Today’s guest prolific actor/writer/director Pat Healy. Pat discuss his new Netflix film Take Me starring himself and Orange is the New Black’s Taylor Schilling. He also talks about his experience working with the Duplass Brothers, working with the legend Steven Speilberg, and how he has made a living being a script doctor over the years. Pay Healy’s feature film screenplays Strange Skies and Snow Ponies found their way on the Black List in 2006 and 2007.
Enjoy my conversation with Pat Healy.
Alex Ferrari 1:56
So today's guest is Pat Healy. Pat is a pretty remarkable filmmaker who also is an actor and has over 100 IMDb credits as an actor, and has worked with directors like PT Anderson, the duplass brothers, and most recently, this little guy known as I think, Steven Steven Spielberg, I think he calls him on Steven Spielberg's new film the papers starring Tom Hanks. So the guide has been around some amazing talent in his life. And he is a first time director with his new movie, take me which stars Orange is the New Black's Taylor Schilling. And it's available on Netflix, and it was sold to Netflix by the duplass brothers for their or picture a three picture deal that they have going on with Netflix. So Pat, was a very interesting guy, and I wanted to get him on the show to talk to him a little bit about his process as a filmmaker, what made him jump into the directing chair after a very successful career and still successful career as a director, how it was like working with, you know, legends like Steven Spielberg and PT Anderson, and what was it like to work with the duplass brothers as producers, and how Netflix treated him throughout this entire process. So without any further ado, here is my conversation with Pat Healy. I like to welcome to the show Pat Healy. Man, thank you so much for jumping on man.
Pat Healy 3:21
Thanks for having me, Alex.
Alex Ferrari 3:22
I appreciate it, man. And I first and foremost, I wanted to ask you, how did you get into the business?
Pat Healy 3:30
I always loved movies. I mean, my parents were big movie fans and I have three brothers. We all love the movies. I knew that I wanted to make movies and be part of movies, acting was something that I knew how to do at a very early age and did plays in school and, you know, ended up doing plays in high school and then going to college for theater. But when I graduated from college, I went to Illinois State University down in normal Illinois. I grew up in suburban Chicago, and they had an internship at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, which is a huge regional theatre company were people like john malkovich, and Gary Sinise and Joan Allen, and
Alex Ferrari 4:17
I've never heard never heard of any of them.
Pat Healy 4:18
Yeah. That's a nobody's. So, that theater company actually started at my college, my university. And so they offered an internship for graduating senior every year, which I did. I got that internship when I graduated, and that sort of brought me right into the business. I mean, I did all of the dirty work there. I worked on the crew, I helped build sets, I lifted a porta potti up and down flights of stairs. There are some space
Alex Ferrari 4:47
That must have been fun.
Pat Healy 4:49
Yeah, but I also was able to audition for every play there and I got cast as an understudy a few times during my year long internship and and I went on Now when somebody wasn't available one night, and then as soon as I finished my internship, I got cast in my first play there. And that is the sort of prestige that was connected with Steppenwolf got me an agent, you know, a small agency, they were a big agency in Chicago. But, you know, I started doing, you know, while I was doing theater and working as a waiter in Chicago for about five years, whatever television and movies came through town and commercials and things like that industrial videos. And then my agency had an office in LA, a small office, and I moved there in 98. And that's really how I got started. I, you know, I do believe in working hard and in, you know, trying to be as good a person as you can, but there is a certain amount of luck that's involved that a lot of people don't acknowledge, but, you know, I just thought I was in the right place at the right time. You know,
Alex Ferrari 6:06
I've heard that from interviewing so many people over over the years, I've, I've talked to multiple people saying the same things like, Look, I was at the right place at the right time. If that situation happened today, I don't know if it would, I would make it and the same.
Pat Healy 6:20
Yeah. I mean, I'd like to help. And I'm sure we're going to talk about this, you know, people get, you know, trying to break into the business. Well, but, you know, I really don't know. Yes, sir. to that question on a lot of ways. It's, it's such a different business now, isn't it? What if I would, you know, had the opportunities that I, you know, have had then Now,
Alex Ferrari 6:41
Again, I mean, the look at you know, if you're going down the directing path, I mean, the opportunity that opened itself up in the 70s for the Spielberg Scorsese, Coppola De Palma, that that crowd that wasn't around in the 60s or 50s. Yeah,
Pat Healy 6:56
It was a much smaller business to at that, exactly. It was possible for, you know, for Steven Spielberg to, you know, make his way, you know, sneak on the universe a lot. You know, find a job directing TV, and then directing and very successful television movie and then directing a feature film, you know, and then the second one, he does his biggest movie ever. So hit that alright, he came out all right. Yeah, he came out. All right. So So yeah, it's, it's, it's hard if we're going to be analogous to, you know, our current times, I'm not sure there is much of an analogy, but you know, I bet we can find some,
Alex Ferrari 7:37
But I think also, there's opportunities now that they just, I mean, that generation would have killed for like, distribution like Netflix or, or something like that, that, you know, there's opportunities. It's just how to maneuver, it's always it's always easy to look back and say, Oh, I could have done that back then. But when you're in the soup, it's tough to see what's going on.
