? I mean, you sit there you're like, Oh my god, I can't believe like this is actually playing this way.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:49
Alright, so Alright, so let's let's get off of COVID for a second because you've had the opposite. This is the first second. You've you've had the opportunity and the privilege of working with some of the greatest directors, legendary directors. In Hollywood, you've worked with a lot of people. What is well, first of all, what are you looking for as an actor in a director?
Joseph Reitman 1:03:13
Oh, well. It depends, like we're talking about we're saying like, you know, an up and coming director. And we're talking like your your your independent filmmakers. Right. Cuz I mean, obviously, like, you know, Amy Heckerling, you know, whatever she says, right. No. Jay, Schrader, you know, you end up in a situation where you're like, Okay, yeah, great, you know, or somebody comes along, like m Night Shyamalan. It's like, Yeah, whatever. He says, you know, and so yeah, right. I'm like, I'm going to work with somebody on those projects and be like, yeah, I want to be your and still I want to read the script. And know what I'm getting into project venom. I don't want I insisted read the script before I said, Yes. Because I just want to know what I was getting into. They didn't they expected I would sign on because it was. Yeah. And I was like, I want to read it before I say yes. That's, I don't know what you want me to do. Right? And they were like, find me let me and you I started going to a room and get locked in and they took my phone and all that stuff. Right?
Alex Ferrari 1:04:10
Which one? Which one was that? Which was the film? Lady in the water? Oh, that's right. That's right. You weren't lady in the water. That's right. That's right. Yeah, that was that was m night in. He was at the height of his was like Yeah, he was the dude like, I mean, he's still he actually is brought himself back kind of Renaissance. Which is great. But But yeah, lady in the water was like, I remember that. It's kind of like, you know, like the pages are in black and you can't photocopy them and all that kind of craziness
Joseph Reitman 1:04:37
Crazy, but before an up and coming filmmaker, because I do get a lot of scripts from people who you know, are like, Hey, this is my first movie or like, I'm doing this web series, or Hi, I know your friend Alex or Jill or whatever. And someone calls has that. Has that happened? Has that happened? Not that specific one. Okay, good. Okay, good. I get those calls for someone. I know, blah, blah, blah. And I was wondering if you look at my thing. Cuz I saw this thing. And I get a lot of that. And you know, obviously, almost all those ones have no money, right? That's think the big thing that you look at, when I look at those scripts, if somebody wants to in, I try to still be an artist at least once a year, it's kind of a goal, my goal is at least once a year, do something that I think is creatively interesting. That's a risk, either, for me as a role that I'd normally haven't played before, or someone who looks like they're an interesting filmmaker, and they might not have any credits, but I kind of dig them and I want to, like, I want to contribute to like their cause, you know, and I'd like to be part of their, of their journey. Yeah, part of their journey, you know, if you know what those the right calls that I make on those pay off in the long run somebody a year or two later, they get a feature, and they always make sure I'm in the movie, you know, that's the thing, right? It's time consuming to read every script that I get sent, no matter how good or bad is, and the truth is, if your first 10 pages aren't good, I throw it in the trash,right? I mean,
Alex Ferrari 1:05:58
you give them 10. That's pretty much, that's pretty impressive.
Joseph Reitman 1:06:01
I want to see what happens after they start to launch into the story. You know, I mean, right? Like, you know, as well as I do, and you're young filmmakers should know this, if your script isn't formatted, right, I'm already going to throw your trash and throw it in the trash. If you can't format a script, you know,
Alex Ferrari 1:06:16
probably you probably don't understand story.
Joseph Reitman 1:06:19
That's right. You can't format you don't know story. And and, and I don't even need a traditional story, like but it's like I, I am really good with experimental, I'm happy to work on experimental, but you need to understand like how to convey message, understand how to tell stuff in the right format, and, and follow some rules. Because I always said, you know, you, you study art, like a student and you break the rules like an artist, right? So I need to know that you know what you're doing before,
Alex Ferrari 1:06:46
which was funny, because when we first met, you know, Jill brought you in, because Joe's, you know, a really good friend of yours to do Meg. And then he, just like Joe wants to have a coffee with you. And he wants to meet you and talk to you. I'm like, Alright, sure, no problem. And you would like, and you would like, you saw some of my work and all this kind of stuff. But you just wanted to see if I was what like, what was what was the purpose of that meeting? I know what the purpose of but for the audience? What do you what was the purpose of that meeting, besides just to make sure I wasn't a frickin psychopath?
Joseph Reitman 1:07:15
Yeah, that's really the main reason that's really the marriage. Yeah, that I'm not jumping into something where I'm going to resent being into like this film with somebody who doesn't know what he's doing. And I just can't I don't
Alex Ferrari 1:07:28
waste my time that doesn't, doesn't that know that if it doesn't know what he's doing but thinks he knows what he's doing. And walks on set with a monocle. And, and a director shirt on a shared director on your iPhone.
