Kevin is joined by prolific comedy director, writer, and producer, Steve Carr
Go behind the laughs with comedy director Steve Carr as he joins host Kevin Goetz for a lively and enlightening conversation. With hit movies like Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Daddy Day Care, and Dr. Dolittle 2 under his belt, Steve has mastered the art of crafting crowd-pleasing and enduring comedies. In this episode, you'll gain insight into Steve's journey from directing hip-hop videos in the 90s to directing comedic blockbusters. Steve also offers thoughtful perspectives on the state of comedy films today.
Movies as comfort food (3:57)
Steve shares a story about John Travolta, and Kevin and Steve discuss how movies like Paul Blart, Mall Cop can be like “chicken soup for the soul.”
Nerves and laughs for Next Friday (09:42)
Steve recounts the magical experience of hearing audiences roar with laughter at his first feature film comedy Next Friday.
The state of comedy (19:46)
Steve and Kevin give their opinions on why big-screen comedies are struggling lately.
A change in focus (21:57)
Steve shares how he's pivoting to writing more original scripts and producing in light of changes in the comedy landscape.
Producing vs. directing (24:08)
Steve details his experience independently producing a gritty, low-budget film and the lessons learned.
Comedic influences (26:16)
Steve lists his biggest comedic influences growing up, including Mel Brooks, The Odd Couple, and "Police Squad."
Tune in for a fascinating conversation as Steve Carr shares tales from decades in Hollywood that reveal both the exhilaration of making people laugh and the challenges facing the genre today. Through it all, Steve retains his authentic humor and commitment to quality comedy with heart. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a review or connect on social media. We look forward to bringing you more revelations from behind the scenes next time on Don't Kill the Messenger!
Host: Kevin Goetz
Guest: Steve Carr
Producer: Kari Campano
Writers: Kevin Goetz, Darlene Hayman, and Kari Campano
For more information about Steve Carr:
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: Steve Carr (Director/Writer/Producer)
00:02 - Announcer (Announcement)
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 peek behind the curtain. And now, join author and entertainment research expert, Kevin Goetz.
00:23 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
(Kevin Sings) Do-da-do-da-do, do-da-do-do-do, do-da-do-do-do-do, do-da-do-do-do-do, do-da-do-do-do-do-do. This, my friends, is the theme to the classic 1970s TV show, The Odd Couple. Why do you think I'm singing this because my guest worked on the show? Well, no, he's too young, but I just couldn't resist because he, according to his bio, watches The Odd Couple like it's his religion. I just love this guy because if he uses The Odd Couple as an influential TV series, it could explain why he's such an extraordinary comedy director and producer. And, he has directed some madcap comedies like Paul Blart Mall Cop, Dr. Dolittle 2, Daddy Day Care, and Are We There Yet? I've worked with him for a lot of years. He's hysterical, he's a good friend, and Steve Carr, I welcome you.
01:28 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Thank you so much. Listen, if you really want to get on my good side, start with The Odd Couple. And if I could get every girl that I dated to come in singing that song, they would all go way better than they have.
01:39 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
God, I know where this interview is going. To hell. So, you remember a story I told you my godson, who's now 18, we were in Runyon Canyon. I said just walk this path with my friend Steve Carr, who directed Paul Blart. And he goes Paul Blart, that's the best movie ever. According to my 10-year-old godson at the time, you are an Oscar winner.
02:04 - Steve Carr (Guest)
You know you hit my target zone. I wish I had a dollar for everybody who comes up and they were like eight when they watched Daddy Day Care or 15 when they watched Paul Blart, and they're all like, oh my god, that's the best movie ever, and I'm like there's some other ones that are good too. But I totally understand what you're saying and I'm really happy. It's weird because it's like, to a certain extent, I think if you make a family movie that really connects, they become iconic for like a lot much longer time than something that's kind of grimy and dark.