Pat Healy 7:56
Yeah, no, I mean, I, you know, not to name drop, but you know, I'm working with Spielberg now. And I, you know, he talks about wanting to be, you know, around when William Wyler and john Ford were around so right.
Alex Ferrari 8:11
So what since you brought him up? How What do you work? Can you talk a little bit about what you're doing with Mr. Spielberg?
Pat Healy 8:18
Sure. Yeah, I'm in a movie that he's doing, called the papers, which is about the Pentagon Papers, which were these these documents, secret documents that the RAND Corporation developed that that talked about the plans for Vietnam War, going back to the 40s. That helped end the Vietnam War. They were initially published by the New York Times and then the Nixon White House, put a gag order on the Times and The Washington Post, sort of got ahold of this guy, Daniel Ellsberg, who was the one who had given the pentagon papers to the New York Times, and it was a big court battle, you know, the one all the way to the Supreme Court to publish them. And this is just about those, you know, I guess few days when all this is happening. And Tom Hanks is please Ben Bradley, who is the editor of The Washington Post, and yes, and, and Meryl Streep is Graham Who is that? Who's the you know, owner, the publisher of the paper? And yeah, it's just so you must be more opportunity.
Alex Ferrari 9:37
I was gonna say, you must be absolutely and have been walking around that set.
Pat Healy 9:41
Well, I I'm in you know, I'm in an ensemble of people. And, you know, there there, there are many days when I don't, quote unquote, have much to do. You know, you know, but I'm there. And, you know, I've been happy to been asked to be a lamp in this movie.
Alex Ferrari 9:59
Yeah, and quite frankly, I would be the exact same.
Pat Healy 10:02
Yeah, so I'm getting to watch, you know, Masters, my, my, my heroes, the Masters work and I'm getting to be a part of it is really just you know a bonus for me. Have you been?
Alex Ferrari 10:15
Have you been? Have you picked up any little tricks of the trade from Mr. Spielberg?
Pat Healy 10:20
Well, I mean, you know, everything he does, it's quite remarkable. I mean, without without saying too much, I think that even just to watch him, you know, stand behind the monitor and watch him. I guess I can, I can learn, but mostly, I'm just sort of astonished at how, you know, not only intuitive, but how skilled he is that I mean, he will, he will move the camera, a millimeter, you know, to the right, and, and the frame will suddenly become more beautiful. And he will, you know, have an extra, you know, walk from white frame behind just half a second later. And you see the improvement, you see how much better it is he just, he just knows, you know, his case is, is impeccable. He just knows what what is right. So, you know, if anything, I guess I could say that it's just, you should always be open to learning. And he's always, you know, surprising himself and coming up with new things and coming up with new things with us. But that, that you're just trusting your, your, your instinct and your taste. I think if you believe that you're skilled at what you do, then trusting that, you know, intuitive sense about what what feels right and what looks right.
Alex Ferrari 11:50
So then what made you after doing 20 odd years of being an actor, what made you want to jump into the director's chair?
Pat Healy 11:57
Well, you know, it just is strange that I that I hadn't done it before, to be honest with you, I, you know, like I said, I did acting because I it was what I knew how to do and it was something that the door was open to me for at becoming a director wasn't as something as accessible as it is now, you know, you could make a movie on a phone and we had super a camera, you know, but video cameras really didn't even come into play until I was in high school. And, and, you know, we really didn't have one, you know, we, you know, our family couldn't afford that I had friends who had one week. So I was just acting and I, you know, within I made my first short film called molot, which got into Sundance nice and I, you know, this is so long ago that I, you know, I shot it on 35 millimeter I, I you know, I caught on an avid and you know, I made made prints of it, you know, I cut negative I made a print, you know, all that stuff. And then the question was, this is great, what do you what do you have, you know, what's your script, and I just really wasn't a writer. I had written a short, but I hadn't written a feature film script. So I spent five years on and off writing a script that was based on the short that I had made, and not really getting anywhere with it. But I think what I was doing was sort of teaching myself how to write without, without knowing and just spending, you know, at least some part of everyday writing. And the next thing that I wrote was a script called snow ponies which I just, I put the other thing down and I wrote the script in two weeks, based on a little short, one line idea that a friend of mine had the you know, a Western on on little horses. And that script. You know, it was one of those again, another right place, right. And who had been the cameraman on the first indie movie I made when I moved to LA in 98, who had married a German woman and Merck, moved to Berlin for many years, had come back. His father was a literary agent, he went to go to work for his father, he bumped into me at a party, who remembered my short asked if I had written anything. I gave him the script that I had written, written based on the short. He said, It's okay, have you written anything else that said, you know, the only other thing I've written is this thing that I you know, I wrote this in like two weeks. He loved that. They wanted to represent me. They sent the script out in, I guess, Labor Day of 2006 And on that weekend, and on Tuesday, the phone just never stopped ringing. And I, you know, there were several attempts to get the movie made. But what it did was it opened up this career for me as a writer by by the spring of the next year, I was in the Writers Guild, I was being paid huge sums of money to adapt a book I, I became a writer for, you know, pretty much full time for 10 years. And it allowed me to ease off on the kind of acting that I had been doing, which was mostly TV guest stars in small parts and movies. I was making money writing, and that's when these indie movies that I had become known for because they were able to cast me in, in larger roles happened and I was able to do those because I was making money with the writing so great. Well, the sound with Craig zobel, which then was followed as 2007. And that was followed by the innkeepers with Ty West and, and compliance with zobo again, and then cheap throws the following that and then from there, now, I have a name as an actor. And you know, people can put a name to the face, and this opportunity to direct something that I had written, I just had never written anything, I had a, you know, a dozen script scripts, but nothing that was, quote unquote, micro budget, you know, nothing that any was gonna give me money to do direct. And I was still acting, I was acting a lot more, I acted in a short film with a group of Brown University.
