Louis J. Horvitz

Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

Louis J. Horvitz was interviewed for over three-and-a-half hours in Los Angeles, CA. Horvitz speaks about his schooling at the University of California (UCLA) and developing his interest in the arts. He describes his eye for pictorial art and how it shaped his style as a director. He discusses becoming a cameraman in television while in college, initially shooting sporting events for the local news, and, through contacts, beginning work at Universal. He talks about his early years working in both television and film as a cameraman, but preferred to work as a director in multi-camera television. Horvitz details his entrance into directing for television, starting with In Concert, a late night ABC series, and later Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, produced and hosted by Kirshner. He talks about his stint with Norman Lear on Fernwood 2-Night, one of Horvitz's only forays into sitcom,and describes how he left Kirshner to work on Solid Gold -- the series of which he says he is most proud. He comments on several other '80s and early '90s shows on which he worked: Live Aid; Dolly (Dolly Parton's short-lived variety series, where he met a key mentor, Don Mischer); and Paul Simon's Concert in the Park. He explains his directing style, which he calls "sweep and glide," and speaks at length on directing the Academy Awards and the Emmy Awards. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview on November 13, 2008.

"The 10 count to live, in the truck…my palms were sweating so much. I couldn't figure out what was happening but it was like when I was in track and field in high school and you get in the blocks and you get ready, runner, set… You're filled with this kind of angst. But you're waiting for the adrenaline to kick in… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… It's like the first time you've jumped out of an airplane or you were on a hang glider and jumped off a cliff, when it fades up. You're jumping off a precipice. And you're just going to hope that those first 10 or 15 seconds after you've jumped that the chute's going to open up or that the glider's going to not break…You feel like you could die."

Highlights
Louis J. Horvitz on advice to aspiring television directors
03:53
Louis J. Horvitz on how production numbers on The Academy Awards  and The Emmys  differ
02:58
Louis J. Horvitz on his demeanor on set and setting the tone for the crew
03:26
Louis J. Horvitz on the challenges of cutting off acceptance speeches
01:29
Louis J. Horvitz on the countdown to live
04:43
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early childhood and influences; on being trained as a camera operator at UCLA; on transitioning to directing for television; on becoming a "rock n roll" director 
31:21
On directing Fernwood 2-Night  with Fred Willard and Martin Mull; on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert;  on directing Solid Gold
28:23

Chapter 2

On shooting Solid Gold; on being approached by Tom Freston to work at MTV; on Tony Verna asking him to direct Live Aid;  on directing musical variety specials for Dolly Parton, The Judds; on working on Paul Simon's Concert in Central Park  with producer Lorne Michaels
28:12
On Liza Minnelli Live From Radio City;  on his directing style; on what he looks for in a performance; on rehearsals for live television and using stand-ins; on his demeanor on set
31:25

Chapter 3

On his involvement with pre-production and post-production on projects; on the disappearance of variety shows from primetime and how MTV changed people's tastes
14:38
On working on Diet America Challenge  and A Party for Richard Pryor
02:44
On Rosie O'Donnell's first standup show for HBO; on first directing The Academy Awards in 1997; on directing The Academy Awards  since 1997; on working with various hosts of the Oscars; on what makes a good host of The Academy Awards;  on his relationship with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences; on ratings for The Academy Awards;  on network censorship of The Academy Awards
28:19
On working with various producers on The Academy Awards;  on the challenges of cutting off acceptance speeches; on memorable acceptance speeches; on acceptance speeches getting political
10:19

Chapter 4

On the 1999 Academy Awards Pre-show; on highlights of The Academy Awards;  on the 2002 Academy Awards  - the first after 9/11; on various hosts of The Emmy Awards;  on his relationship with the Television Academy; on the 2002 Academy Awards  - the first after 9/11 (contd.); on how production numbers on The Academy Awards  and The Emmys  differ
26:00
On "the truck" from which he directs live events; on the countdown to live; on rituals before a live show; on preparing for a live broadcast; on upcoming projects; on advice to aspiring television directors
09:37
On how television has changed over the course of his career; on how he'd like to be remembered
09:14
Shows

Academy Awards, The

View Show Page
Louis J. Horvitz on first directing The Academy Awards  in 1997
07:31
Louis J. Horvitz on directing The Academy Awards  since 1997; working with various hosts; and challenges of the show
35:21
Louis J. Horvitz on highlights of some of The Academy Awards  that he's directed
08:46
Louis J. Horvitz on how production numbers on The Academy Awards  and The Emmys  differ
02:58

Adventures Of Ozzie and Harriet, The

View Show Page
Louis J. Horvitz on doing camera work for Ozzie's Girls, a follow up to The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
01:28

Don Kirshner's Rock Concert

View Show Page
Louis J. Horvitz on getting a job directing Don Kirshner's Rock Concert for NBC
10:16
Louis J. Horvitz on meeting Don Kirshner of Don Kirshner's Rock Concert
14:17

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

View Show Page
Louis J. Horvitz on first directing The Academy Awards  in 1997 - he got the job based on his abilities directing The Emmy Awards
07:31
Louis J. Horvitz on various hosts of The Emmy Awards
06:31
Louis J. Horvitz on how production numbers on The Academy Awards  and The Emmys  differ
02:58

Fernwood 2 Night

View Show Page
Louis J. Horvitz on directing Fernwood 2Night  with Martin Mull and Fred Willard
09:23

