Q & A    Archive
Page 106

Name: Carolyn
E-mail: c_l_prime@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I totally agree with you, religion is stupid and problems are made because of it. I'm Catholic and a friend joined an Evangelical sect about a year ago. Her church made me feel like a leaper, because I'm Catholic, and had her believing that what I believe in is wrong and going against God's will (just recently she has worked out what they are saying has no merit to it!). It was the first time for me to have people treat me like that and now I can fully understand how wars are started because of religion. I'm the type of person who accepts people for who they are, but to have this suitation happen has open my eyes to how naive about religion I was and so I can fully commend you on what you have written.

Traditions are hard to break from, being Australian I know of our shameful past, even my family stories point to my great great grandfather killing Aboriginal people. Knowing what I know I just want to apologise and say sorry for what has happened. Even to the point that I don't blame anyone for Jesus' death which happened so long ago that I don't think it matters. But relgion, traditions and social thinking needs some work done to them so we as humans can get along, don't you agree?

It's obvious that Mel Gibson doesn't have a clue! If he really wanted his movie so correct he would have casted Jewish actors in his movie, which you had commented on, and I agree with you. However his dedication to his beliefs, no matter how screwed they are must be commended on! Like most religious beliefs we can only applaude the people for believing so strongely about their religion even if we all disagree with what they believe.

But on another note who are we to judge them on what they believe? there is no wrong or right religon is there? We all believe in what our families have raised us to believe, and we are not some high being who can judge what should be done! If we don't like it we can talk about it, which is a good thing, but in the end can any of us really be right in what we say, think or do from someone elses perspective?

Thank you for reading and sorry for writing so much.

Carolyn.

Dear Carolyn:

No, I don't have to commend people for just having beliefs. Adolf Hitler certainly had his beliefs, but I don't commend him for them. The point is, what are those beliefs? If you want to perpetuate divisiveness, saying we're saved and you're damned, then your beliefs are bad. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

Josh

Name: Lenore
E-mail: lenoreschille@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

You are not the only one outraged my this, just ask the people at movingon.org or VoteNoWar@InternationalAnswer.org. I hope eveyone gets out to vote and votes him out of office.

Dear Lenore:

I went to the movingon.org site and it looks like a creepy continuation of the Branch Davidians or the Manson family.

Josh

Name: Blake Eckard
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Well, good luck to the scripts you have out. I really hope one sells.

As for indie filming, when I recommended revisiting "Terrified," I was thinking of how you'd decide to expand it into a screenplay. I assumed a lot would change. However, if it doesn't sit well with you any longer, obviously you should put it aside.

Your right, horror is a hard genre to do good, original work in. But, it's what's currently (most always) selling...And you don't need a whole lot to make a scary film, save for a few lights, creepy location, suggestive music and someone in trouble.

Have a good one, and best of luck.

Blake

Dear Blake:

You say, "And you don't need a whole lot to make a scary film, save for a few lights, creepy location, suggestive music and someone in trouble." Of course you're skipping the most important thing which is a good script. To make one more shitty low-budget horror film interests me not at all. I'll make another film sooner or later, but it won't be until I'm fired up enough by a story so that I feel I need to make it. And it probably won't be a horror film because they just don't interest me that much. Both of my attempts so far are highly derivative, and that just proves I haven't got anything to add to the genre. But how about you get out there and make this 40-60 K feature you speak of.

Josh

Name: August
E-mail: joxerfan@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

I abso-fucking-lutely second what Blake had to say. Honestly, there are enough aspiring film-makers and actors who visit your site regularly, that you could probably dig up a cast and crew for free (although I know you wouldn't do that.) But barring that, I think you have enough real-life friends who admire and respect you to pitch in, Andy Hardy-let's-put-on-a-show-style, and end up with a good film (I forget the names, but people like that Gary Jones guy, and, oh, Bridget Hoffman, and the girl from "Cleveland Smith" and obviously Bruce and Ted.)

I'm really excited to hear about your submitting stuff to Sci-Fi (and I bet half those SFX shots would be cheaper if you made the aliens something other than termites - although I totally get the whole termite/wood/exterminator thing.)

On the horror film discussion - "Terrified" didn't do much for me. Don't bite my head off, because I really love most of your work, and everyone has their best pieces and their not-quite-the-best work (although I haven't read all your scripts yet.) There were a couple of interesting twists - like the western flashbacks and also how we gradually discover exactly what the deal was with the car accident - but it just reminded me too much of "The Shining," with the guy's father subbing for Scatman Crothers right down to the axe in the chest, and Gabe ending up in the old photograph. "Dark of the Moon" was derivative too, but as you say, it goes off in some interesting new directions. (Wish it had a happy ending though.)

And I love "Devil Dogs" and "Warpath," but then you've got period-film expenses with those. And "Happiest Guy in Town" is excellent, but sadly just not the sort of thing people go to see these days.

Hmmmm... sounds to me like you need to come up with a modern-dress genre film that requires minimal special effects, and you've got it made!

Regards,

August

Dear August:

Once again, I appreciate the inspiration, but clearly it will have to be when I'm inspired again to make another film. As a little note, even though Bruce and Ted are my friends, they won't work for free under any circumstances, nor are they even allowed to due to being union members. You can't use SAG actors without running a SAG-signatory shoot, which is an ordeal. And Bruce lives in Oregon and Ted lives in LA, which means people have to fly back and forth, etc. At this late date, with everyone I know having done as many films and shows as they've done, this isn't a hobby anymore. Either I do it properly or not at all. And, like you say, I don't even have an appropriate project. Something will break sooner or later. You and Blake get out there and make some films.

Josh

Name: Blake Eckard
E-mail:

Josh,

Here's the deal. Start shooting a movie. Money will enter a picture sooner or later. Why not start shooting piece meal, here and there, on 16mm MOS? You have 30 damned scripts collecting dust. Start working on one of them. Orson Welles took years to shoot "Othello," "Chimes at Midnight," and all of his unreleased, and so-called unfinished, films like "The Other Side of the Wind," and "The Deep."

Nobody is suddenly gonna give a rat's ass about you in L.A. because you have an agent. Tobe Hooper once said, "No agent ever got me a job. Every directing job I ever got came because of Texas Chainsaw." You must make a film. Nobody's bitting on "Hammer," (which is a total discrace) so you must pick up the pieces, pay off the remaining bills (not nearly as high as I thought they'd be) and start another film. Now.

I own a Bolex that I would donate for the cause. Would be happy to, infact. Or even to help out in any other way. You're the only director in the country that shows the skill of anyone 30 years ago. I'd like to contribute to that if I could because I love movies and make movies myself.

I think that's it...Oh, and you certainly can make a film for 40-60K. There are deals under every corner. You just have to find them for yourself (deals always come when you must have one.)

Just think the contrary of what you said before, about not doing it all yourself. You're an independent filmmaker...You MUST do it all yourself. But you can do that and still have people get excited and jump onto your boat.

Maybe this web site has made you a little soft. Might be worth it to get away and just think film again.
(Still think Horror is what someone ought to be thinking.)

Hope this rant made sense. I meant it.

Have a good one.

Blake

Dear Blake:

Thanks for trying to fire me up, I honestly do appreciate it. I have my own Bolex, BTW. I don't think this website has made me soft, it was the last film, the total lack of reception it received, and the immense debt it put me in. (I did have credit card debt as high as $100,000 in 1999, but I've repaid almost $70,000, which has been very oppressive and debilitating, let me tell you). Yes, you're right, some of the fire has gone out of me. I've been helping out my buddy, Paul, who's been shooting an MOS 16mm feature for the last five years, and although I always have a good time shooting for him, I don't think that's how I want to approach a feature film anymore. Do keep in mind that I have made four indie features, and I have done most every job myself at some point or another. But just shooting for the sake of shooting doesn't matter to me anymore. Unless I honestly believe I can make a good film, with all that goes with that, I just don't want to do it. I even went back and reread "Terrified!" yesterday based on your exhortations, and I wasn't particularly impressed. If I had a really good story for a horror film, which assuredly is not my favorite genre, I might pursue the idea. Right now, though, I'm hoping to sell a script and reverse my decline into penury. Thanks again, since you do seem to care.

