The Basement Lounge
The Basement Lounge

Season 1, Episode 48 · 2 years ago

"The Majority of Filmmaking is Putting Out Fires" with Steve Morris - The Basement Lounge: EP #48


This week is a jam-packed double-sized episode with writer/director Steve Morris (The Assistants, Great White Shark: Beyond the Cage of Fear). We break explore his early beginnings as a 5th generation Californian, what it was like to direct Stacy Keach & Joe Mantegna, and how he wants to make his podcast The Cine-Files the quintessential deep-dive podcast for film.

Listen to The Cine-Files podcast:

Watch The Assistants on iTunes:

Watch Great White Shark: Beyond the Cage of Fear on Amazon Prime:


Thanks to my Patrons & Anchor supporters: 

Whitney Lattin 

Jodi McDermitt 

Joey Craig

Greg Gray


Melissa Shea 

Support the show on Patreon: 


For more info: 

Come hang out in The Basement Lounge server on Discord:

Follow the show online: 

Twitter: @TBL_Pod 

Instagram: basementloungepod 


Follow me online: 

Twitter/Instagram: @MikeSheaComedy 


Show dates & more info on my website:

Hey guys, it's Mike and real quick to want to let you know that, as we're coming up towards the end of the first season, I'd really like to get your feedback on how you've enjoyed the show this far or if you haven't. We have a survey up through Google forms and I would really appreciate it if you guys would take just a couple minutes of your time to fill out the survey. It's only ten questions long. All you need to do is go to our facebook page, facebookcom Basement Lounge pod, and you can find the survey as our pin post. They're at the top of our feed. Just takes ten questions a couple of minutes please. It really helps us know what you like and what you didn't like. We want you to be as honest as you possibly can be. We're looking for any kind of constructive criticism you can give us so we know how to better the show going into next season. Once again, go to our facebook page, facebookcom SA Basement Lounge pod and check out the pin post. Thank you, guys, so much, and enjoy today's episode. Well the same, obviou sleep. Are you? Two? Three? Oh, okay, it's ready for your Arthur. Hey for some guys. Thanks. That's checking that mic for me say you're listening to the basement lounge. Pretty Job Art. Thanks, Nicky. Hey Basement Lounge fans, I want to give a shout out to the awesome VIPs or helping make this show possible by supporting it on Patreon. Many thanks go to Whitney Latin, Jody McDermott, Joey Craig, Greg Gray, soul hs and my wonderful mother, Melissa Shay. If you want to join our group of VIPs, just go to patreoncom Basement Lounge pod and sign up for a mere three dollars a month to get all kinds of cool perks like stickers, shoutouts, discord hangouts and so much more. Once again, that's Patreoncom Basement Lounge pod, and now on with the show. Grab a drink, pull up a chair and settle it, because you're in the basement lounge. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, whatever time of day it is you happen to be listening to this. Welcome to another episode of the Basement Lounge. This is the cool, chill, relax place where we have the kind of conversations you'd have with somebody over cocktails. Occasionally we have cocktails when we can actually do this show in the studio. That hasn't happened in a while. But also for our current guest, it's a little early in the day to be drinking, even if he is, though, I'm not going to judge. That's that's fine. Our our guest today is a director, a teacher, a podcast host and now a author. We are so, so happy to have him on the show, one of the cohosts of the CINEPHILES PODCAST, Mr Steve Morris. Steve, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for having me virtually into your basement. I write you absolutely this is not a lie. This is actually in a basement, in my mom's basement. I am that guy, I who's hosting a podcast out of his mother's basement. But such as the world we live in nowadays. Well, I'm sitting here in my garage. At least it wasn't a garage about a hundred years ago. Now it's my office. So, you know, basement to a garage, virtual podcast is seems pretty good. That's a night. Looking at it here on the camera, that's a nicely converted garage. Thank you. We did it about it's honestly, it's my it's like my fortress of solitude. It's become a very, very important room, the most important room in the house for me. Everyone's got one of those, everyone as and if you don't, you should. I highly recommend you. You have a you have an escape in your own especially nowadays where we're we're all stuck at home. If you can't have that one place to go to just kind of escape reality for a little while, drives you crazy, it's true. So we're going to get into a lot of things here today. Of course we're going to talk about we're going to talk about the cinephiles, we're going to talk about your upcoming book, the Director's toolbox, and we're going to we're going to we're going to talk about you and get to know you. Longtime listener of the cinephiles, you know, we get to hear a lot about your your tastes and film and in your appreciations for different things, and every once in a while we get a little bit of a peek behind the curtain to know more about about you and about John and your personal life, especially when it comes to the way films have affected you. But you've you've grown up in in the California. You've grown up in California your whole life. Yep, I was born in the San Francisco Bay area and not only that, I am a fifth generation Californian. Wow, five generations. Yeah, my my first ancestors a guy named Henry Greenberg, who came to California right before it came became a state in one thousand eight hundred and forty eight. Also, and and I've had three, or I think three generations on all sides in San Francisco. Born in San Francisco. I'm the first of my family to leave San Francisco. So it was that one was really disappointed when I moved to La Oh gee. So yeah, I'm an old... Californian. So you grow up, you grow up and you live your whole life in a state, in a city, really two cities, surrounded by by art and a variety of different kinds of culture. How does that you know? Do you think that that was kind of what shaped you and into getting into filmmaking? In your appreciation for film is kind of had to being kind of in inundated with that your whole life. That's great question. I don't know that I've ever thought of it quite that way. I certainly I think the influence of growing up in the San Francisco Bay area is huge on me. There's even though I've lived in La now for twenty five years, twenty six years almost, I'm still very much a San Franciscan with that kind of culture and philosophy. There was no one artistic in my family, you know. My Dad is an Optomatrius by. Mom is a professional do gooder, you know, running school boards and live great commissions and she directed a Jewish Museum. She you know, like that's sort of her, always having net rage. She's was the chairman of the Golden West Chapter of the Als Association, which is what my dad passed away from, and so she's been, you know, just doing good deeds since my entire life. But there was no artist, there was no no writers, no photographers. I came from a very practical Jewish business kind of family and but we they did take me to the theater and and so that certainly was an influence. But honestly I think the big thing is, like a lot of people my age, I watched a lot of TV, I read a lot of comic books and I was acting and I acted in my first play when I was six and I don't think there was a year I didn't act in anything until my early S, and so doing creating things. started directing when I was in high school, started writing when when I was in college and just kind of went from there and then went to film school course. So, like, I think it's was sort of more natural progression of that. I never thought about it being where I grew up, although that's obviously a huge influence on me. So that's a really that was a really good question. Thank you. Well, thank you. There you go, folks, you heard it here. With the with being in an area so so surrounded by it all the time, and now obviously hosting a podcast where you're taking deep dives into film, being a directing instructor, how do how do you disconnect from it all, because you got to figure every once in a while you need to just turn that part of your brain off, otherwise you would you risk getting board of it or frustrated with it. happened. What do you do to disconnect from all of that and give yourself kind of a refresh books, books and podcasts. For me, I listened constantly to books on audible, constantly to podcast a number of books. You know, it's fairly ridiculous how much I listen. Kate, my wife, makes fun of me because I would literally, if I'm going upstairs to like put the dishes in the Dishwasher, I'll put my headphones in so I can listen to forty five more seconds of my book while I'm doing it. Yeah, I'm obsessive, and particularly now, and that's time of Covid when we're quarantined. That time, you know, we were talking a little bit. We said when we first got on the PODCAST, like that time alone I take. I live in the hills and echo park in Los Angeles, with lots of steep hills and lots of stairs, and that's my main exercise every night, put my headphones on, like a walk up and downstairs, look at the beautiful view of downtown and just have little time to myself. It's very it's super important to me where you, or you like me, where you were the guy who in college walked around campus with with headphones on or a book in your hand and just kind of just went on auto pilot, not so much the headphones. I'd always had a book with me, but I wasn't like reading at the time, you know, like I wasn't I wasn't the walking reader, but read but definitely always had a book with me. Yeah, I was a walking reader. I was like a Zombie. Yeah, I had I had where I was going memorize to where it was almost like I never let a problem running into things, but I did occasionally tuned people out in mid sense. Mentioned you mentioned comic books and and and you and I tweeted back and forth about this a little bit about a month ago. We had the passing of Dennis O'Neill recently and it was it was so strange because he passed away I had just started collecting his green lantern, Green Arrow series and have been in love and it was one of those it was was completely by happy stance. I happen to be reading an issue and I looked at the cover and I realized this is the guy who just passed away. And and in my own research reading up on Dennis O'Neill about his creating the character of like rat, the Ras Al Ghoul, dealing with issues in his comics like, you know, addiction, dealing with you know, he was the one that brought up Tony Stark's alcoholism and the drug addiction of speedy has have. We're comic books.

