Director, Rick, Rick Berman discussed on The No Film School Podcast
Everyone this is George Gentleman editor in chief at film school in the no film school podcast. Today we have an interview with a director who has directed television and feature films for twenty years. Wait let me think. Now more than twenty years This is a really interesting interview in filmmaker and the main reason is we talk a lot on film school about directing in filmmaking from technical standpoint and when I say technical cameras lighting Those sorts of things side of of the process. We don't spend a lot of time talking to filmmakers or talking or writing about directing actors which is a hugely important part directing in fact it might be the only thing director has complete input Control over obviously. They don't have complete control over it but the actors control over but it's your domain as filmmaker as a director to talk to the actors. There isn't someone else onset. Who's going to do that with you? Whereas when you're shooting with a camera you're going to have a camera department with light and you're GONNA have gaffer's electric's etc. This is a really big part of the process. And I'm just kind of cute teeing this up here because the filmmaker I spoke to Isn't actor originally. And he transitioned from acting to directing. Because an I'll let him explain it but he got tired of sitting around on set napping while they were shooting he wanted to be where the action was and that's directed but he's made a whole second career which he thinks is better than his career as an actor. Just out of that and I think we're that becomes interesting as look. There's a lot of people out there who are actors or who started in theater or who maybe have some acting experience and they're not sure how that can apply to them. As a filmmaker. There may be a lot of filmmakers. Who Need to figure out how to become better working with actors but this director really This is his area this is where he lives and look he's also just an amazing storyteller in a really funny guy a great guy and you may know him from the show that he started on and directed Star Trek. The next generation His name is Jonathan frakes he. You may also know him from some memes online. Because he's he's a mean unto himself and he lives up to the hype. Let me tell you. He's awesome and I'd haven't back on this podcast anytime he wants to come back. He's got stories and he's absorbed knowledge from many of the Great Actors Patrick Stewart for example but also from gene roddenberry created star Trek and the show runners on all these shows. He's worked on and the writers all these sci-fi series and he's just you know he's he's been a hall that and he's done some amazing work and Yeah I'll let him take it away. 'cause he's a he's a joy. I guess the first thing I just wanted to ask you and get a sort of incidences you what you have a unique path to directed from what I understand and I want to hear from you though you sort of you became interested in it. We'll tell me. When did you first become interested in because I actually don't know the answer to that question? I I had I direct a few little things in college and I thought it was a great gig but once I was fortunate enough to have been cast a television series as a regular it became clear you can only really take so many maps most of acting on TV or a movie. His waiting as a Robert Mitchum allegedly is given credit for saying I act for jury. They pay me to wait. That's a good one. I haven't heard that great line and anyway I I would So you wanted more naps. I'd had enough fucking NAP. So that's what I was nabbed out. I'm a bit of a control freak. I liked to have my hands on in it and I really enjoyed the process and I love being in the factory. I love to be on the floor and so they were tired of being waiting being in the trailer waiting for them to get you back into the action you wanted to be in the action. The I wanted to be in the act and I could tell 'cause I've been I've been. I think I was in my thirties. Got Casted on star. Trek's I had been I've been around says that I knew that this was the best. And then you could see that that the guy who is directing really has if he has a good team the best job in the world so approach Berman. Who is the keeper of all things Star Trek at the time? And he said well you're going to have to show. Everyone and I said well. Of course I'd be I'd be happy to and one thing led to another the directors were what What year so you directed a little bit in college? That was the question. GonNa ask because I was Kinda but nothing. I directed some some scenes. Acting scenes in little pieces will play where I went to Penn State. We had literally no film department in the Seventies. Were many films school's back at. I mean at that time there was the nyu USC UCLA sort of that whole world. That when you went to theater school they looked out the to get on film. You had to go over to the The Communications Department. So you were doing so you just theater but then you're acting you had a career you were on the show and then what season in the show did you say. I'm tired of the NAPS and I want to get in the action just