BPS 212: How I Got My Screenplay on Disney Plus with Arash Amel

Acclaimed screenwriter and producer Arash Amel is known for writing the critically-lauded motion picture, A PRIVATE WAR (2018), directed by Matthew Heineman and starring Rosamund Pike as celebrated war correspondent, Marie Colvin.

He recently served as Executive Producer on the Netflix sci-fi action movie, OUTSIDE THE WIRE (2021), starring Anthony Mackie, which was viewed by 66 million households in its first 28 days. In addition to writing RISE (2022) for Disney + and telling the coming-of-age story of NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, Amel wrote Paramount Pictures’ feature film, THE MINISTRY OF UNGENTLEMANLY WARFARE, a World War II action adventure directed by Guy Ritchie and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer that is slated to start production later this year.

He also wrote the screenplay for SNAFU, an upcoming action comedy starring Jackie Chan and John Cena. Currently, Amel is in pre-production as producer on the Amazon Studios feature film, FRED & GINGER, which is based on his screenplay, directed by Jonathan Entwistle, and stars Jamie Bell and Margaret Qualley as the icon screen pair, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

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Arash Amel 0:00
The business of open writing assignments, the business of development, hey, we've just picked up 20 pieces of IP and a short story in a comic book and an exec has an idea and we need a writer. All of that 11 years later has gone by, it's gone. There is no right now it's what is your story? What is your screenplay? How do we package it? And how do we just feed it into the machine?

Alex Ferrari 0:28
This episode is brought to you by Bulletproof Script Coverage, where screenwriters go to get their scripts read by Top Hollywood Professionals. Learn more at covermyscreenplay.com I'd like to welcome to the show Arash Amel, how're you doing?

Arash Amel 0:43
I'm doing good. Thank you for having me.

Alex Ferrari 0:45
Thank you so much for coming on the show my friend. I appreciate it. You have a very interesting journey through Hollywood. So I wanted to kind of start at the beginning. So you were a small child when you were born? And so my first question is, Why in God's green earth did you want to get into this insane insanity? That is the film industry?

Arash Amel 1:07
I don't know. No, I'm joking. You know, it's a really funny journey that I only started to make sense of it. Over the last few months, so I had, after the pandemic, my my parents who live in England came over, and they came over for, you know, hadn't seen each other for like two years. They were here for like, three months or so. And we just had a baby, and thank you so much

Alex Ferrari 1:37
You're exhausted? I could see I could. I have I have 2 have of my own. I completely. I could I could feel. It's a young man's game, sir. That's all I got say a young man's game

Arash Amel 1:48
Yes. And there's number three. Number three.

Alex Ferrari 1:52
Oh, you're an old hat at this

Arash Amel 1:55
Two boys, we now have a girl and very blessed. And she just turned one. And my parents were here. And my mom said to me, you know, we were always meant to move here. And I said, What do you mean? He said, well, in 1983. So you said we're going back? Let's go back. When? So I'm Iranian. I was born in Wales, while my dad was studying in the 70s over there. And then we went back to Iran revolution happened, what happened? My dad worked for Iranian television. And there was there was a documentary filmmaker. And I can't remember going to set with not separate with go to like the desert. I can be filming stuff. And it'll be you know, and I was like, maybe four or five kind of ingrained. But, you know, revolution happened, and I had to do the sad thing. And my son still sort of can't believe it. But I had to leave all my toys and everything behind and I sort of moved to move to move to England. And so my whole life, I thought, Oh, we moved to England. And but it turns out the plan was to move to America. And what had happened was we'd moved to England as a pitstop. And then the whole family was supposed to go to LA where my grandfather was here briefly and to connect up with him. They didn't give my dad the visa. So my mom, myself and my brother, we flew to La we were here for the summer of I think 1984 And my dad wasn't but obviously I was like 767 So I didn't really you know, I didn't know what was going on. All I know was it took me to this wonderful sunny place. It took me to Universal Studios, I got to see a Knight Rider and air Wolf and I was like they just they get and I saw the jaws shark tried to eat me. And then we went to Disneyland and you know it just all it just kind of went oh my god, what is this amazing place and I would get like I remember sitting my granddad's house here and like waiting TV Guide and watching. Like, you know, whatever was on TV at the time, that Manimal only Manimal.

Alex Ferrari 4:05
Oh my god. One of the most bizarre, wonderfully bizarre shows ever created. Imagine if Manimal got greenlit today, even on Netflix even on Netflix.

Arash Amel 4:19
Absolutely, watch the shit out of that.

Alex Ferrari 4:23
We try to tell my kids about mandible. My wife and I are huge Manimal fans, and only from memory not currently to watch it only from what I remember how cool it was. And it was like it was an eagle, a panther. He turned into an eagle or a panther and I think occasionally turned into something else. But we saw the transfer and we went to YouTube just to see the transformation. Yeah, have you seen it lately? Oh. So bad.

Arash Amel 4:50
It's so cool. Kids. It's like

Alex Ferrari 4:54
This is why this is why our gen. This is why our generation a little bit more resilient.

Arash Amel 5:02
This is what we grew up with. I mean, this is so yeah, I'm gonna, I'm gonna end up like, you know, sidetracking into this, but there was the TV of that time. I mean, you say it was crazy, but it was like, you know, do remember ultimate man was automatic.

Alex Ferrari 5:16
Oh my god, you read my mind, you read my mind to try and rip off the drill rip off. Yeah, with a little with a cursor around. It's like the first time they discovered like tracking and like they like someone's age of TV is Desi Arnaz Jr. was the star of that was Desi Arnaz Jr. was the star of that.

Arash Amel 5:38
Oh my god. So so now you can see that my Genesis Was there enough. So a kid and I'm like, can I still do this? And then they said, you have to go back to England. Oh, God, right. So we go back. And I'm like thinking, Oh, England must be my home. This is where we'd always meant to be. So for all of my life. I grew up. So I went back. And I was like, I'm obsessed. So I started watching TV, I started watching movies, I became obsessed with cinema, you know, I had a Commodore 64 any games that I would get would be something to do with movies. And I would play there was this game called ACE that I would play and it remote. And it was because I'd seen Top Gun and I could be Top Gun. And so that sort of seated. And so when I became my 1314 I kind of started to cognitively understand what I was, you know what my passion was? I didn't know where it came from. I just had this thought, which was someone must write posts. Someone was like, this is right. Yeah. And it was. So unusually, it was sneakers fold and Robinson sneakers that I saw with for some reason that just had an impact on

Alex Ferrari 6:55
Sneakers was amazing. This was with a cast with with Robert Redford and oh my god loves sneakers.