Josh

Name: Will Fargo
E-mail: dwfargo@hotmail.com

Concerning DEVIL DOGS:

I am an aspiring writer/director trying to get myself through film school. Two things: I have experience in writing and screenplays, and I spent 4 years in the USMC. If you want pointers/tips on all things Marines and military, I'll help. No strings attached. All I want is some experience.

Thanks

Will

Dear Will:

Thanks, but I don't need any military advice. I did have several former marines read "Devil Dogs" and none of them were offended by my treatment of the marines, in fact, they all thought it was very respectful and well-researched. Good luck to you on your writing. BTW, did you like the script?

Josh

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

Josh,

I read Blake's list and your reply and I would make one more recommendation. To me "Jaws" may be the best horror movie of all time. I was living in North Carolina when "Jaws" came out and I vividly remember going to the beach and no one was in the water. Parents would panic when their kids wandered in. It probably would have been comical if I wasn't as terrified of the water as those parents were. "Jaws" also pervaded the culture in almost unique fashion for a horror film. One of my favorite skits on Sturday Night Live was the "Land Shark" bit. You still can't watch a documentary on sharks without "Jaws" framing the discussion.

You also mentioned the stunt in "Pink Panther". I know you have an aversion to sequels but I thought that "Return" was very good. From there the series went into a decline but the first few were good.

You also mentioned "Chisolm" which I always enjoy. It made me wonder if you know anything about "McQ"? In particular, was it a 16mm blowup or something? I've never been able to sit through it because it is so grainy. I also recall it being poorly lit. Is that just decay of the 35mm? I can think of several films that seem that way, where I've never seen them in a good print. I've always wondered. Thanks as always,

John

Dear John:

No, "McQ" was shot in 35mm, but there were certain film stocks and processes that didn't hold up to aging at all, like Metro Color. I rather liked "McQ," which I saw at the theater when it opened, but have seen since. It's one of the very few films that gives you a believable idea of what a machine gun can do. Duke has an Uzi at the end, and if he aims anywhere near to anything he's shooting at, that guy's dead. He fires out the window of his car at another car, and in one short burst kills everyone in the car. It's the exact opposite of the way automatic weapons are now portrayed, where you can out run them, and somehow they never manage to hit the star (like, say, "Die Hard," or any Schwarzenegger film). Meanwhile, I sort of don't accept "Jaws" as a horror movie. I'd say it's more of an adventure film or an actual thriller, as opposed to what that's become to mean, which is John Grisham crap.

Josh

Name: August
E-mail: joxerfan@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

You're in luck - "Chisum" is on Turner Classic Movies tonight at 9 PM Eastern. (Note: we all called it "Jizm" too.) It's got that whole stock Western cast (Ben Johnson, Bruce Cabot, John Agar) plus old Patrick Knowles (who always used to play Errol Flynn's best friend.) The only drawback to the movie for me was that I kept looking at the otherwise excellent Forrest Tucker and thinking "Hey Sgt. O'Rourke - where's Corporal Agarn - the Hekawis are on the warpath!"

Hey if you're reviving some of your old screenplays, I vote for "Humans in Chains" - it's really funny, has some unexpected twists and a little bit of a message, surely wouldn't cost that much, and is a million times better than the "original" movies made for the Sci-Fi Channel these days. Make Bruce watch himself in "Terminal Invasion" again, and then get him to re-read the screenplay for "Chains," to remind him what good sci-fi is.

Regards,

August

Dear August:

"Humans in Chains" is at the Sci-Fi Channel (renamed "Alien Apocalypse"), apparently made it through all levels of execs, and now I'm waiting to hear what's next. However, since 99.99% of all deals die somewhere along the way to production, I don't even bother hoping anymore. But that script calls for about a hundred digital effects anyway, so it's not a terrific candidate for extreme low-budget. As a kid I absolutely loved "F Troop," with Edward Everett Horton as the Indian chief, who carried a homatalk. Oddly, that show was so popular it was on twice a week, as was "Batman," which are the only two shows I know of to do that.

Josh

Name: Bird Jenkins
E-mail: Bird@jjandbird.com

Howdy, Josh.

I've been a big fan of yours for awhile now and I check your site regularly. I see my friend JJ has taken the liberty of telling you about our YOUNG GUNS idea. This is really more of a retelling than a remake. The Billy the Kid story itself is public domain, it's just the YOUNG GUNS title that's owned by someone else.

It's a surprise to hear you say YOUNG GUNS was an unmemorable experience for you. Try YOUNG GUNS 2, a superior sequel, in all repsects. Heath Ledger and Josh Hartnett are not signed on for this, rather they are our pie-in-the-sky casting choices.

Lastly, JJ overstepped his bounds by asking you to helm this project. I will be lensing this one myself, as I have told JJ many times. You are a wonderfully inventive and interesting director, but I believe my sensibilities are just a better fit for YOUNG GUNS. I'm sorry to tell you this way, but I read JJ's post and I wanted to put that out there before any paperwork was sent your way or before you started clearing your schedule.

Respectfully and humbly yours truly,
Bird

Dear Bird:

I was actually trying to be nice, which doesn't necessarily come naturally to me. I really didn't like "Young Guns" at all; it seemed, like so many other films, very poorly written. Maybe the sequel is better (although I doubt it), but I didn't see it. YG2 was directed by Geoff Murphy, BTW, a New Zealand director, and I worked with his daughter and his former wife on Hercules. You might want to check out "The Left-Handed Gun" with young Paul Newman, directed by Arthur Penn (his first film), and written by Gore Vidal, who himself remade the story years later for TV as "Gore Vidal's Billy the Kid." Also, Larry McMurtry recently wrote a book about William Bonney, too. Good luck to you guys, and be careful about using Hollywood slang, like "lensing," because it sounds silly.

Josh

Name: August
E-mail: joxerfan@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

The neat thing about historical events is that one presumably can write an original story, and not have to worry about someone else's fictional account of it. So I guess one could actually do a decent script relating to Billy the Kid, and not have to worry about "Young Guns" at all.

Which brings me to my question - I saw "Chisum" as a kid, and loved it, and had always assumed that all the Pat Garret/Billy the Kid stuff was just added to jazz up the plot. Imagine my surprise not long ago when I discovered that it actually follows the history of the Lincoln County Cattle War fairly closely - well, close for Hollywood anyway.

I think the movie also has one of the best uses of stunt doubles I've seen (or one of the most obvious, fake-Shempish, depending on how you look at it.) Wayne - or his stunt man - is duking it out with Forrest Tucker in the distance, and gets knocked off a stairwell, and rolls forward towards the camera, ending up under a partition where you can't see him. With perfect timing, and seemingly in the same shot, the real Wayne jumps up looking dazed, and charges up the stairs again. It cracked me up!

Any comments on "Chisum" or the historical aspect?

Thanks,

August

Dear August:

I can't remember it and I saw it at the theater when it came out. The sophmoric joke at the time (I was 12) was calling it Jism. I'll make sure to watch it the next time it pops up on TV. As for the stunt man rolling behind something, then the star standing up, I've used that gag several times on Herc and Xena. My favorite use is in "The Pink Panther Strikes Back" when the stunt man falls down the stairs, disappears behind a couch, and Peter Sellers stands up saying, "That felt good." It's a good use of stunt people.

Josh

Name: steve
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

what do you think of Quentin Tarantino

are you going to see 'kill bill', and what do you think of it being split into 2 movies

Dear Steve:

You must be new here. I am not a fan of Mr. Tarantino, nor will I support him by seeing his new film. I feel like the time I spent watching his previous three films was purely wasted. I'm also not a fan of Hong Kong martial arts stuff -- having spent far too much time shooting martial arts fights in Xena -- and I seriously don't believe that Tarantino has the ability to bring anything new to the genre. As for it being released in two parts, I have no doubt that the film was simply way too long and no one at Miramax has the balls to tell him to cut anything, thus it's now two films. And from what I hear it's a revenge story, so I'm truly and deeply not interested.

