Ep30 – Brian Devine (Part 2)

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Tonya Pinkins: Welcome back for part two of my conversation with co-founder of gigantic music, gigantic pictures, Brian Divine.

Brian DEvine: Malignant narcissism is a plague on our culture, and it has to go away. And so we cannot reward fame. We have to reward beauty.

Tonya Pinkins: I don't know. I mean, I'm like, I'm sort of the mind that the sociopath is the evolutionary improvement on humans. They're getting closer to AI. I don't know. I don't know, sociopath, then AI.

Brian DEvine: I know you are sarcastic and hilarious. And so those are both true. Its funny cause it’s true, funny cause it's true. Here's my take on AI. And I am again, speaking as a lunatic from a cave, but assuming that everything I say is overly idealistic. AI will not save us.

Tonya Pinkins: I didn't say about them saving us with. AI doesn't need food. Isn't going to Jack up the planet. Isn't going to need fossil fuels.
Brian DEvine: They are the robot apocalypse, we get it. They're Skynet. They're going to kill us all. But before they finally realized that we're flawed and they're not, here's my problem with AI. AI is based on essentially a jacked up sped up data mine. Previous data is literally no indicator of future results. Life is full of miracles and change and evolution.

Tonya Pinkins: Absolutely.

Brian DEvine: So everything that's beautiful didn't happen yet. So everything that AI is looking at is ergo, going to lead to wrong decisions. That's why when AI
writes a script, it's like pickle, Billy, biba dibba diba. It doesn't know what the fuck to say because AI is an idiot and AI is...

Tonya Pinkins: So you are saying AI doesn't have the ability to take all that new, that old information, which is what our brains do and synthesize it into something that was never before, because we actually are connected to the creator and we're downloading and bringing in some new stuff. And AI doesn't have that connection.
Brian DEvine: Boom, word for word I agree with every second of that. That's exactly what I mean. Couldn't have said it better. Didn't say it better. You said it better, but that is the point. The point is that previous data is no indicator of future results. Everything AI spits out is inherently somewhat to extremely wrong. So AI is a fucking idiot. Fuck you AI, don't murder me, but you're dumb.

Tonya Pinkins: I think you're on a list somewhere.

Brian DEvine: Oh, I'm already on the list. But that's the thing, it's coming from me. It's coming, as soon as Skynet gets sentient, on the first of dawn.

Tonya Pinkins: The space force is being made now.

Brian DEvine: I know there's a lot of villains out there. You've seen star Trek. That's true. TV's true to our president, which is really fun. No, just cause it gives them like every eight minutes, something new. It's like, oh my God, Picard, did you see what he did? Oh, someone in the Senate should take care of Picard. It's like, no, that's a miniseries. Okay. Like, I mean it's dementia meets up rails of Adderall.

Tonya Pinkins: I think he is a master of playing the game that we're living in right now.

Brian DEvine: Seven-year-old man doing rails of Adderall watching Fox news. He still walk around a golden toilet. He's a mess.

Tonya Pinkins: No such thing as bad publicity. And every time he tweets something that people can make fun of. He gets more publicity and they say he is the most famous person in the history of fame.

Brian DEvine: I know for all the wrong reasons. And here's the thing. Here's my, they are core philosophies. I have a few of them. Like my basic philosophy is be careful. Be kind and have fun out there. That if I were going to bring it down to the minimalist philosophy, that's on like my biggest philosophy.

Tonya Pinkins: I think he's following your philosophy.

Brian DEvine: No, no, no, no. I don't think he's carefully. I definitely don't think he's kind.

Tonya Pinkins: To himself, careful about himself, kind to himself.

Brian DEvine: He is reckless, unkind. And he does have a lot of fun. He fills number three, big time. He's the big list number three. But if there are an order of importance. He's blew right through the first two stoplights without stopping, but I'm not going to attribute any of that. But here's where...

Tonya Pinkins: I'm glad you've not said the name. I never say his name.