Arash Amel 7:03
Sophisticated in terms of his characterization in terms of our all the little you know, too many secrets and like all of the stuff that so it was that and you know, and still keeping up with TV and at that point it was you know, as MacGyver. I was like, I'm gonna, I'm gonna I'm gonna do this. So I go down to Foyles bookshop in London you know, Internet back then obviously, as you were saying, there was no existence like you have to spec magazines and, and book shops. And I got two books I got Syd fields, screenwriters, workbook, and Syd field screenplay. And very, you know, classical 3060 30 points at 22, pinch point, plot, the midpoint, all of that stuff. So and I just at 14 years old, I started writing, and I just would watch movies and I would buy premiere magazine and Empire Magazine, and I would read all the interviews, and I would cut out the little posters that they would do. And I made these mosaics on my wall, and my mom would come into my room and go like, what do you do? What is this? This is, you know,

Alex Ferrari 8:11
This is insanity. I'll take it. I'll take I'll take it one step further. Sir. I actually started working at a video store when I was 14. Oh, so

Arash Amel 8:21
I'm right there with you. I was trying to get them to I'm gonna let you finish. But I was trying to get them to give me a job. They wouldn't because I was 14. And for some reason, they just didn't feel it was right. And so but they would let me go through all their posters. Oh, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 8:37
I still have some posters. I still have some posters from the video. Tell me as though I worked. I started working at 14 in Florida. They didn't care about these things. So I just got snuck in and got paid, paid under the table. And I was managing by 15, the video store and I was there. I was managing because I was. I mean, I live the brand hustle. I've been hustling since I was a child. So it was just one of those things. So I started I was managing the store. It was a mom and pop store. And I just got I fell in love with movie that just I would consume. And it's hard for everybody listening to understand, but I literally consumed everything that came out every week, which now is in part because it was four movies, five movies. 66. That was it. That was all that got released in a week. So I would I would watch everything. So from 88 to 93. My trivia is solid, I can I can go toe to toe with Tarantino. In those five year period Other than that, I'll probably lose. But those five year periods is real. I just remember the boxes I remember. So that's how I fell in love with movies. And it's something about that time that people from that they don't understand.

Arash Amel 9:45
That's right. I think it it's so interesting what you say. You just touched on something about the sort of the access to to movies There was a time I mean, in that, in that era, I actually think that that was a real platinum age, I think for for cinema, to Hollywood for cinema that sort of late 80s to about mid 90s, like there was this decade, where the corporation's hadn't fully figured out how to, you know, cookie cutter this year, it was like, okay, there was still a lot of, I want to say kind of grease within the process, the the creativity and the artistry, still sort of

Alex Ferrari 10:38
The inmates were still running the asylum, the inmates were allowed to run the asylum for a little bit. And, yeah, it's small movies existed, you know, the What about Bob's of the world and the smokers and the sneakers of the world and, and these kinds of films were allowed to be made within the studio system and having those kind of resources which that doesn't exist,

Arash Amel 10:58
When there wasn't this sort of, you know, vertical integration that is so many layers deep. And we're talking about, you know, global strategies and corporate strategies, and it hadn't, I feel that Hollywood hadn't become corporatized. So you'd sort of still had that. Like you said, inmates that are running the asylum. It was the artists that were running asylum. And within that, I would say the producers were also part of the artists, you still had some of the outsized personalities that for good or for bad, could push some of this stuff through. And they made programmers they made these exceptionally well made movies that weren't supposed to be the blockbuster The terminators at the time but they were solid moving within that mid budget range.

Alex Ferrari 11:43
And I was I was talking to a woman and attractive I was talking to. He was on the show a little while ago, he used to run. One of my guests used to run Richard Donner's production company, for for a decade. He ran it in the 80s up into the early 90s.

Arash Amel 12:00
It was he in that office in a warner brothers like I think

Alex Ferrari 12:04
Yeah. Yeah. You know, he was Wherever, wherever, wherever Dick was, that's where he was, for a decade. So he was there through Lethal Weapon. He was there through conspiracy theory, all that all that whole time. And he would tell me the stories of I'm like, how was it back then he's like, Oh, well, Dick would just have an idea. And he would, he would call up the CEO of Warner Brothers is like, hey, I want to make this movie. And they're like, cool. And I go, and that's it. He goes, Yeah, they were in production. And if there was ever a budget that like, Alex, I never saw a budget. On any movie that we ever did. It was never discussed. It was just whatever it took, and red and Dick was really, you know, he never went over whatever the number that he gave, but it was never like Warner Brothers and say you only got 20 million to make this. It's like whatever did wants.

Arash Amel 12:53
Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, it's, and I think that tells you, I think it's it film was up until, in fact, even not long ago, it was a luxury, luxury product, right? I hate to call it a product, but it was a luxury form of entertainment. And so you kind of had the same sort of economics around it that you had with sort of any kind of luxury goods that they could control. There was only four movies coming out because there was no way of district with any other way. That was the only way that we're going to see those movies was either you go to the theater, you wait for it on VHS, or, you know, you eventually in like 12 years see on TV, like that was just the sort of

Alex Ferrari 13:38
The outlets, the outlets for for revenue was limited. And, and but very thorough, and very controlled, very, very controlled. It wasn't the wild wild west that now. You know, there's a guy called Mr. Beast on YouTube, who has 100 million followers, and is making millions and millions per video of him doing whatever he does, that didn't exist back then. And the controls loosened up dramatically now. Now to get back to the fascinating origin story, by the way, right?

Arash Amel 14:08
Right. Right. So well. Yeah, so I bought the books. And I decided I was going to write these scripts and I was putting the pictures up on a wall and, and my, my dad being a good immigrant, Persian parents said to me, you need to even though he was he'd been introducing himself, he said, You need to get yourself an education, and I made him a deal. I said, I will go to college, I will get my degree I will get, you know, and after that what I do, I went and he said it's a deal. And I wrote and I wrote and I wrote throughout my college years and then when I got out I sort of went and got myself a job and trying to pave the way and my I was always on Hollywood and at that time it was 90s England so it was all Richard Curtis and Four Weddings and a Funeral and if you'd look at Me. My, I was like, There's only so much in common the Do I have with, with your, with your grant playing anybody as much as I love his work and I think it's incredible. It just didn't speak to me like it wasn't me it was like what am I story is and what am I? So I really turned my attention to Hollywood and it was how do I get from here in south London to over there. And it sparked a journey that was maybe from that point, maybe the late 90s. It was about 10 years, it was the 2006 When I wrote the spec, that, you know, they open the doors, and I say

So you were over. So overnight success is what you're saying overnight, it was an overnight success

For about 25 years.

So you were so you, were you really hustling it out. So how many scripts did you write? Before that one popped?

The one that popped was number 14.

Alex Ferrari 16:03
Number 14. So I just wanted to ask that question because so many screenwriters listening, they think that the first one out the gate. That's the one.

