A Lionheart of Passion: Claude Kerven on Filmmaking

Claude Kerven is a filmmaker, screenwriter, director and teacher of filmmaking. He worked at his university’s radio station and its TV station because it was fun! - and only by happenstance discovered that there was such a thing as a degree in filmmaking - a degree he then got from NYU graduate school. He had much early success; a short film which received a student Academy Award got him an agent, followed by a stint of making short films for SNL.  A turn through Hollywood as a young director brought disappointment, a turn into teaching and parenting brought love. After years of putting filmmaking to the side, he is rediscovering the energy and joy in the creative process by challenging himself with a new genre, a musical! He has sage words of advice for anyone thinking about entering the world of filmmaking as a career. “If you don’t feel you have to do it, it may not be the right thing for you,” he says. “Having creativity is not enough. Being talented is not enough. A huge lionheart of passion and an endless supply of perseverance is needed to survive.”


Meet This Episode's Guest

Claude Kerven in Kyoto, Japan.jpg

Claude Kerven

Claude Kervens’s career began with the debut of his short film, “Candy Store,” which won an Academy Award for Best Dramatic Student Film. In 1982, he directed a series of Afterschool Specials for ABC-TV, including the Emmy Award winning “Starstruck” and the Director’s Guild of America nominated “High School Narc.” Kerven also directed over 25 short films for Saturday Night Live, including the much celebrated “Synchronized Swimmers.” His most recent directorial work, “They Never Found Her,” starred Madmen’s Elisabeth Moss and Fargo’s Peter Storemare. In 1990, Kerven co-authored “Mortal Thoughts,” for Columbia Pictures, starring Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel and Demi Moore.

Claude's Favorite Movie Quotes

Since I love comedies most of all, here are a few quotes from one of my absolute favorites, “The Sunshine Boys,” written by Neal Simon.

If you’re unfamiliar with the movie, Al Lewis (George Burns) and Willy Clark (Walter Matthau) play a pair of feuding vaudeville comedians (Lewis and Clark, naturally) who performed together for 47 years before finally calling it quits. A network genius then has the brilliant idea of reuniting the duo for a TV special about the history of comedy.

Here are a few of the most memorable lines. There are so many more.

 

Al Lewis: Oh, that Sol Burton. He died?

Willie Clark: Last week.

Al Lewis: Where?

Willie Clark: In Variety.

 

Ben Clark (Willie’s nephew): You’re not supposed to eat pickles. It’s high sodium.

Willy Clark: I spit out the sodium.

 

Ben Clark: I’m getting chest pains. You give me chest pains!

Willy Clark: It’s my fault you get excited?

Ben Clark: Yes! I only get chest pains on Wednesdays!

Willy Clark: So come Tuesdays.