Want you because you mentioned earlier, you know, growing up reading comic books with has there. What role have they kind of played for you in your career and in your life's huge, huge roll. So first of all, those green lantern, Green Arrow. You could see their bunch of white comic boxes on my wall. I know we're an audio but they're sitting in those boxes right over there. I remember, rea you know, when I started to go deeper into comics and that got recommended to me and like them, you know, the mid s or something, and I went to the COM book store and found those, slowly but surely, found all those old issues of those comics because they're the first ones that really delved into. Like said, Oh, comics could actually talk about, as you said, drug addiction or racism or things like that. And it's a really short little run of comics, but it's super important and and I'll tell you how much comics have influenced me in my career, and it actually relates to Denny O'Neil. So I grew up reading them, obviously, and it never occurred to me that there were humans that actually made these things, that somebody. Because I'm so the not an artist, I can't draw it all. I cried in art class like I have really bad small motor skills. Like if you said to me like big motor schools, I'm fine, I've done martial arts for thirty years, but but like small motor skills, like you said, Steve, thread and needle and I would be drenched in sweat, my hand would start to shake it would be so stressful. So it never occurred to me to draw. And then when I was in high school I met this Guy Jeff Johnson, and Jeff was wanted to be complic artist and so he was drawing and the very first thing I wrote. It never occurred to me to be a writer, except that he was needed something to submit to comm x and I said, well, I'll write something. And then, rather than write, you know, a little ten page something, I wrote a as idiot first time writers do. I said I'm going to write the ultimate nightwing story. Yeah, so I wrote like a four part huge epic story about nightwings origins or something and I had no idea how to write a comic or what it the format was. So it's like fifty pages. So the first thing I ever wrote. And my friend was like, I just needed like a couple of pages to draw. I can't draw this, you know, hundred page bulls. I just need something to submit. And I went with him because he would go to the complic conventions because that's how complicatists would get work, as you would walk up to an artist or and editor and you'd have your portfolio and you'd show to him. So I did this with him all the time. And I went, oh well, I'll go with you and I'll bring my giant tone of a nightwing story. And the first person I talked to is Danny O'Neil men. I'm going to Comic Convention and and he stride to hand in this thing and he, in the nicest, most lovely way, said no, this is not how it works. No one will ever read this. First of all, it's the wrong format. Second of all, no one is going to buy the ultimate nightwing story from a first time writer. You need to write something that is not key, you know key important thing. You need to write what we call like a bubble episode or something. You'd write something simple. You need to put it as a proposal and and that's how you're going to break in as a complick writer. And so he and I and I corresponded with him a few times after that because he's nice enough to you know, you could write to I think he was a DC at the time. You could write to DC care of Denny O'Neil and or Danny O'Neil Kreb DC, and then they would and he would write back and that was so he was a really important person and this was right at the time that he was writing the question, which was such a good comment, because this is, you know, late s early S, and so yeah, he was a really important guy and a really nice guy at that time of my life. That's the first of all, the question one of the lesser known, underappreciated and for an are what what an era for the question to exist in that late s when when government conspiracies are aunt an all time I but we don't have any conspiracies like that now. But I remember when I first really Gius. You know, I grew up. I grew up in small town area and in Ohio God. That hasn't changed at all in twenty years. But I comic books weren't readily available. So for me it was a lot of whenever like mark's department store would occasionally get some trade paperbacks into their little book section and stuff, you know. So in my earliest reads were stuffed by like Grant Morrison. There's his new his new world order run of Justice League was really good. Besides Danny O'Neil. Were there any particular or have there been any particular writers or artists in comic books that have been your absolute favorites? Can't beat Allen more and Frank Miller. I mean that's you know. I mean I'm in high school. I Graduate High School in Eighty six and so that is the golden year. That's watchman and dark night. That's you know, Batman, you're one, I think comes out right after that. Of course I'd read Ronan in the daredevil run from Frank Miller, so I was obsessed with him for a good...

...decade. And Allan more. You know what Allen Moore does. I mean I read swamp thing and Miracle Man and watchman and V for Vendetta, all those comics. Like what Ellen Moore did in comics at that time is just unbelievable, huge. And of course Neil Adams, who drewid drew the those Green Landard, Green Arrow comics. Were talking about this Brian Bowl. And there's you this. I mean you go on and on a list of great, great artist, but for writers those two guys all Allen Moore created two of my absolute favorite characters, which are swamping and John Constantine. I mean I rank Constantine. You know, everyone's like who's your favorite, and I'm like, other than Batman, you know, John Constantine's because you know, I mean just the you talk about like what then you O'Neil did with incorporating like addiction and things like that and serious issues into his runs. I mean there's an entire run of Constantine where he just screws with the Devil to get him to cure his lung cancer, which is still one of the greatest runs of Hell Blazer. All tell him and and they're you know, there might not be a Frank Miller if there's no denny O'Neil, because he's the editor on those daredevil comics where he becomes a writer artist for the first time. Oh yeah, that's true. That's true. Also, I found this out that this is just a little fun aside. Daddy O'Neil's the one who created the character of optimist prime. I did not know that he created it and named it, and I was like that's just that's just awesome. I love after after we had the twitter exchange, and then in prepping for this and I was researching Danielneil and I was like the things heed the man had his hand in are just it's crazy how much he has shaved what is now considered kind of just commonplace comic book stuff. You know the fact that he's the one who created Ros Al Ghoul, who now I mean has been in numerous TV shows and movies for DC characters. So you, you are director. You have directed a film called the assistants, starring two of my favorite people, Joe M'Tania and and Stacy Keach. I Love Stacy Keach, me too. You completely completely off base. You ever watched Christopher titis's Sitcom Titus in the early s? I seen a few episodes. Yes, Stacy Keach plays the DAD. Yeah, he's so funny. UH, he's so it's amazing how big his range is for for someone who you think of us like, oh he plays the krusty old guy, but he actually it's really funny, does great comedy and do a lot of stuff. He shows up in a couple episodes of two and a half men as like Charlie's Fiance's gay dad or something like that. It's it's delightful. But directing the assistance, you know, I was kind of wanted to walk through kind of what that experience was like, as far as you know, for amateur filmmakers out there like me, with the process of like coming up with the script and and putting that together, like what that process was like for you. Well, starting with the script. The script really came out of having lived in La for a while and knowing I had never really written anything quite so much out of my own experience. I always wrote things that were sort of far away from me, fantasy stories and convook stories to start, and then I became interested in, you know, issues of African American politics and racism, and so I wrote from those perspectives and and the assistance is the first thing I wrote that was really about me and my friends and sort of the world here. And so the first idea was just like the the basic premise of the movie is it's a bunch of aspiring film makers who come out of Grad school and they're all good friends and they think their careers are going to just take off and three years later they're all working as assistance for various people of varying degrees of niceness and and they feel really stuck and really a sense of failure and a sense of the world is not going the way I was supposed to and I'm maybe not who I thought I was. And they realize, they have the epiphany, that everything that these big powerful people do and know comes through them and in fact they're the ones in power and if they all, you know, pooled their resources, they could get whatever they want. And so it's a caper movie. It's like the staying or oceans eleven, with these assistance conning their bosses into getting their own movie made. That's the that's the story, and so that's kind of where it started, with that idea, but then it's moved along. I you know, it's come up on the podcast several times. I don't really like bad guys. I don't like, I don't really believe people that are just their motivation is to be evil. You know, that's never really made sense to me. Part of that is growing up loving Star Trek, where you frequently kind of learned from the perspective of the other person. And and in my experience of being here, and I've known a few people in various ways who got a lot of success and those people were pretty miserable. And so what started to happen is those bosses that started off as sort of the evil bosses. I could not have sympathy for them. And so a lot the movie really shifted because it became here these...

