I sometimes say that in a past life I worked in the entertainment industry, comedy in particular. I co-wrote and co-produced novelty records THE HOMECOMING QUEEN’S GOT A GUN, I LIKE EM BIG AND STUPID and EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY all performed by Julie Brown. I directed comic music videos for some of these songs, and ended up co-writing and co-producing the film EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY. I’ve produced and hosted this show since 1996 and I consult and speak primarily to non-profits and foundations, working with them on communications, encouraging them to tell better stories.
My transition seems mild compared with that of this week’s guest, TOM SHADYAC, whose phenomenally successful writing/directing/producing career included the hits- ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE, LIAR LIAR, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, BRUCE ALMIGHTY, and PATCH ADAMS . His films grossed nearly $2 billion and earned him four People’s Choice awards and a ton of money.
His 2011 documentary, I AM recounts what happened after a cycling accident left him incapacitated for months. Though he ultimately recovered, he emerged a changed man. In the film, Shadyac meets with a variety of thinkers and doers including David Suzuki, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu – asking what’s wrong with society and what can we do make things better?
Tom’s now written a book, LIFE’S OPERATING MANUAL, which asks whether life comes with a set of guidelines? If so, what are they? And finally, do we have the courage to pay attention and to change? Rather than spoil the plot by telling you his answers, join us for the conversation.
I’ll be joined by writer-director STEVE STOCKMAN whose new book HOW TO SHOOT VIDEO THAT DOESN’T SUCK has a great deal of smart things to say – not just about shooting videos of your kids’ parties or your company’s new products, but also about the essential role of story in the movies you see in theatres. Stick around. I believe you’ll learn something no matter who you are.
From a small town in Northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan and back, a raw and powerful documentary WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM follows the four-year journey of childhood friends, their families, and their town. At its heart a story about growing up, the film is an intimate look at the young men who fight our wars, where they come from, and their struggles when they return and try to fit back into their previous daily routines. On the podcast, HEATHER COURTNEY, producer/director of the documentary, is joined by DOMINIC FREDIANELLI, one of the young veterans she follows in the film.
Heather Courtney has directed and produced several documentary films including award-winners LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE and LOS TRABAJADORES. She was recently named one of Film Independent’s Top 10 Filmmakers to Watch. LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE was the Closing Night film at the Slamdance Film Festival in January 2006. LOS TRABAJADORES won the Audience Award at SXSW and the International Documentary Association David Wolper award. She spent eight years writing and photographing for the United Nations and several refugee and immigrant rights organizations, including in the Rwandan refugee camps after the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Just a quick reminder that the Indie Spirit Award-nominated film WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM is now available on DVD, and if you order today, you’ll get it by Christmas!
You can go to http://www.wheresoldierscomefrom.com/dvd.php or see info below for more info on ordering, to read some reviews and to watch the trailer.
Also MARC IAN BARASCH, Author
My transition seems mild compared with that of today's guest, TOM SHADYAC. A onetime actor/comedian and the youngest writer to work for Bob Hope, Shadyac achieved huge Hollyood success -- writing, directing, and producing hits like ACE VENTURA, LIAR, LIAR, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, and BRUCE ALMIGHTY, earning four People's Choice awards and a ton of money.
His new documentary, I AM recounts what happened after a cycling accident left him incapacitated for months. Though he recovered, the possibility that he might never be able to work or create again had changed him. He sold his estate, moved to a mobile home community (in Malibu), and set out to make a very different kind of movie.
With a four-person crew, Shadyac documented his journey to find answers to two questions. What's wrong with humans? What can we do to fix it?
Shadyac questions scientists, scholars, activists, poets -- David Suzuki, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Lynne McTaggart, Ray Anderson -- and Marc Ian Barasch, who joins the conversation in progress.
MARC IAN BARASCH is a writer, editor, television producer and environmental activist. In his book, The Compassionate Life: Walking the Path of Kindness, Barasch asks, "What if the great driving force of our evolution were actually "survival of the kindest?"
Are humans basically kind or basically cutthroat? Is compassion our birthright, or a hard won creation of culture? What exactly is compassion - that x-factor that every faith (or its founders, at least) exalts as a supreme virtue?
All proceeds derived from the release of I AM, in all media, will go to THE FOUNDATION FOR I AM, a not-for-profit established by Shadyac to fund various causes and to educate the next generation about the very issues and problems explored in the film.
ROB LEMKIN, founder and director of Old Street Films, has produced and directed over 50 documentaries for BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Sky, The History Channel (US) and Arts & Entertainment. He has made several films about the history and politics of Asia including THE REAL DR EVIL; MALAYA: THE UNDECLARED WAR; and CHINA: HANDLE WITH CARE, and his newest, ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE.