Paul Williams is an instantly recognizable face from the 1970’s that, among other things, performed as an actor and musician and wrote, “The Rainbow Connection.” Our guest, Stephen Kessler created the feature doc, “Paul Williams: Still Alive,” shedding light on Williams’ troubled talent.
We talk about the unlikely celebrity that is Paul Williams, getting access to old footage to tell the story, and working with a subject that had mixed feelings about being the focus of a documentary. It is a sparkling and almost mercurial discussion–one that matches Paul’s talent.
00:01 BYOD opening.
00:28 Introducing Stephen Kessler.
02:01 Exposing Paul Williams to a newer generation.
04:21 Paul Williams: Still Alive, Clip. The Fame of Paul Williams
05:24 A different era of celebrity and a different kind of star.
06:49 Meeting your heroes–tricky business for a doc maker.
10:20 More than an episode of “Behind the Music.”
11:24 Paul Williams: Still Alive, Clip. A meaningful conversation interrupted.
13:46 Including yourself in the process of filmmaking.
15:58 Fair use, and the intercession of “The Dude,” Jeff Dowd.
19:12 His family and personal life, and emphasizing different aspects of Paul’s life.
21:33 Giving Paul final approval of the film.
25:19 Paul Williams: Still Alive, Clip. Sabotage in San Francisco.
29:01 The fans response to Paul.
30:41 Favorite music documentaries, and avoiding influences.
32:45 “What were you ultimately trying to say about Paul Williams in the end?”
35:04 Paul Williams: Still Alive, Clip. The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
39:21 Premiering the film in Toronto and making the international festival circuit with your kids.
45:11 Where to keep track of the film and find it.
45:38 Thanks and Goodbye.