Q & A    Archive
Page 120

Name: Richard
E-mail: filmfan_1@hotmail.com

Josh,

I was curious as to what you thought of Robert Rodriguez as a director. I recently purchased Once Upon a Time in Mexico (a good, if not great, movie), and loved Johnny Depp's performance above all else. What struck me the most, though, was how smart and ahead of his time Rodriguez seems to be.

He seems to get the fact that you can make a good film for 20 million instead of 100 million if you just use your head and think through the effects, locations, music, etc. and don't just dump 10 million dollars into something when you don't need to. The special features on the DVD really opened my eyes to the possibilities of what you can do with a limited budget. I would hire this guy in a second.

What do you think?

Dear Richard:

I've never sat all the way through any of his movies, they all seemed insipid, badly written, and dull. And without a good script, who gives a shit about good production technique.

Josh

Name: Mark Meekins
E-mail: mark_meekins@excite.com

Dear Josh:

I recently did a film called "Bagman" with Marty Parker as director. I am trying to get in touch with him. I have heard that a movie by the same name is going to be released in August. If you do talk to him or if he happens to see this posting, he can reach me at the email above.

Thank You

Dear Mark:

I don't know Marty Parker, although I did write a story called "Bagman" many years ago, which is posted on this site.

Josh

Name: Sarge
E-mail: del23dtu@excite.com

Hi Josh;

Hope all is going well with you and the movie in Bulgaria. So Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11" won the Palme d'Or, the Cannes Film Festival top prize. One of the interesting things that he said afterwards (not quoting him directly, mind you) was how people (Americans ?)will dismiss this as a French thing. And how this country treated the French after the Iraq war (changing french fries to patriot fries, french toast to freedom toast and other nonsensical crap). Miramax is working on getting this film shown in this country before July 4th. I think this will be the nail in gwb's coffin. But it continues to amaze me that his poll numbers are tied with Kerry's. Don't people have brains? I cannot fathom anyone with an iota of intelligence that can support that scumbag and actually approve of what he is doing. Did you hear he fell off his bike and injured himself? I guess someone forgot to tighten the screws on his training wheels. What do you think of John McCain as his running mate? Or who do YOU think would be a good vice president to run with him? My best to you, Bruce and Renee.

Dear Sarge:

I suggest Bob Graham as Kerry's running mate, because whoever takes Florida wins. Meanwhile, Renee arrived on the set today for the first time (she starts shooting tomorrow), in her space suit, and she looks terrific. It was wonderful seeing her again after 3 years. Five days of shooting down. Bruce is great.

Josh

Name: Adam
E-mail: AquaShark13@aol.com

Dear Josh,

First off I want to thank you for how quickly you responded to my question. I wrote to Bruce Campbell at both bruce@bruce-campbell.com and bcact@aol.com about three weeks ago and haven't received a response. So thank you for the valuable information (still though, what about final draft).

I was wondering to what extent, if at all, you feel that knowing Bruce and Sam have helped you to be successful in the filmmaking industry. Successful being gainfully employed in doing what you love. It's a question about connections. I, for one, would have never found your web site if it weren't for Bruce's book and web site. I'm probably not alone in this. Do you feel that having Bruce and Sam in you movies, and working on Evil Dead have opened doors for you? If so, where do you think you'd be if it hadn't been for them?

I ask this because, my cousin is Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black, Get Shorty). I hope that one day (after college and film school) that he'll help me to get a job in the industry. I'm fully aware though, that it would only help me to get my foot in the door, after that, I prove myself. If (biggest if ever) I make a film, I don't want it to be labeled "Blah Blah Blah" by, the cousin of Barry. I think you know what I mean.

So how do you feel connections work in Hollywood, and how do you feel, if at all, they've helped you?

Thanks again,
Adam

Dear Adam:

Connections certainly don't hurt. Without them I'm absolutely certain no one would even have read the script for "Lost in Translation," let alone financed it, or given her an Oscar, for Christ sake. I wouldn't have gotten the picture I'm shooting if Bruce hadn't agreed to be in it (his first 4 days of footage are just great, BTW). I did help Sam quite a lot in getting the first ED made, though, so it wasn't like I was just asking for favors. I daresay, were I not there that film might not have gotten finished. However, knowing Sam, he would have ultimately completed it one way or another. But knowing Sam and Rob Tapert, his partner, got me on Herc and Xena. But, having done good work is what got me to stay on those shows, and the fact that Lucy liked me, too. So it's a combination of who you know and what you know. Being Barry Sonnenfeld's cousin won't hurt, but should he give you a leg up, you'd better know what you're doing when opportunity knocks. Good luck.

Josh

Name: Valen Farcas
E-mail: snipermyass@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I just wanted to say that when I started reading you articel te thought of a "another religion hater that probebly doesnt know jack shit about what hes talking".
About half way down the article I began to realize that I was wrong, 180 degrees wrong. When I was done reading I thought to myself "This man is go" but that basicly is idiotic to think that kind of shit after you read such an awesome piece of writing if I may say so. Anyway, after reading I saw that you are not like those kind of people that talk trash about a subject - religion in this case - and dont know anything about it, you obviously know what your talking about. I for one, always thought that religion is a load of bullshit, it just doesnt fall in place. Though after I read your piece the whole idea of religion became very clear to me after 16 years of it being extremly vague. I will end this comment by saying that I enjoied reading this, and you sorta enlightend me. Thank you Josh Becker. Iwill be happy if you reply to my email with anything. Good day.

Dear Valen:

I'm pleased that you enjoyed the essay, and perhaps got something out of it. As a writer, that's what I'm always trying to do. And hell, anyone that doesn't start off with "You're an asshole," is okay with me.

