There’s no con more satisfying and lucrative than finding a way to make a living as a screenwriter. And Ted Griffin is a man who knows a good con.
Anyone who tried to follow the clever criminal head games he built into his screenplays for Ocean’s 11 and Ridley Scott’s Matchstick Men knows not to trust this guy – except when he talks about screenwriting, which he does with great humor and insight in this enlightening interview.
The conversation ranges from his early work on Ravenous and Ocean’s 11 through the unexpected pitfalls of trying to direct his first film, Rumor Has It. He was scheduled to make his directorial debut with Rumor Has It…, for which he had written the original screenplay, but was replaced by Rob Reiner 12 days after principal filming began.
He did a rewrite of the Ashton Kutcher film Killers. He moved into television by creating Terriers for FX. Griffin played Agent Hughes in The Wolf of Wall Street.
The Dialogue: Learning From the Masters is a groundbreaking interview series that goes behind the scenes of the fascinating craft of screenwriting. In these 70-90 minute in-depth discussions, more than two dozen of today’s most successful screenwriters share their work habits, methods and inspirations, secrets of the trade, business advice, and eye-opening stories from life in the trenches of the film industry. Each screenwriter discusses his or her filmography in great detail and breaks down the mechanics of one favorite scene from their produced work.
Your Host: Producer Mike De Luca is responsible for some of the most groundbreaking films of the last 15 years. After enrolling in New York University’s film studies program at 17, De Luca dropped out four credits shy of graduation to take an unpaid internship at New Line Cinema. He advanced quickly there under the tutelage of founder Robert Shaye and eventually became president of production.
To watch Ted Griffin’s amazing episode go to The Dialog Series on IFHTV.
Right-click here to download the MP3
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Alex Ferrari 1:40
I like to welcome Tisha
Ted Griffin 3:33
Oh, Fuck you! NO! All right, start over.
Alex Ferrari 3:36
No, sir. We were gonna get what keep rolling. We're gonna keep rolling. I expect nothing less from you, sir. Mr. Ted Griffin. How are you my friend?
Ted Griffin 3:47
I'm terrific. Very, very nice. Happy to be here. Happy to be alive. Thank you, man. I was in New York stories. Any any day above ground is a good day.
Alex Ferrari 3:57
Amen to that brother.
Ted Griffin 3:59
Tom Waits impression. I don't know.
Alex Ferrari 4:01
But I appreciate you coming up. Joe. Man. I've been a fan of yours for a while. And I saw your interview years ago on the dialogue which is one of the rare interviews I looked you don't do these very often. I noticed or if they don't,
Ted Griffin 4:13
Can't find ask really. Maybe because of that one. Maybe because I wore shorts. on a on a gone camera. Somebody said Jesus. Well, you can deal with the drooling, but shorter
Alex Ferrari 4:26
And the cursing and the drugs and alcohol Excuse me. Yeah. But anyway, so my friend, thank you so much for coming on the show. My first question to you is why in God's green earth did you want to get into this insane business called Holly doll?
Ted Griffin 4:43
It was it almost feels like it was never a choice. I interrupt me if I get too long winded with family history because any biography you ever read is like, oh god, he's talking about his grandfather. My grandfather and my grandmother came up to Hollywood in the 20s. And were a very prolific director on my grandfather's side and a fairly successful actress on my grandmother's side for a number of years. They show up on TCM a few times a year, sometimes in a sort of the graveyard shift. And they both have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which started around 1950. So there was a lot of sidewalk back then. So it's, they are those names you kind of pass by and go. Alright, that's a they were they were pioneers on the sidewalk, I'd say. Anyway, he directed a lot of movies with almost everybody famous from back then John Wayne, Shirley Temple, the Marx Brothers, Astaire and Rogers, his maybe not their best films, but you worked with them all. He did make a very celebrated Laurel and Hardy movie called sons of the desert, which is in the Library of Congress. So that's his sort of claim to fame. He was named his name was William a cider. And the only person I've ever met who actually knew who he was, was Martin Scorsese, because that's just smarting. And my grandmother's name was Marion Nixon and she was sort of a clinical bear type type worked with a young Spencer Tracy and a young Joel McCrea and Jimmy Cagney was in a couple of John Ford movies. And but retired when she married my grandfather and started a family. So I grew up with the lore of Hollywood, around me, my parents were not in the industry, but my father was, who was not involved, had no relation to the industry was a cinephile and took me to a revival theater at the Rialto Theatre in South Pass, which is where Griffin mill in the player goes and kills the screenwriter. Yes, yeah, is a harbinger of things to come for me. Anyway, so I was seeing movies very young. And then, luckily, two things I think happened at a special age. I think there's something about 1011 12, especially maybe for boys where they kind of get into story and movies. And when I was that age, Steven Spielberg got sort of coronated, meaning he was on the scene with jaws and close encounters. But that was like, that's the Raiders Lost Ark et poltergeist sort of hattrick that along with the proliferation of the VCR, so all of a sudden, I had access to movies besides revival theaters. And so from that point on, it was I was just moving nuts. And there was sometimes unfortunately, no looking back
Alex Ferrari 7:58
In other fields,
Ted Griffin 7:59
Hopefully the not too long winded answer to your question.
Alex Ferrari 8:04
So then, so I've so I think you and I come from the same similar vintage as far as age is concerned. And I grew up in a video store as well actually worked in a video store for so many years. So I mean, that opened my eyes was set to cinema, watch video source. So at what point did you say you know what, I think I want as much power as I can in Hollywood, I'm gonna become a screenwriter. And you start bumping around as a screenwriter, because I'm assuming you said you'd have no connections in the business at this point.
Ted Griffin 8:35
No, my last living connection was probably Ernst Lubitsch. It was that who was apparently a good friend of my grandfather's he had died by dance distance for I was born in 70. So everybody, I had nobody to call and and because at 1112 Let me turn off so that doesn't make that noise. I started emulating Spielberg and making backyard movies with on Super Eight and then and then beta, and then have VHS so so my so he was my role model. And then probably like a few years later, when I got snarky or Billy Wilder, and but there were always sort of writer directors, who were my heroes or who I aim to be. So I had absolutely no interest in being a screenwriter in the business and but I wanted to write my way into the chair so to speak, which I I kind of made the mistake of going to a liberal arts college college back east because it was it was off track, but I you know, I did it. It happened. It's my claim to fame from that is that I was a in the first incarnation of the comedy group broken lizard which has gone on Yes. So I was like a freshman when they were juniors and seniors.
Alex Ferrari 10:13
So Jay was on the show was on the show. I love Jay .
Ted Griffin 10:15
Yeah. So that so for like a year I was there Terry Gilliam I was like making the movies and, and then they went to New York and I ultimately went to LA and anyway, so what's my story? Oh, yeah, so I was gonna write myself my way into the chair. But I was also very poor and living in LA in a hand me down Mazda with pretty much all my clothes and possessions in the back of it going from couch to spare bedroom to sometimes sleeping in the car. And not really kind of refusing to take a job because I was just intent on writing my way in I mean, a permanent job I was a dry cleaner for a while and worked on a construction site for a little bit. And, and then three years of that, and I got lucky, somebody got a writer named Neil Tolkien read one of my scripts and gave it to his agent lawyer who became my agent lawyer. And there's one script called best laid plans that I thought this is my thing to direct like, this is the right size movie. And no it it's like a good first film. And then somebody. Then Mike Newell, sorry, I was like debating Okay, do I name names? Yeah. Mike Newell company read it. And Mike Newell, who was coming off move. Who had just made Al Pacino Johnny Depp gangster.
Alex Ferrari 11:46
Oh, Danny Braska
Ted Griffin 11:48
Thank you, God. Just making that said, oh, I want to direct this next and on this level with these people. And I said, well, she's, I guess I gotta say yes to that. So I sort of sold the script, and literally turned around Donnie Brasco, open big and he said, I can't do this movie. I need to do a bigger movie. But we'll we'll find a director and I was like, Whoa, he would river I want to, but I couldn't. I'd sort of taking the check. His next movie was pushing 10 So serves him fucking right. And, but I got I got bait and switch on the movie I should have directed first. The other movie that I'd written that sold was ravenous, which was not a good first movie because it's up in the mountains with snow and turned out to be a completely calamitous production.
Alex Ferrari 12:37
Is that Is that the one with Guy Pearce? Yes. Yeah. Guy was on the show. I think he I remember him saying, Yeah, ravenous. That was a rough situation.
Ted Griffin 12:44
Yeah, it was a rough situation. But strangely enough, a movie that has a lot of fans and like, oh, yeah, fun criterion channel and like, survives, in a way basically plans very, like, terrible movie. Lots of nice people involved very easy production. Lots of very good actors, all in the wrong roles. And after that, I was like, I took six months off, I was so bummed out about the industry.
Alex Ferrari 13:15
Well, let me ask, let me ask you this. So how many scripts did you write before you got the first one sold?
Ted Griffin 13:24
I'd written four or five.
Alex Ferrari 13:28
How did you? Did you take any courses? Or did you take any anything to like learn it? Or did you just pick up a book format
Ted Griffin 13:35
As a kid I was I was already so nuts about movies that I was reading Adventures in the screen trade. By the time I was 12, or 13. I was I think, at 14 Taking a Syd field class where he distributed the first 10 pages of body heat by Larry caston, which is how I learned not only about screenwriting, but about heterosexual sodomy. That's a joke I have with Larry. Oh, we can laugh about it now. Anyway. So I was I was already sort of reading scripts, which was a lot harder in the pre internet days. Like he really had to go find him. So I was sort of like, to some degree, self taught and college I talked to a professor into letting me take write a screenplay for credit one semester. So that was the first one I like, feature length one I had done and then and then those three years of sort of like living hand to mouth. I churned out three, three more, and I also tried my hand at a couple of t like half hour TV scripts, and which taught me that I should not write for friends or the Simpsons or Seinfeld, because I gave them to my friends. I had friends who are basically running Seinfeld. I thought, oh, they'll give me a job and they read them and said, You're feature guy, which was a nice way to say this. Good.