Joseph Reitman 1:07:42
He has an iPhone, he's a dick. I don't want any of that. Right. I don't want any of it. So like, you know, I don't want any of that. But the thing is, like, is he cool? Is he is he saying? Those are the two things right? Is he cool? Is he saying? And does he know what he's talking about? If those three things checked off for Jill, then I'm good. You know, I mean, I'm like, I'm like, I know. I just want to make sure that I'm not diving, something that I don't want to do. And that's it. Because it you know, filmmaking process takes time. I don't want to waste my time. And like I said, once a year, somebody comes along, and I go, that's good. That's actually good. I like that script. But I like that idea. That, let me see what I can do. I'm also a big fan of trying to help young filmmakers, which I know that you are, too. And if I see a filmmaker who doesn't know that much, or it doesn't blog experience, but I believe that they actually can learn a lot and they actually, and they're in a situation where I think they're kind of they're interesting. If we're in a we're in a situation where where that where I know that me being on set will help move things along. I also like doing that to natural director starts to melt down because they're not making their day. I'm like, Okay, let's take five minutes and figure out what we need to do to make this work today. Okay. The shots not working. What should you do instead? You know, right. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:55
All right. Sorry. So working with someone like, you know, Kevin Smith, Wolfgang, or like m night like, What? What is it like working with guys like that? I mean, obviously, Kevin's a legend in the indie film space. But m Knight and Wolfgang are like at a whole other area. They're just in another side of the field.
Joseph Reitman 1:09:14
Right? I mean, Kevin's really easy to work with, you know, he's he's like, he's like, I don't know how to do it.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:21
Kevin, just like, I'm, like the luckiest director ever. I'm just,
Joseph Reitman 1:09:24
I don't know why they're letting me make movies. I really understand any of this stuff. He's got a crazy, I don't understand any of it at all, you know. So that was great. I know. It's crazy. He's crazy. And then on the other end of that is like, you know, like you said, Wolfgang, was like, you know, at the height of his career, you know,
Alex Ferrari 1:09:42
For everybody, for everyone listening. It's referring to Wolfgang Petersen, the director of perfect storm which Joe was one of the main characters in
Joseph Reitman 1:09:49
Correct and so like when he was directing that movie, I mean, I cast in that movie. By order of like, weird circumstance, they fired the guy who was supposed to My role, I don't know why. And I got called in last minute, they saw a 10 guys. And then I'm in the waiting room and they came out to tell us what we didn't even know what the movie was. And then they were like, and they told us and I went, do you want the Boston accent? And they said, Can you do it and my other, the other guys in the room who I knew all the way from Boston. And so I get, that's how the job happened. And I was like, that's so awesome. And when I got to set, I told Wolfgang, I go, I go, I just want you guys. I'm so grateful to be here. I was. So it was my first big movie. And I was like, I don't know what to tell you. I'm so happy. And I don't know what you want me to do. But you want me doing things. I haven't met you, you.
Alex Ferrari 1:10:37
And I'm sure Wolfgang was like, Dude, calm the fuck.
Joseph Reitman 1:10:41
So he reached out to me. He goes, it's nice to meet you too. I mean, why do I like the pope? Like, you know, and I was like, I was like, What? What
Alex Ferrari 1:10:53
was I just blessed? Was that just blessed?
Joseph Reitman 1:10:55
And so yeah, so that I did that scene. And then like four months later, what happened is that they added the scene at the end of the movie where they wanted my reaction in the bar, because they felt like I should book in the film. After the after my first scene worked out. It didn't suck. They were like, We need him to book and it was actually a Michael iron sights. idea. He told them, okay, I saw on television, give us this kitchen at the end, you want his eyes at the end of the movie? And Wolfgang was like, Yes, good idea. I was like, Oh my god, they're gonna make my part bigger. So they brought me back, like three or three months later in LA. And I go to Wolfgang, thank you so much for bringing you back. I just want to know, like, you know, when we first we shot the first scene, we shot the first scene, and I went to old gang, I go up, he goes, he's like, okay, Joe. So you're playing doubles, Costco and doubles. Costco. This is his wife and his daughter, and he loves them very much. And I went, Okay, but Douglas Costco, he didn't have a wife or a daughter. And that's not I studied him. And he was like a loner and depressed and drinking all time. And the thing is, yes, okay, this is your wife and your daughter, and you love them very much. Okay. And that was a character just got thrown out the window. Months later, at the end of the movie, and then it goes up. Because I know what you want me to do. Let me kind of like screaming at the camera and you want me like crying to bring a bottle with you? Like, you know, sit there and pound minute you want me storm out? Wolfgang goes? joke. This is what I want from you. I want you to act. Okay. And, and the camera will push in. And the music will spin. And you will be brilliant.
Alex Ferrari 1:12:26
That's the I was the direction. Yes. Oh my god
Joseph Reitman 1:12:30
And he walked away. And I was like, What do I do? I think like, I don't know. I don't know what that means. Like, I'm just I'm just not gonna blink. I'm just not gonna blink. And I just feel good to smoke. There's smoke and I'm looking at it. Like, just don't look, just do not blink. Do not blink. Look, don't don't do anything. And I didn't do anything. And then I didn't blink. And then they go cut. And that was it. And then my mom saw the movie. And she was like that scene at the end of the movie was where you sat there, and the camera pushed in. And the music's well, and you were so emotional. I was like,
Alex Ferrari 1:13:08
I just didn't want to break.
Joseph Reitman 1:13:10
Because what did you think? What were you thinking? I go, I was thinking don't blink and she's like, Don't screw up this movie for me Do not do. That was it. You know, that was that movie and then a with
Alex Ferrari 1:13:22
and I don't know if anyone heard it was the perfect storm. It was the one with George George Clooney and a young Mark Wahlberg. Well, yeah, everybody but younger.