Graduates, one of whom was this young man named Mike mckowski, who was the producer on the short, and he and I became friends. And this was, you know, late. Oh, God. 2014. And, and by the summer, he had written a script. He gave it to me, for me to act in a read it and I, I said, I'm gonna direct this, you know, it had not occurred to me to direct something I hadn't written, but I had never written a micro budgeted script before. And this was something that I could conceivably do for, you know, a few, you know, 100 grand and and i impressed that idea on him. And he was a little wary of it. Because I wanted to act and direct in it. Yeah. Well, and and I to legitimize it, I called some friends of mine, who are, you know, big time indie film producers, one of whom was Jay duplass. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 17:53
I was gonna ask about the do Colossus, of course, yeah.
Pat Healy 17:56
Jay. And Mark, I knew from a it's a pretty small world, when you get down to it. Often, I knew them for from around, I was a fan of their work, they had been, you know, a fan of mine, sent out in a script, they sent it to their producer, Mel Aslan, who Mel had recently be, you know, been assigned to direct this to produce these, you know, movies for them, because they're so busy, you know, off doing their other things and, you know, acting out other shows and stuff like that. And they had their television series for HBO. And I met with her The next day, she said, Bill, let's do this. And, you know, that's like, a 20 year overnight success. Exactly. Like it, you know, either it, it happens for you, you know, in a way, one way or another, it takes it takes that long, usually, for most people, you know, it happened right away, but it happened after, this is the basically 15 years of me trying to make a movie director movie, so but once it happened, it happened right away. And that was August, and by April we were shooting.
Alex Ferrari 19:15
That's, that's absolutely it's an insane story. But it's very true. It's kind of like, you know, you're trying to get the opportunity to to lift that tree for the town. And, and in, you never get the opportunity, but you work out for 20 years. And and by the time you get to that tree, you can lift it because you've been you've been 20 years preparing for that moment. And it's just that the doggedness of doing it day in and day out, good days, bad days, just showing up. And I think that's the persistence, I think is the key to to any success in any career is persistence. I would agree. Acting directing, writing is just sitting down and doing it and doing the work
Pat Healy 19:59
Well, and even talking about luck, I mean, you know, the longer you hang in there, and the more you're around, the more opportunities, you're going to have to be lucky, you know, you're, you're going to be in the right place at the right time, because it's been enough, you know,
Alex Ferrari 20:13
Eventually, right? Eventually, you could just sit down and write in the cabin in the woods. But if you don't get out there, do something you can't. Like, I always, always tell people, if you want to get hit by a car, you got to step into traffic. Exactly. So how was it working with Jay and Mark, I mean, I've had multiple guests on who've worked with both of those guys. And they're a huge inspiration to me. With with puffy chair, and, you know, I did my first feature film, kind of based on their model of a script, and all that kind of stuff. So how was it working with them? As far as on a creative standpoint?
Pat Healy 20:50
Well, I mean, obviously, starting with, you know, the story, I just told you as a confidence in me, based on you know, we don't know each other that well, it just was, and I had never directed anything other than the short which, quite frankly, I don't know, what they had seen. It was the it was the material and and you know, what they knew of me, and that I knew movies and my sensibilities. So, that gave me a lot of confidence in myself to do it. I mean, I remember saying, at that first meeting with Mel, you know, I can not act in it or not directed, you know, if you guys feel like that would be a better way to go about it. And she said, No, no, we very much feel like this is a good idea for you. So, so it starts with that confidence in you. And then they have great access to talent, because they've developed these great personal and professional relationships with so many people. So, you know, for example, with the scripts, no ponies that I was telling you about, which was on the blacklist in 2006. And it looks like it's going to get made finally now 11 years later, this is
Alex Ferrari 22:03
Overnight success overnight.
