Q & A    Archive
Page 102

Name: Tanya
E-mail: tagma@burnet.ru

Mr Becker,

It's not directing work question but I hope you wouldn't mind. What do you think about Elvis Presley? :)

T.

Dear Tanya:

Elvis is the King. In 1956, '57, '58, Elvis Presly was the most incredible thing that anyone had ever seen and he was just a kid, 21, 22, and 23 years old. He was the living embodiment of rock and roll, swiveling hips and sneering lip, and just when we needed it, too, when the HUAC and Joe McCarthy (with the help of Richard Nixon) and the far right were seriously trying to take over. Suddenly, there was rebellion in the air, and a sneer on the kid's lips. Even though they drafted Elvis, his influence had made it to England and rock and roll lived, and came back to America to save us from conformity and regimentation.

Josh

Name: Keegan
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

My favorite film is Lunatics: A Love Story. How did you come up with the idea?

Dear Keegan:

I was sitting on the back stoop of a small bungalow in Hollywood in 1988 trying to come up with a good idea for a movie and I was listening to "Dark Side of the Moon." When it got to "The lunatic is on the grass," I thought to myself, "Has anyone used 'Lunatic' as a title? So I dashed to my Maltin book and no, no one had. Before the day was out I was convinced it should really be Lunatics, plural, and be a love story. Thus it began.

Josh

Name: Cynthia E. Jones
E-mail: cynthiaejones@hotmail.com

Josh,

Just thought you might like to check this out, if you already haven't:

http://www.votetoimpeach.org/

I met some people with this group when I was protesting the war in Iraq earlier this year--that's the one good thing about DC. For each hypocritical senator with a wife and an intern-mistress, there's a dozen or more angry political activists ready to take the system down.

I was alarmed at the decrease in anti-war sentiment this year, though. It seemed as though the general populace was fooled into thinking that Bush's actions were necessary. It scares me when that many people think war is okay, even when the "reasons" are so weak and obviously wrong. Then MSNBC (or whatever corporate, government-owned lie machine you choose to watch on TV) puts out a poll saying: "89% of Americans support the war" because they asked 1000 65+ year olds in a telephone poll, and people "on the fence" say, "Oh, well, I guess no one's against it, so there's no use arguing."

Thanks for hating Bush as much, if not more than I do.

--Cindy

Dear Cindy:

It's my displeasure. Just to keep everything always going back to movies, there was a great documentary on Sundance this week called "Tell the Truth and Run: The George Seldes Story," about this incredible man who was a reporter for about sixty years, through both wars, and was part of the whole scene in Paris in the 1920s. It's a really terrific film because he was an amazing man, and I'm glad I now know about him.

Josh

Name: Pilalidis George
E-mail: AGAMEMMNON@MSN.COM

hallo Josh.

how is the wether there, hier in wuppertal wie have +40 grad celsius, and dring all the day Frape with ice.wie make'it with nes, cofie, sugar and cool water mixt, try you gona like'it: GEORGE

Dear George:

Where are you exactly?

Josh

Name: Dan B.
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I recently watched 25th Hour, and I thought it was so realistic and it really struck a raw nerve with me. Have you seen it and what did you think, and what is your opinion on Spike Lee as a director and what film's of his do you like. And do you have any film's in the works at the moment?

Dear Dan:

I've got a few irons in the fire, but I don't like talking about them. I honestly can't stand Spike Lee's films. I think he's a biggot, and he doesn't understand stories. I'd say without question his best film -- and I haven't seen "25th Hour" -- is "Do the Right Thing," and I don't know what the hell he's saying in that. Most of the rest of Spike's films are just unwatchable. His use of music ranks up there as perhaps the worst of any director working. In shit like "Jungle Fever" and "Clockers" he's got Stevie Wonder songs with lyrics on top of dialog scenes. I think Spike should stick to doing Nike commercials.

Josh

Name: Saul Trabal
E-mail: ghost_kingdom@yahoo.com

Scott (sspnyc66) writes:

"I see you are getting a few favorable responses from your essay on religion and the one by Saul was almost a novel."

Heh. Well, I'm a writer, and writers tend to blab on a bit. :-)
Diarrhea of the mouth-er, keyboard.
Okay-this post will be a "novelette"-I promise.

I just wanted to add another thought that I forgot to toss into my last post, regarding pedophile priests...

What I find amazing is that many of the folks who condemn pedophile priests continue to go to Church, go to Mass, receive the Sacraments, whatever. And I find that to be INCREDIBLY asinine. That's like complaining that a dog bit your right hand while you're petting it with your left.

If the Catholic Church was capable of hiding pedophile priests, do folks REALLY think it stops there?? If an organization like this is capable of doing something so horrific, what ELSE are they capable of?? You have to question EVERYTHING about such an organization-INCLUDING the faith they teach.

I really think that many folks are so afraid of mortality that they are all too willing to adhere to faulty ideologies and the people who teach them-while paying a terrible price in the process. And pedophilia can't possibly be limited to the Catholic Church. I bet there are FAR worse things going on in other religious organizations that we are blissfully unaware of.

Saul

Dear Saul:

That's because religion is evil. I'm not kidding and I'm not being metaphoric. Of course the Catholic church is doing more awful things than just pedophilia. How about being against birth control in a world of over six billion people? How about condeming the use of condems in Africa which has a plague of AIDS, so in essence the Catholics endorse the spread of the disease? How about telling every person in their church that God is outside of them and not within them so that they haven't got a proper view of the world to live their lives? All of these religions are just plain old evil, and mainly because they promote an unquestioning attitude. I say, question everything.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc66@mac.com

Josh,

Yeah, Shane's persona could be defined as punk and he does have all the makings of what we define as punk, so I will give you that one, however, the Pogues music is far more reaching than punk ever was in the day.

"The Damned" started out as a punk band (the first to release a single and the first to tour the states before the Sex Pistols), however, they progressed as a band and they became more than just a punk band. The same goes for "The Clash" too.

Joe Strummer of "The Clash", may he rest in peace, was a very intelligent individual and he had a big heart. Maybe too big for most of the world. We did not deserve him

I agree with you, "Uncut" is an excellent magazine and I read it all the time for the interviews, they are always like the Springsteen interview you refered to long and intelligent for the most part.

Scott

Dear Scott:

I skipped the key element of the punk attitude, which Shane McCowan personifies -- not giving the slightest shit what anyone else thinks. Although I'm not crazy about the music, I admire the attitude.

Josh

Name: bob hicks
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

did you ever watch the canadan show sctv or second city tv or the movie strange brew

running time is one of the best movies i ever saw

Dear Bob:

I used to watch "Second City TV" all the time. We got it here in Detroit before the rest of the U.S. because we get Canadian TV. "Strange Brew" was just an over-extended mix of the funny skit from the show. SCTV was a thread at an earlier point, but you missed it.

