Posts Tagged ‘movies’
As we prepare for summer blockbuster season, The Multiplex returns to Magnet on Monday, April 16th, at 9:00 PM to bring you inside the world of film. We bring you inside the world of The Multiplex by sitting down with director Michael Stevens!
You’re a veteran of many Director Series shows (AIM Big, Moonlight, Hero, and others). How does it feel to take on the role of director?
It feels pretty great! The hard part is solidifying, articulating, and being confident with a vision. The easy part is working with other improvisors. When I’m not playing I can see more, and it makes it easier to play with the form and provide structural elements that play towards respective improvisors strengths.
Everything I need to know about directing improv I learned from Professor X. I think to be good at directing, you gotta love watching, and you gotta know how to encourage people with their own creative sensibilities to use their powers more. Its very much about trust and collaboration and compromise (to a point).
What inspired you to develop this show?
1. I famously hate the movie La La Land, and wanted to see why people let that shitburger into the world. Just kidding. It’s a cute film.
2. My brother had a team out in LIC (Priest and the Beekeeper) that used to use this form many moons ago. They retired it, and I basically asked him if I could use it and riff on it a bit. I’m a big movie guy, and I come from a movie family. It’s essentially my love language. If I had a dollar for every fake movie I talked into my Dad’s face, I could remake the whole Rocky series 4 times, and do a crossover where he fights The Predator.
What interests me about movies now is the culture that surrounds them. Before a movie is viewed, we’re talking about it being greenlit. We review films before they come out, before we see them. We continue to experience films long after we’ve seen them. Our conversations online and in the world affect how the next movies are being made… it’s a whole crazy cycle. I don’t know whether it’s something that should be celebrated or mourned.
As a person who has nothing to do with the professional film industry sometimes I feel like movies have a greater power to unite people and the brighter shared values of a culture. Other times I feel like films highlight our excess. As a film goer and I GUESS as an artist I waver between optimism and ABJECT HOPELESSNESS.
This form is kind of playing with all of that shit.
How does The Multiplex differ from the classic “movie” improv form?
The goal of a movie form is to use improv to show you a movie. The goal of The Multiplex is to show you the entire “culture and creative process of a film.” You see a bit of the movie, but you’re seeing production conversations, writer’s meetings, test screening feedback, reshoots, remakes, reboots, sequels, podcasts about the film, conversations in film classes about the made up film ten years into the future, Oscar wins, conversations where regular people quote the film…. It’s friggin’ nuts as a form honestly.
It’s got a nice mix of the fast and loose play with a bit of grounded scene work. None of it should work, but it does.
I think the thing that I love about it is that as a director, the form is continuing to expand into this kaleidoscopic mess that I have no control over. That’s why I love my cast.
At the end of the show we usually end with a grounded podcast about the film. It’s everyone as a version of themselves kind of just riffing like comics do… It’s tonally the most inappropriate way to end a whole show of crazytown, but I love the weird sense from the audience that they are in on the joke of this made up film… By the end of the show you should feel not only like you’ve seen the film, but also like you’ve fought with your aunt about it online.
What’s your favorite movie that takes place behind the scenes of a movie?
Hahaha. I honestly don’t know… I loved Birdman, because that was closer to Multiplex in terms of showing the “culture around a film”.
But that one was more about a play, so I will pick Maps to the Stars. I thought it was alright.
See all the stars on stage at Magnet, April 16th at 9:oo PM!
We talk with Magnet co-founder Ed Herbstman about working with producer Judd Apatow on “The Big Sick”
Magnet co-founder and actor, Ed Herbstman, plays Sam Highsmith in one of this summer’s most anticipated comedies, “The Big Sick,” starring Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Aidy Bryant, Bo Burnham, Kurt Braunohler, and David Alan Grier. Directed by Michael Showalter, “The Big Sick” is produced by the legendary comedy writer/director/producer Judd Apatow. In this very special feature, we sit down with Ed for the inside scoop on working with Judd Apatow!
MAGNET: So, what was it like to work with comedy powerhouse Judd Apatow?
EH: I don’t know. I didn’t actually work with him. He was the producer.
M: As a producer, was Judd fun to work with?
EH: He wasn’t there. Michael Showalter directed it. He was great.
M: We’ve always heard that Judd is really a blast on set. Was that your experience?
EH: I’ve heard that too. But again, Judd Apatow wasn’t on set any of the days I worked. Kumail Nanjiani was there, and so was his wife and co-writer Emily V. Gordon. They were great. Funny, warm, playful – truly some of the kindest people I’ve ever worked with.
M: Yes! Of course. This is really Kumail and Emily’s project. And as a producer, Judd Apatow must have his fingerprints all over it.
EH: I can’t really speak to that. I can tell you that my favorite part was improvising with Kumail, Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant and Kurt Braunohler. Showalter really let us play. I play Sam Highsmith, a stand-up comic who–
M: Is Judd Apatow a good dad?
M: Judd Apatow?
EH: That’s not a question.
M: Knocked Up.
EH: We done?
Thanks so much to Ed Herbstman for sitting down with us to provide an inside look into what it’s like to work with big time Hollywood producer Judd Apatow. Go see “The Big Sick” in theaters now!
Magnet Theater co-founder and all around improv know-it-all, ARMANDO DIAZ, sits down with us to talk about film, improvisation, and what he thinks of the “guru” label. It’s not everyday we get to hear so intimately from one of the greats of improvisation, but Armando stopped by to chat with host Louis Kornfeld and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Who knows maybe this will be one of many? What we do know for sure is that this episode is not one to be missed.
Our conversation with Armando Diaz begins with the moment he gave up on the film industry. Both he and Louis had forays into the film industry and neither of them particularly liked it. However, it was this rejection of film that steered Armando toward improv. These two encyclopedias of improv and film discuss how improv keeps people more honest than film, how it strips away pretentious defense of art, and how Louis learned more about scene structure and motivation through improvising than attending film school. You need the laboratory of improvisation to learn and grow, says Armando.
Louis notes that, when teaching, Armando talks a lot about culture and art, so he asks Armando where he finds inspiration these days. In giving his answer, Armando opines on the need for art and culture to become local again. They talk about the dual importance of experiencing something together with a group of people, as well as the value of truly having time alone with your own thoughts – time devoid of entertainment and third party interference. In this part of the interview, we find out how many children Armando has! Youll be surprised.
Tying in Armandos notion of communal art with David Shepards goal of The Compass to be a popular theater, Louis asks how those ideas can be transposed into the improv of today. Armando tries to recall the first improv he saw that set the bar or made a big impression on him. For him, it’s always been about exploring the unknown. If for a period of time you can transcend yourself, those are the best moments. Where does such deep water lie for improv these days? Louis and Armando talk about challenging audiences in a helpful way and how we need imperfections and flaws.
If you came for the good stuff, look no further than Louis asking Armando about the status of his name. He talks about what it means to him to be “Armando.” People will think whatever they want, so he keeps himself grounded in real interactions with other people. He also tells use why he doesn’t love the idea of gurus and relates how the burden of experience can get in the way of trying to learn something new. Not wanting to watch people who have a list of rules in their head, Armando has developed his teaching methods to focus on inspiring students rather than correcting them.
Among a bevy of talk on improvisation, Louis asks Armando why he’s such a reluctant improviser and Armando talks about what it’s like to play with his frequent duo partner, Christina Gausas. Finally, Louis reminds us of this wonderful quote from Elaine May: The only safe bet is to take a risk. Amen.