VBT Pit Stop & Interview with Guy Magar - Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot
Monday, January 16, 2012 Leave a Comment
BIO: With over 100 credits from shorts to TV shows to features, director Guy Magar’s behind-the-scenes filmmaking stories range from his first producer turning out to be a Mafia assassin, to shooting in Egypt for the original series Battlestar Galactica, to directing a grunting Mr. T on The A-Team, to almost decapitating a young Drew Barrymore, and to almost derailing James Cameron’s career (or at least slowing it down as he proved way too talented for anyone to alter his storied destiny.)
“Kiss me quick before I shoot has always been my welcoming catchphrase to my wife Jacqui whenever she visited on-set which was seemingly always just before I rolled cameras. This unconventional memoir is also about a deeper magic, the magic of finding a life partner and the magic of healing. Join me on a thrilling rollercoaster ride of realizing the dream of a Hollywood filmmaking career, of the intoxicating highs of finding true love, and of the sweet triumph of healing and survival.” Guy Magar Director/Writer/Producer, Founder of Action/Cut Filmmaking Seminars & Short Film Competition, RETRIBUTION, LOOKIN’ ITALIAN, STEPFATHER 3, CHILDREN OF THE CORN: REVELATION
TV: La Femme Nikita, Blue Thunder, Dark Avenger, Fortune Hunter, The A-Team, Young Riders.
WI: Please tell us a little about your book...
GM: Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot is a memoir about magic…the magic of living the great American dream, an immigrant’s dream to make movies in Hollywood, and also it’s about the magic of finding true love. This is an unconventional memoir as it deals with diverse topics of a wild and crazy filmmaking career, and of the joys of sharing great love. My goal was to write a reader-friendly memoir which includes hilarious stories with over a hundred photos. Since people love the movies and great love stories, my goal was to invite readers to a fun and informal read, to join me for a cappuccino while I engage them in this unique tale of my life journey. From the feedback and reviews to date, I’m delighted that it has worked: mission accomplished.
WI: What inspired you to share this story?
GM: After 25 years of a blissful marriage, out of the blue, my wife was diagnosed with leukemia. Cancer is a pretty daunting illness whenever it hits any family and it changed my life as I completely stopped all my film work and focused on educating myself on blood cancers. The medical journey to heal her was so amazing because it involved a cutting-edge clinical trial treatment for which I was so thankful that I wanted to share it with the world. When I started writing, it became a natural process to share my memoir and begin in Egypt from where my family immigrated to the USA and share the filmmaking dream that brought me to Hollywood. Sharing the film world and the love for my wife and her healing felt like a wonderful story of a rich journey I could share through a memoir.
WI: What is it you love about filmmaking?
GM: First and foremost, there is no other more magical form to tell a story than film. To be able to visually unfold a story complete with a soundtrack and great music? It doesn’t get better than that. Making film for me is like making magic and if you know how to use all the tools from cameras to editorial, then you have a magician’s toolbox to work with. The second reason is the thrill of guiding actors to great performances. What actors do as the characters inside those stories is a very special process. After thirty years working and directing actors, I still get goose-bumps when I watch a superb performance. The most recent work I admire is Michele Williams in My Week with Marilyn which should win her the Oscar in 2012.
WI: What do you consider a magic moment?
GM: It is a moment that transcends all cultural differences into a profound understanding of our humanity. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, at the very end of the movie when the Indian is inspired to go beyond any possible physical strength and picks up that gigantic marble water unit and throw it against a barred window to finally escape out of the mental institution: this is a magical moment everyone gets of an innate human thirst for freedom. In Chariots of Fire, when the priest runs the longer race he’s never run before because his usual shorter distance race is on a Sabbath, and in slow motion he throws his head back, the music swells, and his narration is, “Where does the power come from? God made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.” And of course he wins his Olympic race and it’s goose-bumps time. This is the power of a magical film moment of divine presence which transcends all faiths.
WI: How difficult is it to capture the right moment?