Joseph Reitman 1:13:30
We're all younger, we're all young lady in the water was a whole other bag of worms. Because, you know, I auditioned, I did this whole God thing I'd like black eyeliner on. And I did a whole audition where I was a kid, my fingernails painted. And, and I got hired. And then they and then they flew, they flew the entire cast out to Philadelphia to do a reading for me, which was like, they're flying us all out to do a reading, which of course, now we'd all do a resume. But at the time, they were like, they flew us all out. And we said this table read and we read the whole script and met everybody. And then at the end, he stood up because I just want everyone here to know that you were all my first choices for this role for this film. And I am so lucky to have each and every one of you here. I feel really, really, truly breaths less than this opportunity. And I couldn't be more grateful for each of each of you. So thank you so much. The guy next to me goes Why did you believe they were all the first choice and oh, I don't know if that was true. But that was true or not. I don't believe that for a second. But I totally believe that he sold us on the idea that we were like the greatest cast ever exist and that was great. Then he gave each of us half an hour with him to kind of like talk about what he wanted from each of us in our role. And in my case, he said not eyeliner and fingernail polish and, and then talk he goes I want you to go home. We fly back to LA and I want you to find something that represents the lady in the water to you. And I want you to carry that around with you until we have to fly back to film. So he wants all of this item that was personal. To us, and then embrace that and not let it out of our sight and then bring it back to Philadelphia and have in our room every night. So we had this thing that we really identified with the lady in the water, it didn't have to be the same thing. These ones all have this thing that we loved dearly. And I was like, that's really good direction. Like, that's really somebody thinking this through, you know, and working with everybody, you know, really working and he was lovely, and supportive, and charming. You know,
Alex Ferrari 1:15:24
what's his? What's his directing style on set like this? He like, does he come up to you in between each take? Is he stuck behind video village? Like, how is it? How does he work?
Joseph Reitman 1:15:33
Both he did both. He was called he? Well, he was also in the film too, right? So he was some time behind set, do stuff. And it turned out to be like, what can I do this? So that would happen sometimes. But a lot of the time. I mean, I've been very lucky in my career to tool just to improv a lot of the time, right? So it's a running thing. Like in clueless, I improv my entire scene and lead water, I improved this whole we had this group of us talking he was you guys just need to be talking about something. So when you guys want to talk about so we had this huge conversation and you hear it, we talked about who's the greatest rock and roll singer of all time, you know, I'm arguing for Axl Rose the whole time. And which I don't think he is necessarily the greatest but he's my favorite. So but goes was the greatest band ever exist?
Alex Ferrari 1:16:15
I mean, at that time, to be fair, at that time, there was an argument to be made
Joseph Reitman 1:16:21
in an argument he made but people were arguing Bon Jovi, and like, you know, people have Bruce Springsteen, and I'm like, and I'm screaming, shut up. But, uh, you know, we've been brought in like, a lot, we're just trying to make each other laugh, you know, and Jared Harris was another guy in our group. And he was great, too. And there were other guys, but he was just supportive, you know, and he knew all about us. I, I want a big poker tournament in between the filming and the ADR. When I got to ADR, he had heard about the poker tournament, he just wanted to talk for 20 minutes before we started doing ADR, but how I win the tournament and what happened. You know, he's he showed a lot of interest in us during the whole process. We talked to him since but during the process,
Alex Ferrari 1:17:00
and he hasn't he hasn't called for any other jobs. But But at one we were there at that time, solid.
Joseph Reitman 1:17:06
Yes. Believe it was important. He's, look, that's part of the director's job, right to make every actor feel like, you know, they are a big part of this project, no matter what. That's he did that very well. He did that very well.
Alex Ferrari 1:17:17
Now and really quickly. You you've dabbled in playing poker. I heard somewhere. Yeah. So play pro for five years? Yeah, you're not pro anymore?
Joseph Reitman 1:17:28
No, I don't play I know, a few things happen in 2011 2012. You know, online gaming was shut down in the US. And that's really what I did most of my gambling on. And I played during the World Series every year during that time. But I don't play enough because it got shut down. And I had to make a choice. My friends were professionals move to Canada or Mexico or to Europe to continue playing. And I was not going to do that because I wanted to continue being in Hollywood. So which means I didn't get to play enough, which meant that I was at a practice. And if I can't play on the level as them, I'm just going to lose money and I did not want to lose money. Fair enough.
Alex Ferrari 1:18:03
Fair enough. All right. Now, what? How do you how do you like a director to approach you with notes after a take? Because a lot of times directors won't say anything. Right? Just go they'll just say cut. Let's do it again. And you're sitting there going, Oh, what do I do? Or do you have some because I'm sure you've heard them all. You've had someone yell at you from off screen from the video village mate louder, or something along those lines you've Have you ever been in like like, demeaned as an actor like you? That was horrible. You got to do it this way. Like what's like from the both? Both sides the best in the worst situation? How would you put in general How do you like
Joseph Reitman 1:18:46
I've had I've had directors not even talk directly to me. I've just had the first ad come up, go. We want to do it again. But do it like this, but the director won't even come to set like she's someplace else like in another room. You know, fair enough, come to know where I'm like, mentally, you know, that's weird, but not getting the direction from the director. The demean story comes from sharp. On charmed.
Alex Ferrari 1:19:11
TV is a whole other beast.
Joseph Reitman 1:19:13
When I did charm, I did two episodes. And the first episode I did was directed by Anson Williams, right. You know who's on happy days? Yeah, yeah. And sometimes was on Happy Days.
Alex Ferrari 1:19:24
He's done a lot of TV.
