Q & A    Archive
Page 133

Name: Jeremy Pinkham
E-mail: forms@serapion.com

Dear Josh:

Do you think if you and your childhood circle of filmmaking friends had grown up today with the presence of the Internet, Netflix, and video games, that there's a chance you might not have made the films you made -- that you might have been sucked into brain-numbing cyber-geek fandom rather than producing your own stuff? It seems to me that a lot of the motivation for creativity comes from seeking a means of escape from the boredom of a stultifying environment. Today there are so many ways for kids to shoot electronic fantasy narcotics into their brains 24-hours a day, I wonder what effect it might be having on creativity in general. Now that kids can download more films, music, and videogames off the internet for free than they could possibly watch, play, and listen to in their entire lives, I wonder if this is contributing to a coccooning effect, wherein a kid who formerly might have sought to numb his pain by drawing or writing or making a home movie these days might more likely just sit down and play Grand Theft Auto for 12 hours and be left with nothing at the end of it but a headache. Am I full of it, or what?

Dear Jeremy:

I think that's undoubtedly part of the problem. Another reason may just be our poisoned food supply, with high fructose corn syrup in everything. Something's fucked up, though, because given the growth in the world population, which has doubled in my lifetime, shouldn't there now be two William Wylers, Alfred Hitchcocks, Howard Hawks, John Hustons, etc.? Instead we have none. And given that there are now at least 50 movies showing at the same time all the time on cable, as well as way more old movies being available than were when I was a kid, shouldn't there be a whole bunch of movie geeks running around who have seen as many or more movies than me? Yet there aren't. On average, I think people are less intelligent, less motivated, less creative, and far less ambitious than they used to be. I recently met a 14-year-old kid who is a movie buff, and his parents and my friend all kept saying, "He's so intelligent. He's a genius. And he's seen SO MANY movies it's incredible." So I spoke with him for about an hour, and he really is a movie buff, except he's seen almost nothing. He hadn't even heard of Humphrey Bogart. I said, "I'm sorry, but you can't be a movie geek and not know who Humphrey Bogart was." The bottom-line is, when I was 14 I was a million miles ahead of that kid as a movie fan. He's not that intelligent, he's nowhere close to being a genius, and I don't think he's all that advanced for 14. The standards have all changed. Meanwhile, I've been working on an essay entitled, "Anticipating the Post-'Star Wars' Era." George Lucas promised in an interview the other night that this sixth "Star Wars" film will "absolutely" be the very last one. He won't make anymore, nor will he allow anyone else to make anymore. So, taking the man at his word, soon there will be a post-"Star Wars" era, meaning perhaps the awful dark ages of the past 30-odd years since the first"Star Wars" film came out is about to end. I'm trying to be hopeful.

Josh

Name: Robert Clark
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

It would be futile to continue this dialouge any further...although, I'm sure you'd be up for it. I'll end it here:

You made a bad flick, you're clearly aware of it (otherwise you wouldn't be defending its absurdities) and as a real fan, I really hope that you're next one is up to usual Becker standards.

How do you feel about that?

Dear Robert:

That's fine. And even if it is my worst film, it's ironically done better than any of my other films.

Josh

Name: dan
E-mail: dantheman_54@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

who was the woman who played Bzzi in AA?

Dear dan:

Her name is Rosi Chernogorova.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

lol...for the record, I wasn't calling you an asshole; it was just an example. As for your film being Ed Woodian, that is simply ridiculous. Hell, your short films from high school were better than his crap. I think that the only reason anyone remembers Ed Wood is because of the irony of his life; he was an absolutely terrible screenwriter and director, but he was just as absolutely convinced of the opposite. On another note, I did agree with the notion that human customs disappearing after only forty years was a little hard to swallow. The neutron bombs didn't destroy the entire human race, so the survivors would have passed on knowledge and customs to their offspring, even in slavery. However, this point didn't much detract from my overall enjoyment of the film.

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

I flatly disagree. It probably didn't take 40 years to cause the African slaves to lose their languages, heritage and customs. We're not talking about immigrants, we're talking about slaves. If you take all of someone's rights away and force them into labor all day, then keep them in a hole at night, and most people only live to be 25, in 40 years nearly everything will be lost. That's how I see it.

Josh

Name: Colin Hives
E-mail: colinhives@msn.com

Hey Josh

Do you think your new movie will be shown in the UK?

And on a technical level...

Do you find writing scripts to direct yourself tougher to do. The limitations of low budgets are a hastle I know. Do you feel you have to be more creative?

