I'd like to direct canceled TV shows

I am probably naive to post a love letter for two of my favorite shows that aren't creating new episodes anymore. Maybe it's satisfying for me to romanticize on heartfelt themes that filled my TV each week? The common thread between these different dramas is that they still feel personal to me years and months later after watching them. I enjoy my daily dose of snackable new media, but Parenthood and Mozart in the Jungle continue to rattle around my imagination! Almost every episode rang the "familiar bell" in my brain triggering fuzzy feelings in my body... and millions of other people felt the same. Total guess.

I loved, love the show Parenthood. The cast comes together effortlessly straight out the gate. I know TV is a writers medium, but in the last couple of years, directors have gotten to shine on Netflix, Amazon, and networks that are giving creators more control to stay competitive.  So, to guide a show as a director pre-tv-auteur says something about the women and men that directed Parenthood. Lawrence Trilling directed the lion share of episodes. (See Googled picture below of him drinking a soda.)

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He also directed some of my favorite Pushing Daisies episodes. On Parenthood, he was able to pull amazing performances from a group of veteran TV actors probably willing to phone it in at that point. While watching his episodes, I feel like I am present, in the room with the cast, part of the family dancing around the living room in pure joy.  Times are tough, doesn't matter what side you are on. Maybe that's the problem? We have to pick teams, and no one knows the rules of the game.  It's nasty and ugly out there. I aspire to create content at my day job and personally to bring people together. Maybe that is why I am attracted to family shows. Families are messy.  Parenthood put all the stuff on the screen no one talks about in a palatable way. I miss Parenthood. I miss a good friend that helped create it. She was a champion for creatives and me personally. The families we grow up in, and the ones we create are far from perfect. I'd like to make some imperfect TV or be on a shortlist of directors for the Parenthood reunion special someday after I have some more directing under me. I sometimes have vivid dreams where I am directing episodes of Parenthood. Someone smart, please make a time machine for me.

I loved, love the show Mozart in the Jungle.  MITJ is a portrayal of an eccentric family courtesy of a dysfunctional orchestra.  The old friendly TV feeling of I know these people, or I want to know them is addicting in this show. Paul Weitz is the magic sauce in this show.  (See Googled picture below of him talking to Robert De Niro. Cropped Bob out since it didn't make sense)

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Again, I feel like I am in the room. Like I am standing behind a curtain backstage eavesdropping on the messiness of life through these weirdo musicians. There is something magical that needs to happen with a cast and script to get authentic performances. Directors in TV don't usually get the time on set to capture this type of performance or the credit they deserve when they bottle it up for us. 

In the show, the misfits band together to form their own family.  You can see this magic in Paul's first movie American Pie. Some might consider it crude. I believe it was a stepping stone project where humans, in the body of awkward teens, try to connect with other humans even with all of their flaws. Season 3 of MITG takes some crazy surreal turns. Mind-blowing!!! I wanted more. Amazon take a swing at Lord of the Rings! Can Paul direct? They are a strange group of characters who banned together in the end. Right?

Bottom line, I'd like to direct episodes of these two canceled TV shows. I guess I wanted to say it out loud to help me mourn that I won't be able to touch these shows or help make them.  I think about these shows constantly. They made me smile, laugh and cry. That's all I need. I hope to make something this good one day. In the meantime, I'll slowly cut my teeth with digital short-form content and keep making narrative short films on a dime. 

The Living City by Frank Llyod Wright is still the future

Okay. I've been obsessed with FLW for awhile. It's pretty easy to have an appreciation for one of America's most popular architects. The Living City, a dense book spewed on to paper from a mind of a genius, lays out how he envisioned Broadacre - his utopian master plan that never came to be. To me it reads a bit like a radio manual. I guess that's what happens when you are a visionary and you are dreaming up the future. I bet most people had no idea on what he was striving to accomplish until decades later. For example - take a look at the concept drawing below. Instead of street lamps - he wanted to have lights directly on the road for more efficient ground cover. Practical. Smart. Less light pollution. I also can't stop looking at electrical lines and telephone poles. I have heard his, "Form follows Function," mantra a thousand times, but I guess I never noticed the results when humans go against it. We are sloppy. There is nothing elegant about cables draped haphazardly around our cities. This is my opinion, I feel humans trust their egos more than the natural order that exists around them. FLW admits progress has come from this machine evolution - his main worries seem to be at the velocity we are moving. I could talk about this book for hours! I'll spare you. I wonder what he would think about Elon Musk, the state of our democracy today. Guess we can only imagine, which he would approve of.  Here are a couple of things that spoke to me from the book: 

- Our soul grows more by what we give than by what we take and feed upon. 

- All history plainly shows that "force" did not nor can it ever organize the growth of anything but resentment, hatred, revenge, more war - epitome of all ill-will. Anything inorganic never can end fear.

- No, "employment" is not enough! What a man wants, if democracy works, is not so much employment as freedom to work at what he believes in, what he likes to do. 

The dude behind the counter...

This is a free plug for Future Music in Highland Park. We live close to this fine used establishment. Side note: I played the trombone for three and a half years in grade school. Tough instrument to play with any kind of swagger especially when you lack swag. End side note. I often hear the faint sounds of electric guitars - I can picture the scene. A young kid walks in working up the nerve to ask the dude behind the counter to try out a vintage Gibson. Of course there is a long pause, and then, " I guess." The kid goes over and picks up the instrument, plugging it in to a small amp. CUT TO: me smiling. I say nine times out of ten I hear a Beatles song and that last one is Stairway to Heaven. For me it's a humble reminder - about art - about that internal critic in your head or the dude behind the counter. There will always be a dude behind the counter. You have to take that brave step and pick up that guitar, paint brush, pen and START. That's where we all begin. Might not sound perfect, but it's the only way to the other side. You always need a first draft. I even love the name of the store because it insinuates you are going to buy an instrument, you are going to practice and you will be the FUTURE of music. Maybe I am reading in to this - though I rather be optimistic. I hope that kid grows up to be in the next big band - she will play stadiums around the world. He'll play the Hollywood Bowl. Gotta start somewhere. Why not in Highland Park? The future starts now. Thanks for the inspiration. 

New Son - New Creative Focus

News update. My life has changed in a big way! My wife and I had our first son and I love him so much. Pretty sure 100 percent of all parents say that, but for the record that's how I feel right now. I also feel more focused than I ever have. I'll explain how I got here.

I think it's an easy trap to chase projects especially in Los Angeles. I know I have fixated on work - this usually makes more busy work and the cycle never ends. I don't know if this is the right approach anymore. I am aiming for quality work now. A good friend recently told me to focus on only  two projects at a time. I must confess I started with three and eventually got it down. Thanks, John! This simple advice has focused me and then my son was born. All of the projects that I felt were so important before seemed less important and the good ones made more sense than ever before. Not suggesting to have a child - guess I've realized you can do more with less. Sitting in front of a computer for hours doesn't bring you joy, wonder or inspiration. The important stuff is when you live. Write what you know. Heard it a million times. Means more to me now. 

So the update, go see dinosaur bones, ride a bike, go on a date with yourself, make a delicious meal. Turn off your computer.

All this has helped me complete a first draft on a writing project and finished a new short film. It was probably two of the most satisfying projects I've completed in a long time.

 

 Natural History Museum - Downtown Los Angeles

Natural History Museum - Downtown Los Angeles

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