Off Camera with Sam Jones

What makes a kid cry on her birthday? The occasional cake-induced stomachache or bouncy-house bruise, sure. For Zoe Kazan, it was a sense of what she was leaving farther behind, and she cried every year. A direct and unselfconscious view of our imagination and its creative expression gets harder and harder to find in the rearview mirror unless you cultivate and protect it. Kazan tries hard to do just that through work that she loves, in a business she often doesn't. Acting is a joyful challenge (just watch Olive Kitteridge and The Big Sick); writing, especially stage plays, is a painful one. Both expose her voice and ideas - her soul - for all of us to judge. If you believe the only true art is personal, you must decide if you'll risk your ego to make it. If the answer's yes, you're in the right place. It's a thrilling, terrifying place, and Kazan rather likes the neighborhood.

01:05:52 7/6/2017

Past Episodes

Tom Papa is a happy, well-adjusted, family guy who's fine with being labeled clean. So how the hell did he ever become a comedian? He had no idea if he could make it in standup, and no roadmap to get there. What he did have was the certainty that nothing else felt right. It took a lot of observation, a lot of hard work and a certain comedy chiropractor, but mostly it took learning to be himself. He's now a successful standup, show host and actor. What keeps him going? The possibility of more success, yeah, but that's not what'll keep him jumping planes for Eugene, Oregon when he's 60. "People leave a show and their stomachs hurt from laughing. Their faces hurt. You get to go to work and share that with them every day." For a guy who started without a map, he wound up in the right place.
01:00:01 9/28/2017
When you think about how many brilliantly wacky characters have sprung from Alan Tudyk's imagination to the screen for the past two decades, and then factor in his history of prank calls and high school improv competitions, it's a bit hard to fathom that his early career plan was to be a hotel manager. Sure, if Basil Fawlty is your idea of a hotel manager, but he was actually serious. Sometimes, the path not taken is a good thing. Alan's path has led him to Broadway, too many film and TV roles to count, and every Disney Animation Studios movie to date. The only place it hadn't led was the one place he really wanted to be: The Middle of Everything. It took a Con Man to change that. Read on for a tale of bloody knees and sharp-eyed teachers, Broadway dreams crushed and revisited.
01:01:22 9/21/2017
Here's a question: How many years do you have to spend watching actors through a camera before you realize maybe that's what you were meant to be doing all along? If you're Jay Duplass, you might also wonder why your brother Mark didn't let you in on how fun and freeing it can be a little sooner. But no matter. At a time in life when most actors are rushing the directors chair, the elder Duplass brother is running in the opposite direction on Transparent, and killing it. It's the second time he missed the obvious. Fourteen years ago, surveying the wreckage of 27 failed projects and desperate of ever becoming a filmmaker, he was ready to chuck it for grad school. That's when he finally discovered the crucial ingredient to building one of the most successful creative careers in the business. Someone should really tell him these things up front.
01:06:34 9/14/2017
If you've always thought of Hollywood as a competitive, jealousy-ridden place where success is watched, compared and envied, Mike White is not here to disillusion you. And his latest film suggests the world inside your own head might not be so different. Few writers understand our inner dialogs better, and that can be embarrassing. Not to mention touching, depressing and yes, funny. We talk to one of the business's most talented screenwriters (and directors, and actors) about why he feels more alive the further he gets from it, and his uncool struggle with the siren call of ambition. But if the result is work like Chuck & Buck, School of Rock, Year of the Dog, Enlightened, Beatriz at Dinner, and Brads Status, can ambition be so bad? Throughout his career, White has worked to create an alternate kind of story and protagonist. It makes me feel like I'm not completely crazy. Us, too. Thanks, Mike.
01:00:30 9/7/2017
Hi Folks!

Well, summer is almost over. Kids are shuffling back to school, the sun is setting a bit earlier, and over here at the Off Camera studios, we are hard at work on our fall season. To kick things off, we proudly present our second annual Call In Podcast, chock full of conversations with listeners like you, as we touch on a multitude of creative and show related topics.That podcast is available right now, right here.