Pat Healy 22:05
Exactly. Well, five years in the making. And they're not making I should say, um, you know, you, you give it to agents, agents, give it to directors or talent and, and you try to attach those people and a lot of it is political. It's harder to just get a read out of people, especially if it's challenging material. With mark and Jay, we still go through the agent, but they can also call, you know, these people and say, Hey, we have this great project, we have this great script, we think this would be a good part for you. And we like this guy, we like this director, we think you should talk to him. And you know, they had a list of actresses that that all of whom I would have been, you know, lucky to have. And Taylor Schilling was somebody that I just thought was the best person for the part. And they we did some rewriting with Mel and mark. And, and the writer, Mike, and you know, over a few months, Jay was busy with transparent. So So Mark kind of came in. And then we had a script that we felt confident in giving to Taylor, which was probably in I want to say, late October, early November, you know, starting in August? And she said Yes, right away. So, you know, there's so much of the burden was alleviated because of their reputation and and what people think of their work and what people think of them personally. And so that part was easy. And putting together a crew. You know, the sort of system that they work on with it, they pay everybody well, but they also give everyone who works on the movie, a point or fraction of a point. Can you see it?
Alex Ferrari 24:16
Can you say that? You just broke up for a second? He said that one more
Pat Healy 24:19
total? Sure. They they give everyone who works on the movie, every member of the crew, a point or a fraction of a percentage point on the movie on the back end. Wow. So but they also pay well To start off, so it's not like you don't have to starve to shoot it. You don't have to like, you know, like I got paid a regular rate, you know, to direct and act in the movie. But I have these points in the back end on the sale. And I knew that they had these deals with Netflix in the orchard so that the you know, kind of worst case scenario was that we were in it's not bad. So Are you at all that we could sell the movie to Netflix and we would see that money. So, so then we shot and I was, I was really left alone. I mean, I had the support of mal who was on set every day, and particularly because I was acting in the movie, you know, she was really very much my eyes and ears, and there wasn't a lot of time to stop and look at the monitor. And, and I had been working on the part for eight months at that point. So, you know, I felt I knew it really well. And, and then, you know, I'm sure we'll go back and talk about some of these other aspects. But then we got into post, and then they were all very much involved while we cut and we cut, you know, we shot for 18 days, but we cut not every day, but we we cut for four months. And it was a very, I mean, it was a long and, and often difficult process of, of, you know, working on it with my editor Brian Schofield, and then showing it to groups of people anywhere from 10 to 20 people, you know, and getting notes and feedback and sending links to friends of theirs, filming other filmmakers, other people that whose opinion they trusted getting idea works, what didn't work, you know, even doing rewriting in the in the editing stage and changing things and moving things around. And they were very involved with that. But they were never, you know, way. It was always my, my, my movie, it was never, you know, let's let's make this or anything like that. It was it was always to, you know, support my vision? Certainly, you know, the most involved they were was we had a common interests with which was to make a movie that appeal to as many people as possible. And of course, yeah, I'm not trying to make Transformers but I'm also not trying to make
Alex Ferrari 27:11
My dinner with Andre. Yeah,
Pat Healy 27:13
Raise your hand, you know, like, I, I, I want to make something that is, you know, anything that I make is going to be unique and and you know, have an oddball sensibility to it, because that's, that's who I am. But I want it to be accessible. I think this movie was different from most other movies they made. I mean, I guess in a way, it's it's similar to, oh, safety, not guaranteed, or,
Alex Ferrari 27:43
But this one seems a little, but this one seems a little bit more screwball than those.
Pat Healy 27:48
Yeah. I mean, it's, it's, it's, you know, thematically and stylistically different. But I just met in a sense of, you know, it's not an improvised movie. It's not, you know, it sort of, you know, Veritate style handheld camera movie, you know, it's more like those narrative movies. But yeah, this movie is. I'm very interested in cinema. I mean, I'm a cinephile I wanted to make I sort of diagnose these two genres that I was a mixture of a screwball comedy and film noir. Is what before we keep going,
Alex Ferrari 28:23
I mean, because we haven't even we've just we kept talking about your directorial and it just kind of went into the movie, but we haven't even mentioned the name of the movie or what the movie is about.
Pat Healy 28:32
Well, the movie is called Take me, okay. It's about a guy named Ray Moody, who runs a small boutique, kidnapping for hire business. Yes. Yeah, that's you if you want to be kidnapped for fun or therapeutic reasons, you hire him and he does this and
Alex Ferrari 28:51
Please tell me this does this exist?
