Duke of Digital

023 - How to Create an Epic Story for your Business with Anslem Richardson

December 13, 2019
Duke of Digital
023 - How to Create an Epic Story for your Business with Anslem Richardson
Chapters
Duke of Digital
023 - How to Create an Epic Story for your Business with Anslem Richardson
Dec 13, 2019
Brian Meert
Transcript
Speaker 1:
0:00
Do you want to be a superhero with your business? Then telling a great story is essential. Raise your pinkies because today we're going to break down how to create an Epic story for your business
Speaker 2:
0:12
presented by advertisement. The juke of digital will guide you through the rapidly changing landscape of digital marketing, social media, and how to grow your business online. To submit a question for the show, text (323) 821-2044 or visit Duke of digital.com if you need an expert to fix your ads, the friendly team at advertisement is ready to help visit advertisement. That's M I N t.com or call (844) 236-4686.
Speaker 1:
0:46
Grow your business. Here's your host Brian Mitt. Alright man, I'm excited today. I'm, I'm actually geeking out a little bit, uh, because we've got an slum Richardson, uh, who I've always known as slim. Um, from when we've met on the show today, I, I'm just excited now we met because our wives are both about to give birth like any Mo, you're ahead of me on the, on the timeline. What a few days. I think so. I think so, but it, it could be, it could be in the middle of this podcast. If a text comes through, please don't, he's out. Uh, so right there on the verge of a nervous breakdown is for both of us. It's the first first baby. Right. And so I think going through this and we were together in a birthing class and which I just found so fascinating because I thought I knew a lot about how birth works and babies work and I got done with that class and I was like, and I knew nothing, you know, nothing.
Speaker 1:
1:51
John Snow. That's how I felt. There's not much there. So I just, I mean, I'm excited to have you here because you're an actor. You've been on law and order NCIF Spiderman to, um, you're the executive story editor for the boys' season to be associate producer, I think. Oh, that's awesome. Season. You're working your way up to the top. I love it. Which is one of my favorite shows. Uh, and that's when we first met. When you're like, yeah, I'm working on this show called the boys. I was like, Oh my gosh, I love it. And like I could talk all day about the boys. Um, but you, you've been an award winning screenwriter, uh, and you're currently working on adapting the autobiography of running for my life, running for my life. That's a feature film. Also the um, the autobiography, uh, Assata Shakur's autobiography. Um, those are the two adaptations. And then there are a couple of originals that I'm working on. Man. It just sounds like you even sleep. Do you ever sleep at all? Yeah, it's seems like you're very busy. Everybody's like, you know, they're like, Oh you got to get rested for the baby. Cause I'm just like, you know, I'm already used to not sleeping.
Speaker 1:
2:57
Nothing. Yeah, it is funny cause people will be like, Oh, you know, be prepared for what's coming. You know. I mean, I run a business that is, is pretty fast paced and I'm like, I feel like I have a good grasp on it, but they still look at me and be like, they shake their head and like not be prepared. You have no idea what's coming. So I don't know if I should be scared or if it will be, you know, somewhat manageable. But Hey, yeah, we're going to find out here any minute at the stopwatch. It could happen at any point in time. All right. So did I miss anything?
Speaker 3:
3:29
Um, you know, I mean, you know, I got, um, you know, uh, an award in a acting for a film called M a L Gonzo. And, uh, the latest film that drops in February is called after we leave. I was just at the, a screening of it in Austin, um, Monday, Sunday night or Monday. Um, and uh, and that one at a London scifi, which the same place that Gareth Edwards who, uh, he wanted for this film called, uh, I think it was called monsters. Um, and he went on to do Godzilla and, and, um, the, what was the sort of flashback star Wars episode? Uh, yeah. Um,
Speaker 1:
4:13
rogue one. Rogue one. Okay. Yes. Yeah. So he's doing okay since then. Ah, man. Well that how, uh, I just wanna make sure people can find you. How would someone, uh, follow you or find you? Is it, what, what works best? Uh, at Absalom asylum.
Speaker 3:
4:30
Um, you can find me on Twitter and Instagram. Mostly Instagram. I'm still trying to figure myself out on Twitter.
Speaker 1:
4:37
So what, I'm at a brief in my, in my tweets, so, yeah. That's great. Well, I wanted to have you on this show because one of the elements in business that I think is so critical is telling a good story and it's something new. We have a lot of companies that come and work with us and time and time again, you know, there are people that are like, no, here's my store. I started a business. I want to make lots of money and, and you know, and that just, it doesn't resonate. And you know, that if that's kind of their core of what they're looking to do, a lot of times it's hard for them to, you know, engage with consumers in a way that they believe in or they're cheering for a company or they want to root for the company. Um, and so I really wanted to talk about a process of creating a, a good story behind, you know, a business and, and I think this, I think it's something that most businesses struggle with. So, you know, what I wanted to do was, you know, walk us through a little bit in terms of how you got into acting and how that transitioned into screenwriting.
