The Scott McGee Q&A thread

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The Scott McGee Q&A thread

Postby Lzcutter » Fri May 30, 2014 4:56 am

Good morning, Scott!

Welcome to the Silver Screen Oasis and thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to spend the weekend with us! It's very much appreciated.

1) How did you come to work at TCM and how long have you been there?

2) What do you consider the most important aspect of your job at TCM? And in the vein, of the various responsibilities you have, what part of your job do you enjoy doing the most?

Thanks again for joining us this weekend!
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Re: The Scott McGee Q&A thread

Postby Rita Hayworth » Fri May 30, 2014 6:22 am

Dear Scott,

Welcome to the OASIS; and I have several questions concerning Buster Keaton one of my all time Silent Movie Stars in the 20's and 30's and wondering how in the world that he did this stunt in the GENERAL?


phpBB [video]



According to You Tube it's cost $42,000 to do this stunt below - it was dubbed the most expensive stunt in Silent Movie History and at 2012 Standard it's would cost $550,000 to do this stunt ... see example of the stunt in the You Tube Below. How he managed to get this off the ground and running as schedule?


phpBB [video]



I have more coming your way later ... and I do appreciate any information that you can share regarding the two questions about the GENERAL, starring Buster Keaton.
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Re: The Scott McGee Q&A thread

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » Fri May 30, 2014 2:44 pm

Good morning, Scott! We are so happy to have you visit us here at The Silver Screen Oasis.

You have been involved in so many different projects, panels at the TCM Festivals, and podcasts for TCM. Which one of your many duties seems be one of your favorite pursuits? Please feel free to explain in detail.

I especially enjoyed the "20 Years of TCM" panel you moderated with Pola Changnon and Tim Reilly. Thank you!
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Re: The Scott McGee Q&A thread

Postby Scott McGee » Fri May 30, 2014 4:11 pm

Lzcutter wrote:
1) How did you come to work at TCM and how long have you been there?

2) What do you consider the most important aspect of your job at TCM? And in the vein, of the various responsibilities you have, what part of your job do you enjoy doing the most?



Lynn, thank you so much for inviting me. I've been looking forward to this, and I hope that during the course of my visit, I can answer all of your questions. I'll certainly try!

I came to TCM nearly 14 years. I came here right out of graduate school, having earned an MA in film studies from Emory University in Atlanta. My association with TCM began earlier than that though. I started in '98 writing articles for what was then called tcm.turner.com, our website. I wrote background articles and DVD reviews, all of which are still up there, I think. The guy that first gave me a chance was a fella named Jeremy Geltzer. He eventually moved on, but before he did, he introduced me to one of the producers within the Robert Osborne studio unit, a guy named Sean Cameron. Sean gave me the chance to write intros/outros for Robert (again, as a freelance writer only). I did that for about a year, while simultaneously continued writing for the web, now under the guidance of a new editor named Jeff Stafford. I honestly don't think I was very good at writing for Osbo..it's tricky to capture Robert's "voice". But the experience with writing for two different departments within TCM gave me enough background to eventually be hired as a staff member. I came aboard TCM within the On-Air Promotions unit. A VP named Cindy Argendeli and the creative director Chris Merrifield pretty much hired me on the spot. I'll forever be grateful to them both for taking a chance on me. I learned the in's and out's of producing promos and interstitials for television, which I can go in more detail later.

As for the most important aspect of my job right now, I think it's two things: 1) representing TCM to hard-core fans (such as can be found within the hallowed halls of the Silver Screen Oasis), and 2) representing TCM to celebrity talent, all of whom bring value and new and different perspectives to you, the hard-core elite. There's plenty of ways that I do these two things--my work at the film festival, the cruise, the podcast, and as a writer/producer for the monthly Friday Night Spotlight series. My favorite part of the job though is, without question, working with and for the fans. It is indescribably rewarding to have a job where I help make people very, very happy. I'm just one part of it of a much larger machine of people who feel exactly the same way.
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Re: The Scott McGee Q&A thread

Postby MissGoddess » Fri May 30, 2014 4:19 pm

Welcome, Scott! And what an ideal job you have!
I'm waiting for my invitation to TCM's newest event (hint hint): The Annual TCM Programmers Alumni Party where all TCM's past programmers (celeb & fan) get together and celebrate. I recommend Hawai'i as an ideal spot for the first one. :D
In the mean time, keep up the splendid work on my lifesaver channel!

