Thursday, February 5, 2009

The human being behind the artist...

Greetings from arctic Atlanta! Yes, it's the South. If you don't like the weather here, just wait 5 minutes. Been in the 20s this week and supposed to be in the high 60s this weekend.

Onto today's topic...I always find it fascinating to learn more about the artists in our midst, be they authors, musicians, filmmakers, painters. Anytime they're generous enough to do an interview or a Q&A with others, it helps people get to know them a bit better. My monthly writers group knows this fact and has incorporated it into every meeting. The "Ask a Published Author" segment, no matter how many times an author may speak, is always valuable and gives us some extra insight into what keeps them going.

I love the TV show on Bravo, Inside the Actors Studio, for this very reason. Actors talk about their background, how they entered the acting profession, etc. It's a chance to not only learn more about some favorite actors/actresses, but I like the opportunity to see who they are as real people. You can learn a great deal by watching or reading an interview; this tells us who the person is, what art means to them, and how willing they are to encourage others.

Those who've been following my blog for awhile know that I'm a huge Tom DiCillo fan. He's one of the few writer/directors whose films always touch my soul. I've purchased all his films on DVD and also have his 2 books. I read somewhere that he wrote a play while studying at NYU. If I could get my hands on it, I'd purchase that too.

Below is a link to a recent interview he gave regarding his newest film about The Doors, When You're Strange. The film premiered at Sundance last month, is currently being shown at the Berlin Film Festival, and will play at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in Austin, TX in March.

Read the interview.

We all have our favorite artists, those who have a particular way of storytelling which reaches into our heart or excites some quirky spirit in us--we can't help but love everything they create. For filmmakers, my list includes Tom DiCillo and the Coen Brothers, Joel and Ethan.

In terms of books, Dennis Lehane and Jodi Picoult are my top two. Lehane has a conversational yet brutally honest Boston voice. I must have read the 3 opening pages to Gone, Baby, Gone at least 50 times. The words almost sway in the breeze, those pages are written so well. Picoult takes current events and sagas, then uses them as a backdrop to her rich fiction characters. I read about her in an airplane magazine (yes, it was an interview, so always read interviews when you get the chance!) and decided to buy one of her books. I did and have since bought everything she's done.

Remember when your artistic creations get out into the world, give interviews or Q&As. It's a great way for your audience to learn a bit more about you, the artist who's behind the art.

Y'all have a great weekend!

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