02:34 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Totally, and you can always pop them in, but now you just can get them online and streaming and just see them anytime you want. And they're just comfort food, aren't they?
02:45 - Steve Carr (Guest)
They are. Every friend that I have who have kids, they're all fairly young. I'm always like listen, thank me later for being your babysitter, because you can do a Steve Carr retrospective and the kids will be satiated for the whole weekend. They can go out and drink in Atlantic City and then the kids never know they were gone.
03:02 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
So we have a lot of things in common, but the first thing is Brooklyn. We're both Brooklyn boys, and where from Brooklyn, are you?
03:10 - Steve Carr (Guest)
I'm from Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, but I don't know if you know this because we haven't talked in a second. So I moved back to New York, to Brooklyn, I mean Williamsburg.
03:19 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
What high school did you go to?
03:20 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Well, I went to High School of Art and Design in Manhattan.
03:23 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
That was a way to hand you something. Because that was going to be my segue, I went to PS200, by the way. Then we moved to Jersey, so I ended up going not to a New York school. My mother went to New Utrecht. My dad went to Erasmus.
03:33 - Steve Carr (Guest)
My sister went to New Utrecht, which most people don't know is the visual on Welcome Back Kotter when the train is going past the high school, that's New Utrecht High School.
03:43 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Your dreams and you’re okay.
03:46 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Speaking of which I have a great John Travolta story. I just met with him recently, the sweetest man I've ever met in my life.
03:51 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
I've heard that about John and I've talked to John but I can't say I know him. Tell me the story.
03:57 - Steve Carr (Guest)
We're planning on doing a movie together. It's a comedy and it's something he's absolutely perfect for. I got the script, I loved it. I wanted to rework it a little bit and he wanted to meet. I was here in New York and he was in LA for the Oscars. So he was like well, we can get on the Zoom. I was like no, no, I'm going to come meet you, John Travolta, because you are John Travolta and everything I care about. We met at the Bel Air Hotel, we had dinner and I've never met anybody in Hollywood, I mean, you know, we've all met, both you and I met everybody. I've never met anybody so sweet. He was so kind and mentioned to me that when his wife died, obviously he went through a really hard time and he said that he and the girls sat and watched Paul Blart and just giggled and laughed and I was really appreciative of it and I was like that's better than two Nickelodeon awards.
04:45 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
But I love the full circle on the Paul Blart right there, where we talked about that being chicken soup for the soul, you know? And look at that right there. Wow, that's amazing. Going back to your education, you wanted to be a graphic artist, didn't you?
05:00 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Well, I studied painting since I was six, seven years old. I don't know if I'm accomplished, what kind of work do you typically do? Mostly figurative and realistic. I'll send you a couple of my paintings because I've been in Brooklyn since the strike. I've been painting quite a bit more.
05:14 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
I would love to receive a painting and at least see your work. But, Steve, I want to ask you, you got into music videos pretty soon after that, after graduating. How did that transition work?
05:27 - Steve Carr (Guest)
So, when I got out of school I was a painter, but everybody's a painter and getting into the galleries was a McGillar. And so I had a friend who worked at Def Jam Records, who worked for Rick Rubin, who was the co-president of Def Jam, and I used to go by his office because I had no money and he had a job and I would sit around and wait for him to take me out to lunch. And there was another guy who was there the name was Cey Adams, who was a buddy of one of the Beastie Boys and he was there waiting for a free lunch and then we kind of met and then we started a graphic design company that became very successful, worked for all of the Def Jam.
06:01 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Was it Def Jam owned?
06:03 - Steve Carr (Guest)
No, we owned it. We were like a satellite. But we also worked outside of Def Jam. We designed all the stuff for Bad Boy. We designed Mary J Blige's record, the Notorious BIG. We designed most of the important albums from the 90s into the 2000s. But based on that, we were in a staff meeting and Russell came in and there was an artist that we were working on named Slick Rick who unfortunately at this point was in jail for shooting his cousin while brandishing a bottle of Cristal. That was in the 90s and they needed a music video because he was in jail. And I came up with this idea of a rapper's playground, as the song is called It's a Boy and I pitched it at the meeting and Russell was like you don't direct videos. And it was that moment I went of course I do. My family's in film.
