Kevin is joined by Oscar winning movie producer Graham King to discuss film producing, his experiences with audience test screenings, making and testing Bohemian Rhapsody, and more.
Graham King, Producer
Graham King is a four time Academy Award nominated producer, winning the award for The Departed. He's been involved in the making of more than 50 movies, producing films including Tomb Raider, Gangs of New York, Argo, The Town, Blood Diamond, Hugo, and Bohemian Rhapsody.
Getting his start in producing films (1:49)
Graham shares how he gravitated towards the storytelling in films and how to capture the telling of these stories through the medium of film. He has been especially drawn to true life stories and biopics. Graham looks for characters that are larger than life and finds a way to humanize them on the screen.
His first audience screening experience (3:48)
Graham speaks of the influence of his earlier films working with Martin Scorsese and how he has shared his love of previewing movies. It is critical to get the response from those who have no hidden agenda. The audience is there to like the movies. Graham believes that if you really want the truth you have to show it to those not in the industry with no personal agenda.
Audience impact on his films (6:44)
Bohemian Rhapsody was one of the top scoring films in preview and Graham discusses the decision to bring it to the big screen instead of streaming. He shares the import of capturing the experience that Freddy Mercury provided of bringing joy to the masses in his concerts and how it was important to convey that sense when experiencing the film.
About those who say screenings impede the process (13:01)
Graham believes that screenings and audience input are absolutely crucial in producing the most successful films. He believes that it is an irresponsible view to see audience input as an impediment. Audience input has a significant impact on the film. The screening process goes beyond just the cards and scores but rather the audience brings an energy when watching the film that is most useful when viewing.
Movie stories (29:15)
Graham shares stories about the making of several of his films including The Town, Jersey Boys and his new film about the Bee Gees. He discusses his responsibility in telling their stories in a way that pays respect and provides enjoyment. These interesting tidbits give the listener little known aspects of the movie making process.
Join Kevin and his guest, film producer Graham King and learn how they crack the code for playability success using audience screen testing and enjoy some insider stories on Kevin's podcast, Don't Kill the Messenger!
Host: Kevin Goetz
Guest: Graham King OBE
Producer: Kari Campano
For more information about Graham's upcoming projects:
For more information about Kevin Goetz:
Audienceology Book: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Audience-ology/Kevin-Goetz/9781982186678
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: @KevinGoetz360
Linked In @Kevin Goetz
Screen Engine/ASI Website: www.ScreenEngineASI.com
Podcast: Don't Kill the Messenger with Movie Research Expert Kevin Goetz
Guest: Academy Award winning producer Graham King
There's a little known part of Hollywood that most people are not aware of known as the audience test preview. The recently released book Audienceology reveals this for the first time. Our podcast series Don't Kill the Messenger, brings this book to life, taking a peak behind the curtain, and now join author an entertainment research expert. Kevin Goetz.
Kevin Goetz (00:24):
<Sings> “We are the champions, my friends.” So, I'm listening to that song and the concert at the end of Bohemian Rhapsody, I had just tested the movie, lights, come up, audiences going berserk crazy. They loved it. And out of the corner of my eye, I see this guy come towards me, who I knew--the producer Graham King. Graham looks at me and says, what did you think? And I had this big smile on my face, kind of a Cheshire cat smile because I knew he had captured lightning in a bottle. Like, I knew he had something and, boy, did he have something. Graham King is the embodiment of a producer, literally from the beginning of the twinkle in the eye of the idea, until the distribution and beyond, Graham does it all. I mean, the man is so prolific. He's produced movies like The Town, The Aviator, There Will be Blood, Argo, Durango, Hugo, and anything else with an “O”! Graham is just the best and I'm thrilled to have him as my very first guest. Please help me welcome him, my friend-- the one and only Graham King,
Graham King (01:32):
Kevin <laugh>. It's an amazing intro. Well, I'm just going to plug one thing and one movie you missed out, which is an important day for it called Blood Diamond, because it's Mr. DiCaprio's birthday today. Ah, so I'm going to wish you happy birthday on your podcast.