Alex Ferrari 15:07
But this is a your you were in a car basically, living basically, day to day. I just want people listening to understand like the kind of tenacity that takes for three years running around LA, did you just have a laptop and you were just trying to use squeezing in stuff at coffee shops or doing it in your car? Like how do you mentally deal with not knowing where your next meal is coming at? And then that and that maybe that that extreme, but still, like, really not having a place to live or jumping here and they're really struggling, and yet still be creative enough to write.
Ted Griffin 15:43
I'm trying to remember actually, like when laptops came on the scene because it may have been like lugging around a modern
Alex Ferrari 15:49
Ted Griffin 15:50
Yeah. I mean, there were, there's a great injustice in Hollywood, which is I would say, from my experience, not systematically, systemically racist, but systemically favors those who have a trust fund or who can be in a mailroom, unpaid, or who can survive for a while. And while yes, I was working hand to mouth, like I had a, my mom was in Denver, and I could like escape and go and live in our basement and churn out a script. And so I had, I didn't have any money, but I did have a diploma from an overpriced University and sort of like, more of a safety net. Even in that existence, then, like, I knew I wasn't gonna be, like, aimless the homeless. So it's a good story, but it's also sort of like, and I'm glad I went through it, because there is something to pay, you're paying your dues, besides being able to go on a podcast 25 years later and say so. But that said, there is something that is there's there's a reason why kids from liberal arts colleges or reasonably well to do backgrounds, do well in Hollywood, because they can kind of survive those questionable years. Oh, what's my point? So yes, it was. Also, I mean, there's something about the you don't realize you're gonna miss about youth that is very, very known about music, meaning if you're in rock into rock and roll, and you're not kind of making traction by 25, like, you got to like your that energy is musically like you need that for rock and roll. It's not as true for movies, but it's kind of is meaning. They're novelists who probably start at 50. You cinema is like a little younger than that. And so and there's a certain energy that in which you, you're coming up a lot of stuff younger than you are older. Agreed. And so. So while I really wish, I'm really glad I'm not living in my car anymore, I really would love to sort of get back to that
Alex Ferrari 18:32
That guy, that guy, that guy,
Ted Griffin 18:34
And also the, the, you know, doing anything artistic is a leap of faith, you've got to have to have a dream and believe that dream could possibly come true. Well enough to pursue it, and you have enough experiences where things get completely rad Focht and you've sort of ate and it becomes a greater fight to have that, to keep that dream alive. And so it's like, oh, God, I gotta do this. I gotta, I gotta suffer the slings and arrows again. Geez,
Alex Ferrari 19:03
but yeah, but as you get older you eat I mean, I don't know about you. But you know, your level of what you put up with just goes down like things I put up with in my 20s I would never put up with in my 40s Yeah, just it's just you just, you will do so much more when you're younger, to get to where you want to be. But after two or three decades, you're tired and you're like numb. I just don't, I don't want to do that anymore. I won't. I just won't do it anymore. So I agree with you. Like there's things that I remember myself and the torrent might take my early, late teens, teens and 20s that I was just the things that would just be flying, the energy was different. You're not as beat down as much at that point by the business.
Ted Griffin 19:41
I guess I'm proud that at that time, I took all that energy and suffered and put it towards writing and trying to get things going as opposed like I I really had no very little social life. So And I'm sure there are people who can like juggle both and and maybe not happen but people who I know people who had more fun in their 20s than I did. But it's, it's sort of what you have to do you can either choose life or career at that point.
Alex Ferrari 20:28
So alright, so after ravenous, you know, and and that other script that you wrote, how did you get this job to writing Ocean's 11? Like it doesn't there doesn't seem a direct line to that.
Ted Griffin 20:44
Moving from a cannibal Western black comedy doesn't
Alex Ferrari 20:53
With with with the biggest movie stars in the world, and Steven Soderbergh, right.
Ted Griffin 20:57
Well, so as I said, after, after those first two experiences were bad, because I kind of broken in the fall of 96. And for about a year there, I was, like, the shiny new screenwriting boy in town, and, and I had two movies going, and it was like, very heady days, and then ran into the brick wall of those productions of the reality of the business, took six months, six months off, and had sold another idea and was so either bummed out. Or, also, I'd learned the lesson of like, I sold something because of the excitement of agents in the business to sell this thing. And I just didn't have any idea of how to tell the story or what the story was. And I learned a valuable lesson there, which, I guess I could maybe help out anybody out there, which is, there are a bunch of reasons to write scripts, the money, the who you can get to work with the cocktail value of saying, Oh, I'm working with this or on this. And those are all great. And if you don't know what you're writing, or you have no enthusiasm for that all those those three reasons will not help you out when the rubber hits the road, like you need to care, like, have some kind of excitement about what you're writing, or else you're in trouble, hopefully. Or you're just a sociopath, mercenary, and you can pump it out good for you. I've met I've met them as always, so I so I had given back like, a lot of money. And also realize these two movies were going to come out in the next year. And that wasn't going to do me any favors, presumably. And a friend of mine worked for Jerry Weintraub who had a deal at Warner's, his name was Chris Buchanan. And he sent me oceans that it had been one of those movies that they had been talking about, Oh, is there a way of bringing out the word reboot? Bring it back somehow. I think back then it was even still just remake and worry, having grown up cinephile and, and also a guy who really kind of knew old movies and classic Hollywood better than my contemporaries, and who was heavily influenced the Great Escape was a major movie for me growing up Magnum and seven this sort of John Sturgis number movies, slightly less so Dirty Dozen, the professionals I thought was terrific. I had somehow missed oceans just never seen it. Probably because it was never recommended to me. It's the Scorsese loves it I think, um, for personal reasons. And I actually we we never talked about it he's never seen the remake and and Marty's never seen it has never watched it. He I that's a story for either later in the podcast or another day, but I fell into Scorsese's life because he saw ravenous. Which kind of makes me wonder. But I've always thought it was more of an infamous movie. Like, watch these guys phone it in and snot for wearing sweaters. And so and when I finally watched it, I sort of thought Yeah, boy, that's a disappointment. Like it has the kind of the concept, generally for fun movie and that and it's the in the genre, but I really don't care about this movie. And I think I passed on it a couple of times. Basically, they developed a script by a guy named Steve Carpenter, who had written a directed movie called Soul Survivor with Casey Affleck, I think, and that script was pretty faithful to the original and that the it was it was a bunch of army buddies who thought hey, we should apply our military skills to this and they reassembled and There was a guy who is very close to Sinatra's character a dino a Sammy like that. And and I kind of read that and I said this is sort of feels like what I just saw updated and I can remember. Sorry, Tang long winded version. But so I passed it on a couple times. And I think I was I was driving around and I was either listening to the Touch of Evil soundtrack because I was a nerd by Henry man Seanie which is kind of a cool like, or David shires music from taking a Pelham, which is awesome also saw and I just sort of thought, oh, like, I get the vibe of what this movie could be like, it has that. Because there's something about music. That especially for me, but I think a lot of people like music can be an inspiration for movies, just because it's a feeling like you're gonna get this movie is going to give you this feeling this music is going to give you this feeling and that's, I think, sort of what compels us to go see things and to listen to things of like, I want to be scared right now. Or I want to be titillated, or what are its I'm all over the place. I'm gonna come back to Ocean's but there's a my one of my favorite things I've read about movies is Martin Amos wrote in appreciation of Spielberg in the early 80s. And he says that he kind of boiled it down to that Spielberg had a talent for streamlining and emotion to an audience, whether it's Jaws fear and adventure, Close Encounters our Raiders adventure again, and then et love and that and there's a brilliance in that. And I think that's still, to some degree, the secret of his of his success for whatever, along with craft and genius and some other stuff. So So I had the sense of like, oh, there's this feeling of cool that I think could be in this movie. And also secondarily, it struck me of like, the one of my comfort movies growing up on was my I have an older brother who's who's also movie crazy and also writer, and we would just watch the sting at nauseam vidro Hills film of David S Ward script. I try to include those names when I can because
Alex Ferrari 27:36
It doesn't get it doesn't happen very often.
Ted Griffin 27:38
Because the tour theory is such garbage and that all movies being identified by the director is calamitous, or even I'm sorry, I just like the sight and sound list that just came out where everybody like, obviously they've chosen things because to diversify the directors, but that doesn't mean that the movies they're choosing the like, the whole crews were different genders and stuff. Anyway, sorry, soapbox. Ocean's 11. So I hear that music. I love this thing. So I tell Buchanan, okay, I'll meet but I don't know about this. I don't know if I'm the right guy.
