San Antonio’s own, Tim Maloney, a son of personal injury lawyer legend Pat Maloney and personal injury attorney himself joins us to talk about his other interest. Tim is one of the producers of Southern Charm: New Orleans which is on Bravo. He has also produced movies, documentaries and is here to talk about that path and upcoming projects.
Justin Hill: Hello in Bienvenido, San Antonio. Welcome to the Alamo Hour discussing the people, places and passion that make our city. My name is Justin Hill, a local attorney, a proud San Antonion and keeper of chickens and bees. On the Alamo Hour, you’ll get to hear from the people that make San Antonio great and unique and the best kept secret in Texas. We’re glad that you’re here. All right. Today’s guest is a movie producer, television reality show producer, former Riverwalk restaurant tour/bar owner, local injury attorney and one of my very best friends Tim Maloney. Tim, thank you for being here.
Tim Maloney: I appreciate the opportunity, sir.
Justin: Tim, we’re not going to talk about the things- you and I like to talk about at bars, which is usually law and other high-minded things. I want to talk to you a little bit about some of your passions outside of the law. How did you get into television producing?
Tim: Seventh grade Maria Fleming, I wanted to make out with her. The reason I got into it was I produced Charlie Brown Christmas show and I cast her. I injected a controversial scene to the seventh grade production, which of course got me suspended, and that was she actually kissed Snoopy. That’s absolute true story. That’s how I got started in production.
Justin: It turns species love scene?
Tim: Pretty much. By the way, very controversial, not only the kiss with the beagle, but the beagle was also a female in a costume. I was actually, shall we say, ahead of my time.
Justin: You were definitely ahead of your time. For everybody to know, I have warned at Tim and let him know that this is a family friendly podcast, and we’re only going to talk about family friendly things today.
Tim: They were very friendly.
Justin: Okay, well, Snoopy.
Tim: They were lovable. You all love Snoopy.
Justin: Tim, I want to talk to you more about the TV and stuff like that. We’re probably not going to talk much about the law. I’m going to start with a top 10 for everybody because I think it’s important to just get a little bit of a slice of who you are. You’re never going to know what they but they’re going to be pretty simple, okay.
Tim: I’ll give it my best shot.
Justin: All right. I know the answers to a lot of these, but some I don’t. First, do you have any pets?
Tim: Yes, I do.
Tim: Very feral.
Justin: You got feral cats you feed, but you name them?
Tim: They like Will Ferrell, but they’re also like some of the other SNL characters do.
Justin: All right. Cheri Oteri?
Tim: Actually, they were more old school, Eddie Murphy in the day.
Justin: What’s your favorite restaurant right now?
Tim: Boy, I would say the Palace at lunch.
Justin: What’s the buffet special there?
Tim: Sushi. [laughs] Cut. You have to edit that out.
Justin: What were going to try it again. What is your favorite restaurant eat-out right now?
Tim: A signature I think right now is on top of their game.
Justin: The [unintelligible 00:02:46] ridiculous?
Tim: It’s really good. I did not want to like it, and it’s now my new go-to.
Justin: I’m embarrassed that I know what that is, but it’s pretty good.
Tim: It’s really tasty.
Justin: I think I know the answer to this. What is your favorite go-to hidden gem in San Antonio?
Tim: Boy, hidden gym.
Justin: Doesn’t have to be a bar, doesn’t have to be restaurant, can be just anything in the city that you think, man if you want your PhD and know in San Antonio, you’ve got to know this place.
Tim: I would say the library then in my street.
Justin: I was going to say the Japanese tea garden for you because you’re a big fan of that.
Tim: Absolutely. That’s one of the great hidden place in town.
Justin: You told me time about a trail behind it. Tell everybody what you’re talking about?
Tim: There is a wonderful secret trail. You go to the tea garden, by the way, if anybody hasn’t been it’s an absolute must. They’ve redone it, and it’s just spectacular. It is right next to the zoo. You go up. Instead of going down to the actual Koi pond, you stay up high and you keep following a trail it’s not marked and you’ve been cut over to the left and there is a road that is blocked off, but you can get through it. It goes behind sunken garden. You are literally about 200 feet above the sunken garden stage, looking straight down on to the stage and to the right is the highway, trinity word. It is absolutely spectacular at night.
Justin: Where does it kick out? If you’re not in the gardens? Where could you get on it to get to the gardens?
Tim: You could actually come across Trinity, but you would actually have a crop come across that overpass over the highway that says IWC. That will take you to a grassy area and you make it that way.
Justin: I’ve still never done it. You’ve told me about it. Something I really wanted to do–
Tim: He said must, see, do.
Justin: Because this is our very first episode, and I don’t know what I’m doing. I just started our video a little bit late with Tim Maloney, local TV producer, great friend of mine, local injury attorney. We’re going through our top 10 list. He’s got some feral cats.
He says, “Will Ferrell.” I think that they’ll give you a fever if they scratch you. Favorite restaurant now signature hidden gems in San Antonio, the land a library but also close second Japanese Tea Garden. I think I know this, but what’s the nonprofit charity that you’re most involved with here in town?
Tim: That’s a tough one. There’s battered women’s shelter, Planned Parenthood. It’s odd, but a lot of the the causes for women who are struggling, dress for success. The battered women’s shelter I think is by far the one that I’m quietly involved in.
Justin: What is the gala you’ve invited me too many times?
Tim: Let’s say that would be the cancer. That would be Healing Hearts. That is for a good friend of ours, Karen Martinez, who was a anchor here for years, she died of breast cancer. Before she died, it was remarkably brave of her to actually film from her hospital room going through the procedure to encourage other women that they’re not alone. Happens every year in March, and it’s a very special charity.
Justin: It’s a very heavy?
Tim: Yes, this is
Justin: I’m not one for galas, but I’ve gone to it with you a few times in this past year in our efforts to be magnanimous, we both entered into a few auctions. I was lucky enough to win what I thought was a metaphorical wheelbarrow full of alcohol that turned out to actually be a wheelbarrow from Home Depot. It was full of booze.
Tim: They weight 400 pounds.
Justin: That’s right.You won for how much of a hunter you are.
Tim: Because you know, my joy, my love, my life is of course, the slaughter of very nearly extinct animals. Passion of mine.
