Category: TV

Punching Henry Podcast Style

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On Monday, October 11th, 2021, The great Henry Phillips popped in to delight Minddog and his listeners with talk about music, filmmaking, acting, and story telling in general.

And welcome my friends to yet another episode of the mind dog TV podcast. I’m Matt nappo Thanks for coming. It’s great to have you here as always got the great Henry folks with me tonight. I’m gonna bring him in just one minute just before I bring him in No, I just because I Henry has a habit of getting misconstrued in the press and stuff like that. So I want to bear all the responsibility for these comments, and no weight on Henry at all. For the racist and homophobic things I’m about to say. Really not just the happy indigenous peoples day, if you still call it Columbus Day, good for you. But it’s also Coming Out Day. And it just occurs to me. I mean, first of all, there’s no indigenous people want to call people who got here before the white Europeans that’s more accurate. So it’s happy people got here before the white Europeans day, Columbus was not Italian. So my Italian friends who just feel like they’ve been cheated out of a day to celebrate Italian heritage, Italian, whatever it is ancestry. Columbus was an Italian and he sailed for Spain. So get over that. The other part is National Coming Out there, which I’m all for. Everybody’s got a day, but 365 days in a year. We shouldn’t be competing over days. I mean, there has to be another day pick tomorrow. Pick yesterday, yesterday wasn’t a day that I knew about anyway. So we’re just causing a lot of conflict and a lot of unnecessary bs going around about whose day it is and all that stuff, but happy whatever day it is Monday night, and I got Henry Philips you know, Henry Philips, if you don’t know I almost want to tell you You shouldn’t be listening or watching this live stream shouldn’t be listening to my podcast, if you don’t know who Henry Henry Philips was born to be a rock star. But I think and we’ll find out about this but I think his humility and his sense of humor are what caused him to change his life cost and direction and career choice slightly ever so slightly. He is a rock star of sorts, but he is a singer, songwriter. troubadour extraordinaire, filmmaker, writer actor probably a bunch of other things I want to say chef but I don’t want to say let’s just say he’s a cooking show hosts and leave it at that Ladies and gentlemen, please open your ears open your minds and help me welcome in the fabulous Henry folks in mind on TV pockets Henry welcome.

Henry Phillips 4:21
Hey, thanks for having me.

matt nappo 4:23
It’s my pleasure to have you now as I mentioned I think you were born to be a rock star you got a great voice I know you probably you’re very humble about that and might argue with me about that but I think you had a great voice great ear for melody and good player and it seems like you were born to be a rock star. Do you agree with that at all?

Henry Phillips 4:44
Thanks. I was gonna say I your your intro and not everybody. I can’t say this about everybody but your intro was really pretty accurate. I was just like, yeah, you know, the sense of humor and everything sort of took me away from that and the humility of course, because being a

rock star is all about flamboyance and you know, muscle on your way in front of the crowd and standing out. And I’ve always been pretty bad at those things. So that that might be why I sort of ended up doing what I’m doing. But uh, but I appreciate that. Yeah, music is a huge first love for me. And I can tell you’re into it, too, with all those guitars in the back. And

I yeah, I’ll never stop doing it. So anything that I do, I always try to figure out how I can get the music in there. But right, but the rock star thing didn’t pan out for me.

matt nappo 5:31
Well, let’s talk. Yeah, and rock star is overrated and a lot of ways and I think you are a rock star of sorts in your own world right now I don’t I think you’ve got the market cornered on what you do, because there are a lot of guys who go out there with a guitar in a comedy club. But as you kind of alluded to in one of the, the films I’m not, I look at them as like one film right now like the Godfather saga. Yeah, Henry saga. But you kind of alluded to the fact that there are a lot of guys, and without naming any names or bashing anybody. There are a lot of guys out there with guitars. But more a lot of them are doing parody and stuff like this and not doing necessarily what you do. So I think you are a rock star in creating a whole new comedy genre, musical genre. So congratulations.

merch

Henry Phillips 6:21
Thanks. Well, yeah, I mean, it’s been, I guess, gosh, we’re going into the third decade now. You know, I mean, I think it was probably like 92 are something that I was hanging out with all musicians and I would crack my buddies and my bandmates up by just playing the guitar and kind of doing sort of a foe love song or something. But I’d read newspaper headlines or, or I would just sort of throw in a line in there about, you know, that you would never hear in a soft ballot or something like that. And then, yeah, my friend started saying, you really got to go up there and do this at open mic nights around town. And I never would have done it if it weren’t for friends of mine pushing me to do it.

matt nappo 7:05
You know, you mentioned going through the headlines and stuff and one thing I’m noticing about you is I don’t not sure if you’re reading lyrics or something, it seems to me, you make it as hard as possible on yourself. And Bob Dylan wise, with so many words to remember, I mean, I want to learn one of your songs. I couldn’t do it I don’t think I can do without relying on the lyrics or a teleprompter for year is I know you make it rough on yourself. I think how do you remember all

Henry Phillips 7:35
your right and I’m and I’m lazy about it too. Because like once I’ve got it in my brain, and like I have a couple of songs that are like ripped from today’s headlines and, and I’ll memorize them and then in order to do in order to update it, like it should be updated. I have to memorize it again. And I can’t do it sometimes. So I wound up doing the old version of fitness starts sounding dated. But yeah, it’s not easy. I mean, it’s just like anything else you have to just put in the time you know, if you say something to yourself over and over again for an hour straight while you’re staring at the wall. You probably can eventually bang it into your head but it nobody wants to do that. I don’t want to do it. But um, but you’re right. I have a there’s YouTube clips of me on the radio, doing songs and just screwing up halfway through and I’ll look at it and I’ll cringe I’ll be like, Oh, come on. Why didn’t you just learn the lyrics before he got on the radio? Wow,

matt nappo 8:30
I haven’t seen any. I mean, I’ve seen so much of your work. Unless I just it goes by me and because

Henry Phillips 8:36
I try to make a joke out of it. I’m like, you know, yeah, like as if that’s part of the joke or suddenly you know, but yeah,

matt nappo 8:45
yeah. And it seems to me that you know, the beauty of it is you’re listening to all the words so if you add live or impromptu or change a line here and there, there’s no way I because you have so many words in the song. There’s no way I’m gonna call you on it. Anyway. There

Henry Phillips 9:00
you go. Yeah. Well, a lot of times when in the middle of the live show, I’ll just sort of improv something a little bit more updated or whatever. And, and also because of the fact that it’s comedy, it doesn’t have to follow the exact meter. In fact, sometimes it’s funnier if it doesn’t, and it doesn’t rhyme. It catches people by surprise. So yeah, you can be a little loose that way, you know?

matt nappo 9:23
Yeah. Christopher doesn’t naturally Yeah, there you go. Yeah, yeah, some of those some of this stuff is really the melody though. Makes me think that at some level there there is a composer in you that wants or needs I should say, a classic rock hit song because, again, I’m not to blow smoke up your ass. But I think melody writing and the melodies you pick out are very unique, very radio friendly, at least for my generation. My job. That’s

Henry Phillips 9:59
that’s really cool to hear that you’re absolutely right. I’ve always tried really hard that the song that you just referenced to that turned out to be the duet that I do with my friend Julia lillas which is a completely ridiculous song with all kinds of sex references and stuff but the melody on that one, I was listening to a lot of that Brian Wilson stuff right after Good Vibrations, you know, when he started taking his downfall and started running some of the most beautiful melodies, like Surf’s up and a bunch of other ones and, and I was influenced by that and i and i actually that that melody was part of a song that I was writing for a friend of mine who’s whose mom had just died. And I I didn’t have a career. I didn’t have a career as a songwriter I couldn’t there’s it really honestly would have fallen completely on deaf ears for me to finish that song as nice as it might have been. But I wasn’t a recording artist, if nobody would have ever heard it. But I did have this comedy thing going so I when Julia and I came up with the idea for that duet, I started going back to other melodies and going oh, I never used this one for anything. But if that just for people that are interested on YouTube, you just put duet with Henry Phillips and Julia lillas. And it’s in it’s in you it’s on YouTube. And it’s the the melody is a very sincere and I’m actually very proud of it, but no, but I appreciate that you notice it because a lot of people don’t even think about it. They just hear the jokes. But yeah,

matt nappo 11:37
a lot of them a lot of you songs, you have great melodies. And again, I’m really impressed by your voice when you’re doing and I’ve seen some clips where you weren’t necessarily trying to be funny, but you were just singing from the heart and noticing your voice technique and it’s like wow, well you got to really, again not blowing smoke up your eyes. This is a genuine sincere compliment. Really a really good voice for pop rock. You know folk music, all that kind of stuff. What, cuz I have to ask what you’re and it’s a cliche that I hate asking any musician but your influences seem to be all over the place. And I will say that because I’ve never seen anybody go from F 13 chord into a B major ever in my life until I saw you do it. I’m like, wow, that’s some heavy jazz influence, right? Oh yeah. Why would you listen to where’d you get that stuff on? Yeah,

Henry Phillips 12:34
13th is great. Okay, so I used to be partnered up with a buddy of mine who would sing and I’d play guitar and we’d be on the patio at restaurants and we’d make like 100 bucks each and we would go through the whole catalogue of you know we would do Eagles songs and you know Billy Joe or whatever, but it was guitar and vocal but every time every now and then he would throw a song at me that he wanted to do but it wasn’t a guitar song like like a perfect example is just the way you are but Billy Joel and I was looking at the course and I was already a semi accomplished guitar player at this point. This is this is in the 90s and I looked at the chords I was like these are not Guitar Chords you know it was like the first one is de that’s fine and then it’s B minor six and then it’s G major seventh go into a G minor six we’ve added 13 I think and or added nine or something but I was just like whoa let’s happen in here but but I went ahead and took the challenge and I was like and I want to tell any any guitar players out there, take that particular piece of music and learn those chords and it’ll really expand your vocabulary, your chord vocabulary and and other ones to bridge over troubled water. If you watch Paul’s Paul Simon who is a guitar player, his chords are fantastic. I mean really, really good. Especially like his solo stuff. I was really inspired by the movie one trick pony. When we made our punch in the clown movie which the director of our movie Greg v ns turned me on to that movie and I was like wow, but But yeah, so his songwriting so I love when, when songs are on the guitar, but they do piano chords. So those are a couple of influences. Still on the pop genre, but also Tom Waits I’m big on who’s always of course a big piano player. He has he has a song called invitation of the blues that I learned that one on the guitar and that’s got some beautiful chords in it. And yeah, just all those singer songwriter guys, but I love a good good top three chord guitar song, but I also like when they start getting a little more experimental with the court. You know what another good one is you just got me on something that I’d love to talk about too, by the way, but the song by the beegees How deep is your love? Oh

matt nappo 15:02
yeah, great song on Guitar Man. Boy, yeah,

Henry Phillips 15:06
that was one that we did too. And I was just like, Whoa, I think the whole thing is like in key of E flat. But it’s all, you know, going from the minor to the major. And yeah, that’s a great one too.

matt nappo 15:19
I took that song apart years ago for a kind of like workshop to kind of say, how do you write this song? Because you don’t start out with those chords and try to put a melody to it? I think you’d be and I don’t know this for a fact. But I think the beegees kind of start out with singing the song and then figure out what are the chords that will make that really, that melody really jump out. But that that song in particular got me going like, wow, how do you how do you write a song?

Henry Phillips 15:48
I know. Yeah, I know, I think it’s the way that you just said, yeah, that’s the way that I’ve always done it. Like, the melody kind of comes first. And then you try to figure out which chords fit and you try to be as, as interesting as you can, without messing up the integrity of it, you know, but, uh, yeah, and then, but with me, it was an extra step, because I would think of a funny stand up idea. You know, I’d be like, Okay, well, what about a song about a, you know, a, you know, all the people that have, you know, made contributions to Western civilization, you know, you know, Da Vinci and you know, all of the Western philosophers and all these people. What about a song that talks about how great they were, but also what freaks that they were, because they all had these weird sexual fetishes and all that stuff. So then that’s like the stand up kind of idea, the comedy idea, and then it turned into Alright, so what’s the melody that I’m going to use and then I would just file through all these ideas that I had for melodies that I probably written just completely in earnest, that were supposed to be regular songs. And then I’d pick one and then I would just so so that way, at least the music still has a chance like if you didn’t speak English, and you heard it, you’d probably just think this is a regular folk song or something, you know, and that and that’s my favorite kind, you know, where you can’t tell because nobody’s really putting on a funny voice or making a funny music. You’re just just taking the idea and putting against a song that sounds legit.

matt nappo 17:26
Sometimes it’s sincerity with which you deliver it makes it all that more funny. Like he’s saying something that’s ridiculous. But you, you have this very serious and sincere tone in your voice and look on your face. Like you’re delivering a rock anthem, but you’re saying something like, crafting a great, you know, format, which is standing on the shoulders of the freaks. The song you just mentioned, it’s hard to explain. You know, when you go to see a comic, you can come back and say, Man, I saw this great comic last night, and he told some jokes. And here’s basically some of them. Yours. I mean, if I go to explain standing on the shoulders of freaks to my wife, she just looked at me like, what the hell? What the hell are you talking about? That’s funny. Well, I got to see him do it. Yeah.

Henry Phillips 18:17
Yeah, it’s not really a very easily repeatable thing. Yeah. But um, well, you know, I think one of the things that I was inspired by Well, a lot of the stuff that was going on on SNL when I was a kid was just mind blowingly funny, mostly those sketches that would happen in the last half hour that I don’t even think you can find them online anymore. It’s weird, but But remember, you obviously remember deep thoughts, you know, on SNL. So that was that kind of thing, right? Where he was saying it in that really, you know, small t sort of a poetic kind of a way, you know, touchy feely sort of new agey and they had the music and the presentation and everything and then all the more reason for the punchline of the jokes to just kind of blindside you you know, and it’s that presentation that I really liked a lot, right?

matt nappo 19:08
A couple of things they just want to ask you for my personal understanding of value because I’m a I’m a huge fan but I need to and this is for me, not for the audience. A couple of things I noticed is that this the old son pick, I know Yeah, play with that but you’re not doing what I call Travis picking it you’re using it in a very rock and roll kind of wait. Okay.

Henry Phillips 19:33
Wait should correct me so Travis is the one where you’re doing it like this? Is that right? Or

matt nappo 19:37
you’re doing the alternate baselines and doing and you’re locking your hand and be able to play the melody and the baseline at the same time time? Yeah, time your manual those drums, bass and get the end there. Oh, wow. Yeah, yeah.

