74 episodes

Off Camera is a podcast hosted by photographer/director Sam Jones, who created the show out of his passion for the long form conversational interview, and as a way to share his conversations with a myriad of artists, actors, musicians, directors, skateboarders, photographers, and writers that pique his interest. Because the best conversations happen Off Camera.

Off Camera with Sam Jones Sam Jones

    • Arts
    • 4.8, 1.3K Ratings

Off Camera is a podcast hosted by photographer/director Sam Jones, who created the show out of his passion for the long form conversational interview, and as a way to share his conversations with a myriad of artists, actors, musicians, directors, skateboarders, photographers, and writers that pique his interest. Because the best conversations happen Off Camera.

    Ep 51. Tim Robbins

    Ep 51. Tim Robbins

    At 6’ 5”, Tim Robbins is the tallest actor ever to win an Academy Award, but until they start handing out statuettes for height alone, he’ll have to be content with a regular old Oscar and slew of Golden Globes recognizing his talent. Cutting such an imposing figure could’ve made it easy for Hollywood to serve him up time and again as the loveable, lumbering galoot he played so successfully in his breakout role as Bull Durham’s “Nuke” LaLoosh. But even a passing glance at his long filmography is a startling reminder that Robbins is an artist whose physicality is completely overshadowed by his versatility. He plays innocent and shrewd, hero and scoundrel, with such careful shadings and intelligence that watching him, we’re kept tantalizingly off balance. His boyish, wide-open countenance can conceal a menace that’s all the more disturbing because it’s felt more than seen. In other words, Robbins is a master manipulator – he’s playing us, but gleefully and with the best of intentions. He’s the naïve screwball in the Coen brothers’ Hudsucker Proxy, and the new neighbor in Arlington Road who’s so nice and normal that we can never quite put a finger on why something about him just doesn’t seem right.

    Though inarguably well deserved, the acclaim he’s received for his astounding performances in films like The Shawshank Redemption, Mystic River and The Player can make it too easy to overlook some of his most important contributions to his craft, as well as how he’s chosen to shape his career. While still in college he founded The Actors’ Gang, which changed the landscape and status of L.A. theater and created an incubator for both great plays and talented young actors. His passion for theater also pervaded the chaotically joyous, collaborative spirit of Bob Roberts, a film Robbins wrote, directed and starred in his early 30’s. Long before “mockumentary” became common film vocabulary, it incisively and uproariously presaged the media’s trivialization of politics. Come to think of it, it’s mandatory election year viewing. Though he admits his success has put him in a position to pick and choose, Robbins has always been an admirable purist, writing, directing, producing and acting in only the projects that speak to his sense of moral and artistic integrity. He knows his legacy may not matter to the public, but it matters to him.

    That integrity – and his standing as one of our true auteurs – prompted Robert Altman to call him the second coming of Orson Welles. High praise; but like Welles, his standards don’t frequently align with those of his industry, making his film projects increasingly rare. Our conversation reminded us of the treasure we have in Robbins, and as much as we hate to bother a 6’ 5” former hockey player, we respectfully demand more.

    • 58 min
    Ep 65. Kathryn Hahn

    Ep 65. Kathryn Hahn

    Who is my character? Why does she say this line? What’s my motivation? These are valid, if not typical, Acting 101 probings. But as a certain actor so simply puts it, “Sometimes, you just need to walk in the door.” That actor is Kathryn Hahn, who is a great example of someone who does just that; she steps into frame and before she utters a line, you’re watching, just waiting for what she’s going to say or do.

    That takes a rare kind of presence, one that for too long seemed to be hiding in plain sight. Hahn got her first real TV break when Crossing Jordan producer Tim Kring created the role of Lily Lebowski for her in 2001. A string of small but brilliant supporting appearances in comedy features like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and Step Brothers followed. Luckily, a few sharp-eyed observers spied a keg of talent going largely untapped. In 2008, Marcia Shulman, then Fox’s head of casting, signed Hahn to a rare talent-holding deal. “She was doing the kind of comedy that reminded me of Lucille Ball,” Shulman said. “She is very approachable, she has a very positive, happy presence. She is a great physical comedian, and I think that is missing on TV.”

    Shulman was right, but if anyone deserves credit for recognizing what others didn’t, it’s writer and director Jill Soloway, who gave Hahn her first lead role in the acclaimed 2013 film Afternoon Delight. As an over- achieving mom and housewife who finds a— let’s call it creative—way to deal with a midlife crisis, Hahn was able to show there were layers to the laughs. “...She has an incredible way into the kind of authentic realness that made the careers of women like Diane Keaton back in the 1970s,” Soloway told The New York Times. “The industry has never really known how to handle a woman like that—a woman whose beauty is so intrinsically linked to her unique character.”

