Wednesday, November 6, 2013

From the trenches


Recognize this chap?

If you work in advertising you might know the scowl, the bulbous nose and the jutting chin that begs to be punched, belongs to Tony Kaye.

Director.
Musician.
Boxer.
Kaballist Jew.
And self important ass clown.

If you haven't guessed, I'm not a fan of Mr. Kaye. In general, I'm not a fan of anyone who drinks their own Kool-Aid and believes that fame, power or some deluded notion of celebrity-ness entitles them to boorish behavior.

I mention all this because last week I came across a commercial on youtube that we had done with Tony Kaye way back when, during the dot.com craze. Our experience with him was not at all pleasant and actually came close to an exchange of fists.

I've told this story before but not with the video evidence that supports my position.

Allow me to rehash the incident.

We were filming in a warehouse near Riverside, CA. The scene involved a schlubby manager of a fictional company called tubwarehouse.com. A phone rings and the manager happily ignores it so we (the audience) could hear the message being left on the answering machine.

For some reason, Tony obstinately wanted to place the phone near the manager. We, the creative team, and the client (the people footing the bill) wanted to place the phone further away on a desk out of his reach.

A disagreement became an argument which then became an explosive display, the likes of which I have never witnessed on a set. Tony grabbed a wooden folding chair and swung it over his head smashing it on the concrete floor. Over and over again. All the while, screaming at the top of his lungs. Splintered wood filled the air, and through cloud of dust and particles of Douglas Fir, you could see the veins in his neck throbbing.

It was all very surreal.
And it was all so Tony Kaye.

When the wooden chair was no more, he stormed off the set and disappeared for 15 minutes.  He came back to the set as if nothing happened and started barking commands to his cinematographer.

I also barked a command to the DP and told him to stop. I then got in Tony's face, squared him right in the eye and said, "We're not shooting another frame of film until you apologize to everyone on this set, you bloviated asshole."

OK, I'm not sure those are the exact words I used, but there was no mistaking my anger. Tony yielded and put the phone where we wanted it. Where, as you can see from the video, it made the most sense.





I hadn't seen this spot in a very long time. And from the insignia on the top right hand side it looks like it was shortlisted at Cannes. Who knows, maybe it would have won had we followed Tony's course of action.

I don't really care.
To be honest, I'd gladly trade that meaningless Gold Lion for a war story like this.





7 comments:

Alex Grossman said...

Rich, great story. As a director, the only reason I can see for him wanting the phone closer to the actor was to establish his character better. If the phone is far away and he doesn't answer it, he's lazy. If the phone is right next to him and he doesn't answer it, he's an asshole.

glasgowdick said...

Had the man explained that to me I might have been more open to the suggestion. But it's hard to have a rational discussion with a tool that doesn't "believe" in telephones or has 3 bodyguards or has the affectations of a boy pharaoh.

Jeff Maki said...

Hilarious. I love that you used 'ass clown' to describe Tony Kaye, and in the next post in my facebook newsfeed, someone used the same term to describe Jar-Jar Binks.

Andrew Christou said...

Aw come on Rich, why was he even considered for that board? That type of stuff is not what he does.
Methinks you guys are guilty of starfucking.

(Though still a great story...)

glasgowdick said...

Actually Andrew, Tony had just finished doing another Playstation spot for Jerry Gentile and was eager to do more spots. He was in financial straits was willing to shoot any boards he could, even ours. Gentile's spot came out funny, so we gave it a shot. A mistake on our part. Still doesn't excuse his behavior, particularly the violence.

gl said...

"Bloviated?"

glasgowdick said...

Yes, greg. Bloviated. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bloviated