Timothy Van Patten

Director / Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half hour interview for the Archive of American Television, actor/director Timothy Van Patten discusses a career that has spanned East to West Coast and back again.  He recounts his early life in New York and his move to Los Angeles, where he found success as an actor playing "Salami" on the MTM production, The White Shadow. Van Patten speaks at length about mentor Bruce Paltrow and the amazing education in television and film he received on the set of several Paltrow-led productions. He talks about his challenging transition to directing, a journey that eventually led to directing episodes of several short-lived series such as Home Fires and The Road Home, and of longer reigning shows Touched By an Angel and Homicide: Life on the Street. He concludes by describing how he found his niche directing episodes of acclaimed HBO series The Sopranos, Sex and the City, The Wire, and Boardwalk Empire, and expresses his deep respect for writer/producers David Chase, David Simon and Terence Winter. Van Patten also confesses that in addition to television acting and directing, he now has a hankering for writing, too. Ron Simon conducted the interview in June 26, 2009 in New York, NY.

"I think my life experience informs my directing much more than my acting skills. I think I know how to put an actor at ease, I don't know the language, if there is a language, but I think every actor comes to the set with their own needs and then you have to handle them accordingly."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Timothy Van Patten on his work on The Wire
Timothy Van Patten on his directing style for The Sopranos
Timothy Van Patten on good directing
Timothy Van Patten on the show business education he received on the set of The White Shadow
Timothy Van Patten on advice to aspiring directors and actors
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years and influences
On moving to California and his first acting roles
On co-starring in The White Shadow as "Salami"
On life after The White Shadow

Chapter 2

On his other acting credits in television movies and films; on his transition to directing
On NYU continuing school and getting experience as a director - on Home Fires, The Road Home, Touched By an Angel, Homicide: Life on the Street, C.P.W., and New York Undercover
On his directing style and how TV has changed over the years; on rehearsals
On his work on The Sopranos

Chapter 3

On his work on The Sopranos (continued)
On his work on Sex and the City
On his work on The Wire
On his work on Rome
On his work on Deadwood
On his work on the Spielberg miniseries Into the West
On his work on The Pacific

Chapter 4

On the HBO miniseries The Pacific
On directing Boardwalk Empire
On the state of the entertainment industry; on his advice to aspiring professionals; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Boardwalk Empire

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Timothy Van Patten on directing HBO's Boardwalk Empire
Timothy Van Patten on writing and executive producing on Boardwalk Empire

Central Park West

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Timothy Van Patten on directing C.P.W. aka Central Park West

Deadwood

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Timothy Van Patten on his work on Deadwood

Dress Gray

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Timothy Van Patten on his work acting on TV movie Dress Gray

Home Fires

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Timothy Van Patten on wanting to direct Bruce Paltrow's show Home Fires

Homicide: Life on the Street

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Timothy Van Patten on Bruce Paltrow and directing Homicide: Life on the Street

Into the West

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Timothy Van Patten on doing the miniseries Into the West with Steven Spielberg

Master, The

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Timothy Van Patten on his work acting on the short-lived series The Master

New York Undercover

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Timothy Van Patten on directing Dick Wolf's New York Undercover

Pacific, The

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Timothy Van Patten on his work on The Pacific
Timothy Van Patten on directing the HBO miniseries The Pacific

Road Home, The

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Timothy Van Patten on directing Bruce Paltrow's series The Road Home

Rome

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Timothy Van Patten on his work on Rome

Sex and the City

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Timothy Van Patten on his work on Sex and the City
Timothy Van Patten on directing the final 2 episodes of Sex and the City

Sex and the City: "An American Girl in Paris (Part Deux)"

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Timothy Van Patten on directing the final 2 episodes of Sex and the City

Sex and the City: "An American Girl in Paris (Part Une)"

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Timothy Van Patten on directing the final 2 episodes of Sex and the City

Sopranos, The

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Timothy Van Patten on his work on The Sopranos
Timothy Van Patten on his "story by" credit for the "Pine Barrens" episode of The Sopranos
Timothy Van Patten on his work on The Sopranos (continued)
Timothy Van Patten on The Sopranos episode "Amour Fou"
Timothy Van Patten on The Sopranos episode "Members Only"
Timothy Van Patten on The Sopranos finale, "Made in America" and the legacy of the series

Sopranos, The: "Amour Fou"

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Timothy Van Patten on The Sopranos episode "Amour Fou"

Sopranos, The: "Made in America"

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Timothy Van Patten on The Sopranos finale, "Made in America" and the legacy of the series

Sopranos, The: "Members Only"

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Timothy Van Patten on The Sopranos episode "Members Only"

Sopranos, The: "Pine Barrens"

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Timothy Van Patten on his "story by" credit for the "Pine Barrens" episode of The Sopranos

Touched By an Angel

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Timothy Van Patten on directing Touched By an Angel

White Shadow, The

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Timothy Van Patten on co-starring in The White Shadow as "Salami"

Wire, The

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Timothy Van Patten on his work on The Wire
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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Timothy Van Patten on his character, "Salami," on The White Shadow
Timothy Van Patten on the character "Tony Soprano"

Classic TV series episodes

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Timothy Van Patten on his "story by" credit for the "Pine Barrens" episode of The Sopranos

Diversity in Television

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Timothy Van Patten on diversity on The White Shadow

Drama

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Timothy Van Patten on his "story by" credit for the "Pine Barrens" episode of The Sopranos

