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Slacker, Indie Cinema & How to Become a Filmmaker with Richard Linklater & Katie Cokinos
Well I put out an episode back in 2019 putting my dream list of guests out into the universe and in the past four months I’ve been humbled to have some amazing filmmakers and screenwriters on the show. Incredibly one of those dream guests has made his way on the show today.
We are joined by indie film icon and Oscar® nominated writer/director Richard Linklater. Richard was one of the filmmakers who helped to launch the independent film movement that we know today with his classic 1991 indie film Slacker. As a bonus, we will not only dive into the extraordinary career of Richard Linklater but also that of collaborator and longtime friend writer/director Katie Cokinos, the filmmaker behind the film I Dream Too Much.
If this is your introduction to Linklater and his work, here are a few highlights you must know; Linklater helped launch the 90s indie film renaissance with his film Slacker.
The producer, director has juggled the TV, film, short-film, and documentary genres seamlessly over his career – typically focusing in fine detail on generational rites and mores with rare compassion and understanding while definitively capturing the 20-something culture of his era through a series of nuanced, illuminating ensemble pieces which introduced any number of talented young actors into the Hollywood eco-system.
One of the talents to emerge from this era is the Texas native, Matthew McConaughey in Linklater’s third movie and VHS smash hit, Dazed and Confused. Based on Linklater’s years at Huntsville High School and the people he encountered there, the film shadows the adventures of high school and junior high students on the last day of school in May 1976.
Throughout his career Richard has chosen to tell stories about the human condition, while many times making us laugh and cry at the same time. I found an immense philosophical under current to most of his life’s work. From The Before Trilogy to Boyhood, his films tackle topics in an honest, raw and deeper way that is not normally seen in filmmaking.
Many of the actors who work with Richard call him the “Zen Director” on set. His philosophy can be felt throughout his work. He often tells long and transformative coming of age stories over years, if not decades, something that is unique to him.
His Oscar® nominated film Boyhood is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason’s parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, BOYHOOD charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before.
Snapshots of adolescence from road trips and family dinners to birthdays and graduations and all the moments in between become transcendent, set to a soundtrack spanning the years from Coldplay’s Yellow to Arcade Fire’s Deep Blue. BOYHOOD is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting. It’s impossible to watch Mason and his family without thinking about our own journey.
Now the other remarkable filmmaker in this conversation is Katie Cokinos. She has made over ten short films and in 2000 wrote, directed, and acted in the feature film, Portrait of a Girl as a Young Catwhich premiered at SXSW. Katie produced Eagle Pennell’s film, Heart Full of Soul (1990); was a publicist for Richard Linklater’s Slacker, (1990). She was the Managing Director of the Austin Film Society, 1990-95.
Her latest film is the coming of age story I Dream Too Much, co-produced by Richard. Here’s a bit about the film:
Presents a day in the life in Austin, Texas among its social outcasts and misfits, predominantly the twenty-something set, using a series of linear vignettes. These characters, who in some manner just don’t fit into the establishment norms, move seamlessly from one scene to the next, randomly coming and going into one another’s lives. Highlights include a UFO buff who adamantly insists that the U.S. has been on the moon since the 1950s, a woman who produces a glass slide purportedly of Madonna’s pap smear, and an old anarchist who sympathetically shares his philosophy of life with a robber.
So much was covered in this EPIC two hours conversation. I need to stop here and let you dive in.
Enjoy my conversation with Richard Linklater and Katie Cokinos.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Richard Linklater – Official website
- Richard Linklater – IMDB
- Katie Cokinos – Linkedin
- Katie Cokinos – IMDB
- WATCH: Boyhood – Amazon
- WATCH: I Dream Too Much – Amazon
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- $1 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)
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Alex Ferrari 0:12
I like to welcome to the show Richard Linklater and Katie cubanos. How you guys doing? Thank you so much for being on the show, guys.
Richard Linklater 0:19
Right. Good to be with you, Alex.
Katie Cokinos 0:21
Yeah, so much fun.
Alex Ferrari 0:23
So, um, you know, I'm excited to talk to both of you about your latest project. I dream too much of the project you guys did together. I know. It's been around for a few minutes. So it's not the latest latest project. But we're going to talk about that that project a little bit. But I wanted to kind of talk about not only Rick's filmmaking career and what he's done, but Katie, how you how you've, you know, come up as a director as well and, and all these kind of other conversations about Phyllis philosophy and other things we're going to get into, but before we get started, because you actually, so because Katie, you were with Rick, when you guys were working. I mean, Rick, you were making slacker and Katie was around at that same time. Correct.
Richard Linklater 1:06
I first met Katie, I kind of was finishing it. Okay, you know, just right at the you with me those first premieres and yeah. So,
Alex Ferrari 1:19
you've been friends ever since?
Richard Linklater 1:23
Alex Ferrari 1:25
So let me ask you a question, Rick. What for so many, so many filmmakers coming up, especially have that magical time, which is the early 90s, which is the kind of like the birth of independent film as we know it today. You know, I mean, yes, there was, you know, prior to slacker, obviously, there was a month, you know, Easy Rider and things like that. But the whole Sundance, you know, for lack of a better term, kind of like the lottery ticket, kind of filmmakers like the Kevin Smith's and Roberts and those kinds of things. You were one of the first to come out in the early 90s. A lot of them look back at you. Like I just had Ed on the Edward burns on the show the other day, and he was talking about it was slacker I saw this the breakdown of the budget of slacker and it gave me hope that like, Oh, I could do it. There's someone else who did it. So you're like you broke the four minute mile, essentially, for a lot of filmmakers of that generation?
Richard Linklater 2:21
Yeah, you know, I think that perpetuates itself. Because I'm sitting there in 1989. Making my first I've made one feature before and a bunch of shorts, but I'm like, okay, I can do a no budget feature. But at that point, I'm thinking, you know, I was coming up there was an 80s paradigm to it wasn't Sundance based. I think that's really difference between the generations. It didn't have Sundance as a launch. It was just indie films. You know, john Sayles, right? wing wings Chan is missing. There were all these like 20 Eagle panels at Texas filmmaker Katie workwith. And I knew she has to make the low budget backyard. No budget personal movie that was a really kind of a archetype in indie filmmaking. He still is, you know, that's what you can do. You make what you know. And it's kind of interesting. And that's what I felt I was doing but at the time, I guess it was sort of a unique to Austin, that did mostly like horror films and things like that, right? Wasn't unique to cinema. You know, surely Clark had done it. And he had been happening in the 60s, the 50s. You know, there's a nice history of indie cinema. It just didn't really it was gaining more traction as a business as a, it had an outlet. There were these in a theater, there was a lot of festivals springing up, you know, cable and, you know, VHS tape, you know, there was suddenly there was an economy around it. So, in the 60s when you made your indie film, you showed it at a few film, the few film festivals, you played it at. You know, Jonas Mekas played in New York and they showed at Berkeley and a few it was a real scrounge around thing, you know, Cassavetes would hire a bunch of young, hungry, future distributors and like, Hey, we're going to distribute this film. We're going to get it out there, you know. So, it was just by the time I felt I came along and got lucky enough to get one of those distributors. The path was sort of a hit it already been. It was out there. I was just like a I was a 90s version of that.
Alex Ferrari 4:34
Right. And, and you um, yeah. But when you submitted slacker to Sundance, it got rejected right the first time.
Richard Linklater 4:41
Yeah. The first year 1990 number that Katie because we got Yeah, and it wasn't quite finished, you know, when I got it there, but I was still disappointed, but you know, came back the next year. In the meantime, I've had a very interesting year with it. You know, showed it in Berlin in the marketplace to four people.
Alex Ferrari 5:05
Stop right there. How did that How did that work out?
Katie Cokinos 5:09
That's a good festival. But when you
Richard Linklater 5:12
Katie Cokinos 5:13
when you guys real breaking festival because it was we were standing outside watching all these people going in and we're like they're coming to see slacker like yes, it's sold out like here's,
Richard Linklater 5:26
we're in Seattle in summer of 1990. Right. So what does it look like? It looks like everybody in the film. Yeah, everybody in line looked like it was this perfect match. Yeah, you're preaching to the choir. I know. It was a first really great response that really was I had actually premiered it in Dallas, there was a thing called the USA Film Festival.
Alex Ferrari 5:51
Richard Linklater 5:52
And yeah, I got some really dismiss it. I remember waking up that morning to some really dismissive like, and this might have been a good short, but it's a bunch of awesome people not doing anything. You know, I read these to my first reviews ever, for something I worked so hard on it was just these total like poor reviews from Dallas. And then I think God, why even go to the screening? I was so like, oh, they're gonna hate it. I'm in Dallas, you know?
Katie Cokinos 6:19
It was Great,
Richard Linklater 6:20
but we did have a very good audience.
Katie Cokinos 6:23
They totally got it.
Richard Linklater 6:25
Yeah, so that was encouraging.
Katie Cokinos 6:27
But Dennis Hopper was there and it was a really fun festival. You're like that kit? Carson? Yeah.
Richard Linklater 6:36
Yeah, because meeting Sam are cough. Remember, they were featuring the great Spanner.
Katie Cokinos 6:42
terrible name. Mars needs women. Now that's a million dollar title. $30,000 movie?
Richard Linklater 6:50
Yeah he was like, kid. Yeah, I met it was just cool. All these you start meeting people. You're just so enthralled with meeting film history. sammarco Yeah, when he got to film here, well, what's your name? What's the title? a slacker. Oh, bad title. Bad title. You gotta have you like, how to stop a wild bikini. Now. That's a title. That's selling foreign. million dollar title $30,000 movie.
Alex Ferrari 7:19
And obviously, you've and obviously, you've been stuffing bikinis ever since in your career. And both of you guys ever since that's all you women.
Richard Linklater 7:29
Yeah, I remember watching all those movies on TV growing up. And you're meeting these guys behind it. He's like, we would have the poster made before we even did the movie just to see if it worked. If we could sell it. I go. There's a genius there studio should do that. You know, I've made enough movies where they go. We don't know how to market this is like, well, maybe you should. We should have done all that before. You know, if no one wants to see a movie called this that looks like this. And I mean, I'm glad I got to make it but you don't have yourself to blame. Do it. Sam arc cop did.
Katie Cokinos 8:00
Roger Corman. Yeah. Oh,
Alex Ferrari 8:02
I mean, he's the he's the king without question. Alright, so So who was? So for both of you? Who was the filmmaker? That was that catalyst that's that you said, Oh, I can make that because, you know, you can study Stanley Kubrick all day, and you can study, you could study the greats and the Masters. And we could all be depressed at 23 because we're not making Citizen Kane which is the the passage of the rites of passage, every filmmaker. Except so who was that one filmmaker, that you Rick and you Katie said like, you know what? They did it. I think I can make something.
Richard Linklater 8:34
Katie, why don't you jump in? Because we're probably on different timelines there as far as when we start thinking I can do that.
Katie Cokinos 8:43
Well. Okay, so growing up in the 70s and watching the Hollywood renaissance of cinema. I never thought I could do it. Because all I saw were guys names. And I would stay till the credits, just dying to see one. One female one Polly Platt, who was the production designer, one Elaine Mae, who was the screenwriter, you know, I'm never, I never thought I could do it. And it wasn't until college where my professors were turning me on to, you know, Agnes BARDA, Maya Darrin Shirley Clark. shawntel Aquaman. And so for me, it wasn't a budget thing. It was more of a I'm a woman. You know, and it looks like the boys club to me. You know, Howard hops john for john Houston. You know, and I, so, so do what I even have to say. would would that even be cinematic because I don't want to shoot Anybody, and I don't want to, you know, there's so many things I don't want. Don't want to do. It's like reading a book koski and going, Yeah, that's great. But, um, but I'm not an alcoholic, you know, or jack Kerouac going but I, you know, uh, you know, dude just says those things. So it took me a while, um, you know, but I do think I remember clearly checking I'm renting last night at the Alamo and taking it over to my sister's in Houston because I didn't even have a TV and watching it and thinking, wow, this was made for $30,000 because it was very well known Eagle got that film, from the National Endowment for the Arts grant. And it was all in one location. So that's when I started kind of thinking, Okay, you know, it's just First off, it's going to take some time to, to, to experience things that I even want to talk about, or even want to tell the story about. But then, you know, then then it you know, you just you get inspired, I'm in stages, I think, you know, so and then you see bad movies. I mean, Verner Hertzog is always telling, you know, don't see, you know,
Alex Ferrari 11:29
Katie Cokinos 11:31
Yeah, don't see, you know, Chinatown.
