IFH 727: Lessons Learned Writing Oliver Stone’s The Doors with Randall Jahnson

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IFH 726: Story$elling Your Screenplay with Heather Hale

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IFH 725: Hidden Tools of Comedy for Screenwriters with Steve Kaplan

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IFH 724: What is Maximum Screenwriting with Jeff Schimmel

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IFH 723: The Essentials of Screenwriting with Pilar Alessandra

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IFH 722: The Art of Television Showrunning with Steve DeKnight (Marvel’s Daredevil, Spartacus)

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IFH 721: The Million Dollar Mini-Movie Screenwriting Method with Chris Soth

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IFH 720: Psychology for Screenwriters with William Indick

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Alex Ferrari 0:11
I'd like to welcome the show Bill Indick. Man, how you doing Bill?

Williams Indick 0:14
Good, how are you?

Alex Ferrari 0:15
I'm good, my friend. I'm good. Thank you so much for coming on the show. Um, I'm excited to dive into the world of psychology and how it affects writers and screenwriters and characters and cycle analyzing some of our favorite films and characters, which I I do on the show often as a, as a non professional, without a PhD, as I'm sure you've run into too much. But before before we get started, what made you decide to write a book about psychology for screenwriters.

Williams Indick 0:47
Um, so it's this is going back to 2003, so almost 20 years ago, and I was just starting out as a psychology professor, and I was teaching classes like abnormal psychology and theories of personality where you have to, you know, get into the nuts and bolts of psychological theory, Freud, Erickson, young, all those guys. And I was finding it hard to sort of get these very old theories to be relevant to my students. And I, you know, my idea was, okay, well, let me take something that's I find fascinating and interesting, and some and use it as an example to apply it to. So I started doing little short film analyses in class as examples of these classic personality theories. And it really worked very well. So I said, Oh, you know, what, I should get a textbook on like, how to do you know, basically a psychology film book, but none existed, there was really none about specifically applying psychoanalysis to film analysis. So I wrote the book. And one of the people that I shopped the book around to was Michael Reese, and Michael Reese productions. And he said, this is great idea. But we write books for filmmakers, we write books for screenwriters, and they wanted not an academic text for more sort of a practical guide. So I said, Okay, take the same theories, the same applications and just turn them into something that would be helpful for screenwriters. So instead of, you know, saying, Okay, as you analyze a film, think about this, saying, as you write a film, think about this in more sort of analytical ways.

Alex Ferrari 2:22
So can you, like do a cycle analysis on a genre? I like it, because I know you wrote another book about, you know, the psychology of westerns and things. Can you break down like general overall psychologies of specific genres? Are there like key things that are in most of films in certain genres?

Williams Indick 2:40
Absolutely. And that's one of so psychology for screenwriters is going into a second edition, and I had to add three chapters. And basically those three chapters are going to be based on these books I wrote about psychoanalysis, for specific film genres. So in any genre, you're going to have basic character types, which in psychology will typically call archetypes after Carl Jung's theory. So in the western, you have this sort of cast of characters that basically reappear in every film, you have, you know, the cowboy hero, who's oftentimes an anti hero, you have a villain character who usually, quote unquote, a dude. The word dude refers to Easterner who was out west, I don't know how it became just a sort of general term for person. But that's so the villain is usually a dude from the east or a banker or a railroad person or evil cattle Baron, somebody who wants to own the land rather than live in it in a more sort of wholesome or holistic with respects to land. Yeah. Oh, yeah. So you have the quote unquote, horror with a heart of gold character, and then the nice sort of virginal schoolmarm character, and all those characters exist as archetypes. Within this specific mythology that we call the West, and the archetypes change, they grow up and they, you know, become darker usually, but they don't really change the same basic motivation, which is redemption, usually for the, for the hero, that stays the same. And you could do the same thing with horror movies and psycho psychological science fiction, musicals, comedies, every genre exists because there are these archetypal characters and archetypal themes that just repeat themselves over and over again. So yes, you can certainly do a psychoanalysis of genre and I've been doing it and do it again.

Alex Ferrari 4:31
So okay, so let's break down, let's say, the action genre, which is probably one of the most popular genres, sci fi, sci fi and action are both very popular, what are you know, actually a very broad genre. But generally speaking, in your, from your point of view, what are some of the kind of like, archetypes that are constantly in their cycle analyzing that genre?

Williams Indick 4:53
So I would say if we're talking about American films, and that's really I don't know about you, but certainly I'm not particularly comfortable talking about any other rights other than American films. But um, the western was incredibly influential, and really dominated the whole film market for that whole period going from the sort of mid 40s to the early 60s. So what we call the action genre is really just something that evolved out of the Western genre, people saying, hey, maybe we can make an exciting film with guns and chases, and all that exciting stuff happening, but not set in the West. So people started coming up with different types of action movies. But it really basically is the same as the western genre. So you have the same basic kind of hero, this sort of slightly dark character with a good heart who finds it hard to fit in, in his environment, because of his own personal code of honor, that doesn't necessarily mix with the hypocrisy of modern day. And you basically, you take this Western character, and you put them in the city, and you give them a badge, and, you know, a three piece suit. And all of a sudden, he's this the sort of archetypical cop hero, you have the buddy cop movie, that's basically just an extension of the Western genre. And I would say, in this in the 60s and 70s, and 80s, when American culture was getting kind of sick of the Western, we saw a lot more action movies based on this cop hero. archetype, who is essentially the western hero, then starting in the 70s, but really getting a lot of traction in the 80s began to see Action. Action movies based more on classical superheroes, from sort of ancient myth, like people that we call superheroes, people who aren't just regular men, you know, with who are very quick with a gun, but people who are who actually have superpowers, like gods, so Superman, Batman, Spider Man, and that is, you know, a rather different type of story. And that calls upon these ancient patterns of the hero that go all the way back 1000s and 1000s of years, to the ancient Greeks in the ancient Romans, the ancient day ends and Christians, the classical hero, so to understand that character, we really have to kind of study from Joseph Campbell's some Carl young, and move away from the very specific American action hero that basically just an offshoot of the Western hero, the cowboy,

Alex Ferrari 7:30
so the Yeah, cuz I was gonna ask you Next is like, Well, obviously, the the dominant genre in popular movies is superhero. I mean, yeah, it is. It's taken over all other genres. And do you believe in your, in your opinion, do you think what Spielberg said is true? Where we're going to, we're going to get tired of superhero movies, eventually, in the next 15 years, like, we're just going to be like, it's over. Let's move on to something else, just like the western was like the western. But you know, sci fi has always been sci fi action has always been action like there's I don't, but this specific genre of superhero, do you think that that's going to eventually happen?

Williams Indick 8:10
Yeah, you reach a point with any medium point of saturation, where people will have gift had enough and they need something else. That doesn't necessarily mean that the archetypes change. Again, people got sick of westerns in the 1960s, when nine out of 10 TV shows were westerns, and this was something like six out of 10 feature films released every week was a western people got sick of it. And it wasn't as relevant in a time when people were less gung ho about being American in the 60s. So what happened, two things happened, the genre itself became darker and more realistic in an attempt to kind of better reflect the American spirit. And that really kind of killed the western for a while. But the other thing that happened was, the setting changed. And we took the same basic characters and just put them in a different setting. So I would say probably somebody, something similar is going to happen with superheroes, where we're seeing it already, we're seeing the characters get darker and darker and darker. And at one point, it reaches a point where a character gets so dark that nobody wants to identify with that character anymore. It's too dark, like some of the Western characters we saw in the late 60s and early 70s. So yeah, we'll reach that point of saturation, where people just are sick of it. And also we'll reach the point of where the character itself the main character gets too dark, and it's going to have to change. What will it become after that? Well, you never really know. But it's essentially it's the same basic archetype, whether he's in a war movie, or Western or action movie or a superhero movie, basically the same characters with different settings. It take George Lucas, you know, he came around at a time when the western was really dead. And he said, Well, what if I just take a Western and set it in outer space, and instead of lightsaber it's just like samurai swords? Yama. So samurai swords. lightsabers, and he took a state your basic Western plot, mixed a few things in it and came up with Star Wars, which captured everybody's imagination, you know, for decades and decades and decades. And not many people complained, oh, this is just a Western setting Outer Space doesn't matter.

Alex Ferrari 10:16
Right. And I mean, let me he picked obviously he picked he took Seven Samurai and, and hidden fortress specifically, and which are basically, Western semi samurai. Samurai films are westerns, and magnificent, Magnificent Seven and all that stuff. And it's so funny because the this the the success of the latest incarnation of star which was the Mandalorian on the streaming service. It is as Western as you get. I mean, it is yeah, it goes back to the core roots of Star Wars, which was a Western hardcore Western, but in space. And I mean, it's actually I think Mandalorians even more Western than the original Star Wars is,

Williams Indick 10:59
it's a straight up Western, when you see it, you have this character who is the quintessential cowboy hero, he sort of comes in the wilderness, he's in this frontier territory, where everything's kind of dark and scary, yet he has his own personal code of honor. He has this sort of path towards redemption. It's, it's the most traditional Western I've seen in a very long time, and only the setting is different.

Alex Ferrari 11:23
Exactly. And then the whole lone wolf and cub story with him and baby Yoda is also it's just a complete callback to Japanese westerns.

Williams Indick 11:32
Yeah, and the Yoda, the baby Yoda. We've seen that before in westerns, there was specifically there was a film called three godfathers of classic Western that was remade a bunch of times. And probably the classic version was directed by john Ford, with john wayne in it. But the basic premise is you have these three cowboy outlaws, and they're on the run. And they run into a, what he called a wagon train that's been attacked by Indians. And the only survivor is a mother and her newborn baby and the mother died. So now they have to take care of this baby. And yeah, so you have these three really tough guys, like Three Men and a Baby.

Alex Ferrari 12:11
Are you ready? Yeah, you read my mind. I was like a three minute baby.

Williams Indick 12:14
And, but their whole struggle is to you know, deliver this baby to New Jerusalem to this town and a half to fight the wilderness fight Indians, you know, and go through all that and that so uh, yeah, baby Yoda is directly from that. But I mean, when I was watching the Mandalorian, I was thinking, I should probably write something about this show. So not only it's a very traditional Western, but every episode is based on kind of a classic Western movie. Like, like three godfathers or the searchers. You know, it's been a while since I've seen it, but but I was very, very much impressed by Jon Favreau, who's he did a lot of the writing and all the directing, saying, like, this guy knows his westerns, and he's really applying it in a great way. And the wonderful thing about taking a genre like the western, which has very established archetypes, and plots and characters, and just changing the setting is that you don't have to make the characters as dark as they would normally be. Because while people are sick of the sort of a cowboy hero in the white hat in the white horse, perfect character who's so good that he's unbelievably good. People did get sick of that in the 50s, and 60s. But when George Lucas put them in outer space, we have you know, Luke Skywalker, who's again, this classic, very pure white hat, white costume character. Meaning if so, if you change the setting, you can go back to the original home template of the genre. So that's kind of a useful thing to know.

Alex Ferrari 13:46
And it really when you set the whole white hat character in the superhero superhero genre, arguably is the the godfather of all superheroes, which is Superman is very difficult to write for, because he is that white hat character. And at a certain time in American history and world history. That was acceptable in the 70s when Christopher Reeve showed up, it was fine. You wanted that kind of, you know, apple pie kind of character. But as time has gone on, he seems so unrealistic that they had to, like try to darken them up. I'm like, but that's not the character you can't. That's why Batman has been he just days because he's, he's such a realistic character. I mean, to a certain extent, obviously, but much more realistically, dark character. He's a realistically dark character, and he's very vulnerable. And all this stuff. When you're writing for Superman, you're writing for a god. And that was the problem with ancient Greeks. You know, in the myths of ancient Greece, like, well, they had to give them human fair frailties, to be able to write a story about him because if they're just, there's no power in there's no power that can stop them, then why are we watching this? There's no conflict.

Williams Indick 14:53
Yeah, well, when you have a character who's super powerful, the only person who can defeat them is themselves. Eventually, eventually, you have to come to a point of either such darkness when the character is destroying himself, or you have to change the setting, or it changed things around a bit. But yeah, we see. So we see, the same thing with superheroes that we did with the Western characters is at a certain point, we reach point of saturation. So two things happen is one is people start messing around with the setting. And the other thing is people start making the characters themselves get darker and darker, so that they're more interesting and more identifiable. But then you get, you get to a certain point where the character is too dark, and something has to flip, there's a reversal. So like, just to sort of wrap up what we've been talking about with westerns and superheroes, you have the western, the western gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And then to the at the point of saturation, it turns into the anti Western turns into a very dark scenario that people are interested in seeing. At the bottom point of it is people are going to the movies to be entertained, not to be edified, or not to be lectured at, and not to have a dark, dismal time with a character who's just completely reprehensible. So, so what happened was, you had a flip reversal, you took the exact same genre, you just change the setting, like Star Wars, or Superman, and now you have all of a sudden, you can have this character who's totally pure and perfect again, because people don't recognize it as the western. But then over time, again, saturation gets in characters get darker and darker and darker. And then there's going to be a flip or reversal, where all of a sudden people like oh, like we have a brand new movie genre, but it's not. It's just,

Alex Ferrari 16:39
it's just, it's all fun. We've been recycled, we've been recycled, the same stuff since the beginning.

Williams Indick 16:47
Well, one question that's relevant is, well, why can't anybody come up with something that's completely original? Why do we always have to recycle the same characters, the same basic plots, the same basic scenarios? And the answer is, life isn't as complicated as you think it is. And in terms of identifiable struggles that characters can have, there's not that many, you know, you have the sort of classic struggle for redemption, the classic struggle for revenge, those are the two classic themes in westerns that we see in action movies, as well. You have love the search for love, the search for connection, the search for community, the search for some type of meaning, meaningful connection with others, beyond and then there's the fight against evil, or whether evil is embodied by you know, enemies, or by, you know, a wilderness or by some type of danger. Those are the classic themes, and you can't really get away from them, it's hard to come up with an idea for a movie that's going to be dramatic and have conflict and keep people's interest, if you don't touch upon one of those key themes.

Alex Ferrari 17:51
Yeah, in a lot of young writers, a writer starting out, they always like, Well, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna go to any of them, I'm going to come up with something new. I'm like, Listen, you've got to build a house. And there are there's basically about eight or 10 blueprints, you can use. And within those blueprints, you could go crazy. I mean, obviously, look at all the beautiful buildings have been created throughout the world. But at the core, the structure still needs a floor, still needs walls, still needs doors still needs windows in one way, shape, or form, to make this work. And within that scope, within that structure, you could do whatever you want. And that's why I think a lot of young writers fail because they just go off not thinking that they're not being original.

Williams Indick 18:32
And it's and the house is a good metaphor, because the most important thing a house must have is a strong foundation, which nobody sees, you don't see the foundation. So when people think, Oh, you know, I'm going to do something completely original. They're possibly going into the process thinking I don't need a foundation. But we all need a foundation can't see it doesn't make it any less important. In fact, it makes it more important. And that's what the psychoanalysis and psychology gives you. Because if psychology is a study of human behavior, and if film essentially is just human behavior projected onto screen, well, what's underlying all of that behavior? What are people's motivations? What are their both their conscious and their unconscious motivations? There's nothing more interesting than a character who thinks he's doing one thing, but it's actually doing something else and then has to realize at a certain point through an epiphany or revelation, you know, why they're doing what they're doing? Um, that's part of the foundation of any character is what is the secret foundation to this characters issues? And how can it be revealed in a way that doesn't reveal the foundation? Meaning How can I make people understand what this character is going through and what their real inner struggle is by providing symbols and metaphors through some type of outward plot or since it's an external conflict. So the idea is, there's internal conflict. That's what the character is dealing with. That's what we as the viewers identify with, but it all because it's film, it all has to be visualized. It has to be externalized. And objectified in a way that everybody can get, even though they're not psychologists and they're not necessarily doing film analysis.

Alex Ferrari 20:18
So let's let's let's do an experiment here. Can we cycle analyze? One of the more famous heroes of all time, Indiana Jones. Let's Let's psychoanalyze Indiana Jones because because then yeah, if you mean everyone listening, this has if they haven't seen Indiana Jones out there, you got some homework. You've got some homework to do, but he's one of the most, at least if I like the third one. Come on. The third one's pretty good. Yeah. Sean Connery. Yeah, yeah, that's the first three, first three, the fourth one who knows what happened there? But anyway, um, now we can search for more money. And they're doing an apparently that's they're just continuing. Because I think Harrison I think he just broke a hip or something. doing his ad. Now he's doing the next one. But, you know,

Williams Indick 21:01
I hope they're casting him as the mentor character and not the hero, because that's got to be the hero.

Alex Ferrari 21:06
I mean, he's just I mean, at a certain point, I mean, unless you're, unless you're a character like Clint Eastwood and Unforgiven, then you can be the old ie the old hero, but it's different. Yeah. Much, much, much, much, much different. Sorry. So talking about Indiana Jones. What How would you psychoanalyze him? And and can you pinpoint why so many people love that character? It's an adoring character in a time when there's a lot of characters, and there was a lot of copycat, you know, archeology, you know, adventure films made after Indiana Jones. But for whatever reason, and you could say, it's Harrison. And you can say it's the writing and the directing. But for you as on a character cycle analyst cycle, cycle analysts way, what do you think?

Williams Indick 21:51
I think it's the producer, I think it was George Lucas, who has this sort of wonderful eye for archetypes. And he and he saw, he got off and he read the comic book, or however, he saw that character and said, Oh, okay, I see this character, he's a cowboy. He's your classic cowboy hero, but he's in a different setting. And, you know, I, I'm sure George Lucas recognized and said, Oh, I did that with Star Wars. And it worked out really, really well. I took it took the classic Western hero, change the setting, change the scenario a bit. And everybody immediately identifies with his character who's very American, who's very sort of action oriented at but but also has a very basic sense of honor. And also is very American in the way he does things, which is he does things primarily by himself, and does not ask permission or forgiveness, he just does whatever he thinks he should do, tip it oftentimes in a very, very violent way. So we as Americans can identify with that character. So he is that classic hero, and even even dresses, like a cowboy does, with his hat and everything. But there's also, um, you know, so George Lucas took the Western and put it in outer space for Star Wars. For Indiana Jones, he took the western, and he kind of took these superhero character characteristics and put them in with him. So first of all, you have this guy who's super good looking, and, you know, adventure hero, who can do all this stuff. But he's also this brilliant archaeologist, which is, you know, rather unlikely even in a sort of fancy fantasy scenario, can he does seem to have the sort of miraculous powers that Western heroes don't have. So he he is a little bit more of the classic hero, and he's kind of also an Arthurian hero, he's a knight errant, going off on these journeys, to find things like the Holy Grail.

Alex Ferrari 23:45
I was about to say, literally,

Williams Indick 23:47
he's very much the personal hero, meaning he's impure character, or at least pure in his intentions and his motivations. And he's, he's on a good quest. He's going out there to do something good to redeem himself, but but in doing so he redeems the world. Um, yeah, so an interesting sort of amalgamation of these classic heroes you have, you know, the western hero in his costume and his actions and his general kind of approach. And then you have the sort of very classical superhero type of person who has who has all of these superpowers. And then you also have the Arthurian Knight who's who's out on a quest. And he's in he's either rescuing a maiden or he's finding a relic that can save the world or he's defeating some evil enemy like the Nazis. Typically, he's doing all three at once.

Alex Ferrari 24:40
Yeah, and I, I always found that if we're just analyzing just the three Indiana Jones films, the first one and the third one were quests, were the second one was not a quest. It was it was more of he fell upon this scenario, and he's like, I'm gonna go save these kids and I gotta stop what's going on. It wasn't a quest. And I always find in my indie stories, I like a quest, because that's what he's at best at. Is that a fair a fair statement?

Williams Indick 25:09
Yeah, oh, well, he got back to Joseph Campbell. And he would say, you know, there are, there are lots of ways in which the hero finds himself in an adventure. And sometimes it is a quest. And Harold comes and says, look, the Nazis are gonna get this Holy Ark, and we have to get it before them, or something like that, or the Nazis are gonna get the Holy Grail. So that's the very traditional beginning. But then there's also a very sort of classic type of tale, where you have the hero and the hero sort of doing his own thing. And then maybe something like a deer or something, you know, an apparition comes and he sort of follows it into the wilderness. And it's twists and turns, and all of a sudden, he turns around, and he's in the realm of adventure. He's like, how did I get lined up here, but now all of a sudden, here I am. And there's people asking me to help them and they're in desperate need. So it becomes a quest. It wasn't looking for it wasn't directly sort of addressed by a herald character saying you need to do this. But he just sort of finds himself as Joseph Campbell would say, in full career of an adventure. And that's very much, you know, Indiana Jones number two. And I love the beginning part, because it's very exciting. Oh, I love it. And it's a wonderful, Steven Spielberg in sequence of action, action, action, action, but it's also fulfilling that part of the story, meaning the hero gets lost through no fault of his own. And then when he sort of stands up and says, Where am I? Well, you're in intervention. You know, you've got you've got he's got the maiden, you've got the quest, and you've got the villains, and it's all there for you just, you know, just have at it.

Alex Ferrari 26:46
Exactly. Now, so what is someone like Sigmund Freud, have to teach us about character and story?

Williams Indick 26:56
I think probably the most useful stuff we get from Freud, is this notion that we don't understand ourselves, we think we do. But we really don't. And, and when we get frustrated in our lives, it's because we're doing what we think we should be doing. And we have the, what we think is the proper motivation, yet, things aren't turning out the way we want to, and we're not happy the way we think we should be. And Freud said, well, you have to look much deeper into yourself. And you have to look at yourself, like a problem like a like an algebra problem. It's your circumstances. Well, what's going on? Why am I doing these things? And not finding happiness? And what what, why don't I seem to understand myself. And Freud gave us all these tools to try to understand ourselves. So so for example, like defense mechanisms. defense mechanisms are things that we do constantly, all the time to defend our egos in the face of either negative information about ourselves or just negative information in general. And we're constantly defending ourselves from this negative information. But in order for the defense to be effective, we have to be completely unaware of what we're doing. So say a defense mechanism like denial, when there's an obvious problem, but you're not aware of it, because you're in denial. That's something that translates to film very, very well, where you can have a character and we, the watchers, we the viewers are looking at this character and saying, dude, this is there's something horrible that's about to happen, you have to be aware of that. And it's pretty obvious to us, why aren't you seeing it? And it's because they're in denial. And we understand that might not put it in Freudian terms, but we understand Oh, something horrible is gonna happen, and his character is totally unprepared for it. And it's like a train wreck about that happened, and we're watching it, we can't unlock it. Because we've all been in that situation before. And we've all kind of had that wishes. Oh, I wish there was somebody watching me who could Hey, you know, look, look what's gonna happen, you need to prepare yourself. You know? So things like denial and repression and some of the more fancy defense mechanisms like reaction formation are very very very interesting when you put them into characters because the viewer can see where they're going wrong. And but at the same time, they're powerless to help that character kind of like in the movie theater, sometimes we say Hey, watch out. We want to warn them that's an effectual they have to learn for themselves, which is another reason why we identify with these characters is they have to figure out their own weaknesses and then deal with it on their own just like us.

Alex Ferrari 29:35
Now the, you know, with characters they many characters are most characters work on a conscious level, but we as humans, work on a very subconscious level. There's things that motivate and drive us that we honestly in many ways don't even understand why we do things other than when you do that deep dive and psychoanalyst, psycho, you psychoanalyze yourself or You get therapy or you work it out, or it comes out in one way, shape or form through somebody else or another character in your life. Let's say he points it out to you like, Don't you understand why you're pushing everybody away? Because you were abandoned as a child? or something along those lines? Yeah. But to the cut. So can you talk a little bit about the power of using subconscious motivations within character in a story?

Williams Indick 30:23
Sure. Um, so again, it, there's nothing more powerful than seeing a character who's blind to himself. And he, he has to desperately become self aware, in order to save his life. We're in order, you know, to save someone else's life or in order to complete this quest. And again, we identified with that character could we're always in that same situation. So we, it gives us the ability as a viewer, it gives us a certain amount of power, right? Because usually, we're completely blind to our own issues. But when we have somebody else's issues right there on the screen for us to see, we're all you know, we don't know we're doing it. But we're all psychoanalyzing that character. That's why psychoanalysis and film kind of goes along really well together. Because the viewer by default becomes a psychoanalyst, as they're watching this character, they're privy to information that that character doesn't have. Because only we can see that character, objectively, nobody can see themselves objectively. So take, for example, a film that I use as examples of like, Freudian defense mechanisms is a American Beauty, because it's literally they hit everyone. But there's just one scene which is very, very powerful. There's a lot of powerful scenes in that movie. And the power all comes from this revelation of having a character that doesn't know himself. So when he does or says something that makes him momentarily aware of his own issues. It's like a huge revelation. And we if the viewers are like, oh, wow, that's pretty, pretty cool and pretty deep. So there's this one scene. So you know, the film is one scene where he's having a bit of an argument with his daughter and his daughter calls him out on being a perv on perving on her teenage friend, and he says, Jan, you better watch out, you're gonna turn into a bitch, just like your mother. And it just comes out of his mouth. And his daughter is mortified. And he's mortified. He can't believe he said that to his daughter. And he realized how much he hates his wife. And he didn't really I don't think he realized that up until the moment where he said those words. Plus at the same time, he realizes my hatred for my wife, and my hatred for myself, to certain extent for being with with this person that I hate and hates me. It's rubbing off on my daughter. So the worst thing we're doing in this relationship is we're really hurting her. So he has that revelation. And it's all done in this little bit of dialogue. And I say it's mostly done through the just the expression on Kevin Spacey his face after he says that he realized, Oh, my God, I hurt. It's one person who I don't want to hurt. What am I doing? Where am I going? When I you know? And so yes, that's a great example of a defense mech. In this case, the defense mechanism is displacement when you're angry at one person, but you shout at somebody else, a safe outlet. We all do that all the time. But in film, it's so much more powerful because it's it's it's all there for us to see. You know, we set up we're all very aware of it, even if we're not talking about terms like displacement and defense mechanism. We know Oh, he's really angry at his wife. But he took it out and daughter because she touched a nerve by calling him a perv. Because he is a perv. Yeah, so yeah. That's where I think psychology comes in very, very useful for the viewer. But even more useful for the screenwriter, because the screenwriter is the one who has to be very, very explicitly aware of what's going on for their characters. And how these little this little bit of information can come out bit by bit in ways that seem both real to the viewer, and also entertaining and, you know, keeping them engaged.

Alex Ferrari 34:05
Now, what is dream work?

Williams Indick 34:08
The dream work is just a Freud's term for the process of analyzing dreams. And he had, he created a very specific model for doing it. But it's really relatively simple as you can, if you could break it down to two ideas. You have the dream itself that we experienced while we're sleeping. So dream work isn't really for, like daydreams. Those types of fantasies, which are semi conscious, and can be explored just in a sort of regular psychoanalytic way. Because dreams, true dreams are completely unconscious, and they happen while we were asleep. And by the way, 99% of our dreams are never analyzed because we never have any conscious awareness of them. So Freud believed that dreams were important. It was our unconscious minds way of dealing with things IDs and issues that we don't deal with during our waking state. And the two basic principles are that there's the manifest content of the dream, manifest, meaning the clear that what we actually see, which typically doesn't make a lot of sense, or dreams tend to be very illogical. And then there is the latent content. latent means hidden or disguised, meaning the true message of the dream, the true sort of idea that the unconscious is trying to deal with or expressed to ourselves. And, and by analyzing the manifest content by taking the dream as we experienced it, and finding associations for each symbol in the dream, we can uncover the hidden meaning, and then hopefully apply that to our lives in some kind of meaningful way.

Alex Ferrari 35:48
Now, what is normative conflict?

Williams Indick 35:52
Okay, so you're jumping to a different theory, but um, so we have to take one step back to Freud. So Freud believed that dreams, express some type of neurotic conflict, neurotic conflict. So neurotic coming from neuro or the brain, what he means is sort of internal conflict. So there's something we want to do, let's say for Kevin Spacey and American Beauty. what he wants to do is he wants to nail his daughter's teenage friend, which knows, is completely inappropriate, and which she probably doesn't even completely register with himself. It's sort of unconscious desire, that nevertheless is motivating him at every stage in the movie. He's, that seems to be his primary motivation is to become more attractive to this teenage girl so he can seduce her. So this is neurotic conflict, meaning there's one side of him that knows this is wrong, and knows that he's a bad person and a bad father for wanting to do it. Yet there's this other equally strong side of him, call it the end call it the libido that desperately wants this and cannot give it up. It's a fantasy that he knows who's wrong, but it persists because it's has this unconscious power. So so that's what we might say is going on in terms of neurotic conflict. What is normative conflict? Well, Erik Erikson studied really with honor Freud, Freud's daughter. And he wrote when he when Erik Erikson moved to America, from Vienna, in the 40s, he realized that most people didn't really and most people in America didn't understand Freud, that almost everything was lost in translation. And one of the main reasons things were lost in translation why people didn't understand Freud was because it was such a sexual theory. Everything was sexualized. So and in Freudian theory, there is no neurotic conflict without some type of libido without some type of sexual drive, because that's in Freudian theory. That's where all energy comes from. It comes from this basic life urge this libido this need to reproduce, and therefore this need to have sex. Erikson Erickson said, well, all that stuff is true for it in theory, but if people in America can't talk about sex, this is like 1950s. If Americans can't talk about sex, how are they going to understand the theory, they're just going to reject the theory outright, which is what people were doing. But he said, you know, what, you can take the same basic issues that Freud was talking about, and you can unsexual eyes, and you can talk about them in less sexual ways. So he said, you can take neurotic conflict, this internal conflict, and instead of saying, Oh, this is about libido versus guilt, or ID versus super ego, and he's very technical ways, you could say, everybody is always struggling, everybody is conflicted. Why? Well, we want to be normal people and lead normal lives. And we want to be true to ourselves. Yet at the same time, everybody in our environment is putting these demands on us. Our parents want us to be one thing, and our teachers want us to be another thing. And our siblings Expect us of us and our wives and girlfriends and boyfriends, and everybody expects something from us. And those expectations mean that we have to become the person that they want us to become. But we also want to stay true to ourselves. And that's a true conflict, and there's nothing necessarily sexual about it. So that's what we mean by normative conflict. It's neurotic conflict, same exact thing, but not in sexual terms. And it is also more about self identity. How do I understand myself? How do I define myself, while at the same time, satisfying other people's expectations for me?