Speaker 3:
5:43
Yeah, yeah. It's, it's a really long like,
Speaker 1:
5:47
Oh, I love it. I want the origin story. It starts actually
Speaker 3:
5:50
back to like high school where I was in art schools from um, sixth grade, um, through, you know, senior high. And this wasn't just like art schools for a drama or anything like that. It was, it was a really for visual art. And, um, and I had to pick a track, um, in, um, in high school of, uh, once I, I started this, this high school called design and architecture senior high. I was part of the first graduating class and you had to pick a field. And I ended up picking interior design. Um, and while I was in 11th grade, I got a job offer from image comics. I was like, mom, look, I got maybe they want me, they want me to, cause they come to LA. And my mom was like, that's nice, you're going to college. Um, so that dream died. Um, so a while while they're, you know, learning everything from Plato to all the different artists and, and having this fantastic, you know, sort of letting a bunch of rats loose, you know, they didn't know quite what they wanted.
Speaker 3:
6:46
So we had all these great experiences that had, um, uh, shows and everything. Um, so from there, I, uh, this is, this is not the best story guys. Um, but I was, my school was a little too close to Miami beach, so I spent a lot of time on the beach. Sometimes when I'm supposed to be in school. Um, and all of a sudden, all of these colleges that were interested in me, these art schools, like Pratt and et cetera, um, I missed all the deadlines cause I was playing beach volleyball. Um, and my friends were like, Oh, well, yeah, I got into this. I was like, Oh wow, really? When, when do you apply? And they're like, dude, dude, it's over. So, um, I happened to find a, uh, a letter from Florida state and they're like, if you want to apply late, you know, send us into some money and blah, blah, you know, and we'll consider you.
Speaker 3:
7:33
So I secretly grabbed some money, sent it in, got into Florida state from Florida state. I started, uh, followed a girl into an acting troupe and really enjoyed that. But I had written an essay, um, in my freshman year, I believe, and my teacher submitted it to, uh, some type of prize or a grant or something, um, award. And I won. And I was like, Oh, I guess I can. Right. And so while I was doing the drama, um, on the side, really, um, I was really pursuing a creative writing, um, degree. Um, and I happened to get cast in the main stage and actually the drama schools, um, uh, performance of, um, offenses with August Wilson, August Wilson's fences, Lloyd Richards had come in from Yale to teach a distinguished lecture series. Um, it was only open to drama students and I wasn't, so I broke into the school after hours and sign my name to this list, the secret list.
Speaker 3:
8:33
And because I was on the main stage production, I got in and that guy, Lloyd Richards had directed all of August Wilson and Lorraine Hansberry, his plays on Broadway. And after it all, he was like, you know, what are you doing basically with your life? And I was like, Oh no, fucking go back to Miami, play beach volleyball. I don't know. And he was like, you know, if you stop this, I'll be very disappointed. And so I kinda took that to heart. Um, that production ended up going on tour and the lead actor. And now one of the other actors, um, asked me the same thing and when they realize I didn't know, they're like, look, come, if you come to New York, we can set you up with a acting coach and you can get into this. So soon as I graduated college, went to New York and started at the bottom, the off, off, off, off, off, off, off Broadway stuff.
Speaker 3:
9:25
And then slowly worked my way up until finally I got a, into an off Broadway production. And at that time, um, I had gotten a F a series of, of films that went to Sundance. And finally I got into, um, we, there's one, one film that I was leading and it ended up winning our category at Sundance. Um, the best of next prize. Um, it's called the locksmith by Brad Barnes. And I done another film with him. And, um, so now scripts are starting to come my way and I'm reading them and I'm like, these suck. I'm like, I can write better than this. And I really hadn't written since I was in college. So I wrote my first screenplay and it ended up winning at, um, IFP, the independent film week, um, there, and it was a very subversive kind of play. It was a about the sort of the aftermath of nine 11 and, um, being a subway worker.
Speaker 3:
10:18
And, and what that means, especially when, uh, you started dealing with a lot of, uh, uh, for lack of a better word, like, you know, uh, you know, just you started seeing posters of like, you know, be proud, join in YPD, be brave, join FD and Y. And what happens if a person can't and they're the loneliest person in the world and they're around millions of people all of the time and they want to be a part of something bigger. Um, and so after one had these meetings with producers and they're like, Oh, this is great. We love what you do with character and dialogue and tension and this'll never happen. This will never be produced. So they're like, if you have anything else that's bigger, um, you know, that can reach more people, let us know. So, um, I, uh, I took some time, couldn't figure out what that was, and I was very much inspired by and looking up to the original Cape fear what Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck.
