El Rey Presents: The Director's Chair with Francis Ford Coppola
One of the best parts of hosting a interview formatted podcast isn’t the recognition or watching your listenership grow. It’s not even the creative aspect. It’s getting to have a conversation with another person. Sometimes it’s a friend and sometimes it’s a total stranger. The common thread lies in the shared connection made between people. That small window of conversational time compared to the countless and pointless things we say to each other on a daily basis. There’s a brief but intimate bond made when you talk to someone about their life. Finding out who they are and why they do the things do can have a lasting effect regardless of what you knew of the person even 30 minutes prior. Imagine sitting in a room with someone and talking about their job or their family, or how they grew up. Making that small but real emotional connection. Now imagine sitting across from one of the most influential filmmakers of our time and having a similar conversation. After watching the season premiere of the El Rey Network’s The Directors Chair, one can’t help but feel a little jealous of Robert Rodriguez.
The second season of The Director’s Chair kicked off last night with Rodriguez talking to cinema heavyweight Francis Ford Coppola. After last season’s guests, (John Carpenter, Quentin Tarantino, Guillermo Del Toro) most have already figured out that RR isn’t fucking around. He’s not talking to filmmakers. He’s talking to the filmmakers. His guests are the guys he grew up with and the guys he grew up emulating. It’s like watching a friend get to meet and talk to Francis Ford Coppola and ask all the technical and/or frivolous questions you’d want to ask. Only there are no frivolous questions. In fact, the questions are well thought out and have direction. Multiple camera angles combined with fantastic editing make the episodes seamless and incredibly digestible….like a podcast. A video podcast. An incredibly well produced, professionally filmed video podcast.
During a screening, Rodriguez mentioned he spoke with Coppola for around two hours while recording. He then whittles the episode down to the meaty bits. Stories of the two meeting, sharing dinners, and learning from each other’s process. An underlying theme is the differences and discovery of how the directors...well...direct. Their methods. Their process. Their mistakes. They delve into all the Godfather movies, Apocalypse Now, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and more. Coppola’s story about not being able to get certain scenes right while filming the Godfather then adding extra scenes to “fix” the problem was like a magical form of video voyeurism. His “switching off” strategy (or philosophy) for making films also gives a little insight to how he built his career on his terms. It's a great interview that's on par with every director from the first season. The hour long episodes are a must for anyone even remotely interested in film and how directors do what they do. Miss the episode last night? You’ve still got more chances. Lucky for you.
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Lastly, big thanks to Robert and the El Rey Network for the sweet poster.