Henry Phillips 19:49
No, I, you know, I, what I do is I’ll do I’ll use my thumb. Okay, if it’s a G chord, for example, We’ll just a standard G I’ll do a thumb to hit that lowest note and then with these three fingers I’ll just grab the the other, you know, three of those chords or strings whichever ones that they are. And so it’s more of a you know, your own it’s a little like a drummer, you know, bass snare bass boom, didn’t you know, something like that. But I’m also singing at the same time, but I will say that I was doing that naturally anyway. And then I had a one of the first guys that I met when I was doing like coffee houses and stuff was a guy named Marty Canada who ended up being my manager. And probably the main thing that he did was increased my musicality because he was a guitar player and, and the first thing he told me to do is you got to use that thumb pick because when I was on stage, the bass notes were getting lost, right? And, and because there’s just obviously the way the guitar is, it’s your, your thumb would have to be working extra hard in order, but you know, so I started using that thumping, and everything sounded much more balanced. And that was great. But um, but yeah, I don’t, I don’t really I just tried to make sure that all the notes of the quarter in there, but I’m not, I’m not necessarily doing anything fancy that way. But I will say that I did some classical training too. So when I’m just doing solo guitar, like the probably the most difficult one I ever learned was the entertainer for the guitar, which was really difficult. I found some sheet music for it some somewhere but but yeah, I’ve only dabbled in that never really mastered

matt nappo 21:36
Chet, Chet Atkins swing doing the entertainer and he’s using his own picking. Oh, yeah. I’ve heard that traditional Travis picking and now Yeah, yeah, that’s unbelievable. That’s just good. And you know, I thank you for the audience for indulging me on that, because I’m just curious. Where some pics come in. A lot of people just adopt them naturally. For me, I think you’re right, though. bass notes. If you’re just using your thumb, and I’m, you know, especially if I’m playing electric. I’ll never use a thumb pick. Oh, yeah. playing acoustic bass notes just don’t come through if you’re just using the right go. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, we kind of we mentioned the films and kind of a casual conversation away. For people who don’t know punching the clown was the first movie, it was highly acclaimed. And then there was a follow up just a few years ago, I think, like five years ago now punching Henry. I see them all in one movie. But so in order in order to condense that whole long singer songwriter troubadour extraordinare, how about we just call you a storyteller? Because I think that’s what you are. And now I’m curious about your relationship with the director, I think, from if I have it correctly, you know him from undergraduate years in college, and you’ve kept a relationship all the time, and now putting films together?

Henry Phillips 23:00
Yeah, absolutely. The so so he and I met in college, I had pretty much given up on any dream of being a rock star. And I was out here in LA, which is basically my hometown, I spent some time in New Jersey, and which I think is one of the reasons our mutual friend, Tom Konopka and I, you know, got along really well, but so I, after jersey, we moved out to LA. And I went to UCLA, and I went through this whole like community college system, and eventually got to UCLA. And my one friend that I have is this guy that I’d sit next to all the time, we were political science majors. And we just chatted a lot. He was from France. I thought that was interesting. He thought it was fascinating that I was in the music and so we’d sort of share you know, stories about that. And then and then when we graduated, he went to film school because that was his dream is to become a filmmaker. And I’ve started going full on into the stand up comedy thing, just kind of backed into it. By my last year of college, I started doing these open mic nights, and having a lot of fun with it. It was sort of a hobby, and but I would tell Greg is my friend there and I would, we still kept up and I would tell him these stories, you know, I’d just be like, Oh, man, I played at this bar last night where the guy says that he’s gonna give me $4 for every person. And he gives me $14 at the end of the thing, and we had like, 40 people there, but I know he’s ripping me off, but I mean, at least rip me off with a number that makes sense. Like if he said 12, then that’d be like, Alright, well, according to his books, he counted three people, but 14 isn’t even divisible by four. So I don’t know how he could get, you know, so I would tell him stuff like this. And he was like, man, we got it. We got to make a movie of this. I don’t know how we’re going to do it. But that’s so his final project at UCLA I’m sorry at Syracuse University is where he went after graduate school or undergrad. He, he made a little short film that was made there was basically a precursor to our punching the clown movies and that available to see and yeah, there’s some of it on YouTube if you if you put punching the clown portrait because it was called a portrait of Henry Phillips, you can see little bits of it, it’s on there somewhere not the whole thing, but we might eventually put it on there.

matt nappo 25:25
I’m sorry to interrupt you.

Henry Phillips 25:28
That’s all right. But anyway, so that that started our whole thing. And then ever since then we, we became writing partners. And we would just, you know, do outlines for feature film and dream of making a feature film that tied all these stories together. And then we started seeing things pop up, like Curb Your Enthusiasm, which was really similar to what we were kind of going for and the stuff that Ricky Jabez was doing. And so I think in 2007, we finally, technology got to a point where you could rent a camera that looked almost like film and, and Greg just showed up to my door one time, and he just he said, Man, let’s just make this movie, I don’t know, I’ll borrow money from family, I’ll use whatever my life savings is, but we’re just going to, because he’s like, I’ve got films, he became a film professor. And he’s like, I’ve got film students that can help us. And they’re making films by themselves. And I’m teaching it and it’s like, I never wanted to be a teacher, I wanted to be a filmmaker. So you know, let’s do this. And I was like, well, let’s do it. So we wrote out an outline and, and just eventually had a couple of false starts, but eventually landed a kid who was one of his film students to produce it. Meaning, you know, to make up all the calls to the, you know, the locations get sag on board, you know, and all the crew get the crew together. I mean, there’s a lot of work there that neither Gregor are interested in doing. And, and eventually, in 2008, the first couple months, to date, probably just about the most exciting. Three or four weeks of my life was the beginning of 2008 when we were actually making that film that we had been talking about for 12 years, or whatever it was, and it was fantastic. And and, and then a year later, we were done with the movie and showed it at a Theater in New York called quad cinemas and and then it got on Netflix. And before he knew it, it was I was literally like walking around the streets of New York and San Francisco and Houston, Texas. And every now and then not all the time. But sometimes somebody be like, Hey, I think I just saw a movie of yours on Netflix. And I was like, Wow, that’s so cool. Because it was on during that time where everybody started doing the streaming thing. So they didn’t have a ton of stuff. And people just kind of run would run out of stuff to watch and they just start browsing. Okay, punching the clown. Let’s see what this is all about. And so yeah, that’s that’s the story of that. And Greg and I still work together to this day. I mean, I just yesterday, we talked for a couple hours about a new screenplay that we’re trying to put together.

matt nappo 28:15
Oh, Tao, please tell me it’s a third. Henry. So sort

Henry Phillips 28:19
of, it’s a well, the idea was always that I, mice, all of my stories are still from that era when I started, which was the early 90s. So they’re just all they don’t really work in today’s world because of social media and cell phones. And there’s so many plots that you couldn’t really have any more so we thought, maybe it’s time to do a period piece. So it’d be like a prequel, like the early 90s. But you

matt nappo 28:46
can’t play yourself as a kid. I mean, you look young, but

Henry Phillips 28:51
yeah, be a kid has had some rough years. So yeah, so we’re changing a lot of who the main character is and whose perspective it’ll be from and everything like that, but but the stories were always to me the most important part of it, and those will all be in there because we we left a lot of stories untold from that era.

matt nappo 29:12
You know, I have to mention this. I don’t know if anybody has ever said this to you before, but you have a resemblance to a young or middle age now. Robert Redford, you could do okay. I think you could probably pull up the rug.

Henry Phillips 29:31
Yeah, maybe I can have him. Well, that’s,

matt nappo 29:35
that’s your movie. So I love them. And again, this is no smoke. I would rate them right up there with the top films and again, I look at them as one film now. It’s like the Godfather saga. banri Saga, but um, there’s a line in there, but you broke my heart. You really and I think it’s in punching Henry. Yeah, it is. Funny, I set you online. Your reaction to it got me but the line from funny guitar boy says I wouldn’t want to be. I wouldn’t want to be playing these rooms in my 40s and you just gave that like sigh and at that moment I said, imagine playing those rooms in the 60s because that’s my life. Oh yeah. Should I kill myself now? Or wait till the end of the movie? Tell me

Henry Phillips 30:25
behind you. I mean, at this point, I’m in my 50s so I’m not far

matt nappo 30:29
but you’re playing those types of rooms? Oh, yeah.

Henry Phillips 30:33
Well, I don’t know I’ve got the loony bin coming up in Wichita, Kansas next, a week and a half from now. Now I’m certainly not doing like you know, all glitzy theaters and stuff every now and then I’ll get I’ll get a gig that’s got a little more glamorous, but it’s like the smaller the town The better the? The treatment, I guess. Because Yeah, if I went to New York, I would be. Yeah, I’d be in a basically a shoe box.

matt nappo 31:00
To convince myself that, wait a minute, he’s right about fat, you know, funny, you’re tall boys, that I want to be nice to my 40s. But as I got into my 40s, that’s when I started enjoying playing those rooms. And if I look at it, honestly, right now, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t trade what the rooms I play in, which are those kinds of rooms and sometimes bigger rooms. But I wouldn’t trade that for the theater experience. I liked the intimacy, I liked getting to know the crowd. As long as they’re not too drunk and rowdy after I like getting to know the people that are coming to see me. Do you agree with that and feel like,

Henry Phillips 31:34
I do agree. And I want to make sure I’m not doing this laughable thing that I saw you to do. Like when their popularity started going down. I saw an article that it looked like they were trying to spin it and they’re saying, We’re gonna start going into more intimate venues now because we feel like we miss and it’s like, Oh, come on, you’re just not getting the crowds that he is. It’s a voluntary thing. It’s like, you know, we just sort of we’ve done that the arena thing. Now we wanted to go to the smaller venue. But so I’m not trying to say that it wouldn’t be great to just show up to some place and have 3000 people and then you’re on to the next town. That would be great. But, but you are absolutely right. And I think that most comedians that I know, I’d be really surprised if they didn’t agree, you know that they all started in comedy clubs. And comedy clubs are a lot of fun, you’re in the back of the room hanging out with the waitstaff. They’re all your friends for the week, and then, you know, 30 feet away from you, your buddies up on stage and says, There is bring up, you know, whoever it is, and then you go up. And you can see everybody’s faces, you can see them when they’re laughing. If they’re not laughing, you can work on that you can say, all right, well, what’s going on here? Well, you know, a theater you just see lights or just nothing. And that’s, that’s a lot more cold, you know, and But no, I love being in, in rooms, you know, clubs. Yeah. And I feel like the sensibilities better to there’s a I don’t know, well, I mean, I tried to do colleges for a little bit. And that was always really difficult in terms of the venue, it was either in the cafeteria, or even, like, if it’s in an auditorium or something, it’s just too wide and echoey, and the sound got lost or whatever. And, and I was, and I don’t think that the college students were grown up enough to start having a dark sense of humor, you know, and so I was like, most comfortable when I was like, between 30 and 40. And at a comedy club, and you could email everybody’s having a few drinks, maybe a couple people or divorced people started getting that kind of jaded. Sort of a little bit darker sense of humor, and I like that, you know, I would think it at theatres, I’m sure it’s great, but you don’t really have any, any gauge of what the personality of the audience is, you know, just some, some couple that’s never even been to a comedy show. But they figured that something that they saw on the newspaper that they’re going to be doing tonight, you know, but yeah, I really, really do like the comedy clubs,

matt nappo 34:12
especially doing the kind of work that you do. Sometimes the laughs aren’t, aren’t always like, especially in the beginning, like belly laughs they’re small laughs And if somebody is 1000 feet away, that small laugh isn’t gonna make it to the stage and you’re not getting any of that energy that you need. Oh, I

Henry Phillips 34:29
know. That’s very true. Now I kind of rely on having everybody pretty close together so that if one person laughs It sounds like they’re all kind of with me, you know? Yeah, there’s a some expression that I’ll probably butcher but it’s something like you know, if you have 10% of the audience that’s on your side, they can turn a whole show and your favorite you know, and it’s a lot harder to reach that 10% if you’ve got several 1000 people, but you know, in a room with 100 people in 10 people sure Yeah And yeah, no and and there’s some great comedy clubs around this country too.

matt nappo 35:06
Yeah. Another thing you allude to in the first film, I think it was Yeah, what’s the first film? I think you’re in a recording studio and this kind of struck me it’s a lot of your songs take a lot of bravery because you bravery might be the wrong word. I mean, nobody’s gonna kill you. But you’re taking your time to get to the funny part like a lot, especially with music stuff. And I know this for a fact when people want to, they want that laugh upfront and sometimes it takes a minute of listening to you sing to you get to the part that gets the first laugh. Yes, well, that takes some bravery and take some conditioning to get your get yourself able to deal with that and stay maintain your composure and say I know the laugh is coming to confidence and I know that they’re gonna get this eventually but I have to set them up properly. That that’s professional and it takes some getting used to tell tell me about how you got to that point because I would be nervous starting out that oh my god, I’m a minute into this. I haven’t gotten a laugh yet. I better get that pretty quick. get thrown out. There gonna flash the light. If we get off today. It’s whatever. How did you acquire patience and confidence?