Alex Ferrari 28:16
Are you like working at this point? Did you have another job? Do you have another job? Or it's like, because it says,
Ted Griffin 28:20
No, I quit the other gig that I had given. You're looking for work, but you're still saying I don't know. And I'm also trying to get like, I feel like I got off track because I gave up my directorial debut. And so I'm trying to figure out okay, how do I get back to disillusions? But it's like, okay, I need to make some cash. Or, like, I have this potential do this. And I, and I don't want to, like, there's opportunity. And I know, I can't just piss it away. So I go in with Chris I meet weintrob, who's a character who is you know, I won't go through his whole history, but he's, he can be could be extraordinarily charming. And he came in, he said, you can go, I gotta play 7k bunk boy right next to President Bush. You're gonna live next to him. Again. Again, cook and UMaine you can work out in Maine. It'll be great. Which, by the way, an offer that never came through. I never heard another word about like, oh, yeah, you can have to Kennebunkport estate. So I sort of tap dance around like, like some ideas, but for some reason, like they think I'm right for this. And at the time, also, Brett Ratner was attached to direct this is our I'm certainly what else he had. sort of been, you know, he was a extraordinarily successful young director at the moment, and I met Brett and he was a full of enthusiasm. but nobody was saying this is this is what we want. which was actually great to hear, because I just, I, and I've since learned, it's very hard for me to say, to take somebody else's idea and say, Oh, let me execute that for you. And there are people who I've met who are really talented as a talent. But, but it's difficult for me. Anyway. So I went off, I got the job, I went off, and I sort of, I actually worked with my brother Nick a little bit on this and sort of thought, this whole army idea gives me no motivation for a highest like, it's just like, it's a reason for them to make money. Whereas I love the sting. And in the sting, or in the Magnum seven, or the professionals, they're sort of that code of this is what we do. Like it's it's a sort of professionalism. And I thought I'd rather make a movie about guys who do this, and this is the Mount Everest of that and be pretty unfaithful to the original. So wrote about 40 pages of that. I think I've told this somewhere else, but I'm just now I'm just, you can edit all this, right? I give the pages to Chris Buchanan, who's the VP at wind drops, one of two. Just to say, look, I'm working, like as proof of life, progress, and while he's enthusiastic, someone else at the weintrob company who's a little competitive with Chris steals the pages, reads them, takes them to Jerry and says, Griffin's completely off. roading. He's written this thing that hasn't that is not Ocean's 11. And you need to call him in so I get summoned to the woodshed by Jerry Weintraub, who says, This isn't this is all wrong. These guys. They got to be friends in making them thieves. Danny Ocean's coming out of prison. He's a loser. You got to start over. And I say, I understand now. At this point, Chris, God bless him has given the script to basil iguana, who's the warners executive on the project who's read it? And basil calls me and says, don't listen to Jerry. Just keep going. So I do. I'm I, I turned it in. And at that point, because of like this, all this nonsense, I'm sort of like, again, sort of sick of Hollywood and I moved to New York. I think this is like fall of 99. In the interim, oh, and what's happened in the interim is that Brett Ratner has got the movie family man going with Nick Cage and to Leone and is now is no longer available. So Jerry's pissed because he's lost his director because I didn't write the script overnight. And but What has also happened in the interim is that Warner's has made this deal with Soderbergh and Clooney, they've started a new production company there. And so when I do turn the script in, I think the first move is they offered it to Damon and Aflac to star which I think is a rotten idea because they're too young, like they're too green. It's the it's the young guns version of, of oceans. And, and very thankfully, Matt agrees with me. And they pass. So then they go to Soderbergh and Clooney, who sign on, which is like, January of 2000s,
Alex Ferrari 34:01
By the way, but George Clooney at that point, he had done, he had done out of sight
Ted Griffin 34:07
They'd make out of sight and 98 I think his Clooney movie movie was Peacemaker with
Alex Ferrari 34:14
No no movie movie was from dusk till dawn that was his first movie. That was the first time he made a feature of that as an action star. Then he did then he brought him in, but he's still not a megastar. He's He's a star, but he's not a megastar. At this point, Ocean's 11 cents into
Ted Griffin 34:32
In 2000 the perfect storm but all that's right. Yeah, he's that which is debatable because it's like, is he the star or is the wave?
Alex Ferrari 34:41
I would agree with you and mark that as well. Mark Wahlberg is in that and yeah,
Ted Griffin 34:46
But there's the perception of and three kings did well, but not mega well. So it's certainly the perception of like that he can lead a movie star in a movie but whether he's like a And I would say there are very few people who are movie stars. And just because they're in the movie, it's ahead and I'm not even sure if you could say George was ever got to that in the way that Julia Roberts was like, who came? I don't know what the title is. It's the movies called Julia Roberts. That way Nicholson was that way cruises that way. It's it's rarefied air. Anyway, so. So in the January 2000 days, sign on, I'm in New York, but Soderbergh just has Erin Brockovich coming out, which actually proves to be is like, the movie that really kind of restarts things outside got cred but flopped. Erin Brockovich, any wants to make traffic first. So in this irony of like, the Warner Brothers is in too much of a hurry to wait for Brett to do family man. But then when they give it to Steven, and he says, I need to wait a year they say okay. And so we're not going to start until 2001. And, but then, like, the I had, like some of those notions of casting. And for the rest of you, Ryan role I'd always had like, what I would say is like, the really terrific actor who isn't quite a movie star, whether it's the equivalent would be God. I don't know like, went to a movie star. At the time, like Jeff Goldblum, Kevin Spacey, there are certain people who are like that who are like, Oh, I would almost say that I've not seen Ocean's eight. But Ocean's eight sort of does this in that it's Sandra Bullock, and Cate Blanchett. Like Cate Blanchett is like a really interesting person to put in that, but she's not a movie you put in. She's not the star. She's on a movie star of that kind of movie. Anyway, so Brad Pitt comes aboard. That's a surprise to me. Like that's an elevation. The rest of the cast. I always knew it was going to be like, had it. And the one rule I did write for a specific actor was I wrote Saul for Ellen Ark and, and we do cast him. And he does a table read, which is one of the funniest two hours I've been in a room like he's so spectacularly funny. And then had to drop out two days later for because of a medical crisis, which happily 23 years later, was no big deal. So Karina replaced Why am I still here? Anyway? So I guess your original question was, how did a guy with two flop movies coming out? That's, that's an answer. Turned into that, which was like, step by step, meaning it was like, it was a, it was sort of a broken development thing. I barely squeezed by what? Like, I'm not sure maybe I didn't know enough just to say, Oh, I'm gonna throw out your concept and start over. And then also look, because lots of I mean, not just like family men could have not come together. It could have been Breton movie and he could have cast Charlie Sheen. Sucker, Christopher, and Christopher, which would have been a different thing. And who knows, Matt and Ben could have said, Yes. There's at some point. I asked if somebody at Warner's, who do you think is going to direct this movie as I turned it in? And they said, Brian Robins, and that's Brian Robins are running paramount. And this is where like, oh, you see, this is really broadly comic like, and, you know, to some degree, I'm jumping ahead of myself, but same thing happened. This is what on tower highest, which in some ways, there's a version of that which I like more than oceans. So all all the you know, it's the reverse decision meaning. Again, I like I don't think they cast it the way I would have cast it. Like I think it was the ultimately pursued who to comedically, got it. And if they had if they'd kept it real, I think and and not cast comedians. It would have been an hour or at least that's more of what I had my head.
Alex Ferrari 39:30
Alright, so now so Ocean's 11 gets made, you know, basically sets up George for the rest of his life as a not only a megastar, but a tequila magnate.
Ted Griffin 39:43
Without OSHA's original dream.
Alex Ferrari 39:45
Obviously, at the beginning, he's like, I'm gonna make this movie and then eventually sell that tequila company for obscene amounts of money.
Ted Griffin 39:52
But the whole representative,
Alex Ferrari 39:54
Exactly, exactly but to be fair, though, without the coolness of Ocean's 11 That pretty much sets up George for that cool vibe that he had. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. I mean, the Vegas vibe and the other movies that he made and everything is all set up off of ocean. So he owes you a check. I'm just throwing that out there. It's called Giorgio.
Ted Griffin 40:24
I saw him that he gave a million dollars to all his best friends. When I looked at my phone, waiting for it to ring
Alex Ferrari 40:32
Didn't happen. Alright, so after Ocean's 11 comes out, I mean, it's a mega hit. It's a massive, massive, massive hit worldwide. How does the town treat the guy who wrote ravenous and that other movie? After after the fact like, could you're in the middle of this hurricane, I always love asking screenwriters and filmmakers to get caught up in kind of this cyclone of a movie, how does the town cheat you? What lessons did you learn during your waterbottle? Tours? Because at this point, you have a golden ticket if I'm not mistaken, or is Am I wrong on that? Like, I mean, there's
Ted Griffin 41:07
A change not only in like, you know, certainly people are a little nicer to you. And then when you're in rooms, talking about something, you have a credibility that from success that you didn't have before as opposed to have credibility from doing a good piece of work, to different things. And jumping ahead again, I made 12 years ago, I made a TV series called terriers, which only lasted a season because it was commercially disastrous. Like it just didn't get washed by anybody. However, it was like got a lot of political love. And like there now a podcast or two about it. And for a one season show. Like it's, like ravenous, it's still like, it's a thing that won't die. And I talked to a lot of people say, who always volunteer, not always sorry, but who often volunteer how much they love it. I've never however, it didn't. Because it was good. In a lot of people's minds didn't make my phone ring. Like it would have been successful. I'd have a TV career now.
Alex Ferrari 42:21
Right, you can get a bad script that made $500 million, and the phone's gonna rank but if you write the best script ever, and it doesn't make any money, okay,
Ted Griffin 42:28
So it is better, in ways to be lucky than good. But but so Ocean's is is, is quite successful. And I sense it, and even before it's come out, I've been able to set up this project Matchstick Men at Warner's that is making oceans with my brother to write with me, sort of to get him because he had helped out considerably on oceans on sort of figuring out because they were the one of the challenges of oceans stepped backwards. The second is, is that there's just a lot of plumbing, there's a lot of structural work of you have 11 guys you have to take care of, and there's a balance, and you have to keep them all active. And
Alex Ferrari 43:17
It's a juggling act. It's a juggling major
Ted Griffin 43:19
So, so it's just sort of like, there's a lot of work that should be unseen, or reasonably seamless, if this movie is going to work. And that was just a little, like, little daunting. So So I write Matchstick Men with my brother, and which as its own, sort of, and I'm, I'm attaches producer as well, because coming off the experience of the first two movies, I didn't want to where I was left out of rooms about who's going to direct this, who's going to be in it. How do we promote this? And I was furious at times of like, the producers who had really never produced anything. Were were in rooms that I was not allowed into because of I was the writer, just the writer. I made that point and and haven't yet. And yet, the same thing happened in that Robert doesn't make us reads the script. And for those who haven't seen magic, man, I'm gonna spoil it because it's been. It's been 20 years, you've had
Alex Ferrari 44:30
Spoiler, spoiler alert, fast forward.
