Damn, I was so absolutely blown away by Kurosawa's "Ran,"
that I thought about it for weeks. Actually, I'm still
thinking about it. I would easily put it in the top
five best films I've recently seen. Of his other works,
I've only ever seen "Rashomon," "The
Seven Samurai," "Red Beard." I thought
they all were amazing. I didn't like "High and
Low." I felt it would never end. "Dersa Ursla,"
(sp) was also a let down, although much better than
most of what I've seen lately.
What's your take? I think he's most certainly one of
the best filmmakers of all time. Kurosawa and Welles,
to my mind, are unequaled as film directors with such
BTW, Allison Anders recently pissed me off. (Not that
I've ever though much of her). She said she's sick of
everyone trying to be like Orson Welles...She even went
as far as saying she wished he'd never been born! Can
you believe that hog shit? Allison Anders hasn't produced
a film even half as interesting as Welles' worst. Just
imagine how much better the indie scene would be if
all young upcoming filmmakers tried to be as good as
Have a good one.
me "Ran" went on and on forever. Kurosawa
seemed so old at the time that the only way he'd cut
is when the ten-minute roll of film ran out, then they'd
have to wake him up and inform him the film had run
out. Meanwhile, I liked "Dersu Uzala" very
much. And though "High and Low" is at least
a half an hour too long -- but then, so are all of Kurosawa's
movies -- I liked it, too. I thought "Red Beard"
was awful, as was "Dodes Kaden," but I really
liked "Ikiru." Meanwhile, who gives a shit
what Allison Anders thinks? I don't even feel like any
filmmakers have ever tried to be Orson Welles, and most
wouldn't even know what that entailed. As I said in
my "Genius in Film" essay, I believe that
only four geniuses have ever bothered to work in motion
pictures: Thomas Edison, D.W. Griffith, Orson Welles,
and Stanley Kubrick, and that's it.
Ken Russell's TOMMY the other night, although he fucked
up some of my favorite songs, I thought it worked on
plain weirdness. That, and how can you beat a movie
with Ann Margaret rolling around in baked beans or jack
nicholson singing (he stilled messed up my favorite
song). Whether you liked it or not, are there any others
you know similar to it? (I heard I should see THE WALL)
your goal is to see terrible movies based on rock albums,
like "Tommy," then quick, go see "The
Wall," then follow it up with "Sgt. Pepper's
Lonely Hearts Club Band," where the highlight is
a fight scene between The Bee Gees and Aerosmith slapping
each other like little sissies. The one of these films
that's actually not bad, although not great, either,
is "Quadraphenia." Far better than all of
that shit is this VH-1 series, "Classic Albums,"
which I've now watched most of. The newest one, on "Dark
Side of the Moon," was terrific. There's also one
on "The Wall" that was very good. I also enjoyed
the episodes on: Paul Simon's "Graceland,"
U2's "The Joshua Tree," "Fleetwood Mac's
"Rumours," Jimi Hendrix's "Band of Gypsies,"
Bob Marley's "Catch a Fire," and The Grateful
Dead's "Anthem to Beauty," among others.
Wide Shut is definitely an old man's movie, though I
reckon Bunuel did pretty well up to the end, so I don't
agree with the blanket condemnation of older directors.
What really puzzles me is why anyone thinks 2001 or
Clockwork Orange were ever more than pretentious, stylish
"That Obscure Object of Desire" and "The
Phantom of Liberty" were both well-received, I
didn't like either one and found them both pale, dull
versions of his earlier, better work, so I must disagree
about Bunuel. To me they're very much like Kurosawa's
last films. The public at large doesn't pay any attention
to guys like that until they're nearly dead, then they
heap honorary awards on them and overly-praise they're
final films. Meanwhile, I disagree with you again because
I think "2001" and "Clockwork Orange"
are pretty terrific films that were hugely influential.
In the case of "2001," if you didn't see it
in a theater in 70mm, you didn't see it.
didn't seem to come through the first time so I'll try
again. Could I submit a package for consideration for
a role in your SciFi channel film and, if so, to whom
should I submit it to. Thanks.
did come through and I ignored it. No, you may not submit
anything, thank you. Other than the three leads, everyone
else will be cast in Bulgaria.
When did you offer a part to Renee O'Connor? Did you
go through her agent or just call her up? Good luck
to you on your film!
didn't do anything. The executive producer is dealing
with her agent and her manager. It's not a done deal
an earlier message you said you didn't have a part for
Renee in Alien Apocalypse and now she's playing the
female lead. Did you not think of her for that role?
frankly, no I didn't. I was thinking a lot more along
the lines of Lucy, who turned me down. But once we began
going over all of the available actresses, Renee seemed
better than all of them to Bruce and I. So, I realigned
my thinking, and now Renee seems great to me. I love
working with her and I completely trust her, I just
have to stop envisioning her as being 20-years old,
like when I first met her. And the more I've thought
about her in the part, the better I like it. I think
I'll have her play her real Texas accent, too. I think
Texas gals can see becoming an astronaut as a legitimate
I do agree, they don't make movies like they use to.
I recently had a chance to see "The Godfather"
again at the theater. What a great movie. Poor Al Pacino.
What happened to him. My girlfriend hadn't seen the
movie before and didn't realize that was him until I
told her. He is more scary in that film than any of
the other "hoo-hah" crap he's done since and
he barely says anything. Was it just having a good director
that brought it out or has he just lost it?
One other possibly stupid question. What is it that
allows plays to be successfully done over and over in
many different ways but movies are never remade any
better? Is it just the fact that you're catching it
on film for all time, or that the writing isn't as good,
or that in a good film there's only one 'good' way to
shoot a scene, the fact theater is in front of a live
audience or something else?
the intentions, which nobody pays attention to anymore.
99 times out of a 100 a play is put on for the joy and
the exercise of it, not to make a killing. To paraphrase
William Goldman, all remakes and sequels are whore's
films -- they're only being made for money, and with
that intention can pretty much only be shit. All remakes
are bad ideas.
I completely agree with you on the Clarke issue. I was
wondering what your thoughts were on that little slide
show Bush conducted a few days ago. When a slide of
him puruseing his office was displayed, he joked that
he was looking for the WMDs, then joked that he still
couldn't find them four aditional times. I was just
apalled that he had the chutzpah to laugh about the
biggest fuck up of his term. I was also hoping that
would give Kerry a boost. Anyway, did you happen to
see the diner/roast/slide show, and Isn't it interesting
that Condoleeza Rice won't publicly testify? I smell
everyone else does, too. All that roast footage said
to me, which I already clearly knew, is that Bush is
clueless. Bush is the stupidest, most corrupt, sorriest
motherfucker to ever inhabit the white house, and I'm
just sorry I've had to live through it.
It sounds like you watch most of your movies through
cable or netflix, since most modern movies are kind
of crappy. Do you miss seeing films on the big screen?