Kevin Goetz (01:49):
Thank you. Happy birthday, Leo. I love that movie by the way. That was an extraordinary picture. So, we absolutely cannot leave it out, but I actually left out a lot of other movies because you've been involved with through the years, nearly 50 movies, that you've had either a producer or executive producer title on. So, Graham, we could spend hours and hours talking, but before we get into too much, I did want to ask, I'm curious to know, how did you get into producing in the sense of knowing that this is something you really were passionate about and good at?
Graham King (02:23):
I think it all came from growing up, watching films and really gravitating to storytelling and how to tell a story cinematically as opposed to a book or an article and how to calculate captivate the audience's attention through, the medium of telling stories. And I also especially gravitated to true life stories or as we call them biopics, in our business. And you know, I was so fascinated Kevin growing up with larger than life characters and what that really means how to humanize people to make them accessible when they're so large in life. I remember when I did the Mohamed Ali story, we did our research and Mohammad Ali was the second most popular man in the world next to the Pope at the time.
Kevin Goetz (03:23):
Graham King (03:25):
And showing a side of him that the audience would never get to see. And the same with Freddie Mercury, we humanized Freddie Mercury and people knew Freddie Mercury from being the larger than life performer on stage and the show, the one most wonderful showman he was, but to actually humanize him is what gives me such drive to do what I do.
Kevin Goetz (03:48):
Wow. Well, I'm wondering if you can reach back into your memory and kind of recollect one of your first screening experiences where you actually gave your baby to the world and what that felt like for you.
Graham King (04:05):
Well, I think the learning experience, and listen, I had the greatest teacher anyone could ever ask for in Martin Scorsese. That was my first big kind of look into the theatrical world of filmmaking.
Kevin Goetz (04:19):
What did he teach
Graham King (04:20):
You? Well, first of all, one of my first meetings with him, he said he wanted to let me know upfront that he loves to preview movies, that he loves to hear what an audience has to say about his films. It helps him and quite honestly, Kevin, if I was going to give you the real honest answer, I'd never seen it through that lens. Although I know we making movies for the audience from the general public, I'd never quite dissected it the way he presented it to me.
Kevin Goetz (04:53):
And what did Marty get out of it? Principally.
Graham King (04:56):
Again, he told me at a very young age and when him and I first met that, it's so critical to get the response of 25 civilians who are not in the business who have no hidden agenda because he said to me, ‘Kid, everyone you showed this movie to that's in our world will either placate you or they they're out for you’. And it becomes personal. Mm or mm-hmm <affirmative> they have some kind of ulterior motive for your movie. So, if you really want the truth, you've got to show the guys on the street. You've got to show people that are not in this town and not in this industry.
Kevin Goetz (05:43):
You know, it's so interesting, Graham, excuse me. I just want to say what's so interesting about that is that you have to get those people who don't have an agenda. And the only reason they're there is to like your movie. They're not there for any other reason. So, which is why I never really advocated for this notion of the, the family and friends screening. I mean, there's things you can garner from it, but you also have to sift through, as you very articulately said, all of the stuff that might be an agenda might be that they want the gunning for you or that they are film school students or whatever it may be.
Graham King (06:20):
Well, you know, this much more than I do, but every preview that, that you know, I've done in my career and you've done the focus group, you always get the one or two that think they know more than you do, or that they're a filmmaker. Right. And again, you know, Marty drumming it into my head at an early age that we are not making films for the award season. We are making films for the general public.
Kevin Goetz (06:44):
Do you remember a particular movie that the comments either from the focus group or from the cards truly had a substantial or significant impact on the outcome of the picture?
Graham King (06:58):
Yes. I think there's, there's been three or four examples that I can give you for good and bad, by the way. So, the good one is, you know, I've never had a film as you well know, score higher in a preview in Bohemian Rhapsody. And I was still fighting with someone at the studio who wanted to make changes after we, you know, scored what, 96…
Kevin Goetz (07:20):
Something like that. It was one of the, one of the top, 1% of all movies tested in the history of testing.
Graham King (07:26):
Right. Right, right. And the most rewarding part of that process for me, Kevin, is a very personal one that I'll tell you in your listeners about. Seven, eight years ago, a streaming company--and I won't mention their name-- wanted to make this movie with me. And they were going to create an app and update the app every week. They were going to do so much in the marketing of Freddie Mercury, Queen in making Bohemian Rhapsody. Financially, it was a wonderful deal for me, a wonderful deal. And I spent three or four days really seriously having like that come to Jesus, you know, thing, and we'll go into this. But as a producer, you live and die by the decisions you make-- hiring directors, hiring cast, you know, marketing the movie, what platform it should go through. So anyway, I thought about it and thought about it.