Josh

Name: jay graves
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

when i gave you a list of indie. films i did not include running time because i did not want to come off as a ass kisser. but while im talking about it i own and love lunitics thou shalt not kill except and running time

what do you think of the indie. movies blare witch project,reservoir dogs, and lock stock and 2 smoking barrles

i agree with you about clerks, how it has no visual style... i think kevin smith would do alot better just writing scripts

Dear Jay:

"Blair Witch" bored me and the acting was awful, "Lock, Stock" went in one ear and out the other, and I hated "Reservoir Dogs," it's stupid, illogical and violent strictly for the sake of seeking attention. Tarantino, like Kevin Smith, has no discernable directorial talent.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc66

Dear Josh,

I just finished reading a very good interview with Oliver Stone in this months issue of the British magazine "Uncut".

The interview is in regards to his Fidel Castro documentary "Comandante" which I had the chance to see at the Tribeca Film Felstival and it was very interesting, however, HBO was supposd to pick it up in May, but it has been denied a US broadcast indefinitely. What a surprise there?

I was also able to see the other documentary at the festival which he did on Yasser Arafat which is called "Persona Non Grata". This film is also very good.

In the interview in "Uncut" he lists the people he would still like to interview and one of those being George W Bush and this is what he had to say about him:

"I don't think he'd give you access and he'd be very difficult to talk to. If you look at the famous movie on him on HBO, it was interesting because he runs away from confrontation. I think he lives in fear. Fear of Drinking again. There's nothing more dangerous for America than an ex-alcoholic president who tells you to blieve in Jesus."

Anyhow, I will photocopy the interview and bring it with me when I come to visit home, so you can read it.

Scott

Dear Scott:

Thanks. I've read one entire issue of Uncut and I liked it. It had the longest interview with Bruce Springsteen that I've ever seen anywhere, and they were good questions.

Josh

Name: Lucas
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

Don't forget that the great Christopher Guest was also in "Lemmings". If I'm not mistaken (correct me if I am - you're the one who saw it), he was more of a musician than a performer at that point. Did you know he used to be in Arlo Guthrie's band?

Also, I agree with Scott: I don't think I'd call the Pogues punk either. They had the attitude and, sometimes, the aesthetic of early English (read: real) punk, but they were more of a traditional-style band. Apparently the Irish weren't too fond of them because they were mostly English people doing Irish and Irish-style songs.

One more thing. I listened to the archive of that streaming interview/round-table discussion thing you were involved in a little while ago, and I have to say that you come across as much more happy and warm than I would have thought. I was expecting some gruff, angry guy, and you were the complete opposite - you made me want to smoke a bowl with you. (I think that was a compliment) Just sayin', is all.

Lucas

Dear Lucas:

Well thank you, that's very nice. I think I am a pretty friendly guy, all in all. Now, let me state up front that I'm not much of a fan of punk, but it seems to me that Shane McCowan's unique contribution to music was crossing traditional Irish music with punk, and gosh darn if it isn't an interesting combination. The songs themselves that he's written are basically classical, traditional Irish songs, but his delivery is always pure punk. He's the Irish Sid Vicious, he's the Irish Jim Morrison. Shane is Punk. He's the guy that stays wasted ALL the time, really has no singing voice, but yells all the lyrics as loud as he can. It just so happens in Shane's case that he's a fine songwriter, too. But punk is an attitude, and as Sid Vicious showed, you can be a punk and sing Sinatra songs.

Josh

Name: Lucyfer
E-mail: lucyfer@sympatico.ca

Hi Josh,

I took the handle "Lucyfer" because I'm a fan of Lucy Lawless, in a devilish sort of way <g>. It has nothing to do with me worshiping satan. As if <<eyes rolling>>. In fact, I'm not religious at all.

Anyway, I completely agree with you about Bush needing to be impeached. They almost impeached Clinton for merely having oral sex(!), a private matter, whereas Bush has damn near done far more damage to America than any other president I can think of, all because of his political decisions.

I'm an ex-patriot American who has lived in Canada for the last 15 years and I honestly don't know what mass delusional influence the American people are under these days. I can still vote in American politics, so hopefully my one small vote can help people wake up.

Excellent essay on religion, btw. Karl Marx had it right. Religion is definitely the opiate of the masses. It would explain why Bush keeps insisting on blurring the lines between church and state.


Lucyfer

Dear Lucyfer:

Here's the crux of the issue in my opinion, it's not that Saddam Hussein wasn't a murderous tyrant and a bad man, it's that the president and all of his men lied to the American public to get us to go to war. They didn't believe that the facts of the case would warrant a declaration of war, so they amped up the threat to achieve the end that they desired. That's misrepresentation, and it's already caused the death of about 150 Americans, and rising daily, as well as who knows how many Iraqis, and it's already cost us over $400 billion, and that's another $40 billion a month and emdlessly climbing. We the taxpayers and the voters now have to pay that bill, and we were not given a fair choice. Given the actual facts of no WMDs, no fleet of unmanned planes ready to bomb us, and no connection to the terrorists that perpetrated 9/11, I think we all might well have voted against going there. That seems like a case for impeachment to me.

Josh

Name: Keith
E-mail: KeithRobinson@krobin.freeisp

Dear Josh,

Thats amazing, you actually saw The Lampoon show Lemmings Live? I bought it on cassette about 12 years ago and thought it was brilliant. Its kinda hard to know exactly whats going on with out any visuals though. Im a great fan of John Belushi and am envious to the core that you got to see him perform live in such a cool show.....you lucky git.

Dear Keith:

I saw the show with Ivan Raimi (Sam's older brother) and his older sister Andrea. Chevy Chase had been a counselor at Camp Tamakwa a few years earlier and Ivan had been in his cabin (I wasn't there that year). So we showed up early and watched them set up and talked to Chevy and basically said hello and met the whole cast. The biggest laughs were Chevy as a pissed-off biker drunkenly screaming at the audience, "Some fuckin' peace creep put his fingers all over my hawg!" and Belushi doing Joe Cocker singing "It's Lonely at the Bottom of the Barrel" and trying to climb the microphone stand. I was particularly impressed, songwriting-wise, with the Motown parody, "Papa Was a Running Dog Lackey of the Bourgeoisie." It was a really terrific show.

Josh

Name: Jean
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

"Catch A Fire" is a great album! And "Kinky Reggae" is a great song. Any Bob Marley concert film is worth checking out. From what I have seen he gave incredible live performances. That guy felt the music with every inch of his body. His performances are enthralling. My older brother is a big fan as well and he gave me the "Songs of Freedom" Bob Marley box set for my birthday a few years ago. It is totally worth picking up. There is an acoustic medley of "Guava Jelly", "I'm Hurting Inside" and "Stir It Up" that gives me chills every time I listen to it. It's just Bob and his guitar. Fantastic stuff! "Natty Dread"; and "Talkin' Blues" are excellent albums as well. On "Talkin' Blues" a bunch of the tracks were taken from a radio broadcast so there are interview segments with Bob Marley in between some of the songs. The album has a very unique and intimate feel to it. I also highly recommend burning a spliff, lighting some candles and listening to "Talkin' Blues".