Joseph Reitman 1:19:26
Yeah, but he hasn't read a lot of TV and he was reading your episode. And we worked really hard to develop this character that was unique and different from the show. It really had you know, I looked different. As you noticed, oddly enough, it wasn't like somebody who was normally on the show. I was playing a demon that was kind of like friends with them, but kind of like it was a mafia kind of family. But I definitely did not look like the rest of the guys. And, and I wanted to work with them. I go, how do you think this demon should act? more human than demon? Is he you know? Is he cold blooded? How does he know if you have an SI spend a lot of time together. He was super friendly. He worked with me, told me stories about happy days. And I was like, you know I was really enamored of him and those great episode ends next week, come back to the second episode, right? I get to set and the whole cast tells me to go. Look, the director is directing this episode is a real bastard to people who are the guest stars to just be ready. I'm like, what? They're like, Yeah, he's great to the guests, but to the guest stories, he's a tyrant. He's awful. And I'm like, Okay, well, I'll be fine. I mean, I'm a good actor. I'm not worried about this, you know, I mean, right. I'm like, Alright, we got good. Dude, we get to set and then we do the first take, and I say my lines, blah, blah, blah. And it comes up to us. What the fuck was that? Excuse me? What are you doing? I said, What? I'm doing the characteristic What? What is that? It's the character that me and Anthony Williams were doing last week is Hey, fuck proxy. Right? Right. And I go, what do you say you say it again? Say it again. Come on, say it again. I shouldn't say it again. But say it again.
Alex Ferrari 1:21:08
In front of everybody
Joseph Reitman 1:21:09
In front of everybody. And he said that I clearly need to go to my trailer and practice a little bit. And I walked away from them walked off the set. Oh, Chicago, my trailer to regroup and get better. Right.
Alex Ferrari 1:21:25
With a tinge of sarcasm in your foot
Joseph Reitman 1:21:27
A little bit. I mean, yeah. I mean, I've just become more of a jerk since then. But whatever. But I was like my young and I walked with her on my edit, regroup cuz I was gonna punch this guy.
Alex Ferrari 1:21:35
Right. I was about to say, yeah, you know, from what I know of you, you're not gonna put up with that.
Joseph Reitman 1:21:42
So I regrouped. And I came back out and he was in the middle of a meeting for the scene and there was a stunt guy was was do a stunt for me. Where he was on wires, I'm going to get lifted off the ground and thrown into a wall from the back wires. or walk down he was talking about they're talking about the stunt guy looked nothing like me. I don't get doubled very often. Much. It's not easy to tell me. I'm a big dude. scruffy. It looks like you're stuck a mop and some news and it looks ridiculous. So I heard a guy talking and I walked up behind him. And I just said, I'll get this done. He was like, What? I guess I'm gonna do this. Throw me in the wall, I got it. And I did this done,
Alex Ferrari 1:22:26
Joseph Reitman 1:22:28
And we didn't have a problem after that. You know, I mean, right. I problem solved for the guy. Right? You know? And then he just didn't just never question anything I did again. And it Look, and I gotta tell you like that job. More people talk to me about that job than anything else you've probably done in the last 20 years. And I know that I did a great job. He was a jerk. You know, I mean, people like that show. And people are always great as the demon. It's like, Yeah, great. Nobody was upset about it. He was just making it up. But he made a bad day for me to go. Really, it was the worst day on set. I remember around was the worst thing. The best, the best director. Man, the best person I've ever worked. I mean, look, I love working with Brian Taylor. And he's very close to me. And he directed crank gamer, Mom and Dad and happy created happy and, and that I love him dearly, like so.
Alex Ferrari 1:23:22
And by the way, for everyone who doesn't know happy is a show that was on sci fi for a full how many seasons? A couple seasons in two seasons. But I was like, Yeah, I was the builder, you were the main villain for the entire show. And by the way, you looked horrible. Yeah, compliment. And that's a compliment.
Joseph Reitman 1:23:39
I know. And I've worked at Brian for years, right? And on different projects. And, and he's just a guy, you know, he offered me the role of that play that guy, which was a gift. And when I said what do you want me to do? He's like, whatever you want to do. And that is such a rare thing to have, like a co creator director tell you it's like devil and give me months in advance notice so I could actually create this guy I put on 35 pounds, I was much bigger than now. You know. And I was able to talk to him and say, I want my teeth messed up. I want to like you know what badge in my eyes, I want my eyes bloodshot. Like I knew exactly, the bat. And then let me kind of like build the guy. They let me build him. And I was like, you know, the puppet thing was something I created like rehearsals and we had the you know, the idea of the puppet and the hand and all that stuff came out because he gave me the freedom to be the artists that I wanted to be. And the showrunner came up to me day one, he was like I was hesitant about you until Brian Show me your reel and you're really an artist and we're so happy to have you here. That whole team was so supportive of me just doing whatever I wanted to get as weird as I wanted, you know, went out and begged on the streets of like New York for a couple of days to like for change. With all add to homeless on the streets. And you know, at Christmas lights in my hotel room in my in my loft that they gave me and I have Christmas lights and listen to Christmas music four hours a day and Just the apartment you,
Alex Ferrari 1:25:01
you unfold in Iran, she went full Daniel Day.