Ted Griffin 44:33
It's based on a book and in the book, there's a con man who finds out he has a daughter and he tries to start a relationship. And it all goes everything goes sideways. And at the end, he realizes that he's been conned that it's not his daughter and and the book ends with him being like, Oh, I got taken. And when I read that, I thought, Ah, there's a lot I liked this story. I just I actually kind of hate the twist for a guy who likes twist movies. I like it's unfulfilling, maybe I saw it coming. I don't know. So when I pitched to Warner's I say, I want to do this book but I want to actually take the twist out and just make it like an authentic emotional drama but it was with crime and the stuff in it, but it should be. Not a tear jerker, because that feels but going back to this billboard thing, it should deliver a motion machine. It's about a relationship. And we write that script, and we actually get Alfonso Koran is interested. Fortunately, this is Alfonso Kron coming off of great expectations for Warner's, which was not a success. So it's pretty easy to mama, Alfonso Crone. And so even though that's really enticing to me. We also get a call from Robert Zemeckis, saying, I love this, but I read the I heard about this twist, and I'd like to put that back in and Warner's is. Lorenz's bond matures, the head of Warner is the saying you should do is go as Americans and make the change. And so while I may be a hot, dry, hot writer, I'm a baby producer. And so I go to a meeting with Zemeckis, who by the way is about as smart and director was story as any I've met, like he does come from a writing background and he is like, all of the directors I've worked with in talk in script meetings, he's probably the sharpest because he
Alex Ferrari 46:39
That's saying a lot. You've worked with some amazing people.
Ted Griffin 46:42
Yeah, but he's really the, like the writer of the I mean, when you look at Back to the Future, that's a it's a perfect script. is incredible script. So So basically, he says, like, I'd like to make this twist work and I say okay, but if we put the twist in, I need an epilogue of with this, these two characters come together again, like something like briefing cat or something where you see like, oh, he may have been bullsh. He may have been taken. But there was, it wasn't all alive, meaning there was the religion. There was something there. So we write that script. Does it make us his great, I'm gonna send it to Tom Hanks right now he does Tom entry just goes. Let's do Polar Express instead. So the MC MC is off the movie. You want to make Polar Express? And just like Mike Newell, it's sort of like, okay, now he's gonna drag this thing.
Alex Ferrari 47:35
But you find you find that you find that young and up and coming, Director Director? Was his name Ridley something or other?
Ted Griffin 47:40
Right! Yes. He was a very exciting young guy I went to. And here's a lesson I learned. And I feel like I may have told this story again, too. But now I'm just playing this. I'm just like that old guy. Like, I stopped but Baedeker interviewed once and he's just told the same or twice and he told the same stories and both interviews, because he was old. And anyway, so I get invited to some cocktail party during award season in honor of David Lynch, because I think it's the year of Mulholland Drive. But that also means that Ridley has been nominated for Black Hawk Down, and he's there and I've met his girlfriend now wife, Jen, Nina, Basilio, one of the great, whirling dervish phenomenal women of all time, and I'm petrified of meeting readily and but she drags me across and says me down with them. And I'm just like, not quite sure what to say, except what are you doing next? And he says, I'm got this movie Tripoli, but it's gonna take nine months to prep. All this tells me the story. And I say, Well, I got this little movie, you could shoot, like right here while you're doing all that. And then he says, we'll send it in the next day. I send it to Janina. She reads it gives it to him. The next week, we got Ridley Scott, which teaches you always go to that cocktail party.
Alex Ferrari 49:14
If lessons learned,
Ted Griffin 49:15
If there's a if there's an opportunity to celebrate David Lynch, go do that. And then meet Ridley Scott.
Alex Ferrari 49:22
I kind of I gotta say the so for people listening in this is something that's so underestimated. The universe works the way the universe works. And you just happen to fall into a lot of it seems like from the stories you've told so far, you fall into these things like opportunities kind of present themselves, you're doing the work, and you've got the script and you're doing things but like what, like how do you plan that you can't plan that cocktail party for David Lynch that you happen to sit at a table with Ridley Scott and he happens to has a window of opportunity. There's a lot of luck involved, but the point is that you have to kind of keep working and keep moving forward to be rare. Ready for that luck when that luck shows up. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Right? Because if you wouldn't do that, if you would have gone there without a script, you would have been like, I've met really Scott that night. That's kind of cool. But if you had another
Ted Griffin 50:20
And there's good luck and bad luck, and then it was great luck that I really did it and that Matt and Ben said no, and that, whatever and then there's bad luck that what have I already said that yesterday plans just went to the wrong people or did like, like, every movie you can kind of look at and say it is it is a consequence of these planets aligning, or not aligning. And they're all the stories of that, like how Casa Blanca almost was Ronald Reagan, which it really wasn't, but
Alex Ferrari 50:56
They were writing that as they were,
Ted Griffin 50:58
That year was that person was hot. And so that's why that movie was with that like. So there's yes, there's a lot of luck involved, I would say this as a, my usual piece of advice is that. And this is probably true, a lot of things. But in Hollywood, if it's like, if Hollywood was a roulette wheel, it actually allows you to make as many bets as you want to meaning you can kind of cover or that you can generate, meaning it's. So try to get as many bets on the table as possible, which means try to write as many very good scripts as you can, or something just go to that cocktail party or take that meeting because you like because you don't know. And so this the this is an example of that of like, it's like, alright, I'll go to I'll go to that. And that's what happened. Now. I've also been to probably 25 Other unmemorable cocktail parties. Sure. Oh, yeah. So anyway, so So then that leads me into a year of making magic man, which is probably my maybe one of my favorite years of making a movie because really was so much fun. And it was like a delightful time, and we're on town. And like, if I could like relive a year just for the fun of it, it was great. The movie doesn't do great. So and I begin to sense of like, oh, I don't have this. Like, it's not I'm not quite oceans. Like, you're only as good as your next one. So it's not like,
Alex Ferrari 52:48
You're not as shiny anymore. You're not shiny anymore.
Ted Griffin 52:50
Yeah. And, but during the process of making that one, I've also are actually going back to even to Ocean's 11. I'm, you know, it's on my mind, always of like, okay, can I direct this thing that I am writing whatever I'm writing and on oceans, it's obviously not a chat, like it's just too big. It's not a first film. Matchstick Men, it sort of strikes me like well, it's contained, but it really needs a movie star like it's it's not a if you look at the great first films, which I would go with, let's say Blood Simple. Reservoir Dogs body heat, you look back and say well, it was William Hurt and Kathleen Turner but really blue Kelly in general, but it was her first movie and William Hurt was like not a star yet. I said Blood Simple, which is pretty much unknown. I feel like there's another good example of like, this very smart, usually crime based. Right. The irony is that like that Spielberg's first movie, if you consider it Sugarland Express. Not exactly duels his first movie. Yeah, but Chiclana sure, at its best is actually like, kind of a good idea for his first movie, but because like only Han was a big star, so it's like, and it actually that's the one that doesn't do it for him.
Alex Ferrari 54:20
But the shark that with the broken shark movie is the one that
Ted Griffin 54:25
Anyway, so I finally I have an idea for a first movie, even though like I'm still living in the past of wishing I had best laid plans back as a first movie, but I think of this one and I, when I'm working with Soderbergh on oceans, I mentioned it to him and he says he has this company with George and that they're, they'll produce other people's work and they have final cuts. So basically, that means I'll have final cut, and that sounds phenomenal. And and we're like getting along great. So we set this movie up with She's a comedy, female lead comedy. And then I take too long to write it because it's sort of like I'm like, I'm being too careful about it overthinking it. Yeah, overthinking it, but ultimately, in 2003, I'm done. I turned the studio and, and we've sort of, they seem to support it. And I go, but they're only a few people. Because it's a Warner Brothers movie, which, and it's the Warner Brothers movie because I, because it's a Steven George's company, it's there. It really shouldn't be it should be an independent movie, or it should be like, Fox, Searchlight, Fox Searchlight, something like that, which Warner didn't really have that briefly was independent, but it never really took. It just was not the culture that place. And so really, like we have, there's kind of one name that they think they'll want to make it with. And that's Jennifer Aniston, who's not had a very successful film career to date, but is has made them so much money on friends because it's same company. So we sent it to her. She says yes, but let's wait until we're done. I'm done with friends and like, six, seven months. And I say great. So we're waiting on that. I'm continuing to push things forward and we get some ultimately we get a sort of a dream or my dream cast of Kevin Costner and Shirley MacLaine and Mark Ruffalo for this movie. And Richard Jenkins, and not leave anybody else. While I'm waiting for that to go, I forget how much to tell about this, because this is sort of one of those. I'll tell you later. While I'm waiting for that to go. Akiva Goldsman who i is, has an office down the hallway from me, calls me up one day and says, I got this script. Brad's going to do. We had Halle Berry, but she just walked off. And he's getting cold feet. We read it and come to a meeting tomorrow, because you just did oceans and he's gonna listen to you on blah, blah, honestly, a great seminar script was called Mr. And Mrs. Smith, oh, and who's so who's taking Halle Berry as part Angelyn is really great. So I go on to the next day in a meeting with Doug Liman and Akiva, and Brad meets Angelina, at this meeting. And oh, geez, Foster is also the producer. We spent two days going through the script, page by page, this assignment script, right? Simon script. It's got some names on it already. Like Carrie Fisher, I can't remember who else. So you never know, what's been done. And you don't know if what's been done has been for the better. Like, it's always,
Alex Ferrari 57:59
But it was on But Simon's the first one who wrote the script.
