Improve Your Experience

It appears you’re trying to access HBO Connect from a browser or version that’s not recommended. For the optimal experience, please download one of the following browsers:

Continue to HBO Connect

Log in with:

May 13, 2013 4PM EST

Q&A with Christopher Guest

Share

  • Q

    Thank you for joining us today, Christopher Guest. Any opening words for your fans?

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    Thank you for joining me in this space venture.

  • Q

    How do your characters come to you and how do you name your characters?

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    Well, it starts with a story first, and then the characters are filled out. Naming them is one of the most critical things and that takes a very long time. Jim Piddock and I take a long time coming up with the names. What makes this different is that there are episodes that take place in England and the English names are different than what the American names would be.

  • Q

    What were you looking for when casting Family Tree? #FSU #HBOCollege

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    Well, it's based on the story that we wrote, so obviously we try to find people that best fit those parts, but the most important thing is that all of the actors have to be able to improvise and that is a difficult task - to find people who can do that. I know a lot of people in America who can do that, but in England I had to find new people.

  • Q

    What is the most challenging part of directing improv?

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    The most important part is the casting. If that actors can improvise, things go quite smoothly. I don't do a lot of takes. I do, perhaps, two takes.

  • Q

    What was your inspiration for #FamilyTree? #FSU #HBOCollege

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    It was essentially based on my own experience of being left a lot of items when my father died. I went through a similar thing that our lead character did in looking through these boxes that I had and I came across some very interesting items - diaries, photographs, military medals, etc.

  • Q

    Who are your comedic influences?

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    Peter Sellers, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Jonathan Miller.

  • Q

    Do you think someone can develop a sense of humor, like a skill? Or do you think it is innate? how do you develop it, if you can?

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    Well, a sense of humor is different than being funny. You have to be born with either one. You can't learn how to be funny.

  • Q

    You’re known for works like Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show. Which of your works has been most rewarding?

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    Well, it's hard to pick one of the films I've done. I enjoyed working on all of them, I'd say.

  • Q

    Whats it like working with Chris O'Dowd? #FSU #HBOCollege

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    It was fantastic. Chris is an extremely gifted actor and improviser.

  • Q

    What's your favorite song from any of your films? A penny for your thoughts.

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    I like Stonehendge from This Is Spinal Tap (I didn't direct it but I co-wrote it). I like A Penny for Your Thoughts from Waiting for Guffman.

  • Q

    You’ve been quoted stating you don’t watch much TV yourself. Have you made any exceptions?

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    I don't watch anything on a regular basis, though I do watch some things. I guess the exception would be sports.

  • Q

    have you done a family tree on your own family? #hbocollege #unh

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    Yes I have. I learned I had a relative in the 18th century that became a ventriloquist and an actor.

  • Q

    Who or what were the biggest influences on you getting into the improv world?

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    Well, at the time there weren't people doing this. When we did This Is Spinal Tap, no one was doing this in movies. We just kind of thought it was a good idea at the time and kept doing that.

  • Q

    what gives you the most joy---directing, performing, or writing?

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    I like doing all of them. I like all the things that I do. That’s why I do them.

  • Q

    You've done movies about film, dog show, music and the theater world, is there any other world you're interested in making a film about?

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    Well I'm interest in a lot of different things, but I haven't picked a new topic for a film yet.

  • Q

    You use pathos so sparingly but so well. What is the process for finding those moments in your work?

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    I would say that it's important to me to have multidimensional characters and, in doing that, there's an emotional element that comes out.

  • Q

    What's proven most rewarding about the enhanced time you get with this story? What's been most difficult?

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    The challenge was to do a series of shows in a time frame that was quite short. The fun part was to have a longer arc in the story than I would normally have in a film.

  • Q

    We're almost out of time for today's Connect Q&A. Christopher Guest, any final tips for fans with dreams of being a director?

    Share

    A
    Christopher Guest says:

    I think it would be good to try to write what you want to direct. I think that would be a good thing to shoot for.

Related Events: See all events