Josh

Name: Blake Eckard
E-mail:

"unless some good horror films get made, this trend will fade"

Why don't you make a good horror film? You could put together a super low budget 16mm horror film in the 40K range. Four people investing 10 grand and boom, you starting.

A little suggestion...Unless you want "Dark of the Moon," to just be sold so you can make money, don't push on with it. It certainly won't be the next great horror film. I heartily suggest revisiting your excellent treatment for "Terrified." Bruce Campbell doesn't have to star in it. There were a lot of good-old-fashioned spooky feelings evoked from that. I think it would expand into a screenplay wonderfully, as there are a lot of areas that could be deepened (see the discussions on this site after you posted it for all to read.)

Anyway, good luck to you. I think someone needs to jump into production on a new, good horror film. You could. Perhaps something brand new you could shoot in the wilds of Michigan.

Have a good one.

Blake

Dear Blake:

I honestly do appreciate your apparent faith in my abilities. I sent out "Dark of the Moon" because it's a completed screenplay, which is what this company was looking for. Sending a treatment would have been inappropriate. From my experience it's not possible to complete a feature film for 40,000. You could shoot it, but you wouldn't be able to go through post. I'm still 30,000 in hock from the last film. A bottom-line issue, at least for me, is when I write something like "Terrified!" (or anything else, for that matter), is who wants to climb aboard my train. Making movies is not a lone endeavor; you need others to be a part of it and help make it. My Tom Sawyer, let's-all-paint-the-fence abilities seem to have slipped on me. I couldn't even get Bruce interested in "Terrified!" and it was written specifically for him. Everybody seems to want to make their own movie, and no one appears to want to work together. I'm actually trying to get a Hollywood agent again, which doesn't seem like the right direction, but that's where I'm going.

Josh

Name: JJ Jermaine
E-mail: jj@jjandbird.com

Dear Josh Becker,

Recently, I have become a fan of yours. Bird, my writing partner, turned me onto your stuff. I am not a fan of your movies alone though. I am also a fan of your Articles, Essays & Stories. In fact, it is my humble opinion that you should compile a book, find a deal with a publisher and make some
(more?) money off of them.

Being that I am a fan - your insight would be invaluable to me. I am currently considering shooting a project. It is to be a remake of Young Guns, starring Heath Ledger as Billy the Kid, and Josh Hartnett as Dick Brewer. Perhaps you've heard of it?

Regardless, I'm wondering what you think of the idea of the film itself(Young Guns). Would you yourself ever be interested in directing a project such as this, and if so, what are we talkin'? Ballpark.

Sincerely,

JJ Jermaine

Dear JJ:

I'm confused. You have the rights to remake "Young Guns"? You've got Heath Ledger and Josh Hartnett signed for it? As for the film, it sort of went in one ear and out the other. All of the young actors seemed weak and unmemorable, and the script seemed weak, too. I recall liking Brian Keith, though. I must say honestly that I can't stand the idea of remakes, which are inherently bad to start with. Meanwhile, I work for DGA rates, which depends on the budget of the film. I have written a filmmaking book and I've got a literary agent in NYC trying to sell it, but that doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

Josh

Name: Frederick Pina
E-mail: latin_enterprises@hotmail.com

Mr. Becker,

My question is this, I wrote a screenplay and I am trying to sell it, I have an entertainment attorney and I have the sypnosis ready for producers to read, i am intresting in hearing an honest and real account of the sale and buying process, the time table and just what excactly goes on... There is a producer from Screen Gems who wants to read the sypnosis... i just like to have an image of the process if you could aid me in that please.

Thank you

Dear Frederick:

From my experience nobody ever makes a deal based on a synopsis or a treatment. No matter what it is, good or bad, the response is always, "Let me read the script when it's done." So, once you've written the script, and suppose they like it, the next step is usually optioning it for some amount of time, like a year or two, and producers generally want to pay as little for options as humanly possible, like a couple thousand or possibly five thousand dollars, but unless you're a known commodity you won't get much more than that. Then, at any point during the option period, they have the right to purchase the script for the amount stated in the purchase agreement. Depending what size film they anticipate making -- is it a $2 million film, a $10 million dollar film, a $50 million film -- you can base the sales price on Writer's Guild rates and demand that they use of Writer's Guild contracts, even if you're not in the WGA. That's it in nutshell, but if I didn't address your specific concern, try me again. Good luck.

Josh

Name: Blake Eckard
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Ten great horror films? Let's try it out. I don't know if you'll agree with this list, but I think these are all great...You made a good point, however. There haven't been too many important horror films. I had to really thing on this one...

Freaks Todd Browning
The Old Dark House James Whale
The Bride of Frankenstein James Whale
Curse of the Demon Jacques Tourneur
Psycho Alfred Hitchcock
Rosemary's Baby Roman Polanski
Night of the Living Dead George A. Romero
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Tobe Hooper
Alien Ridley Scott
The Shining Stanley Kubrick

In my opinion there aren't very many other titles that could possibly be put on a top ten list for the genre. "Dawn of the Dead" and "The Exorcist" are the only other ones that come to mind (and I never really loved either one).

Also of interest is that the newest film on the list is from 1980...I know there hasn't been anything very good since then. I think YOU need to make the next great horror film. And what you said a while back, about Horror not being bought any more, couldn't be farther from the truth. Distributors are buying tons of horror films right now. "Cabin Fever," was bought at Toronto by Lion's Gate, who paid more to acquire it than they had ever paid for a film before. (I've also been specifically told this in the last 3 months by two "name" producer reps and a film producer). It's also the one genre where a distributors don't care if name actors aren't in it. It must, however have tits, a great title, and be scary. So it goes.

Have a good one!

Blake

Dear Blake:

You are correct. While I wasn't paying attention horror films came back into vogue. It took a while after "Blair Witch Project" and the "Scream" films, but here it is. I've even got my horror script, "Dark of the Moon," out right now. However, unless some good horror films get made, this trend will fade like it has all the other times. And I see the remake of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is opening. Immediately turning to remakes is a bad sign, I think. Regarding your list, I'll take "Carrie," "Aliens," and "The Tenant" over "The Shining," "Curse of the Demon" or "The Old Dark House," but that's just me. Otherwise, I agree.

Josh

Name: dustin
E-mail: dustglas@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

the new hack director on the block eli roth, whom wrote and directed the dreck crap "cabin fever" found it fun to put "fake shemp" in his titles. i'm not going into a review of the film, cause if feel that i should spare you the obvious. but the fake shemp thing reminds me of freshman year intro to video i know more about horror movies than you do fodder. and this guy is making films that get put out in theaters! you are right josh, there is no god.

Dear Dustin:

It's not like horror films were ever such a great genre to start with, and most horror films are crap and always have been. Most filmmakers won't ever really look inside themselves to see what actually scares them, they'll just use the shit they've seen in other films and copy it. There were a few good horror films in the 1920s and '30s, and a few more in the 1960s and '70s, and that's about it. Have there actually been ten great horror films ever made? Maybe, but not many more than that. Let's face it, it's a very difficult genre to good work in.

Josh

Name: God (but really David)
E-mail:

Geez Josh,

Seriously, I was just joking around with you. I thought you would get a kick out of it. I sincerely apologize if I hurt your feelings in any way. I am a major fan of yours, and I've been visiting your site for a few years now. I was just trying to be funny. Sorry if it didn't come off that way. I got tired of all the religious folks coming out of the woodwork, so I thought I'd razz them a bit by joking around with you. Guess I need to work on my humor a bit. BTW, I'm Jewish, too. :-)

Warmest wishes,
David

Dear David:

Sorry, I guess I'm just touchy these days. Of course, I guess I ought to expect it poking holes in people's invisible means of support. I just feel like there's this incredible thoughtlessness going on that's going to send everyone back to blind fundamentalism. The malaise that's been creeping over movies and music for the past twenty years has made its way out into the rest of society. The arts are an early-warning system, and had I been aware I'd have seen it coming. We now live in a repressive society with far too many people in prison for shitty reasons, so the media has to pump endless cop and law and prison shows at us to get us all used to the unfairness of our society. We clearly need the world's help in Iraq, so our numb-nuts, knuckle-headed president goes in front of the U.N. and acts superior and smug, completely undermining the purpose of his being there. We pretend that we support our troops, but we won't feed them properly, and, get this, if they are sent to the hospital in Iraq they get billed for all their meals. And they won't let these under-trained national guard and army reservists come home. Until George W. Bush and his gang of criminals are out of power, I'm flatly ashamed of being an American.

