Q & A    Archive
Page 119

Name: jon
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

if you were a kid in this day and age would you still start making movies on film or would you use digital video

also

how many prople were on the evil dead shoot when you started and how many were left at the end

thanks

Dear Jon:

Were I a kid, I'd definitely start with DV, which is way cheaper and easier to use. After I got the hang of things I'd probably switch to 16mm. On "Evil Dead" i think we started with 18-20 people, and by the end there were 5 of us: Sam, bruce, Rob Tapert, me, and David Goodman.

Josh

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

Josh,

As much as you dislike both directors, I still enjoy Wes Anderson's stuff and I enjoy the fact that he uses Murray in all of his films, and Murray's characters are characters which suits him very well.

I thought "Rushmore" was a lot of fun and I wasn't distracted by the music being cut short in scenes at all. The fact is, very few films carry songs in this manner through their entirety.

I also like the fact that he uses one of the songs as the theme and carries that process through the film which is a cohesive way to bridge the narrative.

You might find it a cop out, but I think it is creative and it works for me.

I also enjoyed "Bottle Rocket" as well and I think if the Owen Brothers would have stayed in that direction instead of doing mostly shitty films, they would be much more interesting.

Even though Hollywood puts out crappy movies now, I still think guys like Wes Anderson are still doing cool stuff within the restrictions of Hollywood.

I wholeheartedly expect you to disagree with me and tear me a new asshole, but I like Wes Anderson's movies with the exception of "The Royal Tennebaums".

Have fun in Bulgaria and I am sure you will get plenty of news that we will not get here. That always happens outside of the US and I always find it refreshing when I go to Europe and forget the stupid shit that goes on in this country.

I remember being in Italy during the OJ trial, I had been in Europe for three weeks already and I passed by a news stand and just happened to see the headline. "OJ found not Guilty" on the front page of "USA Today". I remember feeling so far removed from the bullshit news and goings on in the US. It felt refreshing to be given a different perspective on life outside the US.

Have fun,
Scott

Dear Scott:

I wouldn't rip you a new asshole, I'm a nice guy. And hey, that's why they have horse races, we'll all bet on different horses. I found both "Rushmore" and "Bottle Rocket" simply unbearbale they were so poorly written and conceived. I mean, why would Bill Murray be friends with that kid, who was really a drag of a character and an actor? perhaps in this world of utterly shitty movies Wes anderson's crap is a bit better -- I mean, I don't think so, but you do -- but I still won't grade on a curve.

Josh

Name: Michael Birch
E-mail: Unknown@Unknown.com

Dear Josh:

My mistake on confusing Paul and Wes Anderson.
Either way on the note of video game to movie adaptions, I believe that the only way that they could work is if one was to basically take the elements of the game, and create an entirely knew story around it. Anyhow about sequels, yes three fourths of them suck. Yet we can't forget about the rarities that are just as good or even better then the original.

Dear Michael:

If you have to create an entire story, why bother starting with a video game? And other than "The Godfather, Part II," what other sequels do you think are as good or better than the originals?

Josh

Name: George Pilalidis
E-mail: agamemmnon@msn.com

Hallo josh, welcome to the balcan,if you don't finde englisch speaking actors,meaby i can be one??? i mean if the character that i can play, is not dificuld??? or do you still thinking, that i'am bother people out there.and something else, you are not the only one who have like William Wylers films.George

Dear George:

If you don't bother the other people here, then you don't bother me, just don't ask long, dumb questions. I thought you were in Germany, which isn't too far (I flew in through Frankfurt), but it's still a two hour flight away from Sofia, and they ain't flying anyone in.

Josh

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

Josh,

Let's say some university hires you to teach a class about the art of film. And for this class you must choose 7 films for the class to watch in their entirety (and as many other films as you want to show clips from.) These 7 films must be what you would define as filmmaking at its finest. 7 movies that defined the way that later films were made. Which 7 films would you choose to show in their entirety? (In chronological order by year released) What are some other films that you might show clips from? And once again, good luck with Alien Apocalypse!

Dear Ben:

The hell with chronological order (I'm at an internet cafe in Bulgaria, for goodness sake). So, let's see . . .

1. "The Birth of a Nation" -- for the first time someone figured out the language of cinema and montage.
2. "The Docks of New York" -- for the height of silent filmmaking.
3. "Gone With the Wind" -- for the pinnacle of filmmaking in the 1930s
4. "Citizen Kane" -- for the height of filmmaking in general.
5. "The Magnificent Ambersons" -- because it's astounding.
6. "Black Narcissus" -- for the peak of color cinematography (I'd also include "The Conformist" in this category).
7. "Lawrence of Arabia" -- because it's as good as epic filmmaking ever got.

Josh

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

Josh,

Four quick comments/questions:

First, I disagree with you about the worst ending ever. My vote goes for "Dune" where the damn planet is covered by a rain storm in the final scene. That wasn't just stupid or wrong, that was completely bass-ackward. I wish that people who adapt a book into a screenplay would read the book involved.

Second, while I don't know what levels are appropriate, we should remember how hard early democracies fought to get adequate pay for legislators. The original fear was that "volunteer" legislations would descriminate against those who weren't independently wealthy. The high cost of advertising, particularly on television, has also served as a filter for the rich, but even if that problem were solved the need for relatively good pay for legislators would still exist. As long as the Supreme Court interprets spending money as an exercise of free speech rights, solveable only by constitutional amendment regarding campaign finance, we'll never solve the money filter.