...people who are desperate to have what these other people have, and these other people aren't really that happy and these other people are actually sad and lonely and isolated and there in even though they've you know, because when you get everything that you want, you really come facetoface with with the problems you have in your own life and when you're put up on a pedestal as powerful people off and are you disconnect from the reality. You know, you you frequently lose your friends. People are just, you know, sucking up to you and you're in a position of constantly having to maintain that power or that influence and so the movie got a lot more complicated as those ideas took place, because then it also became that are these friendships going to survive? Are these people who we are so young and idealistic and fun and we really like them, are they actually going to be able to maintain that morality and that the closeness of the friendships as they get closer and closer to getting the power that they want? So that was sort of the premise and the idea of how the film evolved as I started writing it. It's such a it's such an interesting you know, and I guess the thoughts that never occurred to me that like that's of how true to life that kind of experience can be, that idea of coming in and thinking you've got this, you're going to make it, there's nowhere to go but up, and for for reality to come knocking on the door and let you know just how difficult it's going to be. You know, you can think you've got everything in the bag one minute and then the next minute everything can be can be just out the window and it's start over from square one. Have you had that? Have you had experiences like that, or did you have an experience like that with the actual making of the film, where maybe you were things are going great and then maybe there was like just a weird, crazy setback on set or something where you had to really stop and reevaluate things. Anyone who's made films as those experiences. I mean, like you know now that I'm a teacher and I'm, you know, shepherd and students through all of their projects. This is the big that's the majority of it. The majority of filmmaking is putting out fires. The majority of filmmaking is you lack the resources or the time to get at the things that you want to get or location falls through or you have a scheduling problem. Are It reigns on you and now you got to scramble to figure out how you're going to do it. I think what's interesting because I wrote, directed and I produced and I edited the assistance, so I you know, and partially because I wanted to spend all the money I could to get what I wanted on the screen, and so the cheapest person to do all those jobs was me. I can really end unsh you know, not surprising with how you know everything. To The cinephiles, you know everything. Since then, has gone is like a lot of times I end up being a bit of a you know, an iron man to get all these projects done. But the thing with the assistance that was interesting is as I started directing it, the director was really frustrated with the writer. So the director guys going, man, this writer really made some complicated things that I'm going to have to figure out how to pull off, you know. You know, the writer wrote a lot of checks that the director has to figure out how to cash. And then when I'm in the editing room, the editor was pretty happy with the writer, but the editor hated the director like that idiot. What the fuck was he thinking? Why did he get this shot? Why didn't he correct that actor and give you the line, the performance that he really wanted? Why didn't he do why did he do it this way? This is terrible. And what was strange about it was I felt like as I was directing it, the movie went further and further away from what the writer had intended, and then as I was finishing the edit, it actually went back. You know, strangely enough, the movie became really was what I intended. It just was a process, because making movies is not like this. Is The vision in my head I will create that I am done. It's not that way at all. It's a constant journey of discovery and of reversal and things that you thought would work a certain way they don't work that way and then you have to figure out, well, do I force it to work that way, or do I adjust to what this actor did or what this how this moment happened? It's a very complicated process, even you know, from the lowest budget to the biggest budget, it's still that way. We we made a me and we made a horror movie last year and I remember you talk about being and being the writer, director and editor and and hating when you're when you're editing, you hate the director. I was editing the film and was trying to find footage and we were we had shot the film in a park and what I kept finding was in the background. I always care is supposed to be this abandoned park and I keep seeing people in the background that I'm getting pissed off that that the cinematographer didn't catch that. Then I realized the person in the backgrounds always me. I was thinkings in the background of so many shots. Damn Extras. Oh wait, that's that's that's the director. Crap, that's me. Okay, I think good people don't realize about making a movie, even a small one, is there's so many variables, there's so many things to be thinking about all the time. It is the key. Is The camera move done properly?...

Are We staying in focus? Focus, you know? Is The actor saying the line the way that I want them to? Is the timing of this shot really working properly? There's so many things going on that the director has to pay attention to and it's really tough sometimes to like, you don't just be thinking, you're like, how did I know? There's a scene in the assistance that is it is the greatest regret of any scene ever that I've ever made, and I don't know if you seen the film, but it's it's a scene where stacy teaches a garbage man and it was a really hot day, as about ninety eight degrees that day. We were stacy at the time was in his mid S and we were worried about his health and he insisted he we wanted him to jump on that garbage truck and right away, but we were really worried about and he insisted on doing it and we're like, Oh my God, is this going to be safe? And at the same time I had had a location fall through, I had had to totally Redo my schedule. I was distracted by a whole bunch of stuff. And it's my good friend playing the other garbage man in the scene and they did it the scene in a way that was exactly not what I intended and and I was so stressed and it was my first day of working with stacy and honestly, I think because it was my friend too, and I was so stressed with everyonething else that I went I'd find the way they're doing it and it's exactly wrong the way they delivered the lines, because the joke is that stacy's character isn't talking to the other people and he should be mumbling to the other garbage man and the garbage man is acting like his answering service. But that that was what that was how was written, okay, but but they didn't know that and so my friend Josh played that part as just like an idiot who just likes to repeat things and stacy wasn't talking to him, he was talking to other people's. The whole scene didn't make sense and and every time when I got into the editing room I was just like what was wrong with me, like why didn't I just explain what I wanted in the scene? And I never did. I didn't have the courage at that moment. I was too stressed out, as too distracted, and I just let it be what it was. And every time that scene comes up and I see it, it drives me nuts because it's a critical scene in the film. I couldn't take I can't take it out. And I told my friend Josh years later. I said, Oh, well, you know this thing about the scene, and he looked at me. He's like, Oh my God, that makes so much more sense. Why didn't you tell me? Like, like I can't believe I can just you should have told me. I would have done it. I didn't understand the scene. It's like, yeah, I just blew it. I totally blew it. This is the biggest blowing it of any directing I've ever done. Well, speaking of other directing that you've done, Steve, I love sharks. I love sharks and you you directed a shark documentary which I can't even begin to wrap my head around how you get how you get into this process. I've made documentaries myself, but ones that involved sharks, not not so much. How did you how did you stumble upon this project? That's the right word, stumble upon us. I mean, I mean wasn't that project that I stumbled upon, but but going into the nature film world was never anything I intended. It's not even it's not that I haven't watched in like some nature films, but that's not my thing. You know, like if I was going to do documentaries, I probably much more of a history documentary kind of person. It was just that I needed a GIG and coming out of film school, by first job was doing quality control on DVDs, which is just the most boring and stupid thing in the world. But through that I started meet meeting some of the people that made DVDs and and because I learned how to edit in film school, so I started editing behind the scene stuff for DVD's. So I did, you know, all those, you know, I did like things like stepping a liquid and I did dirty dancing, Havannah Knights and I did all these, you know, would make all these little mini documentaries. So suddenly I'm like a documentary filmmaker in a very minor way, and a buddy of mine is working for the Custos as an editor, a guy who I had written a film that he had directed when we're in film school, and they need to bring someone in, and so I started editing for the Custos, and so suddenly I'm editing underwater footage, and then that led me to this guy, my hoover, and our first shark project, which was called mind to the demon, and hoover needed someone to it was supposed to be a national geographic and then that fell through and now he has a whole bunch of footage and no nothing cut and doesn't have a home. And so I edited. He said I need somebody edit the Promo. So I added this Promo to try to sell the film. I edit the Promo. We sell the film to CBS and then hoover goes, well, why don't you just edit the film? Okay, and then, because of who I am and because of who hoover is, he just kind of went well here, why don't you handle this interview well? Why don't you do this thing well? How do you what else do you think we should shoot and so more and of course I'm never a person who goes away from creative control of things, so I just inserted myself more and more and from that point forward there...