Best

Col

Dear Colin:

Tougher than what? Directing other people's scripts? Since I've never directed anything that wasn't low-budget I have no comparison. I do think that less money inspires more creativity, and it does seem that there is a direct ratio to how expensive a film is to how uninspired it also is. I'd rather make a piece of crap that's all my own then to make someone else's thing, or a script that's been through committee rewrites.

Josh

Name: Robert Clark
E-mail: rrthngt@aol.com

Dear Josh:

In calling 'AA' Ed Woodian I wasn't referencing the fake beards and bad dubbing. I was referencing things like, it taking three people to lift a skimpy plank of wood, supposedly bonded humans who need only use their FREE, un chained hands to take off their face masks, Aliens that supposedly overtook the planet but are somehow defeatable by bow and arrow, an entire race of people, who after only forty years of enslavement have forgotten what it means to shake hands and what a doctor is, AND shots where people are walking on flat ground and would undoubtedly see a giant city of ruins but don't until the camera does (it'd be one thing if they were climbing over a dune or a hill)...or how about that actor, the boy side kick with the hot wife, who mouths everybody else's lines throughout the entire movie!

Those were not in-jokes or purposely wink wink, they were examples of careless filmmaking and inept decision making! Patently, the film is bad! But patently, it shouldn't be...since it's coming from the guy who brought us much better films in the guise of Lunatics and Running Time! I just wonder how it's possible for one to actually digress as a filmmaker, especially when he's given a bigger budget! Additionally, people tuned because of only one element that you brought to the film, the 103rd element in the periodic table-- and its name is Bruce.

Dear Robert:

I'll give you the skimpy planks of wood, but if the rule is you have to wear a muzzle, then it doesn't matter if you can reach up and remove it. If the aliens dropped neutron bombs before they got there, the war was over before they landed and no one has ever had a chance to actually fight them and find out what kills them. That's one of the points in the story: Alex: "They die?" Ivan: "Everything dies." Then the President says you can't kill them and Ivan points out that you can. And if all humans have been ensalved for the past forty years, living in a dirt cellar, and most of them don't live past 25-30 -- Jeff's one of the old ones at 35 -- then all civilized traditions and customs would have been lost in that one generation to the next. Look what happened to the people in Auschwitz or Dachau after just 2 or 3 years. But to say the film is "Ed Woodian" when the script has a theme, some subtext, a character arc, a sense of humor, and actually has some irony, even if none of these things are well-handled, is just plain stupid. I'm not trying to say it's a great film, nor even a good film, for that matter, but to say it's the very worst is asinine.

Josh

Name: kdn
E-mail: jericho

Dear Josh:

<<I don't remember the credits for "My Man Godfrey,">>

forget rocky horror but my Man Godrey was pretty good for opening credits. I'm not interested in Sin City, but my grandmother's neighbor J.B. built the sets for it (and other Rodriguez films and the Alamo remake) so I'll probably check it out. FROM DUSK TILL DAWN wasn't as good as I remembered it. Thats a problem with me, I can't go to the theater anymore cause I see a quality difference. The last film I looked forward to was PHANTOM OF THE OPERA remake and I walked out once the phantom came on screen and got my money back (oh god, I'm starting to bolt like josh becker). Then I saw the silent Lon Chaney film, that is really sad, when a silent film is better that a film made today. I was surprised at how good the sets were.

I brought my Lord of the Rings project from 12 hours to 5 hours, but the second act still drags on, and I was only able to salvage 2 1/2 scenes from the first movie. I think I can get it to 3 1/2 hours with a little more work. maybe I can switch lines around and turn it into a WHAT'S UP TIGER LILY? It's really just something I do when I'm really really bored.

I thought HORSES was excellent, hard to get into at first, but worth it.

Dear kdn:

I agree that "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" is absolutely worth it. And all movies don't have to give you sno-cone and a party hat. What I love about the film is that it's all a big allegory for the time period (the Depression), based on an activity (dance marathons) that only existed at that time. Everybody in it is very good, too, particularly Gig Young as the MC, who won an Oscar. I think Sidney Pollack did a pretty darn solid job directing as well. And Red Buttons is terrific. Pollack, meanwhile, used to be a really interesting director, pre-"Out of Africa." "The Slender Thread," "This Property is Condemned," "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" "Jeremiah Johnson," "The Way We Were," "The Yakuza," "Three Days of the Condor," "Absence of Malice," and "Tootsie." But then he won Best Picture and Best Director for "Out of Africa," which isn't a very good film, and basically every film he's made since then has sucked. Sort of like Woody
Allen.