Arash Amel 16:11
I work with a lot of young screenwriters until I mentor a lot of screenwriters. Now I like to pass on some of this, you know, these lessons I've learned the hard way. And the blessing number one is it's it's it's the long game, like you have to perfect your craft. This isn't about your one script. Because the moment you write that one script and you sell it, the next question is, well, what else you got? What's your next thing? What's your you know? Here's this big franchise, figure it out? Can you figure it out? Are you good enough to figure it out? Are you good enough to figure it out and deal with the egos of the people who attach to it?

Alex Ferrari 16:51
There's egos in Hollywood style.

Arash Amel 16:55
There's Okay. Figure it out in your own room without anyone's interference, and will give you all the money that you want. Because that's

Alex Ferrari 17:05
And if you don't know how to do it, there's 400 other guys that we can call? Yes, it just is. That's that's that's the business. That's it.

Arash Amel 17:13
It's very, it's very high pressure. It's very, and today more than ever. It's just it's just turnout, because today, it's not even they don't even have any. There's no you know, the when I started started professionally, professionally, so when I got my first studio job, which was 2011. So so my first group 2010 2011 The the business of open writing assignments, the business of development, hey, we've just picked up 20 pieces of IP and the short story in a comic book and an exec has an idea and we need a writer. All of that 11 years later has gone like it's gone. There is no right now. It's what is your story? What is your screenplay? How do we package it? And how do we just feed it into the machine so that they can just go ahead and make it that whole sort of development aspect of it has slowly slowly eroded to the point that I kind of feel because film is ubiquitous now it's seen as ubiquitous, it's seen as something that's, you know, the movie of the week and

Alex Ferrari 18:22
Exposing this disposable,

Arash Amel 18:24
It's become much more disposable. And that really is a real sort of soul searching that's going on right now. I look at them as my colleagues I especially posted what happened at Netflix in the last few months. And the turnaround that's happening, you know, Warner Brothers post discovery deal and just everywhere is in Amazon and MGM trying to figure out what they're going to do. So there's a lot of transition right now, within that transition. There isn't that business that there used to be like they're just it's just so few and far between and

Alex Ferrari 19:00
Then let me ask you because I mean, we're going to talk about your new new project rise which looks fantastic. I can't wait to watch it. It comes out as of this recording on Friday, but this will come out next early next week. But with something like that it seems like the there's the business models are changing so rapidly before was to make the tentpole to goes into the theaters, that's pretty much monopolized by Marvel by Star Wars by all these massive IPS dc in the Warner Brothers, Harry Potter, these kind of massive IPS is what takes is taken over that tentpole process. So now, there is another pipeline of content that needs to be created in the future world when we're not talking about TV but in the future world. So films like rise is neat is a film that got made to feed to feed the Disney plus Disney plus machine. And then, I mean, when I remember during the pandemic, there was like releasing Pixar movies, straight to straight to streaming. And you're like, and I like the whole worlds upside down at Warner Brothers last year did the entire year of just matrix got released? Streaming like, what? What upside down were the upside down we are in the upside down?

Arash Amel 20:20
I think the pandemic had, I think the pandemic had a lot to do with it. But I don't think it did anything new, I think it just accelerated what was already going to happen, because so many services put on three years worth of subscribers in one year. And I think part of Netflix's problem, for example, is they just had such a blowout year in terms of new customers, and can you know, that you just cannot maintain that kind of growth, it should have been, you know, between 2022 2324, and you just kind of peaked. So it's sort of okay, how do we how do we, you know, turn the ship around, but it's a pattern that's, that's been progressing, I mean, it has been happening, it's nothing new. And I feel, you know, the, we've gone from movies, having been this sort of, you know, luxury form of entertainment, as I was saying to being this sort of commodity form of entertainment that becomes sort of disposable, and the audience's attention span is kind of approaches it as disposable. And part of my thought is like, well, what is the relationship of the younger generations? With cinema? How do they view cinema? And there's partly what I've been doing is going around and asking to people much younger than myself, well, you know, it's why do you watch movies? Like, what is it? What does a movie mean to you? What does cinema mean to you what is going to the theater mean to you, and I feel that these demographics are changing around us. And I think as artists, the one thing that we do have at our disposal is the ability of of creating cultural moments and creating sort of cultural relevance and telling stories that are so resounding that they don't really matter where they're distributed, that if you're doing something on Disney, and it's for this class, or you think something on Netflix, it's actually a story that can rise above, and we find the fun, but it can kind of rise above the, the, the noise, because ultimately, as you probably experiencing, it becomes a white noise, because it's not no longer just either cinema, it's also limited series and ongoing series.

Alex Ferrari 22:39
So it's so fascinating, because I love this conversation. Because, you know, I always look at my own life, and I look at what I consume on a daily basis. And, you know, you know, when I'm at home, I watch a lot of television, a lot of great, great, great television series and binge series, and just kind of go through that with my wife. And then the occasional movie will come up and like, Oh, we're in the mood for this kind of movie or that kind of movie. But the event scenario where like, I have to see that it's you this is the funny thing. It's usually attached to a filmmaker, not of this generation. It's it's usually a filmmaker from 1015 20 years ago or older Scorsese, Del Toro, Nolan Fincher, Cameron Spielberg, these kinds of legends who are walking around us. But they came up at a time when they were the artists, given the tools by the studios, the resources, so you're basically giving Picasso any brush they want any Canvas they want, as big or as small to tell these massive stories. Those filmmakers, I can count on my one or two hands that are allowed to do that anymore, the Nolan's

Arash Amel 23:53
But that's because of their experience. And that's because of you know, they and I kind of, you know, question. So you made a point about the blockbusters, you know, what happened to the blogpost? What happened to the original Jaws?

Alex Ferrari 24:06
Jaws, Die Hard, right all that.

Arash Amel 24:10
That were, you know, and here's the thing like, this is my sort of pet theory and just what I've observed that there is, there is an unknown to making those kinds of movies that there is no you don't know. You don't know if they didn't know if Jaws was going to work on NOC they had to take notes

Alex Ferrari 24:32
That the guy from the guy for moonlighting when you've got Arnold and sly, who are all ripped up and buffed out and this guy looks like, you know, who's the guy for moonlighting with a gun? Who cares, right? arguably the greatest action movie ever created like but someone had to roll the dice.