I live in chicago where I'm lucky enough to have multiple
places to go to check out classics on the big screen
- is there anything like that where you are? The extra
bonus of that is since they're old movies the audience
really wants to be there and aren't talking or answering
their cell phone.
good luck with the new film!
isn't really such a place here in Detroit. There are
a few Landmark art houses, and there's the Detroit Film
Theater at the Institute of the Arts, which is the more
obscure, recent art films and documentaries, as well
as retrospectives of old foreign films. I've been to
see one film there since moving back to Detroit a year
and a half ago, which was "How to Draw a Bunny,"
a documentary about the pop artist Ray Johnson, that
i thought was very good. It was directed and edited
by a buddy of mine, John Walter, and he found a subject
that was truly worth making a film about, which is the
key to a good documentary. Anyway, do I miss seeing
movies on the big screen? Not really. If I can see a
film nice and sharp, and letterboxed to its proper perspective,
like on DVD, I do feel like I've seen it. Not that it
wasn't great as a kid going to see "2001"
on a giant screen in 70mm in a 2000-seat theater, or
"Lawrence of Arabia" or "The Sound of
Music," but they don't make pictures like that
At some point in one of the Gospels Jesus says that
anyone who has coveted another's wife has committed
adultery in his heart. I doubt, however, that anyone
became pregnant that way. As for coveting another's
goods, I disagree with the premise. If I walk into a
restaurant and see a meal on someone else' plate that
looks good, I ask for another like it, not that other
persons actual plate. Actually, when I looked up the
Ten Commandments after reading your reply I really only
found nine, the last one covering so much grround that
they split it up. I don't buy any of all that anyway,
and I'm willing to concede the individual point. I will
try to catch Carlin's latest show. As I say, he was
an idol of mine.
I read somewhere that Lee Majors was tremendously close
to Barbara Stanwick and that he attributes much of his
success to her. He had a cousin or something who won
the Heisman too, by the way. I was amazed to find out
that Majors and my father are the same age. They don't
even seem like they are from the same world. This project
is getting more exciting all of the time. Thanks,
must agree with Carlin's point that coveting thy neighbor's
belongings is the basis of our economy. I see my neighbor's
new wide-screen plasma TV, and it looks so cool that
I want one, too. That's what keeps the economy going.
I personally could care less about stuff of any sort,
cars, electronics or anything else. I think it's all
As much as I agree that anger can be an energy that
keeps one going, it can also be a catalyst for self
destruction which can lead to the opposite of creativity
or worse death.
I think this goes along the lines of dealing with one's
shit before it deals with you.
The reason I was so turned off by Carlin after his wife
died is that he wasn't really dealing with his pain
very well and his monologues were terrible.
I think he made the mistake of trying too hard, and
the man was visibly in pain, however, it just came out
as spite and not in the great way in which Carlin was
known for delivering.
I read an interview with him a couple years ago and
he seemed to have dealt with his issues and he met someone
new which definitely boosted his moral.
I have to watch his comedy special on cable because
it sounds good from what you have been saying here.
One last thing. It is not so bad to go to bed and wake
up happy every once in awhile!
I'm sure it's wonderful waking up happy, it just won't
make you a good writer, comedian or commentator. To
be a serious critic of society one must be honestly
disturbed by things. I mean, I didn't think that I could
get more pissed-off with GW Bush and his cronies, but
the 9/11 commission hearings actually achieved this.
Richard Calrke made it very clear that Bush & co.
were flatly asleep at the wheel regarding terrorism
before 9/11 and that it was not important issue to them.
The one indisputable fact, which they're trying to use
against Clarke, is that Bush demoted Clarke and the
entire counter-terrorism dept. from executive status,
where the counter-terrorism dept. had been for 9 years
previously, down to deputy status, so that basically
they could never get their suggestions up to the executive
level. It doesn't matter what Clarke says, or anyone
for that matter, the act of demoting the counter-terrorism
dept. states clearly that terrorism was not an important
issue to Bush until 9/11. In fact, he was pretty much
ignoring it because he was too busy planning to attack
Iraq for no good reason. And, as Clarke stated, the
war in Iraq has undermined the war on terrorism. This
kind of thing really pisses me off, particularly when
I hear Bush respond by saying, If I knew a an airplane
was going to be used as a missle to hit the WTC, I would
have done something about it. Has that got enough qualifications
on it? The fact is that the FBI knew about two of the
hijackers being in the country before 9/11, and never
told the CIA or the counter-terrorism dept. This information
would have been exchanged had the counter-terrorism
dept. still been an executive level dept. that was meeting
with the other executive level people everyday, like
they were under Clinton. Had this info been exchanged
there is a chance that 9/11 could have been averted.
Therefore, Bush, Rice & co. are partially responsible
for the 9/11 attacks. And they're completely responsible
for going after the wrong people afterward. And that
makes me angry.
So if you're beginning pre-production in mid-April,
what category do the storyboards you've been working
on fall under? And what will the work in April consist
since I'm not on payroll, nor is anyone else, pre-production
hasn't begun. My drawing the storyboards would be considered
pre-pre-production, I guess. During actual pre-production
locations will be scouted and secured, sets will be
designed and built, costumes will be designed and built,
actors will be cast, a crew will be hired, y'know, shit
E-mail: already given
Lee Majors! Right fuckin' on!
That's all, carry on.
what I think, too.
Holy shit! Did I read that right? Renee is doing the
female lead? You have no idea how many crazed fans (me
included) are going to be so happy about this. And Lee
Majors has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, not
from his later work, but from The Big Valley.
You know, for Sci-Fi, that's a pretty big-name cast.
And with the obvious genre connections, I suspect this
will be something they market the living daylights out
of. Best of luck, and keep us posted on developments.
Speaking of which, any idea when you'll begin filming?
And is Bruce doing his film over there now?
although not confirmed yet, we begin pre-production
in mid-April, and we begin shooting the second or third
week of May. Bruce will be directing his picture after
this one, in June-July. My first question to Lee Majors
will be, What was Barbara Stanwyck like?
At one point I recall you mentioning that you were going
to have to force yourself to see "Cold Mountain,"
just to check out the sort of locations that you might
be dealing with on your upcoming film. FYI - this coming
Saturday evening, the Sci-Fi Channel is re-running a
very bad film called "Interceptor Force 2"
at 7 PM EST, but I believe most of it was shot in and
around Sofia, Bulgaria. Only reason I'm familiar with
it is that Adrienne Wilkinson, who played Xena's daughter,
is in it. At any rate, I can't recommend the film, but
it might be a good preview for the sort of locations,
extras, etc. you may be working with.
Since we're not going to Bucharest, Romania I don't
have to watch "Cold Mountain," thank goodness.
I have watched one dreadful Sci-Fi production shot in
Bulgaria, but it didn't tell me much, nor will some
other picture shot there. I'll simply have to go there
and deal with what is. Given the 18-day schedule, the
major criteria will be that every location must be as
close to town as humanly possible, period. I really
can't spend one extra minute traveling. So, unless things
change, which they easily could, my main cast will be:
Bruce Campbell, Renee O'Conner, and Lee Majors as the
former president. Sounds like a good cast to me.
I trust you are aware that Carlin is quoting two different
translations of the same Commandment, not two different
Commandments. He is also deliberately misreading the
word "kill" which should have been translated
"murder", or "kill without justification".
After all, the biblical Israelites pretty much spend
all of their time killing; they merely felt justified
doing so because "God said they should".
