Questions & Answers

 

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Name:             Keith
E-mail:           
Date:               3/26/14

Dear Josh :

In a response to a question sent to you on September 30 of last year, you wrote that Harry S Truman was someone that you greatly admire. What about Mr. Truman's character and life do you see as admirable? Have you ever considered writing a screenplay or novel that involved him as a major character?

Dear Keith:

I admire everything about Harry Truman: his character, his philosophy, his politics, and the way he conducted his life, before, during, and after his presidency. Truman was certainly one of the smartest and well-read of all the presidents so far. He had read every book in the Independence, Missouri public library by the time he was fourteen years old. He was a historical scholar, and once said that had he not gone into politics he would've been a history professor, or a piano player at a Kansas City whore house (he was an accomplished pianist). He had such strong scruples that after his presidency he never once took any job based nor made any endorsement on the fact that he had been president. He also said many times, and I believe him, that, other than starting the CIA, he had absolutely no regrets in his life--he made a decision, like dropping the atomic bombs--and he lived with it. When asked what he did after ordering the bombs to be dropped on Japan, he said, "It was late, I went to bed." He was then asked, "Did you have any trouble sleeping?" and he shook his his head, "No. None."

Josh

Name:             Keith
E-mail:           
Date:               3/26/14

Dear Josh :

Reading about H.P. Lovecraft, it’s apparent that where he lived had an effect on his creative output. Lovecraft moved to Brooklyn for about two years, felt miserable there, and wrote very few stories. Once he got the hell out of New York and returned to his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, he wrote many stories in a short period of time. Do you feel like where you live has an effect on the quality of your own writing? For example, are you generally more inspired to write in Michigan than you were in LA? Your essay “Bailing Out on Los Angeles” makes it clear you weren’t happy living in that part of southern California.

Dear Keith:

No, location doesn't mean anything to me regarding writing. I wrote a lot in L.A. and I've written a lot back here in Michigan. I just like to write. I have presently stopped writing historical novels because I cranked out nine of them in two years, and they all need quite a lot of rewriting--except "Mann's Revenge," which you can get as an ebook on Amazon. But I'm noodling with several new ideas right now, too.

Josh

Name:             Bob
E-mail:           
Date:               3/22/14

Dear Josh :

I am curious about the legal relationships between production companies and studios or TV networks. Are the actors in either a motion picture or television show ordinarily employees or under contract with the production company or with the studio or network? Thanks.

Dear Bob:

Studios don't have actors under contract anymore, not since the old days. Each film is its own deal, and the production company hires everybody--although they certainly get suggestions from the studio executives. When I made "Harpies," as a small example, the producer was given a list of five or ten acceptable actors, one of which, sadly, was Stephen Baldwin. But it was going to be Tom Sizemore until about a week before shooting. But, pretty much everything is sub-contracted now from the studio to a production company--which doesn't mean the studio just steps away; they interfere as much as they can, given how much power the filmmaker has. That's probably one of the reasons, beside salary, that Sony stopped hiring Sam to direct "Spider-Man," he was getting too powerful and was getting in the way of their interference. Sam is a master at dealing with execs, but even still, they want they're fingers in everything. With some new, young, dumb director they get to pay much less and get to boss him around much more. The worst position, however, from my experience, is being the writer. You come first and, as John Gregory Dunne said in his wonderful book, "Monster," and I paraphrase, "Every executive thinks they're a writer, they just don't have the time. And anyone who has the time to be a writer is an asshole."

Josh

Name:             Brian
E-mail:           
Date:               3/21/14

Dear Josh :

What did you think of ''Birdman''?

Dear Brian:

I haven't seen it yet, it's on its way. I let you know. What did you think?

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               3/21/14

Dear Josh :

The political talk a couple question ago brings to mind political films, films about politics, politicians, what have you. Anyways one that I always found relevant is "A Face in the Crowd" with Andy Griffith. The contrast between being phony and folk is a theme of "Hammer..." as well. Anyways your take or choice on "political film" Thanks...

Dear Paul:

I really like "A Face in the Crowd" and I think it's still extremely relevant. That anyone falls for any politician's folksy horseshit at this late date--say, Mike Huckabee now, but George W. before--is ridiculous. I don't think there have been many good political films--"Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" immediately jumps to mind, but I don't find that film particularly watchable anymore (then again, I'm not Capra's biggest fan, either). I just watched "Seven Days in May" again which is really a thriller, but about politics, and it's a terrific premise--an attempted military coup of the U.S. by an extremely right-wing general. This seemed like prime material for a remake.

Josh

Name:             Alien Termite
E-mail:           
Date:               3/20/14

Dear Humanoid Josh :

You really thought "Foxcatcher" was the worst movie of 2014? Obviously, you haven't subjected yourself to "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", "A Million Ways to Die in the West", "Tammy", "The Interview", "Sex Tape", "Ouija", "A Haunted House 2", "I, Frankenstein", "Dumb and Dumber To", "Transformers: Age of Extinction", "Left Behind", and the crown turd of 2014, "Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas." Check out some of those winners, then say "Foxcatcher" was the worst of the year. Sheesh.

Dear Alien:

I was just saying it was the worst film of 2014 that I've seen so far. And I can assure you that I won't see the films that you've mentioned. I no longer go out of my way to see everything, only the films that look good. Right now I'm catching up on the big, Oscar nominees, and of those, "Foxcatcher" was the worst.

Josh

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               3/18/14

Dear Josh :

If you liked "The Homesman", check out the other western that Tommy Lee Jones directed, "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada". Really gorgeous cinematography and an interesting story.

Dear David:

I will, although Mr. Jones certainly isn't doing himself any favors with these titles. It's like, the worst thing about "Whiplash" is the title, which I keep mis-remembering as "Whirlpool" and "Whiphand." Meanwhile, I just saw the worst film of 2014, so far--positions previously held by "A Most Wanted Man" and "Fury," both of which I finished watching--was "Foxcatcher," which was so bad that I couldn't finish watching it. So, you can now get an Oscar nomination for putting on a fake nose and acting as dull as humanly possible, eh? And Channing Tatum couldn't have been duller if he tried (maybe he did). What I found particularly distressing was that it was so poorly directed by Bennett Miller, and I really liked his last film, "Moneyball."

Josh

Name:             Brian
E-mail:           
Date:               3/17/14

Dear Josh :

Have you read Vincent Bugliosi's book ''Prosecution of George W Bush for Murder''? A documentary also. I think no other argument does a better job of exposing Bush for who he really was. I like Bugliosi; his opinions tend to mirror my own, whether its on JFK conspiracy theories or OJ Simpson

Dear Brian:

I read his book on Manson many years ago and liked it, but that's it. It does sound interesting to me because I do think Bush is a murderer, and that he hasn't been called out in any way may be the biggest crime of the 21st century, so far. There's a very good documentary that may or may not be called "Playing With Fire," that utterly exposes the fact that both the CIA and the FBI, not to mention the U.N., knew there were no WMDs, but Bush, Chaney, etc. simply wouldn't buy it--they were going to attack Iraq under any circumstance, and 9/11 provided it. I just watched "The Panama Deception" about Bush Senior's bullshit with Noriega that was fascinating. That fellow can accuse Bill and Hillary of making exorbitant book deals, but so what? That's nothing compared to the deaths of over 100,000 people.

Josh

Name:             DS
E-mail:           
Date:               3/17/14

Dear Josh :

Any updates on that "true story" screenplay you wrote last year? It sounded very promising indeed. Also, did any of the 2014 films you saw impress you at all? Thanks!

Dear DS:

That script, entitled "Garage Band," was written for Bruce Campbell and his wife, Ida--it was her story--so now it's up to them. If I do say so myself, I think it turned out quite well. Meanwhile, I'm just catching up on the 2014 films, and so far I quite liked "Whiplash" and Tommy Lee Jones' "The Homesman," which has a couple of terrific performances and scenes, and, with reservations, I liked "The Judge"--Robert Duvall is, as always, great, and it's an extremely interesting premise. Robert Downey Jr. is too glib for his own good and it has at least three too many endings. I'm going to watch "Foxcatcher" tonight.

Josh

Name:             Ben
E-mail:           
Date:               3/14/14

Dear Josh :

Just some additional thoughts on Hilary: Bill is getting $12 million for his memoirs. Hilary is getting $8 million for hers. That's $20 million for memories from two people who for eight years swore, under oath, that they couldn't remember anything. Wow Joshie, you liberals sure know how to pick them. Hilary Clinton is a lying, fascist cretin, with the scruples of a rattlesnake, and if you want her to be the next president, then you must really hate this country... which is not uncommon for a modern Democrat, which has become a party of crybabies and welfare leeches.

Dear Ben:

If you voted for George W. Bush then you sir are culpable in the death of over 100,000 innocent Iraqis, as well as 5,500 American soldiers. Bush is an enormous stain on the history of this country, and certainly the worst president ever. And I just bet you voted for him twice. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Josh

Name:             John Colmbs
E-mail:           
Date:               3/13/14

Dear Josh :

I don't know about you, but I don't like all this talk about Hilary Clinton being anointed as the next President. Maybe she will be great, I don't know, but I at least want to hear her debates and have her work for it! I don't think she should just get it because her name is Clinton. Same with Bush. Are we a democracy or a kingdom? That's why I'm intrigued by a guy like Ben Carson. He's not corrupted by the political arena yet. Not saying I'd definitely vote for him, but I think he makes a lot of sense and has much going for him.

Dear John:

Some things came up and I didn't even turn on my computer for three days. Regarding Hillary Clinton, I think she's a shoo-in, and quite frankly, I like her. I think she's smart and tough.

Josh

Name:             John Colmbs
E-mail:           
Date:               3/2/14

Dear Josh :

Spine Chilers also reminds me of the 1980 film Creepshow and Creepshow 2, by George Romero and Steven King. Great movies with great casts like Leslie Neison, George Kennedy, and Ted Danson. Have you seen these films? Were they influential for Spine Chillers? Do you have a favorite story from them?

Dear John:

I really didn't care for either of them. They have that tone of it's not really horror but it's not really comedy, either. I prefer more horror movies scary and my comedies funny. I for one at least tried to be tricky, if not scary.

Josh

Name:             John Colmbs
E-mail:           
Date:               2/27/14

Dear Josh :

That's great to hear about the Spine Chillers. Any ETA on the next two? Which episode is your personal favorite?

Dear John:

Since the nine episodes are done, now it's simply an issue of putting them all together, adding whatever extras we want and packaging them. I don't know how long that will take, but I'd suspect at some point this summer. What's particularly interesting to me about this series is that we really didn't spend almost any money at all, and by the end they look pretty darn good. The episode that's gotten the biggest response (within our sphere) is #8, "Spoon Dog," written and directed by Chris Dinnan. I wrote an essay about it (and surrealist movies in general), "Movies That Make Us Feel Stupid," because I think it achieves something beyond a basic narrative, which many people try for, but few get right. But all of the episodes are honest attempts at trying to make a horror series that's not just exploitative bullshit. There are no zombies or college students locked in a cellar or aliens destroying the world; they're a serious attempt to make scary, creepy, occasionally silly, horror tales. I think that "Spine Chillers" shows what you can do when you really care about what you're doing, even if you have no money.

Josh

Name:             Keith
E-mail:           
Date:               2/27/14

Hi Josh :

In your 2000 essay "Reading Books", you included a recommendation for Harper Lee's TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Have you heard about Lee's plans to publish a sequel to it called GO SET A WATCHMEN? http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/02/How-the-Long-Sequel-to-Harper-Lees-To-Kill-A-Mockingbird-Was-Found/385131/ You are very much against movie sequels, but do you have a similar dislike for novel sequels and series?

Dear Keith:

It's not even a sequel because she wrote it first. I suspect if she'd wanted it published at any point in the past fifty years it would most certainly have been published. Yes, it is true that I don't like movie sequels which are always made to cash in on the first film. Books, on the other hand, are a whole other can of worms. They too can often be written for the very same reason, but frequently sequels, or a series, are just making use of a character that the writer liked, such as Nathan Zuckerman for Philip Roth, who is his alter ego. In any case, I wouldn't hold my breath that it will be as good as the first one.

Josh

Name:             John Colmbs
E-mail:           
Date:               2/25/14

Dear Josh :

Did you watch Christopher Dinnan's "film" Zeitgeist yet? Did you help with it in any way? Any news regarding Spine Chillerz?

Dear John:

Chris made that films years before we met, but I enjoyed it and parts have really stuck with me. Since we have nine episodes of "Spine Chillers," three each from Chris Paul and I, we are putting them all together as a DVD and the final touches are going on now. The final two episodes have not been posted, so they're a surprise.

Josh

Name:             Kevin Neece
E-mail:            webmaster
Date:               2/22/14

Dear Josh :

Waiting for the Oscars to start. Here's hoping Birdman gets Best Picture over Boyhood and Grand Budapest Hotel and Foxcatcher.

Dear Kevin:

You got your wish.

Josh

Name:             Si
E-mail:           
Date:               2/22/14

Dear Josh :

Hope you're well. Random question for you on the eve of the Oscars. What was it about "The Artist" that didn't work for you? At the time, I applauded it not for any silent movie gimmick, but for being unfettered, uncomplicated storytelling with likable performers, accomplished in less than two hours. Today, however, I believe that the appeal of "The Artist" had as much to do with its apparent novelty and the cinematic experience as the film itself. Like JJ Abrams' "Super 8", it wasn't novel at all, but it felt it - its unpretentiousness and innocence were a welcome breath of fresh air on cinema screens in late 2011. Timing can be everything. In the same way "The King's Speech" prospered with a royal wedding on the way, "Super 8" and "The Artist" were welcome nostalgia pills - tributes to and laments for bygone eras. They're the sort of films that you wouldn't expect to hold up on either a second viewing or the small screen - enjoyable experiences in the moment that haven't seemed to endure. (See also: "Once".)

Dear Si:

To me anyway, "The Artist" was playing the cute card from the first second, then all the way through. It was like the Thin Man movies without William Powell, Myrna Loy or the plot--just a cute dog. Whenever I ask how a movie was and someone replies, "It was cute," to me that means "It was crap." And if a film's shelf-life barely extends to four years, that certainly isn't saying much. I did however see, if not necessarily a good movie, a really, solid, interesting movie--"The Homesman"--with Tommy Lee Jones and Hillary Swank. I'm not sure what it all added up to, but I was consistently interested and felt like I hadn't seen it before. I just wonder if American westerns still sell in other parts of the world, because they certainly don't sell here. But it's about the "west" that I find fascinating which is not all the way west, but in this case Nebraska, which was considered west at that time.

Josh

Name:             Justin Hayward
E-mail:            justinhaywarddirector.com
Date:               2/17/14

Dear Josh :

“Kaufman also keeps playing the same card over and over again of, "I don't know anything." That of course is nonsense. He knows how to write a screenplay well enough--whether I like it or not--that get financed. He knows how to play the Hollywood game well enough to keep getting hired.”