Arash Amel 24:52
Yeah, and that that rolling of the dice is essential to cinema is essential to what we do. If you don't know, like, I didn't know, on any of the movies that I've written as to, is it going to? Hey, is it gonna get made be? Is it going to be a hit? Or is it going to be a flop? Is it going to be a disaster during production? Or is it going to work? Because you don't know, you don't know what, like, you just have your gut instincts. And again, going back to young writers, that's kind of what you're trying to develop as a writer as a filmmaker. It's, it's, it's, and I do view writers and filmmakers. And that's a whole other topic. But I kind of, but I think that sense of risk taking is a complete Anna thema to how a corporate entity works. Because you cannot, you cannot enter your quarterly budget numbers with, you know, any form of risk involved. And so that is, I feel that, you know, what has caused, you know, the sort of, I don't want to call it a color decline, because I think of it as a transition, but who has what has caused this sort of this transition period that we're in because I believe in a will, will always find its way. It has been the removal of risk from the process, because it all has to be sequels and IP. And one thing, but even IP, I would say original IP is kind of dangerous. As far as

Alex Ferrari 26:27
If it's new. If it's a new IP.

Arash Amel 26:29
That's what it Yeah, it's new. I believe it's tickets, you know, whatever.

Alex Ferrari 26:33
Harry Potter.

Arash Amel 26:34
Yeah, yeah. But the risk out of a series of comic book heroes, based around DC or based around Marvel, or you know, this known Bronze well, that's, that's kind of that's a factory, it's turning.

Alex Ferrari 26:53
It's, it's, you know, it's interesting. And you also know, what's interesting is that within that system, there is still risk being taken, but it's very calculated risk. So, for Ragnarok, Thor Ragnarok,

Arash Amel 27:06
It's mitigated risk,

Alex Ferrari 27:08
I would say. So Thor Ragnarok. Is it's an insanity, how that movie got made within the system. They basically gave my favorite Marvel movie, by the way, my, until I see love and thunder, which I sure is going to be absolutely amazing. It's gonna it looks insane. It looks, they really let them loose. Now, they just like just, there's goats. It's just whatever, just do what you got to do. But giving him the kind of reins within a property that you know, even if he goes a little off the reservation, it's still four. It's still marvel. Same thing with the DC Universe. I mean, it's the Schneider cut. I mean, for God's sakes, they'd let him go, but then they pulled back because they got scared. But then, but then finally they let it go. And they're like, oh, it's much better than it was when they were so much better.

Arash Amel 27:57
And so that's the I'm not even gonna go that.

Alex Ferrari 28:00
We're not gonna get into that. No, no, what did you understand? I don't want to get into the conversation about that specific film. But the concept of what, but what?

Arash Amel 28:10
Switzer mentions of

Alex Ferrari 28:14
DC or Marvel, sir, which is doing it better? No, I'm joking. I'm joking. But you're right. But the business has changed so much. And there's only a few. I mean, seriously, I think between it's Nolan, who can basically he's doing a black and white Oppenheimer movie for $100 million. Who else in Hollywood gets to do that? Nobody? Yeah. Yeah. Cameron is spending? I don't know $3 billion on the avatar films.

Arash Amel 28:44
I mean, I anyone who has the right to do that, I think it seems

Alex Ferrari 28:49
Yeah, that Jim do whatever Jim wants to do. You know, but Marty still fighting for his for his visions. And the reason why he's getting to do his visions is his cast that he brings. When you bring Leonardo and when Quinton wants to do something, he keeps his budgets low, and he brings the biggest movie stars in the world to the table. So there, there's, you know, there is some art still being made in the studio system, but it's so mitigated the risk. It really is.

Arash Amel 29:16
It is it is and specifically when you're looking at the attic, I mean, we're discussing theatrical here, and I think, you know, what I'm really interested in is there are some pockets, so so it's so nice, a bullet train, for example, like that.

Alex Ferrari 29:32
But it's Brad Pitt. It's Brad Pitt.

Arash Amel 29:35
But that's that's how it used to be in the old days. Like that's how it was, you know, I mean, admittedly, you know, we just named a couple of, you know, Jordan diehard which wasn't the case like that was like, you know,

Alex Ferrari 29:44
That was the beginning.

Arash Amel 29:46
Even even the star driven original movie. The, the original action movie that that even that is is is at risk like I don't know, I mean, outside of bullet train. Mine is drawing a blank.

Alex Ferrari 30:01
But I mean mission mission impossibles. But that's based off on an IP that Tom created for himself for the last

Arash Amel 30:07
Movies, seven and eight.

Alex Ferrari 30:10
Back to back, seven to eight back to back. I mean, I don't know how many more he's got in them. But I can't wait. I mean, I'd love to hear, we'd love to hear your thoughts on Top Gun. Like, you see something like Top Gun and when I went to go see it. I mean, it hits nostalgia for me, it had so many different things for me. But when I'm watching it, I'm like, Oh, my God, this is what a blockbuster used to be like. It's an event experience. It's all in camera. A lot of its again, not all, but a lot of it's in camera. What they did was something so insane. The story telling to tell that story, the way they did was very, very tight. Very good. I mean, in the entire world. You know, it's like they said, basically, everybody's dad went to go see it. Because guys, like you and me, we're like, I'm gonna go to the top. And of course,

Arash Amel 30:59
And I'll tell you, I'll tell you that I think my thoughts on it is there are two elements to that. So one, firstly, I think I admire immensely. Tom's determination to single handedly make sure that cinema matters and save cinema. Because I feel that I feel we need that we need that passion, like, the industry needs that passion. It's so easy just to turn on the TV and go, Okay, what movie on what streamer? And am I going to watch? And I feel that there's a real place for that. And I think that accessibility is great and more people can can get to movies, but I feel the cinema experience and that the wonder and magic of cinema, I kind of feel we need those champions. So secondly, I've been working with the folks that Bruckheimer a lot. So over the last few years, and I have one project with them that is costing right now. And being in that process. It's one of the few places where I feel like I'm still in old Hollywood. I'm still in that, you know, Jerry, and also Chad Oman, who runs Jerry's company, and and, you know, really, is there is such attention to detail, attention to detail in the story in the characterizations. And I mean, I felt like I was when I started, this was, you know, I signed on, it's called the ministry of ungentlemanly warfare. And when I signed on, it was, it's a book. And it was like, by the same time as I started rise, and I felt like a kid in the candy store, because I could talk about Crimson Tide and Con Air and enemy the state and, and really go and they would tell me all the different little bits of like, well, how did that come about? And how did you do this? And what was then what was the thinking behind that line? And, you know, what did this writer do? And what did that right to do? So it's been such a, an education of the Hollywood that I grew up admiring. And there was a reason why these movies work, you know, when and the way that they work. And it is an attention to the cinematic detail, to making sure that the story and the characters play as big as possible, that have emotional resonance. There's in most of my work, and sort of the rewriting and rewriting on on the Bruckheimer projects are around, ironically, not the actual, it's all around the character, it's all around, well, what is this, and you're going down to, and that is an attention to detail, all star producing that you don't really have any more because I know we're talking about the directors, I actually think there's a producing problem. Like I feel so on rise, we had an incredible producer, Bernie Goldman produce 300 is, is, you know, one of the most detail orientated producers that I've worked with, who really kind of brings the writer in and really, you know, works and develops and develops and develops and, and manages the process, and I feel these producers who have that pedigree who have that history who understand that, you know, producing isn't just attaching yourself to a project and you know, showing up to meetings and you know, coming with

