I’m a fan first, and a creator second. And let’s be honest, anything that I actually create isn’t really all that original, it’s just a shrine, a tribute, a way to express my fandom and communicate the things that I love.
My desire and curiosity for knowledge about the things I love, especially behind the scenes, has always been the same since I was a child and now as an adult. The only difference is access; I grew up before the internet, before DVD, and before special features and commentary tracks.
Other than talking feverishly with other kids on the playground who mostly had no idea what I was talking about and just thought I was weird, the only other outlet I would’ve had was Fangoria, and unfortunately, I didn’t discover the magazine until 1999!
But now, if anything, we have too much content, too much information (a good complaint to have, mind you). While I’ve enjoyed those aforementioned DVD special features for quite some time, along with daytime and late night talk show appearances, documentaries, etc., only in the last few years have I obsessively gotten into the more in-depth shows, and realized just how much of a tease, with small anecdotes and soundbites the rest of that stuff has been.
So without further ado, I present the list of all the best shows I could find that have really great, in-depth, candid conversations with filmmakers, actors, directors, musicians, and artists of all kinds:
- Dinner for Five (I can’t say that Jon Favreau was the first ever to invent the idea of filming interesting people speaking freely around a table, but certainly was one of the first that did it really well)
- Off Camera with Sam Jones (more of a traditional, 3-camera, one-on-one interview format, but with great questions and an eclectic group of artists that don’t get interviewed as much as the obvious choices)
- The Hollywood Masters (similar to Off Camera and Inside the Actors Studios)
- Close Up with the Hollywood Reporter (this was most likely inspired by Jon Favreau’s concept, just minus the food and alcohol)
- The Hollywood Reporter Roundtables (there’s some confusion and overlap here with Close Up, where this may have been the old show, that evolved into what Close Up is now?)
- Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show (technically this is a podcast, but they also filmed the show and released episodes on YouTube and even Hulu at one point I believe)
- Inside the Actors Studios (I have seen a few episodes over the years, and clearly this goes into more depth than your run-of-the-mill interviews, but I didn’t recall it being very candid or insightful — I won’t know for sure unless I go back and check it out at some point)
- Chelsea Handler (in general, Chelsea has done a lot of Dinner for Five type stuff on her various shows that certainly would qualify as being less bullshit than your 5 min soundbite interviews)
Pretty much all the shows I’ve listed can be found on YouTube in one form or another, and some of them can be watched comfortably on Netflix. If you have any recommendations for in-depth shows that I should check out, please let me know!
I’ll leave you with an all-horror guest roundtable now that I just stumbled across (I haven’t even watched it yet at the time of publishing this list):
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