Graham King (08:21):
And I went back to that company and I said, you know, Freddie mercury really invented playing to the masses. If you ever went to a Queen concert and was lucky enough to see Freddy with 150,000 people, you are holding the person's hand next to you, swaying to We are the Champions, you're dancing with them to, We will Rock You. You don't know who these people are, but he created that. And I have to have a chance to create that in a movie theater, because if I don't, I failed Freddie and I failed the band. So I cannot put this on streaming. I just, for that reason, I flatly turned it down. And again, when you're looking at a screenplay before you’ve shot the movie, you have no idea how that's going to play in the end game.
Kevin Goetz (09:10):
Absolutely. It's a very big motivator for sure. And 900 million (dollars) later, in your wildest dreams, did you ever think it would do half of that?
Graham King (09:23):
We don't need to go into the hurdles that Freddie Mercury kept throwing at me all the way through to the release of the movie, but no, when you were a producer on a film, but the time it comes to even previewing that I don't release in the film, you are so married to that story on the screen. You've seen it so many times that it's really hard not to get insecure all the time about the film. And one thing I love about you, by the way, is you bring an energy to a film. When you see a film, not only are your comments always pretty much spot on--and by the way, I do have some negative things to say about you later. But for now we'll…
Kevin Goetz (10:05):
<laugh> yeah, we'll do those. We'll say those privately
Graham King (10:07):
We'll do those after. But to bring fresh eyes, and again, this is where Marty played a big key for me in doing previews, bringing fresh eyes on your screen. I remember Marty saying it's okay to tell your editor to take a two-week vacation and get the movie out of your head. It's okay to keep showing people of 250 people, whatever it is, different cuts of your film and getting different reactions. I mean, it got so crazy on Gangs of New York, Kevin, that I remember coming out of the Mercer Hotel and the doorman said to me, “Hey, I saw your movie last night.” And I said, “what are you talking about?” He said, “I went to a, a private preview of Gangs of New York”. Marty rounded up an audience just to see literally he could change, you know, two scenes here and a few frames there. And he wants that feedback.
Kevin Goetz (11:01):
You know, I have to say that I cannot agree more with the notion of giving the editor and the director, quite frankly, a bit of time during that process when you are so entrenched in a particular way that you want it to go hear feedback, take some time the brain doesn't work like that, where you just can make the changes. You need the space. And I'll tell you it's part of the trouble that I have or the challenges that I have when I test television content, because it moves so quickly in film. At least what we do is we test. Then we have weeks before the following preview. So there are changes that can be made that could be rather substantial that could actually affect the DNA of your movie. Speaking of the DNA of a movie, was there anything you were ever really surprised about that came out of a screening where you were like, well, that is, that was something I didn't see coming.
Graham King (11:56):
Oh, many times again, because we look at it, we are married to it. So it's in our heads as a producer. If you give birth to the development of it, you know, again, Bohemian Rhapsody was 11 years into making. So for me, I was so kind of not stubborn, but I was very kind of, am I looking at it through the right lens? And let's show people, I remember calling you and saying, we need to show this because there's a few scenes I'm very concerned about. And let's see what an audience says. I did a movie with Mr. Pitt where we shot two endings and we let the audience tell us what was the best ending.
Kevin Goetz (12:40):
Did you think the audience was right?
Graham King (12:42):
I did. We did it on the town. We shot a few endings on the town and we previewed them next to each other. You remember that? I'm not sure if you do so many that you may not remember. And again, what scored the highest is what we went with because ultimately that's who we're making the movie for.
Kevin Goetz (13:01):
Well, that's what I wanted to ask you. So now you have one of arguably one of the five, most prolific filmmakers in Marty. And I would say the same thing about you on the producer front talking about having the audiences impact and ending. What do you say to folks? And I'm curious, maybe you even know what Marty might say, who are cynical, who say, you know, it impedes my creative vision. It impedes the way I see this movie turning out, because I know what I would say. And I say it almost every night of my life.