Ted Griffin 58:01
He was yes, it was. Anyway, so as a favorite of the pit family, I do a couple of weeks on this. And, and also just dry. I think it's, I see what this one generally to talk about scripts you've written on that you don't have credit on some because there's a reason why they have the credit things. And, and it's, there's some people who say, Oh, yeah, I did a couple of weeks on that. And now it's sort of like it because you're really kind of taking away credit. So I don't like talking about I'm telling you about this, because it's part of my story. But there are other there's other Script doctoring, I've done, that I don't talk about because it's bad form. It's bad form, that form of you know, if you go in the change one line, suddenly people are saying, Oh, well, wasn't really his script, it was because somebody did something. And anyway, so I, I do some time on this. And which is one of those sorts of things where doing the really right thing turns out to be kind of doing the wrong thing for yourself in that way. And without getting into a lot of details, because this is also sort of the omerta part of show businesses. You can't talk too much about what actually goes down, because you won, even if you've never worked with these people again, and there are a few people here I will never work with again. Like you don't want to have the reputation of like the guy who taught who kisses and tells
Alex Ferrari 59:40
You not to be a rat, rats or you don't want to be a rat,
Ted Griffin 59:43
Right! But just just short stories. I started writing my first movie, and at the same time, Mr. Mrs. Smith is doing reshoots, and it's really complicated. Everybody's relationships
Alex Ferrari 1:00:09
I'll just do the second you brought those names in. I was like, I know where this is going. Rohloff got it. And
Ted Griffin 1:00:16
So so I've got a lot to deal with.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:20
Ted Griffin 1:00:22
I also have like, I'm an, even though I've written some movies and produced Ridley Scott movie, there are some, like I'm in a different chair and figuring out a relationship with a DP for the rest of my life, which is also not going well, I have a very bad relationship with the DP that I've been hired at Soderbergh suggestion, which is basically the one thing he sort of suggested was, Oh, this guy's good. And however, I'm really every day, I'm waking up and saying, Oh, God, this is Christmas morning. Like I'm finally directing a movie. And while there's a moment every day where I'm absolutely terrified, like, I'm finally living the life that I have been aspiring to, since I was 10. And these are running long, but we're making them. And I'm not hearing from the studio, because from having now made two movies from them. I know like when they're, when they show up on set, that's a sign and they haven't shown on set. And then two weeks in, Soderbergh and Clooney show up on set, and they say we've just come from the studio, and they're really unhappy. I say, well, they haven't told me this.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:38
And well, you shot too, which you've got two weeks on this movie. I've shot two weeks on this. Do you want to? Do you want to name do you want to say the name of the movie?
Ted Griffin 1:01:47
At the time? It was called Untitled Ted Griffin project. Okay. And it was set in my hometown, Pasadena, and based on a real rumor that I grew up knowing that involve the movie The graduate. And oh, yeah. Yeah. So so they say this, I'm a little confused by it. But they say we're gonna, we're gonna shut down per day, you're gonna change DPS. And I say, Great. I'm fine with that. They'll give us both take Friday off, so forth. And so I shoot one more day, still haven't heard from the studio. And, and then somebody comes to me and says, When I add wrap, they say, you have to defend your job tomorrow. Now you're on the chopping block. And I say, all right, but why? Like, what's the problem here? And they say, they say Stephen went to the studio and said, None of your footage is usable. I say, well, he told me that they didn't like it. And part of that there's a long Soderbergh story leading up to this, which I'm not going to tell here. But basically, I go in to meet Steven the next day, with 20 minutes of cut footage, and he won't look at it. He says you're out. I don't need to see this. And that's. And so a project I had started, which was about my hometown, which I had sort of worked on years to get going, is suddenly taken away without a note, literally, without never heard from the studio. And nobody, Besides, my editor had seen any of the cut footage. So there's, it's not really sort of about that. If you want to fill in the blanks, we can, yes, thanks. And, but and so at that point, it's sort of like, it's like 2.0 of like, oh, this town. Yeah, I'll do and, and also, again, like this is for the studio that I started this franchise, four, I'd said no to 12, which is a whole story we'll get into if you want. But I'm now running into Albert Hughes land of blank, this is gonna be the longest podcast talking, our
Alex Ferrari 1:04:26
Will hang for a little bit longer, because we still gotta get to Marty. And that's a whole other conversation.
Ted Griffin 1:04:32
And so, so from that point on what happens next and yeah, and then then I'm just like, for a while I'm just like a boxer who's been like, punched, punched in the back of the head, who doesn't know what corner to go to, like, I spend like, the months or, you know, arguably a year just sort of like what just fuck just happened?
Alex Ferrari 1:04:57
You were blindsided. You were blindsided.
Ted Griffin 1:05:00
I'm able to do some fun work on some other movies. And at some point I get hooked up, we'll get right to it. I get hooked up with Scorsese. Because
Alex Ferrari 1:05:14
Real quick before you get to Marty, you did work on up in the air a bit
Ted Griffin 1:05:21
Before this happened, I had been sent the script by Sheldon Turner. Yeah, up here based on based on the book by Walter Kern and, and come on as producer and potentially director had sold to Ivan Reitman, his company at Paramount, I think, Andre marks I forgot, I forgot. And I had developed that my brother had written a draft of it. I had done a bit. And then in the aftermath of my getting fired, there was like, it was not a good one. It was not a good first movie. And it was not, not a good. It was like a better second movie because it really didn't need a star. And it was like now with the asterisk next to my name have fired. It was like, Oh, this is not like Georgia, Brad. And so I sort of say Go with God, and I step away from it. And I think it was then four or five years passed before I get a call from Ivan Reitman saying Jason has rewritten and is going to direct and I say with Clooney, I say great. There's a JSON made it very much his own. There are a lot of bones from Sheldon scripts, and a couple of remnants from my brother's rewrite, which are still in there. But But I was a 100% a see at the premiere producer or executive producer on it. Okay. So I've, in fact, I've never met Jason.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:00
That removed that removed from the project. Got it? Yeah. All right. So
Ted Griffin 1:07:06
We'll say that it was all a success was because of me, and no one else. Obviously, sir. magnanimously. I will take full credit for it. Oscar nominations.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:17
So I mean, that I mean, you've gone through so much crap. And I mean, we're just scratching the surface. By the way, I know that you've got days and days of stories about what you've gone through. And I really hope people listening understand that this is stuff they don't teach in school. This is stuff that generally doesn't be it's not talked about out loud. You know, these are the things this is the thing is you and I were at a cocktail party. These are the you we have a drink, and we tell these stories, and I just that's why I love doing the show, because I hope these stories get out there. So people understand what the reality of this business is. And it's not. They don't play by rules.
Ted Griffin 1:07:55
It's rough. Right? It's it's, and by the way, a lot of this stuff can't be taught meaning i There's a great story and William Goldman's book about Lisa icorn getting fired as the star of this movie all night long made in 1980. She was starring in this movie with opposite Gene Hackman. And overnight Oh, no. And over a weekend, somebody gave us rice and the script, the movies two weeks into production, somebody gives Streisand the script and Streisand said, Oh, I would have done that or would do that. And the studio goes, Oh, we could have a Hackman Streisand movie. The next day, they fired Lisa icorn, who's doing a great job. They rewrite the script, they resume production with Streisand, and it's a fucking massive bomb, which you can't, like barely can find anywhere. And Lisa Acorn's, I've actually met in the aftermath of my experience, she very sweetly called me up and gave me her perspective on some of the people who were involved. And some of her wisdom, her hard earned wisdom from this, you know, had a really terrific career going and that was like it, it throws you of course, it's even knowing that story going, like having read that story. It's like there's no way you can there's no there's no teaching, there's no way to learn that other than to have a lot of experience and sort of have a sense of people.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:28
Well, the thing I was telling you before we jumped on is you know, my whole story with the mafia and almost made that big movie and met all these big movie stars. I never got to the level of your production of like working with these movie stars and you were already done a bunch of stuff and it'd be yanked away from you like that is so for me heartbreak and I wanted to I was in depression for three years and it completely destroyed my my subconscious mind about the business till recently, like within the last five years, I figured out out. Oh, that's why I've been doing sabotaging myself for the last 25 years because I didn't want to go through that pain again. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. And these are the kinds of talks that I want people to listen to because it's not all you know, like I always tell people I always tell people this. I know you want to know what Hollywood is like, watch the Oscars on Oscar night right? And that's on Hollywood Boulevard. And on the on the camera, it looks great. But the second The Oscars are over. You don't want to walk down that street. Right there.
Ted Griffin 1:10:38
You really night when I'm gonna say briefings, and again, I trust that if anything's boring, you can cut this out. Sir. Just one. The movie is called rumor has it which I call Reiner has it because Rob Reiner took over the movie, too. In the aftermath, somebody started internet rumor about how terrible Kevin Costner was to me and berating me and how he insisted on me getting fired. I had not started working with Kevin Costner on the movie yet he was actually an enormous champion in the in prep, giving me all sorts of advice about directing, which I was not getting from anybody else on my team because he's an Oscar winning director Oscar winning director but was like it was extraordinarily helpful and was a great guy and in the aftermath Am I getting fired? Like lonely is beachhouse to like recuperate in invited me to his wedding was just an all star. Just to put that to bed. Not Costner. Other people lovely people involved rough. Hello, McLean. Just blast still friends, Jenkins, one of the I think one of the great actors, so and then and also in the aftermath. My, my trapezium was my first assistant director on the movie, terrific guy had also worked with Phil Kaufman and set me up with Phil for a cup of coffee up in San Francisco. This is 2005. So I've been fired the year before. And Phil, famously, was fired off the Outlaw Josey, Wales in 1975. Jesus, okay, movie came out somebody sick. So I'm not sure when exactly but and he was directing for two weeks when he got tapped on the shoulder. And that night was like, on a plane back from Montana or whatever. And is Eastwood, Clint Eastwood, the star took over directing, which begat the GGA rule, these would rule which basically says nobody on a crew or in a cast can take over directing, basically to prevent the director from getting sabotaged from with them. And so, Phil, and I had this cup of coffee. I think he asked me not to repeat the story. So sorry, Phil. But basically, you know, went through the how similar our experiences were. Not that I think it's like it happens all the time. It this is sort of rare, they're replaced directors, but but people because Phil had written that script to to have this happen. And I asked Phil, one had he spoken that used word in the intervening 30 years. And he said, No. I asked him if he'd ever bothered watching Outlaw Josey, Wales. And he said, No, that he went into a video store once in the 80s. And it was on the TV there. So he just left. And then I sort of I said something else that was like, now what? And he said, Ted, I don't want to go like I was obviously irritating him or he was still 30 years later, rah, rah rah about it. And for me, it's now coming up on 19 years, and it's sort of like, oh, go fuck yourself. Like, I
Alex Ferrari 1:14:02
Ohh no, you're gonna go to your grave with it. I understand. I get it. Trust me. I get it. i If anybody gets it, I get it. But my experience with that was the I get it. No, I can't believe that it's there.