Joseph Reitman 1:25:04
I did, I went full on like I told myself, I was gonna do exactly what I would have told my students to do. And I did exactly what I just stepped out myself. I only stance philosophy myself and said, What would you tell your students to do? And I just did that. And I was in for me, the freedom he gave me and the confidence he gave me in what I was doing. And, and the way he is part of it for me, like there was one day we had a shoot, and I did something and we did table reviews at that thing. We did the table read it. I'm like, yeah, you don't do that. And I was like, Okay. Let's do it. Only time. You have requested that easily, I think. Yeah. Don't do that again. As it Yeah, well, okay. You know, but, you know, but in general, just the freedom to kind of like be as weird and crazy I want. That's such a gift man that you never get that you never into Oh, so often. It's like, you know, you have two tags. And they're like, moving on, you're like, do you want to get everything that was good, and you just don't even get to go there. So
Alex Ferrari 1:26:00
Now, what is your best and worst Hollywood story? Like the craziest. And, like, I think you already gave us kind of like your best day, which was this the one you just told me? So? What's the craziest Hollywood story that you can tell on air publicly? Because I've heard a couple that you can't tell on air. But really, yeah, you have some amazing stories, man like cuz? Cuz everyone listening, Joe knows everybody. My own personal best know, just like stories that you've been in the vicinity of. Something that happened somewhere?
Joseph Reitman 1:26:44
I'm trying to remember. I mean, like I don't, because it's so weird. Because they because I was there. I don't really think about the big a big deal until like, people bring them up. And I'm like, Oh, my god, that was nuts. I don't know. Like, what? What's the only thing I can't tell? That's the thing I want to know.
Alex Ferrari 1:27:00
I mean, it's like, Why me? I remember you telling the Clooney story of how he used to like when you were on er, and then he and then you and then when you went on with the money. What's it called? Yeah. And then it's a fun story. But that's a fun story. That's not like a crazy story. But then he was just because he's a he's a trickster. Basically. He's a prankster.
Joseph Reitman 1:27:23
Yeah, he talked shit to me the whole time that I was MDR trash the whole time I did. Those. I was on an episode, season two, Episode Four.
Alex Ferrari 1:27:32
How is that possible? Sir? You're only 25.
Joseph Reitman 1:27:34
I know. It's called. That's life. The episode name is Lance life. And I play a chicken delivery guy. I'm the delivery guy. I only know this because recently, I somebody cast the show talked about something. And I went to look at my IMDb and I noticed I didn't I wasn't credited for doing er. And I was like, how did I not get credited and I had to go back and figure out how to list myself on the show. So I went back and figured I was Episode Two for you know why you have all these numbers, right? Yeah, right. Yeah. Yeah, cuz I had to do the homework to do the IMDb and I'm the delivery guy. But delivery guy in the chicken suit. And, and when I auditioned, when I auditioned for the show, the audition. Stories are much better than any other story. I can tell them other audition stories. But when I went in for the audition, they said they were looking for a chicken delivery guy. And I didn't want to go with just one line. I don't want to one line on er, like I want to be a doctor or an intern. My agents like look, you have no credits. You're gonna audition for this intern and I like whatever audition just play the delivery.
Alex Ferrari 1:28:34
Did you have the hair yet? Or not yet? Yeah, it's like here but it wasn't long. It wasn't as long it wasn't great. It was black still. No it was black It was like charmed my charm blank we've done that it got it got it got it.
Joseph Reitman 1:28:45
And I went in and they were there was like an African American guys waiting to go in Asian guys and like fat dude guys with no chin was ready to guys with no Chin's that you see an infomercial all the time and nerdy guys, you know, and I was like, I don't want to be here. And so they brought me in. And they said, Okay, come on in. I'm an RA. And I walked in they go I go, are you ready? And my backpack over my shoulder, either my shoulder and I didn't want to do it. So I had the script in my hand like this. You ready? No one. Yeah. Okay. The jalapeno fried for a tom Perry and exam three. Thanks. And I walked out of the room, right?
Alex Ferrari 1:29:23
Because that was that was earnest though that you really just did not want to be there.
Joseph Reitman 1:29:27
I really didn't want to be that I didn't want the job. I just threw the piece of paper walked out the room. And they call my agent and they were like, we're hiring him. He's amazing. The activator guy who didn't want to be in the chicken soup. I was like I was waiting tables I don't want the job agents like they say you have to take the job but they're never gonna see you again for you. And I was like what? I oh my god they go you might come back three are in another role, but you're not going to be on the show ever if you don't take this job. And I was like any
Alex Ferrari 1:29:54
er by the way if every one of us in ER was the show. Yeah. Yeah, he show. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Joseph Reitman 1:30:12
And I go, Well, I'm not doing and I was waiting tables, and I was like, Well, I'm not doing it for less than $1,000. And they went, they said, Fine. Like, I'm
Alex Ferrari 1:30:19
like, they were gonna pay you more.
Joseph Reitman 1:30:22
I mean, it was it was 20 years ago, like, they could have paid me 500 you know, I was like, I want twice what scale is and they went, Okay, I'm like, what, you know, I had no credit. I was like, Okay, and so I just took it, like, it made my quote, higher. My geiko doubled in a day. And I was like, oh, it for me, that was a lot. You know, I was like, that's like two weeks of work. You know, it's like, that's a lot of money. And I was like, Alright, so I did the job. I get to set. It's 110 degrees in Burbank, the day that I'm working. I'm wearing this chicken suit. I'm miserable, right? I'm like, wearing like a chicken suit, like this mascot suit without a hat. Right? I'm like, Oh my god, you know? And, and it was a different time. Right? So so please excuse the language, you know, hold this against Clooney at all, because at the time, it just didn't mean anything, please. You know, and he's saying they're hot and all sudden I hear a Fat Duck. Fat dog. And I looked down included in his wheelchair, this bad duck, Fat Duck. No, you know, I wasn't That's awful. And then I think I'm just being mocked by Clooney just been mocked, right, you know,
Alex Ferrari 1:31:26
And Clooney and Clooney was at the height of his TV career. Not a movie. He wasn't even a movie star yet.