Henry Phillips 36:18
Yeah, what you’re describing was the hardest part about what I what I did. And I so in the beginning, it was copy houses where people were expecting a real song. So it was like a minute and a half of this song. Everybody’s going okay. Alright, so he’s he’s upset about a breakup or whatever’s going on. And then all of a sudden, the lyrics would take a little bit of a turn, but still completely straight faced. And they’re like, Okay, well, now he’s talking about calling the police and, you know, and now this is starting to get out of hand and, and he’s losing control of his bodily functions in the middle of the living room, and just like, what the hell is this? And then and then and then everybody went, Oh, okay. It’s a joke. All right, I’m on board. And then they get on the mailing list and you develop a little bit of a following. But then I started doing comedy clubs in like 99 that was about about six years into trying to build this act that was based on exactly what you’re talking about that kind of Sucker Punch thing. And I’m telling you there were some rough ones, there were some really rough ones. And when I was the opening act, it was okay because there’s not as much pressure and and they would sort of go along with me. And then when they found out it was a joke, they’d be like, Oh, this is great. But then I started getting booked as the headliner because those middle middle act shows went really well. And that’s when I had some really really difficult ones I’d be I remember a string of them that I did up in Michigan was like in Grand Rapids Michigan and then clearly it should have been called the Henry Phillips sucks from one town to another tour because ever they’ve just we’re not getting it and the club owner in every case was standing in the back just go on I don’t think this is funny and then by the time I started getting to the funny parts, they had already checked out right? And that’s the fear so yeah, so I had a difficult time after several years of having this problem. I started I pretty much coward you know, chickened out. But but but in a way that I that I liked, I started because I at this point, I had a lot of jokes in between my songs that I would do some banner. And so I thought, Well, why don’t I just do all those at the top without the guitar? And so I started just doing stand up comedy. So if you were to get at the loony bin, or the funny bone, you went to see stand up comedy. So from the middle act, going into the headliner, okay, we’re still in that genre. Now the guy’s standing there, and he’s doing jokes. So I would do that. And I’d say, Hey, does anybody want to hear music? And then they already knew I’m joking, right? So it was a much much easier situation but it took me years and also, I can’t tell you how much envy I had when I watched people like the Flight of the Conchords or Tenacious D or these guys that were really doing that that serious songwriting thing but they weren’t they didn’t have to do it at the funny bone they were just they were sort of famous already. So they they were able to do that kind of thing that I was always you know, wishing that I could do but I couldn’t if I ever wanted to work at the comedy club again. It’s It’s ironic like you kind of have to be well known when you get messed around like that. Yeah, exactly. But but but I’m happy now I go up and I do. I do probably 15 minutes of stand up and I do you know, a lot of topical stuff and, and then I’ll just jump right into the songs and I’m kind of liking the groove that it’s got now.

matt nappo 39:49
Even your stand up has that kind of sincerity within the delivery of a bed. That makes it very It’s a different kind of stand up than anybody else does. So, you know, I know I’m blowing a lot of smoke at you, buddy. stuff. Now again, I love the films but like with historical fiction and novels, I’m a sucker for wanting to know what’s real and what’s not real because obviously these films are semi autobiographical. Yeah, I want to know what’s real and what’s not. And what what I take away from being a musician for 45 years now I’m performing. I’ve never been heckled. I’ve tried stand up and didn’t even get heckled doing stand up I shot, but I didn’t get heckled. I don’t know what that experience is like. But since you broach the subject, I think three times in both in both movies combined, this idea of getting heckling, I have, I have to think that at some point, it’s in your psyche, just that the whole you know, being hurt or wounded by some of these assholes can show up and they don’t do it for acting. They don’t do it for music. comedy is the only place you’ll see assholes show up and want to ruin your show. Is any of that stuff that’s in the movie based on reality? And is there a woman?

Henry Phillips 41:13
Yeah, Oh, absolutely. No, because I’m a I’m an incredibly self conscious person. It’s a lot of people are just like the worst nightmare that they could ever imagine as being heckled as a comedian. It’s like I I’m an idiot who picked that to be a possibility in my career. It’s like, I can’t believe that I wound up in that situation. But yeah, absolutely. Oh man, I’ve had some terrible terrible ones. In the movie, we depicted a couple of them. You know, one of the in the first movie, we had one where there was just a miss booking, you know, I was supposed to be performing my comedy and then they said, Oh, yeah, we also booked and it’s always some event, you know, it’s like, we also booked I think in real life, there was one that was like, it was all a, you know, cancer survivors or something like that. And it’s like, not not that they couldn’t have a sense of humor, but they were a pretty serious bunch and, and dark humor was not going over? Well, I mean, dark humor is really one of those kind of things that you you’re sort of privileged to be able to, to make those types of jokes, and then you don’t really think about him too much. But I yeah, I felt really uncomfortable one time doing a show like that. And I was just like, what? When do I get to that point where everybody’s there? Because they want to see what I’m doing? Because I was there. But um, yeah, no, I also had one. I remember having one in MLA of all places where it was a sports bar, and the guy ran the bar was British. And he didn’t really know much about American sports, but he definitely wanted to sell beers. And he did a whole promotion where he bust all these kids from USC to come in and watch their team basically clinch the season. And, and then he didn’t want any space between the end of the game and then me going on right after that to perform and he was just, you know, serving them tons and tons of drinks the whole time. So they were pretty drunk. And the guy lines up overcompensating, and so the game’s not even over yet. And he goes, Okay, go go go on there. And I go, Well, I don’t think the game’s over yet. He goes, it’s alright. They already know who won’t just get up up there. Like he had some kind of OCD about, like, God forbid, there’s a couple minutes in between the game and you know, right. Yeah, and they couldn’t, because they were all bused in there anyway, and it was like it didn’t even give them a chance to go to the bathroom or go up and get another beer or whatever. So then I went up there and going back to what you were saying, I’m doing this, this kind of Sucker Punch thing. So all of a sudden, they went from watching their game and they’re drunk to now they got a folk singer on stage, just singing for a minute and a half of a song that sounded like it was at that time I was opening with this song sounded like a religious like a campfire, religious song, and about God’s creatures or whatever and, and they’re just like, what is going on here. And literally, people started throwing things at the stage. There was a band that was going to play later. So the drum set was set up and one guy threw a chair and it crashed into the drum set. And then that was then the band that was there started jumping in and the guy who was doing the sound became sort of a bouncer. And he started and it was just absolute chaos. So yeah, and so and then I got I got off the stage because I was afraid somebody was gonna throw something at me. Or kick my ass or whatever and, and then the guy didn’t even pay me the 100 bucks that I was supposed to get. Because I didn’t do the set and I’m like, what you gave me an impossible situation here and

matt nappo 44:51
they have no sympathy for their mistakes. Oh, yeah,

Henry Phillips 44:54
it was awful. Yeah. But yeah, no, but in the movie, I would say overall Everything is at least based on a true story except in the you have to have an over reaching a plot, right? And so so in the second one, when you watch and the first movie, when you watch it from scene to scene, I can tell you the parallel real life story for just about everything in that movie. Except there’s this sort of telephone game thing where I say something off the cuff and eventually go That’s racist thing. Yeah, well, I’ll tell you the true part of it. I went to a meeting with a manager out here in LA. And it wasn’t bagels, it was donuts. He had a bunch of doughnuts. And he’s like, he’s a real powerful guy. And he’s like, and refill up. So would you like one of these donuts? And I was like, Okay, I’m just eating a doughnut. And there’s kind of a low in the conversation. And eventually, I was like, these are good doughnuts. And he’s like, yeah, they are good, aren’t they? And I was like, yeah, so where are they from? And he’s like, I don’t know. And then he gets, you know, on the speakerphone or whatever. And he’s like, Hi, Lisa. Can we find out where we got the doughnuts? Henry Phillips is here and he’s he’s a you know, an up and coming new comedian. He wants to know, and then, of course, the Secretary was like, I don’t know where we got the frickin doughnuts, but she’s trying to figure it out. And then she calls back and she’s like, hey, Dave got the doughnuts. And he’s I can’t get on the phone with him. Right now. He’s on a run, I guess be in just like before everybody was all hooked up with their cell phones and stuff. And so then he gets on the phone. He picks it up and he goes, Henry, I’m sorry. And he’s like, why is this a problem? Why is this a problem? I asked you where the doughnuts are? It’s the easiest question in the world. You can’t tell me I’ve got Henry Phillips here. I’m trying to you know i mean he he’s I don’t know what he said he is up and coming comic. You know, he’s, he want the guy wants to know where the doughnuts are? Find out. He hangs up and I’m just sitting here going, Oh, this is mortifying, you know, yeah. To hear

matt nappo 47:07
and the girl thinks you’re a dick. No, absolutely.

Henry Phillips 47:11
She thinks that I’m some asshole. Like, I’m a 28 year old guy. And I’m just some guy going, I want to know where the damn doughnuts are. So anyway, so that was the end of the real story. And then and then we started thinking, Well, what could have How funny would it be if if it turned into some kind of telephone game thing? You know, we made it bagels, because that way it’s like, oh, maybe he’s being anti semitic or something like that. And, and, and that was the big thing at that time, right? Like when it Cramer from Seinfeld is on on his show. And he went viral for his rant and then,

matt nappo 47:49
but he actually said so.

Henry Phillips 47:52
But the thing is, how funny would it be if there was a guy who got blamed for all that stuff, but never even did anything like that? I mean, that’s the worst punishment Yeah, that you could get so. So that’s pretty much where that that idea came from.

matt nappo 48:05
I live that there was a period of time back 2020 years ago. So we were playing at a very popular spot all the time. And there was a bouncer in a club who happened to be black. And White was getting into some altercation with some regulars who happened to be white. And a lot of white people started to gang up on the guy and I went to defend him. Now it was a hells Angel guy who started throwing the N word around a lot. And they chased this guy into the back alley to kill him. And I went back to protect them. And somehow it got around that I was one of the guys chasing him. I was one of the guys yelling the N word. And I had to kind of leave the band for a couple of years and leave that town basically known as the racist guy took a couple of years of me to kind of clear up my reputations in I was there to protect

Henry Phillips 49:01
no good deed. Yeah, so

matt nappo 49:03
I relate to a watch your movies. Oh, yeah. Oh, man. Oh, wait. Oh, yeah. It’s like the story of my life.

Henry Phillips 49:12
Yeah, well, it’s funny that you bring that up, too. Because remember, I mentioned that guy, Marty categor, who is my first manager, the guy taught me about the thumb pics. He was telling me, we were talking about the movie Spinal Tap, which I could not get enough of, I must have seen it. 50 times I had the whole thing memorized and everything like that. And he loved it too, because he loves humor. But he was telling me he goes a lot of guys. I guess. He was probably about 20 years older than I am. And he said a lot of the guys that I knew didn’t like the movie. Because they didn’t think think it was funny at all. They just thought, Man this is bringing up bad memories. I remember when we had the show, you know we had the record company. The record store signing and nobody showed up and everybody’s yelling at each other. I mean, these were all real stories that were hilarious to me, but a lot of people live through them. And, and I and I’ve had a little bit of that with, with my movies, too, because I, I’ve had people say that they’re depressing. Yeah. And it’s like, real life,

matt nappo 50:23
don’t do one or two lines that you kind of take. Wow, well, yeah, that that’s a real moment. But all comedy I think has to have that, that. It has to be comfortable. At some point, that little bit of uncomfortableness will make the punch line all that more funny when you get to that point. And it’s it’s an important thing to kind of take that uncomfortable moment in and really absorb it and say, what does it mean to me?

Henry Phillips 50:51
I agree. There’s the movie, the movie King of Comedy is a good example. Have you seen that and a lot of people wouldn’t even classify it as a comedy to me, I’m laughing my ass off. But I’m like, there’s one part of that movie where every time it used to be on on TV, I had to change the channel. Like I couldn’t be in the room while that scene is going on when. When he invites when he invites a date over to Jerry lewis’s house. And Jerry loses coming they have that dramatic irony of his show. And I’m like, this is just too much man. I gotta change the channel. It’s like it’s so incredibly uncomfortable, but at the same time, it’s so awesome that it makes you feel that way.

matt nappo 51:34
douche chills. That’s what I call it. Exactly. Yeah. Um, so yeah, the movies are great. And we got some comments in the in the chat room about the Densmore incident. I just discovered that in the last week.

Henry Phillips 51:50
Oh, the Densmore house in Kansas. Yeah,

matt nappo 51:54
I didn’t I didn’t even know that that video existed and then I found that the battle a week ago, and I’m trying to explain it to my wife, I of course, I do a very poor, but that that had me actually, like, laughing out loud at a computer screen, which doesn’t happen too often. Was that a real incident? Was that bass? Yes,

Henry Phillips 52:15
that was absolutely real. I mean, I played it up a little bit with the music and tried to make it like like one of those drama things, you know, but uh, but yeah, no, that absolutely I was born out of my mind driving all the way back to LA from I think it was Iowa and just Kansas, I think is about six hours from one side of the state to the other. And just you’re hoping a tornado is going to happen just so that you can see something. And I kept on seeing a sign saying, you know, Densmore house, you know, check this out. And so I just thought, well, I’ll do anything at this point, I had to go to the bathroom anyway. And so I went, and there’s this house that was built by a civil war veteran, and they were doing tours, and they had a lot of old people getting off the buses and to take this tour. And I was like, What the hell, you know, I’ll take the tour, and I paid like the 10 bucks or whatever. And I go in, and it’s pretty amazing. There’s a house where everybody, everybody was marveling at the fact that the guy built this thing by hand, and there’s a lot of incredible design stuff. And there’s engineers that couldn’t replicate the things that he did with his house, you know, typical museum type stuff. But at one point, somebody started noticing that it smelled like dogshit. And, and I smelled it too. And I’m just like, what is this and we’re like, up in one of the bedrooms or something like that. And the tour guide is like, yeah, I smell that does you guys, do you want to check your shoes or whatever, and I pick up one of my shoes, and it’s just completely just matted down with dogshit. Yeah, and I looked everywhere. And I had been tracking footsteps of dogshit throughout this whole house. And all these old people are like, ah, Tim grows, what are you doing? And I felt like such an asshole. You know, I just felt like such an outcast. And they were like, okay, let’s all go out in the backyard. Do sir if you don’t mind taking your shoes off or whatever. And so but and that’s another one where the story basically ended there. But of course, my mind is thinking Am I gonna have to pay some kind of cleaning costs? And how much is that going to cost? You know, I don’t know what kind of wood that they’re using. You know, I mean, they’re taking all these precautions to preserve everything and But yeah, I pretty much ended there. But But yeah, so the whole the whole video is, yeah, it’s on there. It’s

matt nappo 54:46
the question and bear with danger. The question it begs is has any of the people who were there taking the tour that day, seen that video and contacted you and saying, oh, you’re the head? Oh, yeah, no,

Henry Phillips 54:58
it happened. I’m guessing about maybe 10 years ago or even more. And

matt nappo 55:06
the internet being what it is, though somebody who is going to see it eventually

Henry Phillips 55:11
I kind of I kind of hope so. I mean, I would think it would come come up when people search YouTube for the Densmore house because other stuff, but no, I’ve never had anybody that noticed it, but I, hey, maybe I can help, you know, bring bring people to help make the place famous or something. That would be

matt nappo 55:32
beautiful. Check that out tonight, I think and I’m gonna encourage the audience playing search terms within Morehouse and Henry Phillips to kind of push that up in this surgery. Yeah.

