The Cinematography Podcast Episode 84: Alex Winter

Many people know Alex Winter as the iconic character Bill S. Preston, Esq. from the hit Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and its sequels, but over the past few decades, Alex has become a prolific director of several TV, film and documentary projects. Alex was a child actor, with roles on Broadway, film and television, shooting his own projects on a wind-up 16 mm Bolex camera in his spare time. As a young actor, he followed cinematographer Michael Chapman (Jaws, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver) around on the set of The Lost Boys whenever he had downtime. After graduating from NYU film school, Alex and creative partners Tom Stern and Tim Burns created The Idiot Box, a sketch comedy show for MTV. They had creative control but not much money, so Alex, Stern and Burns moved on, making their own comedic film, Freaked, which has become a cult favorite. Alex went on to shoot and direct several music videos for bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Helmet. For his most recent documentary film, Showbiz Kids, Alex found his personal experience and sensitivity as a fellow child actor immensely helpful for interviewing his subjects. The film profiles actors Evan Rachel Wood, Wil Wheaton, Henry Thomas, Mara Wilson, Todd Bridges, Milla Jovovich, Jada Pinkett Smith, the late Cameron Boyce and Diana Serra Cary (“Baby Peggy”) who tell their own stories and Hollywood experiences, bad and good, of growing up as child actors. The doc also follows two aspiring child stars as they try to break into the business or further their careers. For his upcoming documentary Zappa, Alex wanted to tell the definitive story of Frank Zappa’s life and work. With the cooperation of the Zappa family, he had unprecedented access to Frank Zappa’s home movies and recordings. Alex will also be seen acting once again as Bill with buddy Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted Face The Music, as soon as a release date is set.

Find Alex Winter

Instagram: @alxwinter

Twitter: @Winter

See Showbiz Kids on HBO

Zappa, coming soon

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Close Focus: Ben and Illya share some ideas on how to use the pandemic down time to improve your craft, work on a screenplay idea, update your reel and update your website.

Ben’s short end: Figuring out how to create the perfect reel for yourself, and hiring someone else to edit it for you.

Illya’s short end: The new Canon EOS R5 uses artificial intelligence for their new high-speed, auto-focus technology and also shoots in high-resolution 8K. You can pre-order yours at Hot Rod Cameras.

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Podcast Credits:

Editor in Chief:  Illya Friedman@hotrodcameras instagram@illyafriedman instagram

Ben Rock:  @neptunesalad twitter@bejamin_rock instagram

Producer: Alana Kode

Editor: Ben Katz

Composer: Kays Alatractchi

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