Austin Film Festival's On Story

On this week’s On Story we’re tracing the history of modern film comedies back to a singular movie celebrating it’s 40th anniversary. Grab your toga and your ‘college’ sweatshirt as comedy writers reflect on Animal House’s lasting influence. We’ll also hear from SNL alum and Adam Sandler collaborator Tim Herlihy, who used the National Lampoon movies as a model to write some of the biggest comedies of the 1990’s.

40 years ago National Lampoon’s Animal House changed American comedies and shaped people’s expectations of the college experience. The frat comedy was an instant success when in was released in 1978 and remains one of the most quotable films. Beverly Hills Cop writer Daniel Petrie, Jr and Role Models writer Tim Dowling explored Animal House’s lasting legacy at the 2015 Austin Film Festival in a conversation moderated by filmmaker Roy Rutngamlug.

One direct influence that came from the National Lampoon’s continued collaboration was Tim Herlihy’s work with Adam Sandler. In the 1990’s, Herlihy co-wrote a string of successful films that launched Sandler into an unlikely leading man. Some of his writing credits include Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and The Wedding Singer. He conceived of most of those films while writing at Saturday Night Live. I spoke with Tim Herlihy at the 23rd annual Austin Film Festival in 2016.

Clips of Animal House courtesy of Universal City Studios, Inc.

Clips of Billy Madison courtesy of: Universal City Studios, Inc.

Clips of Saturday Night Live courtesy of: National Broadcasting Company, Inc.

Clips of The Wedding Singer courtesy of: New Line Productions, Inc.

Clips of The Waterboy courtesy of: Touchstone Pictures, an a.d.o. Disney Enterprises, Inc.


Direct download: OSR_ANIMAL_HOUSE_PODCAST.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 11:24am CST

On this week's episode, we’ll hear from legendary jack-of-all-trades Robert Townsend and Keenen Ivory Wayans. In 1987 the two co-wrote the groundbreaking comedy Hollywood Shuffle based on their experience dealing with racial stereotypes of African Americans in the film and television industry. Robert Rodriguez, writer/director of The El Mariachi trilogy, Sin City, and the Spy Kids franchise introduced Townsend and Wayans at the 24th annual Austin Film Festival.

Multi-talented entertainer, Robert Townsend, is often referred to as one of the ‘Godfathers of the Independent Film World’.  For the past 30 years Townsend has worked in nearly every role in front of and behind the camera earning the writer, director, and actor over 30 NAACP Image Award nominations. Townsend is best known for creating the films Meteor Man, The Five Heartbeats, and Hollywood Shuffle, which he co-wrote with Keenen Ivory Wayans. Comedian Dave Buckman spoke with Townsend at the 24th Austin Film Festival.

Townsend co-wrote Hollywood Shuffle with friend and fellow stand up comedian, Keenen Ivory Wayans who created, launched and hosted the groundbreaking 1990’s sketch comedy series In Living Color. The often-controversial show helped introduce a number of African American comedians to super stardom including the careers of Wayans’ siblings Damon, Kim, Shawn and Marlon, as well as featured cast members Jennifer Lopez, Jim Carrey, and Jamie Foxx.  Comedian John Merriman spoke with Keenen Ivory Wayans at the 24th annual Austin Film Festival.




Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 12:00pm CST

This week, we’ll hear from writer Scott Alexander. Best known for his work writing unusual biopics with larger-than-life characters, Alexander ventured into television in 2016 when he co-created FX’s award-winning mini-series The People v. O.J. Simpson. Later, television creator, showrunner, and producer Courtney Kemp. Kemp is the mind behind the critically acclaimed gritty New York drama, Power – whose fifth season is currently on the Starz Network.

Scott Alexander is best known for co-writing unusual biopics with larger-than-life characters. His films have depicted the lives of filmmaker Ed Wood, comedian Andy Kaufman, and provocateur Larry Flynt. In 2016, Alexander co-created The People v. O.J. Simpson which was his first foray into television. The miniseries earned numerous awards including a Golden Globe for Best Mini-Series and a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Limited Series. Journalist R.B. Brenner spoke with Scott Alexander at the 24th annual Austin Film Festival in 2017. 