Alex Ferrari 34:39
For the red carpet,

Arash Amel 34:40
Helping helping cost a little bit it's it you know, it's a it's a real creative talent

Alex Ferrari 34:48
And like a Robbert like the Robbert Evans of the old old Hollywood,

Arash Amel 34:52
Correct, yes, like there is there is, but and that sort of creative input is what bridges I believe, the creativity that goes onto the page and obviously onto the screen. And that business side of it, where you can have interference. Now I've worked with executives who have been incredible. I've worked with executives who have not been so great. But you know, it always needs somebody there to manage it and make sure that that vision that cohesive vision ends up on the screen and the emotion ends up on the screen and the cinema ends up on the screen. And and I feel that there are there are producers right now who are incredible, you know, working and but that's something that's that's eroded with the loss of the of the of the old producer. You know, the lock feels that the producer deals, the bungalows, bungalows, the bungalows I used to visit those bungalows. 1011 years ago, you would go missing today, are you meeting someone so at that bungalow, universal and then you got to go to Burbank, you got to go to Warner's and you got to go to you know, I remember going to John Silver's offices. And you know, that used to be and those guys were really, really important to the process. And I feel to your question about Top Gun to I feel incredible direction. Incredible, provide, but it's on the page. And that comes from the producer like that, that comes from the writers working with the producer and the producer really managing it. And, again, having been on the inside, it's no surprise because I was, you know, seeing those guys as they were making it. And it was like, Well, if you're if there's any attention to detail like it is here. And you know, it's the pushing me as a writer the way that I want to be pushed, it's not like, oh, make a difference. It's like, well, this moment in this scene, where he says this thing, how does it what does it really mean? And write any heighten that how do we push that? And if we did, we landed so it's it's those little tiny incisions?

Alex Ferrari 37:07
I think the I think that in many ways, a lot of the old school, Pixar and the Pixar, you know, teams back in the day, they're detail to story. And character. I mean, up is still the first four minutes of Up is still probably one of the greatest, I still cry. It's still one of the greatest montages of of life ever put. To film. It's just a master art work. It's just a masterwork. But that was the kind of old school detail to story to beating up every line. And as writers, we sit down and we'll you know, we'll go through the scenes, and sometimes we'll get hired, we're like, Okay, this seems good enough, we just gotta move on. We do it all the time.

Arash Amel 37:47
It just like, if you're writing something over 12 weeks, you can't you know, the time it takes contractually to handle draft, then there are moments when you know, I'm cheating. Like, I'm, I'm just I want to get from A to B to C, and then you hand in the script, and they go, Well, that doesn't quite work. I'll rewrite it. I go look, that's, I agree. Like, that's the bit I don't even think that works. But I have to have it in to make the other bits sort of connect. So I have to

Alex Ferrari 38:18
I always, I always used to do when I was editing, I used to always do this little trick. And this is an old editor trick where it's because clients or producers or someone would walk in and they would be you know, they, a lot of times they have to just especially when doing client work like for commercials, they have to justify why they're in the room. So you would throw them a Harry, you throw them a little like an obvious mistake. Yep. So obvious that it's something that they can sink their teeth in. Oh, that shot you need to cut five frames from that. Oh, oh, that's reverse. You made a mistake. Oh, I'm so sorry. And that way, they don't mess with anything else. So I know a lot of screenwriters to do similar things like that to they'll throw, they'll throw little things in there and let them read it and go, Oh, this scene here. I'm like, I know, you know, thank you. And they'll and they'll go in and tweak it. These are little tricks that they never do anything like that. I would never.

Arash Amel 39:11
I'll tell you why I wouldn't do it. Because it happens anyway. Any more mistakes

Alex Ferrari 39:24
Like you're, I'm so perfect. I've got to mess this up somehow.

Arash Amel 39:29
That's the mean it's Yeah. Yeah, it's usually I look at it and I just go when I'm having anything in. I have to tell myself don't apologize. Just hand it in. Just hand it in. Let them find the faults with it. And they will. And then you know, and then and then you get into your you know, it was I mean, I've been lucky and I've been lucky is the word but let's use lucky since Grace was born occur, which is a movie I made a few years ago, which was like this beautiful disaster, it was like, you know, was like a souffle, that kind of souffle, and then sort of then answered flight and collapsing on itself. It's kind of an over bait. And, you know, I learned a lot from that, like I learned, I learned a lot about the process, but also that the process is entirely dependent on who your partners are and who you work with. And the trust specifically around the producers who work who work with the, the voices that you have being inputted into the script, and and ultimately, you know, the directors that you work with, I really went away and to recalibrate it, we thought I went to a dark place like it was a dark I was like, oh my god, I wrote this script that everyone told me was great. And then I went along for the ride. And it became this monstrosity of, of, of infamy. And

Alex Ferrari 41:07
Don't be so hard on yourself, sir.

Arash Amel 41:10
I'm the hardest.

Alex Ferrari 41:10
But listen, listen, have you seen the room? Have you seen the room? Okay. I mean, there's, there's movies in the world, sir. Let's just fix it to perspective here.

Arash Amel 41:20
I don't know how much further above the room we are. But

Alex Ferrari 41:24
Are there midnight? screenings of grace of Monica Monaco everywhere? No, there isn't, sir.

Arash Amel 41:30
Let's just pay me it wasn't bad enough. Maybe that's

Alex Ferrari 41:34
No, you if you're gonna commit to being bad, you've got to go all in, I say, a scale of badness. Because there's bad and like, Oh, that's horrible. But then there's something that transcends, so it's so bad, it becomes good. And that is the genius of the room, when you watch it, which you can never watch it by yourself, you must watch it with groups. Because if you watch it by yourself, it's sad. But if you watch it with a group of people, you just go, Oh, my God, this is the most enjoyable thing I've ever seen. But it's so bad that it is endearing and good. Because of the authentic nature of it, you can't go out by the way, you also you can't intentionally go to make a bad movie, it just,

Arash Amel 42:12
You can't, you can't, I mean, it's like you can't in a way, you also can't intentionally go out to make a great movie, it's,

Alex Ferrari 42:19
It's gonna attempt it, you can attempt it. And I think you

Arash Amel 42:21
And I think you can potentially make a good movie. Yes, when I think to make a great movie, that's something that I think is only in the stars. And so So, you know, to the point that I'm thank you for your vote of confidence on. After that experience, I realized that actually, it's, it's the people who you work with. It's such a collaborative media, especially as a writer, because it's all about interpretation. So you have this vision in your head to sit at your keyboard, right, you write the movie that you believe is going to be sort of this spectacular piece of cinema. And you hand it over, you hand it over, from the beginning, from the producer, to the studio, to the director, to the casting director to the production designer, to so on, and so forth, Director photography, like it all just becomes layer upon layer of interpretation. And if you get it, right, and if you have got great partners, it does become like a team that that has a snowball effect that they then choose the correct people, and then it becomes a very cohesive unit and have creative vision. And so yes, you can have disagreements, yes. It's like, you know, I think this should go a little bit, you know, more emotional, I think should be less emotional, I think we should be read, I think they should be blue. But as long as you're all working to the same vision, these are just choices that continue to make it better. And it's not conflicting, in terms of well, you know, I think this should be an impressionist piece. And well, no, I think there should be a melodrama like that, that, you know, you're, you're already, you know, in trouble. And that happens very, very often. But it doesn't happen if you are careful in who your partners are. And that's basically for me being one of the guiding principles since since grace. And so far it's it, you know, two, three movies, a couple of movies that I've written, one that I've produced, it's, it's been, it's really held up.