Alex Ferrari 11:35
That's gonna depress you,
Richard Linklater 11:36
it's gonna depress you
Katie Cokinos 11:38
watch a movie. That's, that's, that's terrible. That's how you want to make to make movies. But anyway,
Richard Linklater 11:45
that kind of gives you confidence. At some point, when I say this. I just talked to a big class of grad students two days ago at University of Texas, via, you know, zoom, of course, but the thing we ended up talking about was confidence. You know, just how do you get the confidence to lead a group? How do you get the confidence to think you're worthy of a film? I mean, I didn't have that same restriction in a certain way that you had Katie, like, you don't see names that make you think you're wanted. It's just the way you would as a black or brown or Asian person. He's like, that's a white space. You know, right. I didn't, even though I'm a white male. I saw it as a white trash kid from East Texas. I saw it like, that's not open to people like me who come from where I come from, we're not gonna make a film. Why would they don't let us do anything? We're just stuck, but I didn't feel I also, the more I got into it, I thought, well, you know, you can work hard. And I don't know, I just I definitely felt outsider II but not as much as what you were describing, you know, I mean, I but I think as a white male, you, you definitely have no, there's some doors you can potentially get to that. You know, I don't know. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, both. It's closed off of arts always feels open. I mean, everyone feels that way.
Katie Cokinos 13:21
It's Yeah. Olympus. Are you kidding? me growing up in Beaumont, Texas, you know, you'd walk into the theater, sit down and watch, you know, reds. I mean, you just like, it's hard to process.
Richard Linklater 13:38
question though, Alex. To me. It was a slow formation of I went from feeling I was a writer to being a playwright. And then at age summer, when I was 20. I started watching movies seriously for the first time and very systematically. And I realized I was discovering like, oh, film, it's kind of the way my brain was working. And that was right that I remember that. Summer I watched return this to caucus seven, the john Sayles film, and it was there were these indie film, American indie films were happening. And I was watching a lot of foreign films. And it was a great time I was at these, you know, repertory theaters in Houston and college. You know, I was just seeing four films a day. So it started to dawn on me that Oh, yeah, you you know, maybe just by camera and you see enough indie films, but I'd studied it for several years and it's funny, I'll reference the same movie, Katie talked about last night, the Alamo by Eagle p&l which there's been a restoration of in the last few years you know, I showed that film in Paris recently and I showed it and public film around the world sometimes when they asked me to show some films from Texas. I'll show like tender mercies and last night Alamo to show like, some a variety of Texas films. But yeah, ego pinel got a $25,000 I think $30,000 NEA grant. He had made one feature before that I hadn't even seen at the time. But it was playing at the Houston Film Festival. I remember going to that screening and they showed it in 16 millimeter. And I was I was inspired just because it looked like a lot of other indie films I saw but he had done it in Houston, the town I happen to be working out of. It's just starting to feel closer.
Katie Cokinos 15:25
Richard Linklater 15:26
yes. But also like, oh, okay,
Katie Cokinos 15:28
At this point like closer.
Unknown Speaker 15:29
Yeah, cuz Yeah, we have Hollywood is a mythical Yeah. So far with the films from there. And they are the special movie star, hollywood people who make them and all we do is consume them, you know? So there's really two levels of falling in love with them. Cinema as a future filmmaker. There's films that just make you love cinema, and that is your Kubrick's and your you know, all those. It's like, Oh, my God, cinema is the greatest art form. Ever invent? You know, it's just like, it's everything. But it's intimidating in its essence. But don't you think kind of films that you see, and you go, Oh, that's a little closer to home. That's how my brain works. Maybe I could do that. Yeah, cuz
Alex Ferrari 16:15
you can't you can't watch 2001 and go, Oh, yeah. Yeah, I can do that. Like, that's not a conversation version of that. Yeah. Like it's hard. For Tarkovsky.
Katie Cokinos 16:26
It's very important, though. And this is, this is, um, it's important that we do have the gods sitting on Mount Olympus because it's something that you need to work towards. And I think, yeah, that's where the Film Society came in. So, so great. Well, I was interviewed recently from somebody from Texas Monthly asking me about the early days, the thumb society, or just working Film Society. And it just it hit me in this talk that, yeah, you're working on slacker. But you're also like, showing some of the greatest films ever made. And it's this nice, you know, um, what you want it where you're headed, where what you'd like to be, but but what you're dealing with, you know, with your own personal vision, your own, you know, what you want to do with cinema?
Alex Ferrari 17:27
Yes. I was talking to Katie OFF AIR a little while ago. And when I asked it kind of asked this question, she said that she hadn't seen anybody that, you know, no, no female names or anything like that. And for me, it was I'm a Latino filmmaker from Miami. So I didn't see any like, there was no Latino filmmakers. So for me, it was Robert, like he was the first one. Robert was the first one that I saw. And in 91, I was working at a video store in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and mariachi showed up and I went to the theater See it? And I was just like, and it was right next to a picnic. It was right next to a poster of hardboiled. I'll never forget, a hard boy, john woo with the with the baby and the shock, and I'm like, What is that? So that was a double feature that day. That was a fantastic feature. But it was the first time that I saw someone that was and that he came up with this book. And I studied all that kind of stuff. But it was the first time I was inspired to like, you know what? And I'm not I'm not, by the way by any stretch, alone, and that he inspired multiple filmmakers. But for me, specifically, as a Latino filmmaker, it was someone that really, really drew me I think we all need that we all need to see ourselves. Yeah, do it at that level. Because, you know, you can look at you know, there's a lot of Latino filmmakers out there, maybe who look at Guillermo del Toro. And they're like, Oh, that's great. But he's at a, at a whole other level. It's nice to see someone be able to make something like, Oh, I just need 30,000 bucks, and maybe I can make something.
Katie Cokinos 18:55
Richard Linklater 18:56
Yeah. Well, it's inspiring on a couple levels. I mean, it's interesting with Robert, you know, he was like, a year or so too, after me, even though he's, he's younger. And I met him around that time, but really, with Robert all it's that last name, Rodriguez Roberts, a kid from San Antonio. He didn't really speak Spanish when he made that film, like so many of that generation. He picked it up, you know, but it's just like, yeah, anyone can do this. And then you see those female names. It's like, and then the black filmmaker, the Gordon Parks, you know, we all just, it's so funny. It's like politics. You know, just we were all look, there's identity and identification. And yeah,
Katie Cokinos 19:33
And yeah identification
Richard Linklater 19:35
feel open. I think that's what's so exciting about the world right now is tumultuous as it is. And I think barriers are really down for everybody. I mean, they're they've either come down or they're coming down. I don't think anybody feels that they're technically not. Well, it's still culturally they know it's difficult, but I just think it's an exciting time. When I don't know, I just think the access, is there. The I don't know. I think it's,
Alex Ferrari 20:04
Katie Cokinos 20:06
I love the Cocteau quote, about film, he says it will only become an art form when it's as readily available as a piece of paper and a pen. You know, when people can you know, and, and, and on another level, which he didn't also speak, but was that the representation is there to that you feel like what my story is? Yeah. Telling and, and it's, you know, and I can do this I think it's only it's, it's, it's gonna Yeah, I think it's really exciting. I think you're right.
Richard Linklater 20:42
It's finally come about it was always a theoretical, you know, Francis koplow there's that little girl in Cincinnati is going to make a film. Well, exactly when he first started saying that's like how No one's going to give her 30 camera. But that thing from decades ago really has happened. You know, there's no barriers,
Katie Cokinos 21:01
but he also said it was the last vestiges of dictatorship. Don't making
Alex Ferrari 21:09
Katie Cokinos 21:12
He said that he said that while making the Apocalypse Now.
Alex Ferrari 21:15
He wasn't in a good headspace at that point. He wasn't in a real good headspace and Apocalypse Now.
Richard Linklater 21:20
Yeah, I hope.
Katie Cokinos 21:22
I don't have a problem with that. That was not a comment.
Richard Linklater 21:26
I just wish in the political sense with the rise of authoritarian thinking everywhere. If it was the last vestiges, I would sign up right now. about it. I'm worried about that spilling outside the arts. only accept? Exactly. Yes. Society not so much.
Alex Ferrari 21:44
Yeah. So um, so you both have made films of coming of age and of youth and, and youth kind of going, just kind of analyzing youth and also not only youth, but specifically with, with you, Rick, that you know, obviously over the passage of time, but I really want to kind of focus on youth because there are a lot of young filmmakers listening to this. And I've got some gray in my hair. Right here my beard. So I've been around the block a little bit, you guys have been as well. There's something that you could only see when you look back at your youth. Why is it and I'd love to hear your perspective. This. Why is it that youth always assumes that the world is there for them? That it is everything is owed to them? And it should have gotten here yesterday? Like, because I remember I remember what I was gumming up like I'm like why am I not in Hollywood already? Like I Why haven't they given me $20 million already? Why is that happening?
Katie Cokinos 22:39
Well, frontal lobe isn't fully formed in their 2425, is that
Alex Ferrari 22:49
that's just science.
Richard Linklater 22:52
Yeah, I tell these film class, you know, that I speak to I said, it's gonna take twice because you know, the world doesn't really reward your passion in the way that you put it out there. It's on its own time schedule, all you can do is try to outwork it, you know, but yeah, it's not, it's going to take twice as long. It's like building a house or something, it's going to take twice as long and cost twice as much. I said, it's gonna, it's gonna require more of you than you think you even have to give. But that's not a bad thing. You know, it's kind of like a long term relationship or something, you know, it's gonna, yeah, there's gonna be a lot of effort you're gonna put in you're not thinking about right now.
Katie Cokinos 23:35
So Alex, are you talking about the characters we created in boyhood, and I dream too much? Are you talking about
Alex Ferrari 23:43
youth general youth in general? Like because you guys have you guys have obviously studied and have delved in those kinds of characters a lot and explored youth and what it means to be young and, and the naivete of being young. And by the way, I wish I had some of my Navy tape back, because you become very jaded as you get older about because you just been around so you just know things. But really great art is done by I mean, slacker. El Mariachi clerks, mean a bunch of you know, young filmmakers who just did she's got to have it like they just went out and did it. Not thinking about how you're going to sell it, where you're going to get your money back. Who's how is this going to, you know, build my career. There's none of that thought. So there is some power in youth. But it's, it's hard to it's like a wild stallion. It's hard to kind of.
Richard Linklater 24:34
It's so interesting to be in the throes of that too. You're a little crazy. I remember the era that I was doing slacker. I mean, my God. I think I was technically crazy in a way you know, you have to be obsessive crazy. you're risking everything. And you're you're kind of at this pitch of and there's there's no guarantees. You're you're risking everything but you're so compelled to Do it and that's what the the arts, it should be doing scary things that you're just compelled to do. And without any thought of what the results will pay,
Katie Cokinos 25:11
you have, you have to bring yourself to the point where you cannot not write out a story. I mean, if going out to the lake and hanging out at the lake or going to the beach sounds so much nicer than sitting home alone and in your room, you know, cultivating and picking at your psyche and trying to create characters in a certain story. I mean, it, it has to be almost, it has to be almost not to sound hyperbolic or hyperbole. You know, it has to be as you breathe, I mean, it's got to be Air, Water shelter, and you must get this story out, or else on a certain level, it just doesn't really make any sense. And having said that, I also recommend short films. Do as many short films as you can, you know, just I, you know, I did? I did. I was inspired by music, I would just create little narratives to songs I did, you know, 32nd films, I did three minute films. I mean, my 10 minute film was like, I was making Berlin Alexander plot.