    Perhaps not fitting into a cinematic pigeonhole isn’t all bad. Hahn is one of the most game actors in the business, the personification of the acting ideal: free, open. She seems equipped to invest any character with warmth, sarcasm, humanity or a bit of ball-busting on an as-needed basis. While “free” could be an understatement for some of her roles in movies like We’re The Millers, Tomorrowland, Bad Words, and the upcoming Bad Moms, she’s just as good, if not even better, at caustic (Boeing-Boeing, her Broadway debut), grounded (Transparent) and...male (her role as Jennifer Barkley on Parks and Recreation was originally written for a man).

    If you’ve seen her in any of these roles, you’d have a tough time buying that an artist so willing to “go there” with such complete abandon and utter lack of vanity was ever self conscious or timid. But growing up, Hahn was the girl who was always apologizing, saying anything but what she truly meant in order to keep people (mostly her family) happy. She’s said that being able to stand up straight, look people in the eye and command her own space remain a bit of a challenge, even today. But it does get easier once you realize that your gift is who you are, and who you are is pretty much all you need. If Hollywood didn’t know what to do with Hahn in the beginning, she’s shown them now—just about anything.

    • 56 min
    Ep 84. Greta Gerwig

    Ep 84. Greta Gerwig

    In “No Method to Her Madness,” a review of the Noah Baumbach film Greenberg that could’ve also been titled “Ode to Greta Gerwig,” A.O. Scott wrote that the actress, “most likely without intending to be anything of the kind, may well be the definitive screen actress of her generation.” He goes on (at length) to praise her performance, or lack thereof. “She comes across as pretty, smart, hesitant, insecure, confused, determined — all at once or in no particular order. Which is to say that she is bracingly, winningly and sometimes gratingly real.” He’s still talking about Greenberg, but the same could be said of her work in films like Frances Ha, Mistress America and Maggie’s Plan.

    Ben Brantley, Scott’s colleague over in the theater department, seemed equally smitten with her stage debut as Becky in The Village Bike: “She registers as guileless because we can detect every confused emotion that crosses her face... She reads as so transparent that her feelings come to seem like our own. There’s no barrier of glossy, movie star charm between her and us.”

    If you don’t see many mainstream titles on her IMDb page, it may be because studios serve up most of their features with a generous dollop of gloss. It could also be because Gerwig knows what material suits her. And she should – she’s co-written and co-directed a lot of it, mostly with indie filmmakers like Baumbach and Joe Swanberg. Though these are no doubt some of her most acclaimed performances, even in her occasional mainstream forays (2011’s Arthur and No Strings Attached) she’s often singled out as the only part of the movie worth watching. Taken as a whole, the applause seems to boil down to this: It’s very hard to catch her acting. As a performer, she is unselfconscious in a way that lets us look through her and see ourselves, and she’s not pulling any punches in the reflection.

    She’s a natural if there ever was one, but for a long time the question seemed to be, a natural what? A fervent aspiring ballerina, fencer, trumpeter, aerobics instructor (that was all before graduating high school), Gerwig embraced her interests with both arms and all her passion. In college she intended to become a playwright (or maybe study musical theater) before meeting Swanberg, who cast her in 2006’s LOL. For a while she worried about not feeling the same singular purpose or calling as some of her peers; there was also a period when she worried a move from mumblecore to mainstream might never happen. But now that hopping genres, creative capacities and even distribution platforms is becoming the industry’s new normal, it seems like a very good time to be someone who can be almost anyone – on either side of the camera.

    This month, she’s in front of it in 20th Century Women along with Annette Bening and Billy Crudup. In 2017, she’ll step behind it with Lady Bird, which stars Saoirse Ronan and marks Gerwig’s first solo directing effort. She’s also working on the script for a film adaptation of Little Women – and we can’t think of a better (or more interesting) woman for the job.

    For some artists, picking a lane seems not only unnecessary, but foolish, especially for an artist who’s all-in, all the time. “You could always not invest, but where’s the fun in that?” she told The Guardian earlier this year. “It’s like when people say, ‘I don’t really care about Christmas, it’s just a day.’ Of course it’s just a day, but this is all we’ve got! We go around one time… Let’s invest. It’s not always logical to do so, but what else are you gonna do with your life?”