That, to me, is the problem with Carlin's later humor;
he used to take what we truly were and showed us how
foolish we were for being that way. Whether it was prudishness,
hypocrisy, religion, or what have you, he percieved
and addressed the culture as it was. He changed. I also
will admit that I have not paid much attention to him
of late. The last routines I saw of his were his "NIMBY"
routine and his bit about "Houselessness".
Both routines were based upon false premises. "NIMBY"
tried to ridicule people for not wanting halfway-houses
in their neighborhoods. But there are very good reasons
to not want half-way houses in one's neighborhood. He
also tried to make "NIMBY" into a White phenomenon
which, it turns out, it is not. It is more an issue
of social class (and corresponding political clout)
as witnessed in Atlanta.
In "Houselessness" he tried to assert that
there were not enough houses for homeless people. There
are plenty of houses in America, we tear the things
down at astonishing rates, mostly because no one lives
in them. The problem is far more complex and involves
economics and health care issues, not at all Carlin's
assertion. By then suggesting that golf courses are
to blame he again tried to put a racial slant upon an
issue which is not inherently racist. Atlanta has as
many homless people as does Minneapolis. Comedy is only
funny when it resonates and I don't find that Carlin
resonates because his perception is off. I don't think
that the culture has changed that much, I think events
in Carlin's life have hindered his craft. I used to
think he was great, by the way.
That last really good thing I've known Carlin to do
was his narration for the "Thomas the Tank Engine"
stories, but, then, I've got kids. Thanks,
sorry, man, but you're wrong. One commandment is "Thou
shalt not commit adultery," and another is "Thou
shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife," which also
includes not coveting they neighbor's house, his manservant,
his maidservant, his ox, or his ass. He took that one
and broke it in two to dispense with it, saying you
don't need part one, coveting they neighbor's wife,
because you've already got Thou shalt no commit adultery,
and you don't need part two, the coveting of they neighbor's
belongings, because it's bad for the economy. And if
you haven't seen his last routine, you've missed something
because it was very good. Quite frankly, to be a incisive
comedian or commentator or writer, you really must be
pissed-off by the way things are. As good old Harlan
Ellison once said, "A good writer goes to bed angry,
and wakes up angry."
Okay, I might finally be making progress. In the Structure
question you're not talking about a rule of screenwriting,
you're talking about a universal natural law of Story.
They taught this in high school, now that I remember
it, under other names I think.
If you want to know one thing that's sometimes genuinely
confusing about the subject of structure on this site,
it's that you do not, like other critics, seem to admit
a distinction between authorial incompetence (it's vague,
it's confused, it doesn't come to a point) and intentional
unorthodoxy (its progression is non-linear, it doesn't
obey the accepted time-clock, the main character dies
at an unconventional moment in the
film.) It's treated as just all incompetent.
I'd be the first to agree that unorthodoxy is pure annoyance
when the story is bad (In the Bedroom, American Beauty,
Memento). This is often what you're saying, right -
first of all it was a lousy story, and then we're also
supposed to put up with all these acrobatics and even
In the other hand I do admire unorthodoxy when it serves
a real purpose in a good story, as I thought was the
case in A Beautiful Mind, where the sudden interruption
radical re-orientation of the plot trajectory might
have been a flaw but instead was an inspired strategy,
enabling insight into a life predicament that I never
had understood so well before, and never would have.
I don't remember seeing A Beautiful Mind being on your
"Likes" list so you probably don't agree about
it, but I was wondering, are there any films that are
exceptions to the usual pattern, substantial deviations
from traditional form, that you do admire? One place
says no way, another says, maybe.
reminds me of my late friend, Rick's, one attempt at
commercial screenwriting, called "Teenagers Die
Screaming" (I always liked the title). All of these
high school students are dying one by one of various
causes, and at the end we find out that there was absolutely
no connection between any of the deaths. I said, "There's
no point." Rick lit up and declared, "That's
the point, there's no point." I replied, "Whether
you've arrived at having no point because you're an
idiot, or you arrived there through an intellectual
course, you've nevertheless arrived at the same place.
No point is no point and the route you took to get there
doesn't matter." So, just dispensing with the three-act
structure because you think it's hemming you in, and
without having some other workable structure to fall
back on, is not adventurous or experimental, it's called
bad writing. Yes, you can come up with a new structure,
which would be extremely difficult, but you can't just
have no structure because that's called shit. The best
recent example, I'd say, of a workable, alternate structure
to three-acts was "Groundhog Day," which is
in about 8 or 10 acts. If they'd used the three-act
structure they probably would have repeated the one
day three times, but that wouldn't have made their point.
He needed to relive that same day many times to make
their point, and new information is given each time.
And I can assure you that writing that script was very
difficult, and they certainly didn't just jump in and
let it work itself out. It's like many (or most) young
directors who don't make a plan before arriving on the
set and are waiting for inspiration on the set. This
may seem free-wheeling and adventerous, but it's really
just lazy stupidity, and will always result in a bad
product. The more thought you put into something the
better it will be, not vice versa.
well taken. I have to watch the latest Carlin special,
since I gave up on him years ago, so I can't make that
judgement about him now until I see his new stuff.
In reference to "Sophie's Choice" there is
a great book I read a few years ago called "A Man's
Search for Meaning" written by the pyschologist
The first half of the book focuses on his life and subsequent
survival in a concentration camp which allowed him to
develop his theories and work in the realm of psychology.
It's a great book and it really shows the nature of
humans when faced with such attrocity.
I had someone tell me once that there is a reason that
each and everyone of us is born into this world as if
the choice was ours to come into it.
I told him that I don't believe that at all and I feel
that none of choose to be born and that everyone gives
their own reasons and meaning to their lives when they
The drama of "Sophie's Choice" has something
to do with that and I understand your point now.
If their is an afterlife or a past life, I don't know,
but I do know that this life is what we have now and
we must make the best of it or not.
the great irony of life is that by the time you start
to figure things out and get something of a handle on
living, you've pissed away at least half of it. As Woody
Allen says at the end of "Annie Hall" (since
most of my wisdom is derived from movies), Two old ladies
at a Catskill resort, one says to the other, "The
food here is terrible," and the other replies,
"Yeah, and the portions are so small."
George Carlin's last HBO special, "Complaints &
Grievances," he says that we don't need ten commandments,
it's just too many, and besides, some of them are redundant
and stupid. For instance, Thou shalt not commit adultery,
and Thou shalt not covet they neighbor's wife are the
same thing, so replace the two with "Be faithful."
Thou shalt not covet they neighbor's belongings is just
stupid because our whole economic system is based on
it, so just scrap it. He finally gets to Thou shalt
not kill, which he says that no sticks to because their
religions demand that they kill each other, so that
should be amended to Thou shalt not kill, unless someone
believes in a different invisible man than you, in which
case it's okay.
you shoot a movie on film then transfer it to video,
how is that different from just shooting it on video?
for a first time film maker what format do you think
is best - 16mm film, video, or digital video?
looks different. It's like the difference between "ER"
and "American Idol." Film still looks better,
even when it's transfered to video. But what format
you choose to shoot in depends on a number of issues,
like: how much money have you got? What do you intend
to do with the film? Is it a documentary, in which case
video is certainly the way to go. Does cinematography
matter to you? You need to think about these things.