Justin: You won the hunting trip to Africa?
Tim: I did it because I thought it was a photo journalism. Safari and I finally found it in my drawer the other day, and I’m thinking, “I might as well use this.” I look down and apparently I get to kill an impala, couple of wildebeests, and something that got horns. What’s really nice is then they will cut the animal’s head off decapitated right in front of you and boil all the meat off and salt it. You too can have your photograph taken with a skull and horns of a animal you’ve just shot from basically like a caged hunt.
Justin: Which is something a lot of people like.
Tim: I can’t imagine a better time.
Justin: Not so much my thing. I don’t think so much or thing either. Next question–
Tim: Unless of course, the impala is wearing a maga hat, but I don’t get started.
Justin: This is a non-political show.
Tim: I’m a non-political maga hater.
Justin: Do you have any odd hobbies? [laughs] I know where that can lead with you. “I’ve got a friend who’s into woodworking, I just found out.” Do you have anything like that?
Tim: Yes, vintage watches. I collect very rare, old vintage wristwatches.
Justin: I didn’t know that and I’m apparently the beneficiary of these one point–
Tim: I’m wearing one as we speak. Yes, I do. I have developed a love for old watches. Because between the years of 1966 and 1972, the greatest watches of history were made, because there was a huge competition among which ones could develop the first automatic chronograph. Very, very impressive thing happened in 1969. Those watches are still out there, and they’re still running perfectly, and they’re just so much cooler than I say what we have today.
Justin: I did not know that. I know you’ve told me the history of all the watches you have and how rare some of them are, but I didn’t know that that was the reason.
Tim: That’s it.
Justin: You’ve lived here your whole life?
Tim: Born and raised.
Justin: What is the single biggest change you’ve seen in this city in the time that you’ve lived here? I’m sure that kind of transcends everything, but what’s the one thing that really sticks out to you in terms of the city’s identity?
Tim: That we’ve matured into a city. We used to have a chip on our shoulder that Houston, Dallas, and [unintelligible 00:09:03] Austin was always– There was always a fourth city. There’s Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. What’s happened is with multiculturalism and the idea of that being Hispanic is nothing to, quite frankly, be ashamed of.
Because, quite frankly, when I grew up it was. The city was very, very prejudiced. It was very, very close minded. What’s happened in the last 25, 30 years, gloriously, in my opinion, is Hispanic culture, it’s become the dominant culture as it should. Also, the idea that the tolerance in the gay and lesbian community, and also the idea that San Antonio has become a very cool place. That was almost a possible think of when I was growing up.
Justin: I’m glad you said that. I think is one of the ideas behind this podcast I wanted to do. I think our city is this– I say it’s the best kept secret in Texas, and people have the shirts that say, “You can keep Austin.” Because I think we have this weird thing happening here. We’re a little bit 10 years behind other cities, but it is this wonderful thing that I think many people in Texas still consider us to be the fourth city.
Tim: Kind of what Chicago for years. That’s why they call it second city with that chip on its shoulder. Then after New York and then there were Chicago. Everything in New York and then there were Chicago. There’s Austin and then there’s San Antonio. What’s cooler Chicago or New York? Give me Chicago any day of the week.
Justin: Next question. This is near and dear to my heart because when I was a young man, I had a mullet. A real, real mullet, but I think these things follow all of us in life. What is the terrible trend that you bought into when you were junior high high school?
Tim: This is a family show, but I do have a wonderful story of humping my geometry teacher, but I won’t get into that, in high school. Fros, back then, we literally have fro picks. We’d pick our hair off like the brothers. I actually had a fro and I have a fro. I made Julius Irving look like an amateur. There was a reason for that. This is honest to God true story. I don’t know if I can say it on this family show. Anyway, in my senior year in high school, I ended up getting a fro, permanent, from one of my teachers. I went to her house and she actually did it.
Justin: Hold on. You glossed over that. You got a perm?
Tim: A perm.
Justin: You said, a permanent, from a teacher. You get a perm in your hair?
Tim: Permanent. That’s why they’re called permanent.
Justin: I know, but most people–
Tim: A perm in my hair because that was a trend, and she graciously agreed to–
Justin: Do the perm for you.
Tim: Do the perm for me in her [crosstalk]
Justin: Different people, different upbringings. I’ve learned yours is very different than mine. I was quite edgy with mullet, but now it’s a cause for–
Tim: Did you have a Rush t-shirt too?
Justin: That was before me. I was post-Rush, pre-MC Hammer pants mullet. I was more Joe Dirt mullet.
Tim: I would bet in the greater Burke Bennett area, did you have a little wispy mustache?
Justin: No, and I couldn’t have a rat-tail. That was a rule my dad laid down. I could have a mullet but no rat-tail.
Tim: You had the proverbial pickup truck?
Justin: I’m talking I had a mullet when I was eight. Not when I was in high school. When I was a kid, I had a mullet. I’m sure I did a million of other terrible things whenever I was in high school, but I’m not going to [crosstalk]
Tim: Did you really have a piece of hay- sucking on a piece of hay too?
Justin: I had a bronco too. No truck. You’ve lived here your whole life. [unintelligible 00:12:52] Which one’s your favorite fiesta then?
Tim: King William Fair.
Justin: King William Fair. You throw a great party every year at King William Fair.
Tim: Every year. What we do is also we donate a bunch of money to the fair. That, to me, is what fiesta used to be and should be. Awesome neighborhoods. We have pride in the neighborhoods, pride in their friends. It’s by far, to me, the best of the–
Justin: Still small. Feels small. It’s still about noon.
Tim: By then, quite frankly, does anybody really remember?
Justin: The parade’s, what, nine o’clock or something?
Tim: Yes, but it’s over by 10 o’clock. The bar is open at 10:01. It’s getting people out of the office is the hardest part.
Justin: 10:01. Come on.
Tim: Maybe nine.
Justin: You have to test. I’m having guests for God’s sakes. All right. We’re fixing to get into some of your extracurricular involvement with television. You do produce a reality show, currently, on Bravo. Since we’re talking about reality shows and we’re going to talk about reality shows, what is your favorite reality show outside of the ones you’ve been involved in?