Josh

Name: JJ Jermaine
E-mail: jj@jjandbird.com

Dear Beckerfilms, my new pal,

Wondering if you have any thoughts on a new Director by the name of David Gordon Green. His first film was George Washington. His second, All The Real Girls. A lot of us would be interested in your thoughts. Thanks for the time.

Just JJ

Dear JJ:

I haven't seen either film, but I'll keep my eyes peeled.

Josh

Name: GOD
E-mail:

Josh, my child,

You better quit talking shit about me or I'll send my old lady down there to kick your ass, and believe me she's one tough broad. Oh yeah, and you are forgiven for you know, what you asked me...no, you won't go blind, and your palms won't grow hair. So quit asking meeeeeeeeeeeeee already!! Now, go and sin no more for the thousandth fucking time you little Jewish bastard!!!!!!

Love, yadda, yadda, yadda,
GOD

Dear Asshole:

God my ass! You're just a pea-brained, pin-dick, anti-semitic piece of shit. Go crawl back in your ugly little hole and die.

Love,

Josh

Name: Steve Vallée
E-mail: warloch71@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I just read your review about "Unbreakable" and you conclude with : "M. Night Shyamalan's next film will be the real indicator or his career. Should he make a film worse than Unbreakable, which wouldn't be easy, I daresay they will be no hope for him."

So, what do you think of "Signs" ? :-)

Dear Steve:

Sorry, I didn't see it.

Josh

Name: Ben
E-mail: bendab02@yahoo.com

Josh,

I'd much rather argue with you than Lennon or Shakespeare, mostly because they're both dead. But since you're tired of the subject and it's your website, can you answer a SAG question? I just watched "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," and they said that when they hired Julia Roberts, they told her she wouldn't get paid. How does that work? In general, when an actor wants to take a pay cut for a movie, how does the Guild react or intervene?

Ben

Dear Ben:

They can't not pay at all. No actor can work on a SAG film without receiving at least the SAG minimum, which is about $600 a day. That may be nothing to Ms. Roberts, but it's still being paid.

Josh

Name: CD
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

In your prior answer about the difference between making films today and making films when you first started out, you said there was hope for distribution back then (or something like that). Not so today.

You'd think with all the cable channels, home video, DVD, etc. that distribution wouldn't be as much a problem.

With all the outlets out there now as opposed to then, why do you think there's such a bottleneck in distribution? Any theories?

Dear CD:

Regarding theatrical distribution, to release a film nationally costs millions of dollars and there are very few, if perhaps no, distributors that will even consider regional releases, meaning one city or state at a time. Video distributors aren't very interested in films that have had no theatrical release because no one has heard of them. The cable market doesn't deal with very much low-budget product, just Sundance and IFC, and then it has to be rather arty. In all cases now, though, they demand name actors and to have name actors means it can't be that low of a budget film. So, now that there are more screens and many cable channels showing movies, less and less films are released.

Josh

Name: Kevin "Deus Ex Machina" Mills
E-mail: thespythashagsu@rogers.com

Dear Josh:

Just a quick question:

As someone who's mired in the independant film world I was wondering if you know and or like the work of Stan Brakhage?

I came to his work late in the game (two months ago..sevral months after his death) and I absolutely love his films.
I found that his film, "The Act of Seeing With Ones Own Eyes" really put death into perspective.
-Kevin Mills

Dear Kevin:

I haven't watched one of Brakhage's films in 20 years, but they seemed interesting and experimental. I must say that being "experimental" doesn't particularly interest me anymore. I feel like every filmmaker wants to be experimental now, and none of them want to learn the actual craft of telling a story on film. Young filmmakers can balk all they want, but the feature film is still a narrative form, and the big trick is to keep the audience interested during the length of your film. I personally would MUCH rather see Oliver Stone's film "Platoon," as an example, where he's just telling a good story and not fucking around, then to see "U-Turn," where he really hasn't got a story to tell, but is being "experimental" the whole film, hand-held, jump-cuts, switching from 35mm to video to super-8, black and white to color, blah, blah. It's all crap, and it's all in lieu of doing the real job. Tell me a story I want to hear and tell it well. All the rest is just jerking-off and trying to call attention to director.

Josh

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

Josh writes:

"I can't imagine them releasing "Jack" on DVD."

Well, THE TICK (live-action version with Patrick Walburton as The Tick)-which only had 8 episodes and ran on FOX-will be coming out on DVD at the end of this month. The show was on last year, I think. It's billed as THE TICK-THE ENTIRE SERIES.I actually thought the series was hysterical. I plan to get this DVD. The idiots at FOX moved it all over the place. It was hard to find.

Of course, "Jack" may not come out at all on DVD. Who knows.

By the way, BUBBA HO-TEP will be shown at the Angelica Theatre this Friday in New York City. I plan to see it. When I do, I'll post a review here.

I'm looking forward to it-and that's one film I hope will be released on DVD.

Saul

Dear Saul:

"Bubba-Hotep" is opening here in Detroit in October. Bruce is coming in for the premiere and he and I will get a chance to hang out, which will be nice. Then I'll get to see the film, too.

Josh

Name: Steve
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Lunatics: A Love Story.. will it ever be on DVD?

Dear Steve:

Not that I know of.

Josh

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

Josh writes:

"Do the best you can while you're here because this is the whole deal. No punishment, no reward, and the only purpose is that which you choose and decide is important. Scary, huh? Then you're responsible for your own life instead of pawning it off on the invisible man."

Eh-it's worse than that. Look at folks who've been born in war-torn countries, people who are in extreme poverty, who are fucked before they even come out of the womb because the chance to be responsible for their own lives in many cases has been taken away from them. They were handed a shitty deck of cards once they popped out-and in many cases they have NO chance of succeeding. Their life is shit from the start and they go to their graves in agony.

There's something fucked up about a world where there are folks who make millions "playing pretend" for a living, where there are folks who make millions hitting little white balls with sticks-while folks like the kind I described in the first paragraph are screwed before they pop out of the womb.

So much for "making your own luck."

Dear Saul:

Nobody said life was fair or a bowl of cherries, either. Be thankful for what you've got because it could very easily be a whole lot worse. As Woody Allen said, "There are two kinds of people in the world: the miserable and the horrible. The horrible are the crippled and the blind, and the miserable are everybody else. So just be thankful you're miserable." But to say that all those millions of unfortunate Africans who are born in extreme poverty and disease, then die before they even get a chance to grow up, but they don't get to go to heaven because they weren't baptized and didn't embrace Jesus is a fucking insult. Any God that would have a rule like that is bullshit and obviously evil.

Josh

Name: Darin
E-mail: none

Dear Josh:

My whole thought on the afterlife was that it was illogical. If there is an eternal existence, then why weren't we put there in the first place? So God can test us. So God created us solely to test us?

Ironically, the Old Testament was a lot like Greek mythology, where God and the angels lived in heaven, and everyone who died went to She'ol. (exactly, as far as I know, like Hades) The Bible usually replaces the word "She'ol" with "grave" now because it removes the contradictions in beliefs. Heaven as a final resting place for good, Christian people wasn't brought up until the New Testament.

I like your theory on Jesus, but then how do you explain the miracles? Did the Bible fictionalize them, or is it as it was in your story, with sand bard and lotions?

Darin

Dear Darin:

Get over these silly miracles. Every religion's got them. Did God really send down a golden shield with the Book of Mormon written on it in upstate New York to Joseph Smith? If not, why isn't that miracle as impressive to all Christians as Bernadette seeing the Mother Mary in a grotto in Lourdes, France? I'm sorry you befuddled people, but it's all nonsense. There are no miracles, no saviors, no heaven, no hell, only reality as we know it, and it lasts from the time you're born until you die. The end. If you can't figure out how to make something out of this life, you blew it. This is the whole deal, stop looking to God, extraterrestrials, or miracles and make the best of it while you're alive.

