The LAist Interview: Silvio Horta

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This week writer/producer Silvio Horta fields LAist's 20 Questions. The Silvio Horta ouvre includes television shows "The Chronicle" and "Jake 2.0," and the horror flick Urban Legend. Contrary to generally accepted entertainment history lore that Josh "Phenom" Schwartz of "The O.C." is the youngest TV show runner at 27, Silvio was actually the industry's youngest show runner at the tender age of 26.

1. Age and Occupation:

30. Writer.

2. How long have you lived in Los Angeles?

Eight years.

3. Where are you from?

Miami, FL

4. Let’s get the bonehead question out of the way. How did you break into the entertainment industry?

I’d graduated NYU Film School and moved out here intent on taking a job, ANY JOB, in the entertainment industry. I couldn’t even get a gig as a PA so I started working as a perfume spritzer at Norstrom’s Westside Pavilion. Around the same time my one feature spec, a dark comedy set at the Gap, got me representation and meetings around town.

It was while I was at Nordstrom’s working – or actually not working, I would routinely disappear into the shoe department so I can avoid customers – that I had the idea for Urban Legend. Horror movies were suddenly hot again after Scream and I’d been wanting to write a movie about urban legends for a while. It seemed like a no-brainer. Anyway, I developed the pitch, sold it and it was one of those things that never happen: I wrote the script, they greenlit the movie almost immediately, shot it and I was at the premiere less than two years after moving out here.

For all the criticism that people heap on the city and the entertainment business in particular, there’s very few places where someone can literally move out with no money and zero connections, yet on the basis of luck, timing and a little talent, succeed.

Continue reading the LAist Interview with Silvio Horta after the jump!

5. What's your latest project?

It's a pilot for ABC called "Westside," set in the world of LA real estate agents. It's soapy and bitchy--but with heart!--and a lot of fun to write.

6. Please share your most treasured movie and/or television guilty pleasure.

Well, I'd say Showgirls but I feel no guilt about loving it as much as I do. It's one of the most entertaining movies ever made.

Also, being a writer and knowing how many layers of notes you have to go through before the first frame is even shot, I live vicariously through Joe Eszterhas for getting away with lines like "It must be weird not having anybody cum on you." - During a poignant moment! He's my hero.

7. What does the American television viewing public need to see more of that we're not getting now? More watching people degrade and humiliate themselves? The demand for that seems to be insatiable.

Yes, we should just keep pushing the envelope. I'd love to see Paris Hilton having sex with a horse. That would be "hot," as Nicole Ritchie says.

8. What's your favorite LA-based movie and TV show?

God, there's so many. Mulholland Drive really captured that underlying sense of unease most of us feel living here. I love the way "Six Feet Under" uses the city. And I just know from the ads and Heather Locklear's magnificently preserved features that "LAX" will be my favorite thing set in LA EVER.

9. What's the best place to walk in LA?

3rd Street between La Cienega and Fairfax. But I'm biased 'cause that's my neighborhood.

10. It's 9:30 pm on Thursday. Where are you coming from and where
are you going?

Well, Jessica, I'll probably be coming from a "hot" Hollywood premiere and heading to a "scorching" party at White Lotus before capping it off with Saketini's at Salma Hayek's house in the Hills.

Actually, I'd probably be home ordering Chinese food.

11. If you could live in LA during any era, when would it be?

Probably the 80's 'cause that's when I first became exposed to LA in movies and TV. From the main title sequence of "Moonlighting" to the Randy Newman "I Love LA" video, LA was defined to me as a place of big hair, expensive cars and garish neon. Not that that's really changed or anything, but it'd be cool to tool around a convertible with Corey Haim and Corey Feldman, blasting Flock of Seagulls, wearing shoulder-padded jackets and slipping our Ray-Bans down to the tip of our noses whenever we REALLY wanted to check something out.

12. What's your beach of choice?

Laguna Beach.

13. What is the "center" of LA to you?

Again, my neighborhood. "Beverlygrove" as the local real estate agent has named it.

14. If you could live in any neighborhood or specific house in LA,
where/which would you choose?

The Frank Lloyd Wright house off of Crescent Heights.

15. What is the city's greatest secret?

There's a great parking space in West Hollywood, smack dab in the center of things but no one realizes it's a parking space. That's all I'm gonna say.

16. Drinking, driving. They mix poorly, and yet they're inexorably
linked. How do you handle this conflict?

I actually drive better when I'm drunk.

No, cabs are a great thing, but driving is so ingrained in the culture here, most people don't even think about taking a taxi when they head out. But they're relatively inexpensive (especially compared to a DUI) and you can usually find someone who could drop you off at the end of the night. Though there's no guarantee they won't be drunk themselves.

17. Describe your best LA dining experience.

To me, a great LA dining experience is defined not only by the quality of the food, but by some sort of uniquely LA occurrence during the meal. So a wonderful steak at The Palm doesn't really count. But a wonderful steak at The Palm while overhearing Ashton and Demi discussing Kaballah water does.

18. Having lived on both ends of the eastern seaboard, what do you have to say to East Coast supremacists?

I'd like them to keep badmouthing the city so people will stop moving out here.

19. Do you find the threat of earthquakes preferable to the menace of hurricanes and long winters?

Not really, because they're over and done with so quickly. Hurricanes last for a while, you could prepare for them, the whole family gathers together...they're a lot of fun.

20. Where do you want to be when the Big One hits?

Anywhere but the parking structure at Hollywood & Highland.