Ted Griffin 1:14:13
So I've never seen rumor has it? And I and they're, they're three people I have not spoken to since.
Alex Ferrari 1:14:25
Fair enough. So then, so let's let's turn to page. There is this other guy that you worked with? By the name of Martin Scorsese? Yes. With all of the stuff that you've gone through. How did you get hooked up with Wolf Wolf of Wall Street with Martin?
Ted Griffin 1:14:45
I went another it's a it was a dinner party this time and I knew I said, Yes, right away. I had an agent in common a guy named Chris Donnelly continues to represent both of us. And he invited me to a dinner a week For the Oscars for the department, and it was a big table like 10 or 12 people. And Mario is going to be there and I just, I decided I'm going to impress, I'm going to try to impress this guy, because I know all I know, movies, and of everyone I know. I'm the Martin Scorsese of everyone I know. And then I started talking to him, and I said, Wow, do I have a long way to go? Like, instantly, like wildly impressive of like, oh, there's a mind at work on unlike any I've experienced thus far. And it and when people you know, misuse the word genius. It's because like it's a it's a different level of intelligence, but also extraordinarily extraordinary passion. And that is unrelenting, both in preserving movies, obviously, making movies and teaching about movies. So we had a very nice dinner, I tried to not go to too much smoke or tap dance too much, but and then he won the Oscar the next week, because you know, he could never
Alex Ferrari 1:16:21
Ted Griffin 1:16:22
And God, just a few months pass and I got a call from Chris Donnelly saying that this Spanish sparkling wine called kava fresh in a does a an annual Christmas ad. And they back the money truck up to Marty just saying make us a short film, which was sort of in vogue, then BMW was making those Yeah, the dividends. Yeah. And so so. So this was like, and so they're saying, Do you have any ideas, and I wrote one up, which I thought was a blast, which was that the conceit being that Marty has been approached about redoing the Copa shot, the Copacabana shot from Goodfellas, the long one, or which ends with a bottle of champagne being brought out. And so I thought, okay, he's got to redo that shot. For this ad. Only, we see all the things that can go wrong in a winner. And then we see him respond to this in a film that begins to replicate, like the part of Goodfellas, where Ray Liotta is losing his ship. And the last third was brilliant, some voiceover and stopping and things like that. And I thought, the first like, eight to 10 minute movie that can be lost. And I write that up. I think I pitched it to him over the phone, write that up, send it to him, Marty says, This is terrific, like, come out next week, and we'll start to get to work on it. And I by the time I land, or I get there, and I get word of like Marty doesn't want to do that. It's too self referential. I say I totally get that. But oh, God, I'd love to see it. But I totally get that he says, But he must see if you have any, like, come and talk and have if you have any other ideas, so we then spend like three full days in his office in New York. I'm now 36 about to be 37 and like three years, kind of, I would say off trying to get it back together again after my beheading or Deepan saying depending on and but but but three days of like being able to play tennis against whoever, your Bjorn Borg, or whatever the absolutely top person you've ever done anything with and being able to sort of like, Hey, I'm in the room with this person, and we're hitting the ball back together. And not only is it a dream come true, but it's also a sort of restoring confidence restoring of like, oh, yeah, I can I can I can play in this league. And we're more or less we hit on an idea of like, kind of a because Hitchcock used champagne as a MacGuffin, and notorious, we think, Okay, is there something to do with Hitchcock here? With who's obviously a big influence on Scorsese, and we ultimately come up with this idea, and then a few weeks later, shoot it over the course of three days, called the key to Reserva which we make it premieres in Spain and Madrid that Christmas we go out we both get food poisoning at the premiere and, and fly home, like dire like vomiting and pooping out of all ends with but with Martin Scorsese, so it's obviously it's a trip. But I would say it's my favorite thing I've ever done. Short Form.
Alex Ferrari 1:19:52
Vomiting and diarrhea.
Ted Griffin 1:19:54
Yeah, that too because that was reducing. So I knew that it is available on The Internet, if you Google, go to YouTube. Good reserve a, it should pop up, keep reserve Scorsese. It really works better if you know the works of Alfred Hitchcock but and I'm in it with him for a little bit. And it's sort of like the if I just if I can if I gave her go to heaven and St. Peter says, I got 10 minutes. What do you got kid, I will play this form. And it's also the one thing I would say I've written where it's sort of like, across the board, everything was a little better than I imagined, which is, as opposed to everything else was like, wow, that worked out great. I wanted something different from that, blah, blah. This was just sort of like so. So it's sort of this, this great experience, and also kicks off a beautiful relationship in which weirdly, like, because I can kind of hang with them and talk movies, I get pulled back into things. He's done two projects with friendly Boyd's documentary called public speaking, which was HBO in 2010. And then Netflix series called partenza city, which was a couple years ago. And if you watch those, it's sort of he's interviewing friendly bullets. And there's a guy sitting next to him that you occasionally it's sort of here that's me. And what unlike I've supplied my voice or delay in some other Doc's and weird stuff, and then Wolf of Wall Street, about a week before production, Terry Weiner, who written the script, like it had to get back to Boardwalk. And so but there were like things they, they, they just had this massive production was so many days, and they just needed somebody around to make sure like, they could make their days. And so I was again, this is not, I'm talking about something out of school because I was not a writer on it. I was a co producer. But part of that was saying, we can combine these two scenes or do this they're at just to keep the machine learning. Unreal. So and because I was there for all of that they threw me in as Kyle Chandler's FBI partner, where you never hear me speak. But I stand around a lot on a boat with him, Leo. And then in another scene, where Leo's selling stocks to some poor sap on the phone. I'm the poor sap on the phone. Who is pretending to pluck up the ass. You may remember that. Leo's thinking about me while he's talking that guy up the ass. So
Alex Ferrari 1:22:57
So So you weren't you're on? You're on set most of the time on that on that project?
Ted Griffin 1:23:01
Pretty much. Yeah, for the first definitely. For that first half. I was there. And then a hurricane was the sandy like, Yeah, shut everything down for a week. I went back to LA and then was sort of like coming back.
Alex Ferrari 1:23:16
In and out. Yeah, that Yeah. So so on that show. I mean, what was because you were on that show? What was the craziest day that you witnessed that you were like, how the hell is Marty gonna get out of this? Is there a day like that, that you're like, This is insane.
Ted Griffin 1:23:31
I mean, there's some. And it was actually a lot of answers that there are days that I just didn't want to be there. Like, the origin on the plane is just sort of like it's a lot of extras. We're about to get naked. And it's just, it's awkward. It's awkward. It's awkward. It's not like there's there's still a craft service table. Like it's not fun. Like it's just filming. Filming an orgy is not true. But I can imagine having read Barry Sonnenfeld 's book that you can end up with a face full of feces.
Alex Ferrari 1:24:07
What am I, by the way, one of my favorite conversations I've ever had on the show with Barry. That was that was the first five minutes by the way. He told that story. Yeah.
Ted Griffin 1:24:16
So but there are a couple of moments. I mean, I was very impressed. And this by the way, I'm one of my favorite stories about Mari is on key reserver because it was a two day shoot. And at the by the end of two days like we were we needed, like a lot more and so we were able to get a third day paid for. And Marty put in a 23 hour day. Now this is a guy who's won every possible award who's at that time. 65 years old, has nothing to prove to anybody. This is a commercial that won't be seen in the States. But he works his ass off for 23 hours. They didn't make it right. Like to make it the best possible thing it is. and not and not in a profligate way. But but because we had gotten out 50% over schedule that in a third day to a two day shoot. And there was something so inspiring about a guy who's just can't allow himself to do anything. Any less any less than his best. And, and there, you know, without going naming names. There's some bad mentors. In my career, people, I thought, oh, yeah, I don't want to be that person or that filmmaker. And Marty is like the Pope. He's both the guy who says, Who is what he says, who isn't? Cardinal McCarrick, who's the priest who raised a bunch? I gotta be terrible if there's libel issues here. So but on on so on, Wolf of Wall Street. That scene on the boat with Kyle Chandler talking to Leo and Maeve standing looming around in the background, that's a six page scene to lots of that's a lot of stuff. He did that on one day. Daylight dependent and something even a three persons, you know, two and a half person seeing like that, to get that much done is very impressive. I was also there's a lot of one of the very complex Steadicam shots when they the FBI raids, the Stratton Oakmont and I'm part of bizbash with the most fun I had, because I got to run and yell at people as an FBI agent. But it was fun watching them put that together, because it's one of those things where the first take was so terrible. And, um, um, I do it. And then I go back to the monitor sitting with them. And I go, Oh, I know this, because if I'm here in the director's chair, I feel all the pressure on me right now, because that's terrible. And I've got to fix it. And I sort of learned I watched him was like, Alright, let's do it again, and make this one change. And then we did it again and get a little better. And then maybe five or six more takes, and then it was and it was done. But it there's a lesson of, especially in directing of your, at some point, things are going to be unsolvable and terrible, and you won't know what to do. But you will have to one, not freak out to make some suggestion to like, try it again. And then because you're surrounded by professionals, it'll actually suddenly kind of click and Oh, you'll be fine. But it's just sort of like you have to, like breathe through that. That's, and again, it's one of those things that you would think you would be somebody would stop and tell you before directing your first movie, or going into the industry. Or when you get signed by an agent, I always thought that there would be some day where somebody would say, sit down, say, Okay, you're about to go into a meeting with this producer. Keep this in mind. Think about this, blah, blah, blah. You just get thrown into the deep end of the pool. Yes. In Hollywood, like it's purely learning by experience, you can. You can talk to a lot of people, but nobody's going to ever sit you down and say, or at least nobody ever sat me down. And I don't think anybody else. Nobody's ever volunteered the great life lesson speech they got from somebody else. So
Alex Ferrari 1:28:39
Well, so. So I mean, it's fascinating that after this, this whole, this whole gambit of stories you've told us and your adventures in, in the in the screen in the script, screen game as a script game, as you say. You even when you went to the lowest point, you still kind of come up from the ashes in many ways and get to work with your hero, one of your heroes, Marty, and not only once, multiple times on different things. And it's just I feel like that was the universe just going you know, he's been through some stuff. Let them let's let's give him an Attaboy.
