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A Day in the Life: Get Him to the Greek’s Nicholas Stoller

A Day in the Life: Get Him to the Greek’s Nicholas Stoller

I luckily get to split my time between writing and production. I wanted to break down the distinctions between these two very different kinds of schedules.

WRITING SCHEDULE

7:00 A.M. I wake up and look in the mirror. I have pretty chiseled abs, so I always like to check those bad boys out first thing.

7:05 A.M. Kiss my beautiful wife and two-year-old girl and wish them both good morning. They’re everything to me. I don’t know what I’d do without them in my life. I live for their laughter, God bless them, and thank Buddha for them everyday.

7:15 A.M. Out the door! Buh-bye family, ‘til tomorrow!

7:30 A.M. Meet my personal trainer. We do a pretty high-impact set that my trainer invented called HXS98766. It really focuses on building muscle, core strength, upper-arm musculature, aerobic ability and, most importantly, my inner spirit.

10:00 A.M. Brunch with a movie star to talk about our top-secret, upcoming project together that is going to be awesome and blow you bitches away.

11:00 A.M. Sit down to write. The creative juices are a-flowin’! It’s time to bang this motherfucker out and blow those assholes away!

11:15 A.M. Conference call with Mattel about upcoming project that is going to totally break down the walls between merchandising and movies. I’m going to call it Merchvandoising.

11:30 A.M. TO 1:00 P.M. Tweet.

1:00 P.M. Lunch with an incredibly important media figure. I’m not going to name names but his/her (her) name rhymes with Flippi Minke.

2:00 P.M. TO 4:00 P.M. Meditation. If your mind isn’t clear, then how can your life be? (Thanks for that one, Demi!)

7:30 P.M. Tuck the child into bed. She’s all that’s really important to me in this life!

8:30 P.M. The regular table at the Chateau Marmont.

10:00 P.M. Maybe Vegas? Who knows… Writing will take you wherever your imagination can go.

PRODUCTION SCHEDULE

6:30 A.M. Pick up at house. I’m super green, so I always demand in my contracts that I get picked up in a Chevy Suburban Flex-fuel. Roll calls to studio heads, super agents and the wife—you know how that is—on the way to set. (Just kidding… she’s my rock.)

7:30 A.M. Visit the stars in their trailers. Make sure they’re feeling comfortable. I like to create what I call a “Safe Zone” on set. That means no one can talk to the talent except for me. If I catch anyone speaking to the talent… well, let’s just say that person is not invited back.

7:30 A.M. TO 10:00 A.M. I lead a Pilates and yoga thing for the talent in my trailer. My AD and line producer hate this part of the day. They’re always like, “Do you have any idea what an hour of set time costs?” and, “We have yet to shoot a single scene” and, “If you don’t come out of your (solar-paneled, by the way) trailer, I’m leaving this joke of a set.” But if your chi isn’t flowing, how can you expect your comedy to?

10:00 A.M. Scream at production designer and DP who both have set up the shot in completely the wrong way. I mean, these guys are talented, but if they’d just listen to me before doing they might be… a little more talented. There, I said it.

12:00 P.M. First shot of the day! Nice!

1:00 P.M. I do a little screening series in my (compost only) trailer of French New Wave films for anyone who wants to watch. For those who don’t know, French New Wave is super important. You might watch them and think, “That’s boring, why are you making me watch this?” or, “You’re just nodding along to make me think you’re getting something, which you are not.” But without French New Wave, would we have had Jaws? I don’t know, but I’ve heard that this is true.

3:00 P.M. Finish French New Wave Film Festival and sleep off the rosé and cheese platter I like to serve with it to provide atmosphere.

4:00 P.M. Shoot as much as we think we artistically can get done. Once you feel you’re tapped out, there’s no reason to push—no matter the constraints on “budget” or “time.”

5:00 P.M. Give a round of applause to the crew. They’re the stars, not me.

5:10 P.M. Surfing!

7:30 P.M. Tuck the child into bed. She’s all that’s really important to me in this life!

8:30 P.M. Charity event at the Sunset Tower. Charity is really important to me. I like to do lots of charity things.

10:00 P.M. Vegas! MM

Nicholas Stoller is the director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the writer-director of Get Him to the Greek, which is in theaters nationwide now.

PLUS
FUNNY BUSINESS Tips for the Serious Matter of Directing Comedy
by Nicholas Stoller

1. BE FLEXIBLE AND TAKE IDEAS FROM ANYONE WHO IS WILLING TO GIVE THEM. I’ve been on sets where the director doesn’t like anyone to pitch in. I think that’s a mistake. I consider my set an open-source set. You never know where a great idea or joke will come from. You don’t have to use the idea, but it gives the actors and the crew ownership over the film, which makes everyone want to work harder.

2. FOR COMEDY, I SHOOT A LOT OF ALTERNATIVE JOKES. Whether that means actors improvising, yelling out jokes to the actors or preparing a list of jokes before you shoot, this is very important because you never know what joke is going to work when you get into editing. But if you have four alternative jokes lined up, you can always replace the ones you have.

3. IF YOU’RE DOING A SCENE WITH A LOT OF IMPROVISATION OR ALTERNATIVE JOKES, SHOOT DUELING CAMERAS (I.E. A CAMERA ON EACH ACTOR). This will make your life a lot easier when you get into editing.

4. PRODUCTION IS ALL ABOUT PRE-PRODUCTION. Lock the script early and prepare, prepare, prepare. Go over and over the schedule with your AD. Look over the budget with your line producer and make sure the money is being spent wisely. Sometimes something that isn’t that important for the story costs way more than it should and you can cut it. The more prepared you are before shooting (down to what you think the blocking of all the scenes should be), the more flexible you can be on the set.

5. WITHOUT BEING IRRESPONSIBLE, IGNORE THE PRESSURE TO MOVE ON. It’s better (and far less expensive) to go into overtime by an hour or two than to do re-shoots later on. MM

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