Speaker 3:
11:10
And so I said, okay, I want to do a thriller. And then, um, I was also very, very, like obsessed with Charlie Kaufman. And I was like, okay, well if Charlie Kaufman could adapt the original Cape fear, what would he do? And still couldn't figure it out. But I knew I was like, this is sort of the world I want to live in. And um, then I started reading the Tibetan book of living and dying and there's a concept in there called Bardos and all of a sudden the story came. And so I wrote that story and it ended up winning at Tribeca. Um, uh, tried to pick a film, so the all access program. Um, and so I was like, okay. And people, and finally the producers are just like, yes, this is what we're kind of looking for. And then it also into the, uh, film independent screenwriters lab.
Speaker 3:
11:57
So I was coming to LA at this point, I'm starting to like act and other things. Yeah. And while I was there, I met this incredible manager and a good friend of mine, his name is Tom Carter. He was just starting to work at this, at this, um, this management company that I, that rep me in New York, but they're also opening up the literary department in LA and we just hit it off. And I had done a, a web series that, um, independent film channel picked up and actually ran on their on air. And I had started writing another one and it was just a nine page scene about a Senator, um, uh, interviewing, uh, I mean a, a journalist interviewing a Senator and he's like, what are you doing with that? I was like, I don't know. I was like, I don't know if I could really feasibly do it as a web series and needs more money than that.
Speaker 3:
12:43
He's like, well, write it as a pilot. I think I know what to do with it. And so I wrote it and he just strategically, um, um, just sent it to all the taste-makers in, in LA, cause it dealt with, it was really about the death of modern day, um, political journalism, which at this point, we all can see, you know, this is about five, five years ago, five, six years ago actually. And I would also dealt with, uh, environmental issues, especially on the large companies like ExxonMobil, et cetera, energy and, um, and just wanting to deal with, with those aspects. And so he got it to like, uh, the Robert Downey jr company and, and, um, DiCaprio's company and, and all of these people in it. And it started up a little buzz and now that brought the big agencies now to me, like, you know, who's this guy everybody's kind of like talking about, and it ended up selling at, um, at, uh, CBS productions.
Speaker 3:
13:37
And also this company called Timmerman Beverly, who was doing justified, um, and, uh, and, and several other like big shows. And so that got sold. And from there, a dude who had, who was a co-writer of the original, um, uh, born identity. Um, he had a series that was starting up on, on a, on a cable network, and he was like, you know, I just read your, I read your pilot, I'm doing this thing. So that got me my first TV writing job. And then from there, Sean Ryan who, uh, created the shield, um, he was creating timeless with Eric [inaudible], who's my new boss. So I did timeless for two years with those guys and I was hell of a lot of fun and a huge history lesson each episode. And, um, and then a timeless, um, you know, had it's had its time and Eric [inaudible], I'd taken a year off, got married, took a seven week honeymoon all over the world.
Speaker 3:
14:34
It was fantastic. And then I was just spending a year just to just focus on my thing that told everybody. I was like, let me have the time to do that. And, um, Eric found me out and he's like, look, I'm doing this new series called the boys, um, you know, just take a look at this pilot. And I'm like, yeah, I'm doing my own thing, blah, blah. He's like, you know, I'll just take a look at the pilot. And, um, and, and Lauren, my wife, she knew that I would just didn't want to do anything but my own stuff. And she's like, you know, I've got you. Don't worry about it. And she, I put on the pilot and she heard me laughing and she was like, Oh fuck, you can take it. And I was, you know, so I met witch with Eric and, and just kind of talked about like, you know, what it brought out in me. And um, and yeah, and that's been history. So I came on to the second season. Um, they were already in the midst of, of, um, the second season and yeah, just got back from Toronto like about five weeks ago.
Speaker 1:
15:28
That's right. That's right. Yeah. Now, for, for anyone that's listening, the boys, uh, is a show about a superheroes. Um, kind of, uh, what can happen if superheroes LAR left unchecked, where they can do whatever they want and the rules don't apply to them. Um, and they can cause trouble and no one can really stop them because they're more powerful than anyone else. Um, I mean, I was looking to do some of the stats. It's the most successful Amazon prime video, original show to date, uh, 8 million viewers and 10 days. I, these are some massive numbers. Um, and season two is set to arrive sometime mid 20, 20.
Speaker 3:
16:06
Yeah. Probably look around the same time. Summer. Yeah. June, may, June. Not sure.
Speaker 1:
16:10
Uh, I, I loved it because it was just, you know, most superheroes movies are made kind of for everyone. It's definitely a, maybe a more adultish like I wouldn't let my kid watches for chair. Yeah. She's going to have to be like 18 or 21 before my daughter for boys. Yeah. Um, but it's just, it's so good because it starts with the story of a guy named Huey who's just a regular guy that gets caught up in this world by nothing. That is his choice. Um, and so I think what I wanted to do was just, you know, run through what are the core elements of a good story. Like, Oh, you know, you, you've got a right for to be able to, I don't know if the end goal is to entertain or to captivate, you know, what is it, when you start, when you sit down and you're creating these things, what is it that you want people to experience through the journey or at the end?