Josh

Name: David
E-mail: david02@hotmail.com

Josh,

How much can a writer make writing for a tv series on cable? Something like Deadwood. And, from your experience working in TV, how difficult is it to get a spec script to people who can actually make a decision if you are an unknown writer with no agent? I've written several spec scripts for various TV shows on the air right now. Any good advice or information you can provide would be much appreciated. BTW, I love your work...congrats on AA!

Wishing you all the best,
David

Dear David:

Get an agent. I hate agents, but you need one. You have no hope of getting a spec script through to anyone in the TV business without an agent. Basically, if you can't impress some schnook agent with your work, why would anyone in the business want to read it? As to how much a writer makes, I'd bet that most writers are working for the WGA minimum, whatever that is depending on what the format is: cable one-hour series, network one-hour, sit-com, etc.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

I agree absolutely on the point about free speech. My point is that if you're going to have a negative opinion about something in public discourse, then it ought to be (a.) civil in it's wording, and (b.) as well thought out as any public opinion, negative or positive, ought to be. I recall reading an article about the need for civility in political discourse, the author's point being that deliberately insulting language detracts from the debate. This holds true for public discourse in general. Someone watching your new film might say to himself, "This guy Becker's an asshole, and his film sucks," and will probably say the same to his friends, but if he is going to put his opinion into a publically accessible medium, then he should state his opinion less crudely and offer something to justify it. Doing so aids in rational debate; failing to do so makes what he says more appropriate to a barroom than a forum. In short, I don't object to what is said, merely how it is said.

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

You're so refined. You sort of sound like Rodney King, "Can't we all just be civil to one another. Old people and young people, black and white?" Part of the beauty of the internet is that it's an open forum to the whole world. Screwball Greek truck drivers in Germany can comment on things just as easily as anyone else. However, what I absolutely agree with is that if someone is going to go to the extreme trouble of calling me an asshole in a public forum, and say that my film is "Ed Woodian" or that my script has"holes you could drive a truck through," some justification would be nice.

Josh

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

Josh,

Well, ain't that one hell of a letter! That's a great piece to show to would-be financiers. Get "The Horribleness" and "The Cascade Effect" in the can and you may even get to be a presenter at an awards show. We'll all start having to address you as "Mr. Becker".

I remember having watched "They Shoot Horses, Don't They" and I think I was depressed for a week. I remember it being very stylized and gloomy as hell. It stuck with me but, like you, I can't say I enjoyed it.

I had forgotten about the Camp Tamakwa connection with you and Mike Binder, though I did see "Indian Summer" when it came out. Having digested "Upside of Anger" for a while I am still impressed with it. I take it from your attitude that Binder is not the slimey character he seems to write himself as. I'll be curious to hear what you think of "Anger" if you chance to see it.

On a separate note, "Cascade Effect" was written in a serious vein and I wonder if, should you get the green light, you will keep it that way or try to lighten it up. I would guess your impulse would be to keep it straight, but I wonder if you'll be pressured to follow the spirit of "AA" more. It certainly wouldn't be unprecedented. It seems to me that an advantage of "Cascade" is that much of the action takes place in close quarters with essentially three locations (as I recall) which would help with budgeting and scheduling.

Well, congratulations again on the letter and everything with "AA".

John

Dear John:

Thanks. I 've already written the script for "The Cascade Effect" and it's completely serious. I think that's one of the reasons Bruce likes it. The story is in more than three places, and wouldn't be an easy film to make in three weeks, but that's the fun part. It will have twice as many FX as "AA." I really hope we get to shoot it, which is ostensibly for September.

Yeah, Mike Binder and I go way back. We were in the same cabin at camp three or four different times. I have no doubt that the Bill Paxton character in "Indian Summer" is based on me. And the Diane Lane character was based on Mike's cousin, Sue Binder (who just moved back to Michigan from LA, and who now works for Camp Tamakwa). In the movie, Bill Paxton and Diane Lane end up together. So, the next time I spoke with Sue I said, "So? Is life now supposed to follow art?" But alas, it wasn't.

Josh

Name: Frank Demne
E-mail:

Josh,

"Sideways" is quite a nice little film. Excellent dialogue; good acting all around; terrific cinematography (I've never seen a movie set in the wine country of California; the beauty of it really blew me away). It came out on DVD tuesday. You really should check it out.
Congrats on AA!

Dear Frank:

Thanks. I'll certainly see "Sideways" soon.