Opening up the phone lines is a lot of fun for us over here, and we were flattered by all of the calls and emails we received. I was particularly struck by the stories of our listeners forging their own creative identities through struggle and risk, and honored that Off Camera is a part of their journeys.

We are fortunate to have so many thoughtful, curious listeners, and I hope you enjoy hearing their questions, critiques, and creative conundrums as much as I did. I also want to apologize to anyone who I didnt get to talk to. I am overwhelmed by the support and loyalty of the Off Camera listeners, and I feel lucky to be a part of this community. Thanks to everyone who called in and reinforced something we really believe here at Off Camera Headquarters nothing beats a great conversation.

Our regularly scheduled programming starts next week with a lineup that I am very excited to share with you all.

Enjoy the waning days of summer, and I will see you. Off Camera!

Thanks,
Sam
01:23:38 8/31/2017
Get ready all you eager artists. On Aug 18th starting at 10AM (PST) Off Camera is opening up the phone lines to take questions from YOU, the listeners. So call in and talk to Sam about whatever's on your mind!
8/10/2017
It's ironic Holly Hunter won an Oscar for The Piano, in which she did her own playing. If she'd had the chops she wanted, we'd never have seen her in that movie, Raising Arizona, Broadcast News or so many others that made us swear she was born to act. Fortunately, she found acting almost as sacred and transportive as music, her original dream. Working with a string of the best directors in the business right out of the gate helped - and led to some later-career disillusionment. But Hunter's not as ambitious for her career as she is for her characters and what they can tell us about each other. An actor's actor talks about empathy, and how she makes us feel things we never see on screen in The Big Sick and Strange Weather. She also shares what it's like having Bill Hurt call bullshit on you, and why she will not be having the stuffed crab, thank you.
01:02:11 7/27/2017
The woman huffing in impotent rage in a frozen Marshalls' checkout line with an armful of bras. The jubilant loudmouth barely able to articulate the awesomeness of a Monster! Truck! Rally! The lady blithely terrorizing passengers with her wheelie as she pushes up to the boarding gate. Nobody wants to be these people. Except Lauren Lapkus. She loves them. She wants to inhabit them. If it means being odd or ugly, it's also license to say and do anything she wants without repercussion. Oh, to be free of self-awareness and filters, if only for a few exhilarating moments. Oh, to be Lapkus, one of the best improvisers and sketch comics in the business. Just don't look too hard at the fine print about exposing yourself on stage without a script, props or any idea what's going to happen. Despite the thousands of people jumping into improv these days, she says - and proves - it's not for amateurs.
7/20/2017
We all have one or two turning points in life, but Michaela Watkins' life seems like an endless string of them. There was the classical music camp that unleashed her inner comic. The spontaneous road trip that became five years of regional theater. There was the backstage decision that doing Shakespeare actually kinda sucked. And then the double epiphany: she should be on a TV show in Los Angeles and join The Groundlings. Getting cast on Saturday Night Live and then inexplicably dropped after one season was not a turning point she'd anticipated. It was never even in the plan. So, she found herself at yet another: Wallow, or move on? Well, the suspense isn't killing anyone who's been watching TV for the last 10 years, but watching one of the most gifted supporting actresses around finally show what she can do with a lead role is one of the best endings we can think of.
7/13/2017
Struggle is just how Zoe Lister-Jones rolls. She watched her parents struggle to make a living from their art, and tussled with her own decision to pursue acting versus stability. She struggled to break into film, finally deciding that instead of fighting the system, she'd create one, co-writing and acting in her own projects. The biggest yet is Band Aid, which just happened to help women battling for a place on a film crew. It's a comedy about artistic and personal failure, and our struggle to understand each other as men and women. In exposing her own insecurities - Do other people have it more figured out? A better relationship? - she reminds us that if we're far from perfect, we're about as far from it as everyone else. Lister-Jones will continue to struggle for her art, but she's learned it doesn't have to be so hard - it's about your mindset, not your circumstances.
01:00:38 6/29/2017