Speaker 3:
17:08
You know, it's, it's a, it's, it's a little bit of two things. One, you're thinking about what other people wants, but for me, that's at the tail end. I mean, um, I write for what I would want to see, um, on the screen. And I usually, because I come from more of the cinematic background, even in the, when I, when I like sort of go into TV, I'm thinking about things in terms of a film. So even when I'm on set in production, I'm like the film, the film, I never call in an episode. I never call it like, uh, it's, it's, it's because you are, what you want to do is take the audience through a journey. You know, the Stu, you're talking about the hero's journey, um, earlier before we came on, but you want to go through, you want to find that aspect of that character.
Speaker 3:
17:51
And also when you're dealing with an ensemble, everyone is sort of going on an arc, but there's usually that main person and you want to kind of take people into a, uh, into a, you know, into an experience that they haven't yet, and then also put that character into circumstances if that person hasn't gone into yet. So when I, when I'm looking, when I'm looking to do a story, it's, it's, it's a, it's a combination of that. It's like what happened? I seen what it will be like, really cool. What changes sort of the paradigm, you know what I mean? So like, cause what is the point of doing a story if it's something that everybody's seen before or somebody people have already experienced before, it's the same sort of, okay, paint by numbers. A plus B plus C equals D. yeah, that's boring to me.
Speaker 3:
18:36
And, and, um, I'm, I'm, everyone who knows me knows that I'm a huge, not only cinephile, but just like the, the critic, you know what I mean? I'm just like, Oh, I've seen that they did that before in the 1960s with this film. You know what I mean? And I'm, I'm that person. And so I'm like, um, that's what I'm primarily looking for. Like what changes the, the, the, the paradigm. And also for me, it's really all about characters, not about plot, plot any. And you can add a, an explosion, you can add a vis or, or whether, you know, at any point. But what is that thing that when the audience sits down and they're looking at the screen, can this person take them through where they feel it on a universal level, but also they get to, you know, sort of, uh, live and experience that they could have never lit before or sometimes that they have lived before and you can touch that, that piece in them, um, that really like affects them on a really emotional way.
Speaker 3:
19:33
So that's kind of what I do. I'm not, you know, I don't necessarily subscribe to like story that, that bookstore that everybody does or like save the cat. I mean there's, there's, there's a format, you know, that you have to keep in mind, but I'm much more of like, you know, when Paul Thomas Anderson talks about story, it's really just like, okay, what, what can I do that's different and how can, how far can I push these people? You know? Um, too. Cause I'm also coming out and not only as a writer, but as an actor and what would I want what w E like, like, yeah, I got this fucking script. I got to do this. You know what I mean? I got to go through these emotions. That's what I'm looking for. I'm looking for when we go to set and the actors are just like, Oh this is great. This is fucking great. I have my character hasn't explored this before or an, and everything sort of makes sense in this sort of tree that you've created of a, of, of, of, of experiences. You know what I mean? That's, that's to me what, what gets me really, really excited and I'm not like the typical sort of writer in that way. So I'm much more of like, okay, well what's what's happening? You know what I mean? Yeah.
Speaker 1:
20:34
So when you talk about, you know, um, the character, right? And that's generally who people look up to and, and, and can relate with. Are there core attributes that you want to have shine through or is it different with every story? Is it, you know, whether it's love or it's you know, action or you know, someone that's, you know, coming of age or, you know, w how do you pick, what is the core thing
Speaker 3:
21:02
theme? Well, with each, with each story, I, the first thing I do before just like jumping into the journey is figuring out what the theme is. Okay. Once you have that theme, then you kind of can work backwards, you know what I mean? And not only for your main character, but for every single other character. I don't want to give away anything with my episodes. Let me, um,
Speaker 1:
21:19
I know it's tough cause I asked him off camera. I was like, slim, what can you tell me about, you know, a S a season two. And he was like, I can't see anything. And I was like, just a little bit like some cliff notes, uh, interpretive dance, anything. Give me some clue. And he was like, no, like this, everything is on hush hush. And I was like, all right, I will wait and check it out. Which is actually probably better because then I'm like, no, I don't know. Nothing will ruin it. And for anyone that hasn't seen the boys, it is just shocking after shocking like the things that happened, you're like, Oh, how did no again and again and again. And you're like, I didn't see that one coming at all. So yeah, I wouldn't actually want to be ruined. Roger's just trying to see if he would let out some sleepy I can tell you is that
Speaker 3:
22:06
this season is even crazier and more in depth with the character journey than the first season and it's fucking crazy. Which is crazy cause I think the first season was really good with the character journeys. Oh, it's even deeper. Oh, I love it even deeper and you know, just to, to go onto to the boys, it's so rich where you can go with each person, which is kind of what you want. Cause that, that then takes you into more than just two seasons or three seasons. We've got enough material for a six, seven, eight seasons, you know what I mean? And that's, and we can go into any character that we want and just kind of like really mine, you know, what's happening with them. It's fucking, not only is a great storytelling because [inaudible] is a really kind of a fucking genius, but, um, the level of talent old way down, you know, from the other writers that I work with, to the actors who are fucking amazing and even, and the crew that the art design, our gray wall, um, does all at everything and it's so cinematic and it's such a big show or we're running with like, you know, like so many different units just to capture everything.