Emmy Awards

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Timothy Van Patten on The White Shadow's Emmy nominations

Fame and Celebrity

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Timothy Van Patten on his fame after The White Shadow

Minorities

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Timothy Van Patten on diversity on The White Shadow

Pop Culture

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Timothy Van Patten on his character, "Salami," on The White Shadow
Timothy Van Patten on his "story by" credit for the "Pine Barrens" episode of The Sopranos
Timothy Van Patten on the character "Tony Soprano"

Technological Innovation

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Timothy Van Patten on how technology has influenced directing

Television Industry

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Timothy Van Patten on his fame after The White Shadow
Professions

Actor

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Timothy Van Patten on wanting to be an actor

Directors

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Timothy Van Patten on advice to aspiring directors 

Performers

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Timothy Van Patten on wanting to be an actor
Genres

Comedy Series

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Timothy Van Patten on his work on Sex and The City

Drama Series

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Timothy Van Patten on the MTM drama The White Shadow
Timothy Van Patten on directing The Sopranos
Timothy Van Patten on his work on The Sopranos
Timothy Van Patten on his work on The Wire
Timothy Van Patten on his work on Deadwood
Timothy Van Patten on working on the HBO drama Boardwalk Empire

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Timothy Van Patten on his work on the HBO miniseries The Pacific
Timothy Van Patten on his work on the TNT miniseries Into The West
People

Mikhail Baryshnikov

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Timothy Van Patten on directing Sex and the City's Mikhail Baryshnikov

Bruce Bilson

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Timothy Van Patten on veteran TV director Bruce Bilson

Joshua Brand

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Timothy Van Patten on The White Shadow writer/producer/director Bruce Paltrow's way with writers

Steve Buscemi

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Timothy Van Patten on his "story by" credit for the "Pine Barrens" episode of The Sopranos

Glenn Gordon Caron

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Timothy Van Patten on working with TV auteur Glenn Gordon Caron

Thomas Carter

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Timothy Van Patten on The White Shadow director Thomas Carter

David Chase

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Timothy Van Patten on The Sopranos creator David Chase
Timothy Van Patten on The Sopranos creator David Chase and star James Gandolfini
Timothy Van Patten on The Sopranos creator David Chase giving him the first episode of each season to direct
Timothy Van Patten on working with The Sopranos writer/producers David Chase and Terence Winter
Timothy Van Patten on The Sopranos finale, "Made in America"
Timothy Van Patten on humor on The Sopranos

Jackie Cooper

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Timothy Van Patten on The White Shadow director Jackie Cooper

Edie Falco

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Timothy Van Patten on working with The Sopranos actress Edie Falco

John Falsey

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Timothy Van Patten on The White Shadow writer/producer/director Bruce Paltrow's way with writers

Tom Fontana

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Timothy Van Patten on The White Shadow writer/producer/director Bruce Paltrow's way with writers

James Gandolfini

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Timothy Van Patten on The Sopranos creator David Chase and star James Gandolfini
Timothy Van Patten on The Sopranos star James Gandolfini

Kevin Hooks

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Timothy Van Patten on co-star Kevin Hooks in The White Shadow

Robert Iler

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Timothy Van Patten on working with The Sopranos "kids" Robert Iler and Jamie-Lynn Sigler

Michael Imperioli

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Timothy Van Patten on working with The Sopranos actor Michael Imperioli

Michael Patrick King

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Timothy Van Patten on Sex and the City's Michael Patrick King

Barry Levinson

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Timothy Van Patten on Barry Levinson's shooting style on Homicide: Life on the Street

Nancy Marchand

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Timothy Van Patten on working with The Sopranos actress Nancy Marchand

David Milch

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Timothy Van Patten on his work on Deadwood
Timothy Van Patten on David Milch's Deadwood

Bruce Paltrow

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Timothy Van Patten on The White Shadow writer/producer/director Bruce Paltrow
Timothy Van Patten on The White Shadow writer/producer/director Bruce Paltrow
Timothy Van Patten on Bruce Paltrow fighting the network for what he wanted on The White Shadow 
Timothy Van Patten on Bruce Paltrow's advice when Van Patten decided to be a director
Timothy Van Patten on wanting to direct Bruce Paltrow's show Home Fires
Timothy Van Patten on directing on Bruce Paltrow's series The Road Home
Timothy Van Patten on mentor Bruce Paltrow

Dick Van Patten

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Timothy Van Patten on his half-brother Dick Van Patten

Martin Scorsese

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Timothy Van Patten on working with Martin Scorcese

Jamie-Lynn Sigler

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Timothy Van Patten on working with The Sopranos "kids" Robert Iler and Jamie-Lynn Sigler

David Simon

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Timothy Van Patten on his work on The Wire
Timothy Van Patten on directing David Simon's The Wire

Steven Spielberg

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Timothy Van Patten on doing the miniseries Into the West and The Pacific with Steven Spielberg

Mark Tinker

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Timothy Van Patten on The White Shadow director Mark Tinker

Grant Tinker

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Timothy Van Patten on The White Shadow writer/producer/director Bruce Paltrow's way with writers

Martha Williamson

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Timothy Van Patten on working with Touched By an Angel writer Martha Williamson

Terence Winter

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Timothy Van Patten on working with The Sopranos writer/producers David Chase and Terence Winter
Timothy Van Patten on working with Boardwalk Empire creator and friend Terence Winter

Dick Wolf

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Timothy Van Patten on directing Dick Wolf's New York Undercover

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