...were, you know, probably a dozen projects that most of which never went off the ground. That hoover was like, well, Steve Morris is my partner. So when it came after I finish the assistance, when it came time to make this second shark film that he had raised money for, he said, well, you should be the director and we came up with a deal which was sort of he ran the expedition because he is. You've heard me talk about I'm shaw on the show. Hoover is literally the most interesting person in the world, like the number of stories and things that he's done, and I'm really not joking. I mean like climbed Everest, five trips to Antarctica, he winsurfed from Alaska to the Soviet Union, across the bearing strait. He parachuted into Popa New Guinea to live among the natives for three months. He circumnavigated the globe vertically, so cross both Poles, using no plane, so just horses and trucks and boats. He he spent three years embedded with the Mujahadiem in Afghanistan during the war against the Soviets, filming for sixty minutes and on and on and on. Like he's just this unbelievably fascinating person, and so it's his boat. He wanted to do another shark movie. The the project is his idea. He brought that team of people and he said I'll be in charge of the expedition, you're in charge of making the movie, and I said I'll do it, but the only requirement is that he has to be in the movie, because when we did the first shark film, which was all his idea, he's not in the film and I'm like, you're the most interesting person here. Yeah, I need you to be in the movie. And he's an asshole too. I mean he's like a very difficult, complicated, controversial person and as like I have to have you on camera. And so that's how that second shark film came about and I didn't mention it, but yeah, great white shark beyond the cage of fear is that one? That one. I haven't had a chance to watch it, but I love it's good. I love it. Watch it. Let me know what you think. I will. I look forward to shark week the way most people look forward to March madness. So it's yeah, well, this is so it's all? First of all is it's free on Amazon prime. So I was got Amazon prime. You should check it out. It is in a lot of ways, the Anti Shark Week. Jeez, it's the whole approach is hey, guys, this is Mike Shay and I want to talk to you about anchor. Yes, anchor is the brand new, free way for you to get your podcast career off and running without any cost to you. Simply download the anchor APP or go to Anchor Dot FM to get started. Anger is the easiest way to make a podcast to give you everything you need in one place for free. You can use it right from your phone or your computer. Their creation tools allow you to record and edit your podcast so it sounds tolay magnifeek without having to worry about all the costly set up. They'll even distribuet your podcast for you so it can be heard everywhere. spotify, apple podcast, Google podcast, stitcher. All of that and you can easily make money from your podcast with no minimum listenership. They sent you up with awesome sponsors. All you got to do is record a script, kind of like what I'm doing now, throw it onto your show and start making money once again. Download the anchor APP or, go to anchor DOT FM and get your podcast career often running right now. Just do it already. Really the opposite of Sharkwick. I gotta I gotta Asker you. Are you like me in the sense that, I know you kind of touched on this, I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to, you know, working on project. The first, the first few films I made, I wrote, directed, edited, shot and and acted in and, and the more I the more I did that, the more I realized that it was driving me crazy because by the end of the project I hated it because I had had in my hands. It's my hand in it so much, to the point where this last one I finally stepped aside and just let myself just direct and write, and I found that I enjoyed my time on the film a lot more. As someone I know you've mentioned, you've done a little bit of everything. Do you find that you had kind of a similar situation with yourself? Really complicated question. When I when I finished this second shark film, I decided I would never do it again, that I couldn't, not that I would never make a film again, but that I could never iron man a movie like that right, because it wasn't just that I was the writer and the director and the editor and the narrator, it's that I was the assistant editor and I was the whole post production department and I supervise the contracts and it was the music supervisor and the music editor and, you know, I just did and so there was and I literally am up till two or three in the morning every night trying to make a deadline because we sold it in Europe first. And I was like, and I'm the only person there, you know, and I just went I can't, I can't do that to myself, like physically I'm too old. I can't do that process. I really wish, on the assistance I had had an editor. That was that. That's the big job I would like to fire myself from. Not that I wouldn't do some editing. Yeah, I think I'm a good editor, but that I think that... would have benefited from another perspective. You know, I had had a buddy mine from film school has a fantastic editor and I wanted to hire him and, you know, probably have cost me thirtyzero or something, because he's a great editor and he deserves to make the movie, you know, the money that he deserves to make. And I went well, I could pay Adam Thirtyzero, which he's totally worth, or I can put that money into the film and edit it myself. And that's what I decided to do, and I think that was a it's not that I'm not proud of the movie. I like the movie a lot. But what having a different editor would have done is it's very difficult to see a thing other than the way you see it. You know, is that I had because I had written it, I directed it. You your mind gets, you know, in a in a trench, you know, you dig this deep gutter for yourself and it's hard to escape it. And if I'd had Adam, who I had edited other projects with before, he could say, Steve, go away, I'm going to do some stuff and I would come back and probably hate a bunch of what he did, but some of what he did out you, because he'll do a crazy cut at up and I would come in. I know and go, Oh, this is a completely different way to look at this, this is a different structure, this is and that's it. and to have someone the other disadvantage of sort of being the, you know, the Jack of all trades on a film, there's nobody saying no to you, is sometimes it's really important to have people who can come in and say you're crazy, this doesn't work, don't do it this way, and those are really important people to have in your life anyway, you know, to keep you on track, to make you think about your project in a different way. So yeah, I definitely do think it's better for your mental health to other people to collaborate with. It's just most frequently a question of money and time, you know, and you afford them when you're when you're making a movie on, I'd on a shoe string budget something. It's like I can save money by doing that myself and a time you're done, you you hate everything about it because you're so tired of it. So that takes us into your working out. You have a book called the directors toolbox that is in the in the works. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Is it is it all Super Hush Hush. What can you tell us about it? I don't know, a touch hush. It's funny because it's kind of come out more and more lately that I'm working on this thing and I'm always sort of like, what's not done yet? Man, it's still got a ways to go. About halfway through it and the goal it's pretty I don't think there's another book out there that kind of does what this book is trying to do, because there are a lot of books about filmmaking, like there's books that are a famous filmmaker talking about how they made their movies, like rebel without a crew by Robert Rodriguez pops to mind, but also, you know, biographies of all sorts of filmmakers that you you know, or adventures in the screen trade is another you know, where it's a famous person who's kind of telling you about their lives work. And then there's really these in the weeds technical books which you've made independent films. You probably seen some of the how to produce your low budget movie and there are copies of contracts and copies of this is how you do this thing, or things that are really in the weeds about cinematography or editing your specific skills or books on acting, things like that. Yeah, and what my book is sort of taking you. The goal is to take you through the entire creative process, from conception to finishing a film and post and applying some basic theoretical principles. That's sounds a little high flutin applying the basic idea that everything, every decision you make, should be motivated by story, so that when you're deciding your schedule or when you're deciding who to cast or how to edit or where to put the camera or what color scheme you want your costumes to be in, all of those decisions should relate back to the fundamental principles of the story you're trying to tell. They're all there to reinforce and support the story. So that's why the movie starting with the conception of that story and then going through the entire process through well, how do we work with our cinematographer, how do we work with actors, how do we develop the script? How do we work with a production designer, and dealing with a lot of things that come up of just like the logistics and communication and leadership skills necessary to direct the film and all the ideas that all of these things is something I talked about in my class. A Lot will go into your director's tool box. So you have all and that your tool box over time in your career as a director is going to grow and grow and grow as you develop more and more technique to deal with all the problems and challenges that come up on making a film. That's yeah, that you mentioned. Yeah, there's there's so many, so many books out there. You know, I had a friend give me one last year called Save the cat's a book on on screenwriting. Yeah, I know safe the cat and it that's one of the that's one of the big three or four screenwriting books. Yeah, it's been an interesting read and I've had some fun doing some of the exercises in it. But yeah, there's the same thing with you know, I've been doing stand end up for a long time and you know there's there's God knows how many books out there on how on how to write your joke and how to but I...

