“The laughter doesn’t last if there is no story. Story is king. You think it’s about the laughs, but, really, it’s about investing in the story and being drawn in.”
– Jon Favreau [58:55]
Jon Favreau is a man of many talents. He burst onto the acting scene with his role in Rudy.
He established himself as a writer with the iconic cult hit Swingers, in which he starred.
Then, Favreau made his feature film directorial debut with Made, which he also wrote and produced. Other directing credits include Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Cowboys & Aliens, Elf, Zathura, and Chef, which he wrote, produced, directed, and starred in.
Lots of commas! This man does everything.
Most recently, he appeared in The Wolf of Wall Street as an actor, and he’s currently directing a live-action film with groundbreaking technology that will blow your mind — an adaptation of Disney’s Jungle Book, set to be released on April 15, 2016.
This episode goes deep into everything —
– How did he get started?
– What role did Dungeons and Dragons play?
– What made Swingers unique, and how was Elf an inflection point?
– What are the creative (and control) choices he made Chef and why?
– What are his writing techniques, routines, and tools?
– And much, much more.
If you create anything, Jon is a prime example of reinvention, doing it all, and doing it well. Enjoy the lessons!
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download it as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as”.
Want to hear another podcast with a world-class comedian and actor? — Listen to my conversations with Bryan Callen. In his episode, we discuss improving creativity, optimal performance, eating Corgis, and more (stream below or right-click here to download):
This episode is sponsored by Onnit. I have used Onnit products for years. If you look in my kitchen or in my garage you will find Alpha BRAIN, chewable melatonin (for resetting my clock while traveling), kettlebells, maces, battle ropes, and steel clubs. It sounds like a torture chamber, and it basically is. A torture chamber for self-improvement! To see a list of my favorite pills, potions, and heavy tools, click here.
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Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Learn more about Final Draft, Jon Favreau’s preferred screenwriting software
- Explore The Harold Improv Game, which Jon credits with helping him write the Swingers screenplay in two weeks
- Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
- Watch Bill Moyer’s interview with Joseph Campbell, titled The Power of Myth
- Learn more about The Story Seminar by Robert McKee
- A great book on storytelling and screenwriting: Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
- Jon’s suggested resource for screenwriters: The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler and Michele Montez
- Mead composition notebooks — Jon’s preferred writing medium
- Watch the trailer for Eat, Drink, Man, Woman
- Visiting San Francisco? Come see Walt Disney’s rigs and prototypes at the Disney Family Museum
- It Would Be So Nice If You Weren’t Here by Charles Grodin
- Connect with Jon Favreau:
- Jon’s go to albums and bands while growing up [4:30]
- On growing up in the Bronx [6:40]
- Deciding to dedicate himself to entertainment [10:40]
- On dropping out of college [13:30]
- The spark that led Jon to cross the country on a motorcycle and lessons learned [17:50]
- Deconstructing Dungeons and Dragons shame and how the game inspires filmmaking [22:50]
- Jon’s process for learning to sculpt quickly and efficiently [28:30]
- Important themes and lessons from the creation of Chef [31:50]
- The ingredients Jon Favreau is focused on, plus the value of family/friend cooking experiences [35:25]
- About George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch [38:45]
- The process Jon used to write Swingers and Chef [45:20]
- On being a writer for hire [51:50]
- Jon’s meditation practice and how the practice inspired Chef [1:04:15]
- Making, selling and distributing movies [1:10:55]
- Rapid fire questions:
- Who is the first person and director who comes to mind when you think of the word, “successful”? [1:23:20]
- Most gifted book? [1:27:30]
- Advice to your 30-year old self? [1:28:20]
People and Places Mentioned
- Billy Joel
- Led Zeppelin
- Skywalker Ranch
- Vince Vaughn
- Bill Gates
- Martin Scorsese
- Coen brothers
- James Cameron
- Walt Disney
Posted on: April 14, 2015.
Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.
Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.