Sunday, July 26, 2009

TALA Master Class - Day 4

Day 4

Danny Sussman, manager at Brillstein and inspirational organizer of this trip gave a talk this morning. He struts like Patton and barks at us like a general

His pithy bits of wisdom:

“What happens when you actually get someone on the phone? Pitch one thing you're totally passionate about. Not two, not ten. One thing.”

"Plan your work, but work your plan." - Danny Sussman's Dad

“Admit your vulnerability. This is a relationship about human beings Goddamnit. Human beings have frailties. Good TV is about human frailty. Goddamnit. It's OK to be vulnerable. Took me 21 years to get in this room. Do you know how many mistakes I made? Thousands."

Things to "Write this down, Goddamnit" and then go see: Kill Me Again - John Dahl, Red Rock West, Bound, Rounders

“Admit when you fucked up. No one meeting, no interview, no audition, is the be all and end all of your career. It's just one more experience. It's a long road.”

“We do this because we love it, right? We are entertaining people. We're not saving people. We're supposed to be a bit of the mirror to the world.”

Always read for yourself. Books, articles, criticism, everything. Read: Weekly Variety, The NY Times Arts & Leisure section (Goddamnit!), LA Times Calendar Section

To the Israeli's. You've seen The Hangover? It's changing the way studios make comedies. No more stars necessary. This is a huge time for new writers. New talent.

Thanks Danny!


Next we had an hour long talk by the creator of Israeli satire TV shows including their version of the BBC "Spitting Image" which is political puppetry. We talked about the moral issues around taking it too far, when do you issue an apology and how when he was told not to attack someone and he did, his show was actually cancelled.


We had a third talk I can’t even remember. We had no break for 3 hours, and I began to break down.

Every night I’m up til 3am blogging, then up at 7:30a. I’m gonna fall over. I literally can’t see straight.


The art directors of “Waltz with Bashir” spoke with us and made a presentation about how they made their film.

And they were AMAZING. The presentation was AMAZING. Best thing this whole event in terms of how fascinating it is. No contacts, of info for my work per se, but what a process and they were so clear and concise. Something we haven’t found from Israeli’s all the time.

It cost $1.7 million to make, with 10 animators over 4 years. It’s unheard of. Pixar is over 200 people working not including all the support and infrastructure for 4 years for over $125 million.

My question at the end: “Who makes all hose tiny decisions that give the film the amazing narrative detail, apparent in every frame? Example: In the opening scene, when the girl disappears when the chair is kicked. OR in the airport, when the departure board turns into a sort of roulette wheel and you end up looking down on the soldier at the end of the spin, OR in the junction scene when the RPG is heading to the reporter and at the last minute changes direction? That's not in the narration. That's a writer/director making an extraordinary choice. WHO makes those choices and how were you inspired in each of those instances to make those choices. You could have had the RPG miss him from the

beginning, the girl always there, or the departure board static.

Ari Forman's the visionary, but it seems like these two guys create much of that details from their own imagination.

Yoni is the animator who kept raising the bar higher and asking for more and more. David, the other main animator is the guy who says you can't do it. Like Scotty in Star Trek.

We watch a clip and every time there’s a complex shot for one second lhe let’s us know how long that one bit took, "half a day, half a day, half a day, half a day" Just so we have a sense of the amount of work.

These guys are awesome. The film is moving. If you haven’t seen it. Rent it now.

Click here for the trailer.

* * * * *

Friday night we had a brief service at a temple over 120 years old and then had a wonderful dinner at Bellini’s. After dinner we went to Omri and Natalie’s apartment and sat on the roof and told stories. I found out Omri and Natalie are friend with some of my friend in NY on the Daily Show. Small world. We staggered home after midnight and fell fast asleep.

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