Alex Ferrari 26:36
Katie Cokinos 26:37
yeah, tell us for 10 minutes. And, you know, I just I think it really has to be something, it's got to be steps, I'm very much into steps, you know, you don't skip things, you you value where you're at, and you have to be okay with that, you know, you might go see, you know, so and so's biggest film that just came out. But when you come home, you got to bring it back down to what is it you want to say in the medium of film? And how to how to say it, you know, and I do. I do think short films for me, were always extremely liberating. We showed them in Austin. I mean, raheel had her Short Film Festival, and I would walk out there going, Oh my gosh, you know, I mean, with every, um, you know, Bob Fauci film or, or, you know, Kubrick film, there was a Stan brakhage film that made me feel just as happy because it was an artist, figuring it out, just figuring it out, you know, and just creating your own vision. But,
Alex Ferrari 27:47
but isn't that like the greatest kind of films when you're actually watching a film where you see the artist, figuring it out, like literally, as you're doing it? Like, they didn't really know what they were doing here. They're just kind of like, oh, here, they went over here. And that was, and it's not only with film you could do it with with writing with art and any kind of art in general,
Katie Cokinos 28:05
just figuring it out. I mean, I felt like all of them vendors, early films, he was figuring it out. And they're so beautiful and so spiritual. I mean, I go back to Allison the city kings of the road. I mean, you just, I don't know, that is the nature of cinema. You know, it's a feeling thing. It's not a thing.
Richard Linklater 28:30
For me that feeling to it's a question that the films are asking questions. Yes, they're seeking answers, but they don't have an answer. The absolute goal in making the film is the process of the question that they're trying to answer. It's not like, Okay, I'm gonna make this whole film to deliver you this answer. I already have their quests, you know, their visual quests, and you can feel that, you know, and I, I feel sorry for when that artist suddenly has answers, right? Things start to change a little didacticism and I hope that's not just with age, or, but that is kind of the great thing about youth because you're just talking about youth and cinema. Youth, by definition doesn't really have answers. It's being formed. And that's why I've come back to that over and over again. I mean, here recently, I've made some middle definitely some middle age films, you know, about that stage of life. But I think youth is always very unknown, evocative. We were all young ones. You know, we're all still attached to that young, unformed person who's just figuring out the world, you know, so I've done that a lot of just people searching for their own identities or, you know, figuring out how the world works, you know, that's kind of a, that's kind of a constant, you know,
Alex Ferrari 29:59
Katie Cokinos 30:01
I'm sorry, no good. Well, I was just, you know, a quote that really literally hung above my computer while I was writing I dream too much was, you know, when you're at sea stay far from land, you know? Because, like you said, you know, when you're, you're young, it, you have all the, all these questions and, and, you know, and and looking back on this time where Dora is 20 years old graduating college, one life is over and another hasn't formed. I really was trying to do like, a love letter to that time saying, Just don't rush into anything, don't want to know everything just be in that ditch, be it be lost. as uncomfortable as it is. There really is so, so much there, you know, and I I'm really sad when I see kids you know, want want everything to be fixed. And done. You know, the minute they graduate, and they're done. They've got their job. They're all you know. Oh my god, you're just headed for a midlife crisis, you know?
Alex Ferrari 31:19
at 22 at 22 you're gonna have a midlife crisis.
Richard Linklater 31:23
yeah. You see it though all the time. At that age. We all were we just talking about we're all in patient. We think we want tangible Yang's world that because we're passionate about it should be giving us this and yeah, then know what you don't know. You know, I just try to encourage young people I said, it's all about the process. I mean, your whole 20s is going to be just build that foundation under you, you know, read every watch everything and work hard. And you know, but
Katie Cokinos 31:51
both of our characters, I think it's interesting, your character and boyhood and my character, and I drink too much, essentially both turned to the arts. I mean, we're left with him in college with a camera, and Dora is just got up and read a poem. Yeah, he wrote him. And to both of us it was the arts. What created this inner freedom? Yes, is extremely valuable. And I just, I, I, I really can't emphasize it. Yes,
Richard Linklater 32:25
you can make that leap with that I made that I think even as a teenager, I said, Well, I just really wanted my life to be full of literature, and music. And it wasn't even movies yet. It's just the arts thinking, what expression? So once you kind of jump on that path, everything else is just a practical consideration, like, how do I pay my rent? How do I raise money to make a movie that I've picked an expensive medium, I wish I could just write a novel, I could afford that. Or paint, even painting that requires supplies. And you know, that can be expensive to canvases. It feels it when you don't have anything.
Katie Cokinos 33:01
You know, the tension? Yeah, tension, you have to have that tension. And that's what
Richard Linklater 33:11
I've been talking about. lately. I've been talking to Ted class and young people I said, film really is and I made a short film. Katie, did you?
Alex Ferrari 33:20
Yeah, I saw it. I just saw it
Richard Linklater 33:23
Pompidou the 20 Minute.
Alex Ferrari 33:25
Richard Linklater 33:26
The one with that with the therapist.
Alex Ferrari 33:28
Yeah, I saw I just saw, I just
Richard Linklater 33:31
you saw it.
Alex Ferrari 33:32
I saw it. I watched it. It's amazing. It was I was just sitting there going. This is this is awesome. And I could just tell you here just kind of like it at least the way from what I saw. It's like another day at the office is calling another day at the office or something like it's got Yeah, any the other day the office and watching it. And first of all that conversation with the development execs or that whatever that I'm just sitting there going steaks, you got to lean into. All that stuff was great. But when you went in with the therapist and started talking to the therapist, I truly felt that you were working stuff out like that, at least from my point of view.
Richard Linklater 34:06
It was so interesting at this point in my life, like seriously, that film is like the most personal thing. Imagine what, Katie, I'll give you the assignment, like in the spring of the year before I had, oh, the Pompidou had gotten in touch with me and said, Oh, next Thanksgiving. Yeah. Well, I looked at the calendar. They said, Oh, we want to do a retrospective, a complete retrospective, all your films and everything, but we want to fly you out. I said, would you bring my family over? And I asked him, Well, I have twin daughters to go to Paris next Thanksgiving. They're like, yeah.
Alex Ferrari 34:39
You said that in a short. You said that in the show.
Richard Linklater 34:42
I know. That's what I'm getting. I made a choice in February or no, it was even earlier. It's like it's so far in the future. It'll be a little family vacation to Paris. Okay, I'll do it. Sure. That's kind of how you make your decisions at a certain point in life. And what They said, Oh, when he director does this, you have to make a short about where you are, where you are right now. And I saw some others. And they all did like little documentaries. So I put it off. It's like that term paper, I put it off, put it off, put it off. And then at the last minute, it's like, over that summer, I said, Well, I got to do, I started thinking about it. And I didn't do it. I actually wrote it. I wrote a script about where I really was at that moment, which was kind of in development hell on one project, and, you know, with feedback, that was annoying, my transcendentalist thing and then a Yeah, visit because I had kind of been diagnosed informally for at for ADHD, which once I really got into that it explained a lot of my own explain me to myself to some degree, right. You know, I think filmmaking really is like, being a director is kind of the, it's the territory for like, Okay, let's go on the spectrum, ADHD, Asperger's full blown OCD. You do well, those you can hang out in film, because it's that
Katie Cokinos 36:13
I have ADHD. I you, you are able to sit and focus, like I've ever met.
Richard Linklater 36:24
That's one of the ADHD things is an inch deep. But absolute focus on a very limited amount of things. Like,
Katie Cokinos 36:36
Richard Linklater 36:37
that's what I found out. Like I was, I was a really mediocre student, because my brain wasn't couldn't process. It was thinking so.
Katie Cokinos 36:45
Richard Linklater 36:46
But I did have my one gift. And that's what came out in his therapy session. So well, you know, pick a task. And so I really just wrote it like a short. So I'm actually I'm an actor. Yeah, a movie. It's all scripted. But it looks like kind of a documentary.
Alex Ferrari 37:02
But what I love about it, but what I love about it, you bought it love about is when you're talking to the studio execs. You're like feeding horses and doing stuff on the farm and you have your like your earbuds on. And I'm just like, that's just so brilliant. It's like the one line. I think it was just the one line you said that just it just rang so true. One line that you said that they said to like, Well, you know, if that thing is not in there, I think it was something like if that lines not in there if that part is not in there. Why? Why no one's gonna miss it not.
Richard Linklater 37:35
We wouldn't miss it.
Alex Ferrari 37:36
Yeah. And then you said, Well, we didn't make the movie. No one would miss it either. Which was just the best. Never
Katie Cokinos 37:42
It was like, Yes. Great.
Alex Ferrari 37:44
I'm so happy like that in the next meeting I have with studio. That's amazing.
Richard Linklater 37:53
I've been sitting on that line for a while. Where did you see that? Did you go on the
Alex Ferrari 37:57
Pompidou website? No, it's on YouTube.
Richard Linklater 37:59
It's on YouTube. okk. You can watch it. I said.
Katie Cokinos 38:04
I'm so excited. Oh, I
Alex Ferrari 38:05
have so much fun. Short,
Richard Linklater 38:07
I felt great. Because, you know, before I made a couple features, I made about 20 shorts. For when my first short got over. I made a 15 Minute. It was like a 17 minute epic. I was like, Oh my god, it took me six months. It was like, Oh, yeah, so yeah, it's a little bit sad. Cuz you're like your head's in the clouds with the greatest films ever made. But you do. Yeah. filmmaking absolutely necessitate you pull your head out of the clouds and out of your own head focus on your the reality in front of you. Like, okay, here's who I am. Here's what I got. How do I work from here? You know, that's all you can do. And people who can't do it are the ones whose brains are just too far too far ahead of themselves and not accepting and also accepting. It's a real craft, it takes a long time to kind of get you can have these flashes of you know, it just takes a long time for your skills to catch up with your ideas. Put it like that. Oh, that's
Alex Ferrari 39:11
that is. I could not have put it more perfectly. Yeah. Because when I when I walked onto onto into film school, I went to a film school in Orlando. And I walked onto a set and I had like, shots and things laid out because I had been studying Scorsese and Kubrick and I had these all these like, no cut takes and everything. I had no idea how to do any of this. None. None. What did you just know I didn't even understand it. But my ideas were so even to this day. I have ideas that cost lots and lots of money. I have a little bit better understanding of how to do it. But you really, when you're young, you just your ideas are so far ahead of your skill set. It's pretty fascinating.
Richard Linklater 39:52
Yeah, bring it bring it back to reality. That's, that's always the challenge. But you know, I admire the guys who you know can create this unreality and get it, you know, the Kubrick's or the the
Katie Cokinos 40:05
yeah to have he never made Napoleon
Richard Linklater 40:09
no, he sure didnt
Alex Ferrari 40:12
make the polling he didn't make. What is it the? The papers?
Richard Linklater 40:16
Yeah, so many people it's the frustrating thing. Remember Antonioni wrote that book, toward the, in the last, I guess, 15 years of his long life. It was just, he was called bowling alley on the Tiber. And it was all the films, he's never gonna make just like a page or these ideas. And, you know, I have a, I have a book of those myself, but it's important to probably not make every film that crosses your mind. But it's great. If the film that crossed your mind is still in your mind 10 years later, 20 years later, maybe you should pursue that.