Alex Ferrari 39:29
Now, I'm not sure if we've covered this or not, but what are some of the archetypes for plot according to a guardian?

Williams Indick 39:36
Okay, well, it'd be really be more to have, according to me, because color you'll never really wrote about movies or anything. Sure. And he wrote about archetypes, but not necessarily archetypes of plot. So but it's the same idea meaning if you have a set of character traits, for, for a certain type of character, and we call the amalgamation of those character, those characteristics, an archetype then we can Do the same thing for a theme meaning basic, the basic characteristics of a theme, become an archetypal theme or a classic theme. And so if we take that and apply that to movies, I mean that if you have a character who audience needs to follow and identify with and be engaged with for 90 to 120 minutes, possibly longer nowadays, we have, you know, a television characters that have, you know, 1000 hours, you know, how are we going to? How are we going to stick with that character? And it's all about motivation. It's all about what is motivating this character? What is holding? And what is holding them back? What's their conflict, what's your struggle. And if we think about it that way, there's only a handful of archetypical plots. There's the revenge plot. And we and we all can identify with that. There's the redemption plot of the character did some bad things in the past, or has led a life which was not completely pure, but now they have a chance to redeem themselves by doing something good and pure for others. There's the love plot of simply character, a character who's in love, but there's some type of obstacle that they have to overcome in order to win the person that they adore. There's the classic quest motivation. You know, so so there's, you know, if you think about it, there's only maybe a half a dozen different plots, different types of motivations that work and can can extend interest in a character for more than, you know, 100 minutes yourself. So that's what we mean by the archetypical plot. And it really ties in with the archetype of the character meaning, an archetypal character is going to have an archetypal theme or not archetypal plot that's driving them along. The two aren't are inseparable. Now,

Alex Ferrari 41:48
I love this. I saw this in your book, I just had to ask you about it. What are some archetypes in the age of narcissism? Because I got we are in the age of Narcissus.

Williams Indick 41:59
Yeah, well, I mean, so in in psychoanalysis, we have the metaphor of the mirror. Now, you know, the idea of looking at oneself. And we, and oftentimes we get confused, because we think we're looking through a window, we think we're looking at other people, but we're looking at a mirror, we're looking at ourselves. And I would say that sort of confusion, which is narcissism. So what was narcissist is a mistake while he looked at a reflection of himself, and became hypnotized or entranced by that image of himself. But he had no idea that he was looking at himself, he thought he was looking at this beautiful young man. And the thing that he was unaware of the reason why this image was so hypnotizing was because it was him. But in a way, it wasn't him. And that's what was hypnotic about it. And we all find ourselves in that situation, right now, with modern media, we all carry around these things, these phones, and you look at it, when it's not on, you're like, Oh, it's just a mirror. We turn it on, but when we turn it on, that's when we lose the accuracy of what it really is. Because we think we're looking at the outside world, we think we're looking at other people's webpages and other people's comments and other people's opinions. But it's all in reflection of who we are. I don't want to get too far off the point. But the the one basic question everybody has is, well, if all of this media is helping us to be informed, helping us to learn about what's going on in the world, and what's going on with other people. Why is why are we the most confused we've ever been? Why do people seem to not understand when a person say like the president of a certain country, is a complete a complete narcissist and only cares about himself and has no real sort of personal morals or virtues of his own? Like, what why does the majority of the country seem to not either not care about that, or not be aware of it, or just accept it and be like, well, that's okay. Everybody's like that. And it's because we're, we, we think we're getting more information, but we're getting less information, because all we're doing is just looking at ourselves, looking for validation of our own opinions, looking for people who repeat what we already believe. And, and this sort of, we're existing in the echo chamber of our own reflections and our own thoughts, and the fact that other people reflect what we're saying what we're thinking or what we want, that doesn't make it less of a mirror, it just makes it a more powerful mirror, a magical mirror, because it really does create that illusion of I'm looking outwards. But in reality, we're just seeking our own reflection. And that's why we have less information because nobody is looking for the truth. We're just looking for what we think we already know. And for validation, confirmation about that. Alright, so how are we plays that apply that to the age of narcissism? Well, the age of narcissism has to do with a modern time when the things that we used to revere what Alfred What's it Adler

trying to think it was Otto ronk, I believe. He called a call that the object of devotion. And he believed in existential psychology, the psychology of existence. He believed that we all need an object of devotion, we need some something outside of ourselves, to devote ourselves to something pure, something good, something to motivate us, and something that we can aspire to. And for all of human history that has been the spiritual that has been God and the different versions of God, you know, just like the hero has 1000 faces, so too does God have 1000 faces. So for most of us, we found that in the heavens, we found that in God, but then we get into the 20th century, and we have all these smart people writing books, and we have Nietzsche saying God is dead. And we have a movement away towards spirituality, because it's not logical. It's not rational. It's not based on what we think we know what we that the narcissist think we know and understand about the world. So we need a different answer. It's kind of like similar to what we were talking about archetypes, like the western hero, super superheroes, meaning when a culture reaches a point of saturation with something they need to move on, they have to change it. So our culture is to a certain standard with either saturated with God, or for what for various reasons found God, no longer meaningful in the way God used to be meaningful. So we have to find other things. And we sit we search outwardly, we search outwardly for heroes, we search outwardly for causes we search outwardly for virtues and issues that we can identify with. But we're fooling ourselves, because we're really just looking at mirrors. We think we're looking outwardly, but we're looking inwardly. And anything that's anything that's a screen is ultimately a mirror, because the only way we understand those characters and those stories, is by associating it with ourselves. So the age of narcissism is this age, when lots of people think they have the answers, and they understand why they're right and why everybody else is wrong. And they just live this life of solipsistic self satisfaction, where they think they have all the answers, they know, they have all the answers, and they're frustrated with everybody else, because they don't seem to be respecting the fact that they have all the answers. But at the end of the day, they're just Narcissus. And they really don't understand other people. And, and they can't, because instead of really trying to understand others, they're just getting more and more reflections of themselves

Alex Ferrari 47:38
as a as a person, a student of psychology. How do you see the society as we've got as the last 120 years that we've had media, as we kind of know it today from the beginning of the film industry, and, and radio and television, and now? computers, internet and all that stuff? How do you think our stories are affecting our society, as far as where we're moving towards? Because we just talked a bit about the age of narcissism. And you can you can kind of start seeing you can see this in the set, 60s and 70s. Were the stories from Hollywood were dark, taxi driver, easy writer. I mean, these are you couldn't even couldn't even conceive of something like that being released today by a major studio. Where do you think this is going for us as a society and also in, in just general American films?

Williams Indick 48:40
It's interesting. Film definitely turned darker in the 60s and 70s. Part of that had to do with the rating system. So prior to the rating system, every movie was was a family movie, family, people went to the movies as families and they sell movies together. So you know, a movie like psycho was seen by tons of, you know, two year olds, and people started to realize like, oh, okay, well,

Alex Ferrari 49:03
this is probably not right.

Williams Indick 49:05
If we want movies to sort of progress as an art form, we are going to have to segregate, you know, children from it. And at the same time, if we want movies to keep on capturing people's attention and make it more interesting, it has to be different from television. Television is a it's for the family. So we have to create movies that aren't necessarily for the family. So the idea of making very dark movies, very dark themes and adding lots of curse words and nudity and sexuality. A lot of that had to do with the struggle to you know, to keep up with television or to compete with television, and cinema trying to redefine itself as an adult art form, as opposed to sort of just mass entertainment, which television had become. And at the same time we saw in America, certainly a much more critical view of America itself. So the old westerns where you had this classic character, who was maybe a little bit dark, because he was violent, and he used violence for his own means, and he used violence in a unilateral way, didn't ask permission. He just killed, killed everybody who thought he should be killed. Um, people in America became a little bit dubious about that. I mean, because at the time, you know, we were in Vietnam, and what the hell are we doing there, and nobody really seemed to know for sure, all we knew was that we, as Americans went there, and just started killing everybody left and right, because we thought that was what we should be doing. And that reflected not just on American society, but on the thing that represents American society. And at that time, certainly by the 60s, it was the western hero, there was nobody, there was no other character that represented America more than the western hero. And that's why the western hero became darker. Because in again, if we apply the notion of narcissism, that when we look at a screen, we think we're looking at something else. But what we're seeing is a reflection of ourselves. If that mirror is not an accurate reflection, know if our feelings about ourselves are dark, and dubious. And we don't know if we're doing the right thing. In fact, if we're pretty sure we're doing the wrong thing, then that mirror reflection in the cinema has to change, it has to reflect that. So that Western hero who best represented America became darker and darker and darker and darker, until it reached a point where nobody wanted to see it anymore. And that was why, you know, it became the superhero. And then the same thing is happening with the superhero, coming darker and darker and darker, until we reached the point where we're not going to recognize that character anymore. It's going to flip and change. So cinema, like television, is this reflection of ourselves on a societal level. And it is very, very true that if you want to get a sense of where a country is where culture is, look at their media, Look at, look at the mirrors that they're using to reflect themselves and see what that tells us. And I would say, you know, right now, our media, certainly for young people is telling us, you know, well, the only way we're going to get out of this mess, is through some type of superhero intervention, some type of divine power needs to come and just change everything. Because we can't rely on people. If you look at the typical super superhero movie, the people that represent average, adults tend to be either corrupt, or downright evil, or just completely helpless and uninformed. They don't know what's going on only the superhero, and usually the adolescent characters that are allied with the superhero who understand the danger, who understand the limits of society, and who know, well, the only thing that can save us is some type of superhero. Possibly, that's why you know, and not our last election, but the previous election, we weren't really looking for a realistic leader for our country, we were looking for some type of fantasy or some type of non person who's who fulfilled fantasies of you know, of being this powerful superhero who's going to change everything didn't work out.

Alex Ferrari 53:20
that's a that's a Yeah, that's a really interesting way of looking at it. Because you're right, right now we are if we're looking at if media is our mirror then superheroes are the dominant force of media that we have in our stories. Right now, and especially in cinema. I mean, if you go back and look at the 80s I mean, Jesus you got you know, Arnold, you've got sly, you got Rambo, you've got commando, you've got you know, Chuck Norris, you've got this America kick ass kind of energy. That was throughout the 80s. You know, that's, that's where the action hero as we know, it today kind of was born. But even then, they were super, they were almost cartoonish versions of like, even now today, you know, you know, Liam Neeson is an action hero, you know, you know, but in the 80s, there would be no way of Liam Neeson or let alone a female action here. And we're now that's doable, but back then it was all muscle bound, cartoon versions of human x, exaggerated versions of ourselves.

Williams Indick 54:26
And I, for whatever reason, that was something our society had to go through. The Western hero as we know him became very dark. And he came to represent the things that we hated about ourselves, you know, the violence, the salep system, the inability to see other people's point of view. And so we had to sort of that hero had to be reborn in a new setting. And it became very, I think, one of the reasons it was very militaristic character, was because in a darkening the western hero we did it in a way that was very reflective of what was going on in Vietnam. And in doing so we kind of cast a pall upon another type of hero, the soldier hero, the warrior hero, which is even more ancient than the western hero. And I think as a culture, we needed to sort of recover from that I need to say, you know what, soldiers are good. The American soldier is inherently a good person who wants to do good things. And yes, he's frustrated by officers who want him to do the wrong thing. Or by you know, the government, you know, there's always that represents that representation of corruption. But the US soldier is a good man, he is a Rambo, he is a what was this Schwarzenegger? Well, commando,

Alex Ferrari 55:43
commando and predator? And yeah,

Williams Indick 55:45
although the American soldier is good, and we can trust him to do the right thing. We needed to reaffirm that to ourselves after Vietnam, and after, you know, that whole period dark period of dark self reflection.

Alex Ferrari 56:00
And officer and gentlemen as well, not as a superhero, but but definitely a positive light on a on, you know, the military deal with Tommy Jesus Top Gun. I mean, that's, that was, yeah, there's, there's as much testosterone and one in one movie ever, is Top Gun and probably 300. I mean, there's just so much testosterone. Through those films, it's not even funny. And a lot of the 80s action films, lethal weapons and all that kind of stuff. It was it was, it was an interesting time, but those films wouldn't play today. Not in the same way. Society has changed. I noticed their Top Gun too, is coming out. But he's the mentor now, but he's the mentor now.

Williams Indick 56:44
Okay. Yeah, I would think I would think so because he's a bit old to be playing that hero character. Yeah, so I'm curious to see how it does. Because I think we are in a bit of a different place. We're not really as open to these unilaterally good American heroes as we used to be. So I would be curious to see you know how that movie does and how it handles the problem of American identity.

Alex Ferrari 57:07
And also don't don't ever underestimate the power of nostalgia. That illness that we have is because I'm like, I was there when Top Gun came out. So I'm the first in line to see it, because I want to go back and relive my youth. And that's I think Hollywood's been doing that now for 34 years.

Williams Indick 57:28
Yeah. I mentioned before the problem with originality that there is essentially no truly original character type. And there is no essentially new original type of plot. But at the same time, you got to use something, something original, it's a new setting a new idea, a new catchphrase something. And it does seem that Hollywood has just gotten stuck in just our recapitulating regurgitating its own archetypes over and over and over again. Possibly, because the foreign market is so important now, and arguably is the foreign market is more important, important than the American market in terms of, you know, making a big film successful.

Alex Ferrari 58:09
Right, and I think comment combining genres genre, you know, crashing genres together, like the Western and the science fiction film with Star Wars. And that's when you start, you know, mashing up all these kinds of different genres that does make things a little bit more interesting. Like, what was the god, there's just so many, but like, when when you bring the superheroes down watchmen, when you're like me, watchmen, you brought the superhero down to the to the ground level, and they have problems. And they're, some of them are assets, and some of them are rapists, and some of them are really good and drunks. And that was a comment that made it a very interesting, made more interesting than just Superman. I'm here to save the day.

Williams Indick 58:58
Yeah, I mean, the good thing about the maturation of any genre is it gets more complex. So like, like when food starts to spoil, the beginning of that process is a complexity meaning it becomes more complex, like, you know, a dark cheese, or complex and interesting than hard cheese or a light cheese. But that's because it's beginning to rot. The first sign of rot is the darkening of the characters. And the and the plots becoming a bit more wiring meaning a bit a bit more sort of complex and over all over the place and unexpected things happening. And that's a sign of genre beginning to beginning to rot beginning to the audience's getting saturated with that. So they're trying to figure out ways of making it more complex and more interesting, but it is the very beginning of the end.

Alex Ferrari 59:52
Interesting. That's I love that analogy. I love that writing analogies like this, the beginning starts to get complex and then it just you can't eat it anymore. surfpoint I'm gonna ask you a couple questions ask all my guests. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in your industry or in life?

Williams Indick 1:00:11
I'm thinking probably has to do with my process as a writer. And I did I, you know, I was interested in writing screenplays for a long time, and I wrote novels. And now I took me a long time to find a voice and to find what I'm good at. And it wasn't, it's not really what I originally wanted to do. I originally wanted to be a, you know, what I would consider a creative writer to write screenplays, novels, stories, things like that. And it took me a long time to realize that my voice really is in nonfiction. And I think probably that's relevant to anyone who's a writer, we begin the process, thinking, Oh, I'm going to be doing this, I'm going to be doing that. But I think for most of us, it's a process of self discovery. And the thing that is revealed to us is that what we thought we were good at, or what we thought we wouldn't be good at is not it. Kind of like a typical hero's story where a hero goes on sort of adventure after adventure after adventure. And in the process, they learn about themselves, so that by the end of the process, yes, they've had a victory, they did what they set out to do. But the journey was by far more important and more elucidating than the end. So whenever I'm working on a book, now, it's not so much about me thinking, Oh, is this gonna bring me to the level of success that I'm looking for? But it's more about? Am I being as creative as I can be, even though this is nonfiction? Because my goal now is, is to say, well, there's nothing there's no rule that says you can't be very, very creative in writing nonfiction. In fact, you know, if we look at Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, their nonfiction was incredibly creative. And I think yes, so that might be useful, hopefully, for other writers, or filmmakers, or anyone really, in creative pursuit, is you have to give yourself time to find your voice. And then when you do find your voice, you have to be accepting of that you have to get say, like, Well, you know, I don't want to be that type of writer, I don't want to be that type of director or I want to do stuff that I think is cool. Is that really you? Is that where your strength lies? Is that the type of story you're good at telling? Or is that the story you want to tell? You know, it's a process of self discovery.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:34
Right? I mean, I wanted to be a wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins, but that just not a thing.

Williams Indick 1:02:43
Yeah. And, again, we go back to this idea of the hero, you know, we have heroes in movies, but we also have heroes and mentors in real life. And I think, you know, most young people starting out, they find someone like, Oh, I want to be Steven Spielberg, or I want to be George Lucas, or I want to be, you know, this famous writer. And we we use these heroes as templates for our own lives. But our choice of selection is not very comforting. We're looking at the most talented and the most successful people ever. And we're saying why can't I be like them? And it takes a long time for us to, for me to look, give ourselves a break and be like, well, you're not going to be Steven Spielberg. You're not going to be even Steven Soderbergh. That's not who you are. But you can do great work. And you can, you know, love your work. And you can do great interesting things. If you find your voice, if you and if you allow your voice to be heard.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:37
You know what the funny thing is that I think George Lucas and Spielberg wanted to be Kurosawa. And, and quote, unquote, they wanted to be Kurosawa. But he's like, I can't be corsage. Well, I guess we'll just be ourselves. And it worked out, okay, for them.

Williams Indick 1:03:52
It's a part a part of growing up is figuring out who you are, where your strength lies. And it's a bit sad. But yes, resigning yourself to the fact that you're not going to be this dream character based on fantasy that you were trying to be when you were 13 years old. When you're 23, you have to find a new hero and find a new mentor and redefine yourself. And we have to do that at every age of life. Or else we're just going to be constantly, you know, defeating ourselves,

Alex Ferrari 1:04:21
and what are three of your favorite films of all time? Okay.

Williams Indick 1:04:26
First one that always comes to mind is just searchers in that job for 1936 john wayne, and I love that movie for so many reasons. One reason is what we were talking about before, we were talking about how westerns, certainly in the 50s 60s, represented the American character and was a mirror to American society. And in the searchers, john Ford did something that was really fearless. He took john wayne, who was identified as the American hero so strongly that people Like every everybody thought that john wayne was a war hero. He was a warrior. His career was just taking off. He didn't go to war he stayed behind, while everybody else but But nevertheless, he was on all these war movies and people always considered him the quintessential American hero of his age. But he wasn't. So john Ford said, I want to tell the story. It's a classic American story, but it's very dark, because we have a character who's a racist. And when his daughter not done it when his niece is abducted by these comanches His goal is at first to rescue her. But then it's the killer. He wants to kill her because she's living among the Indians. She's, you know, she's gone native. And the only way that he could rest with that, if he killed her, by his own hands is very, very dark character. quest is to kill a little girl, who is his nest? Who's nice? How do you tell that story? And how do you cast the quintessential American hero in that story, very difficult. But john Ford was able to pull it off, and one of the greatest the most visually stunning movies ever made, and one of the most powerful movies ever made. So, you know, I always go back to the searchers, and say, like, wow, hard to make a better movie than not match to art art, like people like what's the greatest movie ever made. And of course, you know, Citizen Kane, whatever, whatever you like. But the searchers is john Ford, arguably the greatest director of all time, john wayne, art, certainly the greatest Western hero of all time. That's a pretty strong pair. Okay, another film. Let me think for a moment, after the surgeries, it gets a little bit harder. And I don't want to say john Ford again. Mmm hmm. Well, just because, first of all, this list of like three greatest things, it's always going to be changing. Oh,

Alex Ferrari 1:06:52
of course. Just right now, just today. Yeah, today.

Williams Indick 1:06:56
Right now I'm thinking about the movie Pan's Labyrinth. I'm writing about it. And classic movie by guerra, Guillermo del Toro. And again, he's doing something somewhat similar, where he's taking a fairy tale, the story of the fairy tale about the young girl who's coming of age, and she has a wicked stepfather. And there's a, you know, a sort of a fairy character, and we don't know whether it's good or evil. So it's a classic fairytale. But he, rather than avoiding the darkness that we see in the sort of classic grimms brothers fairy tales, he delves into the darkness, darker and darker and darker. But at the same time, he never loses that fairy tale quality of it. And we never lose the sort of innocence of the girl and we never stopped identifying with her. That was just a wonderful thing to pull off. Where How can you How can you tell a fairy tale that's true to fairy tales, but at the same time, is excessively dark, and terrifying. And, you know, really, really sort of, you know, brings up these questions about, you know, human nature and things like that. So you know, when a film can do can be dark and light at the same time, that to me, it's kind of like an impressive thing to pull off. So I really enjoyed that. When we try to think of another film. Well, I'll just tell you, again, this is just stuff that I've recently seen and was impressed by. But I was very impressed by 1917, which was just visually stunning. So it has that sort of spectacle aspect of cinema. But it tells a simple story, where you're basically following these two characters, and then this one character to the end, and it gets darker and darker and darker. But because there is a basic heroism to the character that we all can identify with. And he's just a man who's given a mission, and he needs to get it done. It's very simple, simple motivation, a very simple story. But it gets very, you know, it gets into the complexities of the characters in a way that you know, wonderful. And again, it's mixing a darkness with light in a way that can be inspirational for the viewer. And I was very impressed by that.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:11
And now where can people find you and your books?

Williams Indick 1:09:16
Well, my books are all you know, out there, go to amazon.com or McFarlane pub comm, you'll find a most of my books. Me personally, I'm a psychology professor William Paterson University in New Jersey. And looking forward to going back and teaching regular in person class. This fall, everything was online for a while, um, I do have a book that just came out, and it's called media environments in the mind. And it deals a lot with you know, when I was talking before about narcissism, and the notion is that all media is a mirror, and how do we understand ourselves at a time when we're constantly being reflected in a million ways? So that's the sort of academic book that I just came out, but I also am just got a contract for a second edition of psychology for screenwriters, which will have a lot more information about writing for genre.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:11
Bill, thank you so much for coming on the show. It has been. It's been a journey down the rabbit hole speaking to you today. So I I do appreciate you man. Thank you so much for being on the show.



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IFH 719: Directing ACTION in the World of John Wick for Television with Albert Hughes

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Alex Ferrari 0:04
I'd like to welcome back to the show returning Champion Albert Hughes, how you doing Albert?

Albert Hughes 2:29
So apparently, we still have the record.

Alex Ferrari 2:32
We still have the record brother was that it was during the COVID times. You were stuck in Amsterdam, literally stuck in a room somewhere by yourself. And I think I was the only beacon of hope for a conversation about film for you. They sat there and spoke for three and a half hours, four hours. And it just kept going. And we were we were on Skype. It was again even gone to zoom yet. We were on Skype.

Albert Hughes 2:55
Was it was it Skype? It was it was Skype. Well, Oh, over here about Skype anymore.

Alex Ferrari 3:02
I didn't move over to zoom yet, because I was one of the last holdouts on Skype.

Albert Hughes 3:07
I still have it. I still have the app. Do you still have the app?

Alex Ferrari 3:11
I can't no. Because my I got the new computer. It doesn't now. Like I couldn't record anymore. It's old thing. But man with that that's an epic conversation we had man, it's been one of the most downloaded episodes we ever had. And then of course, when I heard about you, when I heard about it, and press, I emailed you right away, I said, Hey, man, congratulations cannot wait to see what you do in the world of John Wick. And, and you did not disappoint my friend. I have seen it and it is oh, thank you. It is like I was telling you before, it's so nice to see a director direct in television. Not not crapping on anybody else's style, but that you can see a very distinct a point like point of view when you're working. And it's like those things that you and I grew up with in in the 80s. And the 90s are like these kind of directors who like, you know, put the cameras move the cameras, that POV shots, it's like, oh, look at that. That's nice. You know,

Albert Hughes 4:08
I you know, it's also it's a new world now where, you know, back in the 80s and 90s, when we were growing up to it's like the the film directors, film writers, producers kind of looked down on TV, you know, or sphere. There was no streaming back then but, and now like the best writing the best acting, and some of the best directors are coming to those formats. And I mean, Netflix owns have the best directors in town right now. You know, literally, literally, but then.

Alex Ferrari 4:36
But you know what, it's really interesting, because I've heard this from a lot of people is that a lot of the independent filmmakers who would have been an independent film in the 90s in the early 2000s are not going to television, because that's the only place they can actually make a living. Because there is no real output for market. The market place doesn't open it's not as open as it used to be for independent film as it used to.

Albert Hughes 4:58
Yeah it's Like the Marvel movies the tentpole, CIPS they've squeezed up Mom and Pop movies or the midsize movie reviews, other genre movies, you know, like, Well, my house is doing well with their movies, the horror genre.

Alex Ferrari 5:12
But Jason's got the sweetest deal. And Hollywood. I mean, you kidding me? Like I thought when I talked to him on the show, it's like, dude, you'd like you're doing like 10 million $50 million movies being distributed by Universal, like, widely. Like, that's the sweetest deal in the US.

Albert Hughes 5:25
Yeah, and some of those movies are only $5 million. And they have the sweet deals for everybody involved. And he has a really good business model. And it's really not only sensible, but very kind to the town in golf. You know, he's one of the few guys out there that that's doing something like that. We actually share the same account. And I did work with him on the Good Lord Bird. Because his company produced that. Yeah, but it's a new day and time. And that's what strange is like, with this series of Continental, it wasn't set up like a typical TV schedule 10 episodes or eight episodes where you're rolling into the next episode with your cast and crew, then bringing in another director, guest directors. And then you know, sometimes those episodic TV shows have that low in the middle where they're trying to save money, you can tell her filler episodes. And we've talked about me and you I do distinctly remember talking about last time in our marathon run. David Fincher. Oh, and the one thing you if you look at what David Fincher did with mine Hunter and you look at whatever the show runners are, I got to look up with the show runners are on Handmaid's Tale, there's a very consistent style and quality control going on with those shows, both shows could have been shown in a theater, and you would have known none the difference between whether it was a TV show or a movie or a one hour episode. But it all came down to quality control. And then there's other like, really nuanced the details like what I learned the difference between TV in feature filmmaking is a TV is a writer with meaning and as you know, right, and features are a director's medium. So when traditionally the writers medium has been going on it. It's less about style and tone of the museum meets on saying, as you know, you learn in film school. And more about close up close ups, close up shop, close. And close up. Yep. And that they still were to this day, they're still think that way, and they're slowly coming out of it. I'm talking at the executive level when you start getting notes. Well, where's the close up for that shot? It's like, well, people have these big screens that you don't need that close up anymore. So then the cinema like I give this, it's a bad good analogy, I don't know. It's like a guide on the phone with his girlfriend, she's breaking up with him. And he's very lonely, right. And TV, you see, there's a close up shot, because the writers are laying on their dialogue and film. You learn the Masters, like tell them the story in the shot to go really wide and have them really tiny in the corner talking and looking small and only so the shots telling you he's lonely and isolated and being broken up with. And so it's the dialogue but you don't necessarily need to close up let's face at this moment, right? That's the difference. But there's a benefit to TV and what they do, because I've been studying like, I consume a lot of people like succession and all those shows, you know, and they button, the scenes with close ups and the characters wheels are spinning. And that takes you into the next scene. You're like, Oh, I wonder what they're thinking or you might project on what they're thinking. And that's a very useful thing to learn from TV, because cinema doesn't feature the filmmaking doesn't really do that. Yeah. So there's, right now also, there's this thing where it's like, if I'm making something or another feature guys making something, I don't want to change my style, because it's a TV show, I don't want to do more consoles, I want to respect the audience is going to read that shot correctly, especially considering that the TV sizes have changed, you know. So we still all have a lot of adjusting to do especially on the the executive and studio network side, too. Welcome those filmmakers into the TV space for what they do, without constantly pounding them about close optional.

Alex Ferrari 9:03
I would agree with you on that. And when I was watching this, I was noticing I mean, it's this basically they're the three movies. These episodes, they're just three standalone movies with like Paley and like cliffhangers essentially are like the next there's another episode in this thing. It's it's serialized in that sense in this miniseries that you've put together with continental but the Makah segment, the budget, the production value of this thing must have been pretty impressive because the I mean, we all seen the continental and John Wick, right. And we've seen it we've done but this is John Wick in the 70s, which is a great decade to Tunis and by the way, the it was anything I mean, come on. It's I mean, it's as fun as you could get to play in that in that era. But the visual effects I was noticing the how the visual effects. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. And the depth of it the world creation that you did for the Continental. What was that? How did you approach doing it like that? And I assumed there was a decent budget for this. But this is not $100 million $200 million show. But it looks like yeah, it looks like the end, we'll get into the actual sequels in a minute, because that's a whole other story.