Josh

Name: Gregg Gale
E-mail: gegale@comcast.net

Dear Josh:

I couldn't agree more! Your commentary is right on the money. I am constantly appalled and amazed by the fact that intelligent people buy into religion. Mother Nature is a goddess, and is the only diety I worship. I want to start a "church" whose religion is the assumption of total equality, respect and tolerance (the celebration of individuality}. Let me know what you think of the idea and whether you'd like to be involved. We're not alone. -Gregg

Dear Gregg:

I agree with your concept, but I don't like any kind of organized religion. They all start off with good intentions, just like labor unions, then quickly become mafias, wanting to kill anyone who disagrees. I don't think nature or consciousness is a mother or a father; it's beyond our meager human comprehension, and all attempts at naming and codifying it are childish.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

<<It's most certainly better than "Spaceballs," I'll give you that, but "Young Frankenstein," which you didn't mention, is FAR superior. Even "High Anxiety," which is very good, is a better film.>>
I thought about Young Frankenstein before I wrote that, I even have it in my collection, but my subject was Mel's original stories, not spoofs... and for some sad reason I just don't find Young Frankenstein funny anymore (its funnier to mention parts from it than to actually watch them). As for High Anxiety, I didn't grow up with Hitchcock, I missed out, so it didn't seem very funny to me. Perhaps one day I'll sit down and watch all his movies... I liked Psycho the first time around but after that once Norman put Janet Leigh's car in the swamp it got boring... I literally fall asleep and only wake up when Vera Miles finds mother because of the loud music. They should've just cut out Martin Balsam... hell, put him in Clue or something (I liked him in the wretched Silence of the Hams). I was kind of horrified to learn Hitchcock didn't care if the acting was good, he was going to get the shocks with camera angles and music (that sounds creepily like todays dumbass directors... but Hitchcock must've done it best). I have probably watched more movies than you and sadly, most of them weren't very good. I've been buying movies off your list though, they're good selections, I just bought Lawrence of Arabia (hehehe Sean Astin actually compared The Two Towers to Lawrence of Arabia.... Two Towers sucked... people don't like Lord of the Rings, they like parts of lotr. I can sit through bad acting and bad storytelling, but the two towers shown in theaters wasn't even consistent with that, people sat through it cause of Gollum and Helm's Deep, those were the only two things properly set up in that movie. The REAL movie, which was close to four hours was much better, but it still didn't change Elijah Woods two expression acting or the fact that this is a 4 hour middle of a movie... but at least it was set up better.) Also, I just mentioned Clue cause I thought that was cool how they had three different endings for that movie... and if you go back and check, all the characters ARE properly set up for all three endings, you wouldn't get that in today's comedy. I like Tim Curry and Michael McKean's slaptick routing, but the rest is just okay. I guess comedy is just a matter of opinion. I did like Young Frankenstein though.

Dear kdn:

You've watched more movies than me? With all due respect, I kinda fuckin' doubt it. I'm just about at 4,000 films, and I've kept a list, too (nobody can say I've wasted my life). How many movies have you seen?

Josh

Name: Gavin
E-mail: gavin_1@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Why are you such an asshole? Seriously? You've got this tone like your the best director/writer in the world, but your work sucks. You suck. Why do you suck?

Dear Gavin:

Honestly, I really don't have that tone in the slightest, it's entirely you reading it in what I say. I have never intimated nor even insinuated that I'm a great filmmaker. As a film watcher, however, I do think I have rather refined taste, and there's a huge difference. I think you need to pay more attention.

Josh

Name: Sofia
E-mail: sofia.stenroos@aland.net

Hi Josh :)

I just saw the picture of Ted´s brother and I was just wondering if you have any photographs of Andrea or Sander, the other siblings? Or maby some photo of Ted when he was a kid...???
Spank You!

Dear Sofia:

Hey, I'm in Sofia right now. I mean, in Bulgaria. Sorry, no, I don't have any pictures of Andrea, nor of Sander, who died when he was 16 (Andrea's son is also named Sander, which is a tribute in Judaism). Andrea was my older sister's best buddy in high school. The two of them were the neighborhood's top hell-raisers.

Josh

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

Hallo Josh.

You know what i like from you...with all the work you have down there in Bulgaria,you never forget you Q+A What i, can't say about other directors,big name or not, you are great.George

Dear George:

Thanks, although it has more to do with getting old and not being able to sleep as long as I'd like than anything else. Also, I must admit, that I enjoy it. Meanwhile, the Bulgarians are busily building an eight-lane highway to Greece, ostensibly for the Olympics, that is nowhere near close to being finished. Still, eventually they'll have a nice big route to Greece, and another to Turkey, which will allow tourists to get to places no one has gone in about 75 years.

Josh

Name: Adam
E-mail: AquaShark13@aol.com

Dear Josh,

I just finished writing a 97-page treatment for a short story I wrote for school. I made sure to follow all of your structure guidelines so it has the three defined acts, theme, etc.

No, I'm not going to ask you to read it.

But I'm going to USC film school's summer program this summer, before I start college, and I want to have something to show the professors to get the most out of my time there. I want to start writing a script for my story. My question to you is: are there any books that you recommend on screenwriting? Also, are the programs like Final Draft all they're cracked up to be, in formatting and such?

Thanks very much,
Adam

Dear Adam:

If you intend to be a screenwriter you ought to read all of the books and decide what's important you and use it, then ignore the rest. I got the most out of Lajos Egri's "The Art of Dramatic Writing," which wasn't much fun to read. Robert McKee and Syd Field have their points, too, although they state many things as hard-fast rules that simply aren't, their choices. But for me the most important guidebook on screenwriting was watching "The Bridge on the River Kwai" over and over again -- everything you need to know about screenwriting is in that film, and as hard as you and I try in our lives we'll probably never write a script that good. It gave me great joy that the blacklisted writers, Michael Wilson and Carl Foreman finally got their names put on the film when it was released on video. The Oscar they won for it was taken by Pierre Boulle, author of the book, and never given back.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

I just watched CLUE and LIFE STINKS the other night, they weren't perfect but they made me laugh my ass off. I think LIFE STINKS comes in third after THE PRODUCERS and BLAZING SADDLES, otherwise I could care less about Mel Brooks other movie spoofs. I think he's better when he tries to be original, BLAZING SADDLES didn't actually starts out as a movie spoof, it had a good plot first. that and LIFE STINKS had a lot of gags that had me falling on the floor laughing. CLUE was also the only movie where I thought Michael McKean was funny.

Dear kdn:

Well, there's no accounting for taste. I found "Clue" to be as miserable and unfunny of a "comedy" as I've ever had the misfortune to sit through. And as for "Life Stinks," well, Mel should NEVER star in his own films (or anyone else's, for that matter). It's most certainly better than "Spaceballs," I'll give you that, but "Young Frankenstein," which you didn't mention, is FAR superior. Even "High Anxiety," which is very good, is a better film.

Josh

Name: Amber
E-mail: amberhanson1984@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I just wanted to say that I find it a great comfot that someone other than I got scared during Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein. Thank you for not making me feel so alone and ashamed.

Dear Amber:

LOL. I must confess that I've never felt ashamed, I was just surprised years later, when I saw the film again, that it was a comedy. But being a little kid and seeing every Universal monster after the obviously nice and friendly A&C seemed terrifying. It's far and away their best film, too. The gag when every monster is after them, Abbott is lit on fire, Costello grabs a tablecloth from a table stacked high with stuff, yanks it and everything stays on the table, then he looks momentarily impressed with himself is a great moment of comedy. All in all, though, A&C are not my favorite comedians.