GM: Since I’m mentioning films that are quite old to recall examples which come to mind, that should tell you how infrequent and unique such magical moments are to capture. Great moments transcend all cultures and nationalities and divisions among us. They unite us in comprehension of our humanity. Such magical moments are difficult to capture…that’s why they’re magical.
WI: What feelings do you experience when shooting film scenes?
GM: Most of the time, you’re doing the best you can to visually interpret every scene the best possible creative way within a timeframe of a budget and schedule. You must have a real good understanding of editing because when you’re shooting, you’re providing the “shots” or the building blocks you will need in the editing room to put it all together and complete the scenes necessary to tell the story. If you don’t have all the shots you need, you have a major problem and you may have to go out and do some additional shooting which is expensive, or figure out some way around that scene including possibly deleting it from the movie if it doesn’t leave a large ugly hole in your narrative. So when you’re shooting, you have a focused purpose to get every shot you planned to make the scenes work and there is a great sense of accomplishment at the end of the day if you feel you got everything you need “in the can.” This is the responsibility of every director.
WI: What is your most favorite moment as a director?
GM: Like all directors, I have many favorite moments of my work. To have the privilege of being a professional director and go from show to show, from movie to movie, telling wonderful and amazing stories using the magic of film…well, it doesn’t get much better than that. Sometimes it’s during the first reading of a script when you discover the story for the first time and you start visualizing it. Sometimes the shooting itself is the best moment of a film if it is filled with unique and special magical moments you manage to capture on camera. And sometimes, the best is in the editing room where you put it all together. But I can tell you that on every single movie, one of the best moments is when you hear the music score come together and it elevates your film to new heights you never even imagined it could reach. There is nothing more magical in the arts than the marriage of film and music.
WI: Where was your most favorite place to "shoot"?
GM: For every scene, you hope to find the best possible location. When you are preparing a movie or TV show, you are spending most of your time searching for the best locations whether it is a restaurant, or school, or airport, or an apartment, or a forest, etc. Sometimes you never find the right place and you choose the best of what’s available. For me, the place that has such an abundance of great looking locations is Hawaii which I consider the paradise of the USA. You have difficulty choosing your shooting spots there because every angle looks fantastic. I’ve shot many shows on the islands and it was always a feast for the eyes, and the only place where I ever directed while I was barefoot and in swim trunks. I remember we shot in this incredibly lush valley just a week after Spielberg had shot there for Jurassic Park. Magic was in the air.
WI: What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
GM: If you love the movies and you have a romantic soul, this book is for you. The book is a celebration of the world of movies and TV shows, and takes the reader on this incredible journey of what it’s like to have a career as a director in Hollywood. It is also about finding and sharing true love and how special and precious it is when you’re lucky enough to get to experience it…and fight hard to keep it when a major illness strikes. It’s a book that celebrates life and hopefully will find its wide readership which is a challenging road for a self-published book.
WI: You speak about the love you have with your wife, and her fight with cancer. How is your wife today?
GM: I am delighted to report she is doing great and on April of 2012 we will celebrate her third year in complete remission. She’s in great health and doing all the things she did before her leukemia illness.
WI: What do you consider to be true love?
GM: When you find your soul mate...your life partner. Luck and destiny in finding that person plays a huge part like in everything else in life and I didn’t find mine till I was 34 which is considered late in the game. I believe true love begins when you meet a kind heart, a kind soul, that treats you with great nurturing tenderness, without being judgmental, and it blossoms into caring for that person more than you care for yourself. More than anything else, I believe when you meet your true love, you meet your best friend and partner for life.
WI: What does your wife think of your career?
GM: Jacqui has an artist’s heart and brings great style to the fashion world that she works in. So, it’s important for her that her life partner is also in the arts and she’s my best fan when it comes to my film career. She relates to my work ethic as a director - how I handle my productions and deal with my work in the film industry - and she loves the way I tell my stories. I believe very much in bringing my audiences into the world of my movies and TV work and provide them with the best entertainment experience I can accomplish as a filmmaker. She loves the movies so she’s quite partial to my films. When the lights go down, she’s always the most excited member of my audiences.