Josh

Name: August
E-mail: joxerfan@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

On Ben and the worm food question - not only would we be arguing with John
Lennon, but Shakespeare too:

From Henry IV -

Hotspur (dying) : Percy, thou art dust, and food for--
Prince Hal: For worms, brave Percy...

Oh, and a suggestion for Steve, who's looking for the "Jack of All Trades" tapes - everything comes out on video and dvd sooner or later, even Ben Stiller's short-lived (13-week) tv series that he mentioned on the Today Show this morning. But that came out 10 years after it went off the air, so don't hold your breath. Just be forwarned - any "Jack" videotapes for sale were just taped in somebody's living room. So don't expect great quality. But hey - if it's just $10 or $15, why not take a gamble? (Especially if it's all 22 episodes.)


Regards,

August

Dear August:

I can't imagine them releasing "Jack" on DVD.

Josh

Name: Ben
E-mail: bendab02@yahoo.com

Josh,

So, when we die, we're nothing but worm food? No purpose? No punishment? No rewards?

And in fact, Catholicism has batism of desire, by which a non-Catholic can be saved, however it is still through the Church.

Ben

Dear Ben:

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Hey, you going to argue with John Lennon? But, yeah, this is it. Do the best you can while you're here because this is the whole deal. No punishment, no reward, and the only purpose is that which you choose and decide is important. Scary, huh? Then you're responsible for your own life instead of pawning it off on the invisible man.

Josh

Name: Ben
E-mail: dabrowskigroup@yahoo.com

Josh,

(Sorry about the blank email--hit enter instead of tab.)

I'm not sure why you consider it a evil, hateful, whatever you called it, of the worst kind. Could you elaborate on why it is so bad to believe in something, and disbelieve everything that is contrary to it?

And hate to harp, but do you disbelieve the account of the sun at Fatima, or do you believe that there was a scientific explanation? I mean, it's in the Guiness Book of World Records.

Ben

Dear Ben:

One more time, religion is evil because it's based on lies and separation. The rules of Christianity say that all non-Christians will not be "saved," nor go to heaven. The rules of Islam say that all non-Muslims are infidels. The rules of Judaism say if you're not a Jew you have no idea what God's word is. The basis of Hindu is that all in one, yet they've broken that down into a thousand dieties. The Buddhists have a cockamamy scheme of reincarnation, of going up or down, that is based on nothing. To believe that any of these present, big religions have anything more going for them than the old ones, or the little ones, is just silly. They're all ignorant human attempts at making sense out of that which they can't make sense of, which is mainly dying. It is a lie to say if you follow these rules on Earth then you go to heaven. There isn't one "holy" person out there of any religion that knows for a fact that there is a heaven, or that anything you do here will get you there. It's a lie. A fabrication. A non-truth. There is no more chance of leading a good, Christian life and going to heaven than there is hijacking a plane, crashing it into the World Trade Center, and going to a hereafter where seventy virgins are waiting for you. It's all horseshit. And there's nothing about Fatima in either of my Guiness Books, and please stop bringing it up because I don't care. Every religion has their "miracles" which are all meant to prove that this is the one, true religion and all the rest are heresy. I care no more about Fatima than the Red Sea parting.

Josh

Name: David
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I have to say that your 'One Hour Photo' write-up is probably the most ignorant review I've ever read (and that's saying a lot).

It's pretty clear that the issues you had with the film weren't the result of Mark Romanek's doing, but your own shallow black-and-white perception. Maybe if you had bothered to pay attention, you would've seen that all of the characters had problems that stemmed from their environment and outlook. Here, I'LL explain:

Sy had a bad childhood and escaped into a corporate world full of artificial happiness (the Wal-Mart setting). The family projected a sense of stability and genuine love - something he idolized and wanted to experience. But in reality, they were just as unstable and when his sense of illusion was shattered, so was all his reason. He was never demonized as a person who was crazy - you just thought of him that way because you didn't understand the material.

After browsing your reviews and scripts, it's pretty clear that you feel that a filmmaker has to hold the audience's hand like it's a child with down-syndrome. Maybe that's why you hate cinema so much and constantly harp the "old days," when movies where simple and unchallenging.

Dear David:

If you think a simple-minded piece of shit like "One-Hour Photo" was challenging, you're a retard and your taste in movies is up your ass. That was thin writing at it's thinnest. You take "One-Hour Photo," I'll take one of those simple, unchallenging movies from the past like "The Last Picture Show" or "Patton."

Josh

Name: steve
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

should i get the jack of all trades series on ebay or hold out for a possiable dvd

i just saw cabin fever, i wanted to see it because it was a indie. film that got picked up by a studio. cabin fever took ideas and even sceens right out of other movies...i can see a director making a shot look like a shoot from some other movie to be funny or pay homage but a hour and a half of other movies edited together is too much
did you see cabin fever

from most of your posts it sounds to me like you were close to sam raimi at one time but had some sort of falling out...did you guys have a fight or did you just stop talking for no reason

Dear Steve:

No, we just grew apart. Sam moved up the Hollywood ladder and I stayed down below. He also got married and had kids and between that and his career there really isn't much extra time. And no, I didn't see "Cabin Fever."

Josh

Name: PILALALIDIS GEORGIOS
E-mail: AGAMEMMNON@MSN.COM

well" well " well.i see now that Sam Raimi have very very inteligent friends???any way, i always thank you for that, you westhing You time with me goodbye.George

Dear Georgios:

I don't know what Sam's friends are like, I never see him anymore. But I certainly don't like you taking email addresses from here and annoying other people. That to me is unacceptable behavior. Until you've got something legitimate to add to the discussion you will no longer be posted here. Goodbye.

Josh

Name: Ben
E-mail: dabrowskigroup@yahoo.com

Josh,

While reading over your latest responses, I was caught by your comment that you believe that consciousness goes on, but you have no evidence to prove it? Immediately I thought of consecrated hosts that still bleed today, the incorruptable bodies of various saints, the miracle of the sun at Fatima witnessed by thousands and widely reported, the fortelling of the lights in the sky that would precede the second great war, the ascension of Jesus, also witnessed by thousands, the stigmata of Father Pio of this century and countless other proofs that continue to prove today. I would be interested in specific responses, but I suppose it might boil down to that you don't buy any of them.

And supposing that Jesus was born, lived, and died, and that was the end of the story, there would be no reason to believe that he would be anything but Jewish today, but again, regarding the resurrection, after which he outlined the Catholic church until the time of his ascension, do you not believe in that, either? Is it all malarchy?

And if he wasn't God, nor a savior, and just a wise Jewish man, why was he claiming to be the son of God? Wouldn't that make him a little less wise? Or might you fall back on that all the great thinkers (and artists, in
particular) are a little bit nutty anyway?

And two wildly unrelated topics, if your patience with me remains, What do you think of the Truth campaign against tobacco companies, and Did you see Sweet Home Alabama?

I don't watch TV often, but I recently caught the commercial where all those people fall on the ground outside the tobacco company and they suggest that big tobacco takes a day off, since each day they kill eighty million-billion people, or whatever the number was. No words, just silence--indeed, a language overlooked in regard to its effective profoundness, but still overly-dramatic. I find the whole thing ridiculous, although I rather enjoyed the sarcasm? satire? irony? of the one where they send off all those body bags on horses.

And why do I ask about Sweet Home Alabama? Well, I thought some of the characterization was well-done, but it isn't worth discussing if you didn't see it or hated it.

Ciao.

Ben

Dear Ben:

No, I didn't see it "Sweet Home Alabama," and I hate the song. Yes, I think all those Christian miracles are nonsense (and all of the Jewish miracles that predate them, too). Why did Jesus say he was the son of God? Because, I believe, we all are the children of God because God is within all of us, that's what he meant, not that he was literally God's son. Jesus spoke in metaphors and parables, remember, and taking anything he said literally is a mistake. Just like taking anything in the bibles, the Koran, or any of the other "holy" books is mistake. It's all mythology. Jesus ascending to heaven is exactly as meaningful as Zeus being on top of Mount Olympus. Believing your mythology is real and everyone else's is fiction is the worst kind of hateful nonsense.