Josh

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

Howdy, Josh.

Good luck on the shoot, I hope all is going well. hopefully, you'll come back with a Bulgarian adventure or two to write about. Any hot girls over there, or are they weird looking? They don't sell mail order brides, do they? Rates?

Another quick question for you. When you get paid as a director on a show like ALIEN APOCALYPSE, do you get a weekly salary for the duration of the shoot, or do they just give you a lump sum at the begining and/or end of shooting?

Thanks Josh, I can't wait to see the film when it airs.


Your friend,
Bird

Dear Bird:

There are astounding babes here. There seems to be an 8, 9 or 10 on every street corner. The girl in the babe part of this film, Rossi, is rather incredible, like super-model material. And they're friendly, too, at least some of them. I haven't had so many women just outright smile at me in my life. meanwhile, I got my first director and writer payments before I left, and I get the remainder when I get home.

Josh

Name: Daniel
E-mail: danieljamesfox@yahoo.ca

Dear Josh:

Hi there! In all the stuff I've read about directors I don't recall ever seeing their process on designing a shot. I don't necessarily mean fx shots, just your regular two-person dialogue stuff. Assuming this is a movie, so you have a bit of time to work things out for yourself as opposed to tv, do you have some sort of mental checklist you go through in working out the shots for a scene? Or is putting together a group of shots too much of an instinctual thing to be discussed and analyzed?

Do you usually look for input from your actors? Especially now that you're working such a tight shooting schedule, how much do you tweak during the old block, light, rehearse, shoot routine? Are you flexible with your shot list or do you listen, nod, and then make Campbell cry?

And remember, fanboys always want some boobs in their sci-fi. I'm guessing Ms. O'Connor is too much of a class act, so tell Campbell we want to see some skin! Man-boobs, woman-boobs, whatever...

Good luck on your shoot!

Dear Daniel:

Whoa, dude, this is for American TV. I was already informed, "No swearing, no sex or nudity, but violence, violence, violence." And we wonder why American youth is so fucked up? Meanwhile, I storyboarded the entire film over a month before I got here, then I broke the boards down into a shot list, which is what we're all working from. I stick to that about 95% of the time. Bruce Campbell is really the ultimate pro and needs very little direction from me, other than blocking. As for the other actors (excluding Renee, who is also a consummate pro, but hasn't arrived yet), if I had the time I'd kick their asses and make them do 20 takes until I got what I wanted, but alas, I don't have time, so I take what I can get quickly.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I'm really impressed at something you said about shooting yesterday: you had a back-up scene ready to shoot, just in case. I keep thinking of that film "Lost in LaMancha," where Terry Gilliam gets utterly frazzled, just because it rains and the terrain changes and becomes muddy on his first day of shooting. I suspect that little practical things like that are rarely taught in film-making schools, or thought of by flashy music video directors.

In case you're interested, the review of your ass is at http://www.badmovieplanet.com/unknownmovies/reviews/rev360.html - although actually the reviewer liked your improv comic stuff: "There are some amusing blink-and-you'll-miss-it gags, such as when a boyfriend heading to his screaming girlfriend takes a lightning-quick swig of his beer while running to the rescue."

Anyway, glad everything is going well so far. Any chance you'll spill who's playing the ex-President?

Regards,

August

Dear August:

I could have told you yesterday, but forgot -- it's 4:30 AM right now and I get picked up in an hour, so my brain isn't completely screwed on straight just yet. The president will be played by the ubiquitous character actor, Peter Jason, who has appeared in many of this company's films. The guy's been in eight million movies and TV shows and I'm sure he'll be good. As a little note, I came in three hours early yesterday, but this was mainly due to being at a distant location where I could only shoot what was scheduled. I did sneak one extra shot, but that's all I could do. I've brought up the Terry Gilliam documentary a number of times since I've been here as a perfect example of crazy film executive thinking -- it rains like it's the end of the world, the lead actor is so ill he can't ride a horse (and will very shortly die), so what's the answer? Fire the 1st AD (who was clearly a pro). The logic is something like, "That 1st AD should have should have made a better plan with God, so fire his sorry ass." Also, the film shows very clearly that Gilliam is simply not very good at production. As soon as it was apparent that the French actor was ill, they should have begun hiring another actor, and let's face it, most any actor in the world would have taken the part to work with Gilliam. But when the bonder, meaning the rep of the insurance company arrives on set and asks what they intend to do, and Gilliam replies, "I don't know," I would have shut his production down myself right there. If you're good at production you always have an alternate plan. End of story.

Josh

Name: Jean
E-mail:

Hi Josh!

Long time no email from me. I am so excited to hear that you are shooting another film. I hope everything is going well and I can’t wait to see your new kick-ass flick! It’s a bummer that the smokes in Bulgaria suck. But at least you can smoke wherever the hell you want. They just banned smoking on the beach in Malibu which pretty much screws up going to the beach for me. I usually go to Malibu every Sunday in the summer to sit on the beach, read, swim and smoke. No can do in Malibu now. I just got back from a weekend in Vegas with some old friends. It felt great to smoke anywhere I wanted and all of my friends who went on the trip are smokers. It was very liberating since I’m always around a bunch of L.A. assholes who practically burn me at the stake when I light up.

I saw “Super Size Me” a few weeks ago and enjoyed it for the most part. Have you seen it yet? I thought it was a very interesting commentary on the obesity problem in America. I thought that the filmmaker could have looked at some of the problems a little more seriously and his experiment of eating McDonald’s 3 times a day for 30 days was a bit unrealistic.
But still very compelling.

Best wishes for you and your new film!

Jean

Dear Jean:

Thanks, and welcome back. It sounds like an interesting documentary, with a funny approach, on a real subject. I'd like to see it. I've just been watching Turner Classic Movies from France, with the same movies over and over again, with French commercials in between the letterboxed films. Right now they're showing the silliest goddamn phony epics from the '50s, like "The Silver Chalice" and "Helen of Troy." But I did watch "East of Eden" again and it's really a great film.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Congratulations, and welcome back from your first day of shooting!

So c'mon, tell - who's playing your other lead? Is this the ex-President character?

And do pass along the fan world's best to Gary Jones - he did some of the better Xena episodes in the second season, and I gotta say, those mutant mosquitos in the movie of the same name were awfully well done, especially for the budget he must have been working with. (Did you know there is some movie review site that mentions your scene as the funniest thing in the film?)