Pat Healy 28:53
And not that I know of? I've heard rumblings of things. I mean, when I read the script, I thought, wow, this is really interesting idea. You know, they're certainly these these role playing real life game. Blackout and, you know, sleep no more in New York and things like that. And I have heard that there are, you know, versions of things that that contain stuff like this, but I certainly wasn't aware of it. Okay. And so yeah, he gets, he's not doing very well. And he gets a call from Anna St. Blair is a character that Taylor Schilling plays who is a very high powered successful businesswoman. And she asks him to do things that he's not that comfortable with, but he really needs the money and there's a there's a certain allure to her Of course, and, and, you know, she really makes them work for his money over a really long I guess the best way I can say
Alex Ferrari 29:59
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Now, um, let me see. Now did Netflix come in before or after the production.
Pat Healy 30:17
It came in after. I mean, I knew that mark and Jay had the relationship with them and they had a deal to make, I think it was four movies with them. But we always had the option to do whatever we liked with it. They came in in post I have a bit of a relationship with with them and with with Ian brick who worked for the movie division over there, he is a fan of mine, he had been wanting to do something with me, obviously, Taylor, being the star of oranges, the New Black. So you know, one of their flagship shows that helped and so when we were imposed, you know, was when they sort of bad read the scripts, and they saw what we had done and they said, you know, we'll do this and we got it was the second movie in this deal. The first was blue j which Yeah, which brown and started with with Sarah Paulson?
Alex Ferrari 31:13
Yeah, and Alex is on the show. We've Alex layman. Yeah, he was on the show was I love that movie. That was really wonderful.
Pat Healy 31:20
Yes, very good. And, and so that was in conjunction with the orchard, they got a little bit of a theatrical VOD window before it went to Netflix. And then we got a I think a little bit more of one. And, you know, there's sort of testing this out, see how this model works. So we got a bit a little bit longer, you know, our movie played in some theaters in New York and LA and I went around the country. You know, we made a trip back, I did some screenings, you know, in the Midwest and in near LA. And then, you know, we're on VOD. We're on iTunes and Amazon and Google Play and YouTube and all those things now and then we'll be on Netflix. Sometimes sometime. Soon, sometime later this summer.
Alex Ferrari 32:11
Yeah, cuz I mean, origin new black just came out today. Actually. That's right. Yeah. So I'm sure they're gonna want to piggyback that a little bit.
Pat Healy 32:19
Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I think that Yeah, we're coming soon. I don't know when But no,
Alex Ferrari 32:26
I'm not what did you shoot on By the way,
Pat Healy 32:29
I was shot on Arri Alexa, but I shot with, I wanted to make it as cinematic as possible. And knowing that I, you know, it's always possible that I might not ever direct a movie again or night might not want to or might not get the chance to direct ever again, I wanted to shoot with anamorphic lenses. And we were lucky enough to have a relationship with Pan ivision who set us up so that really gave it a cinematic quality.
Alex Ferrari 33:02
It looks great. Let's create the
Pat Healy 33:04
The trailer looks awesome. Nate, Nate, Nate Miller, who was my dp and I worked, you know, exhaustively testing these lenses out and you know, there are old lenses. They're all the Japanese lenses that kind of vision retrofitted. And it has a great quality to it. And then when you get into the Do you happen to know other wagon stuff? You can add the film grain and all that. Yeah, yeah.
Alex Ferrari 33:31
The game to do.
Pat Healy 33:35
I do. Yeah, they're called. They're called senio vision.
Alex Ferrari 33:40
Oh, yeah. I've heard of those. Yes, yes. Yeah.
Pat Healy 33:42
So cineole vision is a Japanese version of trying to think of the vistavision No, no, they're they're the ones that Oh, Vittorio storaro uses them a lot to shout Apocalypse Now on them in the last emperor and
Alex Ferrari 34:06
They're gorgeous glass
Pat Healy 34:07
Yeah, Luke Busan shot a lot of those those movies like The professional and and those movies they have a little bit more of a panda vision kind of has the you know the the patent on the D squeezing technology and these ones have a little bit more of a bend to them around the corners and they have they have kind of like a funhouse mirror quality to them, which I thought lends itself well to this movie. Yeah, absolutely. So so the similar those lenses I can't think of the name of what this any of his visions are. an offshoot of but I'm sure I'll think of it at one point but yeah, they're they're they're beautiful. They're widescreen lenses that the image is is squeezed and then D squeezed in post and you get a you know, as opposed To being you know, just your standard gotta keep losing my words
Alex Ferrari 35:08
Now. widescreen Yeah, like a standard widescreen.
Pat Healy 35:12
Yeah, you'll you'll, maybe you'll edit it this this in a way to make me sound like less of a dummy. Get up now to a spherical you know, the the spherical, you know, the one a five lenses, these are, these are more, you know, these are wider and, and thinner. It's really nice to see it in a theater because on a television, which is, you know, is our computer is how most people are going to see it the the wider vision gets smaller. But you know, when you see it in a big theater, the screen opens up and gets wider bigger, you know, and I love seeing it that way.
Alex Ferrari 35:50
Yeah, when I projected my feature on on in a huge monster theater at a festival it was it's it's a very magical experience.