On another note; I saw your buddy Ted Raimi crossing the street in West Hollywood on my way to work this morning. At least I'm pretty sure it was him. So when the hell are you going to do another film with that guy?

Best,
Jean

Dear Jean:

Hey, I'd love to. I pitch him a new idea every six months, but I can't seem to ever spark his interest. We're in a very funky time right now where less and less is getting made all the time, both movies and TV. Part of the common delusion is that we get more and more than used to be available. It's not true. There are more channels and avenues of delivery, but less and less product. And part of this is due to the utter inability for low-budget movies to find a release. If you can't get any kind of a release, then why make them? My first film, "Thou Shalt Not Kill . . . Except, made nearly 20 years ago on such a low-budget it's still painful for me to look at, and it was released theatrically in most American cities. Luckily, there's still a lot of old movies I haven't seen, and books are as good as ever.

Josh

Name: jay graves
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

what do you think some of the best low budget independent movies are...the kind of movies all new film makers should watch

i think some of the best indie. films are slacker, clerks, night of the living dead, and fubar

have you seen the canadan film fubar

Dear Jay:

No, I haven't seen "Fubar," nor does Netflix stock it. I really and truly didn't like "Clerks," and in fact walked out of the theater. It showed no filmmaking ability to me. "Slackers" is a pretty good one-joke idea that doesn't have enough steam to make it to the end of a 97 minutes. I'm much more interested by "Pi," "Stranger Than Paradise," or "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," where I feel the director is telling me an interesting story while still making use of visual cinematic ideas with very little money. I might also humbly throw in my own film "Running Time." But if you're just going to badly cover a bunch of imbeciles discussing sex in a convenience store, that's of no interest to me.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc66@mac.com

Josh,

Glad to see you enjoyed the "If I Should Fall from Grace With God: The Shane MacGowan (this is the correct spelling) Story." You gotta love the guy, no teeth and all!

The Pogues were not really a punk band and I used to listen them a lot. They did a great many traditional tunes and originals, but mixed it with a more contemporary sound, but they weren't punk really.

There were a lot of people in the band and many instruments were played including the "tin whistle". When was the last time you heard a tin whistle used in a song?

They were a lot of fun to see live because you always knew Shane would be drunk and in top form. He always managed to get through the shows though even if he couldn't stand up by the end of it all.

Oddly enough, he was more or less asked to leave the band because of his drinking which became worse and worse and the other members cleaned there act up in that respect, but they were never the same without him and he is indeed a truly an original, intelligent and interesting person.

I enjoyed the doucumentary and the interaction he has with his family. he is just a regular guy who drinks a lot and has no teeth.

I too look at the teeth of actors in films al the time and I agree with you on that subject. Maybe we should start a cult or website or something.

Scott

Dear Scott:

This is it, the Movie Geek Salon, where the truth can be spoken. It was great when Shane was discussing The Pogues getting rid of him and telling him that they didn't want to do Irish music anymore. Shane says the most disdain ever in his drunken Irish slur, "The fucking Pogues don't want to do fucking Irish music? It's the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard in my life," then he takes a big drink, then a puff on his ever-present cigarette, and starts to drool. At one point in the middle of a sentence he just puts his head down on the table and passes out. But he seemed to always have his shit more together on stage than his spiritual compatriot, Jim Morrison, who generally did pass out. It takes a real man to drink a quart of gin before lunch everyday.

Josh

Name: Lucas
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

Shane McGowan! What a piece of work he is... A fine singer from a fine band, but one truly messed up dude.

I wanted to see that doc when it played up here at the Toronto film festival, but never got the chance. Where did you see it? Everything I've read about it says that it portrays McGowan in a reasonably okay light, and that it's a very well-rounded portrayal of the guy. Would you agree?

Lucas

Dear Lucas:

Yeah, I would agree, and I watched it twice. It was on Sundance Channel. I'd heard the name The Pogues, but it meant nothing to me. Now, I'm really impressed with the guy. I think he's a very good songwriter. Certainly not a great vocalist, but he has his own style and means it. There wasn't one single clip of him, ranging back over twenty-five years, where he wasn't completely shit-ass drunk. Any actor that ever gets a part as a drunk must watch this film and study Shane. He can't take four steps without putting his arms straight out to his sides to grab hold of anything solid so he won't fall down. And he's got nothing but bad shit to say about most everyone, like Elvis Costello, Sinead O'Conner, all the rest of The Pogues, everyone, basically. I was highly amused. But that boy sure needs some dental work.

Josh

Name: Diana Hawkes
E-mail: upon request

Dear Josh:

As far as I know, it's not necessary to add an "ed" or "ing" to LOL. It represents "laughing, laughed," etc...
I see also in your repertoire now is BTW = by the way. Like I said, you're a hip, happenin' guy.
For the edification of readers unfamiliar with net acronyms, some other common ones are:
IIRC = if I recall correctly
OTO = on the other hand
LMAO = laughing my ass off
ROTFLMAOPIMP = rolling on the floor, laughing my ass off, peeing in my
pants
Okay, that one doesn't save much typing time!

Another one you may come across or have occasion to use Josh is YAXI = "yet another Xena inconsistency".
I'm afraid Soul Possession is responsible for one or two, first and foremost the old/new chakrum switchero. Some have come up with the explanation though that it was an intentional insertion in keeping with the idea of the episode that pokes some fun at fan obsession and nitpicking on such things. But you already stated it was a just a mistake so you can't use that now! Hah!

Now then-- you went down WHERE?! And saw Miss Brown had put brown sugar on her WHAT?!

LMAO!

Dear Diana:

I believe she put the brown sugar on her "booga-wooga." Although I've never encountered this term before or since, I do believe I understand what Mr. Marley meant.

Josh

Name: Lucyfer
E-mail: lucyfer@sympatico.ca

Hi Josh,

In your previous response to Saul about Saudi Arabia, the Bush adminstration and terroism, I couldn't agree with you MORE!! You read my mind word for word. I may not agree with views on movies etc, but on that issue I totally agree.

Keep on keeping on in speaking the Truth.


Lucyfer

Dear Lucyfer:

I certainly hope you're not who you call yourself. But even if you are, I'm glad you agree with me. And since I seem to be the only voice of reason left in this country, I say IMPEACH BUSH! He lied to the entire American public about why we "needed" to go to war, he lied about the "imminent threat" to our security, has blown over $400 billion of our money, thus now needing to cut services to us in every sector, isn't this sufficient cause to shitcan the asshole? IMPEACH BUSH!

Josh

Name: catherine kelly
E-mail: cath@cekelly.u-net.com

Dear Josh:

At last! Thanks for a brilliant, 'tell it how it is' article. Very uplifting to read. You are right, many people are taken with the idea of being a 'writer' or 'artist' rather than learning their apprenticeship as a craftsman. Ta!

