Tue, 26 May 2015
Philip Taylor has a unique show business history and track record. In this podcast interview, he describes his journey from a childhood in rural England to Hollywood sound stages, with dozens of writing and producing credits on some of TV’s most memorable hit shows.
Taylor talks about his years of studying at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and recalls the thrill of performing Shakespeare on the international stage. He then shares his experience “being in the right place at the right time”, and how he began writing scripts for hit TV shows.
Not many TV writers have the ability to move between comedy and dramatic genres, but Philip has multiple credits on both sides of the fence. He’s written for shows as varied as . “Mork & Mindy”, “Murder, She Wrote”, “Eight is Enough”, “CPO Sharkey”, “Good Times”, and “Knight Rider”, demonstrating an unusual ability to move between half-hour sitcoms, hour dramas, two-hour longform TV movies, and feature films.
With great humor and plenty of behind-the-scenes details, Philip tells Bob and Suzanne how he wrote the cult movie classic “Lust in the Dust”, starring Tab Hunter and the legendary Divine. He then describes his four-year stint writing for “The New Zorro” (and acting in an episode on location in Spain), which he quickly followed with multiple scripts for “Highlander” and for Jerry Bruckheimer’s first TV series, “Soldier of Fortune, Inc.”
Now teaching film and television writing at Arizona State University, Philip candidly shares tips that have helped many of his students break into the Hollywood mainstream. If you’ve got your sights set on writing for movies or TV, this conversation with Philip Taylor is “required listening”.
Fri, 1 May 2015
Stuart Benjamin—a longtime family friend of Bob and Suzanne—shares the highlights and deteails of his award-winning career as a major film, television, music, and theatrical producer in this revealing podcast interview.
You’ll hear Stuart describe the path of a Harvard-educated lawyer who juggled two careers at once, working his “day job” as a partner in a prominent Los Angeles law firm and eventually discovering his true passion as the producer of high-quality motion picture and musical entertainment.
With college classmate and film director Taylor Hackford, Stuart formed New Visions, Inc. and produced some of the most memorable feature films of his generation. Their first short film production, Teenage Father, earned Hackford an Oscar and threw open the gates of Hollywood studios as the pair delivered critical and commercial hits like Against All Odds, White Nights, La Bamba, and Everybody’s All-American, working with stellar casts that included Jeff Bridges, Rachel Ward, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Helen Mirren, Lou Diamond Phillips, Dennis Quaid, and Jessica Lang.
Stuart describes the Hollywood studio development process and the growth of New Visions into a creative powerhouse that went on to release another half-dozen movies and award-winning soundtrack albums.
The natural outcome of Stuart’s lifelong passion for music—with music playing a central role in the success of a majority of his movies—was a long and lasting friendship with the legendary Ray Charles. You’ll hear Stuart describe his relentless, decade-long struggle to produce Ray, which earned six Academy Award nominations, including his own for Best Picture. The soundtrack for Ray won Stuart a Grammy Award and sales of more than 4,000,000 albums.
Turning his attention to live theatrical production, Stuart discusses differences between working in movies, television, and theater. With his production of Louis & Keely Live breaking records in Los Angeles, he’s currently developing the compelling story of Stax Records in collaboration with soul singer Tasha Taylor, daughter of the iconic blues legend Johnny Taylor.
Stuart Benjamin has built a career in the mold of Hollywood’s great impresarios...and he generously shares the secrets of his success for us all to follow.