David Limacher and Rick Swift got to briefly, well not really briefly, chat with Adam Rifkin and Ali Cobrin of the Showtime series, “Look”.Â Â Listen to the whole interview here!
We broke the interview up into sections below, because we know how few people listen to a full hour interview â even if it is the best damned interview you ever heard!Â So, click on the snippets (section titles) you feel are worthy of your time, but definitely listen to the section where Adam explains what Look is all about, below:
What is “Look”?
Adam Rifkin:Â “Look” explores the things that people do when they don’t think they are being watched.
What the show does is explore the intersecting lives of about six different main story-lines all from the point of view of surveillance cameras, but not just big brother it also incorporates “little brother” – cell phone cameras, webcams, flip cams, and Facebook, Twitter, YouTube all the different ways we voluntarily put ourselves under surveillance through these new medias.
David Limacher:Â I read that you are both from the Chicago area.
AR:Â Itâs true; we are both graduates of the Chicago Academy of the Arts High School.
DL:Â So, how did you make your moves from Chicago to Hollywood?
AR:Â I had always wanted to be a film-maker, ever since I was knee high to a cricket, as they say.Â For as long as I can remember, that is all I have ever wanted to do.Â I made films with my friends while growing up in Chicago, so as soon as I was old enough I high-tailed it to Hollywood to make real movies.Â Itâs just that simple.
AC:Â My story is exactly the same, except in front of the camera side.Â I grew up in the valley world and the theater world in Chicago, and when I graduated high school I came right out to Hollywood.
How is “Look” shot, and why do the actors feel it is more theater than film?
Ali Cobrin:Â In a typical TV show or movie, you know the cameras are there, so you are acting for the camera, standing on marks, and worrying about sight-lines.Â But in this show you are shooting while walking around and having dialog and engaging in natural conversations as students are walking around not knowing we are shooting.
AR:Â One of the ways we shoot the show, unlike conventional means, like Ali was saying . . . we actually hide the cameras, and we never close the locations – the actors were wearing radio mics and would be off by themselves, saying their dialog, but it just looks like they were having a conversation.Â Most of the time, people had no idea anything was being shot at all.
Why isn’t the show listed under “Series” on Showtime On Demand?
[Editor's note, right about here is where the NSA took a strong interest in our interview and tapped into the conversation (you'll hear hellacious feedback and echoes) - that is my story and I am sticking to it!]
AR:Â It’s not in the Series section, because it isn’t a Showtime original series – how the series came about, the evolution is inside baseball stuff.Â The series is based on the film I did in 2007 which was really popular in the college art house scene in 2008.Â The series being on Late Night has more to do with how it got captured by Showtime and not an original series of theirs.
Ali, can you talk about the character you play on the series?Â Molly
[Note, the NSA dropped us, but the TSA picked us up, probably wanted to hear more about Molly too, so I am transcribing word for word what Ali said, below.Â âSwift]
AC:Â Molly is a girl in high school and she starts off the year like this is going to be a totally new year for her.Â She has new friends and is hanging out with like the popular girls, the jocks, and that type of thing.Â And, sheâs a little naive, and sheâs kind of the pet project of the typical mean queen of the high school and she goes through a wild ride her, I guess, Junior year in high school.
About the acting, is the show completely scripted?
AR:Â The show is completely scripted; I do give the actors freedom to make the lines their own.Â You know with most shows, you write the episode and you shoot it, but I had the luxury of knowing I was going to be writing and shooting every episode.Â So, I wrote the series like a five and a half hour movie and instead of going to the mini-mart 11 times, we went there once and shot it in two days, all 11 episodes worth.Â We did that with the entire season, and it really lets us get a really big look, with lots of characters and lots of locations on a modest budget.
AC:Â Well, Adam was really great about, I know, from watching the episodes I have heard from here or there that I had a feeling were not in the script.Â Thereâs one line I know that I said that was not in the script, âMy hair looks like a frizzball.â
AR:Â That was between takes, and we used it.
How did iRATEfilms hear about âLookâ?
DL:Â I stumbled across âLookâ on On Demand on the convenient mart concert.
AC:Â That was fun, that was a fun day on set.
AR:Â Can I say something about you saying that?Â One of my closest friends is a film-maker also, Valerie Breiman, she wrote and directed the movie âLove and Sexâ with Jon Favreau and Famke Janssen.Â And I was showing her some of the rough-cuts of the series way back when we were still editing them, and she said with the episode with the concert in it and while watching the concert scene, âPeople are going to stumble on this when they are switching channels and go, âwhat the hell is thisâ and keep watching.âÂ You just proved her right!