Gonna have to agree with that. His movies, while they can be unique, are still well “crafted” stories, which is another thing he wants to rail against, the word, “craft.” It seems he did the same thing in this speech that he does in his films, he talks about how uninteresting and boring his speech will be, but by just saying that, makes it interesting and not boring. In the movie “Adaptation,” he wrote the lead character to hate conventional screenwriting technique, and wrote his twin brother to be the idiot that luvs conventional screenwriting technique. But, in act three, the movie becomes what his twin brother said it should be. I’m not saying that’s not right on or not funny, cause it is both right and funny, but that seems to be his overall get-out-of-jail-free card when he's lumped with conventional screenwriters. He’ll do what they do, but before he does it, he lambasts them, and then accepts both critical sides of the coin.

Dear Justin:

I also found "Adaption" disingenuous. The screenwriter keeps denigrating the story he's been hired to adapt--"It's a story about flowers"--but it's a far more interesting story than the screenwriter bellyaching about how hard it is to adapt. And this nonsense that Charlie Kaufman is somehow a "hot, young, new writer" is also crap. He's not young or new, and most of his stuff was DOA. What's he done for anybody since "Adaption?" That was 13 years ago.

Josh

Name:             Justin Hayward
E-mail:            justinhaywarddirector.com
Date:               2/16/14

Dear Josh :

Interesting speech about screenwriting from Charlie Kaufman... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q_kEDJSywQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player Thoughts?

Dear Justin:

He doesn't impress me, not as a screenwriter or a speaker. The basic message of try to be true to yourself is a good one, but what if you're working for someone who isn't interested in that? Most of the writing jobs out there are for someone else, and you're generally attempting to please a lot of people who don't know what they want, and what you want doesn't mean shit to them. I was the first writer on Hercules and I kept getting stuck in meetings where seemingly no one liked the myth of Hercules. "Well, why would he do that?" "Because that's what he did. And someone went to the trouble of writing it down 2,000 years ago. I can add more motivation, but if you've contracted with Universal to make a series about Hercules, perhaps it ought to be about Hercules." Kaufman also keeps playing the same card over and over again of, "I don't know anything." That of course is nonsense. He knows how to write a screenplay well enough--whether I like it or not--that get financed. He knows how to play the Hollywood game well enough to keep getting hired. How true to yourself can you actually be when you spend most of your time blowing smoke up nearly everybody's ass? As hard as he is seemingly trying to be truthful, I find him disingenuous.

Josh

Name:             Brian
E-mail:            mackbrockton@aol.com
Date:               2/12/14

Dear Josh :

Have you seen Bad Lieutenant with Harvey Keitel? I thought it was lurid, over the top but entertaining, but the ending was a bit too contrived for me.

Dear Brian:

I thought it was just plain old bad, but I liked Werner Herzog's remake.

Josh

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               2/2/14

Dear Josh :

Did you see this fascinating short interview with Stephen Frye about the existence of God and atheism. Reminds me a bit of what Ricky Gervas said on the matter, but even more articulate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-suvkwNYSQo

Dear David:

It's nothing new that I haven't heard or thought. God is a human construct that's different for every different group of people. The whole concept is ridiculous, and entirely based on fear. I'll stick with my entropy theory.

Josh

Name:             Keith
E-mail:           
Date:               1/30/14

Dear Josh :

Your essay “Movies That Make Us Feel Stupid” is an interesting argument for the value of non-narrative, surrealist films. I got really burnt out on them during my time in college, where nearly every film class I took only screened abstract, story-less ‘art’ films. Part of my frustration was that they were often presented in class as having hidden meanings that warranted deeper analysis, despite the majority of the movies themselves lacking any entertainment-value or even the most basic filmmaking technique. But honestly, I now doubt that most of them had any greater meanings. The more abstract and difficult (i.e. tedious) you make your work, the more other people can read things into them and the more easily they can be perceived as art. In fact, some professors actively discouraged me from making movies that had any entertainment-value or storytelling in mind, as those characteristics apparently have no artistic value. As you wrote in your fourth Need For Structure essay: “Now…reductionism offers people the opportunity to be considered artists when they in fact lack such abilities and have nothing to say. As a society we have devolved to a point where everything must be easy and convenient -- if it's difficult, it's bad. So we reject that which is difficult by proclaiming it to be "old-fashioned." Painting a realistic portrait of someone that actually looks like them is old-fashioned. Writing a song with a melody and witty lyrics is out of date. Telling a well-structured story with a point is passé.” My question for you is, what traits characterize a good surrealist film like SPOON DOG? What about EL TOPO (which I haven’t seen yet, but plan to) makes it superior to so many other two-hour-long surrealist films? Most feature-length movies that do not have a well-structured story bore me to tears.

Dear Keith:

I'm completely with you. What makes "Spoon Dog" or "Un Chien Andalau" is that they're interesting and not dull. "Spoon Dog," in its own surrealist way, does have a point and is leading somewhere, although you don't see it coming. But, as you have undoubtedly noticed, I'm all for telling a clear, straight-forward story with a theme and a point and strong characters. I don't care if it's happy or sad, but, and this is crucial, it must be a story worth telling. I just watched Phillip Seymour Hoffman's last film (I believe), "A Most Wanted Man," and it's not a story worth telling--an anti-terrorist unit in Hamburg is trailing a Chechin guy for the entire movie who may lead them to a terrorist. It's entirely hand-held (when will this stop?) and all played in a monotonous, downbeat tone. And you have Hoffman, Willem Dafore and Rachel McAdams all doing phony-baloney German accents. All I could think is, "Why did they take this movie, other than they could pay their rates?"

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               1/30/14

Dear Josh :

Regarding "A Beautiful Mind", one thing that stood out to me was that the biographical story was overshadowed by the cheap suspense element in the "is he or isn't he being chased by spies" scenes which I found silly as you go into the film knowing that the main character may or may not be all there. I thought the film version of the play "Proof" did a better job in the line between genius and madness angle. Regarding "Whiplash" which I haven't seen, an interesting documentary on dedication to craft is "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" which concerns an 85 year old Japanese sushi chef who has devoted his life to perfecting simple basic sushi. Its not a food film where the look of the food is important, but the near obsession with detail and perfection is. Even if you don't give a hoot about sushi. As for "Boyhood" it is this years "Tree of Life" not style wise but that it seems to be acclaimed more for what it isn't (the type of film the industry puts out all year) than for what it is, a nice but unnecessarily long gimmicky family drama, where you just know that the cute kid in the beginning ends up to become the kind of hip character that Ethan Hawke is in those "Before..." movies. For a look at people growing on screen the Michael Apted "...Up" films are the best, to me.

Dear Paul:

Yes, I've been watching The "Up" films since "28 Up" was theatrically released. Those folks are one year older than me. What's fascinating is that the rich kids know exactly what their lives will become at the age of 7--becoming lawyers or doctors or business-owners, just like their fathers--and that's exactly what they become. The one kid who wants to be a jockey, becomes a jockey, then the next time you see him he's a cab driver and that's what he remains. Or the really smart kid who excels, then wigs out and we find him living in a shack next to a lake in Scotland, then we next find him back at his profession (a teacher, I think), and then he's good. But not only having the comparison between all of them, but a POV, which is class and how does it affect people, is what makes these films particularly interesting.

Josh

Name:             Jack
E-mail:           
Date:               1/27/14

Dear Josh :

[Webmaster's Note: Something went screwy and I didn't receive Jack's part of the post, but here's the response to his question, whatever it was.]

Dear Jack:

I watched "The World at War" when it was broadcast and I recall liking it, but it's been a very long time. I don't think the elderly Academy members, particularly ones who were alive during WWII, have much of a say anymore, and are, for the most part, dead. That's why utter horseshit like "Slumdog Millionaire" or "The Artist" can win. But I do agree that WWII was the last war where there were extremely clear good guys and bad guys. Although it wasn't quite that clear, the same sort of goes for WWI--Germany was just gunning for a fight and finally got it. Meanwhile, once again, you make a good point about the compression of facts in historical action movies, and the insertion of Americans in American-made historical action movies. I personally love "The Great Escape" and think it's one of the best POW/action films of all time. There are only three Americans in it--McQueen, Coburn, and the other guy--so it's not an egregious fabrication. And of course the whole sequence of McQueen jumping the motorcycle was McQueen's idea, and it's terrific. All art is a fabrication of one sort or another because it's been synthesized through human brains and given some sort of slant. But to flatly lie about living characters, who they really were and their sexuality, based exclusively, as far as I'm concerned, on money, offends me deeply. By the by, what is TVA Studios?

Josh

Name:             Keith
E-mail:            keithhward@gmail.com
Date:               1/27/14

Dear Josh :

Do you agree with the notion that jazz is dying as an art form? I figure that you like jazz, given that IF I HAD A HAMMER incorporates so much of it in its soundtrack. Also, are there any jazz albums that you would recommend?

Dear Keith:

Jazz isn't a dying art form; jazz is a dead art form. I have many, many jazz recordings and have been listening to jazz since I was a young kid. I was just listening to Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster this morning. I love Duke Ellington and have listened to his "Live at Newport" record a million times. I'm also a fan of: Lester Young, Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond, Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, Johnny Hodges, Les McCann and Eddie Harris, Wes Montgomery, Gerry Mulligan, Oscar Peterson, on and on. I will own up to the fact that I've never loved Miles Davis or Thelonious Monk no matter how hard I've tried, and believe me, I've tried. But since it's impossible to make ten cents in jazz anymore, no one bothers going into it.

Josh

Name:             Keith
E-mail:            keithhward@gmail.com
Date:               1/26/14

Dear Josh :

While I know that you never liked school, I bet you’ve had a few mentors in filmmaking and writing over the years. And you’ve certainly given advice to aspiring storytellers through your articles and Q&As on this website. A few months ago, I saw the movie WHIPLASH and it raised some interesting and disturbing ideas about the student-mentor relationship. WHIPLASH’s story is about the relationship between an aspiring young jazz drummer and an abusive teacher named Fletcher, set in a Julliard-like music school. In a scene towards the end of act two, the instructor says that he believes that jazz is dying as an art form, and that the way to motivate greatness in a musician is through pushing them hard. He uses as an example the famous incident of a teenage Charlie Parker making a mistake at a session, leading drummer Jo Jones to throw a cymbal at him. Parker gets laughed off the stage, but the next day he practices obsessively (perhaps to avoid ever being humiliated on stage like that ever again). A year later, ‘Bird’ achieves lasting greatness as a musician. Fletcher’s teaching methods are extreme to the point of sadism, but in WHIPLASH they seem to get some results. His mantra in that scene is “[t]here are no two words more harmful in the entire English language than ‘good job’”. The movie doesn’t really side with Fletcher, depicting the dark side of his teaching style, but it does show us his point of view. Have you ever had a bull-busting mentor willing to be brutally honest about the quality of your work? Do you see any value in using negative measures to inspire people to be better artists or craftsmen? My generation (I was born in the mid-1980s) was raised in a world obsessed with self-esteem and avoiding hurting people’s feelings. Maybe that’s held us back. Keith

Dear Keith:

I never had any mentors of any kind, I learned how to write screenplays by watching movies. I have had a few good readers over the years who actually gave me useful comments, which were occasionally negative. The top of that list is Bruce Campbell who read quite a lot of my stuff for many years, and always gave me solid honest comments. But most people don't know how to read a script, let alone comment on it. I used to read people's scripts all the time for many years and all I ever gave were negative comments because nobody I've ever met has ever written a halfway decent screenplay. As far as I'm concerned, it's very nearly a lost art. And damn near nobody can take criticism at all. Personally, I hunger for it. I've written quite a lot, including nine historical novels in the past two years, and getting any criticism at all is a wonder to me, positive or negative. So, yes, I guess I agree that one has to be cruel to be kind, but I've never found anyone who had the ability to listen, then do something with it.

Josh

Name:             Howard
E-mail:           
Date:               1/26/14

Dear Josh :

There have been a fair number of biographical movies released in the past few years. Some of them have gotten criticism for not staying true to the real-life facts. For example, 2013’s “Dallas Buyers Club” changed the main character Ron Woodroof from the bisexual, gay-friendly man he actually was into a heterosexual homophobe for the sake of the broader story they were telling. Do you think that writers have more of an ethical obligation to stick to the facts of a real event as closely as possible, or is their only duty is to tell the best story possible? Howard

Dear Howard:

I think changing the facts, particularly about living or contemporary people, is a sin. If you're telling a "true" story, then tell the truth. As I write these historical novels I feel free to fill in the blanks between the facts, but I never change the facts. That's what disturbed me about "A Beautiful Mind" so much--it's utter disregard for the facts. They forgot to mention that he left his wife for a man when he realized he was gay, and that turned out to be the really important relationship in his life. Obviously, the filmmakers were afraid that if the character was depicted as gay they'd lose some part of the audience. Well, that's just plain cowardice. And then it went on to win Best Picture and Best Actress, for a severely underwritten part. Meanwhile, I haven't seen "Dallas Buyer's Club" because it just looks bad, but I now I will never bother. Thanks for the head's up.

Josh

Name:             Keith
E-mail:            keithhward@gmail.com
Date:               1/26/14

Dear Josh :

Last year I bought the e-book version of MANN’S REVENGE and read it. It’s a good book and I really look forward to reading your other historical novels. Not sure if you received my message about it then, since I recall that your website was having some email problems. I noticed that MANN’S REVENGE is written in three acts, similar to how a screenplay is put together. “Part One, 1918-1929”, “Part Two, 1933-1945”, and “Part Three: 1945 April 29 to May 23”. Do you think that structure is as important to novels as it is to screenplays? Keith

Dear Keith:

Thanks for writing in again because I didn't get your first email. I'm glad you liked the book. Yes, "Mann's Revenge" is broken up into three sections, although it's also broken up into many chapters within the sections. But whether or not writers break their stories up into three sections or acts, if you're telling your story properly it will be in three acts, whether you see it that way or not. Novels can meander along for a long time, but ultimately they're still telling a three-act story; that's how stories are told. In the highly-amusing film, "This Must Be the Place," Sean Penn tells a story about how his wife was smoking a joint in bed, fell asleep and set the pillow on fire. Everybody just looks at him blankly. Then he says, "Oh, I missed the most important part of the story--my wife is a fireman." Thus, he forgot to set his story up. A very common, and overly-used, approach in screenwriting is to start near the end (often when the character is old), then flashback to the beginning, which, in most cases to my mind just screws up the ending. Now you know throughout the film that they're obviously not going to get killed before they're old. I've been watching screenwriters, and wanna be screenwriters, fight this basic concept forever, but it's insurmountable. Set-up, confrontation, pay-off; that's all there is to it. It's very simple and has always served me well.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               1/20/14

Dear Josh :

Why don't you see new films in the theater?

Dear Joe:

I stopped going to movies in the theater several years ago for two reasons: 1. I felt that most of the movies I was seeing stank and weren't worth the time, effort or money, and 2. I can't tolerate people talking and yakking on their cell phones, and as time goes on that issue just gets worse and worse. When I watch movies I want to purely concentrate on the movie, that's why I don't even watch videos with other people. To me, movies are sort of a sacred thing and I believe they deserve total concentration.

Josh

Name:             Jack
E-mail:           
Date:               1/20/14

Dear Josh :

Have you seen "Boyhood" yet? It's the favorite right now for Best Picture. Personally, I admire it more as an achievement more than I enjoyed it as a film. I think it would've worked better as a two hour film than a three hour one.

Dear Jack:

I don't see new films until they come out on DVD. I certainly like the idea of shooting over the course of so many years, but I don't trust Richard Linklatter to actually write a good script since he never has before.