Henry Phillips 55:45
algorithm. Yeah. But yeah, on YouTube, it’s called brush with danger. If anybody wants to look it up and right. It was gonna be I was gonna make it a series or something. But we never really did that.

matt nappo 55:56
I loved the treatment that you gave that because it does start and I thought, wow, is he part of one of these? You know, television shows that real life incidents and then to figure out it was a gag, but I love that treatment of it. Because it’s it’s so and you went very far out of your way to get all the lighting right in the hallway. Oh, yeah. the look and feel of that testimonial piece?

Henry Phillips 56:19
Yeah, well, I did that through. There’s a production company called all things comedy, which is run by a bunch of comics that they set up. The cinematographer did a great job. I don’t remember his name, but I’m sure it’s on there. But yeah, it was it was pretty fun.

matt nappo 56:33
Now, we are coming up on time, and I want to be respectful of your time. I’m grateful to have you here. And thank you to Tom Konopka for making this happen. Yeah, but I also want to talk quickly about the highway man and Henry’s kitchen if we can squeeze both of those in now. The highway man, funny stuff, very influenced by, I guess, late 70s 80s. network television shows, I guess, the most recent episode, I think, is the one I have in my way. Brendon Walsh is Yeah, photos and get the tattoo. Yeah, so there’s, yeah, tell me about the heart. There’s

Henry Phillips 57:12
there’s two there’s the ones that I put up on YouTube, which I’ll take some time and sort of tweak them and everything and just put them out randomly and those are publicly released. And you can see those on YouTube. Just to let people know that they’re on if you put Henry Phillips YouTube you’ll see all the stuff that we’re talking about here but um, so the highway man Yeah, there was a whole bunch of shows that was like Kung Fu, the Hulk you know, $6 million man Highway to Heaven. All these shows were just involved a drifter, you know? And so I thought, well, I want to be one of those guys, you know, but I want to be the 50 year old guy who’s like mysterious who just drifts from one town to another but my I don’t have a special talent. I’m not good at anything. In fact, I, I wind up making things worse in the town before I move to the next one, you know, and so it’s called the highway man. And, yeah, I’m just a guy and I’ve got a wig. And I’ve got like a jean jacket. And I’ll see mostly people stranded on the highway, and I’ll try to help them with their car, but it winds up being worse than it was before I got there. But yeah, the Brendan Brendan Walsh is great. And I’m working with a lot of my comic buddies on it, which is great. So yeah, there’s an episode where my buddy Brandon Walsh is in the like, at a high highway turn off, and he’s taking pictures with this camera. And then I’m witnessing a thug named a comic named Steve Gillespie, who’s just a guy who is, you know, mugger basically and he shows up to steal the camera and they wrestle with it. And eventually Steve gets branded on the ground starts kicking his ass and highway man is just sitting there in the bushes, watching the whole thing. And even writing down trying to make a drawing of the thing is if that’s going to help anything, and so once the coast is clear, and Steve takes off with Brendan’s camera, and then Brennan’s dusted himself off that’s when highway man comes out of the bushes and says Hey, man, I got I got the police sketch of the guy you know, you can give this to the police maybe they’ll be able to find it and Brennan’s like Who the hell’s this guy? So yeah, those are all on YouTube and, and, and Henry’s kitchen also. So about 10 years ago, I made a kitchen video out of my bachelor apartment, I was going through a breakup so it came off extra depressing. And I wrote music for it that was over the top depressing and and the second one that I did was called Henry’s chili for one and it went viral, it got over a million views. And so I was like, well, maybe I’ll turn this into a regular thing. And so I’ve been making them ever since for 10 years. And when the pandemic hit, I wasn’t going to be able to do a lot of the live stuff anymore, or any of it really and and I started kind of looking for a way that I can do more stuff out of home. And so, so I started these two web series, or I continued the Henry’s kitchen and the highway man. And they’re both the exclusive videos come out every month on Patreon. So there’s patreon.com slash Henry’s kitchen patreon.com slash highway, man. But that’s all in the videos. So if people like them, they can subscribe. And then I put them out every month and

matt nappo 1:00:24
every month. That’s pretty aggressive. I have to say, yeah, as a one man production company.

Henry Phillips 1:00:31
Yeah, I keep busy. And then, but but now I’m going back on the road, man. I’ve got a Wichita Kansas, Kansas week, a week and a half from now. And then I’m going to go to St. Louis, to open for a band called Ludo at the pageant theater for a few nights. And then I go to Wisconsin, Western Wisconsin and Wisconsin Rapids to do a couple of rural gigs there and, and then, and then Fresno after that, but I’m finally getting back out there and performing. And it feels good. I’m really happy to

matt nappo 1:01:03
be here for you. I have the link to your website. Yeah, going down there. It’s in the description. Also the links to the Patreon pages for the shows and all that kind of stuff. And I’m imagining I’m guessing the tour dates are on Henry Phelps. Yeah, yeah.

Henry Phillips 1:01:18
Well, it’s a good question, because I’m usually pretty bad about that stuff.

matt nappo 1:01:22
Most comedians aren’t. People in the music industry are cool. I mean, anytime I talk to entertainers on the show, I go to their website, and they say your website is totally outdated. And

Henry Phillips 1:01:36
it’s true. And I’m definitely one of those guys, because I never got to that point where I could get somebody to do it. Right. Most most of my comic friends eventually get to a point where they’ve got somebody who volunteers or somebody who gets a paycheck or whatever, to do all that stuff. But it’s for me, it’s me trying to figure out how to navigate the damn thing, you know, but it’s up to date now. So

matt nappo 1:01:57
yeah, well, I appreciate you being here. Now. I just have to note that you’re the second guest. on my show that has actually been interviewed by Larry King, I find that Yes. Wow. To me is that’s an impressive thing getting interviewed by Larry King, I’m guessing because there was no context to the one I saw. I’m guessing it came out right after punching the clown. That’s one

Henry Phillips 1:02:21
after the second movie. So the second movie punching Henry which by the way, both those movies are on Amazon, if anybody wants to see them, I think you have to pay a couple bucks. But But Amazon. But so punching Henry was done through a studio so that that had an actual budget where they hired a PR person to get me interviews. And Larry King wasn’t on on cable news anymore. But now he was doing it on the internet, and, but still just as cool. And so I was able to sit down with him and do a whole interview. And I think there’s two on YouTube. There’s the full interview. And there’s also like, just a quick q&a one,

matt nappo 1:03:02
right? Well, just and again, I’m trying to be as respectful of your time as possible. But there are a couple of questions I have to ask you about. Sure. First of all, he he seemed like he was reading off of something that is on your Wikipedia page. And that was included in the second one where you’re in the room with the record company executives and they’re talking badly about you they’re talking like a blockhead. Oh, yeah. His two best friends are despair and failure and all this kind of stuff, making you feel like a real loser. And I it says something like in your wiki page or Wikipedia page that Henry is known for playing a character who is a loser, and it’s like, Yeah, but you say I’m right here in the room, and then Larry, Larry King says something like you’re even a failure at that. People have no respect for this guy.

Henry Phillips 1:03:59
Yeah, a failure of being a failure. I don’t even remember that. The exact context of that, but uh, but yeah, so um, I all of the stuff that we talked about Kingdom comedy guy when I was a kid watching Garry Shandling do his stand up, you know, Rodney Dangerfield, these were all the people that I laughed at, you know who I guess their persona was losers, but I loved it. I Bob Newhart was another guy. Albert Brooks, you know,

matt nappo 1:04:30
I was gonna say your filmmaking and your approach to filmmaking and I didn’t want to kind of, because I didn’t know how you would feel about this because of your comparison. But I think when I look at your filmmaking and your approach to filmmaking, be Albert Brooks, influence to me jumped out at me that was the first Yeah, these films make me feel like you know, reminiscent of that kind of delivery, that kind of attitude.

Henry Phillips 1:04:55
Well, yeah, no, I appreciate that. Yeah. Modern Romance would be nice. Number one, you know and then yeah defending your life and loss in America. I mean, I love those movies. But yeah, those guys, I don’t know if I just saw all those people at a time where I was like, Oh, Okay, I get it there’s a world where it’s okay to be a loser and it’s actually encouraged you know, and it’s called comedy you know, and I love it you know, Chris Farley Will Ferrell you know all these guys you know, I mean that’s, that’s what it is, you know?

matt nappo 1:05:32
Right. And before I let you go together thing from the Larry King interview that came out he asked you at one point what would you What would you like to be more successful at I think it’s how we put it and your answer was I’d like to be a better kept actor. Now I think, again, not blowing smoke up your ass but I think you’re a great character actor. It just seems that most often you’re playing yourself as a character but I know you’ve done some other acting things. Anything like that in the horizon? Because I do I do think you have the ability if I read I know your father was a known as a character actor. any of that on the horizon for you other acting work? I’m not Henry.

Henry Phillips 1:06:13
I love the idea of it. But yeah, I guess what I was getting at there is my dad was a character actor. And yeah, that’s in the Wikipedia too. There’s a bigness to what a lot of character actors do that I love. Well, like Rip Torn would be a great examples, right? Like, you know, it’s like, that’s something that you know, if he asked me, What would be something that I wish that I could do that I can’t I’d say it’s that kind of grandiose, sort of character acting where you just command the whole room to you know, you just walk on there and everybody’s like, Oh, yeah, I mean that. That’s fantastic. I don’t feel like I’m that guy. I don’t necessarily aspire to be that right now. What I like I did I did several episodes of Silicon Valley, the show on HBO and I was pretty much I was playing a character for sure. But that character was a little bit of an offshoot of myself, you know, I was just kind of trained to be as dry and real as possible. And yeah, I’m all for doing parts like that. And you know, I’ll keep pursuing it. It’s not it’s not really a and a career that you get to choose whether you get to do it or somebody else has to put you in there stuff. But I

matt nappo 1:07:27
got suckered away. But yeah, yeah, it is fate. And it is a lot of luck and all that stuff that plays into it.

Henry Phillips 1:07:34
But we live in a time where we can make our own stuff which is really helping me out a lot.

matt nappo 1:07:39
I agree I visit that’s a double edged sword you know, and you know, this probably a conversation for another day because I do want to let it go because I you know, I’ve kept your over an hour now. But there, there is a point where all comergence like may say there’s no good music or anymore No good comedy around anymore. It’s just not true. It’s just you have to dig a little harder to find it because a lot of great artists aren’t getting the sweetheart promotional deals from record labels or movie studios. And they have to produce this stuff on their own. So you have to dig a little harder to find it, but it’s out there. So

Henry Phillips 1:08:13
it is out there and word of mouth is the best you know, and you just every time you talk to somebody who’s got similar tastes, just say, Hey, who are you listening to now? or What are you watching or whatever, and that’s the best way to do it.

matt nappo 1:08:26
Right? come to New York sometime soon.

Henry Phillips 1:08:28
Oh, absolutely. I’d love to. I’d love to. Well,

matt nappo 1:08:32
well hey, me. And Tom Kanaka says hello. He’s in the one of the chat rooms he says. Please have Henry back for round two. This was great. Bah bah bah, bah, bah, bah. Thank you, Tom. Thank you again, for hooking this up. Please stay in touch and do feel free to come back anytime you want. I appreciate this morning, you know, and I wish you great continued success and till next time Till we meet again. Be well. That sounds great. I appreciate it. Bye for now. Henry foe folks. Wow, what a great guy. What a great talent. One of the one of the most creative people in the world today. I say that you know, with no exaggeration, I mean, we’ve got a lot of things going on. I didn’t kind of chef, the chef stuff. Listen. The only reason I made that comment in the beginning about the chef stuff is I know a lot of serious chefs who struggle struggle they have YouTube shows and they struggled to get 1000 views and then this was kind of making a joke out of a cooking show getting millions of views. I know my chef friends are very hurt by that. But bad bad is a great stuff too and very entertaining Henry’s kitchen. I hope you’ll check out all the Henry stuff the movies, see the stand up the the music on iTunes and all that kind of stuff. Everywhere you find Henry in so many different creative endeavors. So that’s our show for today. Tomorrow, I have a musical group from LA to boo droz which is a cigar box foot stomp and rock and roll band. Anyway, I hope you will join me then 8pm tomorrow till then I’m Matt nappo for the mind dog TV podcast. Thanks for coming. Have a great night. Bye for now.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Bill Fichtner- Longevity In The Film & TV Industry

Actor, writer, producer and director, Bill Fichtner has had a long successful career in film and television and joins us to share his insight and perspective on the changing industry. He is currently seen on CBS in the popular sitcom Mom and his film Cold Brook can be seen on Showtime.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/william_fichtner

Transcript:

minddog 0:00
What’s the secret to longevity in the movie business? We’ll talk about it on this episode of the mind dog TV podcast.

minddog 0:25
Welcome my friends to another episode of the mind dog TV podcast. I’m Matt nappo. Thanks for coming. It’s great to have you here, special daytime taping of the podcast today to accommodate my guests who is out on the west coast. My guest today is an accomplished film actor for more than 30 years. He’s a writer, director and producer, and has some great insight and perspective to share with our film filmmakers and creative community in general that a part of the mind dog TV audience and part of my kind of extended family here. So without further ado, please help me welcome a man. Please open your ears, open your minds, and help me welcome in Bill fichtner. To the mind dog TV podcast, Bill fichtner. Welcome to the mind on TV podcast. Thanks for coming. Glad to have you here.

Bill Fichtner 1:17
My pleasure, man. Nice to have some sort of presence on Long Island.

minddog 1:23
So pardon my ignorance, but I haven’t had a television in my house for 10 years. And that’s on purpose. I kind of got tired of all the noise that cable TV news produced and just was sick of it. So I I took it out of my house. So I’m not very familiar with anything that’s happened in television in the last 10 years. And I’m kind of culturally on hip in in that regard. I understand that you’re on a current production on television that is produced by Chuck Lorre.