Albert Hughes 10:25
Okay. Well, maybe it's actually I was gonna hit on it earlier, but I forgot is the one I was talking about TV schedules. And now they roll into the next thing that there's no prep time for the guest directors, we only had one guest director, Charlotte brush and who has been around forever, very capable. But it's even very difficult for them to maintain the style. And it's a very hard thing to do the quality control, the tone and the look and all that stuff. But one of the reasons I did it, there's several reasons why I did it. One was when I looked at the way they laid it out. It was like a 14 week prep leading into Episode One. While weeks prep, leading into Episode Two or weeks prep, leading to episode three each 35 days a piece that is not normal for TV, that's not a normal schedule. That's not even normal prep for a movie like 12 weeks. 1012 weeks is normal. Not I wasn't allowed to say. But they see that for. Yeah, but they see that 14 is helping the overall to you know, you're not just servicing one. So that was the first thing that raised an eyebrow, they go oh, there, someone was smart. They're trying to ensure quality here, you know, and with a guy like me, don't give me prep, you know, because I'll use it. A lot of directors, you know, don't use it, you know, and don't, you know, you know, parlay that into some real security in quality, basically. And then there's the other thing above the wick film producers talk to me first, because I wasn't sure I wanted to do it. I didn't know if I wanted to play in another man or woman's sandbox. But they they talked to me about it. And I was considering something else. And I go, I just want to have fun man. The COVID thing was really weighing on me as you know. And I think the audience wants to have fun. I don't want to this social issue stuff anymore. Like I've done it. I'll go back to it, maybe but right now, I have fun watching those movies. Why not basically right. And that was a real moto. And then you had me at seven years. Like you just said early. You had me with the 70s. Right. That's the era I grew up in I was born in. I have a white mother who's listened to Pink Floyd a black father was listening to James Brown. And I finally able to explore the the mother's side of my upbringing, you know, the father's side has been tapped into greatly from the past movies with fantastic r&b and hip hop and stuff. But now it's like, Pink Floyd. It's my favorite band of all time. No one would suspect that even some of my closest friends wouldn't know that. That is I don't care what band you bring up. You start bringing up Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, I don't want to hear it. Pink Floyd, My guys are my guys. And then the heartache of having to give that song to episode two, which is a you know, an episode I supervised and finished them the post on but I didn't direct it, though. Yeah. And it was Kirk Woodward, the showrunner. And my friend, my very good buddy. Now my partner in this who he was struggling with that scene, because we just couldn't find the right score for it. And we couldn't find the right. And he came up with that choice. And I go, man, that's one of my favorite songs, like, welcome to the machine. So it was it was he that picked it. And he picked a few others that I was cuz sometimes a needle drops you like I'm pretty, I'm pretty good at it like 70%. But when I'm bad, I'm really bad. It's really off, you know? And once you put it against picture, you're like, What was I thinking? I thought this thing would work. And he is the one that came with Black Sabbath at the end of episode one, which was this attitude Kirk that came with that. Because originally I put it in more of an upbeat kind of, it's kind of a punk reggae. It's called Murder. It's a woman singing murder. Ooh, murder, you know, and I thought, Oh, this is such a downer episode at the end. Because if something tragic happens, I want the audience to leave for a week because I knew it was gonna be a weekly show. I want them not to leave to down and you kept working on me like our and it's not right. It's not right. Okay. And then he brought this sad but track and I go oh, that screaming revenge and anger. So yeah, I got me anger a bit there. But

Alex Ferrari 14:21
You know what? That's the thing. You got to try things before you say no, but no, when you were saying it and I know the scene and I know the ending of that episode. I'm going to pick it would have not worked it just like I'm already playing in my head. I'm like, No, it's not.

Albert Hughes 14:34
I tried it. I tried it. The first few seconds like,

Alex Ferrari 14:37
You need anger. You need revenge. You need vengeance. And that's what that song. The energy of that song came out without question. I mean, listen, you know, John Wick is created an a bunch of movies a world that is unprecedented, really in cinema history. There is nothing like Java. There's just nothing like John Wick, and what piano did and what the creators do. it and the actions is that when you stepped into this world to play like you said on another man sandbox, did you feel any pressure of like, I kind of meant this better bring the heat. Because every single there hasn't been a week John with film in my opinion. Everyone has been like, dude like this last one. I saw it in the theater. I was like, This guy's really like you can bananas. It was it's it's like so much action that you can't even. I'm like how many years? That's like almost like it was a kickback to John Woo style, hardboiled.

Albert Hughes 15:35
That's the that's still Oh, somebody was bringing up No. Like a friend reached out to me yesterday was like, he didn't know I made this and accidentally watched it. And he could recognize it was my style. So he looked at the credits again, and he messaged me. And he goes, it just reminds me of us watching John Wuhan, the night we were go, well, that's where Chad partially, he has a smorgasbord of influences. And some would be shocked to know that not the John Woo part. But the Bob Fossey a musical part. He's into musical and dance numbers. And when you talk to Chad, he'll talk about all these influences. You know, Korean cinema, too, of course, Japanese cinema. Some of the same things overlap with both of us, but I my favorite John Wick, the fours three three just tickled me pink like, it's when you when you talk to the hardcore John Wick fans, they don't. They don't care for three, they love one. I think their order is now it may be one or four. But they really have a soft spot for one. It's one four to three minds in a completely different order of mind. 3124

Alex Ferrari 16:39
And four is still

Albert Hughes 16:42
It's solid, it's crazy. Like they do up the game. There's just weaknesses I have for three because they reminded me of being a 12 year old watching Indiana Jones like that knife fight. And then that Oh, I don't know Museum of knives. Like I thought it couldn't get any better. It just kept getting better and better. And then it ended with a guy's axe in the head. I go oh my god, this is the sword fight and on the motorcycles which is from the villainous Korean movie I believe. But again, it was awesome. And then who could have ever thought the smack of horses asked to kick a guy in the face like there's so there's all and then there's dogs the Halle Berry dog stuff like so it was speaking to the 12 year old boy me were the difference with four was I thought four in the end when it took me a while to realize was more of a spiritual movie. It is became a spiritual Yeah. Is though is one of the most I didn't expect that

Alex Ferrari 17:33
One of the most violent pics. I see that cinema quite some time. But it's it's correct.

Albert Hughes 17:37
But I also saw it with green screen. Yeah, I saw it though early cut where the RTA triumph, you couldn't even see the structure when they were doing that you couldn't see what happened to the Continental. I was watching a lot of blue screen and it was like a three and a half hour cut out. I watched it first. So when I saw it in the cinemas, I was shocked at like how good the VFX were like that arc to the Triumph thing like how there was no, there was no no Orchidee triumph there. They did shoot it in Lidar and do all those things. Right. But how realistic those VFX were like, I didn't know what that scene would become like,

Alex Ferrari 18:12
I thought the shot. I thought they shot it there personally, I said not that you told me that I'm like, I thought they shot they did a fantastic job. Because I couldn't tell

Albert Hughes 18:19
Well, there's established yours you know, and even in an established yours, if you look closely, you can tell that there's digital cars not not that it's badly done it just at the speed they're going in that traffic. And unless you're in Boston locked down all of Paris, it's impossible. You know, of course, we know how these things are constructed. You and I so we're able to know even if it's really great VFX What the What's going on, you know,

Alex Ferrari 18:45
I thought they might have locked up you know, you know, from one o'clock to four o'clock in the morning, something like that, because it was just looks so so good. And going back to John Woo, though. I mean, you go back to those kid that killer hardboiled that is ballet, with guns, and then WIC is just taking it to a whole other place, which then brings me to, but

Albert Hughes 19:07
You don't know what to say just before we get up at John Woo the big difference between then and now is that John wounded and have those air guns that you can put up to somebody's face and see the recoil and hear a little sound that's so safe. You can literally put up your eyeball. You know, he was using real muzzle flashes. stunk. Man, they were getting hurt all the time, because there are regulations out there for protections aren't the same in China at the time, like just running through stunt men, right? He was shooting for 100 days and more like, you know, John, who was going all balls to the walls without all the stuff that we have the tools we have nowadays. And then you have someone like Chester hausky, who comes from its background, who specializes in that. And then he found this perfect match with Keanu in that kind of world. And it's like a parallel universe, which is what's so freeing about doing the show the continental is like

Alex Ferrari 19:58
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Albert Hughes 20:07
You know, when I started checking up a list of why I should do something like this, one of it was like, Well, my brain is gonna be free just to have fun now. So what's that going to be like, I didn't have any idea that I would have the most fun in my life on a set, or in post or in prep. It was like, an experience I'll never forget

Alex Ferrari 20:24
When going into the action, I mean, when I was watching the episodes, I was like, Mike, what is this like John Wick level, action, movie level action. So that this is it's not like if you're tuning in to see the continental and expecting like TV versions of John Wick action. It is not. It is. You could say it's, you could take it out and put it right into $100 million $200 million movie and it would fit perfect that was so I was like, man, it's ball. It was a single man.

Albert Hughes 20:54
It's the same guy. It's a company that Chad owns with David leach called at 711. And some of the same people that were in some of the Jaguar films are part of the stunt team too. And Lauryn Hill Stovall, the coordinator and action director was, it's from that, that at Simon Lebon camp to, and Chad had to bless the person that was being chosen for that basically, before we started, and then they go and do this thing called stunt biz, which is wonderful. You get to see everything beforehand and make adjustments. And they do this really cool thing a new school of stunt men do which is, first of all, they show you the stuff the old school never showed you anything right? They also make use of the environment. And if the environment is not Columba we may rewrite where we're at more this fights gonna take place. And it's interesting, I'm telling you, because there's one scene in episode three that particularly cater to your audience No way. It's like, when we talked in the past about when you have no money, what do you do with it? Right, right. So Kirk had written this scene where this character Lu, a black woman's being followed by this detective Mayhew and it was going to end up in this like fight between the both of them in the streets. And I said, You know what, I've always wanted to do Kirk a fight in the phone booth you ever heard that expression of fighting for was like, Hey, I've heard it, or sometimes a boxer announcer like they're just blowing each other in a corner and blowing each other and hitting each other. Taking blows in the corner, you know, there's they all skill has gone out the window. They're just,

Alex Ferrari 22:26
It's again, it's a street fight. Yeah, it's a street fight. Yeah,

Albert Hughes 22:29
It's street fight in, in close proximity. It's, uh, it was like watching a fight in a phone booth. So I said, we need to do this for two reasons. One, I think it'd be cool. Because we can use the phone with the environment a phone booth to this could be a lesson to people with no money in film school. But I want this thing to be the kind of scene where they look at it and go, you see, you can do something interesting without scope, and still tell the story and move on and play play on kind of, I don't know what the what that's an analogy, I guess, or a metaphor. Play on something like that. Yeah, we did have the budget to do what we want. I didn't feel the pinch in any way. Like you can give me $10 million. I'm not going to feel a pinch. I'll design the movie to the budget. You can give me five I'll design the movie to the budget. But what I always aspire to from the first movie is you give me 2.5 I want to make it as low as seven you give me 10 I want to make it like 20 and there's little tricks to do that we talked about in the last time we talked about but people should know we each budget had a pretty much the same budget as a first John Wick movie. That's it well, it wasn't any lower whether any higher.

Alex Ferrari 23:36
Yeah, and the thing is too is like when I was watching this again, I said this you use some of those tricks to get more bang for your buck. Because it definitely looks more bang for your buck without question. Now speaking of stunt, guys, this is my I love I love stunt guys. I was working on my on a project I was working with a 24 stunt team, the 20 Kiefer Sutherland's shout back in the day, and is it just me or are all of them absolutely nuts?

Albert Hughes 24:07
They are the old school guys are a different type of nuts. The New School guy right there a different type of nuts. Yeah, they all are like, go ahead. Sorry.

Alex Ferrari 24:16
No, it's like I heard like when when I would go Listen, I need you to do this. I need to do a gainer here. And I needed to do flip like but kind of jump off the second story. Like no, I don't need a second. I'm we're good here on the first No, no, but like, I could do the second store. I could like I'm good. Like no, but I'm like guys, it was not there but all of them would always take it to 11 as they say in spite of

Albert Hughes 24:39
Yeah, they're their adrenaline adrenaline junkies, you know, and they're like fighter pilots here in this whole other mode, you know, and they recall from the past and and has moved to the new school. They have this swagger this kind of arrogance in they need that arrogance in their job, you know, but sometimes you can miss read the air again and not see the person basically right. And they're very interesting, especially the new school guys that come out of 87. Let me because they always overdesign, like you're talking about that in a way they want to give you more than it's done. guys never want to give you less. And you actually always have to talk a stunt person though. Like no, no, do. We don't really don't but

Alex Ferrari 25:21
Guy, or girl.

Albert Hughes 25:22
Yeah, but all the dirty little the dirty little secret. The dirty little secret is, the more times they do that stung the keep getting paid bumps on depending on how dangerous Dustin is that you're getting these these crazy pay bumps. You know, I didn't know that until four years ago. I found that out. I'm like, really? Oh, that's why they're so eager to do another. Like they're lipping to the third take like, Yeah, let's go.

Alex Ferrari 25:45
Let's go. Let's go ahead. Let's go again. I can't imagine like with the with the stunt team that you had on the continental these guys, I mean, there has to be, I mean, other professionals, but it's got to do some some damage. Damage on these guys, the body can only take so much, even as a professional as

Albert Hughes 26:02

Alex Ferrari 26:03
You can only throw them down the stairs so many times. Right? I mean, seriously, at a certain point, even if they know how to follow them if they got the gear on. And at a certain point, you just got it that God bless.

Albert Hughes 26:18
Yeah, and the differences too is they have to train our actors. Like that's what the wig fan base wants us to see their actors doing it. And we had this interesting story one day when the Jessa lane is an actress who played Lulu and they're the brother of Myles Hubert. Ponte jour is the actor's name. But it just was, you know, she's a very sweet woman. And she doesn't like violence, really. And they're training her and she accidentally it's a stunt guy in rehearsal. You know, we're not shooting there in the warehouse doing this. And she's really emotional, but she's really bent, bent out of shape about it and like, no, no, this happens all the time. They don't worry. And we were all a little worried about her. Like, is she ever gonna be able to like, just get over this and she did. And you've seen the El Camino fight with her in the back of an El Camino on Episode Two, I think. Yeah, you've seen the whole series, right. Okay, so,

Alex Ferrari 27:09
I've seen most of the series. I haven't seen all of it yet. I'm gonna see most of it.

Albert Hughes 27:12
Oh, shit. You gotta get the three man we shouldn't. Okay, we'll come back with Kirk.

Alex Ferrari 27:16
You come back with Kurt. Oh, that I've seen the first Oh, I've not seen the third one yet because I have a family.

Albert Hughes 27:22
Oh, the third and the third one goes. I know. The third one goes off the rails. But but she is an episode two in the back of an El Camino like kicking a bunch of people's asses. Right? You see in that and then she basically blossom? Yeah, you know, but wait, I gotta pause for Episode Three prepare you because it's gonna feel like to you a very deceptive, it starts out like, Oh, this is kind of starting out like the others. You know, it's normally paced. And then it just takes this right turn and it just goes nonstop for 15 minutes. So

Alex Ferrari 27:53
So you were trying to you were trying to John Wick for it basically just this nonstop.

Albert Hughes 27:57
Why would he was a hybrid because Chad has a status thing he does. It's wonderful is that? It because he has a two or two and a half hour movie and doesn't have to tow a 3x structure and too many new characters. And you have Ken Oh, and the audience knows what he can do. You can wallow in a 20 minute set piece. I can't really because I have a story to tell. I also don't want to bore the audience. You know, I'm very much in tune, not having action fatigue happen. So it's deceptive in episode three. Because there are modules of action, seemingly taking place in one set piece which is inside the hotel. It's a raid. I mean, it's pretty obvious at this point, it's a raid, you know, that Winston has to take power from this hotel, and a revenge story, right? So it feels like one continuous action scene. It actually isn't. It's one continuous raid, that the way to fix your reign is as you're watching a lot of action. Because it it jumps around to different locations within the hotel and different group members doing different things. But it's relentless, not in the same way as relentless as you get the Arc de triumph and then you get the Dragon's Breath seen from the above angle in the building, and then you get this steps. Then you get the steps. You put those three back to back that's like 45 minutes straight of nonstop action. You know,

Alex Ferrari 29:19
It's a lot. It's a lot. Now I gotta ask you, man, because there's a there's a special actor who play who's in this in this show. Mr. Mel Gibson. How do you work with not only a legend, but arguably one of the better directors of his generation? Because he is a really good director as well. How was it to work with him?

Albert Hughes 29:42
Yeah. He's, he's, he's a pro. And once you get to three, you'll see he goes off the hinges, you know.

Alex Ferrari 29:52
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Albert Hughes 30:01
I'm in the process of working with him you've seen in the past like he does he's very passionate like ransom or Braveheart or road warriors, my favorite. And that's why we wanted him. Yeah hacksaw as as a director is he he makes you believe in what he's doing in the movie if he's playing the character, you believe, right? What I found was interesting is that he, those zingers and one liners that Sam he likes playing with words from Lethal Weapon movies, that is him. That's what he comes with. That's how his brain works. And he plays naive on the set. It doesn't look back and look at everything and like what lens you're using, you know, and he acts like he doesn't know, he knows. And he's watching everything like a hawk. And he doesn't go to his trailer, which is a great thing to have with an actor is like they're not slowing you down. He's very much I think he said it one day, he goes, I'm a good soldier. And he is, and he's highly intelligent on both sides of the camera. And it was just a fun, we had fun with the whole cast. Because I have some people in here, like Adam Shapiro, who's opened a pretzel business during COVID. And it's all the rage in Hollywood right now. And chopping pretzels. Who's a who's a one liner, walking one liners Zinger comedy act, you know, that I work with the past few people I've worked with in the past that have this thing that I was dealing with, with Mel to like, they just want to go on the set and have fun. And they don't want to cause problems. They don't want any headaches. They don't want any drama. And those are my favorite kind of people. So he's cut from that cloth. And I've been here for 40 years of professional he is on the set. And it's exactly what I saw.

Alex Ferrari 31:35
That's beautiful man, not when you when you walk into an action sequence like that as a director. These are not simple, not simple sequences by any stretch and right it's not like a punch, punch, punch, the movement the camera. How would you how do you approach doing this? I know you've seen that a little bit of previous but like if you're if you're talking to a young directors who are trying to get into action. How do you approach like some of the scenes like that in the in the first episode? Does their sequence going down the stairs with him? Will you look like Kiana by the way he will I mean, he was on point, the main actor, the main character.

Albert Hughes 32:15
Yeah, less training though you only had three weeks.

Alex Ferrari 32:17
But he but he looked like I'm like this guy looks like John. I mean, in the movie. He looked like John Wick. I was like, Oh, wow. He's like John Wick style. That's how good he is.

Albert Hughes 32:26
And we are not into that.

Alex Ferrari 32:28
Yeah, obviously. Yeah. Because he's just he was so good at it reminded me so much of John, or of Keanu doing that. How do you approach that kind of scene as a director?

Albert Hughes 32:38
Well, I was very lucky because of the built in nature of at 711 in L'Oreal is you would think you would have to stress about it. If it's a younger filmmaker, and you don't have a great stunt team, you're in trouble. Sure, if you have a great stunt team, what I do with them, as I say, I've learned in the years it's like, and I think we discussed it before, it's like sometimes let professionals be professionals if you're trusting and don't get in our way, let them do their job and then stir the pot every once in a while I'll have my bullet points of once. And for that sequence, what I want it was very overall in a general sense was um, Jackie Chan's use of objects and how playful he is with so he's Frankie's carrying a chest with the point precedent and I will I kept saying it might it was bullet points written down and I will talk to her No, I want him to throw it at somebody. So that distracts them and they can shoot it that's very Jackie Chan that's also very chest to hausky to and John Wick. It's very much fits in that world. But I remember first seeing it with Jackie Chan it's a playful playfulness with chairs with objects and stuff like that. And then we would talk about the sequence and they would design it and then we start just making adjustments now a lot of times the struggle between me and Lauren no healthy really healthy struggle and debate creatively was how long he was going that scene is a one page that's one minute you give me one minute he would turn in six minutes right I'm gonna go now you're killing me over here right so there's a this would constantly going on and that's part of the wick way of being trained in stocks is like they do explore it fully right? So in that staircase sequence you're talking about I cannot a whole floor of violence. There's a whole tooth two sets of stairs that I cut out because I felt like it was undercutting the gag before in the gag after and sometimes you have too much of something. It just undercuts itself because you can't focus on the peaks and valleys basically. And so that was even in a phone booth fight that phone booth fight was really long when I first got it. The you'll see this really fantastic fight between these two women and Episode Three on a roof on the roof of the continental I when I first got it, it was long. And I told my editor like let's maybe cut back to somebody else and then cut back to this. And he just looked at me Sit No, this is wick. This is like world, you know, you know it's a cutaway, we're gonna stay in it. And I think him and that's what a good editor does too is like when you're insecure as a director, they just say stop. No, they did like the scene. You've seen it because you haven't made it to three. You saw the adjudicator see where he has been beaten down that guy. And that atrium, right. So when I get the first cut of that, because I love my offline sounds to be great. They put great sounds and so it was pretty much the same thing in an offline It was brutal and how many times he was punching them in the opening. And I said Ron Ron Rosen's, my editor, I mean, he's a genius like Iran. I think maybe there's too many punches on this guy's face, and the studio or the network's gonna say something, and I kind of agree maybe it's a little too much he goes, dude, dude, it's, it's the wick. It's the wick roll. There's, there's no such thing as too many punches. I'm like, Okay, well, we'll just keep it for now and see if they say anything, right. They never said anything. And then I watched John Wick for and when he's when he's punching killer in the face to get his tooth. Like, it's about the same number of punches. But again, it's kianak Carol has such a soft spot for the audience. And he can pretty much get away with anything, except killing an animal.

Alex Ferrari 36:15
Right! I mean, you could fall out of four stories land on a limo and limp away four times and then move

Albert Hughes 36:22
Continuously. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 36:23
Continue, keep and then fall down 45 flights of stairs. Get up brush it off and you just like get shot

Albert Hughes 36:29
Off the building could shut off a building by Winston fall following an awning and then on the concrete. Yep,

Alex Ferrari 36:35
Sure. Why not? Yeah, it makes the ice canopy of course it's SynScan. Now with that said, it was so with that said did you have any easter eggs? Laid out throughout this episode? These episodes are for John Wick.

Albert Hughes 36:49
There is the John Wick easter egg. For the hardcore fans. There's the casual easter eggs. And then there's the 1970s Easter eggs like let's go in reverse. So 1970s Easter eggs en picks up Frankie after the staircase shootout. That's an exact replica of Travis bagels taxi from taxi driver. I remember I saw on Episode Two. Episode Two. If you notice that late in episode two, a Starsky and Hutch car appears red with that Nike, white swoosh whatever that is. Episode Three. Right before that phone booth be done I told you about. There's the warriors from the movie warriors. There's the hearse with a graffiti all over it right. Then you have the obvious John Wick kind of easter eggs that are quite obvious. Whether it's what they were doing with the coins, what some of the rules are, what some of the changes in the rules are then the deeper ones. Like in episode one, when Winston gets the idea to go to the theater to see that old decrepit theater where he finds his brother. The scene before that he's at a stoplight. And he looks at a poster. And it's a Marilyn Monroe movie. Yeah. And the name of the movie is Be seeing you, which is from which film to and I think the the death, the death of a woman I forgot her name. She's constantly saying to him be seeing you and he would sign back up or he killed or Be seeing you. So that's the title of the Marilyn Monroe movie because they wouldn't give us the rights to Gentlemen Prefer Prefer Blondes as a title. And that triggers a memory. And then that line recalls again in episode three of the show, and also the adjudicators license plate. She has a car we reveal in episode three, but her license plate is a line from the adjudicator and film Three, show filthy. Right? So there's a bunch of them that and Kirk, the showrunner. He itemize them all because Oh, He cocked marketing and Amazon Marketing wanted it for the you know, that's a really smart thing for them to do. They wanted it to use it for marketing. I forget until I see it like oh god, there's that there's that there's a bunch of them in there.

Alex Ferrari 38:58
So that's really interesting. So that was kind of part of the plan. All I mean, yeah, like every once in a while you'll throw stuff in. But this was like really thought out. Like, where are you going to throw?

Albert Hughes 39:06
Yeah, it was more coming from me and Kurt, being fans of the movie. It wasn't any mandate. There wasn't even they didn't even just tip us off from the film side. What happens in John Wick, or although I saw it early in post for this, they weren't doing that. And it was so freeing in a way they weren't doing what Disney or Marvel would do which is like they have these particular mandates. You have to have to show the show to not to the future. We love that we could reverse engineer and know what we will the first three films where we knew what that that was. And they they just kind of trusted us. I don't know why but they did. And me and Kirk would just break down those movies and say, well, that'd be funny if we can put that in there. And it's always fun to put easter eggs. I think easter eggs like even if you're just doing a normal movie that has no reference to anything IP related. To put easter eggs in there nodding to other movies is always a fun thing.

Alex Ferrari 39:59
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Albert Hughes 40:09
And then episode three, you'll get the famous one. You have to really watch out for my favorite movie of all time. Midnight Cowboy. I'm walking over here, you know,

Alex Ferrari 40:18
Yeah, of course, that was a complete fluke. When that happened?

Albert Hughes 40:22
Well, neither did you hear there's two different versions of that story now,

Alex Ferrari 40:25
That that was not really what I know is that it was a real Capitan, a real cab almost ran over Dustin Hoffman. He's like, that's that was the story was the story.

Albert Hughes 40:37
Now there's a counter story that is actually believable because we know what goes on, they would have had to get a release from that guy that uses his likeness. The cab driver because you clearly see his face, and they would never wanted to put the actors in that much peril. Walking across the street secretly recording. And the line of dialogue I heard is actually written the ad lib may be the line after where he talks about that could be a good insurance scam, too. I saw the story that broke it all down I go. That's interesting, because for years people thought this, but we're gonna hear it from Dustin's mouth, I guess.

Alex Ferrari 41:15
I mean, anything's gonna tell the truth at this point. The game he's just gonna make want to live. Yeah, exactly. I mean, he. I mean, it was the 60s. Right? It was the 60s and I

Albert Hughes 41:24
68. He was shot 68 was shot.

Alex Ferrari 41:27
So it was the 60s. Would they need to release Yeah, but it wasn't a public environment. So maybe like That's true. Yeah, that's true. You can kind of get the documentary but you could because it wasn't a public street. Technically you don't need I mean, and it was just a different

Albert Hughes 41:43
And they weren't doing that thing back then were with in New York when we they were shooting inside of a van with like the tinted glass the good shots like that.

Alex Ferrari 41:51
Oh, yeah, like Yeah, and without permits, and just like running around sometimes. Because it was kind of it was guerilla filmmaking was kind of the beginning. And then that beginning but it was like when they started really start being the vibe started like nothing then that capital really kind of started that whole easy, Easy Rider. And now and obviously, reading C drive, right, Raging Bull and all that kind of stuff. But yeah, there was, I'm curious if you talk to us next time you talk to Dustin. Let me know

Albert Hughes 42:19
I'll hit him up on my rolodex.

Alex Ferrari 42:22
Exactly. So I'm coming from a collar battle I was at the colorist for a long time as well and had a post house I was looking at the approach to the color grading of this which is shoot this on by the way, gentle camera

Albert Hughes 42:37
It was the the airy trigger, which model DX whatever the fuck it was the same lens. It looked like we it was degraded. It was degraded because we got the 1950s lenses I may have talked to you about this before from had a vision that no DPS want to use anymore because their soul they literally had to dust them off when I was doing Good Lord Bird, and they have all these imperfections and anomalies in them. Right. And they they are they were built for MGM by path A or path a path A and MGM are somehow involved, right. They hadn't been used in years. And I had danza Zaki was the lens guru over at penerbitan, who services all the top DPS. And I just went in one day without my DP because my DP was in a different city. And I said, just give me the funkiest lenses you got just think of anything wild that nobody wants to touch. Even if it's cracked, just bring it and then we started testing them out. And I picked his set. And later I found out because I said I would like a list of the films these were shot on. Were Yeah, and it took them actually months to give me the list. It was like a list of 200 films, but the three films that stood out to me were Dr. Zhivago. Cool Hand Luke, and the graduate. Oh, so you watching the Continental? Yeah, you're actually seeing through the same exact lenses that shot those three classic films right. Now, I could have shot with a red and airy or Sony and I don't think you truly could know the difference because we're not only doing that we're also deciding a lot. We're Maxine Gervais who was my colorist I spoke to you about last time it was on all my projects dating back to Book of Eli which we talked about that she's fantastic. She's an artist. She's my partner on every project like there is no DP director relationship without her that that try it that Trifecta doesn't work if the DP comes in and doesn't get along with her. I can't hire him because she's she's my partner in this you know? So she goes in and we start doing the grain thing again we start we don't do that that film grain that one they license out which is bullshit you know it's a scam there's no that's a complete scam. It's a scam okay. She scan she's they've scanned every film stock imaginable from the past okay. She Oh, for great. And then she does a thing. And I don't know the technical terms for it. But there's different layers of color registration and mids highlights, and you know more than I on the thing, right, and how brain interacts with the mids and the highlights and the blacks. And she goes in and there's different layers to and degrees to it. And sometimes we land, we do the stubble, we try to have the imperfection or like one close up maybe grainy or than the other one, or the wide shots are a little more grainy than the medium shots. So we checkerboard, the grain, we pick the degrees of grain 1020 or 30, or 40%. And we are base level, let's say be 20 throughout the whole show, and then we sometimes will attend and go to 40. And it's a subconscious thing where you when you're watching it, you feel a little bit of inconsistency that reminds you of analog. And so there was a lot of things she did that she's a genius colorist basically, like she's like, I think she's gonna be mad. I said that she like the Rain Man of colorist because I tease her about certain things.

Alex Ferrari 46:05
It is a compliment, but I could see where she could go. Hey, man,

Albert Hughes 46:09
Yeah, but I teased her about we mean are like, people come into our color selections. They see us bickering, because she's so sensitive, because she's an artist. And she just goes hard to get it right. And sometimes I'll just say something just to fuck with her. But they think that me and Maxine are fighting and we're not really fighting. We love each other. And we're never mad at each other. Never right? She'll pick, she'll pick on me and I'll pick on her. And she'll say something like, Okay, so there's a transition. I know, you will notice it's like I like sometimes selfconscious transition. So it's tilting up from the beat down the adjudicator and goes this atrium, yellow circle turns into a yellow white right?

Alex Ferrari 46:48
Oh, I love that. Well, I love that shot. Yeah, that's what I was talking about. That was one of the shots. I was talking about what I said about directors. Absolutely.

Albert Hughes 46:53
Yes. So with her like, early in, prep up putting a shot list. I'll put a magazine dissolve, which is a customized dissolve, you know how that works. You're pulling different image up on the second the beside, and you get the customized This is all I said I put out so I'll put in the shot list. And for the editor too, because he has my shot list. So then we Maxine does all by putting a quotation to the next thing. And it's a it's a yellow white. I didn't know I didn't explain it to my editor would a magazine dissolve was because him and his assistant were busy online thinking it's a technical term from Hollywood. They can and I said no, no, no, it's my colorist who who does these? Fantastic kind of creative dissolves, because that was one. Like one session. We were snapping at each other on Alpha about as I said, Okay, Maxine, I need like a 48 frame dissolve here. And she just snickered at me and goes, Oh, you want to dissolve here? I thought you wanted something more creative. I'm like, well, sometimes a normal dissolve. Works, you know, just that's better.