Katie Cokinos 40:50
Well, that is, that is a good point. I mean, I do. I do give certain ideas a test of time. And still, if it's still kind of nine, then then you got to kind of start putting it down on paper and, you know, bringing it down
Richard Linklater 41:07
into but that's because there's different kinds of filmmakers, though. Yeah, someone like we mentioned Kubrick numerous times. He didn't do that. He, he was looking for a great narrative out in the world as he self, it's a different skill set to create a great character out of scratch, you know, yeah, a great story he talked about a great cinematic story is like a pop song. It's a really rare thing, and you only write or do like a pop hit. You know, it's really hard. So he was looking for that, that narrative that he probably own his own blank slate, not his skillset. That's not the his brain works. Yes, it thinks stories, that doesn't mean you're not a great, you know, so there's a kind of filmmaker who's working super close to home in a personal way, characters coming out of their own lives. A lot of people don't do that. They're, they're really in the form. Kubrick wanted to make a science fiction movie that didn't suck. You know about space drive. That's where he started. He started with genre and the form and he just knew he had something in him. So and that's, that's really valid. You know, so many great filmmakers work that direction. I think the indie world, by nature, we all work the other direction.
Katie Cokinos 42:27
You work more like Fassbender were FOSS bender wanted to make sure that he actually what he experienced actually did, he actually did experience the emotion. So then he would, you know, create from there.
Alex Ferrari 42:47
Now I wanted to I wanted to touch something about both of your films. You're from I drink too much and kind of a bunch of your films. The in your filmography Richard, I mean, Rick, the spiritual, the spiritual aspect of your projects, and your characters and the journeys that they make the spiritual, philosophical tube, I mean, obviously, the first scene and slacker with you spouting off philosophy, you pretty much set the tone for your career in so many ways, but the spiritual aspect of things. I love to see it because I see and this is just my interpretation of the art. I see it in both in both your work a spiritual undertone in it, is that something that you are placing in it purposefully or you kind of organically it just comes out of the characters, because there's definitely something there and majority of of your work, Rick and as well as yours, Katie
Richard Linklater 43:46
I was always kind of obsessed, or naturally I fell in with the what Schrader calls the transcendental, you know, style and film, The ozuna is a sawn dryer, and Mizoguchi you know, you Bergman tarkowski, you know, the people who had these kind of spiritual concerns, and he see it in in his, it's in a lot, you know, it shows up in American cinema. Plenty too. It's just usually, you know, it's around the edges of narratives. Often it's not the sole subject. But yeah, I think it just kind of, if you think film is kind of a spiritual art, on some level, it sounds kind of pretentious, but I don't know when you're talking about life and representing. I don't know the world and I think that's there, but I don't, I never had anything I really wanted to say. In that on that front. I really don't I don't have any practice or any thing. I think it's just what's on the mind of young people and how they communicate and what they're going through. Or maybe there's some magical thinking sometimes that, particularly at certain points in your life, you know, I feel I felt myself change, you know, like, I go back even 20 years, I wouldn't be making waking life today probably because I just think differently about certain things. I'm more skeptical. I'm more science based, I kind of had these ideas, or I think I used to be a little more into just the pure aesthetic of ideas, whether I mean, you see it a lot in slacker, the conspiracy thinking the, the kind of, I'm just kind of magical ideas, not that they're that necessarily, but just just alternative ways of thinking, let's say, that really just did me a lot. You know, I felt that that was very real in the world would fade was a certain kind of buzz of the world I was experiencing. And you could say it's kind of schizophrenic. It's kind of crazy. But I thought, well, that's the world. That's what I'm feeling. But I was a certain age. And I don't know, you kind of see it play out in the public arena, like, say, conspiracy, for instance. And that's taken on a real malevolent, I think super damaging where it was kind of fun in the 80s to talk about, oh, some of this stuff. I don't know, I just think when it's kind of the ideology now of a large percentage of our population. What I want now is like, well, I want verify, I want like us to be on the same page, I want there to be like, actual deeper thinking and factual, you know, but I don't think that affects the film so much, but it's just, I don't know, certain flights of fancy maybe not so much. Got it? How about you, Katie?
Katie Cokinos 46:46
Well, I think it um, I think it's sort of circles back to what we were talking about, about the question, you know, the filmmakers who are seeking questions, and to me that that's spiritual, you know, and, and Rick, you are very, you know, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky and conditon Hamsun, you know, these were all writers that were very much alive to you and inspired you and they certainly, you know, come from a very spiritual place. And, you know, I, I, you know, I think of a film like you said, tender mercies, where there is, you know, Horton Foote was going after something, something else, but as per song says, keep the important stuff hidden. Yeah. And I, and I wonder, again, I wonder, you know, through that tension of, of telling us a story, but, but trying to connect it to something greater and something that, that we could all participate in, does sort of make it something a little bit more spiritual, you know, I mean, I,
Alex Ferrari 48:11
I mean, to me like to me boyhood like, it's a commentary on the human condition. I mean, there's no question and about the journey of dismissal this this boy going through life and also not only the parents as as you get older you like, I watched it when it first came out. And then now as as a father of older children, you just are like, Oh, I Whoo, I feel a different and that's what good are does it changes with you as you get older? Um, but there is, I mean, I guess, I guess anytime you're dealing with the human condition, there's, in many ways you touch you touch the spiritual in some, some way, some way somewhere, some way or another without being like, I'm not talking about religion or anything. Like I'm just talking about just the human condition.
Richard Linklater 48:56
I know I think we're all looking for connection that is what's makes cinema such a powerful medium, because you can really, it the spirit kind of permeates the images sometimes it does. If you're not too direct about it, you just you lay it out there and let we're all feeling Yeah, wanting to connect, you know, in a film like boyhood. I was kind of amazed. But on the other hand, I wasn't it's sort of what I was going for, but the way people did connect to it even all those years, I was thinking like, Am I not going I'm not going very big here. I'm making it about this minutia of life. Right not i'm not even doing the first kiss. I'm making it the little things I remember and just the smallest things, but I had a I had a great belief in the cumulative power of of that of time and what that would maybe just feel like as a human to experience watching it, you know, like to see life. Just move like that. That's what I thought. would be interesting. I didn't want to weigh it down with a lot of heaviness. I mean, it's plenty heavy, it's got a lot of detail that runs the gamut. But I just thought the the physical process, I did kind of think it would be this kind of moving thing. So it was amazing to me to get the feedback from people saying what they liked about it. And it was unique to me, it was very similar every time it's like, oh, my parents divorce or, you know, my kid went off to college, or I just went off to college, or, you know, it was always some detail from the film triggered so much from their own life. So I got to hear so many people's life stories, or, you know, what they connected, and I said, Oh, that's really beautiful, that people are just connecting with some aspect. But every film, you go for that the thing is with boy, there was an overabundance of it, because that's all there. I got back an overabundance. But I like a film, if I can just, if there's a couple of scenes that, take it to that level, that you just get a rush of feelings, you think maybe the whole movie moved up, was for that one moment, right now, look on someone's face, or just the contemplation of something. But it's gonna be different for you know, you just got to leave some room for it. But it's really just how you got to give the you got to give the power to the medium we're in it, you have to acknowledge the power of cinema and work with that you don't have to it carries so much itself, you have to work with,
Alex Ferrari 51:39
I think, and then also, Katie, in your film, I drink too much, the grandma character, and in so many characters in your films as well, Rick, I find that, you know, human beings as we are, we constantly are carrying our past with us. And it completely determines our future. We're unique as an animal species on this planet. We're the only ones that do that. I mean, there's not many dogs who are carrying around their past and, and really affecting their future so much. Why do you think we do that to our detriment? Like it is, we know consciously, it's hurting us. But yet we still kind of thrive in it. And I know a lot of characters in your, in your films do that? Because that's the human condition. I just love to hear your take on that. Well,
Unknown Speaker 52:22
I mean, it's funny, having just watched the Ken Burns Ernest Hemingway series that was gone. It reminded me how it Veera, I was really I created her in honor of, you know, Hadley, Hemingway, or Martha Gell. Horne, you know, one of the, you know, married to the great journalist, and she gets cast aside for a younger woman and they take their death and, um, you know, I completely forgot about that and how Veera holds on to it, it becomes like, her her reason of being and Dora kind of lands lands into this into this world, and they both figure it out. But, um, so you're asking, why, why
Alex Ferrari 53:15
we do it, why we do it as a as a hold on to things Yeah.
Katie Cokinos 53:21
Just sacred. Feel it takes you out of the ordinary,
Alex Ferrari 53:27
you know, but to our detriment, not like hold on to the past, like the good stuff. But like, we have things that like we hold on to that constantly are hurting us and hurting our forward motion, completely. I've done that in my life when an incident happens, and and you just hang on to it, and it stops you from going anywhere. Why?
Katie Cokinos 53:43
well I think you create a narrative or watching it with you, you have a trauma, then you form a narrative around it. And then, you know, you create, to live up to that narrative. That's who you are. And you create it until you, you know, sit down and write a script about it.
Richard Linklater 54:05
You know, it seems like we're in some therapy session. But yeah, that narrative is are you the hero overcoming great odds? Right? Think through all the muck that's been thrown at you? Are you the victim, who's held back by these traumatic, you know, it's like, you can, you know, we do have to some degree, you know, how we, where we put it, you know, in our compartments, you know, you can hide it away completely. You can deal with it, you can you know, my sister said watching boyhood is like, Oh, we went to therapy, you made a movie. Or your upbringing. It's like, Yeah, I was allergic thing to therapy. But I wanted to deal with some of this somehow. So again, the art solves all problems. It is there, but that's why
Yeah, what about religion? I said, you know, all the great things that are in the great holy books I said, you know, all that exists in the arts and science. You know, if you really focus on Arts and Science, all the questions, are there, so many answers are there and all the beautiful mystical feelings? Are there everything, it's been expressed throughout time, you know, there's, it's so much there, you know, if religion is not doing it for you, and you have this other thing, it's really tangible. So I just, I really do believe in the art as a sort of church, as it will provide all meaning. Yeah, myth and whatever you, whatever you're questing for, you know, it's, it's all there, you know, well, even person
Katie Cokinos 55:48
quotes, the liturgy, in his notes on cinematography. I mean, you know, the Greek Orthodox, and the liturgy on Sunday was supposed to do what art does. I mean, you get the whole operatic vision in front of you for an hour and a half. You're supposed to, you're supposed to walk out going, huh, I feel so much better. But now I think art is now you know, that taking over that.
Alex Ferrari 56:21
Oh, oh, no, he did. And he just busted it out. Not.
Katie Cokinos 56:25
Did you get a first edition?
Alex Ferrari 56:28
sign? You see, all right. Now you're just now you're just bragging. Now you're just bragging. Okay, look at that little person. Let her let her
Richard Linklater 56:45
gift. It was a gift someone gave him.
Katie Cokinos 56:48
That's awesome. That's
Richard Linklater 56:52
I had it right here on my shelf. I thought,
Katie Cokinos 56:54
Alex Ferrari 56:55
that's amazing. That's I'll have to bust out my George Lucas autograph on my Akira Kurosawa as well. So
Katie Cokinos 57:04
the Anderson, he autographed by john Ford, the john Ford book he wrote,
Alex Ferrari 57:09
that's amazing. I don't know where it is the one thing one thing you said Wednesday
Richard Linklater 57:17
I'm sorry? No, I think of Lindsey quite a bit and I carried the torch for him Lindsay Anderson. You know my daughters have recently become very cinema literate just finally this lat the pandemic put us together in a theater once a day to watch a movie and there What are we watching tonight before I thought I lost them to you know YouTube ever all the other things that kids are distracted by but yeah, they finally kind of got cinema. And we watched so many movies but their favorite film and these are kids that just turned 16 was if and then the whole Mick Travis trilogy, going back and revisiting those was really profound, truly radical beautiful movies. I just admire him so much and we were lucky to have hung out with him.
Katie Cokinos 58:04
Yeah, this sporting life is not be shown enough. We watched that
Richard Linklater 58:09
and did you see Malcolm McDowell? No apologies his documentary about Malcolm McDowell did this one man show. It's just him on stage with slides and images. And it's really all about Lindsay his relation with Lindsay and his own career, but it's beautiful. You can get it on VUDU can rent it on VUDU just no apologies. Okay, Lynn, everyone dals tribute to Lindsay Anderson. It's It's beautiful. It's a beautiful light from to a mentor and a great artist from a guy whose life he affected profoundly, who loved him dearly and kind of saw the contradictions and frustrations Lindsay went through, personally, professionally, you know, it's great. It's a great portrait.