Bill Fichtner 2:05
Yeah, it’s a show called mom. And well, we got we got 20 of the 22 episodes in this year before they they sent everybody an email in early March and said, if you want anything in your dressing room, get it now. Because we’re shutting down. This is season seven, I think you know, you know Long Story Short. during season three. Chuck Lorre had reached out to me and had a conversation with me about playing a role on there. Just a guest spot like three or four episodes. Small Ark and, and a you know, I listen, I don’t get a lot of calls in my life for multi cam sitcoms. I the only other one that I’ve ever actually had in my life was like 28, nine years ago with another Chuck Lorre show called grace under fire. Remember that one? Yeah. In the first season, I played this Petro chemist named Ryan sparks and and Chuck hired me for that way back then. I don’t know what check, see something that no one else in this business does. But I’m glad that he does. So he called me and he said, Listen, if you come on, well, you got to give me three or four episodes because I want to do this arc with the character. His name is Adam Jana koski. And so, so I went and I did the three or four episodes. And then on the last show that I always do, you know, wave to the audience, and you do a little hug as you’re walking, you know, with the writers and the producers and everything. And he said to me when you say goodbye, listen, I’m not done with this. And I was like, Well call me. So a couple of months later, the writers called and Chuck and everybody to run the show and said, you know, would you be interested in coming back? full time and then so I went back full time season 456 and now we’re just finish, you know, or a little bit short of season seven. And there’s another season eight to go whenever that spills out, you know? So yeah, that’s my that’s my whole mom thing. Well,

minddog 4:14
Chuck is obviously a success in just about everything he touches these days. So but seven years in television, seven, seven long seasons is is the mark of a very successful television show.

Bill Fichtner4:30
Yeah, for sure. You know, mom is one of those shows where I mean, listen, I I know everybody says this about the show that they work on. But I can say this and it’s absolutely true. You don’t get better writers than in Chuck’s group but just about everything that he does, especially with mom, these these people are so under unbelievable. It’s exchange it all week long as we work on a building up to the Friday night to the live show. And by the time Friday night comes along, it’s tight and it’s really good and you know, for me Personally, the one thing that I do want to say about mom is that I’ve done two series in my life. And each one was when each one of my sons was in high school. And, you know, doing a series is the closest thing to any sort of like, you know, regular regularity or regular job to ever have in showbiz. Right? Yeah. And I’ve been so grateful especially, I mean, I did the show called Prison Break when my older boy was in high school, and but now living in California at that time, well, now at that time, I just moved out here to but I, you know, now with my younger son, who’s a pretty big sports boy football, baseball and, and, you know, Warner Brothers is like, 15 minutes from his school. And I have to tell you, I finished work, and I don’t miss many games, and I love it. And I’m so grateful to have that show. Not only creatively, but you know, just to logistically have, you know, my life and family and everything that it’s been a bit of a godsend, and I’ve been really grateful and so happy for it.

minddog 6:04
Well, I just wanted to touch on mom, because, you know, I know, it’s something you’re doing now. But one thing that intrigued me, looking up the show is that you seem to be the only male kept on the show.

Bill Fichtner 6:17
Oh, no, I meant. There’s a guest spotter, too. But, you know, sometimes this is God’s honest truth, man I’ve had, I’ve had each of the ladies on the show. And they’re an incredible group of six women. And at some point or another, I think every one of them has said to me, and some of them multiple times. I don’t know how you deal with all these women. But and I look at them. And I say this is this is I grew up. My parents divorced when I was young. And that was in the mid 60s. So I grew up with my mother and four sisters. And and I look at everybody a mom, they’re like, how are you doing? I’m like, Ah, it’s just like I use you know, when you grow up, and you’re around, you know, like, really dynamic women. You get it? I get it. Yeah, no, smooth as silk.

minddog 7:07
So I’m glad you mentioned your upbringing, because I want to use you to kind of give some insight to my audience who was largely in the creative arts and a great deal of them are filmmakers and actors, directors and, and upcoming, and they think your insight and perspective would be incredibly valuable to these people. So when did you always want to be an actor? Was that always your ambition in life?

Bill Fichtner 7:41
I have to tell you, it is God’s honest truth. I don’t ever remember in high school, even going to any, like high school production or play. I mean, I’m sure they had them. And I know that because I’ve seen them in the yearbook. But you know, I mean, the group that I hung out with, we were right out the back door and probably right over to the hockey rink. But growing up outside of Buffalo and check the log in New York. No, not even slightly. Matt. I, you know, All I knew is I had a I had a counselor in high school that said to me, Mr. Ryan, and he said to me, you know, William, if you do a little bit better, you know, you could you could go to college, and that was kind of like, you know, wow, wow, it really would that be a possibility? So, and then my dad suggested, you know, there’s a school on Long Island, SUNY Farmingdale, and criminal justice might be an interesting degree. And it’s not like I was really thinking about it that much in high school, but I thought, wow, I love the island. I’ve got relatives from one end of the island to the other. And, you know, I could, I could see my aunt Charlene all the time over these days. So I thought, wow, I gotta, I gotta go. I gotta go check out Farmingdale. And I did. And I applied, and I got it. And so I went to farming as a criminal justice major. And then farming at the time was a two year school Ag and tech school. So then I had to transfer and I transferred to SUNY Brockport outside of Rochester, still not, you know, as a criminal justice major. But long story short, when I when I got to Brockport, I was there about a week and I got a call from an admissions counselor. And they said to me, Listen, you’re short, one fine arts course that you need for your core. And I said, Oh, okay, so what’s that? And they were like, Oh, you know, like an intro to theater class. And then I’m like, Well, what else you got? And they said, Well, we have an improv class. You can take that and I was like, what’s improv? Well, and they gave me a course description. I’m like, Oh, well, it’s more of an intimate class. Sure. I’ll, I’ll do the improv class. Now, that, you know, give credit where credit is due. There was an admissions counselor at Farmingdale, a gentleman named Don Harvey, and I met him and that’s one of the reasons why I really wanted to go to Farmingdale too because he was such a cool guy and supportive. You know, he took me one time to see a Broadway show. I was, you know, he was like a mentor. I was really close to him when I was out of Farmingdale. And, and so that was really mind blowing to see like, you know, the first time I ever really saw play was like, you know, Broadway show, which was incredible. But then when I transferred up the breadboard, so I took this improv class. And I had a teacher and Aaron, her name was Sally Rubin. And she said to me, after about a month or six weeks into the semester, she asked me to step up to class one day, and she said, Listen, I don’t say this a lot. I don’t know if I’ve ever said this. But I really, I think, I think you should do this. I think you should do this in your life. You understand a moment you understand what it is to like, Listen, these are like things that make an actor and I have to tell you that as that would be like saying to me, you know, once you go build a spaceship in your backyard, I mean, out of the blue, and I’m like, I get always a compliment. But it’s not like I’m thinking about, you know, I really want to go down this road and be an actor. But I loved this improv class so much. And then for the next two years at Brockport, I took selected, like, you know, things that I could take, you know, as a non theater major, and then I graduated, and, you know, it was, it was decision time, like, what are you going to do in your life, you know, I, I applied, I was taking a federal police exam in Buffalo. I remember being in the middle of the exam thinking, I don’t think I’m going to do this. And I, I researched and I and I did an audition for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, a regional audition in Syracuse, where I did it somebody’s office and, and I got in, and I just shifted my life on a dime and got on a bus in Buffalo and got off at Port Authority, and stayed with my aunt Tootsie and a story and, and started waiting tables Matt, and going to school. Wow. So how it really how it really kind of began,

minddog 12:06
I asked this question of Eric Roberts. Last weekend, I was kind of surprised that his answer. And I basically I, I posed it as is. A lot of people see what you do. And maybe it’s not hard work. But they also tend to think, well, it’s just a matter of luck, and and not really so much hard work. And Eric, you basically blew me away with this answer. what degree do you think luck plays in in your career?

Bill Fichtner 12:40
I think you create your own luck, I don’t think I don’t think there’s a lot of luck. That’s what

I the answer. I I don’t think there’s a lot of luck. Listen, you know, what, what, what I always do say to people over time, I do believe this. You’re in it long enough, you put your 10,000 hours in my first agent in New York, you know, little tiny desk in the old equity building in Times Square with an ashtray that was about six inches high. And he said, Put your 10 years and Bill. You know, it might happen before it might happen after but you put your 10 years. And what I do think is that if you hang in, everybody’s going to get a shot. Are you ready when you get it? Right, right. Everybody’s going to get a shot. Now, that being said, you know, you know, there’s a lot of avenues to go in the entertainment business, a lot of people begin as an actor, and it may not be, that might not be your thing. In the end. I remember getting when I got into my first after the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, I, which is the time when you went there was a second year and you were invited back for that. And I got invited back to the second year. Not all kids work. I chose not to go for a lot of reasons. But what I wanted was I wanted a good scene study class. They call them studios. I mean, there’s like the Michael Howard studio, there was the William Esper studio, the different acting playwrights horizons, these are a lot of things I remember back then I’m sure they’re different now. But back then I wanted to get into one of these like Acting Studios. And so I got into one of those. And I remember the first one that I was in a teacher named Peter Thompson. And there were 20 kids in that class. And they were really talented. And I wish I thought like everybody knew more than me, because I didn’t do it in high school. I didn’t really do it in college, I never really did a play a whole play outside of a scene or something. And I could tell you out of those 20 Kids after a few months, they were all good. But I could point out the five of them that were that were really in it. And and I think you know what I mean by that like, really in it. That’s the We’re gonna do, we’re gonna, and I, and I kind of felt at that time, that that was one of them. And, and I thought everybody in the class was really amazing. But there was a difference. And I think that there’s a tenacity and and never give up. But also, you know, acting is one of those things too, that I think you can teach somebody how to you know how to get better. But I don’t know, if you can teach somebody how to act, I think there’s an innate thing about, you know, being in a moment. Wow, listening, I really do I, I’m not sure if you can teach that one thing. I don’t know,

minddog 15:35
I tend to agree with you. On on this point. And I mentioned this about a young actor who I had on the podcast recently. And what it is, is authenticity and a believability about them. And a natural idea, I know this guy, I can relate to this guy, no matter what role they’re in. And I don’t think everybody can do that, especially on camera. So you know, stages is kind of different. But I think with you, and I’m not blowing smoke, everything I’ve seen you when it feels like you’re a real person, it doesn’t feel like you’re acting. And I you know, I’m not sure if that’s training or natural ability, but you’re very, you’re very real to people. And authentic is the word I like to use. And I don’t think you can teach authenticity.

Bill Fichtner 16:28
Well, thank you. I think that, you know, there’s also something to be said about this to about what I said a minute ago about, you know, I don’t think you can teach somebody, you know, a lot of people have the innate ability to do certain things, whether it’s an inner calling, whatever. But, you know, I can tell you this much from the field of being wanting to be an actor and wanting to be a working actor. There’s a lot of stuff that comes with that. And there’s a lot of worry, there’s a lot of, you know, fear. Am I good enough, you know, you know, there’s nervousness when you’re younger than that. I remember walking into auditions and walking out one time and just saying, I, I can’t, I can never do that again. I mean, I was just so nervous, like, I can’t, I can’t do something that makes me sick. But so there’s that element to it. People have to fight through that and get through the other side of that, right. You know, I think you know what I mean. But then, then it gets back to that tenacity thing, you know, right. I remember one day when I had an epiphany moment when I was like, 25, six, or maybe 27 years old, and I was living in the West Village. And I just one day, it was just, I had no money, I had nothing, I had no job at nothing. And I had to go back to getting another job waiting tables, and I kind of worked a little bit got away from that. And I was going back and I felt like I was falling backwards. And everything sucked in I I thought I walked back to my little tiny apartment, I said, That’s it, man. I’m going back to school changing my life. Well, that lasted about like, 25 minutes. And I’m like, Alright, there’s nothing else I want to do. So why don’t you get over that bill and get back at it. I don’t think once the creative bug bites you. You’re kind of diseased with it for the rest of your life. But what you said what you just said right there, I think applies to everything in the creative arts, whether you’re a musician, a comedian, writer, whatever, you whatever you do, I think we all will all that you just said kind of applies to all that the the moments of self doubt the moments of I feel like I’m falling back instead of moving forward and all that stuff that you have to fight through.

Unknown Speaker 18:50
Yeah, yeah, it is. There, you know, and, you know, for those that hang in and, and are lucky enough to, you also have to have things go your way. Not Not to say like I said earlier, I don’t think luck has anything to do with it. I don’t think luck has anything to do with how much of your heart and soul you put into it. That’s an inner thing. I then there will come a time later on. Sure. You know, you know, the stars got to align a little bit you could call it the universe, smiling on you call it luck, but you’re going to need a little bit of that. And everybody will get a little bit of that. I think moment happens, you know, what do you do with it? Right?

minddog 19:36
I think there’s a point where and I think a lot of people get hung up on this is, as you mentioned, it’s kind of like you make your own luck and you build your own luck by your networking by you by working hard and making the right contacts and people seeing that your work is good. And seeing that you’re you’re have some integrity in your work. And that kind of opens up more doors. And the the key thing is to recognize opportunity when it comes your way. So, with that in mind, have you? Have you ever taken roles that you didn’t like just to work? Or? Or did you just Will you? Have you been blessed to have always been part of productions that you really felt good about?

Bill Fichtner 20:25
I love this question. And I will say this, and I don’t. And I mean, and I don’t wear this is like a badge of honor of like, you know, man, I drew the line in the sand of that. But I’ve always had a thing that if I didn’t believe in something, I’m positive that I’m not going to be very good. And, and it was a big fear. And I remember as a young actor being in New York, and I remember one time is Disney before I ever did a film because listen, I moved to New York when I was 21. Everybody I knew got a job in a movie before me. And not that I didn’t want to do things on stage. But I really wanted to work in film someday. And I did my first official film, I did a small little part, but I didn’t really count that it was kind of like a glorified extra. But my first official film that I got, I was 36 years old. 15 years of going for it and never getting a getting a job doing it. Wow. And yeah, no, that’s how long and then when things shifted, everything shifted. But, you know, getting back to this thing about I, I always had this fear that if I if I didn’t believe in something that I would be bad, and it was a big fear, and I want to be bad. So one time in New York, I’m a young actor, I finally got an agent. And I get an audition for this is pretty popular, pretty successful, very well known casting director in New York, I read the script, it was a big of is a Hollywood director. I’m a young guy trying to get a job in a movie. I read the role. I didn’t like it was the role of a pedophile. And I was like, Listen, I’m an actor, you know, I go out on a road I try to find, find the guy in that. But I read that I don’t want to find it’s, it’s my choice. You know, and then, you know, I had people I remember friends at the time going, Well, that’s acting, and I said, Well, we’ll then go active while you try to get it. I don’t feel like I don’t feel like going down that road. Because I didn’t believe in it. Right. And my agent at the time said to me, Are you out of your mind? And I said, Wow, I’m sorry. But I do you want me to do you want me to go in there and meet this famous casting director and, and director and tell him Well, yeah, yeah, yeah, when I’m really not interested in it. Because that’s walking in there in line. So I’m gonna you want me to go in there and lie to them. I don’t want I don’t want to play. I don’t want to do that. And they were like, Well, you know, and then the casting director was like I said, this big famous casting director, apparently said back to my agent at the time, I used that kid out of his freakin mind. He never called me again, ever Wow, ever called me again, for anything that he ever cast after that. I’m like, you know, and I felt bad. But I’m like, Well, what are you gonna? Do you make your choices? So to answer your question, to get back to it, know that I don’t take things just for money. And it’s not like, I don’t need to make money and ever family and all of that. I got offered a film one time, that was another part that I was just, I couldn’t stand it. And it was, you know, an indie independently financed film, and it was more money that I had ever made in a movie, at that point in my life ever. And I was and I hadn’t worked for like six months. And I got the script, I showed it to my wife, I went down in my man cave. I got about halfway through it. And my wife came down. And she said, so how was it? You know, she was so excited. I said, Oh, I stopped that two page like, 50 it sucks. She knew right then and there, it’s not going to happen. I’m gonna just know I can’t.

minddog 24:08
So but on that, on that note, is it more important that the entire story be really good? Or is it enough that the character that you are going after the role for is really, really inspiring and something you want to do?