Regards,

August

Dear August:

Most of my footage got cut out of "Mosquito." Still nice to know that going to the trouble of baring my ass in a movie made someone laugh. We started two and a half hours late due to it being the first day with a new crew, a lot of actors with numerous fake beards and many props. I got every thing scheduled, plus another scene I had them put in reserve that was actually scheduled for Day #7, and I wrapped an hour early. And we all had fun, I'd say. It could all go to hell in a handcar tomorrow, but it was a good first day, thank you very much.

Josh

Name: Gwen
E-mail: deadgirldown@yahoo.com

Hi Josh!

I just wanted to thank you for your series of essays on structure. I had read several of Syd Field's books and found them only slightly helpful in terms of practical application. (so...many...RULES!) You elucidated some concepts I was really having trouble with. It all makes sense to me now, and writing is fun again because of you. Huzzah!
Kisses,
Gwen

Dear Gwen:

Well, bless your soul. I'm very pleased and I hope you write great stories or scripts. Good luck.

Josh

Name: Cath
E-mail: mscl@ix.netcom.com

Dear Josh:

Best wishes to you and your cast and crew as fliming on "Alien Apocalypse" begins. I'm a fan of both Renee O'Connor and Bruce Campbell and look forward to seeing them in this film when it airs.

A few questions:

When/if you have a relatively high level of control as a director (ideal conditions), how much preparation do you expect from your actors and crew before filming begins? What do they (and you) do to prepare?

How much rehearsal and preparation time have you had with your actors on "Alien Apocalypse", if any yet?

Thank you.

-Cath

Dear Cath:

Thanks for the nice wishes. Regarding rehearsal, there's none, this is TV. Bruce got here a few days ago to make sure his wardrobe fit properly -- because he's veteran and knows what's important -- one of my other lead actors arrived today and shoots tomorrow, Renee doesn't arrive for another week, and begins shooting the next day. The crew, meanwhile, has been prepping like mad for the past three weeks, which is pretty minimal for a film this size, but I think we'll be okay. I've got a lot very experienced department heads, like George Costello, the production designer, whose first film was "Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill," 40 years ago. Gary Jones, my good buddy, who has done the FX for three of my features, designed the alien and built the full-size practical version, which is pretty damn cool, I must say. I think the CGI should be pretty good, too. We'll see how it all comes very soon.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail:

Josh,

What did you think of Chinatown, and Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes? I caught them both this weekend, and enjoyed them immensely. I have seen Chinatown many times before, but it gets better every time I see it. Upon watching it, I pondered the sad realization that if Chinatown were made today, it would probably Star Ashton Kutcher, Paris Hilton, and be directed by Brett Ratner. God I hate hollywood! How is Alien Apocolypse coming?

Dear Scott:

Like you said, "Chinatown" just gets better and better with every viewing. It really hasn't got a single thing wrong with it: great cast, brilliant script, excellent direction, beautiful photography, one of the great Jerry Goldsmith's best scores, and a slam-bang ending -- what else could you possibly ask for? "The Lady Vanishes" is Hitchcock at his early best, it's snappy and surprising, and very easy to watch. Regarding "Alien Apocalypse," we start shooting in 24 hours. Ready or not, here we come.

Josh

Name: Calvin Gray
E-mail:
Dear Josh: JB,

To answer Joe's question, I believe quite recently you mentioned the movie Tape. It was a stageplay adapted for the screen by its author, Stephen Belber, and directed by Richard Linklater. As you yourself stated, the result was that the story itself was good, "but the direction was the worst part about it."

- CG
Dear Calvin:

Good show. I knew there were examples, and "Tape" is an excellent one, thank you. It has a good script, a terrific cast, and the direction is downright amateurish. However, because the script and cast are so good, it overcame the crappy direction.

Josh

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

Josh,

If anyone believes that Nick Berg died because of abuse to Iraqi prisoners, they have a mental disorder. They were looking for an excuse, and they chose a bad one.

If it weren't for the liberal bandwagon, the prisoner abuses would have died down and been dealt with, just like they have been over the last year. Just because there are pictures now doesn't mean that it just started. And I don't believe that being naked is equal to getting your head cut off.

Ben

Dear Ben:

Berg's beheading was in direct response to the prisoner abuses, and let's face it, the guy had no military value. Given that, would they have grabbed that guy otherwise? Probably not. And the abuses are a lot worse than stripping people naked. This whole "softening up" policy is minimally immoral, probably illegal, and it came directly from Rumsfeld, which means Bush was aware of it from the outset. Not to mention the 600 or so prisoners at Gitmo that are not being granted the most basic human rights. Bush is moving up there with other notable human rights abusers, like Stalin, Hitler, and Mao.

Josh

Name: Joe
E-mail: joemurphy.1@email.com

Dear Josh:

Your most common complaint about movies is the poor script. I'm just wondering if you have ever seen a movie in which you thought the screenplay was good, but movie was bad for other reasons like bad acting, photograpghy, etc. Basically, have you ever seen a movie and wondered how they could ruin such a good script?

Dear Joe:

That's a good question. I'm sure there must be an example, but I can't think of one. I'll keep thinking about it.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Sorry to hear you're down with a cold, and that Bulgarian cigs aren't so hot. Are American brands even available? Or do they cost an arm and a leg? And...ummm.... what's the prevalent attitude towards...ummm..... other types of smoking?

So I'm curious, and intrigued, about the whole "America-as-police-state" thing. What's your impression in general of Bulgaria (from your whopping 2 weeks there?) Can people generally get around with out running afoul of the authorities? (Like for having a burnt-out tail light, or having an open container or something.) And do people seem to worry about crime much?

Oh, and how's the casting process coming along? Have you found any ex-patriate Americans or British actors? Or anygood bil-lingual Bulgarians?

Thanks,

August

Dear August:

Everyone seems to smoke the Bulgarian brand of cigs, Victory, which are certainly the best of the local brands. I tried some Swiss cigs, Davidoffs, but I didn't like those, either. I brought a lot of American Spirit tobacco, so I'm just rolling my own, like I do at home. I'll intentionally ignore the other part of that question for now. I have cast a few ex-pat Americans, but mostly English-speaking Bulgarians that I'll simply loop later. Regarding the authorities, in your car they seem to pull people over all the time for no damn reason, and I've been in a car when it's been pulled over twice already. Today it was because the plates expire in 20 days, which in my mind means they're still good. Another time it was for speeding, and a quick bribe got us out fast. Otherwise, though, it seems much freer than the U.S. Everybody smokes, and you can smoke any damn place you want. You can also park anywhere, including on the sidewalk. Someone runs a business out of their garage in this building. There are many stores that only have a little basement window at street level, so you must get down on your hands and knees to buy things. And the crew is very good. I like it. I start shooting the day after tomorrow.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

True, I do tend to over analyse the concepts concerning the characters and the story. Although I also look at the characters each as a metaphor for human nature and the world complexities complexities. Therefore the story ultimately has to support this metaphor. The story drives the characters and in turn the characters drive the story. Also as an artistic notes, this notion of underling connections to enhance the story and draw out the personalities of the characters appeals to me.