WI: Anything else you would like to share with our readers today?
GM: Though this is not a political book, the epilogue includes a call for all Americans to take responsibility and demand that our leaders are the brightest we can find. We do not want the decline of America to be about poor leadership. We want the best doctors to operate on us and the best pilots to fly our airplanes…so why not the brightest to lead us? Why is the bar so low when it comes to leadership? So, I call for an IQ test that all politicians must take and if they do not pass they cannot run no matter how wealthy they are or how big their egos are. We deserve great leaders and we should demand to have them. We should immediately get rid of senators who say their only goal is to make sure our president is not re-elected. If that hatred is the only focus of their legislative work instead of passing laws that are good for this country, then that senator needs to retire or be fired asap.
WI: Where may readers connect with you?
GM: Best way is through the book’s website at www.kissmequickbeforeishoot.com where they can also sign up for my entertainment blog which is all about movies, politics, and the book’s most fun excerpts.
WI: Where may readers purchase your book?
GM: In Los Angeles, it’s available at one of the best bookstores in the country which is Book Soup on Sunset Blvd. Both the paperback and the ebook is available at Amazon and also at Barnes & Noble online and the iStore and Sony stores. Readers should know that we are donating portions of our book revenues to the City of Hope Cancer Research where Jacqui was healed.
Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot is a memoir about magic...the magic of making movies and the magic of finding true love.
Movie lovers will discover what it would be like to work in the dream factory, to be a film director, to have an inside peek at Hollywood s inner workings making movies and TV shows. This memoir brings to life the many personalities and stars encountered, and tells the hilarious stories on the rocky road to Hollywood success.
With production work spanning over 100 credits from shorts to TV shows to feature films, Guy Magar s behind-the-scenes stories range from his first producer turning out to be a Mafia assassin, to shooting in Egypt for the original series Battlestar Galactica, to almost decapitating a young Drew Barrymore after ET, and to almost derailing James Cameron s career (or slowing it down as he proved way too talented for anyone to alter his storied destiny.) This memoir is about living the great American dream, an immigrant s dream to make movies in Hollywood.
” Kiss me quick before I shoot has been my welcoming catchphrase to my wife Jacqui whenever she visited on-set, seemingly always just before I rolled cameras.” And so this book is also about a deeper magic, the magic of finding a life partner.
Jacqui and I were married in a beautifully costumed Renaissance-themed wedding. I got to duel in a sword fight to win her hand against hooligans (stuntmen friends) who kidnapped her after she arrived by horse and buggy in front of 300 surprised guests. It was a magical wedding and my Errol Flynn life moment! Now, 28 years later, I am still head-over-heels in love with Jacqui.
But then, suddenly, Jacqui was diagnosed with leukemia. I immediately moved into the role of caregiver, and my entire 24-hour life focus became Jacqui s healing. We discovered the medical mecca of the City of Hope where we met a world-class gifted doctor who welcomed Jacqui to join their national stem cells trial. We locked up our house, boarded the dog, and moved in to start Jacqui s curative journey back to health.
DARE TO DREAM! As an immigrant I had Hollywood dreams to become a director and I did...I dreamed of finding true love and I did at 34...and when Jacqui got ill, I dreamed we would find a way to heal her, and we did. People love stories about making dreams come true. I dared to dream!
This passionate, life-celebrating memoir embraces both love and work within entertaining stories of what it s like to live this dream. Join me on a wild and thrilling rollercoaster ride of a Hollywood film career, of the intoxicating highs of finding and sharing true love, and of the sweet triumph of survival and healing…all rolled into one magical journey!
Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today Guy. It's been a most pleasant experience talking with a real, live director of film. Guy is currently on tour with the Virtual Book Tour Cafe'. You can view his schedule HERE and follow along to learn more about him. You can also see BK Walker's review of Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot, HERE.