Cath from London

Dear Cath:

I'm glad you liked it. Read some more.

Josh

Name: Barb Weisman
E-mail: Gingit2@aol.com

Hey Josh,

Will you hire me? I wanna be in pictures. Can't I visit your set? Can you puleeze write a paper for me for my class? OK, I'm kidding. But seriously, hello from your past. It gives me great pleasure to know that you are still plugging at this crazy vocation after all of these years. I guess you must really love it. I enjoyed reading your essay on religion very much and I actually agree with 99% of what you wrote. (naturally that 1% which I disagree with has a lot to do with being a Jew) In any case, if it weren't 1:26 AM and I wasn't as tired as I am,(I just watched "About Schmidt" for the first time...liked it a lot), I'd read more essays. In fact I think I'll come back to your site and read some more very soon. It is awfully fun following your career and Bruce's and Sam's. Who'da thunk? Seeing Bruce onscreen is the strangest though, because he's the only real "actor" I can say I knew and watching him is just watching Bruce. I can't quite make that leap to believing him as a character. But I'm guessing that's just the way it is. Kind of like me, with my dental hygiene training,watching "Dances With Wolves" and remarking that I thought it was quite interesting that the Native Americans had their teeth crowned(capped). OK, I've rambled on enough. It's fun to be able to connect online, a place where I spend entirely too much time. If you feel like responding, please do. All my best, Barb Weisman (Hoffman now)

Dear Barb:

I always notice people's teeth in movies, particularly films set in ancient days, like "Gladiator" or "Spartacus," and they all have perfectly straight, white, capped teeth. There are certainly ways of yellowing or blackening them, which I used on Sam in TSNKE, or Sam used on all of us extras in AOD, but big stars would NEVER want to look unattractive even if it means historical inaccuracy. Speaking of teeth, I just saw an incredible documentary called "If I Should Fall from Grace With God: The Shane McCowran (sp?) Story," which is about the former lead singer of the punk band The Pogues. This guy has the worst teeth I've ever seen, and as he gets older they just get worse. He's also the biggest drunk I've ever laid eyes on. Shane drinks a quart of gin before lunch. And he's still bright, intelligent, witty and kind of wise, although rather difficult to look at at. Anyway, it's very nice to hear from you, Barb, and I hope you return to my e-lair.

Josh

Name: Reggie
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

Another "Filmmaking 101" question, if you don't mind :-) : Are tripods for movie cameras universal (the part where you actually screw the camera onto the tripod)?

That Pro-8 company that some of your readers have mentioned is selling a Bogen 3140 Fluid Head Tripod for $425, which sounds like a good deal compared to others I've seen. It's obviously intended for their professional Super-8 cameras, but I was hoping I could use it for a 16mm camera.

Regarding your "Religion is Evil" essay, I just wanted to say: AMEN! Testify, brother Becker! ;-)

Reggie

Dear Brother Reggie:

Tripod heads OUGHT to be universal, but they're not. My Bolex fits on my tripod, but not on my buddy's nice fluid head tripod. Super-8 cameras frequently will not fit on professional tripods (in the business they refer to tripods as "legs"). So you need to make sure your camera will actually fit before purchasing a tripod, which is undoubtedly difficult on the internet. Good luck.

Josh

Name: Mark R.
E-mail: markr33_2@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Love it, but just a small correction. The original version of the bible doesn't say "Thou Shalt Not Kill" (in Hebrew - "Lo Taharog"), it says "Thou Shalt Not Murder" (in Hebrew - "Lo Tirzach").

Dear mark:

I'm sure you'll find this difficult to believe, but my bible is in English and it says "Thou Shalt Not Kill." So are you intimating that you can kill, but you can't murder? It's okay to kill in a passion, but if you plan it it's wrong? Is that the difference? Murder two and three are okay, but murder one is verboten?

Josh

Name: Freelan Justice
E-mail: fjustice1988@charter.net

Hey,

I love that script IF I HAD A HAMMER, and I love that script of DARK OF THE MOON. I know if I Had A Hammer is released, but do you have any plans at the moment of releasing, or even possibly shooting the Dark Side of the Moon.

Dear Freelan:

It's "Dark of the Moon," not "Dark Side of the Moon." You don't want to go leading us back into a Pink Floyd discussion which could take weeks to come out of. No, I have no plans to shoot it because I ain't got no financing. But I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc66

Josh,

I see you are getting a few favorable responses from your essay on religion and the one by Saul was almost a novel.

I found the essay interesting and much of it has already come to fruitation in my own mind long ago, but you are definitely able to articulate many things to which most people would not care to.

However, I do have to point out a false statment which many people still believe. Even though may be inconsequential to the point of your essay, it is indeed a myth.

Lemmings do not follow other lemmings off the edge of cliffs to their death. As a keen lover of wildlife, I must put this Urban myth, Urban legend (or whatever you want to call) it to rest on your site.

The odd thing about it is it sounds so scientific that it is believed to be true, however, there has never been any proof of it. Ever.

Here is a fun link that explains some things about the myth:
http://whyfiles.org/129sci_fable/2.html

Scott

Dear Scott:

As the link you gave points out, all we know about lemmings is that they throw themselves off cliffs and it's not true. Man, I guess we don't know anything about lemmings. Does anyone remember National Lampoon's Lemmings, which was their first live show (and album)? It was the precursor to "Saturday Night Live." I saw it here in Detroit in I guess 1973 or '74, and it had Chevy Chase, John Belushi and several other member of the upcoming SNL. It was a parody of Woodstock, except in this version everyone was getting to gether to commit mass suicide. As the announcer said, "If your buddy's too stoned to off himself, drag him over to where the tractors can run him him over." This was where Belushi first did his Joe Cocker imitation.

Josh

Name: Nate
E-mail: vlad1377@aol.com

Mr. Becker,

I recently came across this website that has numerous quotes fromvarious "famous" people on the subject of religion (pretty much all against it). There are some very good quotes in there.

Also, in regards to the religion essay. Another problem that I have come across with the extremely pious is that they are hypocrites. They are only willing to help when it is convenient for them and fits into their schedule. There was a Christmas Eve service at my church, and a homeless person walked in looking for some help (maybe some shelter, food, whatever it was) and all that person got was glares from the congregation. The homeless person was shown out of the church to fend for himself. It was Christmas Eve!!! Obviously, everyone was feeling the spririt of the season. It's all a sham.

Nate

Dear Nate:

Jeez, that's a sad little Christmas tale. So the homeless person decides to kill himself, but an angel comes down and stops him. Then he gets to see what life would have been like without him, and of course it's absolutely no different with him or without him, so then he kills himself and the angel holds him under.

Josh

Name: Calvin Gray
E-mail: ytinNOSPAM@GODDAMMITtwu.net

Josh -

Just wanted to follow up on a flick John Hunt mentioned. It's called "The Independent," starring Jerry Stiller, Janine Garofalo (his son's ex-girlfriend), and featuring a lot of great cameos. The whole flick takes aim at the stupidity of the studio system, the pretentiousness of the indie scene, and every bit of inanity between them. Definitely a film for a guy like you, Josh.

