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This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

For someone who admits that “relaxed” is not his natural setting, The National frontman Matt Berninger seems pretty okay with himself. What’s more, he seems pretty okay with anyone else seeing him for who he is, even when he’s perhaps not at his best. But more on that later.

Berninger and the band came late to careers in indie rock, and without the youth or cool that serves as the usual currency of that scene. He was doing well in his nice desk job as an ad agency creative director, but as he told The Telegraph, “Once I entertained the thought that maybe I wouldn’t ever have to go and sit in conference rooms with MasterCard to discuss web ads again, I couldn’t shake it.” As a family man, was he confident he could make a living in his new chosen profession? And what of the fact that his music experience comprised absorbing large amounts of vinyl and live shows versus the more tried-and-true approach of actually playing an instrument or reading music? Neither mattered much, really; he’s a guy that enjoys climbing out on the thin branches.

If Berninger and The National did come to rock late in the game, they came to it not only more confident in who they were as artists, but also more tolerant – and even appreciative – of the failures, though there haven’t been many to date. After a lot of rehearsal space toil (there’s only so much magic in art, folks), their complex, biting songs gained traction with each new release, from their self-titled breakout to subsequent successes like Boxer, High Violet and Trouble Will Find Me. In 2015, Pitchfork mused about the “surprisingly long shadow” the band has come to cast over alt-rock. “The National have emerged as a big-tent indie mainstay because their widescreen melancholia has proven durable and difficult to emulate.”

For a former ad man, there’s probably some good irony to be mined in all The National songs that have landed in commercials, TV shows and even political campaigns, even if it hasn’t brought them widespread fame or magazine covers. Ascendance has come through their giant base of live-show fans, many of who were looking forward to the band’s first documentary in 2014. Instead, they got Mistaken For Strangers, a film The Guardian called “a nail-biting, cringe-inducing study of self-destruction and fraternal love, a film full of emotional explosions…and how you can find beauty in disaster.” A few of those emotional explosions are courtesy of Berninger as he deals with his younger brother’s attempt to be The National’s assistant tour manager while also shooting a film about the band. If, as Berninger says, “I wasn’t trying to hide what an asshole I am,” he also doesn’t mask a very human need to love and understand the people he’s closest to.

Understanding his unusual approach to finding melodies and lyrics that stick is harder, though we certainly make the attempt in this conversation. He’s constantly throwing out one set of musical chemicals in search of another and is more tempted than terrified at the prospect of a flop. Six acclaimed albums and one well-reviewed side project in, he says he’s just in middle of figuring out how to be a songwriter. For Berninger, the magic trick seems to be in staying there.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

At 6’ 5”, Tim Robbins is the tallest actor ever to win an Academy Award, but until they start handing out statuettes for height alone, he’ll have to be content with a regular old Oscar and slew of Golden Globes recognizing his talent. Cutting such an imposing figure could’ve made it easy for Hollywood to serve him up time and again as the loveable, lumbering galoot he played so successfully in his breakout role as Bull Durham’s “Nuke” LaLoosh. But even a passing glance at his long filmography is a startling reminder that Robbins is an artist whose physicality is completely overshadowed by his versatility. He plays innocent and shrewd, hero and scoundrel, with such careful shadings and intelligence that watching him, we’re kept tantalizingly off balance. His boyish, wide-open countenance can conceal a menace that’s all the more disturbing because it’s felt more than seen. In other words, Robbins is a master manipulator – he’s playing us, but gleefully and with the best of intentions. He’s the naïve screwball in the Coen brothers’ Hudsucker Proxy, and the new neighbor in Arlington Road who’s so nice and normal that we can never quite put a finger on why something about him just doesn’t seem right.

Though inarguably well deserved, the acclaim he’s received for his astounding performances in films like The Shawshank Redemption, Mystic River and The Player can make it too easy to overlook some of his most important contributions to his craft, as well as how he’s chosen to shape his career. While still in college he founded The Actors’ Gang, which changed the landscape and status of L.A. theater and created an incubator for both great plays and talented young actors. His passion for theater also pervaded the chaotically joyous, collaborative spirit of Bob Roberts, a film Robbins wrote, directed and starred in his early 30’s. Long before “mockumentary” became common film vocabulary, it incisively and uproariously presaged the media’s trivialization of politics. Come to think of it, it’s mandatory election year viewing. Though he admits his success has put him in a position to pick and choose, Robbins has always been an admirable purist, writing, directing, producing and acting in only the projects that speak to his sense of moral and artistic integrity. He knows his legacy may not matter to the public, but it matters to him.