06:48 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
My family's in film, you said?
06:50 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Yeah, luckily he didn't probe any deeper and he was like all right, and so I was a music video director and then I went on set. I just yelled action and cut indiscriminately and managed to muddle through it.
07:06 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Do they have a book called Directing for Dummies or the Idiot Series?
07:12 - Steve Carr (Guest)
I don't know, because I’d definitely write a chapter.
07:15 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
No, I think you crammed that book the night before your first day of shooting.
07:19 - Steve Carr (Guest)
I was going to say that dovetails beautifully into the other story I think I may have told you at one point, which was that when I was on the set for that first video and I had no idea what I was doing and I was just yelling action and cut indiscriminately. Whenever somebody would ask me a question, I would go to the bathroom. You know what, I'd love to answer. I have to go to the bathroom. I'll be right back, and then I would just stay in there until they figured it out themselves, like I was there so long that the DP was like you know what, let's just put the light over there. And then I'd come back and I'd be like, hey, what are you going to do about that light? Oh, we put it over there. I was like that's exactly what I would have done.
07:55 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
And I imagine it turned out pretty damn well.
07:58 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Listen, you know a lot of people say it, but I've been really blessed, I've been really lucky. I've fallen on the right side of the coin more times than I should.
08:07 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Well, there's several of you. Michael Bay, my guest two weeks or three weeks ago was Antoine Fuqua, he also started in music videos.
08:15 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Yeah, those guys were kind of like the grade ahead. They're like slightly older. My graduating class was kind of like Brett Ratner, George Tillman, he was a guest too. In the words of my people, what a mensch, I love him, what a mensch. And you said McG. Those are all the guys who were doing music videos when I was doing it. So that was kind of my graduating class. But Michael Bay was a little bit ahead and that was something to kind of shoot for. So after I did that first video I just kept doing more and more and the budgets kept getting bigger and bigger. And it's a great time to be doing music videos, because they were really investing in hip hop at that time, which is what my main connection was. A lot of the directors during that time would come in. They'd do a lot of like performance videos, but I always had this idea that I wanted to kind of tell stories. So all my video treatments and my ideas were always kind of like narrative based. So during those shoots, I would always work in some sort of a scene that the rappers would be in and we'd have actors come in and I'd kind of work it out and it always, and so I kind of created my own film school.
09:26 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
You told me a story when you first got, it was your first feature, which was Next Friday. Yeah, in my book you talk about this that it was like a really moving experience for you when you saw people laughing for the first time. Can you tell us that very quickly?
09:42 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Yeah, yeah. You know music videos, they play in a million houses everywhere and you never know what the reaction is. But when I started making films, my first film Next Friday, was such an experience. I was a fish out of water that became a fish, very comfortable in that water, and I loved making that move. I've yet to have a wonderful experience. I think the ignorance is bliss. But I remember I worked on a movie. Then we started to cut it. You know you're in a dark room cutting with the editor and you're not sure you know, is this, fo I think this funny? I know, I think it's funny, but anybody else. And then I remember we did some test screenings that went really well. But then one of the most special nights of my life is when on opening night there's kind of a tradition with some people where they get in the car and they go from theater to theater where it's playing and kind of just sit in it. Initially, I was just, oh my God, do I have to? Okay, if the first one's bad, I'm going home. And we went and the very first theater we walked into the show had already started and the manager came out and he said listen, this is really fucked up, because I can't keep my ushers out of the theater. And then we went in and we sat in it back and all the places that I hope they would laugh, they just like roared and I'm not a big drug guy but I'm sure it's as good as any drug that you can take, because it was total validation. It was absolutely one of the most wonderful moments of my life, for sure.
