Friday, March 17, 2023

Talk about your passion

Michael Goi, right, directs Gary Oldman, left, in the 2019 horror movie "Mary."

     Identity expands and contracts. Let me try to explain. I’m Jewish. Jewishness can be a lens to view the eternal, to focus on ethics, knowledge, belief, ritual. Or it can be a set of blinders, the way some ultra-Orthodox sects neglect to teach their children math and science. This holds true for all religions, ethnicities, races. They can both widen and narrow.
     Take Wednesday’s column. Columbia College pitched veteran director Michael Goi because he’s Asian American and the success of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” has thrown attention on Asian heritage in Hollywood.
     That was one reason I agreed. But only one — the rest is because making movies is interesting work. Goi was a font of razor-sharp professional insight. As it was, Wednesday’s column ran 50% longer than usual. Even so, after turning it in, I realized I’d left out perhaps the two most interesting parts of our talk, because they were off-topic.
     First, what Goi said about job interviews. This is relevant because people nowadays move from job to job, interviewing constantly. Goi said something that I have never heard before from anybody in any profession.
     “The job interview is my favorite, favorite part of this business,” he said. “If I could get paid to interview and never have to do the job, I’d be perfectly happy. I always tell people they should embrace the job interview process. The only time that a job is going to be perfect is during the job interview. Because you don’t have to worry about all the stuff you have to worry about if you get the job.”
     Don’t try to flatter the interviewer.
     “People freak themselves out about the job interview and try to read the room and try to predict what it is they want to hear,” Goi said. “I don’t do any of that. That’s how you convince them that you’re not right for the job. They can tell that you’re lying. They can tell you’re just saying things to make them feel better.”

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  1. As I read these two articles over the last couple days I thought to myself I know this guy. I couldn't figure out from where but I thought I got to know this guy.

    I also thought yeah. Sure pal. Don't all Asian people look the same? Hey that's a self deprecating joke.
    When I looked at the photo and the practiced indifference that all the workers were exhibiting around Lady Gaga I thought man totally pro Way to go guys and girls.
    And I thought I don't know this guy. He's just famous.

    Then this morning I read that he's a graduate of Lane tech. And I'm like yeah, him and 100,000 other people well. Turns out we graduated the same year. Haven't looked in the yearbook yet but yeah, no wonder he looked familiar.
    And it's not exactly like I knew him in high school. But I was standing within 100 feet of him 100 times. Weird

    1. So, you're saying that you didn't know him, but you did stalk him for a while? That IS weird! ; )

      Seriously, Franco, it's remarkable how many of the topics of posts here -- which are so varied -- you have some personal familiarity with, whether the people, the places or the enterprises. Cool.

  2. “People move nowadays from job to job,” which reminded me that you, Mr. S., are an exception to the rule. This month you’re marking 37 years at the S-T. Congratulations, I bet you can’t name all your publishers. Cheesecake for all your loyal readers?

    1. Thirty-six, unless I miscounted. Hired March 23, 1987. Sometimes I include freelance work, which began in 1984. Publishers? Bob Page. Sam McKeel. Adler and Shaykin. Conrad Black. Cyrus Freidheim. Jim Tyree. Bruce Sagan. Michael Ferro. Edwin Eisendrath. Chicago Public Media. I'm probably forgetting somebody.

  3. Nice pieces. I look forward to his discussion of L A as the film mecca and Chicago as a "location". In that respect, he'll be preaching to the choir. I'm a 76 year old life long Chicagoan, leaving only for army service and college afterward. I love this city, but this silly striving to wish ourselves into "world class" status just drives me nuts. Europe and other continents house countries full of regional capitols, all of which have great values, as does our fair burg. Reaching to be more than we are makes us look like nothing more than hicks surrounded by tall buildings.
    Anyway, I like it when you stray off the beaten path.
    (btw, i thought i'd set up a google account, guess i'll have to try again)
    paul w, roscoe vil.

    1. Let’s see if Mr. S. can tell us about Charlie Chaplin’s short residency in the Windy City, pinpointing where he lived.

    2. Chaplin spent a brief time (about a month) in Chicago, during the winter of 1914-15 (December 23 through January 20). He stayed at 1027 W. Lawrence Ave. while making movies at the Essanay Studios, 1343-45 W. Argyle. The studio buildings, now home to St. Augustine College, are still standing.

      In the mid-Eighties, a buddy of mine lived in the apartment building just to the west of Essanay. His huge Persian tabby prowled the former studio grounds and the nearby St. Boniface Cemetery, but mostly a dead-end alley next to the studio. He was a tough kitty and a superb mouser, and he brought home the carcasses of huge rats, depositing them on the third-floor porch that overlooked the studio's rooftops.

    3. Twenty three days, to be precise, and he made a movie, singular: "His New Job." I tell the story on the last page of my new book.


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