That integrity – and his standing as one of our true auteurs – prompted Robert Altman to call him the second coming of Orson Welles. High praise; but like Welles, his standards don’t frequently align with those of his industry, making his film projects increasingly rare. Our conversation reminded us of the treasure we have in Robbins, and as much as we hate to bother a 6’ 5” former hockey player, we respectfully demand more.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

When the notoriously poker-faced Aubrey Plaza says that she’s wanted to be an actor since she was 13 and thus isn’t surprised it’s happening, or that perhaps the universe responded to her acting daydreams, you have to wonder, does she really mean that?

Understandably, Aubrey Plaza used to hate the word “deadpan,” as associated as it’s become with the detached, almost unreadable delivery she’s cultivated as characters like Julie Powers in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Darius in Safety Not Guaranteed and perhaps most famously, Parks and Recreation’s wryly impassive April Ludgate. Then her Ned Rifle director Hal Hartley cast the term in a different light: maybe it occasionally serves a character to drop lines with a certain lack of personal involvement. Though no one expects much from a zombie in the way of emoting, The Guardian said of Life After Beth, “…Plaza steals the show with one foot in the grave, her rotting heroine ricocheting between adolescent snarkiness and cadaverous rage…” When you think about it, it takes a certain amount of equanimity to put a line out there and let it sit without telegraphing what we’re supposed to think about it or how we’re supposed to react. If that means viewers remain a bit off balance, all the better to hold our attention while we supply our own context.

But back to those comments. She was (we’re pretty sure) quite sincere, though Plaza herself likely had more to do with moving her career along than the universe. Philosophically, she seems to fall somewhere between fatalism and determinism. When her mom introduced her to Saturday Night Live, young Aubrey decided it was her dream job. When she looked up cast member bios and saw standup comedy as the common thread among her idols, she went promptly into improv, and later actually interned at SNL. Shortly after, she started growing the career she’s still building today with drolly arresting roles in films like Funny People and About Alex and The To Do List, often playing younger, still-at-that-awkward-stage characters. Perceptive viewers of her arc on the recently-ended Parks and Recreation might have noticed Plaza’s very intentional efforts to add layers and different choices to April Ludgate,  without any overreaching departures from the essence of her character. Now able to poke her head up take a look around after six seasons on Parks, Plaza plans to continue her attempt “…to be considered a well-rounded actor, not a weirdo.” That starts next year with Dirty Grandpa and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.

Given her peppy, workmanlike embrace of masturbation (The To Do List), doll parts (Playing It Cool), and, um, quirky guest appearances (any number of talk shows), she’s demonstrated she’s unafraid to attempt almost anything, including being herself – no small feat in her line of work. If part of the outrageousness allows her to remain a bit of an enigma, we can live with that. What we most want to see is what Plaza does next, because if there’s one thing that’s obvious, the woman’s capable of almost anything.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

Every successful actor will tell you how lucky they are to do what they get to do; it’s pretty standard actor PR speak, and in most cases, probably true. Still, it’s genuinely refreshing to come across someone who seems to be happier practicing her craft the longer she does it. Linda Cardellini believed her dad when he told her it would be possible to build a rollercoaster in their back yard. Perhaps that’s where she got the “screw-loose optimism” responsible for making her think she could be an actress in the first place, and what led her to L.A. to audition for roles she thought (or was actually told) she wouldn’t get, one being her breakout series Freaks and Geeks. She even managed to find a small moment of pleasure in the rather sudden late-night announcement of its cancellation. And she believes there’s benefit to be found in even the most nerve-racking auditions.