Concert scene, controlled chaos?
AR:Â We had to run a pretty tight ship; we had very little time to shoot 11 episodes.Â I mean, anytime you are doing any sort of production . . . it is chaotic.
DL:Â See, that scene really interested me and made me want to get more into the show and watch it more and more.Â That was one of the only times, that I can recall, where the main characters were all together, for the most part.
AR:Â Thatâs the idea, the fact that all these characterâs lives intersect whether they are aware of it or not.
AC:Â It also happens a few more times throughout the series, which I think is really rewarding dramatically â if you watch the entire series through.
DL:Â The way these peopleâs lives intersect, it shows that people are in other peopleâs lives more than they realize.
Whatâs the deal with the Security Guards?Â Â Can I drink beer all day and ogle women too?
AR:Â Those guys are based on real guys!Â We were doing research at several locations, from government buildings to shopping centers, these guys were based on real security guards we found at a certain mall who were actually submitting images of their favorite security grabs to YouTube.
We now live in a society where we are constantly being monitored, it is just a matter of fact now.
AR:Â In the old days, a mini-mart video would only be stored as long as it took to reset the tape, now every bit of footage is stored forever, somewhere, digitally.Â You might not be doing anything that someoneâs going to want to dig up ten years from now, but it is there if someone wants to find it.
Everything that is caught on camera is permanent!
AC:Â When people look at their Facebook, they need to realize it is stuck there, permanently.
AR:Â Right, every piece of our lives is retrievable now.Â What we do with the show is to only use retrievable data, even the text subtitles are based on the fact that these digital texts are stored, permanently, somewhereÂ âÂ so we can use them in the show.
Why the time stamps on the footage?
AR:Â You look at actual surveillance footage at a mall or a mini-mart and you are going to find the time stamps â all the different shots reflect all the way these surveillance camera films would look.Â We perfected it after working on Look the film, in 2007.
As film-makers, are you for or against the extremely voyeuristic society we live in now?
AR:Â The numbers of cameras are growing exponentially, and the amount of personal surveillance we put ourselves under is in no way slowing down.Â With the series, and the movie, but specifically with the series I did not want to take a stand and say I am all pro-camera or I am all anti-camera.
I think there are compelling arguments for both â weâve seen the London bombers get caught because of these cameras.Â But, conversely we had that poor kid who just killed himself at Rutgers, because his roommate posted him having a gay tryst online â and he was completely humiliated.Â The issue is so complex; it is impossible to say it is all bad or all good.
The TSA is only the beginning.
AR: I am sure you guys are aware of the current controversy of all the airport scanners that take pictures of you under your clothes.Â Well, that is gonna play a big part in season two.
AC:Â Adam, also, now you can be on the NET while flying, season two definitely needs characters skyping on the plane.
DL:Â It is good to hear you talking about season two.
AR:Â Well, I will tell you it continues to be the number one show for its time slot on Showtime, last weekâs viewership spiked 84%, which is spectacular; I am so excited.
Has the knowledge of all these cameras made either of you change the way you live your lives?
AC:Â Surveillance wise, no, because you are captured on countless cameras just walking to the bank or buying groceries.Â But, what I am worried about and I am aware of is online stuff.Â I remember growing up and hearing âThe internet is a scary place; consult your parents, blah blah blah.â
AR:Â Tell them about tweeting photos.
AC:Â The new thing is to let everyone know where you are and geo-tag pics you send immediately, meaning there is a location and a google map and it like lets you know if you are on the same block and everything.
AR:Â Even if you remove that geo-tagging setting, the URL itself is geo-tagged, so it will forever be tagged to the URL, so wait a little while before tweeting your location if you donât want anyone to know where you are.
AC:Â Oh, wow, I didnât know that.
AR:Â Even if you have just watched âLookâ you canât be constantly vigilant about all the different ways you are being monitored â so, eventually you just live your life.Â I will say this; it is like the best time in the world to be a stalker . . . they have really come into their own now.
What the heck is Facebook Stalking?
AC: I have a lot of friends in college, and a favorite past-time they have they literally call it Facebook stalking â for sure, people are checking up on exâs and friends seeing who they are with.Â Thatâs Facebook stalking.
GET ME TO THE GODDAMNED LOOK!