Speaker 3:
23:14
It's really like making a, you know, a, not quite, but almost like a Marvel movie. Each episode. It's fucking, how long was filming from kind of start to end or the eight episodes that are in season two? It's about, I think, uh, probably runs about six months. Six months or so, maybe. Maybe a little less. May five, five or six months. Yeah.
Speaker 1:
23:35
Crazy. As I watched all of season one in about like I watched at night until I fell asleep and woke up in the morning and did it. And when it got to the end, I was like, man, that was when it was over. And I was like, ah, I wish I would have waited a little bit more before I finished that up. But it was, I just watched the whole thing and binged it and I loved it the whole time.
Speaker 3:
23:57
There's a cool thing about what, what Eric does, America's a creative show. Um, but also th th there's the comics is I'm a comics by, I'm going to screw this up or um, I'll come back to that. Let me, I'm going to Google it real quick. Yeah, it's early guys. Um, but, uh, the great thing about, about the, the, the characters is like, it's really about, you know, we know the justice league, we know the Avengers. Um, we know those sort of iconic characters, but what if they were actually real and not just real that too. We see in the movie theaters and those are great. I'm a, I'm a huge, you know, um, superhero watcher. Um, but if they were actually real people with the foibles of real people and egos of real people, and then you bring in, um, you know, uh, corporations and, and, and making money from, from, you know, the, the toys and the movies and, and, and when you put all of that into what the world that we're all living in currently, what does that do to a person, you know, and especially if, if on top of that you are completely invincible and you cannot help but think, I mean, granted, it's cynical, um, that it, it will affect people in negative ways.
Speaker 3:
25:08
When you look at celebrities, when you look at sports figures and you look at, you know, uh, senators or presidents or whatever, it'll go to your head and the more you can get away with is, the more that you're going to get away with this, the more that you're going to get away with and rules don't apply to you. So it's, it's, it's really interesting to see like, well, what does that look like? You know?
Speaker 1:
25:30
Uh, I loved it. Uh, the comic was by Garth. Yep. And Derek. Yes. Um,
Speaker 3:
25:37
and now that's another thing, Derek, Derek Robinson, he was up there when I was there. And it's, when you look at the show, the very look of it is Derek, you know, even the, the, the drawings that you see in, in the, in the episodes, the posters, all of his, his artwork, it's really, really fantastic. He's a great, great guy. Now I want to ask you this, what would you say towards a boring story? Right. And, and an example would be,
Speaker 1:
26:03
I want to create a product. I want to get it manufactured. I'm going to come in and work nine to five, I'm going to make lots of money, buy my product.
Speaker 3:
26:12
It doesn't work that way. Life doesn't work that way. You know, you think of like the interesting stories like Steve jobs or bill Gates or, or, or, or you know, Elon Musk or anybody. They all have interesting lives that that again, don't add up to like, you know, one plus one equals two. It's this sort of weird thing where you just sort of like, you know, trying to figure out things and you're testing things and you, and you're not afraid to fail, which is something that I battle with all the time because, you know, ever I was a little kid, you know, having like a, you know, a little bit of OCD and everything had to be perfect. Perfect, perfect. Even like when I was in art schools when I was young, I couldn't just draw a leaf. Like, normally they would actually extend the, uh, the due dates for me sometimes once they had me do one still life for an entire semester because to draw a leaf to me, you have to get every vein of the leaf, every little piece of imperfection.
Speaker 3:
27:09
And it's just how my, my and I would get frustrated if I couldn't capture that. Um, and then so like when, when you were dealing, what I'm trying to learn how to do now is just like, be completely okay with failure and knowing that failure is a part of the whole mission. Honestly, my life is a series of failures that, you know, were there, I was like doing menial jobs in New York, driving trucks and, and, and the one, you know, being a janitor and you know, and being a PA free for years and years and years and, you know, getting equipment in the mornings and, you know, all this while I'm doing a play at night in some church basement, you know what I mean? Um, all of that fuels your experience and your ability to interact with people and kind of get a sense of not necessarily what people want, but the complexities of who they are and especially when you win in terms of storytelling.
Speaker 3:
28:06
Um, that's just something that I've, I've, I've, I have become fascinated with old, but that was only a result of so many different failures. And even coming to LA, I had just, um, been in that film at Sundance that, that one. And I was doing a graphic design job at TV land and there was a, a, a manager and our talent manager who had seen me at Sundance. And it was just like, what are you doing in New York? And I'm just like, ah, that's usually my answer for it if you haven't noticed. And she literally, I was at work and she was on the phone with me and basically just said like, look shit or get off the pot. And it shocked me and I hung up the phone and I just sat there for like about maybe two minutes just staring at the keyboard.
