IFH 453: Clerks, Sundance and Making $500 Million+ at the Box-Office with Scott Mosier

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You guys are in for a major treat. I’m always talking about those “lottery ticket” filmmaker stories that we all dream of happening to us one day. Well, today’s guest’s story is one of the mythological stories that come to life.

We have a 90’s independent film icon, Scott Mosier. Scott is an indie film producer, editor, writer, director, actor, and podcaster of Smodcast, which he co-hosts with his long-term filmmaking partner, Kevin Smith.

From Vancouver Film School to Hollywood, Scott’s trajectory has been inspiring for many in the industry. He produced some of the best 90s classics like Clerks 1 & 2, Jersey Girl, the Oscar® Winning Good Will Hunting, Dogma, and many, many more.

Scott acted in, edited the movie, original sound, and contributed to Clerk’s budget. After the massive hit, they followed up with the embattled Mallrats. The film was not well received and did no money at the box office. Kevin and Scott were essentially discarded and called a one-hit-wonder. For most filmmakers that would be all she wrote but not for Kevin and Scott.

They decided to go back to their roots and make another low-budget indie and prove to Hollywood that they were here to stay. Their next film was the brilliant romantic comedy-drama, Chasing Amy. The tells the unfortunate twist of a male comic artist who falls in love with a lesbian woman, to the displeasure of his best friend.

After self-financing, the majority of their initial projects (Mosier & Smith), 2001, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was Mosier’s first big-budget ($20 million) production.

Based on real-life stoners Jay and Silent Bob, so when they get no profit from a big-screen adaptation they set out to wreck the movie.

If that wasn’t enough Scott also co-executive produced the Oscar® Award-Winning Good Will Hunting in his spare time.

Wanting a change Scott decided to branch out and start directing himself. His 2018 directorial debut was a stand-out project! A box office hit, grossing about $512 million globally and the highest-grossing holiday film of all time. Dr. Seuss: The Grinch became the third screen adaptation of the 1957 Dr. Seuss book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

I had a ball talking shop with Scott. We discussed the genesis of the independent film movement as we know it today, dealing with studios, what was it like being in the Clerks hurricane, and much more.

Enjoy my conversation with Scott Mosier.

Alex Ferrari 2:41
I'd like to welcome to the show the legendary Scott Mosier how're you doing Scott?

Scott Mosier 4:14
The legendary Scott Mosier is not here.

Alex Ferrari 4:18
Well then we'll just deal with the Scott Mosier that's in front of us. Yes. I'm good. How are you? I'm good, man. I'm good. Thank you so much for coming on the show man. I've I've been a fan of of your, you're producing for a long time and you're directing my kids are now fans of your directing as well, which we'll get all into that in a bit. But, you know, many, many of my listeners know that you you know kind of get your start in clerks. Working with Kevin and getting that whole thing going. I have to first tell you when I first saw clerks, because you and I are similar vintage, as far as age is concerned. So

Scott Mosier 4:58
You're looking at I'm about to what's today? Friday on Friday, um, a week. So today's February 24. So March 5, I turned 50. I'm like, Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 5:10
You're a little bit, you're just slightly a bit older. I'm 46. So we're in similar we, we've crossed over the same bodies, in the bits in the business. So, um, when I first thought clerks, I was so upset because I was working in video stuff. Like, it was right in front of me. Why did I think of this? It was like, literally, I was I worked at a video store for five years. And I was just like, God, damn it, man. I was so upset at myself, like I had. And I thought about that. But you guys, you guys did it. So how did you get involved with Kevin? How did you get involved with clerks and that whole kind of crazy story?

Scott Mosier 5:49
So I mean, you know, I backing it up, like I was probably, I guess I was like, 14, or 15. Or even younger than that. It was like Raiders of the Lost Ark was the movie I saw. Where it wasn't just that I was like, Oh, I love this movie. It was more that I was like, Oh, what is how do people do this, like, you know that it's a constructive thing. You know, like, it became, I became aware that it's like, oh, people made it didn't just appear on an air. And so then I started getting released in film. And then, you know, ultimately went to the Vancouver Film School, because I was living just outside of Vancouver, BC. So. And so Kevin and I both just sort of independently end up getting in, we're in the same class. It was like the 25th 26th. Like they were they were numbered, so it's cool, just opened. And we both went because our grades weren't that good. And so it's like, this is a tech school, right? You just go it's eight bonds, you're in and out, Kevin. So we arrived there together, we kind of become friends. But Kevin is the one who came with a plan, like Kevin had already sort of, he was working in a convenience store. And the videos are back and forth. And so he kind of went there with the intention of like, I'm going to learn how to make a movie, and then go back and make the movie with my friends. And then we became friends. And so it became like, around halfway through the program, it's like the four month mark, it was like 10,000 all and then they take it the halfway mark, like you had to put in your next 5000. And Kevin was like, I'm not gonna do it. I'm gonna go home and get my job back. And you say, and finish the term out and learn how or whatever's left tiller. As far as like, all that was really left in the back half of the four months was we switched into doing these sort of narrative 16 millimeter shorts. So you worked on like, two, I think or one now you just worked on one. And and so Kevin left to save the money to put towards the movie. And then I stayed. And that's when Dave like Dave Klein is in our class, who was the cinematographer on clerks. And he we've kind of known each other. But as soon as Kevin laughs like that, Dave and I started hanging out a lot. And so by the time we graduated, so it was like March of 92. We start class, October we finish. And Dave and I are friends. And after that we started making like, there's all there's a bunch of, you know, there's like a community of like, people have gone to the school, and they were making short films outside of the program. And so I was, I was editing one was the editor on one and I was the dolly grip during the shoot, I was doing it, I was cut in at night. David shot and, and so we were all just kind of around with cevin. In the meantime, I remember working on that short when I was Dolly, Dolly grip for a reason. And that's when I read in convenience or the first draft of clerks. So that was like probably November of 92. So we meet in March of 92 by November of 92. I have the the draft for clerks and then and then from there, we were gonna shoot earlier, but then there was a big flood and Kevin's like house was flooded and his car was flooded and so he couldn't do it. And so we we postponed until March and then I was prepping in the morning to rent equipment like I was getting up like really early at like 5am to call houses in New York to rent camera equipment and we'd sort of talked to you know, I mean, there's a lot of stories that we have talked to, you know, we talked to one DP was in New York is an older guy who had his own path lighting and etc, etc. And I remember Kevin, I was talking to him like, this is totally. I mean, look, it all worked out. So, but I remember I remember being like, I remember distinctly feeling like, oh, man, like, if there's that one guy who knows everything, and we're just complete neophytes, it's like it kind of, we both were a little bit like, it feels wrong, like, you know, or it feels like it just felt like the wrong move to have this person who was always like, can't do that. And you have to do this. And you have friends that I think we're just selfish and scared.

Alex Ferrari 10:52
Ignorance, ignorance is bliss.

Scott Mosier 10:54
Yeah, it was it truly was like, kind of like, and then Dave, we knew Dave like, well, let's update. You know, let's, let's, let's bring a lot of people who know nothing.

Alex Ferrari 11:07
So I'd be on paper. This sounds fantastic as an investment. So we were talking about it's I mean, it really does black and white movie about clerks. No Star Power cost about 20 something 27,000 If I'm not mistaken. First time DP really, I mean, other than shorts, first time director first time producer. First time cast essentially had no actors for Summit. So again, on paper, solid, solid investments. Everyone lined up. Everyone's just like, How much money do you need?

Scott Mosier 11:36
Yeah, I'm like, why don't you give us a million? And we're like, no, no, no, no. We only want 1000

Alex Ferrari 11:44
Let's not get crazy. And then And also, I just recently found out that Dave, Dave was the DP on the Mandalorian. So he's done okay, for himself.

Scott Mosier 11:54
Yeah, I mean, dude, you know, shot from day one on the ship shoot, like, most the seasons of homeland, and now he's on Mandalorian. Like, you know, he, yeah, he's sort of, you know, his career. And last two has just taken off, you know, and he's doing, you know, he's been nominated for Emmys. Like, it's just amazing. But yeah, we were at that point, you know, that's my feminine paying for it, you know, essentially all those on his credit cards, but, you know, his, his, his mindset, which always made sense to me was, like, you know, you can go to NYU is if you've got mam IU, or another sort of more prestigious film school site, he could have spent 100,000, you know, 100 $200,000 So it's like, you know, by the time he came out of Vancouver Film School, having spent like, you know, eight to $10,000, and fees, and living, etc, etc. And then you add, you know, another 30 grand and credit card debt. It's like, it didn't seem you know, it was like on paper, once again, like, on paper, it was like, Is this the worst thing like, nuke? Yes, you're in debt. And if the movie is a total disaster, you'll have to dig yourself out of it. But like, I mean, but that's, and I will say this, like, that's, that's, you know, that's not me. That was Kevin, like Kevin had, Kevin's always had that drop, you know, and like to make that sort of like, leap, you know, he made the leap of like, I'm just, like, Fuck it, like, I'm just gonna do it, you know, and like, start rash, like getting credit cards.

Alex Ferrari 13:32
You know, it's, it's, I mean, look, you know, I grew up in the 90s. And that you you guys were part of that first wave of true independent like that what what we consider independent film today was created, starting in 89, with sex lies, and continue with clerics and El Mariachi and reservoir and that whole, you know, Linkletter and slacker and all these guys. And when you guys were making clerks, it hadn't really hit yet. Sundance was Sundance, but it wasn't Sundance like you guys helped create the mythos around Sundance with with clerks, and mariachi and then of course, all these other films that came around that time. So there was, there wasn't even kind of a blueprint for what you guys were doing. Like it wasn't like, oh, yeah, we're gonna submit to Sundance and then obviously, Harvey and Miramax is gonna pick this up and we're gonna get a fat check in our careers. Like, that wasn't even a thing. It's the risk that you guys were taking was not only crazy, looking. In hindsight, it's like on paper, it looked horrible, but it was like really? It was really brave and stupid.

Scott Mosier 14:39
100% but I will, I will sort of like, unfortunately punch a hole.

Alex Ferrari 14:45
Please, please punch away.

Scott Mosier 14:46
Because there was actually like a absolute blueprint with Slacker.

Alex Ferrari 14:52
You're right, I guess. Slacker. Did you write slacker?

Scott Mosier 14:54
Slacker slacker comes out. Kevin sees fluff like, here's the slacker boy. prep. Kevin goes to New York See, slacker goes, it loves it. And he's like, if that's a movie, I can make a movie, right? And then from there, there was like, you know, there was enough examples.

Alex Ferrari 15:14
I guess you're right. You'll be really early though.

Scott Mosier 15:17
Slacker. We were super early. And we definitely became like part of the sort of Sundance mythos of like, the ultra low budget, kind of like film from nowhere, you know, and then filmmaker plucked out and sort of, you know, given a career, like, we're definitely all part of that. But there was enough, you know, right down to the fact that Kevin was like, there was an article about slacker who had framed on his wall, which was, Rick had made the movie and then showed it as a in progress screen in the IFM, which was the international feature film market. And an Amy talbin did this sort of wrap up article every year called, picked a few movies, and she had picked slacker. And so that really was the blueprint, like Sundance was technically not the end zone, the end zone was to get to IFAM and screen it. So we had that blueprint. And then there was another article I remember written by Peter Broderick, which was a budget breakdown of laws of gravity, which is very, very, like by year, but it still was like, and so it kind of helped shape this idea of like, I think we can do this because the slacker was 22,000. And laws of gravity was around there, too. So it was like, it kind of became this sort of, like $25,000 idea. That was the budget, you know, and before you know, the other person who was like, very influential, who had proceeded everybody was Jarmusch. You know, like he stranger than paradise was a huge influence. I mean, like, a big influence as far as like, long takes, you know, like, there was definitely an influence, but it was also just an influence of like, you know, the young and like the those those are the first independent films, like Think stage in Paradise was like the first indie film.

Alex Ferrari 17:23
What was it? What year was that? What year was that? Is that 89 90?

Scott Mosier 17:26
I thought it was 89. I was about to look.

Alex Ferrari 17:29
Yeah, I think, because I know. I mean, obviously Soderbergh's, you know, sex lies was that was a million dollar. I was like, a million dollar movie. That wasn't a small indie. But it was the thing that kind of launched Sundance into being what Sundance essentially became. And prior to that Hollywood shuffle in 87, which was another big blueprint, which I think I think Robert Townsend doesn't get enough credit for, for being like one of the first guys I think he was one of the first guys to put everything on his credit card, and just say, Screw it, and yet, yeah,

Scott Mosier 17:58
And I like I like Kevin, the blueprint. I'm pretty, I think that was definitely Kevin put it on his credit card. It's like it was like the like the Blueprint was sort of like Hollywood shuffle slacker. laws of gravity was just the first budget I'd ever seen where they broken it down into camera equipment, and all that stuff. And I was just like, such a neophyte that I was like, it just gave me something where I was like, oh, like, so if somebody says the camera package cost three times as much I can cry bullshit, and go like No, no like this. You know what I mean? It just gave me something to, to base it off. But we did have this sort of, we had this blueprint and we ultimately go to the AFM. We have a terrible screening. And no one's in. Like there's, there's awesome the cast. And then there's like three or four other people, you know, but there's one guy, there's one guy, this guy, Robert Hawke, who was a consultant for Sundance, and was a big part of the indie film world. And he had watched it, and he becomes this sort of like, he leaves and he tells Peter Broderick, and then Amy Talman wrote the article calls Peter Broderick and says, like, is there anything I missed? And he's like, You got to watch this movie clerks. So then Kevin's in the store, we're all depressed because we're like, Well, that's it right? Like that's, that's 40 grand like, the Blueprint was over. Blueprint grant really ran out. We've turned the page and we're like, Fuck, it's blank. There's nothing left to do except lick our wounds. And then Amy Tabin calls Kevin at the store and basically we become we become the sort of, if the slacker article she wrote as the prototype, we basically become that film for that year we became the film you know, we became the slacker, over article. And then everything just sort of ballooned from there. You know, everything was just like it was all look, it's all so much of it was word of mouth.

Alex Ferrari 20:07
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mosier 20:18
Because it was like, from Peter Broderick, Amy Talbott, like, it just became like, Larry cartouche from MoMA, and then John Pierce, like it, just, you know, then the film just starts like, then people are moving, advancing things without us doing anything. And we're just sitting back, you know, like, like, watching, like, you know, roller coasters. Like this. Here's like, what to

Alex Ferrari 20:44
Use someone for the ride at that point?

Scott Mosier 20:46
Yeah, as soon as we look, you know, as soon as we get to Sundance, you know, the idea leaving left is like, will someone buy, you know, we still didn't know that. And, and there have been sort of screenings prior. So some of the studios have seen it. And it was really like, well, we got to have a, we have to have really great screens to see it. So that was the only thing kind of left. And then once it's bought, then then it's truly like the roller coaster of like, you know, but it was it was really, you know, it was, it's something that the experience from beginning to end is was so incredible. Like it was it was like it was written, you know, like you by the time you're like, by the time we're in Cannes in critics week. And Kevin and I are like, trying to avoid going to the awards dinner because we didn't want to dress up or some stupid shit. And then we go when, you know, and we're just sort of like, there's this amazing photo of us sort of like, I mean, I think it's more on my back. But Kevin Spacey is just that, like, what? Holy shit moment of like, you know, because you're constantly you in a way you your, your mind sort of adjust to what happened, you know, like, Okay, we got into can and now it's over, like, Okay, we got to Sundance now. They kind of go like, alright, like, just can't keep going. Yeah, like the amazing train has, okay, maybe the train stopped here. Okay, this is great. This is amazing. And then it's like, it just kept going with that movie. It just had such a life of its own. And it was such an amazing sort of, you know, we flew around the world, it was just everywhere. I was 22, I think. So it was such, it was incredible. It was it was like, you know, in four years, it was like it has been, it will always be it will always be the most this incredibly special experience that nothing can really touch. For reasons of like, for reasons that aren't the fault of any other film I've ever worked for Don, it's just, you know, you can't, you can't really experience something for the first time.

Alex Ferrari 23:11
It's like, it's like your first love, like you can't re experience your first love. You might not end up with that person, or whatever. But that moment and that time and your age and where you are in the world and your evolution, all that stuff. You'll never ever get your first kiss. Like that's, that's something you'll never get your first. So Clark's was essentially your first time.

Scott Mosier 23:34
The first time and it was amazing. It was like, we were in Cannes and I remember, there was a Miramax boat. And then next to it was this was a yacht and Simon Obama was on it. And basically, we were, you know, we were running around all the time. But basically, we end up meeting sila bond, and he's like, you know, it kind of says, like, Oh, I love to see a movie. And I was like, I was I was planning like eight in the morning or something crazy. And he's like, we'll come get me. So I basically got up at 730 walked all the way to the because we were staying at a hotel, I walk onto his boat and no one's awake. So I wink I rouse sign on the bar, who's like, and I take him to this and I walk him into a screening. You know, it was just like,

Alex Ferrari 24:20
That's like, that's just that's like bizarro world kind of stuff. Like, you can't even write that.

Scott Mosier 24:25
Yeah, exactly. It was just such an it was such an amazing experience. And there's been so many movies, you know, there's lots of great experiences, but it was, you know, it was being that young, right? You know, and watching these doors open into a world it's like you can't I mean, that's the thing. You know, you only walk through the door wants and that was like such an amazing experience of walking through the door into this sort of world that you know, we generally are our, you know, it's presented as you know, behind the velvet rope. wrote, so to speak. So it's like, you only kind of get to walk in there Watts and that was, you know, that was clerks.

Alex Ferrari 25:07
Now the one thing that I want everyone listening and I think this is this is a this is an issue that I dealt with most of my filmmaking career and I think a lot of filmmakers still do is they look at stories like clerks and slacker and mariachi and, and that kind of time period. And they will think they'll make films today thinking that that's an option. Meaning like, what will happen to you like I always consider you guys like a lottery ticket. Like you guys want a lottery ticket, it was the right place right time right product. And that goes along for like slacker and mariachi, like, if you guys show up today with clerks, do you think you can cut through the noise?

Scott Mosier 25:43
Um, I mean, it's hard to say what I what I will say is like, something always cuts through the noise. Right? Always something that cuts through the noise. And, and part of it is part of it is definitely luck. And timing. You know, it's like, part of it is luck and timing. Because, you know, as our career went on, like, releases of movies, it's also about luck and timing to you know, it's like, you can sort of make a great movie and it gets released that a bad time of the bad marketing campaign. It doesn't sort of like, I think, could, you know, it's like, it's a time right, right now, do I think that the film like clerks? Well, it's like reading our comedy and all that, like, so much of that has grown since we've sort of come on the scene. And there's so many actors in that, in that world, that I do think it would be harder to cut through because we, what we were what and what Kevin was, was like, whether people think he's the voice of a generation, or like, I'm not arguing that point, but he was a voice from that generation that was unique and specific. And that's the thing that that's the thing that, in addition to luck, you know,

Alex Ferrari 27:12
There's a combination, it's a formula, it's not just a one thing, it's a bunch of different things I hit to get

Scott Mosier 27:17
You know, people who are out there going like, you can't if people look at clips, or slack, or it's not like Kevin looked at Slack, or I was like, I'm gonna make slacker, he more was like, Oh, that's a movie that like, that's a that's a vision from Rick Linklater, like, you know, that Kevin was like, This is what I find funny. And this is what I enjoy doing any portal himself into that, and had a unique voice. And, you know, always say this, which is, you know, Kevin had been writing for years and years and years and years since he was really young. So by the time he's 22, and writes a script, it's like, it's just fucking better than you know. And when he's 18, he's like, I'm gonna, I'm gonna write scripts. And then, you know, it's just because I ran those I wrote those, like I wrote, you know, I've tried to write a script, but holy shit like this is, you know, because I, Kevin, who was just a much more developed narrative writer, he's just kind of new, and you can see it on the page. So I think there's a lot of, you know, luck. Luck is so many things. But, you know, the pursuit of a unique voice, right? The goal shouldn't be like, What do I have, you know, like, or it's like, let's just make a movie like, let's make clarbeston in a, you know, a like valets. Let's make ballets. And it's like, you can go ahead. But unless being a ballet is this very personal thing, where you can convey something to the audience that that is unique, then you just become like, a knockoff movie, you know? And I think like, I think when people sit there and go, like, hey, let's make something cheap. It's like, well, maybe something cheap and personal. And those bad combination. Will that that combination, at least has the chance to come through them. Right? Because you're doing something that's like you have to in some people's personal, what's personal to them, and what means something to them can be a $30,000 movie or some people it's like before it even like, you know, sometimes the scale of that can be some people like sci fi, like, it doesn't really matter, but like, I do think finding your voice is and I'll bring it back to me, which is like, that experience of finding your voice was a much longer process for me. And then like I you know, Kevin walked in the door and like 22 like he had been developing his voice for years though, like he But writing school plays and stuff like that. But finding your voice for me is the most important thing that you can do. Like that's the thing that like finding your voice finding that thing that's unique to you. If you can look at something in a way that no one else is necessarily expressing. There's other people who see it the same way. And if you can capture that, that's how you gain an audience, right? Like, we all look at things in different ways. But there's also just like, anyone clerks did it. This is like, not anything I thought about 21. But what I thought what I think it did was it created this sort of, you know, it was an expression of something that didn't exist. And there was this huge audience. So it was like, it does exist. This is how I talked about like, like, this is what we think is funny. This is when we fall short with our friends like, and that that's the part where it's like, there's all kinds of luck that has to come into it. There's all kinds of timing. And we as filmmakers, like I believe, what you have to focus on first and foremost is like, what's the unique? What do you what's, what's the unique sort of perspective that you're bringing? To what you're doing?

Alex Ferrari 31:21
That's a that's a great, great, great piece of advice. You're absolutely right, if you could connect with something that's authentic to you in your own voice. If you try to go make another clerks, you're gonna fail, because there's, there's already a clerks, and it was done authentically by Kevin and you. And, yeah, I agree with you. 100%. Now, after clerks, obviously, you guys are the toast of the town. You know, you're the belle of the ball. You're you're being wooed. It's the it's the early 90s. Money is flying everywhere. And they say, What do you want to do next? And I and Kevin, and you say, hey, let's do mall rats. And you're like, here's, here's that those million dollars you were talking about earlier, now we'll accept your money. So you make mall rats, which by the way, I'm I'm actually a very big fan of mall rats. I actually saw it in the theater test screening in the theater when I was in college. And I got I got that little book that the movie official movie book. They gave one to you as you walked out and stuff i Oh, yeah, I saw I was me and my friend, were pacing ourselves when we saw it, because it was speaking to us at that time in our lives. So Mallrats didn't live up to the financial expectations of the studio. I didn't want to say that loud, it.

Scott Mosier 32:33
Totally bought the bar out of an eel, you know, a long time ago, knowing that, like the audience ultimately found that movie. You know, it didn't didn't, it wasn't 99 You know, when it came out, it was like, it was pretty dark. We're both like, fuck, because you Paul, I work into it. But and you and you.

Alex Ferrari 32:53
And you guys were pretty much so you guys were put in because you you had one hit, which was clerics, which was kind of like, alright, this is an anomaly. Let's see if these guys have anything else. So they give you a little bit of money. And then Mallrats happens and it bombs. So that pretty much blacklist you in town for my understand, like it kind of just your director, jail and producer at this point.

Scott Mosier 33:11
It's this, you know, it's the sophomore slump, because the reviews are terrible, you know, a lot of it sort of like pointed right at Kevin, I think, which was just like, you know, we built you up, we, you know, we really send you and then you make this and, you know, I think in hindsight, I would be curious, if any, if any critics would have the, you know, to go back and relook at that movie and, and understand its connection to clerks, you know, like, understand that it's not this sort of, and I think for you as an audience member, like you understood it, right. Like, it felt like, like a proper extension of what that movie was. And but we were, you know, at that point Kevin has adopted before was over Kevin and started writing a version of Chasing Amy that was a little bit more commercial. And as soon as it happens, it's like, I guess you're in jail, but in a way we didn't even we lived in Jersey, so it was like, it wasn't like, it wasn't like, we were injured. It's like when you're not in Hollywood. It's like you're not it's like you don't really

Alex Ferrari 34:24
You didn't feel the heat. If you will

Scott Mosier 34:26
We didn't feel anything we're just kind of like more bummed out and like, oh shit, what do we do now? And Kevin was like, you know, like, let's just go make a movie. You know, and let's do it quickly. And so JC Nene became a, a reaction to all that money, you know, that we were given and the fact that it didn't do well we're like, well, let's create something that we know we can get enough money. Let's do it cheap and, and also do it our way. You know, we kind of went back to it. Let's do it for enough money that we can be left alone. And then really be specific about what we're doing and not worry about, you know, casting like we can cast to we want so let's do it for, you know, shot the whole thing.

Alex Ferrari 35:15
You know, like 100 grand or 100 grand or something like that, right?

Scott Mosier 35:18
It was like to shoot it and start cutting, you know, to deliver like a sort of a couple cuts of the movie and get it far along is a couple 100 grand. So there's a post cost and all the rest of it, but we did it, you know, we kind of went in and a price point that was like, we knew that it wasn't a huge investment for somebody, we can make our money back, you know, we're using like, a great crew, you know, young people, and because we were young, two of them were I think I was 26 at that point, young crew from New York, you know, it was coming down, you're shooting on Jersey, and then you know, we're back to sort of a version of, of making clerks again, just with, you know, we took the experiences from clerks, we took the experience from our ads and sort of JC Namie becomes the, the rebuilding here, you know, I've become like, let's, let's, let's sort of, like, we, we had other producers on Mara, too. We got along with but it was like, this was like, alright, let's just do this our way. Like, yes, we need a bigger crew. Yes, we need this. Yes, we need that. But like how do we do that through through our filter and through the way we want to do things and then from there, it's like, after GCD we that's where we carry on through document everything else but there was a really like it was a refocus. The whole movie was a sort of like a shift back to like, this is what we're doing

Alex Ferrari 36:45
And the smart thing that you guys did is that you move so quickly. Because Mallrats was you know, you guys, it was a lot of eyeballs on you in town, like oh, these guys obviously, they're there. They're one hit wonder, you know, that's it their bubble gum. Let's it's it's move on. But you guys like No, no, let's let's get in there. And arguably Chasing Amy is one of my favorite of the filmography of what you and Kevin have done. There's so much heart so much authenticity in that film. It's not nearly as silly as Mallrats in the crudeness of it, but there still is those elements. But there's so much more heart in chasing me like there's it's deeper, in a way am I am I wrong on that?

Scott Mosier 37:27
No, no, I mean, I think I think JC Namie becomes the sort of I think a lot of people react to it, because it becomes the sort of the movie that sort of represents kind of more the totality of food cabinets, right. So it's like, the crude humor, of course, is part of it. But it's like, you know, he's also a drama, you know, he's a dramatist. He's, you know, he's, he's also somebody who's like, has a big heart. And, you know, it's also a personal movie, you know, and so, it's a personal movie for him. And I think that that sort of shifts, you know, sort of Clarkson Maher as this becomes something where he's like, I'm gonna tell another personal story, which, you know, just happens to be more grounded in you know, there's a lot more drama and real drama. Right. So it's like, sort of drama coming from stemming from a specific situation, but I think it became like, and that was a year lace of marks comes out in 9596, like February or something, we start shooting juicy Navy in February, March. And then January 97. We're in Sundance, you know, we're we're back.

Alex Ferrari 38:45
And we're back baby. And we're a we're back. And that and that does gangbusters at the box office, especially for its budget and launches. This little known actor really Ben Affleck was just his first starring role and in that, that whole thing, so it was just an exciting time because I was I was following you guys. Like I was following you and Robert and Quinton and all that, you know, that crew and Richard and all that crew, I would watch every damn thing you guys put out. And it was that weird time. And I always tell people that's like the 90s It felt like, every month there was a new Cinderella story. It's either John Singleton, it's, it's at burns. It's it's Kevin Smith, it was like, it's just it was an amazing time to be an independent filmmaker. It was kind of like when, when Spielberg and Lucas and bilious and and Coppola and dipalma that film school brats generation when they were given the keys to Hollywood because Hollywood had no idea what the hell to do. So they'd like here go make taxi driver. And you guys kind of had that run in the 90s. It was that from like, 89 to like, 9899 there was that run that was just so many amazing filmmakers came out during that time.

Scott Mosier 39:55
I mean, I think there's you know, I'm sure someone's read a book about it, but you Like, you know, part of it is like the industry sort of needs to open.

Alex Ferrari 40:05
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mosier 40:16
You know, sort of like, especially then it's like, nowadays, it feels like there's a lot of venues and ways to get things made. And back then it was like, it was just harder to get things made, because there weren't as many outlets. But you also see the surge of, you know, Fox Searchlight. So there's more sort of like, there's more outlets for these movies, there's more opportunities, but also, it felt like the big you know, like in the 70s, the business kind of like, how do we fucking how to make money? Yeah, like, what do audiences want? Like, you know, there's also a generational thing to me, which is like, the industry has to open its doors every once in a while to let in the new generation of voices that they don't necessarily understand. Either, like, what was happening in the 70s. It's like, it's not like, those guys who were making movies in the 50s. And 60s, necessarily understood like that the audience wanted to see Easy Rider, right? Like, right,

Alex Ferrari 41:15
Easy Rider kind of opened the door for all those guys that like this, wait a minute, this 200 and something $1,000 movie went on and made like, you know, $10 million, or whatever it made, they were just like, we don't know what the hell's going on. Let's give it to these guys. This Scorsese the Spielberg kid, let's give him that shark movie.

Scott Mosier 41:31
Just became a, it's like audiences change. You know, I think it's always like, some combination of, you know, audiences are changing and the fan, you know, jogger, people come up, and it's happening now. Like, like, there's, you know, I'm almost 50. So it's not like I'm the young buck anymore. And there's a whole generation of people coming up that have been influenced by totally different people. And, you know, they've all had the internet, since they were born, like, all of these influences change where people people's tastes. So it's like, I you know, and I think in the 90s, there was a sense of like, coming out of the 80s it was like this need of like, fresh voices and, you know, something that was more reflective of, of that generation coming up.

Alex Ferrari 42:22
The Gen X the Gen X guys, you know, you were Gen X guys were the generation was like, I just yeah, there's the 90s were fun, man, the 90s were fun. I miss I miss them more now than ever before. When you could just go to a movie theater. That was nice.

Scott Mosier 42:39
Well it was like last year. Back to the 90s. But yeah, the 90s were weird a lot. You know, I have a lot of fun in the 90s. It's funny, no one ever talks about the 2000s.

Alex Ferrari 42:52
You know, like, you never hear like, Oh, the 2000s music like no, you know, I know those songs. And I know that and I know those films, but in the 80s and 90s. Get in the 70s 80s and 90s kind of get that they have their own thing. But the 2000s is tough. And like the 2010s was another

Scott Mosier 43:09
just too young.