Alex Ferrari 47:55
That's amazing that they thought that was like a special tip. Because to be fair, in Hollywood there. There's always insisted beginning of time, there's all these weird names for certain things and you know, a stinger a B 52. Wilhelm scream? Yeah, well, exactly. And then people like, Maxine, dissolve where's the Maxine?

Albert Hughes 48:15
Yeah, well, now, you know, from your show, in the film, also, a Maxine, dissolve as accustomed as all from henceforth,

Alex Ferrari 48:25
Yes. From hence for they will be called the Maxine. It dissolve. I gotta ask you, man, look, him and you and I are a couple of old dogs. We've been we got a couple of bit of shrapnel under our belt. And, you know, when you and I talk is so much fun, because we talk in cinema and talking about but we, you know, our generation kind of grew up with, and I don't see that coming up behind us men. I mean, there are some, where do you think 50? I mean, are they going to be doing? You know, this kind of like, what you just explained with the grain? Like, are they going to be doing that in 40? Or 50 years, man? Is it what do you think?

Albert Hughes 49:06
Well, it's, it's the true the Tiktok generation now, right now, the the generation that was born. I mean, a lot of after us are just a limbo out for us. We were we were there. From the analog to digital, we saw that I'm so happy we were that we know that difference between film

Alex Ferrari 49:24
British generation. It's the British generation.

Albert Hughes 49:26
Yeah. And we know the difference between digital editing and film editing. You know, it's so I'm so grateful that we got to see that there's something interesting going on. And this is a subtle or conversation or more nuanced one on about this generation. It's like they're seeing like, let's say a movie is out in the theater and they didn't put film great and they didn't do this and it's very clean. It's a Marvel movie and it's very everything's very clean. It's very digital. It still somehow does feel like film because of 24 frames because the shutter Oh

Alex Ferrari 50:01
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Albert Hughes 50:10
Motion Blur and depth of field depending on how you use it, those three things we talked about before, right? That do convey the sense of cinema, it took a while for digital to get there because of those three things in image quality, right? But if you actually play a piece of film, you go whoa, whoa, this is completely Oh, done. Oh, God. Oh, even me, and you have been been fooled into thinking, this looks like film would actually know it. There's a whole other thing going on. There's registration problems, there's scratches, there's ducks prints, there's all this

Alex Ferrari 50:43
Project project the print of Lawrence of Arabia and project digitally project the print of a Marvel movie. And you tell me if there's a difference in the

Albert Hughes 50:54
It's an analog, it's an analog quality. Now there's no I'm gonna parse this argument out different like, I think you and I talked about this before I really don't get off on this whole film purists shit, that group of filmmakers and filmmakers. I think it's fucking bullshit. It's nostalgia. It makes no sense. And Excuse Excuse me for saying this. It's a bunch of white men who are in this Daljit okay. They need to stop going against the winds of need to stop going against the winds of change and start help building windmills. Okay. Um, no, like I'm when I see a bunch of nostalgic old timers. It triggers me is a half biracial guy. Do you start getting to nostalgia that goes down a dangerous road? Okay. Enough. Let's just take all these. Let's take all the and I know I'm being harsh there. Okay, but let's take all these tools available to us. And tell the stories we need to tell by some of them don't believe in di somehow I didn't have any VFX in this movie. I don't give a fuck. Or are talking overly too much about IMAX like, I don't give a shit is Is it good? That's all the audience cares about? Is it good? If it was shot in an iPhone like tangerine? It doesn't matter? Is it good? But to answer the larger thing you're talking about, it's like we're in a world where everything's getting drowned out by too many voices on the internet. And like, you know that because you have to find your niche and all that stuff. So film guys on what film in history, it's got to kind of die away with the new generation. And they're gonna be talking about the film from our generation as being you know, they're gonna be talking, it's not really our agenda, but they're gonna be talking about Marvel movies like, like, as if it's So Lawrence of Arabia. That's what's crazy.

Alex Ferrari 52:38
But you know what, quit and quit and said this really quick. I saw an interview with Quentin. And he said this really interesting. He said he saw he had a conversation with his 16 year old. And he's like, Hey, I was four years old and Iron Man came out and he goes for that kid. That is Citizen Kane. That is, you know, Lawrence of Arabia,

Albert Hughes 52:55
And Ironman is a good movie. That is a great movie.

Alex Ferrari 52:58
Ironman is a fantastic film. But the point is that that is I mean, if you talk to John Favre, he's not gonna like yeah, it's it's good as long as Arabia or is as good as you know, all these it's not. It's a classic in the in that genre, without question. But

Albert Hughes 53:11
What what's also like, it's just like when we are you were younger. Did you remember I'm sure even went to the stage where you were the certain age or like, I don't know, watch a black and white film when you're 12. Oh, watch it black and white. It's Oh, yeah, different watch it, and they know, not older. And you're like, oh, Samurai. But here's what happened during COVID. I gotta tell you about what happens because I've been to film school, I got film books, and I read and I watch a lot of stuff. I have the criterion channel. And I started deep diving in the 30s. And being really fascinated by the fact that the technique of opticals, in camera movement in lighting was at an apex in the 30s. And I'm like, Well, why is this like 30s 40s 50s and started slow down by the 60s who was out unless with a very special director, like Hitchcock, right? Or David Lean or somebody like that, but the 30s Kubrick, but the 30s had transitions and moves like I've never seen before, right? And I go, What is this and I started thinking about it, I go, Well, 1930 1927 2728 sound came in. Before sound, they had to rely strictly on the visual so they were well flexing the visual and opticals right, you look at metropolis and the optical no multilayer obstacles, okay, in the framing, and that also, they started leaning more towards dialogue and now that they started going away from technique of the visual. And that was a an epiphany. I came to I don't know if it's correct film theory, but an epiphany. I came through this last year because I've been deep diving on 30 films. And I'm like, Oh, my God, that I'm so embarrassed that I thought that we cannot scale them. You know, it's like, no, you can't creativity is creativity. It doesn't age you know?

Alex Ferrari 54:55
I mean, you look at the look at something like Seven Samurai or you look at you know, any of the core equals our films that were Russia mon are all of those ease just looking at? Oh, okay. Yeah, I just, I just okay, I got what

Albert Hughes 55:10
They're doing I did a time when there was no video monitors. They couldn't image Sergio Leone didn't have a video monitor with those close ups

Alex Ferrari 55:17
Bro watch. I am Cuba. Are you kidding me? watch that movie Iron Cuba and you're just sitting there like who never heard of these filmmakers doing stuff with like 5000 pound cameras that look like they're doing it with an iPhone. They're you know, putting things on on wires and putting them in the middle of the street while there's a revolution got like what is going on? And that was what's the 60s it was in the 60s of him not mistake. Yeah. Early 60s. Yeah, it was it was hidden until

Albert Hughes 55:49
Yeah, well, that sounds amazing. And that's what's amazing about those films like it was much tougher, much heavier equipment, like you're saying, right? Communication. They didn't even have walkie talkies. early cinema, right? They didn't have cracked wall control. This, they didn't have a lot of things. It was a lot tougher. And then you had to get printed scripts do everything by phone. There was no digitally sending the print or script to Well, someone across town to read it right away. It's, it's amazing. It's like it just shows you something like put those people nowadays. Oh, they're running circles around all of us. I mean, can you already work? But let's say

Alex Ferrari 56:27
Can you imagine Kubrick with today's technology? Can you imagine Hitchcock

Albert Hughes 56:31
I wonder I'm so that's the that's that's a fascinating thing. You just said like, what would Hitchcock and Kubrick embrace digital? Or would they do like these other handful of directors? Who would? No no, I was oh my god, I shouldn't film. Which Well, I thought I was gonna be one of those guys in film school. I was I'll never leave felt like, I'll never leave home. No. We talked about it before. It's like I love the control of digital. I love knowing I can sleep at night. I got it.

Alex Ferrari 56:57
Right. You don't have to wait the next day that you rolled the dice. Oh, was the gate? Was there a hair on the gate? Oh, was there

Albert Hughes 57:03
A monitor. You can see you could put your lead on there. You can see all the sudden and costumes react to it? Like no, I'm not into the mystery dog. Forget that

Alex Ferrari 57:12
Kind of greed. But you got but the thing is that both you and I had the opportunity to shoot 35 to shoot 16 to shoot Super Eight. To play with those things, you know, to do cross processing in the lab to like get image Get Image saturation with

Albert Hughes 57:28
And I'm nostalgic about I am nostalgic about it in one way. I like to emulate it. I like the look of it, it doesn't mean I want to use that tool to get the look, I want to use this tool it gets, you know, because this tool gives me greater comfort and control. And I can even do my blow ups in repose and stabilizations much more. Not easier. It just there's another word for it. It comes down to quality and control. And people can debate this thing about you know, you hear different people say that a 35 millimeter is 8k or 10k. And then you're hearing another DP tell me? No, it's nothing better than 10 at its pixels versus grain. Depending on the stock you pick, you know, so you know, at a certain point you're human I after four 4k is not. I even would even dare dare the audience member to know the difference. You know,

Alex Ferrari 58:21
You really can't tell the difference. I mean then now there's a little bit difference with the each boy that forgot what's called with the color grading. Or you HDR you get a little bit more cardid

Albert Hughes 58:30
I did a we did a past and and it's a trip, man, dude, it's a trip. And they bring it to monitors and they're coloring, Maxine's coloring. The standard one I forgot what rec 709 or whatever it is. Yeah. And then ACR. And depending on your TV screen, you can get the HDR version of the Continental. Right at first I'm like, Well, I don't understand what I know what HDR is, you know how it grabs the highlights and the mids and lows and balance it out basically in your phone. I know what it is in theory, but when I'm looking at this image that's HDR looks more contrasted and meets popping more. I go well, I didn't think that's what HDR was. But there's something going on there that I actually prefer that over the rec 709 or whatever, if I'm correct term it like that.

Alex Ferrari 59:16
But then you put your whole filmography is that you like Poppy stuff, dude, like look at back Blue Book of Eli

Albert Hughes 59:21
Contract, right?

Alex Ferrari 59:23
Yeah, yeah, you're crunching you're crunching the blacks. You're dropping the highlights. You're making things a little bit poppier. That's my style to love.

Albert Hughes 59:31
But the difference is, if you I don't know what time type TV you're watching, I'm assuming you have a huge TV. You're watching this laptop. Okay. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 59:41
I was watching it on this last night. It was great. Yeah. The difference? Probably. I shouldn't watch it.

Albert Hughes 59:48
Oh, no, no, no, no, we're talking we were just talking about that generation. Get ready for it. And we all we by the way, it's funny, but we all do have to be aware of that. Right? Sure. But like, if you look at the lighting style,

Alex Ferrari 1:00:00
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Albert Hughes 1:00:10
Episode One in two I chose is really young DP really dope, or he's a hippie dude. Long hair from Norway, right? Spain man, just an artist, right? But he needs more into ambient light, you know, fill the room and will smoke and not hard, light, soft light. And I started learning along the way that I actually loved the way it look. It's not what I've done with in the past Potomac contrast, it's harder to do contrast Hawaii style like that, if you're seeing lighting, oh, it's empty. So what I learned during the show was when you couple that with these old lenses, it can get dangerous. You have to watch out here right? They get to the third episode with Peter Demings shooter who I worked with him from hell and a bunch of other stuff all time. He's been around. He's done Austin Powers. He's done the scream series. He's done session. Last highway, David Lynch Mulholland Drive. He's been around. So the certain point we're shooting, and I can't wait for you to see three. We're shooting and he just goes Howard, trying to introduce a little hard light here. And I didn't know what he meant, right? Because I do have in my style guide noir lighting, this that shadows, silhouettes, and you need hard lighting for that kind of stuff, usually. Okay, so we wrap the whole thing and I see him at the premiere and I'm talking to him. And I said, I know what you mean. Now, moving forward, we have to be careful with these lenses. I love what they've done for the show because they they forget it up with that kind of more diffused look. But moving forward with this. I want to use more hardline I now know what you were saying that day Peter like thank you basically right? Because this is why actually when you see Episode Three you'll see what Peter Deming did with those lenses he's still within the same style of lighting but he's when he's like we're creeping into without using handheld I got out of handheld because I'm actually not a fan of it. I think me and you talked about it before it's like control to me it works in the John Wick world for certain things and Chester house he does it wonderfully because he's not doing it in that Paul. Paul Greengrass style. Just elfies More it's almost it's almost a Steadicam the way they use it for piano you know, we went a little bit more raw with a staircase scene because it's the 70s you can get away with a throwback handheld look you know, but you'll see if you go from episode one, two and three there is not one handheld shot and three there's a little into and there's a few Dutch tilts in there that I had to adjust and put in because I'm not into big into Dutch tails but that was that directors thing and you know, I had to adjust the other episodes because of it so I was able to go but a Dutch Tillman one that's what's great about TV you can Oh well that director did that is not necessarily in my style guide but I can course correct this a little bit for the audience you know

Alex Ferrari 1:02:49
You know it's it's interesting I shot with the Super Bowl stars back in the day on a red for the same reason you shot with the airy and these older indeed Super Bowl tires were like dirty from the 40s very hot like it was like I forgot last home made them I don't know who made them. But they were like it gave it a funky look because the red had this hard edge digital thing is very nice one Yeah, yeah, the very few the older ones had really hard edges. And I'm like I can't I can't I need something to soften it up. But then you start throwing a little ambience and a little smoke in there.

Albert Hughes 1:03:26
Yeah. You get you by the way to register to eat up smoke. Did you notice Oh yeah. Yeah, the first test we do like register on film The Red would just eat it up and make it go away in a way like your room morpher read

Alex Ferrari 1:03:40
Right and then when you start when you know how it is to smoke like the Tony Scott stuff. Like when you start Tony scouting it up a little bit. It's hard man it's hard to control the light yes hard and to try to match it for cuts. You

Albert Hughes 1:03:55
I mean you always you always run into that problem but if you if you have a good stage that's the only way to control it. Yeah, that's the only way you know what I'm gonna do on it. Yeah, no, you definitely have to have a good what do you call it's the effects guys dansette effects guys that do it. Then dp and gaffer keep their eye on it. The camera operators keep his eye on it to direct dress to keep his owner and everybody's like checking the level o's and now you can reference the other shot now thank God like back in the day you couldn't do that. But it's interesting with Peter does some of that you're talking about you'll see in episode three when you get there. There's a lot of shaft lighting come starting to play into it early on. Yeah, yeah. That's why I want to bring Kirk Well, I want to bring Kurt back because if you'll have us if you'll have a horse and we could do because we're lining up Episode Three there's a lot of screenings going on for Episode Three with collider and you know, there's other screenings going on around town and they're actually you know, hopefully this thing in Hollywood will be over soon. You know, I'm praying and everybody will be able to meet the the actors In the others, but for Kirk and I to come talk to you about three because I think you're you're gonna see a lot of stuff in there that we grew. We grew up. We grew up on

Alex Ferrari 1:05:14
Of course, you're welcome, sir. Anytime and I'd love to talk to Kurt as well. I have to ask you this one question. What was the toughest day on set? And how did you overcome it?

Albert Hughes 1:05:23
Oh, geez, man, you have a pro youth this is this is why we went three and a half hours a generation where?

Alex Ferrari 1:05:29
Well, no, well, we'll start wrapping it up soon. I

Albert Hughes 1:05:32
Was still wrapping it up. But I know, I mean, you hit me with something that I gotta say he's like, you saw it, because you you've seen the first episode. It was a toughest shoot day of my life is at party scene, that appears to be a winner, but we stitch together three shots. And the issue was, and I don't want to come off on kind here, I'm gonna say, I'm gonna try to thread the needle here. If you're conducting an orchestra, and one instruments out of place, you know, you have to have a little talk with the flute player. And if that instruments still out of place, you might have to think about replacing the flute player. Well, we had the flute player and the via violinist was out of tune. And I saw some early signs of it. And that the shot was way more challenging that it had to be okay. Because of you correctly plan it, you get your your extras in pods, you know, you're dealing with animals, you know, you're dealing with Arelis you're dealing with a lot of things in that in that shot. Um, you're hiding things, you're revealing things. You need the whole. And that's what I love about I wonder that's what I told the crew out in Budapest, and they were wonderful, by the way, had nothing to do with the Hungarian crew because they were fucking fantastic. Okay, it was either an American or British I'm talking about, okay. And they're supposed to be fantastic. What I said is what I love about one or is is you can get a lot done quickly. That's one thing you have the aesthetic thing is another thing which you know about, right? The thing the other thing it does, and most people don't give enough weight to is, no one has an escape, not the actor, not wardrobe, not hair, not makeup, everybody's exposed not to grips. Everybody's exposed, okay. So they hide, they get to this heightened sense of, they go into fighter pilot mode, because they don't want to be the weak link. And if you drop a one on them every other day, or every day, a mini one or a long run or, you know, you don't have to do it a lot, you're just doing it to save time on a certain section of the scene, or whatever. They your crew gets into fighter pilot mode, because they don't want to be the weak link. And they all super, they're super focused. Now if you do coverage, they start to unfocus because they know that you can come around a mistake. If an equipment piece drops. An actor flubs a line of hair and makeup, don't get the hair overnight and time that led to take continue. So it does this wonderful thing mentally to the crew. And so I have this scene that you were asking the question about, and by the end of it, it just felt like I went 10 rounds with Mike Tyson because I didn't have the I had the proper support of 80% of the crew night of 90% of the crew that 10% Really, really affected the day on what shouldn't have been an easy shot. But what should have been on a normal one or one day if it was properly done by everybody being at their best. But again, this is what post is for this is what I why repo why stabilize? Oh, why building hidden cuts. And this is why people you know, sometimes feel like there's some filmmakers I'll take swipe at other filmmakers like that's not a real winner. Well, it doesn't matter. It's for the audience to to have the impression you're doing something real time the audience doesn't know that. Just because you know that Jackass doesn't mean it's not about how you do it. It's about the result, basically, you know, so yes. The toughest day of my career.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:59
You can say the same thing about rope. That's not a real winner. I'm like, okay, but it's Hitchcock, and he was doing it in seven pots Shut the hell up. I mean, come on, shut the hell up. No, that's just desperate.

Albert Hughes 1:09:07
I mean, he still has the record. He kind of still has the record. But if you think about it, because it's per real during film, he has to record

Alex Ferrari 1:09:15
Oh, don't want that stuff. Ya know what I mean? He was insane. It was insane. But we can be done with that three hours on Hitchcock alone. So I want to ask you a few questions that are asked all the guests. See how if they've changed a bit since last you were here? What advice would you give? What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break in today's business?

Albert Hughes 1:09:38
I remember my last answer, I think it had to do with talent. And sometimes you can develop your talent. But you have to know if you have the talent for what you're trying to do. If you're saying filmmaker by director. You mean director, not writer, not cameraman filmmaker.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:56
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Albert Hughes 1:10:06
Recognize if you have talent early if you do keep going if you don't, and you have to be honest with yourself, get out of the way is what I said in the last podcast because you're wasting space for people who need that space. Right? There's plenty of other jobs in this business that you can do. Breaking into the business, I think I would say just keep shooting, no matter who's watching a budget your mom, or you and your room alone. That's all I do. In Prague, I have 250 shorts that nobody's ever seen. I know. I said a couple Oh, I cut I set it up to you like, those are the ones I make available to my friends, like a handful them, I think five or 10, right? I don't, I don't know. What do you call a. You practice your craft. And the most important thing, it's like, I don't say this enough. It's like, you have to be willing to do it when nobody's watching. And still love it. If you love it when nobody's watching, you got yourself a plan.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:01
Beautiful, beautiful answer, sir. That should be a t shirt. I'm just saying.

Albert Hughes 1:11:06
Right under hustle,

Alex Ferrari 1:11:08
rather than a t shirt. If you can go back in time, and talk to Little Albert, what advice would you give him?

Albert Hughes 1:11:18
I now this is a new answer. I know, I think this is a new answer. Any question? The new answer is, when you're young, you think wisdom or being wise is goes hand in hand with being smart. It actually doesn't. I think Wisdom means to me, I don't know, the literal definition means to me, you learn from the past. And you adjust. And that makes you smart enough, you're smart enough to adjust, let's say. And you collect a note on top of these experiences, that you know what to do quite clearly in the future. And I would tell my younger self to go easy on myself. And to not take it so hard that this is part of the process of trying to become wiser in this job or this position. And that you cannot rush that you can't rush wisdom. Wisdom takes time. You can rush talent a lot like you've seen some flash in the pan boxers, lawyers, filmmakers, writers, entertainers filmmaker you that you've seen them like woof super talented, but they don't have the wisdom yet. But they're still super talented, they can rush their talent, you know?

Alex Ferrari 1:12:28
What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Albert Hughes 1:12:33
Up patients, you know the answer, you know, like, Yeah, but you know, like we, you have to hurry up and wait, but that thing I think we talked about last time, it's like, Don't get involved in every argument it takes place in front of you that has to do with your film. It's a waste of time with those people figure it out. And you know, poke and prod a little bit and I have a, I've learned how to do this, I've never good because I think I have a little bit of OCD problem, as I wasn't good at tuning out the room when you're in a conference room, and people are talking because sometimes you'll have your production designer and prop guy now on the same page. And they may be arguing off to the side, or the picture car guy might be arguing with somebody else. And you think it's an unhealthy thing to see an argument but it's quite healthy. And if you get involved in it is going to stress you out and you're gonna be able to your job, they're there to help you. And they're there to do their jobs professionally. And just because they're creatively arguing about something doesn't mean you need to get involved, because that can tax you. And what you need to do is have a way of just making it noise. And if you hear a trigger word, where you need to get in to stir the pot one direction you do that, but generally stay out of it because of the best idea usually comes out when the creative crew starts having a healthy debate.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:49
Very good. And of course the toughest of all the questions three of your favorite films of all time.

Albert Hughes 1:13:56
Did I answered this one before? Yeah, we talked about one I remember. Yeah, they remain the same. Okay, Midnight Cowboy is number one for a lot of reasons. Taxi driver got knocked out of the number one position long ago by taxi driver was it forever okay? It's been a cowboy. It's manbites Dog is second. And taxi drivers third,

Alex Ferrari 1:14:19
That's what we ran remember man, but because there's very few people who know that frickin film. And it is oh mazing criteria lays you

Albert Hughes 1:14:28
At a run menu at a run on we went on a run about it. Okay, because it's only inside baseball too. It is such a look at the bill it is but if you look at the film, there's no reason at face value somebody's looking at my list should believe that should be number two over taxi driver. Oh, and the reason is forget all the stuff that mean you know and I'll finish with this. It's the for the reason is it's the only film and the history of me watching films that made me question Should have my own moral compass. I was okay with a bunch of shit in that film into that one scene. And then I walked out, I draw the line there. And then I got it on criterion laser. And I watch the rest of and I go, Oh my God, it's not the film, it's me. It this is a statement about me. And that's far more important than watching a mentally deranged taxi driver, done well by my hero Scorsese, a film that shakes you like that, and rejiggered and by the way, Midnight Cowboy did the same and made me question a lot of things about growing up in what I saw with my mom, my dad, and you know, what's, you know, the, you know, there's a debate between me my daughter about whether they're to heterosexual men in love or whether they're repressed homosexuals in that form a bond, let's say, okay, and you can have that debate and I finally found the answer, and I was wrong. So that that film was special to me because a foreigner made it from England. John Slusher came to New York and it also blows my mind that this lunatic what's his name of the actor? John's right wing lunatic. Jon Voight like he's gone. He's gone so far, like almost almost into Nazi territory as my daughter walking in with her dog right now. Moving the camera with her Go ahead. Yeah, cuz me and him go along a little, you know, it's like I couldn't I couldn't believe that Jon Voight would do. You had to be liberal minded and open minded to do that type of felt, you know, so that that shocked me.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:34
Oh, and deliverance into deliverance to

Albert Hughes 1:16:38
I gotta watch it again. I don't know. Okay. I gotta watch that film. Again, because I haven't seen this up my childhood.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:45
And, and that says a lot about you. And that says a lot about you that you saw deliverance in your child.

Albert Hughes 1:16:52
While parents took me to inappropriate movies,

Alex Ferrari 1:16:54
Everywhere, but back then there was also only so many Disney films playing in the theater. So there was it was deliverance enough that

Albert Hughes 1:17:00
My dad took me. My dad took me to see all that jazz. And I distinctly remember the nudity and an open heart surgery. I recently saw it again and went on a bob posse run. And it's exactly as I remember, except for the nudity. When you're a kid, it's amplified. You're like, oh my god, you know? It's a but that's a fantastic film. And so it's cabaret like a deep dive on him. And he's, he's just amazing.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:25
Albert, it is a pleasure. And as always talking to you, where can people find and watch your new Opus, the Continental?

Albert Hughes 1:17:35
It's on peacock. The premiere episode was last Friday the 22nd I believe what I'm getting right. That was episode one. Episode Two is the 29th. Friday the 29th. Episode Three is October the sixth on a Friday and get to episode three everybody because it's building that it's all building towards how Winston gets that hotel. And it builds to an explosion. And I'm telling everybody that I'm going to see Alex again with Kirk ward. Our show running to this stuff in episode three in the near future.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:06
Very near future. I can't wait to have you back. And last question. Is there another? Are we going to keep expanding this John Wick world?

Albert Hughes 1:18:14
That's up to like Lionsgate into producers. I have no idea. It's so good to wonderful world. You know, you can go so many different directions with so many different crazy characters. I suspect they will they have the antidote Dr. missa ballerina coming out next year. And it feels like it's ready made 40 Plus it's fresh. It's not a superhero. IP, you know, rightly so it's whether I'm exactly and whether that's what's she you pointed out something I never heard before. That's an adult it never really. It's

Alex Ferrari 1:18:48
PG 13 IP, or PG IP. There's never adult IPS out there really like well, they should taxi driver right Pete? Like they should do another. Like, what? Let's go into that.

Albert Hughes 1:19:00
That's fascinating. That's fascinating. I think like whether I'm involved or not doesn't matter. I'm just a fan of the the show that we did. I'm a fan of the movies and they keep making them and they're good. I'll keep watching them.

Alex Ferrari 1:19:13
But as always, thank you for coming on. We can keep going. And I wish we could but we're going to come back with her and

Albert Hughes 1:19:21
We have a part two, we have a part two,

Alex Ferrari 1:19:22
We'll have a part 2. My pleasure as always my friend. Thank you so much.

Albert Hughes 1:19:26
You too.

IFH 718: Licking My Wounds Writing The Mask of Zorro for Hollywood with Randall Jahnson

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 0:07
Enjoy this episode with guest host Scott McMahon.

Scott Mcmahon 0:48
We got to finish the interview I had with Randall Jahnson from Randalljahnson.com. Look it up on the website, get the link. But no, we were a part two because we ended because this is how bad I am. This is the never ending conversation by the way. Yeah, I hope it goes on and on. I hope there's like seven parts to it. But the thing is, the thing is I this is how bad I am if I was a real journalist, which I'm not, which, you know, explains a lot. Yes, is I wouldn't I would have, I would have taken the time to do lab and more research because on reading your website and everything because everything you were sharing with me was on your website. And but when you were telling me I was I was it was almost as if I was a new person, though, because I was like, Oh, really, I didn't know you work with all this, you know, you know, Henry Rollins and Stan Ridgway and you know, so that was exciting for me. But it was kind of neat, because being stupid as I was, is like I was hearing for the first time even though I could apply prep myself better by reading thoroughly through your website, as opposed to just glancing a few of the items when I first went to the website.

Randall Jahnson 2:40
Well, you can just peel the layers away like an onion. Yeah. So each week, you'll find a little something new.

Scott Mcmahon 2:48
Well, you can just peel let's go. So what we did was last we left off you were mentioning, you went to UCLA, for screenwriting. Yeah. So and then you had a college, you know, friend, who's working in agency saw you somewhere in the street or something like that. And you bumped into I don't know where the coffee shop. But anyhow, they got your script, because there was a whole breed of new young agents that were looking for some cool stuff. And they really latched on to a slaughter alley. Right? Vice. Correct. And from that, but we got sidetracked a little bit, because you said you were doing a lot of work with the the the exploding punk scene in the late 70s, early 80s. On the west coast, Southern California style. So which is huge leaps. Yeah, so and you know, we're talking about, we were going on about Standridge way and Black Flag, we will talk about Minuteman and the label that you created. So we kind of touched upon that, but I think it's still an interesting story. We can continue there. We were working our way on towards how you got dudes made or how it got picked up like your first scream, right? Like kind of stuff.

Randall Jahnson 3:55
Let's see, gosh, well, backing up a bit. Yeah, I ran into my friend, Howard, Howard Sanders, who I'd gone to film school with, and how he had become an agent to or was aspiring to be an agent at the William Morris Agency. And so when I ran into him, he was literally working in the mailroom at William Morris at the time. And he said, You know what happened to slaughter alley?

Scott Mcmahon 4:20
Oh, yeah, yeah. How bitten that give me perspective. Like how big was William Morris? At that time?

Randall Jahnson 4:25
Oh, Morris was huge. It was one of the established you know, agencies that have been in show business forever. It was so old as a matter of fact that I was there was a lot of talk about William Morris at that time that like, how interested were they really in the entertainment business? Because apparently most of their financial holdings weren't real estate. Really? Yeah. Yeah. So it was it was kind of an interesting thing. But at that time, William Morris ICM, CA were kind of like the big three UTA hadn't really emerged yet.

Scott Mcmahon 5:04
What was it? Where was endeavour at that point?

Randall Jahnson 5:06
They were they were there. I actually no, I take that back I think endeavor started with after a bunch of guys that I had met at Morris and then later ICM split, jumped ship and started an endeavor. Okay. Okay. Okay. And then endeavor became endeavor and ultimately came back and merged with Morris. Right. Okay. I mean, it just goes to show you what goes around comes around, you know that the sharks eventually devour one another.

Scott Mcmahon 5:39
They are they are it's an amazing machine and how much they survive and how they they find their paws and different things. Like it's taking them a while to get involved with the interactive industry as well. So slowly, yeah,

Randall Jahnson 5:52
Yeah, they're a little slow in the pickup. But I mean, UTA is really, I think hot on them interactive in the media, you know, new media, whatever you want to call it. Right now, I think but, yeah, I mean, you know, again, a game world, you know, on this whole internet thing. That that was just, that's like, you know, it was it was dull. It wasn't interesting to the established industry at that time. Right. And, of course, now, you know, everything is migrating into that. And so, that stuff is moving front and center a lot more, where it certainly has a lot more respect than it used to, right. You know, I would have meetings after I wrote gun. Again, I'm jumping ahead here. But after I wrote gun or was writing gun was still you know, I would go around and have meetings with a production company, or, you know, a studio or something. And this is what you've been doing lately. And I said, Well, I've been writing this game, this video game. Oh, no, I guess that's kind of an Yeah. People are doing that. Right. Yeah, it was just, it was it was it was something that didn't have any respect. Yeah. No. business and how you know, hello. It's got, you know, it's I mean, it's devouring the business in one sense.