Pat Healy 35:59
It is, in a way, it's kind of nice that it is that it happens, you know, only a few times for a movie like this, because it's so sacred in a way, you know, you want people to be watching it, especially since this is movies, a comedy, you know, for the most part. It's great to be sitting in there and hurt hearing people laugh, but you have those, you know, I don't know what I've had 1010 or so times where I've got to sit in a theater and watch this movie, you know, with a packed house and on a big screen and loud sound and and I really cherish that. Because like I said, I don't know if I'll do it again.
Alex Ferrari 36:36
No. Which was my next question. Why did you choose to act in your directorial debut?
Pat Healy 36:42
It's a really great question. It was a really stupid idea. I mean, I guess the the easy answer is that I chose to act in it first. Because I love the part. And then I was speaking to my friend and cat. Rector and it's such an animated way that he said, sounds like you should direct it. And it just, it sounds like a great idea. And I really actually, I mean, I over prepared in a good way beforehand with my dp with all my key crew people. So that on the day, I could just be acting. And I had no problem with the pre production of the shooting. I mean, maybe I was a little more tired than I might normally be. But I was very energized. And I felt very good about the work where it became difficult was in post, right, where you're going into a room every day, and looking at your face, and listening to your voice. Oh, my God forbid, becomes torturous. I am I really am not that in love with myself. I'm not that much of a narcissist. I mean, I am not one at all. But I am not like I don't know how people like no Gibson or Kevin Costner do that.
Alex Ferrari 38:05
Yeah, I just I just do occasional, like interviews of YouTube videos with myself. And I got to edit them. And I'm like, Oh, god, it's brutal.
Pat Healy 38:14
Brutal. No, I know. You know, there's that movie, Albert Brooks movie defending your life. I love that movie. Oh, yeah. I'm convinced that that movie is now based on his experience of editing himself and having to look at himself every day and judge himself and have other people weigh in. And it's this incredibly intense, you know? Yeah, personal experience. And it's, it's masochistic, really. But you know, now that it's done, it's just like, I really have, I have this great sense of confidence of having climbed that mountain. I know, I could do it. I did it. I do think I was the best person for the part. I, I, you know, certainly other actors that could have done it, I'm sure would have been great. But I'm, I'm happy that I did it. The hard part of having done it is over and behind me and, and I probably wouldn't do it again, if if, unless, you know, somebody said, you know, we love that you direct and act in your own movies. And I, you know, decided to become an Albert Brooks or Woody Allen or whatever. Could
Alex Ferrari 39:20
We only we could all pray to do so.
Pat Healy 39:22
I guess. But you know, I think if I did this again, I wouldn't act in it. Or I might get myself a juicy little couple of scenes are one big scene or something like that. But yeah, I think next time I think will be I don't think I did a worse job than I would have done if I just been directing it. Right. I but I just feel like I would enjoy the experience more next time if I just fully decided to just just direct it.
Alex Ferrari 39:52
Now, what advice would you give a filmmaker jumping into the business?
Pat Healy 39:56
Well, I mean, it depends. If you want to be a filmmaker. I think you really have to be a writer, I think that, you know, I was lucky to come by a great piece of material, but you see how long it took me, I think if you, if you start writing early, and you know, it's like anything else, that 10,000 hour rule, you know, you do it long enough, you're going to come up with something good that you can do, or just right. And, you know, it's so cheap, to shoot something in some way. You know, if you have a good phone, you really don't need crew or lights or anything like that, and, and start trying things out. And, you know, start seeing, like, what your aesthetic is, and all that stuff. I mean, that that's one thing, I think the biggest piece of advice is just to just watch a lot of movies, I mean, watch, watch old movies, watch all the movies that people see are great, you know, whether you suffer through them or not, right? You know, watch bad movies, you know, watch. My life has just been watching movies, and sometimes some of those over and over again, the point where, you know, things like framing and editing, you know, why the way things are edited, you know, way performances are, are constructed the way music is used the way you know, so on and so on is so intuitive to me, because I've I've seen these things over and over again, sometimes the same movies, and sometimes different movies, and what works in these movies that I really love what recurs in these movies that I love what's, what's something that you know, recurs in Citizen Kane and et and, you know,
Alex Ferrari 41:43
Pat Healy 41:44
Yeah, like, what, what are you, I think that there are things that people keep doing, because they work. And then, you know, on top of that is your voice and your vision. And you can you can break the rules or bend the rules, you know, but you really should know, the basic, I think structure of classical cinema. Before you, you know, go out there and, and, you know, try and try and do something new. I mean, what I'm basically trying to do with this movie is, is a modern take on, you know, old genres. I mean, what a screwball comedy be like, now, well, it would probably involve some SNM and be much darker, you know, right. And things like that. I think that what works works, and in you know, there are lots of filmmakers out now. Because it is easy to, to make a movie, in some ways, are certainly easier than it's ever been, who aren't as focused on the writing. And sometimes that works, you know, but I don't personally find those movies as interesting. And they don't, don't stay with me as much. I think. I think story is still kind of King, you know, when it comes to this stuff, doesn't mean you, you know, you you strictly adhere to some predictable three act structure, or anything like that. It's just that there's a reason that that stuff works. There's a reason that certain editing tricks always work. You know, because they work. You know, and you can take off from there.