Speaker 3:
28:51
And then finally I just turned around to my supervisor and like, this is my two weeks notice. I had no idea what the fuck I was going to do and I came out to LA and then it's just been sort of, it's just been, you know, things have just been kind of going, I mean, it took, it was rough in the beginning. Um, but you know, slowly but surely all of those failures, all of those, those, those situations of, you know, being like close to homeless, you know what I mean? And driving Lyft and Uber when I first got out here, um, it all sort of adds up and you sort of create your look because I just, I did not stop, you know what I mean? That's what was even like with my friends. I'm gonna say, even if you have something that looks like something that may go a green light, it's like on the way, don't, don't, don't put all your eggs in that basket. Just keep, keep producing as much as you can. At some point, one of those, I'm going to so many different metaphors. One of those plates, you know, that, that you've been spinning is going to, um, you know, show some fruit. That's a whole lot of [inaudible].
Speaker 1:
29:51
Yeah, that's great. It's funny cause I was at an event, I'm here about two months ago with Sylvester Salone and he was talking about how he wrote Rocky and he said he worked at a theater, um, as like an usher. And he would go in and he was like, I gotta figure out how to write. And because he was just sitting there, he would write down the lines of what people would say. And he was like, after watching it a couple of times. So today I would have the basic, you know, the layout of what was the format of a script. And I took that and went back. And that's what allowed me to understand how to write movie scripts. First of all,
Speaker 3:
30:29
Rocky is a brilliant, brilliant scream. I just watched it. Um, I'm only like two months ago to have known maybe about three months ago. And it holds up today. And in this similar way to, for my generation where he had to go to the theater, do it, I would watch, especially taxi driver, um, uh, Paul Schrader's taxi driver over and over again. I would watch it maybe once, sometimes twice a week. And I watched it like that for a year and a half. And I got the screenplay and I would just read it over and over. And just how, and especially when you're talking about character, I mean there's, there's, there's, there are, there's probably maybe on par, but that's one of the finest character, um, you know, explorations that there is Rocky Rocky's, another one. But I to learn how to create structure. I looked at the back of the DVDs.
Speaker 3:
31:20
I remember when the DVDs would show chapters and they'd give it a name. And I was like, Oh, maybe this is how you structure a screenplay. And from there I learned how to, and from that you figured out where the, the, uh, the act one, you have to do it intuitively. Act one is where act two is where three is. And I realized this sort of stories before, if the became big about stories, having four acts, I kind of noticed that. Then just kind of like looking at how things were. But you do, you do what you have to do with what you have. You know what I mean? And you can't really think about, even though everybody does, it's sort of like, Oh, I don't have this, I don't have this. It's like, dude, what do you have
Speaker 1:
31:55
now? You talked about in terms of great stories in business, you know, people that are like, you know, Steve jobs or Elon Musk. Um, and, and these would be cologne or, or Salone. Right. You know, successful people. Um, now I would say some of these are, you know, billionaires with the ability to play in different worlds. If it was someone that, you know, maybe didn't have all those options, what would your advice be? Knowing how you write for characters that they should focus on themselves or how to be able to bring out who they are into their business so that their business or even you know, who they are, has a story that can resonate with people. Is there something that you would say, you know,
Speaker 3:
32:40
focus on your strengths or do something crazy. They, you know, will get people's attention. I can only speak to it in terms of like sort of my industry and not necessarily the producer side because that's, that's, that's much more of a business side. But as far as the, the, the art, the, the sort of quote unquote talent. Um, one thing I never understood when I was first starting out acting when people were like, you know, have your own experiences, you know, go out there, figure out who you are. It's only today that I'm really starting to understand, um, when I look at people who are successful in my fields, how much of a sense that they understand who they are at their core. You know what I mean? Um, they're not trying to find and search and, and grasp, but they come in, you look at like, you know, even like, uh, like Lupita Nyong'o, um, you look at, uh, of Joaquin Phoenix.
Speaker 3:
33:37
These people know who they are. And when you're looking at a character in that kind of a way, there's a grounding newness to that person that's innate, you know what I mean? Um, uh, what's his name? Heath ledger had that same sort of thing. And that right now is sort of the journey that I'm going in. And so for anybody, I mean it's, it's, it's, it's a little different, but I think it can, can be applied to like gum, general business. If you know who you are, then you, you, you have a tendency to take you. So you sort of go out for you, this is the most inarticulate way of saying this. Um, if you have a sense of who you are, you're not sort of of, of doing a general thing like in, in enacting a bad direction would be, you know, go for love in this.