The flick received a pretty weak limited release about a year and a half ago or so, and it's already on basic cable (look for it at 2 AM on Comedy Central). Typical of most decent movies these days. If they can even find some semblance of a distribution deal, they get overlooked and the broadcast rights get sold for mere pennies.

As if all our spirits weren't dampened as it is.

- Calvin

Dear Calvin:

That's the story of my movies, too. I daresay we've entered the new Dark Age.

Josh

Name: Saul Trabal
E-mail: ghost_kingdom@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

I read your piece on religion, and I couldn't agree with you more. Unfortunately, I was one of many here in the New York City area who got to see the horrific truth of your essay-on 9/11/01. My mother and I were still reeling from the death of my father nine days before when this hideous attack happened. I live in New Jersey, across the river from New York City.

My mother and I were getting ready to take care of some business that morning when I got a phone call from a friend of mine who lives a few blocks up from me. He told me that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. I rushed over to his building. We ran up to the roof. As I've told many people-it doesn't matter how many times you've seen this disaster on TV or in photos. It pales in comparison to seeing it happen live before your very eyes.

The tops of both skyscrapers were enveloped in thick black smoke. Huge tongues of flame shot from the floors immediately below. There were three of us up there-my friend, me, and another woman who lived in the building. We were staring at this horror in disbelief. It didn't seem real. My friend had binoculars. I asked him to hand them over to me, so I could take a closer look.

The flames were easily over 150 to 200 feet high. Whole floors were on fire-I'd say at least over a dozen floors in the North Tower alone. The south tower had a large hole in the north side. Smoke and flames were billowing out of it. I looked between the buildings, and saw debris falling out of the North Tower. One piece of debris stuck out. It was a large section of building that had fallen out from near the top of the tower. It was almost the size of a football field. I am not exaggerating when I say this. The thing just tumbled down through the air, amidst countless other pieces of debris. The image of this piece I will take to my grave. I suddenly realized that some of this debris could have been people.

My friend and I ran back downstairs to watch a bit of CNN, and to get a scanner. As we rushed back upstairs, a fireman said something over the scanner that chilled us to the bone...

"The South Tower has collapsed. I repeat-the South Tower has collapsed."

My friend and I stared at each other in horror. We made it to the roof. Sure enough-the right tower was gone. Only a massive white cloud of smoke was left. I looked at the other building through binoculars. The fire was spreading down floor to floor. The flames must have spread down a dozen floors since the last time I looked at it. I turned to my friend and told him, "That building will collapse too. It'll pancake straight down."

Unfortunately, I was right. The whole day was just surreal. I remember hearing one cop on the scanner that day, whose voice was trembling violently from emotion. He was on the verge of a complete nervous breakdown. He said he found two of his comrades pinned under a car.

The next day, I dropped off my father's clothes at the Salvation Army. I drove away from there, feeling absolutely horrible. I felt like I had just tossed away trash. Then I looked towards where the World Trade Center was, still seeing the smoke billowing up from the ruins. I realized at that moment that thousands of families would have to do the same thing I just did. I pulled off to the side of the road and cried like a baby for a solid 20 minutes. It was just too much to bear. I could have easily been among the thousands of dead, given how often I traveled through the World Trade Center. It was the darkest moment of my life. Even now, nearly 2 years later, I'm still having difficulty dealing with that time. It's become somewhat more bearable-but I still have tough moments, though.

I was baptized a Roman Catholic. Like Jim below, when I was a teen, I began to question religion quite strenuously. Skeptical thinking is frowned upon in religion. As the late Carl Sagan once said: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Then of course there were all those that abused folks in the name of religion: Jim Jones, Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker, Marshal Applewhite, David Koresh, Benny Hinn, pedophile priests...and the list goes on. I grew to hate religion with a passion. But it wasn't until 9/11 that I came to loathe religion. I loathe it more than anything on this earth. Religion was responsible for the greatest mass murder in American history. 3,000 people were slaughtered because of a religious ideology. And history has WAAAAAY too many other examples to count.

My mother is very religious. However, she is a humble, decent person-and doesn't force her views on anyone. But I think she's very naive about religion. Still, she's 74 years old, and has been through absolute hell. Religion is a placebo-and the only thing that's keeping her sane. My mother doesn't know about my views on religion and doesn't need to. My feeling is that you can pray to a rock if it gives you peace-I could care less. But when you start forcing religion down people's throats and using it to hurt and kill, then you've become my enemy.

We've been going through tough times lately. My mom tells me: "God's gonna reward you for being such a good son to your father." I smile and nod. Inside, I think, "Bullshit." There are people who are going through FAR worse than me, who aren't getting help from a so-called "god". I remember reading a news article recently about a country in Africa where there are child soldiers who are no more than 8 to 10 years old-who go out and slaughter other children with guns and machetes. The hell with my stupid problems-if there REALLY is a "god", he/she/it should be helping people like the victims HERE. And of course, it's not happening-nor is it likely to.

There's also the mortality factor-one of the other purposes of religion; to calm fears about death and to give hope to folks about an afterlife. Sure-I miss my dad, and there's a part inside me that wants to see him again. But I think wanting such things is incredibly egotistical. Who the hell are humans to think that we are so special?? My father more than likely has no more substance now than Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

I don't believe in ANY of the world's religions. In that sense, I'm an atheist. Do I believe there is an "intelligence" behind the Cosmos? I simply don't know. In that sense, I'm agnostic. And what I define as "intelligence" in my limited human terms may not be applicable at all to the reality that exists.

What is wrong with admitting that we don't have the answers to everything? For instance, I don't know what happens when people die. The bottom line though is that I have to accept whatever the reality is-not what I WANT to be true. Because what I want doesn't mean a goddamn thing. I'm just an insignificant speck of shit on a tiny rock in the middle of a giant universe. I'm along for the ride. I don't get to decide the rules of the game called life. I have to work with what was given to me, like it or not.

I've learned as I've grown older that I have to be BRUTALLY honest with myself. About EVERYTHING. And I'm finding out that this is the sensible way to go. There comes a time in everyone's life when you have to confront harsh realities and either deal with them-or succumb to them. It's that cut and dry.

Before I close, I'm reminded of the rock group Fishbone, who came out with an album that had a very interesting title. And it's this:

"Give a monkey a brain, and he'll swear he's the center of the universe."

Nothing could be closer to the truth. We are apes with delusions of grandeur. We think we're all that, and we think that "God" is in our image. Humans are too damn full of themselves.

But sooner or later, reality ultimately will have the last laugh-whether we like it or not.

Take care.

