It would be fair to say that I wasn’t much in to food before I moved to LA. I was pretty picky and had excuses like “overly sensitive tastebuds” at my disposal to get out of eating things I thought were weird. Now, having spent 5 years in this City of Angels, I am proud to say my horizons have expanded. With so many options and a spectrum of cultures to choose from, I have been exposed to a whole new world of culinary experiences, and I’m loving it.
On The Line is a project I would have never imagined myself doing 5 years ago, but now I couldn’t have been more interested in what shooting a video like this had to offer. Jet Tila of Stir Market (and Food Network fame) is a LA native with a wealth of knowledge about the different culinary worlds of our city, and I couldn’t get enough of what he had to say. His expert tour of Thai Town has filled my vocabulary with restaurants and trivia that I fully intend on using on friends and family to make me seem more impressive. Not to mention he is just an all around great guy, and welcomed me and my team of filmmakers in to his world with open arms.
Then we did things like ride the metro at rush hour, hopping from one culture to another, and strolling through Thai Town with Jet as our guide. He hooked us up with the fine people at Ruen Pair, and while you can watch most of that interaction in the video, the thing you won’t see (and what I love about working on cooking shows) is that we were able to feast on some of the best Thai dishes in LA after everything had wrapped. Every production should have the entire crew sitting around a table and enjoying their 2nd meal family style at the end of the day. Right?
Stills by Rainbeau
I’ve been a fan of David O. Russell’s work for a long time. I can definitely say that his films were a direct inspiration on both my and Lynch’s desire to become film makers ourselves. He was super busy casting his new film Joy the other day, but he still made time to sit and talk with us for a few minutes about Ashby. Before the interview began he started asking us all where we were from and who we were in high school. Which was hilarious because we’re all from the west or mid west and our director Amy Scott was literally the prom queen.
Shooting Once I Was has already put me in the room with a fair amount of cinematic greats, and hollywood classics. That said, I haven’t felt as excited about the project in awhile as I did after talking with David. He spoke about film making in emotional terms, saying that he could relate to Ashby because he falls in love with the characters in his movies, and that he recognized some of the actors in his films as soul mates. He spoke about utilizing music in film from the inside out, that you have to feel it. That he never truly understood that Rolling Stones track “Out of Time” until he watched Coming Home. That the image of Bruce Dern running on the base made him understand the song from his toes to the top of his head. It was a quick interview wrapped inside a hectic situation, but it was one of my favorites so far. The more we get immersed in this project, the more interested I am in Ashby’s approach to cinema and the influence he had on the business in general. It was really fun to listen to a director like David O. Russell, someone I’ve looked up to for so long, speak about what an amazing director Hal was.
This was a really fun one to put together and has been a long time coming, with scenes shot in LA, New York, and San Francisco. We’ve done most of Eli’s videos and love working with him, and this one was a particularly rad opportunity to work with some amazing dancer friends as well. Thanks again to everyone who worked on it with us. We hope you like it!
We couldn’t be more excited to get Mr. Jon Voight’s perspective on Hal Ashby for our film “Once I Was”. Even though he’s been nominated many times, his only Oscar win is from collaborating with Ashby on Coming Home. He came to our little studio, and shook hands with everyone, kind of sizing us up. Of course we were all a little intimidated – not because we weren’t ready to do our jobs well, but just because he’s such a full blown movie star. It carries some weight with it. After meeting everyone he said, “So do you guys all know each other? You work together on this?” and we explained how we are connected to him. He took a second sitting in the make up chair and then said, “I think that Hal would approve of this crew.” Which made me feel really REALLY hype.
He stayed and talked with us for a long time, and was truly a person who could articulate his impressions of Hal. That’s not always the case with these guys. Jon was super passionate about Ashby, saying “You’re asking me to describe the indescribable, and that’s what he was.” Voight had a big part in the writing on both Coming Home and Lookin’ to Get Out, which is now being reevaluated as a kind of cult classic. He talked a lot about how much Hal made actors feel free to try anything, and took their ideas seriously. He teared up a little at one point, and I think everyone in the room did too.
When he was leaving, I walked him out. He asked me for directions to the 5 and then strolled off saying, “Good luck, kid.” I stood there on the loading dock for a moment and enjoyed how surreal that was.
-Written by Brian Morrow & Lisa Janssen Images by Rainbeau Tharp