Scott Mcmahon 7:16
Oh, yeah. It's a total. So sure. It's very different. Yeah. Please drink eat. Like it always pauses. It's ok.

Randall Jahnson 7:24
By the way that for those who might be listening, having a very delicious pumpkin flavored pumpkin chocolate flavored

Scott Mcmahon 7:32

Randall Jahnson 7:33
Is that sort of stout, or was it? A? Yeah, it's a little it's a little lighter. For them stout. It's the that's all right. We'll, we'll figure it out.

Scott Mcmahon 7:44
When they come down. We'll get there. We'll get there. We'll get there. I'm gonna get one out for my style, and it's quite good.

Randall Jahnson 7:50
You know, Happy Halloween everyone.

Scott Mcmahon 7:52
Seriously, today. Today was sort of the first day that got kind of cold.

Randall Jahnson 7:57
Yeah, yeah. I went out. I went out running. Yeah, it was 36 this morning when I got up. I noticed second a while ago. Yeah, up and I went out running today. And it was like a little chilly.

Scott Mcmahon 8:08
Here comes winter.

Randall Jahnson 8:10
Yeah, sounds great. The skies are just in wasn't a cloud in the sky. Now. We've been laser on the changing and on the ground. And it's just it's beautiful, man.

Scott Mcmahon 8:18
It's been Yeah, real nice. And I love it.

Randall Jahnson 8:21
I love it. Cool. I know Mr. Surfer.

Scott Mcmahon 8:28
I actually had a great weekend surfing. No. Did you so I had no complaints there. So it's all good. Oh, so anyway, going back? Yeah, we got your friends.

Randall Jahnson 8:38
Yeah. So So I ran into Howie Sanders. And he was like, literally on the street in Beverly Hills somewhere. And he just said, Dude, what what happened was slaughter alley. And I said, well, the whole project fell through. I had to go back to the mailroom my male realm of at the Academy of Motion Pictures. And I was working there and I said, nothing's happening with the script. He said, well give it to me, because he said, I'm in the mailroom now at Morris and I can get it to some young agents there who are really hungry, and it makes me look good as well. So he said, believe me, he said, given the stuff that I'm reading there in the mailroom, which is what every aspiring agent has to do, he said there's a lot of people far less talented than you that are making a lot of money. So he said, I think you could you could get represented here. So I did, I gave it to him. And sure enough, a couple days later, I got a call from you know, the young agent over there and I invited me over to to basically meet and I signed with him. I met with actually a pair of agents there, Carol young cos and a guy named Rick Jaffa.

Alex Ferrari 9:56
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Randall Jahnson 10:05
Rick Jaffa is now a writer himself. And he and his wife Amanda silver, they wrote a wonderful movie called The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. Most recently, they wrote the remake of the planet planet of the apes. Oh, wow. Or Rise of the Planet. Okay, yes. The big hit this last summer. But Rick was my agent initially,

Scott Mcmahon 10:29
Don't you consider like, a pocket client,

Randall Jahnson 10:32
I was considered a pocket client by a guy named Shelly Weil, who has since passed away. But at his very established agency, he wouldn't take me on as a regular client, but I was a pocket client based on slot rally. But he wouldn't take me on as he said, because on the on the merits of what he termed is an exploitation. Okay, movie. Okay. So that was a very different I mean, Shelley was very, very old school. So when I gave it to Howard Howard was like, this is an exploitation. This is just a great script. Let's go, let's go. And you know, and then he got it to Rick and Carolyn Morris. And they were, they were just starting out. And they remember Rick telling me, he read it. And he just after he finished the last page, he threw it in the air and just was like, it felt like, Yes, I can sell this, or I can write, you know, this is a, this is a really great writer. It's just one of those moments where that goes, right. It's a template, you know, it's seared into your, your memory. More, it's just like, Wow, great. I'm so happy. Somebody loves it that much. And so they signed me. And then they started sending me out on meetings right away, slaughter ally, was still under options. So they couldn't go out and sell it. But they wanted to sell me it was a great calling card that they could use to sell me as a talent.

Scott Mcmahon 11:53
So whether you're able to, like sell it as, hey, we got his projects in in option or something like that. So you gotta meet with him. He's hot. Right? Okay.

Randall Jahnson 12:01
Correct. Correct. And so Subsequently, I went out on a lot of different meetings with companies. I remember meeting with Johnny Carson's company, he had a development person at that time.

Scott Mcmahon 12:14
It was strange. Yeah.

Randall Jahnson 12:18
You know, it was it was just kind of interesting. You go out in there, basically meet and greets, hey, how you doing? I read your script really? Like it's cool. What else you got? That kind of thing? What did you have at the time? Well, it was interesting. I would didn't really have I had some vague notions. And I went into a meeting at a company called the VISTA Vista films, or Vista organization. And I after this was after a string of meetings with what you might call pod people. Okay, little there, the obligatory meeting where they're, they're just like, hey, like what we have here?


Scott Mcmahon 12:59
We can put on pause real quick.

Randall Jahnson 13:00
Sure. We're back live.

Scott Mcmahon 13:02
Cool. We just got back. Just finish up our dinner delicious. Again. You know, we're at Mars, like Oswego Mars Irish club. Anyway, we were talking

Randall Jahnson 13:13
Yeah. And by the way, that it's a porter, my pumpkin chocolate concoction. Not a stout, it's important. It's a lighter, a little bit lighter. So quite, quite delicious. Cool.

Scott Mcmahon 13:26
I gotta get one after this beer.

Randall Jahnson 13:28
Meal in itself.

Scott Mcmahon 13:33
So the question was, we were talking about, now you got your you're in with agency, and you're going on meetings, you know, and let's talk about that. Because that's one of the things that was exciting to see for a writer or who they do it for actors to like the actors, if you sometimes once you to meet with like the director of one hour program, ring programming for Fox or whatever, you're not necessarily auditioning, they just sort of want to meet you, depending on the agency. And same thing with writers and not sure how it works for directors and stuff. But same maybe same thing,

Randall Jahnson 14:09
You know, I mean, it's a lot easier now for directors because they can they can have a real either on a desk or they have a website and somebody can go right or stuck right away. You know, back in those days, I mean, our director would have to leave a reel and have like a big fat

Scott Mcmahon 14:25
and actual film reel. Yeah, or

Randall Jahnson 14:27
videotape or right. Yeah, big fat, three quarter inch videotape or something. Like ridiculous.

Scott Mcmahon 14:32
So when you went, what was your emotional? How are your emotions? That's one thing I never get like an in interviews is because a lot of interviews, the interviewers just sort of skip over like, oh, yeah, so I got this agent, agencies behind me now they start sending out of meetings, but never stop and say, Okay, can you recall sort of the emotions you had? Were like, I'm doing my first meeting and they tell you, I'm sure they get like a call or they tell you. Alright, you gotta be here at three o'clock. If you're going to meet with so and so at this production company, they want to meet with you and talk to you about this story or whatever. So what goes on on somebody's emotions at that point?

Randall Jahnson 15:10
Well, I used to get really excited or almost anxious about, you know, these meetings, because why do they want to meet with me? You know, I might, what should I have stuff? Ready? What? Right? What are they expecting? Do I have to pitch another story? You know, the agents would always say, no, no, no, just just chill out. They just want to meet you. They read the script, they just want to know if you have any other ideas. You know, it's just a it's just a meeting. Yeah, there's nothing, I used to attach a lot more import to the meeting, than was really there. And I used to get, at least initially very anxious about it. I remember just in particular, that like the meeting of at Johnny Carson's company, Terry, Terry something or other rent was in his head of development. I used to I ended up playing basketball with him at a later really later date. Yeah. But he was cool. And I, but I was very nervous about it at first, because this is like one of my first professional meetings and like, what am I say, What do I wear? What do I do, right? That whole thing, but you start doing enough of these and it's and you get a little more relaxed and just be your learn to be yourself. Right? And, you know, it's it's not, it's always a little bit of a dog and pony show to a degree. But it's, it's not. It you shouldn't suffer from performance anxiety for something like that. They generally, if these people have been doing their job for a while they know that writers aren't necessarily the most

Scott Mcmahon 16:54
polished presenters.

Randall Jahnson 16:57
I think they're not. Yeah, the most gregarious individuals now, you know,

Scott Mcmahon 17:03
Ron Howard's partner, Brian Grazer? Yeah, I saw him in an interview on iconic class on IFC, I think it was or, and that show is basically kind of combining two icons or moguls for different industries. And the they follow them around. And then it's like an hour show, but it was following him. So it was Brian Grazer, and his friendship with redstone at Viacom. Well, you know, yeah. So is there some summer Yes, on there. So, but then we're interviewing grazer. And he was saying that, about writers like he says, he wants he, he has his, the way they dress he goes if they're not, like disheveled, and like, look, like just like right off the street. And they he goes, he wants his writers to be the ones that are, like, socially awkward, that aren't dressed to the tee that are in like, like, they look like that's all they do is right. And that's sort of maybe it's a tongue in cheek sort of perspective. But he was like, he's he said he was suspicious of a writer that was dressed better than he was, you know,

Randall Jahnson 18:07
well, then. You know, then then he just lost out on a meeting with like Aaron Sorkin you know, or somebody. Right, right. Or, you know, come on, if you take a look historically, photographs of writers from let's say, the really, from the 50s 40s 50s, early 60s. You know, the Writers Guild has plenty of them on file. And in the in the guild home headquarters there. You'll see a lot of pipes. But by and large, they're a debonair crowd, right. I mean, Dashiell Hammett, who's one of the founders of the Writers Guild really named me the very debonair gentleman, you know, I mean, dapper these guys, these guys knew how to dress. It's sort of a sad state of affairs, I think what it's come to now, because we are really sort of a T Shirt Nation, but that I think that's more indicative of the population in general than anything. But for a long time, you know, the, the sort of the uniform was a trashy t shirt, and a really worn baseball cap of some sort with some obscure product label on it. You know, and, of course, jeans and, and a pair of, you know, some kind of a, you know, a tennis shoe of some sneakers, you know, of high tops or something like that, you know, or, you know, Frank Darabont was was fond of particular high tops, I think at one point in classics, you know, so it's kind of come to that and in a sense, I understand what grazer is saying, but you know, you can't make a blanket statement. It was just interesting to hear he's, you know, he's a surfer.

Alex Ferrari 19:59
We'll be right back. After a word from our sponsor and now back to the show.

Scott Mcmahon 20:08
I know it's like a bump in the head. Like you're like, oh, so

Randall Jahnson 20:13
yeah, yeah. You know, but, but there is a certain, you know, it's it's a certain look, it's a certain vibe. And you'll get sometimes, you know, and they're usually clutching a lot of coffee, a coffee mug of some sort, you know, add to that. So they're in line at the espresso bar there. You know, we're in the, you know, you see him in Starbucks everywhere, any kind of coffee house? They're

Scott Mcmahon 20:40
like, it's a given like any coffee shop. You see in Los Angeles, there's a laptop with

Randall Jahnson 20:46
Sure. Screenwriting? Sure, I mean, it used to be in the old days, it used to be nope, notepad, okay, I mean, and I was one of them, I would go out, because, you know, writing is a lonely business part of the right for most of the time, and writers rarely got out, especially if you are under pressure to get a script done, or on a deadline of some sort. You just didn't get out. So the only way to get out really was to double up on function in business and what was like, get to his coffee shop, get some coffee, and you get some work done. And then you might vicariously experience real life process to get out of that, that those four those four enclosing walls, I don't know if it's, you know, yeah, I

Scott Mcmahon 21:33
don't know, if I've, I've done it a few times, just because at a shear, I had to I was like, I had time to kill, I was like, I gotta get some work done. And I noticed that I kind of shut myself off a little bit when there's a lot of noise, because I don't know anybody. It's okay, just put the earplugs in, and you know, your business. But when you take your moment, they take a breath or step away from whatever you're working on writing, it gives me a chance to sort of observe, you know, human nature and you and you never know what triggers that inspiration, like, you just see this, this, somebody ordering, you know, a latte, but the way they order it is bizarre that you're like, oh, that's might be interesting. But I actually found most of my success writing from for me, is I go to the public libraries, you know, it's just they have the Wi Fi but, but I tried to cut off the Wi Fi because it's easy to get distracted. But for some reason for me, the libraries was always a nice little getaway to get outside the homes to homart essence the libraries

Randall Jahnson 22:30
are great. I never, I never ventured to them to actually work, I would always go I would be there to research, right. And I would always be on a sort of a on a mission, you know. And again, these are days before the internet, I remember if I was on, you know, a couple of projects, I became a lifetime member of the UCLA Alumni Association for the sole purpose that I would always have library privileges. Well, that makes sense. And so yeah, I haven't used it now in a number of years. But the point was, is that I used to, and again, the days before the internet, if I was researching something in an historical period or something, I would go to the Graduate Research Library and just disappear. I mean, it would lead I would cross reference and go down this path and that path and that aisle and go to special collections and everything. And I loved it. I mean, it was fantastic. It was a really a was actually a physical investigation, right, you actually had to travel, you had to get in the elevator after you get to the card catalog and go upstairs or this or that or you know, find different things. And it was it was always a little bit of an adventure. And then there would be interesting things you would encounter along the way on the shelves and down the aisles and all that stuff. So I always, always really enjoyed that. Now, you know, I mean, it's all at your fingertips. It's crazy. So you don't do that anymore. But I never worked in a library. I always liked the vibe of it, but I never worked in and I preferred to go where I could observe people coming and going a lot. There's a place in in in LA, called the apple pan. It's it's down on Pico Boulevard, just just east of Westwood Boulevard and block. And it's a little horseshoe counter and an old bungalow that's been there since 1947. And it's family owned, and they have refused to sell out. And so it's completely surrounded now by tall modern. And here's this little 40 style bungalow on the corner. And it's still run exactly the same way. It was way back when in the menu who really hasn't changed the prices have gone up but basically they're making the same kind of stuff on the menu with a hickory burger, a hamburger cheeseburger, tuna fish sandwich ham sandwich. It's been on the on the menu since 1947. But I used to go there because I, I live not too far from it and it stayed open relatively late, it would stay open till midnight on on weeknights, and then one o'clock in the morning on the weekends and I used to take a corner seat and go in there with a note book, order a lot of coffee and I would go in about an hour before closing and get something to eat and drink a lot of coffee, make a lot of notes and then go home and work through the night. But I used to see tons of people coming through there and a lot of celebrities. I mean, everyone from you know, Warren Beatty was with a beautiful woman there. Gene Siskel, I met Gene Siskel, actually, right after the doors came out. Oh, really? Yeah. And he and Roger Ebert had interviewed or reviewed it on the show, and I happen to look up and I think, Oh, my God, they're seen Cisco. How weird is that? So I went over to him and introduced myself. I said, I wrote the doors. I said, Oh, my gosh,

Scott Mcmahon 26:05
well, he's a big music fan, or like, pop icon fan anyway,

Randall Jahnson 26:08
I didn't. I wasn't aware of that. But anyway, he was like, Oh, wow, that's really cool. So you know, so we, but we ended up talking less about the doors and more about the Apple pan, because he always whenever he was in town, and so it was like, What's your favorite thing on the menu? You know, there. Yeah. And I sort of said, well, I liked the hickory burger, and he liked the tuna fish sandwich. You know, it's a tough call on that on that. But it was fun. You know, I mean, some of the Lakers used to be in there, I would say a lot. A lot of movie stars kind of come in. And it would be you know, it's sort of incognito, and very, very low key. But it was fun. It was fun to see. And then just lots of very interesting where people and then of course, the guys that have worked in their old row. They've been there for and for ever, in a couple of the waiters, you know, I mean, just holy cow, you know? So there were lots of stories even about those guys, even

Scott Mcmahon 27:02
now that we're now that you're appear and then are in Portland, do you find yourself going out and observing sort of human behavior appear anything or?

Randall Jahnson 27:13
Well, it's really tempting to and I really should, when I do get the chance, but I don't step out like I used to, to go and work. And that's basically because I got a family now and I want to be at home with him that night. I don't write excuse me, right through the night, like I used to, I used to work after getting all jacked up on Capitol coffee. You know, I would work until I would hear the paper delivered, you know, on my doorstep at about the driveway about, you know, five, six in the morning or so. And then I'd hit the hay and sleep until noon or whatever, you know, get up and kind of start the day, procrastinate, day away until 10 o'clock at night and start writing again. But so I don't get out like I did. And, but when I do go out and I you know, go to the you know, find drinking establishments and like this, and whatever it's like, yeah, brings back a lot of memories in terms of wanting to do that. And if you go to any, you know, coffee house now and at least in Portland, geez, you walk in and everybody's on then hovering over their screen. You know, you never see anyone with a notebook anymore making no right or all hovering over their screens, you know? Yeah. And it's so it's very difficult to tell like, Who's, who's real and who's not I used to do that. I used to go in and see a lot of people making notes or writing or something about like, you know, is he really Is he real? Is he someone? Is he not? Right? Is she really good? A good writer or not? You know, she's cute, but Was she an actress is she knew that kind of thing.

Scott Mcmahon 28:57
There's friends that these girls would tell me in in, in LA, it's like, they would always meet these cute guys whose waiters or whatever they are. And then sure enough, they're all actors, you know? And they're like, and like, as I got older, and they got more professional are like, Oh, geez, you know? Yeah.

Randall Jahnson 29:16
Well, it's funny getting back to these, you know, these rounds of meetings that I was that my new agents were sending me on, you know, as a writer. Well, once I started getting paid as a writer, you just didn't get out that often. You know, I mean, it was you were you were working. And I took it very seriously. So I was, you know, always working in angsting away over my stuff. So to actually go out on a meeting was, was like, hey, wow, I'm actually going out and mixing with society. Yeah. And invariably, you know, you'd go to these production companies or studios and meet with an executive there and they would always have a beautiful young The woman working the front desk. Right,

Scott Mcmahon 30:03
right, right.

Alex Ferrari 30:05
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Randall Jahnson 30:15
They all did. So yeah, and because that that was also it's never stated, but it's implied if you have a hot chick, you know, as you're working as your assistant or, you know, receptionist, then you are you too are a sexy individual, you know, your cache, your, your relativity into importance in the business is, you know, your stock goes up, right, so, but invariably, I would always meet these wonderful, and a lot of them are just really, really great. And I would end up like, you know, these were the only women I would meet, so I would be unabashed about like asking them out. I made a fool out of myself a number of times. Interesting. But my roommate at the time, used to kid me, he's like, Oh, you had a meeting today? Did you ask anybody out? As a matter fact, I did. Yes.

Scott Mcmahon 31:15
Any of us who ever coming writers are find themselves in opportunities for meetings, any words of wisdom you can give us be yourself,

Randall Jahnson 31:23
you know, now,

Scott Mcmahon 31:24
I mean, in the dating, oh,

Randall Jahnson 31:27
just be yourself. You know, I mean, it's different, it's different. Now. You don't, you know, that's not your only outlet. You know, I mean, you're on if you're on, on the on the net, you know, you're gonna find people via Facebook, the, you know, dating services, eHarmony, whatever, you know, there's so many different ways now to get hooked up without ever leaving your, your four walls, right. And that's that, to me, this was the lifeline this was the only way out, you know, you had to get out, it's actually have a meeting or go to the Apple pen and have a cup of coffee and hope you sit, a beautiful girl sits next to you. But that rarely, rarely happens.

Scott Mcmahon 32:10
Well, it's funny, I think my actor friends would tell me it was very difficult. They say it's difficult to date in LA, because it's sort of implied or understood that everyone's here for themselves and their career and then self absorbed, going so to find time to, to, you know, to share with somebody else is very, very difficult. And why it's difficult to date there. So, that made sense to me for maybe the acting circles, I don't know, but Well, everybody's

Randall Jahnson 32:38
here. But you know, I think I think it applies across the boards, you know, everybody's there to become famous, you know, let's face it, they're looking to, to, to climb up. And so you're, you're thrown in into this into this sort of, you know, whatever you want to call it a pool of people who are social climbers. They can be shallow, they can be sincere, they can be artists, they truly want to make art, but they don't know how to do it. I mean, there's everything's all kind of thrown together. So it's really hard to read people at first they come across very sincere. But you know, sometimes they're not, you know, in writing, these are just some of the hard lessons of human behavior, you just sort of go through in your 20s when you're when you're trying to make it that just like, Oh, God, can I get your heart broken a couple of times and like, oh, have really lousy experiences. Yeah. But it all becomes great. Yeah. You know, goes into the, the, into the hard drive of your head for fodder for later scripts. And stuff. So you become a student of human behavior, if you will, however. Yeah. I had known what the Northwest holds. You know, for one aspiring writer. Back then, I would have come up here a long time ago. Oh, interesting. I think yeah, yeah. And, I mean, of course, I'm married now. But I've found that the girls out here, you know, just in chatting and stuff. There's so much more friendly and open and sincere than they were in LA. Right. And I think it's just because you know, Portland doesn't have the stigma of Thai people coming there to be famous. Nobody comes to Portland to be famous. I don't I don't think unless maybe you're a musician or something and you want to become one of the Decemberists or something you know but you know it's it's you go to New York or you go to your you go to LA and that's where the real big business centers are. However, that is all changing, but it's very

Scott Mcmahon 34:49
right. But yeah, the ones that need it that certainly that yeah, just constant approval, or so to make it I

Randall Jahnson 34:56
mean, look, I mean, they're always there are insecure, insecure people everywhere. There's always you know, everything is sort of relative that we're talking about a certain archetype in a way but, but by and large, I just found people, actually in the Northwest all in all been very much more open and sincere. And yeah, I agree. I think they're great. Great to hang with.

Scott Mcmahon 35:17
Yeah, there's a definite sense of independent spirit or just pure heart. Or, you know, and their perspective is, ya know, yeah, art for art's sake are just weird for weird. It is, and you're like, Okay, I go with this.

Randall Jahnson 35:33
Oh, gosh. Yeah, I mean, back in those days again. And also, when I was simultaneous with all this, I was in heavily into the music scene, though. So I did have more of an outlet because I was going out a lot late at night to see punk bands play and go to these really shitty little clubs. Inside, you know, I mean, a place called the VAX, I remember. The, the while there was the odd club and Silver Lake, there was Al's bar downtown. I mean, these were, this was downtown. This was way downtown. I mean, this was no man's land, right? And 8182 or whatever. And it was unbelievable. And it was nothing. And it's all changed. Now. You know, I mean, the people that were living there, but but I would invariably see these very interesting art damage women with Moon tans. And I have a really heavy duty Goth look, or sometimes they would be tattooed. It was almost pre tattooed kind of thing. But you know, Ruby, red lipstick and pale white skin, and then just like, you know, have this really bored art vibe about them that I just I I'd love for the long, line and sinker. And that's commonplace up here now. Yeah, except that they're not, as John just in are much more open and friendly. Here. A little more tattooed and pure Steven now than they weren't? Sure. Anyway. Yeah, I digress. Yeah. To observe.

Scott Mcmahon 37:10
I want to I want to, I want to divert to that later, when we get back to. So you're going on these meetings? What was the SIR, the first break that says, We want to hire you? Or, you know, we're doing this with slaughter alley, or, you know, what, what was the first after all these meetings were like, Oh, my God is actually turning into something?

Randall Jahnson 37:31
Well, it's, it's a good question, because it is Oregon related, actually, and I'll tell you about it. Tell you what the connection is. I went to a meeting call at a company called the VISTA organization. And they were, they were independent. They had a bunch of Canadian money, I think is what it was. So they didn't have any ties with the studio or whatever. And there was this guy, Miguel, Tata Flores, was the head of development there. And he wanted to meet me. So I show up. And this is after I've had a number of meetings with pod people, you know, who again, very friendly Oh, yeah, I really like your stuff. But it goes nowhere. Right. Right. Right. You know, and you just and you kind of exit these meetings and go, What was that about? Well, you know, did he really liked my stuff? Or is he just saying so or what? You know, what, what is this? Yeah. So I finally go in. And invariably, these meetings were, you know, in clean offices and really, you know, tasteful, tastefully decorated furniture was surrounded you I had a meeting with a young, aspiring, well, a young producer, he was the son of a studio head of certain studio, and I met at his bungalow. On the west side, it was at Fox actually. And I remember in our meeting there, he had a glass coffee table. Okay, that was had and we were there were these two couches that were perpendicular to each other around this on the corner of this glass coffee table. And on the table was this bowl of peanuts. And so as we were having our sit down and starting to chat, he reached in and like started, grabbed a bunch of peanuts and started cracking the shell peanuts. Yeah, shell peanuts. Yeah. Like they were, you know, like, he was at a ballgame. And just letting the shells just drop on the thick shag carpet beneath I'm not making any effort whatsoever to clean it up or or or not make a mess. He was deliberately just dropping it there. And eating these peanuts as we were talking and I thought that was the strangest thing.

Alex Ferrari 39:50
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Randall Jahnson 39:58
Um, and I've often thought about that it was an image that I will never forget because it made me think is, is he trying to show me how powerful he is by the fact that he's going to shit? Yeah, he's just gonna let the let the help grab it and pick it up afterwards or was he just clueless, you know, is that the way he was raised? You know? It's very, very odd. So I had all these weird meetings. So then I come to the VISTA organization come to meet Miguel Torres. And I walk into this office, and it's just chaos. It's just packed with scripts and books, and there was shitting. There's toys all over the desk. And, and I remember seeing my first view of him he, he was working. He was at his computer, which was at that time was a big box boxy computer called a K Pro, which was made in San Diego. Yeah, okay. And were manufactured in San Diego, because at this Kaypro computer, and he looked up over the top of it, big, black rimmed glasses and said, Randy Johnson, yes. And he said, Oh, Miguel, tada Flores, you know, I read slaughter rally a fucking love it, what else you got? And we just sit down. And I just felt like, oh my gosh, you know, here's a nut. But he's a sincere nut. And he's all about making movies and telling stories and weird stuff. And it was just fun. We just collect immediately. So he said, What else you got? And I just sort of threw out punk rockers in the middle of Wyoming. And he says, I love it. Come back when you have a story. And I did. And I came back a couple weeks later with a little more story. And he said, I like that keep coming back. Do

Scott Mcmahon 41:49
you have an outline or a treatment or anything? It just

Randall Jahnson 41:51
was, I it was it was just the germ of a notion that ultimately became dudes. But what it was was that I had been going to so many punk rock shows and it struck me as being a very tribal. Oh my god your hair. You know, Randa, nice to meet you. Yeah. You just want to visit guys.

Scott Mcmahon 42:22
What are you doing? Adam with my buddy All right. All right. We're back. Sorry. We got a little. I had no idea Frederick was here. I thought he left already. But it sounds like there's gonna be a big party here Saturday night for him. So he came down to say hi, and introduce me his friend. So there you go. He's going

Randall Jahnson 42:44
to do that. And every subsequent interview, I think we should just he's just going to show up. It's like the court jester. Cards.

Scott Mcmahon 42:53
But you know, he's personally so big and joyous. That's why when he gets here, like everybody knows him. He's like your norm.

Randall Jahnson 43:00
Yeah, totally. I get it.

Scott Mcmahon 43:02
So we're past where we are. Well, I

Randall Jahnson 43:05
was said back. Meanwhile, back at the guy at Vista. Yes, yeah. Miguel Flores. Yeah, what do you got for me? And how did you come up with that? Anyway,

Scott Mcmahon 43:14
we're just at the punk shows we're just something Well, yeah, that's what

Randall Jahnson 43:16
I was saying is that I've been going to all these punk shows you know, in the whole thing It struck me so the Hardcore scene in California at that time and was was very was very tribal. You know, you had your social distortion tribe, you had your your black flag tribe, you had the Dead Kennedys and and in each each sort of faction, each tribe had their there were subtle differences in their in how they looked. Right. You know, the Orange County punks were a little different from the Hollywood punks, the valley of La Valley punks were different from some of those guys, you know, you had a lot of different skinheads or spike heads, and, you know, that whole thing, but it was just a it was a very interesting thing. And then plus you had the bands were almost embracing the kind of a Western kind of quality and especially Standridge when you're well Well, sure. You know, Stan, I mean, when he was he was still with wall of voodoo at the time, and swallow voodoo. Although they were not punk, they were on the edge of that kind of art damaged New Wave experimental sound stuff. And they had a medley of spaghetti western stuff they used I remember seeing them the first time you know, not only did they cover Johnny Cash, his ring of fire, which was their signatures, showpiece. They really deconstructed that, you know, and they had a big booming Mark Moreland, who was their guitarist had just this great 20 guitar sound that evoked the the old old school Will instrumentalists you know, the guys have backed up Johnny Cash and those kinds of guys back then. It was just a Western sound to it, you know, but they incorporated in their show they had a medley of, of spaghetti western songs. So they they remember seeing them first time, and they play to hang them high. And the good, the bad and the ugly and some other thing too. And it was like, wow, this is frickin wild. I love this. It was just it was really great. So they were the Dead Kennedys had covered like Rawhide right from the TV show and the Vandals came out of Long Beach they had a thing called Urban struggle, which was all about the the punkers at the Cuckoo's Nest and in Orange County having like a big battle with punkers from you know, another plant. Yeah, it was all done like a cowboy. Kind of twang.