Joseph Reitman 1:31:32
He was the sexiest man in america but he was not like a movie star yet.
Alex Ferrari 1:31:34
Now he was he was still said he was a TV. He was the he was the Tom Selleck. Magnum PI of his day.
Joseph Reitman 1:31:41
Just about to become Batman. Correct? Right. Yeah. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 1:31:44
Which worked out which by the way, it worked out very fine for him. But we'll talk about Batman.
Joseph Reitman 1:31:49
Yeah, yeah. And then so and so he says that I'm like, Oh my God. He's just in a wheelchair doing wheelies next to me making mocking me right. And then we get to we get to. So then years later, I get cast in the perfect storm. And he's in the movie. I'm like, I finally made it, I finally made it. I now actually in my huge movie, like in a huge movie of a huge part. I want to get respect. For the first time my wife and from behind me, I hear Fat Duck. Please, like he never forgot. You know, he's that kind of great guy that we just remember everybody. Wonderful, you know, and
Alex Ferrari 1:32:27
years later, you get cast in Jodie Foster's film.
Joseph Reitman 1:32:31
But I can tell you is that we did that when we departed from I asked him about Batman. Oddly enough. I said, What made you take Batman? And he's and and he told me some stories of a white chick, Batman, you know, he's just a good guy. He's a really good he's really
Alex Ferrari 1:32:43
Can you tell us? Is that public knowledge? Can you say why he took Batman, I'm assuming that there's a check involved.
Joseph Reitman 1:32:50
So that's it really, really boiled down to the fact that he could do anything he wanted after he did it.
Alex Ferrari 1:32:56
Because once he became Batman, then the doors swung like what they did for bow like Val did Batman and then doors shows
Joseph Reitman 1:33:03
That conversation. That was the conversation that we had, he said, you know, you know, we also we talked about why he didn't do an accent the Boston accent really the perfect storm, you know us, he had really good advice to me and very strong. And I still, you know, he's a wonderful human being, you know, very charming and, you know, endearing. Even his his comments about me being that kind of duck it was you know, even though today not appropriate was very funny and charming. And in no way derogatory. It really meant to be, oh, I need to make that clear. Because
Alex Ferrari 1:33:32
no, no, absolutely. And it was a different I get I get it. And then years later from perfect storm, you get cast in money. What's the money button? I'm on the ball. But my monster? Yeah,
Joseph Reitman 1:33:42
I mean, emelin. bizarrely, I knew the producers of that I was coaching and Katie was auditioning for a different role. And I read part of the script. I'm like, this takes place on a soundstage. And I've played a lot of crew people in my career, oddly enough, like James and Bob and JP, right, right. Yeah, I play a lot of guys who are like first 80s I play a lot of them. I don't know why. But it's a people like to have me on set. And I do know how to point stuff out and be like, yeah, you know, we need this blah, blah, lower the boom, I can call that out, you know? So, so yeah. So what happens? I saw I read the little bit of script, and I'm like, oh, there's a rule here. That'd be right for me. And I wrote to the producer, I said, Hey, can we get Jodie Foster to watch this clip? Can I send it a reel? And they said, totally, and I send something in and they send something else in and they send somebody else in and eventually they hired me and I showed up and then Clooney, I reunited again, you know, for a third time to him
Alex Ferrari 1:34:32
and when he saw you, what did he say? Same thing.
Joseph Reitman 1:34:35
The funniest thing about seeing him on the set, they showed up on set is I as I see him and I go, Hey, George, and I'm wearing the headset, and I'm worse than the first day I go, Hey, George, he goes, Hey, and he walked away.
Alex Ferrari 1:34:51
Because he thought you were like,
Joseph Reitman 1:34:52
I don't I was like, he must be in character or not thinking I was like, that's really weird right now. turn my back in two seconds later here. Oh, shit. Joe. I totally thought you were just like a crew guy saying Hey, yo, he's like, and he's like, that would be being a jerk Anyway, I'm sorry. But I was like, in my moment, I didn't realize you were checking it. Hey, buddy. I would caught up about everything for you. We spent like a week or two talking, catching up a little bit. But it was pretty funny.
Alex Ferrari 1:35:30
And these are one of the many layers of the tapestry that is Joe Reitmans Hollywood career.
Joseph Reitman 1:35:39
I mean, they you know, but the thing is, is like, you know, the hard audition stories are much worse. You know, there was a casting director, I went in for a movie that I auditioned for there was a war movie, and I gave the worst audition in my life. I went in, I just blanked I couldn't remember anything. And like, it's normal for an actor. Can't be perfect all the time. Things happen. words don't stick. You know, I don't care how good you are. You have off days, things are distracting. I give off audition. I asked the catcher dragon. Can I do it again? And she just said, No. I was like, that was like a really painful day. It stuck in my head because I remember being like, okay, no, no. Thanks for coming in. I went to audition for a pilot for HBO and a casting director. As I walked into the office, I walk in and he and he's there on the phone and he goes, calls me his office. And he goes no, it just make the offer to Kevin Smith. To make a damn. Yeah. Don't worry about it. We're not going to Yeah, we're not gonna hire anybody else for that role. Okay. Yeah. Okay, great. And I looked at him. I go, yeah, Kevin's gonna be right. Obviously, Raji for the same role. I'm obviously auditioning for the role that as it's been offered in front of me, to Kevin Smith, Kevin's gonna be great. He goes, listen, Joe, until you you need to really really really love your agents because they brought you in for this thing. They made me see you even though I didn't want to. I didn't wanna see you today. So this is read this is read this now you get it done.