walked up to Rick Berman. Who's the show runner? Ep OF STAR Trek. And said how do I start directing episodes? Yes how what how do I take the track and then it became clear that because I was at literally at Paramount University. The opportunity to learn was it was. It was fantastic. It was a dream I knew a little bit about staging obviously knew something about the acting and a- always fascinated by the cinematography. I I so what I didn't really know was the editing and Rick was generous enough to settling into the editing room but we had three editors on the show obviously at least two of them wanted to be directors as well. Everybody wants to be a director as I'm sure yes. There's a lot of jobs in the industry right. But that's the one like you said you aptly put it everybody's looking at that one whereas when it goes well on television the writer gets the credit deserve the credit. Certainly but if you're doing a movie and it goes well it's it's a Spielberg movie. You Know Yeah Yeah Gino's Yeah Right. Refer words which that part of the story later. I'll tell you how this went down I spent a lot of time. Rick Hobie Bob Sheer. And they're you know five or six directors that we had under show as as regulars and they were they were really helpful to me. And the editors were really really helpful to me and then. I started to go when I wasn't shooting Let me into Production beings in pre production meetings and visual effects meetings which have been very useful to be in the moving on prompt meetings. design with the production designer the costume designer concept meetings. All all the things that are now part of my life I was able to sit on the outskirts of an observe and then act because we did twenty six episodes a year at the Each episode we chewed for seven. Prep for seven. Shoot for seven and then headed for you. Generally got the directors. Get the cut for about four days and they would start about three days after we finished. Then once the director's cut his turned in becomes the producers Producer the writer of the episode. Have a chance to noodle with it. And then sometimes the network paramount studios was the network so rick was always the final judge then we move onto mount spotting music spotting and my favorite going to the scoring session because on Star Trek. We actually used a real orchestra and Dennis McCarthy and for every episode orchestra. I feel like I should know that but I didn't know that that's impressive. I feel like most show. What did it say most shows? That's not common thing right. That's a great records to this day. Is Seth Macfarlane on on the Orrville? He's a huge keeping real musicians. He's a huge original star trek in. Tng Fan as well right. So he's sort of consistent with the. Yeah so fast for life. I shadowed for like two years. This was in the first season of the first season all the second season and about midway through the third season I was blessed with A data show always was a plastic as brand as a genius. Yeah what was the first television? You directed called the offspring. It was written by Rene Sharia who was his SPEC script on to be the producer on deep space nine and then on castle and then charter wall. And he's been. He is his first show by academic with a SPEC script. You could still come with a SPEC script for the series itself exactly and they bought it and then you got a job on that. I think isn't that how also that was? Because of Michael Piller who is very very generous as a mentor to young writers. It sounds like mentor. Ship was a big part of that Set that that production because they gave route create an opportunity to build at after it was for the writers. I think frankly. Rick would have been just as happy if had gone away. Francis my wonderful wife who I remember specifically one day I was. I didn't have to shoot at. I was at her house and I said you know what? I don't think I'm going to go in today. She said that's exactly what Rick is hoping you'll do your regret the day you don't show up to shadow or whatever you get to do today will say he doesn't really shit so. I went and I continued to go and then fast forward through all the episodes I got to do when we were done and the movies came out first. Contact comes along. And now that Star Trek eight so Spielberg and sh- zemeckis are not gonNa Direct Star Trek Eight so and Sherry Lansing. God bless her who ran paramount. The time gave rigged the the power to hire. Who wanted so. I threw my hat in the ring and one of the people who had to approve. The director was Patrick. Stewart who I had a pretty good relationship with to this day you guys have worked together here and there. It's really been a blessing. I say all the time. I'm so grateful that I learned another craft that frankly I think I'm better at than I ever was as an actor and I certainly enjoy your pretty good as an actor. I don't know I'm not. I'm not trying to be falsely. No I was wondering because you stepped right back into the role. That what you're you're you're star Trek role onto card which you also directed recently it seemed to me and I even thought at the time. All the directing all the time in the action. Is You sat on? Set probably helped.