Third, what kind of English do your local actors speak? Are you going to end up with a Bulgarian-accented movie or are you going to do a lot of dubbing?

Finally, what is Bulgarian food? I'm guessing it ain't tacos.

John

Dear John:

I've informed the casting director that I only want actors who can speak English well, but I haven't seen any actors yet, so this remains to be seen. I have a feeling there will be a lot of looping, or ADR, which is what they now call dubbing. The nice restaurants serve international cuisine, which, so far, has been very good. During the day, however, we keep ending up eating McDonald's on the road, which is just like MacDogDoos anywhere. Also, since "Dune" was such a complete and utter misery of a film, I didn't think the ending was any worse than the rest of the film. I just loved that book in high school, so the film was a huge disappointment to me, particularly the Baron Harkonnen, who was supposed to be about a thousand pounds with little jets on his fat holding it up, being nothing more than Kenneth MacMillan (usually a fine actor) wearing a jet-pack.

Josh

Name: Andrew
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

I'm in the middle of Bruce's book right now, and it's really cool to hear all the bullshit that went on during the making of Evil Dead. Funny as hell, too (impaling your foot must've hurt like a bitch)

Anyway, I was skimming through your site here, and I've noticed that you hate quite alot of what's out there right now, movie-wise. Now, there's nothing wrong with that (I hate lots of shit too), but I was wondering then........what do you like? What movies inspire you? Which filmmakers do you admire in one way or another?

Dear Andrew:

I just watched "East of Eden" again last night on TCM (which comes from France here in Bulgaria, although most of the films are in English), and that inspired me quite a bit. It's an excellent film, with a great cast, beautiful direction, and a very good use of the widescreen. I just keep watching old movies and that does it for me. Luckily, there are many, many movies I haven't seen yet. As I've mentioned numerous times before here (and wrote an essay about, "An Ode to William Wyler"), all of William Wyler's films inspire me a lot, as do most of the great, old filmmakers.

Josh

Name: Andy Jones
E-mail: AndyJ5000@aol.com

Dear Josh:

I make films on a camcorder but want to learn about using real film before i buy a cine camera, and as an 18 year old in England there's not many places I can go and ask (none that I know of). The questions: What processes does the film go through? When loading the film is it similar to a stills camera where light fecks it up? Does it have to be sent to be developed? If so do you edit before development or afterwards?

On dvd extras the deleted scenes are often really grainy and ... well, rubbish looking compared to the real deal film. Whats the reason for this?

Cheers,

Andy

Dear Andy:

I don't mean to be snotty (although I often am), but you need to read some books on production. Anyway, yes, light will fuck up your film, feck it up, as the case may be. You load movie film in a changing bag, which is a black bag with two arm holes with eleastic around them; or in a darkroom. You must send the film to the lab to be developed before you do anything to it, then you either have it transfered to disk or to positive workprint, which is what you edit. In both cases, when you're done cutting the workprint or digitally, then you have a negative conformer cut the negative exactly as you cut the it. Once the negative is cut, then you go through a lab process called color timing, where you sit with a color timer or colorist to get all of the colors just the way you want them. Since the scenes that were edited out don't usually go through this process and are often transferred to video right off the workprint, that's why it looks so bad.

Josh

Name: CD
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I think I read that you're shooting your sci fi project in a 2.35 format? Is that correct and are you shooting anamorphic or Super 35?

I always heard that shooting widescreen (at least in anamorphic) costs more. Mainly due to focus being more critical, which slows things down a bit. Am I wrong about that?

Does the Sci Fi channel have a say in which format you shoot? Especially if it increases the budget. Do they care?

Personally I love the anamorphic Panavision widescreen format. Always have, even when I didn't understand quite what it was. It gives movies a 'bigger' look and feel to them.

Anyway, good luck and I look forward to seeing it.

Dear CD:

Not only does SciFi have a say in what format I shoot, they nixed the 2.35 idea. To shoot 2.35 for TV, if it's never going to be shown on film, doesn't cost an extra penny because you don't need to use anamorphic or Super-35, you simply compose for the widescreen, then just letterbox it. Anamorphic is more expensive because you have to rent special lenses. There used to be this terrific widescreen system in Italy called Technoscope (through Technicolor Rome), that only used half of the 35mm frame, which came out to 2.35 without anamorphic lenses, and it gave you 20 minutes on a 10-minute roll of film, which is the system Sergio Leone used for all of his Italian films, but since it was such a money-saver, Technicolor stopped doing it. Ain't that a bitch?

Josh

Name: Sean
E-mail: seanwest@aol.com

Hi Josh,

Are your actors out there with you in Bulgaria? Or do they just show up like the day before the 18 days of actual filming starts?

Sean

Dear Sean:

I'm only getting three American actors: Bruce Campbell, Renee O'Conner, and someone to play the former president. Renee and the president will show up right before they shoot, Bruce is showing up a week early, thank goodness, that way I'll have a bud to hang with.

Josh

Name: kdn
E-mail: jericho_legends@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

I recently heard on the news that the police busted 140 people in Dallas for child pornography (out of 20,000 found through credit cards via website). that means there are 19,860 pedophiles out there that were dumb enough to use their credit card and now know that its just a matter of time (or they're ultimately fucked)... the ones that were busted were mostly priests and teachers. that's way past spooky. that would almost make a good controversial film about paranoia.