Josh

Name:             Justin Hayward
E-mail:            justinhaywarddirector.com
Date:               1/19/14

Dear Josh :

I’ve often thought of cinema as photography with moving compositions. I've noticed what makes 99% of crummy indy film look crummy is simply poor blocking. When the blocking feels unnatural it throws everything else off and can ruin what otherwise is a perfectly competent scene. How do you approach blocking a scene? Do you have an idea of what it is before you get there, or do you let the actors feel it out until they find something natural, or do you have some other technique? Thanks

Dear Justin:

Good question. I'm constantly noticing blocking, or the lack thereof. It's absolutely crucial in filmmaking and it seems to me that many filmmakers never think about it all. As you mentioned, they just kind of let it fall wherever it happens to go, which I think is a lame, lazy way of going at it. I, for the most part, figure out all of my blocking in advance. Things do change occasionally on the set, but I don't let that happen very often. I like to work quickly and I don't have time to discuss the million and one possibilities of how this scene might work; I'd rather just get it working the way I had in mind and move on. I have a chapter in my book explaining standard blocking configurations, and they're very good things to fall back on. An example of a simple blocking configuration that I've always liked is beginning with a medium two-shot (two actors in profile from the waist up, for those who don't know), then having one actor walk straight at the lens until they're in a close-up, with the other actor now over their shoulder, then have the actor in the foreground turn around to face the other actor, and now they're in an over-the-shoulder shot and you just need the reverse OTS to complete the scene. Blocking like this is so simple, but you don't see it all that often anymore.

Josh

Name:             Saul Trabal
E-mail:            ghost_kingdom@yahoo.com
Date:               1/18/14

Heya Josh :

I haven't posted here in ages; I hope all is well. Question: why is Bruce Campbell running for president again? What's the scuttlebutt?

All the best, Saul

Dear Saul:

Who knows? Hype? When Bruce and I were young a comedian, Pat Paulsen, ran for president and it was kind of funny. Just trying to stay in the limelight, I suppose.

You ought to read one of my new essays, they're good.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               1/16/14

Dear Josh :

Do you think the Oscars are fixed as in Academy members sell their votes to the highest bidder?

Dear Joe:

If you consider voting for what paid the most for advertising "selling to the highest bidder," but as far as cash payments, no. You should read my article "What Do the Oscars Really Mean."

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               1/12/14

Dear Josh :

What do you tell people, for example, when they ask you something like: "Have you seen (fill in the latest crappy-reboot sequel super-hero movie here) and you say, "No, it's just not worth the trouble leaving the house to see shitty movies" and they get all uppity and say, "How do you know it's shitty if you haven't seen it?" Any advice would be appreciated because It happens to me all the time and it's getting ponderous.

Dear Joe:

Nobody I know would ask me such questions because they know I don't watch those kinds of films. And most of the people I know don't see those films, either, so it's not very difficult.

Josh

Name:             Justin Hayward
E-mail:           
Date:               1/12/14

Dear Josh :

Have you seen this? http://vimeopro.com/jonathanbecker/jonathan-becker-director

Dear Justin:

I have now. What’re you gonna do?

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               1/8/14

Dear Josh :

What puzzled me about the songbook was first when I find myself reading lyrics apart from music I always get to wondering what type of music is meant to be used. Secondly your themes such as a listing Edward G Robison films and famous drinkers and smokers was unusual at first but perfectly in tune with what you write about. I must say I am impressed with how "Josh Becker" the Josh Becker songbook is, it has none of the cliché subjects most lyric writers depend on. You once said your lyrics were silly doggerel I believe and they are better than that. Certainly more interesting than Jeff Daniels silly doggerel. The first one about your Kiwi friend Edith was touching. Bravo. Two more things. Two other famous cigarette and beer fans were JRR Tolkein and CS Lewis, and without their "Beowulf and Beer" sessions at their Oxford pubs, Narnia and Middle Earth would just not be. Wether you like that sort of thing or not. As for WWII movies I think it is the dozens of war movies made back then that are more an inspiration to current films, than the actual war itself, filmmakers more concerned with trying to make a classic WWII film than trying to say anything about the actual war itself (if that makes sense). Or the films are more an inspiration than the reality, a war that exists in some sense more in movies than battlefields, (not to mention much less surviving and watched WW1 set films.) Oh and while I could comment on each lyric you use of the "you can lead a horse to water..." always brings to mind Dorthy Parker's "You can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think" quip. Cheers in the New Year

Dear Paul:

Well, thank you. You’re the first person to comment on my lyrics. Yes, I’m making a concerted effort to not write doggerel now, which, I must say, is much more difficult. It’s easy to be silly; it’s much more difficult to be sincere. And you are probably correct in your assumption that, at this late date, the WWII movies being made are based on previous movies. A good film made just after the war was William Wellman’s “Battleground” about the Battle of the Bulge with Van Johnson and a very young Ricardo Montalban, that deservedly won Best Black and White Cinematography for Paul C. Vogel. Since most of the film is shot in thick fog, they shot a lot of it on sound stages, and you just can’t tell it’s stage-bound. However, when the the fog finally clears we’re definitely on location. Another good one is Lewis Milestone’s “A Walk in the Sun” with Richard Conte.

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               1/8/14

Dear Josh :

Oh by the way are you aware of the recent book "Five Came Back" by Mark Harris which is about the Hollywood directors who went the front lines to shoot footage for the State Dept (Capra, Ford, Huston, Wyler, and Stevens)?

Dear Paul:

No, I’m not aware of the book, but I’ve seen all of the movies. Wyler’s “Memphis Belle” was particularly good. That’s where when he was shooting in a B-17 or something that he lost most of his hearing. He thought his Hollywood career would be over, but the sound man on “The Best Years of Our Lives” said it was no problem, wired in an extra pair of headphones, then he could hear the sound through the microphone, which now all directors use. John Huston’s “Let There Be Light” was also very good, about the returning soldiers with “battle fatigue,” now known as “post stress syndrome” where they were injecting the soldiers with sodium pentathol to get them to relive their war experiences.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               1/8/14

Hey Josh :

Did you meet Stan Lee when you made that "Harpies" movie? Thoughts?

Dear Joe:

Nope, never met him. And, of course, when he saw the movie he removed his name, so I then probably had no chance of meeting him, either. Since I’m not a comic book fan, I didn’t care.

Josh

Name:             Eric
E-mail:           
Date:               1/6/14

Hey Josh :

I was watching the okay new Hammer horror flick "The Woman in Black 2" and realized that this was probably the 5th new WWII setting film I had seen in the last few months. The Book Thief, Fury, The Imitation Game, Unbroken. It seems that WWII gets 10x the focus of any other part of the last century. My question is: why do you think this period is so focused on for historical films? Is it because Americans and Europeans feel good about this war and have mixed feelings about all the others?

Dear Eric:

I just wrote a book about WWII and two books about WWI so I’m kind of up on 20th century warfare. WWI was a big, slow, confusing war that got bogged down in the trenches almost immediately and was mainly fought by the Europeans. The Americans didn’t even start fighting until June of 1918, then the war was over in five months. In WWII the Americans fought for nearly four years in many different theaters, from North Africa, Sicily and Italy, France, various other parts of Europe, and all over the Pacific, so there were many different settings and situations--all desperate--and being fought against the Nazis who were far more nefarious than Kaiser’s Germany, as well as the Japanese, who were pretty awful, too, then the whole war ended with two big bangs in Japan. Also, WWII is more recent history that still has living veterans. Although mustard gas was used in the first war, there were no concentration camps, nor much if any ethnic issues. The Germans weren’t crazy about the Slavs, but what do Americans know about that? Anyway, that’s my take.

Josh

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               1/6/14

Dear Josh :

The new J.C. Chandor film, "A Most Violent Year", looks quite good. His first two features were impressive ("Margin Call" and "All is Lost", with one of Robert Redford's best performances).

Dear David:

I found “All is Lost” entirely unbearable and bailed. A guy’s on a sinking boat? For two hours? As for Redford being good, I thought he just went through the paces and did what he was supposed to do.

Josh

Name:             Shirley LeVasseur
E-mail:            available upon request
Date:               12/31/14

Dear Josh :

do you have lead sheets for your songbook? Can I download them? -Shirley

Dear Shirley:

Please send me your home email and let’s start communicating again. I am, of course, josh@beckerfilms, but I’m also jbeckerdga@gmail.com. I have the music written out for nine songs at this point.

Love,
Josh

Name:             Cydnee Mcguire
E-mail:            mcguirecydnee@rocketmail.com
Date:               12/29/14

Dear Josh :

I just ordered lunatics: a love story for my sisters birthday and it was damaged in transit, and unfortunately didn't work by the time it arrived. I will absolutely order another one at the designated price but is it possible to request it sent with more protection or a hard case instead of a paper envelope? Sorry to pester, I'm soo appreciative that I can find this film at all, i just don't want to let her down with another copy that doesn't work....

Dear Cydnee:

I’m having troubles with this entire batch of “Lunatics.” I think my master has gone bad. I will certainly send you another one, in a plastic case, but I don’t think that’s the issue. If it doesn’t work, I’ll have more made and send you another one, or refund your money. One way or another, I will straighten this out. Thank you for your patience.

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               12/23/14

Dear Josh :

Inspired by your songbook (still a little puzzled by it)and the incessant Christmas music written by Jewish songwriters. Apologies to you, Johnny Marks and the Montgomery Ward company.

Josh the Jewish Reindeer

Josh the Jewish Reindeer
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever saw him
He's be either soused or stoned
When Josh was a young man
He moved out to Hollywood
Now he's a swinging bachelor
Like Rodney Dangerfield in "Back to School"
Then one foggy Hannukha night
Sam Raimi came to say
Josh with your nose so bright
You made such a great Deadite
Oh how his web fans loved him
As they shouted out with glee
Josh the Jewish Reindeer
You'll go down in Entropy

Dear Paul:

Not bad. What puzzles you about my songbook?

Josh

Name:             Bob
E-mail:           
Date:               12/09/14

Dear Josh :

I was reading about the story of Flight 19, the Navy squadron that supposedly disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle. I always thought the last transmission was "Whitewater, nothing looks right" but apparently this is unsubstantiated. The last transmissions appear to have been a faint "FT FT FT". Were you ever interested in Flight 19 and if so, what do you think happened to it?

Dear Bob:

No, I was never interested in the Bermuda Triangle, nor any other supernatural ballyhoo. Reality interests me far more than myth, although myths are interesting, too, just not as much as what actual humans do under actual situations, at least to me.

Josh

Name:             Bill Warren
E-mail:            billybond@aol.com
Date:               12/09/14

Dear Josh :

You do know that RUNNING TIME was in the Maltin book, right? With a favorable writeup? If I had written a review of BIRDMAN, I would have mentioned it. Sorry to have been short with you, but I was confused by suddenly hearing from you after a long time, and at ten pm, at that. Hope you're feeling okay.

Dear Bill:

I feel great. "Lunatics" is also reviewed in Maltin's book and gets a good review and **1/2 (as opposed to *** for RT). My question was--why isn't "Thou Shalt Not Kill...Except" in the book? It's my only film that's received a national theatrical release. I mentioned it to you once--when you were interviewing me for your "Evil Dead" book--and you said, "I'd have to give it a BOMB" and I replied, "That's OK, but it ought to be in there." Now, I don't know the last time you watched TSNKE, which, by the way, is one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite films (admittedly, he likes shit), but it, were one entirely honest, it out to get at least *1/2--it's not a bomb because the script is too solid, Sam Raimi's performance is way too over-the-top, and the three Marines a really good. Also, my direction and camera-work are pretty damn good for a zero-budgeted film. Also, sir, I took grave exception when dismissed my film "If I had a Hammer" out of hand at the screening at Raleigh Studios--it's a far, far better film than a wave of the hand, and I daresay, as far as movies about the folk movement, it's not only earlier than the Coen bros. two miserable folk movies, but FAR better than either one. Perhaps you were simply in a hurry that evening in 2001, but THAT film deserves a reassessment by you.

Josh

Name:             Teen People Magazine
E-mail:           
Date:               12/06/14

Dear Josh :

Teens across the world need to know your opinion on matters of great pop cultural importance. So... Arianna Grande or Iggy Azalea ? GO! Okay not quite your generation so how about something closer to you age group so... Judy Garland or Deanna Durbin ? Me I go for DD. Not only was she super cute, a great singer, peppy and Canadian to boot but she saved Universal Pics from bankruptcy made a bunch of musicals with the director Henry Koster, who himself directed a variety of films including the first Cinemasope picture "The Robe" and discovered Abbot and Costello. Durbin left Hollywood entirely and Koster became a painter. We all know what became of Garland.

Dear TPM:

Deanna Durbin was just OK in my book, as was Henry Koster, but here, let me tell you my Deanna Durbin story: 20 years ago when my 95-year-old grandmother was dying at Sinai Hospital in Detroit, where I was born, exceptionally nice older Jewish people would wander from room to room offering help of any kind and as much encouragement as they could muster, which, in my Grandma Olga's case, was useless, but it was still nice, and obviously, it's the thought that counts. So, an older gentleman of perhaps 75 came into my grandma's room and pinned to his white coat was a name tag that said, "Pasternak." I immediately asked, "Are you related to the producer, Joe Pasternak?" This man's eyes lit up in astonishment--remember, I was about 35 at that time--and he said, "Yes, Joe was my uncle." I said, "No kidding? He produced all of the Deanna Durbin pictures and saved Universal from insolvency." The man, still utterly amazed, said, "Yes, he did. He was a great producer." I agreed and added, "I read his autobiography, Easy the Hard Way, which was excellent; one of the best movie producer autobiographies I've ever read." Well, this guy just couldn't get over it--why on earth would I know who Joe Pasternak was; nobody did, and I was a kid for goodness sake, and I'd read his book, too? So, we idly chatted about Deanna Durbin films as my Hungarian grandmother lay dying beside us. I said, "My grandmother is from Hungary, just like your uncle Joe, and my late grandfather was from the same town, Szilagy-Somlyo, in Transylvania, which happened to be in Romania at the exact moment my grandpa was born--he was older than Joe--but was in Hungary at the exact moment Joe Pasternak was born, the exact same year my grandma was born in 1901." I then asked, "Are you related to Boris Pasternak?" (who wrote Dr. Zhivago) and he replied, "Distantly." And that's my story. Joe Pasternak's two best movies by a mile, neither with Deanna Durbin, are: Destry Rides Again (1939), which not only revived Marlene Dietrich's slumping career, but was the basis for Blazing Saddles; and Love Me or Leave Me (1955) with James Cagney and young Doris Day.

Josh

Name:             Will
E-mail:            wdodson52@hotmail.com
Date:               11/30/14

Hi Josh :

You'll be happy to know "The Gun Runners" is on Netflix Instant. I actually thought Audie Murphy was good in the role. But Eddie Albert is fantastic. What are your thoughts on Albert as an actor? He was a true war hero and environmental activist. In addition to "Attack!" I love him in "McQ" (even though McQ ain't so great, it's still pretty fun).

Dear Will:

I liked "McQ." I saw it in the theater when it came out (where I ran into Bruce campbell, of all people) and as a "Dirty Harry" rip-off, except with John Wayne instead of Clint Eastwood, and with a little grease-gun, Schmeisser-like, machine gun instead of a .44 Magnum, I was in pig heaven.