Josh

Name: steve
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

where were you in the movie mosquito

do you know if jack of all trades will get to be on dvd

and can you tell me what the original evil dead poster looked like

thanks

Dear Steve:

I'm the camper with the girlfriend who, after having sex, goes out to take a leak, returns and finds a giant mosquito doing his girl, then turns around and a giant mosquito kills me. I don't know what will happen to "Jack," it hasn't even gone into reruns, let alone come out on DVD. The original ED poster was the painting of the girl with her arm straight up with a hand around her throat.

Josh

Name: ~Renee~
E-mail: Reneestar11@shaw.ca

Josh,

There was a guy named George Pilalidis submitting questions etc. to your web site and I recall that he was almost impossible to understand. Well for some reason he is now writing to me (he must have pulled my address from your web site) and his e-mail does not make any sense at all.
Wierd people out there.....

*_*

So, how are you and the cats? I 'tuned in' to your radio interview. It was very interesting and I enjoyed it. I'm dieing to read more of your work. The way you write is so enjoyable to read...anything new?

~R~

Dear Renee:

George is writing to you? I don't like that. I've posted many of his letters because I thought they were amusing, in an inappropriate, somewhat unintelligibale sort of way, but he sends me even more letters that I don't post. And I'm not finding him particularly amusing anymore, and I don't like the idea that he's annoying other people here. George, knock it off!

Anyway, it's good to hear from you. My cats are fine, and full-grown now. Is it winter yet in Canada?

Josh

Name: David Lemmo
E-mail: tarmangani@hauntedmansion.com

Josh,

What also gets to me about this Bush/Bin Laden thing is the complicity of the News Media. Have you ever seen a 1982 film called "Wrong Is Right," with Sean Connery, and directed by Richard (Elmer Gantry) Brooks? Yikes! On another note, I'm a performer here in San Diego, and also write novels and screenplays---I can hear you groaning---but I know you don't want to read anyone's SP. Bruce told me the same thing, once, and I don't blame him. I recently sent my best SP to Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope SP writing contest. Then I discovered on your "links" the "Screenwriting at About.com" site. They have a "Pitch your script" link that sounds interesting. What do you really think of these contests? I'll assume that since you had "Screenwriting at About.com" on your site that you more or less endorse it. But am I just wasting my time with contests? I'm new at this trying to market my works. Thanks again. David

Dear David:

I don't endorse it, I don't even remember how I got the link. I have posted my stuff on Writer's Script Network, which I now believe is Ink Tip. You pay a fee, like $30, and post your script on their site where it can only be accessed by agents and producers. I didn't get any action, but I guess other people have. The horror of the business, and my great downfall, I believe, is the need for a decent agent, which I've never had. I've had eight agents in Hollywood in over twenty years and none of them ever made a sale or got me a job. I'm beginning the process of looking for yet another one, which really has to be through someone they know. It all makes me shudder. I don't like contests of any kind, personally.

Josh

Name: Aaron
E-mail: springdreams@canoemail.com

Dear Josh:

Maybe a long shot, but I thought about it now and then - and now that I am here surfing the web, I thought I might just as well ask it....the song that everyone is singing in the car on the way to the cabin in the Evil Dead - is that a made up song - or is it real and if it is, what is it??

Dear Aaron:

It's a song a friend of Sam's wrote that he got permission to use before we went and made the film. Personally, I always felt that it was an excuse to write less dialog and not put the time into the characterizations. But I guess nobody else cared.

Josh

Name: David Lemmo
E-mail: tarmangani@hauntedmansion.com

Josh,

Great essay, the Religion is Evil one, also. Wait till the information about the Carlyle Group becomes public knowledge: Bush the Elder and Bin Laden family doing business together for years: Bush the Elder giving the Taliban 48 million dollars 5 months before 911 (no wonder they're after that flea Saddam, instead of Bin Laden).
Michael Moore is making this the subject of his next docu, "Farenheit 911 the Temperature at which Freedom Burns." Search engine: Carlyle Group + Bush + Bin Laden. Also: Arbusto Oil Company + Bush the Younger. Also: George Bush + Nazis. Try this one on for size: Skull and Bones Society.

Dear David:

I still don't know why G.W. Bush is not being impeached. His crime of lying to us, the American public, to go to war for no good reason still ranks as the worse misuse of presidential power I've ever heard of. This guy isn't just a bad president, he's a criminal. And shit like the Patriot Act is so UnAmerican is stands up there with Joe McCarthy and the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. Osama bin Laden attacked the World Trade Centers to get us to change our lifestyles, and with the help of the very willing Bush, Cheney, and Ashcroft, bin Laden won.

Josh

Name: Aaron R. Davis
E-mail: samuraifrog@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

Just wanted to write and say I'm still enjoying your unproduced scripts. I read both "Buds" and "Above the Line" this afternoon -- I think the scene you used in both, with a girl coming up to a guy and sitting on his lap, and the line from "Casablanca," was probably my favorite. I hope it ends up on film. I liked both scripts (I said this to you once before: I love the way you use cynicism in your screenplays), but I think I enjoyed "Buds" a little more. Aaron Brooks will always be the poor guy from "The Biological Clock" to me.

Regarding all three scripts I mentioned, I'm sorry you haven't had any luck with a sort of romantic comedy. All three scripts were enjoyable, and as someone who despises the rom-com with every fiber of my being, all three of these scripts spoke from an adult viewpoint with actual motivation instead of the condescending stupidity of the characters we often see. Thanks again, sir.

Dear Aaron:

I'm glad you enjoyed them. It pleases me that my scripts are at least available to read, as opposed to just collecting dust.

Josh

Name: Angelo Mike
E-mail: mmike10371@aol.com

Dear Josh:

I write in response to your comments about finding a composer.

I should rephrase the question. I wasn't merely asking for trivia. What I really meant to say, was: How would someone in low budget, independent movies (like myself) go about finding a composer? My friend who is going to try to make a movie wants to use a lot of music already made from other sources. Of course, we won't be able to make any money (or possibly not lose as much as we would hope), but the problem I have with it is that no matter how much you avoid trying to get music and then make a scene around it (which never works), music from other movies or video games just doesn't work because it's already been made specifically for another movie or game.

Dear Angelo:

I'm sorry I answered specifically instead generally. Regarding the use of known songs, if that's what you mean, that costs a lot of money. To get any run-of-the-mill song you've heard before will be minimally $75,000 persong, and that's not even for the entire song. If you use the scores from other films it will probably be expensive as well. You need to speak to local musicians (wherever you're from) and see if any of them have any film scoring experience. See what productions have occurred in your area and track down the composers. If you're looking to spend real money on the score you could track down the agencies in Hollywood that represent the composers. This could be done through ASCAP or BMI or through the union.

Josh

Name: PHARIE GREER
E-mail: EROKK@AOL.COM

Dear Josh:

YOUR INSIGHT IS, PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR BEING AT A LOST FOR WORDS. I'VE FINALLY BEEN IMPRESSED BY THE INTERNET.
WHAT YOU BELIEVE AND HAS ACTUALLY STATED, I MADE THE SAME STATEMENT TO A JEHOVAHS WITNESS A YEAR AGO, NO IT WAS THE YEAR THAT THE TWIN TOURS CAME DOWN. TO FINALLY MEET SOME ONE, YES I SAID MET. BECAUSE I FEEL SO CONNECTED. OUR BELIEFS ARE TRUELY SIMILAR. I APPRECIATE YOUR COMPELLING HONESTY. I SAY COMPELLING BECAUSE YOU STATE WHAT YOU FEEL, I'M IN AWE!! I WOULD LOVE TO MET YOU AND POSSIBLY WORK WITH YOU. I AM A WRITER, A POET, A SINGER, A SINGLE MOM, SEARCHING FOR MY NEXT BABIES DADDY. HA-HA I'M NOT JOKING

Dear PHARIE:

Do you write all your poems and everything else in caps? It makes me think you're yelling. Well, thank you for enjoying my honesty. I aim to please.