Tim: That’s a hell of a question. I’ll tell you why, because people don’t really understand the history of reality shows. The very first reality show was when HBO was a nascent network. It was called An American Family. It was about the Loud family. It was actually filmed early 1970s. It was the first time, actually, we’re going to follow a family around. It was going to be a joke because how could this be interesting? It became an absolute phenomenon. No one had ever done it before. They just follow the family drama, and no one really knew what was going to happen.
It was really reality TV. That really started the whole genre. If you go back and look at it, it was so well done and so good that it shows you that the form can be elevated into something more than just rich people screaming at each other. That got me interested in it. What’s going on today, unfortunately, is you have broadcast stuff, that is for entertainment. Then you have reality shows. Stuff like a little shot in Mexico on the border, crime stuff. Incredibly serious subject matter show. If you’re looking for entertainment, below deck by far. It just ain’t as awesome. I happened to meet her a couple times. She is a pain in the ass. She’s great. That’s a very well-done show, I think.
Justin: I always thought the beginning of reality was Real World because they were one of the first movers on–
Tim: That was the first entertainment. I think, for entertainment, it was. That was geared toward an entertainment show as opposed to, really, a family drama, real drama in the family.
Justin: What would be the line between documentary and reality show then?
Tim: The spontaneity of it. I’ve done documentaries. I did one on a diviner called Halston. It did very well. It’s called Ultrasuede. They’re online. You can still buy it. Please do. We were on Showtime and we’re on HBO. We knew exactly where the story was going to go. It was a recreation of events that have already occurred. When you’re doing a documentary, you have a blueprint from A to Z. When we do these shows, we really don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s called a story bible. The story bible is, “Let’s go to dinner, and we’ll have a few cocktails and it’s because somebody said something about somebody else, turn the camera on, let’s what the hell happened.” In that aspect, it really is real. That’s what people don’t really get and that people also don’t really understand how difficult it is to make these shows.
Justin: To be fair, it’s real, the same way like throwing an injured animal into a pen with a lion would be real, but you all are creating an arena for drama to occur with people that have been pre-vetted to probably be that lion.
Tim: Interesting though because it’s more like you throw a wolverine, a bear, a lion, a tiger, and some drunk guy with a gun.
Justin: All hungry?
Tim: Yes, and throw them all into a pit, and just see which one survives. You think maybe the tiger is going to pull it off but that little wolverine, quick. You don’t know.
Justin: I guess now, I never even thought about this but what’s the Showtime show that’s been following politics that follows– You know what I’m talking about? End of the circus or something like that?
Tim: I have heard the name of the show but sure.
Justin: You have that fine line between what a documentary is if it’s consistently paying out as opposed to a reality show that also follows a less structured. Really, if you think about it, there’s a gray area. Nobody would call Real Housewives a documentary but you could.
Tim: A documentary is a very specific format that you follow. In that regard, to say, when we were doing a documentary and also just how it was done. That was a really witty show and he did a great job with it. I was a producer on it, but they did most of the work but I took all the credit. They did all the work. Typical producer.
Justin: I’ve seen it. I saw your name.
Tim: It was scripted from day one. That’s still what we were trying to do. In other words, we were trying to really show in New York in the ’70s and ’80s. Really about Studio 54. The AIDS crisis was just starting. Stonewall in ’75. It just happened. All of these things. That was really what we’re trying to do when we voiced it through a designer named Halston. He was king of New York. You know where you want to end up. In other words, there’s no surprise because we know he died. We know where he lived. We knew the end of the story, and that’s the biggest difference.
Justin: That’s what I’m saying. This political one. Would you call that a reality show? Each episode changes as the campaign goes.
Tim: We call them docudramas.
Tim: Docudrama. Docuseries would be like a political show. It’s a docudrama.
Justin: Let’s go back a little bit, Tim. You were a practicing lawyer. I’m going to skip over. You came from a lawyer dynastic family in San Antonio. Your father’s a legend. You and everyone of your siblings, and I think almost all of your nieces and nephews of age are attorneys. You spend some time in politics, and then you became a practicing lawyer as well. At some point, you decided, “I’m going do film school.” Tell me about that.
Tim: This is an ode to young lawyerdom. I was very fortunate. Came out of law school, worked for my brother, Mike and Marynell. My sister-in-law was Marynell. She was a very famous, somewhat controversial, but excellent healthcare lawyer who’s actually died of cancer That’s also one of the Healing Hearts tributes. I worked for them for about a year, obviously couldn’t work for my family, just butting heads. When I’m on my own with literally one file, I had a DWI file. I had $14,000, I had a paralegal in one file, and went out on my own. Was very lucky, I met a guy named Troy Rafferty.
He was a lawyer from Pensacola, Florida. I got us something very exotic called mass torts. It’s two letter, too. We had a form to go into what that is now, but I got into it very early when nobody really knew what it was. I was fortunate enough to make some money. I’ve always wanted to move to New York and go to film school. I decided after five years of practice, “If I don’t do it now I never will.” I had a guy working for me, who’s still one of my best friends. I said, “Cover my back. I’m moving to New York.”
Justin: Was that Paul?
Tim: No, a fella named John Hyde.I moved to New York, did the proverbial. Living in SoHo, I had one of those lots where the elevators go into the apartment, you-lift-the-crate-up elevator.
Justin: Tough life.
Tim: It didn’t suck, [laughs] but went there. That’s right, actually met Whitney Smith. He’s still my business partner today. That was 24 years ago.
Justin: Whitney is the face on Ultrasuede. He’s the one doing the interviews, he’s one of your good friends, you and him have done a bunch of projects together.
Tim: He’s also the creator of Southern Charm. He’s on-air. In fact, he’s filming, literally, today in Charleston for the seventh season of Southern Charm.
Justin: Let’s get to that. I’m going to back you up a little bit. As a fifth-year lawyer, you say, “I’m taking a sabbatical,” which I wish I could do this. This is my sabbatical. You go to film school, you meet who becomes one of your best friends and business partners, Whitney, and one of the first things you all did was a show called Bubba and Ike, is that correct?
Tim: Yes, that’s correct. That was an absolute true story.
Justin: Tell us about it.
Tim: I’ll address quickly, I had a checkered, undergraduate career at the University of Texas. I had been there at nine years [unintelligible 00:22:16]
Justin: Tommy Boy.