Alex Ferrari 58:57
That's wonderful. One thing that you said earlier, Rick, you said that it's going to take twice as long and you're going to work twice as hard than you think. Which is great, by the way. Great, great quote. Can you just just dig a little deeper into the patient's
Richard Linklater 59:14
and you and you're gonna there's one more thing if it was meant to be you're gonna love every minute of it, you know? Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 59:21
that's a good that Oh my God, that's amazing. That's a great addition to that quote,
Richard Linklater 59:25
because you're you're doing what you love in this life. You're serving your cinematic you know, destiny I I look back at those years where I would just take the windows of black in my windows and edit around the clock for days and days just to finish that short that no one was ever gonna see. But I was like, what was driving me? Why was I wasn't a good boyfriend. I wasn't a good I didn't go do anything. People would ask me out for dinner. I'd like no, I'm there's a film I'm watching at 730 and then I'm that I just didn't have time. I was so obsessed and on a track, you know that and I look back at those are kind of like the greatest years ever because I was just, it was some pure about just doing exactly what you wanted to do with your time. And when it when you're fully dedicated to something like cinema, which is so multifaceted for me that meant, you know, starting a film society, it was booking films, but it was watching films it was seeing every film was editing, was writing film, you know, you can really dedicate your life to this, if you see it just especially outside just your own thing. You know, it's a bigger, cinemas much bigger than all of us, you know. So there's a lot to contribute to, oh, it really can be a life to call ever it gives you, whatever it gives you back. You know? Like, what you what you put in, you know, it's kind of like sports. You know, you get back what you put in? And
Katie Cokinos 1:01:01
I don't know, I think cinema is so heartbreaking. Oh, yeah. That incredibly heartbreaking.
Richard Linklater 1:01:09
but So is sports. Like,
Katie Cokinos 1:01:13
Richard Linklater 1:01:14
you know, it's like I was just saying things that the athlete or the artist devotes their life to I think they're, by definition heartbreaking. No. I mean, you talk to these people who have successful, you would look at and go, Oh, that's a successful career. And you get a little closer. And there's a lot of heartbreak there. Well, yeah. What's the point of this? How you categorize it? You know,
Alex Ferrari 1:01:37
what I mean? It's what both of you, I'm sure, I mean, I know, Rick, you you've gone, you've obviously had some highs, but you've also had lows. And even to this day, you're still hustling to get your movies made. And that's the thing that filmmakers and young filmmakers think that like, Oh, it's Rick Linklater, he's, he's this and that. And as I talked to more and more filmmakers that are accomplished filmmakers. I've just completely understand that like, No, man, I still them hustling for the money. I'm still trying to get my projects made. Like it's not like they just oh, well, you want you got nominated for an Oscar. Well, here's how many how many $20 million checks do you want? Like, it doesn't work that way.
Richard Linklater 1:02:17
Really? It's amazing. Yeah. people when they think like, Oh, you have trouble. I was like, Well, I'm having trouble getting this particular thing. Maybe, maybe, maybe it's, I don't know, not fitting into the marketplace. But yeah, it's it's, there's no easy path. Although I do think certain friends of mine are certain people I know. They seem. I think they're pretty made, you know, they get to do whatever they want. But I look at him and go well, they kind of earn that, you know, in a way I haven't. So I'm like, Okay, I'm not complaining. You know, you're on the roster. But yeah,
Alex Ferrari 1:02:56
look, look Scorsese, Scorsese still having trouble. I mean, Spielberg couldn't even get Lincoln financed. I mean, they still there is moments that, you know, they say, Oh, well,
Richard Linklater 1:03:06
he got it financed eventually, it's there. So fronted by the the initial fear that the world the world gives you. Like, didn't I remember when he took Schindler's List into universal? I guess it was, and the head of the studio, can't we just make a donation to some Holocaust thing. And that's the kind of thing Spielberg someone like Spielberg, you don't forget that. And that didn't mean it didn't happen. But it's that that initial the world gives you no matter what you say, it gives you a little stiff arm back,
Katie Cokinos 1:03:39
it would just
Richard Linklater 1:03:40
it meant or it's something but you know, you're not supposed to feel sorry for those people. You're not supposed to know. The world doesn't necessarily want to give you everything you want. You know,
Katie Cokinos 1:03:53
we'll leave even between Slacker coming out in 91 which I think this is 2021 Isn't this an anniversary? Is it 30?
Alex Ferrari 1:04:04
Richard Linklater 1:04:05
we're in but our Austin premier 30 year and our national will be Yeah, no. Yeah. Are this coming summer between
Katie Cokinos 1:04:16
between slacker. And then with my first film portrait of a girl is a young cat, which came out in 2000. I was I was hearing from independent, you know, distributors, and festivals, you know, will do you have any names attached to it? So this internet became indie would you know that it became commodified where you needed, you know, names to get it out there. So it's just this constant like flux of, you know, what can we sell, what can we sell?
Richard Linklater 1:04:54
That is the, the kind of the, the shadow side of what we were Kind of rhapsodizing about the Sundance era. Yeah, Andy is Renaissance. What went with that is commercial expectations. And this amped up industry, you know, minor league system with names attached for no money. Yeah. So, there there has always been that, you know, that there, there's kind of an inflation that ran through it all that kind of, you know, you could say, like, Miramax sort of ruined Miramax, and then like Fox Searchlight when they kind of landed on these formulas, and this is just pure business. But, you know, it was really kind of insidious. It's like how they made money. And they worked a formula. They would overspend. They over advertise overtake build up grosses. And then take their cut and then have it all stopped right at the point they're supposed to pay the filmmakers that you know, writing the point it was gonna achieve. They were taking their fee off the top. So I was like, wow, what, what did what a kind of business he awful formula that started working and then it wasn't, it wasn't enough to you know, slacker they gave us 100,000 advance it made 1.3 million at the box office. It was seen as successful. They made some money. It just it that was okay. It was in the sports term that you they were hitting singles and doubles. That's okay. But it became a much bigger thing. And everyone started sort of playing that game. So you know, you just got to deal with inflationary
Alex Ferrari 1:06:46
relation Eric tations. You know, and slacker, if slacker comes out today. It's it's drowned out do agree.
Richard Linklater 1:06:55
You know, part of me says, yes, you know, wouldn't get into the narrative competition at Sundance, it would definitely be a midnight or, or at best, you know, you think that But then I also go, Well, there's still room for that film that is so weirdly different. So find a path. So part of me the optimist in me has to believe that, you know, it would find a way. The way it did, then, you know, it was just a different film. It didn't have a story. There was so much it wasn't. But what what, but even it's a product of its time to you know, it's very much. I mean, in a way it spoke to a moment in time. Yeah, the agenda was cinematic. But it kind of not that it was a design of the film, but like anything that just kind of catches a zite guys through your pop culture way. That's just justice. And I think that's just been it's that's kind of the the upside of naive youth, like you don't know it. Right. You're, you're, you're surfing on some waves that are in the culture, that are youthful and different. And you know, so that's what music does. So well.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:20
Now, you guys worked on a project together, I dream too much, which was directed and written by by Katie. So Katie, can you tell us a little bit about that project? And then how did Rick get involved in that project?
Katie Cokinos 1:08:33
Yeah, um, I, let's see, I had done portrait of a girl as a young cat that came out in 2000. And then I grip
Alex Ferrari 1:08:42
right, by the way, great title. I mean, not as much as stuffing stuffing in the bikini title that we talked about earlier. I mean, not that good, but still good.
Katie Cokinos 1:08:50
Yeah, I do have to recommend to listeners out there that have a good title really helps you write every day. And something that you don't know what it is. Like, I really didn't know what a portrait of a girl is a young cat was while I wrote it. So something to write for. And the same with I dream too much. I didn't really know what that meant. So it really helped sitting down and creating these characters and creating a plot. To do I with I dream too much I really wanted to capture like I'd mentioned earlier that time, right after college. When you're done with college, and your life hasn't begun yet, and so you're you're you're moving away from one life, but but nothing's been created yet. So I always saw my character Dora is sort of in a ditch throughout the writing, just not not sure where where she was going. Her last name was what By the way, it also helps, because I thought about Orson Welles every time I sat down in good ways and bad ways. So yes, so she, she wants to travel, she wants to go to Brazil. She's just graduated and her mom wants her to go to law school, which that was me. graduating from college. My dad wanted me to go to law school. So it was a little personal. She door it takes off goes upstate New York, we shot in upstate New York over three weeks during one of the snowiest times ever February 2014. So I made my Dr. Zhivago movie too. And so yeah, she goes to live with her aunt Veera. And, and she, you know, through the story, she, by the end, she sort of decides what, definitely what she doesn't want to do, but maybe what you might want to do. And it I there were no, unlike portrait, which was very much influenced by Jacques de me. And Godard, like Viva savvy. I dream too much. I really didn't think about any other films. There weren't a lot of coming of age with female character films, I could really go to saw I looked at Jane Austen. So to a certain point, I realized I really wanted to write a story as if Jane Austen lived in 2014. So it very much draws upon the themes of the poor relation going to live with the wealthy relation, you know, it's a lot of walking with landscapes, and, and there's even a running thread throughout it, where she actually sort of daydreams that she's in a Jane Austen. He said, anyway, it was it was really fun it like I said, it's definitely like this love letter to that, that time in your life where things are open, you know, but there is there is a little bit of anxiety too.
Alex Ferrari 1:12:18
So and then Rick and Rick, you've never come out with me. You've never EP to film before you never executive producer from like that, or have you?
Richard Linklater 1:12:27
Some docs and things, but I don't think a narrative. Think I had no. So yeah. How
Alex Ferrari 1:12:34
did you get involved with the project?
Richard Linklater 1:12:35
Well, as I remember, Katie, like only a year or two before have a couple you had a different on the girl
Katie Cokinos 1:12:43
issues. Yeah, I'm sorry.
Richard Linklater 1:12:45
You were sort of going on that. And then you did a segue into this. Yeah. Okay. All your energy went there. So I thought, well, that's really interesting. And I just loved the script. I love what it is about, like, I love that territory. Obviously, I've done it from let's, you know, kind of a male point of view. Let's say I just think there's it's female, young female, that that thing is woefully underrepresented. So I thought, Oh, wow. And you're the one to do it. Because I know it was so alive with you. so personal. Yeah. You that law school, retention, and that parental and all that. I just thought it was beautiful. And I just loved your cats too. When you got eaten. Diane Ladd. They're just so perfect. I just thought you did a good job. So it was just fun to see you get that chance, you know, so I didn't really do anything. But I came and visited and I was there, you know?
Katie Cokinos 1:13:39
I mean? Yeah, having your your name attached, absolutely helped us navigate in
Richard Linklater 1:13:48
scale. And that's why I don't do it casually. You know, I wouldn't. Yeah, I only did it on something like truly believed. And it would it would Wow. Yeah. It's called with answer. You know, it wasn't.
Katie Cokinos 1:14:01
And, you know, Alex, when I was writing the script, early on, I kept thinking, Oh, Rick is really gonna like this story because it had a lot of, you know, a lot of ideas working out and, you know, talking and it had a, you know, I did have him in the back of my mind when I was, was writing it. And Diane was really fun to work with, I have to say when we first met her. In California, she lives out in Ohio. We had lunch, I was with my two producers, Jay and jack and we sit down for lunch and she all sudden starts telling me a story about working with Tennessee Williams and how she told and I told Tennessee, he needs to change this ending. And he did. And I thought oh my god. I nearly I knew Let me know like, why you know things coming up I like oh my god, she's telling Tennessee Williams out of right
Richard Linklater 1:15:10
into because if if she can get Tennessee Williams Zoo yeah what she can say yeah actors that are all that first meeting can you're setting a relationship town? You got to be careful.