Brian DEvine: I will never, I can't even, the sound of his voice gives me great nausea, but I can't, I can't even, I can't work. We all took the Brown acid and we're all sharing a hallucination right now, but that's a side note. Here's the thing that I think is just as important, which is negative drivers.

Tonya Pinkins: Okay. What's the negative driver?

Brian DEvine: A negative driver is an inspiration that is based in evil. And there, used to say money is the root of all evil. I'm going to expand it to the unholy Troika. And that is money, power, and especially fame. Those are the three unholy drivers. If that's the reason to do anything, don't do it. If you get those as a byproduct, lucky you, if someone hands you money, cause you're awesome or you become famous because your song is the best one ever good for you. But if any of those three things are your reason to do anything, you have built your life around an evil equation.

Tonya Pinkins: I agree with you. I try to tell that to my children.

Brian DEvine: So no money, no fame, no power as your driver. Here is a president that babes in all three, he might as well have had three enormous sixes burned into his scalp. He follows and is led by the all three of the unholy, Troika and exclusively a diet 100% of only those things. And unfortunately this current culture values fame more than anything. I knew he would be president when he started running, everyone looked at me like I was a maniac. I'm like, who's the most famous? Him. Who's going to win? The most famous one.

Tonya Pinkins: The most famous one.

Brian DEvine: And that was it. And so I don't even know how we're going to stop the freight train of fame because every idiot wants to be famous until they get famous and realize there's no there, there. I don't want to get famous.

Tonya Pinkins: No

Brian Devine: I mean I am famous Cause I'm doing, you can't say that by the fierce unstoppable, provocative Tonya Pinkins

Tonya Pinkins: I think that’s a different thing. You want your creativity to reach people who will get it, who will understand it, who will be meaningful to. And it often seems that the only way for that to happen is by getting famous. I mean, I think that that's what people think. Once you get famous and then you don't have a life and you can't walk out of your house, cause there's press, you realize that you can't go to the bathroom, then you're like, huh, it was the price of fame worth it or are there other ways? And I feel like the internet, the technology is making it possible for people to find the audience for their creativity, that before could only be gotten with fame and some machine behind you.

Brian DEvine: Well, I’ll give you two examples of what you can do with fame and power and money, which is they all bundled together, like, car and insurance or whatever flight on Expedia, along with the hotel and the rental car and you get all three together, they go together. And so you're going to have two examples. We can take like for instance; my studios were designed by a company called PMI and Tony Grimani who co-created THX with George Lucas. So I have a little bit of like the Skywalker sound here in New York where like Skywalker sound is unofficially because we are designed by the same spirit person. When Disney paid Lucas, $4 billion for his Star Wars properties, which they are then going to make many, many, many, many multiples of that through eternity. He immediately flipped all $4 billion into foundation so that it could go immediately to serve the greater good. He never touched a dollar of it. He took all of the money that he got from that. And went immediately how may I serve others with this $4 billion? Or you have Jeff Bezos who burned every brick and mortar retail job into the ground. And so tens of millions of mostly women and people of lesser means who were like store managers who had health insurance. It could be children. All of that's gone to gut to the race to the bottom on the price of retail things so that they could
all accumulate over in one place. And then when asked what he wants to do, he says, I want to go to space, not feed more people or help more people, or be more humane, go to space. So that person should live in a volcano with a skull on it and have like sharks with lasers on their heads that kill people. Like I have no idea if James Bond is tied up in Jeff Bezos base right now. Like that's a super villain. He looks like a super villain, but it's a fucking super villain. So you have two choices when you finally strike it rich and your ship comes in. What do you do? Do you Lucas, or do you Bezos?

Tonya Pinkins: That’s gonna be my new motto do you Lucas or do you Bezos? That's going to be the question I ask all my guests.

Brian DEvine: That is a question you have to ask. And, I am team Lucas. Now, granted, I also worked with Tosca Musk, Elon sister, and Elon wants to go space too. So Hey, it's all good. I love all you billionaires. Please don't hurt me. Please don't hurt me. I'm small. And don't mind me. I'm just trying to make jokes, making jokes here. There's a funny guy, funny Irish guy, funny Irish guy.