Tim: Basically, but I was working at politics most of the time. I was working with the Capitol. Back then, you could take six hours. I wasn’t in any real hurry because, back then, it cost $36 a semester to go to UT. It was $3 an hour. Basically, back then, we had free education to go to college. What the hell ever happened to those days? I don’t know. I’ve been there so long that finally, Dean called me up. She goes, “Tim you need to get the hell out of here. You’ve been here and you need to move on.” She said, “What are you going to do?” I said, “Thinking about doing this and that.” She goes, “All you need to do is you need to get a foreign language,” and I said, “Okay.”
They had these things called CLEP tests, which were basically you place that hour if you’re proficient. Didn’t speak a word of Spanish, but I had a very good friend who is a Peruvian soccer player. Back then it was kind of on the honor system. You just show up and you sign your name. I said, “Dude, here’s the deal. You go in, you sign my name, I’ll sign your name, but I just need 12 hours to graduate. Don’t go freaking nuts on me.” Finished it, I’m feeling good, get my degree, got to figure out my life. I’m 26, I got to do something. I got a call from Janet Littman. I still know her name. It was Dean Littman. I had been there so long she started out as my counselor and she had worked her way up to become the Dean of the Liberal Arts School.
Dean Littman calls me up and she goes, “Tim, this is amazing, because when you came here, you couldn’t speak a word of Spanish, and you just placed out of 48 hours of upper-division Spanish.”I’m like, “I crammed. I filled the bathtub up.” She was, “That’s great, because I speak fluent Spanish. Why don’t we just have a conversation?” I said, “Dean, I drain the tub, you know? That’s the way it works. You fill up, you drain it.” She goes, “Look, that’s awesome because I got two options for you. One, I expel you right here,” I’m like, “Is there a plan B?” She goes, “I can’t believe I’m saying this. Plan B is you have to go live in Spain for the summer.” I’m like, “Does that entail school?” She goes, “Yes, you have to actually go to school, but you have to go to Spain for the summer.” I ended up going to Spain and living in Spain.
Justin: I feel like we got off. Where does this come to Bubba and Ike?
Tim: I was sitting there, one of my roommates with a cat named Ike, and Ike was a true West Texas cowboy. His family has huge ranch. He was a real cowboy, rodeo, did the whole damn thing. What they would do, when you’re over there, they take you on these cultural tours. One of the cultural tours one day, his best friend was there, and his name was Bubba and Bubba made me look small. He’s probably 6’7, 350. A cowboy.
Justin: In Spain?
Tim: Yes. They’re both from West Texas, and they were doing the same thing I was doing.
Justin: They were working off their- got busted cheating, punishment?
Tim: That’s such a harsh term.
Justin: They where just in Spain with you.
Tim: I just think I was overly aggressive in my love of the Spanish language. Anyway, one of the day trips was they were going to take us to a Matador school, where they taught the little Matadors how to be bullfighters. Of course, Bubba and Ike, what we do is, find three cases of beer, load up the bus. We take 35 people, we go to this Matador school, we’ve already drank about a case of beer by the time we got there. We’re sitting there, and all these little Matadors come out. All the girls are just like, “Oh.” Glistening in the sun, these 17-year old Spanish dudes were like little gods and stuff. Of course, Bubba and Ike being around cows and the deers, and bulls–
Justin: They were home.
Tim: The first little Matador gets out there, and they let out a steer, because that’s what they practice on, not a real bull steer.
Justin: A neutered bull.
Tim: I guess so, a little one.
Tim: Bubba and Ike just start laughing, and they just start heckling the Matadors.
Justin: In Spanish or English?
Tim: Hell, English. They spoke Spanish as well as I did. They go, “You call that a bow? Are you kidding me?” Until finally one of the little Matadors comes over and says, “Señor, if you are so brave, but don’t you come down and fight a bull.” I swear to God, true story. Bubba just moves. He just moves everyone out of the way, and he jumps into the arena.
He gets in the middle and it’s just, “Let him loose” and all the little Matadors are all flipping out. They’re like, “Get out of there. Get the hell out of there,” “Hell, no. Let him loose.” They get so mad at Bubba, they actually let one loose. Sure enough, a damn steer comes out, it comes running right out. What does Bubba do? Bulldogs it, picks it up, throws it down, takes his belt off, and hogtied at all four feet, and walks away. All the little Matadors were so emasculated. They just walked out. You can see their little hats almost turned down, walked out. Absolute true story, and that was our first short film.
Justin: Okay, the film was just based on these personas?
Tim: Yes. [crosstalk] It did really well. We actually opened for two big Hollywood films, premiers.
Justin: That was late ’90s?
Tim: Yes, late ’90s early 2000.
Justin: Then Ultrasuede was after that?
Tim: Yes, Ultrasuede was a few years, but we did like several short films and then we got hired by Harvey Weinstein and Dimension Films. Mike Zumas hired us, because we had done a really good script. In fact, when wrestling was really getting big, back in the day, we had done a real comedy, funny script.
Justin: Getting big for the second time. There was the Hulk Hogan era, then [unintelligible 00:28:15]
Tim: This one had been right at The Hulk Hogan era little bit. Everyone wanted to do a wrestling movie and Zumas, he offered the bar script. He auctioned it up and said, “This is a film we want to do.” David Arquette, at that time, also had a wrestling script.
Justin: He made his, is that right?
Tim: Yes, horrible, unwatchable.
Justin: Horrible actor. Unless you’re David Arquette, then you’re great.
Tim: I think he’s still married with Courtney Cox or not? He was doing something right. Anyway, they didn’t do our script, but Zumas always remembered it. He called us up one day and he goes, “Look, we’re doing a film called Van Wilder with this new actor called Ryan Reynolds.” Basically we got a script it’s like a Polish or stand up comedy. It sucks and we’re starting filming next week, “You guys interested in doing it?”
Justin: Pauly Shore shows were crazy successful, though.
Tim: That was huge. They had this new actor Ryan Reynolds they were going to break. Ryan Reynolds was going to be the big star. They said, “Okay, [unintelligible 00:29:19] We need to rewrite by Monday. You guys want the gig or not?” Of course, we did.
Justin: Where is this in your profession at the time? Had you gone back to practicing law part-time? Full-time?