It’s a testament to Freaks and Geeks and Cardellini herself that she’s still best known (and rightfully lauded) for work on a show that was cancelled after just 18 episodes in 1999, not even beating the 10th season of Cops in the ratings. The show was unusual and ahead of its time in ways too numerous to mention, all of which probably boil down to its just being too good for TV at the time. On the bright side, the current streaming, watch-when-you-want age that enabled its phenomenal post-cancellation embrace gives us hope that such honest, sui generis shows and the people who create them will endure. Recalls Freaks writer Paul Feig, “Lindsay Weir was the only character not based on someone I knew, but Linda Cardellini was the exact person I had in my head.” Chalk that up to her innate ability (at 24) to bring an authenticity to a teenage character that completely matched the spirit of the show. “Life is filled with moments where you have to sit alone with yourself, and the show let us do that in a way that wasn’t normal at the time,” she told Vanity Fair. “You don’t know what to say or do, so you have to sit there in that uncomfortableness.”

For a more recent example of her instinct for telling a story through silences and a complete lack of vanity, seek out the extraordinary Return, and you’ll be way ahead of the deprived people who are bound to stumble across and love it years from now. As her career progresses, she’s reflecting the experience and motivations of a widening range of grown-up women with roles in Mad Men, Welcome to Me, 2016’s The Founder and yes, even Avengers: Age of Ultron, which prompted the Washington Post to praise the calmness, clarity and wisdom of her performance – in a superhero movie. It’s a maturity she seems to find satisfying, and one that will likely ensure a long future as an artist.

And the optimism just gets worse from here. As someone whose stated acting ambition is working with as many of her peers as possible to observe their approach, she’s landed in a series of jackpots, the latest of which is Bloodline with Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard. So if you don’t like happy stories, stop here. And definitely don’t see her in the slightly sweet, slightly off-kilter, full-on funny Daddy’s Home this Christmas. But if like Cardellini, you believe the best is still to come, read on.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

Have complete confidence in each decision you make. If you’re wrong, have complete confidence in the next one. You could stop reading here and have all the advice you need from one of the most talented, inventive writers and producers in the TV business today. But that would be a mistake, because Bill Lawrence, as you might suspect of one of the most prolific creators of network sitcoms, tells a great story. Many great stories, actually. He was one of the youngest writers ever hired for Friends on its first season, and created Spin City at the ripe old age of 26. He went on to write, create and/or produce Scrubs, Cougar Town and Undateable – the show NBC said wasn’t “a good fit with our brand” and subsequently went on to renew for three seasons running (that one’s a particularly good story).

As early as high school, Lawrence had visions of being a standup comedian until he figured out other people were better at delivering his material than he was. Though he says he’ll always be a comic at heart, he had too many ideas and too much confidence not to take his “spec script scam” out to Hollywood, where he quickly progressed from writing shows to running them to producing them, working with some of the best mentors in the business along the way.

But here’s the thing about Bill, who at this point is a pretty successful guy with a nice pool and his own busy production company. Like any true and restless creative, he can’t resist a challenge or pushing on walls – in case of Undateable, the fourth wall. When NBC’s marketing commitment for the show seemed more likely to doom than promote it, Lawrence launched a grass-roots, whistle-stop bus tour that included throwing himself (a “below-mediocre comic”) into standup shows with a lineup of some of the best comedians in the business. Cue the flop sweat. After experimenting with a live broadcast of Undateable, which involves on-the-fly live script changes and re-directing of actors during commercial breaks, he decided to do the whole third season that way, essentially creating a live scripted comedy-variety show hybrid. Ideas that would have most execs downing Costco-size doses of Pepto-Bismol just don’t seem to faze him; in fact, in a sort of meta way, he seems to make navigating the business sound like a sitcom itself.

So tune in as Lawrence discusses what it takes to succeed as a TV writer, the inner workings of pitching, producing and marketing shows in the shifting TV landscape, and two shows he and George Clooney decided would never work: Friends and ER. Like he said, just have confidence in the next decision…

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

In its review of Love & Mercy, Decider.com simultaneously lauded Paul Dano’s portrayal of the young Brian Wilson, and bemoaned his under-the-radar status. “Despite boasting an impressive list of credits, Dano is frequently left out of the cultural and critical conversation, and doesn’t receive the recognition he deserves for his powerful performances. He’s arguably one of the greatest actors of his generation, but his subtle presence in strong material hasn’t been enough to gain him awards season traction or long-term attention.”

The article speculated Love & Mercy would change all that, but it raises a question: Does an artist have to be a widely known and/or “award-winning” to be appreciated or validated in some way? With the proliferation of social media and “entertainment news”, it seems we need to know an actor as a person, that he has to exist publicly and consistently in the “real” world to exist as an artist. Few who’ve seen Dano’s work in films like L.I.E., Little Miss Sunshine and 12 Years a Slave would question his disconcerting ability to absorb and then stun us with a kaleidoscopic range of characters. But try and describe Paul Dano the person and most of us would search long and hard for adjectives.

