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Real “Behind the Scenes” anecdotes from a show biz insider.

Always pitch/perform to a friendly room

If you audition for a role as an actor, test your comedy routine, pitch an idea to a network or studio, sing or play your song, or show your video demo reel, its all about how much energy, perhaps humor, and certainly passion you put into that effort. But the moment...

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It’s all about passion.2

Reminiscent of the Emmy Award–winning TV series Mad Men,  a New York ad agency creative team, for whom I directed a TV commercial, told me about their experience pitching a campaign to Procter & Gamble. They had to show up first thing Monday morning, at...

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Rule 32: You need more than a girl and a gun

The esteemed French critic and film director, Jean-Luc Godard said, “All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun.”  Here’s a little more politically correct and specific modus operandi: STEP ONE:  You have an incredible screenplay (a major portion of...

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Rule 31: Learn from your forbears

During my childhood, our little  movie theater only showed cowboy movies.  If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all.  And who knew who the director was?  No one who doesn’t work in movies can tell you what a director does. As quoted from the the...

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Rule 30: You’re either funny or you’re not

Comedies rarely win academy awards and few receive critical acclaim.  But I hold in the highest regard those performers, writers and directors who endure the pain of comedy. Chevy Chase told me he used to fall down and break his nose for twenty-five dollars a...

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Here’s to two iconic talents – R.I.P.

In the last 2 days, two of my idols in filmmaking left us with a legacy that will remain for decades. George Clayton Johnson wrote two seminal sci-fi novels, Logan’s Run and Ocean’s Eleven (both were made into movies), as well as the premiere...

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Rule # 26: Avoid Development Hell

Having directed a summer release studio feature, I signed with an ethusiastic young agent at APA.  He told me, “You’re the biggest client I have. I will work for you twenty-four hours a day.” He was one of the hardest-working agents I’d met, but he...

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Rule # 25: Trust no one until proven otherwise.

My studio exec on Spy Hard and his boss, president of Disney’s Hollywood Pictures, came to the set while we were filming. I was forewarned by our physical production executive,  “Rick, the creative team is coming to visit you. They are extremely pleased...

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Rule 23: Treat your crew like family

I  directed an ad campaign for AAMI Insurance in Australia. The company loved Chevy Chase and in the tradition of his Vacation movies, they hired Chevy to re-create his role. I looked forward to working with Chevy. After watching him on Saturday Night...

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Rule 20: Studio Movie? Be careful what you wish for

What no one could be prepared for are the politics of getting a film “green lit.” The process is heart ripping—it has the potential to ruin the joy of it all. It’s just like how real politics ruins the joy of running a country, or like Russian judges ruin...

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