Conrad Vernon is the mastermind director of Shrek 2, Sausage Party, Madagascar 3, Monsters V Aliens and, most recently, The Addams Family. He’s the voice of the Ginger Bread Man in the Shrek franchise, and he played saxophone in one of the countries most competitive jazz programs before jettisoning his career to animation. Splitting his time between Texas and California, he also owns a Staffordshire rescue named Sophie and wears black Pablo boots everyday at the studio.
We caught up with him after the Addams Family premiere to get some recommendations on how best to spend our fall weekends in this special edition of the Saturday Six.
You're a big horror buff. Is October a big month for you?
I just started my month of horror movies. I like when people haven’t seen the truly great ones. I get to experience them again for the first time. I just showed Phantasm at my house a few days ago.
What's your filmmaking mantra?
Know the reason you’re telling the story and stay true to it. If you can do that, the film lives in service of a purpose. That or "I don’t respond to panic." That’s good practice in filmmaking.
Where would you most like to travel next?
I’m too exhausted after finishing a film to travel anywhere just yet. I’d hole up at my house in Austin or go out to Los Olivos wine country. I’m definitely too exhausted for Rome.
What should we be listening to right now?
I’ve been listening to a lot of old country lately. You have got to watch the Ken Burns documentary on country music. Episode 4 is where it hits its stride, in case you want to skip the roots of country section. When it arrives at Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley playing the south together and how they hit it... I have no words. The style, the music, the energy. Holy sh*t. Pair that with Sirius XM Radio Willie’s Roadhouse station.
What should we be doing on the internet?
Learning. David Mamet and Aaron Sorkin have incredible writing classes available via the Masterclass library. Of course, Mamet’s books on directing are also wonderful.
Favorite Austin ritual?
Favorite LA ritual?
A dry Martini at the Driskill bar.
Bourbon Steak in Glendale has the best martini if I have to choose anywhere. They actually have a button on the register now that says Conrad-tini when I walk in.
That wraps up this special edition of the Saturday Six, just in time to head to the movies and check out Conrad's latest. We'll be dropping into your inbox a week from now for the next Six, and keep an eye out for another special edition coming soon. It'll be a doozy!