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S2E49 Chicken Thing Attacks!


Todd Holland directed one of the best “Tales From The Crypt” episodes – “Top Billing” – about a struggling actor (played by Jon Lovitz) who thinks he’s auditioning for the lead in “Hamlet” at a small theater tucked away in an alley. He’s actually auditioning for the role of “Yorick – the skull”!

This is one of those Crypt episodes that rewards repeat viewing in a “Usual Suspects” kind of way. What seems just “odd” the first time through becomes vital info when you actually realize what you’re looking at. It’s a very layered episode.

Myles Berkowitz’s script created that layering, but Todd’s directing paid off every single layer. After working on Crypt, Todd went on to not only direct but actively helped create or run iconic shows like “Malcolm In The Middle”, “The Larry Sanders Show” and “Wonderfalls” – a wonderful show that suffered a terrible fate. He also directed the cult-favorite movie “The Wizard”.

But, before all that, Todd announced his presence at UCLA Film School where he wrote and produced a funny, terrifying short called “Chicken Thing”. Chicken Thing is what caught Steven Spielberg’s attention – and got Todd a slot in season two of Spielberg’s anthology series “Amazing Stories”.

Another thing “Top Billing” does well – because Todd does it well – is balance comedy with horror. Those two things have more in common than most people think. You need to build them carefully to maximize the payoff. But, if you can maximize their payoff?

You’ll succeed. Then it’ll be a matter of protecting your joy, honing your craft and expanding your network. It’s the only way to defeating any Chicken Things that come your way.

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