Alex Ferrari 44:38
But I'll tell you, it is a miracle that any movie gets made, and any good movie gets made. It's an absolute miracle because as a writer, you put it on the page, and I've read scripts that were amazing. But when they're executed too much stuff happens. All those things you just laid out if things aren't hitting the mark all the way through there. So Many places that this can go askew, a production designer made decisions that screwed everything up. The DP makes decisions that screwed things up, the director does. The actors make choices, there's, there's all of the producers that the studios, the Edit, there's so many places where it can go bad, that it's a miracle that we ever get a good a good product. Honestly, it truly is. That's why that's the strongest personalities, the people who lead the directors and the producers, who are strong in their vision. And unwavering almost, is when you get these kinds of I mean, look at me, you look at a Nolan project, and or Scorsese project or Spielberg practically these are these are people who have such focus on their vision that they are the ones that are bringing it in and they're collab and they've chosen the collaborators appropriately to bring it into their vision. But man it's it's such a as a screen.

Arash Amel 45:58
Danny Boyle the other day, I think, when was it he said he called a psychotic because you have to have this sort of psychotic vision and drive and, and I as a director, I believe you do, I think I think as a writer, I feel you can't be psychotic

Alex Ferrari 46:20
Within your Joe Osterhaus.

Arash Amel 46:24
Business is a psychotic. Now as a writer, I think you really need to be the glue that holds everything together. From a story and creative standpoint. And this is one of the things that I've been kind of promoting, in terms of the vision of the writer as a as, as a partner and collaborator to the process, not like old Hollywood where and I think that's one of the real benefits of, of the change that we're seeing is that because movies are getting made quicker than ever before. The and they need to succeed on almost on a one to one, you know, gone are the days of we develop 10, we make one we make 10 one now, isn't it really it has to be one to one theatrical, it has to be one to one or, you know, people lose their jobs. And also on streaming, I mean, we've seen on Netflix, they it has to be that quality bar needs to be hit. Now, one of the issues that has historically been a problem is that the writer has always been seen as the typist, the person who gets the idea when they type something, and then hands it over to the people that make the movie. Whereas I feel that is actually part of the reason why movies can often fail, is that there isn't somebody that's sitting as the custodian of the story vision of the character vision of the and so and this isn't about ego, it's not about, you know, putting yourself at the center of the story. Because ultimately, I believe that director has to be its directorial vision. But the ability for anyone in the production starting from the director, to the producer, to the studio, to the production designer, to props, to be able to always turn back to the writer at some point, in those moments of doubt, and those moments where we need to cut a day, we need to compress these scenes, we don't know, you know, you know, that sofa that's really, you know, important to the story, like we don't know, like, where it should be positioned or how it should be because of the action that's happening. The ability to go back to somebody who, from the beginning, from from idea stage, all the way to the picture lock is consistent, is there is part of the process is doesn't need to be on set that all the time doesn't need to be, you know, I don't I maybe I'll spend like a week or two on set, and any movie that I make. And always there as as I tried to time it with scenes that are it's a lot of dialogue scenes scenes where it's just, for example, on rise, they shot all the basketball within the first four weeks, I was like how bad it makes you make a great deal, whatever you're doing, and then I'll come in for when I'm useful. Where you sort of start needing to make some of these sort of creative choices. So with the writer as being part of that process, you do end up taking out a lot of the uncertainty, a lot of the a lot of the Oh, well that thing's not working. Instead of trying to solve it in the easiest place, which is solving it in the script. You end up trying to just throwing the script aside and saying, Okay, let's try and patch this together. So you know, let's get rid of that scene and what, what else could we do? And you suddenly have the directors or the actors whoever making up something on the fly, as I've seen that and it has really detrimental effects. So this notion of, you know, the writers and I do a lot of work at the Writers Guild, and it's, you know, trying to impart this sort of lesson, this sense of identity for the writers, you know, you're not somebody who's just there who's just handed a script, you are Phonak, you have to understand how this whole process works. And you have to be useful, because often there'll be fights between people, and you will be the person of God we go. So there up an argument for it.

Alex Ferrari 50:32
So that's so is Indiana, really scared of snakes? And if he is why?

Arash Amel 50:39
And the beauty of it is, they see the script for as the Bible. And so you are the preacher that is interpreting the Bible, when they all when nobody else, when they fall exactly into that scenario, it's like, Well, is he you know, why is he scared of snakes? Would he throw the snake? Or would he? Is he?

Alex Ferrari 50:59
Oh, well, the better question is, who feeds all the snakes down there, where they just sitting there for 1000s of years, just waiting for him to show up? There's not a lot of logic here. But you know, when you suspend disbelief a little bit when you watch all these things? Are they eating themselves? Have they been there? 1000s of years, is what's kind of ecosystems down there? is like, how did they get in? What's going on? Like?

Arash Amel 51:24
What is it? Yeah, that's, that's, that's the stuff that you go, Oh, you guys can figure that out?

Alex Ferrari 51:30
You know, and that's so funny, too, because in today's world, someone would have asked that question, in 1979, when they were developing that script. No, no, no one ever seen anything like that before?

Arash Amel 51:44
That's cannibals next.

Alex Ferrari 51:45
This like just doesn't matter. It didn't even didn't even crossed anybody's mind at that point. Today, they'd be like, This doesn't make any sense. Why are the snakes there? What's going on? So let me tell me about your new project. Right? You've kind of hinted about it a little bit, it's going to be airing on, I think, this Friday on Disney plus, and I saw the trailer of it. And I'd love I'd love. Disney has this wonderful lineage of amazing sports movies that are based on real events, real life events, and it's kind of their little niche that they've had, for decades, really, for decades. So this is the next installment in that wonderful lineage. So tell me a little bit about it.