You recently mentioned looping dialog for "Hammer".
I'm doing some dialog replacement this weekend and was
hoping you could give me some tips. I'm setting up a
monitor so my actors can watch themselves, and listen
to the dialog that I recorded on location. I'm also
setting up foam or blankets to absorb ambient sound.
I don't have a DAT so I'm using my DV camera (with a
good microphone) to record sound. Is there anything
else I can do (cheaply) to make sure the sound syncs
up with the picture and is as high quality as possible?
you want the sync sound coming through headphones for
the actor, but not loud enough for the mike to pick
up. Otherwise, just go for it, and if it looks like
it fits, then it fits. Getting a similar level of performance
is more important than exact sync anyway. You'll be
Carlin didn't really become bitter until after his third
heart attack (His first he had in his early 40's) and
his wife's death after a long fight with cancer about
8 years ago.
After that, he not only became angry, but he also became
not very funny anymore. His stand up routines during
this period were full spite and it was difficult to
understand just what he was trying to achieve if anything.
I used to love his monologue comedy, but he just isn't
Somehow, I just really don't believe you when you say
that you share this opinion about humans "for the
most part, stupid, creepy little creatures that deserve
all of the bad shit that befalls them."
I think if you really felt this way in your heart, you
would not have many friends, but I don't believe that
to be the case.
I have a Croatian friend here in NYC and he came to
America when he was 12 years old under political asylum.
He is 34 years old now and he just received papers which
allow him to leave the US which he could not do since
he was 12. Not even to travel!
He did not have the same freedoms that I did living
in this country, yet he is really a happy guy. He just
had a little girl 8 months ago, he loves his wife, and
My point is that there are people who look at life in
While we were talking about the problems here in the
US, he said to me "The socialist system in my country
has some positive things to it, but the problem is that
the people in my country talk a lot about doing something
to change things, yet that is all they do is talk,and
that is one freedom that Americans take for granted".
I totally agree with him and lately, I hear a lot of
talk in this country, yet not many things are being
done. Complaining about things isn't going to solve
must disagree about George Carlin. His last HBO show,
"Complaints & Grievances," was really
good, and I watched it three times. I think he's as
funny as ever, he just isn't suited for a panel discussion.
And we do deserve all the shit that befalls us, don't
we? Isn't that called "Life"? On some horrible
level, isn't life completely fair? Mainly because that's
just how it is. At the end of "Sophie's Choice,"
after this fairly grueling drama, the kid walks across
the Brooklyn Bridge and says, "But all in all,
life is fair," and it kind of shook me. How could
that be the point about this woman who had been in a
concetration camp, had to choose between the lives of
her two children, lived even though neither of her kids
did, then ended up committing suicide. Life is fair?
How could the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, William
Styron, come to this conclusion? And on a bigger level
than human drama, whatever life is, that's what it is.
About screenwriting, if there's one thing I definitely
don't get t's this about the non-negotiable structure
-three acts and the rest. How can there be only one
correct structure for a screenplay? Shakespeare wrote
in five acts. A random scan from the Greeks onward shows
playwrights have always written in any number of acts
from one up. Is film drama intrinsically different from
live drama so as not to have these choices? But why
would it be intrinsically different? Plus then it would
be automatically wrong to film Henry V or A Man for
All Seasons. Or are you and others maybe talking about
some kind of "deep" structure that any good
script will have regardless of the surface divisions?
But then might not any number of experimental forms
actually prove to have this deep structure on examination?
three-act structure is an intellectual concept about
how a story is told. You can break it up into eight
acts, like the TV movie I'm about to do, but it's still
a three-act story, basically acts 1-2 are the real act
one, acts 3-6 are the real act two, and 7-8 are the
real act three. But most stories are told in three sections,
set-up, confrontation, resolution. That doesn't mean
all stories have to be told that way, but for the most
part, that's the best way to tell the most powerful
story. It's just like a joke, which has a set-up and
a punchline. A story has three parts, but they work
the same way -- you set 'em up and you pay 'em off.
Of course, you can always tell the punchline first,
but it isn't going to make the joke any funnier.
interested in writing a screenplay and I'm just wondering
how much money can be made selling a script...
99.9% of all screenplays written, nothing. Most scripts
aren't worth the paper they're written on, or the ink
that was wasted to print them. At the other end, there
are a few folks who have gotten more than a million
dollars for their scripts, some as high as three million.
But, for the most part, there are eight million scripts
in Hollywood and nothing will happen with most of them.
If making money is your goal, go into real estate, you're
not needed in the movie business.
I was listening to the RUNNING TIME commentary last
night, and I believe you said you knew the lovely Anita
Barone since high school. Does she dig guys in wheelchairs?
Tell her I've got a great head of hair...
On a serious note, that's a cool commentary on that
disc. I love the casually informative way you and BC
talk about the making of the film. It's far and away
better than some of those other commentaries where it
sounds like the guy has a stick in his ass the whole
time. I was wondering if LUNATICS was ever on laserdisc,
and did you record a commentary for it? If not, what's
the likelihood of you and Ted Raimi recording one when
the DVD eventually comes out?
Also, I saw George Carlin on Bill Maher's show this
week. Carlin's hilarious, I've loved his stand up stuff
for years, but there seems to be something sad about
him now. He's always hated the human race, but the old
guy seemed kind of depressed. Did you notice anything
different? Like he's not amused by the world around
him any more, only pissed and disappointed? It really
put me on a bummer.
Anyways, I'll be moseying on. Take care.
married, I'm sorry to tell you. I haven't seen her in
a couple of years, not since she came in and looped
the voice of the mother in "Hammer" for me.
She's such a pro she did that job in about 20 minutes.
George Carlin on "Real Time," I just don't
think that's his forte, being part of a panel discussion.
He's a monologist and being part of a group discussion
just wasn't his thing. Also, his POV is different than
most people's (and much closer to mine)--humans are,
for the most part, stupid, creepy little creatures that
deserve all of the bad shit that befalls them. I didn't
think that Gore Vidal functioned all that well on the
show the next week, and he is certainly smarter than
just about every other guest Bill's had. Panel discussions
just aren't for everyone. You really need to be someone
who will out-yell the other guests, and Carlin and Vidal
aren't about to do that.
Well said, and very well constructed.
The only unfortunate thing is that the people who SHOULD
read it, won't, and even if they did, they would still
think up a million excuses as to why you're wrong but
you just don't know it because you're "lost".
"It might LOOK like you are right, but AHHH if
you only knew God like me"
Ah well. It's appreciated by some of us., Cheers. :-)
guess you're referring to the "Religion is Evil"
essay. I'm glad you appreciated it. Anyone who says
that religion is not the basis of evil is because they've
already been inducted into the cult of evil and are
one of Satan's minions, to put it in religious terms.
checking in to see how things are going, and to chime
in my two cents on a few things. I'm glad to see that
your deal on ALIEN APOCALYPSE is going ahead, and I
look forward to seeing it on TV when I get back stateside.
I'd like to share some thoughts that have been on my
mind lately concerning this situation with Halliburton.
I don't feel qualified to discuss the issue with petroleum
purchase from Kuwait (that's not my lane), but I feel
I can chime in knowledgeably on the catering and food
service aspect of their operation.
