#STORY11 :: Ed Saxon

Raised in St, Louis, Missouri, Ed is a graduate of the USC Peter Stark Producing Program. He received his undergraduate degree at McGill University. He produced the film THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, which is, to date, the third and most recent film to sweep the five main categories at the Academy Awards – Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture.
  • I recommend a book called “How to read a book”
  • Logos
  • Pathos
  • Ethos
  • Motion picture making is about failing in order to succeed.
  • What does it mean to be a storyteller?
  • You’re on an airplane with the person you are going to marry. There is trouble on the plane. It crashes on an island. People start assigning jobs. Digging ditches, fishing, etc. They look at you and they ask what you’re going to do? You say you think you’re going to be the storyteller. They all look at you weird. So then you have to justify that.
  • A storyteller is an exalted position. A necessary position. A privileged position. and there might be a lot of competition for this position.
  • To be a storyteller is competitive.
  • But it is worthy. It is essential. When we tell our stories we are making sense out of our lives. Life is about stories.
  • There are three kind of stories.
    • Man vs. Man – Rocky. Hitler vs. Churchill
    • Man vs. Nature
    • Man vs. Himself – The King’s Speech
  • There are two roads that I talk about most succinctly
    • The Apprenticeship – working your way in the storytelling business. That is how I came up. If you are going this route, then make sure you learn about the business you’re working in.
    • Do it yourself – I wanted to make a film because I didn’t need anyone’s permission to do it. This is a miraculous time. We can all make a movie ourselves. We can make movie on your telephone. People don’t like to watch more than 2.5 minutes. If you can write something short, you can make it, and it can be seen. This is a gift. This is a new phenomena, but you still have to find great people.
      • The Cream Rises to the top
      • Talent follows material – the talents want to be in the material that will stand the test of time. If you do something great then there is a chance to get great talent attached to it.
      • Intention and the journey – I love the idea of surrender. Working in creative fields is its own reward. I don’t mean people shouldn’t be paid well. Stories make us better humans. I think it is important as a storyteller to not think that your own peace of mind is not based on getting to that next accomplishment.
      • There is heroism in putting your own story out there. The brave thing is to put your voice out there and let it be heard.
      • I was there, and when I walked off the stage of the academy awards I forgot to thank the woman I was going to marry.
      • When you get to the destination you’re still stuck in the journey. You’re still stuck in today. The job is to let go enough to enjoy today.
  • Thank you and may your flame burn bright.

Q&A

  • Scott
    • Is it true that your grandmother was a rocket?
  • Ed
    • Yes. You want to do some kicks.
  • Scott
    • I heard you were one of the first VJ’s on VH1
  • Ed
    • Yes, I was. This was a long time ago in the 1980’s. I was about to be a producer. I chose to be a producer.
  • Scott
    • What are you working on right now?
  • Ed
    • Thank you for a chance to plug :)
    • There is a television series called “Enlightened” and it will be on HBO. Mondays, Oct 10.
    • Then working on a feature script.
  • Scott
    • I heard that one of your favorite films is the Godfather. Why?
  • Ed
    • I guess because I thought those films were so much about family. It was man vs. man, but also about family. In the Godfather 2 there is a scene where Corlione has a senator in his office, and he says “We’re all part of the same hypocrisy Senator”. There are number of moments in that movie that profoundly illustrate family and human emotion. It is beautifully shot.
  • Scott
    • I want to talk for a second about fear. Some call it the resistance or the Lizard Brain. Do you struggle with fear? How do you deal with it?
  • Ed
    • Constantly.
    • There are 2 guys running through the forest and one guy just does whatever he wants. The other guy is more cautious. The uncautious guy usually gets killed. The cautious guy survives, mates, and becomes us.
    • We are all stuck in fear.
    • The work to be creative is rewire. The problem with that is that the same fear fuels a lot of the anger that helps you make stuff. So how do you rewire stuff and still keep that energy?
    • If you can feel the fear and be comfortable with your fear then you can be attacked less.
    • But its not about getting rid of the fear. We are built with it.
    • In my business it is fun being on stage but I’m afraid. So maybe getting a little bit of approval helps.
    • So through grace, however you find that grace those ways to mediate those feelings.
  • Scott
    • What energizes you?
    • What pisses you off?
  • Ed
    • I’m energized by the third thing that comes out of connecting with another person. The creative process. Like me saying something and you coming up with something better and just going back and forth.
    • I’m energized by my security in my family, and a sense of some larger spiritual connection.
    • I’m pissed off by my own apathy, and a sense of being better than others.
    • If I was as moral as I like to think I am then I would be doing a lot of things, but I’m sitting here talking about the movie business.
    • I struggle with apathy.
  • Scott
    • When you’re talking about the pain in the world I saw it in your eyes that there is pain in the world. What do yo want to do? What are your dreams?
  • Ed
    • I’m still obsessed with making something that is really good.
    • The most famous movie I did was about a guy who skins people and eats people. So within the movie making business I love making people feel something.
  • Scott
    • It seems that independent films have gained popularity recently. Why do you think that is?
  • Ed
    • I don’t really think that is true.
    • I think that this may be a water shed moment for independent films.
    • Now through the internet and social media it is possible for anyone to get stuff out there.
    • Independent box offices have probably not changed radically, but in terms of what is available digitally it has changed dramatically.
    • There is a chance for movies to break out at a new tier.
    • Getting an audience is getting easier. I’m hopeful for the low budget films.
  • Scott
    • Where do you keep your Oscar?
  • Ed
    • Usually on a stack of books next to the TV.

 

And the rockette dance just happened on stage with Ed Saxon and Scott Hodge!

Tags: , , ,