Emmy-winning Austin Powers director Jay Roach on Comedy and Directing
Here are some lessons derived from Gerry Katzman’s (www.standupcomedyclass.com) interview with director Jay Roach (“Meet The Parents”, “Campaign”, “Austin Powers”)
Lesson #1 – Everyone is afraid. Just because someone can successfully direct Zach Galifianakis, Mike Myers and Will Ferrel doesn’t mean he has faith in his own comedic ability. Says Roach: “I’m not funny… When I walked up at the podium, I just hoped I wouldn’t start gushing sweat and blubbering because I really do have actually horrible stage-fright. it’s not healthy.”
Lesson #2 – The only person who gets to decide whether you “have what it takes” is YOU. “You do not have to be funny or good at speaking to direct, thank goodness” added Roach.
Lesson #3- Surround yourself with the best.
Lesson #4- Balance. According to Roach, comedy direction is about creating a free, uninhibited atmosphere while the camera is rolling- while being analytical, obsessive, and painstaking while you prepare your next shot.
Lesson #5- Work hard enough to earn your lucky break. Jay didn’t get to direct “Austin Powers” (his first feature film) until after he was 40 and had been working for years at every conceivable job in the entertainment industry. But when Mike Myers asked him to take on the job of a lifetime, he was ready.
Lesson #6- Success doesn’t look how you think it will. Sometimes your dream job comes later in life than you had imagined it would. Sometimes Emmy-winners have stage-fright. And sometimes, the world’s best comedy directors don’t think they’re funny.
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