...find that with anything creative, it really comes like there are there are very few things that are like objective. A lot of it's just kind of do things the way that work best for you. Would you would you would you agree? Disagree? Totally agree. You know, like what I finished writing the section on screenwriting, and there are screenwriters I know who outline everything to the nth degree, their screenwriters. I know who write a character bio of you know, the entire history of each of their characters. Their screenwriters. I know who have, you know, three by five cards and they have a wall and they put all the three by five cards on the wall and they rearrange them. And I'm usually one who starts writing on page one and goes forward and which is more sort of the Stephen King method of writing. Of like I'm just discovering it as I go and of course I have ideas of where I think it's going to go. And then what usually happens is I discover something about a character or an idea or a relationship or a plot point and then I had to go back to the beginning and incorporate that new idea through the script and then I go forward a little more and then I go back to the beginning. For it's some very efficient but that's how I found that writing works best for me and and so yeah, I think a lot of it. It again, this is why I mean by the director's toolboxes. You Go, well, this tool is useful to me, and we talked about on the show Bruce Lee and his quote that I love, which is study everything, take what is useful discard the rest. And the mistake most people make with that quote, as they just are discarding things before they study them, you know, is that the key is to really study, really understand that tool and then decide if that's useful for me at this time. And and so, yeah, I absolutely believe there are different proaches, seem like their different approaches to acting, totally different approaches. And and the idea of like, okay, you're going to read a book on the structure of how a joke works. How many people who study that book do you think end up being very funny comedians? So few. One of the best, one of the best decisions I ever made as a stand up, because you know, those are the books you giving you for best Dooson I ever made, was to throw that book out, yeah, and move away from it. I mean if someone, first of all, someone needs to explain if you're going to mechanically learn how to tell a joke, you're probably not that funny. You know, like the key is to be you have to have an understanding of humor on some level and you have to know, because I've listened to mark Marin podcast forever. I love stand up comics and, like you know, all of them say the key. At some point you're going to find your voice, you're to find who you are on stage and, like Jerry Seinfeldt is freely different from Mark Barn and I'm sure both of them could talk a lot. I've heard both of them talk a lot about the structure of a joke. But it's the but you know, this is one of the issues I have with so many screenwriting books, save the cats. An interesting it's an interesting version of it, is they want to give you the secret, here's how you do it, and then people imitate what they think is the structure that they see. And even though those things exist in film, I don't know anybody screenwriters who say like Oh, I need I need my second act reversal or I need this moment that's supposed to happen on page eighty four. What do I know? And talks like that. They go my characters in this situation and I'm not sure how to get them from here to there. Or I haven't set up this thing right, or it's not emotionally as powerful as I want it to be. When they make this decision. I'm at it. That's a writer's talk, you know, not about the you know, the inciting incident and the you know, or Blake Snyder's here are the ten different kinds of film. They're totally but that's a totally fun book to read and it is useful in some ways, but you can't take I don't believe that taking what he said and just trying to write that is going to be very useful to a screenwriter. It's not. I like the book, but, but, but, there's no secret, you know what I mean? Yeah, it's a way to almost kind of just kickstart, maybe just give you an idea of how to get started, but you eventually have to write, build, build right and and build the cart yourself. And Yeah, so we we. That's going to take us into what people listening who are familiar with you were probably waiting for US talk about. Is, you know, when you talk about the process of filmmaking and doing things your own way. Let's get into the podcast. The cinephiles which you have been. You have been co hosting with John Roca for she's how long? Now? It's four years. For years. You guys have done hundreds of episodes. You just recently did a two parter for inception and one thousand seven hundred and seventy six. How did? How did this show? It's my favorite podcast, and I'm not just saying that because you're here, although that is something I would totally do. What how did? How did this show? It just kind of come to fruition, I guess. Weird. Where did where did the seed get planned for this? I think it's started in bars where John and sometimes Shannon mcclung, who's coast on...