Scott Mcmahon 45:52
I do. Yeah, I do recall those oh sound quite a bit. Yeah. Because it was it was that the guitar itself that uses sort of big, semi hollow hollow body guitars, the big Right, right, Gretz guitar, you know, the 50 style guitar, then sort of like has that artwork to sort of like you said it was that rock and roll, Hot Rod subculture that kind of bled over where it's Yeah, big Twain, the source of the sound

Randall Jahnson 46:19
you know, I mean, that simultaneous with all this was like the blasters and this whole rockabilly revival right, you know, thing up the alley cats were not the alley cats, the stray cats were the very commercial, sort of tip of that, of that sort of phenomenon. But that was a that was happening all at the same time. And there was some overlap with the punk stuff or the blasters, especially But, and this is, there was a band called The plugs that were really great came out of East LA. And in Los Lobos then and all those all those the NX then in this embraced all those things with the hardcore, and then, you know, X, they're all They're all crackers, you know, they're they're all hillbillies, you know, they love they love all that country 20 stuff from way back when Yeah, social distortion evolved into the absolutely Mike Ness, a huge country fan, because they recognize that, that you know, that those guys, they were the they were the outlaws of their day. And a lot of them as in the context of the time, you know, when they were recording for Sun Records, or whatever they were, they were, they were breaking new ground, right. This was it wasn't like the the, necessarily the the mainstream music. This was, like a whole new sound, you know. So anyway, going back to all of this, I just had seen like this sort of, kind of knew western landscape in the punk scene, and, and so, but at the same time, I mean, Punk was primarily an urban or suburban, you know, phenomenon. So I thought, Well, gee, how funny would it be to take some of these hardcore punkers? You know, we're like, all all full of aggression and piss and vinegar, and throw them out into the realities of the West. Drop them right in the middle of Wyoming or Montana or something like that, and see what would happen. And so that was the germ of the idea. And then I kept coming back and urged on by Miguel kept coming back every couple of weeks or so with a little bit more of a story a little bit more of a story. So you're writing

Scott Mcmahon 48:27
on spec at this time, and completely, he's nothing, no agreement, nothing. He just said he expressed interest. He just

Randall Jahnson 48:33
He said, I like that. And he knew he couldn't option slot rally at the time, because it was under Options. It was somewhere else. He liked my writing a lot. And he liked this idea. And this sort of he thought I was on to something. So he just kept urging me on. And so finally, there was another guy there a guy named Hank Palmieri, who has subsequently passed away a surfer, great surfer group, a Malibu, really bright guy, really brilliant guy and such a good, one of the best people I've ever met in the business. And he was Miguel's partner at the time, too. And so between the two of them, I just thought these guys are fantastic. I totally want to be in business with them. And it they kept urging me back and finally there, there was a writer strike looming. This is 1985 and there was a writer strike looming. And so there was a certain amount of there was a ticking clock and we had to get this get something done, you know, before the strike kicked in. Because God knows who how long the strike was going to last. So finally, what they were you in a guild at the time? No, I wasn't. But that was the thing in order if they made a deal, I was going to have to get into the guild and Okay, well, thanks. So both basically what happened was, I went in there one day and Miguel says, Okay, you got we got enough. Let's make this let's make a deal. Let's make this happen. And so they, they made the deal. It was a rush rush thing, and basically I got some money, and they just said we can't communicate with you now.

Alex Ferrari 50:02
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Randall Jahnson 50:11
You know, because because as soon as the strike is going to kick in, but we want you to go ahead and start writing the script, so maybe after week week after the strike is over with, we'll have a script. Right. Got it. So the strike, the strike was actually settled in a couple of weeks. It didn't last long at all, comparative to subsequent strikes. And so, in the meantime, though, I went out on an adventure of myself out into the contemporary West, because I hadn't been out there since I was a kid. So I went out to Arizona, Utah, Nevada, you know, did this kind of long sweeping tour, you know, and just wandering around I went to, I was really into ghost town, so I wanted to visit ghost towns and, and it was out when I remember this very clearly, I was driving on a on a highway heading west towards Ely, Nevada. And suddenly I got the whole very clear picture of what the movie was all about. But it involved jettison a lot of the story I had already worked out. Yeah, but I just like I knew how to do it. I suddenly saw it, I knew how to do it. And so I got on and got in a phone booth somewhere. And I called them and I remember getting Hank on the phone. And I said, Hank, I got it. I got it. I got the story of finally, you know, and I know what it is. And I explained it to him. And he said, Well, yeah, it sounds kind of good. But what about the other stuff? And I said, No, no, forget the other stuff. Forget it, forget it. This is it. I know how to do it. And he was really kind of nervous about it. But he said, Okay, he gave me this approval to go ahead and do it. And so ultimately, I came back from this trip and it was really eye opening for me as well. It was really great. I went to all these different places that it was just evocative in so many ways that I came back, I wrote the first draft, and they loved it. And they had they started sending it around and we got a director attached pretty early on and you know it Penelope Spheeris, had read it and she was coming off of what she had done. Her claim to fame, of course, was the decline of Western civilization. Right. But she had only done the first one at that point. And she had done another several other sort of low budget exploitation films, one for like Roger Corman, and stuff, you know, and so, but she was kind of like the punk rock queen, right? And I remember Miguel telling me, he said, Well, Penelope came in and she impressed the shit out of us, and we're gonna hire her to direct this movie. And she said, he said, she came into the meeting, and said, basically, there are two people that can direct this movie. Me and Alex Cox, who did repo man. Okay, which was the kind of like the other. Yeah, you know, and Alex had been a teacher's aide at UCLA Film school when I was there. I knew we had a couple of people friends in common a little bit, you know, and so I knew knew him a bit, or knew of him, certainly. And anyway, so that was that was out, they started they, they things started rolling very, very quickly from that point on, and then once dudes was in production that led to the doors and other things. Okay, let's,

Scott Mcmahon 53:29
let's roll back here. So, you are what kind of what was the, your agent's perspective of you? When they you told them like, hey, these guys are interested in me developing the story. Do you mean what what is their reaction? Like okay, kaki. Keep going,

Randall Jahnson 53:48
Yeah, sure, of course, you

Scott Mcmahon 53:49
know, they don't want to knowing that you're not on like, any sort of contract, you're just on spec.

Randall Jahnson 53:53
It's not at this. At this point. Yeah. They were just saying, okay, you know, go for it, let them let you know, if they're interested, keep them, keep them on the line, get the story done, you know, get a story out there that you that they're gonna, that they're gonna like, they weren't real mettlesome at that point, they were just sort of taking a back seat. The one agent that I had Carol, I didn't necessarily trust her in terms of, of feedback. Is this a good idea? Or is this a bad idea? You know, so I wouldn't test the waters with her. Rick was a different story. Rick had a better story since I felt they both can sell very well. Okay. So I didn't consult Carol in the sense of like, currently think this is a good idea. Should I do it? Or I mean, should I develop the story? It wasn't like that at all. I was just I knew this was the story that I wanted to tell. And she was going to make the deal for me when this when the time was right. So there's a difference there. You know, a lot of people go to their agents and look at them all. Just as if they are a studio executive or the head of a production company and, and, and think that they might have some artistic taste, I think that's dangerous, that's dangerous to a degree to trust your agent as being someone who really has a taste. Gotcha, their their deal is to sell, you know, making a sale, that's what they're about. And that doesn't necessarily mean they have taste, it means they can take a product, once they see it, once it's done, and they can sell it. But it doesn't necessarily they, that doesn't mean that they can necessarily see it as it is forming, you know, now there are others who can, and have that ability and have that sense of like, that's a very good idea. Go for it. I like where I like how you're thinking, you know, but that's not always the case. So what just let that be a warning sometimes, too. Yeah, you know,

Scott Mcmahon 56:07
if you're Yeah, if you got yourself representation, for sure. Now or what? You were just working so at the mailroom, I was

Randall Jahnson 56:15
I was still I was still in the mailroom. And then finally, when that when they pulled the trigger on on that

Scott Mcmahon 56:21
the first was it the first paycheck that we were, well, that first payment the were you able to take your trip, like take extended leave from the mailroom to do your

Randall Jahnson 56:30
that was it this time it was it was enough, it was substantially more money than I got on the slaughter alley option. And okay, and the stuff that I had, you know, I mean, at the time, it was like, she's I don't know, it was like $25,000 $40,000 Something like, that's pretty good. Yeah. Are you kidding? Cheese man, it was more money than I'd ever seen. So it was definitely enough for me to finally say, Okay, goodbye to the mailroom. I'm gonna go for it. And also, at that stage, I had to become a member of the Writers Guild. So that's the way because VISTA was a guild signatory. And I had to become a member. So you have to drop $1,500 initially to become a member and then get on the health and, and pension plan, and whatever. But then that's it. And then they take 1% of your, your earnings, you know, on top of that. So suddenly, I was in The Guild, and it was, it was a whole new it was a whole new world. You know, I was a professional. I was truly a professional writer at that point. And it was you

Scott Mcmahon 57:37
gotta guild meetings or something just to be Yeah, they had.

Randall Jahnson 57:44
At this time they had, they were having some what they called outreach meetings, because they knew the strike was looming. And so they were having very small gatherings in, like, certain guild members would open up their home to a couple dozen writers turn and they would come in and somebody from The Guild would come there and talk about the latest contract negotiations and what was to be expected and and inform us a bit of what was going on. My roommate, my former roommate. At this time was Gregory Wyden, who wrote Highlander. Oh, and

Scott Mcmahon 58:28
just the first one.

Randall Jahnson 58:29
Well, Greg never has to work a day in his life early because his name's on everything else subsequent to that, so you've Alexa paycheck for it. But he did other things, too. I mean, he wrote Backdraft for Ron Howard. And, and that's kind

Scott Mcmahon 58:47
of how he was dressed when he met grazer. Now it's kidding.

Randall Jahnson 58:52
But Greg got into the guild, just a bit before I did, I think, and off the Highlander deal. And so he and I were were basically sort of rookies of so we were going to a lot of these these outreach meetings together. And I remember this initial one, I was blown away, because there were maybe a dozen people at this at this one meeting. And one of them was like Paul Mazursky, who was well known writer, director, you know, at that time, former actor as well. And Julius Epstein was there and this little this little guy who's you know, about four feet tall and about 80 years old? It's one of the writers of Casablanca.

Scott Mcmahon 59:35
Archie, that's right, it sounds familiar.

Randall Jahnson 59:37
And you just go wow, that's where I was like, suddenly it's like, Oh, my God. I'm and these are, these are like names. You know that. I mean, real pros. I mean, these are this was like an amazing thing.

Alex Ferrari 59:50
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mcmahon 59:59
Now Backing up real quick, so exciting when you got in. When you first got the offer, like II realized it was happening there, they're like, Okay, let's make this happen, we're gonna give you the initial payment, you're gonna have to get in the guild, like, I'm assuming all this stuff happened very quickly in a few weeks or a month or so

Randall Jahnson 1:00:16
no, it was like the super past. It was within a couple of a week or so.

Scott Mcmahon 1:00:21
So emotions, like did you did you get a chance to like go out with friends or anything or girlfriend and say, let's celebrate, just have like just a little toast or anything that you did that you like any type of little ceremony said, Whoa, this is cool.

Randall Jahnson 1:00:36
There was a group of us that came through the film school or the theatre arts department at UCLA at the same time. And actually, in retrospect, this that whole era, I've been told by other people from the theater side, the drama department that it is generally regarded as being an extraordinary period from the from the theater arts department, the UCLA Theater Arts Department was included film and drama. So they were sort of segregated, if you will, but two different buildings, but basically, we're all under under the roof of theater arts. Right, right. But out of that time, I mean, there was Tim Robbins, Daphne Zuniga, Alex Cox, Greg Wyden. I mean, Dan pine, Neil Jimenez. I mean, there were so many people that we're going, having huge success, like, I mean, very early on and would later go on to, you know, having extraordinary careers. Yeah. But in my particular circle, it was Greg and I had been roommates, we had a guy named Mike pencilled, who was aspiring producer, his girlfriend at the time, ended up becoming, it's hugely important in my career, because she was a development exec at Columbia when they had the doors. So I threw her was able to get in and have a meeting about that, but that's a little bit further down the line. But Greg had grown up in in Laguna Beach, and a good buddy of his Don Knowlton was also in the theater arts in the drama department. So he knew the number of people there anyway, there was a circle of you know, four or five of us that were all writers and in or producers, aspiring producers, that anytime anyone had any sort of success we would go out and celebrate and usually it was it was you know, wasn't anything like you're painting the town red right. But we would always gathers Yeah, we did. Yeah, we would gather there was a place called Cafe Figaro, which was in West Hollywood, it was on Robertson. Right. And right, we're almost dead ends to Santa's Little Santa Monica Boulevard. And it is George San, I remember this very well, because there's I met Demi, Demi Moore, in the bookstore there across the way after one time, but we would always convene at Cafe Figaro, and have drinks and dinner there. And it was like a real to serve a working. Yeah, working man's place. You know, they always had cute waitresses there. And it was just a place where, you know, lonely writers would go and score, you know, so that was that was the kind of thing that we would do. It wasn't you know, I always had a sense that, you know, this stuff was fleeting, you know, and it was never going to be, you know, you just that there was always going to be challenges further ahead, just let it go, like, wow, I've made it and it's, you know, there's no turning back, is it? No, it's not like that. Because even once you've sort of, quote unquote, arrived, there's always stuff going on, that you've you know, you get wracked with self doubt, you can write something that isn't received well, all these things that can sort of trip you up at one time or another. And it you know, Hollywood in general is a place that just one of the fuels that runs it is insecurity and fear of losing one's stature of losing one's job losing losing face, you know, and so that that informs a lot of decision making and a lot of, of, you know, artistic decisions, right? Fortunately, you know, but at that time, though, still, I was on cloud nine, man, I just frickin I couldn't believe it. I was just thrilled. And then later on, it was funny. It wasn't it wasn't that strike because it didn't last long enough. It was Strike and 88 that I started seeing, because I was a strike captain, the guild had asked me to be a guy that would have to call okay, you know, here's the phone numbers of a dozen writers so we're going to pick it 20th Century Fox tomorrow got it, you got to call all these guys and tell them to be there, what time they're going to be there and this and that. And in the 88 strike, you know, you have we have these just these massive pickets, one studio at a time, so there would be hundreds of writers out there today, you know, marching up to the end of the block and then back down, up and down and bagging them act really angry, shake your signs.

And so invariably, you know, you're there these two columns you're going in you're passing guys walking in the opposite direction, you know, when you see their faces so it you don't even see guys that I've always admired a Harlan Ellison, Richard Brooks, you know, great writers and directors and then I see Ray Bradbury. Bradbury had been a real inspiration for me ever since. Oh, God,

Scott Mcmahon 1:06:10
we talked about college, your high school wrote,

Randall Jahnson 1:06:12
this is going back to high school. Right, right. You know, where I was leaving, like I start reading Ray Bradbury short stories when I was about 12 or 13 years old. And he I did my high school, term paper, English term paper on his work. And then he came down and spoke to at a local college where I was out at MiraCosta, where I was, and I went to see him at the time. And I was like, I couldn't believe that was actually a living breathing writer, like one of my idols right there. I was sitting in the front row. And afterwards, I went up and just told him, I did my term paper on you, and I, you know, in English this year, and he said, Oh, great. Here's my card, you know, write me. I did. And I think he asked for a copy of it of the report or whatever. And so I sent it to him. And he sent back like a whole little package of of stuff that he had autographed and personally printed stuff. And I was like, Oh, my God, I couldn't believe it. So cut two years later, I come to LA, and just my very first, you know, month at at UCLA. And I went into, I knew where he lived, he wasn't too far from where we lived. It was one of the first things I wanted to see was like, Where does a real writer live? And I found his address down in, in in certain part of West LA there. But But anyway, he was signing books one time at a bookstore in Westwood. And I went in, this is like, like I said, my first month there. And I went up, and I was just, again, sort of in awe and just sort of freaking out. And I and he said, Yes. And I said, Well, we've met before, and whatever. Yes, yes. So I want to be a writer. And he said, Well, do you write every day? And I said, No. And he said, then you're not a writer. Next. I was like, Oh, I was so angry. And it's like, wow, I felt like I don't know. But yeah, it was really, really made me mad. But it was right, you know, I had to get get my ass in gear to crack and get cracking. And so come the strike and 88 I'm out there on the picket line. And here comes Bradbury walk in opposite way. He's got this giant head. He does. He's got it. And I see him coming. And so I stopped. And I said, Hey, Ray, and I said, you know, you will really remember me, but Bob, like. And he was, oh, it was very friendly. And he said, and I said, Oh, isn't this cool? Here we are on the strike line. We're writers, you know, we're peers. But I said, I still don't write every day.

But that was, you know, that was the kind of thing it was, it was a thrill to just see some of these these people that had grown up and I was, you know, in awe of and and to be now sort of marching with them to be part of that same organization to be in the same arena was thrilling.

Scott Mcmahon 1:09:22
Yeah, yeah. That's cool. That's the stuff like, I'd like to haven't heard a lot of interviews with a different writers. And they sort of just kind of gloss over that as if it's like, just where the interviews go, is. They just sort of Oh, yeah. So I got my agent and I got this deal. And then we moved on, I had to work on this story. But no one ever stopped and, like, wanted to know those holes intricacies of just the personal motion that people have that says, Well, this is trippy, this is really crazy that I'm able to do this or I'm meeting somebody.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:57
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mcmahon 1:10:06
And, and then because it it reflects on your own sort of, I guess self worth worth, and you're like, how am I here? You know, that kind of thing. And I think it's cool because it sounds it makes all this experience human.

Randall Jahnson 1:10:19
What? What I just recall now was after the dude's deal happened my other roommate, Mike penciled he said that this I guess I'll set this up for the dudes. He and a very good friend of his and subsequently subsequently become a friend of mine. Got a wonderful guy named John Hart, who had gone to USC film school and was a cameraman. And he John, we had met John because John shot Greg widens project to which was this year 16 millimeter film, okay. And John was just this. He was from upstate New York, he was just completely different from any of us that had grey cotton come from California, you know, and just really, John was just tremendously fun. But he and Mike kidnap me was one night after this happened. And I remember this, they took me, they took me down to we went out, we wait way east, downtown, right over the LA River. I was like, Okay, it's like Fourth Street Bridge or something like that was right, right, needle bridge, whatever. But at this point, this was no man's land. There was no one out there. It was about two or three in the morning. They they pulled out a bottle of champagne, and they popped it and they said, here's to, to me. Man, you know, to say, you know, you're, you know, the beginning of a new career and that that staggered may that was, that was a wonderful my choked up. I had tears running down my cheeks at that point, because it was so cool. You know, it was just, it was just a wonderful gesture. And those guys were, you know, like, you know, what can you say? I mean, I didn't, not much to say but but drains. Yeah. There was a, there was a diner down there a little bastion of light. In the in that No Man's Land of you know, art lofts and stuff at that time is called Gore keys. And it stayed open. I think it might have been 24/7 You know, and they took me we went there afterwards after we did that. And I remember eating that they had like Russian food and stuff. And I remember eating there after that. They always had hot waitresses there too. It is LA. Oh, God, all these aren't damaged. You know. And that was yeah, that was a pretty neat night. That was That was great. So it was it was very it was monumental fan. You know,

Scott Mcmahon 1:13:08
I thank you for sharing. Because you're I mean, that's, it's cool. It's it's cool to hear. I mean, it's cool to know that. Yeah, we're all human. And it's real like that. I'm sure everyone has the those who are working professionally have these little moments where they feel like just like there's a little fleeting moments of Whoa, that's feels good. But then then but you know, next day you got to get on and work but I think it's a perfect place to stop the podcast. We've been talking for a while and I think it's a great segue into the production of dudes and then how you got to how you got how you got to a chance to write the doors and all that stuff. Yeah, but I think this is fantastic because we've covered in the first part sort of where you started how you got into punk rock and and why that music scene was important to you and now we're in the second phase. Yeah, well,

Randall Jahnson 1:13:57
let me just sign off a bit once we sign off I mean, I got into punk rock by accident really? I mean, cuz I was I was writing a script that was a murder mystery. I think I mentioned this before there was a murder mystery set in the punk rock scene of LA and and it wasn't because I was really into punk rock it just that I thought it was a very exotic place that said a murder mystery. Okay, and so I started attending all these shows as research you know, and for you know, for the for this stuff and I had made friends with all these bands because I started contacting them and I would read what you know, the the cool bands, what the cool bands were, and there had been some that were associated with you at UCLA Film School as well. So I started I knew of them and whatever. So that's how I really got in started getting into the music. The the script panned out. I could I finished it I wrote like 25 pages of it or 30 pages of it and then I put it away but I haven't somebody

Scott Mcmahon 1:14:57
got a hold of me because I think actually I saw a T A show that had that premise. Oh was that was like it was like Cagney Lacey or something. Some kind of show back then. Yeah, that it starts off at a punk show, where people were a mosh dancing, and there's a murder. And then the whole scene surrounds the whole punk rock scene and murders anyway. Yeah, it made it to. I know, Murder She Wrote. I've seen that premise. Yeah, I'm assuming that somebody found it.

Randall Jahnson 1:15:23
Yeah, maybe. So maybe, but what, you know, whatever the case was, I mean, that. That's why I began investigating a lot of this, you know, initially, and then the music. But, I mean, after the script panned out, I still had all these contacts with these bands. And I was kind of, I started really digging the music. And yeah, and so that's, that started then leading to the notion of like, Wow, maybe I could direct some music videos for the broken and have any kind of money, or have any kind of money. So as I maybe we can just do cheat and do stuff on the complete fly here and see what happens. And so that's, you know, but that's another story as well, because I was doing all these videos working with Black Flag, Henry Rollins, writing, writing dudes that don't, and then starting the doors thing was, it was all like happening, it was at once from about 84. To to 8086. And even, you know, beyond that was a very high, highly busy time for me.

Scott Mcmahon 1:16:28
So crazy. I was skateboarding at that time. And obviously, that the skateboarding culture bled into that, sure. That was the music of the time. Like all the older kids, were, you know, into the punk scene, and especially southern California. And, you know, it was different, cuz we're like, I don't hear this on the radio, like, you see, like, this is such a subculture than what is being out there on TV. And it was sort of like the first opportunity of like, independence and skateboarding was definitely embedded with the punk scene, especially I think, with the Z to Z town boys. And you know, that whole long beach scene and Venice beach scene and all of that, no doubt all of that and the look the way or the attitude. And then, but that's how I, you know, obviously, my upbringing, a lot of other Southern California kids that are in the scene, probably saw it the same way so to know that you were making and interacting with those bands where I was just like a bystander of a kid just picking up whatever records I can at back then Tower Records or yeah, what's it called lagers, pizza? Remember that? Yeah, sure. Anyway, I think a lot of my first albums she's, you know, the best thing in my thing, my dad eventually, some of the stuff that I was going to punk shows and like, I come back with, like, the pamphlets and stuff. Yeah, I'm only like, 1213 at the time. So he's come he's looking at this going. Yeah. He's like, he was really disturbed, like, what is going on with my son?

Randall Jahnson 1:18:01
I remember seeing a picture of the Sex Pistols and some was like Parade Magazine. And they were like, you know, warning about the new horrible trend and you know, rock and roll or whatever and use extra pistols and they look like some it's just like, oh, a freak show. thing. And I was so horrified. Like, oh, no, rock'n'roll isn't coming to this because prior that this is, of course back in like 7778 When I was just, I was 77 was my senior year in high school. And I hadn't come to I wasn't going to go to LA until my junior year I transferred up from community college. So I was still in kind of the fishbowl of Carlsbad, California. But, you know, I was listening to Yes, the blues right Emerson Lake and Palmer and the prog rock arena, and he Well, yeah, the prog rock, you know, yeah. And the arena rock kind of stuff. And then this whole thing of the Sex Pistols. Oh, it just sounded just sounded wrong. And I was so intimidated and threatened by what they look like and everything and then then I get up to LA and it was just it all changed, it changed. And all that stuff just still resonates with me hugely. Because it's it's a it's a represents an approach to creativity. That is so resonant and still today, you know, I mean, really, it's, it's about doing it yourself. Yeah, it's Yeah, DIY man DIY. This was the original DIY stuff. And but that's another story and we'll pick that up.

Scott Mcmahon 1:19:38
I think we'll wrap it up for tonight. I was good. Felt good. Well, welcome. We got a little cameo from your friend Frederick. And yeah, where he takes off. Oh, sure. I think he's like here every night before he takes off.

Randall Jahnson 1:19:53
This is the launch pad. I think that's what it is.

Alex Ferrari 1:19:56
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mcmahon 1:20:06
You just basically made the deals and had your little, your buddies help you celebrate the sale of the dudes. And I wanted to get into sort of the production of dudes and sort of lead our way into the doors. But what I wanted to tell you is like, about a month ago, I was down in Portland and I came across this like, you know, weird books, sitcom bookstore thing, but they had like, a bunch of array of like, unusual books in there too. And they had a book was like, Punk in the cinema or the American cinema.

Randall Jahnson 1:20:40
Was it floating world where you were out? And it's like in fifth?

Scott Mcmahon 1:20:45
Yeah, it's like, just Yes. It's kind of just fifth and I think it's yeah, it's just right off near is near like Chinatown. Just yeah. So have you ever floated? Yeah,

Randall Jahnson 1:20:56
they have a lot of counterculture stuff. Okay, so that's a great store. And Jason, leave Leviathan Leviathan,

Scott Mcmahon 1:21:06
I think says Yeah, well, that was your last name.

Randall Jahnson 1:21:11
So wonderful guy. Very friendly. And that's his store. And I love that story. That's actually got me really excited a lot about comics and

Scott Mcmahon 1:21:20
Oh, really? Yeah. I kind of stumbled into because it was I was looking for the 24 hour Church of Elvis. Oh, yeah. And I guess it used to be there. But now they've closed whatever it used to be there. Now. It's just this hole in the wall, right? This like weird display that has these buttons you asked you to push? And you can't hear anything. Can't hear anything. It's like the most weird sort of like useless.

Randall Jahnson 1:21:44
Yeah, we're so where is that now?

Scott Mcmahon 1:21:45
I it's just on the other side of Burnside. So what it goes Burnside, there's kuj. It's like yeah, it's fourth fifth. It's right around the edge of

Randall Jahnson 1:21:55
Chinatown. I didn't realize it was it was I thought it was further up north it

Scott Mcmahon 1:21:59
might have been but they changed it and that's where the location so right down the in the corner of that is that come book counter? Culture? Bookstore. Yeah. But I was in there. And I saw this book. It was like punk, history Punk in the cinema, or whatever it was. And there was like, halfway through fools full spread is like dudes had like a full spread of like your, of the cover of the movie and like little synopsis, and it's really kind of cool. Get out of here. Really? Yeah. I thought you might have no, no, I did. Okay, so we had to get that for you for Christmas.

Randall Jahnson 1:22:31
Oh, wow. Just Oh, crap. I didn't know that. That's great. Yeah,

Scott Mcmahon 1:22:35
it was. I mean, it's a pretty thick book. I mean, it goes through like a bunch of stuff of like, about punk reference or anything related in cinema. And this, you know, it wasn't just like little like, picture and blurb. It was a full thing. It was a full page picture. One side and other side was the right up. So anyway, I'll let you know what's out there.

Randall Jahnson 1:22:56
Oh, wow. Thank you. Well, it's very interesting, because, you know, it was dudes was directed by Penelope Spheeris, who, who really got on the map with the decline of Western civilization, which was her her documentary on the LA punk scene, in really circa 78 7980. You know, with x and fear and the germs, you know, she had a lot of a lot of footage of interviews with Darby cry, she would be dead, you know, in a very short amount of time. When and that was one of the compelling aspects of the of the whole movie, but so Penelope had a lot of street cred, you know, in terms of the punk scene, right.

Scott Mcmahon 1:23:44
Was this their first feature after the documentary?

Randall Jahnson 1:23:46
No, no, she had done. She had done actually two or three more films, narrative films, before dudes, but she'd done it from Roger Corman. And one of them was called the boys next door, which starred Charlie Sheen. And a young, a very young Charlie Sheen, and that, you know, at that point, Emilio Estevez, his brother had all the street cred, or at all that was sort of an established star because especially in the punk world, because he had been in remote and Repo Man, where is that? Well, this was repo man. And dudes came out basically the same year, or they were being filmed almost simultaneously. So this was 8580. Was it let's say it at 8686 87 Right? Yeah. Dudes was actually shot mostly during 86 As I recall now, and but it didn't get much of a release until 87. Then it was barely you And what's interesting too, is that d dudes has never come out on DVD. And we're actually in the process of tracking it down right now and see if we can get it released on DVD. But what makes everything so difficult is that there has been a chain of bankruptcies declared by the whatever entity that that acquired the rights to require the the actual funny and finished film, because they dudes was made by the VISTA organization, and they made three or four films, and then they were bought by someone, and then that company folded and then they were bought and gobbled up by another corporate entity, and so on, and so on and so on. And so becomes very difficult to actually follow the the chain of title right before. And you know, and what's fascinating is that this is relatively recent history. I mean, you know, as a 19, you know, this was a film that was released in 1987. Right? And yet, they're, they're serious doubt as to who owns it. And imagine, you know, we're gonna figure that that shows you in one level, how fast these corporations you know, bye, bye. Come and go. And they come and go, and the rights to things or get gets very confused right.

Scott Mcmahon 1:26:27
Now, I think I remember, well, we saw the film on your writing class, because one of your students was able to get a copy or you had a copy of No, I had a copy of it. Okay, so you basically,

Randall Jahnson 1:26:37
yeah, basically, what happened is, I fortunately, I'm glad I did, I purchased a laser disc of it when a disc was this big chrome planter, you know. And when I moved up here, actually, a friend of mine, who was coincidentally the engineer on, on two of the records that I put out on my record label back in the 80s was an AMI record label. Yeah, blue yonder sounds and

Scott Mcmahon 1:27:10
how long did it last year?

Randall Jahnson 1:27:12
Well, it lasted about three years. You know, a couple of years, three years, something like that, you know, I mean, you can. But Steve sharp, who engineered the album by the fifth Fibonacci, which was the first release, and then the second one by a band called slack who were from Portland, Oregon. Well, Steve was originally from Portland, Oregon. And then he moved back to Portland, Oregon, when I moved up here. I went to go see, my friend, Stan Ridgway, who was performing at Mississippi studios. With us, this is like in July, you know, we moved here in June of 2007. And then in July, Stan came through town, and I went to go see him. And while I was waiting in the beer line at Mississippi, I hear, Hey, Randy. And I did not recognize them. But it was Steve sharp. And he now shaves his head, whereas back then he had big poofy, 80s hair. Right. And, and so he, Steve sharp and said, Oh my god, Steve, what are you doing here? And so anyway, long story short, Steve has a media duplication company and a recording studio and everything here in town. Yeah. So. Wow, great. All right here. Okay. It's a beautiful thing. Thank you. But you will see I finish with right on anything else? We're guess? We're pretty good for now. Yes, thank you. Yeah. Don't forget us. So, Steve, I said look, I've got a laser disc. Is there any way of getting something duplicated on you know, and so basically, we got we're able to get a DVD copy of dudes pulled off of the laserdisc the digital copy there, but the quality isn't that great. You know, it's not like still looking at the original thing and it was shot by Bob Richardson who has gone on to become in Martin Scorsese's dp and he was Oliver Stones DP for the for the doors and many other films and he's an Academy Award winner. He shoots beautiful stuff and always has and so you know, I don't think our little you know, rip off DVD was, you know, doing it justice, but Right, right. You know, it worked for my class.