Live Aid

View Show Page
Louis J. Horvitz on Tony Verna asking him to direct Live Aid
03:57

Solid Gold

View Show Page
Louis J. Horvitz on the concept for Solid Gold, which he directed
08:44
Louis J. Horvitz on shooting Solid Gold
10:47
Topics

9/11

View Topic
Louis J. Horvitz on the 2002 Academy Awards  - the first after 9/11
03:59
Louis J. Horvitz on the 2002 Academy Awards  - the first after 9/11 (cont.)
03:27

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Louis J. Horvitz on the 2002 Academy Awards  - the first after 9/11 (cont.)
03:27
Louis J. Horvitz on the 2002 Academy Awards  - the first after 9/11
03:59

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Louis J. Horvitz on Elia Kazan's Honorary Oscar in 1999
03:12

We Celebrated

View Topic
Louis J. Horvitz on Cuba Gooding Jr.'s acceptance speech at The Academy Awards
01:10
Louis J. Horvitz on Adrien Brody's acceptance speech at The Academy Awards
00:48
Professions

Directors

View Profession
Louis J. Horvitz on his path from still photographer, to camera operator, to director
04:32
Louis J. Horvitz on his directing style
06:18
Louis J. Horvitz on advice to aspiring television directors
03:53
Genres

Awards Shows

View Genre
Louis J. Horvitz on directing The Academy Awards  since 1997; working with various hosts; and challenges of the show
27:50
Louis J. Horvitz on first directing The Academy Awards  in 1997
35:21
Louis J. Horvitz on highlights of some of The Academy Awards  that he's directed
08:46
Louis J. Horvitz on various hosts of The Emmy Awards
06:31
Louis J. Horvitz on how production numbers on The Academy Awards and The Emmys differ
02:58

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Louis J. Horvitz on the concept for Solid Gold, which he directed
08:44
Louis J. Horvitz on Tony Verna asking him to direct Live Aid
03:57
People

Bob Banner

View Interview Page
Louis J. Horvitz on the concept for Solid Gold,  which he directed
08:44

Gilbert Cates

View Interview Page
Louis J. Horvitz on first directing The Academy Awards  in 1997
07:31
Louis J. Horvitz on working with various producers on The Academy Awards
04:20
Louis J. Horvitz on Gilbert Cates' advice for how to cover Elia Kazan's Honorary Oscar in 1999
03:12

Billy Crystal

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on working with various hosts of The Academy Awards: Billy Crystal
00:19

Ellen DeGeneres

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on various hosts of The Emmy Awards:  Ellen DeGeneres
04:47

Robert Dickinson

View Interview Page
Louis J. Horvitz on working with Robert Dickinson on Solid Gold  and future projects
03:28

Tom Freston

View Interview Page
Louis J. Horvitz on being approached by Tom Freston to work at MTV
02:07

Whoopi Goldberg

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on working with various hosts of The Academy Awards:  Whoopi Goldberg
00:43

Elia Kazan

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on Elia Kazan's Honorary Oscar in 1999
03:12

Norman Lear

View Interview Page
Louis J. Horvitz on directing Fernwood 2Night  with Martin Mull and Fred Willard
09:21

Jeff Margolis

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on first directing The Academy Awards  in 1997
05:57

Steve Martin

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on working with various hosts of The Academy Awards:  Steve Martin
01:11

Lorne Michaels

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on working on Paul Simon's Concert in Central Park  with producer Lorne Michaels
07:13

Walter C. Miller

View Interview Page
Louis J. Horvitz on Walter Miller's techniques for television
01:06

Liza Minnelli

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on Liza Minnelli Live From Radio City
03:44

Don Mischer

View Interview Page
Louis J. Horvitz on working on Dolly Parton's musical variety show under producer/mentor/director Don Mischer
03:27
Louis J. Horvitz on the 2002 Academy Awards  - the first after 9/11 (contd.) - produced by Don Mischer
03:27

John Moffitt

View Interview Page
Louis J. Horvitz on director John Moffitt
00:52

Martin Mull

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on directing Fernwood 2Night  with Martin Mull and Fred Willard
09:21

Ozzie Nelson

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on doing camera work for Ozzie's Girls, a follow up to The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
01:28

Conan O'Brien

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on various hosts of The Emmy Awards: Conan O'Brien
01:44

Rosie O'Donnell

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on Rosie O'Donnell's first standup show for HBO
03:17

Dolly Parton

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on working on Dolly Parton's musical variety show, Dolly
03:27

Richard Pryor

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on working on A Party for Richard Pryor  with George Schlatter
01:35

Chris Rock

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on working with various hosts of The Academy Awards:  Chris Rock
00:49

George Schlatter

View Interview Page
Louis J. Horvitz on working on A Party for Richard Pryor  with George Schlatter
01:35

Jon Stewart

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on working with various hosts of The Academy Awards:  Jon Stewart
01:16

Tony Verna

View Interview Page
Louis J. Horvitz on Tony Verna asking him to direct Live Aid
03:57

Dionne Warwick

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on Solid Gold  host Dionne Warwick's involvement
01:18

Fred Willard

View Interview Page
Louis J. Horvitz on directing Fernwood 2Night  with Martin Mull and Fred Willard
07:00

Richard Zanuck

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on working with various producers on The Academy Awards
03:56

Lili Zanuck

View Person Page
Louis J. Horvitz on working with various producers on The Academy Awards
03:56

All Interviews

Q
S