Interview with Dan Abrams...
Today we have yet another interview on...
After seeing the Kickstarter project for "the False Profit," I went on a hunt for Dan Abrams. After reading his blog I contacted him and almost immediately got a reply. So here it is, the interview with Dan Abrams...
Q. How did you get involved with writing?
A. When I first went to film school it was to be a director. Before that I wanted to design video games. Before that I wanted to be a cartoonist. I quickly met a mentor in college, a man named Stephen Bach. Stephen was a very influential movie studio executive back in the seventies. Stephen noticed that I was naturally funny. The films I was creating weren't funny, but I was raised on nothing but Woody Allen and Peter Sellers and more than anything The Simpsons. A lot of it rubbed off on me. Stephen pushed me towards comedy, then pushed me further: he explained that comedy is a writer's medium and that if I wanted to direct it, I'd have to learn to write it first. I became a professional writer because others championed me. My first paid gig came out of nowhere. I got a call asking if I'd like to develop a script for a well-known animation company. Somebody who I'd asked for advice in the past took a look at my work and passed it onto these folks, who also liked it (even though, looking back at the quality of that script), I wouldn't have hired that Dan. I think that making it as a writer requires you to have the guts to try outrageous, audacious things. When you do that, people start to champion you, which has been absolutely the key for me every step of the way. I try to pay it forward as much as possible and champion those I'm in a position to help. I think karma definitely exists in that way.
Q. If you could meet one person, who would it be and why?
A. Steve Jobs. I don't identify with him, not the good parts. I mean, I appreciate design and simplicity, but not like he did. But I get him yelling at people who weren't as smart as him. I identify with his arrogance and judgmental attitude, sad as it is. I think we would have great fun, sitting down to a meal, talking about all the things that we wished could be better and then after complaining, figuring out how we could make a better version. Fun fact: he was removed from his position at Apple the day I was born.
Q. What can we expect from the False Profit?
A. Lots and lots and lots of silliness. Jokes at everyone's expense: Wall Street bankers, occupiers, the government, public radio, the Greeks, the Germans, TED talks, Hampton Inn, tap dancers and Harvard. And underneath the silliness, the real reason the economy crashed in 2008. As silly as the movie is, I've never done more research for a project. I probably deserve a PhD in macroeconomics at this point. Plus we have probably the best improv cast ever put together since the original SNL cast. It's like a "who's who" of the second city. People should go to http://falseprofitthemovie.com and sign up for our mailing list. Everyone's going to love this movie. Except the Amish. They're not allowed to.
Q. What type of computer do you use and why?
A. I switched to Mac as soon as they switched to Intel and I love it. It's just way better. I am far more productive with my Mac. My current machine is a MacBook pro 17" fully loaded. But it's getting in the tooth for me to do HD video editing in final cut, so I probably need to bite the bullet and buy a new one. I also carry an iPad 2 with me everywhere and also this iPhone (which is my third). I use all of them for work almost every day. I'll be honest, the iPad is my favorite.
Q. If you could talk to your thirteen year old self, what would you say and why?
A. Ask out every girl you can, now. They don't know any better yet. Seriously though, It turns out they say yes almost always. The secret is that girls love free movies and dinner and jewelry. They're even willing to hold your hand to acquire these items. And they like kissing too. But nothing else. It's not too late for you to become a competitive ballroom dancer. Those guys have ten girls for every one of them. And definitely do what I did and go to a college that's 80% women and 19% gay men. Talk about being part of the 1%! I wish I hadn't waited until I was 20 to start drinking. It's how teenagers are social. Don't tell you're parents I told you that. And I wish I had learned about philosophy and economics sooner. Oh, and I wish I took improv classes then because it's harder to learn when you're older. Plus I'd probably give my thirteen year old self some stock picks or tell him to bet everything he had on the Giants against the Patriots or something.
I really enjoyed talking to Dan, and he had some really kind words, which I truly appreciate. I can't wait for the False Profit, I am sure it will provide some great laughs.