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Premium Episodes

Tom Papa is a happy, well-adjusted, family guy who's fine with being labeled clean. So how the hell did he ever become a comedian? He had no idea if he could make it in standup, and no roadmap to get there. What he did have was the certainty that nothing else felt right. It took a lot of observation, a lot of hard work and a certain comedy chiropractor, but mostly it took learning to be himself. He's now a successful standup, show host and actor. What keeps him going? The possibility of more success, yeah, but that's not what'll keep him jumping planes for Eugene, Oregon when he's 60. "People leave a show and their stomachs hurt from laughing. Their faces hurt. You get to go to work and share that with them every day." For a guy who started without a map, he wound up in the right place.
01:00:01 9/28/2017
When you think about how many brilliantly wacky characters have sprung from Alan Tudyk's imagination to the screen for the past two decades, and then factor in his history of prank calls and high school improv competitions, it's a bit hard to fathom that his early career plan was to be a hotel manager. Sure, if Basil Fawlty is your idea of a hotel manager, but he was actually serious. Sometimes, the path not taken is a good thing. Alan's path has led him to Broadway, too many film and TV roles to count, and every Disney Animation Studios movie to date. The only place it hadn't led was the one place he really wanted to be: The Middle of Everything. It took a Con Man to change that. Read on for a tale of bloody knees and sharp-eyed teachers, Broadway dreams crushed and revisited.
01:01:22 9/21/2017
Here's a question: How many years do you have to spend watching actors through a camera before you realize maybe that's what you were meant to be doing all along? If you're Jay Duplass, you might also wonder why your brother Mark didn't let you in on how fun and freeing it can be a little sooner. But no matter. At a time in life when most actors are rushing the directors chair, the elder Duplass brother is running in the opposite direction on Transparent, and killing it. It's the second time he missed the obvious. Fourteen years ago, surveying the wreckage of 27 failed projects and desperate of ever becoming a filmmaker, he was ready to chuck it for grad school. That's when he finally discovered the crucial ingredient to building one of the most successful creative careers in the business. Someone should really tell him these things up front.
01:06:34 9/14/2017
If you've always thought of Hollywood as a competitive, jealousy-ridden place where success is watched, compared and envied, Mike White is not here to disillusion you. And his latest film suggests the world inside your own head might not be so different. Few writers understand our inner dialogs better, and that can be embarrassing. Not to mention touching, depressing and yes, funny. We talk to one of the business's most talented screenwriters (and directors, and actors) about why he feels more alive the further he gets from it, and his uncool struggle with the siren call of ambition. But if the result is work like Chuck & Buck, School of Rock, Year of the Dog, Enlightened, Beatriz at Dinner, and Brads Status, can ambition be so bad? Throughout his career, White has worked to create an alternate kind of story and protagonist. It makes me feel like I'm not completely crazy. Us, too. Thanks, Mike.
01:00:30 9/7/2017
Hi Folks!

Well, summer is almost over. Kids are shuffling back to school, the sun is setting a bit earlier, and over here at the Off Camera studios, we are hard at work on our fall season. To kick things off, we proudly present our second annual Call In Podcast, chock full of conversations with listeners like you, as we touch on a multitude of creative and show related topics.That podcast is available right now, right here.

Opening up the phone lines is a lot of fun for us over here, and we were flattered by all of the calls and emails we received. I was particularly struck by the stories of our listeners forging their own creative identities through struggle and risk, and honored that Off Camera is a part of their journeys.

We are fortunate to have so many thoughtful, curious listeners, and I hope you enjoy hearing their questions, critiques, and creative conundrums as much as I did. I also want to apologize to anyone who I didnt get to talk to. I am overwhelmed by the support and loyalty of the Off Camera listeners, and I feel lucky to be a part of this community. Thanks to everyone who called in and reinforced something we really believe here at Off Camera Headquarters nothing beats a great conversation.

Our regularly scheduled programming starts next week with a lineup that I am very excited to share with you all.

Enjoy the waning days of summer, and I will see you. Off Camera!

Thanks,
Sam
01:23:38 8/31/2017

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