And that’s fine. “Fame looked horrible to me,” says Dano. Though he still can’t completely articulate why he got into theater at age 10 and is just now starting to figure out what he does want as an actor, instinct has always led him away from what he doesn’t: Early on, he got the feeling that films like his 2004 teen rom-com The Girl Next Door would likely define him before he had a chance to do so himself. So his next choice was indie The Ballad of Jack & Rose with Daniel Day-Lewis, “Because someone there believed I could be nothing like me.” He’s since shone in a string of highly acclaimed performances in some of the most intriguing releases in recent years, including Prisoners, The Extra Man, and There Will Be Blood, of which Texas Monthly said: “Dano is so electric that the movie sags whenever he’s not around.” But it’s the aforementioned Love & Mercy that truly bears witness to his sensitivity as a performer and a vulnerability Dano says came from an almost personal regret about not being able to protect someone who couldn’t do it himself. The result was a portrait far more real than any degree of physical mimicry could ever convey.

Dano takes the long view of his career, asking of each new role, “Why would I do this?” As much as he questions what he can give to each project, he wants to know what he can take from it for the next – and how it’s going to be different from the last. Dano’s never going to be the guy wearing the lampshade at your next dinner party. He will, however, take on a new and meta persona in the upcoming Youth, playing the kind of actor he never wanted to be, and prompting us to ask, how does an actor prepare to play an actor?

We loved getting know him at least a bit better, and as far as adjectives go, we’ve landed on “necessary.” Because as long as Paul Dano continues acting, we know there will be films we really want to see.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

One of best ways to enter and appreciate the original, prolific brain of Joseph Gordon-Levitt is through the lens of hitRECord, the open, collaborative production company he founded in 2005, and one of the most creative and inspiring uses of the Internet ever. Its nearly 100,000 members submit projects – films, stories, songs, drawings, you name it – for other members to edit, build on and evolve.

Gordon-Levitt credits directing short films on hitRECord with teaching him what he needed to know to make Don Jon, his first feature film as a writer, director and star. It was a darkly comic but ultimately hopeful tale about what happens when we become too connected to our devices, consuming people as things and communicating at versus with each other. His effort was rewarded with critical acclaim rare for actors who have the audacity to become auteurs; more importantly, audiences dug it. A lot of artists might find hitting it out of the park on their first time at bat daunting, but it just made him want to do more, and on a more collaborative level.

That’s because Gordon-Levitt has never been fond of one-way streets – not for communication, not for critiques, not for creating, and especially not for careers. He could’ve ambled down his own pretty easy and lucrative path after early childhood success in commercials, films and most famously, NBC’s hit sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. Instead, he went to Columbia University, largely out of a desire to reclaim the feeling of “not knowing what I was going to be” – an open question for many college freshmen, but few actors who’ve worked steadily from the age of four. When he found himself roaming the streets of New York with a video camera, he knew a return to acting was inevitable, but he knew it would have to be in unexpected roles – not to make an artistic statement, but to prove to the business (and himself) that he didn’t have to be just one thing. When such roles weren’t immediately forthcoming, his restless creativity found an outlet in hitRECord. The roles he was seeking eventually surfaced in films like 500 Days of Summer, Brick, Inception and Mysterious Skin; and hitRECord projects began to take on momentum. Good times for someone who “gets off on the stuff I never anticipated would happen.”

He believes we should welcome versus dread the unexpected, that change is the most natural state, that good becomes great when we all participate and, as poignantly demonstrated by his late brother Dan, that “people can be whatever the hell they want to be.” All of which posits that the best artists are collaborators, and the best collaborators tend to have a stubborn optimistic streak.

Maybe it’s that enthusiasm (and a certain degree of DIY showmanship) that invests his performance as funambulist Philippe Petit in Robert Zemekis’ The Walk with such verve and authenticity. That, and his superior make-believe skills – a blank green screen is no match for a fertile imagination. In this issue, we talk to him about that film, the role of technology in modern life, what he’s learned from being on both sides of the camera, and his hopes for future of hitRECord. For those still unclear on that concept, tune in to our broadcast episode for Gordon-Levitt’s demonstration – and the musical results. Thanks, well,…everyone.