Ted Griffin 1:29:22
I don't know, man. Pretty good. Boy.
Alex Ferrari 1:29:25
I mean, because at the end of the day, this isn't magical. It's I mean, yes, the throwing up in the diarrhea. That's one thing which was magical in its own right. But that you're able to work with, you know, it'd be the equivalent of you know, somebody working with Steven Spielberg. Or or Cameron or school brick or Hitchcock. I mean, you're hanging out on the set watching the master work, people someone who you idolized growing up, and and I've heard from people who've worked with Marty he's absolutely a genius. There's just his mind works at a completely different I'm like you I'm Martin Scorsese of my group of friends, we'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. And so you either meet Quentin, or you meet Marty. And when those two get together, that's fascinating to watch there, because they just have such an encyclopedic knowledge of film. Like, I'm like, Oh, I'm pretty good. Like, you're like, Yeah, I've seen a lot of movies, but you'd like No, that's
Ted Griffin 1:30:32
Right. And there's also something about either making Marty laugh, or a good idea that impresses him. And you kind of feel like, you're just on top of the world, for the rest of the day is sort of like I like it's like I Please dad, and because he's getting older in this business, there are fewer and fewer dads, and not about a it's not even about age, this is more about like, oh, that person didn't turn out to be what I hoped or you realize, you walk into some rooms, and they're, the people aren't as smart as you'd hoped they'd be or aren't as passionate about movies, they're there for the wrong reasons. And they're in Hollywood attracts people for a lot of the wrong reasons. So when you find like that person who can be who really impresses you, it's sort of like, there. It feels great to sort of impress them.
Alex Ferrari 1:31:31
What if you had a chance to go back to your, to your, to yourself, when you were just about to come into this business? What would be the one thing you wish you would tell yourself? Like, watch out for this? Besides, rumor has it
Ted Griffin 1:31:44
Again, it's sort of like, every step of the way. I made a, I think a really smart choice. I went with a company that would was announcing that they would give me Final Cut. I'm not absolutely the actress who I thought it was gonna give me the the student that was going to please the studio. And, and so and they're like, yes, there's some rotten luck. And there's kind of some things I didn't see about people soon enough, which is tough to see meaning it's out there. I've been fooled since it's not like and I know other people who've not seen it common. Despite a lot of experience. My regret, I think is going to college or going to college for four years. Like there's something about I can't remember what Orson Welles his education was, but it was I'm not sure if he graduated high school, Spielberg dropped out of his freshman year. I'm here I'm hearing to an actress, which is probably a mistake, but it was in the Broadway theater. And and she dropped out of Carnegie Mellon after a year and it's sort of like, you know what, nobody in this town checks your diploma. And it's not necessarily that I should have gone to film school but it's sort of like the ages from 19 to 22. We're sure by I didn't need to be on a bucolic college campus I could have taken that that tuition and done something else with it. But I guess the you know, the lessons the besides the don't take a job for any reason. Other than you see a movie there that you would want to see. I would up and add to that, like, don't write a movie for you, which you're not the audience for I produced a movie called for Disney because I had an idea that I thought would be that they would probably love but I would never go see and I then so I should never have been the producer on it or what other and it's weird. Yeah, there's no, no, there's no Hollywood judge. There's no court system or laws. Like there's no one to appeal to. It's it's
Alex Ferrari 1:34:22
It's brutal, man. There's no referee man. There's no referee. There's no referee in Hollywood. There's no referee. There's no one like, you know what? You did this guy wrong. This is not right. We're gonna we're gonna rule on this. It's not the way the game is played. And you know what, that's a surprise for a lot of people as it was to you and you and arguably you'd have been in the business for a few minutes. When when those things are starting to happen to you.
Ted Griffin 1:34:44
Yeah. So, one day I'll publish the book about all this but I need to either be bulletproof or dead. I do feel like everybody should You'd write them their Hollywood memoirs not to publish necessarily, but to go into the academy when they're gone. So that if you want to know, okay, let's find out what really happened on this movie, then you can you can start reading these people's memoirs and go, Oh, my God, these people were screwing, and that guy was talking the whole time. I have no idea.
Alex Ferrari 1:35:25
What you need to do is this, you write it. And then you, you, you were on your debt, the day of your death, it gets released and published.
Ted Griffin 1:35:33
Yeah, it's like the way that Jerry Lewis put in his will that the day the Clown Cried, can't be seen until 10 years after he's dead. Like it is just sort of like, it's there. It's it's an evolved and it will come. I can't remember how many more years, we have to wait for that one. It's been a few.
Alex Ferrari 1:35:55
Alright, so let's I'm going to ask you, I mean, we keep talking for another two, three hours easily. But I'm going to ask you a few questions. I asked all of my guests. What advice would you give a screenwriter trying to break into the business today?
Ted Griffin 1:36:08
Well, today is cookie, because not only movies are at a low tide. And I think that could come back. It's a form and it's and I think watching a movie in a theater is different than streaming it and I it worries me a little bit that there is a there's a generation of the of an audience that is going to be watching movies like TV, and that movies will become more like TV. And it's in their pacing in their spare they have they have already. Yeah, but like die hard. It takes 20 minutes for anything bad to happen. Like that's a that's a tough movie to make for streaming or for TV, because it's sort of like, we got to get to it, we got to get to it. And that's a, you know, I'm representing a very commercial piece of wonderful filmmaking. So So anyway, so it's such a confusing time. And it's hard to say definitely what's, you know, where the industry is going? And so what I would normally say is, what I would have said, is read a lot of scripts. I think it's really good to see a lot of movies, but I think if you want to be a screenwriter read a lot. Anyway, I think the reason why I suggest sometimes reading scripts, instead of just watching the movies, is because the act of reading, lets you stop and examine and realize how something is being done. Whereas movies being a temporal experience, it flows right by and you're not. It's harder, just studying away. I mean, you can press pause and say, Oh, we're 20 minutes in to Die Hard and the first got it. The first gunshot is shot. But I would say reading scripts is a better way of studying them. And also just figuring out what's working in scripts was not working. And wonder being one is the writer being too verbose or the characters and and because they are so accessible now. Online especially. It's there's no excuse for not reading all of William Goldman all of Walter Hill, the Coen Brothers, Kazdin. I'm trying to people who were there. I remember their individual scripts that were big and black,
Alex Ferrari 1:36:09
Shane black, Shane black.
Ted Griffin 1:36:47
Yeah, and just as far as finding your voice, like Shane Black has such a distinctive voice, Walter Hill is such a, like, who writes the haikus play for him? And so So ultimately, you know, your, as a spinner, your strength your superpower is being very good at what you do. And probably being the smartest person in the room and hopefully not letting them think you know that.
Alex Ferrari 1:40:48
Alright, fair enough. Fair enough.
Ted Griffin 1:40:50
What are the I would also like, I think the UCB is gone the Upright Citizens Brigade. But there was, I was trying to just send as many writers as I could to that to their improv classes, because it does teach you better than anything, I've experienced the craft of collaboration, of listening to somebody, and having to agree with them and building on that, which is extraordinarily good for television, writing, or writing in any group, which is becoming more and more of a thing. And it also, I think there's it, there's things that would advise us like, Okay, here's how to develop your craft and your ability to do it. And then there are things I would advise with like, Okay, now, if you're doing it with other people, things I advise, which is, take a moment if you hear a bad idea, to think about where it's coming from, because it's not just a political advice of shining somebody on but usually, there are a lot of people who have good instincts who cannot articulate them. And it's your job, especially. Just sort of hear that instinct, and see if there's anything there. And I don't think I can publicly give a an example.
Alex Ferrari 1:42:22
Fair enough. No worries. No worries, I won't. I won't make you liable, sir. What is the lesson? What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?
Ted Griffin 1:42:31
I'm still learning God, I'm still beating the shit out of me. I'm gonna give his answer I don't think it's necessarily the right one. But it just came to mind. So there's the Goldman has the line about nobody knows anything. And you can, depending on how you deliver that line, they have different groups. Nobody knows anything, means we're all a packet of idiots. And I don't think that's true. He knew a lot. Or nobody knows anything. It also supplies like it's a complete crapshoot. Nobody knows anything, is what I finally realized is, I think what he's saying, which is there really isn't 100% certitude that anything will actually work or is, you know, completely right in the sense of and the more you do it, the more you kind of go into that gray zone of uncertainty when I think when you're younger, you go like Oh, yeah, this is like, and you can really stick to your guns in a great and a terrible way at the same time. And so somebody else gave me a piece of advice, which is I think along the lines of if you want to persuade somebody of your opinion, keep tenant 10% of your mind open to the possibility that you're wrong
It and you have to do it authentically. But but if you if you come in with a this is absolutely absolutely it. You're setting yourself up for getting your head handed to you which I by the way don't really think I was that guilty of but when I got my head handed to me, but it is certainly something I've had to be better at. And And what's my ultimate wrap up this? Because there you're gonna run into a lot of people who you realize don't know much, but um, You're gonna have to, you're gonna have to appease them somehow. So what in Hollywood stop, we'll get into the practice of taking somebody's bad idea and turning it into a good one. As opposed to simply opposing that logic or argument will win the day because it won't.