11:07 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Well, I got a lot to say about that whole experience, but you didn't discover that in the test screening process.
11:15 - Steve Carr (Guest)
We did, but I'm Jewish so I was like maybe it was just…
11:20 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
11:21 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Yeah, it might have been a fluke. You never really know how good it is until people have to pay.
11:22 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Oh, that's a good point, Aside from the fact that you are one of the funniest guys I know. You're just funny, innately funny. How did you land in comedies from a graphic background to music videos, now you have a career built on comedies? How did that happen and sustain?
11:43 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Yeah, I think it might be just personal kind of like, I think I met enough people but like what, when I was, when I was friends with Brett Ratner, he suggested I come out to LA and work at his production company doing music videos and commercials and he kind of introduced me to a bunch of people and I think just in the room people kind of got to see my general personality and my kind of you know, my take on life. You know, nobody, nobody ever sits with me and goes, you know he should be making you know Schindler's List but after meeting me, nobody was asking me to do any of those things and they, I think they thought that I had kind of a peculiar slant on comedy.
12:27 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
That's interesting. So it was really about your own persona and the authentic guy that you brought to the table. You were drawn to those type of projects.
12:36 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Yeah, I once said that you know there's there may be a time in my life where I want to do this movie that's really dark and complex and really reach deep down into the dark places where you know people dwell. But that’s not where I'm at, that's not where I'm at now and that's not where I perceive myself. I'm, you know, a generally really happy person who really relishes funny.
12:58- Kevin Goetz (Host)
Would you call yourself neurotic?
13:00 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Oh, I wouldn't, but everybody else would. I've never met anybody else who didn’t.
13:07 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Because I think part of the part of that neurosis is what makes you so brilliant. You know what I mean. Like it just is a superpower in a way, right?
13:17 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Yeah, yeah, I kind of agree. I look at things kind of obtusely and always the glass is half funny, not half less funny.
13:26 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Going back to the test screenings that we were starting to talk about, what was a very memorable moment from a screening that had an impact on one of your movies, can you recall something that was significant?
13:39 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Well again, Next Friday was a revelation. I generally had always great screenings.
13:43 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
I know you have. I know you have.
13:46 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Well, yeah, yeah, you would know, but movies have been successful. One or two haven't been. But coming out of it and knowing that I was on the right side, that there was work to be done, but that I was on the right side of it. I remember calling my girlfriend at the time. I remember calling my agent, not in that order, I called my agent first, then my girlfriend. I remember we did a movie called Rebound. This is a very strange story. I don't think I've ever told you this. So it tested well, although I knew the movie was flawed. But I remember being really puffed up and really excited about it and I remember everybody had left and I was walking out with my friend and there was one guy in the lobby and I was going to ask him what he thought, right? Bad idea. I walked over and I was like so people seem to be laughing, what do you think? You know I hate it, you know. And then he started to ramble off why, and which was all correct, and it turns out later it was Elvis Mitchell from the New York Times.
14:47 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Wait, he snuck into the theater maybe somebody invited him, maybe thinking it was going to go better than it did but I can't imagine Elvis Mitchell, who I think is one of the greatest critics, snuck into your movie of Rebound. Oh my god, and I'm sure he gave you like criticism. I don't mean hated on it, but gave you actual film criticism.
15:15 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Do you remember in the cartoon in the Flintstones, where he's getting talked down to and he keeps drinking? Oh no, everything he said was absolutely right and it was my own hubris that brought it on myself but, yeah, he was right.
15:31 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
It's kind of like I be really careful what you ever ask, because you can only hope that they are going to give you the truth that you want to hear. So if you don't want to know it, don't ask
15:44 - Steve Carr (Guest)
It's so true, and it was absolute hubris on my part that caused it, and I got what I deserve. when we come back.