I believe that the overcharging issue with Halliburton
and it's subsidary corporation, Kellogg, Brown and Root,
is administrative error and not deliberate fraud, and
I'll tell you why. All KBR dining facilities in CENTCOM
(Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, etc.)
serve four meals per day (breakfast, lunch, dinner,
and midnight meal), available to all soldiers, KBR personnel,
U.S. contractors, and certain native personnel at each
post. For quality control and health reasons, most of
this food has to come from the United States (certain
bulk canned goods, packaged milk, and some vegetables
come from Kuwait or Europe, but the bulk is American).
These goods, many frozen and/or perishable, are shipped
primarily by air, where they have to compete for limited
space with everything from bullets to bedpans, all the
sundry and miscellany of Army, Navy, Marine Corps and
Air Force logistical needs. The dining facility managers
on the ground know roughly how many people they have
to feed everyday, and since the company's contract hinges
on having meals available for all soldiers without fail,
the managers have to plan and order rations under the
assumption that every soldier will be present at every
meal. This way, the dining facility never runs short
The only problem with this is that not every soldier
or civilian eligible to eat in the mess hall eats every
meal every day there. In a hot climate, you want to
eat alot less, so over the summer it is no big thing
to see the soldiers eat only one meal a day, sometimes
one meal every couple of days. Even in temperate weather,
no one will eat four meals a day. However, heavy volume
times can't always be anticipated because of sudden
tactical considerations; the soldiers you support might
have a mission that interrupts the meal volume [example:
you have an infantry battalion on your FOB, and a division
OPORDER comes down tasking that battalion with a raid,
to be set up in the late afternoon and take place after
nightfall. You now have 400-550 soldiers who will not
be eating dinner, but who will crowd into midnight chow,
which is usually your lightest volume meal. As a civilian
contractor, you will have at best extremely limited
knowledge of any missions that the soldiers you support
are tasked with, especially if you have locals working
in your facility. Thus, you can't predict fluctuations
in meal volume, so you always have to plan for a heavy
volume of diners at each meal.
The other thing is that you have competition for the
mess hall, even in forward deployed bases in Iraq. Often,
there will be a restaurant run by locals (we have one
on our base), plus franchise restaurants brought in
for morale purposes, like the Burger King at Baghdad
International Airport, the Pizza Hut at LOGBASE Anaconda
in Balad, or the Subway that they're opening on my own
FOB. Soldiers especially get bored of the chow hall,
no matter how good it is, and want either a taste of
home, or just something plain different. This further
effects the number of people eating in the mess halls
at any given time. Since the facilities have to operate
on the premise of maximum dining volume at every meal
when they order supplies and you don't actually have
that many people eating, once you add up the actual
headcounts (taken at the door by KBR personnel with
limited command of English, I might add), you get a
discrepancy. It may be inefficient, but it's most likely
not fraud. As for me, all I know is that the service
and the food in KBR chow halls are always excellent,
and certainly 1,000 times better than what we would
be eating if they weren't here (MREs and T-Rations,
which we ate for the first ten months of this deployment).
The fact that Halliburton can accomplish this awesome
logistical feat at all is amazing, and if there is some
spillage, then so be it. Also note that when the discrepancy
came to light, Halliburton agreed to hold back on presenting
to the government $150 million of operating costs and
bills until the issue was resolved. To sum up, while
fraud is often the norm in the world of government contracts,
this is one instance where I don't think it is the case.
Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to get that down.
that's just one of about five things Halliburton has
over-charged the U.S. goverment for, and maybe thay
have good reasons for all of them, I don't know. But
if a Democrat were in office and had ties to a giant
corporation like Halliburton, which suddenly went from
the 37th largest supplier to the U.S. government to
the 7th largest in mere months, without any bidding
process, then began over-charging for various things,
the Republicans would go nuts. It's not really an issue,
to me, about what kind of company Halliburton is, but
how the Republicans believe it's their right to give
out government contracts to friends. This is called
war profiteering, and it was seriously looked down upon
during WWII -- that's how Harry Truman became known,
as the head of the Senate sub-committee on war profiteering.
But it's still nice to know that Halliburton's subsidiary
is doing a good job for the soldiers so that they're
not stuck with just MREs.
when the hell are you coming home?
A couple questions for you:
1) What was it about the direction of Linklater's TAPE
that you think sucked so bad?
2) If you have two characters sitting across a table
from eachother, and you're cutting directly from a close-up
of one character to a close-up of another, how the hell
are you not "crossing the line"?
the line is right down the middle of their heads. As
long as one person is looking right to left, and the
other left to right, you haven't crossed the line. But
if they're both looking the same way, you have crossed
the line. So, that's one of the constant screw-ups Linklater
is making in "Tape," and, for the most part,
it's simply too haphazardly shot for my tastes. Just
because you're in one room doesn't mean you can't plan
your shots and create interesting montage. Watch "Who's
Afraid of Virgina Woolf" or "Glengarry Glen
Pardon the lack of clarity earlier: As the thieves were
fleeing it seemed rather improbable that they would
actually get away. Carl was not running that fast at
any point, all the pursuers had firearms anyone that
thinks they can outrun a pursuing car by running down
the street right in front of it is crazy. I know there
are several posible explanations for the success of
the getaway, but nothing is really shown on the screen
to explain the lack of some close pursuit. When Carl
is running from the car the only way it wouldn't have
caught up with him is if it was not really part of the
pursuit. We see that he is in the open, in plain sight,
why was he not run down?
Mind you, this is my one-gimme scene in an otherwise
excellent story. Just curious to know if you'd ever
thought about this.
it just my mistake. I wanted to see the car in the background
and it shouldn't have been there. We shouldn't have
seen the car until he was behind the dumpster. I deduced,
in a stupid sort of way, that without seeing the car
we wouldn't know what he was running from.
Would you care to share your thoughts on a scene from
Running Time? Specifically the flight of the Theives
from the laundry. I consider this to be the weakest
part of the film, and am curious to know your thoughts
on it. I understand the continuous shot structure of
the film probably tied your hands a bit as far as story-telling.
Was this a case of compromising both demands to get
the results that worked the best?
The commentary track answered my similar question about
the tire-changing scene, btw. :)
not sure what you're asking. What's the issue about
the flight of thieves? And which part of the flight?
Short, quick question:
Is it perfectly acceptable to create a location for
a screenplay, or do you find it better to place it in
an actual named location?
My problem lies in wanting to place my story in a southwestern
town, but having not been in that area in my life, I
don't know towns or counties in which to set it in (though
I certainly know the atmosphere I'd like to capture).
I apologize if this is more or less a common sense question,
but it's been puzzling to me and I hold your talent
in scriptwriting with high regards in matters such as
PS: Were you able to check out HBO's new western series
"Deadwood"? The pilot was directed by Walter
Hill, although the writing left something to be desired.
the story wherever you'd like, you certainly don't have
to have actually been there. I wrote "Teddy Roosevelt
in the Bad Lands" and I've never been to N. Dakota
or the Badlands. I wrote "The Battle of Belleau
Wood," and I've never been to Belleau Wood or the
town of Chateau-Thierry. Use your imagination.