Dear Michael:

I agree with everything you say, and I like stories with that kind of subtext, but never forget it's still got to be a good story. As Joe LoDuca, the composer of every score for everything film and TV show I've ever made (who will do this one, too), once said, and I paraphrase, you can have a 100-piece symphony orchestra, a 20-piece ethnic accompaniment, and the world's greatest violinist, but it's still all about having a good tune.

Josh

Name: John Rambo
E-mail: thisisjohnrambo@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

How's it going? I hope everything is going well with your film in Bulgaria. Is it a coincidence that the Xena theme song is in Bulgarian or am I mistaken? Anyway just a thought. Well, I was also wondering if Bruce Campbell will play the Spartacus-like character in your film or will Renee? Since you originally wrote Renee's part for Lucy did you envision her as a female Spartacus character leading the slave revolt against the aliens? Anyway I think your film is very interesting and will be very hot (with either Renee or Lucy they are both very beautiful and extremely hot).

Also, I think Roger Moore was a good Bond but most of his films were pretty different from the novels. He did have a lot of humor though which I thought was cool. I thought George Lazenby was good as well but I guess he was not as well-received. Well, it is very difficult to follow Sean Connery successfully (a lot of people say regardless of who starred in OHMSS they would not have gotten a good reception if they weren't Sean). I personally like the literary character a lot and there was an artist who used to draw comics from the novels before the films began and coincidently the way he drew Bond looked a lot like Sean Connery.

Also, good to see you're getting along with wizardbard (Warren) around here. You know wizardbard and I are old friends lol. I heard he wanted to try out for the Teasle part from the novel First Blood (Teasle is a much more sympathetic character in the novel than the film).

Thanks,

John

Dear John:

I like Ian Fleming's character James Bond, but none of the movies have the slightest thing to do with it. Bond is supposed to be scary-looking, with a scar on his face, and dead, grey eyes that frighten people. That's because he's a killer, thus his 00-rating, not some suave, joking playboy. Sean Connery is by far the best actor/movie star to play the part, but honestly, none of the movies do the books justice.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Hey Josh,i have see on TV about the film festival of Cannes,and this Q.Tarantoula...oh pardon, Tarantino, what he say?? he is the president from Cannes??No!no!he say.... he is the king of fools?now serious,maybe Richard and Royler are young ,and don't have seen movies from the 1971,72,73,74,75 from the martial arts with Bruce Lee,David Schiang,Ti Lung and Wang Yu.Beware of the smoke from Bulgaria,they have bad quality.George

Dear George:

If you're referring to Bulgarian cigarettes, I completely agree, they're shit and have destroyed my throat. The air quality in Sofia ain't great, either, but then, I lived in L.A. for 20 years, so what do I know.

Josh

Name: Drew Daniels
E-mail: drew@drewdaniels.com

Dear Josh:

1. Will If I Had A Hammer be available on DVD?
2. How are you?

-Drew

Dear Drew:

Sadly, there are no deals pending for the DVD distribution of the film, or of any other sort, either. That's probably because I think it's my best movie (and you're good in it). Meanwhile, I'm in Bulgaria making a TV movie for SciFi Channel, and we start shooting in three days. I have a cold and can barely speak, but otherwise I'm great, thank you very much.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

I was just curious to know how your characters are set up in your screenplays? More so, how they contrast to each other and, according to the situation, their mentality is effeted.
Personally I find it best that each character has a quality in him that may help the movie pervail, yet at the same time a quality that makes him an opposition to another person in the group. Thus character tension is created without solely establishing characters who are good or evil.
With horror, I usually start the characters on the same basis. However the film may open. Then as the script progresses the characters start to define themselves.
Every event in the script should serve a purpose, say something, or help the story progress. If not it's arbitrary and ultimately a waste of time. I think that's a problem with a lot of writers. They seem to find it nessesary to include scenes that may set up the setting, yet the setting may serve no purpose to the story.

Dear Michael:

I agree with your conclusion, but I fear you're over-analyzing stories. If it's a good story, and you can tell it out loud to people and keep their attention, then it's worth writing. All the rest of this analysis won't get you very much in the long-run, just tell good stories.

Josh

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

Josh,

How's it to be a smoker in Bulgaria? Is Europe in general alot more relaxed about it than the US? I just read a ridiculous article about how some in congress are trying to pass a bill that would keep smoking out of the movies. I guess they want a harsher rating if the movie has smoking in it. "Why is it OK to modify it for nudity, for language, but it's not OK to modify it for tobacco -- the No. 1 preventable, easily preventable, health problem we have in this country?" asked Sen. John Ensign, a Nevada Republican. Aren't there more important things for our representatives to be doing? I find it hard to believe that smoking in the movies is really an issue of great national concern at this moment. And then there's the jackasses across the globe cutting peoples heads off in the name of god. It makes me wonder what the hell we're all doing here, it fucking disgusts me.

Jim

Dear Jim:

A very bright kid on the film crew here spent two months in the U.S. and said, "It felt like a police state to me." When you try to accomodate everyone, like non-smokers, kids, pedestrians, you end up oppressing others. Meanwhile, almost everyone smokes here, you can smoke anywhere you want, cigarettes are about 50 cents a pack, and it's just lovely. A freer society is a better society, no question about it. If I spoke Bulgarian, and Bush wins again, I'd move here.

Josh

Name: chris mccasland
E-mail: chrismccasland@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I agree with you completely. Religion is the root of all evil. And we thought the Christians were dangerous! Next to these rabid dogs, the Muslims, Christians come off as just the whiny obnoxious pussies they are.

Dear chris:

Fundamentalists of every persuasion are equally as awful and evil. A right-wing Born-again Christian is no better than a radical Muslim or an Orthodox Jew -- it's their I'm-right-and-you're-wrong attitude that causes 99% of the hatred and violence in the world. Fuck them all in the ass with a phone pole!

Josh

Name: Richard
E-mail: filmfan_1@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Regarding your statement below, don't you think you're being a little close minded??? Even amateur filmmakers get better with time. Is it so hard to believe that you might like one of QT's films now or in the future?