Bill Fichtner 24:27
It’s a combination of all of it, you know, it’s, you know, there’s a lot of parts to like, like a film or television show or something? Who are the fellow actors? What’s the story? I mean, it all it all and I’m old school in that way. If it’s not on the page, it’s not on the stage at all begins with a great script. Who’s doing the part? You know, you find, you know, you never know what it is, you know, maybe one area comes up a little shorter. Maybe it’s a, you know, maybe it’s a director you’ve never heard of before, you know, I mean, I, I had a guy send me a script, this past October and first time director but didn’t know the guy didn’t know anything about the guy had a conversation on the phone with him. I was like, awesome, dude. I’m in. Wow, man, I just I believe, I believe what he had to say. I liked the role a lot. I liked the whole story and everything. You know, it’s whatever it is, you know, enough stuff come together and you’re like, that’s a worthy journey. I want to take I want to take that journey.

minddog 25:28
You mentioned the pedophile role and is does that come into your thought process? I don’t want to play a guy that people are gonna associate with the bad guy.

Bill Fichtner 25:40
You know, man, well, listen. Listen, I’ve my good buddy Kim coats and I that’s a Canadian actor that I met shooting Black Hawk Down and and we’ll talk about him in a little while because I shot that film that I wrote with another friend for me and Kim coats to do together. But cozy and I got this thing that we say to each other which is Come on man. If you’re if if you work in movies in this business, you have blue eyes and cheekbones you kill people. That’s it. I’ve played my my chair of like heavies. I tend to, I tend to call them like misunderstood characters. But yeah, yeah. But I listened. I I’ve even I found this thing that well, it’s, it’s the words that I use for it. Which, if you if I can’t find anything that a character cares about, then I don’t know how to play him. Because he’s not like a real person, you know, that people don’t think they’re bad. So what makes that a real person, even though he is he could be a bad guy or a bad guy in that script? What does he care about? When you find the answers to that, and then he gets to be a real person. I’ve read scripts where I thought there’s absolutely no redeeming quality whatsoever. And, you know, I was what do I do with it? And you know, not really, just not for me.

Bill Fichtner 27:07
All right, shifting gears a little bit here, just a tiny bit here. A lot of upcoming. People, people who are young, and and want to be in film, start from one perspective, I want to be an actor, I want to be a director, I want to be a producer. And they end up being all of those things. And they feel it’s out of necessity. So a lot of people think young people, especially the young filmmakers, I’m talking to be bad the writer, director, producer, and all of that even editor and sometimes even camera man, or you know, they do at all? I know, you’ve had some experience with that, but I’m not sure your experience applies so much to what they’re doing. Because you weren’t established after before you started doing that stuff. But maybe you can speak to that a little bit about the the toll it takes to do all the jobs the the emotional investment you have to make when a film is all yours. And, and the the long process that you’re buying into when when you do that.

Bill Fichtner 28:21
Yeah, you know, that’s a it’s a big question with a lot of what a lot of offshoots but you know, two things to say about that. One is this. Everything is so different in this day and age today than it was. I graduated college in the spring of 1978 and moved to New York. And you know, people back then looked for jobs, like on Broadway or Off Broadway, then then 10 years after that five years after that it was anywhere that you could get a job smaller theaters, it’s things were so different is they are today today is you know, the age of information happened. And you know, the technology of what people can do with iPhones people are I got a buddy that shot a film a feature film, a friend of mine named Bobby out of Dallas, Texas, he shot a feature film with his iPhone, right? And he got into the Toronto Film Festival with it. So things are different where where do you get your opportunities? If if somebody is so inclined that like you know, it? I would imagine if that same technology that is out there today, and the possibilities and what’s available to young artists, you know, boy, I think we all would have been making movies back then. We’re doing what people are doing today. Again, it was different back then it was like you know you wanted to be an actor you that’s the road you’re on. Didn’t seem like many people split away from that. But, you know, to be more specific about your question. I can tell you this from my experience. Instead of making a feature film that I thought about for 10 years, and then to go through to produce it directly and co write and play the CO leading it and everything, it’s, it is the most total, most fulfilling, hardest freakin thing that I ever did. Life can’t wait to do it again. Bad but it is, it is it creates it creatively. Anybody that that can that can take that road and put it together, and to actually get it to people. And if you are so lucky, because now, not only is it you know, the percentages are small for those that can do all of that and finish it. But if you can finish it and actually make something if you could get it into a film festival, if you could someday sell it, the percentages go from like 10 to 15. You know, I mean to 10 to eight to six to four to two, and then someday to ever see the light of day and see a movie screen. You know, people think, oh, you go on you make a movie, people are gonna see it, I think you’re in the less than, like, 1% I’ll ever see a screen or to get released. My point is this, if you’re so inclined, and that’s how you creatively, you know, you’re so moved, God bless you go for it. hardest thing in the world, but go for it. Because it is those that will take that chance, just like it was for somebody back when I decided that with my criminal justice degree to get on a on a bus in Atlanta Port Authority, you know, with $60 in my pocket. Boy, you gotta have something inside of you go for it. Because if you don’t, it’s never gonna happen.

minddog 31:40
I’m really glad to hear you say that. You can’t wait to do it again. Because a lot of the guys I’m talking to are discouraged by that process. And I’ve asked several, you know, what’s it worth it? Just Just as a matter of back then the movie you would just kind of talking about was that colebrook? Yes. Oh, yeah. Great film. I like a movie that that sticks with you after you’ve seen it? And you think about it for a few days after?

Unknown Speaker 32:08
Or

Unknown Speaker 32:09
and and that that film definitely had that for me. But the question is, now, when you’re doing something like that, now, you said you thought about it for 10 years, when you’re writing a piece like that, do you take into account what it’s going to take to produce this as you’re writing it, or you just write three, you know, from your heart from, you know, put down what you want, and don’t think about how you’re going to fund it and produce it until it’s time to fund it and produce it.

Bill Fichtner 32:41
But listen, I’m gonna, I’m sure that that part of what I’m going to say is even going to be useful, even to someone who’s just beginning, you know, put themselves on the road to doing this in their life. There will be some value in this, but I have to tell you, there were times when when I met some co producers, a couple of folks from Canada, great people that really believed in the script and wanted to get behind it and be a part of it. There were times when the conversation would go. Well, you know, we should think about that for you know, it felt like there were times when the conversation would almost be like a means to an end. And what I mean by that it’s like, well, we should think about this, because that way that’ll be smarter for like foreign sales. And there’s real value in that because the truth about it is, you know, it’s show business, not so friends, let’s go have a good time and try to do something, you really you want to make something that’s creatively, you know, your, that you believe in, but at the same time, you know, you have investors, you want to pay these people back. That’s my big commitment about Cole brookton. To get to that point someday. But there also is this thing, where you got to stop and go, Oh, more than a few times. And this is the old school and mead said, Hold on a second, wait a minute, wait a minute. It’s a movie isn’t any good? If it’s not, if it isn’t the best that it could be? Well, that you just skipped the step right there. You know, that’s what let’s not put the cart before the horse. Right? You know, I remember there were times when we were, you know, running out of money in post production, and we weren’t going to have money for the sort of music that I felt needed to be in there. You know, we really fell on this, like American folk rock sort of, you know, soundtrack to it. And that would be the sound of the film. And, well, there wasn’t any money. So why don’t we just get like, you know, 10th music that’s like, from like, you know, some GarageBand and I’m like, No, no, no, we’re not gonna do that. But you know, that’s, that’s not. So now we’re thinking about it. Now we’re putting band aids on thing or we’re not going to really give it 100% in every single area of the movie. And I’m like, Well, I can’t do that. Well, what’s the point that you know, maybe Sometimes you’re going to be forced into certain things, knock on wood that I’m that, you know, while I did call Brooke, I was working on this show, as we talked about mom, and I’ve got a massively understanding wife, because I remember looking at Kimmy gone, I’m sure she goes, well then fix it darling. Because you have to write and and I do believe that anybody that creatively has taken this walk down the road, boy, draw a line in the sand and know where you can go and can’t go and do whatever you have to do to have it be your vision. Wow. Because if you don’t have that, it is not vision by committee. Right? You know, people are going to are going to put their two cents in and I have to tell you something, I wanted people’s two cents I really did. It may not, it may not be a thought that has any value to my journey or what I want. But there’s an awful lot of people that told me stuff that I was like, Oh, thank you. I didn’t see that one. Budget don’t lose. You know, what you’re trying to say? what your vision is, what you’re feeling is? Because if you do, I don’t know what you’re making that and you probably won’t know it either. Right? Right,

minddog 36:11
I get it. So you mentioned how the industry has changed. And it truly has now for young people trying, they finish their film, right. And they have so many possibilities of how do I get it out there do I shop it around, whatever. But some of those seem to be. And I hate to make it all about money, some of them seem to be a dead end road where it’s never going to be feasible to pay back your investors in any of that, anything like that. And I’m talking specifically about like, you put a film on as, say, Amazon Prime, and I’m not singling them out, I’m just that’s an example. But and you put it on there and you every time your movie gets paid or played for two hours, or whatever it is, you get like six cents or whatever. And so it’s ridiculous to try to think that it’s ever going to make its money back this that come into your thinking when you’re making a film where How am I going to distribute this? Or do you in your case? Do you know in advance where it’s going to go and how it’s going to get distributed?

Bill Fichtner 37:19
Well, first of all, no, you don’t know because you’re making the film at that point. And all I want to do while I’m making the film, is make the best film that I could possibly make, to tell the story as best as I can to have it be seamless in the moments were all of those things that make a complete thing. Now once you have that, like you mentioned amazon prime, you know not well, you got to sell it to Amazon Prime. If you if you go out and you get a distributor, the distributor will try to sell it to Amazon Prime and every other place they can including potentially cable stations, whatever, HBO Showtime, you don’t know you want, you want all the best possibilities. And those collectively, little by little like you said, you’re going to get six said, well, you get six cents, you know, 2 million times you’re going to you’re going to help start to pay some people back. But, you know, truth be told, you know, even even when I shot called Brook, at my age right now, I have to tell you something, I went to school. I mean, I earned I earned a master’s and 12 months, you know, figuring out what to do with this stuff. There were there were so many things that I truly was unaware of, of distribution of what you had to do. But the only thing that really drove me and let’s face it, anybody else that makes a film, go out there and, and, you know, plan and pray for the 17 miracles, you’re going to need to have happen because you will need them and they will come. And but even with all of that. There were things that I was I was unaware of disown aware of and learned on the fly. But I never lost sight of the one thing as I said, which was make the best movie that you can i because that’s the best shot you have of ever having people see the film.

minddog 39:18
I really appreciate that answer.

Bill Fichtner 39:21
Oh, yeah. And you know, listen, listen, we’re in. We’re in the throes right now with colebrook sure, you know, in the process of getting, you know, the tax incentive back from upstate New York, great, you know, we’re in the process of you know, I got a distributor for it. I took it to film festivals didn’t get into every festival, but the earthy kind of ones like like Woodstock in upstate New York and Napa Valley Film Festival out. You know, a lot of these earthy kind of festivals that are great festivals. They really got the film. And so I took it to these festivals and we want awards at these festivals. All, you know, in my mind, I’m thinking, Okay, I got an indie film here. One of these days, if I ever get a distributor, I’m gonna make a post about for this film, and I’m not posting I’m gonna put some laurels and, and it’s gonna be that I won some things that these indie films, you know, it means a lot to me. Yeah, I mean listen to it meant a lot to all of us when we all went to the festivals, all the actors in it and other people involved and just had an awesome time celebrating the movie, but I knew someday it would help, it would help someday in selling the film. It’s just a little piece of the puzzle. And people recognize the song. So it’s these things and when you start to put them all together, and getting back to does the movie work, and then then you can start to see, and this is where the education really came in for me of how does everybody make the money back. And it’s, it’s my commitment. I’ll tell you this much too. And it’s important to say this, because, and I’m not saying anything that any young filmmaker probably hasn’t experienced, multiple times, or the first time for sure, which is, I remember the conversation where we needed something while we were shooting called Brook. And I was like, we didn’t have the money. And I’m like, Well, you know, pay my co writer but defer my payment on as a writer, as someone else came up. And you know, we’re in post production and well, the for my payment is producer. Oh, yeah, we got this thing here. We’re short on money for music differ my payment is what he called us as a director. You know, the only thing that I got paid on was Screen Actors Guild because you have to, but everything else that was did come down as a choice to me, it was like, put it back in the movie. And you’re going to have things like that. And you have to, because it makes a better movie. And in the end, you have to give yourself the best shot to have success for the film. And it all comes back to how good is the film? Is it everything you wanted it to be? Did you put everything in with that you could set your best shot.

minddog 42:06
So having that experience. I’m not sure if you have any advice, but I got to ask for a young guy who really wants to be an actor, but feels like he has to write his own because he’s not getting the opportunities. I’m not sure even have had, they would follow that path in today’s world. But if you’re really serious about I just want to be an actor. But I feel like I have to make this film myself. I have to write it and produce it and directed. Do you have any advice for that? Would you say stick to your your true strength in acting or directing or whatever it is, rather than go that route and try to make your own film right from the start? Because, again, I know you were an established actor, before you even took that upon yourself. A lot of these guys are coming out of the gate thinking that’s what they have to do.