Saul

Dear saul:

Regarding 9/11 and the recent report that came out in which Bush had major portions censored, all having to do with Saudi Arabia, can we all just be honest for a single moment? The U.S. is NOT in a war against terrorism; the U.S. actively SUPPORTS terrorism by supporting Saudi Arabia. Al Qaida is a group of Saudis. Al Qaida blew up the World Trade Centers, the USS Cole, two embassies in Africa, and U.S. military bases in the east. Al Qaida just killed eight Americans in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Instead of going after the actual terrorists, we went and attacked Iraq who had NOTHING to do with any of these terrorist attacks, and now Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of these criminals keep saying that the unistigated attack on Iraq was a "blow against terrorism." We are living a lie, and ignorant, uninformed Americans keep accepting it. We buy the Saudi's oil and we openly allow them support the biggest terrorist organization in the world, therefore we of the United States of America support terrorism. As long as we continue our present policies regarding Saudi Arabia, and we continue to support the stupid, lying, hypocritcal acts of our government, we deserve any terrorism we get.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc66@mac.com

Josh,

I absolutley did not recmend to you "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron". I think you are either making a joke or you are mixing it up with me recomending you "Spirited Away" which is anb excellent film.

I would have no desire to watch "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron", and I never liked Bryan Adams very much. Didn't he do the song in the bad re-make of the Kevin Costner Robin Hood? Boy what a stinker, both the film and the song.

Seriously, rent "Seabiscuit" when it comes out on DVD. I thibk you might enjoy it.

Scott

Dear Scott:

That's why I posed it as a question, I wasn't sure who it was who recommended it, so I mistakenly pinned it on you. Sorry.

Josh

Name: Jim
E-mail: JEaganfilm@aol.com

Josh,

I really enjoyed your essay about religion and its many weaknesses. Growing up in a very religious household, I can appreciate many of the points you make, particularly regarding the thoughtless way into which most people come into their convictions. It was interesting to me how around the age of 13 or so I started questioning my faith and yet most of the kids that I hung out with (in "fellowship" groups, on retreats, etc.) often had this unquestioning attitude towards their beliefs. On a number of occasions I brought up the idea that I might want to explore the other religions on philosophies of the world before I make any kind of commitment to the church. Around this time, 13 or 14, the kids in my group were all doing this program where they pledge their faith to the church and there's this whole ceremony during the service, etc. When I brought up the fact that I wanted to spend a few more years exploring other philosophy's of the world I really pissed off a bunch of people, not least of which my parents. There was this prevailing view in place that you're not really supposed to question your faith or intellectualize it in any way. You're told to believe a certain way because that IS the way. Look at all these older people at church that are so much smarter than you that believe, that follow these teachings, that are great human beings. Why would you not want to be like them? And then there were problems because I didn't socialize well with alot of the kids my age in the church, so the various activities grew less and less comfortable. This blind acceptance made no sense to me, but it seemed to be the only way of living for everyone else. Not to stretch a metaphor here, but its almost like living amongst aliens because you're living with people that are close-minded to such an extent that you cannot relate to them on even a basic level.

I was listening to Art Bell a couple years ago and a scientist was on explaining how all the major religions of the world seem to have originated out of the same small area geographically, which was I think in Babylon or Egypt. He went on to say that the religions were created by an evil alien race in order to keep mankind in an ever-squabbling set of affairs, to prevent a truly global humanity from emerging. It sounds far-fetched in its origins, but the sad fact is that it actually makes sense that religion can be used as a tool for keeping people apart and humanity weak.

So I've been out of "religion" for a couple years now, although I still have faith in a higher power. I just don't believe in the idea that a book or a person truly knows THE answer, or that the higher power necessarily wanted to provide us with that final answer. I believe in morality and doing no wrong to my fellow man, except in situations that my life or another's life is put at risk for harm. Unfortunately, there is still a guilt that I can't entirely get rid of, probably because I was brought up with this belief system from such an early age. I certainly don't feel like I'm missing out on anything though. Interestingly, I took a part-time job at a video store a couple of years ago. A couple of days into my job the youth-group pastor at church walks in and gives me a sheepish look when he sees me. He's bs's me for a little while then curiously decides he doesnt want to rent anything and says he'll see my at church next week. So I decide to see what that was all about and I bring up the guy's account. A guy that teaches high school and middle school kids about Christ and morality and memorizing scripture, etc. is a guy that has been renting Cum Sluts 4 and Barely Legal gang bang videos on numerous occasions. This happens to be a video store that is about half hour away from the town that the church is in. I guess he figured it was far enough away that he would be safe. The thing is that I don't really have any problem with most people renting the stuff, but the irony of a kids pastor renting Young Muff #7 just disturbed me. It also made me feel bad for all the kids that respect this guy as a man that can do no wrong. Anyway, that was quite a ramble there but it felt good to get it off my chest. Appreciate the essay,

Jim

Dear Jim:

He should have been renting "Young Muff #5," that's the good one. Or "On Golden Blonde," or "Romancing the Bone." I love those titles. Regarding the youngsters joining the church early, that's when you need to get them, when they're still malleable and easy to mold. Evil knows its business. As for faith, as Mark Twain said, "Faith is believing in what you know ain't so."

Josh

Name: Jean
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

I just got back from what turned out to be an "all Bob Marley, all the time!" weekend in Santa Cruz. I went up there to visit a friend who is a Bob Marley fanatic. He just got a DVD player and the only DVDs that he has so far are "Bob Marley: Rebel Music" which is a pretty damn good documentary about Marley's life and music. "Time Will Tell" a fantastic doc about the man that is worth checking out and "Bob Marley Live in Concert" which was filmed in Germany about a year before his death. I have been listening to Bob Marley's music for many years now but I never really knew much about his life. What a fascinating and out-spoken individual. He really seemed committed to making music with a solid message. I've always admired his lyrics but listening to him explain how and why he wrote the songs that he did brought it to a whole new level for me. Frankly, I'm shocked that no one has made a bio-pic about him. But whatever, the documentaries are probably a thousand times better then a movie about his life would ever be. In "Bob Marley: Rebel Music" an interviewer asks Marley about "the man" and how he managed to overcome the system. Marley's response was "I don't care who "the man" is. My right is my right. Like my life, all I have is my life". I can't seem to get that quote out of my head. Anyway, I highly recommend burning a spliff, watching "Time Will Tell" and then spacing out to some "Bob" music.

I hope all is well.

Best,
Jean

p.s. To the guy who is looking for camera parts. Check on e-bay. I know people who have found lenses, batteries etc, for auction on the site.

Dear Jean:

It sounded good to me, so I went directly to Netflix and they don't have either of the docs. Instead I rented "Catch a Fire," which I think is an early concert film. I have the album and my sister was in town and we were just singing "Kinky Reggae," which we were both surprised the other knew and liked. "I went downtown/ To see Miss Brown/ She put brown sugah/ All over her booga-wooga." I love that. Yeah, Bob Marely was a great human and really knew which end was up.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc@mac.com

Josh,

I reclutantly went to see "Seabiscuit" yesterday and I am very happy that I did. The film was made in a very classic (or anachronistic if you will) way in which I feel did it justice and something you would enjoy as well.

