Geoffrey Freedman’s Jog Road Productions presents The Road to Cinema Podcast; a continuation of their YouTube series of conversations with directors, screenwriters, producers, actors, editors, and other filmmaking professionals. This is an opportunity to speak in a relaxed, long-form conversation with some of the most respected figures in the film industry.
Our first podcast features the Producers Guild of America president Hawk Koch. As a producer and First A.D. (assistant director) he has worked with some of the biggest talents in Hollywood and has contributed to the making of some of the most celebrated American films of the 1970s and beyond. Producer Hawk Koch is the son of producer Howard W. Koch who was instrumental in bringing to the screen the classic comedy The Odd Couple starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, Airplane!, The Manchurian Candidate, and served as president of production at Paramount Pictures in the mid 1960s.
For those who have not ventured onto a film set, the first A.D. is one of the toughest jobs in filmmaking. While the director is dealing with the creative aspects of the production, the assistant director must schedule the entire shoot, organize the crew, and keep a general pace and “peace” among the crew so the production continues to move through out the day. The A.D. is right by the director’s side to ensure the shoot is efficient, the script pages are shot, and that every department is organized to the utmost detail.
Having such an incredible understanding of on-set production led Mr. Koch to produce such quality films as The Pope of Greenwich Village, Gorky Park, Wayne’s World, Losing Isaiah, and Edward Norton’s directorial debut Keeping the Faith. —Producer Hawk Koch debuts The Road To Cinema Podcast
“Editing is the final re-write,” said Oscar winning editor Scott Conrad when he sat down with us for episode #2 of The Road to Cinema Podcast. He explained how important it is for an editor to be as objective as possible when starting the editing process. Conrad reads the script before production and then blocks it out of his mind when he begins to cut scenes, ”I don’t want to be locked in by what the script says.” Conrad’s original goal was not to be in the cutting room but instead to be on the stage. He spent his high school years performing in plays opposite classmate Mia Farrow. After graduation, he auditioned for roles on television shows. He even became the top contender for the male lead on Peyton Place which eventually went to Ryan O’Neal.
Conrad took an entry level position in the 20th Century Fox mailroom. It was here that he found his home in the editing department. He observed some of the greatest editors at the studio. One of which was Robert L. Simpson who cut such films as: Miracle on 34th Street, South Pacific, and director John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath. Conrad’s newly found passion for editing led him back to the classroom where he earned a degree in cinematic arts from USC.
Scott Conrad’s first break as a full-fledged editor was on a unique behind the scenes documentary of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid which is currently featured on the DVD and Blu-Ray. The film is a unique immersive experience that takes the viewer inside the production along with the director George Roy Hill and the film’s leading men Paul Newman and Robert Redford. The documentary would go on to air multiple times on network television and win an Emmy award. Conrad would soon edit one of the greatest sports films in cinema history which would win Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Editing — Rocky.
Our interview with Oscar winning editor Scott Conrad is loaded with lessons that are not only helpful to understand editing as a craft but are essential staples of the filmmaking process. Script, sound, music, the approach for editing comedies and thrillers, and even the unique situation of editing a film where the lead actor dies during the middle of production. All of those topics and more are featured in Episode #2 of The Road to Cinema Podcast. —“Editing is the final re-write,” Oscar winning Editor Scott Conrad on The Road To Cinema Podcast
This week on The Road to Cinema Podcast, we speak with first assistant director and producer Tim Zinnemann. As we learned with our guest Hawk Koch, a first A.D. runs the nuts and bolts of a film set assuring that every aspect of production is organized and executed to the utmost detail. Among Mr. Zinnemann’s credits; Bullitt, The Day of the Locust, The King of Marvin Gardens, Carnal Knowledge, and The Cowboys. Among the directors he worked with is a list that encompasses the most acclaimed Oscar nominated and Oscar winning filmmakers of 1960s and 1970s American cinema; Peter Yates, Mark Rydell, John Schlesinger, Bob Rafelson, Mike Nichols, John Frankenheimer, and Billy Wilder. —The Road To Cinema Podcast takes you inside the Steve Mcqueen “Bullitt” car chase with First A.D. and producer Tim Zinnemann
This incredible episode of The Road to Cinema Podcast features Oscar winning screenwriter Ronald Bass. Mr. Bass is extremely articulate when he discusses his writing process. Having accomplished over four decades of screenwriting prowess in this business, he still maintains the same steadfast writing routine. You will hear more in the podcast but a few interesting highlights are how he begins his work day at 3 AM, working on multiple projects in one day, a detailed brainstorming and outline session with his creative team, and handwriting every script page with a pencil. Our interview delves into the fascinating development process of Rain Man and Bass’s screenplay of the classic Julia Roberts romantic comedy My Best Friend’s Wedding. —Road To Cinema explores screenwriting with Ronald Bass; Oscar winning screenwriter of Rain Man
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