Arash Amel 52:26
So rise is a story of family and faith and basketball. I mean, it's really, we decided to approach this movie, which is based on the life of Yanis Antetokounmpo. And his family who began is really their journey of remarkably as illegal immigrants in in Greece, and the journey that they ultimately went on, and I don't think I need to publicize the honest and honest as achievements any more than I think he's done himself. He's done. All right. Yeah, I mean, it's most incredible, right at, you know, growth of a sportsman. And what's been really interesting was when I started the project in 2018, the first meeting was January 2019. He wasn't even an MPP. And so to be in, writing this story, which is incredible, on its own, have a family of legal immigrants from Nigeria, actually a husband and wife who were illegal immigrants, whose children were born in Greece, the country that they had emigrated to. But yet we're all we're outsiders, because in Greece, unless you've had laws changed now, but I think back then, unless you've had nine years of school education, and only the country legally, even if you're born there, you're not not considered Greek, you're still illegal. And so there was there was absolutely no part of legitimacy. So they basically had to sell stuff on the streets and hide when police and but also but were able to go to school, and was given the Greece's free education system, which is a very weird setup and in the country, that you can be an illegal immigrant, you can still go to school. And so Jonas and his brother finance is in fact, the Nasus first, but they discovered basketball from never having touched the ball. They discovered it, touch basketball, they at the age of 12, Indiana's for the first time that he saw some kids playing basketball on the playground and in a neighborhood and he started playing and the brothers saw basketball as an opportunity for them to not just further their own sort of future, but actually lift their entire family And first initially helping pay for their parents and helping the parents financially. But ultimately, it became about legitimizing. And legalizing the family, and bring in bringing the family together. It's it's the journey that they ended up going on. That was really such an A story of highs and lows in terms of when we started the process. It was, it was a real Pursuit of Happiness quality to the, the journey that they went on. And for me, that was always a, that was always a benchmark for us that, you know, we were making a sports movie, but we were really making a movie about the triumph of the human spirit. Family. And one of the key things for me, it was that sports movies always work, when it's not actually about winning or losing, it's not about winning or losing game. It's not, it's not it's the end of tin cup, that it doesn't matter if you're, if you're not going to lay up, which is going to hit it until you you know, you prove your worldview, and that is your growth and your your triumph. And, and really, this story is really about that, because we all know, we all know what happens. Yeah. And it's like it's and it actually helped us a lot that we're able to say, Okay, you think you know what happened to Yanis, but you don't know the emotional journey, and you don't know what was at stake. And you don't know when he was sitting there to be drafted. What truly His family was going through and what it meant. And hopefully that is that. Yeah, those stakes are what people take away from this. But But yeah, so

Alex Ferrari 56:53
I'm excited to see it.

Arash Amel 56:55
Yeah, we have a lot of you know, we've got big shoes to fill. I mean, some of the Titans and there's a real

Alex Ferrari 57:01
Miracle and yeah, it's it's I'm a sucker for a good sports movie. I don't care what the sports is. I saw that one that Disney did great about cricket. With John. Yes. In an arm, and I'm like, I mean, I don't Yeah, I mean, it's just like, it's there's this this formula of like, it just works so beautifully. So I'm a sucker for a good sports movie. So when I saw this, I was like, oh, yeah, I can't, I can't wait to watch this. So congrats on getting this out into the world. And, and we need something we do need. We need, we need a little little levity, a little something, we need hope in the world.

Arash Amel 57:40
People need hope and inspiration and a good release. I've been in some screenings and you know, bring some tissues, people people. And, you know, but a good way not, you know, because it is it is sort of, again, it's a it's a triumph. And you said Disney now, like, they know how to make these movies like,

Alex Ferrari 58:03
Oh, they've been doing this.

Arash Amel 58:05
We had, you know, the executives at Disney. And the way that they just kept just again, in the right way, just pushing us challenging us. Every step of the way. See the oh, they know how to make these movies. And they're really and we tested the movie a couple of times in the process. And it tested extremely well. But even then, it was like, oh, you know, we had like, this person's gave it a 98, not 100.

Alex Ferrari 58:38
We can't wait, can we tweak? Can we tweak that scene a little bit here? Can we can we shave off a few seconds here. But you want that you want to be you want in the in the development process and of any project of art, especially in Hollywood, you want to take it to the absolute limit of the best eight absolutely can't be within reason. And within a time period. That makes sense. So we're not there's 10 years later on the edit. Being an editor for many, many years. At a certain point, you gotta go, guys, it's done.

Arash Amel 59:11
That's right. That's right. Give you an idea of the timeline. I had the first meeting was in January 2019 was myself bunny and our producer, our executive chairs, Columbia, Disney. And I walked out with five bullet points. This is what the movie needs to be as a family and FE so ended the draft in a number of things that have to be in the script. These asked me in the script, and then I did about nine months of research and we had like, the family opened the doors and be honest and talk to the agents and all that stuff and coaches. And then I wrote a treatment over Christmas 2020. Disney, what immediately went go to script. How did the script March 2020 April 2020 And then it can came on our director. And then we were off to the races. So, in terms of turnaround, and we were right in the middle of a pandemic, as well, it was, you know, when I say the speed has really changed, you went from January 2019, to be to June 2022. Release. I mean, that's, that that's a pace that, that I think in the old days, it was unheard of. And what was really wonderful, was on the eve of principal photography, I pulled out those five bullet points. And I was like, Hey, guys, actually fixed it, we did it. So you know, it's when it works. It works. When it when the process works, it's a joy.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:49
Now, I'm gonna ask you a few questions, ask all of my guests. Is there something that you wish? If if there was one thing that you wish someone would have told you at the beginning of your career, what would that be?

Arash Amel 1:00:59
I wish it was the advice that I eventually got. About 10 years ago from my attorney, who is an extremely experienced man, he, he represents all the greats, Chris McQuarrie, and David Kerr, and so on. And he just leaned into me whenever dinner right at the beginning, and I just signed. And he said, Look, no matter what you do in this business, just make sure you stick around. As tastes change, culture changes, cinema changes, technology changes. But if you just stay around, stick around, make sure you're not a flash in the pan, make sure it's not make sure you're here for the long haul, you'll find that you'll you'll, you'll see success. And that is really I think, the lesson of it's just stick around. Just this year,

Alex Ferrari 1:01:58
It's a great bit as a great piece of advice. Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?

Arash Amel 1:02:05

Alex Ferrari 1:02:07
Mine too my friend. That's my answer as well. Because as you know, the second you had the idea to become a screenwriter. Hollywood just showed up with money and said as much as you want, and whenever you want, what would you like to write next? And Danny Jones, the next? What do you want? What do you want?