Dear kdn:

Religion is evil, and priests, rabbis, and mullahs are the devil's minions who do little else but spread hatred, discord, and prejudice. And I never liked or trusted most of my teachers, either.

"We don't need no education, we don't need no thought control, no dark sarcasm in the classroom, teachers leave your kids alone." -- Roger Waters.

Josh

Name: Vickie
E-mail: VikWing@charter.net

Dear Josh:

I just stumbled upon your page this morning!!! Thanks for the uplifint laugh. It was so funny to hear someone else has had the same luck I have at the Dollar store...and keeps going back!

Dear Vickie:

Well, I'm glad people keep enjoying that essay. I guess I should write more essays like it.

Josh

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

Josh,

This is a correction about Jim Birch's post on "Punch Drunk Love". It wasn't directed by Wes Anderson, it was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Yes, two different people.

A little piece of trivia; Paul Thomas Anderson's father was the original "Ghoulardi" The famous Cleveland horror movie host which "The Ghoul" pretty much ripped off.

I actually enjoy Wes Anderson's films, however, I thought "The Royal Tennenbaums" wasn't very good, but it had its moments. I am actually looking forward to his next film "The Life Aquatic" were Bill Murray is going to play a crabby old Marine Biologist.

I don't agree with you that he uses music innappropriately, in fact, I like his use of music and choices. To me, it moves the scenes and it is cool that he picks artists like Nick Drake and the 60's band "Creation". I connect to that stuff, but not everyone does.

Scott

Dear Scott:

Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, who cares, they're both bullshit. And though you may "connect" with Wes Anderson's music choices, they simply don't fit the scenes they're scoring, and three-quarters of the time the songs run out before the scene is over and he just starts another one with no rhyme or reason. "The Royal Tennenbaums" was absolute, utter garbage without a single redeeming aspect, in my humble opinion. As for P.T. Anderson, the fogs falling from the sky at the end of "Magnolia" may well rank as the worst ending ever put on a film since motion pictures were invented.

Josh

Name: Kevin Kindel
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

By Rush Limbaugh:

I think the vast differences in compensation between victims of the September 11 casualty and those who are serving the country in Uniform are profound. No one is really talking about it either, because you just don't criticize anything having to do with September 11. Well, I just can't let the numbers pass by because it says something really disturbing about the entitlement mentality of this country. If you lost a family member in the September 11 attack, you're going to get an average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimum guarantee of $250,000, all the way up to $4.7 million.

If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half of which is taxable. Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry. And there's a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a screeching halt. Keep in mind that some of the people who are getting an average of $1.185 million > up to $4.7 million are complaining that it's not enough. Their deaths were tragic, but for most, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Soldiers put themselves in harms way FOR ALL OF US, and they and their families know the dangers.

We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11 families are getting. In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation as well.

You see where this is going, don't you? Folks, this is part and parcel of over 50 years of entitlement politics in this country. It's just really sad.Every time a pay raise comes up for the military, they usually receive next to nothing of a raise. Now the green machine is in combat in the Middle East while their families have to survive on food stamps and live in low-rent housing. Make sense?

However, our own U.S Congress just voted themselves a raise, and many of you don't know that they only have to be in Congress one time to receive a pension that is more than $15,000 per month, and most are now equal to being millionaires plus. They also do not receive Social Security on retirement because they didn't have to pay into the system. If some of the military people stay in for 20 years and get out as an E-7, you may receive a pension of $1,000 per month, and the very people who placed you in harm's way receive a pension of $15,000 per month. I would like to see our elected officials pick up a weapon and join ranks before they start cutting out benefits and lowering pay for our sons and daughters who are now fighting.

"When do we finally do something about this?" If this doesn't seem fair to you, it is time to forward this to as many people as you can.If your interested there is more.......................

This must be a campaign issue in 2004. Keep it going. SOCIAL SECURITY: (This is worth the read. It's short and to the point.)

Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during election years. Our Senators and Congressmen do not pay into Social Security. Many years ago they voted in their own benefit plan. In more recent years, no congressperson has felt the need to change it. For all practical purposes their plan works like this:

When they retire, they continue to draw the same pay until they die, except it may increase from time to time for cost of living adjustments. For example, former Senator Byrd and Congressman White and their wives may expect to draw $7,800,000 - that's Seven Million, Eight Hundred Thousand), with their wives drawing $275,000.00 during the last years of their lives.

This is calculated on an average life span for each.
Their cost for this excellent plan is $00.00. These little perks they voted for themselves is free to them. You and I pick up the tab for this plan. The funds for this fine retirement plan come directly from the General Fund--our tax dollars at work! From our own Social Security Plan, which you and I pay (or have paid) into -- every payday until we retire (which amount is matched by our employer) --we can expect to get an average $1,000 per month after retirement. Or, in other words, we would have to collect our average of $1,000 monthly benefits for 68 years and one month to equal Senator Bill Bradley's benefits! Social Security could be very good if only one small change were made. And that change would be to jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan from under the Senators and Congressmen. Put them into the Social Security plan with the rest of us and then watch how fast they would fix it.

If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted and maybe good changes will evolve. WE, each one of us, can make a difference!