Meanwhile, Eddie Albert was one of the greatest actors of all-time, and "Attack!" is as good as it gets. I watched every episode of "Green Acres" many, many times, and I would nominate it as one of the funniest TV shows of all-time. From the miserable "On Your Toes" in 1938, with Richard Rodgers' classic ballet, "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue," choreographed by George Balanchine, to "Brother Rat" with Ronald Regan, to the terrific, "Dispatch from Reuters," with Edward G. Robinson, to the silly, "The Wagons Roll at Night," with Bogart and Albert as a lion-tamer (he had formerly been a circus trapeze flier), to William Wyler's astounding, "Carrie" (1952), wherein Eddie Albert is every bit as good as the young upstart, Laurence Olivier, to "Roman Holiday" the next year, for which he was nominated for his first Oscar, to "The Longest Day," with the biggest all-star cast in history and Albert is second-lead to Robert Mitchum, to "Captain Newman, M.D.," where he nearly steals the show from Gregory Peck and Bobby Darin in his Oscar-nominated role, to "Seven Women," for which Sophia Loren won an Oscar, then a six-year hiatus for "Green Acres," then his glorious return to cinema with his second Oscar-nominated role in "The Heartbreak Kid," to "The Longest Yard," one of my very favorite movies, to the utter piece of shit, "The Devil's Rain," with William Shatner and John Travolta, then the whole movie business went into the toilet and he never made another good picture again, except for a cameo in the very funny, "The Big Picture."

Josh

Name:             Will
E-mail:            wdodson52@hotmail.com
Date:               11/29/14

Happy Thanksgiving Josh :

I hope you and yours are as well as can be these days. I'm writing from my home in North Carolina, a state that almost went purple but then reverted back to antebellum politics. The majority of the state celebrated when our state's ban on gay marriage was overturned....but then that majority sat at home for the elections, and the guy who wrote the ban (Thom Tillis) got elected to the Senate. We used to be one of the top states for education, and now we're ranked 51st (51st!), the worst state/district in the nation for teachers. In the small town where I grew up, most of the people I knew--majority white, by the way--were on welfare and voted Republican religiously. Jesus, now I'm getting depressed. I actually have a movie question. I recently saw an early Don Siegel film, "The Gun Runners." I went into it knowing nothing about it except that it starred Eddie Albert and Audie Murphy, and Siegel was not happy with Murphy, whom he thought was psychotic and cold, not to mention a lifeless actor. I didn't realize that it was a remake of "To Have and Have Not," so that was a fun surprise. Not a great film by any stretch, but Eddie Albert was amazing. I always liked him, especially in "Attack!" So have you seen "The Gun Runners?" What's your opinion on Albert, Murphy, and Siegel?

Dear Will:

I haven't seen it, but I'll see if Netflix has it (doubtful). "The Gun Runners" is actually a remake of a remake (which they now foolishly call a reboot of a reboot), "The Breaking Point" (1950), directed by the great Michael Curtiz, and actually a better movie than "To Have and To Have Not," was Garfield's second-to-last movie (the last is "He Ran All the Way" [1951]), and then John Garfield, AKA Julius Garfinkle, died in the midst of fucking at the age of 37. Anyway, regarding one of my great, great heroes, Audie Murphy, he was terrific in "The Red Badge of Courage" right at the beginning of his career, fresh out of the military, where he was the most-decorated enlisted American soldier. He then made so many westerns it's ridiculous, some of which are pretty good, then he starred in his own life story, the extremely low-budget classic, "To Hell and Back" in 1955, and that remained Universal's biggest hit film for the next 20 years until "Jaws" in 1975.
P.S. I love Don Siegel, otherwise known as Donald Siegel, who won not one, but two Oscars in the same year, 1945: Short Subjects (Two-reel), "Star in the Night" and Documentary (Short Subjects), "Hitler Lives?"
P.P.S. This was the best question anyone has asked in years.

Josh

Name:             Russ
E-mail:           
Date:               11/28/14

Dear Josh :

Don't have a question but want to say that your talking to yourself is very funny. Thanks for the laugh!

Dear Russ:

Talking to myself? I have no idea what you're talking about.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               11/27/14

Dear Josh :

Any good recommendations for documentaries? Doing my annual Thanksgiving doc. fest and getting ready to head to video store later tonight. . Don't like insects so no "Hellstorm Chronicles." Game for anything else you might recommend.

Dear Joe:

Nanook of the North
Wild Man Blues
Sugarman
Barbara Kopple's doc about the three Woodstocks
Fog of War
Unforgivable Blackness
When We Were Kings
Tyson
Gray Gardens
American Movie
SuperSize me

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               11/27/14

Dear Josh :

I enjoyed your "Evil Dead Diaries" in your book "Rushes." Did you keep journals on all the productions you worked on? Why did you decide to record the daily going's-on of the day-to-day making of "Evil Dead?"

Dear Joe:

I didn't decide to keep a journal during "Evil Dead;" I've always kept a journal since I was fifteen. I get a sense that of all of the "Making of . . ." essays in "Rushes" you only read "The Evil Dead Journal." If you peruse the rest of the book you'll find the "Making off . . ." essays for everything else.

Josh

[Webmaster's Note: Somebody please write in, Josh is beginning to talk to himself. -K]

Name:             JehosesBuddAllahKrishvishnu
E-mail:           
Date:               11/26/14

Dear Josh :

Are you makin' fun a me?

Dear JehosesBuddAllahKrishvishnu:

Who the fuck are you?

I'm every single god put into one.

What a bummer.

Says you.

That's right, sez me.

Go on, punch me in the face.

With what? The chair?

Wrap the towel around your hand. How many times I gotta tell you?

Not too many more.

Now punch me in the face. Harder. HARDER! You punch like you take it up the ass!

This is stupid! Your cuts are opening and everything.

Oh, yeah? Y'know, Joey, your mother sucks big fuckin' elephant cocks.

No, she doesn't.

Oh, yeah? How 'bout a big fuckin' Bronx cheer and huge big fuckin' fuck you??!!

Excuse me.

Josh

Name:             SusanRottenCrotch
E-mail:           
Date:               11/26/14

Dear Josh :

Why do you think women are better than men?

Dear SusanRottenCrotch:

I don't. I just think they're more powerful then men.

Oh, yeah? Then why can't I make my stupid prick asshole husband clean the garage?

Because you're fucking him too much. Stop being a pussy trough; stop being the town pump; deny him a little piece of ass and he'll do anything you say.

What the fuck do you know about it? You're single, live with 3 cats, and haven't got a pot to piss in.

But--

But nothing! Fuck you!

well . . .

Josh

Name:             RabbiBenKaddish
E-mail:           
Date:               11/26/14

Dear Josh :

When was the last time you smoked pole?

Dear RabbiBenKaddish:

It's a good thing my hands are free so I can use the cockboard...I mean, the keyboard. I'm sorry, what was the question?

Pole-smoking. When was the last time?

Oh, now, why do you ask?

You horrid little blasphemer. God will smote you down, like Moses smote Larry and Curly. Oh, yeah, and another thing--fuck you!

I was jus' sayin' is all. Sheesh.

Josh

Name:             Yitzkak Spiderman
E-mail:           
Date:               11/26/14

Dear Josh :

What do you mean that Jehovah isn't the one true and only God? You're a Jew for Christ's sake!

Dear Yitzkak Spiderman:

Jehovah is the one true only god to the Jews; no one else.

That's not true!

Yes, it is. And Israel is just a fantasy, and the Palestinians were there first, before Abraham (whose name was Abram at the time) made his covenant with good old whats-his-name, that mean horrible cocksucker, Jehovah, who tricks you into killing your own son? Oy! What mean-spirited schmuck!

Oh, yeah? Well how about a little old-time religious fuck you!

If you say so.

Josh

Name:             JoeShitTheRagMan
E-mail:           
Date:               11/26/14

Dear Josh :

How much did you love "Hurt Locker?"

Dear JoeShitTheRagMan:

Are you fucking crazy? I hated "Hurt Locker!" If robots can defuse bombs, as they show in the first scene, why on earth are humans doing it? Next.

Oh, yeah? Well, fuck you!!!!!

I just did, but thanks, I'll do it again.

Josh

Name:             StarWarsFan
E-mail:           
Date:               11/26/14

Hey Josh :

What's the best trilogy ever?

Dear StarWarsFan:

That's easy, "Rocky I II & III."

Rocky!!! That's insane! What about "Star Wars?"

Don't be silly. "Star Wars" isn't a trilogy; "Star Wars" is a series.

I mean the first three.

Which first three? Look, you're buggin me, kid, get lost.

Oh, yeah? Fuck you!!

OK. Whatever you say.

Josh

[Webmaster's Note: This has been today's amusing edition of: "Josh Talks to Himself" 11/26/14 - K]

Name:             Alien Termite
E-mail:           
Date:               11/21/14

Dear Humanoid Josh :

Favorite films by the late, great Mike Nichols, GO!

Dear Alien:

I answered that in the previous Q&A. Read my essays and tell me what you think. GO!

Josh

Name:             Scott
E-mail:           
Date:               11/21/14

Dear Josh :

You and I are in agreement on the oppression issue. In regards to me being agnostic, my point of view is simply: I'm not sure there's a God nor do I know so I embrace the mystery and ambiguity of life knowing that I may never have a solid answer, and I'm perfectly okay with that. Your essay on Entropy is interesting, and while I agree that Entropy is certainly real and coincides with the Law of Conservation of Mass-Energy I'm not sold on the concept of the hereafter, yet. I need more evidence to change my tune. Speaking of the hereafter, since the great Mike Nichols passed away this morning, what films aside from The Graduate, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Carnal Knowledge, and Charlie Wilson's War are worth checking out?

Dear Scott:

Ah, Mike Nichols. He could get a great performance out of a 2x4. In case you're interested, Nichols was born Michael Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin in 1931. Well, let's see . . . "Biloxi Blues," "Postcards from the Edge," and "Remains of the Day (co-producer)," among others. Is the universe a closed system where no energy is ever lost, including the molecules of our brains? Then consciousness never dies, it's as simple as that. How much proof do you need? Or, let's say, how much doubt do you need?

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               11/21/14

Dear Josh :

I wanna hear your interview on BBC. Any idea when I can hear it?

Dear Joe:

Not yet, but I'm sure they'll let me know, then I'll let everyone know. It could be fun.

Josh

Name:             Scott
E-mail:           
Date:               11/19/14

Dear Josh :

Your essay on Israel was an interesting one and I agree with a lot of the points you made. There are some points I disagree with but I find this topic to be very interesting as a whole. I'm a secular agnostic Jew so the religious aspects of Judaism mean nothing to me, hence I'm not one of those Jews who believes that Israel was bestowed upon our people by God, nor do I believe we are "Chosen" for anything. There's also enough evidence to suggest that the exodus story is complete BS,as is most of the Bible, but according to Israeli Archaeology there is substantial evidence that Israel is the ancient homeland of the Jewish people, which is why this issue is such a dilemma. You mention that there will always be antisemitism in the world based on how the Jews are treating Palestinians in Israel, but the fact remains that there has been virulent antisemitism since the diaspora and it will never go away regardless of what is happening in the Jewish state. The difference between Jews and the other Abrahamic faiths is that Jews are an ethnoreligious group with a secular culture and three languages to boot. How are Jews supposed to preserve their culture without a homeland to protect themselves? I'm not excusing Israel's behavior but don't the Jews deserve a homeland with borders just like every other ethnic group on Earth if not for the sole purpose that they don't have to worry about their host country attempting to exterminate them? Genocidal Antisemitic intentions didn't begin or end with the holocaust. I'm not saying the land of Israel was the right choice for the Jews as the UN offered the Jewish people a fraction of Uganda, and they didn't take it, but I'm afraid that if Israel didn't exist, half of the world's Jewry would have been exterminated and the other half would have maybe settled here in America where the culture would have been diluted, and may have eventually vanished. The only answer now is a two state solution, and the Palestinians deserve a safe homeland just like everybody else. It's a horrible dilemma because the state of Israel shouldn't have been created at the expense of the Palestinian people, but I believe a state of Israel whether it be in the land itself, in Uganda, or elsewhere is necessary for the survival of an entire culture. Sorry for the long winded response but you wrote a very thought provoking essay.

Dear Scott:

Nobody, including me, is denying that Israel is the Jews homeland, and it would have been absurd to go to Uganda. The two-state solution is what the Partition was all about, but the Israelis unilaterally voided it--they created their own problem. Nobody had to explain to them that Israel is surrounded by hostile Arab countries and their might well be some problems, but those are the breaks. Nevertheless, you don't get to oppress the folks who are already there and have been there longer than you. Meanwhile, an Agnostic is someone who believes that nothing can be known about the existence of God, except that I just explained that in my essay, "Entropy," which, had you read it, you would now know about the existence of God, and thus no longer be an Agnostic--once you've got some information then denial is impossible. Thanks for the thoughtful response.

Josh

Name:             Brent
E-mail:           
Date:               11/15/14

Dear Josh :

Wait, Sidney Lumet's last movie was a great film? You've always used the word great very sparsely, so this is big news. Previously you said the last great film was Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven".

Dear Brent:

Touche. The last great classic movie was certainly "Unforgiven." Both "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" and "Charlie Wilson's War," which came out the same year, and both of which I've watch seven times, are really, really good movies, but not to the level of iconic classic like "Unforgiven." Pardon my use of the wrong word.

Josh

Name:             Justin Hayward
E-mail:            justinhayw@gmail.com
Date:               11/14/14

Dear Josh :

“That was the stupidest piece of shit Stanley Kubrick ever made. He, like his compatriots, Alfred Hitchcock, William Wyler, John Ford, and many others, came to an ignoble end by co-writing, producing and directing an absolute turd for his final film,” Well, now you’re making me feel stupid, not to mention crummy. If those directors final films are absolute turds, my first feature deserves to be burned at the stake.

Dear Justin:

As we say here in Detroit, the wheels can fall off at any time. In many people's case the wheels were never put on in the first place, and lay deflated on the lawn. Some great directors made great last films, like John Huston, Michael Curtiz and Sidney Lumet, but not most. If I never make another feature I will be well pleased with "If I Had a Hammer" representing my last film, although presently it's that odious piece shit, "Harpies," so what're you gonna do?

Josh

Name:             Alien Termite
E-mail:           
Date:               11/13/14

Dear Josh :

I must take exception to your comment about the French in your latest essay, commenting that they know what's real and fake about cinema. These are the people who awarded Pulp Fiction with the Palm d'Or (Best Picture) at Cannes, and have pretty much been sucking Tarantino's over-rated dick ever since. The French are also responsible for The New Wave, which, one or two gems aside, most films to come out of that movement are complete hogwash. I attended the Cannes Film Festival on an internship is 2003, the year they awarded Best Picture to Gus Van Sant's Elephant... which only reinforces my point.