Josh

Name: Angelo Mike
E-mail: mmike10371@aol.com

Dear Josh:

How did you go about finding a composer for your movies?

Dear Angelo:

It was easy for me, Joe LoDuca had already done "Evil Dead" in 1980 and I used to go see him perform with his jazz band pretty regularly over the next few years and we became friends. When I made TSNKE in 1984 I never thought of anyone else, and he did such a great job on that film I've never thought of anyone else since.

Josh

Name: Stephen
E-mail: wado1942@yahoo.comm

Hi, I'm an independant film maker and stumbled onto your site while doing some research. I'm AMAZED "The Evil Dead" even got completed. Thanks for the transcription.

But the real reason I write is on your essay about religion. In many ways you're right. Religious people are often hypocrites. Judgemental, self riteous and make a science of alienation. However, this is NOT what Jesus taught. Now, I don't really belive in denominations as nobody truly teaches what God wants. But I do like what Jesus really wanted but people don't do. If people really did what Jesus taught, none of the stuff that you mentioned in your essay would have happened.
Please, don't knock religion in general when you don't have all the facts. People are corrupt, stupid, selfish animals and distort the truth whether they mean it or not just to feel better about themselves.
Jesus said to question everything, not follow others blindly. He said to take care of eachother, not just other Christians but all people. As far as the evil that takes place due to religious people: rapes, murder, theft etc, blame the people in charge of the religions as much as you want. I too am guilty of many horrid things because I, like all people, am selfish. But don't say religion itself is bad.

BTW, out of curiosity, do you remember what film stock they used on "Evil Dead"? I'm into 16mm (Arri S) and Super-8 (Canon 1014) as well as modified DV cams (keep 'em cold, slap an anamorphic lens on then and a contrast reducing filter and they're almost usable).

Also, has anyone actually done this
(http://silentbob.virtualave.net/ultra8.html) to a super-8 cam?

Thanks

Dear Stephen:

You slightly missed my point. I'm not casting an aspersions on Jesus, who was a wise Jewish man, I'm casting aspersions on the religion that sprung up after him that defames his name and doesn't follow most of his teachings. And if any part of Christianity or Catholicism were discussed with Jesus I have no doubt he would be horrified, denounce all of it, and go straight into the nearst synagogue and say the Kaddish. Do I believe that Jesus is the son of God? Exactly as much as I believe that Santa Claus flies around on a sleigh pulled by reindeer and then climbs down six billion people's chimneys. The bibles old and new, the Koran, the Bhagavad-Gita, the I Ching, these are all books of mythology, which have value, but no more than anyone else's mythology, including the native Americans and the Eskimoes. The second you start believing that your mythology is real and everyone else's is false, you've checked in your brain and become a moron.

As for "Ultra Super-8," why bother? It's the same system used in 35mm in the 1950s called VistaVision, where the film ran sideways, which never took off. If you must have special equipment that presently doesn't exist, then it's entirely impractical. And let's face facts, super-8 is just too damn small to work with. If you're over ten years old your fingers are too big to handle it. And if you're transferring straight to video, 16mm looks a thousand times better. Meanwhile, on "Evil Dead" we used 7248 Kodak stock, which isn't made anymore.

Josh

Name: theresa
E-mail: kpoxford@aol.com

Josh ;

Hello to you and hope all is well in your world ?!? Once again, Mr. Becker >>> THANX... For encouraging me to think for myself (essay : "Religion Is Evil" )and for being who you are. So cool to know that somebody's out there that can still make me punch the air and yell, "Fuckin'-A-Right ! ... What HE SAID !" My brother has one credo ... "Have regard for your fellow man." Tall order for some (most?). I have to admit to wishing that your essay might have touched on the subject of spirituality, which is worlds apart from religion and a necessary element to our being. Also, (without sarcasm) I had to grab the dictionary for the word 'abnigate'. If you meant abdicate, it would fit. But so would 'abnigation', though oddly enough my dictionary doesn't mention a root word ? If I had ever broke into the world of film, I'm supposing that it probably would have been as an editor of sorts... type-o's and inconsistencies being my gig. Not in an anal sorta way, though I suppose it is by rights the nature of that line. It's just part of who I be : ) Any-who, be well and write back (something scathing!) if you get a chance. Walk In Peace Theresa

Dear Theresa:

That's abnegate with an 'e'. Abdicate wouldn't have fit because that means giving up one's throne. As I mentioned yesterday, I believe that religion is evil, but I'm neither an athiest nor an agnostic, so I guess that makes me "spititual." I have difficulty with that word because it sort of doesn't mean anything -- "of the spirit." As I said, I believe in consciousness and cohesion. What's the difference between something that's alive and something that's dead? The consciousness has left it. But consciousness never dies, it just keeps popping up in new places. This is the basis of the Buddhist belief of reincarnation, but I don't buy their whole take on it, because, just like every other religion, they're pretending to know what occurs after death, but honestly they haven't got a clue. But I think it's comforting to think that consciousness never dies, even though I haven't got any evidence to support it. But to just say, "I'm spiritual," basically means nothing.

Josh

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

Mr. Becker,

Are you familiar with the works of the Russian filmmaker Dziga Vertov??? I recently watched "The Man with a Movie Camera" for a class and was physically exhausted by it. Vertov doesn't believe in plot, actors, sets, etc, so naturally I thought about how you would react to this mentality. Apparently, many filmmakers are influenced by him and this movie and study it for directing methods. Thanks.
> Nate

Dear Nate:

I've never seen it, nor any of his other films, but it just sounds experimental, and that has its value. Not for feature films, as far as I'm concerned, but for shorts, why not?

Josh

Name:
E-mail: benjaminZED@yahoo.com

Howdy

You very eloquently (and with quite a temper) write about what you don't believe in regarding theology,this you have in common with a great many people , are you as clear and precise on what you do believe in? I have so many conversations with people where they define their belief system solely in terms of what's rubbish that i'm beginning to suspect a creeping nihilism will one day pose as big a threat as those poor souls who believe in god to the point of human annihilation,we know who they are don't we? but do we know who we are? What do we care about? and if it turns out to be positive don't you find yourself paraphrasing one of the prophet's anyway.
Love is a big word and as we know words are open to abuse and misinterpritation so..
yours respectfully and in hope ( a kind of prayer)
ben

Dear Ben:

Please see my answer to Mandy.

Josh

Name: Lee
E-mail:

Thanks Scott and Josh for the advice.

My editor friend in London called to say there IS a hair in the gate, but it's just a tiny pubette and we can mask it off. Phew. So thankfully we can use the shots. The mistake I made was not cleaning the gate thoroughly before reloading. I've ordered some orange sticks and will make this part of my camera routine.

The Arri BL is a joy to use. Loving it. I get a VHS of the footage tomorrow. I'm just loving the process. I'm spending a lot of time with the sound guy, so we can really layer this short film with good sound. I feel sound can be undervalued in cinema; we're playing around with contrast and layering scenes with rich sounds.

Loving it!

Ta again for the advice.

Lee

Dear Lee:

It sounds good. Realize that most of your sound work will be done in post-production, although it's always a very good idea to have the best location sound possible. But the real layering of sound comes later. And yes, the Arri-BL is a terrific camera. All the Arriflex cameras are. Also keep in mind that you have a lot of leeway, color-wise, in the post color timing, so you don't necessarily have to make those decisions while you're shooting. If you shoot your picture clean, you can always add color hues afterward and they're more controllable then. Good luck and keep shooting.

Josh

Name: Mandy
E-mail: mandy_hodges@yahoo.com

Josh,

I just read your "Religion is Evil" editorial, and I must say that you hit some pretty serious nails on the head. I consider myself to be a very spiritual person, but the concept of religion has always been awkward to me. I find it intriguing to see the passionate way in which you express yourself about religion, and I have a question for you. What are your thoughts on God, away from religion? If you are so adamantly against the division that separate religious beliefs bring, where do you stand on God as a being and purpose in the universe and our lives?
All the way from Georgia, Mandy H.