Speaker 3:
34:31
And it's like, well, what the fuck does that mean? You know, Oh, you hate this person. It's like there's different types of hate. You know what I mean? But if you go for your, your, you know, what you, you're jealous of this person. Um, because you know, your dad did this same thing to your mom and you see that this person is sort of getting away with that, you know, and then it's all of a sudden it's like your brain starts to, you know, um, spark in different areas and it's not necessarily that you necessarily go in for that, but it's all of a sudden you have this, this thing to go for. Um, it's like in art school, what are the big things that sort of, uh, inspired me was a Plato's, um, he has this, this, this, this, uh, this theory about the ideal.
Speaker 3:
35:11
And they're like, for instance, this is like an ideal chair and that's somewhere up there. If you believe in God or gods, it's up there. And as an artist, all you can do is strive for that perfection. And what you get is what we have. We have different versions of the same sort of thing. But nothing is going to be as perfect as that, but as long as you're striving for that. If like when I write, if I'm striving to be to write Casablanca, you know, and if I'm striving to write the godfather or some great fucking piece, if I fall short, I'm a hell of a lot further than everybody else who likes strove for the lowest common denominator, you know what I mean? Just like, Oh, this is acceptable. I'll do that. No, fuck that. You know what I mean? If you're going to do something, make it fucking great.
Speaker 3:
35:56
Yeah, just go balls to the wall and make it great. Don't you know friends who ask about like writing and they're just like, Oh well, you know, I'm thinking about doing something like this, like this TV show. I'm like, why? Why the TV shows already done? Go, go pass that, go, go. What is the greatest thing that you can possibly think of? Go for that. And again, if you fall short, you're so far ahead of the pack. And honestly I have continued to work because of that pilot because I just was like, okay, what do I want to see? And yeah. Ah, it's fantastic. It actually is really good advice. I had a friend, I, I've written a book and I had a friend reach out to me because he was like, Hey, I want to write a book too. And he was asking me like how long did it take?
Speaker 3:
36:39
And I was telling him, he was like, Oh, it's so long I want to do, I want it to be, what's the easiest way I can do it? What's the easiest way? And I was like, ah. It just made me cringe. And I was like, the last thing you want to do is make something that it is lame or boring and like, Hey look, I wrote this book in 20 minutes and I'm like, no, you want something that's, it's amazing that people will leave five star reviews for all. Yeah. That's how you get ahead. Not let me do the quickest, you know, um, type of project and put it up there and look. Now I can say, I have a book. I'm like, now you have a lame book they no one will care about, or you have something. And they're just like, okay, I did it.
Speaker 3:
37:15
You know, let's say, you know, like with my scripts, you know, they've been either four weeks or five weeks for the first draft and I'm like, I'm really happy. But guess what, that's just the beginning. Then it's the second draft, the third draft, the fourth, the 12th, the 16th, the eight. I mean the, the, the, there's a, uh, a, a, a feature that I'm going to be directing, um, in 2021. It's the same one from Tribeca that's over 10 years ago and it's only now have I figured out the story, even though it one. And even though it's, it got me into the, the, the, the film independent screenwriters love, I always knew then I hadn't figured it out. I hadn't cracked it. And it's only now that I'm like, ah, fucking, I got it. You know what I mean? But it just, it took so many years of rewrites.
Speaker 3:
37:59
Rewrites reinvisioning starting over from fade in and writing the whole thing over again, you know, and not just doing a cut and paste said, okay, I'm done so we can, so walk me through this, because at the beginning you are you, you're starting to write and you're winning awards, which means you have some natural talent and skill as you're beginning. But then you also say, there are times that I've rewritten and rewritten and just somebody saying, you know, you had something and you're like, Nope, let's wipe it away and let's start over fresh. Yeah. You know what's, is there a balance there? Like what would you say to other people that maybe have tried it once and they're
Speaker 1:
38:36
like, this is all I've got.
Speaker 3:
38:37
Yeah. That's, that's without sounding like it's bullshit to think that's all you've got. You know what I mean? You've always, you always have more, you know there's, there may be you just like, okay, that's, that's it. You know? I was just like, no. Then you get somebody from the outside that you not only trust, but who challenges you to then look at what you have from an outside perspective and be like, you're not there yet and here's why, and to give you suggestions on how to, you know, to even better make that story or that product or whatever. You don't stop. You know what I mean? If you look again and you look at at, at MUSC and jobs and, and all of these guys, they, they never kind of sit back on their laurels. It's always like, okay, I've got to try it. I'm going to fail, but at least I went for it.
Speaker 3:
39:22
You know what I mean? Cause there's so many things you learn from just going forward. Then you can then either apply to that, that that particular product or something else that you had in the back of your mind. This is like, you know, I was thinking about this, I fucked up here, but Oh, you know, this is slip this, I figured this thing out. Oh I can apply it to this. You know what I mean? You just got to keep going until you die. You know what I mean? You just like, people ask me cause I'm like, Oh, constantly move going. And people just like, when do you arrest? And I'm just like, I can't afford to right now. You know what I mean? Like my plan when I had my first kid was to do like John Lennon. You know, he, when he got, when, when Julian was born, when, when, when he was, uh, you know, he was still in the belly.