15:50 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
When we come back, I want to probe comedies today and where we think things are going. We'll be back in a moment.
16:00 - Announcer (Announcement)
Get a glimpse into a secret part of Hollywood that few are aware of and that filmmakers rarely talk about in the new book Audienceology by Kevin Goetz. 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 audienceology into focus. Audienceology, How Moviegoers Shape the Films We Love, from Tiller Press at Simon and Schuster. Available now.
16:32 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
And we're back with Steve Carr. We are having some fun here talking about him as a comedy director and you know, Steve, comedies today in theaters are going through a pretty challenging time. Why do you think that is?
16:47 - Steve Carr (Guest)
I guess a lot of it has to do with the PC of it all, I mean a lot of films that are my inspirations, I mean couldn't be made now. Everything from Blazing Saddles to almost anything would have a hard time getting made now. I think that's part of it and I think also maybe I'm just surmising, it may have something to do with streaming, in the sense that it's hard to get a huge group of people excited about what is an intimate or clever comedy. Or to gain consensus, yeah. Yeah, so I've been watching a lot of comedies recently and streaming. I saw Jennifer Lawrence's movie No Hard Feelings.
17:26 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
You saw it streaming or in the theater?
17:28 - Steve Carr (Guest)
I saw it streaming. I'm that guy, but it kind of dovetails into my point. It was absolutely terrific. It was very sweet and had real heart, which for me that is what makes a comedy special. It's like it could be uproarious, but if there's heart then that connects to me and there was a great big laugh in it. But it was also a lot of heart. But, as you mentioned, it's hard for it to build enough consensus amongst the noise of Marvel movies and Star Wars movies and to get enough people to come together and enjoy watching it with me process, and so I'm troubled by it, and you know better that everything is cyclical.
18:08 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Well, I hope that is true. Would Hangover work today for example?
18:12 - Steve Carr (Guest)
That's a great example. I don't know that it would. The director has said that he stopped making comedies because the comedies he wants to make.
18:20 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
18:21- Steve Carr (Guest)
Yeah, Todd literally said that like I can't make. That's why he's doing all these kind of darker movies. Joker, and yeah, yeah, yeah, he's like I can't make comedies anymore because I would be canceled immediately.
18:32 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
So you think it has to do with a part of it is the woke movement, and part of it is streaming, and part of it is where audiences have, I guess, been bifurcated, where they can't gain enough consensus because there's so much noise in the marketplace. Those are three really good reasons right there. But when you say cyclical though, do you really think they're going to come back? What does it take?
18:57 - Steve Carr (Guest)
I'm hopeful. But you know, I was just going to mention that it seems to me fairly similar to when TV kind of came out and in order to kind of combat the idea that people are going to stay home on a Friday and Saturday to watch TV, filmmakers made bigger movies. They made like Ben Hur, they made Hello Dolly. They made these kind of spectacles to differentiate themselves from everything else. And it seems to me that's kind of where we are again, where films are differentiating themselves from stories. Films have to be an epic, kind of like you know, Captain America is going to save the world again or you know, Darth Vader is going to reappear, like these big epics are movies and everything else has kind of become something else.
19:46 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
It's a really good point, Steve, but at the same time, there's two factors at least that were not in play in that scenario. One was price. It was much cheaper to see a movie then than it is today. Not only the price of movies themselves but also the babysitter, the parking, the food, the concessions, it's true. And the other thing that also, I think, is not a factor that was in the era that you're talking about, is just the sheer number of choices. I mean, it's insanity. So the choices that you're going to spend more money on, the value proposition I think is so much greater, the benchmark is so much higher. So I think you're going to go for things that are event-like or event status, and I'm not sure that does turn around until a comedy comes out. We have to get a comedy that feels like an event.