Alex Ferrari 43:11
I don't know, oh, no, don't worry, it'll come back around. Like right now we're in our 90s nostalgia. And I think now people are starting to kick into the early 2000s. It's like a two decade run. Because eight remember when the 80s was like all the rage, like everything was 80s 80s 80s and 80s. It still 80s is still cool to a certain extent. But I remember when the 70s like in the 90s the 70s were kind of like a thing and it's like a two to three decade delay.

Scott Mosier 43:35
We're old enough for it's like a certain point, like we're not Estelle I like part of is because like we have we you and I will probably never have nostalgia for the 2000s. Right, because we're too bold, like, like, once you hit 30, or whatever it feels like you sort of cease being you know, it's like you stop like living in this, you stop reflecting back in the static terms. Like, as I was going, like, I graduated from high school in 89. So the 80s was like, when you know the movies and music. You're you're you're sort of what I think is like the 80s For me, 80s and 90s was an explosion of like, I'm ingesting massive amounts of art in the form of movies, music, photography, like everything, like the 80s and 90s. Like I would fucking watch like for me, like when I was in, I would watch four movies a day. Yep. Like, like, if this massive period where you're taking things in, partly because you know, you're not great, or you have an outlet to like, put things out. So you're sort of like, you're amassing all this stuff. And so I think that's why it has such a strong influence. Who we are like, I think back to the 80s and 90s. And yeah, like I like everything I do today. It's like it feels a little bit referential to that time, but part of it is because like that is when the synapses are really forming around like, and these sort of large touchstones like land in your head during that period of time like 1000. Like, I don't have all these sort of cultural test touchstones of like, you know, I was, of course, I was listening to music and watching movies, I'm doing all that stuff. There's great movies from that period of great music and all that stuff. But it's still like, it doesn't have the same sheen to it, because it wasn't during that sort of explosive period of like, you know, getting your driver's license and kissing like everything's new.

Alex Ferrari 45:44
You're absolutely you're absolutely right. You're absolutely right. Now, there's a couple of there's a few films that you produced that I had. I mean, I'd heard of a couple of them. But I didn't when I started doing research, I actually went into it, and there was a group of four features that you produce vulgar. Drawing flies a better place in the big helium dog. I I've seen some of big helium dog. It was shot on like, VHS, I'd like I don't beta like what was that?

Scott Mosier 46:12
I think they were all shot on 16 millimeter.

Alex Ferrari 46:15
Really, they were all shot because I guess the copy that I saw was so bad. That it was like you shot it on video. And like, why did they shoot this video? This makes no sense. But the other ones were shot on 16. So you know, some of the people in that like, yeah, the broken lizard guys, you had a cue from Impractical Jokers. And Baba Booey, Brian Lynch, all this these amazing people tell us Can you tell me a little bit about those four movies. And because they were kind of in a small, they were in a short period of time, they were all made.

Scott Mosier 46:45
It was after, I think it was after Chasing Amy. And we had sort of signed a deal with Miramax like an overall deal. And part of what we threw in was like, hey, we want to make these micro budget movies, it sort of in a way to sort of like our career was sort of the movies are getting bigger, you know, the budgets are getting bigger. And we're like, Well, hey, let's sort of with some of the people we know, that have scripts that that they're writing and stuff, like let's go make some of these micro budget things in the 2025 range, basically click to budget, I feel like we got 100 grand to make for movies, and we sort of and then the relationships was, you know, Brian Lynch had worked on tasty Namie. Vince Brera had been around since clerks who directed a better place, and then vulgar Brian Johnson was Kevin's friend for a long time. All these movies just became an extension of that moment, we were like, Oh, well, let's go sort of make some of these movies. You know, and, and it did it happened within like a two, or I think it was like two or three year period, you know, and, and Brian was the one who knew the broken lizard guys, and poor, you know, he kind of had connections to them, and Brian Quinn and just worked at the office. So like, he had worked. Even more, I just, I was talking to him the other day, like, we've known each other for like, 25 years, he had sort of come in to work at the office, like he was in charge of, like, back in 19. You know, 99 If you got a t shirt set in the mail, it was Brian Clinton did it. You know, like, that's where he was.

Alex Ferrari 48:38
He was working. He was working at USQ

Scott Mosier 48:40
Yeah, he was working at USQ at that time. And so all the people we kind of knew, and it was like, you know, we loved independent film. And so we're like, Let's go make some of these movies. And they're all very different, you know, and vulgar got into Toronto, and they all had various degrees of success and, and then and then I think it was like, my memory of like, why didn't we keep doing it? It was it was a lot. It was a lot of like, there's almost too much work.

Alex Ferrari 49:10
Like making making a movie. It's not that easy.

Scott Mosier 49:13
We weren't it's not like we were on set all the time. And I think it was just a matter of like we need dogma so we're heading into dogma and and the club's cartoons happening and it's like the the amount of more coordinating is expanding and then suddenly like to maintain those were to keep them going just saw too much work. But it was really fun.

Alex Ferrari 49:33
And now it's true that there is just no copies of big helium dog anywhere.

Scott Mosier 49:38
I mean, Brian Lynch has one.

Alex Ferrari 49:41
I just saw an interview he said, but he doesn't have one. He said

Scott Mosier 49:47
As far as I know,

Alex Ferrari 49:48
He has a copy of it, but it's not been released, but it's not available and released.

Scott Mosier 49:52
And I can't remember why there was some clearance issue. But it was never released. Now the rest of the hammer

Alex Ferrari 49:59
That's a hell of a cast now.

Scott Mosier 50:02
I don't know what happened to it, it was like it was off and on through the years, it was like music clearances, or there was something that was sort of pain over its head. And it just, it just never sort of my thought of he must have a copy

Alex Ferrari 50:15
I have to believe and he's the director, he's got to have at least just copy of it or

Scott Mosier 50:21
The lost arc define. Exactly. Yeah, I don't know, might be uncertain, like we're USQ or somewhere, there's got to be a copy, I do not have a copy. So

Alex Ferrari 50:31
One day, we'll get one day we'll get leaked on on on online, just like Deadpool did accidentally. Now, you you, you also got involved with another little known film as a producer called Goodwill Hunting. And that was, you know, one of my favorite films of that of that time period. And how did you get involved with that? And how did you like kind of was the band that brought you in on that.

Scott Mosier 50:58
So we were on Mallrats, we met that. And at that time, we were aware of who he was because like the whole saga of Goodwill Hunting was at a trade where they had sold like Ben and Matt install the script to Castle Rock for a bunch of money. So it's like, you know, other young guys, like sell script for a lot of money. And so it was on our radar. And then through Maher ads, we became friends. And my memory is that like during that period, we met Matt during like, a sort of internal screening Mr. outs. But basically, what we found out is that that Castle Rock was going to put into turnaround, because the guys are attached, but they wanted to attach a director that the guys aren't excited about. So basically, there was like a, and so there was like a big turnaround cost. And they sent us the script, and we really loved it. And we had just signed our overall deal Miramax. And so we sent it to our executive job board, and we're like, this is fucking great. You guys should make this like we, you know, like, you should meet with the guys. There's a turnaround cost, you guys should act fast and dive all over it. And so it happened really quickly. And that's, you know, our job. We really were just like, we just signed the deal. So we became a sort of conduit to get up there, hype it up and get everybody excited. And then it happened really quickly. So that time by the time Chasing Amy happens. All that was done. Like basically the movie was at the movie was it was a Miramax and they were writing doing rewrites, and they were also like, like, I remember like meeting with directors, you know, there was like before, like they want to guess to do it because they had met Gus and Gus wanted to do but then it was like Michael Mann and a couple other drugs.

That would have been an inch Michael Mann's Good Will Hunting would have been a very interesting might have been a couple more guns, just a couple,

Like an all guns, but

Alex Ferrari 53:15
It would have been a shootout with Will Hunting, which is that bluff, that great sequel, Good Will Hunting to hunting season for Strikes Back.

Scott Mosier 53:24
The version in a totally different way. But yeah, it was and then we you know, sort of, and then once it's in the hands of governments, and it's sort of just you know, then you just get to be a fly on the wall. So we were up there a couple times are shooting in Toronto, and it was just, you know, it was really interesting. I mean, for me, it was really interesting to watch, because you're working so much you're not on us, you know, you don't go on the sets of other filmmakers. And it's sort of interesting to watch how people act in different ways. Like he's very quiet and sort of, you know, he's not sort of sitting at the monitor shouting like, he sort of directs in this more sort of quiet way. Yeah, I mean, I felt was like, I remember seeing the, we went into New York to see like, the, the director's cut or whatever. And it was like, an ad. Like, it was basically 90% 95% of what the movie ended up being like, it was just so like, he just knew what he wanted it to be. And it was so specific. And like, it was just incredible. Like I remember just being chills was like, wow,

Alex Ferrari 54:28
So, so good. It's just so, so, so, so good. Now, during this time, I think you were heading into dogma. Did you? Did you guys know that this was going to be as controversial, essentially became

Scott Mosier 54:43
We knew, in the sense that, you know, at that point, Miramax was owned by Disney, and Disney was like, you know, we're not going to let you make this movie. So it's like it wasn't like we kind of entered into it. The writing was on the was a little bit from the very beginning that like, there was a real like, problem, that there was a problem and then it sort of it, you know, kind of grew from there and then kind of like, you know, peaked at a certain point and didn't kind of get worse or, or didn't get better or worse. It just sort of, you know, there's pickets in the New York Film Festival and tickets to the movie, you know, ticketing are when the when the movie came out, but

I actually remember seeing Kevin going out to pick it with them, like, Who's this bastard who made this movie? It was

Yeah, he went out. And he protested.

Alex Ferrari 55:41
He protested on his own film

Scott Mosier 55:42
Yeah, it was great. But, but yeah, it was a it was we we kind of knew enough to you know, we had a fake name for the movie while we're making it. You know, nothing really came of it. But there was there was definitely like, a tension about it before. Early on, and it was, I mean, was it a surprise to us? Like, we're like, what's the big deal? Yeah, but enough people at that point, we're like, You got to take it more seriously. And so

Alex Ferrari 56:13
You're playing with fire, you're playing with fire guys. Just be just be aware of what's going on. Don't be completely ignorant of what's happening.

Scott Mosier 56:20
I mean, part of me is just like, it never really got that bad. And I couldn't imagine if you know, today,

Alex Ferrari 56:28
Oh, my god, can you imagine daughter showed up today?

Scott Mosier 56:32
Like I just, you know, partly was social media and all the rest of it. It was just, I mean, that's part of the thing, too. It's like even a protest has to like be ignited. Right, it needs fuel. And I think it was still 1998. And it's like, there just wasn't the, you know, it was still just like people in like, 10 people in front of a movie theater, and I was just driving home, oh, my God,

Alex Ferrari 56:54
Whatever, whatever. Yeah. Okay, yeah. Imagine Facebook around that time, or Twitter or some like that would have exploded?

Scott Mosier 57:01
It would, it would certainly do fewer people. I mean, the key is like, a few people can make a lot of noise now. And you know, and I think back then it was way harder to do. So just sort of the momentum of what happened around the release, it just kind of was like, it just it was kind of gone very quickly.

Alex Ferrari 57:20
Now, another film that you produced, Jersey curl was unlike anything I'd ever seen in the sense of the attention that you guys were getting, like, while the movie was being made, because of Ben and Ben and Jennifer's relationship, or Bennifer, as they like to call it. I mean, the pressure of you guys, as the filmmakers must have been like, do I just want to make a movie and it all of a sudden turns into this thing that it's not even about? Like it's about Jennifer, we got to cut Jennifer out of it now, because she had this thing with Jill with Julie or the other thing that they said, like you got you got caught up in this kind of tsunami, that was not even your fault, or even initiated by you guys got just caught up in the, the banner for tsunami? How do you deal with that being like, in the center of a hurricane like that? When you Kevin, we're dealing with that?

Scott Mosier 58:11
You know, you I mean ultimately, like with everything in life, it's like, you get to a point where you're just like, well, there's nothing we can do about like, there's nothing you can do about it, it but like the you know, the time when we started the movie, it's like, their relationship just started. So on one level, there's, you're like, well, this could be great for the movie, right? Like, there's no you don't know, either way. And then when, and then by the time we get to the test screen, it's just obviously not going to be beneficial to the movie, because people had such a strong opinion of the two of them that it, you know, transferred onto the movie itself. And then it was kind of after the first test or anywhere like, well, there's nothing we can do. You know, it's like, there's really nothing we could do. It's like, the audience is not going to be enamored with this. And so like, it did become about trying to look, you don't want to be in that situation. You know, you don't want to be sort of fueled by or be making creative decisions based on just sort of like a negative response that your audiences has to the actual individuals and not the characters. But you also, you know, there's nothing to do it's like, once you're sitting, and it was it was enough. It wasn't like there's two people it was like there was like, a couple that like we're like we fucking hate those guys. It was like, like it was palpable. You're like, alright, if we keep testing this thing, and it wasn't now there's gonna be a whole other audiences like we love them. We hate them. It wasn't even like it was just like, generally people were like, We don't want to necessarily watch this.

Alex Ferrari 59:59
Well right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mosier 1:00:10
And so, you know, you try to pivot off of that and try to maintain, you know, the story you want to tell as best as possible, but But you know, ultimately is going on with theater, ultimately, an audience is going to end if it's, if it's keeping the audience. Unfortunately, it's like, you know, it's not what the movie is about. So you're like, right, if it's keeping the audience from sort of interacting with, or sort of being receptive to, you know, what the heart of the movie is, then, you know, you have to make that decision of like, start to trim that part of the movie down and get into the sort of the rest of it. So it was, it was definitely frustrating. But, you know, I tend to believe, like, the interviewer spend battling things you just have no control over is just, you know, a lot of wasted energy. And

Alex Ferrari 1:01:06
Well, that that is, that is that is a words of an almost 50 year old man saying that, and I completely understand what you're saying, because things i There's just stuff you just can't get until you hit a certain age, or experiences in your life.

Scott Mosier 1:01:21
Like, there's a great saying, like worrying is paying debt on money. You don't own.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:25
That's great line. Great line. Yeah.

Scott Mosier 1:01:29
And that's, you know, it's like, and you can apply that to like worrying about things that you have absolutely no control over, is paying debt on money, you don't know, like, you're sort of, you're just grinding in this sort of thing. And, look, we're younger back that. So I can probably impart these ideas, because, like, you go through enough experiences where you're like, oh, wow, there really was nothing we could do like that. That component of the movie was this exterior issue that existed outside of us, we couldn't reach into it, then like, we couldn't read cut their public persona, right?

Alex Ferrari 1:02:07
That that was, that was the thing about it is it was a lot of times when there's controversy and filmic dogma was generated by you guys. Like that's just the nature of the story. And there was a there was a, you know, controversy and all of that stuff. And even Zack and Miri Make a Porno. That had some controversy too, because had to work porn that way. Like it freaked people out. And but again, generated by you guys, but this was out of your control, like it was completely exterior. And I think also people were just so exhausted of seeing those two, together, which we don't want to see a movie with these two now. Like, it was just so much and you guys just got caught up in that week.

Scott Mosier 1:02:42
Yeah, I mean, look, there's, there's, for every look, Hollywood, you know, couples in Hollywood getting together making movies has got has been an incredible publicity benefit. And it's been a bad one. And it's like, it's not like, it's not like we came to that moment. If we all come to that moment, and they're like, every time two stars are moving together like this, it's a disaster, then, obviously, there would have been enough people in the room go like, don't do it. But it wasn't that it was like there's cases in both sides. It's like, it could either be a boon, or it can be bad.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:22
It could be midterm, it could be Mr. And Mrs. Smith, you know, which was exactly the same kind of Brangelina and that whole thing, and it was, but it fed it, it fed that movie, and this one, it just sucked and hurt the movie.

Scott Mosier 1:03:38
And by the time the movie comes out, it's like, there hasn't been a sort of turn. But basically, from the time we started moving on, it's like, you know, you know, the public is is fickle. In their mind and like, and you sort of sit in the tester and go like, alright, you know, like, what are we gonna? Like, there's nothing we could do, we could be bad, like, it was hard. You couldn't really focus your ire on anybody either. I mean, you could try but once again, it was like, it was just that situation

Alex Ferrari 1:04:09
As Don Quixote essentially hitting the windmill at that point, you're like, there's nothing you can do.

Scott Mosier 1:04:14
You, like I said, we couldn't, if we have the ability to get to go in and reshape the public persona, to make it awkward again, we could have done that and get the movie the way it is. But that's we have no we can do that. The only thing we can control is, is the content and the movie sort of, you know, trimming back their sort of relationship with the beginning of the movie.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:42
But it ages Well, like you watch that movie now. It's aged very, very well, because you're so far removed from that ridiculousness that now the movie can live on its own. So it's, I was just I was curious about that.

Scott Mosier 1:04:54
And the movies hopefully about him and his daughter, and so the movies about and and And so you know, it ultimately, like you said, sort of. I don't necessarily I think there's probably a I don't think even trimming back some of the beginning stuff was the end of the world, I think there's probably like a another version of the movie that's more of like a, you know, maybe a slightly extended up to being maybe putting some of this stuff back in there. But I think overall, it's like, you know, it didn't it didn't it didn't sort of break the movie. Let's put it that way.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:29
Exactly, exactly. Now, you know, we've been talking all about you producing and making, you know, VSU kind of films and all that kind of stuff. But then out of left field, almost, I start seeing that you're writing Freebirds and getting involved with that, and then directing the Grinch co directing the Grinch, and how the hell did you get into animation? And like, how did that work around town when you walked in? Like, I think you were saying, like, aren't you the clerk's guy? Like, why are you in animation?

Scott Mosier 1:06:04
I am, you know, I'd always want to remember, I was gonna go to art school or film school. So so the sort of, I was I was I was doodling and drawing. And I was really like, before, I was really debating whether to go to art school or Trump school. Right at the moment that I ended up making a decision, go to Vancouver Film, school and makeup, and like, It's that fast. And I didn't know what to do. And I was living near UCLA. I could, my grades weren't good enough to go there. But I was living in these sort of like shitty apartments there. And I used to run around the campus, like I would do two or three runs around the entire campus. And then sometimes I cut through the middle, and there were these big stairs, where they shot gotcha, like, are these big stairs right in the middle of the thing, and I would run up the stairs. I was running and I was like, What am I gonna do? And I run up the stairs, and it was nighttime, I'd run at night after I was working. And against the top of stairs, it was really bright light in my face, and so I kind of like slow down and adjust. And they were shooting a movie. And I was like, I was I was it like I was like, you know, I was my decision was sort of made in that moment. And then basically, I very quickly applied the main console school, and 455 months later, from that moment in time up in Vancouver, and I mean, Kevin, like after that sort of moment, but was the hard part, you know, the art thing was always in my head.

So in other words, if a if an animation cell would have fell out of a window and hit you in the head, we you might have never gone on that

Life drawing class up there. I'd have been like, oh my god, like I just assign.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:55
This is the sign!

Scott Mosier 1:07:56
And so I go to, but I'd always been interested in it. And then, you know, I've always loved animation. But the big moment was I remember Kevin and I, because Jason league up to see the Incredibles four came out. And it was like, and it was a special screening. And, you know, I loved animation. And, you know, I've thought that Toy Story and I'd already sort of, like, I was really interested in this sort of new technology applied to this sort of classical to these. And so I saw that screening, though. And that was the thing where I was like, oh, no, dude, like, I really love to do this, because it felt like it was a movie. Like it really felt like a movie. It was like, it's an animated movie, but the can't, you know, the camera work the performances, like it just felt like, oh, you can you can just make a movie. Like you could do what crane shot like, you can do whatever you want it like you have all the filmmaking tools inside of this box, you know, and, and from there, and I remember telling Kevin, like, I think I left there and I was like, I want to do that, like I want to I want to get under the hood of that and sort of do it and and so coming off of Zack and Miri it was kind of the moment where I was like, I was like, I'm gonna do it. Like, I gotta, you know, I just got to do it. Like, I gotta sort of stop. I could do this forever. This is comfortable. And, you know, for me, I was like, this is the stop and sort of, you know, rebuild myself like we refocus myself specifically on animation and and writing to and like I sort of stopped up Zach and Miriam was just kind of like focusing on writing and trying to get into animation and that's when this guy Aaron Warner, I knew and then it just and then it becomes like you're in the business long enough and you know enough people and it's sort of if you If you're fun to work with, you're good to work with your work hard, like, you know, all that stuff can pay off, I call the say that which is Freebirds becomes this guy here, and Warner would produce all the tracks was like, have this movie Freebirds was called turkeys at the time. And he was like, you know, cuz you want to if you want to learn animation like this thing's like a fast moving train. And if you're willing to sort of like jump onto it, you'll learn very quickly that and so I was like, as the producer and I was like, Yeah, I was like, This is my shot, you know, because at that point, it's like now, now it's like animated animation, making animated films is a much broader sort of, there's more opportunities, but at that point, it was like, you know, this is the, this is the beginning of everything opening up that, you know, that was more like Pixar and blues, like there's these established studios, if you had an idea, you had to go to those specific places, and that was it. So then I jumped on Freebirds. And just through the process of making it, you know, it's it's a very open, collaborative, sort of medium, it's a little, you know, a little bit different from making live action, because it's just the pace of it's different. It's just a much more open forum, you know, you're sort of making it a you ever, you're getting together with a bunch of artists coming up with ideas. And so I started writing pages, and those are getting, you know, brought in and then I come off of that. I come on Freebirds. And I don't want to do I don't want to do animation. And so because I was tired. It was a it was a tough, it was just tough,

Alex Ferrari 1:11:45
Yeah because you produced and wrote as well.

Scott Mosier 1:11:47
Yeah, it was a tough schedule. And so I came off, I was like, I'm not sure. I was like, I loved a lot of it and the people I worked with, but I was like, I'm not sure if I want to do it. And then then I was just working as an editor, you know, and stepped up to the years. And I cut a documentary on Marvel that was on ABC called from pulp to pop was like, so I did that. And then I was cutting. I've taken over ours finished, I was just doing a Polish, a little polish. I wasn't the main editor, I was just there for the end of a movie called it ultimately became called no escape. But it's called The coup was going Wilson and Pierce Brosnan. It's by the doubt and bro the down the breath down the brothers. We just did the Waco series and like I've known them. And my friend was the editor. And I was like, Oh, get on that. And we're were and then that's when I got emailed by from Chris Mellon Donner email me. And I didn't know. And I was like, Well, I don't understand why I'm getting an email from him. But once again, so Brian Lynch, who was the craft service guy on JC Namie. I've done all these other things. You know, he wrote minions and but he wrote top, so he'd been working in illumination for a while. And he had given me ever he had given Chris my information. And Chris was like, hey, cuz elimination at that point was like, they were making more movies. And so it was like, as opposed to one every two or three years, they're trying to do, you know, to a year like they were just, and he was feeling like, maybe I'll bring in for the first time like a producer, like an independent producer to help me sort of manage projects. And once again, I was like, No, I'm not sure if I want to do animation. And the doubt and brothers are just like, the edit room I were in was like a block and a half from Chris's office. And they're like, they're like, dude, like the fuck, like a walk down the block. And I was like, alright, so I went, and then Chris, and I hit it off really well. And we met three or four times. And then before we met a couple times before the Grinch came up, and then he showed me some artwork had been going on at that point for six, seven months or whatever. And, and so we went back and forth. And then finally, I was like, yeah, like I was kind of, I really got along with him. Well, and I was like, I was like, Yeah, I'm gonna do it so

Alex Ferrari 1:14:30
That it's so funny because when you talk about as you're talking a lot of a lot of filmmakers listening a lot of times they think, oh, it's about it's about the agent or it's about the manager, it's or about, you know, this or that and it's just, it's about relationships. I mean, seriously, the craft service guy, who if you would have been addict to? Yes, I would have never recommended you for that job. Because you never know where anyone's gonna be. And I've had that happen to me in my career where they were my interest And then they all go off and are directing movies and have, you know, all these amazing career? It's so remarkable that just the craft service guy, what is it? 15 years later? 20 years later?

Scott Mosier 1:15:13
24, five years later, and I've kept in touch with Brian like, sure. You know, we've read, he'd send me scripts, and I'd read them and we've kept in touch and but yeah, that was, you know, relationships. Yeah, that was a seed of it of like, then someone like Chris was, like, knew Brian was like, trust his opinion. And then he's like, who do you know, that might be good about and I come off a free bird. So I ultimately had some experience at that size. Like, I had some experience. And so, and I was even honest with Chris was like, like, I honestly don't know if I want to do any

Alex Ferrari 1:15:53
Worst job interview ever.

Scott Mosier 1:15:56
I was really like, I want to get into this. But like I said, I really got on with him. And then, you know, when he finally brought up the grand shots, and look, we brought up the Grinch, I was torn to because, you know, I love the Chuck Jones version. I grew up with that. And so I was like, oh, man, like, I don't know if I want to be the guy that Fuck this. I don't want to be the guy that screws up the grids. Yeah, guys, like, it was just the book. It's like, these are like, oh, you know, like, he didn't do a good adaptation. But it was like, there's there was a lot of things for it. There's, there's the beloved Chuck downs, classic, which was was in me too. But you know, then I was like, but it's a really cool opportunity to sort of build out a different version of it. And also, you know, build a bigger world, you know, that was like, part of what we were doing is like, Oh, we get to really explore Whoville and really expand on it and make this sort of a more expansive, experiential movie of it.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:04
So and it did and it did okay. at the box office did okay.

Scott Mosier 1:17:07
It did ultimately did well, yeah,

Alex Ferrari 1:17:09
Half a half a billion according to IMDb Pro. So, not not bad for a job you didn't want.

Scott Mosier 1:17:17
The credit goes to so many people. Sure. What's so much fun with animation is it's like, there's so many incredible artists from, you know, lay out to, you know, animators to, you know, that sort of concept artists and art directors and the vocal talent of so many people. That's the greatest thing of animation. It's like, you know, it's like, you spend years and years and years, and just when you're like, about to shoot yourself going, like, it's fun to fucking look at a storyboard, you know? It's like, then you start to see, like, then it's like, right, when you're there, it's like, you start animating? And then right when you're sort of like going, like, they start lighting and rendering and like, it's like, right, when you're sort of getting tired and cut going, like, what do we get to see the final, you know, revenues, sort of desperate to see final images, they always seem to pop up. And you go, like, Okay, this is why we're doing it. Cuz it's like, it does just look in crowd. It's like, when you get to send in dailies and see the finished stuff, there's like, it's just so amazing. That's what it is, like, it's a paint, you have to be patient.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:31
No, it's now it's a system. I mean, when they were coming up, you know, when when Disney animation was kind of setting it all up. And they didn't even know what they were doing. But like now, it's there's a system and I have a good buddy of mine that worked that Disney for 12 years as an animator. He did, he did environments. He was in the elite and environments, and I would go into Disney animation. And I'd walk around and I'd see the different apartments and it just like, in awe, it's just in awe of what you could do. And as a director, I cuz I know that they did this a Disney Animation is they would have a board up. And they would give the directors a stack of cash of like paper cash, and they would have all the sequences of the movie Up. And they go, you can put money on what sequences you want to spend a little extra money on. But this is all the money you get. So they would get to choose, like this action sequence. I want a lot more more attention to as opposed to just less Can I kind of get through. And if there's anything like that happened with I was just a Disney thing.

Scott Mosier 1:19:31
That definitely did not happen because I would have just walked out

Alex Ferrari 1:19:37
I'm done. I'm out. My pocket. And it was fake Scott. It was fake money.

Scott Mosier 1:19:43
It was Yeah, we could talk about this later, but I'm gonna take my wife. No, we didn't do that. I mean, you know, it's something that but that, that those conversations are sort of collective. You know, you're you're sort of

Alex Ferrari 1:19:59
We'll be right back. back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mosier 1:20:10
And, you know, I mean, to me, it's just something you inherently know, whether it's a live action movie or, or right before animated movie, you're you, you're sitting there going, like, hey, we have limited resources, we have limited money, we have limited time. So it's like, you know, you know, in an animation too, there's that sense of like, well, if you want this sequence to be freakin huge, then you better get going now, right? Because there's a pipeline, there's a moment where it's like a movie, it's just like, it's cut off, it's like, you can't add new shots, you can't, they won't make it through in time. So it was a lot of thought constantly put into going like, Oh, this is, you know, we want to do a big shot here. Like we're doing some, there's a big huge, like, kind of drum crane shot and grants where we're like, going through this pod of people skating and all the way up to like, so you have to sort of like get all that stuff arranged. Because all the, you know, it's it's basically live action, you know, you have to sort of make sure that you've made those decisions to be like, Oh, we want to set the time here and want to do that here. And part of that is has more to do. It's just like, making movies with financial limitations, you know, right, which is most people I mean, there are people who don't, you know, there's they're filming, or are given a sort of, do whatever they want. And I don't necessarily like, I mean, he's offered.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:41
These are not problems. You are I have,

Scott Mosier 1:21:44
Yeah, this is not a problem that I have. And I don't think that's a problem that I'll face. But I do think the limitation is those limitations can be really, really helps you, for me, it just helps you focus on the story, right? And go like, hey, like, you better know what's important, you know, or you better figure it the fuck out really quickly, because you are in charge of like, trying to argue why people should, you know, we need more assets, we need this, we need that you're the person who's going to be driving and pushing for things. Like, you know, the limitations will help you figure it out, you go like, alright, like, we, we, you know, like we can we can reduce the amount of shots here, we can do this here. We don't need that many extra was there, like, make that choice? Because like, you know, I really want this to look like this, or I want this to sort of exist there. So, you know, but no, nobody came around with cash.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:43
Very enough. Fair enough. Now, I just have a few questions. I asked all my guests, something like rapid fire. If you could go back to your younger self, what would you tell him?

Scott Mosier 1:22:58
Somebody else asked me this recently, not to, you know, like, call you on originally.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:05
You know, it's got I'm quite offended. That's okay.

Scott Mosier 1:23:09
Like, for like, somebody asked me this. And, you know, um, it's probably more insight in the way my brain work because, like, I take it so literally, I don't, but it's like that I'm like, I don't think I would say anything. I don't know what I would say I don't know what could. Because everything I know is is or every, every, every like, conclusion I've reached, that has any value in my life, is because of the experiences I went to, you know, and I don't think you can go back to your younger self and be like, you know, buy Apple

Alex Ferrari 1:23:47
Buy Apple at $7 buy Apple at $7. Buy face buy Facebook at 30.

Scott Mosier 1:23:52
You have $3,000 from your car sale. I know this won't make any sense. But buy apple

No buy in 2021 there's going to be a Gamestop buy GameStop.