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Re: The Scott McGee Q&A thread

Postby Scott McGee » Fri May 30, 2014 4:33 pm

Rita Hayworth wrote:Dear Scott,

>>>>Welcome to the OASIS; and I have several questions concerning Buster Keaton one of my all time Silent Movie Stars in the 20's and 30's and wondering how in the world that he did this stunt in the GENERAL?

Hey there, Rita...can I call you Gilda?

Are you referring to where he straddles the cowcatcher? That is an excellent example of Keaton's stuntwork. With several notable exceptions, his true mastery of stunts were moments that don't look dangerous, at least on the surface. Sure, scurrying to the front of a moving locomotive would not be a wise move for mere mortals such as you and I. But Keaton made it look so easy. He was, first and foremost, so physically nimble and assured, that he could do this without slipping. I think the pressure of performing tricky and physically demanding routines in vaudeville prepared him to perform the stunt where the train "scoops" him up off of the tracks. If his left foot got caught in the railway ties, he'd be dead. Those trains can't stop on a dime.

>>>>According to You Tube it's cost $42,000 to do this stunt below - it was dubbed the most expensive stunt in Silent Movie History and at 2012 Standard it's would cost $550,000 to do this stunt ... see example of the stunt in the You Tube Below. How he managed to get this off the ground and running as schedule?

As for the crash of the Texas, it's my understanding that the cost was a bit lower, closer to $27,000. Still very expensive. Are you asking how he got away with spending this amount of money for one shot? Well, Buster historically kept his costs relatively low, which helped since his films weren't quite as successful at the box office in the 1920s, compared to Harold Lloyd, for example. While this shot can rightfully claim to be the most expensive single shot in silent film history, I don't think he was being fiscally irresponsible. The silent era was known for spectacle. Go big, or go home, right? I mean, the new studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had just released a picture called "Ben-Hur" that featured an actual chariot race. So I don't think it was really that surprising for Keaton to go the lengths he did for the climax of "The General". I think if anything, he wanted something different to conclude his Civil War picture than just another battle.

phpBB [video]



I have more coming your way later ... and I do appreciate any information that you can share regarding the two questions about the GENERAL, starring Buster Keaton.
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Re: The Scott McGee Q&A thread

Postby Scott McGee » Fri May 30, 2014 4:47 pm

Sue Sue Applegate wrote:Good morning, Scott! We are so happy to have you visit us here at The Silver Screen Oasis.

>>>>You have been involved in so many different projects, panels at the TCM Festivals, and podcasts for TCM. Which one of your many duties seems be one of your favorite pursuits? Please feel free to explain in detail.

>>>>I especially enjoyed the "20 Years of TCM" panel you moderated with Pola Changnon and Tim Reilly. Thank you!


Probably my favorite specific duty nowadays is helping Charlie Tabesh to program off-channel events such as the festival and the cruise. Charlie brought me on board the festival committee nearly six years ago, and in the time, I've helped to suggest programming themes, films, talent, Club TCM events, and have even named last year's festival "The Ties That Bind".


Thank you, Sue! We had a great time taking everyone on a trip down memory lane. There was so many spots I wish we had time to show. It took me months to compile a list and to cull it down to under an hour. So glad you enjoyed it.
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Re: The Scott McGee Q&A thread

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » Fri May 30, 2014 5:45 pm

I did! Thank you! :D
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Re: The Scott McGee Q&A thread

Postby kingrat » Fri May 30, 2014 6:30 pm

Hi, Scott!

Thanks for all your hard work on behalf of TCM and its loyal fans. For many of us, the festival is one of the highlights of each year.

About those Friday Night Spotlights: is it still too early to talk about an upcoming Spotlight featuring Alex Trebek? I loved this idea when someone from the network mentioned it to a group of us the last night of the festival.

Are there any changes you would like to see in the festival? Adding the El Capitan for a night of films was a real accomplishment.

I'm so impressed by the way TCM has actually changed the way we see the history of classic films by making so many of the dark corners available to us. This is rewriting history in a good way.

Hope to see you next year again at the festival.

David
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Re: The Scott McGee Q&A thread

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » Fri May 30, 2014 7:07 pm

Scott, I always enjoyed the Lauren Bacall station announcement that went something like this: "This is Turner Classic Movies, all day!" Any chance TCM might have another iconic star like Cher, Meryl Streep, or George Clooney create another announcement like this?
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Re: The Scott McGee Q&A thread

Postby Lzcutter » Fri May 30, 2014 7:26 pm

Hey Scott,

Thanks so much for the great answers so far, especially the info about Buster!