Tonya Pinkins: But Elon’s going to fund a team and fund the way to figure out how to go to space. Bezos is just going to buy a ticket on the train. Right

Brian DEvine: I don't know with the, it's just like...

Tonya Pinkins: Is he funding research to go to space? I mean, has Bezos set up like some institute.

Brian DEvine: I'm just shitting on Bezos, there's, I'm sure layers to that wonderful man that I don't know about. All I know is that whenever anybody has infinity money and they go; I want to go spend it in space. When there are people in serious pain right now that you can make that pain stop and you're not going, I want to take all that money and filter water for those that don't have it. Or like bring micro economies to places that can't could eventually support real culture banking, all the things that like make us grow up. We're in late stage capitalism right now. Why don't we start early stage capitalism and other places in middle and out? Like, there are many, many things we can do to, God I did it again. This is like pointing at the sky. It's the bottom, have a bourbon. And I'm a hot mess on the mind.

Tonya Pinkins: The bourbon is gone.

Brian DEvine:Great to know, I can drink After shave at this point, like whatever's in the house. Is that coolant? I think that's only slightly poison It doesn't matter cause I’ll just talk and talk and talk until the lights go out. So but that's the thing, like, what do you do if you actually have the ability to do something for somebody? I have only a moderate to small amount of like earthly power, but I have devoted it to the sort of independent film sector of New York. I love making music, but the music business, just so I like, Nope, you're not for us. Like you're nice or something. I don't know. And so there was no point to it. So I make music around the fringes of my existence and I dedicate my life to the forward progress of independent film and storytelling. And so whatever I can harness among the artists, that sort of ride alongside me, that's what I do.

Tonya Pinkins: So here's the hard question, you're going to have to stop and breathe this one. So Brian, you said you're a filmmaker, right now pitch me your movie.

Brian DEvine: Oh, interesting. Well here's, there are a bunch of movies to pitch, like I’ve got a bunch of directors.

Tonya Pinkins: Pitch me your movie that you're going to direct because you told me that's what you've been postponing.

Brian DEvine: Okay. So I'm going to give you my answer without evading your question, I'm going to give you the straight up for real answer. And it's going to take like 80 minutes. And so You don't get an elevator pitch. You get a long winded, half a bourbon pitch.

Tonya Pinkins: The half a bourbon pitch. This is your movie. We're going to see this movie, because right now I'm standing in agreement with you that the movie is going to be made. So we are in this moment right now, you are seeing the law of manifestation in action. He is about to speak this into existence right here and now. I'm calling this. He's about to speak it into existence. And I'm going to come back on when this movie is made, and we will talk about what power exists by how long it takes for this movie to happen. Here we go, Brian.

Brian DEvine: Again, I only concur and co-sign on all your energy. It does help to have a movie studio at your disposal. So that gives you distinct advantages over making movies, but you really do need a compelling story. Cause it's not like I live
in and some Fife dumb where I wave a wand. So here's the thing. Here's my pitch. And it starts from a grander area. I have a now just turned 14-year-old daughter. And my producing partner has a nine-year-old daughter. And my other producing partner has a two-year-old daughter. And what we all concur is there's not anything for them to watch. Boys, Adolescent boys particularly have all of humanity creating movie after movie, after movie, after movie for every one of their preternatural fantasies. A women, young girls, tweens anybody coming up that has a vagina get Jack shit to watch. And then what they do get to watch has heteronormative boys that they are paired with at the age of seven, eight, nine, there's always a boy, a Prince, someone to rescue them, someone to take away their agency, their venture, whatever it may be. And so I have felt that the great gap in storytelling particularly is for young girls to be able to adventure like young boys, without being stuck to a relationship before they are sexual. So pre sexual girls should not have to care about boys. They should care about imagination and fun and frolicking and running around doing cool shit. It doesn't exist. Everyone that's ever had a daughter goes, what in the hell am I going to Gilmore girls? I've watched so much Gilmore girls with my daughter. And there's a few other things that if I mentioned them on this, she would murder me. So I'm not going to cause I'm going to respect my daughter, but there's not much. And there's nothing coming down the pipe. And so I feel like what I have always wanted to do is create an adventure series that co-starred my own daughter with this Broadway actor I know, her name Ripley Soba, I’ll say her name Rip is a few years older than my daughter. And she created the role of Matilda on Broadway. She is the little Streep. She is an absolute master actress at the age now of 16. She is going to high school and wants no part of acting whatsoever but is willing to be directed by me in her hiatus until she turns 18. As an actor, 18-year-old steel all the 16-year-old parts. Cause they work a hundred hours a day for a nickel and a 16-year-old has to work five hours a day with a tutor and a thing and a thing and sag and that, and this and that. It's not worth it. So she would rather go to prom and live a normal life in her regular life and then be an adult Meryl Streep like quality actor starting at 18 again. I have a little window where I have a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old who are beautiful, hilarious, wonderful, and are my little Newman and Redford. And I would like to put them in everything. And it's very hard to move the needle on that. But I think I can, and I will tell you my idea for the first one, it's a short film. I wanted to develop those two wonderful young ladies as a comedy team.