Alex Ferrari 43:29
I mean, you could argue, like, well, I don't want to hit that nail in the hammer, like everybody else does. I'm like, well, but that way works.
Pat Healy 43:36
I mean, thing is, like, you know, I think by movies, you know, very unpredictable and very surprising and makes people laugh. But, you know, there's times in the editing room where, you know, like, we're, we're screening for people and they just did not. And this is not a discredit to an audience. It's just like they didn't I mean, I'll give you an example. Like a man who, you know, we realize is a loser. In the first scene, drives to a party. He walks in, he sees a woman speaking to another man, he waves to her. She looks at him dismissively. He's playing with some kids at the backyard. And then he tries to speak to the woman and she again is dismissive of him and he leaves and everyone, everyone that saw the movie thought that that was my ex wife and I was a deadbeat dad, well, she's my sister. And it was just kind of basic, cinematic language that people just assumed that that was the case. Right? And we went back and we recorded a voicemail from the sister that plays over me driving to the party. Hey, this is your sister. Right? You know, and you know, you coming to the party and and we also had this problem with Cuz I were really bad to pay in the movie which
Alex Ferrari 45:02
Yes, fantastic, by the way,
Pat Healy 45:04
Thank you. I never was trying to fool people on the thing that was my bad. I mean, it was a it was a $30 wig that I picked out of the store. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 45:13
It looks pretty bad.
Pat Healy 45:14
But people thought, because we were a low budget movie. Oh, come on, oh, this I mean, this is people watching the early cut, you know, right? Oh, no, like, is that really supposed to, you know, what does he think we're doing? And you know, it doesn't get knocked off to lead in the movie. So in that same ADR thing where we did the voicemail, we have her make a reference to my wig. And we also we now, so we're telling the audience, you know, without them knowing we're kind of slipping in, they just always assume that that phone conversation was there, that voicemail was there. And we give two very important pieces of information we, we tell, you know, we're sort of saying like, it's that old sketch, you know, I want to put this vase on this ladder in front of this door, I hope no one walks. Right. So if you don't do it in that broad away, and you sort of slip it in, people really appreciate that they may, they may, if they know that you're doing that to them, they may resent you for it. But people sort of need to be have their hand held and be told, you know what's going on, so that they can then immerse themselves in the movie, and then be surprised by all the crazy stuff, that unpredictable stuff that happens. But I think if you just kind of like throw someone into something, and it's jarring, it takes them a while to get hold of things. And then you're, you're you're 20 minutes into the movie, and now they're they're invested in it, but you've lost them in some way. So I think it's not a bad thing to just, you know, sometimes you feel like, man, I don't want to insult the audience's intelligence. But you're not doing that. I mean, there's just basic is a basic contract between the, the, the filmmaker and the audience to you know, share in this an understanding about what's going on, and then you can do whatever you want. Absolutely.
Alex Ferrari 47:10
Now, what are the what's the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?
Pat Healy 47:18
Oh, boy, I think that I was probably in my early 30s, when I thought, and as you know, it was not a coincidence that that's really when my career started to take off. Where I accepted that I didn't know everything. I remember saying to myself, Oh, my God, I didn't know anything into this until this point. Like, why wasn't that obvious? You know, that, you know, sort of, like a friend of mine has a joke. It's a paraphrasing is, you know, every corny thing that every motherfucker in their 40s tells you is true. Yeah. Amen. Realize that is true. Yep. And that there, right, and you can't hear it until you're ready to hear it. But you go, Oh, yeah, you know, it is, it's, it's true, you know, you won't understand this until you're this age. And so I can tell people that, but the irony is that they probably won't hear or accept me saying it, until they've experienced it for themselves. And it may happen for you at 27 or, or 33, or 40, but, or 50. You know, so it's, it's just good too. And as much as you can keep an open mind and be ready to, to learn, and that you're kind of as a creative person. always working, when you're walking down the street, whether you're conscious of that or not, you're thinking about things in a creative way. And anything you see, walking down the street or in the supermarket is something that you could use on a script potentially, or something that you could, you know, inspires you to, to, to go in and, you know, create something or gives you an idea to sub see someone to use something in a performance, you know, just just be open, you know, to to not only what people say or ideas, but just just to the possibility of, of everything is kind of like you know, being vulnerable and available at all times. Which is is difficult because you open yourself up to being hurt especially in the business.
Alex Ferrari 49:38
You got to do it, but you got to do it like you got to do it. Now. what's what's one of your favorite films of all time?