What if Spiderman was the first film Sam ever made? Would you feel the same way and never give him a chance again?

"Quentin Tarantino is a talentless, pretentious hack. End of story. I wouldn't see "Kill Bill" one or two if they gave away $100 bills and blow jobs at the box office."

Dear Richard:

I've paid money three times to see QT's movies, hated all three, and would happily have put money through a paper-shredder instead. How many times does one have to get burned before learning their lesson? And now he's making four-hour revenge films, the worst story motivation of them all, and trying to prove he's equal to a bad Hong Kong director, and I'm going to go see that? Get real.

Josh

Name: Royler
E-mail: Royler20@aol.com

Becker, what the fuck? Another visit to your board and it's the same old song: Movies are horrible. No one can do it right. Everything is a retread. (Insert Movie Here) was inept, directionless, and helmed by jackasses.

Do you not notice the spectacular hypocrisy in bemoaning the state of film when you're making some pablum called "Alien Apocalypse"? What the fuck is THIS little gem going to contribute to the industry? You > can't stand remakes but you're recycling the most beaten-down plot in genre history? Tarantino is a "talentless hack"? Then what the Hell does that make the "auteur" of an alien snuff flick for cable television?

This "Do As I Say, Not As I Direct" attitude would be laughable if it weren't indicative of severe psychological damage. The fact that the man responsible for the cardboard cutouts you call "people" in "Running Time" has ANYTHING to say about anyone's writing ability is mind-boggling. Dismount the high horse and write something people would give a shit about before complaining.

Dear shit-for-brains:

I put up all of my own money, plus $100,000 on credit cards, to make "If I Had a Hammer," a film I truly believe in that has never been made before (good or bad), which is exactly what you're saying I should do. I already did it, motherfucker, what have you done?

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Well, its finally happened... our soldiers abused some iraqi soldiers on video and now they're cutting heads off. What kind of sick bastard makes iraqi pows have sex with each other on camera? oh but Scott McClellan says "This shows the true nature of the enemies of freedom. They have no regard for the lives of innocent men, women, or children." yeah like our soldiers weren't abusing them too.

Dear kevindn:

The only true bad guys of this piece are the Americans -- we shouldn't be there in the first place, Rumsfeld's policy of "softening up" prisoners is inhumane and against international law, and minimally the commander of that prison should be court-martialed, although since it's a policy decision, Rumsfeld should be shit-canned. Is it really important for Americans to be the biggest fucking assholes in the entire world? Well, that's what we are now, due to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their evil gang. Everyone out there, and everyone that you can speak to, MUST NOT VOTE FOR BUSH in November. John Kerry may not be the greatest, strongest candidate in the world, but he's a million times better than Bush, and America and the world cannot stand four more years of pure evil. Even you fundamentalist Christians have to listen to this. BUSH IS BAD FOR THE WHOLE WORLD!

Josh

Name: Raoul
E-mail: pharris@lear.com

Josh-

Hope things are going well on your latest film. Do you know if any of your features has ever played at theatres in Bulgaria? Are the cinemas there all showing American movies, or is there a viable Bulgarian film industry? ( Or do they just show European films?)

Dear Raoul:

There really aren't many Bulgarian films that I know of. They mainly show American and European films. The cinema around the corner, with six screens, has 4 U.S. films, a Russian film, and a Swedish film.

Josh

Name: Joe
E-mail: Moore

Dear Josh:

I read your essay about Bush being an incompetent liar. Bravo! You mention a website that lists his 250+ lies. Do you have the Web address?

Thanks and Best of luck

Dear Joe:

There's a link to it in the essay. And as far as who is to blame for the abuses in the Iraqi prison, obviously it's George W. Bush, because we had absolutely no reason to attack Iraq or get into a war with them, so our being there is his stupid, goddamn fault and everything that happens there is his fault, too.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Which is worse: a film that is all action or a film that has very little action but whose idea of drama is having the characters talk in a slow whisper occasionally shouting out monolouges?

Dear Michael:

You're asking pretty silly questions lately. Try harder.

Josh

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

Dear Josh.

I read about you answere to Kevin,and i think, i understand what you mean.We people out from film making, because we go to cinema we think we know many things about movies, but when i read this q+a to you ,and from you, then i understand.... we are far away from reality,We are in the (dark side of the moon)but for one thing you can be soure ,i go better to see one old Bruce Lee movie as KILL BILL:George

Dear George:

Quentin Tarantino is a talentless, pretentious hack. End of story. I wouldn't see "Kill Bill" one or two if they gave away $100 bills and blow jobs at the box office.

Josh

Name: sarge
E-mail: del23dtu@excite.com

Dear Josh:

How's it going in Bulgaria Josh? Hope all is well with you and the cast and crew. You probably heard that Michael Moore's film, "Fahrenheit 9/11" will not be distributed by that gutless, waste of a life coward, Michael Eisner because he is afraid of jeb bush. If this happened to you, where you had a deal with a distributor and they backed out at the last minute because of political "persuasion", what would you do? I think this film is crucial to be seen before the election (which Disney doesn't want). And on a personal note, I am looking forward to seeing your film "Alien Apocalypse". Not only are you a genius in terms of politics, but you truly are a gifted director, as was evidenced on Xena.

Dear Sarge:

Thanks for the nice compliments, but I think we all have a tendency to misuse the term genius these days. Orson Welles and Stanley Kubrick may have been geniuses, certainly Albert Einstein or Rembrandt, but I'm at best competent. We'll see how I fair under these circumstances, with 18 days to shoot a film that minimally needs 24 days, and a mainly Bulgarian cast that will have to be entirely looped. Hopefully it will turn all right. I have been running my own poll here, asking as flatly as I can, "So, what do you think of George Bush?" and the answer has been exclusively, "What an asshole!" Every European I've spoken with is entirely against the war in Iraq. I'm just glad they're all not holding it against me. Also, there isn't anyone here that thinks the USA is the "land of the free" anymore. One bright PA on the film said that when he visited the US it felt like a police state to him. Regarding Michael Moore, I can't understand why he'd make a film for Disney, who are renowned as fascist assholes. Orson Welles tried to make a film for a Walt, couldn't stand him, and forever referred to him as "that fucking Nazi." I do hope Moore gets his film released before the election since he's one of the few voices of sanity left in America.

Josh

Name: Kevin
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

Thanks for answering my questions about Running Time. I'm hoping I get to actually see your movies in the future.

I just got through listening to Dov S-S Simmens lecture on how the movie industry works. It really demistified a lot of things on the subject of marketing your movie in the film industry. And it really is a dog eat dog world out there!