I didn't see "Deadwood," I watched the Rock
& Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony to see our
homeboy Bob Seger get inducted, by Kid Rock, who was
good. Also inducted were: Traffic, Prince, Jackson Browne,
ZZ Top, and The Dells. Steve Winwood, singing "Dear
Mr. Fantasy," sounded as good as ever. Seger's
voice is down an octave and sounds a bit shot. Prince
and ZZ Top were both in fine form. ZZ Top has been together
for 35 years (which was undoubtedly the last time they
shaved, although the drummer without the beard is named
Beard). Anyway, I'm sure "Deadwood" will be
on again and again, but I smell pointlessness.
do you feel about Hong Kong/marshall arts films? Likewise,
what about boxing in movies: good to watch staged, or
only the real thing?
don't give a damn about martial arts movies, and most
boxing in movies looks fake and stupid. I do like "Raging
Bull" and "Rocky," and to a certain extent,
"Rocky III," as well, but that's about it.
Something like the fairly recent "Undisputed"
was offensive to me as a boxing fan.
wrote this page in order for people to think you are
smart and have a good knowledge on the subject. Unfortunately
you succeeded in looking like a dumbass instead. Good
job dude, everyone thinks you are a dumb mother fucker.
of all, I don't know what you're referring to; second,
do you really suppose "everyone" thinks I'm
a dumb motherfucker, or are there possibly a few people,
in say Asia or Africa, who might not think that? In
fact, you don't even know if most people think I'm a
dumb motherfucker. I think you're just guessing.
The problem with Wilson as President was that he completely
misunderstood the nature of the First World War. His
impression was formed prior to the onset of the war
when everyone believed that war could only last a few
months. The war which began as an imperial war, because
of the toll it took on the participants, quickly became
a nationalist, idealistic war. An imperial war would
have lent itself to Wilson's ideals far better than
did a nationalist war. I think Roosevelt would have
recognized the character of the war.
As you yourself have pointed out, Roosevelt was no war
monger. He just believed in decisive action; do nothing
or commit completely. He also would have recognized
far earlier than Wilson that US interests lay with the
Entente. Wilson nominally allowed both sides to trade
equally, despite the fact that British control of the
seas meant an inevitable conflict with Germany who couldn't
allow Britain to resupply from the US with impunity.
One of the great appeals of history is wondering what
might have happened. At any rate, Roosevelt was certainly
the most colorful president we've ever had.
matter what Wilson's understanding or intentions were,
he kept us out of most of that war, which was the isolationist
will of the people at the time. And due to that our
losses were far lower than any other country involved.
If you're going to fight a war, the less losses the
better, I say. As Patton said, "The point isn't
to die for your country, it's to make the other poor,
dumb son of a bitch die for his country." The U.S.
had less battlefield deaths in WWI than in Vietnam,
although even more soldiers died of the flu during WWI
than from bullets. As a little war trivia, during the
Spanish-American War more U.S. soldiers were killed
by eating their own mistakenly poisoned canned rations
(from Hormel) than from Spanish bullets.
chance of Hammer being released on DVD? I'm sure someone
has asked you this before, but I could get through all
your pages of questions.
I could actually ever get the film released it would
be on both video and DVD, but if I'm just selling it
myself here on the website, having DVDs made is too
big of an expense and a pain, at this time.
I always liked "Wind and the Lion". TR was
an intelligent guy who could make a move for a number
of seemingly contradictory reasons. He was a man of
principle who never wandered too far from "real
politik". I thought Keith did a really good job
I think that often when directors depict TR their research
is limited to the cartoon caricatures so often put into
history books. Strong-willed people lend themselves
to caricatures and often their assessment suffers popularly
as a result. TR was considered so problematic for his
own party that they made him Vice President just to
get rid of him. It's a shame that he said in that speech
that he would not seek re-election. In today's climate
nobody would have much cared had he changed his mind
but that pledge was a serious issue when he went "Bull
Moose". That, by the way, is the best name for
a political organization of all time.
served nearly two full terms, most of McKinnley's second
term, and the election he won, by a landslide. That's
enough. I'm glad Woodrow Wilson was president for WWI,
he kept us out of it as long as humanly possible. TR
would have jumped in the first thing, and we would have
lost a lot more men, with probably the same result.
I'm curious on how much research you give towards your
screenplays based on history, like your one on Teddy
Do you dive deep into biographies and history books
to come up with a basic storyline, then dramatize those
particular scenes? Or am I way off?
I'm researching for a proposed screenplay about the
later years of Pat Garrett, and any advice or methods
would be greatly appreciated.
PS: what did you think of John Milius's "Rough
Riders" TV film?
thought Milius's film was complete bullshit. He made
TR out to be a bumbling moron, whereas he may well have
been the smartest president we've ever had. As for my
script, I read everything I could get my hands on about
TR's young life, particularly "The Rise of Theodore
Roosevelt" by Edmund Morris and "Mornings
on Horseback" by David McCullough. The script is
90% factual, although the fight at the end is pure fiction,
but that's what inspired me to write the script -- in
reality it's a terrific story without an ending, so
I added what I felt was the appropriate ending. The
only depiction of TR I've ever seen that seemed accurate
was Brian Keith in "The Wind and the Lion,"
oddly also directed and written by John Milius.
Before I go on, I feel it necessary to mention that
I have written to Mr. Bruce Campbell on a topic within
this comment once before. I mention this now only because
I don't want either you or Mr. Campbell to think I am
in any way writing to you because of your connection
to him. The truth is, I have far different reasons for
mentioning this to you than I did when contacting Mr.
Campbell. I doubt he even will remember, but the above
disclaimer is in case he does.
From Mr. Campbell's website, I came upon yours, which
has happened before, but not since you updated it. At
least, I had never noticed essays on it before. Today
I did, and I'm always up for a good essay. I mean, I've
read all of Bruce's. I like his style of writing. I
also read your journal of the filming of "The Book
of the Dead," as included in one of my many editions
of the first movie. So when I saw you had essays on
your website, I hearkened back to the writing in that
journal and could not resist (as an extreme stickler
for the English language, I take good writing very seriously).
Especially when I saw the words "essay/rant"
under a title with the word "religion" in
it. This is my favorite soapbox.
I must say, I was blown away. It's refreshing to see
that there is someone else who relates strongly with
my own views on the topic of religion. Although, I've
written slightly more on the topic - about 500 pages;
a novel, and pieces of sequels to said novel of religious
satire, starring characters from all over world pantheons.
(That's the part Mr. Campbell may or may not remember.
Also, yes, of course I'm mentioning this because I would
love for you to say, "Hey, that sounds interesting,
let me give it a read," but I don't expect you
to. It's not my primary motivation for mentioning it.
The primary motivation is...:)
Obviously, having done so much writing on the subject,
and only taking time of because I'm in the process of
expanding my research, I feel pretty strongly about
the topic too. And pretty much the same way you do.
Thanks for having a clear head in this world of religious
chaos. I think I achieved supreme religious clarity
once I realized what you so eloquently "ranted"
about in your essay. PLEASE don't stop writing - you're
good at it.
