1K with Rob Treveiler: Making out with Teri Hatcher

Rob Treveiler has a name my dyslexic brain wants to misspell and/or mispronounce. It’s a shame because I really like the guy. He has always been kind, accessible and very talented. I remember watching him a few years ago on set. He introduced himself to the extras, his fellow actors and talked to the crew. Then, right before filming began, he fell into his character. It was special.

Over the last couple of years Rob’s talents have been justifiably recognized. He has landed roles in big movies like The Accountant and Sully. Many know him for his ongoing role as Sheriff John Nix in the Netflix hit series Ozark. (Please note this podcast premieres on the same day that Ozark season two debuts. How about that for marketing?)

In this podcast Rob shares how college transformed him. As a pre-law student he was required to take an “artsy” elective. Rob chose acting and as a result the country lost a future barrister.

We also talk film incentives and the boon they have been for Atlanta. Rob offers insights on being directed by everyone from Jason Bateman to some octogenarian named Eastwood. He also explains the differences in acting on stage vis-à-vis the camera.

One addition… I mention Karen Young. Karen is a terrific actress you may remember from The Sopranos or the movie Heading South. I met her a few years ago at the 100 Words Film Festival. I told Karen my belief that she is as relaxed as anyone I have ever seen on camera. She shared a story somewhat similar to Rob about making the adjustment from the stage to film. In addition to limiting her movements, a director told her early in her career that the most important part of her body to keep still is her head. She attributes that tip to her relaxed demeanor.

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1K with Quinn Shephard: College funds for an indie film

Last year a 22-year-old named Quinn Shephard took the Tribeca Film Festival by storm. She wrote, directed and starred in the award-winning film Blame. Inspired by Arthur Miller’s Crucible, Quinn started writing the screenplay about coming of age in high school, while she was doing just that…in high school.

Write what you know. But, also what you loathe? Quinn shares how hard high school was for her. She was a loner who struggled to make friends and was often bullied. Fast forward a few years past graduation and Quinn returns to the same New Jersey high school with more than a backpack—she has her own film crew. In the podcast, she talks about that remarkable experience.

The podcast also addresses arguably the most difficult part of independent filmmaking: financing. Halfway through filming Blame, a big investor walked away from the project. When that happens, it’s kind of like being on a flight from L.A. to Honolulu and learning you’re low on gas. Turning around doesn’t really help. To finish the film, Quinn and her family had to do some crazy things.

Quinn Shephard makes you feel good about the future of film. She is smart, passionate and talented. And, as I learn from our conversation, when you’re born in 1995 you can refer to Winona Ryder’s early works as “classics” and be completely genuine.

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1K with Ken Ludwig: From church basements to Broadway

Ken Ludwig is a Tony Award-winning playwright whose 25 plays and musicals have spawned six Broadway productions and seven in London’s West End. His first trip to Broadway materialized when an English director friend passed along the play that would become Lend Me a Tenor to a “producer friend” you might have heard of: Andrew Lloyd Webber. He loved the play, and six months later, it opened in the West End. Not long after that, Tenor hopped across the pond to Broadway.

Referred to as “America’s preeminent comic playwright,” he’s received acclaim for his original works (Lend Me a Tenor, Leading Ladies) as well as his adaptations of literary classics like Treasure Island and The Three Musketeers.

For a man of his talent, he’s exceedingly humble and not sensitive about his writing. In this podcast, he discusses his recent adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, which found him taking notes from the Queen of Mystery’s grandson, “How would legendary Belgian detective Hercule Poirot deliver this line?”
More highlights from Ludwig include the joy when great actors breathe life into his words, the seemingly daunting task of teaching children Shakespeare, how writing plays longhand gives a better connection to the material, and, as an author who’s penned stories about both Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, he gives his own take on who is the better detective.

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1K with Charna Halpern: Tina Fey meet Amy Poehler

Charna Halpern has spent her life helping others, especially those without a Y chromosome. Her career began as teacher in a school for juvenile delinquent girls. That all changed one night in Dixon—an Illinois town of less than 25,000—more than 100 miles west of her hometown Chicago.

In this podcast, Charna shares that story and how it led her from one classroom into a completely different one: teaching improv and shaping comedy history. Her students have included Chris Farley, Steve Carrell, Mike Myers, Adam McKay and Jason Sudeikis. But in a male-dominated industry, Charna has never forgotten her girls. In the mid-90s, she noticed two talented young women taking improv classes on different days. One was from Philadelphia, the other Boston. Charna asked them to start learning together because she believed they would not only hold their own, they might show up some of their misogynistic fellow prodigies. It worked…and still does 25 years later.

Other podcast highlights include Charna explaining the revolutionary idea of long format improv, working with Lorne Michaels, and convincing a young woman in her box office to step out and audition for Saturday Night Live. The woman reluctantly agreed and today is a comedic fixture on the show.

Finally, any real talk with a Chicago native has to address pizza. Charna cites her favorites in the podcast, including Pizzeria Uno (River North).

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1K with Brian Lafontaine: Killing the star of Nashville

Brian Lafontaine is a talented actor of film, television, stage and voice-over. This makes him a rarity in our modern world in that his vocation and passion align. It’s important that they do because it is the joy of acting that helps Brian get through the hard parts: the incredible amount of time it takes to memorize scripts…the fruitless auditions. Muhammad Ali’s quote rings true, There’s nothing wrong with getting knocked down, as long as you get right back up.

Brian’s advice for aspiring actors begins with a question: Why do you want to act? This fundamental ask often generates the response, Because I want to be famous. That answer is problematic. Acting is not about individual advancement. It is working as a collective in a quest to create the best possible outcome. In the few times I have had the pleasure to work with Brian, he has always been excited about the possibilities of the next take.

AND…

In this podcast our conversation takes a completely unexpected and humorous turn that earns us our first explicit rating. A little backstory on the exchange. I had no idea. None! I don’t write this to absolve myself but to share what happened in studio. If you listen closely, when I start to pose the question that takes us down the naughty path, Brian laughs immediately. His laugh is so early I thought it had to be about something else. I turned to producer Jordan Snyder and watched Jordan’s confused look turn into a smile as Brian began to reveal the story.

Finally, the IMDB game we discuss is a wonderful way to spend a lot of time being completely unproductive. Was that a young Jake Gyllenhaal in Homicide? Equally important, how do you spell Gyllenhaal? The podcast mentions 1970s game show maven Elaine Joyce. I stumbled across her name and credits in my fourth hour of exploring Match Game ’75. After we recorded the podcast, further Elaine Joyce research revealed that for the past 20 years she has been married to legendary playwright Neil Simon.

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