Dear Kevin:

That's from Rush Limbaugh? Pretty Goddamn long-winded for a guy that takes 30 Oxycontin a day. Regarding things to be pissed-off about, here in Bulgaria they get news from a variety of places, Britian, Germany, Turkey, France, and more. I seriously doubt (since I already asked my sister about this) that the US news media reported that yesterday, May Day, there were major demonstrations around the world against the USA and our involvement in Iraq, in almost every major city. A million people showed up in Havana to hear Castro rip the USA a new asshole, and rightly so, I might add. Castro said that every single year the USA condemns Cuba in front of the UN, yet the USA has 600 prisoners in Gauntanamo Bay, none of whom are being given any of the basic human rights afforded prisoners almost anywhere else in the world. Also, we have absolutely no right to to the base at Guantanamo -- we took it and won't give it back, yet we continue to embargo the Cubans because they're communists, even though we do more business with red China than any other country in the world. Being in a very foreign country here I get a very strong feeling of how much Americans, particularly GW Bush are flat-out hated. Don't for one second believe that we have a free press in the USA; we have the most censored news in the world, probably worse than China.

Josh

Name: Mike Johnson
E-mail: mjohnson42@aol.com

Dear Josh:

I don't understand why a theme in a movie or piece of literature must be contraversial for it to be 'good'.

Dear Mike:

The theme doesn't have to be controversial, but it's WAY better have a theme than to not have one. Then at least you know what you're trying to write about.

Josh

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

Hey Josh!

First of all, good luck with your movie. Second, I watched the Piano for my film class. I think the best description of the movie is that it's a series of non-sequiters and Post Hoc fallacies. Little or no set up is given for anything that happens in the movie. Holly Hunter doesn't seem to display any sort of affection toward Harvey Keitel, and then, out of nowhere, she falls in love with him and wants to have sex with him. Perhaps it would have been better if Holly Hunter had used more than two facial expressions in the film. I definitely don't think she deserved best actress. (Although Anna Paquin did a terrific job.) Am I wrong for thinking this is a horrible, dark, depressing, perverted, and unsavory film? Or am I just not "mature" enough to accept it? Why did Jane Campion think that *anyone*, women or men, would want to see Harvey Keitel naked?

Dear Ben:

I agree with your critique, and I certainly don't ever need to see Harvey Keitel naked again. And yes, Anna Paquin was good. However, like many other child actors, I don't think she's grown up into a very good adult actor.

Josh

Name: Mike
E-mail: crashpix - yahoo - com

Hi Josh,

A couple of things. Firstly - I finally got to see Running Time, and enjoyed it immensely. The heist genre is one which is very good, if done correctly. Sadly it hasn't been done much justice of late, so it was refreshing to see a good heist movie. From a technical standpoint I really have to hand it to you, your DP and AC. You managed the transitions from interior to exterior shots quite handily. There was one point toward the end of the film, when Patrick shows up at Janie's apartment where the focus seemed off, though - Bruce and Anita were sitting on the bed, and then the camera tracked out through the door and into daylight. Was that softness due to having to shoot a few seconds indoors with a slower stock which was intended for exterior shots? In any event, it was a good script, terrific concept, and a very good, solid film. Is there a DVD version on which you do a comentary?
Secondly - I was also completely unimpressed with Lost in Translation. It felt like a poorly written short film which somehow escaped into feature territory and grew fat and bloated on masturbatory cinematography. Another failing is the fact that they completely failed to convey how damn tiny many of the spaces in Japan are. I spent a couple of months there and was blown away by how small most of the cars and all of the taxis were, and how cramped almost every resturant, nightclub, and apartment was. There is one shot in the entire movie which gives you some idea of this smallness - in the strip club there's a long shot of Bill Murray jammed in a small couch with the stripper about a foot away from him. So they didn't even capture one of the more uniquely Japanese aspects of the environment. Seems like they figured if they showed a bunch of Japanese people, and a temple or two, that would suffice - never mind that most of the time it looked like they were in New York. Long story short, it sucked.
Finally, is there a tentative air date for for your upcoming sci-fi feature? Did you make changes to the script to allow for commercials (i.e. altering the pacing so you go to comerical at a cliff-hanger moment)? As someone who's written for both TV and film, can you comment on the differences between writing for those two formats?

That's about it. Good luck, and keep on keeping on!

Mike

Dear Mike:

The soft shot you're referring to was simply a mistake on the part of the AC, who otherwise did a very good job -- hey, thanks a lot for pointing out the mistakes -- just kidding. Meanwhile, yes I did have to alter the script for the eight-act TV movie format, and try to get cliffhangers at the end of each act, which really wasn't all that hard. We'll see what everyone thinks about it when it's done. I guess it will air in or around September. We're just scouting locations, and it's going pretty well. Everyone is very nice here in Bulgaria.

Josh

Name: Jared
E-mail: jared_anderson@brewsteracademy.org

Dear Josh:

Hi, I'm currently going to be making a production for my school, I was wondering if there was an easy way that you have heard of to make a makeshift squib.
Jared

Dear Jared:

Yes, there is, but if you injure someone I had nothing to do with it. First put a thin foam-rubber pad on the person, then a thin piece of wood, like paneling. Take a firecracker, remove the fuse, stick in an Estes rocket starter for a model rocket (a single strand of steel wool will work, too, but not as well), then seal the end of the firecracker with hot glue. Tape a condom filled with fake blood over the firecracker with thin strips of duct tape, then attach two wires to the rocket starter and connect them to a battery and boom!

Josh

Name: palaniappan
E-mail: zha80zha@rediffmail.com

Dear Josh:

iam a doctor from india. iam trying to enter the field of short films. but iam not having any previous relavant experiences. please tell me the channels through which i can become a director like u. eagerly expecting ur reply mail. thank u.