I make no excuses for the number of words it took to
say that. I'm a novelist, not a short story writer.
took so long getting to the point I was afraid you were
going to rip me a new asshole, so it was very nice to
find that you agree with my point of view. Read some
other essays, like my 99-cent one.
You said in a post, "They make great insulation,
bird cage liners, or you can keep them beside the fireplace
and use them to start fires. If you roll them up they're
pretty good for swatting bugs. Actually, you need to
try and get an agent. Don't just send a script blindly,
though, query first. Good luck."
That was funny and reminiscent of a quote on Bruce's
site that I read a long time ago about wallpapering
your bathroom with an original script for Evil Dead
In any case, you say query first. How about production
companies? Should a person send query letters to only
agents, or to companies as well, and any other director
or actor they are lucky enough to have contact info
Does a query letter have specific info for the script
or is it just a request for general submission requirements?
with everything in the film business, there are no chiseled-in-granite
rules, but like everything else, if you're going to
send a query letter to anyone you ought to be dazzling.
But the accepted route is to get an agent, then have
the agent submit the script to production companies.
Josh. Do directors have business cards? I'm planning
to attend a film festival in a few weeks and hope to
befriend a few likeminded souls. Though I make extremely
low-budget videos in which I play the role of producer,
writer, director, editor, etc., I'm assuming it would
be more effective and less amateurish to choose just
one "title" when representing myself professionally.
Business cards seem like a practical way to stay in
touch with new acquaintances, but I'm not sure what
to write on mine other than my name, phone number and
e-mail address. Any suggestions regarding what the card
should state without sounding too pretentious? "John
Doe, Director" just seems kind of dopey. Thanks
cards say the name of my company, Panoramic Pictures,
have my name, address, phone number, and email address.
They don't say what I do, but obviously it must have
something to do with films.
That's a great story about John Cameron and the extras.
Now that's what I call dialogue!
Regarding Cuba, how can you sy the sanctions haven't
worked? If we hadn't had those sanctions in place Miami
would be swarming with Cubans! Oh..., yeah. The really
funny bit is that the exiled Cubans are now the driving
force behind the continuation of the sanctions. I'm
not saying Castro is a saint, but given the "concessions"
won by American companies (as a result of armed invasion
and occupation) nationalization seems like a reasonable
response, there as elsewhere.
Salvadore Allende tried the same thing and was massacred
in a CIA sponsored military coup. Mussadiq in Iran was
ousted and very nearly killed, despite the fact that
he was an elected official of a US ally, and in his
place the dictatorship of the Shah was installed. Oddly,
it was Stewart Copeland's father (Stewart being the
former drummer for The Police) who engineered the Mussadiq
Affair. He was a founding member of the CIA and used
to brag about bringing down governments.
I wish someone in government would have the balls to
own up to the foolishness of our Cuba policy and reestablish
ties. It probably won't happen until Castro dies. He's
close to eighty now so that might not be too far away.
We should try to normalize relations before then, however,
so as to minimize the risk of a Haiti-like slide in
anarchy. All of those islands should be raking in the
tourism dollars, especially with many Americans nervous
about traveling to Europe. Give those people a reasonable
chance at a decent life and you'll get stable government.
Go Sugar-Growers Association!
our whole stated rationale for treating Cuba like lepers
for over 40 years is that they're communists. Yet, look
at our relationship with red China. If there's a lot
of money to made we don't care at all if someone's a
communist. Much of what was nationalized in Cuba was
owned by the American mafia, and Castro wasn't going
to let that continue, and rightly so. His point was
that they didn't fight a revolution to go back to being
the Americans' busboys and waitresses, and I think he
was right about that, too. As a little side-note, Castro
had a bronze statue of John Lennon erected in a Havana
park, even though he had banned The Beatles' music throughout
the '60s as capitalist dogma. When asked about his change
of perspective, Castro replied, "I was wrong."
Can you imagine GW Bush ever saying that?
I recently saw "JFK" for the first time. The
director's cut on DVD. I was really surprised. For 200
minutes I was totally enthralled. Truly the best film
I've seen in ages, even though Stone certainly took
many liberties with the facts. (I absoluetly loved the
cast...Tommy Lee Jones, John Candy Kevin Bacon, Donald
Sutherland and Joe Pesci all in absolute top form. Even
Costner was bearable...I can't get Ed Asner as Guy Bannister
out of my
mind). Remembered "Nixon," which I saw in
the theater but not since.
Rented it and found it to be very good too. (Anthony
Hopkins was a terrifically unusual bit of casting, as
was Bob Hoskins). It really reminded me of what a strong
force Oliver Stone was from 1986 to 1996. But then,
as you've written about, his lifespan of creativity
seems to just stop. I found both "U Turn,"
and "Any Given Sunday," to be flat out terrible.
I missed his HBO documentary on Castro, but it did look
Also saw the new and "improved" version of
Apocalypse Now. I was so bored and found the film to
be so self indulgent I'm amazed Coppola has all but
turned his back on the original version, saying that
the Redux cut is his "final cut." Stupid.
If ever there was a problem with the 1979 version it
was maybe being 10 minutes too long! AHHH!
Have a good one.
completely agree with you about "Apocalypse Now
Redux," it's not nearly as good as the original,
shorter version. The redux version is what I saw at
the very first screening of the film in 1979, although
even a a bit longer still, and I was stupified with
boredom and told Coppola so on the questionaire. I guess
everyone else must have said about the same thing because
he cut over an hour out of it for it's general release.
Meanwhile, I once agree with you about JFK, which I
think is a pretty damn good movie, and the best use
of intercutting color and B&W ever. And yes, what
a great cast. Stand-outs, I think, are Gary Oldman as
Lee Harvey Oswald, John Candy, Kevin Bacon, and Brian
Doyle Murray as Jack Ruby. The only thing I object to
in that film is the whole, tired subplot of his wife,
Sissey Spacek, bitching all the time that he ignores
her and the kids. If I never encounter that dynamic
in a story again it will be too soon. I must disagree
about "Nixon," however. I think Hopkins is
severely and fatally miscast, and it undermines the
whole film. I never for one single second believed Hopkins
was Nixon. It's also WAY too long. Paul Sorvino made
a great Kissinger, though.
I remember hearing about Alien Apocolypse/Humans In
Chains Project a while ago, and was wondering if you
always had Bruce in mind to star? I was also wondering
if you were going to rely on CGI or practical FX? I
personally loathe how most filmmakers utilize CG. It
seems as if CG is now used as a method of compromise
for lazy filmmakers to do things quicker and cheaper.
Anyway, as a fan I hope you don't go down this road,
but I understand how daunting an 18 day shooting schedule
can be. Nevertheless, I wish you the best of luck, and
I can't wait to see the film.
will be a mixture of CGI and practical FX, but mainly
CGI. There really isn't any other decent way to go.
Guys in suits always look like crap, and CGI will actually
work better for this than stop-motion would have. The
design for the aliens is going quite well, and I think
they should be cool.
Wondering if you got a chance to check out Bruce Campbell
in Bubba-Ho-Tep (based on the story by Joe Lansdale)?
For my money its one of the better short stories I've
read in my life and I've read a few.
It'll be interesting to see how it turned out visually,
since I think making a film whereby 90% percent of it
is INT old folks house scenes sounds daunting.
