"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."
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 New York City on June 26, 2009.