Christopher Good

 
Christopher Good.jpg

Christopher Good is an American writer-director whose latest short film, Crude Oil, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. He's also directed music videos for artists such as Mitski, Kevin Morby, Waxahatchee, Jens Lekman, and many others.


What was your latest book discovery? What are your favorite books of all time?

I maybe hesitate to describe anything I've read as a discovery because I probably don't get too obscure with it! For instance, the most recent thing I read was In Cold Blood - which most Americans seem to read in high school but I've just now gotten around to. Over the course of reading it, though, I realized that I graduated from the same high school as one of the killers - so maybe that's why they didn't teach it to us?
I also read Fantasyland by Kurt Andersen a couple months ago. That one is sort of a differently-focused history book which posits, not unpersuasively, that the American character is uniquely primed to accept all manner of fantastic ideas and notions - leading us to our current bizarre sociopolitical situation. Anyway it's worth reading and pretty funny to boot.
I wouldn't necessarily say I have a favorite book of all time - generally books don't hit me as hard as music and film do and so I'm maybe less critical of them. I read something and I'm like "yeah that was good!" and then move on. But there are a couple lines from books that I still think about.
One is the ending of Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man Is Hard to Find: "She would have been a good woman [...] if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life." And then there's some line in one of Joseph Conrad's books that's basically getting at the fact that the people who have what it takes to successfully execute a revolution aren't the people you want running things afterwards. I can't even remember which one it's from - I took a Conrad course in college and read 'em all back to back and they sort of blurred together. Maybe it was Nostromo? But, you know- it's the idea that's important.

Most visited blogs, websites? : 

I still look at Stereogum most days. They mix gossipy music news, presumably to pay the bills, with consistent support of new and emerging bands. I love both! Besides that it's a lot of sports blogs - the Kansas City teams and the Philly Sixers. I got into that team because of Joel Embiid, he went to the University of Kansas for a year (where I also went) and is my favorite player in the N.B.A., as the ol' Gray Lady would put it. And I like The Ringer too. And ClickHole!

What apps do you use the most and why?

I guess not too many, I use Apple Maps when driving somewhere strange (accent set to Australian) and then probably just Instagram? Well, I do use Apple Music if that counts. I went with that one because when I need to write a video treatment for a song I download the track and put it on repeat in iTunes, and then it's right there with Apple Music... I guess that was enough of an edge over Spotify for me. I know they're about to get rid of iTunes but I probably won't download the new iOS for ages so I'm fine. But Apple Music does include Ezra Koenig's internet radio show Time Crisis, which is the only podcast or podcast-adjacent thing I listen to with any consistency. Strictly on long drives only, though.

Whats currently on your playlist?

Claustro by Burial
I Don't Need A Crowd by Noah Lennox and Paul Maroon
Tastes Good with the Money by The Fat White Family
Horses at Night by Still Corners
Life of Crime by The Spits
You Are 26 by Dear Nora
Stuck by Katie Dey
A Heart Needs a Home by Richard & Linda Thompson
All for the Best by Thom Yorke
Blue Sands (feat. Buddy Collette) by Chico Hamilton Quintet
Don't Drop Out by Dolly Parton
Animal Nitrate by Suede
Headache by Grouper
Toonie by DIAT
Free Your Mind by En Vogue
Ghosts of Princes in Towers by Rich Kids
Elementary School Dropout by Yucky Duster
That Awful Sound by Jackson Scott
Oh No by Jessy Lanza
Revive by Crying
Sleeping Giant by Thor
Possession by The Meltaways
Do You Sleep? by Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories
Different Drum by The Stone Poneys
All Around My Hat by Steeleye Span
Rosey by Jim Sullivan
Jesus Was a Cross Maker by Judee Sill
Sunday Morning by Margo Guryan
You Gotta Be by Des'ree
Until the Dawn by The Fentones

What records would you recommend to hear?

Pop by U2

Fresh movie finds? What films do you think everybody should watch?

The Story of Film: An Odyssey is a passionate, idiosyncratic, and invigorating 15-hour history of the cinema that challenges and interrogates orthodoxy. A cursory glance of online reviews suggests that some (I'm guessing American) viewers find director Mark Cousins' Irish-accented narration grating but on the other hand, doesn't a history lesson feel less didactic when every statement sounds like a question??
I saw Threads (dir. Mick Jackson) semi-recently and it's certainly effective as a harrowing and nightmarish portrayal of nuclear holocaust. Also The Lobster really affected me emotionally - not for what it's saying about modern romance but as an illustration of the moral stupidity and spiritual wastefulness of totalitarianism.
I don't know if everybody should watch 'em or not but some of my favorite films are Rushmore, Goodfellas, Pierrot Le Fou, Closely Watched Trains, Catch Me If You Can, Lost In Translation, and Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?.

The Story of Film: An Odyssey is a passionate, idiosyncratic, and invigorating 15-hour history of the cinema that challenges and interrogates orthodoxy.

Which artists working today do you admire most?

The GCC art collective is amazing, I can never quite shake them from my skull.
My friend went to the Venice Biennale this year - watching her Instagram story was like taking a virtual tour of it - and Alex Da Corte's work there was incredible.
I remember really flipping out a little while ago when I first saw Andreas Gursky's F1 photos. I love the supermarket ones too.
And of course Nick Cave, Maurizio Cattelan, Kehinde Wiley.

What are some of your tv top tips right now?

When you turn on the cable TV at my family's home in Lenexa, Kansas it always begins on a government access channel and during the overnight hours it plays "arts programming" - just like free - form arts programming. It'll be like a vocal performance from the 1940s and then, you know, a Czech short film adaptation of a ballet from the 1970s or something. It's so good. Some of the production design you see is really inspiring and it's stuff that I would never see otherwise, like things that probably aren't even on Youtube. And even if they are, I would never know to look for them. And then every once in a while there's a title card that's like "this arts programming is delivered to your cable provider free of charge - we hope it inspires you to explore your community and see a show or visit a museum" - that sort of thing, it's really sweet. It's so nice!

Who are you following?

I mostly just follow people I know. But @martinscorsese_ on Instagram is a good one. It's like, he's the greatest living American director, but half his pics on IG look like the photos anyone's dad would post from their phone. Which kind of makes it better! It's endearing and you can tell his daughter is so into him, it's cute.

What tools do you use in your work?

I edit on Adobe Premiere. I have a Blackmagic Cinema Camera that I've shot a lot of music videos on but these days we're mostly using a RED. I screen-write with Final Draft, that software. Just all the usual things for someone in my field I suppose! Vimeo, WeTransfer, Dropbox.

What magazines / newspapers do you read regularly?

I like FiveThirtyEight and The Atlantic...and then I end up seeing plenty of film-related news but that's maybe usually more from people I know posting things as opposed to me regularly going to certain sites every day.

What are your favorite gadgets?

My favorite headphones are Beyerdynamic DT 770s. Besides that probably just my MacBook!

LINKS

Christopher Good
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Portrait image by © Sinjun Strom