Dear Alien:

OK, I was sucking up to the French because I want my buddy to win, or at least get in. I've ALWAYS disliked French films, particularly their knights in shining armor, Jean Renoir and Francois Truffaut. As Gene Hackman said in the the film "Night Moves" after seeing an Alain Renais film, "It was like watching paint dry." I do love Godard's "Breathless," but absolutely nothing else of his. I also love Rene Clement's 1951 Oscar-winning, "Forbidden Games," and lets not forget Georges Melies and the Lumiere brothers, but, for the most part, French cinema is dreadful, as is their taste. In 1978 at Sherwood Oaks Experimental College, we screened "Day For Night," which I'd already seen and disliked, and Truffaut was there answering questions. For no good reason I stood in line to shake his hand. Oddly, just like "Close Encounters," even though he both understood and spoke English, he had an interpreter with him. I said to the interpreter in an utterly unconvincing tone, "Please tell him I like his movies," which was a flat-out lie that I suspect Mr. Truffaut sensed, so he replied in English, also totally unconvincing, "Thank you," and shook my hand. Yes, the French they are a funny race; they fight with their feet and fuck with their face. But Paris is truly wonderful.

Josh

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

Name:             Russ
E-mail:           
Date:               11/11/14

Dear Josh :

Have you heard about this? Your thoughts? http://www.tvguide.com/News/Starz-Evil-Dead-1089010.aspx

Dear Russ:

I'm entirely indifferent. Since I didn't care for the movies, the TV show holds no interest for me--not to mention that I don't watch TV shows. It also sounds like a terrible idea for a TV show--a new monster every week. I predict, just like EDII and AOD that it will take a dump.

Josh

Name:             Justin Hayward
E-mail:            justinhayw@gmail.com
Date:               11/11/14

Dear Josh :

At this point, why do you keep the DGA title behind your name? Are you still DGA? And, why do you have a section called, "ask the director?" You don't direct anything anymore. Since you haven't posted my recent comments, I don't expect you'll post this one, so if you have a second, my email is justinhayw@gmail.com. Thanks man.

Dear Justin:

If I didn't post your comments it was a mistake. We went through more than a month of email screwiness on the site. Please don't take it personally. Yes, I am still in the DGA, and yes, I still direct, and am about to make my next Spine Chillers. I guess I leave Ask the Director because that's how its always been, and I prefer answering filmmaking questions, although, of course, I'll answer anything. Good to hear from you.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               11/10/14

Dear Josh :

Can I buy the book "Going Hollywood" from you so you get all the cash? or do I gotta go through Amazon which I'm assuming takes a cut. I ain't got no Kindle thinkee so it's gotta be a tangible book. Let me look more on your website and see what it says. I greatly enjoyed "Rushes."

Dear Joe:

I stopped selling my books on my site because I'm just about out of them, nevertheless I do have a few copies of "Going Hollywood" left. Write me your info at josh@beckerfilms.com and we'll discuss it.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               11/09/14

Dear Josh :

Was Hollywood scary back in the day? Did you ever go to the Pussycat porn theaters on Hollywood Blvd. or the one on Western Blvd. when they were there? Did you ever go to any of the porn shops in Hollywood back then. I guess they would have been playing 16mm or 8mm/super-8 loops in the booths back then?

Dear Joe:

All of this is beautifully detailed in my book "Going Hollywood," about when I first moved to L.A. in 1977 at the age of 17. I wasn't scared, but there was plenty of things to be scared of in Hollywood at that time--they'd let it devolve into a ghetto. Female hookers lined Sunset Blvd. for miles; male hookers lined Santa Monica Blvd. for a mile or so; drugs could be purchased on many corners and parks. But then they cleaned it up in the late 1980s/early '90s, and, just like Times Square in NY, it's now Disneyland.

Josh

Name:             Lee
E-mail:            leewprice@googlemail.com
Date:               11/06/14

Hiya Josh :

Long time no post. Hello! I'm cutting a scene that starts off serious, but descends into slapstick. Basically, protagonist A is at a shop counter distracting a store assistant while protagonist B is stealing a guitar in the background. It's been interesting cutting a conversation in the classic way (the back and forth of dialogue), while ALSO intercutting protagonist B in the background nicking the instrument. I've made two observations: the comedy seems to work better in the wider shots (and particularly the chase at the end - the slapstick - seems funnier in the wider shots) whereas the tension seems better when I cut to a closer shot (e.g. protagonist A looking over his shoulder to check on the progress of protagonist B). Question: do you have any hard and fast rules for cutting verbal comedy and slapstick? Thanks Lee

Dear Lee:

If it plays better in the wide shot, stick with the wide shot. I see exactly what you're talking about and I see why it works. Slapstick comedy plays better when you can see the entire person and all of their antics; drama plays better in close-ups where you can more clearly see the reactions to/or not to the shenanigans in the background. It sounds like a good scene. Although you've already shot it, one might rack focus from the background action to the foreground action or vice versa.

Josh

Name:             Andy
E-mail:           
Date:               11/04/14

Dear Josh :

Re: Regarding "Entropy" Essay
Good piece. I first heard about entropy around 15 when I heard George Carlin's lecture on the topic (Jammin' in New York, 1992). I found a few science books at the library but I couldn't read that stuff. I winged a presentation on what I thought was entropy in sophomore English class, based only on Carlin's monologue and my own poorly informed perspective, in which I argued that someone somewhere should just build a cobalt fission bomb and split the Earth's core because it has become our obvious fate so let's just get the fucker over with. There was a lot of fist slamming and gesticulating but very little substance. I think I got a B.
I'm about to go vote. The front lines of entropy! Here in my town my station is at the local VFW. I am often recognized when I walk in, my town is that small (7000ish) that everyone really does knows everyone.
Last time I voted here, in 2012, I was greeted with all kinds of shitty looks from the mostly conservative, probably secretly homosexual and certainly racist precinct staff. One, my father's cousin, had an absolute look of terror on her face, like I was toting a sword dripping with blood. Not one of them was without cunt-visage. Now, I do not side with any of the major parties, but I definitely ain't conservative and rarely vote that way unless I am convinced the other guy is a cobalt bomb builder or the candidate from The Dead Zone.
So all these scared pricks look at me like I'm coming in to support baby fucking legislation and the legalization of PCP. Any of them who know me know I do not consider myself a Christian so I'm the evil enemy by default, the swarthy pagan, the root of the problem. I LOVE IT. As someone who has enjoyed fucking with people since early childhood it doesn't get much better than walking into that wood paneled cylinder (Quonset hut, you can see it) wearing my JFK FOR PRESIDENT t-shirt and a smug grin, blasted to hell from multiple bong hits just ready to tell these bigoted reprobates to fuck off.
This is what voting has come to mean to me. I'm smart enough to know my vote doesn't count for anything, so it's shifted from the "civic duty" bullshit I used to believe in to full blown entertainment. The powers that be have their dick so far up the ass of this country it doesn't matter what we do at the ballot. You or me voting some crooked treasurer out of office so another one can take his place isn't going to get that massive cock out of Lady Liberty's sweet asshole. The damage is already done.
But pissing people off is fun. Frightening people is fun. Angering religious zealots is really, really fun. And getting the little sticker that says "I Voted", well that's really what it's all about, so you can put it on your shirt and feel special, go to the bar and get a blowjob from a cute Prius driving 29 year old girl who has the sticker on her shirt too and voted for Obama twice and thinks Jimmy Carter "just never got a fair shake." That's why I still vote. I do it to piss hillbillies off, get a sticker and get sucked off by 20-something-homemade-almond-milk-making idealists. God Bless America. Thanks for the read. I'll call you soon. Stay happy.

Dear Andy:

Well said, amigo! I have nothing to add.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               11/04/14

Dear Josh :

As someone said, since you know movies, and it's Halloween, what's a better film, Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, or Evil Dead 3?

Dear Joe:

Well, I'm anything but impartial on this subject. A. I don't like any of them, and B. I think the first "Evil Dead" is the best by a mile. At least in "Evil Dead they were attempting to be serious, unlike the others, which are comedies. Call me a stick in the mud, but I like my horror films scary and my comedies funny (and, as Homer Simpson said, "I like my beer cold, my women hot, and my homosexuals flaming"). Personally, I'll take "Rosemary's baby" or "Carrie" any day of the week.

Josh

Name:             Lance
E-mail:           
Date:               11/02/14

Dear Josh :

Since you're an authority on all things movies, I was wondering if you could help settle a dispute a friend and I had on Halloween: Which is the scarier movie, "The Exorcist" or "Poltergeist." He insists that "Poltergeist" is "by far" the scarier film. To me, "Poltergeist" is borderline cartoonish, and I don't even see how one can compare the two.

Dear Lance:

In my humble opinion, it goes hands down to "The Exorcist." "Poltergeist" is indeed a cartoon, albeit a good one, but "The Exorcist" is working in reality, and that's a MUCH scarier place than cartoonville. It's one thing to say, "Boo!" or grab your ankles from under the bed; it's a whole other thing to make you question your faith in God. "Poltergeist" is clever; "The Exorcist" is legitimately frightening. I saw it the day it opened at the first matinee, and the audience was 98% black. I have never in my life seen an audience more horrified by anything. I constantly kept looking around watching the audience. William Peter Blatty and William Friedkin lured everybody into the very real world of Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair for a very long act one. Maybe 40 minutes. Then Linda Blair comes down during a party and urinates on the floor and all hell breaks loose. It's fucking brilliant. Filmmaking at its finest. Stacking the kitchen chair without a cut is clever; spitting green shit in the face of a priest is blaspheme.

Josh

Name:             Bob
E-mail:           
Date:               11/01/14

Dear Josh :

Are there many conservatives in Hollywood? There is a perception that everyone is in la la land, but then you will hear of different actors or directors espousing conservative views. One example is James Woods. I always figured he was to the left and then I hear that he considers himself to be a pretty solid conservative. There seems to be more diversity of thought than say, a university. What was your experience with the politics of Hollywood?

Dear Bob:

Hollywood is, for the most part, full of lefties. Yes, you have your occasional right-wing nut-jobs, like John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, Charlton Heston, right on down to Randy Quaid and Stephen Baldwin. Nevertheless, it's a bastion of fruits and nuts, most of whom are liberals, as am I.

Josh

Name:             Me
E-mail:           
Date:               11/01/14

Dear Josh :

In the Bedroom review: Really, when giving examples of "better" B movies, you put down Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except? Really? You list that as one of two examples, without offering a full discloser that it is your own film your plugging as a "critic." It's like if Tarantino were writing a scathing review of some heist movie he just saw, and then put down Reservoir Dogs as an example of a better heist movie. Way to high five yourself in public.

Dear Me:

What I meant--in a self-deprecating way--was even low-budget pieces of shit like "Vigilante" and TSNKE know that they're revenge films from the outset. Why do you think that in both cases we chose soldiers who had just returned from Vietnam to do the killing? If you choose as your lead, as Leonard Maltin put it, "An avuncular small-town Maine doctor" who suddenly goes batshit and starts killing people in Act III, you had 90-110 minutes there (the film is 138 minutes, for Christ sake) to give me some slight indication that something like this might possibly happen. It really is the worst kind of drama in the slowest possible way, and a terrible waste of talent.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               10/29/14

Dear Josh :

In William Castle's autobiography he claims to have been a production assistant (basically) on some film in the 1950's and during a take he yelled "cut" because he didn't feel the scene was going correctly. The director got mad but saw that Castle was correct in that the scene wasn't going correctly and thanked him, eventually promoting him, thereby giving Castle his big break. Spielberg has a similar (tall-tale) about breaking into an empty office on the Universial lot and getting notice for his big ideas. What would you do if a PA yelled "cut" during a scene you were doing, for let's say, the Xena shows?

Dear Joe:

The rule is that nobody but the director calls cut. In New Zealand some of the extremely nice, professional 1st ADs attempted to call action for me, as they did for other directors, but I stopped them. If a PA mistakenly called cut, which has never happened to me (cameramen, as you saw in my GoFundMe video, occasionally take it upon themselves to call cut, and sometimes they have reasons that no one else knows about, like the film isn't running smoothly through the camera, but even to them I remind them that only the director calls cut), but if a PA called cut in NZ, everybody would laugh, particularly me, because obviously they didn't know better.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               10/28/14

Dear Josh :

What do you think of the recent phenomenon of bad CGI movies getting SO MUCH ATTENTION and massing, if their PR is to be believed, such a fan-base? "Sharknado" being the latest example. thanks

Dear Joe:

There is certainly nothing new about the public being attracted to shit. The Cult of Worshipping Bullshit really got going in the 1980s and my writer/producing partner at the time, Scott Spiegel, and his good buddy, Quentin Tarantino, were at the forefront of the movement--it should have been called The Bowel Movement. When Scott and I lived in a bungalow in Hollywood, Quentin would come by--years before "Reservoir Dogs"--and the two of them would discuss bad movies endlessly. I once became so disgusted that I snarled at them, "Have you ever considered discussing a good movie?" They looked at me like I was nuts and went right back to deciding which smelled worse: dog-shit or cow-shit? Since then, our entire society has swung in that direction. In the course of merely 30 years shit has become more important than quality. Hollywood will spend $400 million on an obvious piece of shit like "Superman vs. " (shooting right here in Detroit as we speak), but only $20 on "Silver Linings Playbook." Real independent films are no longer released at all, and, for the most part, all young filmmakers want to make is bad zombie movies, so what's the difference?

Josh

Name:             Joe L.
E-mail:            j.larocca@aol.com
Date:               10/28/14

Dear Josh :

I know you had a bad experience with Troma while trying to negotiate a deal on "Thou Shall Not Kill...Except". But still, did you meet Lloyd Kaufman? If so, what was your impression of him?

Dear Joe:

I never did meet those guys: I was in Detroit, they were in NYC, and my agent who was negotiating with them was in NYC. I only spoke with on the phone a few times. But they were the worst heal-draggers I'd ever encountered up to that point in my life, and finally got my agent, Irvin Shapiro, so annoyed that he told them to fuck off. C'est la vie.

Josh

Name:             Jennifer T.
E-mail:            jthommy@gmail.com
Date:               10/28/14

Dear Josh :

I watched your gofund video and I'm going to donate, but seriously...you need to stop smoking, it's destroying your health, and it's obvious even from that video. Okay, do you "need" to do stop smoking? No, but if you don't, you'll die much sooner than you would, and you're obviously diminishing your own quality of life while you're still kicking. It looks like your breathing is labored, you are having random coughing fits, and your neck and skin are agitated. I'm sure the outside only scratches the surface of the discomfort you feel inside. You should quit. I'm concerned. Your fan, Jennifer

Dear Jennifer:

I appreciate your concern. However my Smoke-Bone is connected to my Write-Bone (which is also connected to my Drink-Bone), and if I don't smoke my head will fall off and I'll no longer be able to write. As one of favorite writers, Charles Bukowski, said, "Find what you love and let it kill you." Since I happen to love smoking, writing, and drinking, I'll just keep doing that which I love, and whatever results, so be it. If you do donate, thank you.

Josh

Name:             Lasse
E-mail:           
Date:               10/28/14

Dear Josh :

Why do you and Sam Raimi look like brothers or at least cousins? Is it possible there was some wife-swapping going on back in the 50s?

Dear Lasse:

That has been commented on before. I have known Sam since 1968, when he was 6 and I was 7, but I assure you that Mr. and Mrs. Raimi are anything but swingers. Mine, on the other hand, were. Regarding the 1950s, I was born in 1958 and Sam in '59, so we really didn't see much of the '50s.