Graham King (13:34):
You know, I think if someone thinks that way, I think it's very irresponsible way of thinking because ultimately, unless filmmakers directors in particular were talking about finance their own movies, then they have to be open-minded that whether you're making an art house film, a big action Marvel movie or a comedy or a drum, no matter what the film is, again, someone is financing that film based on the general public showing up to see it, no matter what it's on, no matter what medium it’s on. If a filmmaker can't embrace that, then they shouldn't be in this business.
Kevin Goetz (14:20):
Well, I completely agree with that. It's funny. I talk about it in my book Audienceology, the fact that I had a conversation with Ang Lee and Ang-- who I consider one of the five greatest filmmakers along with Marty-- said well, Pablo Picasso never tested his paintings. And I said some version of, well, if Mr. Picasso didn't like his paintings, he could have taken the painting and put it in the back of his closet. No one would be the wiser or all of his oils and his canvas probably cost him six cents. You know, it was no harm nor foul, but in our medium, it is a very different animal. And as you said, you are making this for people to enjoy.
Graham King (15:07):
We're all human, right? So we all have these instincts. And again, there's… you know, I've been involved in films where, when I look back, should I have not let my emotions get carried away with me, whether it's at a preview or whether it's green lighting the movie when I used to finance the movies, no matter what it is, you know, it's very tough because we are in the most personal industry on the planet.
Kevin Goetz (15:31):
When you did finance your movies, did you have a different take on it or is that where it was sort of embedded in you that this is the screening process? Is that important? Because there's a real financial outcome here.
Graham King (15:43):
The studios won’t like me saying this, but it became for me a much different ballgame (financing movies). It became for me now a responsibility to recoup the investment bigger than giving the filmmaker while he wants. Or not having the right cut or anything else. And one of the reasons I stopped it, Kevin, was because I felt I was in conflict with myself doing both. And I felt that I was leaning more towards, oh my God, I better make this a winner to recoup. It's not like I don't feel that way with whoever's financing my movies now or studios or anything like that. But I felt that way to the point where it overtook what I love to do to a point where it became too obsessive of me to do that. And the previews took everything to a different level and the responsibility on my shoulders to deliver to my investors and deliver to an audience and deliver the marketing and da da da became too much.
Kevin Goetz (16:49):
Well, why would you say the studios wouldn't like your answer? I think they have very similar motivations. Do they not?
Graham King (16:54):
Well, because as a producer you should be financially responsible where no matter who writes the check, which I am. It's just when it's in-house to me and it's from some investor or whatever it is, it just takes on a different level because they can't control any of that. And I can't control distribution. I mean, we're living in a world today and, by the way, before we go off the subject, I do want to say one thing about Marty and the screening process years ago, which I love. So it wasn't until the next movie with Marty that I did that I realized he always previewed in New York or New Jersey <laugh> and no matter what the film was like, no one ever gave a negative comment about Martin Scorsese in New York or New Jersey. So I remember for The Departed, they said to Marty, we're going to Chicago!
Kevin Goetz (17:43):
<laugh> Ah, well, it's so funny. I will say one another anecdote from the book. Mark Canton talks about when they tested the Age of Innocence. Did you produce Age of Innocence?
Graham King (17:54):
No, I didn't.
Kevin Goetz (17:55):
Okay. So, they went out to Fort Lee, New Jersey, to your point and the anchor store, I guess, or structure in this mall was a bowling alley. And so one look and Marty said-- and so did Mark-- Were basically screwed. And you know, a very high-end movie like Age of Innocence played with this crowd. It actually played okay. I mean, there were some walkouts and things, but they learned a lot, you know, regardless.
Graham King (18:24):
So, I remember Gangs of New York. I think it was the first time that he showed it to us, the distributors, the producing team, whatever, in a format that he had. And we put an audience in there. It wasn't like a proper official preview or anything like that. And the first battle scene was so violent and so raw. Literally 30-40% of the theater walked out after the first five minutes. Oh, and again, I'm a young kid learning the trade back then. And, even I could feel that tension in the room. And this leads me to say one thing as well. What I love about what you do and how you put these together. It's not about words on a page words on a card or ticking boxes for me, it's about atmosphere. And you can tell in the room with 250 people, whether they are enjoying this or not enjoying it, you can also tell if there's certain, you know, there's slow parts, there's levity, there's comedy. It all comes through atmosphere. In one film I produced in particular. And again, I'm, I'm not going to name it, there’s no reason to, where people were entertained and enjoying it for two acts. In the third act, the director changes genre on the audience and the movie fell flat in the room. You could feel the energy, just leave the room.