Anyway, Lansdale is probably the best american writer
going, certainly the most under-appreciated, and the
characterizations in Bubba-ho-tep display a real sincere
and honest look at the elderly, which is refreshing.
enjoyed it, and I thought Bruce and Ossie Davis were
terrific. I think Bruce deserved the Best Actor Oscar
more than Sean Penn. Story-wise, I think it falls apart
in Act III, but the first two acts were good.
How did this deal at SciFi come up? Do you, or an agent,
continually shop around your scripts? I haven't read
any of the scripts on the site, but I gather that at
least some of them (and a lot of your treatments) are
kind of "in the past" works. Not only literally,
but also in the sense that you would do things differently
if you wrote them today.
When they were interested, did you dust it off and tighten
it up, or was it in good condition? Or was that story
already in the forefront of your mind?
I suppose it could be totally different for you, but
for us, we observe the progression of your films, wonder
what you're next project will be, and then it turns
out to be HIC. Were you as surprised as I was that that
was the one?
presently don't have writer or director's agent, just
sales agents. These sales agents, whom Bruce is signed
with, too, were trying to set up a deal for Bruce at
Sci-Fi, so I decided to hop aboard that train and sent
them my one sci-fi script, "Humans in Chains,"
as is, no rewrite (although I must add that I had rewritten
it a few times back when I originally wrote it, and
I was pretty pleased with it). Slow dissolve to two
years dribbling by, then a couple of months ago Sci-Fi
brought in a new executive producer, and kapow! It hasn't
stopped moving forward since then. Although there are
plenty of my old scripts and treatments I don't care
for, there are also plenty that I still do like, and
"Humans" was one of those. I had put a lot
of thought and work into it, and I always believed that
it was a good story and solid script, and a good part
Wow! You've been busy. That's what I get for not visiting
your site in 'I don't know HOW long'. Anyway, I was
reading over your article, 'The Misuse of Presidential
Power' and you hit the nail on the head! It's amazing
how blind people are to what is actually going on. At
the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, there's
a declassified, Top Secret file out now called the 'Northwood's
Document' and the stuff the government was up to 42
years ago is absolutely mind blowing! It's so amazing
that I can't even believe they declassified it for anyone
to get their hands on. In a nutshell; as a pretext to
invade Cuba, the government was planning attack American
targets (i.e. blow up commercial airliners with American
civilians on board; send in troop's disguised as Cubans
to attack Guantanamo Bay, attack our own ships, etc.)
and blame it all on the Cubans. If you want to read
it for yourself, here's a link to download it. http://www.infowars.com/saved%20pages/northwoods.pdf
Obviously, they didn't go through with it but the
fact that they were planning it makes one wonder, .WHAT
exactly HAVE they go through with (since then) that
we're not being told about? Incidentally, it's pretty
well documented (and amazingly available to anyone willing
to research it), that the government KNEW about the
impending attack on Pearl Harbor and purposely did nothing
to prevent it; knowing full well that it would give
us a 'justifiable pretext' for entering the war. Frightening
.absolutely frightening. I'm not trying to bad mouth
America but we need to start waking up to who's really
running the country and what their true intentions are.
Oh, and before I forget. 9 months ago someone here managed
to pull a huge prank on a LIVE news broadcast (that
I think you would have gotten a huge kick out of). During
the weather report, somebody managed to change the graphics
and announce that the president was a "professional
fascist". Here's a link if you want to check it
out. It's half way down the page.
How they got away with it I'll never know. On a different
note, I'm pleased about your recent success with the
Sci Fi network. I look forward to seeing where it all
goes. Anyway, just thought I'd check in and see how
you were doing. Next time, I'll try not to wait a few
years before checking in again and saying 'Hi'. Take
-Campbell (former bad guy)
to hear from you. Not only did the U.S. government know
there was an impending attack on Pearl Harbor (or, let's
say, somewhere in the U.S., except that Pearl Harbor
was certainly the closest military installation to Japan),
but the Japanese ambassador was attempting to get in
and see the Secretary of State or the president and
officially declare war before the attack, and nobody
would see the guy. He was left sitting in a waiting
room for two days, and never was allowed in. Of course,
had they seen the Japanese ambassador then it wouldn't
have been a sneak attack. What boggles me still is that
the entire Japanese navy was able to make it across
the the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii without being spotted
by any air reconnaissance. Those naval schmucks at Pearl
Harbor clearly had their thumbs up their asses, and
the commander was subsequently court-martialed. But
he was a scapegoat for the schmucks in Washington.
forward to the early 1960s, the U.S. had such a bug
up their butts about Cuba and Castro it was ridiculous.
This was entirely based on Castro nationalizing all
of the American industries in Cuba, and we've never
let up on our sanctions and ill-will since then. Just
to bait my conservative, right-wing father, I said that
Fidel Castro might possibly be greatest man of the past
50 years, certainly greater than any of the ten U.S.
presidents he's outlasted, and my good old dad nearly
blew a gasket. But Fidel was the inspiration for at
least 50 other countries around the world to stage revolutions
and throw out their foreign oppressors, which is a much
bigger deal than anything the U.S.A. has done in 50
years. That Fidel is still thumbing his nose at us 44
years later is, in my opinion, very impressive.
forward to the present, the GW Bush administration is
probably the most corrupt in U.S. history. Everything
they do is for an ulterior motive. Haliburton, has gone
from the 37th largest civilian contractor supplying
the U.S. government, before Bush, to now being the 7th
largest supplier. They have already overcharged us by
tens of millions of dollars for their services, possibly
hundreds of millions, but no charges are ever brought.
Bush says he's made America safer, yet more American
soldiers have died under his watch than the five previous
presidents put together. More than 10,000 humans, both
U.S. and Iraqi, have lost their lives in the past year
in Iraq, and none of these deaths have anything to do
with terrorism. This whole war was entirely based on
Bush's pre-election agenda, and has nothing to do with
9/11, other than as an excuse to go to war. And now
Iraq is a melting pot for terrorists from around the
world. The war in Iraq has increased terrorism, has
put us far more at risk, has alienated us from at least
half the countries in the world, and is the single worst
foreign policy decision made in America in 228 years.
what I think.
Thanks for the site, and for your thoughts and opinions.
It's been quite an eye-opener for me. Watching movies
growing up in the late 70's and 80's I must say that
I was pretty well lulled into the clone mentality as
far as the difference between a good movie and crap.
Thanks for signing If I Had a Hammer, that was a pleasant
suprise. Good movie IMO, your best so far.
Any chance of some of your older movie reviews being
put up? In reading the archive I saw that you reviewed
Starship Troopers. That was one of my favorite books
when I was younger, and I am curious to read your thoughts
on the movie.
review of "Starship Troopers" is posted, it's
under "Video Round-Up Summer 1998." I'm very
pleased you enjoyed "Hammer," and bought it.
do you think of David Mamet, as both a writer and a
was an interesting playwright in the 1970s, and I enjoyed
his first two books of essays, too, but he has long
since worn out his welcome. His prose is now verbose
to the point of being unreadable, and he's an unexceptional
screenwriter, and an even less interesting director.
His book on film direction is nonsense.