...the Keek Buddies, and Mike Vogel, sometimes our friend Jonathan blue or other friends, would just, you know, go to see a movie and then we'd be sitting at a bar having a couple of drinks and shooting the Shit about film and we always had these really fun and funny conversations and John was really taking off in terms of as a podcaster. I listened to tons and tons of PODCASTS. I had pretty much, you know, gotten broken on the shores of Hollywood. You know, the assistants. As much as I'm really proud of that film and it did really well at festivals and things like that. We got with a very unsavory and dishonest sales rep who basically tank the film, you know, and it was so it lost all its money and it hasn't been seen that much. and Um, you know, I just iron man, that shark film that we were talking about, and I was burnt out from that and I was just going, you know, what's another creative outlet? What? I don't want to keep doing this the way I've been doing it, and I went to John and said, Oh, this is maybe something we can do. You know, it's because, unlike making a film, which even making a small film is a massive undertaking and can cost a fair amount of money, this is something that would cost very little and at the time I didn't think it was going to be a massive undertaking and just started talking about a podcast, and his deal with me was like, I'm doing a podcast right now. I totally want to come having conversations with you, but you're going to have to kind of find the hosting service and and sort of figure out some of the work to get started and the basic you know, we came up with a couple of really basic rules, which was one we don't talk about films that are they films have to be ten years or older, and the reason for that is a there's, you know, talking about films that just came out. There's a million podcast doing that. And then the other thing is we really wanted films that it stood the test of time, that we really had time to think about the quality, because there's some films you see when they come out and then ten years later you're not talking about that movie. And we decided that it would be a positive podcast. Neither of us. You know, there's tons of places where people can tear down all sorts of stuff and we really want to talk about things that we love and we decided that we're not going to have people on to talk about their own movie because, again, that's what people do on almost every interview show. So person comes on. I worked on this. We wanted to talk about things that people love. And then the move the podcast just sort of grew over time from like a Onehour pretty simple conversation into these epic, two part extremely complicated deep dives, and that is mostly my fault that that's happened. But you know what, as somebody and and and I'll tell you the reason why it's why it's my favorite podcast, is because I'm the guy kind of like you where I want to go see the movie and then I want me and my friends to go sit and and discuss it, you know, and I don't have living in, you know, small town in Ohio, I don't have a lot of friends like that who can do that, you know. Or I have friends who love movies, but they love movies, you know, for a reason to show popcorn in their mouth, which is totally fine. Watch movies however you want to. But listening to the cinephiles for me is like getting to be a part of that conversation, is like getting to have that conversation with people and by deep in them, and you guys have done. I will say your show has helped kind of change and evolved my appreciation for film, you know, and you know, as you know, as I've started making my own it's helped me become much more appreciative of good storytelling and things like that. Have you had any any movies you guys have done so far that have been just, you know, like some of your absolute favorite episodes, favorite movies to deep dive into, think the most. So I'll put it into two categories. There's some which are, I think, the best episodes we've done, which are things like Ken Burns is civil war documentary or west side story or apocalypse now or our field of dreams episodes recently. I was really proud of you guys. You guys made me cry in the car with the field of dreams episode. I'm just saying we've we've gotten that a lot, a lot of people who say, like, man, I was painting my house, it's just star our. I was in the gym and I just started crying. Yeah, well, and you could hear me. I was crying as just trying to get through that episode, and I think that's where I think where the episodes are the best, is where it's personal for John and I and it's a really good conversation. When the episodes are the worst, the worst thing in the in the show, I believe John here's me said this all the time. The worst thing is me is that if it's just me telling you what happens in the film, this happens and then this happens and this guy says this and it's really cool, and then this guy turns and says this, and and this person is this, and then there's expo as a really boring and as I edit I try to take out as much of me as possible. What's when it's really good is when we talk about this moment that happened in the movie and then John and I have a conversation, or are we have a conversation with our guest, and those conversations are really...

...the most interesting part, which is why the other category I have there a bunch of movies that I honestly don't like that much, where we ended up having really great conversations in really interesting ways, the biggest one being moved genuinely don't like, which is John's guilty pleasure, Zoro, the gay blade. I thought it was gonna be a different one. Okay, no, arm again. That was going to be arm again. I like, I can appreciate arm again. You know, it's not. It's I don't love it like John Does, but, but, and that was that was a really fun episode, though, the Armageddon one. Yeah, and the sort of the gap blade ended up being, I think, in a great episode. My guess is people don't generally listen to it, because there's not a lot of love for that movie out there outside its sewn Roca. But but we ended up having this amazing conversation about guilty pleasures and representation and what it was like for each of us growing up and why we turn to and still have a love for these films, and it ended up being a really interesting conversation. You know, and so I think you know, obviously the episodes that Scott Man's has been on, some of the episodes that Mike Vogel's been on, the two episodes that Sasha Pro Raver was on, Pulp Fiction and chasing amy, chasing A. He's another one where I think it's a lesser film, but the conversation is one of the filthiest, funniest conversations we've ever had on this. It certainly the filthiests what happens when you have Sasha Parl Raver? What? That's what happens when you have a slash a Parl Raver? Oh Yeah, she's fun, she is. I I will say. Yeah, the I mean the Scott Man's episode for Blade runner is, I mean is legendary. I mean that and again, like that's an episode that you know up until I listen to that episode. I've listened to that episode probably Fifth Times. Wow, it will, it's it's shaped how I appreciated blade runner because up to that point blade runner was a film that I had seen and I had liked, but I don't know if I just didn't get it or I hadn't. I didn't, I didn't give it the the time of day. And hearing how passionate about it, frankly, all three of you got, but mostly Scott Man's Scott Dance, passionate. I know he's such a reserved person. I tell you what, I had to constantly adjust my volume throughout that entire episode, turn it up, turn it down. I've had to learn how to record him. Is that I got to give him a lot of headroom because he gets re allowed sometimes. But it gave me a knew appreciation for the film and a new way, because I think the only version I had seen, honestly, was a theatrical cut and I think that was part of the problem, which is definitely the lesser version of the film. But it has it has because of like the conversation you guys had and and the the new way to explore the film that it gave me. I mean that film kind of jumped to the top of my favorite films list as a result because I had a new found appreciation for and I think that's one of the beauties of the cinephiles is it at times gives people a new way to look at a film they maybe hadn't considered before. That's great here, I mean I think that's like the the golden more and more, and this such an ambitious and ridiculous thing to say, but it is. Like I I really want us to be the go to conversation about great films like the Oh, I'm going to pull out Lawrence of Araby again. I'm going to have the cinephiles as a compendium, you know, to go through and and to you know, it's like, and it's funny because it I never occurred to me that this is what I was doing, but my first professional at any jobs was doing behind the scenes, you know, making a movies on DVD's, and so in a weird way, the cinephiles is, I think, the ultimate I wanted to be the ultimate version of that, which is because, like, if you listen to a commentary track, one of the problems with a commentary track, even though you might some of them are great. But there are some moments they take five seconds in the film that take ten minutes to talk about it. So if they talk about that moment that's so important for ten minutes, well then in the commentary track you've missed the next nine minutes of stuff because they're talking about this old thing and now they're skipping ahead or trying to catch up, and then they start chatting about, Oh, do you remember that night that I got food poisoning? And they tell some story which might be really fun. And while that's happening, the movie is just going on and on and on. And what the cinephiles can do is it can focus in with laser focus on that one moment, take as much time as necessary to explore it and then move on, you know, so that we don't miss things. So obviously the show so long we're kind of go through everything, but like and we can take as much time or as little time over a thing and also share our perspectives and our personal stories and things like that. And so I hope that, particularly the longer episodes, that you someone listening will feel like a they learned a lot be they saw things in ways that maybe they hadn't seen them before and hopefully, and this is what has evolved in the show, that they have to some degree an emotional experience with the film, that if it's a funny movie, We hope that they laugh listening to our podcast and if it's field of...

