Tommy Avallone is an LA-based director, producer, and actor, whose documentaries include I Am Santa Claus (2014), The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Madman (2018)(available on Netflix), and Waldo on Weed (2019) which was co-produced by Whoopi Goldberg (available on Amazon Prime and for rent on all streaming platforms).
What you will learn:
- The origins of the Waldo on Weed story and the film’s efforts to tell a universally compelling story, regardless of viewers’ opinions on marijuana. The unique challenges of combing found-footage from home movies with present-day interviews. [00:00-09:45]
- Tommy’s experience at the Tribeca Film Festival, and the story behind his early run for mayor at the age of 20. [09:45-16:18]
- What a day in the life of Tommy Avallone looks like. The importance of playing within the Hollywood system as a filmmaker, while also maintaining your independence and autonomy. [16:18-24:38]
- Tommy’s approach to filming the Bill Murray Stories without Bill Murray’s involvement, and how not having him in the film added to the mystique and mystery surrounding Murray. How the fair use doctrine allowed him to use footage from Murray’s films in the documentary. How Tommy feels about appearing in his own documentaries. [24:38-32:41]
- Life lessons from Bill Murray and Tommy’s insightful encounter with an audience member in Austin at the South By Southwest Film Festival. Also, how Tommy deconstructs the concept of charisma. [32:41-38:07]
- Why Tommy gravitated towards documentary filmmaking vs narrative films, but still aspires to make narrative films. [38:07-46:11].
- What projects Tommy is currently working on, including the upcoming film This is GWAR starring Thomas Lennon. Also, how Tommy navigates the unique business and financial challenges facing documentary filmmakers. [46:11-52:49]