Love MissG's Programmer reunion idea by the way! (Are you surprised? I thought not).

On your monthly podcasts, who has been the hardest to convince to participate in them and secondarily, who has been the most fun and/or surprised you?

Thanks again!
Lynn in Sherman Oaks

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Re: The Scott McGee Q&A thread

Postby moirafinnie » Fri May 30, 2014 7:32 pm

Welcome to the SSO and thanks for coming by, Scott.

I was lucky enough to be among the few and the frosty who saw you discuss Bullitt (1968) on the big screen at The Dryden at the George Eastman House in bleakest February of this year in Rochester. I was particularly interested in the way that you described how great stuntwork--as seen in such movies as Bullitt (1968), The French Connection (1971, The Great Train Robbery (1978), Ronin (1998) and other films might be seen as a set piece independent from the narrative, but the beauty of these sequences actually strengthened the story, and gave shading to characters and their actions.

You make a good case for more recognition for stunt people in such movies, but do you think that this is likely to occur in an age of CGI-created effects? Has the use of such artificial effects made stunt people superfluous?

________________________________________
A guest blog by our guest about his interest in stunt work and its role in film can be seen at the Eastman House Blog here:

Crash Course: The Art of Film Stuntwork by Turner Classic Movie’s Scott McGee
________________________________________

Since you have some considerable experience with TCM events in the real world, do you think that there is a growing interest in classic films in modern theatrical settings thanks to TCM's extensive efforts, regional film festivals, and other groups?

Has the explosion of media outlets helped this interest or does it ever seem almost too diffuse to know what direction things are headed in terms of interest and the distribution of classic films?

Thanks in advance for any insights you may have.
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Re: The Scott McGee Q&A thread

Postby Scott McGee » Fri May 30, 2014 7:49 pm

kingrat wrote:Hi, Scott!

Thanks for all your hard work on behalf of TCM and its loyal fans. For many of us, the festival is one of the highlights of each year.

About those Friday Night Spotlights: is it still too early to talk about an upcoming Spotlight featuring Alex Trebek? I loved this idea when someone from the network mentioned it to a group of us the last night of the festival.

Are there any changes you would like to see in the festival? Adding the El Capitan for a night of films was a real accomplishment.

I'm so impressed by the way TCM has actually changed the way we see the history of classic films by making so many of the dark corners available to us. This is rewriting history in a good way.

Hope to see you next year again at the festival.

David


Hey David, I'm so glad that the festival has become such an integral part of your year. It sure is for me.

It's a bit early to talk about Mr. Trebek's Friday Night Spotlight appearance, but there should be some more info about it in the summer, I hope. It'll air later this year. Alex knows his movies! On board the TCM Classic Cruise last December, I moderated the Meet TCM panel, and while I was taking questions from the audience, I called upon a gentleman waaay in the back. It was only when he stood up that I realized it was Alex Trebek (who was one of the special guests on the cruise that year). All the panelists gulped when he started to ask his question. (turned out to not be a hard one.)

As for changes at the festival, my wish list is that we could have an outdoor screening somewhere that could be open to the LA public. Maybe at the Hollywood High School backyard or something. Again, just pie-in-the-sky wish list. And there's a ton of films and guests I'd love to have there.
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Re: The Scott McGee Q&A thread

Postby Scott McGee » Fri May 30, 2014 7:50 pm

Sue Sue Applegate wrote:Scott, I always enjoyed the Lauren Bacall station announcement that went something like this: "This is Turner Classic Movies, all day!" Any chance TCM might have another iconic star like Cher, Meryl Streep, or George Clooney create another announcement like this?



Christy, a capital idea. Really. I wish I had thought of it!
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Re: The Scott McGee Q&A thread

Postby Scott McGee » Fri May 30, 2014 7:56 pm

Lzcutter wrote:Hey Scott,

On your monthly podcasts, who has been the hardest to convince to participate in them and secondarily, who has been the most fun and/or surprised you?




Lynn, I gotta say, everyone that we've approached and got a yes from did so enthusiastically. We didn't really have to convince anyone. Even from people we received a "no" from did so because they weren't available or were too busy. In fact, many of those names are still on our wish list.

I take it you all watch the podcast. What do you think of them? Are they entertaining, informative? Anything you'd like to change about them?

The subject who was the most surprising was probably Stan Lee...mainly because he was such a big name, I truly didn't believe it was actually going to happen until he walked in! But the person who surprised me for the depth of the conversation was Paul Williams. Love that guy.
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