>Yesterday I attended the Sloan Foundation Dialogue with Ron Howard & Brian Grazer at the AMMI. It started twenty minutes late and only lasted for forty minutes more, so that was a big disappointment for everyone there. Howard & Grazer were both very chatty and the audience had plenty of questions left for them. As a consolation (for me, anyway), the last item discussed confirmed something I’ve been thinking of for a few months now.
The gist of the question was what were Howard’s stumbling blocks transitioning from actor to director/prodcuer. The sum of his answer was that he did some projects early on (Roger Corman movies, etc.) that he wasn’t necessarily thrilled to do but that allowed him to prove himself. (Aw, poor Roger got dissed! See a pic of me and Rachel with Corman from the film festival we worked on together.) Grazer chimed in that their general rule of thumb throughout their over-20 year partnership was: “keep yourself on the playing field.” Humble yourself, take less money, do what it takes to be on the field, not in the bleachers.
This reinforced something Christian & I talked about briefly after this comment was left on his site with regard to Christian’s TVLand Game Time gig:
dude, i have the utmost respect for you, but you are so much better than this. congrats just the same.
My only response is: No he’s not. Sure, he’s funnier and smarter than the show allows but is he above it? No way. First, it’s paying his bills. Second, he’s hosting a television show. Third, he’s working. Fourth, he’s working with people who make television. Fifth, he’s reaching an audience who, most likely, doesn’t watch Comedy Central. Sixth, it’s paying his bills.
Per Fred Graver, producer of VH1’s Best Week Ever, he received advice early in his career to “stay on television”. Do anything you can to just stay on people’s television sets. That reinforces the Grazer/Howard motto.
I don’t think one should do anything that one morally (or physically) disagrees with, like say doing a nude scene or something with graphic violence or whatever it is that might make one avoid a project. It’s not TVLand presents “Hitler Was Right” or “Live Abortions” fergodsake, it’s wholesome good fun with folks that have won awards like Emmys and stuff.
What do you think? Anyone out there in the entertainment biz have some insight?