Dear Pal:

Write a short script, shoot it and edit it and you'll learn a great amount about the process. With each film you make you'll learn more and more. After three or four you'll have it. But definitely try to think up a decent story first. As the old theatrical expression goes (which completely applies to films, too), "If it ain't on the page, it ain't on the stage." Good luck.

Josh

Name: Jon Moody
E-mail: jondoe_555@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

I've heard of people do shot lists, and I've heard of people do storyboards, and I've heard of people who do both. What do you think is the most beneficial? I know you will be storyboarding your shots for your next movie so you can better communicate what you want to your crew but what if you're not a really good drawer? I've seen some people even use stick figures but I think it just comes off looking sloppy and childish.

Dear Jon:

Storyboards are the best because they really make you think about what shot you want and how it will cut with the next shot. Stick figures are just fine, as long as you place them in the frame in the composition you're envisioning. Sure, they may look childish, but who cares? And the storyboards are mainly for you, to get your ideas solidified and down on paper. You really don't have to show them to anybody. Being a good artist, which I'm not, has nothing to do with good storyboards. Hell, Sam Raimi can't draw at all, only uses stick figures, and his storyboards are great. It's also very easy to pull a shot list off the storyboards.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

How much control will you have over the final digital look of the aliens? I've seen so many Sci-fi Channel films that use cg for most of shots of the "monster" and then cut to a close up of a puppet head that looks nothing comparable size or scale or texture of the cg beast the audience has been seeing the whole film.

With the schedule everyone ran on xena, the cg used in the series was leaps and bounds better than anything i've seen on scifi.

i guess i'm asking, for you as a director, and this being a sci-fi channel budget, how do you approach cg as to not take the audience totally out of the film? do you accept it won't quite be up to par, do you plan your shots around hiding, in a way, the cg look of things?

i like getting a laugh out of most the films i've previously seen on sci fi, but you have made such beautifully shot, well orchestrated films, and well i guess i'd hate to have a laugh at the cg in your stuff.

can you step in and say thats not good enough? where doesa director have to draw the line for this kind of deal?

Dear Dustin:

Well, I'm not doing the CGI FX myself, and I've never worked with this company before, but they seem like reasonable folks, and they've done good work before. What I've done is: first, I storyboarded every effect so they know exactly what I want; second, I worked with the practical FX supervisor on the design until I was happy with it, then just gave it to the CGI guys, and since the practical, rubber alien was built first, the CGI alien must match it, which it will because the CGI alien will be created based on photos of the rubber alien. I'd venture that in most other cases it's done in the opposite order, and it much more difficult to make a practical effect to a digital effect. Also, I will rarely be using the rubber alien for anything other than over-the-shoulder shots, which will be slightly soft focus, as well as tight shots of alien hands, and close-ups of aliens getting stuck in the guts with knives and things. It should work out, but of course, we'll all see.

Josh

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

Scott, are you saying that you don't want to see Hellboy? Or The Punisher? Or Kill Bill 2? Or Walking Tall? Or Scooby Doo 2? The top ten movies right now are 5 action/revenge movies, 3 teen girl movies, and 2 family comedies. And the summer hasn't even started yet. Summer movies are now basically all year round except for a brief flurry of dramas around November. I don't really mind though, since there are still quite a few movies out there on DVD I haven't seen. It's kind of a relief actually, because if there was a great lineup in theaters I'd be emptying my wallet pretty quick. There literally hasn't been a movie in like 5 months that I genuinely wanted to see in theaters. I did see The Passion, which was actually not a good movie at all, regardless of your thoughts on the subject matter. The screenplay was a mess, with flashbacks that felt completely out of place and brutally violent scenes that just went on and on. I guess it was meant to be some sort of an 'experience', but as a 'story' it was just extremely weak. Plus Gibson had these demon kids with vampire teeth that just seemed weird. Are there any demon kids with vampire teeth in Alien Apocalypse?

Jim

Jim:

Nope, no demon kids with pointy teeth. Just seven-foot alien bug creatures that bite off human heads. Movies really are completely in the shitter. This is the worst phase of filmmaking in their over 100 year history. I wouldn't see any of those films if they gave out hundred dollar bills and blow-jobs.

Josh

Name: ramsey
E-mail: neiborhood@aol.com

Dear Josh:

my only comment that i have is that you site does not really tell me where to go to learn how to become a stunt man I would really like to know how to become one but can never find info. on what ways i should go about it
can u help me

Dear Ramsey:

Although I've worked with many stunt men and women, I don't exactly know how you go about becoming one. Many of them are martial artists, some were rodeo riders, and others were race car drivers. You really have to be pretty fearless, and very good at planning how to do these crazy things without getting hurt because anyone getting hurt on a movie set really screws things up. You need to contact a stunt coordinator. Maybe you can locate one on the internet. Good luck.

Josh

Name: Michael Birch
E-mail: Unknown@Unknown.com

Dear Josh:

Does anyone else think Wes Anderson is a hack? I recently saw Punch Drunk Love. Why is it that critic praise movies like this? Are they suppose to capture the internal struggle of man. Like "Lost in Translation" it's just lethargic crap. The people talk like they don't want to be in the film and the plot drags out so slowly it's pathetic.

Dear Michael:

Well, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I think he's utterly talentless, he can't write at all, and he uses music in his films more inappropriately than almost anyone else working in films.