Arash Amel 1:02:23
Yes, that's right, patients, patients in it throughout the whole process, because it's all slow. I mean, it's just and you also get, you know, it's things that you set your heart on and apart and they fall apart in any process. I've had films fall apart, you know, during soft prep, where got bought, like, we're pulling the pulling the plug, and it's just like you said, it's such a it's a miracle that any movie gets made. And it's a joy to have one be made. But it also takes a huge huge amount of time and there's so many uncertainties and you know, the things that you wrote that you didn't think maybe were that good sending it made and people love them as movies or things that you thought is the best thing I've ever written it just dies like as a script it's

Alex Ferrari 1:03:24
It's it's it's brutal This isn't it's not for the faint of heart this business that's for sure it is yeah, I remember watching on actor studio I saw Dave Chappelle on the actor studio and he said he said no, nobody you speak to up here is a weak person. Nobody if you've made it in this business, you are not a weak person. And I thought that was very, very true because if you've made it to a certain level if you're just hanging around for 15 years making a living in one way shape or form in this business you're not a weak person you're not a weak person. And last question yes three of your favorite films of all time.

Arash Amel 1:04:08
Easy in no particular order The Godfather back to the future a lot.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:14
I mean, can we can we just say the back the future is one of the most perfect films every night.

Arash Amel 1:04:17
It is I watch it every couple of months and that's not an exaggeration it's just I'm obsessed with it. I just it's one of those things that I don't know how that movie became what it became like it just it's just perfection

Alex Ferrari 1:04:35
And and they started shooting it with the wrong actor and then went back can you imagine

Arash Amel 1:04:42
They started this split with a fridge

Alex Ferrari 1:04:47
The whole evolution of the of the whole show of the whole script is fascinating but to shoot with a two weeks with with another lead actor, and then and then they all go yeah, this is it. You know, we didn't make the right choice. It's nothing new. It's just not the right fit, and had to start from scratch with a new

Arash Amel 1:05:08
First placeplace,

Alex Ferrari 1:05:10
Right with the guy that they wanted in the first place. But he was on a hit show and all this kind of good stuff. But I think it helped that you had Steven Spielberg sitting behind your gun. Go ahead. And 1985 Steven Spielberg. Yeah,

Arash Amel 1:05:20
I mean, that's I'm, you know, he had the keys to universal at that point.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:25
I mean, I mean, to a certain, to a certain extent, but to a certain extent, Steven continues to have the keys. And, by the way, I and I've, I can't exaggerate this enough. I've spoken to probably 40 or 50 people on my show, have all had a connection to Steven Spielberg in their, in their development in their career.

Arash Amel 1:05:45
Oh, I, you know, I'm a child of the 80s.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:50
No, but no, but like, personal hand, not just, oh, no, everybody has been affected by his movies. I'm talking about him personally, taking a meeting, connecting him to somebody, like developing a project. It's fascinating how many people Steven Spielberg has helped in this business, and continues to do so to this day, writing, sending handwritten letters to directors, saying, Hey, I just watched your movie. It was fantastic, great job. Who does this? Who does this? It's old school. That's old school.

Arash Amel 1:06:23
It's old school. It's a school that you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:06:27
I hope they listen to these interviews. I hope they listen to these interviews in the future and can think about like the like, what's diehard and I'm like, then I have to slap you. And I have to slap you

Arash Amel 1:06:42
You know, this generation that it's it.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:45
And I'll leave you with this. I was once color grading a music video for one of the biggest music video directors. He was like 25. But he was one of the biggest music directors in the world working with all JC and all the big guys, right? And I go, Hey, do you want this video? Do you want this shot to be kind of like Blade Runner esque. And he's like, what's Blade Runner? Oh my god. And I'm like you're a music video director and you've never studied Ridley Scott. Are you out of your I almost got out of the chair and walked away. I'm like, I was so disgusted. I'm like you have to walk. I mean, are you kidding? So there is that? Absolutely.

Arash Amel 1:07:18
I wanna I want to I know, I know you got about but I wanted to just say one thing to your point about directors. Yes. I feel I mean, some exceptional directors coming through right now. Yes, there is. Absolutely. But I do think that when you look at the all the directors that you mentioned, of a certain generation, so Jim Cameron Ridley Scott,

Alex Ferrari 1:07:41
Steven Spielberg,

Arash Amel 1:07:43
Yeah, my camera and started off making props. Right, and drawing posters. And I, you know, and working his way through that whole common studio and you had Widley was an art director for British

Alex Ferrari 1:08:03
TV 1000 commercials before he shot his first feature.

Arash Amel 1:08:07
Yeah, in his early 40s. Right, Stephen? Yes, Prodigy, right. But at the same time, the education he got doing TV and you know, Sugarland Express and then you know, all of that cool. Cool. Yeah, it there is a sort of apprenticeship. I feel that those old school directors kind of went all somehow went through the industry like there was no Oh, you made for music videos. Great. Here's $150 million you know, and

Alex Ferrari 1:08:50
Yeah know, there is a crack there's a craftsmanship.

Arash Amel 1:08:53
You even look at Fincher you look at the journey that he's been on you look at you look at the work that he's done in music videos you look at its there is a pedigree and a journey and I kind of feel that as much in writing as when it's true and writing I think it's also true in directing, but then when you just need to be a little bit more patient. Like I just feel that craft has to develop craft, you just can't show up and just be this all seeing.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:23
It takes time. takes time. Hedgecock took time Kubrick took time all of them they take it takes time to be good at anything in this life. But let alone the craft. And I'll leave you with one story because you said Cameron and corpsman Do you know how Cameron got hired to do Parana to the spawning? No, he was working on a I think it was called bat Battlestar something whether he was working as a prop guy. And he had a slab of meat and there were some maggots that were in it and they were he was doing close to the shooting. The close ups was doing a second unit. You shouldn't and then corpsman walked by and he If he would say, he turned on the camera and then the maggots would perform for him. And then he would cut the camera in the maggots would not and he's like, how the hell is this kid? Directing maggots? So what he did is he connected the slab of meat to some electricity and he would just turn on the ad was shocked to me and then they would do this and then he didn't know that. Oh, that was like if he could direct magnets he could direct the one of my movies. Let's give him Piranha 2

Arash Amel 1:10:31
That is an incredible story.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:33
Oh my god, I hear I listen, I'll tell you from my doing all these interviews all these years, I get the best stories I get when I hate them. When I stopped the record button. Best Story I wish I could do. All the off air comments and questions and stories I get are, oh, God, I could be here for hours. But Robin, thank you so much for coming on the show. It has been an absolute pleasure talking to you continued success and and thank you for helping, you know, younger screenwriters and filmmakers coming up and hopefully they'll, they'll listen to this conversation and be inspired to take their time. Just a little bit more.

Arash Amel 1:11:08
Just a little bit. And then a patient's goes goes a long, long way.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:12
I appreciate you my friend!

Arash Amel 1:11:13
Thank you likewise!

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