Josh

Name:             David Whitty
E-mail:            david.whitty@bbc.co.uk
Date:               10/21/14

Dear Josh :

BBC World Service Radio request: Can we interview you about the making of 'The Evil Dead'? Programme: 'Witness', a daily history documentary programme on BBC World Service It's a short daily history doc on the World Service, you can see what we do here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p004t1hd/episodes/player Audience: The World Service has a worldwide audience of over 125 million If willing, please drop me a line with a contact number so we can work out when / how we can do the interview. kind regards David.

Dear David:

I would be more than pleased to be interviewed by you folks. My phone number is: 248 253-9336. I'm available all day long, Eastern Standard Time, but I stop work at 5:00 PM, then have cocktails and then I am un-interviewable.
I eagerly await your response.

Josh

Name:             Xenafan34
E-mail:           
Date:               10/21/14

Dear Josh :

The Xena episode Fins, Femmes and Gems is well known for the scraped storyline of Gabrielle falling in love with Xena. Do you have any insight into what exactly was suppose to happen with this storyline. If it had gone ahead as planned, would directing it have been a challenge in regards to the Subtext.

Dear Xenafan34:

The original script is what we did nearly three weeks of pre-production with, before a Universal executive finally had the good sense to read it and nix it. The original script was hated by one and all, and went far beyond subtext to the extent of having both Xena and Gaby completely coming out of their respective closets. The NZ producer, Chloe Smith, particularly despised it and said so at every head of Department meeting. I could easily have directed it, and Lucy and Renee are game for anything, but they didn't like it, either. It also originally included a parody of a DeBeers diamond commercial, with just the shadows on the wall passionately making out, put there specifically by Rob to see if he could get a deal on a diamond wedding ring for Lucy. Needless to say, that went into the shitcan and poor, poor Rob was forced to pay for the ring himself. Since the harried writers then had four days to rewrite the script, I made up almost every single joke in the episode, including Gaby's song. With extreme help from Ted, Lucy and Renee, we pulled that episode right out of our asses. Never in the 6-year history of Xena was a script in worse shape when production began. I got all of the half-finished scripts because comedy is the hardest thing to write. Two weeks into pre-production on "Kindred Spirits," having hired brand-new writers who had no clue what they were doing, Rob scraped the entire script, wrote an entirely new story himself, then hired tried-and-true writers to write it. We had to start pre-production from scratch using Rob's 7-page treatment, which had more typos than anything I've ever seen, but was a good, solid story, which became a good, solid episode, with a lot of help from the cast, the crew and me.

Josh

P.S. The best script I ever directed was, by far, "Warrior...Princess... Tramp," written by the head writer, whatever-the-hell his name was, over the break between seasons 1 and 2, so he had plenty of time to work on it. I still added gags all over the place, like, "That's Xena with a capital Z," or, as it was in the script, Joxer asks, "What's the plan?" and Meg kisses him. I added, "Good plan," etc. Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster did a helluva good job with many of the other scripts, given the ridiculously short time they had to write them.

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               10/21/14

Dear Josh :

Has Raimi ever commented about your "Evil Dead Dairies" in your book "Rushes?" Also, do you like to read books and articles about the making of films, and specifically, low budget films?

Dear David:

I've seen Fritz Lang's 1936 film "Fury," which I liked very much and have seen several times, and I've seen Brian DePalma's 1978 "The Fury" many times and it's sort of a guilty pleasure, so I've seen enough "Fury" movies.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               10/14/14

Dear Josh :

Has Raimi ever commented about your "Evil Dead Dairies" in your book "Rushes?" Also, do you like to read books and articles about the making of films, and specifically, low budget films?

Dear Joe:

No, Sam has never commented on my "Evil Dead Journal." Rob Tapert, however, did comment on "The Making of Xena" essay, saying, and I thought quite wisely, Everybody remembers everything in their own way." I have and have read literally hundreds of books on filmmaking--I have damn near every director's autobiography in existence--but not specifically low-budget. The best two interviews about low-budget filmmaking are in Peter Bogdanovich's wonderful book, "Who the Devil Made It?" with Joseph Lewis (Gun Crazy)
and Edgar G. Ulmer (Detour). Both men explain, in detail, how they made some very good features in five days each.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               10/12/14

Dear Josh :

I don't think I've read anywhere in your archives about any feelings you have on John Waters' films. Like his early stuff?

Dear Joe:

I love "Pink Flamingos" and "Female Trouble," but that's it. Sadly, when he went Hollywood and could no longer make the movies as he had--meaning lewd and crude--it all went to hell in a handcar. I spent an evening with him and several others, out to dinner, then drinks, and he barely took note of me. Still, he is one funny motherfucker.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               10/07/14

Dear Josh :

Do you believe in writer's block?

Dear Joe:

No, I don't. I think any writer worth his or her salt is 5-10 stories ahead of the one they're presently writing. Writing, I find, is like cleaning my house--I must stay on it always or it will overcome me. There are far too many stories to be told to believe for one second that we're out.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               10/02/14

Dear Josh :

Did you ever see the demo reel the Coen brothers made to raise money to make "Blood Simple?" Any good?

Dear Joe:

I liked it better than the feature, mainly because it was WAY shorter. I might have worked on it had I not had another gig.

Josh

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               10/02/14

Dear Josh :

Any thoughts on the film, "A Boy And His Dog"? I saw the screenplay was written by one of your favorites, Harlan Ellison.

Dear David:

I saw it at a school outing for a literature class at the University of Michigan, and it received a mixed reception, at best. I enjoyed it, but found all of the underground nonsense with Jason Robards in clown face painfully awful. I don't think that Ellison ever had any good experiences with the film industry, which he wonderfully elaborates on in his book of film reviews, "Harlan Ellison's Watching."

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               10/02/14

Dear Josh :

If an artist (in whatever medium) is mediocre at best, but finds value in the experience of making the art and is expects no commercial gains or attention, would you encourage him to continue when he, at times, becomes discouraged? Is he just cluttering up the world with more mediocre art?

Dear Joe:

Who decides what's good? If one is doing something that they enjoy, whether it makes money or not, then one ought to keep doing it. Neither "Citizen Kane" nor "The Magnificent Ambersons" made money, should Orson Welles have given up? Most the art in the world doesn't even reach the lofty peak of mediocre, so what?

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               10/01/14

Dear Josh :

You have written everything from stories, to essays, to poems, and scripts. Aside from the rap from "Lunatics..." have you ever dabbled in song lyric writing ? If you haven't then you could write up something send it off to Joe LaDucca for the music. You could be the Bernie Taupin to his Elton John, or the Oscar Hammerstein to his Richard Rogers, etc. No one aside from the two of you would have to hear the results but I'm sure they would be interesting. Anyways just a thought...

Paul:

Joe and I have written several songs together: "The Reynolds Rap" from "Lunatics," "I'm in Heaven" from the Xena ep, "If the Shoe Fits," and "Joxer the Mighty" from "For Him the Bell Tolls." But I actually wrote about 20 songs for a musical adaption of "Lunatics." Joe's comment was terrific. He said in the nicest possible way, "Well, they do rhyme." And that they do, but they're also the worst goddamn lyrics ever. The chances of me ever becoming a legitimate lyricist are zero. I can only write silly doggerel.

Josh

Name:             Brian
E-mail:           
Date:               10/01/14

Dear Josh :

I remember once that you said that the reason for the success of a movie such as Jaws (1975) was due to Zanuck and Brown and not Spielberg. Could you elaborate on that? Also, do you know of other interesting cases where the vision of the Director conflicted with the Producers?

Dear Brian:

That's not exactly what I said. In the case of "Jaws" Spielberg was merely a hired hand. He didn't write or develop the script and probably had damn little to do with the casting. What he did do, however, was shoot an extremely difficult script in an absolutely stunning, sure-handed fashion, which had a lot to do with the film's enormous success. He was also blessed with one of the finest editors in Hollywood, Verna Fields, who had the power to make him reshoot and get more angles. I still believe that "Jaws" is Spielberg's best movie by a mile, and a lot of that has do with how little he was involved in the development process. The more control he got, the worse his films got. In any case, I don't believe that Spielberg's vision and Zanuck and Brown's vision were in conflict at all. The only conflicts that I know of were getting Bruce the shark to function and not look utterly phony, which they pulled off beautifully; and that Spielberg was so insanely bored sitting out on a boat waiting for the shark to work that his buddy John Milius gave him a shotgun and skeet-thrower and Spielberg was such a bad shot that he nearly killed some of the crew guys by accident. So, the whole crew voted and the producers took the shotgun away from him.

Regarding conflicts between producers and directors, that undoubtedly started on the first day the first movie was shot in 1888.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               09/30/14

Dear Josh :

Did you like Richard Linklater's "Slacker?" How about Jim Jarmush's "Stranger then Paradise?" Also, back to the subject of crappy movies like "Phantasm 2," when you see a movie you don't like, in this case "Phantasm," do you continue to see all the movies that come out afterwards in the series like "Phantasm 3: Lord of the Dead," "Phantasm 4: Whatever the fuck the subtitle is," etc.?

Dear Joe:

I did like "Slacker" up to the last 15-20 minutes when it went astray. I thought "Stranger Than Paradise" was kind of wonderful, and by far Jarmush's best film. The only reason on earth I saw "Phantasm 2" was because it was the first screening at Universal and I went with Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert. I am, for the most part, against sequels. There are exceptions, of course, but very few: "Godfather Part II," "Aliens" and "The French Connection 2" wasn't bad. I'm just re-watching "Rocky II" after utterly dismissing it in 1979. It's a much better film than I gave it credit for, but pretty glum. Were I Chartoff or Winkler I would have nixed that script, but it is, nevertheless, a good film.

Josh

Name:             Jeff Q.
E-mail:            Quest922@aol.com
Date:               09/30/14

Dear Josh :

Enjoyed your latest essay. Not sure how you got from Washington to Kroger's but it made me think and laugh, two of the best possible outcomes. It also made me want to pick up the Washington bio, which brings me to my point. One of my long term goals is to read at least one bio of each of the presidents. I've hit the obvious, like Lincoln and John Adams. As a big history buff, any good suggestions? Looking forward to the kickstarter, you'll have my support.

Dear Jeff:

I enjoyed "Plain Speaking" by Merle Miller a lot. David Susskind produced an 8-hour TV documentary on Harry Truman and hired Miller to interview him. The camera crew was so slow, with so much down-time between shots, that Miller simply recorded his endless discussions with Truman, then years later edited those interviews into the book. It's the one and only time I've encountered Truman, whom I greatly admire, saying exactly what he thinks with seemingly no filter. As Truman said, "If I hadn't been president, then I would have been a history professor or a piano player in a whore house." Sticking with Truman, David McCullough's "Truman" is great. H.W. Brands' "Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times" as well as "The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin" were both really good (Yes, Ben Franklin wasn't president, but he seemed like it). Another really good one was "Eisenhower: Soldier and President" by Stephen E. Ambrose. Read those and I'll recommend more.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               09/29/14

Dear Josh :

When you sold your Evil Dead stuff to that UK website, what piece brought in the most interest & cash?

Dear Joe:

Honestly, I don't remember. It was just a bunch of knickknacks: an Evil Dead II hat, a coffee cup, some other stuff. I was perfectly happy to get rid of it.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               09/28/14

Dear Josh :

Ok, I'll ask it and I'll take the ass whipping if you see I deserve it: If Sam Raimi is worth around 50 million dollars (so says celebrity net worth site), then why the fuck can't he kick you down a buck or two to make a movie? Fuck, he gave the J.R. Brookwater guy some cash. Even if he's given you some cash before, he's got millions.

Dear Joe:

Because it's none of my business. Sam and I haven't hung out in over 25 years. And I assure you that he's not using his own money to finance his own films. That J.R. Bookwalter deal was over 25 years ago. I also came to the conclusion that I just don't like working for anyone else. That hit me good and hard on "(Stan Lee's) Harpies." Because I had Bruce as co-producer on "Alien Apocalypse" I was actually treated well and got most of the things I needed. Without Bruce I was so high and dry that every day of shooting was a bloody nightmare. I don't know how old you are, but at 56 I'm starting to feel old. Making movies is a difficult business. Now, I get up, make a cup of coffee, light a cigarette, then sit down in front of my computer all day and write what I want to write, and it's wonderful. BTW, I've shot a KickStarter video which will be posted in the next week or so to raise money to self-publish then sell the nine historical novels I've spent the past 14-15 months writing. Also, and finally, they don't make the stories I like anymore. I like to write about courage, honor and heroism; Hollywood only wants to make comic book stories or light comedies about goofy family reunions.

Josh

Name:             Tony
E-mail:            atoni51441@comcast.net
Date:               09/24/14

Dear Josh :

What are the chances of a First Time writer with No previous experience writing a Unique treatment/story that gets turned into a full length Motion Picture?

Dear Tony:

Zero. Don't think about full length Motion Pictures. Tell me a story. Do it here. The Queen died. The King died of heartbreak.

Josh

Name:             Danny Derakhshan
E-mail:           
Date:               09/21/14

Dear Josh :

No real question here, sorry about that. In regards to what you and Joe were talking about a few posts below: You are a success. Fairly successful is still successful, but it's not ridiculously successful. You've directed, produced, and written work that is enjoyed by people all over the world. Thousands and thousands of people only dream of doing what they love to pay the rent, like you. You enjoy making movies and writing, and that's all you'll do, come hell or high water. It's respectable. It's one of the reasons I buy your books and watch your movies. The fact that you respond in kind to emails from fans and friends on your site just makes you that much better of a success. It's a "down to earth" success and not a children's fantasy of becoming ridiculously wealthy and living in the Hollywood Hills and needing a personal assistant - though that wouldn't be too bad either. I'm thinking about the state of the movie industry and where it's headed. I'm seeing less of actors or directors making mega-millions to make movies. Remember when someone like Jim Carrey or Arnold Schwarzenegger made $20 million for one movie? That era was a balloon filled to its limit with hot air. I think that time came and went. Sure, there's still money to be made, but it's more about who can be more original and has the courage to bring it to the screen. That's where creativity and a good directorial vision can make a great story to become a magnum opus. I'm being optimistic, of course, but I feel you have some more great stories to tell. I'm pretty sure everyone here except the trolls agree. So, own up to it. You are a success.

Dear Danny:

I have many stories to tell. In the past 18 months I've written 9 historical novels. I have an endless amount of stories to tell. What is success? Is it making money, or is it doing what you love? I have no money, but I get up every morning, turn on the computer, then write another story that I feel needs to be written. As Bukowski said, "Find what you love, then let it kill you."
Cheers!

Josh

Name:             Nolan
E-mail:            dunbar.nolan@gmail.com
Date:               09/14/14

Dear Josh :

I've been a fan of "Hawg Wild In Sturgis" for many years, and I'm curious if you could shed some light on this project. How did this project come together? It seems like a travel doc, but a definite narrative emerges as the film progresses. When you were working on it, did you have the sense that you were capturing something special? Does anyone else ever ask you about this project? What happen to Drew and his bride? Are they still married? Any other interesting stories form this project? Thanks!

Dear Noland:

Good God, there's nothing but interesting stories about that film, which nobody ever asks about. I was a PA on a ecologically really good cause of a benefit at the Wiltern Theater in LA. I was working the parking lot, with a list that included: Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne and David Crosby, none of whom showed up. The host was Roseanne Arnold, recently divorced from Tom Arnold. She was introduced as, "Roseanne Arnold!" and wouldn't come out because her name was back to Roseanne Barr. The show went to hell from there.