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Ep 64. Keagan-Michael Key

    Ep 64. Keagan-Michael Key

    Did you see the 2013 comedy-horror movie Hell Baby? No? Well, film critic Devin Faraci did, and what stood out for him about the otherwise “silly” film was a supporting actor who “walks into Hell Baby, picks it up and walks directly out of the theater with it.” That was Keegan-Michael Key. In his write up, Faraci said, “I’m not sure why this guy isn’t one of the biggest comedy stars in the universe, but we still have time to correct this oversight, and Hell Baby will help.”

    Maybe, maybe not, but Key & Peele did. The history-making comic duo (Key and partner Jordan Peele) met at MADtv, where they were originally cast against each other so parent network FOX could pick one black actor for the permanent ensemble. Obvious questions about that strategy aside, the network recognized chemistry when they saw it and hired them both. Even “black actor” seems a slightly ridiculous term for two bi-racial comics who refused to see black culture as a monolith and any culture, topic, or character as off-limits for comic cannon fodder.

    Their two-man parade of seemingly endless impersonations (and wigs) broadened and became even funnier when Key & Peele became its own sketch show on Comedy Central in 2012, sparing neither gay nor straight, young nor old, Asian nor Latino, black nor white, nor icons modern or historic. Not even vampires couldn’t escape ridicule. In its eulogy for the best TV comedy shows ending runs in 2015 (including The Colbert Report, David Letterman on The Late Show, and Parks and Recreation), The Atlantic said, “The departure of Key & Peele deserves to be remembered as the biggest loss of them all, because it was the only example of a show ending when it still had so much originality and energy left...The originality, charm, intensity, and fearlessness of Key & Peele will be impossible to replace.”

    Key’s own abilities as a dauntless comic surrogate for almost any faction of society brought him to the attention of President Obama, who was in need of an Official Anger Translator for the 2015 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. It’s probably the first time the event has racked up over 7.3 million YouTube views—no mean feat in a town that regularly offers up a bottomless smorgasbord of things to laugh at.

    Key’s rejection of any single racial or comedic stereotype appears to have started early and to have influenced his career path. Adopted as a child by a bi-racial couple in Michigan, he discovered a passion for theater in high school, largely because of the multi-cultural kids it attracted. He saw that unlike so many of us in high school, these kids joined drama not out of the desire to belong to a certain group, but out of love for their craft. He pursued his MFA in Theater at Penn State with the intention of becoming a “poor, happy, artistically fulfilled” dramatic actor, doing regional theater and Shakespeare festivals. But for a guy whose knee-jerk reaction to anyone who says, “There’s no way to make this funny” is an immediate and compulsive need to prove otherwise, a comedy detour was probably inevitable. That, and he’s just a damn funny guy.

    Though Devin Faraci has been proven right about Key’s talent several times over by now, we wouldn’t be surprised if his review of the upcoming Don’t Think Twice is only four words: “I told you so.” And then there’s the tantalizing rumor of a script-in-the-works with Peele and Judd Apatow, who’s said he thinks the duo are “capable of making a movie America desperately needs right now.” All we know is that a film from a triumvirate like that is one we desperately need to see right now. Key and Co. aren’t sharing details, so if Luther is still available, we’d like to hire him to send a little message to our friend Keegan: GET OUT OF OUR DAMN STUDIO AND GO MAKE IT, ALREADY.

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Ep 95. Hank Azaria

    Ep 95. Hank Azaria

    Hank Azaria’s relationship to the most iconic cartoon of a generation is a question of prepositions. He is indisputably on The Simpsons (his voice work on the show has won him four Emmys); also, he is The Simpsons – or at least a good percentage of the regulars that populate their world: Moe the Bartender, Apu the Kwik-E-Mart proprietor, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, The Sea Captain, Carl Carlson, as well as a one-man army of walk-ons like Cletus Spuckler, Professor Frink, Dr. Nick Riviera, Lou, Snake Jailbird, Superintendent Chalmers, Disco Stu, Duffman and the Wiseguy.

    A gifted mimic at five, Azaria had no idea his impressions were an unusual talent. “I just loved Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “Then when I got old enough to realize it was all the same guy, Mel Blanc, I lost my mind.” Memorizing comedy routines he saw and doing funny voices remained a diversion while he was growing up in Queens, NY, but became an obsession once he did a high school play. He decided on acting and studied drama at Tufts University and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Apparently not an optimist, he’s said he didn’t expect to be successful as a professional actor, but determined to hang on until he was 25 just so he wouldn’t regret not trying.

