I'm interviewing Daniel Myrick, the co-director of The Blair Witch Project Thursday night for a class called The Art of the Interview.
The class is limited to 15 students and admission is by instructor permission only based on an essay application.
I submitted an essay application last June for the fall quarter Art of the Interview class.
Previous guests have included: actors Al Pacino, Djimon Hounsou, Diane Keaton, Steve Martin and Elliott Gould; Playboy founder Hugh Hefner; Red Hot Chili Pepper Anthony Kiedis; novelist Jonathan Safran Foer.
When I was in the Metro Detroit? (I think that's what it's called) area last July, I received an e-mail from the professor:
As of now you are on the Waiting List for the Fall Art of Interview class. There are some people I accepted last year, who were on the waiting list and I promised them they could join the class in the fall. I haven't heard back from one or two of them, so there may be openings….but they also may be on vacation and aren't responding to their e-mails. To be fair to them, I feel I must wait a while.
Still on the wait list, I attended the first Art of the Interview class of fall quarter. At one point while going through the syllabus, the professor began rummaging through a manila folder.
Which one of you is Jonathan?
I am, I replied.
I want to read you all something Jonathan wrote on his application. "What do I expect from this class? Honestly? An easy A and to meet Al Pacino." If any of you (besides Mr. Yu here) expect an easy A from this class, then I suggest you find another class to enroll in. This is not an easy class. I don't give very many As. You'll be lucky to get an A-. I had a student once who thanked me for giving him a D.
The professor went on to mention that he was actually good friends with Al Pacino and that he wrote Pacino's Oscar speech.
At the end of class, the professor had one spot open and there were two students on the wait list (a girl and I) who had stuck around. The interview guests for fall quarter were Lisa Kudrow and a Guinean woman who wrote books about depression. I didn't care to interview either of them, so I feigned philanthropy and let the girl have the open spot with the stipulation that the professor guarantee me a spot in the spring quarter Art of the Interview class.
I strategically passed on the immediate opening in hopes that the interview guests for spring quarter would be tastier.
Cut to the first Art of the Interview class of spring quarter. At one point while going through the syllabus, the professor pulled out a manila folder from his bag.
I want to read you all one of my favorite lines from an application for this class. Where are you, Jonathan?
Jonathan was on the wait list for fall quarter. He wrote this on his application: "What do I expect from this class? Honestly? An easy A and to meet Al Pacino." If any of you expect an easy A from this class, then I suggest you find another class to enroll in. This is not an easy class. I don't give very many As. You'll be lucky to get an A-. I had a student once who thanked me for giving him a D.
Is he going to read that line to every Art of the Interview class from now on? I thought.
I didn't let Jonathan into the class because of what he wrote, but he stuck around fall quarter and his tenacity impressed me, so I let him in this quarter.
At Monday's class, the professor announced the second interview guest for spring quarter.
Lo and behold, it's Al Pacino.
Yes, on May 10, I get to interview Al fuckin' Pacino for class. Pacino in person.
Billy Bob Thornton was supposed to be the guest, but then Al agreed to do it again. I'd like to think that he agreed because of me.
Of course, this means I'll have to watch all 35 of Pacino's existing films within the next few weeks.
I've never been so eager in my life to do homework.