Speaker 3:
40:00
He took five years off of his career and just focused it on his kid. And that was my plan. I was like, yeah, I've taken five years. I didn't, at the time I didn't really factor in that he was a beetle and wasn't a multimillionaire. You can do shit like that, but you know, and, but by the time you could, even when he came out of that, it was some of the greatest artistic explosion he had of his career. You know what I mean? After that, you know, he just, it's his whole sound had matured. It, I kind of like, you know, like a sort of just kind of sat and worked within him until that time and yeah, I'm done. That was a tangent that was just me going back to like, Oh fuck, I got this kid coming. I get my shit together. It's like, I'm going to go. Um,
Speaker 1:
40:42
I, you know, as we're, as we're kind of winding down, um, it's just so fascinating to hear your stories behind what creates such a great story, um, that people can resonate with. Is there, you know, any final words of wisdom that you would have for others out there? Um, they're on their own journeys of, you know, trying to make it. Um, and what you see from stories that work well, meaning Hollywood loves them. There is a little bit of a formula that Hollywood, you know, uses to that people that resonates with people, you know. Is there anything that you would give back to business owners to be like, you've got to be, I mean, you mentioned focusing on yourself, but anything else? Any final words?
Speaker 3:
41:32
I would say, you know, and this can apply it to like people starting out or, or people who've already had a success and it's just like, okay, what's the never one thing I've always been afraid of is sort of like straying away, you know, not even just doing away. Yeah. String away from everyone cause it's so easy to kind of just like close off, especially when you're writing. Writing is so lonely, you know what I mean? Um, the kind of list just get a little hardened to the world just like I just don't want it deal. I just don't want to deal and I've had some success so I don't have to anymore. I don't have to take the trains anymore. Like, like that first story that I had about the subway worker was because I had insomnia and I would stay up on the subways all night and just watch these guys who cleaned the subways and they had this whole subculture I lost.
Speaker 3:
42:16
I've lost that curiosity. You know what I mean? As, as I've grown older and got a little bit more comfortable and there is something to be said about staying in touch with sort of, again going back to Huey, that sort of every man person, I'm the person who's like, you know, like I come from a a a very working class kind of family, you know, um, being a kid and being on union strikes with my dad. Um, and, and just like how other people are living. I think it's very important to kind of, you know, always keep, always keep afoot, you know, if you can, I mean, you know, some people are better off than other people, but really knowing how the other side lives I think gives you a, a certain perspective. And to me it also helps with storytelling that you don't get so aloof with your stories that only, you know, you know, the sort of a rich class is can appreciate your film.
Speaker 3:
43:08
You know, it's like you to me is they do like Shakespeare. Shakespeare was hoity toity for those hoity toity people who came to his place, but also he played to the, the lowest of the low. You know what I mean? With like a really body sort of humor. And to me that's, that's great storytelling. You know. Um, I always go talk about like, um, the witch housekeepers when they did the first matrix, here's this film that you could just watch for like the, you know, the, the bullets flying and Oh, that's cool. And you know, Trinity's getting up in the air, but when they then go into this sort of like Eastern philosophy, to me that's, that is magic. That is cinema, that is storytelling at its best, that it's hitting you. Where when you leave the, the, when you go into the parking lot and you're on your way home, so many films you forgot about, by the time you, you, you put the car into the, into drive, it's done.
Speaker 3:
43:58
Okay. I went to the movies. But then when something kind of stays with you and resonates with you and, and, and days passed and you're still thinking about it, to me that's the sweet spot. And that's what, you know, fucking, I was looking, looking at my bed, I've got like literally seven Apple devices and it's all because of the story Steve jobs told with his products, you know what I mean? And, and how it's, it's almost like I can't really buy anything that's not Apple. I don't know if that's wise. You know what I mean? I don't know if that's smart, but I trust that product and to me that this product,
Speaker 1:
44:32
you know, tells me that, okay, you're looking towards the future and, and, and you know, and it's, I know it's a selling point, but it's also how he devised it and how easy to use it is. Um, and, and to me, that's, that's what I'm striving for. That's sort of like Shangri-La thing of just like sort of perfection. The hitch just keeps hitting you. Yeah. So, yeah, I dunno if that made any sense. Oh, I loved it. I your analogies and you know, what you bring back. The advice that you've given today is, is so fascinating. Um, I just, I know you've, you've got a busy life and I'm just so grateful that you took the time to come hang out and share some of these stories today. Slam. No, no, dude, no doubt. Well, cool. Well, thank you very much for being here. Um, and thank you guys for checking this out. We'll see you on the next episode.
Speaker 2:
45:19
Thank you for listening to the Duke of digital podcast with Brian Mitt. Want to network with other business owners. Join our exclusive group at facebook.com/groups/duke of digital fancy the Duke. Leave a five star review on your favorite podcast app. And you can be mentioned on the show. The Duke of digital was produced by advertisement and recorded in Hollywood, California. All rights reserved.
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