...dreams, we want I want to make you cry, you know, because I want you to have that emotional experience. It it certainly you guys. It's and the definitely wasn't the first time that that had happened. You know some of the you know you talk about revisit. You know I went and revisited hunt for Red October after the episode you guys did. It was one that I already knew I liked. I just had to see it. In fifteen years, such a good movie, like I forgot. I remember going into work the next day and my friend Travis, who was my cinematographer on the last film I did, I remember telling him I was like, I forgot how good that movie is, like it just it had been so long since I'd seen it and rewatching and I was like how, like why don't I watch this? I mean, other than the fact that it's a long, heavy movie, but it's why don't I watch this one more often? Why do I keep rewatching, you know, the avengers a million times and you know, granted, I love the Avengers, but you know, you're yeah, died hunt for Red October, you know, blade runner, fuel of dreams again, another one that I went back and rewatched after listening to your show, and you know, of course, you know la I mean. The last time I watch that movie, I think, was with my dad and you know, in the years since he's passed now, was like Ad Damn by the other same to say here will you were you were on the outlaw, on the outlaw nation recently and and John mentioned something called the Morris Questions. I see, what can you can you give us some insight into what the Morris questions are? Well, you have to imagine me drunk some party, sitting with friends and just, I don't know, things pop into my mind. It's of just like sometimes it's very silly, sometimes it's very complicated. I will give you an example. Here is a Morris question. Okay, okay, you can increase your ability in strength, speed, intelligence, with charisma. Some you know, I just listened to about a dull tree in these stats. Yeah, yeah, by twenty percent. Okay, but to do so you would have to reduce some other trait of yours by twenty percent. What would you increase? You know, and it could be your ability to talk to New People, or it could be your writing ability. You could be to your stand up. You said right now you be twenty percent funnier, but to pay for that you're going to have to take twenty percent away from something else. Okay, that would be a Morris question. That's Oh, I love those. Oh, those are fun. God, I have to be drunk they really answer that. I would I would usually come up. Yeah, that's those are good. I I used to have when I was living in South Carolina. I had Friday nights where we would all get together and we would all just get hammered and ask ourselves difficult questions. Usually were, you know, I was twenty one. They usually set related. But so real quick, you know, as we come up on come up on an hour here, I wanted to talk a little bit about just just a little bit more just about you to kind of you know, we started off talking about your you know, your early beginnings and things like that. In in research, doing some research for for this show, I stumbled upon your old blog. Oh which one? The team to the team effort films blog. Oh Wow, that's a long time ago. Yeah, because I think, I guess I remember when your last post was from. But there were there were two things I had. I had a blast reading through it, but I absolutely loved of two things. And and and they hit me in different ways. And I think it's because I don't have children of my own. I know you have a you have a young son, but the the letter you wrote for your son when he was born absolutely moved me. And then there was also where you wrote Your Father's eulogy after Your father passed away. Both kind of very it's strange to think about how closely similar writing both of those two pieces could be, one from a son to a father and one from a father to a son was. I mean, I can't even imagine how difficult it must have been to write the the piece about your father after after he passed away. Were you too particularly were? I mean, just for reading, I can probably where you got. You guys were pretty close. HMM, it's a good question. I don't know that I would say we were close. I cared of a about my dad a lot. It might dad, like a lot of guys from his generation, was not the most touchy Feeley or emotional guys. My Dad was. He's a really it was a really interesting person. My Dad was unbelievably hard working, unbelievably disciplined. He had a he always kind of had a plan and knew what he wanted to do and he put he knew how to just put his effort into it. He you know, he was the...

...kind of person where if he said I'm going to do this, in this, in this, he would do exactly that. He would make a plan and stick to it. That's and and and, because I was a creative person, I don't think he knew quite how to deal with me. He was always shouldn't say it that way. I don't think he knew how quite how to connect with me. Okay, Um, you know is that he was always supportive, always supportive, but he was also somewhat, I think, bewildered, but by the things that I was interested in doing. And so it was interesting about that eulogy. Everything I said in that eulogy is true, but there are things that I said in that eulogy that I you know, I don't know how much you remembered, but you know, there was a lot about my dad's competitiveness and my dad's kind of rigid way of thinking and I had people come up to me, a man come up to me. There's a thing in the eulogy about that. My Dad never let me win at anything. You know that my dad, whether it was candy land or Ping Pong or anything he was my dad was an unbelievably good games player, like he was one of the best. Whether it was playing bridge or playing dominoes or playing cribbage or scrabble, he would just wipe you out. My Dad's way of when we would play trivial pursuit, which my family played all the time. My Dad. You you played trivial pursued, I assume. Oh Yeah, so my dad's way of playing was you you go around, collect all your pipe pieces. He would go to the center and win the game almost every time, and then his to goal was to go around, go around the whole board again, lose every one of his pipe pieces and win the game a second time before anyone else could win. And frequently he did it. And so as a kid I just spent my whole childhood getting my ass kicked, you know, and I didn't understand. I remember going to a another friend's house and and we're playing ping pong and I said, okay, should rally for serve and they're like no, no, let's just we don't need to keep score, let's just play for fun, and I went play for fun. What is that? What does that mean? Like I did, I didn't know how to do those things because in my house games were just serious. And when I was much older, and I might when my dad was even starting to get sick, is, I said to him, you know, like you never let me win anything. Why was that? And my dad said, well, I thought that I felt that if I let you win, it's something where you couldn't really win. That was like lying to you and I would never be dishonest. I never want to be dishonest with you. And I said that in the eulogy and I had several like, you know, people my dad's age come up to me and said so glad you, you're you said that because that's what I do with my kids and that's that's what I believe to. And I'm like, I don't think that was a good thing. You know like that. One of the big things that I try to do with my son is I've let him win sometimes and every once while I show him that I can win, but I don't, and because there's a balance to be struck. My Dad was very like, this is the right way to do it and that's it. You know, sorry, that was a maybe a well, you know, answer to your question. Very he was. He was a very use well, it's not your dad. My Dad sound very similar and you know he's just very ABC. Yeah, you know, pointed to point, be kind of person. You know that that's and it was kind of similar for me to with with my dad, where, you know, he was always supportive of, you know, my brother and I both getting into acting, in filmmaking and in things like that. He never fully understood it, you know, he was he was still very much the okay, well, have a backup plan, you know, but Oh yeah, which is, you know, in retrospect, a good idea because I definitely needed it. But but yeah, he was very much the same way where, you know, he was very there's a right and a wrong way to do everything, and it wasn't that. He was, you know it wasn't a Dick about it, but he was occasionally a Dick about it. And then going into going into the the letter you wrote for your son when your son was born. You know, as a creative person, we had we had comedian dusty Harvey on here a couple times and in the times between we first had him and we had them again, he had had a daughter and I asked him if you know, becoming a father, and this is, I guess, just because I don't have kids of my own and so I don't know, but having a child as a creative person, do you find that it affects not so much your creative process, which is how you approach how I guess it would be your creative prot how you approach projects and things? I believe that everything in your life is fuel for your creative life. You know that you can't if you're if your life and things happy in it aren't affecting you as an artist, then you maybe not being so much of an artist. That's that's part and maybe that's a little too harsh, because some people are just craftsman in terms of their work. So I can't help having it affect me. Certainly it's changed. I think most of the things that have happened in my life have kind of pushed me to be continually more compassionate, you know, because hopefully when you have tough things happen or you struggle with...