Tonya Pinkins: It's not Thelma and Louise, though right?

Brian DEvine: Very much not Thelma and Louise. And so I want to start to work on them and getting a comedic timing and get a community presence and
whatever. And so the idea I had, I grew up fascinated and in love with at eight, six, seven, eight with Abbott and Costello, I loved Abbot and Castello. They did 28 movies for universal in every genre. So detective movie, a monster movie, whatever you name it, there is an Abbott and Costello version that came out of universal pictures, 28 pictures. They did just for that brand. They had a TV show. They had a million other things, but Abbot and Castello were the all-time great comedy duos. And it was sort of the big extroverted guy and the tall straight man. And my daughter's very tall and Rip is very small and extroverted. And I would like to create a kind of comedy fun fantasy world in which, and this is film that I want to make is about 10 minutes long. Imagine a world, if that like sort of Rip and Mad where of a quality level of fame, level of an average Castello or two Shirley temples or whatever you want to look at it back in the day, and then as young women had to navigate an even more paternalistic dangerous male centric universe of creation. And I also get to pay tribute and write a Valentine to Abbot and Castello and all of the genre things. And so I want to kind of start off establishing the bit and then have the back half be the behind the scenes, them as a comedy duo, dealing with agents managers and all the what nots, in black and white as if this happened in the forties and hilariously gigantic pictures is the big brand of movies in the forties, in this imaginary world. So I get to like make a little fun in my own company, get to play with my daughter, get to use this wonderful Broadway actress who's on hiatus and tell my sort of passionate there need to be stories and characters created by teens and tween girls. So that little seven, eight-year-old girls have somebody that they can model after that isn't trying to meet a boy.
Tonya Pinkins: I like it. And Brian will be back here to advertise it when it comes out in the next two years, because that's how much time he has to make it.

Brian DEvine: I have a very small window. I like to do it. I like to shoot it this summer, but I need to write it quick. But yes, and the more you pitch it, the less likely it is to happen.

Tonya Pinkins: I find it exactly the opposite. I don't buy that story. I feel like you speak that words have power. They become law in the universe and that you can speak things into existence.

Brian DEvine: And I feel like I would be a jerk to contradict your Beautifully rendered statement. So I will just go ahead and co-sign and retract my previous statement because this is not the fiercely unstoppable Brian Devine show. This is Tonya's freaking show and I am merely a guest and she's right. So there's two, I am
a guest humbled by our mighty host and also enriched by her company. So that's all I can say with regard to that, but yes bourbon plus Irish plus daddy wants to work with his daughter pretty bad. I mean, I have two wonderful boys. I was crowing about the middle guy; he is a freshman at Georgetown. They're all perfect. My kids are impossible. They're all better than me by seven clicks. And I run a movie studio, like, I don't know what they're going to, we're going to solve like global warming. I have no idea what's next, but like, if we can do something to make there still be a world that'd be great for our age. So why don't we like huddle up, lock arms, respond to them, the terror and travesty before us by like, just being cool to one another, serving one another as greater good, whatever we can do to lift each other up. And that's what I think the instinct was here for me to sort of come and talk to you on, into the, I mean, this is just two people and a recordist talking into the abyss, hoping that someone finds these words useful.