Anyways, how have you been getting your money to fund your projects, or does it all come out of your own pocket? Please don't take this the wrong way, but why ain't you up world-wide in the silver screen yet? If Quentin Tarantino could do it, you could do it Josh, right? All us filmmakers need is just the mula $$. So here's the question, where the heck does one start looking for the big dough? I know, I know...if we all knew that...then everyone would be out there making big budget movies, but I mean c'mon there has gotta be a starting place, other than our own pennyless pockets...right? Dov S-S Simmens teaches us how to be producers. Walk up to your "cash source" and say something to the line of "Hey, I'm a producer. Would you like to fund my project?" and then they ask, "Really? How many projects are you working on?" Then you say, "Oh, many. All in various stages of development" (which is true because all those ideas in your head ARE projects all in various stages of development), and voila! you're a producer. Heh. Well, who the heck do I say that to is what I wanna know! :P

Anyways, nice passings comments, and good luck on your upcoming projects!

Kevin

Dear Kevin:

You have to hit everybody you've ever met for money, then ask them who they know. The very best suckers are your relatives because you can use guilt on them and make them feel like they're holding you back from your destiny if they don't cough green. If you feel that you have too much dignity for this, you'll never get the money to make a movie. You must be ready, able, and willing to crawl through shit. Bruce Campbell guilted his dad into mortgaging their summer cottage for "Evil Dead." I truly came crawling on my knees begging to my mom for TSNKE. I made both Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert feel as guilty as I could make them to get money for "Hammer." Plus, any money I make I put into my own films. Plus, I've charged over $100,000 on credit cards, which is insane, but I got my movie made, and that's what counts. Go for it, what have you got to lose?


And why aren't I as big as QT? Because life ain't fair, that's why.

Josh

Name: Kevin
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

I just read the screenplay for Running Time. I was wanting to hear your own thoughts on that script. You know what they say, your your own critic. ;)

I have a few questions about the script also. First, how long is that movie supposed to be anyways? Next, what is the paradigm three act structure in that script? I mean, when writing, do you think about plot points, mid points, "pinches," to hold your story together (I'm using Syd Field terminology if you are familiar with it... If not, then how do you go about with the "paradigm" three act structure?).

Also, have you ever attempted in doing a feature film and trying to market it at the theatres? i.e. getting a producer (or being your own) to fund a medium to high budget film? I mean... it seems you know people, having worked in the T.V. and Film industry already.

Thanks for answering these questions. My curiousity provides me with questions, and your answers help me to learn.
Thanks Josh.

-Kevin

Dear Kevin:

You really need to see the film to see why it's written the way it is, which is continuous so I could shoot it in real time without cuts. Whether or not you think it's a good script, it does have a very clear three-act structure -- Act I is up to the heist; Act II is the heist; Act III is the getaway. The mid-point is the security guard getting shot. All the rest of that stuff doesn't mean anything to me.

Meanwhile, my first film got an actual theatrical release, with 18 prints in 20 cities. My next two films I four-walled at one theater in LA. The last one hasn't been released at all, except here.

And if I could get someone to put up the money for a mid- to high-budget film, don't you think I would have done it already?

Good luck, and keep asking those questions.

Josh

Name: RonK
E-mail: ronaldk@hotmail.com

Josh,

What did you think of the movie, "Bound"? Did you like the story? The directing style?

Ron

Dear Ron:

I saw it and it went right in one ear and out the other. I don't remember one exceptional aspect of the film, story, direction, acting or anything else.

Josh

Name: Meg
E-mail: Megzen10@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

Ok I know you don't want any script idea's - but what if someone has one that will be the Movie must see? I know the story I have will be a hit but how do I get the idea to someone? It screams M Knight Shaymalan

Dear Meg:

You are a naive little babe in the woods. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "MUST SEE" story idea. Nobody gives the slightest shit about a story idea. If you can't write it into a good script it's NOTHING! And, as a little note, Mr. Shaymalan, like myself, writes his own scripts and truly doesn't need your ideas. Until you can figure out how to write a decent script, honestly, you haven't got anything. Sorry.

Josh

Name: Rich
E-mail: bigrich70@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

Congratulations on Alien Apocalypse.

I'm wondering if you have ever shot "day for night" and if so what type of filters would you recommend?

Best,

Rich

Dear Rich:

Let's hold off on the congrats until you see the film, you might hate it. Anyway, yes, I have shot day for night, and I used a blue filter, stopped down two stops, and made sure the scene were in shadow and not direct sunlight. It looks like night to me, too. It's the scene approaching the Vietnamese village in TSNKE. Also avoid shooting the sky if you can.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

I'm currently writing, producing, editing, and directing a short called the "Everland" it plays out as sort of a Twilight Zone episode in which a down on his luck writer finds himself awoken forty years later, after being shot in a bank, in a society ruled by a dictator ship known as the "International Congress. The Scripts almost completed and I'll post it on Simplyscripts.com, copyrighted of course, to get peoples opinions. My question to you is would I be able to distribute this film to film festivals if I shot on a mini-DV and Digital 8 or would I need to have it blown up to a 16mm format? And on that note as a director just starting out where do you think would be the best place to pitch a screenplay or produce an idie?
BTW if you haven't seen Cube see it. It's a brilliant film. Thanks

Dear Micheal:

I'd say that all film festivals now show films shot on DV, so that's no longer a hindrance. I think many of them still prefer projecting film, but I don't think it's a legitimate issue. As for who to pitch to, or how, you're in the same boat as everyone else, including me, the difficult part is who to pitch to that can actually get a film financed. That's what you've got to figure out, and just asking won't get you an answer. If there were a simple answer then everyone would go pitch their scripts there. Good luck on your quest for Excalibur.

Josh

Name: Keith
E-mail: keithrobinson@krobin.freeisp.co.uk

dear Josh,

Just adding to the sequels debate, I agree that Mad Max 2 (Road Warrior) is one of the few examples of a sequel being far, far better than the original. Love that film!! Whatever happened to Mel Gibsons taste in scripts after that?
Good luck on the new film

Regards
keith

Dear Keith:

I don't know that Mel ever had any taste in scripts, he just lucked out with those first several Australian films because Australia was going through it's own tiny little golden age of cinema -- that is, until all of the good Aussie directors defected to Hollywood and became hacks, just like directors from every other country, like say, Paul Verhoven and John Woo. I think Mel Gibson was very lucky to be cast in the first two Mad Max films, "Gallipoli" and "The Year of Living Dangerously," and then he should have retired because everything he's done since has been drek. And he still can't pull off an American accent, unlike his countrymen, Naomi Watts, Colin Farrell or Nicole Kidman.