20:39- Steve Carr (Guest)
Yeah, yeah, I was disappointed that there's a movie out now called Strays, which was Will Ferrell and Seth Rogen, and I thought if something was going to break through, it would be an R-rated talking animal movie. I mean, it's so outside the box that it sounds like that would be something that would really kind of resonate. But it didn't. And, to your point, the opening weekends for all of these comedies over the last two, three years have been muted. I mean, my opening weekend on Paul Blart was almost $50 million, just the opening weekend for a comedy, a PG-13 comedy, like 40-something. But because I'm a director, I'm saying 50. I'm just like that. But it was 40-something.
21:27 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Clearly you didn't get first dollar gross because you would have known exactly the number.
21:32 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Well, yeah, but I do have a big loft in Brooklyn, so I know a little bit about it.
21:35 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Oh, I love that, Touché, touché my friend.
21:38 - Steve Carr (Guest)
But I mean a lot of comedies now that are terrific, that are absolutely terrific, top out at 40 million gross total.
21:46 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
21:47 - Steve Carr (Guest)
It's a tough world for a comedy director, but certainly the toughest it's been in my career, and you know, but yeah.
21:56 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
So what's a fellow to do, like you? And I mean seriously so where have you pivoted? Where are you heading? Where is your head at?
22:08 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Well, first of all, as a comedy director, we'll always laugh it off. And then, secondly, for me, I've started writing. I'm writing a bunch of stuff now which I hadn't written before.
22:22 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Original, on spec?
22:33 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Yeah, myself and my writing partner, Heidi Santelli, who you know.
22:27 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Heidi. Call out to Heidi Santelli. She's great. Not only talented but also a beautiful person.
22:33 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Yeah, she's terrific.
22:35 - Steve Carr (Guest)
We've started kind of writing together. So we've written a couple of scripts ourselves that we're out shopping but then also doing revisions on other stuff that we've been getting in. So we've been doing a bunch of that. And then I have a bunch of stuff that I'm developing. I have a movie at Netflix that is kind of in my wheelhouse, which is kind of like a tween kind of comedy.
22:53 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
That's in development or in the can?
22:55 - Steve Carr (Guest)
It's in development, and it's loosely in development right now because they own it, but we haven't made it.
23:00 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Do you see yourself doing like what Todd Phillips is sort of doing, where he's moved into, very successfully by the way, into other kind of genres?
23:09 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Yeah, and that's the other thing I've gotten into in doing a lot more of producing films. I produced a film with a buddy of mine, Phil Allocco, we just shot it this past winter in Manchester, England, called Five Pounds of Pressure. It's a very dark, gritty kind of Mean Street-sy kind of thing and it's absolutely wonderful.
23:26 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Who financed that movie?
23:27 - Steve Carr (Guest)
It's an alphabet soup of financing. It was all independently financed, beautiful
23:31 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
23:32 - Steve Carr (Guest)
A couple of different people, which is, for me, coming out of the studio system with a total education. I was like what?
23:38- Kevin Goetz (Host)
Steve, this is how it really works, my friend.
23:41 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Yeah, I was like thank God I worked directly into having too much money to spend, because if I had to short dime it when I started, I'd be like I'll just keep doing commercials.
23:51 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
But there's something so incredibly educational and also scrappiness can really increase some neat magic that has to happen because you don't have the money to do this or that, and to be scrappy can really sometimes be a gift.
24:08 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Yeah, for me it was a wonderful experience in that I was drawn into a lot of the conversations about how do we fix problems that aren't about what's on screen? Nobody talks to me about the catering guy is pissed off because this guy keeps ordering eggs for dinner. Nobody comes to me about that during my whole career, but as a producer, an executive producer on this, all the problems were mine and where the money was coming from, how it was coming, and so for me, it was a real challenge in a good way. For everybody else, it was the normal challenge of trying to put together a movie for a smaller budget.
24:42 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
I learned early on that catering is extremely important, because if you feed a crew, they are going to kick ass for you. They will work their tails off if you feed them well.