...something that that it opens your eyes to things other people were struggling with. And so I think, like a lot of people who didn't have kids, I was a little unsympathetic to some parents who would complain about a thing and I'm like, well, just do it this way. And now that I am a parent and I try to just do it that way and see that, oh, that doesn't work, you know, and how much harder this whole thing is than I knew that it was. That's change. The other thing that's changed is that my you know, when your parent, your schedules just not your own. And so where I could just go, well, I'm just going to spend a month working my ass off on this thing, you can't, you know, if you have a kid. Well, I got to pick pick that kid up at school, you know, like I it's just that has to happen. There's nobody here to Tay. I got to make the kid dinner, I got to help them with their homework. I got to do whatever you got to do with a kid, and so that's been like, oh, it's not just that. When you have a kid, that becomes the most important thing in the world and you're overwhelmed by all these emotions and those things happen, although maybe not quite like they happen in movies, but it's just like no, I have to deal with this right now, you know, and I have a kid who is sometimes emotional and sometimes you know, he's got adhd and he's d you know, he requires a lot of attention to help him, and so that is that's changed my life in a massive number of ways. It's and it's one of those it's just what's one of those things is you never really know. You I can sit here and say all day long, you know whether or not I want to have kids, but at the end of the day you never really know what it's like until you have some of your own. I guess. Yep, I have a buddy, one of my friends from film school, who runs summer camps. He is the director of a YMC, a summer camp, and he's been doing summer camps for twenty years and so he has tons of experience dealing with hundred kids, two hundred kids, and being in charge and he's dealt with angry kids and sad kids and lonely kids and charismatic kids and brilliant kids and dumb kids and dangerous kids and all this stuff. And so he is a kid expert and he just had a kid four years ago and what he has said to me is it's totally different. Yeah, I knew, like this whole parent, that it's being the guy running the camp, all that stuff that taught about kids has nothing to do with being the parent of his kid all the time. Yeah, totally different. Yeah, I I I was a teacher for a number of years and and you know my I have two very young siblings who I kind of helped raise for a while, you know, just because I was at that age. But yeah, something, something just tells me when I see my I'm a getting of that age, to age now, to where my friends are having kids, and it's no longer weird, because for the longest time it was like wow, we're kind of young to be now I'm thirty one and it's like Nope, nope, that's appropriate, that's fine. Yeah, okay, well, Steve Moore's I could, I could. I can sit here and talk to you for hours. Your you, listening to you, having you. You know, the appearances you've had on on the outlaw nation and and the conversations you and John had on the cinephiles and in the cinefile shorts and and just the things that you I I love listening to you talk about stuff and I could sit here and poke your brain all day. But obviously we you, you have things to do and I don't want to take up too much more of your time. I just want the one last thing I like to do when I have people on here. You've been seen you for an hour and letting me. Let me pelt you with questions. I like to give my guests an opportunity, if they have any questions they want to ask me, to even the playing field a little bit. Well, here's I guess. Here's the question I would have. Is that so? How long you been doing stand up? It'll be fifteen years in October. Star in high school. What are you thinking about? This is a rough question, but what's the future? Right? I think we're still trying to figure it out. We when covid first when the quarantine first hit. And you know, because we have two clubs here in town that are very big. One's a national chain and one's the oldest club in Ohio and and we call we call that one home, you know, while these has been in Ohio longer than any other club and that's home to us, and not being able to go there every week, we are all getting ansy. You know. We did things like, you know, we started discord servers to get together and just chat about joke writing ideas. But you know, it's we're we we all, I think, pose that question to each other at least once a week. Somebody posts something in the facebook group of like where do we go from here? And I think a lot of us are kind of afraid that, you know, I a tried and true system that's been around since the s and the s is going to need to change drastically, like a lot of things are in the world. I don't think anything's going to be able to go back to square one again after this. I mean I hopefully. You know, after the one thousand nine hundred and eighteen flu, things went back. You know that there was a certain point where people were worried about getting sick anymore and things went back. But there's gonna be a year or two at least where things are and I just think about there's certain things, and...

...stand up being one of them, that is so intimate and it's so much about your connection to a live audience. You know, watching stand up over zoom ain't going to be the same. You know how it's. I you know. That's why I like when I tell one of the one of the things that's been kind of painful for stand ups especially has been the advent of this is weird to say, but like the advent of smartphones, because now, Oh yeah, people, people will go to an open mic, which open mics are just notoriously awful. Open mics are no comedian likes open mics where they're trying something new or trying something tried and true to a room with five drunk people in it that aren't paying attention and they get no laughs. And then those videos hit the Internet I see this person sucks like well, no, it just didn't work that night. But if you go see me in a proper comedy setting with an audience that gives a shit, you might see a totally different reaction and and I'm seeing the same thing. You know, the two industries. I am concerned about our stand up and and live music. Yes, as a big music fan, I know a lot of bands and artist I listen to you right now or kind of wondering what they're going to do because they can't book concerts right now. And we've seen where like Blake Shelton did the and Garth was no, not arth brooks drought a blank, but they did these drive in concerts. A Band I listened to just over the weekend that a thing with full sale university where they put together a big full stage production in one of full sales stages and just live streamed it and it's not as you know, it's weird to see because there's no audience reaction. So it affects the energy of the performers on stage. But stand ups one of those things where, if you're not getting immediate feedback, you don't know if something works or not. Well, there's the the great quote from Jackie Gleeson is the great thing about comedies that has an instant critic is that if people laugh, it was funny, if they don't laugh, it wasn't funny. That's not always true. Sometimes people don't laugh and it was funny, but like the there's that give and take when you're with an audience. You know that you feel it's going and just of the smartphone thing. You know, I've talked to enough comedians are and listen to ant comedians. This is sometimes you got to work out the joke and sometimes you're working out stuff on stage and at and comedy frequently exists in the gray area of offensive, you know, and so when you're working out the joke over something about sex or about race or about politics or about something, sometimes you might go too far trying to work out that joke and realize, oh, I can't go that far, but that's the one that someone recorded on their smartphone and suddenly there's the most important video in your life is this joke that didn't quite work where you went too far. You know, that's really a troubling thing. It can be a location thing too. I've done, you know I'd done I did a set in Columbia, South Carolina, and then the next week I did it back here in Dayton, Ohio, and jokes that landed really well and Columbia died on arrival here in Daytona and vice versa. It's all about the mentality of the area. And Yeah, it's comedies, complex people, is what we're trying to say. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think about all these art forms and food to restaurants where it's like part of it is you're in this small space with these people and that is the experience and like, yes, I could get that food to go, but that's not the experience. And Yeah, I can, I can listen to a youtube video of you in your basement doing your comedy routine, but that ain't going to be the same thing. No, you know, we've seen it with the talk shows, you know, Jimmy Kimmel or John Oliver. As much as I love watching last week tonight, watching him do it in an empty white room with no audience doesn't quite land the same as it did in a room with this in the studio, with with with a hundred people sitting seats. That it's funny. That one actually works pretty well for me. I love the show. Yeah, and and, and it's because what he's doing is so deep and complicated, you know what I mean? Like the stuff is still landing with me even without the laughs. Right, some of the other ones like it's like death. You know, I know, I think. I think kimmills only ones been able to pull it off, but it's because he's got his daughter there and she keeps screwing with him, which is fantastic. But, Steve Morris, I can't, I can't thank you enough for coming on and doing this show today. This has been an absolute pleasure. I've loved having you on, I've loved getting to talk to you. Hopefully get to talk to you again in the near future. Just so for the folks that home know you know. Where can they because I know, I know you're not a big on this, Dude. Don't have a huge social media presence, but where can the folks find you? Where can they work? And they track down some of your your film projects work in the folks by John Line. So first of all, the assistance is on Itunes, so you can rent it there. Great White Shark beyond the cage of fear is free on Amazon prime. Definitely check those things out as far and and and definitely the cinephiles. If you're a movie Fan, check out search. Do a search for the cinephiles podcast. We have done hundred, fifty movies ish and I am certain that there's something on...

...the list that's one of your favorite films. So go on the list of the episodes, find your favorite movie, listen to it and you know and definitely let us know what you think. And you can reach me on twitter at SR Morris and on Instagram at Sur Morris One. And I'm I'm old for the social media thing. I do my best. You know I'm on there, but you know I'm an old guy. If I did, if I didn't do stuff like this, I probably would have ditched it a long time ago. But also I have posting pictures of my dogs because they're cute. But I'm that guy, all right, all right. Well, Steve Morris, thank you again so much for coming on the show and the guys. That is going to do it for this week's episode of the Basement Lounge. You can get more about this show at our website, Basement Lounge podcom, and follow me on all the social media at Mike Shay comedy. And until next time, as always, folks, remember to live well, rock on, take care of each other and bub bye.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (151)