Pat Healy 49:45
My favorite film of all time is the King of Comedy. Not a bad one for saisie and it's a it's an odd movie that I mean, you know, maybe 2001 A Space Odyssey is is is a better movie, or Citizen Kane is a better movie, but it's my favorite. It has a tone where it's, you know, this movie took a long time for people to really appreciate it. I've always loved it, but you know, since it came out, but it it is as funny as it is chilling, it is completely worth, it predicted everything that's going on now, you know, it's it's about society and you know, people's bad behavior, you know, causing them become celebrities, you know, it's like, every year, it's more Russian, you know, now we have a president who's an asshole, you know, reality television star. He's the president united states, you know, this is just the guy gets his own TV show because he's, he sees it psycho. So, um, you know, I think that movie was probably influenced a lot of what that sort of tone I was trying to go forward with take me because it's, it's unique. There's really no other movie like it. And, you know, maybe, you know, going for a movie that was neither critically or commercially successful when it came out is, is not hardest thing to do. But like,
Alex Ferrari 51:17
I really like I want to go for Ishtar, I really think
Pat Healy 51:22
It's like 30 years later, people like Ishtar, and people like the kingdom company. And you know, they they appreciate them, you know, but Howard the way that I am, you know, I have this joke that I tell people, you know, cast me in your movie, if you want everyone to like it, you know, five or 10 years from now cuz I, I mean, these called movies, whether it's like, you know, whether it's the big movies, I mean, or the little movies that they take a while to catch on, you know,
Alex Ferrari 51:50
The age? Well,
Pat Healy 51:51
Yeah, I think, you know, the, you know, financial success and critical success is not the arbiter of, of what makes a good movie, the only true test of a movie is time, you know, these movies over time are still around, it's like, why people are still listening to the Beatles, or people are still listening to Mozart and Beethoven that they are great. And there are other things that were probably hugely successful and everyone loved that, you know, invest picture, whether the top movie of the year that no one sees or likes or watches anymore. Unfortunately, you know, we, you know, we can't you know, Van Gogh, the Bennett, from his, you know, success, but I think that, if you give it life, and you know, try to do what you want to do, maybe it won't bring you personal fitness, everyone loves it after you're gone or after it's too late to really benefit from it. But oh, that's just art. That's the I can only make what I am inspired to do and what me and if, if those are going to be things that people are only gonna appreciate year from now and then so be it I, I make a decent living now and I have a good quality of life. And, you know, I get to love what I do, and I'm proud of I do and I'm proud of this. You know, it's gonna be on Netflix, and that's when everyone will see it. I mean, many people have seen it now they
Alex Ferrari 53:24
And then take me and take me up on Netflix. So hopefully, yes,
Pat Healy 53:28
I think I mean, watch it now. I don't know when this is gonna air but it's, you know, it's on Amazon. You can rent it on Amazon and collected on iTunes, on Google Play and YouTube and doing all those those VOD platforms.
Alex Ferrari 53:44
Yeah, very cool. Man. Thank you so much for being on the show. It was an absolute pleasure,
Pat Healy 53:49
Alex, it's my pleasure. Thank you!
Alex Ferrari 53:52
You gotta admire Pat for his just hustled over the course of his career. And, you know, he's a definition of someone who loves the grind of the day in day out of being an actor and now being a director. And that has paid off for him in a big, big way. Because he's been able to do what he loves to do, and make a living doing it. And at the end of the day, that is the goal. That is the dream for any artists, any filmmaker out there. So I hope you take some inspiration from Pat Healy's story. And definitely check out take me it's on available at Netflix right now. And also available on Amazon and Google Play for rental but if you want to watch it on Netflix, definitely check it out really, really fun movie. And speaking of amazing indie films, you guys know that Friday. This is Meg will finally get released on iTunes so all of the tribe can finally see it. please head over to this is mag comm forward slash iTunes and just buy it please. If you guys love me at all, just buy it. And you know if you if you're there once you watch the movie, please leave us a review on it. iTunes is going to be huge for us to get a lot of hopefully good reviews on iTunes to help us up in the rankings and see if we can actually crack iTunes, we can break iTunes or we can hack iTunes, in one way, shape or form by by getting as many sales as humanly possible. So, thank you again so much. I will report back on what happened with our iTunes launch. And continue to report on my experience with the stripper and getting out the film throughout all these VOD, svod platforms, and T VOD platforms as well and that you know what happened? So, if you want to get links for anything we talked about in this episode, head over to indie film hustle.com Ford slash 172 for the show notes, and as always keep that hustle going, keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.
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Where Hollywood Comes to Talk
Oscar® Winning Writer/Director
(Platoon, Wall Street, JFK)
(Brothers McMullin, She's the One)
Oscar® Nominated Writer/Director
(Boyhood, School of Rock)
Emmy® Winning Writer/Director/Actor
(City Slickers, Analyze This)
(Smokin' Aces, The Grey, Narc)