Katie Cokinos 1:15:21
Oh my god was Yeah, that was very telling. I mean, you know, she had great. She had great stories about working, you know, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. You know, she told Scorsese that he needed another shot of Ellen Burstyn and in some sane and, you know, working with with them? You know, David Lynch on Wild at Heart and, you know, working on Chinatown, and yeah, she's so great to work with that. Yeah, that initial meeting, I mean, Tennessee Williams, not via Guana? Well, God,
Richard Linklater 1:16:03
I think what she's telling you, it's a good lesson is that writers, directors, you have a lot to learn and a lot to benefit from listening to the people who are physically manifesting your ideas via acting in your movie. I know. And I think a lot of them have run into younger directors who don't want to think oh, what I wrote a year ago is perfect. I don't want you messing up. And it's like, no, if you really want to know it's a collaboration, I think they're kind of telling them actually the best directors, listen, listen very closely to who they're working with in those those so much. that next level getting it to that. Yeah, that level comes from that collaboration. So she's just
Katie Cokinos 1:16:52
that is the best I mean, you know, if it's all in the script, why make the movie, you know, you have to have, you have to have that actor, the input, you have to take it to a whole nother level.
Alex Ferrari 1:17:03
And it's also the lightning that you're going to capture on set. Like there's that lightning in a bottle that you have to be prepared for.
Richard Linklater 1:17:11
Yeah, you gotta leave room for it. Yeah, you got it. It's your you're leaving, you know that 7% or that 10% or whatever. You know, I'm a big reverser. And I sometimes make actors nervous or going in that Oh, rehearsing. Is it going to be like acting exercises? Are they going to be laying down on the floor?
Alex Ferrari 1:17:31
Calling Lalala Lalalala
Richard Linklater 1:17:33
Lalalala said, Well, my rehearsals are actually my rewriting. I do it for me. I want to hear you say it. And I want to talk about it. I want to answer all your questions. I want to have new ideas, right? This is a process for me. I'm still discovering this movie. I don't I'm not 100% sure yet how I'm going to shoot it. You know, I'm not. I'm feeling my way through this.
Katie Cokinos 1:17:56
No, I think that's great. And I'm sort of did one of these as God is my witness. I will never make a movie where I don't get rehearsal, because I got no rehearsal time with my actors. And we were shooting five pages a day. And I just it it you know, I just would have loved just to have a few days just because I you know, I don't want to hear my writing back. I want them to and it was great. One time Danielle Brooks. You know, in a scene, she just came up to me. She's like, I just I don't get it. I don't buy it. It's you have to rewrite. It was like, great. So I had to rewrite this whole scene and it made it so much better. Yeah, that's, that's what I that's what I live for. Totally. Yeah, I
Richard Linklater 1:18:42
I try to do that weeks before production.
Katie Cokinos 1:18:46
Well, like I said, on my next film, I want a week of rehearsal.
Richard Linklater 1:18:55
Early on, someone told me it's like, for every week of rehearsal, you save a day of production. Yeah. That's a pretty rich formula. Because a day of production is expensive and a day of rehearsal cost very little, right? You get these bureaucrats who they just want to keep actors away until that necessary, you know, like, Oh, no, they're gonna come in and neat things for two three weeks. Like Yeah, hotel room. It's really expensive. Food, your budget? Yes. live here, and we're going to work and we're going to make a better movie.
Katie Cokinos 1:19:29
I'm so glad to hear you say this. I mean, I knew you. Yeah, I knew you. But I yeah, I don't
Richard Linklater 1:19:38
have the insecure director and I the my nightmare that I dream. Probably every six months I have this dream, where I'm honest, my own set, shooting and I'm meeting actors for the first time I owe them. I don't know who they are. And we're trying to worked together. And pretty soon I realized, Oh, I don't even know my own movie like, what's this trip? You know, I've just lost
Katie Cokinos 1:20:07
a half of you.
Richard Linklater 1:20:08
Yeah, watch it again recently, the new criterion beautiful,
Alex Ferrari 1:20:13
Richard Linklater 1:20:15
But it is that kind of fear of just not being prepared. But for me, that's a comfortableness with the cast that I want them to be comfortable, and I want to be comfortable.
Katie Cokinos 1:20:28
So Rick, when you do get rehearsal, because I this, this film on my script I'm working on now is a is more of an ensemble, like a family ensemble piece. So when you do get rehearsal defined, you don't have to talk as much on the set to the actors. And being you don't have to, because they walk in, they're like, okay,
Richard Linklater 1:20:53
yeah, that scene we worked on. And ideally, if you can do it with you're in pre production, if you have the locations, you might have blocked it on the set before, right. So that's been in the morning, what crews waiting around figuring out, oh, let's then you walk through that door. I'm figuring out what the geography is. I've been in a position plenty where I'm in rehearsals, and I have to go to the set separately, but if you can get the actors there, yeah. And then kind of just feel, then they're that much more comfortable that they're like, oh, let's go so I'm a big, I'm a big rehearse on location.
Katie Cokinos 1:21:30
Yeah, the location Wow,
Richard Linklater 1:21:32
this whole other hang out with no, with no clock ticking, let's do it. Again, talk about that, and feel our way through, it's really process very organic, and it just makes everybody more relaxed, a little more confident.
Katie Cokinos 1:21:48
Yeah, that's the location changes everything to just like Antonia,
Richard Linklater 1:21:55
you have new ideas, you know, like, it's these words, you're hearing out loud for the first time via the person is gonna say it. And then these locations you found, let's say, in the last couple months, are replete. And you know, you're kind of putting those together. And that's really like, how you're going to shoot it how you're going to,
Katie Cokinos 1:22:12
Richard Linklater 1:22:13
I like it just feeling your way through your own movie. And that's okay. And I wish people would respect that. You know, what they ask of directors is to answer questions, and I get it. You have to answer questions all day long. And as Truffaut says and Day for Night, sometimes I even have the right and I even but yeah, you know, they need and I learned early on to not be vague, because, you know, people don't want to hear that from the boss that Oh, I'm feeling my way through. Yeah. If you're managing a restaurant, like hey, like, Oh, we want people who are working for people they want answers they want so I learned early on, have those answers, but also have the right to change your mind you know, if you can be with them, locate the locations person asks you, hey, we're gonna do need to park the trucks here. You're gonna see there and you know, like, okay, we won't see out that window. So you can park there, you know, whatever.
Katie Cokinos 1:23:12
Richard Linklater 1:23:13
So the best of your ability answer their question, but then also say, in a few times in the production, you'll go out and hey, you know what I told you the other day, it's changed. don't respect it. Because you gave them 97 answers and three times change it? Well, who they really hate is the person who gave them zero answers. Yeah. Right. You know, you say, Hey, I'm gonna give you I'm process oriented things change. I'm looking for it to change a little. But if we were shooting today, we Yeah, you can park the trucks there in here. But yeah, so we plan on that, I will let you know the second that if when and if that changes. You gotta ficient but they have to you get you need everyone to buy into your process, you know, and there's a million it takes it took me a few films to get that by No, it was it's nothing but like, oh, here, you're working with a lot of professionals. Here's how we do it. Here's how we make a movie. It's like, well, that's not how I want to that's not going to make my movie. I'll accept, you know, the parameters of a schedule a budget, a call sheet, you know, overtime meal penalties. That's all bad enough. But don't tell me I can't rehearse because the actors are professionals and will come in and say their lot, you know, don't, don't tell me. Things like that, you know, I will then need to rehearse or whatever. So, guys,
Katie Cokinos 1:24:38
thank you. For night two is when that that guy comes up to him and is like, why aren't you doing a movie about pollution? And you Wait, why There's more sex, you know, you need more sex, more pollution, you know, pollution is something we need to deal with. And it's like, Yes, right. I mean, get those those questions will never go away, you know, on the set, why aren't you you know, and the Godfather is playing around the corner. And you know, it is it's like, like he says it's you get on a stage coach. Take off if you have no idea if you're going to make
Alex Ferrari 1:25:22
it and the bottom and the bottom. And the bottom line is everybody on set knows that they can make a better film than you. Everybody knows that they can make a better film.
Unknown Speaker 1:25:31
Certainly do your first like two or three films.
Alex Ferrari 1:25:34
Yeah. Afterwards, I hopefully have some sort of some sort of respect.
Unknown Speaker 1:25:39
I've enjoyed making it to elder statesman, you know, I the the upside of that is that, like those first three felt the natural thing and an employee situation is the emperor has no clothes, right? They have no idea what they're doing. They have no idea. They're totally faking it. Obviously, that was in my third film days. That was the vibe at the studio. Oh, this guy's a complete amateur. He has no idea what he's doing. And you know, he's doing it all wrong. And yeah, and I could be doing better. You know, that was all there that slowly started to get away. They might not like what I'm doing. But they couldn't say I didn't know what I was doing. Right. And I couldn't say because frankly, I didn't. There was a lot I didn't know. You leave yourself vulnerable. So at some point, I was happy to get there. Like, you can disagree or not like, but just don't tell me. I don't know what I'm doing. You know, right. I my joke is I when they ask some obvious question, like, Oh, yeah, I was like, Oh, this only seems like my first film.
Alex Ferrari 1:26:48
Richard Linklater 1:26:52
might seem like my personal I didn't tell Shirley MacLaine that like, Well, do you have wardrobe? Like She challenged you? She challenges you know, yeah, you know what? in pre production like, surely, this isn't universal. What is an indie film? We don't have any money that it's not. We're eight weeks out. I don't have any started in the costume depart. We don't have, you know, I don't have EDID head coming over to costumes. Like don't, you know, there's the indie film, but just don't tell me I don't know what I'm doing. Because this is my, you know, 1314 or whatever, you know, so you just have to kind of give everybody, you know, their comfort zone or their assurance, oh, it's
Alex Ferrari 1:27:33
gonna be wasted, you know, cat as a director, there's so many skill sets that they don't tell you about, like the politics of a set. I like being the politics and, and human relationships. And just and it's a psychology of it all. Like, all they teach you is like, this is the lens that Kubrick used. Now, this is how Scorsese got that shot in Goodfellas. Yeah, here's the That's fantastic. That's, that's like, oh, but when you get on set, like that perfect example of Shirley MacLaine. Like when you when you run up against the wall, like, like, surely who, like worked with Hitchcock among a million other other people that you work with
Richard Linklater 1:28:08
everyone We've talked about
Alex Ferrari 1:28:09
this? Right, exactly. You just go? You, they don't teach you that. That's something you've learned on the job. Yeah.
Richard Linklater 1:28:17
I did that. Eight weeks before production. Thank God. So a hotel room in LA, you know, like, we got that done. So by the time we were on set, it's it's smooth. You know, everything's great. We're making the same movie. We had rehearsed. We had, you know, things were good, you know?
Katie Cokinos 1:28:35
Yeah. But she didn't have any respect for Vincent McNally. So I think you're in really good companies cared about was the color of the curtain.
Richard Linklater 1:28:48
Hal Ashby was, you know, I realized, Oh, yes, some people.
Katie Cokinos 1:28:52
Yeah, you're in good company.
Richard Linklater 1:28:53
Have good? Yeah.Wait,oh, for her cuz
Katie Cokinos 1:29:01
he was Wilder. Yeah,
Richard Linklater 1:29:04
he was like, Well, do you want this or this? I said, Well, I don't know. Surely Which one? Do you think you're there you go? I don't know. I said, You know, I said, I don't when they're conference, confronting me with something. My first thing I said, I don't know. I mean, everyone else in East Texas has said very carefully to what I say right after I say, I don't know. And I'm probably telling you what I think leaving the possibility that you might have an idea of your own that you want to bring in here and collaborate with, which is,
Alex Ferrari 1:29:37
which is scary for a certain generation of actors, like they just want to just like, tell us where to go. It happens. I've worked. I've worked with some actors like that to the older generation and very established and you work with them and they just, they have a way of doing things that they
Katie Cokinos 1:29:52
really want. daikon with Billy Wilder, like show exactly or am I thinking of Lubitsch were they Just exactly what they wanted. They would act it out.