Alex Ferrari 1:45:21
It will not it will not. And final question and arguably the toughest question, I've asked you this entire time, three of your favorite films of all time?
Ted Griffin 1:45:33
My I'll give you a fast answer, because I have one with the caveat that you asked me again next year, but I my my quick answer is always rear window jaws and singing in the rain thru window I find to be the perfect Hollywood entertainment because it actually does everything movies are supposed to. There, it's it's sexy, it's funny, it's scary. It's emotional. It actually has scope because that's such a great set is also looking through that window is the same as looking at a screen. I think it's extremely extraordinarily well written and plotted. There's it's a perfect movie except for one terrible shot 10 minutes in of a helicopter over some bathing beauties, which is like a dirty old man joke that just sort of there there's a difference between great movies and perfect movies, ruin no is not a perfect movie. But it's a great movie. It's not a perfect movie because of that one shitty shot. Singing in the Rain, also a great movie because there's nothing more joyful or rewatchable. It's not a perfect movie, because the Broadway Melody dance dream of the last 10 minutes is just sort of like a third act. I don't know what a great act structure that is that then he just pitches a dance sequence in our third act and there's the movie, but and jaws and JAWS is a, I think is a perfect movie. I don't think there's anything I would change about that. And and that's all I gotta say about that.
Alex Ferrari 1:47:12
So that's all I got to say about it. So the one other thing that because you've mentioned it a little bit, and it's something that I think is really important for people to hear. The the landscape has changed so dramatically from for the last five years even. And you said it's the generation coming up behind us. I mean, when these great masters are gone, Spielberg Scorsese, you know, these these these legends, they're the ones holding the torch right now. And yeah, there's, you know, there's the Nolan's and the finishers and other masters out there who are doing good work. But the generation coming up, like you said, diehard won't go today, that hurts arguably one of the greatest action films ever put to Sally Lloyd. And yet this generation coming up, they're much more involved in YouTube and in and out, and I hear myself saying it, and it's the same thing they were saying in the 80s and 90s, with MTV showed up, you know, but I think this is different though. This is really generational. Because they're not even they don't even care about cinema the way you and I do. What do you what's your thoughts on that and for for future generations listening to this like screenwriters? Is it TV? Is it other other forms of storytelling? What do you think?
Ted Griffin 1:48:34
Well, it's been happening for a while, if you look at the generation of directors, let's say of the 70s, that terrific generation, that's Scorsese and Coppola, and Spielberg and two. But they all grew up in movie cultures. They were all born in mostly in the 40s. And the film was the primary medium. And, you know, the I think there's, there's like a next generation of directors who all came up through TV and everything gets a little bit a little softer. Ron Howard, Rob Reiner, Gary Marshall. But what I guess, concerning me is sort of like I guess, and my generation there are some guys who broke young and who are sort of wonder kins PT Anderson and Wes Anderson, notably, some other people who maybe didn't fulfill their early promises much. But, you know,
Alex Ferrari 1:49:52
But that's, that's the 90s indie vibe. That was that was the 90s indie names. We'll be right back after word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. You know, the Tarantino knows the Robert Rodriguez
Ted Griffin 1:50:11
Tarantino was sort of like if you think about it, post Tarantino, how many? How much do youth is there been? This sort of shown up and like wow, in the way that Scorsese and Spielberg
Alex Ferrari 1:50:28
But there's more competition though, when such games were coming out there wasn't as much competition meaning that for our eyes, like it was cinema and like three channels of television, and they were the television wasn't that great back then? Give or take. So it's a little harder to make noise nowadays, you know, I don't think there's a possibility for a Spielberg to show up. Now. Even if he did show up, he would be drowned out. Does genius would show up, I think, but it's not as easy to make that Oh, my God, this is undeniable.
Ted Griffin 1:51:00
That coupled with I think the talent, there is something the talents gone somewhere else? Or is or because now because of all the other things, meaning there may be video game designers who are brilliant, who? Yep, 30 years ago would have gone into movies or YouTubers. I haven't seen anybody come in and say and be like, a television wunderkind the way that some of you guys. Like, obviously, there's a lot of excellent television. There's also still a lot of crap. But it's a slowly evolving medium because it's it is ultimately a dumbed down medium, and, and there aren't citizen canes of TV. There are good, but but there's nobody kind of reinvent the wheel the way in a show.
Alex Ferrari 1:51:59
How about Chase? I mean, David Chase, what Sopranos?
Ted Griffin 1:52:02
Julian's a great show, but I wouldn't say
Alex Ferrari 1:52:06
And, or events, or even Vince Gilligan.
Ted Griffin 1:52:09
Again, I think it's a terrific show. But it's it's there's something about the medium that I don't think that he changed the way we watch TV. Okay, is there any in the way that Tarantino really influenced or Spielberg did? And so it's, I'm excited about television, because I think it can continue to get better. It's like, there's so much volume that I think that actually sometimes make us makes it hard. causes so much. Because it's, you have to make something great at 13 hours a year as opposed to two hours. That's just just the dynamic that tends to lower the water level. But I guess my concern is that my concern is the audience. And that is that there won't be an audience for certain storytelling after a while. And then also my sort of generationally. It's like, who can you name under? 40? Who's. And I'm not going to name like some people come to mind. But there's, there's nobody under 40. Right? They're very sorry. They're very few people under 40. That are feel like are doing things the way previous generations have broken younger, if that makes sense. Yeah, absolutely. And I can't tell you exactly why other than either. The with the advent of tech, like, wouldn't be cooler to be. And wouldn't you be richer, doing a startup or a video game?
Alex Ferrari 1:53:55
Being a YouTuber is yes, there's less barrier to entry, you can make start making money, you can start telling your stories. You could it's a whole other thing, like I was talking to this, I was talking to somebody the other day about this. It's like, in the fifth in the 50s and 60s, everybody wanted to be a rock star. Like that was the thing is that the rock star was a thing in the 70s 80s, especially the 90s. With Robert, when quitting showed up. Everybody wanted to be a movie director, because he made it was he was the first rock and roll kind of director. And now it's really everybody wants to the new generation. They want to be content creators. They want to be influencers. They want to be social media, they want to tell stories in those mediums. And I've been watching some of these like big, big YouTubers and big social media, and I'm like, I see what they're doing. And I see how they're doing it. And boy, are they getting rich? Like obscenely rich, it's insane. So it's generationally. I see my kids to growing up like I tried to get them to sit down and watch a movie. Like we were going to we actually my wife and I over Christmas, because diehard is the greatest Christmas movie of all time. sat down, started watching Die Hard and they couldn't they couldn't didn't make it past those first 20 minutes. Were like, Jesus. I don't know. I don't want to. I don't want to end on a depressing note.
Ted Griffin 1:55:09
Yeah. Because it gives me run me of those documentaries about the Golden Age of Hollywood that I grew up watching like in the 70s 80s, where there's like, oh, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. is saying the film makers today are just about smut. And there's no romance and it's not like I don't want to turn into like, that guy. That guy though. Oh, you kids get off my lawn. But to some degree, it's it's it's sad because like I different, because I guess I don't I don't watch YouTube influencers. So I don't know, even what the form is, and and if it's two different worlds, and whether I'm just it's impossible for me to appreciate because I'm too old, or because it just sucks. And there's that.
Alex Ferrari 1:56:05
There's, there's that there's, there's both in everything and not that I'm saying I'm gonna even please everyone listening, I'm not comparing you to, you know, YouTubers to Scorsese. That's not a thing. They're two different mediums. But on a financial standpoint, being a YouTuber that has much more financial success, in many ways easier for more people to get into then, being a screenwriter is tougher. But you got to love what you're doing. And I just hope that there's an like you were saying, I hope there's an audience. For the kind of films that we grew up with. I hope some
Ted Griffin 1:56:36
Movies started as one reelers, or as penny art, you know, and yeah, and they were terrible. You know, as for all we can say, like, yes, there was there was a very slow learning curve on how to make movies. And it took a while. And there have been, and maybe YouTube is the beginning of a great great new medium. But it's still in
Alex Ferrari 1:57:04
Yeah, absolutely Ted brother. I listen, man, I appreciate you coming on the show so much, man. I knew this was going to be a hell of a conversation. And you did not disappoint my friend.
Ted Griffin 1:57:13
I appreciate that. Uh, hopefully, I didn't ruin my career by too many names. But I'm just leaving it to your imagination. Trying to if there's any last thing I would. Yeah, what is listening and you want to be a screenwriter, please. Like I'm, we we need you. Like, I want to be as surging possible, like, the culture needs it. And I have an audience, the audience needs it. And I'm, we're all begging for better film and television. And please, we want you to work your ass off to bring great stuff it would it would be terrible. If the medium died.
Alex Ferrari 1:57:59
Yeah, and I don't think I don't think it will. I think we'll have a form of it in one way, shape or form moving forward, but it will be different than what we grew up with. There's no it like it was Douglas Fairbanks. You know, he would have looked at a music video and said, What what's much, you know, but look at look at the amazing crop of filmmakers that came out of the 90s music video. And you know, Ridley forgot to and Tony came out of commercials and music videos. It's insane. But Ted brother, I appreciate you coming on man. And thank you again for all
Ted Griffin 1:58:28
Thank you for having me. It was a joy and a pleasure.
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