Tim: Yes. I was in trials. I’d go out on weekends and work on this stuff. I’d leave on Thursday nights, I’d go out there and work on LA, and I’d come back Monday morning to practice law. I’m out there and Whitney and I literally stay up for two and a half three days, we rewrote 150-page script and it was really good. It was funny. Zumas loved it and he goes, “Look, Harvey wants to talk to you.” It’s Harvey Weinstein, right? I’m like, “I’ve got a little problem. I’ve got to be in Detroit, in federal court, on Monday with Jeff Fager because we have a [unintelligible 00:30:06] case going on. I need to have a day job thing, that’s a little bit important.” This is fun, this is a little bit Dr. Death thing. He goes, “You’ve got to be here, man, come on.”
I literally called the judge up, true story. I called the judge. I just laid it out. I’m like, “Honestly, Judge, one of my fun night jobs is do TV. I got this film thing going,” he goes, “All right, you know what? The hearing show up Tuesday, but damn it you better be at Tuesday.” We get in the room, I’m thinking, Whitney’s got a pitching. I write, but I don’t live in LA, pitching is not something I really did. Whitney is so nervous, he can’t pitch, he just freezes up, ”Man, you got to do it.”
Justin: Harvey, was supposed to be a very intimidating character, right?
Tim: Harvey, was so busy he decided he was going to call in from his jet. We have a speaker box in the middle of the table, and it’s Harvey Weinstein, ”All right, let’s hear it, what do you got?” I’m like, “The heck with it? I’ll pitch it.” I just figure like I’m giving an opening statement. I said, “I’m in court. I got to convince the jury, but now I got a bench trial with Harley Weinstein.” I do the pitch for about 25, 30 minutes. Zumas is laughing, I’m thinking, “I’m killing it,” and Weinstein says, ”Yes. You know what? I don’t think your character issympathetic enough, I’ll pass,” click. That was the end of it. After three days of work, getting there, that was my Harvey Weinstein story.
Justin: Who ended up writing the script then? Because the movie got made.
Tim: Yes, Van Wilder got made. Some people actually liked it. We thought it was awful.
Justin: You were all doing a rewrite on the script that actually ended up making the movie? Did you get paid? They paid for a rewrite?
Tim: Yes. They paid, absolutely. They put us up in a nice big suite, the Sunset Marquis.
Justin: Nice. Did you ever get to meet Harvey?
Tim: Yes, on a speakerphone, and that was it. That was the extent of my Harvey Weinstein story.
Justin: It’s the Tom Cruise character in Tropic Thunder supposed to be him?
Tim: Yes. That’s Harvey Weinstein. That literally is Harvey Weinstein, that was him.
Justin: Just obnoxious in your face?
Tim: At a minimum, he was the most hated guy in the history of Hollywood. That Tom Cruise character, that was Harvey Weinstein.
Justin: Unless you’re one of the actors that he pulled out of obscurity and gave an Oscar.
Tim: Even still. He would be that big a jerk because, “I made you, I found you.” That was the end of that. Then what happened about- Whitney and I made three or four more, I thought really good short films. We did one called Torture TV, it was so far ahead of its time.
Justin: I saw a mention to that today when I was working.
Tim: Torture TV, I still have a copy, it’s really good because we were sitting in New York we said, “Look, what’s going on now in the world?” we heard about CIA doing a bunch of this stuff. We did this over to the top thing, we said, “Who are the nicest people in the world? Australians” We set it in Australia, we hired these two Australian actors. One of them was on a show called Jag actually, anyway.
Justin: Like the lawyer Jag, it ran for ten seasons.
Tim: Yes. That show was on for a long time. Trevor, was our star, we did Torture TV. It was like a studio audience all clapping. In basic, it was like torture scenes from around the world. The Aussies, “That’s smart, mate.” [unintelligible 00:33:49] getting poked by stuff.
Justin: Wasn’t there an episode of Black Mirror or something like that?
Tim: Yes. Basically, I’m sure that’s where they got it from, we were in Film Festivals on this thing, but it got so controversial they just couldn’t play it.
Justin: What year would this have been?
Tim: 2000 maybe, I guess.
Justin: Well after the Faces of Death. [crosstalk]
Tim: Just before, probably, 9/11. Again, watching it, it was really well done. We were shooting on Panavision 35 millimeter cameras, we had really professional actors and it was about 30 minutes long film. We thought it was brilliant, we didn’t get that reception.
Justin: I’ve never asked you this, what is the deal with short films? What is the market for short films?
Tim: It’s a calling card. It’s, basically, to get you into the door for a feature.
Justin: That’s what I was wondering. Now, with Netflix, you could actually make 50 minute movies and people see them, but before–
Tim: Back then, it was festival work, and it was, basically, to say, “I can work on film,” because digital was still relatively new, so you still hadn’t known how to shoot on film and shooting on film is still an art. It really is, it’s incredibly hard to shoot on film, especially, 35 millimeter just because of the light, they still have grips, they still have lighting. You’re, basically, running about 12 minutes of tape a film, and you’re changing them out the cartridges left and right. If you screw it up, you’ve just screwed up $5,000 worth on films.
Justin: Tarantino is one of the few purists still, right?
Tim: Absolutely. There’s nothing like shooting on a 35 millimeter film.
Justin: Looks better?
Tim: You look at this film. They’re beautiful. Look, you just turn off the sound and look at it, beautiful.
Justin: At some point, you went from serious movie making and then, funny stuff as well, and now you’re into–
Tim: The Charleston story was Whitney’s mom, she is recently widowed, she was from the south, and she went to move out of Long Island where she–
Justin: Hold on, let me say. The Charleston story, we’re starting to talk about Southern Charm, which the original is based in Charleston. Now, you are doing something in New Orleans, tell me the origin story of Southern Charm.
Tim: Shockingly, involved a cocktail. I know. Go figure.
Justin: Whitney’s mom is famous for having her morning cocktails.
Tim: She is the, probably, number one, outside Lisa Vanderpump, probably, the number one reality star TV. Anyway, down Charleston, the story goes having a few cocktails, looking around going, “You know what? This is a cool town, didn’t really know much about Charleston, but it’s like a clean New Orleans.” I really didn’t know a lot about it, didn’t have that New Orleans smell.
Justin: We apologize if New Orleans is offended.
Tim: Anybody can offend them. I have that right.