Bill Fichtner 43:00
Yeah, you know, you know, Listen, man, it’s even the thought that of like, not getting seen as an actor and I’ll make my own thing. I mean, that is so that’s like speaking a foreign language when I when I was young. Nobody you know me now. It’s just like, out of the book. Imagine that thinking, well, nobody’s gonna hire me as you know, as a chef, I’m just gonna open up my own restaurant.

minddog 43:28
That’s what Stallone did, though with Rocky. I mean, I know he was in some parts before that. But I think he felt like he wasn’t getting enough. At least this is from what I’ve read that he he wasn’t getting enough part. He wasn’t getting enough opportunities. So he just said, You know what, screw it. I’m just gonna write my own thing, direct it and produce it.

Unknown Speaker 43:48
That’s what I have read over time as well. But you know, listen, what you know what happened with Stallone and Rocky and who was it? Who’s, what’s the Hollywood folklore that Who was it that the studio’s really wanted to play the part? Oh, yeah. Somebody like Robert Redford. You know, and, and, and apparently still on was like, No, no, no, it’s me. A you know, listen, I love that story. It’s a great story. It’s a great film. He’s great in it. And that’s, I mean, that’s like beyond rare,

minddog 44:24
right? lightning in a bottle for sure.

Bill Fichtner 44:26
Oh, just lightning and and a really, really, really big bottle and a little diesel lightning that was just magic. But, but listen to to somebody. You know, if a young actor CAG can’t get a job, you know, it isn’t making a movie isn’t necessarily going to put you on the road to be a better actor. Right? You know, you can never let go with the fact of how am I a better actor. Listen, I every three years I still read the same acting book I bought 40 years ago. goal. So you know, everybody’s gonna make you know, and I always find the little something new in it. But, you know, you’re always a student of that. But. But if you go down that road and put all your heart and soul and energy into writing and producing and what it takes and directing and everything, you know that you might just find out that Wow, you’re one, you’re one heck of a storyteller, and you’ve just found your calling. And you might not. But But again, you aren’t going to know until that is? And I don’t really know, you know, that’s it. I find interesting, you know, even the question that you asked, there’s a guy that can’t get an acting job. Is that a, is that a real place to go? If you’re inspired to go there? And you want to show your stuff in that way? That is this day and age, you know, and stranger things have happened, right? Well, I’m how tell people can, can, can can make a difference in their life?

Unknown Speaker 45:58
Clearly, I don’t have the insight and experience you have the might, my tendency to answer that question is, if you really want to be an actor, you should concentrate on being an actor, because getting involved, especially when you’re young, I’m thinking I’m playing. Because getting involved in writing and directing is great for the future. But if your goal is to be an actor, don’t let other things distract you from that. Because, again, I know you know this from going through it. And I’m actually going through it right now making my own film, that it’s a life investment, when you when you actually go to make a film and you are the guy, you are the director, you this is your film, you’re you’re giving up part of your life to make this film, it’s like it’s worse than having a, I’m not going to stay in it because all fine ladies, it’s like having a child but not as painful physically.

Unknown Speaker 46:57
It’s, you know, as I said, before, hardest road I’ve ever walked down. And a little bit of, you know, my own personality, I’ve you know, I’m the guy that wakes up in the morning and opens up the curtains looks in the backyard. And if I see one shrub, that’s kind of like weird, you know, I’ll end up getting a cup of coffee and a pair of little scissors, and I’ll go out there. And so I’m the was the same way making colebrook. You know, I just, I couldn’t put a bandaid on anything that I thought could be just a little bit better. So yes, it is. It’s a massive, massive commitment. You want if you want to be like the most incredible actor that you can be? Go Go find out how to work that hard to be that I do agree with you. I just think that there were there’s never really been any rules. But there’s a lot less now than there were when I first moved to New York, right? It just feels like things are reinvented on a weekly basis, you know, or a daily basis. Yeah. And that is that is our world, you want to you want to reinvent yourself and, and, you know, take a journey. Go for it. You You may find that is that is your thing. It’s it’s, it’s almost in some ways, it’s almost an impossible question to answer. Because my answer would be one of my experience that was, you know, began 40 years ago, and my experience is not the world. Right. And, but but I still have some, but But then again, you know, listen, the old sensibilities, some of them, you know, are always true, right? You know, I remember when, you know, the first time my mother came to visit me in New York, and I was in the late 70s, I had a little apartment and queens and. And she came to the city and we went around on the subway and looked at things and she went back to my apartment and, and she said, Well, it only looks like there’s two things you have any control over honey. And I said, What’s that mom? She goes, how much work you put into it, and how clean your apartment is? And that’s it. That’s how much are you willing to put into it? Great.

minddog 49:13
So a lot of the young guys filmmakers to directors feel like they need to really pursue a name or actor or somebody who’s a household name and get frustrated when they can’t, you know, you know, you’re not going to get a superstar actor to commit to on first time directors film unless the script really knocks them out. And you can even get the script in their hands and that it can be impossible, but a lot of them feel like if I can’t get a big star to do this movie. It’s not worth doing. You have any perspective on that?

Bill Fichtner 49:50
Yeah, yeah, for sure. Especially after having gone through and making coldbrook you know, it’s it is it is our world today. It is As they sell things in a though things change and everything, you know, they sell things on, on on the who’s in it. There’s There’s no doubt about it. It’s like foreign sales we have an I my, what kind of film is that? What is it? I called Brooke as a film that’s, that’s like a PG rated film about friendship, how far do you go to help a stranger? There’s, there’s no guns, there’s no violences there’s, there’s no sex, there’s no nudity, nothing blows up. I mean, I had people when I was looking for a distributor going, Yeah, it’s gonna be a tough one, really, you know, people would see the movie at festivals and go really good movie, man, I don’t know what to do with it. Because a lot of those things are elements that people do sell movies on, you know, you know, to foreign markets, and, and you sell it on name value. Now listen, I’m I’m a, you know, recognizable actor to whatever degree and, and I was fortunate enough with cold Brook that I raised, you know, or my co producers really, along with my help raised the money from the private sector. So one of the upshot of that whole thing is that I didn’t have some producer over my head from Hollywood, or somewhere telling me, you got to do this, we got to do this, we got to hire this person, if you don’t have this person in the movie, you’re not gonna be able to make it. So because we, you know, raise money privately, I was able to go to who I felt were the best actors to be in the film, that the actors that blow my mind, and I went to them and they did the movie. But you can’t say, and I can’t say, I, I put someone in there that has the sort of name value that’s going to make a big difference to people in the world that might really need that in order to purchase a film. If I had if I had a household, you know, name that was in, in the film, what would it have been easier for me to sell? coldbrook? Definitely, no doubt about it. It might not have been the same film and it might not have been, you know, every element changes something makes it a you know, slightly different painting. But it does make a difference. Yeah, I mean, I get that. But then again, people go out and, and they make films and if you’re lucky enough to have somebody see it and go, I have no idea who’s in that movie. But that was unbelievable. Right? Well, it doesn’t happen often. But it happens. And and then all of a sudden, I mean, look at the people who went and spent $60,000 on their credit cards. It made Blair Witch Project. Yeah, it’s gonna make a scary movie, but like $60 million, or whatever. Yeah. You know, Blitz depends on what it is. I mean, I have a good buddy of mine, listen to this, you’re gonna love this as a good buddy of mine that produced a film that I was in about four or five years ago. And, and, and he said, I, you know, I keep in touch. And we say, Bill, man, I really want to see you. I really want to see your film. I sent him the film and and I had lunch with him. And he sat down with me. He goes, What? Why? Why would you make that movie? I like, I’m like, what kind of questions why would you ask me? What do you mean? Why would I make that movie? In this day and age today a movie about like, how far do you go to help a stranger and finding an inner calling to do the right thing? Yeah, but But what are you ever going to do with it? And, you know, I got his point. But it’s, but it is the movie that I wanted to make. The next time that I make a film, do I? Will I adhere to those sort of standards? Or or? Or things that people might expect in this business to help you sell a film? Well, I guess the next time around, I certainly don’t ever want to make a movie for someone else’s. You know, what they think is that movie I should make? You want to make the movie you want to make it but at the same time? Sure, you know, I’ve I have a better eye about maybe how to how to blend those things together. Though I still think that cold Brook, if I was to start it all over again today, I still think I would have made the same movie.

minddog 54:19
Right? And my perspective and my might not be yours. But my and I understand that everything is a business and money makes the world go round. But from my perspective as an artist, and I don’t care what creative art you’re involved in, being proud of the work and being really happy with with the work that you’ve done and produced is the number one way I would measure success.

Bill Fichtner 54:49
Oh, there’s there’s a lesson and then but then again, it comes down to That’s such I mean, that’s a huge thing. And that’s a my thing. You can eat away. But it’s not everybody, right?

Bill Fichtner 55:12
Okay, it won’t pay. You can eat it or bite. But it’s the most it’s the first step to me. I’m not saying it’s the only measure of success. Again, I understand this the business, but if I’m not proud of the work I’ve done, and it makes a million dollars, I’m gonna end up drinking or doing drugs or something. Because Because I’m gonna, I’m gonna feel like I cheated somebody.

Bill Fichtner  55:35
I there’s Yes, exactly. Yeah, you did. And I feel the same way. And you cheated yourself. And I don’t like doing that. Right? And I don’t live that way. And I don’t want to listen, I have, I have an issue. And the older that I get, it seems to come on more and more. I don’t really like watching myself. You know, even when I started working in films, I would get asked to like, do you want to watch dailies? And I’d be like, No, no, no, thanks. Is it smart to do that? Sure. You can learn things from that from watching stuff. I just, I just would never mind things. Then the older I got, the only times that ever really see a film was like at the premiere, or when you had to do some sort of ADR looping you know, sound on it, when they were putting it together. I don’t have that thing where I need to, I don’t get this sort of gratification where Oh, man, I gotta watch myself, you know, because I’m so good. I don’t have that. I’m a little Actually, I’m a little hyper critical of my own thing. So here I come trying to make this film, you know, in the last couple of years and, and boy talk about, you know, I don’t like watching myself, but yet I played the CO lead in this. And I got a great editor. And I told this young editor that I met that I just believed in, met him on the phone, actually, it didn’t even see his real. And I think I talked to him for an hour. And I’m like, gearin, I love you. What’s your name again, buddy. He’s my editor. And I can’t imagine not wanting to work with him the next time I do something, and but I said to him, I’m, I might cut myself out of this movie, and I won’t serve the film. So you edit the scenes we’re going to work on you show me what you’re thinking about. Because I don’t want to do that. Wow. And that’s what we did. And actually, it was a lesson learned on the first, the first day of editing was the first week, first couple of days. And I was picking things out going, Oh, I liked that moment. I liked that moment. And we worked on this big opening scene, and the scene that opens the film. And he played it for me after two days. And I was like, it doesn’t work. And and I know what I’m doing. I’m getting in my way, I’m screwing myself up. Because I don’t like watching myself. And I love everybody else that’s in the scene. I can’t do that. So let’s let’s adjust something right now. you edit the scene, and let’s demo start to bounce some thoughts off of it. And and, you know, at the end of the day, I you know, getting back to you know, a couple of years go by and make the film gets distributed. Thank God, it’s out there right now on these platforms. And, and but when I look at the film now, you know if i grown up since then, sure. Am I smarter about things? Absolutely. But I’m still proud of it. You know, I? Boy, if I didn’t have that? I don’t know what I would think if I didn’t if I wasn’t proud of it. I you know, and I would hope that nobody ever saw it. Right, you know? Yeah.

minddog 58:44
Wow, this has been a really insightful and powerful conversation. I hope a lot of the young filmmakers and you know what musicians guys can can relate to what everything you said to it’s just a different medium that they work in. I got to tell you a little story before I prefaced My last question to you because it’s something I asked every creative person. I play in a band. And I was buying an AMP off of Craigslist. And the guy told me to meet him in a in a mall parking lot. And you might be familiar with $1 what Whitman? What were more parking. I know where it is. Yeah, sure. So I got there before him. And I’m thinking why you know and amplify something you need to plug into why isn’t this guy having me to his house, he must. He must have something to protect, doesn’t want strangers to pass, I can understand that. I got there early. He pulls up and I knew right away the guy had a lot of money by the vehicle he pulled up with. His wife was like covered in diamonds and pearls. He was with them in the passenger seat. And we got to talk and they said what are you doing? And I said I play in a band and he said, Oh, you’re living the dream. And I laughed in his face. I actually and I didn’t mean to be rude, but it was just a natural reaction. I said, You don’t understand. I’m not rich. I’m famous, I’m not a rock star. I play clubs, I play beaches, I play at nursing homes, I play private parties. My wife, I’m a working stiff musician. And he said, You don’t understand. I’ve been a day trader all my life, I’ve made a ton of money. I always wanted to be in a band, I’m selling you my amp, I’m retired, it means I’m never going to live my dream. You’re living my dream. And I went, Whoa. And I decided I got to make a film about this to show what it takes to really pursue no matter what you do. Whatever you do in life, there’s a price to pay you never know somebody else’s life into your actually step into their shoes. But there are a lot of people who go through life, never pursuing their dream for one reason or another, they you know, money becomes more important, or other things become more important. And they are, for lack of a better way to put it not courageous enough to follow their dream. So I have to ask you, do you feel like you lived your dream?

