Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Just for the Hell of It -- Episode 20

                                           Louis C.K.

Anyone who’s been following this blog for a while knows of my admiration for Louis C.K.  His comedy specials are terrific, but the real genius surfaces in his eponymous show on the FX network -- the new season of which is currently underway. Louis C.K. is no mere comedian, but an honest-to-god filmmaker who studied the craft long enough that he's willing and able to tackle subjects that are way out on the thin creative ice where few dare to venture. But Louis C.K. goes there on a regular basis -- and more often than not, his efforts pay off.  And given that he writes, directs and edits every half hour show, he's as close to a true auteur as you'll ever see.  

The man is pure magic.
Here’s a recent interview he did for the public radio program Fresh Air. You could just read the highlights of the transcript, but that would only cheat yourself out of the experience of listening to the whole show. Although there's humor in this interview, it’s not terribly funny -- nor is it meant to be -- but there’s so much smart, raw truth about the realities of modern life in this podcast.  It’s fascinating, entertaining and illuminating all at once. Carve out an hour when you can, then sit down and listen -- you’ll be a better person for it.
Still, the director isn't always right... not even when that director is Louis C.K.  This thoughtful, well-written post -- by a sound boom operator who worked on one of his shows and (apparently) was the subject of a snide comment by Louis in a public forum that took place later -- offers a different perspective.  It's worth reading.
For a clear, thorough explanation of what a gaffer does on set -- and how he does it -- read this blog interview with Hollywood veteran Chris Strong.  Having been a gaffer for a dozen years (although never at the level achieved by Chris), I can testify that he tells it like it is.


This week's offering from The Business -- KCRW's half hour show/podcast dedicated to exploring the film and television industry -- features an interview with veteran producer Brian Grazer.  Rather than describe his career, here's the podcast blurb:
“Oscar-winning producer Brian Grazer’s movies range from the story of a mermaid in Splash, to astronauts in crisis in Apollo 13, to a schizophrenic mathematician in A Beautiful Mind.  But they all have some things in common: a deep soul, a focus on identity, and real movie stars. Today, it’s tough to get studios to make movies like that. Grazer tells us why.  He also talks about his increased focus ontelevision and how hundreds of conversations with all kinds of people led to his new book, A Curious Mind."
It's a fascinating interview covering a wide range of subjects, that could easily have gone on another half hour without boring anybody.  But you take what you can get in this world, and this one is worth a listen.
Last up today is Rob Long's most recent Martini Shot commentary, a meditation on the importance of resisting the urge to "be smart" in Hollywood -- because if change often seems oh-so-attractive to the point of being almost inevitable, change for the sake of change is seldom a smart idea.  
It's a good one, and only three minutes long, so check it out.

That's all for this week.  Keep the faith, people -- because if you don't, who will?

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