    His path proceeded along the standard Hollywood lines – a move to L.A., work as a catering bartender and plenty of auditions. His debut was in the 1986 ABC series Bash, a one-line part he told all his friends about, only to discover it was cut. But a little humiliation is a small price to pay for a SAG card, right? Parts in sitcoms like Family Ties and Growing Pains followed, as did Hollywood Dog, his first-ever voice role. The pilot failed, but prompted a casting director to ask him to audition for Moe. Simpsons exec producer Matt Groening kept asking him back, a rogues gallery of voices was compiled, and a stable career was born.

    Live action work picked up around the same time with recurring roles on Friends and Mad About You. A small part in Pretty Woman was his first feature film; subsequent roles soon became bigger and more diverse – Quiz Show, Along Came Polly, Dodgeball, Cradle Will Rock, Night At the Museum, Godzilla – but none more memorable than Agador - Spartacus - in The Birdcage. As a dialed-to-eleven Guatemalan houseboy, he made us laugh harder than the movie’s stars, comic icons Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.

    Every industry has a “guy” – the one you go to when you want the reliable best in the business, and Azaria became the go-to for making any line funny just by saying it. Playwright Jenelle Riley said, "[Azaria's] appeal can best be summed up by, of all things, his hilarious cameo in the goofy comedy Dodgeball. As Patches O'Houlihan, he delivers a pitch-perfect performance in an instructional video in which he chain-smokes, encourages a child to pick on those weaker than him, and steals the film from a cast of comedic greats. It's a wonderful, odd moment that could have failed miserably in the hands of a lesser actor, and he manages to pull it off with only seconds of dialogue…Pound for pound, Hank Azaria is the best actor working today." Azaria humbly passes most of it off to “dumb celebrity impressions,” but that’s dismissing the work of a master mixologist. Patches O’Houlihan? “Essentially a bad Clark Gable impression, but I tried to add some young Rip Torn in it.” Moe? Al Pacino, with some gravel thrown in. Agador? Puerto Rican street queens, tempered with his grandmother. Apu? Peter Sellers in The Party. We’ll end the list there so as not to ruin a potentially amusing Azaria-watching parlor game for you.

    Those indelible characters can make it easy to overlook Azaria’s fine dramatic work in series like Huff and Ray Donovan, and his touching AOL series Fatherhood. Variety called his

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Ep 137. Andie MacDowell

    Ep 137. Andie MacDowell

    When Andie MacDowell was a curious and wide-eyed 8-year-old, a trip to the university theater with her mother planted a seed. The adults on stage were playing make believe, her most favorite game in the world, and she was mesmerized. Add a penchant for prank calls and some improv with unsuspecting barkeeps, and the seed that was planted would later grow into her passion for acting. And Andie is nothing if not passionate.

    Over 30 years in the industry and she’s still chomping at the bit to stretch and grow despite how challenging it can be for women to find roles of substance.  As a model, Andie was often held to an impossible standard of perfection, but she knows her success transcends what people see on the surface: “I’ve always known the real reason people would connect with me would not be for the way I looked, but for how I made them feel.”

    That is exactly why she feels so rewarded by her most psychologically complex character to date in the film Love After Love. In the role of Suzanne, a codependent matriarch who loses her husband, Andie straddles the line between strength and despair beautifully. “I was starving for this role,” Andie declares. When I asked her why, the conversation got interesting really fast.

    Andie joins Off Camera to discuss why her role in Love After Love is her most interesting since Sex, Lies, and Videotape, how to move past gender inequality in Hollywood, why her childhood struggles have made her a better mom, and how to properly cook a steak (in butter, of course!).

    • 1 hr 1 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
1.3K Ratings

1.3K Ratings

Barberfilm ,

Fantastic and inspiring for creatives especially

I love the deep dives and conversations rather than publicist-approved sound bytes. As a creative myself I always come away feeling inspired and motivated by the way Jones gets his guests to open up about how they got to where they’re at. Highly recommend.

C Casey ,

Best interviewer

I just listened to the Ron Howard interview and finally nailed down why I like this podcast so much. It’s the refreshing experience of listening to an interviewer who is not a syncophant (sp?) and who listens intently, shown by follow-up questions on target -“hey, that’s what I wanted to know” on target- rather than moving to a planned question. Best of all- the guest is not interrupted by the host’s need to tell his own story.

M-Test1 ,

Great Podcast

I’ve really enjoyed every episode I have listened to so far. Patrick is a great interviewer; insightful and intelligent. I highly recommend.

Top Podcasts In Arts

Listeners Also Subscribed To