Dear Mandy:

Greetings, y'all. Although I am adamantly against religion, I am neither an athiest nor an agnostic. My belief in what we term "God," is rather Hindu or Buddhist (although I'm neither of those, either). I believe that "God" is consciousness and is what animates everything that's living, whether it's humans or bugs or blades of grass. And consciousness never dies, it simply reanimates itself into other living things. And I believe that this animating consciousness is what holds everything together, which why things are cohesive and don't fly apart all the time. I believe that religion is the major cop-out of humanity, and is the big excuse to not think about the great mysteries of life. Religion basically says that I'm too fucking lazy to think about the big mysteries, so I'll just fall back on old, weary, worn-out concepts because it's so much easier than actually using my brain.

Josh

Name: Angelo
E-mail: mmike10371@aol.com

Dear Josh:

"BTW, on "Evil Dead," when we wanted the shot of the rat running by, we blasted it in the ass with Dust-off with the can turned upside down and it ran every time."

Hehe. Something no filmmaker or homeowner should go without knowing.

Anyways, my question is: was Evil Dead shot with one camera? If so, how hard was it? I mean, I know it was difficult with Sam Raimi's perfectionism, but did you just wish you had multiple cameras for easier editing? I ask because I'll be working with a friend who wrote and will direct his own horror movie (whoops...pscyhological thriller) and said he plans on using one camera. In addition to be very wary of any kind of scary movie (I pretty much gave up on them after Resident Evil-hardly any one of them could scare me), I'm just very wary of shooting with one camera. However, I'm not directing, he is, so it's not like I'll be able to impose my normally critical eye on every shot and have to necessarily worry about whether another camera would be good or not.

By the way, sorry to laugh at your expense, but I enjoyed reading your diary from Evil Dead. Good stuff.

Dear Angelo:

Go ahead, laugh at my expense, that's why I posted it. Most movies are shot with one camera. I shot all of my movies with one camera. Occasionally, we ran two cameras on Herc and Xena, basically when we were falling behind schedule, but using two cameras on a film shoot is difficult, makes lighting very difficult, and makes your coverage a tad weird. Any decent DP will NEVER shoot both sides of a conversation at the same time with two cameras because it won't allow them to light either side well. So, all you could really do is shoot a medium close-up and a close-up of the same person at the same time, or the over-the-shoulder shot and the close-up of the same person at the same time. But it either screws up the eye-lines because one camera is too far off the eye-line because the other camera is in the way. One way to solve that is to put one camera above the other one, then it's difficult to operate the cameras, and one angle is either a bit too high or a bit too low. Shooting with one camera and getting one angle at a time is the best way to go, and the way most movies have been shot.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I watched the film "Citizen Ruth" last night, after seven years of thinking, 'Oh, yeah, I gotta rent that one of these days.' I loved it. It was great. There's the whole anti-abortion pro-lifers who are portrayed as crazy right-wing people (Mary Kay Place, who's born to play a mom, and the dad from 'That 70s Show'), and just when you think it's a satire about Christian Right folk, there's the lesbian 'Feminazi' women who are also portrayed in a hilarious light. There was no pro-life or pro-choice stance, just pro-huffing-mom-to-be. Which was great. I loved it. Alexander Payne, who did "Election" and "About Schmidt" directed it (his first film). I found it more satisfying than "Election" and it had a great ending. Just wondering if you'd seen it.

Also saw "All the Real Girls" the other day and it was interesting. Not much story...it was more about falling in love and breaking up than anything else (in a Romeo and Juliet kind of way), but the way it was done was very realistic. Good cinematography, but there were moments where I felt like silence was being used to fill space where there was literally nothing to say. I think a lot of indie directors make that mistake, like "silence is golden." Total chick flick. I'm guessing you'd hate it.

Take care,
Cindy

Dear Cindy:

Admittedly, I only paid half-attention when I watched it, and "Citizen Ruth" seemed like it had it's heart in the right place, and even had a story to tell, but it was handled so broadly I lost interest and began doing something else. Perhaps I should give it another try.

Josh

Name: Rob Reid
E-mail: cdnbacn1985@yahoo.com

Josh Becker,

good to see the film is complete. maybe you could hook me up with a copy. we should hang out or something.

late

Dear Rob:

Copies of the film can be purchased here. Do I know you and I'm just drawing a blank?

Josh

Name: Ben
E-mail: wakko@icon-stl.net

Josh,

how closely do you work with the composer for a movie? Do you communicate to him in musical terms? How does working with a composer on a film compare with working with a composer for a TV show?

Dear Ben:

The director on a TV show doesn't work with the composer at all. I would just bet that of all the directors on Hercules and Xena, the only one to ever speak to the composer was me because he and I are friends. I love discussions with the composer about my films. I've always worked with the same guy, Joe LoDuca, who also did Herc and Xena. We do talk in musical terms, but mostly it's in psychological terms -- what's the emotion the character is feeling in this scene. For instance, when Joe decided that the score for "If I Had a Hammer" would be a jazz score, I suggested that the music in the scene in the lead girl's parent's car could be a Bossa Nova, and Joe went with that. But, for the most part, Joe doesn't want musical suggestions from me, he wants my feelings on the scenes. Joe decided that the score for "Running Time" would be rock (I thought it would be be-bop jazz), then I suggested that the heist scene could be scored like the middle section of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love," and he went with that. But I trust Joe's musical instincts and I will always defer to him.

Josh

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

Josh,

I just wanted to add for Lee that you must be careful when spraying 'Dust-Off" or any other type of canned air into the gate, since they all have sticky residue which sits at the bottom of the can and this can actually attract dust and hair.

Never turn the can of air upside down or too far sideways if possible.

Another technique I use to use which worked quite well is a very soft leather chamey which you can use to wipe the gate of smutz. it has great anti-static qualites and does the job.

I have worked with a Moviecam camera as well when I was camera assisting and on my first feature. I ran into a lot of problems with moisture build up in the camera because we were shooting in October at night and it rained quite bit.

The moisture would build up on the gate and the camera would refuse to advance film. This is where the leather chamey came in handy as well.

Scott

Dear Scott:

Scott was a camera assistant for quite a while, so his take on this is better than mine. BTW, on "Evil Dead," when we wanted the shot of the rat running by, we blasted it in the ass with Dust-off with the can turned upside down and it ran every time.

Josh

Name: Lee
E-mail:

Hey Josh

Geeky technical question. Checking the gate on an Arri 16 BL. Would you check front and rear of the film for hairs/debris when in the field, or just the front?

I've recently sent a 100' reel to the lab's and they say I've got a hair throughtout the reel. I cleaned the mag' before loading and kept a check on the front of the gate. Ho-hum. Maybe this happens to the best of us. Still a pisser, though.

Onwards and upwards

Best


Lee

Dear Lee:

Yes, you want to check both sides of the gate. Through the lens opening, and from inside the camera. And take the film out of the gate and blast the gate with dust-off between every shot (not every take, just every time you've completed a shot and think have a good one). Getting hairs and shmutz in the gate is a problem for everyone who shoots film, that's why you have to make sure it's clean before loading, and clean it between every roll. Motion picture film is just full of static, and that's just how it is. It's a lot worse in black and white than color, by the way. I shot the first episode of Xena in the second season when they had just switched from 16mm to 35mm, and we were using brand-new Moviecam cameras (which are terrific, generally). Well, something was misaligned in the gates and every single shot for a week had crap in the gate, and there was nothing I could do. Since I was on a difficult schedule I simply had to accept it and move on, and it all came out looking fine.

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

I wanted to know what your thoughts are on Akira Kurosawa-which you thought were his best films, and his weakest.

I haven't seen all his films yet, but so far I like:

Kagemusha
High And Low
Seven Samurai
Ran
Yojimbo
Dreams

Take care.

Saul

Dear Saul:

Akira Kurosawa is one of the great filmmakers. I don't like all of his films, but a lot, mainly from the 1950s and '60s. You also need to see: "Ikiru," "Dersu Uzala," and "Sanjuro." "Ikiru" really got me.

Josh


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