That like that's a good advice and like how your career cuz here's the thing, like my career, in a way makes no sense, even to me. Like it's not like there's no linear line. Like, I can't point to it and tell somebody like, this is what I did. You should do this. Yeah, it's just like I I followed my curiosity, which is what I do now, you know, I still just sort of go I'm not I'm not sort of, I'm driven by my curiosity of like, animation or this or that and I kind of like, which is why my IMDB page is kind of a weird mishmash of producing and documentaries, you know, like, I I love documentaries, like I'll go in that direction. Like, you know, I sort of follow I don't I'm not like my like, I make horror movies or I make you know, real comedies like, I've just love I, from the time I was a kid, but I just love film. I mean, my, my sort of taste in music is the same film, which is really diverse. I just watch a lot of different things. So

Alex Ferrari 1:25:15
Yeah, I mean, honestly, that at the end of the day, you know, I try to hack the whole set, like, what's the path I can take? Okay, should I try to do what Kevin did? No. Okay, maybe what I do what Robert did no. Okay, maybe what I do with Richard, like, and I'm not the only thing like we all do that, like at one point, you know, you start looking at other people. Like you guys were doing it with Richard, you guys were doing with slacker like, literally, that was what we were trying to do. But at the end of the day, it's it's it's a lot of luck. Right Place Right Time. Like you happen to run into Kevin Smith. You to happen to gel. He happened to have a script about clerks and then and then and off you go. And it happened in the early 90s When that was a fertile ground for something like that to kind of take off. Like you said, would that if it would happen in 85? Is there a does it happen in 2005? But you know, I always tell people dislike if Robert shows up with a mariachi today. I'm not sure he breaks through with a mariachi today. But in 91, a $7,000 action movies shot on 16 was exactly what the industry needed. It was the proof of like, oh my god, someone made a movie for $7,000. Or the story they sold at least

Scott Mosier 1:26:30
Robert was, if you, you know, to me, like you transplanted like the $7,000 version of El Mariachi that Robert would have made would have been very, very different. So

Alex Ferrari 1:26:41
In today's with today's Tech, you're right. Yeah, you're absolutely right,

Scott Mosier 1:26:44
Calculate that he could have sort of done it. Because, like, yeah, there's like, the thing that I still go back to, and, you know, it's not about people's career paths. Or look, it is about who you know, making connections, like meeting people having like a deep sort of list of people that you know, people that are making movies, I mean, it starts in film school, like if you know enough people you're working on shorts, and like, it doesn't even matter if the short skirt good just trying to get experience, right. Like that's like you're a good worker, you work hard. You can fucking push a dolly, whatever. Like, for me like that was a big part of it. But I also think like, this specific people want to be writers, you know, writer, writer directors and stuff like that. I think it's like, you know, the thing, it goes back to having that unique voice like what what's the story that only you can tell, you know, and at the end of the day, like no, mariachis, slacker is like very, like, all those guys had one thing in common, which is they really wanted to tell that story. Not because they really wanted to tell that story. And not because it was the idea cheap idea. That to me is like always, like people are like, Yeah, well, I really want to make this but they're like, but then I, you know, I came up with a cheap idea. It's like, well, no, no, like, come up with ideas. And like, if all your ideas are $80 million dollars, then you might have a problem. Like, yeah, but but like, if you like, if your passion isn't in these cheap ideas, like everyone's gonna know this.

Alex Ferrari 1:28:30
You're absolutely you know, I've never really I've really never quantified it the way you stated, because you're absolutely right. Like, you know, when I, when I make my movies, you know, the ones that sing, or the ones that I really wanted to do. And the ones that were like, I'm going to try to be this guy or I'm this is going to get me to that next level, this is going to be the one that gets me the agent or the those don't they fall, they fall flat, you know, and the ones that have all the passion and the voice are the ones that people really connect to. And that's something that filmmakers trying to break into, they really don't get. And that is the thing that will cut through. You're absolutely right, that is the thing that will cut through all the noise.

Scott Mosier 1:29:09
Because if you're I mean, if you have to go talk about a movie you're making, you know, that's the simplest part of the equation. It's like, if you're passionate about I have for hours, you know, if made it as some sort of vehicle, I mean, the amount of people I've known over the years, like, well, I'm doing this, but I really want to do that. And I'm like, I was like I get it, but I was like you have to find like everything should be an extension of your passion. You can do things just to learn, right? Those are the two levels. If you want to go make a film that you're just like because you can because you could afford to do it and learn and become a better director or become a better whatever. There's value in that right. But you have to know that the end result of that is that you learned you know, if you want to The other reason to make some is like, what are you fucking excited about? Like, what are you passionate about? Like, what kind of stories are you passionate about? Like, is it? You know, like, if you love horror movies, then it's like, that's great. But what's the personal version of a horror horror movie? You know? I mean, if you look at Jordan Peele, it's like, that's why those movies are fucking amazing. Because their personal like, it's not, he didn't invent or he basically it was like, This is my perspective of what a horror movie is, right? And I was like, Holy shit, like you are, you are the only version of you. And I'm not saying you're an antique snowflake. But

Alex Ferrari 1:30:40
We're all unique snowflakes that we're all unique snowflakes,

Scott Mosier 1:30:43
Your perception or your take, or your sort of joke on, like, if you throw something on the table, and everyone makes a joke, like, there'll be 10 Different jokes, right? Like, that's what makes you different. And the more you sort of push yourself to find that, and that, to me is like, was a very long process. Like I in 21, like, I did not have a voice. Like I like, and it was having Kevin was like such a great. That was part of the benefit of standing next to Kevin is because I was like, that's what a voice. Like, that's what it means. That's what it means to have a voice. That's what it means to cut through the noise, right? Because all the rest of it is noise. And so I was very aware of how long it would sort of take me to develop my own voice like I did the whole time. I was like, oh my god, like that's a voice, right? Kevin's a voice, like no one can argue that you may not like the voice, but this motherfucker has got his own voice. And, you know, a million people, the Coen brothers like Oh,

Alex Ferrari 1:31:49
Richard Richard Linkletter all those guys. Yeah, they all have a voice. You're absolutely right. Even even Robert, even Robert, who makes those kinds of action and stuff, but that's, that's his voice inside all those movies,

Scott Mosier 1:32:02
You can learn how to you can learn how to edit, you can learn all the technical stuff, and all that stuff is smart. Like that's basically just making you better your job. If you want to tell your story. If you if you want to be a writer, director, you know, you really have to find your most importantly do is find your voice

Alex Ferrari 1:32:20
Two last questions, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Scott Mosier 1:32:25
Find your voice

Alex Ferrari 1:32:28
Next question. Find the voice

Scott Mosier 1:32:32
To find your voice. And like part of the reason about finding your voice is that finding your way through the process of finding your voice, what you will do is create confidence in what your voice is, you know, it's like there's two, there's, there's all these, there's all these positives that come towards really taking a deep dive and be like, what kind of stories do I want to tell? Like, what do I get emotional when I watch? Like, what do I want to create, recreate on the screen, like, you know, some of those basic questions of like, when I watch, like, I love to make people piss their pants laughing. I like to make people shit their pants. Fucking, like scary, or like, if these are all like, we're all here, because we're like, movies make us. Movies evoke emotions, they make us feel things. And I really like for me, part of the process was going like, what what are the things that I love to feel when I'm watching a movie, and therefore that's the thing that I don't want to recreate in my own movies. And so locating that, like, you know, what's the thing that you're like, oh, fuck, like, I go watch a movie. And, and like, I'm terrified, like, I just walk away. And I'm like, from joy. So I'm so excited. If that's it, then you should focus on that. Like, if you're like, No, I love to make people feel like life is worth, you know, like, I like to make people cry. You know, like, all those things exist. And it's sort of, it's almost like finding your voice to me is more about focusing on like, what's the emotions that you like to evoke in the kind of content you're making? Because that's part of like, what will help you fill out the kind of stories you want to tell which is like, what's the emotional impact? You're looking for? anger, rage, love, like all those things. Like those are the things sort of think about so yeah, finding, finding finding my voice was like probably the biggest thing

Alex Ferrari 1:34:30
And three of your favorite films of all time.

Scott Mosier 1:34:35
If so many. I'll just sort of rattle some off. Well, I go way back to the beginning like time band.

Alex Ferrari 1:34:44
It's so good. Terry manTerry Gilliam.

Scott Mosier 1:34:48
Huge. The ones that like, you know, for me, it's always like, ones that shift your perception about you know what a film is? are the ones that really stick in my mind. And there's tons of amazing movies that don't necessarily do that. But like time, man, it was a big one for me. Raising Arizona was another one, like, really early on where I was like, I just, I just hate it. And, you know, and then now I can go. I mean, like Fight Club is a weapon later on in life where I was like, so completely just like, Fuck,

Alex Ferrari 1:35:27
What am I doing?

Scott Mosier 1:35:28
Yeah, just like, just like, I want to walk, like, and then I just watched it like, 100 times. But, you know, eight and a half was another, like, just mind blowing sort of experience, right? Like, you know, we're in that space. You're like, this is a movie. Like, that was the exciting part about being young is like, you're constantly like watching so many things. And that experience would be like I'm constantly redefining what a movie is. Through everything I'm watching. Like that's the sort of those are the movies in like time, man. It's Raising Arizona eight have been Fight Club is one where I was like, I was sort of be like, Oh, okay, like, I'm kind of pivoting and you're like, This is a movie.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:13
I mean, when I when I mean, I've had Jim who wrote Fight Club on the show, and I just geeked out with him and Fincher and basically anything Fincher does you just walk by and just like, what are we? What are we doing it really, I mean, and I've talked to some I've talked to some amazing filmmakers. And anytime Fincher comes up, they just say like, I don't, I just, I don't even know what we're doing here. It's, it's, it's having one of those like, it's like Kubrick when Kubrick would pop up with a movie just like what what am I doing?

Scott Mosier 1:36:42

Alex Ferrari 1:36:45
Scott, man, thank you so much for being on the show. Brother. It has been an absolute pleasure talking to you, man. And I wish you nothing but success exploring your new wants and, and things that excite you wherever, wherever you go. And I hope that IMDb account gets a little bit more broad and increased.

Scott Mosier 1:37:26
Me too. Thanks for having me.



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IFH 149: Star Wars, Star Trek & Geeking Out with Greg Grunberg

Right-click here to download the MP3

Have you ever kept seeing an actor pop up in all your favorite films and television shows? Well, that guy is probably Greg Grunberg. I’ve been a fan of Greg before I knew who Greg was. Greg Grunberg has been in some of the BIGGEST films and shows of all time. Here a list of just a few:

  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B0126M38LW” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Heros[/easyazon_link]
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B00005JNOG” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Lost[/easyazon_link]
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B002NS2HBM” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Alias[/easyazon_link]
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B003QQJGRI” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Mission Impossible III[/easyazon_link]
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B0025CQ262″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Austin Powers: Goldmember[/easyazon_link]
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B004EPYZQ2″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Super 8[/easyazon_link]
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B01LT80TN4″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Star Trek[/easyazon_link]
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B01IS31U6S” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Star Trek Beyond[/easyazon_link]
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B019G7X7QG” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Star Wars: The Force Awakens[/easyazon_link]

Yup! Greg Grunberg has been around. He’s the definition of a working actor. It’s worth a listen just to hear his stories from Comic-Con and the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Greg Grunberg also hosts a show with Kevin Smith called Geeking Out! Here’s some more on that.

Actor Greg Grunberg talks with Kevin Smith about working with J.J. Abrams and those notoriously tight ‘Star Trek’ uniforms. Grunberg also gives details about his new late-night AMC talk show “Geeking Out,” which he hosts with pal Smith. 

Greg also has an amazing friendship with writer/director JJ Abrams and we go into how that relationship came to be.

greg grunberg, star wars, geeking out, star trek

In this episode, Greg talks filmmaking shop, tells us stories from the set and comic cons and inspires us to never give up and keep on hustlin’. Enjoy my geek out with Greg Grunberg.

Alex Ferrari 2:31
Today's guest is Greg Grunberg. Now, if you've ever seen an actor who keeps popping up in all your favorite TV shows and movies, it's probably Greg because I mean, I've been a fan of Greg's for a long, long long time and before I even knew who Greg was I was a fan of Greg I always loved the characters as he played and he keeps popping up and all these these shows and movies that I've loved over the years shows like you know, little shows like alias, last Felicity heroes. In a super fun movie, a big ass spider produced by friend of the show Shaq head, and he's also done a few little movies Mission Impossible three, Star Trek the new Star Trek all three of them. Lady killers with the Coen Brothers, JJ Abrams, super eight and also that other little movie I forgot he was in Star Wars Force Awakens. So if you guys know I am a huge Star Wars fan and I was so excited just to geek out with him about what it was like to be on that set alone is worth listening to this podcast if you're a Star Wars fan, but Greg is also a director, a producer, a writer. He does a lot of charity work. And you know, he's he's one of those guys I wanted to get on the show because he is so down to earth, and so open with his knowledge and information and experience he wanted to share with the tribe. I was just so excited to have him on the show man so prepared to geek out just a little bit and enjoy my conversation with Greg Grunberg. I would love to welcome to the show. Greg Grunberg. Man, thank you so much for taking the time and talking to the to the tribe, man, I appreciate it.

Greg Grunberg 4:16
Oh, are you kidding me? Come on. We're all in this together. Let's, let's talk about it.

Alex Ferrari 4:20
Absolutely. Listen, man. I've been a fan of yours since the 90s. I have to say I you know, my first my first introduction to you was Felicity. Oh, yeah. It was it was it was a fun time in the 90s

Greg Grunberg 4:34
Yeah, that was my first you know, real break into having a steady gig, you know, something that I knew, okay, I was I'm working next week. And then the week after that we got you know, it's it's a tough thing and you look at it and go, it's exciting to do a film. It's exciting to do an independent film or this and that. But when you get the opportunity to actually be doing something that you love on a weekly basis and know that there's work next week. It's just tough in our business. Yeah, that was my first my first one and it was all thanks to my buddy JJ Abrams, you know that JJ and Matt had sold that show because if you're JJ Abrams what other what other type of a show are you going to do about except about a girl who's going off to college? I mean it was just like what you know they are they're brilliant storytellers and they start with character first and when you look at that series and you can watch it now I think on Netflix and it's awesome yeah it just holds up I mean it's so beautifully done and well written and I mean when I was very proud of those years and and the relationships I

Alex Ferrari 5:37
went there when I was watching that I was like, I want to go to college I want to do I want to I went to college I went to film school it's a completely different environment, but like I want to like I want to go to like dorms I'd never did dorms I had no idea what that was like but just that whole experience and it was just it was such a you know, we're we're dating ourselves but still it was a fun

Greg Grunberg 5:56
but that's what I mean by you know, it really holds up I still have people come up to me today and they say oh, you know it's like watching Felicity I want to see reruns or when I watched it back in the day it was like watching my daughter go to college or you know I was going to college and it was so because it was very real you know, it didn't lean on all the you know, the trappings or the you know, the the trite store stories that you would see that are fine but it was all about the characters and their relationships and that stuff is evergreen.

Alex Ferrari 6:23
No absolutely and not only Felicity but then you kept popping up on every like one of my favorite TV show growing

Greg Grunberg 6:31
lucky I mean Felicity from right from Felicity we're shooting the last season of Felicity I just finished the hollow man which is a movie that I did with Paul Verhoeven and bacon Yeah. And then they were JJ was doing alias and he said look this the last year Felicity but the first year of alias I want you to do both, which is literally next to impossible as an actor because once you're on one network, they won't let you cross over onto you know another unless they own it or whatever where they get permission and JJ just went to bat and said look, I really want him on this and he's not the you know, the number one on the call sheet so let's make that happen. And sure enough, I was playing you know, Shawn Blumberg and Eric Weiss at the same time

Alex Ferrari 7:12
know how what like seriously like well, first of all, you are the definition of a working actor. So you're very blessed because I mean, I see you all the time. And I see you working all the time. And like I told my wife I was gonna have you on the show. She's like, I love him. He's everywhere. In a good way. He's like everywhere I see him all the time.

Greg Grunberg 7:31
Yeah, I've been really really fortunate number one and you know that I'm working with people that want to work with me again and again I mean, as an actor that's what you're you know, I'm also a filmmaker I'm also a Writer Producer, but but as as an actor you're just you're what you're at the whim of people wanting to work with you and I'm one of those guys I think that I'm versatile enough that I can play the cop I can play the best friend I can play the you know, the the sleazy attorney, I can play the bumbling boyfriend I can play you know, or husband or father. So I love doing all that stuff. And I don't say no, I mean I really,

Alex Ferrari 8:05
Obviously. Obviously

Greg Grunberg 8:11
There's some skeletons in my closet. Trust me, you look at my IMDb and you're like, Why? I don't even want to name them.

Alex Ferrari 8:17
I don't I will not bring them up in this episode.

Greg Grunberg 8:20
For the majority of you know, I've been really lucky. I've been you know, alias Felicity alias. And heroes especially those I mean who gets to do over 100 episodes of each show it's just crazy.

Alex Ferrari 8:32
It's It's insane. It really really is insane. And before we before we continue I wanted to give a shout out to shake head bernsen who connected us he was a former guest a friend of the show. And of course he worked with you on big spider which is obviously Oscar bait obviously yeah

Greg Grunberg 8:49
But but you know just like and she kids the same way I don't let people go like they become part of my you know, the business world and part of my you know, friend circle and, and we worked on big spider together, which was an incredible experience the everybody at epic. They're just great, Patrick, and you know, and she can't. She can't though is such a hustler. Like we talked about in the best sort of way. He's got great taste. He is just really good at putting projects together. He and Patrick would really have a good business acumen. And then also you know, there's a good balance between finding stuff that the audience will like, but also stuff that you're not pandering and doing something that has already been seen. They really kind of look out for cool stuff. But we did big spider together. I had such a great experience with Mike Mendez. And especially Lombardo. By art. I mean, that guy is a brilliant, brilliant actor. I brought him in. I got to be a producer on that movie. And then they came to me and said, Hey, I'm doing this kid's movie Tiger's tail. Will you be a part of that? I'm like, yeah, so I did that. Which was great. Because then kids, you know, I love doing that kind of stuff. Yeah. And then we did tails on Halloween, which is, you know, that was a sort of a kind of a, an homage to I played the same sort of character that I did. Claire Kramer I got to do that together and now Claire and I have this documentary we're working on so it's I don't let people go once you see that is she can't is one of those that I will that I'm happy she can't and Patrick both I'm happy to have in my life and also love it when when i when i look it down on my cell phone and it says she can't where it says Patrick I'm like yes please you know because it'll be something real

Alex Ferrari 10:22
You know and the funny thing is that it's so true like when you find people you really want to work with in this business you hold on tight yeah because it's they're rare they're rare to find good people you know that you really enjoy working with and actually get things done is another big plus so those guys

Greg Grunberg 10:37
Definitely that's also a mutual sort of situation like I call them with ideas and they take it seriously you know it's not just Hey, we're calling you because we want you to be in this we want to use your name to promote a film or whatever I mean they really are creative guys you know and they and you know also when you go through like frustrating moments creatively because that's the creative process is tough, man. Yes it is. You're not always gonna see eye to eye you're never gonna see eye to eye on everything. And to be able to come out the other side of these these little petty things or big creative things and be friends and want to work together again. That's what it's all about. And you know, a good creative process has those ups and downs a can't. If it doesn't, then it's gonna be mediocre and milk toast and read on the fence and it's it's never something that's going to mean something big as spider was that I mean, it was at the beginning they were like, okay, it's called mega spider. And, and Mike Mendez was like, No, let's do something different. Whatever, met with me, I said, I don't want to take this seriously. Everybody knows what mega spider is going to be. It's gonna be about a giant spider is gonna be a sci fi movie like shark, NATO or whatever it's gonna be, you know, I want it to be more. And actually, I didn't even hurt a shark man. That was they were making that at the same time we made ours. But it was like let's do something and then we improv the whole thing I brought in Lombardo bolyard who's one of the best actors I've ever worked with is so versatile that he plays Jose in the movie if you haven't seen the movie, you must see this movie because it's an example of you know, at the end of the movie you go was there a spider in that movie? Like it's you know, it's just it Mike Mendez did such a brilliant job writing directing, I mean, you know, producing directing and and it was such a collaborative process between choquette and Patrick and Mike and especially Lombardo and I you know, we really had a great time and Claire Kramer was great. Anyway,

Alex Ferrari 12:32
I could go on and on and on. But But did you guys do a lot of improv in that movie?

Greg Grunberg 12:36
Oh my god, like every scene

Alex Ferrari 12:38
Really? You just hit me so it's kind of like a big like structured Mark duplass movie but with a big spider.

Greg Grunberg 12:44
Yeah, actually that's exactly what it was and the writer was great too. I mean, you know it was laid out you have to hit certain beats for story Yeah, but how are we going to get from here to here and Bardot and I while we were setting up and we had no time we had no we didn't have the luxury of six takes right it was so we really we in essence borrowed I spent a lot of time together and then when Claire Claire we did our scenes together too but we rehearsed right before and we're like now what about this What about this What about this and Mike and she Kat and Patrick they were happy with it like yeah, that's that sounds great. And not not everything worked but most of it worked and it was just a really great experience.

Alex Ferrari 13:19
Oh my god that's what yeah, that's that's how I just did my first feature too, but without a big spider in it. But I'm, I'm so surprised to hear that a movie like big spider was a lot of improv, which is awesome. It's a really a thing.

Greg Grunberg 13:31
And, you know, Bardot and I Lambretta we are now I have a shorthand together. In a movie, I wrote a movie co wrote and starred in and produced a movie called group sex. Which is all about it's a sex a Holic recovery comedy.

Alex Ferrari 13:47
Fantastic You had me You had me a sex recovery.

Greg Grunberg 13:50
You have kids don't ask them to Google group sex.

Alex Ferrari 13:55
Exactly. Group sex film no not even that. You still get

Greg Grunberg 14:00
That group sex Tom Arnold's and Henry Winkler me Josh cook. Odette newsmen are dead Annabel. I mean there's some great people and it really funny. Really, really funny. Um Larry trilling directed at Lawrence showing who is so brilliant he ran parenthood and Goliath and now he's doing it's just a brilliant filmmaker and he's a good friend of mine. We co wrote this together he directed I produced didn't start it and it just was such a great experience and that's again you have to be malleable you have to be you know able to and Lombardo by art is in that movie and he steals every scene he's in and as an actor you know without an ego which is I mean I have just enough of an ego to keep you going as an actor but I want to be in a scene with somebody that I am entertained with that blows me away you know, and that's what he does for me. So every opportunity I get I want to be on screen acting with Bartow.

Alex Ferrari 14:55
Now what made you want to become an actor

Greg Grunberg 14:57
Oh, You know, just throughout my life, I mean, you know, growing up as a kid, I was in theater and I always did the plays and I loved being creative. I love getting response out of people. I just loved it. And I never did it at the at the expense of other people. I never did any. I hate bully humor, I hate you know, where you're making fun of somebody just because of something they can't help. But at the same time, you know, I don't mind self deprecating humor, I don't mind being that guy that people are laughing at or reacting to, and, and I realized, wow, I can really I'm good at this I, I have an ear for what I'm doing. Which, which, what I mean by that is a lot of actors. And I have this young, very young, they just don't hear themselves speaking. Like, it's not natural. It doesn't flow it I don't you don't buy it, you know, like, do you even hear yourself? Like that's not the way normal people talk? that people don't finish sentences, people just because a sentence is finished on a script doesn't mean you have to. You don't mean the way I'm talking right now I'm finding words and make it your own that right? And if a director tells you they you shouldn't make it your own, walk away, I mean, my God, what the hell are we if we're not humanizing the words and taking it to the next level, that's what an actor's job is. And if you do it to a point where it just disrupts the original vision, and of course, but if not, you know, you got to hear yourself and I, I think I had that at a young agent and elementary school and junior high and then growing up with people like Matt Reeves and JJ Abrams. And, you know, there's a buddy of mine, Jason Brooks. He's just amazing. And these guys, I just started acting over the years, started doing commercials started starting on things. And then and then my friends were in positions where they can hire me in bigger ways. And I was ready at that time. I mean, I, you know, it's the struggle is sometimes really, really good. It's sort of your education. Oh, yeah. The hustle. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I mean, I tell people acting wise and filmmaking was to, especially today you know, you have a you have a cell phone, make a film to shut up and make a film. Don't tell me you can't make it Don't tell me this guy said no, I pitched him and he could, if you want to be a filmmaker, you want to tell a story. And get out your phone and tell a story. And you know, there's nothing just do it. And by the way, don't tell somebody you're going to do it. Don't tell somebody what it is. Do it because the same like if I said to you, I have a really great idea for script. Your response to me which is what JJ has always done for me, is write it because if I tell you if I go I'd ask here's what I'm thinking about this this this and then you go that's amazing. That's incredible. I love it. Oh my gosh. Okay, now I've gotten the reaction that I would have gotten that would have carried me through the entire arduous long lonely process of running a script and I would have been it that energy the need for that reaction that the needing some sort of praise or or somebody saying that sucks or whatever. I that would have carried me enough to write this thing now I've gotten that reaction I don't have to do it and that's what I think is what hurts a lot of filmmakers

Alex Ferrari 18:16
That's actually that's a great that's Yeah, you're right because if a lot of times as writers and as creators if you if you give an idea and they go That's great. You should do something I'm like yeah, is great. Yeah. But then you don't want to write it takes you longer to write

Greg Grunberg 18:30
Yeah, and you already got the reaction that you're hoping to get at the end. Right? You know, it's tough like I have this graphic novel called dream jumper which is I'm really proud of them. Scholastic put it out I partnered with an amazing illustrator and storyteller Lucas turn bloom. We are booked to is coming out in September it's called dream jumper my son had a dream he woke up had a nightmare. He was like 13 I said Ben what what what happened? What is it tell me and he goes it was like I was a superhero. I go Okay cool. What what? He says it wasn't even my dream. I was like a superhero. able to jump in and out of my friend's dreams and save them from their worst nightmares. Oh,

Alex Ferrari 19:09
That's genius. Isn't that

Greg Grunberg 19:13
Yeah, I'm like you're not going to bed stay up we're gonna pay for college.

Alex Ferrari 19:18
Right and like I'm like saying why isn't this $100 million movie like what's my god

Greg Grunberg 19:22
So so cut to a year and a half later the book is in every school Oh. Paramount option that they're they're making a movie out of it. Oh, that's awesome. Yeah, and book two's coming out in September but my point of bringing it up not just for you know, to promote it and tell people to buy dream jumper now. Yeah. Also is that Lucas I met Lucas at Comic Con. He's an award winning Illustrator. And he's sitting there and he signing and I go up to him, I go, Hey, man, you know, he had done some stuff with my charity before and I and I said hello to him. And I said, Hey, what do you think of this idea, and he had the same reaction you just did. Oh my god. That's genius. And he said, we're gonna write this whole thing. So over the course of a year, he illustrated the entire thing that's 230 pages of long, 48 pages of like, you know, four pictures per page, he did all this work. And then we went out and looked for a publisher. That's, like what you just said, it's kind of the way you should do it. You know, it's like, if you're gonna do it, I mean, it's hard. It's all on spec. Yep. We did it, and it and it paid off.

Alex Ferrari 20:29
And I always I always feel that even when you do stuff on spec, per se, it never it's never fruitless. Generally speaking, it's either either you're gonna get you know, if you if you go out and make a feature film, even if it stinks, you've made a feature film, you're ahead of the game. And you can show people like, Hey, I produce something, and blah, blah, blah, and you and God knows what connections you can make, or what kind of relationships you can build off of that. It's, it's, that's something I've learned in my, my term in, in this and this little game that we call the feed industry,

Greg Grunberg 20:58
You know, it's interesting, it's like you go into a pitch meeting, right? Or you're trying to sell a film, or you're trying to get financing financing is the number one thing of course, you try and get financing for a vision that you have, and you want to make make something well, the pert, the person that you're talking to, whether it's a producer, a network person, a studio person, whatever, a financier, they want to know that someone has taken a chance on you previous no one wants to be the first

Alex Ferrari 21:19
Nobody wants to be the first of the party.

Greg Grunberg 21:21
Right! So why don't you take a chance on yourself? Why don't you be the first one? Like, if you take your cell phone out, and you use to shoot something, shoot something else, shoot something else, shoot something up, and then use iMovie? Cut it together, put music to it. You know, you don't even have to there's no color timing. There's no sweetening of the sound. There's nothing. You're just doing what you can do with the technology in your freakin hand. Yes, yes. I'm telling you, suddenly, somebody is going to be like, oh, Alex made a film. He's already made a film. So I'm not the first person. Now. You're the one the green light. Yeah. Why are you not taking a chance like having skin in the game I, I had an app years ago that I created. And it was it was interesting. As I going into getting financing people were like, well, if you have money in it, because if you're not putting money in, if you don't believe in your own product, enough to put your own money up, I'm not gonna put money up, right? Make sense? It's the same thing and creatively it's the same thing. If you're taking a chance on yourself, then you're not then then that's, I mean, it's weird to say, Hey, I was the first person who gave myself a break to do

Alex Ferrari 22:24
But you have to perceive but that it's in that and that's another bigger concept is perception. Perception is very big in this town. It's extremely big in this town. Whether it's the truth or not. The perception is is something different. And I get hired as a supermodel to I look like a supermodel. No, but the perception is exactly exactly ripped. And it's called CGI.

Greg Grunberg 22:54
The cheeseburger.

Alex Ferrari 22:56
Exactly. Now you talk you talk you talk a little bit about JJ man and you guys grew up together.

Greg Grunberg 23:02
Yeah, we met when we were four or five

Alex Ferrari 23:05
Jesus. Literally you literally grew up together.

Greg Grunberg 23:08
Yeah, he's my oldest friend. He's my closest friend I'd say friend He's a brother he's we're like brothers and you can't you know really people say oh look at he's a filmmaker he wants to hire me like you know what all that stuff is icing on the cake. I know that sounds crazy because no but it's true yeah but he's so successful and yes a guy like that to be working with over and over again is such a blessing but forgetting all of it I he's gotten me through and I've gotten him through you know, stuff that friends get each other through and he's been there for me through all the great stuff my closest close I love him so much and I'm lucky to have him in my life.