Alex Ferrari 1:30:03
kind of imagine. I'd imagine Billy Wilder wasn't a very Lucy. No, no, I don't think, Billy.
Katie Cokinos 1:30:10
I'm thinking of Lubitsch, then that would just totally acted out. This is exactly what I want you to do and do it. It's like
Alex Ferrari 1:30:17
worse than a line reading. Yeah.
Katie Cokinos 1:30:21
For some actors, maybe that that works. See, I I have, I get as not shy as I am, I get really shy around actors. So that's, I need to work on that. That's my thing. I really, I mean, probably Eden and Diane. And Danielle would say that's not true. But
Alex Ferrari 1:30:40
yeah, they smell fear. They smell fear. They smell fear.
Katie Cokinos 1:30:44
Richard Linklater 1:30:47
really like you. I thought you were given them a lot. I love the way you work with the actors and the vibe on your set. and stuff. But yeah, that is true. You said actors smell fear. But that's like, that's why I was always an acting class. And I was always kind of became an actor myself. Not that I ever wanted to be an actor. But I thought, Oh, I want to be able to relate, you know, at least, it's good to know enough to know how hard it is, oh, they're doing you know, so they so hard. So you have you come from a place of appreciation,
Alex Ferrari 1:31:23
Richard Linklater 1:31:24
Acting is and, you know, empathy of how difficult it is. And you're just they sit, you're on their side? I know, there's a reason in sports. Most coaches, they always have played, they know. Yeah, and they know the situation you're in. So wouldn't it make sense for a director to have played the positions before or been in that game? You know, so it kind of makes sense. I tell students and be like, go go, go get in an acting class, get up in front of 20 people give a five minute or three minute log, show your ass of how you're not good, and live with it and get better and be embarrassed? And because that's what they're doing with for your camera. And they're, you know, you're asking a lot of people. Because actors, they can smell it, like, are you on my side? Or do I have to work around, you
Alex Ferrari 1:32:17
know, to protect myself to have to protect myself? Yeah,
Richard Linklater 1:32:20
you see, and it really calcifies careers. You see these actors who've, you know, they go through a long career and they they've been burned. You know, they believed in a director who told them to do something, they see the move, and that's stupid. Why do I look so dumb? Because I listened to that idiot telling me to, you know, and they don't like what they did. So they they're like, Okay, I'm not gonna work, what am I going to give, I only give so much of myself for all only, I'm not going to go outside. Don't tell me how to act, because I've already got all that. So you see, really good actors giving are not really finding any new notes in their careers. They're just being good over and over in the kind of the same way. But you know, the best actors, the ones who really push themselves, the ones we're still talking about, you know, though, we work with a first time director, and they're like, they're so confident actually, in their own abilities. They're like, telling, I mean, they know, the film's only going to be good if they're good. So they want to help you be good. They're not in opposition, you know, that lackey director who just you know, they really want to director to the best player would like the best coach. You know, that's the way you're gonna win.
Katie Cokinos 1:33:34
Right? Absolutely. What's heartbreaking, I just finished reading a biography on Clark Gable, and to hear his experience on the Misfits. And, you know, you get the set on time, he was ready to go. And everybody would just sort of trickle in, and it really killed him.
Richard Linklater 1:33:52
And there was Lake Maryland
Katie Cokinos 1:33:56
was late. I mean, he would just be like, What? What type of filmmaking is this? You know, and it's just, it's to end the book, you know, he's like, 60 years old, and this is you have to everything he's gone through. And it was, it was really interesting. I never, I never thought from that perspective, I guess, you know, an actor who was prepared, ready and was just getting, you know, it was just such an awful experience.
Richard Linklater 1:34:25
Well, actors, you do enough films, you're gonna have some really weird experiences based on for your work and within the circumstances they're in, right. I mean, it's like, Yeah, what's his quote, like a week or two before he died of a heart attack? He talked about misfits like marilyns that she likes to give that she gave me a heart. I thought she was gonna give me a heart attack. Well, she did maybe.
Alex Ferrari 1:34:50
So, so guys, this has been an amazing conversation. I have a few questions. I mean, I could, I could go on for another three hours, but um but I I'm gonna give you a few rapid, rapid fire questions that I asked all my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?
Richard Linklater 1:35:12
I would say don't focus on the business so much. Focus on your own. Getting good. You know, yeah, the business, the business will come. Yeah. Don't be too business to work. Don't be too business oriented. How about that? Think about just what you're doing and make it really good. And then the, or that? I don't know, is that dumb?
Alex Ferrari 1:35:33
No, no, that makes sense. Makes perfect sense
Richard Linklater 1:35:35
around when it does, but don't. You know, I see these grad students that are really worried about getting that first one. It's like, You're not even you're so far away from that. Perfect your own mechanism? How about before you're thinking about your career? Don't even think I would say don't think in career terms or business terms?
Katie Cokinos 1:35:53
Well, no, I mean, wasn't it Tarkovsky, who said, you know, this isn't a career was, yeah, this is calling. It's a calling. And if you look at it from I think perspective is very important. It's, it's, you know, it's it, you know, we don't need another director making action, you know, action hero, you know, whatever, movies, we need more personal visions. And I think that's what came out in that great book about Chinatown. You know, it was like, one of the last times that, you know, there was a personal vision that was brought to the screen. So that's my advice. And like, like we said earlier, short films, just keep figuring out what, what you want to say about? And, and, you know, if you don't have anything to say yet, then get a diary. Yeah. And write something, you know, to go to Africa and go on a safari like Hemingway or, you know, but put yourself out there, you know, feel. And so you'll have something I mean, for me for a long time, I just didn't have anything to say, you know, and that takes, you know, I did portrait, I wrote that when I was, I don't know, 30. And I didn't even really write it, it was just a bunch of loose scenes. And I, I was in the film, because I didn't even couldn't even tell somebody how to act and know what I was doing. So I do think we need to do a little nod to experimental filmmaking, like, truly, I don't know what I'm doing. So I'm gonna use the craft in that way. You know, I'm gonna, you know, maybe, and I shot over a year, you know, so yeah. It's
Richard Linklater 1:37:53
what I just thought of one thing, like, Don't even think of business, or career or anybody support until you've found your own voice. So you feel what you've and that can take a long time. Young people are born with more that than others. And that's a combination of your own, experience your own confidence, but you only get that confidence by doing you know, so again, you thinks it's all gonna be given to them, but you know, it's not, it's, you know, you're gonna have to find your own way, but save everybody some time. Amen, amen. Amen. Remember that I had a script I was trying to get done. I was like, I was like, Yeah, why would anyone Invest in me? I haven't done a, you know, I've done this one shitty, you know, like, yeah, you better just keep on your own path a little longer. You know, look, do something on your own again, before you think Put your foot out in the world and expect others to rally around you or your your film or your cause, you know, just do the do the personal work.
Katie Cokinos 1:39:04
So wonderful. Freedom. I mean, I remember when you wrote to Monte Hellman about what you wanted to do. And he almost he envied you. You know, he was like, I envy that, that you don't have any constraint. Yeah. And I remember Robert Altman saying the same thing when we brought him to Houston. You know, someone raised their hand, well, it's easy for you to get a movie made. What about me? And it's like, he's like, No, actually. It's not, you know, don't don't. Again, it's his perspective. You know, it's, it's, they know what I've done. You haven't done anything. And so is your oyster.
Richard Linklater 1:39:42
I know. He said, anyone in this room has a better chance of being financed in Hollywood than I do. Yeah. At that point.
Alex Ferrari 1:39:51
Richard Linklater 1:39:53
That was the quote. Yeah. And it was like he was so right at that moment. At
Katie Cokinos 1:39:58
that moment. You just can't Any right? Really? I mean talk about boy that was that was so ahead of its time. Was it Tanner Ada? Yeah. Yeah. And and you're looking at you know, cinema God and and
Unknown Speaker 1:40:16
yeah. So why are him so much altman every passing year he get or I saw I hosted a screening of Brewster McCloud at the film side, we put it in the Texas film Hall of Fame last year. Yeah. Last Words Brewster McCloud. Yeah. And that film is so crazy and wonderful. And I just, you know, the respect for Altman, he he's perpetual
Katie Cokinos 1:40:42
and inners mind about him. He just felt like everything was just new and fresh. It's like, don't get
Richard Linklater 1:40:49
a jump a decade, where he's kicked out of Hollywood. Yeah. And he's making you know, five Jimmy Dean. Yeah, streamer. Watch secret honor again recently. That's really I mean, this guy was making films for 100 grand again. Yeah, nobody really stopped him. I just, I just admire that so much. Yeah, he's
Alex Ferrari 1:41:13
now. Now what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life? You both You both look the exact same way? Like the answers, like the answers over here. So
Katie Cokinos 1:41:31
I want to be honest, I feel like I have a I mean, I just made my first. I mean, I dream too much as my first feature film. So I feel like I haven't even I barely stepped up to play, you know, as far as filmmaking, because portrait was, you know, a 60 minute film. So it was kind of not considered feature. But to ask the question again, what
Alex Ferrari 1:41:58
is it that what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life in general,
Richard Linklater 1:42:12
you'll learn that lesson than
Katie Cokinos 1:42:15
Alex Ferrari 1:42:17
For me, for me, it's always been, I always say the same thing, patience. That's for me, that's the lesson that I finally figured out, like, Okay, this, it's gonna take forever. Everything I want is going to take a while. Not as fast as I want it. That's my lesson. That's the one that I've learned.
Katie Cokinos 1:42:33
Yeah, is that thing, whatever you're doing, slow it down. You know, you know,
Richard Linklater 1:42:40
I was blessed in that area. I had some weird patients. That I mean, I was impatient internally, but I was patient externally, like, I always thought approach, I would always ask myself, well, where are you going to be a year from now? Or date? You know, I could sit there and build to the future. I keep them sitting down going like it 22 or 23. You know, like, oh, getting a camera and equipment. I was thinking like, Okay, well, good dog said it. Like, they don't let you make your first film to your 30. So I've got I got seven or eight years, I just kind of put the bar, I just have achievable goals. Like my goal was to do one feature film by the time I was 13. In fact, when I got there, I'd done to, you know, but it was like achievable goals that you can work really hard for and like, no, patience is definitely required. Don't get anywhere near film if you don't have the trait of deferred gratification.
Alex Ferrari 1:43:42
Yes. Very much, though. Well,
Richard Linklater 1:43:46
yeah, existant gratification. How about that not even deferred
Alex Ferrari 1:43:51
does not exist yet. Because you never, but I mean, to be a bit To be honest, Rick, I mean, you're you're you're like the king of the long play, as far as storytelling is concerned, from boyhood to the before trilogy. Like you definitely have delayed gratification.
Richard Linklater 1:44:07
Yeah, it turned out that way. But I didn't have that plan, of course. But I think that is a trait of being process oriented. Like I love every day that I'm making a movie so much. I really do. If I could just be I was quoted one time, saying, like, if I could just make movies and they never had to come out. I would be happy if I could just make them like the coming out part is the least that you
Katie Cokinos 1:44:31
think all filmmakers are what most filmmakers are like that.
Richard Linklater 1:44:36
I maybe, I don't know. Oh, really. It's, it's made for the marketplace. And it's
Katie Cokinos 1:44:47
always said like doing the Film Society we'd much rather show, you know, came running than one of one I don't work at all,
Richard Linklater 1:44:57
but rather talk about another film.
Katie Cokinos 1:44:58
Exactly. You know, as
Richard Linklater 1:45:04
Yeah, no, that's the downside of this modern era is so much personality of the people involved, you know, like directors in the old studio system. And, you know, it wasn't bait. No one knew what a director did. I grew up in an era, right? 60s 70s I didn't know who a director was. I mean, Hitchcock was the only one we knew. And I didn't know what he did. I just knew that guy was associated with those kind of scary movies or something.