Meanwhile, in the parking lot, I buddied up with two guys from the east coast, foremost of which was Chris Iovenko, who was about to produce a doc on bikers in Sturgis, S.D. I told him about the doc I had just made, "Battle the Big Tuna," shot on S-VHS that had turned out quite well. He called me a week later and said, "Since you're the Beta-Cam whiz, we'd like to hire you on our Sturgis film." Having never used a Beta-Cam camera before, I asked, "Can you get it a few days early so that I might familiarize myself with it?" They said sure. I then called a cameraman I know and asked, "How the hell do you use a Beta-Cam? It has a thousand buttons." He said, "Turn all of them off but the last one and you'll be fine. Remember, it's a heavy motherfucker." So I bought a guitar strap and hooked it to it, which worked perfectly. I was B-camera, meaning I was rarely with main unit, but wandered around with my crew--a sound man, a boom man, and two PAs--and shot anything I wanted, including every license plate I spied. At the big events, like the bike drag race, I was second camera. Me and my crew arrived first, set up on the starting line, and got a great shot of drag bikes starting the race from down on the ground. To make a drag wheel--with no treads--sticky, they coat it with bleach, run it in place for a minute until it builds up a noxious blue smoke, then let it go. This was the most poisonous thing I've ever inhaled in my life. When main unit arrived, I suggested that I and my crew go down to the finish line a quarter of a mile away. Everyone thought me quite gallant and off we trooped to the finish line. When it was over, main unit was ready to die from the fumes; second-unit, however, was dandy. At the wedding, Drew took his pretty bride past the sunset--my shot--laid her down on the grass and soundly fucked her, which I got on camera, but was not used. There are many other stories, too, like Drew snorting not one, not two, but three grams of cocaine on camera the night before his wedding, all on camera.

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               09/11/14

Dear Josh :

On the subject of best picture nominees, have you seen "Gravity" ? I felt the same way about it as the previous poster felt about "The Artist". However when it was at the last scene I felt that I could have watched Sandra Bullock just walk around in her space outfit for another ten minutes, without doing anything, her presence or star quality if you will, was more engaging than anything she did plot wise in the movie. ["Thou art God, and I am God and all that groks is God.” - from Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land]

Dear Paul:

I found it to be a bloody bore, Sandra Bullock and all. I'll tell you what was great, though, "The Last Ride" with Henry Thomas as Hank Williams (2012).

Josh

Name:             Kiran
E-mail:           
Date:               09/10/14

Dear Josh :

Do you still watch all the Academy Award Best Picture winners? Curious to hear what you thought of The Artist (2011). It was very well executed, but in the end it felt like a medicore story and more of a gimmick than a great film.

Dear Kiran:

I bailed out. It was far too cute more my tastes, and I'm generally a sucker for any sort of animal, and that was a cute dog. But it's SO whimsical it annoyed me. "Silver Lining Playbook" works its way toward whimsy, but when it arrives at the dance contest its earned it.

Josh

Name:             Nikolay Yeriomin
E-mail:            nikolayyeriomin@gmail.com
Date:               09/09/14

Dear Josh :

I wanted to ask some questions on "Torro. Torro. Torro!". First one is: was it Sam Raimi's Oldsmobile in one of the scenes? And a second one is how you divided directing duties with Scott Spiegel in this film? In the interview to Book of the Dead website you've told about your ther shared short, "Blind Waiter" - was the expirience any different? Yours sincerely, Nikolay Yeriomin.

Dear Nikolay:

I don't remember about Sam's car. Yes, co-directing "Torro!" was exactly like "The Blind Waiter"--I did everything, which is why Scott's and my next collaboration, "Cleveland Smith Bounty Hunter," was exclusively credited to me as director, and thus ended our days as co-directors. How's the war going? Does it matter to you which side the Ukraine ends up on? And what are your thoughts on Putin, and Pussy Riot, who are playing here in Michigan in Ann Arbor on Sept. 18th?

Josh

Name:             Russ
E-mail:           
Date:               09/07/14

Hello Josh :

Apparently Kevin Sorbo is pitching a religious series along with Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi. I know Sorbo is a Christian conservative but I am surprised Rob wants to work with him again. Sorbo had a few unkind things to say about Rob previously. Are you surprised that they are working together again? http://pages.citebite.com/l3q5j8u9e2sqt

Dear Russ:

Kevin is a great guy and I loved working with him on "Hercules." He always knew his lines and was game to try anything. Bruce golfed with him regularly and said he has a helluva swing. I don't agree with his political or religious beliefs, but then again, I don't agree with most anyone's political or religious beliefs, so I show tolerance. Kevin couldn't find better show-runners than Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi who know how to get shows made, and have proven it over and over again. I wish them all the luck in the world. "Allah-u Akbar, Allah-u Akbar. La illah illa Allah," the Shahada ["God is most great, God is most great. I testify there is no other God but God and Mohammed is His Prophet"].

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               09/02/14

Dear Josh :

About 7 months ago someone asked you a question here and I forget what it was, but I remember your answer: "My career isn't anything that you would call a success, but I'm proud of the movies I made and wouldn't change them a bit." Josh, how do you deal with something in your life not being a success or not turning out the way you had hoped for? Thanks

Dear Joe:

That's everything. Nothing turned out the way I wanted. I am in a completely different position than I thought I'd be in by now. But I believe that I've made the most of it. I have written twelve books: three published and nine more will be available soon. Those who get exactly what they want in life are generally known as "assholes," and the rest of us are just folk, gettin' by somhow.

As an addendum, nobody gets everything they want, except comeuppance, which we all get "three times filled and running over," as per Booth Tarkington in "The Magnificent Ambersons."

Josh

Name:             Nikolay Yeriomin
E-mail:            nikolayyeriomin@gmail.com
Date:               09/02/14

Dear Josh :

Since you've mentioned "Phantasm II" screening... Do you remember what was Sam Raimi's reaction on the scene where one of the undertakers filled a plastic bag with cremation ashes and Raimi's name was on the bag? Yours sincerely, Nikolay Yeriomin. P.S. Sorry for reminding but wanted to ask (just in case) - have you recievef the treatment which I send you by e-mail?

Dear Nikolay:

It doesn't appear that I did receive your treatment. Of course, I generally won't read anything anybody sends, but in your case I'll make an exception. Send it to josh@beckerfilms.com.

Regarding "Phantam II," I don't remember one frame of that piece of shit.

PS. Here's my English wordplay for you, which none of my English-speaking friends understood: The town next to Donesk is Dontell, which is mainly populated by homosexuals.

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               09/02/14

Dear Josh :

I understand a lot of other people mistook David and Richard Attenborough, as well as in England people confused Robin Williams name thinking that British pop singer Robbie Williams died instead. Anyways on this subject of similar names how familiar are you, Josh Becker, with the work of French director/screenwriter Jacques Becker ?

Dear Paul:

Although I'm well aware of him and his rep, due to our name's sake, I've never seen any of his films. Have you? I hear they're good, but that often isn't true regarding French films. For instance, perhaps the most highly regarded of all French directors, Jean Renoir, I don't like at all.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               08/31/14

Dear Josh :

I know this isn't a question, Josh, but I was there at that Phantasm 2 screening. My first job in Hollywood was on Phantasm 2. There was a lot of Phantasm 2 at that screening. I remember the room being larger then 20 people. Maybe 75 - 100 people. Regardless, I remember Sam howling and shrieking. Several of us crew members that thought the film was stupid-as-fuck began goofing him and were mocking his howling and what not. I remember Jim Jacks and Nick cage, too. Sorry I didn't know what you looked like. I would have loved to talk to you.

Dear Joe:

Good God, what a small world. Yeah, Sam's out of his silly mind, and Jim Jacks was a dick.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               08/27/14

Dear Josh :

Oh, sorry. I thought you had mentioned you saw "Soundings" at the Super-8 film festival you all won awards at. Regardless, what did you think about the film "Phantasm?"

Dear Joe:

No need to be sorry. I did say I saw it, as I did all of the films in the festival, I just don't remember it. Regarding "Phantasm," I hated it, although I did like the flying ball with the spikes. I saw "Phantasm 2" at a very early screening in a tiny screening room (maybe 20 seats) on the Universal lot with Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Don Coscarelli, which was even worse than the first one. Throughout the entire film the only person making any noise at all was Sam who was screaming, shrieking, laughing, and yelling comments at the screen, like, "Don't go in there!" Rob and I were mortified. Afterward, Rob asked Sam why he was being such a loudmouthed idiot? Sam replied, "I'm the only good audience member." Then, as we exited the screening room, who should we run into but the late Jim Jacks, head of production at Universal, and producer of quite a few movies, like, "Blood Simple," "Raising Arizona," "Darkman," "A Simple Plan," etc., and this guy was a real fat, ugly, ill-mannered asshole, and who should he be talking to but Nicholas Cage. Jim sees us and says to Nicholas Cage, "Nick, I want you to meet some people. Nick, this is Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert," then he wedges his fat horrible body between me and everybody else and they proceed to have a long conversation with me excluded. This maneuver is known as the "Hollywood Hello."

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               08/26/14

Dear Josh :

Was Joel Coen's "Soundings" any good? What was it about?

Dear Joe:

I have no recollection of it.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               08/26/14

Dear Josh :

If Saul Bass had agreed to do the titles to one of your films: 1. What was the film of yours you wanted Saul Bass to work on? 2. What did you have budgeted if he had said yes? 3. Would you just let him have free reign on the titles or did you have specific thoughts for him to work within? 4. Was he annoyed that you called him? thanks

Dear Joe:

1. "Cleveland Smith Bounty Hunter" the feature.
2. Peanuts.
3. Yes.
4. He wasn't annoyed at all; he was incredibly friendly and talkative. He was a lovely, exceptionally talented man.

Josh

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               08/25/14

Dear Josh :

The great Richard Attenborough died today. I loved him as Bartlett 'Big X' in "The Great Escape", among many other film roles. His narration in many BBC nature documentaries were a pleasure to listen to as well.

Dear David:

You may be confusing him with his brother, David, who did the nature documentaries. But Dickie Attenborough (his friends called him Dickie) was a terrific actor. I just saw him in "The Guns at Batasi" (1964), with a very young Mia Farrow (maybe 19), and Attenborough was great. I just saw Mia Farrow's first film, "John Paul Jones" (1959), with Robert Stack as a severely angry Jones, and directed by Mia's dad, John Farrow (Maureen O'Sullivan's husband), but I never saw her and she's unbilled.

Josh

Name:             Nikolay Yeriomin
E-mail:            nikolayyeriomin@gmail.com
Date:               08/25/14

Dear Josh :

Was a single-shot loaded shotgun fired by John Manfredi in TSNKE the same that was used in "The Evil Dead" and now owned by Don Campbell? Yours sincerely, Nikolay Yeriomin.

Dear Nikolay:

I believe so. Don also has a little French .25 caliber automatic pistol that I found for sale in a hardware store somewhere outside Morristown for ten bucks, which is really cool.

Josh

Name:             Chowderhead Pete
E-mail:            diddlymike@lycos.com
Date:               08/22/14

Dear Josh :

"Olivia Wilde is absolutely wonderful. Both beautifully made." Both films or both boobs?

Dear Pete:

Both of both.

Josh

Name:             Nikolay Yeriomin
E-mail:            nikolayyeriomin@gmail.com
Date:               08/22/14

Dear Josh :

As it is hard to recognize under the make-up I wanted to ask - approximately who's where out of actors credited in the end credits of "Cleveland Smith"? I've recognized (well, at least I thought that I did) Rovert Tapert (Chief/Big Daddy) and Bill Aaron (Hulking Native). As usual, tried to find Scott Spiegel by his facial features and failed (same problem in many films by Sam Raimi - Spiegel is like a chameleon). Yours sincerely, Nikolay Yeriomin.

Dear Nikolay:

Scott is one of the two natives eating 8x10 still photos who says, "This freeze-dried stuff is for the birds."

Josh

Name:             Nikolay Yeriomin
E-mail:            nikolayyeriomin@gmail.com
Date:               08/20/14

Dear Josh :

Do you remember The Second National Super-8 Film Competition which was held at MSU, May 13-14 of 1980 (covered in the article "Home Movies Grow Up" in the newspaper "The Lansing Star")? Among the contestants were yours "Holding It", Sam Raimi's "Within the Woods", "educational" film on job interviewing by Paul Hart, "The Trombone Player Who Thought He Was a Shopping Mall" by Bob Hercules, "Implications of Totality" by Joseph Bernard's, "Soundings" by Joel Coen and "Buffalo Chip Chips" by Tim Philo. The competition was held by Ivan Raimi. Do you have anything to remember about the event, or, maybe the first competition, which wasn't covered in press? Who won? Yours sincerely, Nikolay Yeriomin.

Dear Nikolay:

We all won, it was our film contest. We came up with enough categories so that as many films as were shown won. "Holding It" may have gotten something like Best Action Film. Since Ivan and Sam were paying for it, and it was really just an excuse to keep showing "The Happy Valley Kid," which, being the biggest and newest film, was the predetermined Best Picture. Then afterward we partied our brains out all night long and MSU students who had just seen the films--it was a great screening, BTW--bought us beer.

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               08/19/14

Dear Josh :

Since you brought up "Alien", I wonder if you have seen or heard of the recent documentary "Jodorowsky's Dune". It concerns the unmade adapatation of Frank Herbert's science fiction epic "Dune" planned by the midnight movie auteur Alejandro Jodorowsky. It is quite fascinating and like Jodorowsky himself quite mad as well. The basic line is that Jodorowsky gathered together a number of people (Dan O'Bannon, H.R. Geiger, Chris Foss, etc.) who after his project fell apart went on to well, be the creative core of "Alien" among other things. The mad genius aspect of Jodorowsy might be laid on thick here but he is quite a presence on screen. It also an interesting look at a certain cultural tone of the 1970s. And if you are a fan of the book it might appall you at what he planned to do with it. So generally inspiring, loony and fun to watch. (By the way the mention of you, B Dog C, and the Herzog brothers in Vegas has the makings of a classic Becker article or story.)

Dear Paul:

Yes, I'm aware of the film and have seen clips. I actually spent a day with Jodorowsky, his girlfriend, and my good buddy, Jay, who used to run the Chicago Underground Film Festival. Jay was honoring him and showing his films. Jodowrowsky sort of went on and on about Allan Kline, who ended up owning the rights to his films, who Jodorowsky didn't like. His French girlfriend was gorgeous and smart and the two of them searched around for, and watched, two movies they'd never seen before every day. Regarding "Dune," which was one of my favorite books in high school, no matter what Jodorowsky did, it couldn't be worse than Lynch's version.

Josh

Name:             KP
E-mail:           
Date:               08/18/14

Dear Josh :

Regarding recent films, have you seen "Flight" and "The Words?" Both are from 2012 and I found both to be absolutely terrific in every department. Curious if you saw them... -KP

Dear KP:

Yeah, I saw them both, and I thought they were both terrific. I saw "Flight" three times, and, were I a pilot, that would be my story. I only saw "The Words" once, but I need to see it again. Olivia Wilde is absolutely wonderful. Both beautifully made.