Scott Mcmahon 1:29:47
That was cool. We'll take a little break or eat your back. Let's see here.

Alex Ferrari 1:29:54
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mcmahon 1:30:04
All right, well, let's talk about your production of dudes. So boom, you realize it's happening, right?

Randall Jahnson 1:30:12
Well, what happened was that I wrote my my first draft, which was really long, it was like 140 pages long or something like that, you know, in generally a screenplay should be coming in at tops, you know, 120 pages, right? And even a little less than is better. But mine came in it was it was this epic, epic punk rock Western.

Scott Mcmahon 1:30:34
I shoot for about 50 pages now. Yeah. Yeah, and I say add action scene here now. Right.

Randall Jahnson 1:30:47
Oh, thank you. But in the case of dudes, then they got a director involved. You know? I guess I got notes from Miguel Tata Floros. And Hank Palmieri, and producer herb Jaffe, at that, at that stage in which I then, you know, we all knew we had to cut it down. So I worked really hard and just really condensing it and getting rid of any anything that was fat. And then Penelope Spheeris, came aboard. And they were talking it was the script was making the rounds at the studios as well. They were trying to get a studio maybe further on board.

Scott Mcmahon 1:31:29
Because so they're already in the midst of producing it, but they want a little bit more back. Yeah, yeah.

Randall Jahnson 1:31:34
You know, what happens sometimes is that an independent company will say, Okay, we've got this, maybe we can get somebody to come on board more. And

Scott Mcmahon 1:31:46
I'll adjust. No, no, I just met, I moved it closer, you

Randall Jahnson 1:31:49
get to throw to throw some more money at us or something. And I was told, you know, it got out to Columbia, Columbia was kind of interested in it. And actually, Ridley Scott, I was told Ridley Scott had read it was very interested, or were somewhat interested in it. That's obviously not enough to go to get behind it and make it but because, you know, ultimately, it was interesting. He goes and makes Thelma and Louise not that much later. But there were you know, there's kind of a little bit of similarities to it. But anyhow, they started taking meetings with potential directors for it. And to quote Miguel Penelope came in and met with them. And he said, she impressed the shit out of us. And Penelope told me later to that she went in there and she said, look, there are only two people on the planet who can direct this me and Alex Cox and Alex Cox was already making repo man at that stage. She said, it's got to be me. So I met her and she gave me some notes. And then I did some refining. But the great thing about Penelope was that she just she really loved the script. I mean, she really didn't want to change much at all. Not not in rare. Yeah, it's pretty rare. It's pretty rare. And in quite, quite frankly, I mean, Penelope was just, you know, she was just really wonderful. She was so welcoming, and encouraged me to be on the set as much as possible. She invited me at every stage of the process to be involved. For example, once she came aboard, and they started having casting sessions, she invited me to a casting session to come in.

Scott Mcmahon 1:33:43
Now, did you have those three sort of main characters? Well, sort of the three guys, three dudes. But did you when you're writing have actors in mind? No writing,

Randall Jahnson 1:33:56
okay, not really. The only guy that I had in mind was the villain. And that was leaving, play by leaving. The villain was his name was Missoula was a nickname. And it was played by leaving but I wrote it with leaving in mind because he was the lead singer of fear. One of the bands that was featured in the decline of Western civilization, but I had seen fear a couple of times, and I thought he was very very menacing. And he was a real kind of there was a redneck cracker kind of quality to the sky that was behind all the, the the intimidate intimidation, there's a real biker kind of going lately was very, you know, really provocative presence. So I hadn't really with him in mind, but the other three guys biscuit and you know, Grant and Milo. I didn't have anyone in particular

Scott Mcmahon 1:34:57
line. So when you saw that when you go to the casting show And then you're

Randall Jahnson 1:35:01
well, I had I mean, I had in mind a character, right, you know what I wanted. And it was interesting because we on that particular day that I was allowed to sit in, or she invited me to sit in. We saw read for the part, we saw Tim Robbins. Kyle McLaughlin, and Kiefer Sutherland and Michael Dunbar who was, you know, sort of 70s glam rocker, you know, in that, who wasn't quite who wasn't right. And all those guys gave interesting readings. But the one I was most impressed with, was a keeper. Right? But Penelope didn't go for him as much because she felt he didn't have a sense of humor. And that was interesting to me, because I never felt that Grant had a sense of humor or should have had a sense of humor. It was the the movies, comedic quality came out of out of situations where you have these punkers you know, a city of, you know, floundering out and the Wild West, you know, the modern West. And that's, that, to me was a funny situation. And if there was any humor in the Express by either of the characters, it was out of biscuit. It was this big slobbery. Yeah, kind of a lovable but, you know, a lummix. Right. And so, but we disagreed on that and she she just didn't feel it was right. But ultimately, you know, we was played by Jon Cryer that cast stone prior because he was coming off of the John Hughes movies pretty pretty. He was pretty big. He was Ducky, ducky. Yeah, yeah, exactly. You know. So,

Scott Mcmahon 1:36:54
and I don't think kefir hadn't made stand by me yet, Hattie. No, he had not. Okay. So no one really kind of

Randall Jahnson 1:37:01
he was he was a known quantity. Yeah. You know, they knew about him because of this, you know, certainly the the, the his father but but they didn't. He hadn't quite proven he had bit parts. I think that, you know, prior to that. And it was shortly after that, that he started, you know, taking off.

Scott Mcmahon 1:37:23
Because he was like, stand by me then. Oh, Lost Boys. Yeah. That's kind of cemented that, sir. Very. Yeah, he was a good heavy.

Randall Jahnson 1:37:31
Yeah. Well, he was good. And you know, he had that he had suitable answer. And he physically he was menacing. You could be menacing. And that's what I wanted with, you know, with with Grant, somebody could go head to head with leaving, you know, in a way. And then you'd have the lummix of biscuit, who was based on a took his name from a lead singer of a band called the big boys who were skate punks from Austin, Texas. And interview Randy biscuit. Turner was there. And he was awesome. That's awesome. I only saw them once. But their records hold up really, really? Well. They were great. And then Unfortunately, he passed away a few years ago, I think but the big boys were were rockin and then ultimately then she also cast flee. Right and the chili peppers as Milo the ill. ill fated Milo which was interesting because on one level, because flee had filled in as bass player for temporary basically player for fear. Oh, okay. So in a sense, backing up leaving, and I thought it was always funny that I hear was, you know, the movie contest? The lead singer was killing his bass player.

Scott Mcmahon 1:38:48
Now, that was real quick, cuz I don't think we're gonna lose anything here by just giving the premise of the movie. Right? It's like no, no,

Randall Jahnson 1:38:57
basically, in a nutshell, it's about three New York punk rockers who get fed up with all the urban blight living in the city and decide to drive cross country to California. Yeah, because they want to go they want to meet the Go Go's or something. It's they want to get away from Jersey and they want to get away or you know, Queens, whatever. And what happens then is they're traveling across the country. They're camping out in Arizona, and then they get attacked by this group of rednecks who are who are out killing illegal aliens or whatever they put kicks. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 1:39:39
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Randall Jahnson 1:39:48
So they find these guys and wrong place wrong time and place wrong time. And so one of them gets killed and the other to the surviving to grant biscuit Without events there, buddy, and go on the trail of these killers, when no one else will write and write. And so it's a it's an epic Western. So they try, they try and track from Arizona and ends up at least on the script, it ends up in the mountains of Montana. Oh, okay. Yeah. So it was a, they were crossing all the way. And so I traveled all around those areas. I wanted to, you know, actually make it really authentic to make sure they're going to real rise and all of that. But they meet characters along the way that come and go. And Catherine, Mary Stewart plays a random a young woman who has a tote drives a tow truck, right, okay. And she comes out to their aid a few times. And then she actually gives them a few tips on surviving and gives him some guns and and I wrote the I wrote the, the role for a much older woman, I wanted to see that it was, you know, it was Grant getting involved with with an older woman. So it would be it would have been like, you know, Kiefer Sutherland and Barbara Hershey. That time, okay. But, you know, Hollywood being what it is. They ended up casting Catherine, Mary Stewart, who was in I think, The Last Starfighter, you know, and who's actually quite lovely, and she ended up being playing the role of Jessie and gonna fill in that role pretty well. Yeah, not she did a good job. Yeah, she broke her arm during the production of it actually went out to the set when they were filming outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. And by the way, another great thing about Penelope, she asked me a lot. She said, Where where should this take place? Or do you have any ideas where this location is and this and that, and I directed her to some of the places that I had found specifically in in Arizona, in and around the Verde Valley, which is, you know, just north of Phoenix about about 100 miles or so it's in between Phoenix and Flagstaff. It's very close to Sedona. So there's some great old ghost towns, interesting places out there. And so, I went out there to the set, she welcomed me to come out. And so I was there for a few days while they were shooting on location and the date the first day I got there and finally got to the set. There was a scene where they were riding horses through this beautiful, beautiful setting, right? Right on the edge of Flagstaff and she fell off a horse I think, and this is like I'd been there like five minutes and she fell off this horse. The horse stopped abruptly and she went like ass over Yeah. Saddle pommel and broke her arm. Arm. Yeah, but she was quite the troopers. She She toughed it out, she got that thing, put in a cast, and then they covered it up with a long sleeve.

Scott Mcmahon 1:43:06
So some of the shoots she was just tightening it. Yeah, she was

Randall Jahnson 1:43:09
hiding it. And she got back on the horse and did some more writing and all sorts of stuff. So she was shooting press me quite a bit crazy. Yeah. You know, movies show must go on, you know.

Scott Mcmahon 1:43:19
So you got to see the whole movie. And, you know, you're like, the first movie. Yeah, like holy cow. And then,

Randall Jahnson 1:43:26
and I wanted to be there every every day. Right, but I couldn't. Because I got the job and the doors. And I had early. Yeah, I had to start.

Scott Mcmahon 1:43:36
Okay. Okay, that's perfect. So not only because I think let me double check here. So you said, so you're doing that. Hold on, sir. I want to just make sure I get this in Chronicle. Chronicle.

Speaker 2 1:43:52
I can't speak chronicled. Yes. The

Scott Mcmahon 1:43:54
chronological order here.

Randall Jahnson 1:43:57
It's the dead guy speaking.

Scott Mcmahon 1:44:00
Or it's just me making fun of my mother for so many years. Okay, let's see here. Come on. There we go. So it says here because this is all true. IMDB.

Randall Jahnson 1:44:19
on IMDb, then it's true.

Scott Mcmahon 1:44:21
Okay, this is good. Okay, so yes, you're working on dudes. So How and where did the doors project come up during the filming in the production dudes?

Randall Jahnson 1:44:30
Well, again, Hollywood is a streaky business. So you know, there it's, it's all about hype. And in the anytime you have something going and heading into production that creates a fair amount of momentum. So suddenly everybody's interested in you know, what you're doing and what your next project is and all of that. So I had some real heat based on that because again, the script had kicked around the studios as well, right. It was The there was some interest there. So the doors project had been languishing for years because they had as I think I explained before they had there were quarreling parties that were involved. Okay, finally, Bill Graham, the rock promoter was able to put all the quarreling parties together in one room and get them all on the same page and get them to agree to make this particular movie. It was a huge bit of politics and

Scott Mcmahon 1:45:28
all this stuff was going on prior to even showing up right. Okay.

Randall Jahnson 1:45:31
So it was finally set and was set up at Columbia Pictures and Columbia was where Ridley Scott had his deal. And so that's how I think dudes got circulated out there. And one thing right, you know, so they had read it, and they were aware of it now, simultaneous with all of this is that my, one of my roommates from film school, Mike penciled was dating. A young executive at at Columbia, a development executive named Jude Schneider. And Jude was the executive who inherited the doors project. So it was her job then to go out and find your appropriate writer for it. So she asked her boyfriend, my old roommate, Mike, doing good for this. And Mike, who was aspiring to be a producer at that point, too, as well is just saying, Well, you know, he knew a lot of writers around but also, you know, he said, you know, Randy, I was Randy them. And so I got the call, and I knew Jude anyway, just through Mike Yeah, slightly, but not, you know, not real close. So, she got me out to come out and talk about it with her and then she said, I want to, I want to put you together then with a producer on it. Okay. And the producer was a guy named Sasha Harare, who was an Israeli computer magnate made a lot of money in in software. Way back when and he had bought his way onto the project. He had never produced anything before but he had bought a strategic piece of the pie. He bought the sync rights to the doors music, which Yeah, no one can make a movie with doors using DOORS music without pain. Right the Piper was Sasha

Scott Mcmahon 1:47:26
well that for once I close that door

Randall Jahnson 1:47:32
close the door and the doors Yeah, that's cold though.

Scott Mcmahon 1:47:47
Yeah, good reason. All right. So so very, which is that? Yeah, to think like the producers who bought the rights. Harry Potter, right. That just opened up.

Randall Jahnson 1:47:58
Yes, it did. It's just like, it was like a ghost. That's pretty funny. No, you can't do that. But, you know.

Scott Mcmahon 1:48:02
Funny. All right. We got a ghost. Yeah. So sorry.

Randall Jahnson 1:48:19
Jim Morrison coming. So Jude facilitated a meeting for me to meet the producer. Sasha he was he was apparently the lead producer at that point. So I met with him. We had lunch, and that he speak English pretty well. No, actually have very thick Israeli accent. Yeah, he tended to mumble a bit. And so it's

Scott Mcmahon 1:48:52
kind of hard to tell if you're getting good response. Oh, he must have been like, I don't know about Oh, I thought I

Randall Jahnson 1:48:57
told you. I thought it was over after 10 or 15 minutes. I mean, you know, yeah, I thought it was just going to be a very long lunch because I felt like I was shooting blanks. Yeah, I was not seeing anything that made any sense to him at all? Well, let

Scott Mcmahon 1:49:09
me let me back up on that. Real quick. So you know, you're going into this meeting, you know, what the project is about is just the doors. So how much preparation do you do before you go into the meeting? In terms of like reading up about the doors? Or do you have something preset in your mind about this is how I would tackle the story or

Randall Jahnson 1:49:27
Well, it's helpful. Yeah. Because they, when you're going through an interview process with producers, so it's essentially it's an audition piece. Now granted, they usually have read something that you have written prior to that. But they're also listening to agents and, and studio executives and and listening to their recommendations on who they should meet and all that. But when it really comes down to it, it's about chemistry. And it's about, it's about your vision.

Alex Ferrari 1:49:57
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Randall Jahnson 1:50:06
You know, so granted at that time, unlike today where there is a, you know, there's a dozen biographies out and Jim Morrison Yeah. Now, at that time there were no biographies, except for no one here gets out alive, which was written by Danny Sugarman and Jerry Hopkins, which I read, but I was not impressed with it for a variety of reasons it but it struck me as being very sensationalized and what wasn't footnoted? That's always if a book isn't footnoted, that's nonfiction. You know, I find it very difficult to believe, right. You know, some of the sources they say that they get the they they get their material from anyhow, I had read that I was a DOORS fan. I wasn't a DOORS fanatic. I had a couple of their albums. I didn't have the complete catalogue. Yeah. And but I had gone to UCLA, film school, which Morrison and Raymond's Eric, the keyboardist had had attended. And we had actually shared a couple of the same instructors. They were they had attended, you know, and I think 6465 Okay, and I was there and started in 79 and 8080, and out in 82. And so what happened, though, is that I caught a couple of these professors at the very end of their tenure, after many years there and that one was Ed Brokaw and the other was loose Doman and they both had had Morrison and, and Raymond's Eric, his students, and he left the door wide open there. And

Scott Mcmahon 1:51:49
he's having now down Yeah,

Randall Jahnson 1:51:51
so that brought a little credibility for me, because I you know, it's always about insider information. And somebody Oh, he must be really in touch. Because he's come up through the so you did all the UCLA Film School mystique. Okay. So

Scott Mcmahon 1:52:08
do you do is prep work before? Like,

Randall Jahnson 1:52:10
not really, because there wasn't a whole lot to do other than listen to their music, read the book.

Scott Mcmahon 1:52:15
How many days did you have to prepare to do like one day like he's gonna meet with him tomorrow? Yeah,

Randall Jahnson 1:52:20
it was pretty quick. It came up, I think, within a couple of days, because they were ready to go, they had to get moving. You know, they were they'd been this project had been festering for years. And so now that they finally had the green light to do it, that people were very, very eager to have moving. So I went and met with Sasha on this, this restaurant up on, on the Sunset Strip there and Hollywood, West Hollywood and sat down and we started chatting, and I just felt right away. This is not working. It's not going anywhere.

Scott Mcmahon 1:52:49
Did you feel like you're doing most of the talking? And he was just kind of looking mumbling Yeah.

Randall Jahnson 1:52:54
Yeah, basically, he was even closer. Sure.

Scott Mcmahon 1:53:13
He's just cooking out there.

Randall Jahnson 1:53:16
On the chef's Yeah, well, he's cooking and out there. We're freezing in here.

Scott Mcmahon 1:53:20
He's like yah no problem close it. Anyway, so you're just great. So yeah, it was the meeting like 20 minutes?

Randall Jahnson 1:53:28
Well, it was about to be I thought it was going to be over real fast. It was the quickest lunch ever because I thought I was boring them and we just couldn't find seem to be finding any any common ground. And granted again, to I at this time had had directed. You know, I've been working with Henry Rollins, Black Flag, men. And so I was kind of very steeped in the punk culture in LA at that time. Just didn't seem to matter to him. So then I said something that was I remember him cocking his head. And I felt that I made some sort of impression. And that was I drew the comparison between Jim Morrison and Lawrence of Arabia. And the movie Lawrence of Arabia, in which I said that both of these guys were very charismatic, very well educated, well read young men who were literally swept up by the events and the wave of history. And they served it as best they could. But what was happening is that there was a discrepancy that arose between their public persona and their private ones. And it got to the point of where that discrepancy pulled them so far apart that something had to snap, and it did, and it broke them out. I got my attention. And that did He cocked his head and then what I thought was going to be a 20 minute conversation ended up being two hours. We Were there for a couple of hours. That was a turning point was the turning piano hook, gone with that hook. And so who would have thunk, but that's the way that's the way it worked. And so he became very curious then about, you know what I thought and because he was Sasha was very intrigued with the notion that Jim was indeed a poet. He was he was an intellectual. Yeah, and arguably, he was. So he wanted to see that aspect really exploited and dramatized as much as possible. And so when I brought that up, I mean that to him, you know, there was there was a corollary between him and Lawrence of Arabia, te Lawrence, who was, you know, was a writer, and basically, you had the poet, the soul of a poet himself. But Lawrence was homosexual. And Lawrence also started believing his own press, at a certain point, at least, that was the take that the movie had. And it became very, very difficult for him to measure up to the sort of the public, or the heroic image that that had been perpetuated them by the media of the day. So it's very true with with Morrison Morrison wasn't a homosexual. He's probably bisexual. Yeah. But he had some secrets and some issues that, you know, caused him to, to snap, you know, to break as well. So, and also then the other thing that, I think scored some points was that I said, and this was one of the reasons why I really wanted to do the project was I had felt there had never been a rock and roll epic. Yeah. You know, up until that point, we'd seen the Buddy Holly story and the Richie Valens story and things like that Coal Miner's Daughter, which was really great, but it was different types of music and different, we hadn't seen a really serious treatment of rock and roll, and rock and roll, epic rock and roll.

Scott Mcmahon 1:57:08
Yeah, at a crucial time, like you said, it's different like the by high pitch the value or is is is different.

Randall Jahnson 1:57:14
And so I felt that the doors really had that potential, you because the, because of the subject matter of what they they sang about and what they their performances and the way they orchestrated things and the way their albums were produced and all of that, and you know, in Morrison's vision and men's Eric's vision and all of that they collectively they they had scope. It was It wasn't bubblegum rock. Yeah, it wasn't Paul Revere and the Raiders are, you know, really was about that was about the big questions, you know, yeah. And so that's what I bought dramatically. cinematically, it had great potential. And that's why I wanted to do it.

Scott Mcmahon 1:57:51
Did you find yourself once you cry, you broke through that like 20 minute mark, and you realize that now you're gelling? having this conversation that? Are the things kind of come in your mind. Like it's just you started just riding the wave yourself?

Randall Jahnson 1:58:04
You started the station started talking about your aspirin? Yeah, you do. You gotta do like, no, yeah, they

Scott Mcmahon 1:58:11
give you like this dolphin No, no, not.

Randall Jahnson 1:58:15
A bit. Yeah, it gets like that. It's, it's pretty funny. And you got to be careful to have like, not not promising more than you can deliver. But you can't help you get excited. And, and they and they feel that, you know, they producers, and executives and stuff, they they want to be swept up with the with your enthusiasm, they want to see your vision as well. Right? And they want to feel it. So it's a it's exciting for them, when you get excited and you sell them on it, you know, and then they're going to get on board because they usually have to turn around and then either have to sell you to their boss or to the studio or tested to some sort of money entity, that they and make them feel confident and good enough that they are making the right decision in hiring you and that you and only you have have the vision to pull this off. Right. So when I went off to this meeting, I remember talking to my my agent at the time, Rick Jaffa who I mentioned in our last session, you know, wrote has written with his wife, The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, you know, he left Morris to go become a writer. Rick was still my agent at that time. And he called me before I had this lunch before I called him up to tell him that I had this meeting that Jude had set up with Sasha and and he said, Listen, you know, you said I don't mean to dice your hopes, you know, rain on your parade, but, you know, they're talking to some really heavy hitters. It's a very, very slim chance you're gonna get that gig. Okay, I said, I don't care. I'm gonna I gotta go for it. I want to try, right? We try for it. And so he was very pleasantly surprised when when I got the gig But however, I didn't know I really had it.

Alex Ferrari 2:00:04
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Randall Jahnson 2:00:13
See, Sasha was very good poker player and so. So we that 20 minute lunch expanded into to a two hour lunch and we'd left. And then I heard from Jude I believe a later on that said, All right, he wants you to come and meet the doors. Now, the surviving doors. Great. Nothing else. That's already been worth it. Yeah. So we met and I can't remember if it was at Columbia Studios, or if it was at some other location there. But we had a preliminary meeting and where I met them. I can't remember if Jude was present in that meeting or not. But what was interesting was that man's Eric was there and men Zarek was impressed with with the stuff that I had done music video wise, and and also with my record label, and here's the here's where it got. No, no, my record label hadn't hadn't been established yet. But here's here's where it got incestuous though, which was that men's. Eric was producing X at the time. Oh, X was of course right now the punk rock band of LA and LA. Yeah, so man's Eric was producing them. So he was very keyed into what their their, you know, vibe and aesthetic was. Then he was a further impressed by the fact that I had gone through I was through UCLA. And we had had some of the shame Siemens instructors, so We compared notes. Yeah, a lot. And then Ray was also very interested in a band called the Fibonacci series who were he was interested in producing them. And they were the band that ultimately that would be my debut band on my record label. So I got to kind of really, and then then Densmore, the drummer John Densmore to the doors found out that I had written dudes, and he knew about dudes already. That it was I don't know, in the, in the works somewhere. And John was acting a lot at that point. And he immediately said, Do you think you can get a nice part in the movie? Like this? Oh, I just. I said, Well, sure. And then I had also the other thing that brought them in Zurich like was that I had been working with black flag and Henry Rollins. And I had always argued that, you know, the doors were much more punk rock than they were FlowerPower psychedelic, oh, yeah, generation kind of stuff. And that Henry was, you know, sort of the spiritual inheritor of the Morrison legacy, you know, by doing all his spoken word stuff, and I felt Henry had potentially had some acting chops. And there was even some discussion about Henry even possibly being the guy to play Jim, just very briefly. But Henry and I were piling around a lot at that time. And so I actually brought Henry over and to meet men's Eric and Paul Rotschild and Bruce Botnick, who engineered all the doors albums in Roswell, who produced them all. With some recording session was going on that they end so the he thought that was really cool. I scored a lot of points on that day, because Henry was really impressed to meet men's Eric and Rothchild. And men's Eric was really impressed to me, Henry and further just kind of, I think submitted my street cred in terms that I I was the right guy for to do this project. Right, right. So that's how in session and then I got I got Densmore an audition for dudes and Penelope Castile. So he's in dudes. He plays sheriff in a, you know, that's right. A Montana town and leaving blows him away, you know, at the very end there and but it was it was really funny. It was quite a time that was a high watermark in my, my career. And I so yeah, 1986

Scott Mcmahon 2:04:34
God, so you had your duties in production? You basically, at what point did you know was official that you're on doors?

Randall Jahnson 2:04:43
Well, I did. So we have that you had all these meetings. We were having all these meetings. And I kept wondering, Well, where are we you know, and we a lot of talk, a lot of discussion. A check. Well, nobody was saying anything. Yeah. So then we met again at a meeting. We had a meeting at 20th Century Fox and the reason why we were there was because we were in the in the office of a screenwriter named Tom Rickman. Tom Rickman is a wonderful, wonderful guy and a wonderful screenwriter. And he had written Coal Miner's Daughter, Michael Apted directed, they had originally gone to Tom to see if he wanted to write the doors movie of which he declined. He just, he just didn't want to get into that. That rat's nest, I guess, or whatever it was hornet's nest. But he agreed to be a board as to mentor, anyone who did step in to do it. So in other words, Tom was there for backup in case you know, whoever stepped into it failed. So he wanted to meet me then. And so we all convened at his office and 20th Century Fox, and so so it was Tom, were the surviving doors myself, Sasha. And I remember, they had ordered out lunch and everybody was brought in the sandwiches and zoo were all sitting around eating sandwiches, and there was a lot of banter going back and forth and discussion. And they kept asking me certain things about the movie or out, you know, what, how I saw certain things and what was important and what wasn't. And I kept, like, figuring out what, what, and finally I just find out, I just looked at Sasha. And I said, Look, do I have the job? I remember him just kind of grinning up. And he said, Yeah, you have the job.

Scott Mcmahon 2:06:35
That was your job. Like, my age and my man. Oh,

Randall Jahnson 2:06:43
my God. And that's, that's when at that moment, then it was just like, I frickin couldn't believe it, man. Because then it was like, I, I had run the gauntlet. I had beat the odds. I was, you know, having lunch with legends. And I was on a studio lot. And it was the dream. It was the dream. You know, it was just an amazing feeling.

Scott Mcmahon 2:07:08
When you got that moment when he gave you the smile a nod. Internally, were you just how quickly were able to focus back on to the task at hand which is like Well, here's the vision the movie because inside us be like, a holy shit. This is actually happening. Like this has actually happened. Yeah,

Randall Jahnson 2:07:24
I mean, you're you're doing somersaults inside. Yeah. But try to be cool. Cool. Yeah. Okay, yeah. Cool. I'm into it

Scott Mcmahon 2:07:42
well, it goes outside, but that door keeps flying.

Randall Jahnson 2:07:47
No, no. Yeah, this is it. So yeah, it was like, but I remember getting out of there and just like, Oh my God, who do I call first? I mean, it was like so well, who do you call? I think I called my agent I called Rick and Carol young guests and I said, I got the job and they just like, Are you kidding? Are you sure you Sure? And they said they told me they only got the job. And sure enough, it was you know, consummated shortly after that. I called Jude to thank her for really going to bat for me because she she really also it wasn't just all me she had influence with the studio of course and cuz she was still the executive in charge of the project. So she went to bat for me as well. And Jeeves, I think I called I don't know I call my parents and I you know, it's all blur a blur at this point, but it was just, I just

Scott Mcmahon 2:08:41
chose this is still a payphone Oh, yeah.

Randall Jahnson 2:08:46
I waited till I got home. But you know, this was this was at six but this was the drag though is that I got the gig and then dudes was in production was going into production. So like, I want to be there on the set, but I got it. I have to start going to work. Right away. Yeah. Fortunately, they were shooting dudes in LA in LA locations before they went off to Arizona. Okay, so I was able to, to go down the set in LA a couple of times. And I was dating this girl who worked for SST records at the time. Nice. Punk Rock. Yeah, yeah. She was a little skate punk. Nice. And she was tough man, Karen Nicks. And she was a photographer as well, and a really actually very good writer. And anyway, I took her to the set of dudes and we were I remember being then fully started, started trying to pick up on her. I was gonna

Scott Mcmahon 2:09:52
ask you, Ryder down there. I'm assuming that you see you lost her to one of the rockstars punks.

Randall Jahnson 2:09:59
Fleet was You know,

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Randall Jahnson 2:10:11
Chili peppers were just starting to Yeah. They were they were still very underground. They were, you know, they were the opening band for more established bands in LA at that time. But, you know, flea was a known commodity because of his, his playing with a fear. Yeah. You know, for even though it was a short stint, and then, and he was just a well known guy on that whole scene. So, yeah, but Fli was after Cara that. That was pretty funny. But yeah, so then, then Sasha told me, he said, basically, take a couple of weeks to research and then go and write the script.

Scott Mcmahon 2:10:57
Okay, so where do you start?

Randall Jahnson 2:11:01
Well, I started by interviewing, you know, the door, the doors themselves, you know, you go right straight to the horse's mouth in this particular case. And that was a, an array, Robbie, and John and I interviewed them collectively. And then I interviewed them individually, as well, because it's a little bit of corroborative Yeah, kind of witnesses and and that that I found it was sometimes they wouldn't be more frank, if they were if the others weren't around especially Densmore would really open up and the other two weren't around. So it became very apparent to me. Oh, and then Rothschild was also the gem of have an interview. And he was really my, my head. We're, yeah, we're doing really, really well. I guess you can take that empty. Yeah, I'm not gonna suck anymore. No,

Scott Mcmahon 2:12:02
I games. Another one, I think.