 

 

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
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Ask William H. Macy about any number of the hapless losers, downtrodden everymen and debauched miscreants he’s portrayed over the course of his career, and he’ll tell you he’s played the hero as every one of them. That makes sense if you believe that an actor’s job is to find something worth fighting for in every character he assumes. That doesn’t mean Macy doesn’t judge his alter egos; “There are a lot of stupid assholes in the world, but they don’t think they’re stupid assholes.” They’re simply human, and telling their stories truthfully is how he answers our questions as viewers about why they are the way they are.

Let’s start with the hapless losers, namely Fargo’s Jerry Lundegaard, who he embodied so convincingly we weren’t completely sure they weren’t the same person. On reading the script, Macy knew he was the guy; problem was, the Coen brothers didn’t. So, putting both his career and Ethan Coen’s dog on the line, he launched an offensive that more than paid off. Macy didn’t have to seriously audition for another role thereafter.

After years of steady work, though, he began to find the movie roles he was offered less than scintillating, and decided it was time to take on series TV. Enter Frank Gallagher, another less-than-upstanding citizen he’s made us love. Shameless, which Macy says is like getting paid to return to acting school, has completely renewed his love for his craft. Maybe that’s why he’s so fun to watch – and possibly why received an Emmy nod for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series even after he spent a season dying of liver failure. So things were going well in TV land. That’s when he decided he wanted to direct a feature film.

Macy is nothing if not ambitious, and thought he could do it as well as, if not better, than anyone else; but he calls his first feature effort “a real sock in the nose.” No Minnesotan could understate it better. The first day of prep for Rudderless left him feeling completely overwhelmed and under-qualified to take it on. But he needn’t have worried, guided as he was by the same principle he’d adhered to for over 30 years in the business: Tell the truth, and cut out everything else. What we’re left with is a difficult but authentic story, beautifully scored and acted.

In this conversation, Macy tells the truth about acting technique, the perks and pitfalls of series TV, the process of putting together a feature-length indie, and what he’s learned from his experience on both sides of the camera. We talk about everything, including how to fire George Clooney so he stays fired. Well, almost everything… Sorry, Bill.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

Why is it that even if you haven’t seen more than a few minutes of Connie Britton on screen, you feel like you somehow already know her. And not only know her, but really like her. Maybe we relate so instantly because we get the feeling she’s a lot like us, only maybe just slightly improved. Watching her work in shows like the dearly departed Friday Night Lights, you’re sort of inspired to be a better person.

In Hollywood years, Britton is a bit of a late bloomer, having no family or industry connections, and majoring in Asian studies instead of acting. All of which she came to see as an advantage; it forced her to take a good look at herself and figure out what she had to offer as an artist that was truly unique, versus what everyone else was doing, or was expected to do. Another late-bloomer advantage? Once you know what your particular gifts are, you can fight to stay true to them.

When no (that’s zero) drama schools accepted her after college, Britton figured she’d better just take those gifts to New York and start auditioning. Based on how that was going, she had nothing better to do than take a part in a small independent. No one, including Britton, had any reason to expect The Brothers McMullen would garner any attention or box office, so she felt they made it for the best and most pure reasons – art, and the experience of creating it. Still, it’s nice when (thanks to Ed Burns and his magical backpack) it becomes a box office hit, and your breakout role. So when that led to her first screen test (with Tom Cruise for Jerry Maguire, no pressure), she couldn’t be blamed for getting her hopes up – and subsequently completely crushed – when the director passed her over for Renée Zellweger. Britton has said it took her an xx to get past the devastation of that experience, so we invited said director to come back and talk to her about that. Here at Off Camera, we’re all about closure, folks.

But, as strong and buoyant as the hair that now has it’s own Twitter account, Britton kept working, kept learning, and increasingly, kept fighting for characters and storylines that rang true. Having learned a lesson about character arcs on Spin City she turned down NBC’s dearly departed Friday Night Lights countless times, until series director Peter Berg assured her Tami Taylor would stay “strong and messed up” and not on the sidelines. He listened, and everyone scored. Britton says the show’s “independent TV” approach of allowing great mistakes to happen was empowering, and pushed her to take risks as an actress. A strong believer that “it’s not a risk if there’s no way to fail,” Britton saw promising potential disaster in singing on the hit series Nashville. No disaster ensued, but some great TV sure did.