It has all the makings of a good film, however, it wasn't a great film, but it was able to touch me and the characters were believable and not contrived.

It was a little corny at times, but in a good way and I found myself caring for all of the characters including the horse.

I am sure as always, the book is much better, and I also feel the PBS documentary was better than the feature film, however, this film deserves all the good reviews that it is receiving and when it comes out on DVD you might want to rent it.

Scott

Dear Scott:

I probably will see it on DVD, but I must ignore it at the theater because it's remake and I won't support them. I still feel there should be an ordinance that decrees that if you make a sequel or remake you must walk up and down Hollywood Blvd. for 24 hours naked wearing nothing but a sandwich board that says, "I have no imagination." BTW, did you recommend "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron"? The only thing that can be said in that film's favor is that for a kid's film it's not completely awful, but it sure comes close in many spots. Those Bryan Adams songs are completely drek, are entirely inappropriate, and always spark of a meaningless montage sequence that could easily have been handled in fifteen seconds if they didn't have to drag them on for three minutes because of the rotten songs. And this concept now that all caucasians are evil and all native-Americans are really wonderful, sweet horse-lovers makes me nauseous.

Josh

Name: John Hunt
E-mail: Chowkidar@aol.com

Josh,

I've gotta agree with Michael on this one, Josh, you do need to give something back to the community. Maybe you could operate a website where you would dispense free advice, technical and artistic, to other film makers. You might even indulge the rest of us with your mere insights and knowledge... Hey, wait a minute. In all seriousness, it says on the "submit" page "No scripts, no way, no how!" Michael, if you're still reading this, you asked Josh if he was interested and he said, "no." Don't be offended because he answered your question. If indeed you want to make films do what Jacob, Dylan and Reggie have done (three on this page alone, countless others elsewhere) and use this site as a resource.

Back to you Josh. Amen on Woody Allen. Apparently, he's bucking for Patron Saint of New York, which is odd in a Jew, I thought. I'm offended by him pairing off with young women on two levels. First, I just don't buy it, period. If he wants to pretend in animation, as he did with "Antz", that's one thing, but, please. Second, is he saying that there are no believable stories worth telling about men of a certain age? I caught a snippet of a movie with Jerry Stiller (not Ben) and Janine Garofalo. I didn't see enough to tell if it was any good, but Stiller was an active, ambitious character (a filmmaker, I believe)and Garofalo was his daughter, not love interest. I don't even know the movie's name but those were marks in its favor.

Finally, what is the big deal with filming in 70mm? "Far and Away", lousy though it most certainly was, was advertised as having been filmed in 70mm and I saw Howard talking about always wanting to film in that format. Is this a clarity issue? Thanks as always,

John

Dear John:

You had me going for a second there, then I LOLed (can you do that, add an -ed). The big deal about shooting in 65mm (the prints are 70mm) is that's WAY more clear and the six-track stereo sound is far better, if for no other reason than it's running twice as fast. If you ever get a chance to see "The Sound of Music" or "Ben-Hur" in 70mm in a theater it's pretty darn impressive. But it's ridiculously expensive.

Josh

Name: D. Huffman
E-mail: L5g@excite.com

Dear Josh:

I've never shot on film but I have a problem using different lenes on my video camera and I'm getting alot of flaring, I've been flagging off some of the light but I'm still having problems. Is there a certain filter I could use or am I S.O.L? I'm guessing a polarizer is the answer. BTW as far as Michael goes I to would rather do my own thing and fuck it up, chalking it up to experience, than let some one else handle it and always have that thought in my mind that I could have done better.

Dear D.:

Yes, a polarizer would help, although it's more glare than for flare. Keep in mind with a polarizer that as you turn it it's effect changes. A polarizer is the perfect filter for shooting at the water and will totally cut the glare.

Josh

Name: Jacob Goodwin
E-mail: spitt27@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

I found an old 1974 Canon Scoopic 16m camera. Don't know if it works. Need Nicad batt. Do you know where I can find one?

Dear Jacob:

That's the problem with old Scoopics, where do you get new batteries for them? You may have to try writing to Canon. And that's why Bolexes and B&H Filmos are still more in demand, even if they're not as good of cameras, because they wind up and don't need batteries. Lloyd's Camera in Hollywood, which is the big used camera dealer in LA, might know.

Josh

Name: dylan
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

i make alot of short films should i copy write them

how do you copy write things

Dear Dylan:

Go to loc.gov/copyright (loc stand for library of congress) and download the form PA, fill it out, include a video tape of the film, and a check for $30, then send it to the address listed on the form. Voila!

Josh

Name: Michael
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

Making movies is not what I do. Nor do I want to spend 25 years learning how to make movies. And even if I did, I would not have the audacity and the ego to think I should write it, produce it, direct it and (if I got the chance) act in it as well. I was under the impression that movie making was a collaborative effort. Although I have worked with one director who liked to set up the shot, direct it, and then shoot it himself. Talk about an ego. I see no fault in one talented person writing a great story, another writing the script, another experienced capable person directing it, another producing it and so on. Providing they don't loose sight of the original story and turn it into a pissing contest. I have one, maybe two great story idea's. I have them written. And I am capable of writing them out in script format. They are very unique, they are worth telling, and with the right crew, should make above average movies. When and if I get around to making them into movies, I will hire or enlist experienced qualified people to work with. Unfortunately you just happened to be the first qualified person I contacted. I was not trying to foist my responsibilities off on you. The main reason I contacted you was because I read the comments you made on your web site saying, there are NO great story tellers anymore. (thought you might enjoy getting to know one) There are NO great scripts around. (thought you might enjoy shaping one up) There really are NO decent movies being made anymore. (thought you might like to HELP, and get paid to make one). In fact you said you had gave up on watching new movies, and reading scripts. But I thought if you actually read a great story and got paid to read it, you just might get interested and want to make movies again. I see I was wrong. This has been a big mistake. I guess all you are interested in any more is finishing the stuff you have carried around for the past twenty years, flippin people like me off, and trying to convince everybody that will listen to you that the movie business sucks. It's a shame Hollywood never gave you a shot, I admire your talent.

May you rest in peace, and thanks for the advice.

Michael

Dear Micheal:

Blah, blah, blah. As Laurence Olivier said, "You think you're artist? Prove it." You think you're a great storyteller? Prove it. Just because you think you've written "two great stories," certainly doesn't mean you have. And in case you didn't notice, I've written and directed all four of my feature films. I'm not interested in your story or anyone else's. I want to make my stories. I don't see why you have such a problem with that, and I don't see why you think that gives me such a huge ego. I'm not saying my stories are great, like you are, I'm just saying those are the ones I want to make. Period. I wish you all the luck inthe world and I really do hope your stories are great and turn into great films.

Josh

Name: Charles
E-mail: cscorder@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

My DVD of "Thou Shalt Not Kill ... Except" arrived last night and I was up until dawn, watching it, going through the extras, listening to the commentary, etc. The movie was very funny (maybe that was the wrong reaction), especially Sam's performance. I loved how Bruce Campbell and you described Sam Raimi as "always working" when he's on camera.