Randall Jahnson 2:12:04
Okay. Yeah. I'm just been talking to him tonight. I know. Yeah. , so So ray, t. Densmore, Rothschild. It was, yeah. My first or second session with him. It was like, wow, I felt like I was still being auditioned to a certain degree. Yeah. Because a lot of these guys now now, even though I was on board, and sanctioned, yeah, had the blessing. Now, it's still I sort of had to prove myself. And in, in a sense, I mean, these were the guys who were the guardians of the, the faith, keepers of the faith. And so therefore, I had to further prove myself in a sense, so that's where I started doing a lot more research and really asking the right questions, really thinking ahead of time before I would speak, it wasn't just trying to, you know, talk out on my end, what was Joe really like? Yeah. Blow, can you tell me some good drugs, stories and stuff like that, and, but, but really try to get to the meat of the matter. But it became very apparent to me. After my first round of interviews, that the public persona of Jim Morrison was one thing, the private one was an entirely different, right, so that there was in other words, there was a whole lot of stuff that had never been discussed, never been talked about never been delved into whatsoever. And that it was not, this was not a particular case of where I was going to be able to take a couple of weeks to research and then go and write the movie. Because the deeper the more and more I got into it, the deeper and deeper I felt it was, and it was going to take some real work and some heavy lifting and Rothschild. Rothschild, you know, told me at one point, he said, Look, you're gonna, you know, the, the key to it is, is finding, you know, what, what made Jim so angry, what was the core? What was the, the, the source of his angst?

Scott Mcmahon 2:14:17
And did you ask him, Where do I go to fight?

Randall Jahnson 2:14:20
Well, he offered it up, okay, me. So. And he said that, he said, Jim came to him a couple of times with a problem and asked Paul's advice about what to do about it. And the, it would it was related to a particular function. And, and Paul said, you know, look into this because he said, I think this might provide some, you know, answers to Jim's angst.

Scott Mcmahon 2:14:57
So let's back up real quick. For me. It's like we have Ray the keyboard earnest Yes, we have. Paul is

Randall Jahnson 2:15:05
rape, Raymond's Eric is the keyboardist right Robby Krieger is the guitarist right for John Densmore is the drummer right. And then Paul Rothschild produced thank all of the doors albums except la woman. Okay. Okay. So that's where he he if he was done as really in one sense sort of was Jim. After the soft parade, he couldn't, he didn't. He heard some of the demo tapes for. We're not even they weren't even demo tapes. He attended a couple of band rehearsals for where they had the new material working on and he heard writers on the storm which he said it sounded like cocktail music to him. It was boring. He didn't say he didn't like it. Thank you. So that's what was interesting. There. So but Rothschild, was the elder statesman in a sense of the band. Ron Paul was a few years older than even man's Eric immens. Eric was definitely the elder statesman of the band. You know, Robin, and John were like, 2122. Yeah. And Ray was 2728 years old when the doors really kicked in. Ray was born in 1939. Ray had been in the Army Ray was in graduate school for film school when he was at UCLA. He wasn't an undergrad. I know when

Scott Mcmahon 2:16:34
the film came out. I ever heard read statements, he was just upset like, because he's felt like the movie sort of portrayed him as like kind of a whiner. You know,

Randall Jahnson 2:16:45
it's like, yeah, well, Ray had a lot of issues about V and

Scott Mcmahon 2:16:50
the jump ahead, but yeah, remember? Yeah, that mean as you know, outsider

Randall Jahnson 2:16:54
Yeah, there there were a lot of I re did not get along with Oliver from what I understand. I can't say that okay, you know, but I they did not see eye to eye. And it was interesting too, because Ray was very tight with Danny Sugarman. And Danny Sugarman ended up being very tight with Oliver. So you would think there would have been some sort of synchronicity there, but there wasn't apparently there was a lot of friction between Oliver and Ray. And Ray did not like you know, how the movie handled a lot of the stuff and so and so went on record again, and again, really just say no bad movie bad, bad portrait, etc, etc. all over again. Oliver likes to get sensational with stuff and but he's and he's the man not lacking in opinions. Yeah. And so And nor nor the guts to express them. So he's, you know, he was going to make his own movie one way or another.

Scott Mcmahon 2:17:53
So let's back up real quick. So you, you go on this, this journey, your own journey now that you've entered the portal of Jim Morrison's world who was exactly it was that Yeah, and I don't know if you, you may check out just last week, Jimmy Fallon, that this Jim Morrison person he did. He does this thing where you he takes famous like musicians that he does imitations of like, Paul. I'm sorry. Who's it? Neil Young. Yeah. But he's, he had like Jim Morrison the doors like his makeup make believe ban, but they were he would just sing the songs. But the lyrics are just nonsense, but he was he was basically reading like, the Reading Rainbow. You know, the, you know, good night moon. So it's like, children's songs done. And it is uncanny how much he sounds like Jimbo more. Yeah. And so it's online. It's you can easily find it, like a quick YouTube search. And it's just to see him just going like rooting rainbow. Indian rubber. Yeah. It's like the way he sees it. And like the whole band is like for your show, but just just as a little tongue in cheek. Sure. Pretty funny. But as you go down this journey, yeah. And what you thought was a couple of weeks how big of a fan was Sasha of the music? Or was he just more of a business pragmatic person that's, I'm gonna buy into this and then

Randall Jahnson 2:19:22
that's an interesting question, because Sasha would tell me on more than one occasion, how he got into this whole thing in which was that he had been had been in New York. Sasha was married at the time to one of the Efrain sisters, Amy Ephron, who's a very prolific novelist now, but she's the younger sister of Delia and the other AirFrance. There's a lot of them.

Alex Ferrari 2:19:55
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Randall Jahnson 2:20:06
He had been living in New York at the time. And he said that or prior to all this, he said that he had been out partying all night long or something. And he was coming back from some all night thing and was driving across a particular bridge and the sun was coming up in New York, and I think he said the end came up. Right on right on time. Yeah, right on cue. And he said, that was just like, a salient moment. For him. He had never really heard it, I guess, you know, Sasha had been, I think it was in the Israeli army was in the seven days war and 67, or whatever. So I mean, he was just this was not a, he wasn't, in other words, he wasn't in LA or San Francisco drinking the FlowerPower wine, you know, he was in an entirely different place, much like Oliver Stone was, you know, he was an Oliver was in, in Southeast Asia is in Vietnam. And when the doors were really happening stateside. So anyway, he just said that this was just a huge moment for him. And he just he got from that point on, he became obsessed about the band, and he had made all this money in software. And he just went out and bought, literally just bought his way onto into this, the strategic piece of

the producing puzzle of the producing puzzle. Fascinating. Yeah. So yeah, yeah, it really,

I mean, I was very interested in and I mean, it was effective, because boy, he was he instantly made himself a player. Yeah. Now he had bought it a couple of years before, you know, but he'd laid the money down and then did it. It was it was a smart thing.

Scott Mcmahon 2:21:53
So then, now you've, you're exploring, you're going wow, it almost sounds crazy. But you could have like, written a book biography, because all the legwork that you've done to do the research,

Randall Jahnson 2:22:06
Yeah, I accumulated I think I have about 50 hours of interviews, you know, on on tape, and, you know, I mean, it's, I mean, it's it's everyone, all the doors, you know, Rothchild. Jac, Holzman around Elektra Records. Got it. I mean, I mean, there were characters, you know, babe Hill. I've babe Hill was Jim's trusted drinking buddy in the latter part of his career. Nobody knew where babe Hill was. When I got on board. No, and a lot of people didn't want to know, I wanted to know because I wanted to interview him. Yeah. But everyone was, was afraid of baby because baby was kind of this biker guy. And he was in pretty tight with some, I guess, some real heavy friends. Right? Robbie had did not want to have anything to do with him. He's and I mean, Rothschilds just said, Jesus, you know, the last time I saw a baby at a he had a hunting rifle on was shooting it, you know, off of, you know, my backyard, you know, up in the Hollywood Hills, just like crazy all these crazy stories about baby but nobody knew how to get a hold of them. And, you know, Ray and all those guys didn't, they didn't know. So how did you do it? Well, I I wish I could take total credit for it. But I couldn't. Tom Rickman had a very resourceful secretary at the time named Francesca and Francesca did a little bit of sleuthing, which was we had heard that babe was in the grips union work in the film business and he was a grip. So she called the grip union headquarters. Wherever that number is, yeah.

And then they said, Well, you got to talk to moose. So moose was like, this guy named moose was the head of the grips at MGM. So she called up moose and he said, Oh, yeah, well, babe, you know you can find babe at this bar. I forget the name of it now. She it's only been 26 years. Yeah. That was literally across the street from MGM, the old MGM lot in Culver City. And he said, He's there every day about four o'clock. So you know, just buying some Jack Daniels. Like, okay, so, Francesca relays this information to me, she said, I think I found them or at least Nunnery where you can find them.

Scott Mcmahon 2:24:44
So you kind of go solo on these things. It's not like you have a team that says like, you have your own little team that says like, I'll find this setup this interview for you. It's you going Hello?

Randall Jahnson 2:24:55
Yep, that's exactly what remember there's no internet. No cell phone. That's fine. But, you know, it's an entirely different landscape.

Scott Mcmahon 2:25:04
What an event?

Randall Jahnson 2:25:04
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So she gave me the name of the bar, new dress. And I went down there on a particular day about four o'clock in the afternoon.

Scott Mcmahon 2:25:15
Now set the scene here. You in this bar? Did you fit in? Or were you

Randall Jahnson 2:25:20
totally No, this was a real this was this was a drinking mansbach.

Scott Mcmahon 2:25:28
So what were you wearing? Well,

Randall Jahnson 2:25:32
certainly not going to dress up for the occasion, you know, jeans and a T shirt, and it's probably wearing my black Doc Martin Doc Martens at the time. It was a little horseshoe counter of a bar really small. Gosh, I can't remember the name of it. I probably got it somewhere in my notes. Three or four professionals at the bar drinking, you know, four o'clock on a weekday afternoon. And I think I got there first. I think I was there staking it out, and went in in order to order the beer. And you know, honestly, boy, I haven't really thought about this in a long time. It might have been that moose conveyed a message to bait.

Scott Mcmahon 2:26:24
Like, hey, this guy's like, yeah, yeah.

Randall Jahnson 2:26:27
And and I think the message came back something like Go tell that guy to go fuck himself or something like that. Their usual. Yeah. Or, or it was like, you know, meet me at this bar at that at such and such, you know, just do different responses. Yeah, I know. Honestly, it's been that long, and I can't remember. But let me just say that, you know, for the record, I entered the establishment with a certain amount of trepidation. But sure enough, baby came in. And I took a seat next to him and say, Hey, babe, I'm Randall. And you know, I'm writing this. Yeah, the movie

Scott Mcmahon 2:27:12
now hard horse. How hard was it to say, Hey, babe, I

Randall Jahnson 2:27:19
haven't really thought of it. I guess well, it would have been worse if I'd said, Hey, babe, I'm Randy. If we were in England, that would have been an entirely different subtext. And, you know, he just he didn't really want to talk i At first, I remember him being Sutton's taken somewhat aback. So which leads me to believe now actually, that he was I caught him a little off guard, he wasn't sure that I was going to be there or something. So he, but I remember him saying, kind of, you know, being standoffish at first, but I didn't. Back away. I knew this was like, I have to get this is my job. Yeah. And he finally said, Well buy me some whiskey. And we'll talk. And so we ended up drinking, he drank a lot of whiskey and having a, you know, we talked for probably an hour and a half, two hours there at that bar, initially. And then, again, like I was talking about before, whether it's, it's kind of like these hurdles, or the, you know, this gauntlet, you have to go through, I cleared it with him. So, therefore, then I was able to go the next level, which was okay. We'll meet again, and yeah, we'll get into it. Okay, I see what you're doing. No, no. So it was like, the outer circle, right. And we're, we'll get into the meat of the map. Now,

Scott Mcmahon 2:28:47
let me so when you get hired on the job, again, as a life of a writer, you know, you're paid in a sort of like a freelancer, you're paid in these chunks. There's not like a regular paycheck. It's literally like, here's a bit of money. And here's another bit of your paid

Randall Jahnson 2:29:01
at increments, and usually the way it worked at that time, you get paid, you know, half upfront, and you'll get paid the half the second half upon delivery of your first draft. And there's usually yeah, there's there's a usually some leftover for another pass and possibly a Polish, right, you know, but basically, you get a very large sum upfront, and then you get another large sum after you deliver a first draft and what can happen in in between that, you know, it can be a long time, and it was in my case a long time.

Scott Mcmahon 2:29:36
Yeah, I was gonna think like, because you're on this project or like, okay, he's asking you buy him some whiskey, you're like, Okay, money is like yeah, they're paying me to this. I'll buy this whiskey for you, you now makes the second you enter that circle and and yeah, and the stuff that he was telling you, like, like

Alex Ferrari 2:29:57
we'll be right back after a word from our spot. Sir and now back to the show

Scott Mcmahon 2:30:07
for you personally, it was just more like were you finding moments of like, oh wow. Oh wow like just your head spinning in a sense that you were like, like story points or just just sheer pure human interest

Randall Jahnson 2:30:19
it's more of the latter. I mean I don't recall you really just going holy goobers you know this. This is the most amazing stuff I've ever heard. It wasn't anything quite like that a lot of the a lot of the stories had already been kicked about, you know, that people were aware of them at least as a rumor or something, but I don't I don't remember. You know, having really earth shattering stuff coming out from Babe and I actually I think I might have been a little disappointed in babe, actually and then more subs hoping you had Yeah, okay. But basically Babe. Babe was was just a good guy. Babe was unlike Jim. And a lot of gyms old film school crew. Babe was kind of the anti intellectual. And in a sense, Bade kind of kept it real. I got that for him, you know? And that babe was probably more loyal than almost any and all of those friends. But babe, wasn't Jim's intellectual. On his level, he would listen and he would tolerate it and kind of stuff like that. But basically, he would watch gyms back and he would call bullshit. Yeah, Jim in you know, in gym knew that. Babe was real. He wasn't just sort of somebody who was fawning all over him. And that was pretty much the case too, with with the other guys that were that they were pretty close in that in that little knit, close knit group, which was included Paul Ferrara, who I never interviewed, and Franklin Leandro who I did interview. Those were Jim's old friends from film school. And those guys were really tight knit, you know, for for a period of time. And so they did a lot of partying together a lot of drinking together and alone, you know, that stuff, but But yeah, you know, but what was happening, though, is that I would interview all these different people, and they not none, none of them really got along with one another. And they, you know, headed two different directions, you know. And so what happened is that I just had this it was amassing all this information, though. And none of it jived food, none of it was sort of coalescing. Yeah. Anything. And it was like a classic case of that, you know, the blind men touching the elephant. Yes. Thinking that, oh, I really have the knowledge of what Jim Morrison was all about. But you know, he's got his hand on the Tusk, that somebody else is holding on to the tail, right. And all that and, and they, neither one of them really knew.

Scott Mcmahon 2:33:11
Right, right.

Randall Jahnson 2:33:13
So fast. It was, yeah. And so it was it was scary. Then, because I had to pull it all together.

Scott Mcmahon 2:33:19
Like yeah, like you realize now it's real, like all the honeymoons over now. It's this word right. Now, how many years? Or how long did it take you to get the first draft to them?

Randall Jahnson 2:33:30
I spent all of 1986 working

Scott Mcmahon 2:33:32
on one year. Yeah. When you're free starting writing.

Randall Jahnson 2:33:36
I got I think I got the job in like February, March, something like that. And yeah, and so then I started researching and then writing and holy crap, you know, I just got, and I was funny, too. I was. I was 27 years old. Same age. Jimbo was when he died. drove a Mustang. I had a Mustang. Jim drove a Mustang. I was living in West Hollywood, which is literally around the corner from from where Jim used to crash at Pamela's apart apartment on Norton Avenue. I was on lived on Sweetser and just up from Santa Monica Boulevard. And so I was literally around the corner from his his universe, which was basically the corner of the intersection of Santa Monica and La Cienega. Yeah, because the doors offices were right there. The LTC anago Hotel Motel was there. Elektra was just down the street. There were buttons, Barney's, Beanery, and a few other locales that are now long gone, but that was really kind of the center of his universe. And so it was it was a little interesting, you know, living living there at that time, and you know, and writing about it. This was when I was First on onboard on it, and then and I, it was it was odd. Yeah, it was really kind of a sort of a strange thing. But I couldn't work at home a lot of times because there was noise in the apartment. I had a roommate at the time. And yeah, and it was just, it was a lot of it was distracting. So I moved around a lot. And I actually came down to the, came home to Carlsbad and wrote a lot of it down, there was a stand with my parents. Just to get away, well, just to get away and I got really sick. Also, I got Oh, I got a it sounds worse than it was. But if I had mono hepatitis, which just waylaid me. It's actually a more benign form of hepatitis, then you would, yeah, but it sounds worse than than it really actually was. But it was it. I mean, I was wasted for a long time. And I literally couldn't get out of bed. And here it was, I had the most felt like the the job of a lifetime. And I couldn't, I couldn't, you know, so I wasn't laying there in bed, and too sick to even sit up straight. But I remember just envisioning in my head it was laying there with this fever or these, oh, these aches or whatever. I would just go over it again. And again, in my head, like one scene after the next how I would see the movie. Yeah, you know, and it just formed it from based on all the interviews and stuff and just just envisioned it one thing after another after another after another as far as far as I could. So you're still working. I'm still working but literally not write writing.

Scott Mcmahon 2:36:49
Yeah. Which is fine. It's mean they talk about that. And they said the other podcast I listened to with Jeff Goldsmith, like creative, screenwriting magazine, but now he has his own podcast called the q&a. And a lot of the screenwriters he's talked to they talk about this, this technique that they use, which is they need their naptime. The Coen Brothers talked about that where they just have a nap, which is that that weird state of in between when you're about to fall asleep and in awake, and all sudden, somehow it just cleanses your your thoughts. And like, what you're trying to work on comes clear in that weird moment of bright before sleep or coming out of sleep. So you were lucky enough to be induced with the this sickness that you are, like, constantly like that. every waking hour, but

Randall Jahnson 2:37:39
Well, there's Yeah, I mean, but yeah, it is interesting. There was there's a lot of truth to that. And to that sort of state between waking and waking, conscious. Ness, yeah. Asleep. But it was nevertheless, you know, I was I moved around a lot. I went up to Idlewild up in the mountains above you know, Palm Springs there. And some friends of mine had a known it wasn't friends. Yes, it was friends of friends. And I rented a little a frame cabin for like, three weeks or a month and wrote up there like a real writer. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, exactly. And then then I was down on my parents place and then then I got some office space. This is really bizarre to there's just all these really weird things that happen but I have this office space that I rented for a while and a big barn like building in West Hollywood. It was an old old historical building. I think it had been a silent film studio or something like that. But had been all divided up subdivided inside and so there were all these different little cubicles and, and things within it. And somebody I a friend of a friend had office space there and they were going to be gone and so I could go in there and work. So I was there working late one night. You and I had my all my stuff out at doors tapes, I had a little this is again the day of cassettes. I had a little portable cassette player and I had all my doors tapes and I had a briefcase full of stuff. And I had a whole stack of photographs of that I'd taken on the set of dudes that were in this briefcase and everything. And I was really tired at one point. So I went out and I got a bite to eat over around the corner and like at Hugo's or someplace and I and I came back came upstairs into this into this place and it was pretty big and dark, you know and others and and we have this just this little light around my little cubby right? It's working

Alex Ferrari 2:39:59
we'll be right back. back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Randall Jahnson 2:40:08
And I came in and I sat down, and I noticed that some of my stuff did look like the way I had left it. You know, and it was weird as a kid. I don't remember these things. Well, something was off it. There was some papers on the floor or something was something was in disarray. Something was it wasn't quite right. Then I heard something in the back. What the hell is this? So I go back? No, I had been told that there was there's this comedian rich. Paul, hot, rich Hall rich hall itself. Yeah. had also had space there. And he would occasionally come in late at night and work around. So I thought it might have been him. So I was oh, let's go. And I'll go and say hello, maybe. So go on the back. And here's this guy stooped over, and going through a bunch of stuff. And I come in, I say, hey, and he's, and he looks up and he says, Oh, hello. And he has this kind of affected English accent of some sort is very, very odd. And he had this retro, like, 50s suit on and a fedora hat. Literally. Yeah. And I thought, well, this isn't it definitely isn't rich Hall. Yeah. And so I said, Who are you? And I said you work for it was a production company that actually was do you work for such and such? And, and he's, he said something? He said some weird answer. That was like neither yes or no. And I thought, This isn't right. Yeah. So we chatted a little bit more and he was like, really just like, iron me and like, it was very, really, really kind of weird. He stood up, you know, and I was like, there's this is something's really not right. You're inside. Yeah. Yeah. So I said, Look, your spidey senses. Yeah, my spidey sense was up, you know. And so I said, like, Gee, do you know? I don't mean to be out of line here. But I missing I'm missing some stuff that was on my desk. Be here. And he said, Oh, really? What was that? And I said some tape some doors, tapes and stuff. Oh, I liked the doors. He's really kind of creepy. I liked the doors. Oh, boy. This is okay. My spidey senses. Really, ya know, and I was thinking, geez, what do I do? And I kept thinking I can I can take them I can take, but I thought also this guy is just weird enough that he's got like a switchblade or some kind of weird thing in there. So I kind of made my exit segway to back backed away from him. I went over to my cubicle, and I called the cops and, and I said, I got a, you know, as a, there's a burglary, and they said, Okay, you know, blah, blah. And they said, they put me on hold. And then they finally came back. And he said, so when it had happened, I said, it's happening. Now he's in the building. She sees in the building, why don't you tell us? So, I mean, they both and then this guy was he heard me and he bolted. He pulled it out of the place and went running with my pieces of my briefcase. Yeah, ever and, and boy, the cops were there fast. I got down on the street. And then I had to put my hands up because they thought I was the guy and I said, No, I'm the guy who called this is the you know, and so they had a helicopter overhead. This is not LAPD, but this is West Hollywood. So it was Sheriff's Department. And they were there very, very quickly. And then people from the production company called later on and I told him what happened and because there have been other things that have been taken, and so what happened is, you know, I lost this guy absconded with a bunch of my doors, cassettes, not not Unfortunately, nothing that could not be replaced, except that he took my grandfather's briefcase which was something that I was you know, very proudly thought was cool. Yeah, gold satchel looking kind of a briefcase. And there might have been some notes or something but he also all the photographs I'd taken out on the set which the happy ending though I found the negatives too many years later, like after I moved up here actually interesting. And I found them you know, that's one of the advantages of moving is that you find a lot of stuff so I got those reprinted and actually they're on my my website now. So anyway, but that was just, they never found the guy and actually many like said Couple months, like six months later, I got a phone call. And they had found the briefcase and they had found and stuff, but it was just deteriorate. He had stashed it under the steps or some bushes there on the on the compound and had been rained on and deteriorated and all that stuff. But they had found that there was still some stuff in it that, you know, I was able to salvage a little bit of but still the good stuff was gone. And anyhow, that was just kind of, sort of typical of what was going on. I you know, I remember coming home one day after working, you know, interviewing people, and I was just exhausted and my head was swimming. And I, you know, I didn't know if I was making any progress at all. And I and I literally, like lay down to take that nap. And my head hit the pillow and the phone rang. And I picked it up and I said hello. And he said, Randy Johnson. Yes, blah, blah, blah here. I won't say who it was because he's actually a very successful director now. But he was an actor at the time aspiring actor. And he said, I hear your writing the the doors movie. I said, are and he said he announced his name. Like we were all buddies. And I said hi. And good, I think. And he. He said, Well, I understand you're writing the doors movie. And I say, yeah. Well, listen, you know, we got to get together because, you know, I'm a huge doors fan. And I'm, I'm the guy to play Jim. And I said, well, listen, man, you know, thanks. But there's not even a script yet. It's a little premature. I mean, I haven't even written finished the script yet. And, frankly, you know, when it comes down to casting, I'm not gonna I'm gonna be lucky to even if they even asked me, you know, my opinion. And so I knew I somehow I, you know, I got off the Line. He called me up a couple. One other time, in literally, it was the same kind of circumstances. Middle, the afternoon, I was like trying to take a nap. And he was he says, I'm tripping. I'm tripping. Man, I'm tripping. And I said, Well, good for you. And he said, listen, he said, You got to know this. He said, The I had a dream last night. And guess who came to me in my dream? She, I wonder, he said, Jim Morrison. He came to me in the dream. And he said, I'm the guy to play him in the movie. So we have got to get together, man, we've got to get together. Dude, you know, don't call me when you're high. But now he's a successful director. Yeah, it's fine. It's fine. I won't say who it was. But but this was just kind of the nutty, bizarre circumstances that were, you know, just in the midst of all this and where I was trying really hard just to get through my find my way through it all. And yeah, and I could. And so, you know, again, back to your whole thing. Could I have written a book? Yeah. I think in one sense, after I was off the project that I had all this all this, all these interviews, and it was very, I thought, I nobody's nobody's gonna want to read a book about and then subsequently, you know, I mean, for like, every six months, there was a new Jim Morrison biography that was coming out, I'm just sort of kick myself for not doing it.

Scott Mcmahon 2:48:40
There's, you know, the reason I brought that up is because I remember hearing this interview with another, another screenwriter, and they were talking about this other famous, I don't remember her name, but they were asking her like, hey, you know, if you would ever were approached with this particular project again, and would you, you know, write it the same way or write this project? She was she was her response, I remember was something like, like, hell no, because I would write, I would write the book, I read the play, I write the movie, basically, mindset was like, I would figure out a way to milk it. Yeah, it's in all different facets, you know, and like her life lesson as what she learned after being a writer for so many years. Like, so that's what I thought about it, too. It's like, wait a minute, holy cow. You know, I just had to ask you, just because I remember that little, little snippet from

Randall Jahnson 2:49:30
well, some of this stuff. I'm actually I think, going to attempt in the large article about it, you know, at some point, because I think there is enough stuff that in here that's kind of actually worth looking at in terms of a screenwriters approach to a daunting project and that my kind of like my whole trip my whole journey on this was, it was it was something Yeah, it's something I I earned some stripes on this one, I think Yeah, it's cool.

Alex Ferrari 2:50:02
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mcmahon 2:50:11
I think we will wrap it up here because I think we can go into the next next. I love it because we can go the next one, we talked about the final release of dudes, we can talk about coming into this as Exactly. This is fantastic. Believe me, I, I'm gonna be honest with you. I, I lost a lot of podcasts. And I said with a lot of screenwriters, and they do like a lot of the interviews they do with screenwriters. Even though I love what Jeff Goldsmith does, they served as he only has like an hour and a half to really kind of gloss over somebody's career. So the advantage that we have here is, I get to ask these questions. I know, I'm just like, fan like anybody else going? Like, how much would that be? Like, if you had that moment, or like, Oh, my God, I'm on the job. You know, it's like, or, like, I can't believe this is so surreal that that I'm working with the doors, the doors, and then like you, but you got to step back or like now it's this work, I got to just figure it out. And just talking about the little things about writing about like, you know, you realize you're, you're you're doing a service, because you're just trying to get the story. But there comes a time sometimes where you I guess you're you have to ask yourself, like, what kind of story do I want to see? Or like, what is it? You know what I mean? That was that little ounce of personal reward out of it? Especially when you're writing all these, you know, sort of pseudo auto autobiographies?

Randall Jahnson 2:51:36
Well, in that auto biographies, I'm sorry, yeah, in bio pics, or whatever. But in this particular case, the more I got into it, and the more information I began to uncover, and collect, the more and more it fueled my, my passion for it, let's say, it became my crusade, I got a degree to, to, in a sense, blow the whistle on the bullshit that had circulated about him for so many years. And and in the very least, try to tell attempt to tell some truth about him. But at the same time, that was my undoing on the project. And so we'll leave it at that there was much conflict to come. Okay, because it was not smooth sailing.

Scott Mcmahon 2:52:33
Okay, well let you know where and I remember when we finally saw the film, I think it was in senior high school. Yeah. It was a big, big deal for my buddies. And I had to go see this movie. So you know, because it was a big like event. So anyway, well, when

Randall Jahnson 2:52:48
I was in the, in the South Pacific earlier, in this year, in March, there was a I met a gentleman who was a politician and serving in the Parliament of the island Kingdom chain of Vanuatu. And he found out that I wrote the tours, and he just, he, he said, I saw it in college. This was in Australia, but he grew up and has returned to Vanuatu, out there in the Deep South Pacific. And he said, Oh, man, he's that I'm so glad to meet you. So you really gotta write. And so it never ceases to amaze me how powerful, you know, film, and pop culture is really, you know, it's so far reaching, you know, there's not a point in the globe anymore, where it just doesn't go

Scott Mcmahon 2:53:38
it is the greatest export that the United States has. Yeah. And it will change. It will change. I mean, it will change worlds, because, you know, doesn't matter how I mean, the culture of these young people and all the all these subtle other countries. I mean, not to say Western eyes it but there is this romance idea of I think what these western movies, so that hits a psyche amongst, you know, the rest of the world. Yeah, and I think that is sort of sometimes becomes the root of, you know, revolution and how we were bombed. I mean, we were attacked 911 Because of the stupid things of like, they're, they're reciting, you know, Britney Spears, like, how could you have your women dress like this? Right. You know, it's like, sure. We were so like, what? That was the reason? Yeah, but they go there anyway. Yeah.

Randall Jahnson 2:54:32
Well, thanks for asking the questions. And thanks for giving me the opportunity actually, to get into this in a certain amount of depth. Yeah, no, I just doesn't, you know, again, if this were any other interview, it would be

Scott Mcmahon 2:54:42
glossed over. Yeah, and then it's like, Okay, you're right. But yeah, soundbites. Now, this is good. I mean, I'm enjoying it. It's like uncovering and, and all this kind of stuff. Now, it gives me those thoughts like when we should write a story about your adventure writing this stuff. I don't Oh, that Yeah,

Randall Jahnson 2:55:01
I think that's in the works here at some point. I'm yeah.

Scott Mcmahon 2:55:04
See, we're like we're scratching the surface here. All right. Yeah. Well, here we are. I'm sure I got some good stuff.

Randall Jahnson 2:55:11
Thanks, Scott. Thank you. It's been a pleasure.

Scott Mcmahon 2:55:12
Thank you guys. Thank you.



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