In a funny, real and downright uplifting conversation, Connie Britton shares tales from her winding career path, how she discovered what she had to offer as an artist, and how resilience comes from finding a higher purpose in her work. We’ve wanted to have Connie as our guest for a long time. Now we also want her for our best friend, career counselor, coach, cheerleader and role model for our kids. After all, how busy can she be, right?

 

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

“No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.” – L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz

Ol’ L. Frank had it right, and maybe that’s why we all try so hard to find one. And if you never had much of a home to speak of in the first place, you try that much harder. That’s where the story of Carrie Brownstein, or at least her new book, Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl, begins. Brownstein, who’s now probably best known for co-creating and starring in the cult hit Portlandia, began her search as a fan of bands, and then by being in one, and ultimately, by breaking it up for the perceived shelter of various and sundry office buildings.

With parents who for their own reasons were largely absent, Brownstein was at once free and compelled to immerse herself in the Pacific Northwest music scene of the 90s, and pursued it with the hunger and passion to connect that drives so many artists. What eventually emerged was Sleater-Kinney, a band [with singer/guitarist Corin Tucker and drummer Janet Weiss] as fiery and original as its members. They lived the floor-sleeping, van-touring, equipment-schlepping, basement-practicing existence of most scrappy bands while they built a small but loyal following. Then to the surprise of everyone, none more so than the band itself, Time magazine named Sleater-Kinney the Best Rock Band in America. Another surprise was their first feature article in SPIN, one that drove home what happens when your life is no longer just your own. So Sleater-Kinney was “famous”, or about as famous as you could be in the modest Northwest indie rock world back then. Though Brownstein had begun to realize the same scene that embraced them as outliers had its own set of rules more restrictive than the mainstream, she nevertheless sabotaged a meeting with a bigger label that came calling. At the time, Brownstein thought she was being loyal to a scene where “selling out” was anathema; in hindsight it might just be what happens when three very tough but vary naïve young girls try to navigate a career without management, agents, or even parents to provide guidance and an objective voice of reason. They returned to their small Olympia, WA label, and to hauling their own equipment down broken stairs to a cat-pee scented basement. Misfiring on the verge of mainstream success was a pattern that sadly defined the rest of the band’s career. Ambition and talent go a long way, but making a band your substitute family puts a dangerous amount of weight on a creative partnership. It’s Band Psych 101’s top reason for a breakup, and that’s exactly what Brownstein did, in dramatic fashion, before a show in Brussels.

For Brownstein, the end of Sleater-Kinney marked the beginning of a 10-year stint of “day jobs” that seem unimaginable for a creative soul who spent 15 years touring the world as her own boss. But the schedule and structure of the office buildings where she worked – as a substitute teacher, an animal shelter and an ad agency – seemed like just the solid vessel she needed to hold her. It took another traumatic incident and a lot of reflection to realize the most stable home is the one you build inside yourself. In this episode we talk to the musician, writer and actress about the birth, death, and rebirth of Sleater-Kinney, the disparity between the perception and reality of fame, what she’s learned from the process of writing her book, and what might be next for Portlandia. That, and the fine line between drawing too few and too many cats. Brownstein says she wrote ‘Hunger’ in part to figure out how to make decisions that put you at the center of who you want to be. We think she’s home.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

Thanks to movie posters and pull-quote “reviews”, we’ve heard “electric” used to describe a performance so often that it barely registers as an adjective. But think back for a moment to the first time you saw High Fidelity. Now, think about the first moment Jack Black appeared on screen and jolted that film alive. It’s a great movie with a great cast, but let’s face it – his very presence flipped the switch. And that movie flipped the switch on Black’s film career, though it was a part he came within inches of turning down. But as the Guitar Pick of Fate would have it, he said yes, ending a 10-year struggle as a glorified extra that followed his first film role as a rabid political acolyte in Bob Roberts, where his real-life nerves turned out to be all the prep he needed to turn in another performance you must to go back and see. The good news about that flame-out decade is that he met a certain KG, and you know what rose from those ashes.

