This isn’t a new interview, but I heard it for the first time today, and I thought it was great. It’s Louis C.K. on Fresh Air from April of this year. Here’s something that he says:
I saw a movie once where Spencer Tracy catches this woman about to kill herself — it’s a pretty dark movie for the time — but I forget the name of the movie, but Spencer Tracy is on a boat and sees a rich, young girl about to throw herself off the boat because her fiance left her for another woman and he’s trying to talk her out of suicide and he says to her, “Do you have a job? Do you have anything that you do in your life?” which was a funny thing to ask because she’s, like, a 1920s socialite and she said, “No,” and he said, “I think you should get a job, because it’s very hard to be sad and useful at the same time.”
Ever since I saw that I keep that in my head. If you can be useful, which means to somebody else, not to yourself, if you can be useful, it just makes you feel better. So I live in service for my kids, that’s the first priority and then things like my career, they feed into that, they’re part of that, because I’m providing for them but also it’s just not that important. If something’s not important, it’s more fun.
“That’s some cotton from Dyess, Arkansas,” he said offhandedly as we passed it, as though just any city superstar would be as likely to have erected some little shrine to childhood hard times—a roach or a rat in formaldehyde, say.
At my request, he enacted picking cotton, and he did it with no self-consciousness or hesitation. He bent over and began picking, his legs spread and his heavy trunk overhanging a cotton row, humped, fingers flying, cotton to sack, cotton to sack. “You take these fingers here in between the burrs and pull the cotton out. Just kind of twist it out, something you have to learn to do real fast. The burrs stick you in the fingers. If you pick cotton all day, your fingers are stuck all over with wounds from the burrs.”
He came erect, his body suddenly huge with pride, rearing his thick-maned head back, his mouth sucked in, judging me and challenging me to come across the line and understand what was in his heart then, what was in his blood, and I think I did: His eyes were bright with the romance of his blessed childhood stigmata.
I loved Submarine, and the feedback for The Double is great too, so I’m really looking forward to seeing it. From a recent Guardian interview with director Richard Ayoade – I definitely get what he means about getting past the point of enjoyment.
Ayoade’s direction is assured and meticulous; he spent five months on the sound alone, creating just slightly off-kilter effects to match the film’s aesthetic. He might have envisaged that his experience on Submarine would make some aspects of the production more straightforward, but that turned out not to be the case. Thus it was that a film whose first draft was completed in 2008 took more than five years to finish.
“It’s a completely gut-churning experience but it’s really exhilarating at well,” says Ayoade, who co-wrote the screenplay with Avi Korine, Harmony’s brother. “And it’s sort of continually terrifying because it’s just always evaporating. I heard Stanley Kubrick describe it in an interview as one of those games where you are trying to get all the balls in the hole. If you spoke to someone playing that game and said, ‘Are you enjoying that?’ He’d go, ‘What are you talking about? I just need to get the balls in the hole!’ You reach a point where any enjoyment has gone and you just have to do it.”
I don’t care about the past. It was great but I don’t want to think about it. I want to look forward. I don’t know where my medals are. Nothing. No shirt. Nothing. I played for France 45 times. We got two shirts for every game, so that’s 90. I don’t have even one. You can feel very quickly a prisoner of your past. Of your memories. I prefer to be free and think about tomorrow.
This is Jack Dorsey, the inventor of Twitter and co-founder of Square. The whole interview is worth watching. The guy asking the questions is Kevin Rose, co-founder of Digg and now a VC with Google Ventures. I particularly like this quote from Jack about 18 minutes in:
The hardest thing about all of this is to get started. And I think the most important thing that I’ve learned is that you have to – as soon as you have it – get it out of your head, get it on paper. And then to take this one step further, just show someone. Just show someone what it looks like on paper. Even code a little bit and show someone the interaction.
Fantastic interview with Spike Lee in Vulture (part of New York Magazine), the man behind one of the all time greatest films, Do The Right Thing. Here’s a taster:
It must be pretty amazing that Obama took Michelle to Do the Right Thing.
When he was sizing Michelle up, this fine woman, he said, “How am I going to impress her?” I always kid him, good thing he didn’t choose motherfucking Driving Miss Daisy or she would have dumped his ass right there.