Kevin Goetz (19:56):
Graham King (19:58):
Yes. This certain director doesn't believe in coming to previews. So he would just read the cards. And I would say to him, this is not about cards. You can feel it
Kevin Goetz (20:07):
Graham King (20:09):
You can feel it.
Kevin Goetz (20:09):
You feel the air being sucked out of the room.
Graham King (20:12):
Absolutely. It's like being at a party and someone says something out of turn and music stops.
Kevin Goetz (20:17):
Exactly. I can't tell you how many times I'll get a, an ending that isn't a final beat or the coda that just sucks the air out of the room. And I sometimes say that anecdotally, I'll say, you know, we were all here. You all felt it. There was no applause. You had them, you had them, you know, I mean, a very, very popular example of course, was Fatal Attraction, which, on another podcast I will absolutely get into, because that is a great example of having the audience in the Palm of your hands and then, well, not the coda, but the, the final part of the third act, the last part of the third act just wasn't working. It was not satisfying for the audience. And it took a lot of consensus to finally get everyone to agree--let's try something else, you're right. But just by the cards, I often, you know, I don't say it often, but I will say that there are times when you say the numbers be damned, it's you're in that room. I know this is a good picture, but there's something that's holding them back. And I love cracking that code. I love getting into that and cracking that code.
We'll be back in just a moment talking with Graham King. I am fascinated by this conversation and I loved ending on his last comment. We'll be back in a moment…
Get a glimpse into a secret part of Hollywood that fewer aware of, and that filmmakers rarely talk about in the new book ology like Kevin Getz, each chapter is filled with never before revealed inside stories and interviews from famous studio, chiefs, directors, producers, and movie stars, bringing the art and science of ology into focus, Audienceology: How Moviegoers Shape the Films We love from Tiller Press at Simon and Schuster--Available now.
Kevin Goetz (22:08):
So Graham, did you know you had lightning in a bottle when you went into the first test for Bohemian Rhapsody?
Graham King (22:14):
No, no. I was unsure what we had, you know, I, I was so close to—Truly, I knew we had something special. I just didn't realize on the size and the scope of it. I thought it was a, I was pleased with the movie. I thought we had executed under the most extreme, tough conditions and circumstances. And I was so obviously proud and happy with Rami Melek's performance and what he brought to that movie. You know, the movie lived and died with his performance.
Kevin Goetz (22:46):
And it wasn't that let's face it. You kind of went rudderless for a while. You had a director that left the picture a couple of weeks before shooting ended, I think. And you had to sort of pick it up. Was it longer than that?
Graham King (22:57):
Yeah, no, it was longer than that.
Kevin Goetz (22:59):
I have to do a little plug to, to Brian Singer who I'm really crazy about actually. He's a very, very talented filmmaker. He really did bring a lot to the subtlety and performance and character to that piece. I think that really was the backbone of the movie.
Graham King (23:15):
Brian wears his heart on his sleeve and that showed through the movie. And so often when you meet filmmakers and you get into the DNA of who they are as a person, you can feel more comfortable about a genre or of a tone of a film. You know, if I was going to go with a director who may have been, let's just say a bigger name or a different name or whatever, but if his personality was to be cold, we wouldn't have got that movie.
Kevin Goetz (23:48):
Ooh. Well, I'm going to throw it back on you then and tell you this. You, as I started with the opening, you embody to me what it means to be a true producer, you will fight for your child no matter what at the expense of your own wanting to be liked. I've seen it happen because you're so passionate about what you do. And I also want to add that having known you for many years, but knowing you really well for the only the last, you know, half a dozen years, you are such a man of conviction and have a singular vision that no one is going to deter you from. So, what happens is you talk about setting a tonality or a tone, or this kind of overall general mood over an occasion. You bring that to the table, my friend. You bring that passion and it's infectious. And anybody who's worked with you --look at this list of important movies that you have on your resume--it's just astounding and not many people can lay claim to that. So I'm so proud of you and knowing and can learn from your sense of conviction and your sense of passion, and how it manifests in the final product.