Josh

Name:             Nikolay Yeriomin
E-mail:            nikolayyeriomin@gmail.com
Date:               08/18/14

Dear Josh :

As for the "Spine Chillers" - web-series can be much more irregular then the ordinary TV Series, especially since they're usually made on a very tight budget. By the way, I wanted to ask - what web-series have you seen and what of them do you like? Maybe Ted Raimi's "Morbid Minutes"? Yours sincerely, Nikolay Yeriomin.

Dear Nikolay:

I've seen scant few and have liked none of them. I am, however, watching "Moneyball" for the third time and that's certainly one of the best movies of the previous five years, about a subject I don't care about--baseball--and yaking an approach I abhor--running the stats through a computer--and yet it's great. Once again, bravo, Aaron Sorkin.

Josh

Name:             lou
E-mail:           
Date:               08/18/14

Dear Josh :

according to the other "hombres" in the youtube comments, spine chillers is still going strong. did u quit?

dear lou:

No, I'm being realistic. Yes, there still is a "Spine Chillers" in which I will happily participate, but I don't believe its a series, at least not how I conceived it. I pitched, and they agreed, that we put out six episodes a year; one every two months. Well, we've managed to put out eight episodes in two years. In my opinion that's too irregular to call it a series, and it will never develop a true following. However, if we can continue to manage to put out a DVD of nine episodes every two years, or so, that will have to do.

Josh

Name:             Justin Hayward
E-mail:            justinhaywarddirector.com
Date:               08/18/14

Dear Josh :

Do you consider filmmaking an art form, and do you consider filmmakers artists? Thanks

Dear Justin:

Film is certainly an art form, and a very few filmmakers and their films have risen to the level of art . . . but not most. But the same can be said of all art forms. Only the top one percent rises that high. Old-time sci-fi writer, Theodore Stuergon, had a law--Stuergon's Law: "90% of everything is bullshit" and that includes people, too.

Josh

Name:             Nikolay Yeriomin
E-mail:            nikolayyeriomin@gmail.com
Date:               08/17/14

Dear Josh :

Happy Birthday. Wish you a lot of health, wealth and inspiration and to be as inspiring as you are now and/or more. Yours sincerely, Nikolay Yeriomin.

Dear Nikolay:

Thank you, sir.

Josh

Name:             Eric Tiller
E-mail:            etilliskies@comcast.net
Date:               08/17/14

Dear Josh :

This is a follow-up to our last exchange. You said you have better things to be doing than working on SPINE CHILLERS, so I'm wondering what precisely you're working on these days? Feature script, short script, novel, short story, essay? Excited to hear. Also, what do you do for money besides the occasional residual check? Last question, also about money. When you sold CYCLES (congratulations by the way, still an incredible achievement) did you invest any of the money you made or did you spend it all? If you spent it all, would you go back and invest if given the chance again? Lastly, (sorry one more), I'm beginning to make a name for myself in Hollwood. If I ever got to a point where I could push a movie through the system (which at the rate I'm going I believe will happen in the next 2 years or so) how would I be able to buy CYCLES back from the producer who has it, or option it or whatever? In other words, who do I contact to see about getting the rights to that script?

Dear Eric:

I have written eight historical novels in the past 14 months or so. Regarding money, I just sold my car. Regarding "Cycles," you'd have to hire a lawyer and have them track down the rights because I don't know who owns it now. There's a WGA rule that says after this length of time I can buy it back for cheap.

Josh

Name:             Joe
E-mail:           
Date:               08/16/14

Dear Josh :

You think the 1962 super natural movie "Carnival of Souls" is any good?

Dear joe:

Yes. Not great. But a fine example of a film made for ten cents.

Josh

Name:             James Brighton
E-mail:           
Date:               08/16/14

Dear Josh :

It's interesting to see the rise in quality of television shows. There are more and more big name movie stars who are starting to do TV now as well. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in "True Detective", Billy Bob Thornton in "Fargo", Halle Berry in "Extant", Clive Owen in "The Knick". I read an article comparing TV now to films of the 70s era of "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls". Television is currently the best medium to tell daring and original stories. I'm not saying you can't tell great stories in film, but the production environment in TV is much better now, because the producers have found that thoughtful, intelligent writing really sells in that medium.

Dear James:

That's great to hear. Of course, thoughtful, intelligent writing would sell in movies, too, but there are too many stupid executives and producers to allow that to occur. Every film has five production companies making it, with the requisite number of execs and producers, and there's no way to get past that. A TV show has one production company, and the new producers in TV, like Netflix, give the artists complete control, just like, as you pointed out, movies in the '70s. The artists MUST control the product or it will stink.

Josh

Name:             Nicholas
E-mail:            therealnickelass@yahoo.com
Date:               08/14/14

Dear Josh :

A very early happy womb escapement day to you Mr. Becker. I hope that it is one of the best ever. As much as I hate to delve back into the darkness that has become the soup du jour of late, but over the last couple of days we have lost Robin Williams and Lauren Becall. Granted there is a lot of other bad stuff going on around the world the loss Mr. Williams has sparked a lot conversation especially when it comes to the darkness of depression. I know I can't speak for everyone, but when things are going bad I tend to turn to movies (or music/books) for a little escapement of my own... So are there any movies that stand out to you from those two fine actors, or otherwise?

Dear Nicholas:

Lately I've been watching "Alien." As Harlan Ellison said, "It will scare the peanuts out of your M&Ms." But, of course, I watch other movies, all the time. If one has the blues, I suggest, "Beau Geste," and one will quickly forget about their blues. Better to be wherever you are than in the French Foreign Legion.

Josh

Name:             Nikolay Yeriomin
E-mail:            nikolayyeriomin@gmail.com
Date:               08/14/14

Dear Josh :

As I've recently watched "Exit Interview" (you cameo is great, as usual, amazing screen presence in an already great cast of an episode), I've remembered that you have worked on true crime series "Real Stories of the Highway Patrol". How different was the experience, if compared to your other television work? Are there any good/interesting things to remember about it?.. Yours sincerely, Nikolay Yeriomin.

Dear Nikolay:

"Real Stories of the Highway Patrol" was a terrific experience. I shot in both Lansing, Michigan, and Sacramento, California, and I worked strictly from police reports, no scripts. I would sit an hotel room each night sifting through the reports trying to find ones that I could shoot in just one night or one day. There were no actors, only cops, who were basically unable to deliver any dialog other than "Drop it!" or "Put down the weapon!" My entire crew was myself, the producer, Craig Peligian (a friend since we were seven), a cameraman and a sound man. All episodes included shoot-outs and car chases, something cops can do extremely well. And, if we needed to have a car chase through any kind of populated area, they simply turned on their flashers and sirens and everybody got out of our way. It was incredible. I had a couple of days to cut each one back in L.A. When I turned them in to the executive producer he would scream and yell that they were "shit" and "garbage" and that they stunk so bad he might not be able to air them. The next year, after I had left for greener pastures, Craig called me and said, "The executive producer just said to me, 'why can't we make good episodes anymore? You know, like last season'."

Josh

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               08/13/14

Dear Josh :

Favorite Werner Herzog films? Do you think he made any great movies?

Dear David:

Werner prettily much only makes great movies. If he's there, ergo, it's a great film. His relationship with Klaus Kinki is priceless. Bruce and I have hung with Werner and his brother in Vegas a number of of times. Nice guys.

Josh

Name:             Nikolay Yeriomin
E-mail:            nikolayyeriomin@gmail.com
Date:               08/11/14

Dear Josh :

Do you keep souvenirs from your films (props, scripts, etc.) and other movie productions you were involved in? I've seen directions to cabin hand-written by Bruce Campbell in the collection of Book of the Dead site webmaster, Rob, which previously, probably, belong to you. Yours sincerely, Nikolay Yeriomin.

Dear Nikolay:

I had a bunch of ED stuff, but I sold it all to Rob at the Book of the Dead UK site. I do have a few other things from my films, but, for the most part, I'm not a collector--just of books, of which I have at least 3,000, jammed into a small house.

Josh

Name:             Stanislaw
E-mail:           
Date:               08/10/14

Dear Josh :

did you ever see DeadHeads by the Pierce brothers?

Dear Stanislaw:

No. But their dad, Bart, is my old buddy and I wish them all the best.

Josh

Name:             Eric Tiller
E-mail:            etilliskies@comcast.net
Date:               08/10/14

Dear Josh :

Here's what I don't understand: if it's taking the other guys so long to finish episodes, why don't you just finish them yourself? Judging by the first episodes, you're looking at wading through about 6-8 hours of footage, syncing sound, and then editing together a 15 minute story on Final Cut Pro. That's doable in 2-3 editing sessions. If you're waiting on music too long, just use garage band to grab some public domain scores or hell, rip some from the internet, it's not like there's are being used commercially so you don't have to worry about infringement. I just don't get it. At the quality-level these are being produced (i.e. zero budget) you could totally go out with yourself and a boom operator, film the episode in a day or two, and then spend 2-3 days editing. A week-long commitment at most. You're telling me you need these two other lazy dudes just to keep making 'em? I don't get it. You could rent a boom and camera for $150 total. Plus lunch for your actors and crew you're looking at $200 budget, give or take. That's not doable? I don't mean this to be a jerk, I'm just hoping you can elaborate on what it is you're relying on these other people for and why it is you can't continue in their absence? Thanks, Eric

Dear Eric:

It was supposed to be a series with three POVs. Alas, that's not how it turned out. So, perhaps, it will simply be a series of DVDs. I've got better things to do than put too much effort into this.

Josh

Name:             Paul (not Paul Harris)
E-mail:           
Date:               08/10/14

Josh and Company :

Sorry for two posts in a row (assuming my last one got through) Bit speaking of art and film, how about this Bill Murry art show in San Francisco http://news.artnet.com/in-brief/bill-murray-honored-with-san-francisco-exhibition-34710 I suppose some gallery could do the same thing with Bruce C. Because eons after the Evil Dead was shot people still care and are interested about you guys...

Dear Paul:

"Evil Dead" is not my movie; I was just a crew member.

Josh

Name:             Paul (not Paul Harris)
E-mail:           
Date:               08/09/14

Josh and Company :

I wanted chime in on the Art discussion and will later write something but with only 3 or 4 post "Godwins Law" was arrived at so the discussion is certainly over ... Godwin's Law (Mike Godwin 1990) "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." Note: The number one refers to probability theory, where an event is said to never happen when its probability is 0, and to always happen when its probability is 1.

Dear Paul:

Fascinating. I'm not sure what Nazis have to do with this, but they do seem to come up sooner or later.

Josh

Name:             lou
E-mail:           
Date:               08/09/14

Hey Becker :

am i crazy or is RUNNING TIME the most underrated becker film? it's so good i can't believe it's not a bigger cult classic. u should screen it in la at the new bev or the cinefamily. i bet you'd get a huge crowd.

Dear lou:

It's not for me to say which of my films is best. I did everything I could to get the film a decent release, but that was a long time ago and I've moved on. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Josh

Name:             Kimmio
E-mail:            kimmyocoshaw@gmail.com
Date:               08/05/14

Dear Josh :

Are you serious about your work,how serious do you have to get to do this job?

Dear Kimmio:

What the hell are you talking about?

Josh

Name:             Nick
E-mail:           
Date:               08/05/14

Dear Josh :

Hey now, I did say "for the most part," so don't compare me to Hitler. You did mention "Kentucky Fried Movie," which I think is a great example of a film that breaks the rules of storytelling and succeeds, and I really have no clue why. So, not all works of art should follow the rules hard and fast, but most of them should. Regarding Bunuel, I think "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" is another film that breaks the rules, but it still has it's own weird structure (they keep waking up into another dream, into another dream, into another dream, etc.). So, yes, you don't have to follow the rules 100% of the time, but I think you should about 95% of the time. I think it might be better to say that taste is subjective (my top ten is probably a lot different than yours), but quality is not, and what people mostly like is quality art. That's why you keep seeing movies like "Goodfellas" and "Taxi Driver" appearing on everyone's top movies lists, but not "Bio-Dome." You might get a lot out of "Bio-Dome," but damned if I know anyone that has. And, to be fair, the "dogs playing poker" painting is responsible for one of the best "Simpsons" gags ever. But are there any films (aside from "Un Chien Andalou") that you like that don't have a point?

Dear Nick:

What's the point of "Citizen Kane?" You shouldn't hit people with your sled? What's the point of "Ben-Hur?" If you've got leprosy you should consult Jesus?

Josh

Name:             Nikolay Yeriomin
E-mail:            nikolayyeriomin@gmail.com
Date:               08/05/14

Dear Josh :

In fact, I loved "Spine Chillers" and I really hope that it will be succesful, with time. Interent is unpredictable. Cameos, you've said about are great! Gorbachev in "Lunatics" is especially cool and reminds me really of Hitchcock's masterpieces. I was completely oblivious of your cameo in "Darkman" - it was filled with great ones (Scott Spiegel, William Lustig, Bruce Campbell shemping multiple times) and I'm glad that I haven't spot all of them yet. As for "If I Had a Hammer" it's one of those movies, I'd like to watch on some special event, because I know that I'll like it. Two more small questions - what was your expirience on working with William Lustig on "Hit List" (an influential action piece with terrific performance by Henriksen, BTW)? And where are you in the "Opening Night" by John Cassavetes? Yours sincerely, Nikolay Yeriomin.

Dear Nikolay:

In "Opening Night" I'm in the audience during the performance, I'm outside the bar with Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazara, and I'm in the crowd outside the theater.

Josh

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               08/04/14

Dear Josh :

How long did movies exist as a medium before they reached a level of greatness? I am interested in this incubation period for (any) new medium before it can reach a higher level. For example, did the invention of the novel have a similar period before they reached a level of greatness?

Dear David:

We're back to the topic of subjectiveness. What is great? Film reached greatness immediately. Many people, at the time, found Edison, Melies and the the Lumieres' films to be great, which they were. The Lumieres brothers films, shot in all the capitals of the world, in one shot, are astounding. To see Jerusalem or Berlin in 1900 is magic.

Josh

Name:             William Wilson
E-mail:            wwilson69@gmail.com
Date:               08/04/14

Dear Josh :

Couple questions. First, although I don't live in Michigan, I do live in the general area and could get there if need be and for the right opportunity. Are there any open cast or crew positions available on Spine Chillers or any of your additional future endeavors? I am qualified in many areas of production and can provide resume and references upon request. Second, I have some scripts that I am currently looking to set up with the right producer. Although I plan on directing them, I think if the right talent came along I could be induced into letting said talent step into the director's chair. There are also investment opportunities available, so please feel free to publish my e-mail address for your readers. I am thinking about doing a Kickstarter as a possibility. My scripts are available upon request. One is a horror movie concerning 3 Mile Island and the mutated inhabitants who haunt the grounds at night. One is a comedy about a pie eating competition where the climax is the biggest pie fight ever captured on film. The third is a drama about AIDS. Please let me know which one(s) you might like to check out. I'm told by many professionals they're pretty damn good and I will soon start to seek out an agent. Best Regards, William Wilson

Dear William:

I understand where you are as I've been there most of my life. No, there are no positions available on Spine Chillers. Regarding agents, of whom I've had eight, none of whom ever got me a job, good luck. But if you have any other questions regarding filmaking, write in.

Josh


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