A question: When I watch your films, especially TSNKE, I see similarities in the way you and Sam tell stories in your movies. Am I crazy? Or do you think you two bring some of the same sensibilities and techniques to making movies? (Maybe it comes from being major Stooges fans.)

Keep up the good work,

Charles

Dear Charles:

I personally don't see any similarities between Sam's style and storytelling approach and mine. Sam's of the more contemporary, comic book-style, where logic and sense have no place. I've always demanded that my stories make sense and follow the old-fashioned rules of story structure, which have never much interested Sam. Clearly, his view is the far more popular one now. I'm an anachronism. And Sam's performance in TSNKE slaughters me. I had great difficulty not laughing so hard that I shook the camera.

Josh

Name: Michael
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

It is a shame... that a man that has spent so many years learning his craft and could easily as not choose to share so much of it with others who are as eager and excited as you were when you were 20 years old.... has turned into such a bitter, angry individual. You should be out on location with a crew of first timers that are all pumped up and full of energy and excitement about shooting their first movie. You should be there, being part of life. Giving something back. You asked if I am dissuaded yet, yes I am dissuaded, but only from trying to rejuvenate some lost spark of excitement and interest in what was once a vibrant excited young man eager to make great movies. I sit here now, no doubt feeling at least a little of the pain you must have felt... when you so innocently approached someone you looked up to and respected in the movie business... when you first started out.. back in L.A. long ago. You have now become to others what they were to you.... sad, very sad indeed. Maybe some day when you are my age you will learn that you only get out of life what you give to it. If you are disappointed with what it has gave, perhaps you should look at what you have gave back.

Michael

Dear Michael:

I've got a suggestion, you make your own movies and I'll make mine. I'm not sitting here waiting to collaborate with you. What have you got to offer? Nothing. What you want is for me to come in and make your movie for you. Too bad. Make your own movie. If I should collaborate with anyone at this late date, which is something I don't generally do anymore, it will be with someone I know and whose work I respect. It's your job now to make a film that you actually finish, that comes out and is hopefully not crap. None of this is my problem, and making it my problem shows that you're starting right off as a cop-out. Write your own script, prepare your own budget, direct your own film, it's the only way you'll learn how this craft, not by trying to foist the responsibilties off on others. And when I was 25 I was trying to get my own films made (and did), not trying to wrangle in others to do the work for me.

Josh

Name: Jessica Schneider
E-mail:

Hi Josh-

There were a couple of q's I forgot to ask during the Omniversica radio show, one of which is what do you think of Woody Allen's drama films? I didn't see the titles in your fave list, but I'm referring to "Interiors" or even "Another Woman" (which I believe to be one of his best). Also, have you seen "The Good Girl" (Mike White)- which remeinds me a little of Allen's dramas.
PS- I enjoyed "Running Time" very much & thought Anita's acting was good.

Dear Jessica:

This week on Bill Maher's new show, "Real Time," he has a section called "The Rules," where he lays down new rules for everyone. The top one this week was, let's all stop pretending that Woody Allen's movies don't just completely suck, that it's anything other than offensive to see this ugly little old man with women like Tea Leoni, Helen Hunt or Elizabeth Shue, and it's time for all of the stars in Hollywood to stop pretending that it's such a big honor to be in his awful films. After seeing "Interiors" for the first time when it came out, my friend proclaimed, "He's reached total heavyosity." I agree that "Another Woman" is probably his best serious film, it's just not every good, either. I basically can't stand Mia Farrow in anything except "Rosemary's Baby," and she's certainly not funny and never was. Woody Allen was a great talent for the first ten years of his film career, which was 1967-77. Once his editor, Ralph Rosenblum, bailed on him after "Annie Hall," he's been lost. His films have gotten progressively duller and duller, and the films of the last decade are just plain old shit. I have not seen "The Good Girl." I'm glad you enjoyed "Running Time."

Josh

Name: matt parker
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

i was reading you questions page and i saw that you talked to frank miller

is this the frank miller,the comic book writer

what did you guys talk about

Dear Matt:

Yes, it was Frank "The Dark Knight" Miller, who is a very nice, interesting guy. His wife is interesting and nice, too. We mainly talked about basketball, oddly.

Josh

Name: Pilalidis George
E-mail: AGAMEMMNON@MSN.COM

Dear Josh:

I have thing that the war in iraq happen not bacause they have weapons , because they don´t have, and was esy to take.I mean sadam have pay for his grimes to see how die hes sons and i belive that and his time is near ,(any one pay one day for his grimes). but no one can take the low in his hands,because the UNO exist for this.to take after the responsabiliti like G.Bus,did. this , tells mi nothing.you kil one you ar a morder you kil 10 you are a masemorder ,you kil 10.000 you are a hero... GEORGE

Dear George:

Yes, I believe it was the old military expression, "I'm not saying you're to blame, I'm saying I'm blaming you." We attacked Iraq because we couldn't find Osama bin Laden. Now we can't find Saddam Hussein. And I'm rather skeptical that those two beat-up corpses actually were Saddam's sons. I'd like to see some DNA tests done by outside (the U.S.) sources.

Josh

Name: Michael
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

Thank you for the card rates regarding shooting. What about the other questions regarding co writing, budgets etc.

Thanks,

Michael

Dear Michael:

I guess I was trying to find a nice way to dissaude you from pursuing this. I honestly don't want to co-write your script or do your budget. The budget is generally prepared by the assistant director, the production manager, or the producer, BTW. And I don't think you can afford me as either a writer or a director. I'm sure you're not signatory to either the DGA or the WGA, and I don't work without guild contracts. Are you dissuaded yet?

Josh

Name: Reggie
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

Alright, alright! :-) I'll look into Bell & Howell cameras!

However, I did just find another Canon Scoopic for $750.

By the way, what would you say is the widest you would absolutely need your wide lens to be on your average low-budget 16mm film (for shooting in relatively small spaces and for occasionally doing hand-held and shakey-cam types of shots)?

Is the 13mm that the Scoopic offers enough? What was the length of the prime lenses they offer for that Bell and Howell? What's the name of the camera shop that sells the Bell & Howell? Do they have a website?

Thanks,
Reggie

Dear Reggie:

I don't know the name of the store, I'll have to check the next time I'm around there. I think the lenses were the standard selection of, as they were then calibrated, a one-inch, a two-inch, and a three-inch, meaning a 25mm, a 50mm, and a 75mm. But I'm sure B&H Filmos are available somewhere on the internet. My favorite lens on TSNKE was the 9mm, which is akin to an 18mm in 35mm. The force shots in ED were done with a 7.5mm, which is almost fish-eye. 13mm is pretty wide, like a 26mm in 35, but not extremely so. If you get right near the glass it won't distort, or not very much anyway. I like wide-angle lenses, and I like the distortion they cause.

Josh


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