Alex Ferrari 23:49
Yeah, and the thing a lot of people from the outside always look into like oh my god, you have your best friends with JJ Abrams and like but at the end of the day for you your perspective is not JJ Abrams. He's like he's my bud He's my dude I've like grown up with him I've seen stuff that I can never say because we grew up together since we were four I mean that's what yeah, exactly but you're that's your body yes

Greg Grunberg 24:12
Yes I mean it and you know it shows that the paths cross on set when you know we're Shooting Star Wars and Star Wars you know, both of us are like what are we doing

Alex Ferrari 24:22
We're gonna get we're gonna get into Star Wars

Greg Grunberg 24:25
Crazy like first of all alias Mission Impossible Felicity like all this crazy amazing, insane it's insane and there's nothing better than being and working. I mean, I use the term I'm using you can't see but my hands I'm doing the quotes because it's not work when I'm working with JJ right right. It's not work anyway, but anyway, um, and I do a take and then he walks up to me whispers in my ear. He's like, Oh yeah, that was the worst thing in the world of Cisco again. We just have a blast together and I you know, again, it just so lucky to be working piece. Period let alone on projects like that and then you put on top of it all the most important thing is that I'm with my best friend forget about

Alex Ferrari 25:07
Yeah, I mean like life doesn't get better as far as a professional relationship is because right now it really does it now with all that you've had a lot of success in your career but I'm sure there's must have been a point or two in your career that things were a little bit rougher and have you ever thought of walking away from the business or when they just got too tough? Or are those tough parts how did you overcome them?

Greg Grunberg 25:28
Yeah, you know it is really really tough and I've it mainly at the beginning of my career I've been very very I'm knocking you hear me knocking Well, I've been very very lucky and and and I hope that I'm, you know, I do a good job, I must be doing something right. But at the same time, yeah, you're always looking for your next job. You know, there's a term there's a I forgot who quoted this, but it's like you want an actor to complain? Give them a job. That's just so true. And the same as with the director or producer, whatever. And so the toughest parts, I think, were really early in my career because I didn't want my life. I don't want my career to dictate my life. So I met the most incredible woman in the entire world. My wife, Elizabeth, and, you know, you go Okay, well, my career is not where it is. I mean, I had no job no car, no money, no credit cards, no, nothing, no hope. For I mean, no, not hope. But, um, no prospects in the future. You know, I'm not going to tell my landlord he had a good audition today.

Alex Ferrari 26:28
And she said, and she said, Oh, this is a I'm gonna hook on to this guy.

Greg Grunberg 26:32
Yeah. I mean, we have a piece of we have a piece of art. Exactly. I was like, What would you think? And that's where you know, she loved you. You know, it's, we have this piece of art that I made in our house. It's from a quote from Willy Wonka is my favorite movie. And the quote is, hold on tight. I'm not exactly sure what's going to happen there in the elevator. And he tells he tells Charlie to push that button. Up until now I've pushed every button except for that one, Charlie, and then he pushes it and he goes, Oh, hold on tight. I'm not exactly sure what's going on. And that's exactly what happened at the beginning of our relationship is I said, I have no idea how this is going to. But it's it we love each other and we're gonna make it work. And so at the beginning of my career was going to commercial auditions and hoping that the commercial runs and hoping that you get residuals. And meantime, I'm I had a frozen yogurt business, I was a telemarketer. I was a waiter, I was a busboy, I, I did everything I could possibly do. And I am I'm a hustler. I'm never gonna let my family down and, and so the stakes just become higher and higher. As you go throughout life, and you want more, you know, you just want to be able to do fun things, all of that comes with risks and responsibilities. And I, you know, I'm balancing between, I know some actors that like they'll they'll make some money on something and then that's it. That's it, like they hunker down and they go that I, I'm a bit of a risk taker and I you know, I'm frugal, and I save what I can, but I've got three beautiful boys and charity is extremely important to me with you know, with my oldest son has epilepsy. And so we do everything for the epilepsy community. And so I've got a lot of my time is devoted to the, you know, the Epilepsy Foundation of America and my foundation talk about Oregon. So it's like, you got to balance everything I've got some people say, how do you do it all? It's like, well, I just, I enjoy every moment, man. I'm having a great time.

Alex Ferrari 28:23
The funny two things. My mother actually works for the Epilepsy Foundation in South Florida. Wow. Yeah. So she's, she's worked with him for three, four or five years, six years, something like that. So I know I've heard a lot about epilepsy and all that stuff from my mom, and what she goes through and it's an it's a challenge, just having that foundation work because there's a lot a lot of donations and things like that. Yeah, and also

Greg Grunberg 28:47
Yeah, and also stigma there's a huge stigma attached epilepsy and that's if people go to talk about it.org you'll see I've got every celebrity on there. I'm going to Orlando tomorrow to speak in front of the sunovion is this amazing pharmaceutical company they they are sponsoring the telethon. I do a telephone every year and this year is the second second annual and so the second time but we did last year we raised over a quarter million dollars that's awesome. Eight hours straight and you'll see like your favorite musicians and and actors and magicians everything you can imagine plus great you know doctors talking about what's new in the pipeline and everything so epilepsy is very misunderstood it needs there's this huge stigma attached to it that unfortunately we need to forget about and find a cure and and let people know that they're not alone and that's that's what my my messages I'm doing. If I could plug for a second I'm doing this amazing auction and I have these guitars that Gibson guitars. Gibson gave me these guitars I had the most incredible people fingerpaint hand pain and sign and the money is gonna go to epilepsy. It's awesome. From like Lisa Kudrow to Maroon five to Courtney Love and Francis Cobain Brian Johnson from AC DC This is Howard Stern amazing guitars if anybody's interested it's you go to proxy bid PR o XIB id proxy bid.com slash Hollywood auction well we'll

Alex Ferrari 30:20
Put all that in the show notes to you definitely give me all the links to all that stuff we'll put it all in the show notes to make sure everybody could go there and also the second thing is my wife was very similar to your wife I was broke very little prospects living living in South Florida which is not the mecca of the film industry by any stretch of the imagination exactly and and and I said and I said, Well what like what made you think this was a good investment? She's like, I don't know I guess you know, I just I'm like cuz you're playing the really long game. Because if I mean this is a really long game you're playing and she's like, I know it'll pay off. I have I have faith it'll pay off eventually.

Greg Grunberg 30:58
That is so funny. I know. You know what they are they take the biggest gamble and by the way, vice versa. I mean, like, yeah, you know, it's not just I'm hitching a ride to this person I hitched a ride to my wife Amen. I got lucky and thankfully You know, we've got three beautiful boys and you know obviously with dream jumper I'm taking advantage of my boys creativity and that's why it's so and it's

Alex Ferrari 31:21
It's amazing what a good woman can do. Yep, to to schmucks like us. So another big show that you worked on man that I was just I literally just, I think, less than a year ago, my wife and I actually watched the whole thing again, was alias. Oh yeah, I mean, that was kind of like a revolutionary show at the time.

Greg Grunberg 31:44
Yeah, I mean, I've been a part of these shows I've been very fortunate especially in the genre You know, I'm going around doing all these Comic Cons and alias is one that really did touch a nerve and at that time, again, JJ Abrams, you know and he just really it was something really forward thinking it was and Jennifer Garner I mean match Hill it in. But Victor Garber and Michael are tan and Carl Lumley and Ron Rifkin and all these guys I mean, it was I was it was such a great experience I just come off of working on on Felicity with some amazing people Scott speedman Scott oh yes no good friends of mine especially Foley and Robert Patrick Benedict is on supernatural and and Keri Russell and Amanda foreman and all these great people and then I go in and now I'm working with the old guard people that not not Jen and Michael but these other seasoned actors who really appreciate the opportunity for good material to have a steady gig and I learned a lot from each one of them not that I needed to be humbled or anyone needed to straighten me out at all but you pick up things from other people filmmakers can olan ran that show I mean he was amazing but it was like I just realized it's it's all from the top down man you work with great people and great product comes from it and I mean JJ sets a tone that is just second to none that show was feature quality every single

Alex Ferrari 33:11
One it was it was it was that's basically what got a mission impossible if I'm not mistaken right? Yes, yes. Yeah. Tom Cruise Tom Cruise like sat down and watched like the first two seasons like okay, this guy can do it.

Greg Grunberg 33:21
That's exactly right. You know, he and he went to the bat you went to bat to break in as a feature filmmaker on that level. Do the next mission impossible. You need a guy like Tom Cruise to step up and say no, no, he can do it. He's doing this on a weekly basis with a budget that is 1/100 of whatever but we're about to give them you know, so right trust him. And sure enough, that's what that's what you know, they did and I had a little role and mission impossible button. Tom Cruise, by the way, just so I can say please chip row now is so much fun to work with. He is such a great guy. And I again, I know him, you know, but he treats everybody with such respect and such love and he's just so good man. That's another guy that I would love to work with. any opportunity I get I'll do craft service on a movie that he does. Great. So great.

Alex Ferrari 34:09
I mean, I've heard that I've heard that from a lot of a lot of pros in the in the business too because they just did he say he's remember when you were when you're Tom Cruise. I mean you've worked at the highest level since basically when you were in your 20s Yeah, at the highest highest level with the best directors in the business and you could just I mean, how can you not be amazing at a certain point like there's also ego yeah and he stuff

Greg Grunberg 34:35
Like he's the biggest star in the world outside of you know some of these other guys. But but you kind of go Wait a minute, he's got to have an attitude like he

Alex Ferrari 34:45
Can't grow No, of course of course. Yeah. And he, he is he's

Greg Grunberg 34:49
Just that guy's so. So so great. Tom Hanks. Same thing you know, and I've been so fortunate to work with some of the most amazing people you work with do work with Tom Hanks on Lady Killer. Right yeah lady kills I didn't get to work with him on camera together but he was at the table read at the premiere and everything and I worked with you know JK Simmons and some incredible people the Coen Brothers

Alex Ferrari 35:12
Which was my next question How is it being on a Coen Brothers set

Greg Grunberg 35:16
It's it's so much fun it's so much fun you have two directors which is a little can be a scene and other experiences confusing and I direct commercials and and TV stuff with my business partner Brad Savage. You know there are times when I'm like alright Brad, why don't you take this because you don't want to give to people giving notes to an actor is really tough it's rough Yeah, yeah, so like get your notes together real quick and then have you know send one of you out to talk to the actors and I mean they do it so seamlessly there's so great they so trust the actors they'll give you a note and then you interpret that note and make it your own and you just you know give them give them what they want but they don't give you they don't say say it like this I mean obviously that's a directing one on one but there's so good man Ah, that was a dream

Alex Ferrari 36:08
It must have been a dream to where I mean you have worked with the hell of a I mean your your resume is pretty insane

Greg Grunberg 36:15
Right Albert Brooks I did the Muse I mean I have

Alex Ferrari 36:17
Title I love I love the Muse I love that movie. I

Greg Grunberg 36:21
Played I played the hotel security guard one yes. To the hallway, Sharon Stone and Albert Brooks and I'm in that what am I doing there? I had a blast and Albert Brooks again one day on that movie he learned so much from an idol of mine I love that guy.

Alex Ferrari 36:40
I mean I'm one of my favorites of his is defending your life.

Greg Grunberg 36:43
If any of your life is absolute How about real life? Yeah, which

Alex Ferrari 36:48
One's real life is no Oh,

Greg Grunberg 36:49
Hello. I love turning you on to

Alex Ferrari 36:53
Real life all I'm writing it down as we speak. Yes.

Greg Grunberg 36:55
Real Life Charles groden stars in that it is

Alex Ferrari 37:00
Oh no, wait a minute. Is that the is the hola Is it the real Is that the one? Charles Grodin stars and who else is in that?

Greg Grunberg 37:07
It was it's one of our books first movie? Oh,

Alex Ferrari 37:09
It's first okay. It's okay.

Greg Grunberg 37:11
It's incredible. It's It's where it's like the basically it's the birth of reality TV. He plays a documentary filmmaker who goes to Arizona and he's going to he's going to watch and film these fan this family with these helmet cameras. It's unbelievably hilarious.

Alex Ferrari 37:27
Oh my God. That sounds I mean, I'm a huge I'm a huge, huge, huge fan of Albert Brooks.

Greg Grunberg 37:32
Oh, you'll love the genius he is this is one of his best defending your life is maybe a perfect film. And I

Alex Ferrari 37:39
I love defending you live. And if you guys if guys listening, if you haven't seen defending your life, it's with Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks and they it's about what happens when you die and you have to kind of defend your life in court to either move on to heaven or get set back down and relive another life.

Greg Grunberg 37:56
Torn oh so brilliant. The movie is so good. It's so good. It's so good. Like, even like I'm not gonna spoil it. But he in this sort of purgatory kind of not predictable in this waystation place. You know where you don't know if you're gonna go forward or not. That like everything is the best it can be and you can He's like, oh my god. It's best. Like every bite is better than than excellent.

Alex Ferrari 38:27
Everything's like a wherever whatever restaurant you go into. It's just everything tastes he's like How's the taste? He's like it's the best you've ever had like really like every so everything tastes so good. Oh my god is Can I can I can I take any take like 10 pies. Back to this room in this room.

Greg Grunberg 38:43
But the other the other thing about that movie is I watch that movie and then I'm not kind of angry. I'm so jealous. After the end. I'm like, he's so brilliant. I mean, they do think they remember the past lives.

Alex Ferrari 38:56
You read my mind I was gonna bring that up. That is so brilliant.

Greg Grunberg 38:59
So brilliant. You go into a little like peeping tom show kind of booth and you watch like watching a movie you're watching scenes from past lives. You're watching yourself and as a like remember he was like eating

Alex Ferrari 39:12
But he was eating he was an eating savage in in Africa somewhere back that day and Oh yeah. Well, well Meryl Streep's like you know Lancelot. Yeah, exactly. And she kills me she kills it and anything she she could read a telephone book and she's amazing.

Greg Grunberg 39:28
But she was also so just pure and beautiful. No one. Sweet and it's so good. It's such

Alex Ferrari 39:37
A good mix of guys. defending your life. It's streaming somewhere. It's so far homework.

Greg Grunberg 39:43
They got spider. Yes. Life real life. Lady killers. Group sex. Yes, in real life. And then the little movie called Star Wars, whatever. But

Alex Ferrari 39:53
We're gonna get to that in a second. Don't worry, because I'm, I'll tell you all about my star wars in a minute, but we'll get to that in a second trust. I kind of hold the audience off a little bit. Yeah, cuz I'm sure they're excited to hear about it. But I want to talk. So I have a couple other more, more like Oprah style questions for you. Okay. So as an actor, do you prefer television or feature films?

Greg Grunberg 40:16
That's a great question. So, you know, as an actor, I love the ability to kind of not correct but to adjust where my characters go where my characters, you know, like on, you know, Matt partment I mean, there were things in heroes that I was able to do knowing Okay, well, next episode, I can make him or I can plant this seed here with my eyes. And the way I say something and knowing that the story is going to arc this way, or that way, I've got 22 episodes this season, and hopefully, you know, years and years to go, as in features, you're making a choice that's going to live forever. And, you know, so there's a finite amount of time and takes and you better nail it, and you better really have, like, this is who I am at the same time, you don't want to be one note. So and also, as we as you know, we shoot out of order. So you really have to have in your head, what is going on in this script and features. And it's a little bit more of a difficult process. The other thing is, it's also really tedious on a big movie, you shoot a one and a half to two pages a day. And there's a lot of pages to a script, especially with special effects and action and stuff. And so when you know when you're off TV, you don't have that luxury. So you're at six, eight pages a day, you're moving, you're cooking, but you also know okay, you know, I didn't really get the point across here that I love my family as much as I want to. And well and it's tough. It's a tough question because look on alias. There's 10 characters to service. I'm only going to get I'm 1/10 of that show. So you again, it goes back to the feature thing you better make an impression in those three, four or five minutes that they're going to give you per episode. So I try and steal every moment that I'm given. I really do I mean I try and make the most of everything. I'm like, I feel like I make taffy you know, they give me a little bit, stretch it. And then in the editing room, they're like oh my god, get to it Grunberg.

Alex Ferrari 42:14
Now what do you look for when you're working with a director as an actor?

Greg Grunberg 42:19
As an actor, I want the director to hear me as much as he wants or she wants me to hear her. That's really really important. So you know, I want someone like Larry trilling who's brilliant at this JJ is brilliant at this Matt is great at this Dylan an actor find their moment you know and you can do it in blocking rehearsal. You know and I'm talking about preparing actors don't come to the set not prepared and then start crying about you know are complaining about the dialogue or whatever you have plenty of time to do that before do your homework and then call the director on the phone I want to be a director who by the way is also open to hearing my interpretation and doesn't just have a singular vision just the way I see it. This is the way it's got to be done and that's it. No like, I really want a director who is is open to the collaborative thing and no, this is who you who you hired, man let's have fun together you know 99.9% of the time I'm going to give you what's on the page I mean, that's that's my job. But at the same time, I want to be able to bring some surprises to it. And don't over talk like if you come up to me he's like minutia but if if you give me a note I want to be able to go Alex I got it got it and walk away. Let me show you. If I say got it and you go, you know because I don't want to think anything and I'm like okay, okay, cool. And then you go, you know, because this character was like, oh my god shut. Let me do my job because by the way, I have dialogue in my head, I want it now I'm thinking and I'm Turpin interpreting, hey, maybe I can hit this harder, I can make this more you know, and also give me a reading like I'm one of those actors. I'm like, you know, tell me don't not you know, don't dictate how I should do it. But we don't have time for egos. We don't have time to mess around. If you have a good idea come up and go. You know, when you're thinking go up on this, get a little emotional here and then maybe, you know, let's cut to the chase. And let's go right away. Don't take too much time between takes. I also love You know, when when I hear a director go Okay, still rolling back to the top. Let's keep going. Like because when you cut the DP, you know, bless him, he's like, Oh, you could have been better and let me adjust this light. And

Alex Ferrari 44:27
I actually, by the way, great impression of a dp. Thank you. They all speak they all speak with Eastern German accents. Yeah.

Greg Grunberg 44:37
Whether they are or not.

Alex Ferrari 44:41
They're all called veal most, right? They

Greg Grunberg 44:43
embody they're like the Nazi that he's on set. I have a bad time idea. 20 minutes,

Alex Ferrari 44:50
Which is really which is an hour. Yes. Yes. And then you're sitting there going son of a bitch.

Greg Grunberg 44:56
And then you've forgotten what note you were told. And you know, it's it's balance, you know it but it is again it comes with experience goes back to your initial question of like, you know, how did you know and how do you get better and it's just with experience it's experience if you're starting out you're a filmmaker right now, shoot the shitty version of what you want to do on your cell phone now, shoot it again, shoot again shoot something else shoot something out, shoot some mice son is Taekwondo, black belt, he's wants to get into Stein coordinating and everything. And he's just shooting a ton of really bad fight scenes with his with his karate buddies. Because then you're ready when a director goes, have a bar fight, I need help with a lecture. I've already shot three bad versions of it now give you the good version, you know.

Alex Ferrari 45:43
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. So let me ask you a question. Because I'm sure you've you've met a couple of stunt guys in your day. So is it I want the audience to understand this about some people. First of all, they're all a little tweaked in the best way possible. Yes, they all are. I've never met a stunt person who's not and they're all in a great way but they're all a little tweak. And anytime I've ever asked them to do something I'll go Hey, you see that? You see that building over there? Okay, I want you to jump off maybe the 10th floor like can I jump off the top? I want to jump off the top Can I jump off the top? Can I jump off the top please? Right is am I am I am I wrong? Every single one I've never I've never heard never heard of that guy. Go. That's a little high for me. Can we?

Greg Grunberg 46:31
Oh no. I mean that's so true. It's like, but that's what drives them. They want to make my stunt guys they want to make me look Mark Riccardi wants me to look as good as I can possibly look. I mean, that's what his job is to. So someone goes to how did you do that? You know, Tom Williams You know, I've got these two stunt guys. And it's like, it depends on my weight and what I what I have to do so I'm driving a car doing this, I'll call this guy or that guy. And these guys are also stunt coordinators. And they're filmmakers in their own right and the biggest and best one that I've ever worked as a Simon re Simon and his brother Philip. They they did best of the best years ago. Oh, Pastor bass, Eric Roberts. Yeah. Eric Robert. So Simon starred in that movie with Philip and I just did. It's a karate movie kids karate movie on but it's these guys are pros. Simon was Jackie Chan stunt double on a bunch of things and and I brought him in on group sex. I brought him in a bunch of things. They're just perfect. They're the best and you know, but you're exactly right. Like, by the way, so Heroes Reborn I'll give you a stunt story. Um, I love driving. I'm a car guy. I'm a driving nut. And so I've got this Crown Vic and I'm driving and they go Okay, and I've got a I've got an actress in the car with me and, and they're like, Alright, so the cameras down low and we're about a quarter mile away and we want to see you approaching but then when you go by camera, we really want to get a sense of the of the speed. So I do it and I'm going like 70 miles now they close the street off the police. About half a mile to three quarters of a mile. Sure. You know it all. And they go just hit it. You know, and you don't have to go that fast. You know, because the the depth perception it'll show I do it and they go again. It's not that fast. Let's do it again. I do it again. Now I'm going 85 Yeah, it's not that I'm like, Alright guys, this is it. And you're gonna love it. And I turned to her and I go Hold on tight. And it's like, so stunt guys aren't crazy. Like 125 miles an hour.

Alex Ferrari 48:35
Jesus Christ. Yeah, that's, I mean, seriously, dude, that's a bit it's a bit much.

Greg Grunberg 48:40
Past camera. It was just like, and they just love they're like, yeah, of course it is. Yeah. Should I been doing that? No,

Alex Ferrari 48:49
Absolutely. There's also they could have just under cranked a bit. Just saying at 85. You could have shot at 20 frames you would have been. I'm just saying, Just say it. Now and so you've told us a lot of amazing stories about all the positive times you've had on set. Can you tell us one horrendous story without naming names?

Greg Grunberg 49:18
A horrendous story. Yeah, without naming names. Or movie done away. I was on the set of alias. Yeah. And I love that. some reason the actor on the other side and I'm not going to say you know who it was Faye Dunaway was she just decided that she was going to make faces at me while I was doing my side. Why? I don't know. I do not know and she we got her side because she's a good actress right away and then you turn the camera around and there On Me and or my side, whatever and off camera there I am looking at her and nothing funny about the scene. And she's making faces she's making like these really weird elastic faces with her mat. And I'm like, What a bitch, man.

Alex Ferrari 50:14
You told her please stop doing this.

Greg Grunberg 50:16
Of course, I told the director, the director went over and told her and said, What are you doing? Stop? What are you doing? It doesn't make sense. And it's, Oh, she

Alex Ferrari 50:23
And she kept doing it. Yep. sanella. Yeah,

Greg Grunberg 50:27
I mean, and very, you know, very famous. I don't again, I don't want to say her name fate on the way but very famous actress who I respect in a huge way. Like, I know this must be some did

Alex Ferrari 50:37
Did you do? Did you do some work to her? Did you do something to her on the set that day?

Greg Grunberg 50:43
Oh, no, she didn't. She didn't just do it to me. She did to other actors, too.

Alex Ferrari 50:46
Oh, she's just being a bitch. Gotcha. Yep. Got it. Wow. It's, that's that's pretty, pretty remarkable.

Greg Grunberg 50:53
Yeah, I mean, it makes for a great story. It does. And I am not one to sling mud. I don't want to talk out of school. And I would never tell you who it actually was they done away. But you know, I just want to make sure that I'm clear about

Alex Ferrari 51:06
Of course, of course, because you wouldn't want to hurt your reputation in the business. I understand. No,

Greg Grunberg 51:10
No, I mean, every one of that, you know, actor movies I want to be in in the future. Absolutely.

Alex Ferrari 51:17
So you did this little independent film called Star Wars. Yeah. With a with an A, just an old school buddy of yours, JJ. Just, you know, just got together, got a couple friends together and decided to go make a movie.

Greg Grunberg 51:31
You know, getting the band.

Alex Ferrari 51:33
Let's go put on a show.

Greg Grunberg 51:36
That happened in the same way that last happening. I was the pilot. And last and JJ is doing these huge things. And of course, I my first call. The first thing I say on the phone is Oh my god, dude, congratulations. This is gonna be huge. You're going to make this incredible, because he does with everything he does. And then the second thing I say, and he knows it's coming is what am I playing? What am I doing? Right? planted? I planted that in his head and he's he goes off. He's writing and planted in his head again. He's like, I know, I'm thinking I'm thinking I'm thinking and you know, it's hard. It's so much on his plate. And I mean,

Alex Ferrari 52:06
Yeah, he's trying to, like find a spot for you in Star Wars.

Greg Grunberg 52:09
Yeah, I mean, that's the last thing, right? Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 52:13
But yeah, but but the friendship is over. But the friendship is over if I don't get it.

Greg Grunberg 52:19
Exactly. No, but it's the idea of look, and I say this on everyone, because he just keeps doing bigger and bigger stuff. I'm like, you know what, this one I really mean, like this one we have to do together. And he called me and go, Hey, I'm doing something I really want you to be in it. I want to hang out. We're gonna be a painting. Pinewood Studios together. Oh, Shooting Star Wars. And I, if if it was LA, I'd be right there next to him. Without any job on the movie. I don't care. I want to be with my buddy. Sure. But this is Star Wars. Anyway. He says, I think I found something for you. It could be really cool. And I fly to London, not knowing what I'm going to do. And I get there. And I walk they were having Chinese. It was like, you know, before they started shooting, and the whole cast and was sitting in this restaurant, and I walked in, and I forgot who said it, but somebody yelled out, hey, there's snap wax late. Oh, Larry Kasdan sat back said I'm like, Oh, my god, there's Larry.

Alex Ferrari 53:13
I was gonna ask you like, what's it like if I get Larry Katz that, you know, carry a God rest her soul and, and Harrison and Kathy Kennedy it Kathy Kennedy.

Greg Grunberg 53:24
She's one of the if not the best producer, ever, right? You know, and you're like, I'm so lucky to even be here.

Alex Ferrari 53:32
Eating Chinese eating Chinese. Yeah, but there's no

Greg Grunberg 53:35
Caches there. I didn't know who most these people were. I mean, I you know, I just didn't and

Alex Ferrari 53:40
You mean the young cast and the new guys coming up? You mean?

Greg Grunberg 53:43
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And so I was like, Hey, guys, Hey, how's it doing? And he says that name and I'm like, that sounds kind of cool. I don't know what that is. But that sounds cool. And then over the course of dinner, you know, they're like, yeah, you're an X wing fighter and I like

Alex Ferrari 53:57
A fighter it's basically it's basically a childhood dream basically at that point.

Greg Grunberg 54:04
Yeah, I mean, what do you do as a kid when you're thinking when you're playing Star Wars with your buddy JJ you know you and you know i 14 What are we doing? We're in his room pretending we were x wing fighters or Sure. We it's just one of those things that that's the role you want. Now Stormtrooper Of course, would have been unbelievably cool to be even an extra anywhere something but to actually do they get to do that. Unbelievable, just ridiculous.

Alex Ferrari 54:34
It's so what's like the, like, what's the coolest story you have from the set like walking on the set and just like, what's

Greg Grunberg 54:43
Cool this I just told us at Salt Lake City Comic Con. Which by the way, I'm going to be in Dubai at the middle east filming Comic Con and then going to indiepop at Indianapolis. I'm really excited about you. I've got this new show with Kevin Smith called geeking out so like Now going around all these conventions and stuff which I never did before and I'm just absolutely loving it. I love geeking out with it with the people at the shows and

Alex Ferrari 55:09
I was I was gonna ask you about Comic Con next but so tell us tell us your story. tell your story.

Greg Grunberg 55:14
Yes We'll start with I just just told us on my panel and it was just walking onto the set of the Millennium Falcon was a religious experience for me. You know, I've been to Israel I had more I was more emotional walking onto a fake Millennium Falcon then then you know well then then the Wailing Wall in Israel It was so amazing and then to be in the Rebel base with these guys and you know, everything was secretive. You know, don't take any pictures. You can't say anything. You can't you know, obviously don't take anything. And you have to be cloaked in a big black cloak. And you know, because there were drones and there's perazzi and all of it all of it all of it. It just when I walked on that set, and I was like, I am standing in a place that is you know, again, solid.

Alex Ferrari 56:07
It's hologram. Yeah, even though it wasn't the actual Millennium Falcon from the 70s it's still hallowed ground.

Greg Grunberg 56:13
Yeah. And it's a replica and it's you know, it's they they remade it and they remade it perfectly and, and then, you know, getting up to stories up and being locked into my x wing. And it's, it's basically like riding a bull, I'm on a jib. I mean, I'm on a gimbal. And they, there's a guy by bullet with a, with a joystick, and he's going up and down and all over, and I've got to say, my life, it's just the whole experience was incredible. But walking on the set for the first time, and walking around, and, you know, sneaking photos with my cell phone that it wasn't supposed to be in my hand, you know, those moments, I'll never forget that. And but but mainly, it was, you know, looking at my best friend and the two of us with our mouths drain are more gone. What are we doing here?

Alex Ferrari 57:02
Well, I mean, in all honesty, though, I mean, the and a lot of people, you know, talk about whether they liked it, or didn't like it, and all that kind of stuff, but I loved it. I thought it was I thought it was a great way and I think he was able to do something that was honestly, almost impossible, is to live up to the real Star Wars trilogy, not the prequels, but the real Star Wars trilogy. And, and bring it up to a new generation, the immense amount of pressure basically is launching an entire new era in Star Wars for 20 odd years coming. They already have them laid out 15 years ahead. So the pressure on him I mean, did he ever talk to me he have to believe he must have had some stress.

