14 April 2010

Lorne Michaels on life

I've been watching rented DVDs of 30 Rock from Netflix. On Disc 2 of Season 2, there is a bonus feature showing footage from a group interview of the cast and crew by Brian Williams at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. I was surprised to learn how much the cast admires their executive producer, Lorne Michaels, who also runs Saturday Night Live.
Brian Williams: Alec Baldwin, same question [of all the things you've done, where does 30 Rock fit]. After all you've accomplished in your career from, gotta throw in Tony Bennett, classic, to Glengarry Glen Ross, the favorite scene of so many people here, this [30 Rock] gives you something else entirely.

Alec Baldwin: I learned from Lorne, that is to say, this is the greatest day of my life, right now, today, here, with all of you, now. This is the greatest day of my life, I'm so happy to be here with all of you, thank you... [cracks up] ... No ... [Alec Baldwin goes on to speak more seriously]

Brian Williams: ... Tina, that brings us circling back to you. I saw that the character, that Alec plays, is absolutely intended to be a mirror image of Lorne. Explain.

Tina Fey: It's not, it's certainly not...

Brian Williams: Misquoted?

Tina Fey: Yeah, of course. It's not entirely Lorne. But there is an element to it that is truncated, you don't get the full sense of it, that is, there is certainly a friendship between the two characters [Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy] that I would like to believe reflects my friendship with Lorne. And there's, I think, a little bit of a worldview that Jack Donaghy has with like "you should have a great life." "And you should have a great house and you should rise above what you think you can be." And that actually is the part that, I feel, comes from Lorne. And then the more corporate aspects are all from sort of corporate biographies that we've tried to read and fallen asleep.

Brian Williams: Lorne, have you in fact urged people you've worked with to have a "great house"?

Lorne Michaels: Yes, I do.

Brian Williams: It's one of your bedrock principles.

Lorne Michaels: Exactly. I always say get an apartment so when you come home at night, you go "who lives here?.. Someone great must live here. Oh, it's I live here." [Tina Fey is mouthing the words and practically beaming while Lorne Michaels is saying this.] Because you work really really hard.
I like the idea: "today is the greatest day of my life." It's a variation on John Wooden's motto, "Make every day your masterpiece."

Here is my take on Lorne Michael's statements (which should not be attributed to Lorne Michaels since I don't know him at all). You deserve to live a great life, you are a great person, and everything you do should be a reflection of that. Today is the greatest day of your life because it's full of opportunity. You have the entire day to make yourself great and even better. And if you've done things right, you've made your life great and you should enjoy it.

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