Graham King (25:08):
I'm going to, I'm going to say one thing just to add to that conversation. When I purchase life rights--real life rights-- I take that responsibility very, very seriously. And I sit with Brian <ay Roger Taylor, Mohamed Ali, families of these people…
Kevin Goetz (25:26):
Graham King (25:27):
Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, and they give me the right to put their story on the big screen and show it to the world. And I feel that's an honor within itself that they're giving me that responsibility, giving me the right to do that in return. I want to pay them back with not only respect, but with enjoyment. And what I loved about what we do is you find some of these, you know, larger than life, iconic characters. And again, let's talk about Freddie for a minute. The young generation in 2016, 17, 18, didn't really know who Freddie Mercury was. They didn't really know who Queen were. Right? And we showed them this movie, and now they are massive fans of Freddie Mercury and Queen.
Kevin Goetz (26:20):
I'm one of those people, by the way, Graham. I knew all of the music, but I knew very little about Freddie and the band and it enabled me to get a look and say, I want to know more about them.
Graham King (26:35):
Right, right. I mean, you take again, when you're doing a biopic Kevin, or for one of a better word telling someone's life story, it's hard to get it right in two, two hours and 50 minutes or two hours and 30 minutes. And you know, the press is going to, you know, put the knife in because you don't do this. Or you do that. You cannot cover every layer of someone's life, especially, especially these complicated, larger life characters in one movie. So you have to develop the best way you can to show an audience in that time span. So, a lot of the press on Bohemian Rhapsody because you de-gay Freddie and wait, who is this Mary Austin character? Because reporters nowadays, as you know, are lazy, they don't do their research. So especially American press were saying to me, a lot of the times you've made up these characters to make the movie work and I'm going, “no”, they're actually real characters. Freddie actually did get engaged to Mary Austin, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So you, you carry all that weight as a producer and that responsibility and the greatest single moment of, of the experience of Bohemian Rhapsody was undoubtedly when I showed it to Freddie's only living family member, his sister. On a Sunday morning in London, I screened her a movie and I was petrified because I wanted that seal of approval before I cared about the audience seal of approval. Oh, you know what I mean?
Kevin Goetz (27:58):
Oh, do I ever…
Graham King (28:00):
Right. And once she looked, she gave me a hug at the end, she was praying. And she said, thank you so much for respecting my brother and my mom and dad and my family. And that to me was the greatest moment of that.
Kevin Goetz (28:13):
Wow. Wow. Wow. I can visualize being there, you know, is there a biopic that you didn't produce that you really admire that really did a very good job of getting under the skin if you will, of the character?
Graham King (28:30):
Yeah. I mean, there's been a few, I think Amadeus.
Kevin Goetz (28:33):
Graham King (28:35):
I think that was one that I went into really heavy. I really…
Kevin Goetz (28:38):
Saul Zaentz, that's another producer that reminds me very much of you and you of him.
Graham King (28:44):
Thank you. That's an honor, by the way, to be in, even in the same sentence. Walk the line. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, I've had to walk the line, go into the underbelly…
Kevin Goetz (28:54):
And you know, what both of those movies had extraordinary performances, both in the Amadeus and the Salieri characters, but also in Johnny and June, I mean Joaquin's performance and Reese's performance to speak about what, how Rami did, for example, you've got to have that chemistry. That's just magic!
Graham King (29:15):
The stars have to align, Kev. And I I'm going to say, when I look at look, I've had a lot of, as you could imagine, calls from musicians, artists asking me to make that story since the success of Bohemian Rhapsody, there's two rules for me. One is, do they have a cinematic story to tell? And two is, can you really give fresh information to the public, through a cinematic experience? And a lot of my job is talking to the real people about the difference between making a documentary and making a cinematic experience, right? So I'm working as you know, I'm working on the BeeGees movie, the story of the BeeGees right now. And I'm going to say, stop the show, and just announce that I love Barry Gibb.
Kevin Goetz (30:09):
Were you involved in the documentary at all? Because I thought that was wonderful.
Graham King (30:12):
I got involved at the tail end of it. Just like, you know, with Barry and, and watching it with Barry.
Kevin Goetz (30:18):
And I was, the reason is, is I was particularly moved by this relationship with brothers. It's really a story about brotherhood. Isn't it? It's really a story about family.