Greg Grunberg 57:51
And but again, guys like that, guys like spillover guys like JJ guys, you know, they just don't know. They just don't show it. I mean, I, I talk about this all the time, how it's just like he's so prepared. And it starts from the top down. The best directors I've worked with. And JJ is absolutely at the very top in my mind is number one, the people I've worked with there, he's so prepared, and he's so relaxed, that it's almost like like, you know, there were nights when, like, we would rather we spend every moment together, right? So we go to dinner, and we'd be walking around London and, and I'm like, dude, you 7am tomorrow morning, you're shooting at a pretty amazing scene in Star Wars. Shouldn't you be at home, looking at storyboards and do their thing? And he's like, Yeah, no, I got it. I got it. I mean, I'm good. Okay. Yeah. And he was good. It wasn't like he was winging it. He does his homework. He's so prepared, and so brilliant. And so it seems effortless, but it's not, you know, that's that's the thing. And God, you know, I have to say, like, I direct, I direct commercials, and I direct a bunch of, you know, things. And my favorite thing is working with actors and stuff. But there is really a gift, then you can I'm sure attest to this, between making something that could work on on television or a computer and now on a cell phone, and making something that can that is absolutely only suited for a big screen with a big experience. Having all of the elements I mean, JJ is so adept at every single one of the arts that goes into making a film, he knows about what he knows about music, he knows but I mean, to the point where he's good at all that stuff and that that we saw, I saw when I was a kid, and he's just like, it was just super creative. John fabro. Same way, Spielberg the same way these guys are. Theirs they know about every aspect of filmmaking. And I think that's what makes a great director. And then I think what I think JJ did great with Star Trek and Star Wars is he leaned on the characters, you know, it was all this mystery about like, all their shows. The Millennium bug dude, we saw that in the 70s that's the same ship the exterior shot there was like sneaky sneaky shots of this man. I'm like, What is everybody getting so excited? Yeah, that's a new version they just remade that thing. But but the characters and he's so good at keeping secrets and, and yes, satisfying us in such a great way with the relationships and staying true to what made this the most success I mean George Lucas is maybe the most brilliant guy we've ever had in entertainment I mean that it's a family

Alex Ferrari 1:00:36
Film you know it's it's it's it is

Greg Grunberg 1:00:39
It you know and those are themes that resonate with with I think all audiences

Alex Ferrari 1:00:44
Yeah he that George is definitely tapped into something without without question and you were saying that JJ likes to you know, he likes to learn or knows a lot about every aspect of the business. I have a funny Star Wars Force awakens story my buddy was a VFX artist at ad actually a Bad Robot. And he and JJ was walking the halls and he saw him working on a shot a very hard shot and JJ just came in and sat down and talk to him for like three hours watched him and ask them 1000 questions about what he was doing because he just wanted to know and he's like yeah, I'm learning nuke you know for everybody out there who doesn't know what nuke is is like the industry standard like visual effects comping program and is it yeah I'm learning nuke on the side like you don't learn nuke on the side but

Greg Grunberg 1:01:31
Believe me I know what you're talking about because my son works at Bad Robot Jake Jake works about a robot and I'm like and that had came up I don't know anything about nuke and suddenly Jake was like, I got to get this program nuke I gotta learn it and sure enough there's Jake at home working on it whatever. But JJ is the same way. He's just that guy and and he's but He's talented enough to do it. You know, they say, you know, like, I play the drums in my band. Right? I have a band for charity. Play the drums. I act i write I but I'm not a master of any of those things. I'm trying to get better and better and better and acting like you know, I know. My limits. JJ is one of those guys that taps into all that stuff. And he masters all of it. He's just that talented. I he would absolutely be hurt me say that. Roll his eyes and go, come on, shut up. guy doesn't want to hear that. But that's really and he's not alone. I mean, all of the guys like that. Matt Reeves. Oh my god is Matt Jones. He's so brilliant. These guys are those. That's how that's what they do. James gray. Oh my god, Larry. You know, Fong who's incredible dp. These guys and they're amazing. Brian Burke is such an incredible producer. Like he produced Star Wars and all these movies with JJ and Brian and I produced Matt Reeves student film at USC when he was you know his master thesis film. But Brian is such a brilliant filmmaker. He's more like a Joel Silver type guy who's so incredible at putting the pieces together. He's so acces smarter than Joel I think he's Joe's amazing. I worked with Joel Silver for years. Brian though is like Joel they're so smart. They know about film history. They know about all this stuff. And you know, they're just, they're they're brilliant.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:22
Now you said you like going around to Comic Cons and um, basically you you've had your free ticket to Comic Con now. It's for a while for you because you're on one certain if you're on one show, if you're a big character on one show, you can make a career of just running around doing autograph signings at Comic Cons but you you have a few just a few on your resume. Just a couple that because I was when I think I don't know where I saw you I think the reason I wanted to reach out to you is I saw on shake heads Facebook, he's like hey hanging out with the big ass spider crew. I'm like oh he knows Greg I love to talk to Greg and and there was like I think there was an ad somewhere for you being at a comic con and had you from Star Wars you on Star Trek you on heroes like pictures of you I'm like son this guy. You're good you're good. If everything else falls away you could do come across exactly comfortably. Oh, it's

Greg Grunberg 1:04:21
It look I have a thanks to JJ I have this headshot that people love and we always sell out of it when I'm at a comic con and it's and it's a picture of me in Star Wars and it's and I'm looking straight ahead at this screen and on the screen is me in you know as as commander Finnegan from Star Trek looking back at snap wexley See, these two characters look at each other and in the middle it says you have to track before you war.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:47
Ah done. That's basically just as basically geek orgasm right there. That's basically crazy.

Greg Grunberg 1:04:55
And I am one of those guys. I mean, I you know, it's People say oh, you know, Simon Pegg and you and Simon I'm like, yeah, yeah. I mean, you know, Simon's had bigger roles in both those movies. That guy's one of my favorite actors. It's awesome. I love him as he's a writer and everything. But he even said to me, he's like, no, I gotta say, my you got you. I'm in. I'm in. prosthetics. I got

Alex Ferrari 1:05:22
He was.

Greg Grunberg 1:05:23
And I'm like, Oh, dude, I'm one of the only deep Roy to I saw him on the carpet. And I was like, dude, we're in. He's like, yeah, I'm all covered up. You're you're you.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:34
You got you got a little bit more street cred on Star Wars, because you actually showed your face.

Greg Grunberg 1:05:38
That's right. And I have more dialogue than Mark Hamill. I'm just saying,

Alex Ferrari 1:05:41
I'm just throwing it out there. I'm just throwing it out. Yeah, I just I just worked on a project with Mark. He was on the show I'm doing with Hulu. And I didn't get to work with him. But I've heard like the directors were telling me that he's just amazing. He's amazing to be to be on set and stuff. He's Yeah, what are we?

Greg Grunberg 1:06:00
How are we on time? Because I my, we're recording voiceover for the documentary that I'm that I'm about to tell you about. Yeah. So

Alex Ferrari 1:06:08
Tell me Yeah. Tell me about your documentary. And then I just have three questions. I ask everybody and then I'll let you go, sir.

Greg Grunberg 1:06:14
Okay, awesome documentary. I'm really excited about Claire Kramer, and Bianca and the amazing, amazing people. Claire came to me and said, there's this guy. His name is Andre. He is amazing. He had a major, major terrible accident in his life. He lost his legs. He was in Prague fell in front of the it fell down into the subway on the tracks and almost died. And they had to remove his legs. And since then, he has done nothing but cycle with his hands. He does the you know, to get It's incredible. And there's a race across America, that it's for 12 days, and bicyclists try to do it in 12 days, that means you're riding for 14 hours sleeping for an hour and a half, getting back on the bike for 14 hours. And you do that for 12 days.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:05
How do you do that? How is that physically possible?

Greg Grunberg 1:07:07
I know. I tried doing it without legs. Oh, Jesus. So that's what Andre is doing. He didn't qualify three years in a row and he qualified this year. And his sister Bianca came to me with Claire Kramer and said, will you and Brad savage your producing partner? Will you produce this movie? Let's documentary Let's follow his journey. Let's get some winnebagos Let's follow him across the country as he's doing this as he's racing across America. So in June we're doing it and we're a Kickstarter campaign starts soon. I urge people follow this support this the trailer will be out soon it's gonna be on theaters, our Kickstarter trailers gonna be out many, many theaters thanks to screen vision, as well as on Kickstarter. But it's called joy rider. And if you go to follow us, go to joy rider Doc JOYR id ERD oc.com. You are Follow us on Twitter at joy Roger doc. It is it's really going to be something this guy is an extraordinary guy. And he's a testament to not letting anything stop you. And it's I think we can all really kind of learn from it and get inspired by it. And he's also a character. He's just he's just terrific.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:22
To make sure and make sure you send me all those links. I'll put them in the show notes as well. And then the last two questions I always ask all of my, my guests, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Greg Grunberg 1:08:37
Focus, and the fact that you can't do everything that you get presented an opportunity to do? Tell me back? Yeah, because it's really interesting. And you I'm sure you know, this too, and it doesn't matter what level of success you get to. I've had an opportunity to Thanksgiving take brought to me all the time and where I come up with ideas for things. And, and it's taken my best friend JJ to show me you know, just keep it focused, keep it focused, make sure that it's entertainment driven, or it's charity driven. And as long as there's some form of entertainment, and that's what I'm doing now. But I get opportunities for businesses. I mean, I'm, I'm an entrepreneurial guy, I love technology. I love business. I had an app. I mean, my app was a mobile coupon app, what the hell am I doing?

Alex Ferrari 1:09:24
What are you doing doing? Doing that

Greg Grunberg 1:09:26
That's so out of my brand. Use all these terms, whatever you want, but focus if that means you have to let somebody else make $10 million on fine. You don't have to be a part of everything. Find passion in what you do, and focus on what you're good at, and you'll be more successful and you'll enjoy your life. More if you focus

Alex Ferrari 1:09:45
And three of your favorite films of all time.

Greg Grunberg 1:09:49
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Willy Wonka chocolate factory and rocky

Alex Ferrari 1:09:56
Ah such a great movie. It's just such a great movie.

Greg Grunberg 1:09:59
People are expecting I'm sure Star Wars these are you know for me to and by the way that might change if you ask me again right now I might include the first Star Wars but it's like I I mean look movies I can't can't stop watching if the untouchables is on I have to watch the whole

Alex Ferrari 1:10:15
Sure of course and it's one of those movies

Greg Grunberg 1:10:19
Yeah defending your life again Again these are movies that I mean you started this it's just it's insane I'm so I love movies so much and or big ass spider they guys

Alex Ferrari 1:10:30
Obviously obviously obvious obviously big spider and your new show with Kevin Smith kicked out When is that going to be in? Where's it gonna be?

Greg Grunberg 1:10:38
So geeking out. We did nine episodes 10 episodes on AMC and we're working on second season right now I don't know if it's gonna live on AMC or somewhere else but we're very excited about doing a second season and it's such a joy being able to hang with Kevin Smith I mean I love that guy so much and it's almost like we feel like we've been friends forever he's just a an absolute love. He's like, brilliant and geeky and hilarious and everything you expect that he's also just a good human being I love them.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:08
Awesome Greg, thank you so much for taking the time man. I really appreciate it had a ball.

Greg Grunberg 1:11:13
Me too. Thank you so much. And thank you to everybody who's listening and Thanks for supporting everything I've done hopefully I'll see it the cons.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:20
I told you man Greg is awesome. I had such a great time talking to Greg and geeking out with him and and if you guys ever get to go to a comic con and he's there you guys got to go meet a man he's awesome. So I will put all the links we talked about in the show notes at indie film, hustle, calm Ford slash 149. And don't forget to check out all of indie film hustles, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram feeds, because they're going to be some awesome images from the set of the shoot that I'm doing this week. So definitely check it out. As always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.



  • Greg Grunberg – Twitter
  • Documentary: JOYRIDER JoyRiderDoc.com
  • It will be on Kickstarter very soon. Follow @JoyRiderDoc – Twitter
  • Geeking Out
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B00FQPLZ08″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Big Ass Spider[/easyazon_link]
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B001R1B6YA” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Defending Your Life[/easyazon_link]
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B000055Z4H” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Real Life[/easyazon_link]
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”0545826047″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Dream Jumper Graphic Novel[/easyazon_link]


  1. Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
  2. AudibleGet a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook
  3. Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)

IFH 118: Kevin Smith, John Milius & Directing John Malkovich with Zak Knutson

This week we have Zak Knutson on the show. Zak is a producer/writer/director/editor based out of Los Angeles. In 2005 he co-founded Chop Shop Entertainment, a filmed entertainment company that supplies added value materials to all of the major studios, and a large number of independents. Chop Shop Entertainment has supplied more movie based content for the internet than any other company in the industry.

The last Chop Shop project was Milius, a documentary on Hollywood rebel John Milius. The film opened at the SXSW Film Festival in 2013. The film also played at the Telluride Film Festival and the BFI London Film Festival. In 2014 Knutson directed Marvel 75: From Pulp to Pop for Marvel and ABC Television.

Zak Knutson directed “Shock the World” a documentary about Jesse Ventura’s path from professional wrestler to Governor of Minnesota. Shock the World premiered April 2015 at the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.

His latest film Supercon starring Maggie Grace, Clancy Brown, Ryan Kwanten, Mike Epps, and John Malkovich. Here’s the logline:

A rag-tag group of former TV stars and comic book artists, who make their living working at conventions, decide to steal the loot from a crooked promoter and an overbearing former TV icon.

Enjoy my entertaining and funny interview with Zak Knutson.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 3:40
So today guys, we've got a really cool episode I've got Zak Knutson on the show today I reached out to Zak because we have a mutual friend, and Zach's a director and he's been working with he kind of made his bones with Kevin Smith. He worked on actually the first time I saw him was in the behind the scenes of clerks two years ago when they were doing webisodes. When webisodes were not something being done at all in the industry. And I saw Zak and his partner at the time that were shooting all these behind the scenes, videos and webisodes for Kevin and for our clerks too. And then they kind of kept going with it because he also was the director of Kevin Smith's to fat for 40 burn in hell sold out an evening with Kevin Smith. Just all these those wonderful if you haven't seen those Kevin Smith, stand up bits. They're hilarious, but he directed all of those and then he got he got this idea to make this insane documentary called millionaire based on the rebel filmmaker, Writer Director probably the most dangerous man in the film industry, john malleus. He, he wrote, I can't I can't even go into john Williams because it's just going to go on for days. He's written So many scripts and it's responsible for so many amazing movies. It's not even funny, but he made this great documentary about miletus also shot a bunch of stuff for Marvel with their some television documentaries. And he just finished directing his first narrative feature called supercon. Starring Maggie grace, Clancy Brown, Mike Epps and john frickin milkovich so that was really amazing to talk to him a little bit about how it was to work with such an amazing cast and super concept really funny funny movie. Will you'll hear all about the movie in the in the interview, but it's a really great episode. Zach, I wanted to bring him on because he has a you know, he's an indie filmmaker through and through and he you know, learn from one of the masters of indie filmmaking, which is Kevin Smith you know, he's one of the filmmakers from our generation both Zak and I are pretty close to age, if not the exact age and and I wanted to kind of pick his brain about what it was like working with Kevin, what is it like doing his first movie what the the trials and tribulations were of making millions which was a thing he told me like it was a four or five year I don't remember exactly was a long time. They were on that and he got the interview. Everyone from Spielberg to Lucas Scorsese, everybody. I mean, he interviewed everybody. It was such a great documentary but but he dropped some really great knowledge bombs, some amazing advice on how to work on production. He also lets us know what his favorite comfortable shoe is. to direct in which I am going to be buying a pair of myself because they're very, very important to have good shoes while you're acting. If you're the kind of director that Zak and I are, which we're always on they're always moving around, never just sitting around a villa video village but Anyway, I digress guys. So without any further ado, guys, I want to bring on Zak Knutson. Guys, I'd like to welcome to the show Zak Knutson. Knutson,

Zak Knutson 7:02

Alex Ferrari 7:04
Knutson. Thank you, sir.

Zak Knutson 7:05
No worries.

Alex Ferrari 7:07
Thanks for coming on the show, brother. I appreciate it.

Zak Knutson 7:09
No, thank you for having me. Appreciate it.

Alex Ferrari 7:12
Yeah, we have a mutual friend Austin, who was my gaffer on Meg. And he said these, these two film geeks have to get together. So I reached out and here you are.

Zak Knutson 7:23
I said, thanks for having me. Yeah, no, Austin Austin was my dp on a couple of Marvel projects. I did.

Alex Ferrari 7:29
Oh, we'll definitely get in. We'll get into that in a little bit. But how so how did you get into the film business in the first place?

Zak Knutson 7:37
Slept with a lot of guys. No. I always wanted to be in the movies. I didn't know how or what but I always wanted to be in the movies. And I grew up in Orange County, California, which is about an hour hour and a half south of La which I always say it's kind of like living in New Jersey to New York. You're just right across the river, but you can never get to it. And I decided to after I didn't. I had a football scholarship to go to Colorado State and decided I didn't want to play football. I wanted to be in the movies. And I moved out to LA and tried being an actor and I got a little bit of success and then the bottom fell out but I ended up realizing I liked what was going on behind the camera more than I like what was going on in front of the camera. And just started doing things like I was a PA on this movie called speed with Keanu Reeves. I kept doing a little bit parts and there's

Alex Ferrari 8:31
also stuff right there's a European speed that's that's pretty freakin awesome. Yeah. How was How was that? How was that experience?

Zak Knutson 8:40
It was awesome. It was awesome. We got to we got to work with john de Botton, we were shooting at the LA at La x. We I did all the freeway stuff. And then I did all the stuff at La x. I didn't do anything else. And that alone was like I think that was three months. It was an awesome experience just to kind of walk watch a movie that level and how it was going because Keanu Reeves was famous, but Sandra Bullock wasn't. And piano wasn't the piano that he is now you know. And it was just it was awesome to kind of see that experience and watch that massive machine move forward. And you're just sitting there going yeah, I want to do this. Right. So you're doing the PA stuff. And that led into I started working in the office because I thought that might be a better route. So it was the production office. And I did a bunch of stuff there and that led into me meeting Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier on Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back after I did this horrible TV show for Fox and yeah, and then they just kind of went well you're kind of Alright, we'll keep you around and I was like 10 years

Alex Ferrari 9:48
so hot so so you work with kit that brings us right into Kevin man. You know Kevin is is a indie film legend. He's one of the first guys to come out with clerks and the whole $27,000 and You know I'm sure everybody listening knows Kevin's story. And and Kevin's been not shy about being in the spotlight over the last two decades or so

Zak Knutson 10:09
putting him out

Alex Ferrari 10:12
I watched comic book men all the time among all the other things so I the first time I saw you believe it or not was I saw you when I didn't know who you were but I saw you in the behind the scenes of clerks too, because he was shooting all these behind the scenes and releasing them, I think weekly or something like that. And you were you were a part of the team that was putting it together.

Zak Knutson 10:34
It was me it was essentially the guy's doing that was me and Joey Figueroa who was my partner for years and years and years and years years, it was just me and Joey doing everything we did all the behind the scenes. We did all the webisodes. We did all we did the feature length documentary. It was just him and me. We did everything

Alex Ferrari 10:52
that Yeah, and I remember it because Kevin, of course brought you guys in front of the camera a bunch of times. And you were explaining how you were doing it. And it was during one was that clerks two was what? What year was that? 10 years?

Zak Knutson 11:03
it's I think it's 10 years ago now.

Alex Ferrari 11:06
Right? So it was just a little bit after I released my first short film, so there was not a lot of information out there on how to make an independent film back then.

Zak Knutson 11:16
Yeah, I mean, it was kind of the interesting thing is when we started doing webisodes, which nobody knew who though what the hell that was. Yeah, I mean, it was a try pitching that to The Weinstein Company, or I think it was Yeah, it was it was my dream company at that point. It was, yeah. Okay, so we're gonna put out things on the web. And the nice thing is they didn't know what the hell what it was. And the only person even doing it at that point was Peter Jackson. Yeah, what do you do and all this stuff? I think, Lord of the Rings, Lord. Yeah, it was all the Lord of the Rings stuff at that time. So it was him and us. Only thing is he had Lord of the Rings. And we had a convenience store. screen and monsters visual effects. And it was like we got dick and fart jokes. That really I attribute that that's where I learned how to edit. That's where I learned how that was really because we were doing I think we'd put up webisodes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And YouTube had just come out. So we were able to put our stuff on the front page of YouTube. And by the end of the day, yeah, we'd have by the end of day, 150,000 hits, and we were like, oh, huge, huge. Look at that. Amazing now everybody's got like 22 million.

Alex Ferrari 12:26
That would kill 450,000 now.

Zak Knutson 12:29
It actually was Ming Chen who would set us up with YouTube so I'd get okay man. Here's a new one manga get it up and put it on the front page of YouTube. Sorry, I got a plane going overhead and live by Burbank airport noise. And that was really kind of hardcore film school was learning how to shoot and edit and doing it on a turnaround because the turnaround wasn't the same. Oh, I know. You had to wait. You wait. And then we'd edit for another four. When we got back to the house in Orange County, where we shot the movie. It was just insane. But it was fun. It was really fun.

Alex Ferrari 13:02
Yeah, it was that was I love clerks to man i was i was a very big fan of movie but I was I was that was the first time I saw something like webisodes. You're right. And YouTube was in its infancy. Basically it was just coming out that the quality wasn't that great. I remember it was all standard def and the compression kind of socked in all this kind of stuff. But that was the first time I saw webisodes really and especially in the film business and Kevin was always a little bit ahead of the curve on some stuff. He was a he was

Zak Knutson 13:30
one of the first guys to kind of get his hands into the internet when it came out. Like he had a message board before anybody had this internet presence for anybody.

Alex Ferrari 13:40
And he's done pretty well with it and he's the first guy to do the whole podcast thing which you know, which obviously he still podcast like the crazy man. It's pretty it's very interesting. So you worked with him on how many projects you were with him? 10 years so what did you do for my

Zak Knutson 13:54
first name? My first time I worked with Kevin I was the production Secretary on Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. And then that rolled into being the visual effects assistant on Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. And then on jersey girl, I was the post production coordinator. I think that's what my title was okay. And then after jersey girl, which was insane because that that was up that lasted 18 months.

Alex Ferrari 14:20
But that was like the biggest movie he'd ever done at that point. Right? That was a big budget.

Zak Knutson 14:25
Big time. It was like, Yeah, yeah, it was because we had like a it was a 30 $30 budget. We had Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez

Alex Ferrari 14:35
when they were already Ben Affleck agenda. They were ready Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez it wasn't like when they were doing mallrats when Ben was nobody.

Zak Knutson 14:42
Oh yeah, this is Ben Ben had already won an Oscar. Yeah, exactly. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 14:45
so Ben was Ben Jennifer was and then that whole bennifer crap better for happy and that destroyed everything.

Zak Knutson 14:51
Yeah, months where we would get we tested that movie into the ground and Kevin wouldn't change. It was a whole thing. And

Alex Ferrari 14:58
but and then it was also he worked The Vilma sigmon as a dp which was the first time he had worked with, like, a fucking legend. Yeah,

Zak Knutson 15:07
I mean really I mean

Alex Ferrari 15:12
God rest and rest in peace brother. I mean he was he was a legend. And when I remember that I was like, I'm sorry. paint with light Yes, I paint with lights with this this dick and fart joke I don't understand

Zak Knutson 15:25
it. I remember we get in the call mode. You're telling me goes bill Marsh gonna be the DP. I was like zigman. Your 100 years ago, it was like the rest of development. You go Really?

Alex Ferrari 15:38
Close. Close. Close Encounters. Really? Yeah, that guy?

Zak Knutson 15:42
Oh, that's great. Oh, huge.

Alex Ferrari 15:45
Yeah, that was Yeah, I'm sure how did Kevin work with him? Because I know that once. It's been an interesting clash of styles.

Zak Knutson 15:52
I think I think everything was fine. I just, Kevin. I took this away from my own movies. Everyone knew and I just did my own feature. I think Kevin likes working with people that he likes, and I think he did eternally after. I think Kevin really wanted to work with Dave Klein again, you know, because David Dunn, clerks and mallrats but he didn't get to do dogma and Dave kind of went off and did his own thing, kind of cutting his own teeth and learning because nobody gets to be dp straight out of film school. But Dave was, but Dave hadn't really learned the craft. He'll be the first one to admit it. Dave does homeland right now on Showtime and he's been nominated for like three Emmys or something like that. Right. Right. Which score to score to shot but he also Oh, it's awesome. And, like, hits that sweet spot for Dave, who I love to death. And I think I think Kevin no matter who he worked with, he always wanted to work with Dave again. Because Dave was this guy you want to work with Dave So vilmos was Bill motion he respected him and I think Bill most respected Kevin but I think it's that thing of honor work of Dave Dave's my guy

Alex Ferrari 17:04
came up together they came up together. Exactly, you know, and that must have been so so you worked with Isa you did. Jersey girl Then where did you go from there just kept working on with them, but basically on every project

Zak Knutson 17:15
after jersey girl Ay, ay, ay was the line producer UPM whatever you want to call it on a James frame on James Franco's first first directorial effort called the ape which Scott Mosier edited and Dave Klein shot I think we shot that in 12 days in downtown LA so because I wanted to get into producing I wanted to kind of spread my wings a bit Sure. And I did two movies with James and Vince is his producing partner and then we went into clerks to an unclear why wasn't good to ask don't when we were in post on jersey girl We had lots of downtime because we were just sitting around waiting for people to make like Weinstein Company to figure out what's going on with GE and all this other guys

Alex Ferrari 17:59
that the I mean he just got pork Kevin I just got caught in the frickin eye of the storm man that day.

Zak Knutson 18:04
It was it was I've never seen anything like that. It I mean, yeah, it was insane. It was insane and then to be caught in the kind of the crossfire it was silly. Yeah, but it was during that time all of a sudden that came up that you know, Kevin came in, he was having meetings and he goes, I'm gonna do Green Hornet. So we're gonna go to Prague for a year. And Joey and I heard that we're like, well, we just don't want to go to Prague to do what we're doing now. Like I didn't get in the movie business to be a post production you know, supervisor or anything like that. Although I've done it, I like it. I want to do creative so we were so we kind of figured out this game plan like alright, the webisodes. We did like before, or the webisodes. We're gonna do webisodes. We're gonna do these things we're gonna do and this is before the Peter Jackson stuff or anything. Like Okay, we're gonna put out stuff on the internet, and we can do it. And this is going to be so we made this whole pitch to Kevin, but we're in Prague, we're gonna do our jobs at same time we're gonna shoot all this other stuff. And him and Scott, were like, We love that idea. Because that's something nobody's doing right now. You're looking forward to the whole thing. And then Green Hornet didn't happen. Right? Right. And Kevin was gonna do Fletch. Just gonna do it with Fletch.

Alex Ferrari 19:20
Fletch would have been awesome.

Zak Knutson 19:23
Read the flex script. It was really good. It was really good. It was one of those like, man, when that's when Fletch didn't happen. Then it was like then clerks two came up and we were actually doing we were doing the documentary with the post production supervisor at the time who actually directed it's called back to the well on the Clarks x DVD. And we were doing it we were shooting the interview with Scott and Kevin at the quick stop in Jersey doing their interview and it was after that Kevin first mentioned, I think I think I'm thinking about doing a C While doing clerks to and it was just kind of that surreal moment where you're with these guys who stand their rear with clerks and you're in the location and the whole thing and it's three o'clock in the morning. Go oh shit they're doing it. You're gonna do a sequel to clerks

Alex Ferrari 20:16
like this Kevin does Kevin owned that damn quick stop at this point.

Zak Knutson 20:20
No no

Alex Ferrari 20:22
I mean seriously it's like a frickin landmark.

Zak Knutson 20:24
I went I think he tried to at one point I think I remember hearing a story where he was going to buy the building yeah not to buy the building and then they were going to put a second story on top and then the second story was where the rescue offices were going to be which has been awesome but I don't think that I think the family won't know this is our business like we'd like this place and these same families still owns it Wow.

Alex Ferrari 20:49
But they obviously they they love Kevin so they do they work with Kevin when he needs it Are

Zak Knutson 20:54
they get a nod they get a lot of business when people go in there just to buy you know, a gallon of milk or eggs or a pack of cigarettes or go you know, to drink this coffee hot?

Alex Ferrari 21:03
Yeah. Every day every damn sure every second every single day. It's it's Yeah, it's it's tourist attraction at this point.

Zak Knutson 21:09
Oh, it's I mean, it's Leonardo New Jersey. I think that's the only tourist attraction and Leonardo.

Alex Ferrari 21:17
So um, so you were saying,

Zak Knutson 21:19
Oh, so when Clark came up, we we pitched this idea of, Okay, we're just going to do webisodes. We're going to do a feature length documentary. We're going to do webisodes, we're going to do the entire DVD. We're going to do all this stuff and we're sure we'll shoot all the EP gay. That's awesome. And they said yes. And that was it. That's when Jodi and I kind of decided we that's when we formed chop shop. And that's when we kind of did all of our stuff. Moving forward. We moved out of working for people and working for ourselves and making our own stuff that's kind of where it all started. So

Alex Ferrari 21:50
then basically, you had you've just basically built your own production company and then your main client was Kevin.

Zak Knutson 21:56
Yeah, exactly. Man main client was Kevin. That's where the bread and butter came out of. We did some other stuff. We did you know, we did stuff for Sony. We did stuff for Panasonic. We did stuff for Disney. But really, I mean, what we did was you were always coming up with stuff to It's like he did the evening with Kevin Smith stuff.

Alex Ferrari 22:15
Which genius. You shot that stuff? Right? Right. Well,

Zak Knutson 22:19
we didn't do the first two. First you were done by Sony. And then the contract was done with Sony. So he was like, I want to do it with Bob and Harvey. So we shot the next the two or three he's

Alex Ferrari 22:32
he's got 45

Zak Knutson 22:33
Yeah, yeah, he's got a bunch of them. It's almost like and they start blurring together is like which one about redstate? You're talking about the one about Bruce Willis. He's

Alex Ferrari 22:43
the print story, which is the one like

Zak Knutson 22:47
I think the first one

Alex Ferrari 22:48
was the first one. I think the prints and the john Peters story was the first one because it but it was like three hours. I mean, it just keeps going.

Zak Knutson 22:59
We did the one we did in New Jersey for his birthday, which I think might if it wasn't the last one is the second or maybe it's the first one. It was that this whole thing was going on in the press about Dane Cook and Dave Chappelle are going back and forth about doing sets as long as they could like all of a sudden Dane Cook it for hours at the Comedy Store. Dave Chappelle did five hours at this point. So Kevin came out and he goes, What's the record? At that point? It was like seven hours. I think Dave Chappelle did seven hours in like Cleveland, and he goes okay, I'm gonna do seven and a half hours. That's

Alex Ferrari 23:34
Yeah, he could he could talk for seven and a half hours. Sure. When

Zak Knutson 23:37
he didn't he didn't sit down we have to shoot. We didn't even think about it because we'd never done it before. I don't think we had to shoot the ending of the DVD first because we knew people were going to be leaving because by the time seven and a half hour is going to be up it was going to be like 330 in the morning.

Alex Ferrari 23:53
And it's just gonna be 15 people in the audience.

Zak Knutson 23:55
Yeah, exactly. Exact But surprisingly, I think most people stay at some people young kids and jobs and babysitters but I mean it was like an event it was an event great way to put it. Great way to put it

Alex Ferrari 24:09
so then you work that you worked with a bunch of those so you did a bunch of those videos for him and then where did you go from there?

Zak Knutson 24:16
Obviously we did all those and then once he works it and then we did some we did some stuff on it. Forgive me at the point oh, and then we we produce the

Alex Ferrari 24:27
show? Yeah, spoilers, right. Introduce spoilers,

Zak Knutson 24:31
good spoilers. That was hulu's first original show, which show which we did. We did that for a season. And then they did season two, I believe up in Vancouver or something like that. Because we were down here, and at which point we were trying to get our own kind of stuff going and then I started writing. I wanted to get in writing and directing what I wanted to do and now and then technically we kind of rolled over during this entire time towards the end. We started doing millia which is documentary I did on Writer Director john Miller which I

Alex Ferrari 25:02
was gonna I was gonna come into Millis because seriously, I was it for anybody listening if you guys have not seen the john millia story, the documentary it's, it's really remarkable and if you're a film geek, you've got to watch it.