Justin: It’s a beautiful city, it’s beautiful.
Tim: You know their history.
Justin: It’s the south, yes.
Tim: No. The history was the mistress of Sherman was living in Charleston, the Mayor went out and said, “Let’s cut a deal, we saw what you did to Atlanta. How about you just–” “What do you want?” Another Sherman marched in [unintelligible 00:37:09] that’s why the battery and everything is still there. I’m just sitting around, and we did a real– He and John Paul really did it, my other business partner, John Paul Horseman. If you’re a Billie Eilish fan, I’ll tell you that later. Shot the reel, sent it to Bravo, they liked it, next thing you know it’s seven years later, and it’s one of the top-rated shows on Bravo.
Justin: Southern charm, the regular, the original it’s on season seven now, but you and Whitney, much more your involvement the second time around started a spin-off series called Southern Charm, New Orleans.
Tim: Yes. We, basically, started a franchise. Again, I absolutely, want to emphasize Whitney really did- he don’t get enough credit because, he did create that entire franchise, he really did. Then New Orleans, we spent, probably 18 months casting. What’s interesting about New Orleans is it started out with an all-white mid 20s cast, we ended up with an all African-American cast, mid 30s. It show you how the transition can go, but you don’t know where the story it’s going to go. All of a sudden, we found much more interesting character.
Justin: Let me tell you my great disappointment with all reality shows. Specifically, the one you’re doing is, it doesn’t do enough to show the city, when I watched Treme on HBO, I wanted more, I wanted to know more about the city. Just like your Charleston story, of course, you need the drama, and of course, you need all that. I wish there was a hook for other people who are actually, interested in knowing more about the hidden gems of the city, the hidden history, the hidden culture.
Tim: The problem is you have 43 minutes and 17 minutes of ad time you got to sell. In that 43 minutes, you have to establish an audience who likes a character, not a city, we’re not selling a city, we’re selling a place, we’re selling a location. Unless, you have the right cast– We just completed a show in Austin that got submitted last week, we’ve got two new shows that we’re doing on Austin. Now, we hope to show more of the city itself, why Austin is a very cool place.
Justin: Is there a working title, is there?
Tim: I can’t disclose that at this point, it’s actually being reviewed as we speak, but we’re very optimistic about that show. That’s why you have to do it, reality show they’re based on one thing and that is the cast, the cast, the cast. Without the cast, it doesn’t matter how good the location is, the audience is not connecting with those individuals, then you’re not going to be picked up.
Justin: That’s really something the real world created, this ability to put random people in a room and they call it–
Tim: Now they call them Bravo liberties. We had this summer or I think it was last fall, they had the first Bravo-Con instead of Comic-Con, Bravo-Con [crosstalk] Madison square garden. It oversold by 14,000 people.
Justin: What was the average demographic?
Tim: From 15 years old to 80 years old.
Justin: More women than men I assume?
Tim: You would be surprised. It was probably 60, 40. It was all the cash from below deck, all the cash from Housewives shows, Southern Charm cash. It was like going to a Rolling Stones concert. People were just screaming.
Tim: Do not be [unintelligible 00:40:37] people. Seriously. The one coming up next year is already sold out. It’s already sold out.
Justin: I think you and me and Whitney were having margaritas probably right after season one of Southern Charm,and you left us because I don’t know, you were weak that day. Me and Whitney are sitting there and I thought, “Nobody knows this show.” Random two women come up. “Mark, are you Whitney from–” I thought, “This can’t be for real.” People were pointing and whispering at tables because they knew who he was.
Tim: Let me show you how big this is. This is probably off the route here. I can take it you’ve heard of Larry David, right?
Justin: I have.
Tim: He’s going okay. I know he’s going okay.
Justin: Pretty, pretty good.
Tim: Pretty good. Larry David’s girlfriend Ashley who could not be one of the nicest person you’ve ever met love Southern Charm. Loves it. Loves Whitney, loves the whole deal. Larry David contacts Whitney and says, “Look, I don’t know you but how are you doing? Can you do me a favor? My girlfriend loves the show and she’d love to get a job on the show.” What the hell do you think? Whitney said, “I think we could probably squeeze her in.” Ashley has worked on season six and she’s out there actually for season seven right now. Whitney and Larry David have become good friends all because his girlfriend loves Southern Charm.
They’re very passionate about it. I’m talking about they do more about the show than I do. I’m talking about, “Wait, why was she wearing that?” I’m talking about I get calls before the season airs and people want to know. They want to know what’s going to happen, what’s going on.
Justin: I remember one of our friends, we don’t have to mention them by name but you set up as a gift to his wife a meet and greet with Whitney’s mother if I recall.
Tim: Yes, absolutely.
Justin: That was a big deal to her.
Tim: It was her birthday. Their biggest thing was that her and about seven of her friends flew to Charleston and they were just saying, “Is there any possible way they could meet Pat Altschul which is Whitney’s mom.” All wanting to meet Whitney’s mom. I’ve known Pat since I’ve known Whitney.
Justin: Pat, she’s the mom from Arrested Development. Very [unintelligible 00:42:50]
Tim: Classier, but that type of person.
Justin: The mom from Archer.
Tim: Very, very, very much so. Her house is one of the most amazing houses in the South. It was the old public library built in 1880 something and it was dilapidated when she bought it. She spent millions and millions of dollars redoing it. She was gracious enough to host cocktails and [unintelligible 00:43:17] this group. This group traveled all over the world. They’re very wealthy professional people. They still talk about the idea that they got to meet Whitney’s mom. Can’t make that up for sure.
Justin: Politics aside, it just goes towards this cult of celebrity and how much celebrity matters in our country. From politics to that is what this guy’s wife wants for her birthday.
Tim: He and I rarely can even go out now without somebody at least two or three during dinner– We were just in Austin and it was probably– You ever been in a 616 what is it?
Justin: Ranch 616?
Tim: Right. Down there. It was at least three sets of tables who came over asking while we’re having dinner, “Please get a picture. Can we please get a picture?” In the middle of dinner while you’re eating. I finally got it. I can only imagine what it must be at the really upper [unintelligible 00:44:15].
Justin: It seems miserable.
Tim: He goes, “Yes man, I can’t go out anywhere now without that happening.” I’m just like–
Justin: Does he like it?