Clips of The People v. O.J. Simpson courtesy of Bluebush Productions, LLC., Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Courtney Kemp created Power in 2014, marking her debut as a television creator and showrunner. The series follows the complex character James “Ghost” St. Patrick as he struggles to balance his professional life while also being a major player in one of New York City’s largest drug networks. Under her leadership the series generated the largest concentration of African American viewership of any scripted premium series in nearly a decade. Kemp spoke with UT Austin professor S. Craig Watkins at the 24th Austin Film Festival in 2017.

Clips of Power courtesy of CBS Television Studios, and Starz!.


Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 1:35pm CST

On this episode of On Story, Die Hard screenwriter Jeb Stuart and Lethal Weapon screenwriter Shane Black discuss their two action classics, followed by screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen on his long-standing collaboration with filmmaker Luc Besson and their work creating the The Fifth Element, The Transporter and Taken.

The 1987 blockbuster Lethal Weapon is the first writing credit in Shane Black’s filmography. He went on to act in, write or write and direct over 30 films including The Long Kiss Goodnight, Iron Man 3, and The Nice Guys. Black’s latest film, will be a remake of his 1987 sci-fi film, entitled, The Predator is slated for release August of 2018. Shane Black’s popular Lethal Weapon franchise has currently evolved into a TV show on Fox of the same name and stars Damon Wayans. Season 2 of the TV show is slated for early 2018.

Jeb Stuart wrote the screenplay for the action classic, Die Hard. The film was nominated for 4 Academy Awards® and voted the Best Action Film of All Time by Entertainment Weekly in 2007. Jeb Stuart’s other credits include the screenplays for The Fugitive, nominated for 7 Academy Awards® including Best Picture and the action-comedy Another 48 Hrs.

I spoke with Shane Black and Jeb Stuart in 2015 as part of the 22nd Austin Film Festival. Portions of this half of our episode were recorded at the Q&A session following a special screening of Die Hard at the historic Paramount Theatre in Austin Texas in 2015.

Robert Mark Kamen’s screenwriting credits begin with the script for the 1981 film Taps which was adapted from Devery Freeman’s novel Father Sky, and which stars George C Scott, Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn and Tom Cruise in his first major role in a motion picture.

He went on to create The Karate Kid, starring Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio, and collaborated with filmmaker Luc Besson on The Fifth Element, as well as the Transporter and Taken franchises.

I spoke with Robert Mark Kamen on July 12th 2015 at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin Texas.



Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 2:00pm CST

On this week’s On Story we’ll hear from Everybody Loves Raymond Executive Producer and Somebody Feed Phil creator and host Phil Rosenthal on the common thread between travel shows and sitcoms, the unifying power of food and the late great Anthony Bourdain. And later, Rosenthal discusses his comedy documentary, Exporting Raymond

In 1995 Phil Rosenthal created the hit CBS comedy Everybody Loves Raymond. He served as Showrunner and Executive Producer for all nine years of the series run which earned more than 70 Emmy nominations. Rosenthal’s new Netflix series Somebody Feed Phil follows Rosenthal as he travels the globe taking in the local cuisine and culture. I sat down with Phil to discuss food, family, and the new season of Somebody Feed Phil, which is out July 6th on Netflix.

Clips of Somebody Feed Phil courtesy of Netflix, Inc.

Following the creation of the hit CBS comedy Everybody Loves Raymond, Rosenthal is asked to adapt the series for Russian TV. He chronicles this journey through the comedy documentary, Exporting Raymond. The film follows Phil as he travels to Moscow to recreate the show for Russian audiences as Everybody Loves Kostya. Throughout the film, Rosenthal faces a series of challenges. Eventually, Rosenthal and the Russian creators come to an understanding despite the obvious culture and language barriers. The documentary premiered at the 17th annual Austin Film Festival in 2010. Rosenthal spoke with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang writer/director Shane Black at the Historic Paramount Theatre during the 17th annual Austin Film Festival in 2010.

Clips of Exporting Raymond courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Direct download: ROSENTHAL_PODCAST.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 5:21pm CST