Josh

Name: Michael Birch
E-mail: Unknown@Unknown.com

Dear Josh:

I just saw "Starship Troopers 2" Saturday. It's pathetic as hell and even if the first one was nearly as bad, this one is an insult to Roger Heimlein. Roger Corman and Ed Wood would have done better to say the least.
On another note I'm in the middle of "Run Like Hell" it's a video game about some commando trapped in a space station infested with this virus that produces aliens. It's actually pretty interesting and would make a good flick. You know, something on the sci fi channel. Just thought I'd put that out there for any screenwriter who reads it.

Dear Michael:

I think video games are an even worse source for movies than comic books. Movies need complete stories with full-fledged characters and you won't get any of that from a video game.

And come on, the first "Starship Troopers" sucked the big one, why would the sequel be any good? And since you paid to see it, in essence you told Hollywood, "I love this movie, please make another one." I suggest boycotting all sequels and remakes, I certainly have. This way I'm sending the message, "Fuck you!"

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

In regards to the diminishing quality of Hollywood product, I was wondering if you see a solution anywhere in sight? It seems to me that the MBA's have taken over, and every decesion is made by both fear and committee. I understand that films are expensive, and even the lowst budged feature is a high risk investment, but that is no excuse for such awful filmmaking. Nothing lasts forever, but I was wondeing if you see a return to decent storytelling. I don't think it will happen in the near future, and I believe that Hollywood will have to destroy itself before it gets any better. Good luck in Bulgaria tomorrow. When do you actually start shooting?

Dear Scott:

We start shooting May 19. I don't know what will change the state of filmmaking, but it's not just the young, MBA executives who are to blame, it's everybody, but particularly the young people going into filmmaking. If you haven't studied film and watched all of the great movies, but are just basing your desire on what you've seen in the past few years, as well as wanting to be rich, you'll never make a decent film. I didn't going into movies because I wanted to get rich (which is lucky for me since I haven't gotten rich), it's because I love movies, I love the form, I love the possibilities. But until young people start to really care for movies again, and love them for what they could be, they'll just get worse and worse. And that goes for foreign films, too.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspny66@mac.com

Josh,

One of the funniest in "Ed Wood" is the scene where Wood (Depp) comes out in a dress for a scene and he keeps asking everoyne what they think of the color? He finally gets to the Cinematographer and the guys says "I don't know, I am color blind".

Martin Landau is very believable as Bela Lugosi. "Let's shoot this Fucker!"

I thought Bill Murray's character had some funny lines as well.


Scott

Dear Scott:

It's got its moments. And compared to the shit I've seen lately, it's a bloody masterpiece. "Lost in Translation" won Best Original Screenplay? It may be the most offensive Oscar ever given. It's for nepotism and NOTHING ELSE.

Josh

Name: Jon Moody
E-mail: jondoe_555@yahoo.com

Hey Josh,

I noticed you didn't have "Ed Wood" or "Edward Scissorhands" as favorite movies. I guess you didn't even like "Ghostbusters". Ed Wood and Ghostbusters are top of my list for favorite comedies of all time and I was wondering if there was any particular reason why you didn't like those movies.

Dear Jon:

I must say honestly that the first time I saw "Ed Wood" I was seriously unimpressed. It's beautiful production, with a great cast, but a rather flat, uninsightful script, and a one-note performance by Johnny Depp. Well, all of that is still true, but given how bad movies have gotten since then, and having seen it several more times, I must say that do enjoy it, and parts of it have gotten funnier and funnier, which is mainly due to Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi. My big gripe still, though, is that to be "the worst filmmaker ever," a title I believe Ed Wood still holds, I need to know more about him than he was just in a hurry, since nearly all filmmakers are in a hurry. It simply could have been a much better film had there been a more perceptive script. "Edward Scissorhands," on the other hand, I just thought was a flat-out bore that made no sense. I mean, why does he have scissors for hands? Was he designed to trim Christmas trees? To cut people's hair? To trim hedges? How about a reason. It's a film about nothing. And "Ghostbusters" is okay, but it runs out of jokes about halfway through.

Josh

Name: Jerome
E-mail: Jet101_x@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

My friends and I are thinking about making a fan remake of Shemp eats the Moon. Information for this film is very scarce and I was wondering if you knew anything about it...
Anyway, I loved Lunatics and Thou shalt not kill... except. What will your next project be?

Dear Jerome:

Why don't you make your own film, "Shemp Eats the Moon" wasn't very good the first time around. Remakes are a bad idea, or worse, no idea at all. And if you read back a few Q&As you'll know what I'm doing next.

Josh

Name: Karen
E-mail: Kn@hotmail.com

Hi Josh,

Where exactly in Oregon did you live? What was it like? Did you have many restaurants or fun things to do in town, or was it mainly a touristy type place? Do you miss it?

Thanks,
Karen

Dear Karen:

I lived outside Jacksonville, which is outside Medford. Jacksonville is a tiny touristy town with a little main street with brick storefronts, some with the old, fading ads for chewing tobacco still visible on the exterior walls. It's very woodsy and quite pretty around there. The people were very nice, too. But it was just too darn rural for me. And L.A. was too urban. So I settled on my old hometown, Detroit, which is just right.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I looked up your DP at the IMDB, and you're right - he has an extensive career, both as cinematographer and director. So is "Nu Image" the production company then, that's doing this for Sci-Fi, and Avi Lerner the producer?