Alex Ferrari 1:37:10
Did you tell Kevin that story? No, he says Kevin cares.
Joseph Reitman 1:37:19
But I mean, there's other words that like you know, I audition for these were my two favorite stories are like I auditioned for a pilot for HBO. It wasn't for us it was for it was producing it for another channel at the time. And and it was the role of this character named yo yo who was a worked at a independent volunteer fire station in in Colorado and and I created a character I based him on Bobcat go with so I did this character though. Oh, no. Here we go out of the fire today. No character like that. Right? Oh, and while we're doing this so I go to call back I get called back I go to producers I go to like studio and I go to network and I'm at HBO and sitting in the waiting room. And they told me it's me between me and another guy and as I'm sitting there I look up and I hear Hey, how's everybody doing? I look up and Bob cat walks in the room. And he sits down across omega Are you ready for Yo yo yo Yeah, would you know that? I said cuz I'm ready to do and I I did my audition is you use Do you want to take it outside cuz there really isn't enough work for me and is down.
Alex Ferrari 1:38:46
You need to write that book you need to write
Joseph Reitman 1:38:50
A show called Total Security which was a spin off take off of NYPD Blue kind of like an offshoot by Bosco and go into audition and they bring me into play this pop Roxy guidance Papa Razzi guy is like this weird guy and I based him on on a Curtis on booger from Revenge of the Nerds right deep yeah and I think I would have would have bigger grew up in was this guy you know what if it was the case I don't get into creating some so worked him as booger I just did a lot of homework is booger and I kind of watch repetitive there and I'm like okay, booger booger grew up you'd be like this guy can be pig picking his nose wouldn't give a shit and be gross. So I went to the audition at Fox and as I'm like walking apart my car and their structure and as I'm about to walk out in drive this car and who do I see but driving the booger, stopping for the extended from the guard. It stopped the ground and go and he looked at me like what are you auditioning for total security? And he goes, how would you know that and I go, damage. What I go. I stayed up all night long preparing for preparing for this role, and I prepared him as booger for Revenge of the Nerds. I prepared him as you when he was here. It's so funny. Yes, because I think I'm totally wrong for this thing. We audition, right? And I'm in another audition Two weeks later, and he walked in, right? We're doing the same thing again. He goes, did you book that total security? And I said, Yeah, you guys. I should retire now. I should just quit.
Alex Ferrari 1:40:24
So you got hired, playing somebody else, and that person can get hurt very similar to a job. I hear it all goes in cycles. It's all it's, it is. It's called karma, Sir, it is called carma.
Joseph Reitman 1:40:38
You know, they say they say all the time somebody says it's like, you know, it's like, the job. A friend of mine, Ron Livingston said to me once when we're doing TV show, because we're talking about not getting jobs, and he said, is, you know, that job that you're not getting today because somebody is more famous than you. So the day is gonna come where you get that job because that new kid is is in town and he's not going to get it. So you know, it's all gonna
Alex Ferrari 1:41:00
Oh, no, it there's there's a lot. I love that whole, like, Who the hell's do right, man? Yeah, get me to write the whole the five stages of Hollywood. It's, it's, it's very true. And it happens forever. By the way, it happens for to a certain extent for directors and screenwriters, and everybody's like, Oh, yeah. Give me instead of getting a younger one, give me a cheaper. Right? Give me a cheaper, blah, blah. so crazy. So I'll ask you a last few questions, sir. I asked all my guests. If you had any advice to give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today? What would it be?
Joseph Reitman 1:41:34
Advice to a filmmaker? Um, well, I mean, obviously, number one is write a great script, right?
Alex Ferrari 1:41:43
Or have access to a great script.
Joseph Reitman 1:41:45
Yeah, yeah, write a great cover execution. But if you could write your own scripts, you write your own ticket about what you need to do next, right. I mean, that's a great script opens up all the doors. You know, even if you don't get to direct that one, it's going to open the door for the next one. Right. So I think, you know, writing a great script is huge, too, man, you know, just start shooting. I mean, when you and I started that you couldn't just start shooting every camera in their pocket, right? So and I gotta tell you, like, so that I find phone stuff that I shoot looks great. So I sit there and I go, you know, you can do a lot, very little with the magic, whatever you need to do, right? You have a black magic, whatever it is. I mean, it's not hard to get your hands on something.
Alex Ferrari 1:42:21
I mean, they had that little camera shot was like $1,000 camera.
Joseph Reitman 1:42:24
So what I'm saying you don't. And you know, reds are, you know, readily available? If you know the right people. And it's not like you can't do a lot, right? So you just
Alex Ferrari 1:42:33
There's no excuse anymore? There's no excuse anymore? No, you just need to like be able to put it together. So I mean, I think that's the main thing. You start shooting, start shooting. Now what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?
Joseph Reitman 1:42:53
You know, it's funny, the one that probably is the truest that I still don't do. I learned from Hamilton
Alex Ferrari 1:43:02
which is just fantastic.
Joseph Reitman 1:43:05
Yeah, cuz birth is the Hamilton he does. talk less smile more.
Alex Ferrari 1:43:15
That's actually no it you know what, that's not bad advice.
Joseph Reitman 1:43:20
No, when I sit there, and I go, I wish I could watch myself. I mean, I, I would argue that a lot of my successes because I don't watch my mouth, and even you and I had to stop before we started doing this interview, right? I was like, you know, it's like, Look, you know, people like me to kind of like, my energy comes through and kind of like me not watching what I say or not caring what you think. I do a lot of good. My best work people just go like, just let him just let him run his course. Right. I have lost jobs for doing that too.
