Questions & Answers

 

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Name:             TJ
E-mail:            TDriscoll@kw.com
Date:               5/1/14

Hey Josh :

long time no talkie (It your Dean from 'Hammer')...Hope things are well with you? Have some questions about 'Running Time'? How much choreography of the shots did you do prior to the shooting? and what were the major problems you ran into during production?

Dear TJ:

Long time no hear. All of the choreography was worked out in advance. There's no way to get the actors and the camera in the places you want them at the right moments unless you work it out in advance. Unlike my other films which I either storyboarded or made shot lists, for RT I drew overhead diagrams of the floor-plans, where the actors would be as where the camera would be. This was imperative to get the cuts between reels to come out in the right places. It's very similar in "Birdman" except they had the ability to do digital transitions, which I thought they used well. Also, I stayed in real time, whereas they are doing time transitions because their story takes place over a couple of days. I'd love to hear a comparison between RT and "Birdman." Are you still in Alaska?

Josh

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               5/1/14

Dear Josh :

Who do you like to win the big boxing match this weekend? I'll take Mayweather.

Dear David:

I predict Mayweather on points. I think he'll dance around and stay away and pop Pacquio now and then, then take it to a decision. This fight should have happened 5-6 years ago.

Josh

Name:             Andrew Harris
E-mail:           
Date:               4/26/14

Dear Josh :

I see you have several historical novels that you have recently published and that you also have experience in movies. Which novel do you believe would make the best motion picture? I am getting started as a film producer and would like to try to get one made. Thank you, Andrew Harris

Dear Andrew:

Write to me personally at josh@beckerfilms and we can discuss it.

Josh

Name:             JF
E-mail:           
Date:               4/25/14

Dear Josh :

Your answer about Birdman's got me curious - what are your favourite movies about making movies? Is it a subgenre you like or don't particularly care for given you've lived in Hollywood and been through the trenches yourself? Obviously there are stone cold classics like Singin' In The Rain or Sunset Boulevard, but what of more recent takes like The Player or David Cronenberg's latest, Map To The Stars? (My own dubious top 5 of the last 25-ish years since no-one asked: Matinee, Ed Wood, The Wizard Of Speed & Time, The Player, Mulholland Drive) Bonus question: should we still hold out hope for a Synapse edition of Running Time, or has that ship sailed? Best wishes, JFSpine Chillers update please?

Dear JF:

What I dislike most about movies-about-movies is that they rarely if ever show the process correctly. Since movies are very much a hurry-up-and-wait process, false drama is constantly used to create tension, like the leading lady won't come out of her dressing room, or the director is pitching a fit. Ultimately, most of filmmaking is in either pre- or post-production, which often takes years. Anyway, a good one in my opinion is "The Bad and the Beautiful."

Josh

Name:             lou
E-mail:           
Date:               4/25/14

Dear Josh :

Spine Chillers update please?

Dear lou:

The first nine episodes are completed and the idea is to stick them all together and see if someone will release them. The final two episodes, "Spoon Dog" and "The Wraith," will remain unseen until then. What happens after that, only God knows. Chris wants to make a feature, Paul and his good buddy Robbie, who starred in "Road Kill," have another script they want to do, and I'm just watching it all shake down.

Josh

Name:             Jeff C.
E-mail:           
Date:               4/22/14

Dear Josh :

You're liked that piece of shit, "Birdman"? I found the characters totally unlikeable, the plot was ridiculous, the constant camera movements was jarring and nauseating.

Dear Jeff:

Then I guess you wouldn't like my film "Running Time" which is it's direct precursor. "Birdman" is about the relevance of art--does it means anything? You can paint a buffalo on a wall, or you can paint the Sistine Chapel. Does one have more meaning than the other? Does being Birdman or Batman have more meaning than doing a four character drama based on Raymond Carver stories? Can he actually fly, or does he just hit the pavement below? These are questions that I think about. What matters? If Ed Norton tries to fuck Naomi Watts right before the scene, is he an asshole or is he a real actor trying to find the moment? I wouldn't argue that "Birdman" got Best Picture because it brought up the most questions. Did Alan Turing invent the Turing Device and have a decisive a profound impact on WWII? Yes. Did the kid in "Whiplash" learn to play the drums? Yes. Did Birdman fly away at the end? I kinda fuckin doubt it.

Josh

Name:             l
E-mail:           
Date:               4/22/14

Dear Josh :

What's your advice about working for free in the hopes of getting exposure down the road or do you think freebies just result in more freebie requests?

Dear I:

You're worth what you charge. If you haven't got much production experience, then it's a good thing to get on a set and see how they run. Regarding writing, I not only wouldn't write a script for free, I wouldn't even read a script for free. As John Gregory Dunne wrote in his book, "Monster," every asshole studio executive thinks that they're a writing, they just don't have time. Anybody who has time to actually be writer must be an asshole. I'll write a three-page treatment if I honestly and truly feel like they will pay me for a 12-page treatment, but that's as far as I will go. Now we need a contract.

Josh

Name:             Bob
E-mail:           
Date:               4/19/14

Dear Josh :

I don't know if this question makes a lot of sense, but which film do you think holds up over time better, The Shawshank Redemption or LA Confidential? I like LA Confidential more but I am thinking both about the same.

Dear Bob:

I like them both very much. If I have a gripe it's with "L.A. Confidential" because it became needlessly violent at the end. Both films look great and have a terrific sense of their time period.