Thanks,
August

Dear August:

No, this has nothing to do with Nu Image. My buddy, Gary Jones, who is the 2nd unit director/practical FX supervisor on this film has made two films for Nu Image, and my other friend, Sheldon Lettich, has made a number of films for those guys. The production company on this is Fresh Water Ent. and the executive producer is Jeff Franklin, who has produced many, many TV shows.

Josh

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

Josh,

Regarding "Lost in Translation", I thought it looked and felt like I was watching somebody's "trip to Japan" home videos. I imagine either of the two main characters going home and telling someone about the trip. It would be boring as Hell. If their best friends wouldn't be interested, why should the rest of us be?

I think about how I would summarize the movie; Two Americans meet in Japan, look around a bit and go home. There wasn't even a foundation to that movie. You can't sit back and think, "How would I have done it better?" When I think about the scenes where the two are running through the streets it seems like they were shot to make the characters seem unimportant. They are small in the scene, you have to work to pick them out, and they are no more interesting then any of the other arcade patrons or pedestrians. And yet, as you say, this is the future of movies.

It's too bad about Majors, I was looking forward to seeing him. Is there a short list for replacements? Have a great trip and show them how it's done.

John

Dear John:

"Lost in Translation" is a really a miserable, terrible movie, and a prime example of a writer that has no clue of what she's doing. Ms. Coppola didn't have a good idea or even a sliver of a story, then added another scene, then another scene, then another scene, and when she got to 120 pages stopped adding more scenes and called it done. It's the worst excuse for screenwriting I've encountered in a long time. And if it's supposed to be an examination of loneliess, she chose the wrong characters. Both of them are married and have been away from their mates for a few days, so neither one is experiencing real, deep, intense loneliness. And Bill Murray's character is being paid $2 million for a week of easy work, what's his big problem? Giovani Ribisi keeps telling Scarlett Johansen she can just go home, but she doesn't. Why? And meanwhile, if this is supposed to be a sort of touching, "Brief Encounter"-like, story (which is clearly the film's main inspiration), then having the Murray character screw the band's singer blows the whole deal. Obviously, the guy's an asshole and his marriage and kids don't mean shit to him. But worse than any of that to me is that you've got two long hours for characterization, but instead we get them running around, going to parties, watching TV, etc. and never learn shit about them. This is really the worst film I've seen in months, possibly in the last year or two. That it won the Oscar for original screenplay just goes to to show how utterly fucked up the film business is.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Now that Lee Majors is out, who are you pursuing to play the president? Also, in regards to your DP, did you hire him based on a referal, or was he hired through a below-the-line agent?

Dear scott:

I've offered up many names to potentially play the fromer president, such as Tony Curtis, William Shatner, Hal Holbrook, and James Whitmore, among others, but it's entirely up to the executive producer. The DP is part of the executive producer's regular crew -- as is the line producer, the production designer, and the editor -- and he's already shot four films in Bulgaria, so he clearly knows the ropes there.

Josh

Name: Sean
E-mail: seanwest@aol.com

Josh,

What is your budget on this film, and how do you know if you are going over budget? Who handles finances on a set? Do you get DGA minimum or more because you wrote the screenplay? How does that work? Thanks for answering my questions. I've learned a lot from you.

Wishing you all the best,
Sean

Dear Sean:

They've budgeted eighteen days to shoot the film. If I bring it in in eighteen days, without going into overtime very much, it will be on budget. The line producer and a the 1st assistant director's main jobs are to make sure we stay on time and on budget. This is a non-DGA shoot, so I had to make my own directing deal, and the script is yet a whole different deal.

Josh

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

Josh,

I know that D.P. that you are working with and I know of "The Serpent's Egg" book as well, but it is very hard to find. Great film though.

I have always been a big Berman fan. He and Nykvist 's work are the main reason I became more interested in filmmaking as a career.

I became obsessed with their work in High School and never looked back.

Have you ever read Bergman's autobiography "The Magic Lantern" ? It is very good.


I realize that "more is more" will be he motto on many set-ups with the Sci-fi channel film, but I just wanted to give you some good vibes and karma my friend.

Have fun,
Scott

Dear Scott:

Hey, I agree that quite often less is more. But that's when subtlety is called for, and it won't be called for too often on this piece. Yes, I did read Bergman's "The Magic Lantern," and when he talked about his films I found it interesting, but he spent most of the book discussing theater in Sweden, which I must admit, means nothing to me. Can you imagine anyone making "The Seventh Seal" now? It's almost unimaginable.

Meanwhile, I watched "Lost in Translation" last night and it's just dreadful, and terribly written, so it naturally won the Oscar for original screenplay. It's about two bored people stuck in Japan, and that's it. I seriously believe that boredom is not an appropriate subject for drama, call me a stick-in-the-mud. And it's almost a complete waste of Bill Murray. Modern movies, Jesus! What crap.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspny66@mac.com

Hey Josh,

I just rented the documentary "Light Keeps me Company" about the Cinematographer who has inspired me the most Sven Nykvist.

I am not sure if you have seen it, but it is very good as documentaries go.

I can clearly see why I was so influenced by his work.

A good mantra for you on the set straight from Nykvist's mouth; "Less is More".

I don't if this is possible with the effets youy have to acheive, but it is something I have always strived for when lighting.

Good luck again next week!