Katie Cokinos 1:45:34
Well, I'm reading David Brown Lowe's book on the silent era parade passed by, and they really didn't know what a director was,
Alex Ferrari 1:45:45
they just sort of were making it up as they went along.
Richard Linklater 1:45:47
Katie Cokinos 1:45:49
Because it was such a craft, it still is a very crop oriented. Medium. And so. Yeah, um, is it the john cage, quote, everyone is in the best seat. I think that took me a long, long time, to realize isn't the bed seat. So I think it kind of, cuz I never wanted to be in bomont nature of creating art, or especially filmmaking is you you want to create a world, you know, that you latch on and you inhabit. So you're not really that happy where you are. But in order to create that, you have to sit down and be happy in the seat you're in. So I think that was something when that clicked in for me, I think I was finally able to create in, in film, because it's such take so long to make films, which I think is why I love people in the film business more than any other type of people, even the worst film people. And I remember in Austin, going to parties where there are a bunch of musicians, and no one wanted to talk. That's all we did was talk about what movies we saw talking about, you know,
Richard Linklater 1:47:26
yeah, films, the best atmosphere, because the people who are attracted to it, it's such an external, it's really intelligent, excited people about ideas and stories. You know, whether they read a magazine, I just love the innocence of like, Oh, I just read this great story. I think it makes a great movie. Yeah. And I'd like you like that. So like the odds of that magazine article, they read that they becoming a movie or like, point 0001. But it happens. And just that impulse, that beautiful impulse to like, fashion, this thing bigger and amazing. And to tell a story in film, and, you know, it attracts people who are optimistic, who believe, yeah, dream and want to be in this kind of parallel world. Yeah, like, every crew member, everybody there, they could be doing something else, you know, they could have taken their college degree or they could have, you know, but they're here because they love it. They love storytelling, they love being a part of this, you know, nomadic Gypsy, you know, cannot make a movie, that they just love that life and to be a part of the magic that is in the process. And you know, there's a certain confidence in the world that they want variety. They want different people coming in going, you know, I tell people, like, if you want a weekly check every two weeks and you want a two week vacation, you really, if you care about things like that you can't be in the film business. You have to Yeah, like the uncertainty the absolute lack of you know, anything that you can any
Alex Ferrari 1:49:09
security any security any, any,
Richard Linklater 1:49:12
any any day, the industry is going to take it away from me, you're going to go through personal ups and downs. Like Alex when he said like, oh, I've had highs and lows. Yeah, I think, but I never considered them lows. I considered them like, well, this is a this is where you find yourself. It's like, I wasn't like physically threatened or harmed. I was just like, Oh, this kind of sucks. But I would run into other filmmakers. And we'd look at each other and go, can you can you believe how bad it is? Like you can't get money for neither can I? And we're like, and then you go like, well, we got lucky by age. We lived through a generation where you could and then it turns around then it goes from being like the worst time to being the best time ever. And I think that's kind of where we are today. You know, like
Katie Cokinos 1:49:59
yeah, It's funny, I was watching Age of Innocence with my daughter.
Alex Ferrari 1:50:05
So beautiful Oh,
Richard Linklater 1:50:08
summer with my daughter. Like the 12th time I've seen that, but it was my greatest screening ever. That film skits more sublime and beautiful.
Katie Cokinos 1:50:18
Please, I always wanted to write a little short film about what Newland Archer does. After he turns away and doesn't go into the apartment. My daughter said, Oh, no, Mom, we want we need to do a series of madama lenskart. Pre coming to New York. I went to see her life in Europe.
Alex Ferrari 1:50:43
All that, you know, I'll see that
Katie Cokinos 1:50:44
for the first time. I was like, you know, well, of course. I think that's a great idea. But it's like that actually. Could that actually could be something. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 1:50:55
Got a call Sony, Rick. Let's call Sony. Let's get this. Let's get this project going.
Richard Linklater 1:51:00
They're going into films all the time now. Like, aren't they Clarice? They're doing a Silence of the Lambs show. There. You go into these iconic movies, you grab a character out and you make a show about them. So there we go.
Katie Cokinos 1:51:13
Let's get because I mean, the count was awful. Like, yeah, know how bad please don't let her go back. You know, the Secretary. It's like, Why? What happened? What happened?
Alex Ferrari 1:51:29
Sorry, so guys,
Katie Cokinos 1:51:30
incomprehensible education Really? Was that you know,
Alex Ferrari 1:51:35
so Alright, so this is the last question. And it's arguably the toughest question of the entire conversation. Oh, three of your favorite films of all time. For everyone not watching Rick's eyes just busted out of his
Katie Cokinos 1:51:52
Richard Linklater 1:51:53
wants to ask this question I produced a list of 250 Films 300 of these at any moment could be in my top two the top 10 and I was asked
Alex Ferrari 1:52:04
so this so in this moment, ending on the day and how I'm feeling so today today how you're feeling this moment in time three of your family
Katie Cokinos 1:52:12
narrowly down and say the films that we showed in films in whatever
Richard Linklater 1:52:19
genre pika I don't know. You know, what you
Alex Ferrari 1:52:24
It's a tough
Richard Linklater 1:52:26
tough tough one out
Katie Cokinos 1:52:32
here it is the film like right now that after we're done with this that we had, we have no problem just sitting down and watching Okay, I just sit down and watch it right now. Three of them.
Richard Linklater 1:52:44
Yeah, you could Yeah, like they say the one that you flipping through the channels it's on you watch it from
Alex Ferrari 1:52:51
the Romo throw. You throw away the remote movie, okay.
Richard Linklater 1:52:56
At this very moment, but it's place I'm seeing so many this summer with my daughter's like watching films again. So I won't say any of those because I just saw but some of the ones I would like to see right this second. Wow. Um, Katie, you can jump in here while I think I'm over. I'm overdue a berry lendon screening. Oh, I
Alex Ferrari 1:53:21
just saw that a year ago. That's Oh,
Richard Linklater 1:53:24
I'm ready to watch Barry Lyndon again. With in mind this thing I'm working on. I'm ready to watch. I just think of certain directors.
Katie Cokinos 1:53:36
I'm gonna think of more spiritual films since we did talk about that.
Alex Ferrari 1:53:42
Let me be very, very Linden is very spirit. Any Kubrick film every Kubrick film is spiritual to me as I watched as I go to the church of Kubrick.
Richard Linklater 1:53:51
You know, I'm kind of in a new york new york mode to relationship.
Alex Ferrari 1:53:57
Wow, New York. We
Richard Linklater 1:53:59
talked about it here. You know, like, creative people get together and just the possibility that making that work or that's
Katie Cokinos 1:54:09
Richard Linklater 1:54:13
Yeah. So Joyce the musical. I don't know. It's a it pulls something off. That's
Alex Ferrari 1:54:18
rare. Very rare.
Katie Cokinos 1:54:21
Well, in honor of my dad, then got his hard hat right back here. Oh,
Alex Ferrari 1:54:27
Katie Cokinos 1:54:28
I have to say, Gigi. Oh,
Alex Ferrari 1:54:32
Katie Cokinos 1:54:33
It's a coming of age film beautifully. It's it's a jewel. It's everything comes together. It's it's really just, I could I Perfect, perfect film. Every it hits all the right notes it you know, it's so I can watch that anytime. There's gg gg
Richard Linklater 1:55:00
Katie Cokinos 1:55:01
Alex Ferrari 1:55:05
I don't want I don't want this to turn into a painful thing so we can move on if you'd like.
Katie Cokinos 1:55:09
Me and Alexander I really abala Bergman's film. I sort of I break for Fanny and Alexander. It's really so beautiful. And
Alex Ferrari 1:55:22
yeah, I mean, honestly, the one the one of my favorite Kubrick films, his Eyes Wide Shut, and it gets for me I absolutely love Eyes Wide Shut. Okay.
Katie Cokinos 1:55:32
Do we have to do another podcast where all we talked about his Eyes Wide Shut? Yes. love that movie. And to me it was Madame Bovary meets Lost Highway
Alex Ferrari 1:55:45
Oh, so it's
Richard Linklater 1:55:46
yeah remark shut it's amazing you know another film that I've I've come around on completely and I think a lot of people I mean, I I didn't dislike it the way others seem to but watching the great trilogy this summer. my godfather three is actually Ah, so much.
Alex Ferrari 1:56:10
It's so much is that the new cut the news? Is that the new cut Are you agreeing with
Katie Cokinos 1:56:15
no. Okay would have been killed. She would have not been allowed to live first off Eli Wallach comes in way too late in the film for him to be any sort of any don't make that film without Robert Duvall.
Richard Linklater 1:56:36
Sorry, they would have had the ball but they they worked it around now. It's It's It's completely underrated. It's it's really a mature middle A i don't know i totally
Alex Ferrari 1:56:52
look at the bottom line. The bottom line is when you have when you're comparing it to godfather one and two you really can't you can't
Richard Linklater 1:56:58
you can't win that fight like Eyes Wide Shut. How do you compare it to the body of work? You know, it was kind of misunderstood as they I think I found the three is ascending. That I just marked my work.
Katie Cokinos 1:57:08
You think Michael, who kills afraid is gonna allow K to live with all that she knows. No. I have to go with David Thompson on this. He she would be dead. Dead. Yeah, let's
Richard Linklater 1:57:26
he could do that.
Katie Cokinos 1:57:27
Yes, he could. Listen. The third one. Let's just do the one we love. Come on. Yeah.
Richard Linklater 1:57:37
Oh yeah. The Vinton Minnelli boy I bet that's really I almost hesitate to show that to people post like, in this year, it was always pushing the boundaries in the me to era how poorly they treat women or at least fit up of women.
Katie Cokinos 1:57:54
You can do like what Turner Classic Movies is doing. Which is is talking about it reframing it. Yeah, I mean, like they did that with the searchers.
Alex Ferrari 1:58:05
I mean, how does how does blazing set how does? Yeah, how does Blazing Saddles come out today? Like? Well, I mean, seriously,
Richard Linklater 1:58:13
I mean, some game running is so beautiful. I do love it. It's still a perennial top lists, cuz you know Frank, Dean Shirley. And I haven't seen it just lately. I want to show it to my I'm almost scared to show it to my daughters. They won't like it.
Alex Ferrari 1:58:35
Well, listen, listen, I love that this has been like film film geeks united I mean it's fantastic that there's been so much debate about cinema and it's almost it's just been wonderful. Like being a flat well I think everyone listening is like a fly on the wall on a just on like just some filmmakers who just saw a movie or sitting in a Denny's somewhere at midnight after watching a movie that just talking about cinema essentially
Katie Cokinos 1:59:00
how much fun we get I hop
Alex Ferrari 1:59:04
yeah I have Denny's whatever that what was that whatever was open at the time. Whatever's near the theater that Yeah, you just but it has been an absolute absolute pleasure. Where can I where Can everybody see I dream too much?
Katie Cokinos 1:59:17
Oh, right. Okay. Yeah.
Richard Linklater 1:59:20
I'm glad it's finally getting out there.
Katie Cokinos 1:59:23
Richard Linklater 1:59:25
its own path has
Unknown Speaker 1:59:27
my producers told me to and of course I don't know. So it's I definitely Amazon and like
Alex Ferrari 1:59:36
Hulu to ban and those. Yeah, and all the all
Katie Cokinos 1:59:43
of the usual like your TV
Alex Ferrari 1:59:50
and I will put a link in the in the show notes. But guys, I really appreciate you taking the time. This has been an absolute joy. Just geeking out with you guys about sin. All right. Wait, listen, listen. Let's call a spade. Let's call a spade a spade. We're cinephiles. I'm sorry. So, but it's been absolutely wonderful. But thank you so much for your time guys. I truly appreciate it.
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