But let’s flash-Black for a moment to our guest as a teenager who began auditioning for commercials because he so desperately wanted his friends to see him on TV, and even more desperately the acceptance and attention he figured would follow. A stint in Tim Robbins’ The Actors Gang followed, as did high school plays and musicals; and though he lost the girl (and wrote the requisite power ballad) he quite literally found his voice. Through music, The D, the hilarious Mr. Show and eventually film, he got the totally merited attention he wanted, if not the confidence he probably thought would come with it: “Man, I spend my life just trying to relax.” But he achieved at least some degree of artistic peace in figuring out that his way in to any role – or any song, for that matter – was with a chaser of comedy. If that covers up some vulnerability, well, as he puts it, “You can’t hurt the clown.”

So back to the present, where under all the over-the-top antics and outrageousness it’s not hard to scent the sensitivity and empathy that no amount of good-humored depravity can disguise. It takes one very human clown to connect us immediately with otherwise improbable characters and films (for more must-see proof, we offer School of Rock and the truly excellent Bernie). As an artist Black says he doesn’t seek out challenges as much as he does resonance.

In this high-minded and philosophical discussion, we will hit you with lessons on artistic angst and toehold moments, as well as true tales of Cannes-crashing, the fearsome warlock powers of Stephen Frears, and a fever-dream nightmare of an Elliott Smith tribute gone horribly wrong…then right. That, and a scholarly debate on the merits of Gene Krupa vs. Buddy Rich vs. Peter Criss – Sam and Jack hologram it out.

By now, Jack Black knows who he is, and what he’s here for. So watch his work for the subtle or the shenanigans, but watch you will, because it’s impossible not to. He’s proof you can’t underestimate the power of a raised eyebrow, wait-for-it timing or an unexpected turn of phrase. In that regard, he ranks up there with Jack Benny and other masters of comedy who simply knew how to deliver a line. Ladies and gents, we give you the Bard of Off Camera.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

If you could see Olivia Wilde’s toes right now, they’d be wiggling. Since you can’t, you’ll have to take her metaphor for it – she’s hit an artistic stride that feels as satisfying and freeing as “taking off an uncomfortable pair of shoes.” It shows. In Meadowland, she’s riveting as a mother whose reaction to a tragically random event first seems shocking, then increasingly real. In other words, more human than Hollywood. It’s a role she was told she likely wouldn’t get, and one she knew she’d do anything to play, including working with a first-time director, locking her fiancé in his room for three hours and eventually, signing on to produce. How do you know “Goddamn, I have to play this role?” When you recognize a version of yourself in the character, even if it’s one you may not want to see. It’s a performance that makes any of us question how we’d behave once the worst has already happened. Meadowland also appealed to Wilde in its refusal to offer closure, which also sounded suspiciously like real life. And should neatly answering all our questions be the function of film, or any art? Not for Wilde, anyway. “If it’s not messy, I’m not interested.”

Wilde has been acting for over a decade, but says her career truly started when she learned to commit to a choice without knowing what its outcome would be, a lesson she credits to the under-appreciated Drinking Buddies, a movie in which she plays another messy character, and one that comes closest who she really is. She didn’t have much choice about trusting the outcome, since almost the entire script was improv and all the information she had about the movie before flying out to film it was scribbled on a napkin. (Another lesson about absorbing beer and information simultaneously followed, but you’ll have to read on for that one.) Drinking Buddies was an artistic stretch, but a big confidence builder – confidence she’s now channeling into writing: “Fear was going to stop me until I just made the decision to do it.” It also underscores one of her favorite quotes from Steinbeck’s East of Eden: “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”

Not to mention a lot more interesting and authentic. Early in her career, Wilde made the smart decision to work at a casting agency to learn the business in “the belly of the beast.” When an agent advised her to drop her theater-training enunciation and “just be a human,” she realized that most actors “spend their careers unlearning how to act and just be a person.” That kind of authenticity is informing the more complex characters she’s choosing to take on these days. And as an audience, we relate and respond. So why don’t we see more complicated, real women on screen? Wilde figures it’s because Hollywood is pretty invested in the shiny, young and new, the food of fantasy. Certainly there’s a place for escapism in film or any art, but if we don’t truly connect, how much does it enrich us in the long run? In Off Camera 41, Wilde shares stories from the jobs that shaped her career, reveals her fondness for brown corduroy and explains why Coming to America is a feminist movie.

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