Alex Ferrari 1:43:51
You know, so it's your greatest strength and your biggest weakness at the same time? Yeah, thanks, dad. That's all my dad. But uh, yeah, it's one of the reasons why I'm it makes me a the the same kind of thing that do you deal with? For me, it's like the energy that I need to be a director and to be in control of my own destiny as an entrepreneur is the reason why I'm a horrible employee. Horrible employee fired from both my jobs early in my 20s gloriously fired and very proud of my firings and I just am not designed to be in an employee I'm just not I work I work with people I'll work on a project I have clients that's a different conversation.
Joseph Reitman 1:44:39
You can we you know, I've been I've read commercials that are half million dollar million dollar commercials and that's not a problem right? And I don't even flinch right
Alex Ferrari 1:44:46
and you have a client and you've got you know it you know, sometimes you got idiots who have to deal with it. Let's just different.
Joseph Reitman 1:44:52
Yeah, dreaded for like CBS and had to deal with like, you know, with like, the sponsored products that we had to deal with and I'm might not like it, I might kick and scream a little bit, but it's like it's different. But you know, but you see the wrong thing. I mean, I just go What? And I'm done. You know, like, you know, I, it's why I need unions to protect me like because I will be I will not let those
Alex Ferrari 1:45:14
your worst enemy Sir,you are your worst enemy.
Joseph Reitman 1:45:17
So and also the greatest hero, if it's like I also write, I'm the guy, you piss me off, you need to know like, you know what you're getting with music, I might set fire to everything, which might make it spectacular, or might burn everything down. Like I don't know what I'm gonna do. You know, I think that's difficult.
Alex Ferrari 1:45:32
But this is why this is why when we work together, I just, I just sat back and I was like, I'm just here to capture the lightning. When I was with you in jail, I just like sat back. And like, I just gave you guys a little bit of a tap here, a little bit of a tap there. And just like, just go.
Joseph Reitman 1:45:48
Yeah, I think that's the thing is like, you know, and I learned it fairly, the one I learned fairly early is like, no, my best asset is no fear, right? Like having no fears kind of like what's really suited me the best in whenever I have fear creep in. It's my biggest issue in stopping me from doing whatever I need to do to get to the next level. But career wise, you know, I tell everybody the same thing. Like you know, your writing is the biggest weapon that you can use in this town. Every big break I've had in Hollywood has come from writing or creating my own thing, whether it's been from improv or whether it's been because I put a pen to paper or started typing on a keyboard. That's where all the real opportunities that come from all of them. You know, not all the biggest jumps have been because it's something that I created, not from something that I waited for.
Alex Ferrari 1:46:33
Or waiting for permission for. Yeah, yeah. And last question, sir. Three of your favorite films of all time. Rocky, Animal House and Apocalypse Now. Wow, you just had them like on on on tap? Those are my three. Those are the three that motivated me the most to become who I am. Rocky Animal House pocket. I mean, all fantastic films. And but there's a very nice crossroads of all three is like three different genres just
Joseph Reitman 1:47:01
Yeah, exactly. Me, for me that they're the three that really shaped who I am to become who I am. There have been great movies since then. But there those are the movies that have most influenced my career and therefore kind of like really made a difference in my life. So that's why I always say the three.
Alex Ferrari 1:47:17
And then is there any place that an actor or director who that want might want to take one of your classes or talk to you or anything like that? Do you offer anything? Do you want to give that information out or not? It's up to you?
Joseph Reitman 1:47:29
Yeah, I mean, look, I'm easy to find, you know? Yeah, if you wanna find me on Instagram, I'm @ Joe ugly. I'm so easy to find. Where right now Facebook, Joseph, David Reitman, find me those are the two best places to reach out to me. I teach classes during the week, I coach actors privately also, and you know, I'm always looking to create and collaborate. So anybody who has a great script and wants somebody
Alex Ferrari 1:47:50
Careful, careful, careful.
Joseph Reitman 1:47:52
And doesn't mean that I'm gonna guarantee you I'm gonna do it for you. You're welcome. I'll tell you. I think it sucks.
Alex Ferrari 1:47:59
This is true. This is this is true.
Joseph Reitman 1:48:02
You send my stuff and if I have time to work COVID now's the time to reach out because there are no, you know, I got nothing to do but read scripts and spend a little time looking.
Alex Ferrari 1:48:11
Joe, man, I I could talk to you for another two, three hours, brother. I really appreciate you taking the time. I was very busy, obviously, all of us to do this and, and be so raw and honest with us. And I truly appreciate it, man. So thanks again, for for talking to the tribe today, brother,
Joseph Reitman 1:48:27
dude, anytime, anytime. I'll come back talk to you anytime. I hope we get to work together soon too.
Alex Ferrari 1:48:32
I want to thank Joe for coming on and dropping those knowledge bombs on the tribe, as well as those amazing entertaining stories. I swear, Joe, why you don't have a podcast right now interviewing people that you know in the business is beyond me. But you know, I'm just saying, if you want to get links to anything we talked about in this episode, please head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/416. And guys, next week, we will begin our massive black friday Cyber Monday, November December January. Sale extravaganza on indie film, hustle, TV, and indie film hustle Academy. I got a bunch of new courses and webinars coming out as well. We have how to pitch your script to an investor, how to package your project, how to find money, all just a ton of amazing stuff coming out next week starting next week, so keep an eye out for that. Thank you guys again, so much for listening. As always. Keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. Stay safe out there. And I'll talk to you soon.
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