Josh

Name:             Tim
E-mail:            NativeBlood66
Date:               4/17/14

Good Evening Josh :

It's been a while since I've written. Have you ever noticed at times that the more you attempt to apply rational thought to some situations that occur in life or questions that come up the less sense these situations or questions seem to make? It's like that damn "brain cloud" is working over time or something. In any event I just read your story "The Gospel According to Judas" which you wrote in 1997 and which also somehow has floated beneath my radar all these years. I read that right after I read "The Oppressor Is Always Wrong - Jews vs. Everybody". Both of those writings are awesome Josh. While "Oppressor" is total truth "Judas" smacks of the truth. I've picked apart so many of your writings concerning this that it wouldn't make sense to the average Joe I guess. In "Oppressor" you mentioned "imaginary God" but I've read your responses on other questions where you seem to admit the validity of the existence of a man called Jesus in ancient Israel. Therein came my mind screw which I did entirely to myself. How? Because even though I have gone to great lengths to rid myself of religious indoctrination and dogma seeing the name "Jesus" still rang some supernatural ding-a-ling in my head. That's how powerful it is. You allow for Jesus and his existence but you never said or wrote that his existence was a supernatural one. "Judas" clarifies with a between the lines cup check if you know what I mean. For me personally your writings have been liberating. How did we get here and is there any purpose behind it all? Who the hell knows? Thanks again for the time you devote to your website and your writings. Have a great weekend. Tim

Dear Tim:

Why wouldn't there be a fellow named Jesus of Bethlehem? The Romans were exceptionally adept at keeping records. But I put forth that he was just a man with a theory, and a good one at that. God isn't anything more than the love we display to one another. Pre-Jesus God was a vindictive prick who would make you burn in hell for all of eternity for eating shellfish. Post-Jesus God was love and how kind can we be to one another. Of course, the Romans didn't buy this theory, nor did many Jews, but it's a pretty good theory. Is it true? Well, I personally think it's a better theory, but it's not more than that. If you've read my essay, "Entropy," I think that God is just a closed system and we can either be kind or assholes, it's up to us. Nothing is going anywhere. Let's take on the Muslims, shall we? What's the difference between the Sunni and the Shi'ites? Who is more directely related to Mohmmad? All of us. One group is descended from Mohammed's cousin, the other is directly related to Mohammed--if we care to buy the literature from 1,500 years ago. I think it's all a bunch of nonsense. I think the Inuit eskimoes have a every bit as much right to believe that God is a walrus. I think the Hindus have every bit as much right to believe that God has ten million names. It's all mythology. If you think that killing a cartoonist for depicting Mohammed ought to be killed then you're an infidel that's unworthy of the belt you use to keep your pants up.

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               4/16/14

Dear Josh :

This is for your webmaster. What happened to the search button on the site ? Can it be brought back ? It was useful to look up topics.

Dear Paul:

I may have overlooked/forgotten about it and accidentally left it out when I redesigned the front page. The script should still be there and I may be able to find the search button on an older version of the main page. I'll look into it.

Kevin

UPDATE: Search Engine re-added to the front page.

Name:             Brian
E-mail:           
Date:               4/11/14

Dear Josh :

What were some of the last truly great films to come out of Hollywood that you can remember? I last saw Unforgiven (1992) and i think its a little overrated though by no means a bad film; the moral ambiguoity was well written i thought

Dear Brian:

What's ambiguous about it? Little Bill killed his Bill Munny's friend. Now he's going to die because he took on someone tougher than him. "Who owns this shit-hole? "I bought it from Greely." "Good. Now anyone who wants to live better step away from that guy. Anyone who decorates his place with my friend better be willing to die." And he shoots him. "You must be William Munny out of Kansas City. Assassian of women and children." "I've killed women and children. I've killed everything that walks and crawls. And now I'm about to kill you, Little Bill." Does Little Bill not deserve to die? He killed Ned.

Josh

Name:             The Archivist
E-mail:            Echo Chamber
Date:               4/9/14

Dear Josh :

I suspect others will also remind you but here is the complete exchange you made last year:

******************** ******************** Name: Nicholas E-mail: therealnickelass@yahoo.com Date: 11/11/14 Dear Josh : Now that Starz has given the go ahead for a new Evil Dead tv show what are the odds that we will ever see a Josh Becker directed episode... or would you even want to travel down that road again?!? I only ask because you were pretty involved with Hercules and Xena throughout the years they were running. As well as Jack of All Trades. Dear Nicholas: You will NEVER see a an episode of "Evil Dead" directed by me; that is an utterly impossibility. And, quite frankly, I would rather shoot my toe off with a shotgun than get anywhere near anything Evil Dead-like under any circumstances. I'm being interviewed by the BBC in less than an hour (to be broadcast on Nov. 15) and I will certainly tell them so. Josh ******************** ********************

The "I would rather shoot my toe off with a shotgun" implies you would turn down an offer to be involved.

Dear Echo:

You're right. I guess since I knew that I would never be hired I took the offensive. But of course, were they to hire me I would take it, strictly for the money. But that will not occur. I certainly don't sit here and mope about it; nor is it something I particularly desire. C'est la vie. And I don't know if the BBC ever ran that interview, either. I got a sense that they couldn't get anybody else to discuss the film but me, and apparently they didn't much care what I had to say. To me, this ongoing in interest in ED is part of the omnipresent interest in crap, which seems to fuel many people, with Quentin Tarantino at the forefront. I believe that it has dulled everybody's interest and ability in discerning what's good. I've now seen most of the big, Oscar-nominated pictures of 2014 and there isn't a great film in the bunch. I enjoyed: "Whiplash," "The Imitation Game" and "Birdman," but none of them are anywhere near terrific, and none of them made me feel like I needed to see them again. I don't think that I've ever made a really good film, but I certainly have tried. And I believe the aforementioned movies tried, too. Maybe it's just not in in the zeitgeist of the times. I must say, though, that this never-ending discussion of ED is wearisome.

Josh


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