Graham King (30:28):
It is, and it's tragic, but it's also, it's fun. It's levity. These guys came from absolutely nothing and became one of the biggest bands on the planet. And I love telling those stories because we can help people by saying, you can do it too.
Kevin Goetz (30:51):
Ooh. Yes. Yes. Isn't that magic in our business when we, when we are able to the enlighten folks. You know, what I love also, Graham is getting to experience like for the first time, that spark, that happens when a movie is first introduced to an audience. That is to me, the motivation for why I wrote the book, quite frankly, Audienceology. And what is now prompting this podcast. I want to hear from people like you, their stories, their, their ways, their process, their passions, and so forth that have gotten the movies they've gotten to the place that they've gotten. You know, the other thing that I love, what you've said today is that you have respect. It sounds like you have respect for the audience and that you know and can acknowledge that audiences absolutely help shape the films that we all love. They influence and their opinions are absolutely heard and acknowledged.
Graham King (31:55):
If you can motivate and make the film accessible to an audience because it is “film”. And it's, again, there's a big difference between a cinematic biopic and a documentary. And if you can show an audience--I remember the first, very first time I'd showed Bohemian Rhapsody in its rough form was to my daughter and 25 of her friends who went to Malibu High School. When the movie finished, they said to me, any kid say 12 to 16, 17, who's confused on their sexuality, will look at this movie as a “guide”. Oh my God, Kevin--oh, I really hit the floor. I was-- I had tears in my eyes.
Kevin Goetz (32:46):
Graham King (32:47):
Cause if I can conquer that, if I can tell one person in Brazil, Columbia, Europe or wherever, that you can come from nothing and be a star-- come from nothing and succeed in a career goal that you have with plenty of work, motivation, all the elements, because guess what? These guys did it, and I'm going to show you how they did it. It's huge.
Kevin Goetz (33:14):
It's huge. And another one of those stories is of course, Jersey Boys. And I guess I'll be seeing you next week at a test screening of the latest incarnation of the staged musical, Jersey Boys. I will confess that I've seen it already and it is brilliant and it stars Nick Jonas, of course. And, I'm so excited to see how the audience is going to embrace that. I imagine it's going to be quite quite something. Graham, how can I thank you for this is so special to me for being my first guest and for sharing these stories, these pearls of wisdom. Do you have any pearls of wisdom for the young filmmaker out there if you had to in align, what would it be?
Graham King (33:54):
Perseverance, patience, and drive. And never allow someone to tell you “No”. And if they do, look at yourself in the mirror and ask why they're doing it and get back on that horse, because it is a tough, tough business to be in, and you've got to have all those elements.
Kevin Goetz (34:13):
And you too can come from nothing and be an OBE.
Graham King (34:17):
<laugh>. Well, before I leave you, I'm going to say that you, my friend has saved so many of my films by doing what you do so well, and I've actually studied you. It was all part of my learning experience. I remember going to previews and focus groups and seeing the way you talk to these people and how you draw questions out of them without really asking that question is genius. And we all pay attention. The studios, the marketing department, the, the filmmakers to the way you conduct these, these previews.
Kevin Goetz (34:59):
Well, I love you so much. I really do. I love you so much. Not only for saying that, but for appreciating what we do and what I do. And God bless you for that Graham. Seriously. I really, that means so much to me. I'm about to, uh, get emotional <laugh>, uh, verklempt as they say, I'm getting for verklempt Graham again, thanks so very much.
To learn more about Graham's films and current projects go to GKfilms.com and also follow @GKfilms on Facebook and Twitter.
I hope you enjoyed the interview with Graham king. I know I did. I'm reminded of so many of the screenings that the two of us attended together for more about this story and many others like it, please check out my boo Audienceology on Amazon, where ever books are sold or through my website at KevinGoetz360.com Also, please follow me on social media @KevinGoetz360.
Next time on our podcast, Don't Kill the Messenger, we'll welcome Dean Devlin. Who's produced and co-written some of the most successful feature films of all time—Independence Day, Stargate, Godzilla, and The Patriot--which collectively grossed more than one and a half billion dollars worldwide.
Until then I'm Kevin Goetz and to you, our listeners, I appreciate you being part of the movie, making process-- Your opinions matter. See you soon!
Host: Kevin Goetz
Guest: Graham King OBE
Producer: Kari Campano