Tonya Pinkins: Yeah. If somebody hears it and they hear themselves when they're alone somewhere in the country where there aren't people like them. I mean, I feel like that here in New York, I feel like I don't have a lot of peers. I had my kids when I was 25. People weren't having kids at 25. My acting coach, Bill Esper said, don't have any more kids after the first one, because all the other actresses that are coming up with you are going to get more famous than you, and you're never going to catch up. And that's very, very true. Most of the other actresses were coming up with me, they're very, very famous and very, very rich and a lot of them had to like have surrogates or adopt kids. I got four kids. It's a priceless thing.

Brian DEvine: The best thing that ever happened to me by a million miles, you win, you're playing with house of money right now, and also the basis of that argument was fame. So disregarded already, you could just read right through it. If you just follow some of my by simple rules, you can just see right through people instantaneously. But I will applaud you for all of your wisdom in chasing our general global concern of bringing beautiful, perfect children in this world and parenting the shit out of them, loving on them. But it's part of a greater thing. And again, this is all sounds mad, idealistic and silly, and like something that would cause, I get it. I am like a white cis and that words, we could go for an hour on just what even is that? And then, but I'm a white cis rich dude. Like I should, suck. And so the fact that I'm not terrible, it's like seven clicks, like I'm alone in the universe there. And so like, let me take advantage of being Peter pan and living on a fantasy world where, and things can't hurt me, where every institutional advantage up and down to at least trying to get some humorous truth into the discussion and move the needle to a better place. And so one of my key guiding idealistic sort of messages, if I remember going to speak into the darkness and leave anything for anyone ever, it is that when you look at this sort of late stage capitalism and all of the things that go into the equations of business like that, it's supposed to be hard and thankless and bottom line oriented. You can be bottom line oriented in the creative business and still get to the right answers. Because there is a one resource that's always ignored and it is the most valuable, the most, well, the most valuable is time, but the most, the most powerful, and it is also happens to be ever regenerating limitless and free. And that is love. And everyone gets all Tutt Frutti around it. But I will say that that is the key driver that replaces the unholy Troika. Pull those out and be driven by that. And there is nothing more beautiful and real than the instinct to black love on your kids because that's the primary equation we are given here. It is where we come from, the energy we come from and it's the energy we are reunited with at the end. And we get to share it while we're here. It's power comes from being given freely, received and returned larger than it was given. Like, I give my love to you. You add some of yours to the basket and then you hand it around the table, and I hit a microphone and then we laugh and laugh and laugh. And that's how the equation works. And so if you build a business equation, it has to start there. Like, what are the currencies of love? How can you give them, how can you receive them? How can they be conveyed? Is it part of your math? Because if it is your equation is strong, it will sustain a tax firm without. It can grow within, without a cash inlay, you can always make more love. It is an endless bucket as my mother likes to say. It is an endless bucket, but it needs to be given away. Those that are stingy with it, I don't get it. It's free, make more you're dumb. And so like that is where like a business gets so cruel because it does ignore the most powerful resource we have to work with.

Tonya Pinkins: And it is, I'm going to say that love is self-generating, the more you have of it, the more you give, the more you create, and it energizes you. And I think that's a great way to end my conversation with Brian Divine, love.

Thanks for listening to You Can’t Say That, the show where you can. I am Tonya Pinkins. This is part of the Broadway podcast network produced by Dory Bernstein and Alan Seals edited by Derek Gunther, music by Anthony Norman available wherever you get your podcast and visit me on twitter and Facebook and Instagram. And let me know what you'd like to hear we talk about. For more information, visit www.bpn.fm/ycst

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