Zak Knutson 25:17
It is a it's a it's it's film geek heaven. I will say that it really is. I mean, everybody and their grandmother you

Alex Ferrari 25:23
so that's the thing, dude. Like you talked to everybody's Spielberg, Lucas Coppola and like, every, like, I think Scorsese is everybody.

Zak Knutson 25:32
Yeah, we need to get all those guys in one way, or the only documentary to have all those guys shoot original interviews for it wasn't like, taken from archival footage,

Alex Ferrari 25:43
because it's john. Yeah, cuz john is that guy, you know, and for people who don't know, and I'll talk a little bit about john from, from what I know about, but he was like one of the best writers in the history of the business. And he's made, how many movies how many of his movies have been made?

Zak Knutson 26:02
It's been a while now. I'm gonna go into my john Millis bank here. I mean, john. Yeah. JOHN started out at USC with he was a he was in the same class as George Lucas. And George Lucas. Randall Randall closer who did grease Blue Lagoon. White Fang ran a class he was there. JOHN Carpenter was there. Oh, that guy? Oh, that guy. But john Carpenter won't have anything to do with USC. Oh, it's kind of an awesome thing. Because they tried suing him over Halloween because he used their equipment to shoot Halloween. Oh,

Alex Ferrari 26:39
really? Oh, that's frickin because it was such a huge hit. So anytime there's a huge hit, you know, the lawsuits will come out.

Zak Knutson 26:47
Yeah, exactly. No, but all these guys were they're learning how to make film. And at the time, you didn't go to film school and actually come out and be a director there. Like, you'll probably end up doing like, you know, industrial films or things like yeah, at

Alex Ferrari 26:59
that time, there was no pathway to going into the studio system out of film school during that time. It was Coppola was the first guy

Zak Knutson 27:07
that not the school but the film school was literally shot.

Alex Ferrari 27:10
Yeah, it's I just I literally I just want to speak at USC, like a month or two ago. It's it's I mean, seriously, it's like, it's like going to Rome. in a row.

Zak Knutson 27:21
The Schwarzenegger bill. I mean, all these buildings. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 27:25
I'm doing they're taking me around the tour. Like hey, we have five sound stages here. I'm like, I'm looking like I'm like, Are you freaking kidding me?

Zak Knutson 27:33
Literally old stables that they converted. I heard about this film school. And that's where john and all these guys kind of learn the basis of their craft. And then john went over to work at AIP that I think that was his first real job. He wrote him and his writing partner. And we didn't we weren't able to put this into the dock. Not because we couldn't tell the story but john tells that in order to pay the bills him and his buddy were living in West Hollywood, they wrote softcore porn for magazines. Sure, sure. I was like well we gotta find some of these I want to find the stuff that john melius wrote it because he knew it was gonna go into some like, you know, she wore sexy lingerie when World War Two had to go into some tirade. You know? Yeah, exactly. But john was the guy that if they were right, if they were doing a short I always want to john to writing. john was the best writer and he continued to be that for his entire career.

Alex Ferrari 28:26
I mean, john, I mean, little little known fact that you say this in the in the doc is like he wrote that amazing monologue in jaws.

Zak Knutson 28:38
Lead wants to take credit for it. Steven Spielberg says it was john. It was really john and Shaw. Yeah, did on wrote 10 pages over the phone one night. He showed it to shosh. I goes, this is great, but it's too long. Yeah. And he took John's 10 pages, put it in the five pages. And that's what we got in the movie. And if you are shocked

Alex Ferrari 29:01
it's genius. I mean, he did Conan, which is still so I mean, Conan, Red Dawn. He wrote Dirty Harry. I mean, seriously.

Zak Knutson 29:10
He writes, too. He was a big rewrite guy. Yeah, he

Alex Ferrari 29:13
was he was a ghost. He was the guy always behind the scenes, just rewriting everything. He was the go to guy. Yep. Yep. He was. He was a rock star. But he was quiet rock star. That's the thing. He wasn't it wasn't the time of the fight. It wasn't the Shane Black days, where they were making $5 million. A script.

Zak Knutson 29:30
Well, actually, he broke the record. When he was gonna he wrote a script called the life and times of joy. Judge Roy bean. Yeah. written it for Lee Marvin. Lee Marvin had the script and he was doing a movie with Paul Newman's the story. And Paul Newman picked it up because Lee had a couple of drinks or whatever went to his trailer, Paul picked up the script and read it and fell in love with it. called Warner Brothers says I want the script. And so they called john john said, Sure you can have it but I'm going to direct it based on that. If not possible, you've never directed a movie before.

Alex Ferrari 30:03
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Zak Knutson 30:14
They go Yeah, they go now even you you've never directed a movie for your near night because john had done Dylan's your for AIP doesn't count. doesn't count. Yeah. That's a that's an independent. That's that Roger Corman shit. Yeah, over here. We do real movies. Right? So Johnson will tell you what, it's gonna it's this price with me directing or it's this price with me not directing. He

Alex Ferrari 30:36
pulled the front he pulled the Frank Darabont. Yeah, exactly.

Zak Knutson 30:41
Yeah, and the longer it went, the higher the price went. So john actually broke the record at the time for the highest price ever paid for a script, which at the time was $330,000

Alex Ferrari 30:54
back in the 70s Oh,

Zak Knutson 30:56
maybe I think this would be the late 60s maybe 1970

Alex Ferrari 31:01
Oh, cheese is that's a that's that's basically like a $3 million payday back then. Oh,

Zak Knutson 31:06
huge, huge and john, if you look I think we've even got a couple of the old variety articles where it was like and people were pissed because you're like this is gonna ruin Ryder. You know all this kind of stuff. Of course john Yeah, but john was the first one to kind of go look if you want me to direct it'll be nothing but if you don't want me to direct you're gonna pay for it. And they paid for that kind of set john up and the other thing it did was a day it enabled you know guys like Francis to be able to bring john on to do things like it gave john freedom to do other things. He could write Apocalypse Now for Francis for nothing because he loved Francis right? He could do this kind of stuff and they all help each other that's the one thing I wish a lot more is dead now. Which is help each other out.

Alex Ferrari 31:51
You know it you know, that's something I talk about man on on that's one of the reasons why I created indie film hustle in the first place. I wanted to help other filmmakers and and a lot of a lot of filmmakers, man, they hoard knowledge. And at the end, I'm like, Dude, why are you gonna hoard the knowledge? You know, it? lets you know raise a rising tide lifts all boats, man. You know, and I've just I just heard a great quote by Robert Rodriguez the other day, where he says, If you compete with other people, no one will help you. But if you compete with against yourself, everybody will help you.

Zak Knutson 32:24
It's true. It's totally true. I am a big believer in that.

Alex Ferrari 32:28
Yeah, you just help each other out. And that was the thing about those guys. And from all the documentaries that I've seen on the the core group, which is George Lucas, Spielberg, Coppola, miletus, de Palma. They were all kind of like the barbarians at the gate. And they're like, Look, and one of us is not gonna be able to knock this door down. But if all of us do it, and Scorsese as well, all of us do it, we can, we can do it together and they just helped each other. And I think what was the points thing you got? There was a points joke in the in the documentary if I remember, which was a great thing about God. Yes, somebody? Yeah. Emily has got points on what Star Wars? And then

Zak Knutson 33:05
yeah, no, they've made a deal, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and john Millis. They all had movies coming out. And they were all buddies. They're like, like, Steven, when when john was doing the Wyndham lion, Steven would come in and help edit the action stuff, because that's what he was really good at. And when Stephen had a speech that had to be done, that's where john had come in. And Lucas was very much at the end of the technical aspects of things and visual effects and editing techniques. And that's where he would come in. So they all help each other out one day, they said, You know what, let's all trade points on our movies. So if one of us because one of us is going to get one of us hits, we all win. And they were like, Great, good idea. So john,

Alex Ferrari 33:49
What year is it? This is, this is before Star Wars, obviously

Zak Knutson 33:53
70 1975 or 1976, before jaws and

Alex Ferrari 33:57
before, after, after, they were already

Zak Knutson 34:00
successful, because the movies that they had coming out was they traded points. It was two points to each of them. And sorry, I got another plane going overhead. It was Lucas had Star Wars coming out. Spielberg had Close Encounters of the Third time, and john had big Wednesday. So all of a sudden, these movies come out. And it's like, you know, Star Wars encounters is huge. But Star Wars becomes a cultural milestone. Yeah. And when big Wednesday came out, big Wednesday, by all intents purpose was a flop. It's now a cult classic and Everett, surfers favorite movie and the most accurate depiction of it. But it's like, you know, so yeah, John's got points on Star Wars on Star Wars. And because it was at Close Encounters of the Third guest, so

Alex Ferrari 34:48
those points alone. You're good.

Zak Knutson 34:53
As we tell him until we tell us a story in the documentary his manager, his business manager took Money.

Alex Ferrari 35:02
Now, that'll

Zak Knutson 35:04
make your butthole Parker ah. Oh yeah, that's where john john went to David Milch that here's a story that it's in the dark, but I'll tell the story. Sure. Essentially, john, his business manager took all his money, just swiped it. And it was heartbreaking because john had worked his entire career and had built this and then all of a sudden it's gone. John's now got an ex wife, three kids. Yeah, no good place to be.

Alex Ferrari 35:29
So how long ago did he get get taken? Oh, this

Zak Knutson 35:33
wasn't that long ago because how john Johnson was in going to college john son wanted to be a lawyer. Want to go to law school. So john had to kind of go hand in hand to David Milch. And say, you've got this show Deadwood. I want to be a staff writer on

Alex Ferrari 35:48
it. Yeah, yeah, I heard that. We remember that from the dock.

Zak Knutson 35:51
Yeah, yeah. And David Mills said You're crazy. You wrote Apocalypse Now. You can't be a staff writer. Like that's that's not possible. So what Milton did was Milt wrote him a check for the first two years of tuition I think it was jack and said here, here you go. That just just john go go. I want you to be john. I don't want you to be a staff writer on Deadwood. And as the story goes, and Ed O'Neill Al Bundy for anybody. I don't Neal tells the story because he's really good friends with milk and a couple years. A couple I think a year later john was able to sell or john had Rome I think it was wrong. And he was and all of a sudden so john had Rome on the air and he got that going. And all of a sudden one day john David Milch got a check. And he goes son of a bitch he called a battle Neil he goes Do you believe this crazy fucking millions he goes What are you talking about? He goes he just paid me back because I just opened up an envelope got a check from john he does he's the only son of a bitches aid me ever paid me back in my entire life. Wow. If anybody knows story David Milch. He is a renowned gambler. So that's really saying something to show John's character like you know, john wasn't gonna let his friends Hey,

Alex Ferrari 37:10
that's that's it so I mean so if you guys haven't been sold already you've got to watch that movie I'll put a link to it in the show notes guys because it's we could talk about john melius for the next three hours easily.

Zak Knutson 37:22
Hulu if you have epics on epics

Alex Ferrari 37:25
yeah i mean it's it's such a great doc and it took you how long to make it oh god five years

Zak Knutson 37:30
beginning to end it was five years.

Alex Ferrari 37:33
How did I just have a curiosity man? How the hell do you get that started? Do you just call john up and go hey, I want to make a doc about you.

Zak Knutson 37:41
A guy who'd been working with Kevin and well I got to know really well this guy by the name of Ken plume he had done this interview with john that was like 47 or 67 pages or something he used to work for IGN 10 years prior did this interview with john that was epic. And I read it and it was in that interview was the basis of the documentary cuz I didn't know like I didn't know john did all this ghost writing for like all the Harrison Ford the jack Ryan movies. Okay. Ghost Rider on that. Oh yeah. One of the biggest scenes I think it was clear and present danger yeah this whole thing about they're driving down the street and the Mexican cartels or pin the Secret Service guys. Secret Service actually uses that scene to show people this is the right way of doing it in the movie got it right because john did it when he

Alex Ferrari 38:36
made that amazing scene when they got pinned down between the the the buildings and the gal blocked in that's Johnson

Zak Knutson 38:43
Yeah, that was all john that was all john sitting at lunch one day with mace Neufeld and Harrison Ford with salt and salt and pepper shakers and I think a napkin and showing them how it would be done.

Alex Ferrari 38:54
That's the best part of the movie like so clearly remember that it's so amazing

Zak Knutson 39:00
that's all john millison I think he when they asked for payment he said I don't need any pay just buy me a brand new suburban filled with cigars that's he got a brand new suburban filled with cigars.

Alex Ferrari 39:14
Seriously, man I mean they just don't make them like that anymore Do they?

Zak Knutson 39:19
Oh, john has got a thing where you know a he would he would make the head of the studio in his deal he got a brand new gun because John's a huge gun guy. Yeah. People like to paint him he's he's just to the right of a tell the honeys Really? Don't get me wrong. I don't think he you know. Even john likes a second amendment like that. Yeah, but he would have, he would have he would want the head of the studio to present him a gun as a gift to the completion of the contract. So he has these amazing, you know, talion, handmade rifles, shotguns almost, and that was part of his contract was part of his deal. So he got paid and then He got a new shotgun or a new handgun or a vintage this or whatever that was part of his contract

Alex Ferrari 40:04
if so this is this is that I'm going to just share with you one of my dreams as a director one day, if I ever have the opportunity to do a studio movie i want i want to do something similar but I just like I would like the entire Criterion Collection on blu ray.

Zak Knutson 40:19
Oh, that you'll get easily that's like I was

Alex Ferrari 40:22
just I just I just want the entire Criterion Collection. If it's not on blu ray Give me the DVD and the blu ray. I want them all for life

Zak Knutson 40:33
on is not in print anymore go on eBay and find it get it to me I want one one through whatever they hold them.

Alex Ferrari 40:39
I want them all I want them all. I might never see them all but just in case I want them all. That would be that would be my that would be one of my my dreams. And it's not asking a lot honestly.

Zak Knutson 40:53
That's that's good dude. Man. Those guys are Scott and Kevin chasing me was put out by criteria. Yeah. And every every time they put out a DVD would send it to Scott. And I just after a week of being the kind of brother father. I just kind of keeps taking all those criteria in this to go through.

Alex Ferrari 41:11
So by the way, Scott how Scott to work with as a producer, man, he must be he's must be a pretty cool dude.

Zak Knutson 41:17
He's got a dream. Yeah, I mean, that's the only way I can eat. He is. He's awesome. I really I have a hard time even describing Scott to people because he's just undescribable amazing. Yeah, I mean, the guy. He's been a champion. For me. He helped me out with anything I want to do. He's a great sounding board. Like even now with supercon movie I just did. It's like, he's open. Like, I'll watch cut. I'll give you notes. He's been he was a producer on millea. He's the guy who helped us find the money in order to go go out and do it. Which is gonna be a consulting producer. And on a couple of documentaries. I got going like he's just, he's awesome. Yeah, there's no other way to put it. He's always he just Mosher.

Alex Ferrari 42:06
Now one before we move on familiarise off since you were able to sit down with these frickin legends. Do you have any stories behind the scenes of like talking to Spielberg or Lucas or Coppola or Scorsese or De Palma or any of these any any cool stories?

Zak Knutson 42:22
Lucas, I wasn't there. I was in Mexico City. I didn't I didn't do the interviews for Lucas or Swartz Nagar, which are two of the interviews I wanted to do because I was in Mexico City doing doing a Mel Gibson movie. I was like, you got to go do this. I need the money. Yeah, because we were financing it all ourselves at that point. They were the first two big names to sign on. But see, Spielberg we chased Spielberg for I think four years, until we finally got him. And then when we got him, we went to amblin at Universal, and I'm sitting there doing the interview with him because we had to deal Joey got to do Scorsese. I got to do Spielberg. Scorsese was his and Spielberg was mine. Okay? So I'm sitting there and it's like, okay, we're interviewing Spielberg, no, okay. Okay, this is amazing. And during the during the entire thing, there was a picture when john was telling the story, it's an old picture black and white, John's telling the story. And I would pull the picture out and give it to anybody and say, describe to me what's going on in this and they'll usually spark some kind of a story or conversation about it. And I'm Spielberg's talking and I'm trying to be all coy and cool and of course Jen and I as I pulled the picture out all my notes and all my questions in my head just went flying you know so in the middle of the interview it's like boom All I hear is paper flying and it was almost like you hear me go Yeah, I'm just like oh my god this is horrible. You watch back to the interview now he says like Now don't worry about he just kept talking. Interesting was we had all the cameras and all the lights set up and all that kind of stuff. Goes move the camera closer to you because you want the audience to feel more of a voyeuristic part of it. And I'm thinking like we had this look for the whole thing and I was two seconds away from just going this way I want to shop the look and did that thing registers in your brain where you're like, I can Spielberg stupid movie. or something. You might know something you don't You arrogant, dude. I just moved my chair. Close your camera. We're all good to go. But it's a you have that stupid filmmaker like arts right? Your Steven?

Alex Ferrari 44:33
Oh, yeah, yeah, I should. I should probably listen.

Zak Knutson 44:37
Because I think maybe he knows what he's talking about. Maybe

Alex Ferrari 44:41
Maybe you should take a listen to him. Wow.

Zak Knutson 44:43
your entire life for this and now it's happening and you're gonna go Go fuck yourself. I want the camera here. It's like no, listen. Yeah, exactly. We chased forever. We interviewed him in New York. Of course, that was

Alex Ferrari 44:55
awesome. Well, he just he just talks. He'll talk for four days.

Zak Knutson 45:00
Going I said, Why don't you watch the documentary? Just pull the string? And he just goes,

Alex Ferrari 45:06
Yeah, yeah, just as you just he doesn't stop he's just all he's always teaching.

Zak Knutson 45:12
Yeah, you just kind of leave you want to lean forward with like your hands on your on your chin just got to tell me more. And Marty when you start noticing little things that you're never able to notice for like he's got, he's impeccably dressed. And he's got his initials on like the sleeve of his French cuff shirt. You know, it's like, oh, by the way, all the stupid things.

Alex Ferrari 45:35
So do you know why he has that? I'll tell you exactly why he has that. I'd love to know, the reason why he is that way is that he directed a short film for this guy, what's his name, Giorgio Armani. And his deal was, I'll direct your short promotional film. I need Armani suits for life. So all in all, all of his clothing comes from Armani, fur, and they're all custom made for Marty because Marty directed a promotional short film for Giorgio Armani.

Zak Knutson 46:09
That's a good deal. I would do that deal. I think he's impeccably dressed. That's the first thing he knows like, Damn, dude, you look good.

Alex Ferrari 46:18
That's because because the man has shit customized for him by Giorgio Armani for the rest of his life.

Zak Knutson 46:23
That's why I like that man style. Well, it's

Alex Ferrari 46:27
it's Marty man. It's it's Marty What are you gonna do? So uh, but anyway, so did you just contact john and john said Yeah, sure. I'll do it.

Zak Knutson 46:34
Oh, yeah, essentially get back to it. So can still add his contact info. So we literally kind of were talking about a beverage talking to Scott Mosier. I was like, did you know this guy was the basis for Walter and The Big Lebowski. He know this guy wrote Red Dawn, you know, the same guy who did this did that and he was like, why don't you just do a documentary on like being light bulb went off. So we called. We got in touch with john. We talked to his assistant, we pitched his assistant we sent over like kind of a rough outline we did. And john came to our office, we figured it was actually Kevin's office, Kevin was kind enough to give join me in office in his office. So he came down to our place when he was in town because he was living in New York at the time. And him and Leonard came in and we pitch john, and what should have been a one hour meeting became a five hour meeting. JOHN starts talking, he doesn't stop. Pre stroke, john, for anybody doesn't know. And we covered the documentary. So john, was,

Alex Ferrari 47:27
is he getting better? But is he getting better? By the way? Yeah, he's talking more now.

Zak Knutson 47:31
That it's one of those things. It's a slow, slow process. But john weed because when we started the documentary, john had not had the stroke. And actually, we were doing a Kevin Smith show in New Jersey, one of the live things. And immediately after the show, we were going to drive to upstate New York where john lived, and we were going to do the interview. And we got a call. As soon as we finished the show saying, don't come up, something's happened. Go back to LA, we'll tell you about it later. So we were supposed to interview john the week that he had a stroke. We never actually got john on camera, pre stroke. We actually shut down the doc for I think it was nine months to a year. And then john came out to LA to continue his physical therapy. His kids live out here. Sure. And at the time, john could only say yes or no. And he didn't know whether or not he was saying yes or no. Like, that's how the aphasia through the stroke really affected him. Oh, man, it was really sad. But the kids and john who knew everything that was going on, he just the, the way it's been best explained to me was the bridge from the brain to the mouth blew up. Right? His body was slowly repairing it. And that's the way it was with physical so everything in the head was there, his mind is fine. It's just he was trying to get back those motor skills and those speech skills so you can communicate, it was kind of this thing of this guy who loves nothing more than the talk and share stories was now robbed of that. So he's trying to get it back. So his family and john, they still wanted to continue going down the road of the documentary. And that's what we did. And we are able to get them on camera for the end of the documentary and get them to talk and do all that other kind of stuff. So yeah, he's definitely doing better and coming back and he's got other projects. He's got this Kangas con. Yeah, he's

Alex Ferrari 49:24
been trying to do that forever. Right. Yeah, they're trying to

Zak Knutson 49:27
find a director right now for it. I think it's going to be I don't think it's going to be a movie movie because it doesn't have a caper superhero in it. Yeah. I'm thinking that this day and age, I think it's going to go to someplace like Netflix or HBO, or someplace where you can do cool stuff. first draft of that, and it's amazing. It's everything you want to john millia script to be yes. So good. It's got that thing of, you know, I think it's first draft of the script was on like 230 pages.

Alex Ferrari 49:58
Because it's just because it's done. So I

Zak Knutson 50:00
think if it goes someplace like HBO or Netflix, it can be a miniseries, which I think is really what it should be to be able to tell that story and have those massive epic.

Alex Ferrari 50:09
It's kind of it's kind of like what's Kubrick's doing Cooper? They're doing Napoleon that Cooper. Yeah, that Kubrick script I think Spielberg is trying to get Napoleon done as a mini series because it was just a massive amount of stuff. So you also work with Marvel for a little bit, man what it was that you weren't good at two docks for them like the Marvel 75 and Captain America. 75. Right.

Zak Knutson 50:32
That was fun. And that was fast. That was super I got a call from Matt Pernice Yarrow, who he was the EP on melius and we'd gotten to be friends. He was also a producer he did fanboys and I did a little bass and fanboys and we had friends and all that kind of stuff. And he said hey, I got this thing with Marvel. It's called 75 years from pop the pop and it's gonna be Marvel 75 years and we're going to do in an hour special for ABC. Like Yeah, I'm in because I like comic books. I knew a lot of that stuff sure. But from the get from getting that phone call to airing it was seven weeks

Alex Ferrari 51:09
Oh Jesus Christ. Yeah, it was it was like How the hell do you like coordinate all those interviews?

Zak Knutson 51:15
It was that thing of Marvel was a lot of help Johnson really and Harry go at Marvel were huge helps and you know and getting everything going Scott Mosier was the editor on the first one so that put me at a place of I've never directed a network special before they should be oh shit but I had Mosier there I had Matt Prentice hero there I had my buddy Andre there who had me on knew I was like, okay, we're in a good place we can keep going. And we just did it. It was one of those things where Okay, you don't have time to be scared. Just do it. Wow. And even Scott hit me up. I think it was a couple of weeks ago. He's like I finally watched it. It's actually pretty good. We did a good job on that.

Alex Ferrari 51:54
Is that is that an impression of Scott?

Zak Knutson 51:56
Yeah, he's got he's really dry a very try. From

Alex Ferrari 52:00
what I've seen in the behind the scenes. You've hit him pretty good.

Zak Knutson 52:03
Yeah, usually I try to do the opposite because everybody's got a Mosher. I do. Hi, I'm Scott Mosier. Anyway, I digress. Yeah. And then a year later because and the thing is, when that thing aired, it was election. It was the midterm elections. And Marvel did or I think ABC didn't really have a lot of faith in it. They didn't think it was really going to do anything. So it aired election night. I think a quarter of the country never even saw it because all the election coverage was going on, right? And then all of a sudden it was like it started like he got great reviews. And then DVR was a huge thing and people bought it on iTunes and people were loving it. They're like okay, we think we pooch this one. So we did another one of the following year. Captain America was Captain America which was Craig a huge cap fan. I got to meet all these guys and you met you met cap for God's got Mecca even I got my I got it. We have a shield. If you watch the documentary, we bought a one to one replica metal shield app. And as a wrap gift, Matt Prentiss arrow he says keep it just keep it so when we went to go interview Chris, I was like, Hey, man, can you find my shield? Because Sure. So I got assigned metal Captain America shield. My total nerd and he was like, This is awesome. This is awesome. This can be so cool. In my office. Exactly my system worked on. I had we signed an NDA, because we couldn't talk about anything because they were doing Civil War. I was working on civil war in Atlanta. So it was nice that like I could talk to my sister and be like, what's going on? while we're doing this? Yeah, we're doing this over here. But she and I were the only ones who could talk because marva locks you down. You're not allowed to

Alex Ferrari 53:51
speak about anything? Yeah, yeah, of course, of course. But yeah, no,

Zak Knutson 53:55
but that was another one where I think we had, I think that one they were nice. And they gave us eight weeks to do it. Oh, that was nice. That's nice. It was fun. It was a blast. He did end up traveling around the country and you know, shooting all these interviews and meeting all these people and getting to tell his story. And really, and I mean is like Joe Simon and jack Kirby kind of enabled it since jack Kirby state was kind of finished all their lawsuits with Marvel, we were able to say, jack Kirby was a massive influence. Josiah, like these guys, the creators, we were able to put a real focus on the creators on the comic book guys, not just the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Started with a bunch of guys who were usually poor, Jewish, they were bullied. They were always remember. And they created this amazing guy. We now like cap, you know, it's great.

Alex Ferrari 54:53
That's awesome. That's awesome. So now after all of this, you've, you've had this a pretty cool career. So far, and then you get a shot to direct your first feature film. Yeah. Which is called supercon. Yep. And you've got you got a pretty decent cast I would say. Not bad. Not bad for you first time out. You got an Oscar nominated Mr. john malkovich. In the movie, I

Zak Knutson 55:20
still don't know how that one. Yeah, you've

Alex Ferrari 55:22
got to tell me man Well, first and foremost, how did the movie come together? How did like the financing of this than that? Because it's not a it's not like my movie, which was much lower budget than so how did how did that whole thing come together?

Zak Knutson 55:36
It came about there was Marian McDonald down in Austin. I knew her and actually Susan girl whose husband is Kenny grill who I did Zack and Miri Make a Porno with he was a special effects guy. They were looking to put together a movie and they wanted to get the movie business. They really liked it. Okay, and they came to me and they said, Do you have any ideas? Yeah, I got a couple of playing around with and one of the ideas was essentially I know, a buddy of mine is Dana Snyder, who's the voice of master shake on Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Okay. And I had gone to this convention with him in Florida called supercon.

Alex Ferrari 56:14
Yeah, no, I've been I'm from Florida, so I'm very well aware.

Zak Knutson 56:18
There we go. Yeah. So I went down there with him. And it was just we met these people and these guys. God, this is like, what an amazing world. I've been to comic book conventions, but I've never seen the behind the scenes. Oh, yeah. And that's a whole different world. And then essentially, it was like Okay, and then we had heard this story about a bunch of guys ripping off Dragon Con in Atlanta. They dressed up as storm troopers gone in and how they escaped was the Bible first. Legion was walking because they have this huge cosplay princess downtown Atlanta. They had rip off the office and then how they got out was they got him to the cosplay parade. And I was like that's great like heist movie.

Alex Ferrari 57:02
Like a geeky heist movie.

Zak Knutson 57:04
It was like you know, you've seen all the cool like Thomas Crown Affair Oh 123 all this kind of stuff. But it was like whoa, what if you What if we made George Clooney and Brad Pitt morons? thing so we essentially we're gonna start doing it as just that story. I knew a couple people at Lucasfilm through my contacts with Kevin because we got up to Skywalker and immix mailing us up at Skywalker on we shot some interviews for Lucas Films. I was like maybe, you know, and fanboys have gotten the rifle. Like maybe we can actually get the rights to actually use stormtroopers. And then Disney bought them. And that's the end of that. And I was like, okay, that's Disney is never going to let that happen. So they said, well, doesn't have to be stormtroopers. It can be whatever we want it to be that we started with. So me and Dana and Andy sipes who was a writer on code monkeys, and he's a great writer does a bunch of stuff he's pitching shows around right now for something else. He was the matter of fact, him and his writing partner gated that show trip tank on Comedy Central. We started writing this thing. And Susan and Maria paid for it. And we wrote this script, and it was like, what is it that we're going to get made? Right? This isn't that because this is just too weird. And then all of a sudden, they got financing, and they got this other outfit and evolved and we all of a sudden, I found myself after a year and a half down in New Orleans. And we're in an office and we're actually going to make the movie, you know, and we're sending the script out to actors and getting response and it was amazing. And the cast we ended up getting was we we sent it out to john or the one of the one of the producers at the time, we said it's not what the movie anymore was like, we're gonna send it out to john Malik, which I was like fucking Why? Like, my thing is I'm always like, I will be mister. I just I don't have enough faith in my own stuff. Even though I like Like, there's no fucking way anybody's gonna make this. That's not a huge pirate either. That's the thing. It was like john McAfee. And we met with john because he's got a place in New Orleans, where I got another plane. Yeah. He said he really liked the scripts. And Julian sands is a friend to his Reddit and he goes, you got to do this because Julian, he was in wishmaster. And he comes he goes, you should really do this. This is funny. So john signed on. And then we had Maggie grace. She was actually the first one to sign on. She read it. She wanted to play Allison. She was all stoked for it. To take on the character. She had a Pinterest board for the character she'd come up with, like, that's awesome. And then we got Clancy Brown to play. Amazing. Class is there's no one cooler. And Clancy Brown guys is a true Pro. He came to play He's not he wasn't that sure himself and comedy but it was like Clancy everything you've done. It's been funny whether you like it or not, you know, but one of the things we have a we have an action sequence for clients. He actually has a sword in his hand. And at one point couple of camera guys were getting ready to shoot. When the camera guys leaned over to me go do it. I just want to say thanks. Thanks for what he does. You got the Kurgan with a fucking sword in his hand again, fucking.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:32
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Actually, a funny thing I actually reached out to Clancy on on a short that I was going to do, and we couldn't get him for scheduling. But he was such a pro man, he was so sweet. And so nice and most professional. It was

Zak Knutson 1:00:58
not be more awesome, especially for a first time filmmaker like me, in order to you know, to have Clancy there and to be as awesome as he was and not to say the RS cast wasn't Russell's great Mike Epps great, you know Ryan Kwan, everybody, uh, Brooks. Brooks is a friend of ours. We got in there. It's like, it's I could not have been more lucky with the cast that I got.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:23
No, and then some relief. Absolutely.

