Marc Maron’s interview with Louis CK made Slate’s number one spot on their list of “The 25 Best Podcast Episodes Ever“. This was a good excuse for me to relisten to the episode.
There are a lot of things to take away from this interview, but here are my top ten.
10 – Producers do stupid stuff all the time.
We assume that the people who run the business side of the entertainment industry know what they are doing. It turns out they are as clueless as everyone else.
Worse yet, when working with larger studios and producers, they have more power. They can kill a film or project for any or no reason. Including giving the film to another artist or rewriting your work.
9 – Compulsions are not the fixation.
Many artists and creatives have issues around anxiety and compulsions. Louis CK is no acception. He gives some extreme examples throughout the interview.
Here is some advice he got from his therapist:
When you do those things you regret all the time. Like eating bad food or jacking-off in a shameful situation. Sexual compulsions, eating compulsions’…
He said, ‘the issue is not the food or the sexual object. It is anxiety.
You are having anxiety, and you are doing these things to deal with your anxiety. Maybe if you tell yourself at the moment, it might help you.
It was an enormous help!
I find this very helpful as well.
8 – We evolve as artists, and it is okay.
Louis CK started his career doing absurdist comedy. Now his jokes reflect on himself and everyday life struggles. If Louis CK can evolve into what he is today, maybe it is time for you (and me) to accept changes in art styles and projects.
Be okay with your evolution.
7 – Be nice to your friends.
We always need friends. If you piss all your friends off, it is going to be a hard life.
90% of the interview was just about Marc Maron and Louis CK trying to heal their friendship.
6 – Make friends with people who have similar dreams.
It is amazing to hear about all the other comedians Louis CK lived with, worked with and stayed in contact. It shows how helpful it can be to have friends with similar dreams.
Here is just a short list of what these comedians gained by being friends:
- they pushed each other
- benefited from a healthy competition
- shared valuable contacts (like producers and agents)
- could learn from each others mistakes and accomplishments.
5 – Being successful requires a lot of work/focus.
Just hearing all the things Louis CK has gone through makes me exhausted. He had several times considering quitting, but he just kept working.
It made me think of all the artists who love the outcome of their work but need to be in love with the process (at least a little) to keep pushing on.
4 – Collaborate on other people’s projects.
Several of the people that work on Louis CK’s show helped with his early films. Collaborating with him on no-budget projects to his television shows today.
As Louis CK works on bigger projects, he brings on the editors, DPs, and others comedians he likes.
3 -Start working on projects even if the odds are against you.
Louis CK talks about how inspiring Francis Ford Coppola was to him. Especially after seeing the documentary “Hearts of Darkness“. He even quotes some of that documentary in his interview.
(Talking about Coppola)
He made that movie happen without anyone really wanting him to…
The way Francis operates is if he wants to make a movie he just starts making the movie. He doesn’t wait for permission or for even the money. He just starts making the movie and figures, ‘If I just start making the movie people will start joining up along’.
And that’s how I’ve done everything since then. I just start making it and give it a life.
2 – Kids change things.
Another lesson Louis CK learned from Coppola.
Marc Maron relays a story about Francis Ford Coppola saying to Louis CK, “You don’t know what it is like to work until you have children.” Louis CK agrees and later reiterates this point.
This lesson hit home now that I have two kids of my own as well. If I fail and become broke it doesn’t mean I can just starting eating cheap food and get a roommate. It means my kids suffer.
I don’t feel you have to have children to be a hard worker, but kids do change things.
Children are a big motivator for me to finish projects and not sit around spinning my wheels. I need to work and make money for them.
1 – Used Mac Book to edit his show.
I write and edit the whole show on my Mac Book Pro. On the 13 inch…
He mentions that he uses high-end cameras (the RED) and other expensive equipment but edits his TV show with just a Mac Book Pro.
It is common for me to see the budget limitations as an excuse for not being able to do a project or finish one. With today’s technology, lack of money is no longer a good reason. All we need to shoot a film is a camera phone and a computer.
If you ever get hung up on the equipment issue, just remember “Louie” was edited on a laptop back in 2010. Just imagine what today’s possibilities are.