Tim: He’s actually, believe it or not, very camera shy guy. For years he does not– If he could not be on camera, I think he would probably have that [unintelligible 00:44:34] I think it’s good for the show, but he’s much more preferred to direct and write and whatnot, but he’s not that comfortable with celebrity at all.
Justin: I know I’ve talked one time when he was in town he made a mention like he didn’t know how many more seasons he would be doing it and he keeps doing it. Kind of reluctantly, it seems like.
Tim: No because on the Q ratings, and Q ratings are basically how you judge a character’s popularity. That’s what advertisers need to see because when they’re buying actors they didn’t know how popular someone is. He’s got incredibly high Q rating and people are really disappointed when he’s not on the show. Every year he can sign on for a minimum of shows.
Justin: Do shows actually get correspondence where somebody watches episode six and they will care enough to send an email like, “We need more of so-and-so in the episodes”?
Tim: I’m talking about tens of thousands of emails. After a show of Southern Charm, I guarantee you close to two million people will watch the season premier. Twitter will go on all night long. It’s bizarre.
Justin: Southern Charm the original is still going on. Is Southern Charm New Orleans going on?
Tim: Don’t know yet.
Justin: It’s up in the air on whether it will be renewed for season three?
Tim: Yes, it is. It’s a shame but we don’t know. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of the business.
Justin: In San Antonio we have well-known actors. We have Tommy Lee Jones lives here, Jackie Earle Haley lives here. We have people that are–
Tim: [crosstalk] a lot of the time.
Justin: Him and his wife own bakery. We have people like yourself that are involved on the production side. Let me ask you this. The Texicanas was I guess San Antonio’s version of Real Housewives. I don’t really know any of them, but it was a single season run which on Bravo probably means it was not a very successful run.
Tim: It didn’t get renewed. I think it’s in hiatus, and I think there is some discussion that another network may be picking it up. They had a tough first season which every reality show for a season is always awkward and tough.
Justin: Because you got to build relationships to your viewers?
Tim: Yes. It’s three years. You have to be on three years before people will connect to your characters.
Justin: I hate the idea that people think of San Antonio on television. All I think about is Cloak and Dagger, the movie as the one San Antonio movie and then you think of Pee-wee Herman and The Alamo. Why do we not have a more involved movie or TV scene? We’re a large city, Rodriguez is from here. We have people that are connected.
Tim: Real and simple, taxes. New Mexico and Louisiana aggressively will give enormous tax breaks if you produce. Rodriguez doesn’t even shoot here. Linkletter Richard will shoot something here because he just likes it and he’s lived in Austin. [unintelligible 00:47:38] travel like us. Why we do not have it and it’s absolutely insane is like when we didn’t have horse racing or why we don’t have casino gambling. Used to be we didn’t have horse racing because it was in New Mexico, Oklahoma, all around. New Mexico is killing it. Every show is shot now. Breaking Bad. Every major show generally shot in Albuquerque or in New Mexico.
Justin: That bank robbery movie, that was the two guys, their family’s property was being taken by the bank.
Tim: [unintelligible 00:48:11]
Justin: Yes, that one. That movie is filmed based in all the little towns around where I grew up. Archer city, Henrietta, [unintelligible 00:48:20] I think are all mentioned in there but it’s filmed in New Mexico.
Tim: Yes. For example, if that was a $15 million budget film or $20 million budget film they would probably save almost $5 to $6 million. It’s a no-brainer. Louisiana is the same way. Georgia now has taken up the slack.
Justin: Georgia’s huge now.
Tim: Georgia has taken up a lot of the TV because that’s repetitive where its film is, you’re in there for probably six, seven weeks. The Theory is you’re doing 16, 18 weeks.
Justin: Is this a city issue though or is it a state issue?
Tim: No, a state issue.
Justin: Georgia, I think if I read correctly, they actually gives money to film producers and TV producers to come film in Georgia.
Tim: They can’t give you money they give you credits. That’s the insanity of why this state should be the number one production in the country because of all the history we have. That would take, again, leadership, foresight, legislative. It would be a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to our budgets. We get to have every film in the world shutter.
Justin: We have an identity that people want to know about.
Tim: The attitude, we’re not going to give them Hollywood people film of our hard-earned tax dollars when they’re so damn rich now. Now they want to get– Whereas New Mexico is going– Bill Richardson was really the one who really started, the former governor. He did the math actuary and said, “This is insane, just a publicity we’re going to get.
Justin: Better Call Saul, they highlight Albuquerque so much.
Tim: Absolutely. It’s insane.
Justin: We don’t have a ton of time left, so I want to spend a little bit of time talking to you. You and your brother Pat, at some point owned a Riverwalk restaurant called Presidio?
Justin: You owned a bar right there called Tequila Mockingbird?
Justin: Also I think there was event space.
Tim: Yes, there’s two stories of event space on top of it.
Justin: I want to ask you a couple of questions about that. You’ve told me the story one time and I think everybody would love to hear the story is, you had the perfect confluence of events at some point where the NBA All-Star team game was in town and Hard Rock was opening.
Tim: The greatest party in the history of San Antonio.
Justin: [chuckles] Tell us about it.
Tim: That really wasn’t true. Pat and I again, we had the good fortune of making a lot of money in law. Next to my dad’s building, we had a parking lot which had access to the river right across from La Mansion. There was a lot of construction going on downtown, one of those occasional downtown renaissance and also next door to us, Pat Kennedy who owned the La Mansion across the street owned the building next to us. Then some gentleman from the Netherlands owned the Aztec Theatre at that time. That whole block was ripe for development. Actually Henry was the head director at that time. We actually worked with the city and-
Tim: [unintelligible 00:51:18] worked with the city to redo that block. We built this beautiful development still there, called Presidio Plaza. It’s now Rita’s– Western I think owns it now.
Justin: Rita’s on the river, the restaurant there?
Tim: Yes.That building is what we built and phenomenal, beautiful building, all brand new construction. In 1996, this is I will digress just a second we were– At that time, I was actually in the middle of a lawsuit with a young lawyer from Kansas City named Matt Keenan, who worked for Shook, Hardy, Bacon, and we were selling a bunch of pharmaceutical cases that day. He brought in guys from New Jersey. I think I sold like 14 cases. Clearly it was a good day. I asked I said, “Matt, You’re going to hang around?. He goes, “I think I got to head back to Kansas City.”