Zak Knutson 1:01:27
But it has it's one of those things where super cons of a heist movie, but it really is. It's a comedy. It's a real and it's a hard R. It gets an R rated dick and fart joke. Like it really is

Alex Ferrari 1:01:39
with john with with john malkovich, john Mack, and

Zak Knutson 1:01:42
it's one of those things,

Alex Ferrari 1:01:42
man, where does he do that? Has he?

Zak Knutson 1:01:45
Ellen Molly, I was telling my wife. I was like, I called her up one day from set chills. What's wrong? I'm freaking out. I'm freaking out. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm going to go to movie jail after this. Done. I gotta, I gotta go back to construction or something. I can't do this. She goes, What's going on? You're freaking out. I said, I've waited 20 years to do a movie since I was 20 years old. 42 whatever. It's like. I've got john malkovich and Clancy Brown. And I'm doing this scene and in the middle of it I just realized john Malka just two Academy Awards Clancy's Clancy's worked with their bodies in a praise literally in a movie I called perfect. You can't change it. Absolutely. You know, I Shashank and I'm just like, I've got these two guys in a movie and I got them doing dick and fart jokes. What the fuck am I doing? Oh my God. He goes Calm down, calm down, but it's one of those moments where you just go and then all of a sudden you just go Wait no, I got john. I'm good. I got Mike I got Russell Peters. I got ya know, this is great. We're all having a great time. So this is good. This is good.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:56
But there's that moment man, you know, it's meant to it's so funny how our paths are, are parallel in so many ways. Because the exact same thing I've been waiting 20 years to make my movie. And I literally just made it and we're both editing it down the street from each other basically.

Zak Knutson 1:03:11
Yeah, exactly. That thing of like, you have those moments where you just like, lost.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:18
This is just frickin This is Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And you like and it wasn't it wasn't for you, because I haven't talked to anybody else who's actually literally kind of walked the path that I've walked. We walked different paths obviously. But

Zak Knutson 1:03:34
but we've gotten to the same going to the same destination

Alex Ferrari 1:03:38
same destination so when you were making your first movie, I'm assuming that you did the same thing I did, which was create this mountain that was the feature film your first feature film it was this monstrous Goliath that you had to climb? Yeah. And it was like there's just no way I can't do it dislike and you always throw obstacles in front of yourself to not make the first not to make it my pretty close and fat

Zak Knutson 1:04:05
fingers like I never thought I when we were writing I was like nobody's ever gonna make it. They're never gonna

Alex Ferrari 1:04:09
pay Yeah, because you've been you've probably been close so often

Zak Knutson 1:04:12
oh that's it you don't It's that thing of look. I always say your job in this town is not to work your job in this town is to get said no to you. That's your job. If you get a couple knows that day, but eventually just as law of averages, you're gonna have somebody say yes,

Alex Ferrari 1:04:26
it might take 20 years.

Zak Knutson 1:04:29
For me, like I have friends of mine who were like way more successful way earlier, but I've also never been one of those guys who gets super jealous when other people I'm always super happy with my friends like what do you mean George is like an actor. It's like we were tour guides Universal Studios together and now this guy's like kicking ass as an actor on how he shows it's like in movies. It's like it's wonderful. I know guys who are just like, anytime somebody else gets something they're angry or pissed. I'm like I'm not that guy. I always root for you know, it's hard enough in this town. Like, no, it's great when somebody gets something going, they want to get going, you should be happy for him. You know? Absolutely, absolutely that thing of like doing supercon it was you I got down in New Orleans and I was like, holy shit, we're gonna do this thing. Oh my god, I have no idea what I'm doing then you start calling people and you get even more freaked out. I had a monitor every morning, which was one foot in front of the other every time I get out of bed, one foot in front of the other. You have this massive mountain. Instead of looking at the top of it. Just look down. Look at your feet. Just keep putting one step in front of me. Exactly,

Alex Ferrari 1:05:29
exactly. And then after an after you got the whole thing in the can. That monster doesn't look it's a toothless tiger.

Zak Knutson 1:05:39
It was like a wait. Yeah, it was like, I would say I've got a gorilla on my back. And he's always bugging me. If I'm not doing something, he's always bugging me. It was like the gorilla. The second wheel, I yelled at them. And that's a wrap on supercon That was our last day last shot. It was like the monkey took a vacation for a little while. We just like we actually shot this like, cuz even during production, there were we had so many things that went on. It was like we're never gonna finish this thing. And then all of a sudden, it was like, holy shit. We got the movie in the can.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:18
We just have posts to deal with. And we I could Yeah, I could do pose that's

Zak Knutson 1:06:22
like posters, like, Yeah, but we've got the footage, it can now be turned in. Like we have the raw materials. That's essentially what everybody's wanting. Like you've got it. It's shot.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:33
You just got to make that cake. It's got to gotta bake that cake.

Zak Knutson 1:06:37
And I got john malkovich and Clancy Brown in it. I'm doing pretty good.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:40
Not Not bad for your first time out, brother. Not Not Not bad. Now, what was it like directing, john? And do you have any advice on directing someone of his caliber?

Zak Knutson 1:06:50
I still ask the question myself. One of the things when john first shot because john, we were talking about the character of said, and john goes, I said, What ideas do you have for said, he goes, Well, I would really like to wear to pay. I like cool. No problem. So originally, the character was written as kind of like a Stan Lee. Yeah, after john mon. We said, well, let's ratchet it back as he's not that old. And I don't want john to play, you know, 93 or 94, or whatever standard? Nothing against Sure. Sure. Like we need to do we need to do a little pivot on the character here. So I was like, okay, and he says, I really like to wear to pay, and I really like to wear a bow tie. That was his only thing. Okay. And then, but he doesn't know much about comic books. I was like, well, Jonathan, you really don't need to know much about the comic books. It's like any kind of creative thing that really it's about the people who make them. So I started telling about, you know, there's a guy by the name of Jim starlin, Jim starlin, created theta star Lord, these big things. And I started saying instead of staying lean, that I think should be a little more like Jim starlin, who went to Vietnam came back, you know, you went to Vietnam, because he was he was going to art school, I went through this whole thing. But he's the nicest guy in the world. He goes, Okay, I got that. I said, Now, john, look, I'm not going to be the arrogant douchebag director here. I said, I'm just gonna ask you straight out. I said, Is there a particular way that you want to be directed because I've been in front of camera been behind and some actors want to be completely left alone? Some people really want you to get in there and really work with them. I said, I'm not going to be arrogant enough to say, I know how to direct you. You're obviously know what you're doing. He goes, No, no, no, no, no. I'm glad you asked the question. I wish more directors would ask, would would, would ask the question, because if you don't see me doing something you think is true to the character. Bring it up to me, and we'll talk. Okay, perfect. And there were a couple things. There was a scene between john and Clancy. In the rehearsal we did john did this really kind of angry kind of take? I loved it. Then when we started rolling camera, or you know, hit the button on that on the Alexa. JOHN is doing it, but he wasn't getting this kind of anger that I wanted, because essentially John's character never gets a you never see a man or you never see him turn the side myth. This is the part I just want up to Jonathan. In the rehearsal, he did real angry take us that this is the scene where I want to see that partisan. This is the part I want to see sit hasn't been this angry since Vietnam. You know, he was listed. He's pissed off at the officer. She goes, Oh, Lieutenant Newberry shows up. And that's all he needed. Then all of a sudden, we go back I go action. And we run this thing out. And we shoot it and john, we shot in this auditorium and it's just him and Clancy and the crew, you know, we're behind. And john does this thing. And it's amazing and I looked at my first ad Doug at IGN. looked at me like, I don't think that's gonna get any better than that for they're like, God, that's a wrap.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:06
We're good, we're good, we're good. We gotta

Zak Knutson 1:10:08
get better in general like where you gotta get me like, even Clancy game I mean that was awesome just to be on the opposite side. Why these amazing kind of like, jobs gonna put on a clinic right now for everybody. And even in the crew you know, it's you know, it's kind of awesome when a crew comes up and goes holy.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:31
That's right, exactly. When you got the grip going Damn, that was good. You know?

Zak Knutson 1:10:36
Yeah. That's it we you know, you like Okay, we got something special in that take. Kind of right there.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:45
Why are you gonna do it? Yeah,

Zak Knutson 1:10:47
I would say this as far as doing the first with the budget level we had which was about $8 million dollars. I had a baby. Okay, add a first ad in a production designer, and everybody on the crew is great. But the two guys I leaned on the most in prep, I leaned on this guy, Freddy woff, who was my production designer who's amazing. He did bone Tomahawk, Freddy because I don't know shit about production design. And I liked his stuff. And we're very good friends now. And I leaned on him a lot. But then when we got into production, I had a first ad. His name's Doug Metzger. And Doug did Dances with Wolves did The Italian Job he just he just finished Baywatch. with

Alex Ferrari 1:11:27
with with rock, the rocker.

Zak Knutson 1:11:30
And dog Doug was the first ad on a movie I was I did. I was a horrible stunt man and called on Deadly Ground with Steven Seagal. That's right.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:39
Hey, on Deadly Ground. That was if I'm not mistaken, was like that. Was that his directorial debut? If I

Zak Knutson 1:11:47
remember correctly, yes. You see, I guess debut. It was.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:51
It was a horrendous that was the Alaska movie, right? That was that whole? It was oil and Alaska and Michael Caine was the villain. What a horrible fucking

Zak Knutson 1:12:02
black air Michael Caine. And he does the speech at the end, which is

Alex Ferrari 1:12:05
Oh, it's so bad. He was walking around in some sort of like, Indian coat or something like that. It was just oh pelts or something. It was just horrendous. Okay,

Zak Knutson 1:12:16
good, tequila. But Doug was the first ad on that movie. And I had always remembered Doug, because Doug was the only person on that movie him and the actor by the name of Mike Starr, who was in Jersey girl. And I've actually gotten to know a little bit because he hangs out at the same restaurant bar, hang out, and now it's got a great, but Doug was the first ad on that movie. And him and Mike, were the only really nice guys on that set. Always remember, like, for first ad to be a nice guy like that. So years later, a stock guy by the name of Gary Jensen introduced us because he's like, you got to talk to Doug. And Doug became my, my Cornerstone, my whatever the hell you want to call it, like, people would come up with questions, because essentially your job more than anything, when you're directing isn't like, Oh, this is I want the camera to flow. It's like, red, green. Yes, no. You have to have a decision. Even if it's wrong, you better have a decision. And you it doesn't matter, you better have it because you've got entire departments who are ready to go. So you got to know everything you want to be in this movie. And sometimes when we run into schedules, like we live, we have a dance sequence in this movie, we have a musical number that has no place being there. But it's everybody's favorite scene. But when we were shooting it, we're in New Orleans, we're outside. It's at night, it's 97 degrees 100% humidity. It's mosquitoes fire ants, the whole thing. And one of the grips, no faulty is he put a spike down to hold something down and he had watermain. So all of a sudden, this dance sequence that we had with a 30 foot crane arm and all this other stuff we can't do because now we're flooded with four inches of water, and a year below sea level. So the waters not sinking. So all of a sudden, oh shit. Alright, how are we going to do this dance secret? How are we going to do this musical number? This is possible. I got I had seven crew and seven grads, seven cast members, 50 extras and 100 crew. And everybody's looking at you going should What do you want to do? I had remembered a story that I had just told Doug earlier that day, and we were laughing about it because he's that's actually a really good idea, which was essentially john, john melius had gotten to know john Houston. And he says, you know, john, if you ever don't know what to do, one day goes if you ever tried to figure out what to do, he goes when you show up to set go to your go to your first ad and your grips here and get all the departments. I want 50 yards of Dolly tracks set up right here Dolly track and that's going to take them to lunch to set that up. Because they've got to put the lights on

Alex Ferrari 1:14:55
that's a fucking that's a it's a nightmare. Yeah.

Zak Knutson 1:14:58
And essentially so they go off Do it and that buys you about four hours to figure out what the fuck you want to do. Okay, so essentially and I was like and then after lunch you go okay and john story is Euston goes okay, I don't like it. They're all down, put the sticks right here. Sudden, I've got we can't turn off the water. It's just billowing over. We've got a marsh created. I've got literally 175 people literally standing there looking at me going, what the fuck do you want to do now? And I looked at Doug and Doug looked at me and I said, Okay, I want Dolly track. cameras. And I don't remember, the DP is like, Well, you know, I really think I was like dawn can be Dolly track here. That bought me half hour and go okay, how the fuck am I gonna do this? Now Doug was like, that's good. You really you got you got 30 minutes to figure out what the fuck you want to do. So he figured it out. And we got it. And now everybody's favorite scene in the movie. But it's I storyboarded that thing for two months.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:11
And it gets thrown out. Oh, yeah,

Zak Knutson 1:16:13
literally got thrown out. Because I knew I was like, I have to know every single shot we're going to do in the movie. Every single shot we're going to do in this sequence because I'm not going to have enough time because we're it's it's plus it's in the summer. So the nights are shorter. So I've gotten the crew to be willing to work French hours. So there wasn't going to be a lunch break. But he What are French hours, French hour, essentially you work through lunch, okay, you don't actually break for lunch. So you show up to work, you work 10 hours instead of 12. And but you burn all the way through. He doesn't go you don't break for lunch, we bring out food to you. You eat there, because the nights are shorter. and pleasant was like nobody wants to shoot at night and it's humid.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:56
I'm from Miami, I get it. Yeah, there you go.

Zak Knutson 1:16:58
You know better Yeah, like, Okay, so that's what that was my fans like, and then all of a sudden. And I think the one thing I learned too is you have to be prepared, you have to know what you want. But when something like that happens, or when an actor comes up to you says I got an idea. Or you go this, I want to do this. Or maybe I want to do this you have to be able to go Yeah, you know what, that's a good idea. We should use that. Don't lock yourself off to what you drew on a piece of paper on your iPad or what you're absolutely. Because you're hiring these actors for a reason. Because they're talented, they bring something to the table and I always believe that once an actor does a role, really they own it. Because that's who they're going to be associated with. And plus you may not come back for future sequels or if there are sequels because no sequels but the actor is more likely and be associated with this character. That's now I look at it as there's like, you know, you're kind of the surrogate, you write it, you birth it, you hand it over and then you just kind of go Okay, you're on your own you're college make yourself out. So but yeah, no, and also no tricks like set up the dolly track over here. So you can buy yourself a half hour to figure out what the fuck you're gonna do. That's it.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:09
That's a great, great, great piece of a great knowledge bomb as I call it.

Zak Knutson 1:18:16
freak out. The crew will look at you if you freak out. The crew freaks out. But

Alex Ferrari 1:18:21
yeah, yeah, yeah, so what So real quick, what is the biggest lesson you learned shooting your first film?

Zak Knutson 1:18:27
Ah, biggest lesson I learned. Got there so many. Don't stop until you get what you want. When you get what you want, stop. Don't there's a thing now with a lot of people just want to shoot to shoot or let the camera run? Oh, God, I don't I don't I don't I'm not a fan of that, especially like in a comedy.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:51
No, I'm in post. That's why I hate it. Because I have to deal with it later. It's just obscene amounts of footage you're gonna go through.

Zak Knutson 1:18:57
That's it. It's like if it's funny. That's different, at least in a comedy. You know, I'm coming from a comedy standpoint right now. It's like, I just don't want to do comedy. I want to do other stuff, too. But it's that thing of, you've got X amount of shots to do in the day, I went, I was a first time film director. I didn't have a whole lot of money. But I did have money because we built an entire comic book convention. I had real actors not but with that comes its own restrictions as well. It's not like, yeah, you can do whatever you want. It's not that at all. But your time is, your time is is so precious. And you have to get through X, Y and Z shots. So stay on the shot until you get what you want. But no one you got it to move on to the next thing. My entire time. I never went I went over. I went over 12 hours one day, and I only went over a half hour. Nice because I'm not a fan. If Clint Eastwood can shoot all his stuff and have it look as good and amazing as he Doesn't eight hours? No reason why I shouldn't be able to do it in 12 we haven't you know, spent the last 20 years working on film sets. Working 12 hours, man, it just kicks your ass. It does. And you start going into 14 hours. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:16
And you might be able to pull that off a day or two man but you know, we're not 20

Zak Knutson 1:20:22
like, Go fuck yourself. And plus, I just I think it goes to show you don't know what you're doing. Right? It's not like we're in Louisiana. We had rain we had rain wasn't the problem. The problem was lightning. When you're shooting outside lightning, it's if it's in a certain range of space, like five miles out, you instantly shut down for 40 minutes. You're not shooting anything. Because the crew can't even move the gear inside the gear a crew instantly walks into a safe place. Well, shit, man when you're shooting an independent film in New Orleans in the middle of summer, and it does nothing

Alex Ferrari 1:20:56
but rain for 40 minutes. Yeah,

Zak Knutson 1:21:00
I miss precious time is precious. You can't you got to know what you want and go. You know, that's the big thing. manage your time. You'll get what you want. But at the same time when you get what you want. Move the fuck on.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:13
Yeah, that's a that's a good quote.

Zak Knutson 1:21:18
That would be the one thing I bet plus a really good first ad, a first ad who's far more. Matter of fact, everybody you hire should be vastly more talented and experienced.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:28
Yep. Amen. Amen. I

Zak Knutson 1:21:31
know, people get threatened by somebody who's more talented or more experienced. I'm not gonna say I know everything. I know what I want. But it's that thing of, Oh, you got a better idea? What is it? Yeah. Yeah. If somebody's got

Alex Ferrari 1:21:48
a better idea, I'm using it. Right? Because you get the credit for it later. If it's

Zak Knutson 1:21:53
not good, hey, if I'm going to take the hit anywhere, I'm more prepared for the hit than I am for the, for the accolades. You know, it's one of the things I always expect everything to go the worst and all that other kind of shit. Man, what a good, I'll take it. It's great. You know, the actors came up with stuff ready came up with Doug first he came up with gags if he did the scary movies, with Joker, but with the Zucker brothers, like why am I not gonna listen to him? Yeah, he's got great ideas. Yeah, I'm using that.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:25
So out of all these people, you've worked with Kevin and john, and you've interviewed so many amazing people? Is there one piece of advice that any of them gave you that you can share with the audience?

Zak Knutson 1:22:37
Bob Gale, and it was that I kind of went over it earlier, which was the main job as a director is going to be to just have a just make a decision. That's your job is to answer questions, which is essentially making a decision. Somebody comes up to you and goes, red, green, look at it, green. Even if you're wrong, you can fix it later, but have a decision for them. What do you want to do? Yes or no? You got to make the decision now. Because like on tomorrow on our movie, it was $100,000 a day, essentially. And not 100,000 died, but it was some something weird. Yeah, it was like $100,000 a day. Every dollar was costing us about $9,000. Like, the more you're sitting there with your thumb up your ass gone. I don't know. And I've worked with those guys before.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:26
Of course, we all have.

Zak Knutson 1:23:28
I don't know what do you think like fuck you, man. You're the director. You figure it out. Yeah. I don't want to end I'm not Kevin was never that way. Kevin always knew what the hell he wanted. Kevin always had the movie in his head before we even started shooting it exactly what he's gonna get if anything else he got was gravy. You know the what. And the other thing Kevin does is he runs. He tries to keep the set fun, which is something I try to do. I know Quentin plays music and all this stuff. I find it I don't have enough time to play DJ as well. I'm not that skilled. But I want everybody to know that they're doing a good job. You know, extras. We couldn't have made this movie without background actors and extras. So do something as simple as at the end of the day, go over to where your extras and background are and just say thank you. All of a sudden, man I was getting thank you notes from extras and background actors or I was like, what how am I getting but it was because I just took enough time to say thank you to the crew. Same thing, always tell them thank you. Somebody shot your focus puller really nailed the difficult shot at the son of a bitch now, because they work with people all the time who don't. And I never get that. I just think it's it's nice because you cruise in there with you. Your crew is there with you. And they're going on their journey to and they don't want to make shit. Nobody gets in the business to make shit. They want to make something good too. So if they see you're excited and the actors are happy in the rest of the crew, that that's gonna it's that leadership. thing i don't i never kind of I'm a leader but it's that if I do it and I know everybody's looking to me it'll be better I it just it makes it better experience for everybody. Yeah tried all the time and no matter whether I'm working on a documentary or whether I'm working on a feature film or behind the scenes or helping somebody out it's like, if you have a positive attitude toward it, it kind of bleeds over into everything else for everybody

Alex Ferrari 1:25:25
so yeah, absolutely. I agree with you i do the same thing on my sets it's absolutely you always be thankful and always be grateful for them and and you're right they just are not used to it a lot of times which is mind boggling, but it's true.

Zak Knutson 1:25:37
Yeah, I mean, I've worked with directors who are just complete pricks and I just see the crew shut down on them. Like we're getting paid union anyway so we'll do what we want when we want to do it. That's like I don't want you hate going to work i didn't i never I had the whole reason why I'm in this business so I don't have to wear suit. I like wearing flip flops and shorts. Or like getting up and going to work is awesome I don't I always hated working on a set where I was like God dammit I gotta go to work today I hate that feeling. I hate that feeling. I never want to experience that feeling because then it's like a job I don't want to have a job yeah, no factory I could do that. I don't want to do that some people do is great not NACA shows up that's not what I personally want to do. I want to do this and I wanna have a good time doing it. I want the people around me to have a good time doing it.

Alex Ferrari 1:26:31
Amen brother, amen. mantra

Zak Knutson 1:26:35
mantra I got a whole bunch of other shit but that's that's the big one.

Alex Ferrari 1:26:41
So I have two last questions I ask of all of my guests are. These are my Oprah questions so be careful.

Zak Knutson 1:26:50
Wait for the James lifted actor studio like

Alex Ferrari 1:26:52
No, no. It's like if you were if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be now? What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in life or in the film business?

Zak Knutson 1:27:08
Really good question. Try not to give you some witty bullshit answer and give you an honest one.

Alex Ferrari 1:27:14
Appreciate that.

Zak Knutson 1:27:18
The people that surround you, influenced you. That's when that's the one I never really bought for a long time. You know, the people that surround you influenced you and they can help propel you or pull you back. I've been lucky enough to where over the last couple you know 20 years. I've met friends of mine because I was a bouncer and a titty bar those guys are still my friends. And they actually give me really good notes on projects. Right very, very supportive. And then you know the guys I work with who I'm very tight with now like Dana and Andy and j Edwards, my editor and these guys, they're all driven and they help propel you forward and be more creative. So the people that use arrivee surround yourself with it's never gonna happen it's never gonna happen. You don't need that you're gonna get enough of that in this business. So surround yourself with creatives that are positive but at the same time not delusional. There's reality involved there

Alex Ferrari 1:28:20
there's apps that's absolute truth my friend because I tell you you know when I was in Miami it you know I love Miami but I was there for a long time and the business is just not the same as La obviously. And the second I landed in LA man, I just took off because I was surrounded by people just different caliber of professional and good people.

Zak Knutson 1:28:43
closest people ever get to Hollywood is just getting off the plane Yep. So you've kind of already wanted that point but that's not the goal always keep the goal in mind I'm not saying I haven't reached mine I'm still going for it So yeah, I know what you're talking about.

Alex Ferrari 1:28:58
Yeah, absolutely. And you just were you know when you when you work with you know me you had you worked with Kevin for a long time and just by working with him that I'm sure propelled your skill level to a much higher level

Zak Knutson 1:29:10
Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 1:29:13
You went to the Kevin Smith film school

Zak Knutson 1:29:15
very much so I always say like when you go to film school it's not really kind of the school districts is really the Kevin Smith Scott Mosier film. School of film.

Alex Ferrari 1:29:26
Yeah, that's not a bad film school to go to tell you the truth. Like tuition was good. So and then what are the three three of your favorite films of all time?

Zak Knutson 1:29:39
Well, first off Star Wars but I can't be original trilogy is one film The Trinity. So that's one. I'm obsessed with a movie called revenge that Tony Scott.

Alex Ferrari 1:29:49
Oh my god. It's an amazing film. It's an amazing movie. I love I love the

Zak Knutson 1:29:54
studio version. And I like his Director's Cut that he put out but I actually do like the studio version. Better. But I think revenge is ever everything I want in a movie. It's so good. It's beautiful the story, it's heartbreaking, it doesn't have a happy ending, not my huge Tony Scott fan. I don't think he gets enough credit for his influence on film in the last 30 years,

Alex Ferrari 1:30:17
he changed, he changed the action movie. I mean, he was, yeah, he did change the action movie.

Zak Knutson 1:30:23
He changed everything, in my opinion.

Alex Ferrari 1:30:27
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. And that was one of those movies. And I was working at a video store when that came out. And that movie was one of those that just kind of came and went. It wasn't a big hit at the time. It kind of grew quietly. But it's just one of those odd movies that not odd in the sense of the story but odd that it didn't get the recognition that it shouldn't have Kevin Kevin Costner in it and Madeline Stowe and Anthony Anthony Quinn

Zak Knutson 1:31:02
and Jose for air and that was Miguel for air at john Jagger's I'm ah yeah movie ever

Alex Ferrari 1:31:10
Yeah, it was so freakin good and it's shot like a Tony Scott movie. Yeah, it's shot like a Tony Scott movie I mean it's gorgeous.

Zak Knutson 1:31:18
What I did that Mel Gibson movie we shot in the same locations that they shot revenge which was also a lot of the same locations that they shot man on fire which is my other movie which is another Tony Scott thing or not another I won't throw another Tony Scott one in there but the stand there in those locations where they shot those movies and I was like, Oh shit, Tony Scott, like, walked by ballcap walking around and he was

Alex Ferrari 1:31:41
and he wore spandex a lot. I heard I saw that. I saw that.

Zak Knutson 1:31:48
Like Days of Thunder words like walking around. No, he's got speed away with that director's vest on and he's got Gar and a ball cap. Balls he did.

Alex Ferrari 1:31:55
That's exactly how he did it. But then he would wear black spandex underneath for comfort. And it was I saw that was behind the scenes of Oh god. What was the Will Smith, Gene Hackman.

Zak Knutson 1:32:11
Oh, enemy of the state. Yes. Will sequel to the conversation. Yes.

Alex Ferrari 1:32:16
Exactly. The

Zak Knutson 1:32:17
back is that that's the conversation. This is a sequel to conversation

Alex Ferrari 1:32:22
but but the funny thing is that behind the scenes, I would see it and he would be just dressed in Fuck, it's bad to x. And I will

Zak Knutson 1:32:29
say this as balls. Two things you're gonna want to do, especially if you're working in New Orleans or anywhere where there's any kind of heat or cold. Make sure you got uncomfortable shoes. Always. Okay, personally. Russell Peters bought me a pair of Nike Air Force One fly nets. I'm never wearing another pair of shoes in my entire life. They're awesome. They are the best most comfortable shoes you can wear on set. Don't be a fucking dick and wear a suit to set. am fucking Ramy

Alex Ferrari 1:32:59
right? Or Scorsese god bless

Zak Knutson 1:33:02
or scores and Scorsese see pictures of me chilling out he's not wearing a fucking suit every day. Yeah, don't be that deca that pretentious fucking prick. I think there's no purpose to wear suit on set. It's just fucking stupid. Never I see pictures of some guys were like Don't be a fucking dick.

Alex Ferrari 1:33:20
While you were a monocle and loud. One of those bull horns.

Zak Knutson 1:33:23
His name is Sam Raimi or Alfred Hitchcock, you're not allowed to wear our art. I tell Paul Feig it because Paul

Alex Ferrari 1:33:31
Yeah, he's immaculate. immaculate.

Zak Knutson 1:33:35
I don't want to see Paul in anything other than the suit at this point if Paul ever wore a pair of jeans and a pair of jeans and sneakers and be like Paul you're falling apart What's going on? Yeah gotta get your back in so what jacket no

Alex Ferrari 1:33:47
So what you're saying is basically if you're going to wear suit this at first of all you have to be a really talented filmmaker. And secondly you've got to start that way kind of like set the precedents

Zak Knutson 1:33:57
just don't all of a sudden MCAT gamut where it well

Alex Ferrari 1:34:02
well well, it's got Hitchcock where

Zak Knutson 1:34:06
you that Washington where dickhead like dammit shine your shoes you dirty piece is that

Alex Ferrari 1:34:12
is that off the rack? Is that off the rack? Seriously?

Zak Knutson 1:34:16
I'm not exactly the books like I'm not I don't have the Calvin Klein body you're

Alex Ferrari 1:34:21
not the fashion forward guy I mean either I'm board shorts and flip flops. Dude I'm literally in board shorts and flip flops right now.

Zak Knutson 1:34:31
I think doesn't get enough credit and I put the pick out three stuff. But they're comedies because I like our I go comedy,

Alex Ferrari 1:34:41
but to go without saying obviously Shawshank is Shawshank Shashank

Zak Knutson 1:34:44
is perfect you can't. Like Shawshank he can't. There's very few films where you're like don't touch it right? Not not touch or nothing Shawshank is one of them. It's a perfect perfect movie. Yes a perfect blend of Comedy Action drama. Everything is like you know Raiders of the Lost Ark. I will watch Raiders of the Lost Ark massacre later.

Alex Ferrari 1:35:06
It is it's a masterpiece.

Zak Knutson 1:35:08
That's one thing I think I'm I think Marvel does. I think Marvel does better than most but I still don't I still I haven't seen the action star that gets beat up nd gets all the time.

Alex Ferrari 1:35:25
Well I mean looking at same thing with Bruce man Bruce got picked up. I mean, john McClane gets the sheer kick out of them all the time

Zak Knutson 1:35:31
relate to and that's kind of why I really do like the jack Ryan movies, or at least the very first one without Baldwin, because I like the books too. Because here's a guy he's like, I'm an analyst. I'm not a fucking I'm not a navy seal. I'm an animal. I write books. I write fucking manuals. This is what I do. And all of a sudden, this guy's thrown into it. JOHN McClane doesn't have any shoes on he's a cop from New York. All of a sudden, these guys save everybody in an office building. It's like, it's a relatable hero. But I'd like to see when your movie here at the worst thing to me is like the movie hero who can do no wrong and he looks great. It's just

Alex Ferrari 1:36:11
luminiferous. Schwarzenegger, Stallone.

Zak Knutson 1:36:15
JOHN Claude Van Damme world Yeah, but even their early stuff like the best Schwarzenegger stuff like kick predator predator.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:21
That's a masterpiece it's a masterpiece it's a masterpiece and

Zak Knutson 1:36:23
he gets a kick out of it.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:24
He does no you're absolutely right. He does. commando doesn't get Commando. Not that so much. It doesn't get kicked but it's still great he's such

Zak Knutson 1:36:33
a good fucking move. Oh, I think he won the first fight. No, he was right. he'd lost you ask people who won rocky you know in Rocky did rocky when they go Yeah, like no we lost that's how good that fucking movie Stallone

Alex Ferrari 1:36:48
I mean seriously.