Scott

Dear Scott:

Sven Nykvist is one of the greatest DPs ever, and one of the few to work equally as well in black & white and in color. Nobody's seen it, but I just love the look of "The Serpent's Egg," Ingmar Bergman's one Hollywood film. But do keep in mind that I'm not making a Bergman drama, I'm making a sci-fi film for TV. I've got a very experienced DP, David Worth, who shot two films for Clint Eastwood ("Every Which Way But Loose" and "Bronco Billy") among many other films and sounds like he really knows what he's doing, so I'll leave the lighting to him. There will certainly be a few scenes where less will not be more, more will be more.

Josh

Name: Sean
E-mail: seanwest@aol.com

Josh,

Do you like rehearsals? Will you have time to rehearse before you shoot your film?

Sean

Dear Sean:

I like rehearsal, but I won't get any on this. Generally there is no rehearsal in TV, the schedule is too fast and the actors don't arrive until it's time to shoot.

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

I hate to bother you with this sort of thing, but you were the first person I thought of when I saw this. We're having a "stump the librarian" contest at my kids' high school, (I volunteer in the library), and someone submitted this question.

The line, "Salvation does come from the Bible," used in the movie Shawshank Redemption, is a spoof of a line from what movie and is said by which actor?

Got any ideas, oh great movie trivia guru?
Many thanks!

All my best,
Barb

Dear Barb:

Long time no hear. Sorry, I haven't got a clue. Perhaps one of the other intrepid movie geeks that visits here knows the answer.

Josh

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

Josh,

When you are hired to direct a film, does the studio/network give require you to do specific things? Or do they just ask that you "direct the project the best way you know how."?

For instance, you storyboarded every shot and supplied each hired crew member with them. Is that required? Does the network make sure that you're doing your prep work? Do they feel you're doing more than most directors, or less? Or do you not get that feedback?

I suppose that's all in the contract you sign, but for instance, if you wanted to send each actor who is playing a creature a clay statue of their character -- do you ask to hire someone to do it?

Basically, I'm just curious about how much like a regular job it is, where your boss tells you what to do and you can't really do extra things without permission.

Thanks.

Ben

Dear Ben:

It's really none of that. SciFi doesn't actually produce many of their films, they sub-contract them out, as they've done in this case. There are no rules for prep, and I don't think any of these people have ever seen a director storyboard a film before. The last director they worked with, who apparently didn't do a very good job, didn't even make a shot list, which wouldn't have been tolerated on Herc or Xena. Most directors do a shot list, they don't bother to storyboard. The contract makes absolutely no reference to how I will direct the film, it's just the deal I've made. I don't even know who I'll be getting to play all of the secondary roles, let alone the creatures, and the practical effects guys are too busy building the full-size alien to make me little ones. Oh, and Lee Majors can't do it.

Josh

Name: John
E-mail: Incusnotman@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

Legit question: Are you an idiot? I only ask this because I read that "Saving Private Ryan"/Spielberg bashfest of yours, and you seem to be quite the idiot.
Please answer promptly, thank you.
:)

Dear John:

I take it you disagree with my review. However, since you seem to be an even bigger idiot than me, you were obviously unable to form your opinions into writing and share them with us. It means nothing to call me an idiot regarding a review, if you disagree say why.

Josh

Name: Sean
E-mail: seanwest@aol.com

Josh,

Are you nervous about going to a new country to direct with a crew you don't know? If not, how do you keep from getting frazzled?

Sean

Dear Sean:

Good question. I do all the prep work that is humanly possible for me to do, like in this case I storyboarded the entire film -- every single shot. Now I have a solid plan for every scene, I know which effects are CGI and which are practical, and which are both, and I have a very specific, strong sense of what's needed in every scene. I then got my storyboards to everybody in the crew (that's been hired) about a month ago, so nobody can pretend they don't know what I want. If I know for a fact that I am more prepared than anyone else, and I have a visual schematic that can be understood in any language, I'm ready. And if I'm ready, then I can't get too frazzled. Besides, most of the department heads are American.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I think this might help the person who was doing the project on Sam; you mentioned this one time when asked about why you thought ED was so successful: "I think it's entirely based on Sam's direction, which is somewhat audacious for such a low-budget movie. His sense of camera movement is pretty impressive. Also, the film has a lot more coverage (meaning individual shots) than many higher budget movies." Not an in-depth analysis by any means, but a quote that I still remembered.

Hey best of luck in Bulgaria. (I hear it's loaded with tomatoes.) You may not recall, but back in the dark ages of the previous millenium, when you were doing "Kindred Spirits" and the two "Jack" episodes, there were a lot of us who'd check in daily just to see if you'd posted any update, no matter how small or insignificant, on how shooting was going. Since this is such a different project for you, and can potentially open up so many doors, I know a lot of your fans would appreciate anything you are able to share along the way, even if it's observations on using a foreign crew, or logistical problems, or frustration with network bureaucracy, etc. etc.

And a totally unrelated question - did you ever get into any of Roger Zelazny's work, especially his short stories from the '60's?

Regards,

August

Dear August:

Thanks for the quote. Yes, I will be checking in. I joined AOL again just for this purpose, since they're the only ones that have access numbers all over the world. I'm not sure about the phone jack, electrical outlet situation yet, but I'll deal with that there. And though I can't specifically recall any of Zelazny's stories, I know I've read several in sci-fi collections, in which he is frequently included. Quite honestly, I don't see how this film can open up many doors, other than possibly another film for SciFi.

Josh


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