I said, “Look, man, I’m having a pretty good party tonight. If you want to hang around, he’s like, Yes, okay.” He had no idea it was going on. What was going on that night, was the– Planet Hollywood used to throw the greatest opening parties in the world. They would fly in Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis. There would be 30 [crosstalk]
Justin: That’s when Arnold, Bruce, and Stuart [crosstalk]
Tim: When they were [crosstalk]– They were actually part owners of the actual– They would bring in all of their friends. We had every celebrity in the world flying in that night to go to our restaurant at Planet Hollywood there. Then we had this other little event, the NBA All-Star game was going on, that’s next night. Jordan called up with Kobe, and they would need an event space, and they heard about the Hollywood party and we had two floors of catering space. They rented out the entire second floor for their private party. In the same building, we not only have the Planet Hollywood, but we also then had the NBA All-Star game super-private party.
There’s actually an aerial shot of it that’s still up in my office. 110,000 people showed up. They had to bring in cops from literally [unintelligible 00:53:15] because it was so crazy. The funniest story, and we’ll conclude on this, the funniest story was during the end of the night or during the middle of the night, actually, I lost Matt Keenan. Matt Keenan is this Kansas farm boy, naive, nicest white kid you have ever met in your life.
Justin: Now, be careful. He might listen.
Tim: Matt loves this story. He was senior of the year at the University of Kansas. Student body [unintelligible 00:53:42]. Everything a mama would want her boy to be. I lose Keenan. It’s all-access VIP pass. He’s just walking around with a cocktail [unintelligible 00:53:55], “You throw a hell of a party. Man, this is great.” He’s standing next in the elevator and all of a sudden there’s a bunch of security and elevator opens, and he gets shoved into the elevator. He doesn’t know what the hell is going on. He looks around and it’s Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and a bunch of security guys and Matt Keenan. [laughs] Get up to the second floor, everybody get off the elevator. Keenan walks in. He’s got one drink.
Justin: You brought the accountant. [laughs]
Tim: I didn’t know and it’s like every MBA or so guy is there with their entourage. It was a cool party and Matt came in. Finally, he said the funniest story was, he was just sitting there, having a drink, looking around going, “You do throw a good party, man.” I went up there. He’s by himself, he’s having a drink. All of a sudden, I think it was Jordan who came over, it may have been Kobe, but it was one of them. I don’t want to mistake it because of what’s going on with Kobe. I think it was Jordan, came up to him and said, “Look, man, we got to ask. You got to be one bad dude because we don’t even know who the hell you are, and you are in the hardest ticket party in the world right now and you’re just having a drink in this bar. Who the hell are you?” “Hi, I’m Matt Keenan.”
Justin: True story. Right place, right time.
Tim: Exactly. He got to go to the party of the year. You know what, I never had difficulty selling cases right after that.
Justin: I wish you had more dirt on him though.
Tim: No. Matt [unintelligible 00:55:24] true story.
Justin: Tim, next time Whitney is in town, I want both y’all to come on.
Justin: You’re currently I’m not going to be–
Tim: In fact, he’ll be here next week in Austin.
Justin: Next time you’re in San Antonio.
Tim: Sure, absolutely.
Justin: I don’t think this is saying anything into a bit but you’re currently talking to Tanya Tucker. She’s having a renaissance right now and you’re talking to her about options. You recently had dinner with Cybill Shepherd here in San Antonio for the San Antonio Film Festival.
Tim: Very nice folks, absolutely.
Justin: You’ve got other projects coming up. I know you all are working. You and Yami [unintelligible 00:55:59] here in San Antonio, she’s involved with a group that you all are doing and you’re working on many projects.
Tim: We got three shows set on the border in Juarez and what’s really exciting is that my partner John Paul Horseman. Because the three partners– Actually four, it’s myself, Whitney Smith, John Paul Horseman and Yami [unintelligible 00:56:21]. John Paul is one of the great editors in Hollywood. He has been working with a young singer who’s done pretty well. Billie Eilish, who– I would lie to say that I’m a–
Justin: I don’t know who she is. I know she’s very popular and won a bunch of awards.
Tim: Yes, she just won five Grammys. Most importantly, she just got the James Bond film.
Justin: That’s right.
Tim: She is doing the theme song. They do a video off of that, and she insisted the only way she would do it if John Paul would be her editor. John Paul now is editing the new James Bond video.
Justin: It’s good loyalty.
Tim: Yes, it is. Just saw the email she wrote, it’s very touching, saying he has the best professional, blah, blah, blah, and she insisted he be the editor. They sit side by side. She actually directs her own videos. She is 17, just turned 18 and she directs them all. He really, really is a huge fan of hers.
Justin: Makes you feel like maybe you’re not being productive enough when an 18-year-old is doing that.
Tim: Yes, but she’s really happy, winning five Grammys and being worldwide famous.
Justin: Next time you and Whitney are going to come back on and I’m gonna have to tell Whitney also family-friendly, so warning–
Tim: Oh, god. I can’t wait to see that.
Justin: All right, Tim, thank you very much for joining us. We got to talk about your [unintelligible 00:57:37] into reality television and other things. Outside of law, you’ve got a lot to add and it’s interesting story, and I’m glad you shared it. We’re going to share some more. On every episode, I’m going to give my guests wish-list my top three that I’m hoping I can get on the show at some point right now. If you can help let us know. Coach Pop, Robert Rivard and Jackie Earle Haley. Thank you, everybody. Join us next time. Hold on.
Tim: You know, just saw Pop at Signature. He was sitting there, and it was right before the quarantine started. He was sitting in there with a very fine bottle of wine with some other person. I left him alone because it looked like it’s probably be pretty good time–
Justin: He is intimidating
Tim: He is. You know what, He is a pretty intimidating guy, but I’ll tell you what he was drinking some damn good wine.
Justin: If anybody listening out there or Tim. If anybody can help me with any of those three, let me know and thank you for joining us.
Thanks for joining us on this episode of the Alamo Hour. You’re what make this city so great. We hope you join us next week. In the meantime, subscribe to our podcast. Check us out on firstname.lastname@example.org/alamohour or website alamohour.com. Until next time, Viva San Antonio.
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