Zak Knutson 1:36:50
I like movies where the weather heroes get get you know they beat the thing that they're going to plan on happening never happens. I will that's that's my favorite stuff. It's like indie. He's fighting the guy with a plane spinning propellers guy hauls off hits. He hits the deck, but just like he can he just falls to the ground on his ass. And it's like blood coming out of his lips like Oh, you got a long way to go. This one

Alex Ferrari 1:37:16
was the perfect movie as well. So what was it? What was your third one? It was our RNA those the third one?

Zak Knutson 1:37:21
I'd say you know, it'd be a toss up between Raiders and the jerk

Alex Ferrari 1:37:26
of a church man. Yeah, Steve Martin.

Zak Knutson 1:37:29
That's one of those movies are in like it opens up with our board a poor black child. Brilliant movie just goes places where you comedies never went? And it was Carl Reiner. And it was you know, Steve Martin. It's just up the ante for the guy. Grab away grab it. What the hell but it's just one of those things where it's I will laugh at that I will judge but most women in my opinion, from what horrible bullshit research I've done. They do not like to jerk like the reason why they don't most women I think don't like The Three Stooges. Right? When I met my wife, it was like, Okay, what movies you like and we started talking? I said yes, like a jerk and tries brightened up she's like yeah, I love the jerk. Bernadette Peters I like okay, you're gonna be beekeeping then she started singing the song with the ukulele and all I was like, Oh, you're good. I like you.

Alex Ferrari 1:38:35
So and I'll throw another one out from that same kind of like time period. stir crazy yeah, stir crazy Silver Streak that that Gene Wilder with Richard Pryor man

Zak Knutson 1:38:47
oh and and i mean you look at something like like I think Young Frankenstein.

Alex Ferrari 1:38:52
You know, the fundament, I had the opportunity to do a workshop with the cinematographer of Young Frankenstein. I forgot his name. I did a week long I sat with him and we had lunch and we It was like, you know, seven people up in Maine somewhere. And we just talk shop man, he was just telling me these stories about Oh, yeah, you know, and he almost got an Oscar nomination for that. Because that was the first year that they did not do a black and white cinematography award. Of course, that was a first year that did not do it if they would have done it. He would have won the Oscar. because there wasn't a lot of black and white films being made that year obviously

Zak Knutson 1:39:29
no, no they still they don't want I think what's the last black and white film by Studio to be made at wood?

Alex Ferrari 1:39:35
No, wasn't it the man who the Coen Brothers yeah the man who wasn't there I think was the last I'm there might have been another one. That right like a studio studio. Yeah, I think that was the last one but but yeah, I had the opportunity to work to work with him and just have him teach you lighting is

Zak Knutson 1:39:56
one of the great movies behind that movie or like the shots were from the original Franken Find the variable to go into universal and find the original prop guy and the original set dresser and pull those original things out and those are what's in the movies from the original monster movie it's like

Alex Ferrari 1:40:10
so much beautiful

Zak Knutson 1:40:12
movie in the love of it. I mean just Mel Brooks in the style of comedy and I mean it just Madeline Kahn

Alex Ferrari 1:40:21
Gene Wilder I mean gene wow

Zak Knutson 1:40:22
I mean everything about that it's like I look I don't touch your frame. That's your frame you're messing with that magic it's on there. Don't touch it.

Alex Ferrari 1:40:33
That's a matte so you shouldn't go back and redo the visual effects on facts are no special no special additions no that's why when

Zak Knutson 1:40:43
like oh god people go on a great night now. Star Wars It was like I want to see the original Star Wars Oh the original Star Wars which sounds all fucked up Yeah, I don't want that well that's the original Star Wars, Star Wars sounds all you know you what you want is you want the explosion and you want the match cleaned up? Yeah, because guess what the original Star Wars match whatever we couldn't see him on the screen because 50% of the light gets lost between the projector and the screen

Alex Ferrari 1:41:11
but you saw it on VHS. I always used to say I'm a VHS I used to see the little boxes going around the the TIE Fighter. I always see that shit. It used to drive me nuts. Even when before I knew anything about visual every one of those boxes doing there. I remember that there's there's I get certain like they did with Blade Runner. They went back and spent 20 million bucks and didn't redo anything, cleaned everything up. re composited everything on that remaster that really put out

Zak Knutson 1:41:37
and I really I mean it to me. It's like it's always up to the director to like the fact that George went into his movies. I don't give a shit. I always have. Yeah, you know, like, okay, he went in and he put you know, that horrible scene with Jabba the Hutt back in the first movie. I don't give a shit. I guess that's a great thing about DVD or Blu ray I just jump ahead of it. I don't care. I am I am. I mean I'd like as much money as they made off mean. last 42 years of

Alex Ferrari 1:42:04
my life. How many how many? How many copies of Star Wars Do you own?

Zak Knutson 1:42:08
I'll tell you about every format I'm assuming. I bought I remember getting the VHS when it first came out. Of course. A friend of mine had eight millimeter. Wow. Which I was like that's gotta be worth some money. Matter of fact, I got invited to go see the original print of Star Wars. Dave Mendell, who is the showrunner for Veep just won the Emmy here Yeah, a few weeks ago yeah, he's a huge Star Wars fan he's got some awesome shit. Yeah, like he's got the Chewbacca from Episode One. He's got Chewbacca from from Episode Four, which was actually the added outfit was used as to Balkans wife in the Christmas special Oh,

Alex Ferrari 1:42:48
let's not talk about that. Oh, that's great. That's

Zak Knutson 1:42:52
my saying it because he's got it. It was in a New York Times article they did on him and all his stuff. But he got a hold of an original 1977 Star Wars print and in Westwood and invited a whole bunch of us to come see it are obviously completely you know, Goofy for Star Wars. And the first real was beat the shit right for obvious because that's the one everybody throws up. But man to watch that movie in a theater projected and the last reel was almost pristine. It was pretty great to listen to the original sound and see the original picture you're not seeing any of that stuff, but you're looking for it. And but all of a sudden, I because I found myself like Alright, let's see the fight. I want to see all the stuff. I've seen that movie hundreds of times. Sure. Of course. I still sitting in that theater and I was sitting with my buddy Ryan, we're sitting there watching the movie. I lost myself again. Of course, I totally forgot about looking for all the techie shit I wanted to look for. All of a sudden, I was, you know, wrapped up in the story. Again, wrapped up in a story and even though I knew exactly what's going to happen frame by frame, I was just like, this is fucking awesome.

Alex Ferrari 1:44:11
Vader oh my gosh, I was Raider.

Zak Knutson 1:44:14
Every time we walk through that door in the opening, I get chills because I'm like, that's the baddest motherfucker in the galaxy. You just know it. Holy shit. You can't even see his eyes. Awesome. Yeah, you start going goofy for that kind of stuff.

Alex Ferrari 1:44:29
Dude, you're talking to a guy who has a life size Yoda in his office. So I want what I have a life size Yoda in my office. So yeah, it's I get you. And oh, by the way, I also have a George Lucas autograph lunchbox.

Zak Knutson 1:44:42
Which one did the

Alex Ferrari 1:44:45
lunchbox The story goes? And I've said this on the podcast before but my cell phone people haven't heard it. I was working in my office in Toluca Lake. years ago, and my buddy goes hey, George Lucas having lunch next door. I'm like, get the fuck out. We're here to why would George Lucas be having lunch at Toluca Lake next door? That's like ridiculous. So I walk out. And Holy shit. George Lucas is sitting there with his daughter having lunch. And I'm like, Fuck, that day. I had ordered a Star Wars lunchbox, just a generic, you know, lunchbox. Yeah, you know, like on Amazon for 10 bucks, because I always wanted to have a lunch a Star Wars lunchbox because I'm from the 80s. So and I want it so it came that day, and they're in the window of the time that it would be in my office. At work, it would have been only three or four hour window in that three or four hour windows when George Lucas was next door. And I always have autographed pins lying around for my clients to autograph posters and shit. And I got the thing autographed by George Lucas and his daughters. I can't just just just go go just autograph it because he doesn't sign. I mean, George Lucas never signs. So like, I didn't know that George Lucas never science and he has assigned for years he never signs. So like if you just just google George Lucas autograph on eBay. Just try to find one. And it's like 2500 bucks. Like, damn, I knew that it George Lucas never science, but I had him sign it to me. So I said, say say Alex because I'm never selling it. It doesn't matter. I'm never gonna sell.

Zak Knutson 1:46:16
I had work with Mark Hamill, on Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and I have a I have a mini lunchbox I got when I was a kid. Empire Strikes Back mini lunchbox. Yeah. And Mark came into the office and Mark like pictures like he didn't he knows Luke Skywalker. So he was willing to sign stuff for everybody. I literally brought up and he said to Zack, and it was a mini lunchbox I have to Zack force yourself Mark Hamill. poster signed by him and stuff. It was just like, this is awesome. This is so cool thing is like I've been able to say like, because when I've been up at Skywalker Ranch, I've seen Lucas I've never actually met the guy. Yeah, I've seen him. But I've you know, I've worked with Carrie Fisher a couple times now. And now I have Harrison Ford and my documentary and he jumped at the chance to be in the documentary because he loved his job. And it's like, Okay,

Alex Ferrari 1:47:11
did you get Did you get anything signed by him when you were working?

Zak Knutson 1:47:13
Wow, I was too much of a nerd.

Alex Ferrari 1:47:15
I was a fresher. Yeah, you were prepared. Yeah, you are. You are Pro.

Zak Knutson 1:47:19
Was that thing of like you're sitting there? It's like, No, I'm having a conversation with Harrison Ford. Like, this is better than anything. I do have a picture with him. I do after I did get a photo with him.

Alex Ferrari 1:47:31
I least I live because that's that's acceptable. But when you bust out the shit the sign, that's when you bite the pens you might have crossed the line.

Zak Knutson 1:47:41
And I was even thinking a couple times like oh man, How awesome would it be to have a you know? comedy poster signed by Scorsese not Goodfellas, that Raging Bull King a comedy you're in on that? picture. That's where I think like okay, now do you mind if we take a photo and Joe and I would get a photo with whoever it was?

Alex Ferrari 1:48:01
So I'd like to apologize to the audience for us just geeking out for the last 20 minutes. Yeah.

Zak Knutson 1:48:08
Last two questions. Oh, and by the way, here's some nerdy shit about a Star Wars movie. autograph.

Alex Ferrari 1:48:16
Zack, man, dude, I knew this was gonna be an awesome interview. I really appreciate you being on the show. Man. Thank you so so much for taking the time and I know you're busy in post with supercon so I appreciate you taking the time out, man.

Zak Knutson 1:48:29
Thank you, man. I appreciate it was a blast and fun time to hear any kind of good stuff. It's it's been it's been fun. I'm sorry for wasting all of your listeners. Our 42 hours? Yeah, no. We

Alex Ferrari 1:48:43
there was a lot of knowledge in there mixed in with some geekness which I was expecting.

Zak Knutson 1:48:50
A little about all geek. Yeah, we geeked out

Alex Ferrari 1:48:53
a bit. But there was a ton of knowledge. And there's so thanks again, brother. I appreciate it.

Zak Knutson 1:48:56
No problem. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Super con 2017 go watch it.

Alex Ferrari 1:49:02
I know it was a long one. But I hope it was worth it for you guys. I love talking to Zak and he has amazing stories. Very, very funny stories and very good and a bunch of good knowledge bombs thrown out there. Really great advice for filmmakers just starting out. So I hope you guys got something out of that. Now don't forget to head over to filmmaking podcast calm that's filmmaking podcast calm and leave me a good review. Would you guys on iTunes, it really helps the show out a lot. I really appreciate it. And if you guys want to check out what all the hoopla is with indie film syndicate, and you still you know, I know you guys might have missed this Cyber Monday Black Friday for four or five days that we're giving you the first month for free. But I'm still gonna give you guys 20% off and you can head over to indie film, syndicate calm and just use the promo code. I f h 20 off. That's AI f H two O off and I'll get you 20% off your first month of the syndicate and you can check it out. It's, I mean the amount of stuff that we have are now closing in on 350 video lessons in the syndicate, just hours upon hours of knowledge and information about everything you can think of in the film industry that can help you guys get closer to your goals. I wish I would have had it when I was starting out. It's a lot of great information in there. So definitely check that out guys. And also, just I want to let you guys know I've been taking the master classes or Warner Hertzog Aaron Sorkin i'm actually going through Aaron Sorkin's again. screenwriting legend Aaron Sorkin's masterclass again, because it's so amazing because I'm in the middle of writing my next project and I'm using a lot of the techniques he's using that he talks about in that course. But Warner's was really good and they just released Hans Zimmer films composing course, which I'm going to take as well because you really got to know what, how to talk to a film composer and what they're doing with their processes. And they also have Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman which are my next ones up because I want to see what they do and how they you know teach actors how to act and and how to perform and to get that information is invaluable. So all you got to do is head over to indie film, hustle, calm Ford slash masterclass. And it'll take you right to the courses and check them out. See what you guys think. You know, they're really really really valuable, great information and I love what those guys are doing over there. And hopefully they're going to be coming out with some really cool ones as well. And just on a side note, they did just released the pre pre enrollment for Gordon Ramsay's cooking masterclass, which I'm going to be taking because I love to cook on the side. And, and I'm a big fan of Gordon, and what he does, so it's gonna be really cool. So, head over to indie film hustle.com for slash masterclass, guys, thank you so much for everything, all the support all the help. This has been a record breaking month for indie film, hustle, we've had more traffic, and more downloads than ever before, for the podcast and for the website. So you guys, I owe it all too you guys, thank you so so much for spreading the word about the indie film, hustle tribe. And getting just getting the word out there, and just supporting what I'm trying to do here at the indie film, hustle and getting the word out there. So again, it's gonna be a lot of cool stuff coming up in the new year, we still got a month left in the in this year. But I have a bunch of really, really cool stuff coming up in the new year. And I got some big Sundance announcements coming up again, not about getting in the festival. I doubt that I got in, but about other cool stuff that we're going to be doing at Sundance. So as soon as everything is completely solidified, I'll be telling you guys all about it. And if you guys are going to be there, actually, if anybody is going to that's listening, are you guys going to be at Sundance this year or slam down? Same thing? Let me know and maybe we can kind of coordinate a little meet and greet. Kind of get together an indie film hustle kind of get together at a bar, something like that one night, we can all kind of sit down meet talk to each other. And network and you know, kind of see we can help each other out. So if if you ever if you want to get a hold of me just hit me up in my email [email protected] That's [email protected] And don't forget to send me your your your questions for the new ask Alex segment that I'm doing on the podcast. So if you have any questions, filmmaking questions, please filmmaking only. So if you have any questions about filmmaking, please email me at [email protected] And I'm going to pick a few questions. Try to do it every week, if not every other week and answer questions for you guys live on the podcast to help you guys out more. So thanks again guys. I'm not gonna talk anymore. Keep the hustle going. keep the dream alive and I will talk to you soon.



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IFH 116: Fast and Cheap: Lessons Learned for the No-Budget Feature Film

In this week’s episode, I go way back to a simpler time, the 90s, and discuss the lessons we can learn from some filmmaking legends. I’ll discuss films by Robert Rodriguez, Kevin Smith, Christopher Nolanand Richard Linklater to break down and learn the techniques they used to make awesome, no-budget feature films with limited resources.

“In no-budget filmmaking, your limitations are your guide.”

If you take note of what filmmakers did before you, you can jump-start your filmmaking career. Enjoy!

I also included this killer video by The Royal Ocean Film Society. In the late 1980s and 1990s, there was a great movement indie cinema of no-budget filmmaking that was the beginning for some of the most successful and popular filmmakers of the modern-day. Let’s take a look at five features from that movement and see what lessons we can learn on how to make a great film with as little money as possible.

Here are some key points discussed:

  • Shoot black and white
  • Be disciplined
  • Try not to use guns
  • Film something that hasn’t been seen before
  • Take stock of what you have and make a movie about it
  • Don’t take things so seriously

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 2:26
So guys, today's episode, I wanted to go back a bit and talk about a time of a much simpler time a lovely time called the 90s where a lot of indie film guys got their start. And I wanted to kind of talk a little bit about the lessons we can learn from a lot of these guys who started their careers back in the late 80s, early 90s. And what they were able to do, and how they did it, and I've studied them over the course of my career, and just started finding similar themes and similar things that each of these guys did, to kind of get out there to get a career started. So why don't I go over, go over individual filmmakers as well as movies and concepts as well. And I hope you guys get a little something out of it. Because I've been I've been getting contacted a lot by filmmakers who you know, are trying to get their first movies made. And I see they tell me like, Oh, I'm going to do this kind of movie, this kind of movie. And it's going to cost X amount of dollars. And I'm just thinking to myself, I'm like my god, you know, the chances of you actually making any money back is going to be very, very difficult. And I wanted to kind of give a little bit of a helping hand if I can with this episode. So first and foremost, guys, when you're going to go into making a movie, your first feature film, do it as cheaply as humanly possible. Dirt Cheap, okay, I mean the bare minimum of what you can do to get your movie finished and made, because a lot of filmmakers will show up and go look, I've got $200,000 for my first movie, I'm like, Well, if you have $200,000 for your first movie, you better pick a genre that's really marketable, you probably better pick a couple stars that are going to be involved. So you can at least get some basic sales off of that. And if you don't do that, you're going to be destined for failure. Because even Sundance winners and big big movie, no big fan of Sundance Tribeca, South by Southwest, full blown winners in audience winners and best of shows, you know, for you to read, read, get the $200,000 back on a let's call it a drama, or a comedy or a drama at or something that's not genre based. extremely, extremely difficult and I think a lot of filmmakers make that big Mistake right up front. And when they finally do do that, and they completely fall on their face, they're discouraged. And never make another movie again. And I don't want to see that happen to you guys. So try to make your movie as cheap as possible. And you know, you could take Robert Rodriguez, Kevin Smith, rich, Richard Linklater, Spike Lee, all of these guys, all their first movies were very inexpensive. But obviously the famous one, which is Robert Rodriguez, a $7,000, Kevin Smith at 30, or $27,000, he put on his credit cards, all that kind of stuff. And I'll use this as magazine example, use myself, you know, we made the movie for under $25 million, we'll release the final budget once the audit is done. But we made the movie at a place where we feel comfortable that we can recoup our initial investment. Now that could be half a million dollars. That could be $5,000. Nothing Meg in general, but just a general statement. Because if you have a certain star, or a certain genre or a certain thing, and a half a million dollars, and you know you can pre sell or sell certain territories and things like that half million dollars makes a lot of sense. If you know you're going to probably get 1.5 back for it. But if you're going in with a drama with no stars at 100,000 200,000 $500,000, budget, good luck. It's, you'd be one of the few and when I say few, I can count them on my hands. If I could even think of movies, that blue out of the water at that kind of budget range when they're first starting out. But what you need to do is embrace your limitations. Do what you can do very well. So again, I'll use Meg as an example. You know, my limitations, which were and limitations I set on myself. I knew what I had, I knew what kind of cast that can get. I knew what kind of locations I could get. I knew what camera I can afford that I could have complete control over as opposed to getting a free Alexa, which would have brought all sorts of, you know, headaches of financial headaches, as well as technical and logistical headaches for this kind of movie. And I just, I just fell right into what I had access to. You know, I'll go back to mariachi, you know, Robert had access to a full Mexican town. So he made a movie about a full Mexican town. Kevin Smith had access to a convenience store. And he made a movie about a convenience store. Richard Linklater made a movie called slacker. What did he have access to Austin Austin back in the 90s, which is not the pool hip Austin, that it is today. He just made a movie about his backyard. And that's another thing you guys have to understand. You should make a movie that is close to you. That is your experience your perspective on something. There's been a lot of convenience stores and movies in the history of film. But no one has ever done it quite like Kevin Smith. It was his perspective, his rawness of what it's really like to be a clerk. And that was his that was his truth. Same thing goes for a go to Richard Linklater and slot and slacker. He wanted to show what these people and this town was like, from his perspective, his voice. And if you start going back and watching all of the first movies of a lot of these great directors, they're going to they're going to a lot of them are going to be very close to home. They're going to be you know, I'm sure there's an there's the occasional, you know, oddball out like the following, you know, by Chris Nolan. But it was still something that he had, he used what he had access to, which was a 16 millimeter camera, and he shot it on weekends for a year, you know, so he definitely embraced his limitations, and tried to make the best thing he could, with the limited tools and an experience and locations and everything yet, but a lot of these other people who really kind of break through, they are telling a story that's very true to who they are, and where they come from. And that unique voice is what people are looking for. They're not looking for an eye. Like if I went out right now and make clerks no one wants to see that movie. And that's what happened with like when Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs came out how many rip offs of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction came out after that. I mean, it was ridiculous how many tried to be hips, the hip, kind of movies came out, but it wasn't authentic, and audiences can smell that. And when you find something authentic, something with some heart, something that that rings true. That's when you break out man. So that's why clerks My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you know for you know, which was one of the biggest independent films of all time. Sure, it wasn't done on a little low, low budget, but it wasn't a studio movie by any stretch. That movie made to $300 million. Why? Because Nina the director, writer wrote from Her heart from her experience from her voice. No one had ever done a movie like that before. But then of course, everyone could relate to that movie, because of the story and how she was able to write it. But again, it came from her life experience. She's got to have it Spike Lee's first movie was all about his experience in New York, what it was like to be a black woman in New York in the late 80s. And that whole experience something that no one had ever seen on screen before. So boys in the hood, another one john Singleton's first movie, is a masterpiece. And it was it completely rings true to the experience he saw that he grew up with, and no one had really talked about it, you know, they did collars, you know that. That movie by Dennis Hopper, and Sean Penn, about the gangs in you know, South el, and you know, South Central and all those areas, but no one was really, it was kind of very Hollywood II, as opposed to boys in the hood, then when you watch boys in the hood, you will tear up, you will go Holy crap, it was so powerful. It was like an atom bomb going off in cinema when that came out, you know, from a 23 year old Why? Because he was authentic to who he was, and his experience. And that's what I want you guys to kind of look for when trying to make your first movie, find something that's authentic to you, that only you could tell that story in mind you. You like, Oh, well, you know, I work in a in a video store. Well, you know, nobody works in a video store anymore. But you work at a convenience store, oh clerks has already been done? Well, maybe you could tell it in a different way from your experience, from your place where it maybe has not been told in that way. You know, there's been a lot of movie, there's been a lot of action movies in the world. But it all depends on the kind of perspective you put on it. And what your voice is, what your your message your theme is. And I think as when you're first starting out, it's the easiest thing to do with a feature. You know, I've done my first shorts were very ambitious, very action packed, very true. But I'll be honest with you looking back at some of those movies, I'm like, you know what, there's just something missing. For me as an artist and being critical of my own work, I'll go back and go, you know what, there's something missing there. Maybe I was onto something, maybe I wasn't, I don't know. But Meg, for, for what better or worse, I really love this as Meg, because it's a really authentic view of what I was seeing through the eyes of Julie, you know, and what she was going through as an actress in LA and I had been very close to that world. And we've all seen movies about actresses, and actors trying to make it in Hollywood. But I don't think anyone's seen one like this before, because it's a very unique perspective, a very unique, authentic view of this world. So that's what I was trying to do. And I did it again, on a budget that I feel comfortable, I can get a return on. So look around you and find out what you have access to. And then you start building your story around that. That's exactly what we did. With this as Mac, we started looking and taking inventory of everything we had. So I'm like Alright, we have an edit suite, there's going to be a scene with an edit sweeten it, because as good production value is the edit suite that we added to the movie in you know, we have houses or you have your house, my house, how many rooms can we do how many things we could do great. We have a car, we have these cards? Great. I have some friends with houses. Great. And then I have all these actor friends of mine. Great. That's a resource. Let's use that. Okay, then I have all this that I bring all my camera gear great. And then that's how we were able to construct the story of this is Meg within the limitations of what we had access to. And clerks did it. mariachi did it. slackers did it. And a lot of people will go well, how about like district nine? You know, Neal cams, a great little short, that got him his first feature. Now, I'm going to argue with it and have a paranormal activity. Okay, great. So I'll argue with you that those two movies were not, quote unquote, from, you know, like a little personal movie. But if you look at district nine, what did it do? Neal set the movie in South Africa, an alien invasion kind of movie in South Africa. I've never seen that before. Have you know, now would have that movie still had the same impact if it was set in Chicago? or New York or LA? I don't know. I personally don't think so. I think one of the charms of that movie is because it's set in South Africa. And why is it set in South Africa? Because guess what, Neil South African, and he felt like he wanted to put something from his experience. So he melted his experience with a really cool sci fi story. Now that was the other thing I'm saying the kind of stories I'm talking about are either going to be dramas, comedies, dramas, even actions but And sci fi, if you look at some Sundance winning movie called sleep dealer by Alex Rivera, that's a movie about basically immigration. And, but he threw a sci fi twist in it. He's a Mexican filmmaker, and he decided to throw his experience, as you know, day laborers and not his experience. But the story of day laborers, but he threw it in with an insane sci fi twist to it. And again, he just twisted it, but used his original and his authentic experience to tell that story. And it's his voice. And that's well The other thing I want to tell you guys, I'll argue that district nine, sleep dealer, paranormal activity, those also are genre movies. So genre, kinda is different than what I'm talking about the drama is the comedies that even the actions but action, sci fi, Hor, those, those are genre genres. And because of those, those are much easier to sell and don't need as much of as an authentic voice as a drama or comedy does. Now, look at district nine. District nine had a very authentic voice mixed in with a sci fi movie, and it was a huge hit. So we mixed genre with authentic voice. And that's something that you guys could do as well. genres are going to be much genre films are going to be a lot easier to sell a lot easier to get out there. And it all depends on what you want to do with your filmmaking career. If you want to go down the festival circuit, you want to make personal films want to make big blockbusters, I you know, it's up to you. Robert Rodriguez made mariachi which was an action movie, which is a genre movie, but was very authentic to his voice, which is in his backyard, which is a Mexican town. He's a Mexican American filmmaker, and he was using his authentic voice his experience to make his genre movie. So to review a little bit of what we just talked about, make your first movie is dirt cheapest possible, the cheaper, the better. Because if you're able to make a movie for 15 grand, you should if you know even remotely what you're doing, make yourself 30 grand off of that. And then the next one you can make will cost 30 grand and then off that 30 grand, maybe you can make 50 or 60 grand off of that. And then you can start growing and growing and growing. And then you can start jumping budgets, once you start figuring the process out a little bit. But trying to jump in right away with a huge budget when I say huge budget $100,000 for someone's never directed a day in their life is a lot $200,000 that's a lot of fucking money, excuse my language. And I know a lot of filmmakers just want to like oh, I'm got my big budget, I'm gonna use all these tools and stuff like that Don't be idiots. Try to do something small First, if you can, if you can execute something on a smaller scale, tell a good story on a $20,000 budget on a $15,000 budget on a $10,000 budget, then you have a much, much better chance of telling a good story and making it look good. When you have a bigger budget. There's a lot of things that you don't think about when working on a bigger budget. But if you do something small, that might work better and I'll use myself again with Meg as an example. You know, we raised a good amount of money to make the movie but it was a number that we felt very comfortable with. I could have easily tripled or quadrupled that kind of budget and made a much bigger movie. Because I have 20 years of experience under my belt. I've directed four or $500,000 music videos and commercials and things like that in my career. But I decided no I'm not going to do that. I'm going to strip it down to the bare bones and Mike look this is about story. Let's see if I can tell a story that I'm proud of before I start jumping into the next big project. Don't be in such a rush to jump into these bigger budgets guys all right, learn from the lessons of Robert Rodriguez Kevin Smith, Spike Lee all these guys that started Richard Linklater that started out with smaller smaller budget selling very personal stories because that's what will take you to the next level and the next level and the next level after that. And again, there always are those people who who are the exception but generally speaking, I don't know of any examples of people who who made a drama or a comedy or a drama at at a very you know, it robust budget with no stars or anything like that involved and was able to be very successful with it. I know of many people who did genre movies, horror movies, action movies, I mean, Eli Roth, Peter Jackson, all these kind of guys. They did genre movies and and that's how they got noticed and how they broke out and started their career. I mean, we can go all the way back to Martin Scorsese's first films. Who's that knocking Which was completely from his experience all his short films, most of his early short films were based around his experience, which is his his experience in the streets of New York, in the 60s and 70s. Growing up seeing the mobster seeing the thing that was his authentic voice. And that voice he's carried on throughout his career jumping in and out from that his next movies and other gangster movie because he's so good at it because he understands that world so well, but that's his authentic voice from where Martin Scorsese came from, then he didn't mean streets, then he starts jumping into something like taxi driver. Then he jumps into Raging Bull, and these other movies that aren't his personal stories anymore, but his personal stories are what got him to the next level. And that's what I'm trying to tell you guys. You should look at. And I know a lot of you going well, Alex, I don't have a personal story. I live in Podunk. Wherever. Not a lot of stuff happens here. On mic. Perfect. That's exactly where your story is. What if something happens in that little town with those characters, those people that you know so well, that you might have never seen on screen before. Again, slacker. No one had ever seen that world before. You know, boys in the hood, no one ever seen that kind of world before. Clark's no one ever seen his partake on that world before. Same thing with mariachi. So guys, I hope you learn something out of this podcast. And I hope you take some of the advice I've given you out here. Hopefully it makes sense to you, and will help you along your, your journey, as filmmakers, as an author, and as artists, and I hope you guys can launch successful careers as filmmakers, which is what we're all trying to do. We're all trying to do that we're all trying to make a living doing what we'd love to do. And hopefully we can look at others who have done it and taking their careers to levels that we can only dream of. So I'm going to put links to all of the movies that I've talked about in this episode in our show notes at indie film hustle.com forward slash 116. There also be a great little video about 10 minute video on lessons you can learn from filmmakers in the 90s when you're making your first feature film. So definitely check that out guys. And as always, please head over to filmmaking podcast calm, and leave me a good review on iTunes, and really helps me out a lot guys. And I want to get this out to as many people as humanly possible. And also I've got a bunch of great stuff coming up at the syndicate, we're going to be uploading a ton of new courses, as well. So check that out as well indie film syndicate.com. And finally, guys, I wanted to ask you, if you want to ask me something. So I'm going to start creating a little a little section either I'm going to do it in its own podcasts, or I'm going to do it at the end of podcast, depending on how many questions I get. But I want you guys to send me some questions. If you have a question that you're just dying to know. And you really wish you could ask and get an answer to and you think I can possibly answer it for you. email me at IF H [email protected] That's IF H [email protected] And that will just write me a question going, Hey, this question and this question and I'll do a podcast episode, answering those questions alone. And hopefully that will help you guys a bit. So you could either do it, that'd probably be the best way to get a hold of me with it. So ifhsubmissions.com. So keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.



  1. Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
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  3. Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)