DL:Â Todayâs age of technology, people can give you instant feedback.
AR:Â Thatâs awesome.
DL:Â For me personally, itâs like I have to wait for a new episode every Sunday night â Dexter, you are just re-hashing seasonâs one through three â just get me to the God-Damned Look!
AR:Â You are our hero!
What do Adam Rifkin and Ali Cobrin think about imdb?
AR:Â Love it; before we had to use these things called âbooksâ and they were huge and still only contained a fraction of the information that imdb has.Â Also, with imdb, your past is your past, you canât hide from it.
AC:Â As a culture, everyone should be more forgiving and understanding of everyone and themselves, because there are no secrets.
Rick Swift:Â Yea, nobody can hide anymore.
Incidentally, here are links to their respective pages for Adam & Ali.
Did you know Adam Rifkin was Writer/Director of 1994âs âThe Chaseâ?
AR: That is correct.
DL:Â That is like one of my favorite movies of the 90s.
RS:Â Ditto, you know I wanted to ask you a question about that, because as I was preparing for this interview I was thinking about that movie before I even knew you were involved with the film.Â Because âThe Chaseâ ties in with where we are now with âLookâ.
AR:Â I remember calling the Fox rep after the OJ Simpson chase and asking them to re-release it, but they felt it would be in poor taste to exploit the case.Â Which, is funny, because that was arguably the most exploited event of the decade.
RS:Â I remember actually seeing âThe Chaseâ after the OJ case was unfolding.
AR:Â Yea, that movie caught on big once it went to cable.
Did you know he also wrote the script for Zoom?
DL:Â Rick Swift and I both liked the plot of âZoomâ.
AR:Â Thanks; working on big studio films like âZoomâ, âUnderdogâ, and âMousehuntâ gives me the opportunity to tackle other projects like âNight at the Golden Eagleâ, âThe Dark Backwardâ and âLookâ. But, I love working on big projects as well as the more personal projects and feel they both are essential parts in shaping my career.
. . . and directed Detroit Rock City, to name a few others . . .
AR:Â Giuseppe Andrews and Miles Dougal are both in that as well as âLookâ.Â I have known Miles since my days at the Chicago Academy of the Arts high school, and our production designer, Brett Snodgrass, is also from the academy.
In fact, I wrote the roles in Look the movie and the series for Giuseppe and Miles.
Show sounds great, so, where can I find âLookâ if I don’t have Showtime?
AR:Â It’s all coming.Â We donât have dates, but it is definitely going to be on DVD and Netflix soon, just keep a lookout.
Where can we find out more about the series?
Hereâs a link to Aliâs page, just click on the pic!
Here is Adamâs page, click on the pic, I mean, by now if you canât figure that out . . . sheesh.
Friends with Benefits and The Hole 3D!
AC:Â I have a role in the Joe Dante thriller called âThe Hole 3Dâ and that is out and about for people to see.Â And I am guest starring in an upcoming NBC show, âFriends with Benefitsâ.
DL:Â You arenât a guest star in our eyes, you are a star in our eyes and that is how we are going to promote it, so we got to speak to you before the show releases.Â What is that about and does it compare to âLookâ?
AC:Â Thank you, itâs funny, because you can compare âLookâ to everything, because âLookâ is about real life.Â âFriends with Benefitsâ is about a group of friends in their mid-twenties who are in Chicago and hooking up and finding the benefits of being friends with benefits.
AR:Â Itâs a big show coming on NBC.
Goodbye and thanks for sharing your time with us at iRATEfilms.com.
DL:Â For everybody who is listening, we have been speaking to Ali Cobrin, who plays Molly on the show, âLookâ and Adam Rifkin, who is the creator, producer, director of âLookâ and multiple other things that are excellent â the guy has the Midas touch!
AR:Â Thank you very much.
AC:Â Thank you.
RS:Â We are very interested in finding out what else you are going to be involved in, and I hope we can keep in touch.
AR:Â Absolutely.Â We will.Â Thank you, and we will definitely take you up on that and we should all keep in touch; that is really cool.
Check out all the ways to reach us, and we are free for any and all interviews!
Check out âLookâ on Showtime now, and follow them on Twitter (@Looktvseries) or at their direct site â (www.looktheseries.com) and, of course, tell your friends – Remember you are being watched . . . always!Â Be sure and check back soon, because Rick Swift’s review of “Look” the film will be up shortly!