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
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
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.
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
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
went to the movingon.org site and it looks like a creepy
continuation of the Branch Davidians or the Manson family.
good luck to the scripts you have out. I really hope
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.
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
"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
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.
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.
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
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,
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.
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"
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
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
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
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.
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,
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
Have a good one.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
God (but really David)
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. :-)
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.
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.
haven't seen either film, but I'll keep my eyes peeled.
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,
my ass! You're just a pea-brained, pin-dick, anti-semitic
piece of shit. Go crawl back in your ugly little hole
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" ? :-)
I didn't see it.
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?
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.
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?
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.
Kevin "Deus Ex Machina" Mills
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
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.
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
"I can't imagine them releasing "Jack"
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.
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
A Love Story.. will it ever be on DVD?
that I know of.
"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
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
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."
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.
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?
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.
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.)
can't imagine them releasing "Jack" on DVD.
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
there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
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
(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.
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
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
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"
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
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."
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
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.
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,
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
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
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.
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
were you in the movie mosquito
you know if jack of all trades will get to be on dvd
and can you tell me what the original evil dead poster
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
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
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?
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!
it's good to hear from you. My cats are fine, and full-grown
now. Is it winter yet in Canada?
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.
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.
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??
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.
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.
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.
Aaron R. Davis
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,
glad you enjoyed them. It pleases me that my scripts
are at least available to read, as opposed to just collecting
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
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
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
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.
did you go about finding a composer for your movies?
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.
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
to a super-8 cam?
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
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.
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
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
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.
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,
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
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)
see my answer to Mandy.
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.
Ta again for the advice.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Cynthia E. Jones
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
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.
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.
to see the film is complete. maybe you could hook me
up with a copy. we should hang out or something.
of the film can be purchased here. Do I know you and
I'm just drawing a blank?
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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:
High And Low
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.