Josh

Name: Hockey slut
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

I know you don't want to diss your pals, so if you don't like this question I understand. I read the article on "Spider-Man 2" in Entertainment Weekly, and Sam Raimi is quoted in there as saying that he hoped people leaving the film would say, "I had a blast, I was moved by it, I feel uplifted."

I know Sam must be a smart man, so my question is do you think he is bullshitting because it's part of the job, or does he truly believe that a movie like this is important and capable of "moving" someone?

Thanks, and best of luck with "Alien Apocalypse."

Dear HS:

I have no doubt that Sam is giving the film 100% and his utter best, and since Sam honestly loves Spider-Man, I'll bet he's speaking from his heart. I don't know about anyone else, but I can sincerely vouch for the fact that he really cares about Spider-Man and comic books. This is a story I've told before, but when we were kids, like 15 or 16, Sam dragged me along to a comic book shop (a place I would generally not be caught dead in), and he spent $25 on the plastic bags you put comics into, and $25 was a shitload of money at that time. My jaw hit the floor, I mean, he didn't even get any comic books, just the clear plastic bags. That's a true comic book fan. Whereas I, on the other hand, read a few comics as a little kid, despised them, and quickly moved on to actual books.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

just bought THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE. saw it for the first time. love the world they created. digged the characters... but watching this film is like a crying shame cause its boring. if they weren't going to put any dialogue in the film (which I thought was a good idea) they should've made the action faster. its weird enough to be a cult classic though. oh and the fat dog was the only three dimensional character. at least it gets points for originality. also saw Big Fish... a movie about bullshit... and though slightly entertaining, BARON MUNCHAUSEN did it better. even if you didn't like MUNCHAUSEN it was still a masterpiece compared to BIG FISH.

Dear kdn:

Oh, great! If "Baron Muchhausen" is better than "Big Fish," that sure isn't saying anything for it because BM was a complete disaster. A movie that can managed to not get a single laugh out of Eric Idle, who could undoubtedly read the phone book and gets laughs. And I'm sorry, but if a film is boring, nothing else matters -- if it's a bore, it's crap. If that's what becomes a cult favorite now, then it's a cult of boredom.

Josh

Name: Alice Schultz
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

Just dropping in to say, best hopes the project is moving forward as you'd wish.

I've just seen Inn of the Sixth Happiness on TV. All I demand to know is, how could anybody not have Inn of the Sixth Happiness on his list??

All the best,

Alice

Dear Alice:

"The Inn of the Sixth Happiness" is really an okay picture at best. I mean, Robert Donat as a Chinese man, come on? And there's that incredibly absurd montage of Ingrid Bergman learning Chinese, even though all of the Chinese characters are speaking English, so at the end of the montage she just speaks English, with a Swedish accent, and of course, she's supposed to be British.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

On the notes of sequels: "Dawn of the Dead", "Evil Dead II" (although Army of Darkness, at times was to goofy for my taste, nice one liners though), "Aliens"( if you're into the action genre, and it was just as good as the original except it was an action flick whereas Alien was horror.) Kevin Smith's "Jersey Trilogy" with the exception of "Mallrats and Jersey Girl". Actually "Chasing Amy" and "Dogma" surpassed the directing and narrative of "Clerks".
I do see where your coming from though. It's like the film "Cube" which I think at least is a well crafted film. It worked fine as a film and did not need a sequel, in fact it could actually be downgraded by one. As you know a sequel was made; Cube 2: Hypercube, by all means don't see this cash in exscuse for a sequel. I do agree, the majority of sequels are made for cash (it's evident with the "Star Wars" and "The Matrix" sequels) and a lot of times are reiterations of their predecessors. It depends on the director and writer. Either your a hack, a mediocre entertainer, an average filmmaker, or a brilliant director.
And on the note of video game adaptions. You can take the original premise, ala "Resident Evil", and place a new twist. Flesh out characters and what and recreate the atmosphere of the game.
I know "Resident Evil" was bad but that's simply because of Paul Anderson who can't carry a narrative worth anything. If you have a good direction adaptions like that can work. TV show adaptions are the ones that get to me.

Dear Michael:

I thought "Dogma" was truly unbearbable garbage, as are all of Kevin Smith's films, but "Dogma" was particularly awful. I've never heard of "Cube," I didn't see "Resident Evil," nor do I care.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

How'd the idea of Possessed Henreitta come about in Evil Dead II? Just curious.

Dear Michael:

Beats me, I didn't write the film. Ask Sam Raimi or Scott Spiegel.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Your comment about sequels really got me thinking, especially since it has come up here before. "Godfather II" is an interesting example, since at least half of it (the flashback parts) were in Puzo's original novel anyway, and could conceivably have been in the first movie, if they had an infinite amount of time. Plus Puzo was writing the screenplay along with Coppola for the Vegas stuff in the sequel, giving it at least a little more legitimacy.

And same with "Bride of Frankenstein" - I think it's as good as the original, but goes off into a more baroque direction, picking up a lot of themes from the novel that didn't make it into the first one.

As for other sequels, I think *series* films often have a better one in the middle - like "Goldfinger" and "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (minus Lazenby himself) possibly being better than "Dr. No" (which I guess is a sequel in itself, since it was about the 10th book written.)

Beyond that, I would rank "Road Warrior" as a better film than "Mad Max," "Star Trek II" and 4 better than #1, and "Evil Dead 2" better than the original. Oh, and I thought "Superman 2" was infinitely better than the first one, although both were still silly.

Beyond that, though, I'd be hard pressed to find another. Interesting notion - years ago, when a film did well, the producers simply re-teamed the stars and director for a different film, rather than doing a sequel. Wonder why we rarely see that anymore? (It obviously still works - Nora Ephron, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan made a mint with "You've Got Mail," even though it didn't get very good reviews, just based on the popularity of "Sleepless in Seattle.")

Anyway, good luck with shooting. Freedom! Freedom!
Freedom!

Regards,

August

Dear August:

Excellent examples, and I heartily agree with "Road warrior" being better than the original, as well "The Bride of Frankenstein." Personally, I disagree about "Evil Dead 2," which I think is a better-looking film, but not scary, whereas the first one -- which I had a lot more to do with -- is a much scarier, and therefore a better horror film. Call me a stick-in-the-mud, but I want horror movies to be scary and comedies to be funny, and anything caught in the middle annoys me. Also, I thought George Lazenby made a pretty good Bond (much closer to Ian Fleming's description of him), and far better than Roger Moore.

Josh


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