Bill Fichtner 1:01:07
Yes. Wow. Yeah, I remember. moments when I first made a decision that I thought I How could I might my college girlfriend, I was I was telling you, you know, taking these classes at SUNY Brockport. And when I graduated, my college girlfriend gave me a paperback book. And it was called How to be a working actor. I am actually in my little man cave off my garage, and I’m looking at it right now on the shelf. And I read that book 10 times that summer. And it was just the nuts and bolts of how, what do you do if you go to LA? And where do you study? And this was four years ago? And where do you go? If you go to New York? And how where do you study? And how do you do it? And, and I read it over and over. And I remember at the time, when I read that book that it was so exciting, that it was a world that I was just having a new dream about. And and was dreaming about it during the day and at night. And but it was a dream every moment and in something back then back then. Did anybody really know an actor living in check the log in New York that was so that was on television? Or? Or an Hollywood guide? You didn’t know actors? Right? I mean, so to, to get to that place and to have enough, enough inside and you know, and then that probably comes from my mother, you know, just always given you the confidence that you can you can try it, you can do it, whatever it was, and, and to go to New York to go through that were the hard times did I ever Honestly, I can’t believe I’m gonna say this. Did I? Did I ever really? Do I feel at my place in my life right now that I filled every dream that I ever had? Absolutely not? No. But I ended up with a few other ones that I didn’t think I was going to have. And they were really freaking good. So but I put myself on a road did I did I get as far down the road as I thought, maybe not. But I but I got on the road and and I live on that road. And it’s it’s, it’s, you know, it’s the road that I that I chose back in the summer of 78. When I turned in that police exam and said, This just isn’t going to be my road, I’m going to go on this road and I have no and it’s not like I knew anybody in the business, nothing, nothing. But I’m going to go on that road. And I’m going to try to get down that road. And I live on that road now. So you know the other thing I want to say too, about what you were saying before about playing in a band and buying that amp. I will say this much about the things that I’ve worked on in my life. Every single thing that I have done in my life is is is like a piece of the puzzle of whatever your life is. Are you proud of every piece that you put into the puzzle? The finish something and feel like you did it in every way possible that you can then be proud of it? Because if you’re not what does it mean? What your puzzle misses a few pieces. I don’t care if you if they’re all the pieces that you dreamt about. But boy, man, if you care about it and care about each piece you put in there, then you puzzle you’re going to be proud of it. And I try to live like that and everything. Especially the shrubs in the backyard. You know, man, I can’t let it go. As soon as I get off the phone with you. I’m in the backyard today. It’s my job. Well, I’m gonna but it’s gonna look good. It’s gonna be a good piece of the puzzle.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:53
Right? I get it and and that’s that’s inspiring itself and i and i think that’s inspiring. If you’re still a young person, that’s a great, you know, I’m what I’m talking about young person, a teenager, somebody who hasn’t quite grown up yet, you’re just starting out, and you have maybe some idea of where your life is going to go, you just be open to the possibilities and opportunities that come because things change, as you said, you know, you were pursuing a criminal justice degree, and, and didn’t even the thought hadn’t even occurred to you to be an actor until it happened. And then you were open to it. So I would say for very young people who were, you know, trapped in an idea of this is where my life’s gonna go with at 15 years old or whatever, be open to possibilities that it’s not going to go exactly as you plan. And there might be something better to coming your way that you don’t even see on the horizon.

Unknown Speaker 1:05:53
I you know, the old expression, listen, you know, your pictures not coming. But keep your eyes open, because it might, it might be a better picture, right? You know, just, you know, add self belief will, will help you paint your own picture.

minddog 1:06:11
Wow. Well, I can’t thank you enough for for spending this hour with me today. And providing your perspective and insight through, like, whatever it is 3540 years of experience in in acting and film. And I hope it’s been really powerful, as powerful for the people who are listening as it is for me, but I again, I just want to express my sincere gratitude for you taking taken an hour of your time today to spend it with me and share your insights.

Unknown Speaker 1:06:44
Absolutely. My pleasure, sir. Absolutely.

Unknown Speaker 1:06:47
You have a good day with the shrubs. And

Unknown Speaker 1:06:53
what else do I do? I’m running out a project. I don’t leave the house

Unknown Speaker 1:06:57
I hear you know, it’s a very it’s a very troubling time and and, you know, a lot of people are really fixated on the lockdown and I say dude, do something you know, creative in this time you got nothing else to do find something creative to do.

Unknown Speaker 1:07:15
Right? Shut thoughts down, do something right, gentle rain, meditate, you know, just do what you can. I mean, it would be these are these are tough times in so many ways, you know, in so many ways for so many people. God bless all of them all. But you know, and for those in the creative thing, if anybody was tuning in today, you know that, that anything that I said has some meaning for you. That’s fantastic. What an honor to share it with you.

Unknown Speaker 1:07:42
Great, thank you again, Bill. Have a great day.

Unknown Speaker 1:07:45
Till the next time my friend Yep. You got

Unknown Speaker 1:07:49
my for now.

Unknown Speaker 1:07:49
All right back.

minddog 1:07:52
Bill Fichtner everybody. great insight there. I can’t imagine that if you’re a creative person, you didn’t get something of real value from his insight and perspective and I really grateful to have him. Join us today and share it with us. Just a note, I want to thank my good friend Vinnie Florrie for hooking this up for me today. He actually was responsible for getting billed to be on the show and I did not want to say goodbye without thanking Vinnie, Vinnie. So Laurie, thank you very much, buddy. Till next time, and I hope you got a great deal out of this show. I hope you’ll share it with your friends. I hope you subscribe. Till next time, I’m Matt nappo for the mind dog TV podcast. Bye for now.

 

 

Robert J. Sciglimpaglia – Belair Productions – Voice Over Legal

Robert J. Sciglimpaglia, Jr. is an award winning actor, producer, best selling author, and attorney in the fields of entertainment, copyright/trademark, personal injury, and real estate law.His book Voice Over Legal”. covers all the legal aspects of becoming a voice-actor, from starting a business and establishing an LLC, to the proper contracts required to work as a voice actor. It also covers some of the basics of the business like agents and Performance Unions, such as SAG-AFTRA. Just two years later, his book was the #1 best-seller in Amazon’s entertainment law category.

Robert has a production company, Belair Productions, that has three short films that have brought home a combined 75 awards (and counting), which are running the festival circuit and are available for streaming on Amazon Prime and other platforms. Robert has appeared on National Television many times. He is best known as the DAD on the 2012 Chevy SUPER BOWL COMMERCIAL, HAPPY GRAD. He appeared on HBO’s “The Duece” and has appeared several times on Travel Channel’s “Mysteries at the Museum”, Discovery ID’s “My Dirty Little Secret”, History Channels “Engineering an Empire”, a Recurring Role on Discovery ID’s “Watching the Detectives” and several others. He has appeared in a Guest Starring role on “The Perfect Murder” and “I’d Kill for You.” Robert’s very first venture into the acting field was a show called “American Experience: Hijacked!” which aired nationally on PBS-TV and was narrated by Campbell Scott. Since that time, he has appeared in numerous national projects with many big name stars, both in acting and voice overs such as: Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore, Brad Garrett, Kristen Johnson, Patrick Dempsey, Susan Sarandon, Amy Adams, James Marsden, Denis Leary, Tatum O’Neal, James Gandolfini, Michael Imperioli, Edie Falco, Uma Thurman, Will Smith, Russell Crowe, Denzel Washington, Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Chris Noth, his friend Ian Ziering in Sharknado 2, Lance Henriksen, Robert John Burke, Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro and numerous others.

Besides television, he has done many film projects in leading or supporting roles. Most recently he shot a short film called “Within and Without” that he produced as well, where he won several best actor awards, and the film has won over forty festival awards. He also shot a Sci/Fi project where he is lead actor called ONE, starring opposite LANCE HENRIKSEN (“Aliens, Close Encounters. Millenium). Prior to that he shot another film with Lance and ROBERT JOHN BURKE called “BEING” and prior to that he shot a Romantic Comedy called “Get Happy!” in a supporting role, “Robert Robbins.”One of his most notable roles was a film called “Home/Sick” where he played the lead character suffering from agoraphobia. His portrayal of the character was so real, an actual sufferer of the disorder wrote him to express that to him. The film finished in the Top 10 out of 400 films for fan favorites in an on-line film competition. Other roles include films called “The Maltese Murder Mystery” where he played the supporting role of “Tony Figlia”, “A Fine Layer of Darkness” which premiered at the HFC Film Festival, where he played the lead role of “Samuel Halford”, “E:8 Think Tank”, “Mind Morgue” and “Demon of Lataran” produced by Legion Films, and a short film called “Il Portiere (The Janitor)” which won the San Marcos Film Festival, where he played the lead role of “The Janitor.” He has also worked on big names films like “Music and Lyrics”, “Enchanted”, “American Gangster”, “Julie and Julia”, Oscar winning “Man on Wire“ and “Life Before Her Eyes”.

Robert also played the role of Howard Wagner in a recent production of “Death of a Salesman”, as well as leading roles in the off Broadway plays “Tables”, “Downsized” and “Assaulting a Vagina” and “Widow’s Paradise”.

 

Websites & Social Media

https://www.robpaglia.com

https://www.robscigesq.com

IMDB – https://www.imdb.me/robertpaglia

Instagram – @robscig

Twitter – Robscig

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/robscig

Youtube – http://youtbe.com/robscig

 

Learning from The Best

Learning to tell a story with visuals sometimes is as easy as watching. It helps to have someone who knows things watch with you sometimes. Herte, we have that in a clip from the Youtube channel Every Frame a Painting.

Subscribe to the channel to keep learning the art of storytelling with film.

How do you film a conversation? Most likely, you’re going to block the actors, set up the camera, and do shot/reverse shot. But where do you put the camera? What lens do you use? And how do you cut back and forth? Today, I consider the Coen brothers — Joel & Ethan — and see how these choices lend a particular feel to their version of shot/reverse shot.

Your Favorite Classic Tv Shows

Some of us can remember that being youngsters i…Classic television will never be completely forgotten or out of style as it brought so much to television screens in living rooms across the country.

Watching reruns of classic TV shows will never fall out of fashion either. Not with those of us who grew up watching and learning from these classic TV shows. And not with the new generation of classic TV fans that the re-airing of these classics in television are creating now.

Some of us can remember that being youngsters in the 70s we rushed home from school to get started on finishing our homework right away so that we could watch such classic TV shows as Gilligans Island and I Love Lucy before suppertime. Some of our primetime classic TV selections included Bewitched, Happy Days, The Brady Bunch, Green Acres, and The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and The Partridge family.

Some of these classic TV shows were still being filmed into the 80s and were joined by what are now also classic television shows we remember fondly and still enjoy watching today. Laverne & Shirley, One Day at a Time, Welcome Back Kotter, Barretta, Starsky & Hutch, Hillstreet Blues, and Mork & Mindy. When Cagney & Lacey hit the classic TV scene in the 80s, young women were empowered to dream of going into professions usually reserved for males as these two women fought crime on the mean streets of NYC and in the sometimes equally mean environment of the male dominated workplace.

Our Saturday mornings were reserved for Fat Albert and the Gang, Scooby Doo, and the Jetsons. Sunday evenings we watched classic television such as Hee Haw and Disney Family Showcase Theatre. The raunchy, pushed to the limits reality television programs that have replaced old TV shows on most networks today have nothing on those classic TV shows from the 70s and 80s. We learned true family values from the Bradys the Waltons, The Ingals Family, and the Partridges, not to mention the Cleavers in Leave it to Beaver, and Timmy, his Mom and super canine hero and friend, Lassie.

These classic TV shows from the 70s and 80s continue to teach the family values that would otherwise be lost to the generation of children now growing up in broken homes, in families headed by only one parent, or in families in which both parents are forced to work just to make ends meet.

Those old classic TV shows taught the importance of moral values and the strength and wisdom found with several generations of a family living together or close by to one another .

  • We learned how to share with one another and how to make friends.
  • We learned that it was important to never lie to our parents and that they would always love us no matter what mistakes we made.
  • We learned that there were solutions to every problem, no matter how big or small they might be.
  • We learned to believe in ourselves and to dream big. We learned about falling in love and how to mend a broken heart.
  • We learned all of this and so much more from these classic TV shows that will live on in those of us who have come to love them and through the television networks still brave enough to provide a platform for quality, family values shows like classic TV shows.

For many of us these shows are so ingrained in our memories it is as if Ritchie, Potsie and Mouth were our high school chums and we were right there with them throughout all of the teenage angst and mischief they got into. At the time many of us would sit and wonder what it would be like to be a Brady or Partridge.

Who among us didn’t wish we owned the General Lee and could do some off- roading that rivaled that of the Duke brothers? Mork made us hopeful that it there was life on other planets, that they would be as hilarious and ready to make friends as he was. Oh and how many of our big brothers shot BB guns into the ground when Mom wasn’t looking because they were intent on finding oil and becoming millionaires like good ol’ Jed Clampett did?

Okay so not everything we learned from these classic TV shows was something Mom was thrilled to find us reenacting. But is sure was a whole lot of fun. Classic TV encouraged you to use your imagination. Not at all like the mindless stuff that permeates television and our children our bombarded with today that spark little, if any imagination.

No, classic television will never be completely forgotten or go out of style. There are too many of us old and young who will keep the demand for these old TV shows alive.

~Ben Anton 2007

Why Reality Tv Has Become Such A Favorite Pass Time

Reality TV has become a popular form of entertainment. Now, people all over the world are turning on and tuning in to see the latest hype about their favorite “real” situation and those taking part in it. Whether their interests lie on a desert island or the big city and bright lights, it is easy to find something to satisfy your yearnings.

The vast range of topics that reality TV has come to encompass has made it near to impossible to ignore, and that is, perhaps what makes this newer form of entertainment interesting to those who watch.Over the past several years, it has become more important for those living in society to connect with those around them. Reality TV allows those who watch to do just that.

No matter how indirect the connection, it’s still present and very alive. Curiosity plays a big role in this, as often times, viewers will try to put themselves in a particular situation, and figure out how they might react. The difference is it’s actually happening to someone and not made up; part of the enchantment is, it isn’t happening to the viewers, which makes it more fun to watch from afar.

Reality TV has turned into somewhat of a real-life soap opera, complete with characters whose fates are often decided in different ways. In some cases, these fates are decided by viewers, which makes it that much more intriguing. The reason for this is that people tend to care about something more when they can take an active part in it.

Reality TV has also given regular viewers the opportunity to directly participate, while just being themselves in the process. There is, however, a certain amount of falseness that must be incorporated into acting out real situations, because of the nature of television itself, but, for the most part, it’s all about real people facing real challenges.

This type of television is very unique for a couple of reasons. The shows are often relatively short in duration, and are usually broadcasted annually, so as not to saturate the airwaves and overstay its welcome. This also helps boost the ratings for each particular show, as the viewing public isn’t getting too much at one time.

Reality TV has also presented a diverse side to the entertainment industry never seen before. It has become fun and interesting to follow each participant, because he or she is a person with a real conflict, and this really matters to viewers. Whether the show is based around legality issues as seen on court TV, a competition for the next best entertainer, or survival of the fittest, the steaks are always high. This is, perhaps, why reality TV has become so captivating, and why it is, undoubtedly, here to stay.