24:56 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Exactly, it is absolutely true. It's so funny because I learned that very early as a music video director. One of the first music videos that I did was very small budget, so we ran out and we got like Subway sandwiches for people, but still, work slowed, obviously, yeah absolutely, but after that people were like a lot less excited about what they were doing, and so I learned very early that you're exactly right. Feed the crew, treat the crew like gold.
25:23 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Like gold, yeah.
25:24 - Steve Carr (Guest)
They're the ones you're working for at the end of the day. Obviously, you're working for your vision of the film. You want to create good performances, but you also want to create an environment that fosters what you are hoping to.
25:38 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
And you want to get to know them because they're your backbone and so, like I would always have lunch with crew people when I was producing and I also would eat last when I was. You don't want to have that last chicken cutlet, you know, like sitting there going to you when someone else is behind you. So I'm the, even though I don't eat chicken, but the last person is to me is making a statement and, as you said, just asking questions and treating people like you want to be treated, I think really goes a long, long way. Hey, who are your strongest comedic influences growing up? Who informed Steve Carr?
26:16 - Steve Carr (Guest)
You know obviously Mel Brooks, Rob Reiner, Gary Marshall, the Zooker brothers. Airplane is still something I can't get…
26:24 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
One of the best. Yeah, and the Naked Gun series.
26:27 - Steve Carr (Guest)
They were great, yeah. And then they had a TV show called Police Squad. That was like must see every day and I have it on DVD. I keep a DVD player so I could watch it.
26:36 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
Did you watch comedic performances like Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, those kinds of folks?
26:41 - Steve Carr (Guest)
I got into that like much later as a young adult, because for me television was the incubator, like The Odd Couple, like Mary Tyler Moore, Taxi. Those are the things that kind of educated me and made me understand the ability to create comedy, but also heart.
27:02 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
So, going back to The Odd Couple, because this brings it full circle, and I would love to ask you what it is about The Odd Couple that you think of as, characterizes your religion.
27:15 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Well, I mean, it's just perfect in every way, shape, and form. It's like the setup of a neat guy and a sloppy guy and they have to live together. It's Neil Simon figuring out the heart of what's really funny, and then the TV show just follows up. And then some of the writers who were involved, who you probably know Ganz and Mandel wrote for them, and all these amazing writers. And you love both characters, both Felix and Oscar, for your own reasons and knowing that they love each other and that they have this conflict and all the ancillary things that go on and the situations that the writers put them in. It's endless. And I remember hearing a quote that when The Odd Couple was canceled, because I don't know that it was ever a ratings success and that's why it was canceled after maybe four or five seasons. I remember a quote reading that Tony Randall said, one day they'll understand, and he meant how good the show was. It's funny, here in New York over New Year's night they do a marathon and I’ve spent more nights watching the marathon than I have going out for New Year's because it's that much more enjoyable for me.
28:22 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
(Kevin Sings) It was so great having you here today and shooting the shit. Keep making us laugh, pal. We need these movies. We need them to continue, thank you.
28:38 - Steve Carr (Guest)
Thank you so much, it's always great to see you.
28:41 - Kevin Goetz (Host)
To our listeners, I hope you enjoyed our interview with Steve today. I encourage you to check out his website at stevecarrdirector.com to learn more about his work. For other stories like this one, please check out my book, Audienceology, at Amazon or through my website at KevinGoetz360.com. You can also follow me on my social media @KevinGoetz360. Next time, on Don't Kill the Messenger, I'll welcome ex-Paramount chief and now producer, Marc Evans. Until then, I'm Kevin Goetz, and to you, our listeners, I appreciate you being part of the movie-making process. Your opinions matter.
Host: Kevin Goetz
Guest: Steve Carr
Producer: Kari Campano
Writers: Kevin Goetz, Darlene Hayman, Kari Campano
Audio Engineer & Editor: Gary Forbes
Produced at: DG Entertainment, Los Angeles