Josh

Name: Movie Buff
E-mail: moviebuff_2005@mail.com

Josh:

Do you get many guys solliciting their works (projects and such) to you, through your website? If so, have you ever been tempted by an unkown? If so, why? If not, why?

Also, you're not neccessarily an "H-Wood Jerk"...but you can come off sort of arrogant. From your stand point, is there a sense of hidden bitterness with most of the individuals in the Movie Biz? It's probably difficult to go through years of rejection, then turn around, years later, and be so "understanding" with aspiring talent.

Warmest Regards,
Movie Buff

Dear Movie Buff:

Yes, many people over the years have wanted me to read their scripts. And as hard as I try I just got stuck reading one anyway -- a crew member from"AA" -- and it was just as awful as every other script I've ever read. Have I ever been tempted by any of this unmitigated crap? NO!!! Not in the slightest. I've never met anyone who could write at all, and that probably includes me, too. And I can't be a Hollywood Jerk because I live in Detroit, so I would have to be a Detroit Jerk. I think I'm pretty understanding if people are on the ball at all. I've been answering people's questions here for seven years. But if they're complete idiots, no, I suppose I'm not all that patient anymore.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

I've seen Hostage, and if it inetersts you at all, I'd say wait for the dvd release. The movie doesn't have a single moment that you won't see coming. And, on a snide note, am I nuts or did the kid who is nominally in charge of the kidnapping have a very wet mouth? He needs some crackers or something to sop all that up.

The other note is on Sin City's use of digital backgrounds. I'm pretty sure I read somwhere (and of course I can't find the article now) that the reason they shot it against a greenscreen wasn't budget or location problems, but so they could entirely eliminate any grays from the images; they wanted it all to be literally black and white (with of course the exceptions of those splashes of colour). So there ya go.

Dear Daniel:

Okay then.

Josh

Name: Trey Smith
E-mail: cobra_commander_of_cobra@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

I have also been checking a few message boards for responses to AA. On imdb one guy actually stated that people who like this film must know nothing about movies and are also complete idiots.

I found this rather insulting.

Welles' original vision of "Touch of Evil" is on video? Hmm, interesting, if I recall correctly TCM made it seem as if no one has ever seen this version of the film before. Oh, well...whatever to get more people to tune in I guess.

Also, were you inspired by the Fatty Arbuckle short "Waiters Ball" at all when creating "The Blind Waiter"?

Dear Trey:

I haven't seen it. I really must see more of Fatty Arbuckle's films, particularly the ones with Buster Keaton. Keaton said that he learned everything he knew about filmmaking from Fatty. I've seen a few of his shorts, and they all seemed very imaginative. What happens in "Waiter's Ball"? Meanwhile, the restored version of "Touch of Evil" is a few years old at this point, and it really is an improvement on what was already a great film. There were several of Henry Mancini's music cues that were meant to be source cues, meaning they're coming out of a radio or a record player we can see on-screen, like the first music cue, that were mixed as though they were dramatic cues, loud and on top of everything.

I was just discussing "Sin City" with my buddy Paul, which he saw and found disappointing (Paul is a major comic book fan, too). My contention is that as opposed to shooting everything in front of a blue screen, then making all the backgrounds look like comic book drawings, which just looks like a visual drag to me, I think what Frank Miller deep in his heart REALLY wanted was Orson Welles to direct it along the lines of "Touch of Evil." That's what I believe Miller was trying to achieve with his drawings. This idea that it's somehow cheaper to shoot everything in front of a process screen, then put the digitally created backgrounds in later, as opposed to actually shooting in an alley or a city street is incredibly stupid, and completely wrong. If you're putting in gigantic sets you can't afford to build, that's different, but a noir story in a city is entirely inappropriate for this process, in my humble opinion.

Josh

Name: Michele
E-mail: rollingriver@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh:

I teach film history and am drawing up a glossary of film terms. I've defined "crawl" as "Lines of written text that appear to move (crawl) in the same direction as the visual image; frequently used at the beginning of a film to explain the events leading up to the present action of the story. STAR WARS: "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away." Is my definition accurate? Thanks for your help.

Dear Michele:

Generally, a crawl appears over black, so it's not going the same direction as anything. Crawls almost always go bottom to top, and are almost always how the end credits of movies are presented. Occasionally a crawl appears at the beginning of a film, like "Star Wars," but not often.

Josh

Name: Movie Buff
E-mail: moviebuff_2005@mail.com

Josh,

Saw the flick...pretty damn good. Let me ask ya...do you ever plan to go for the silver screen? Sam Raimi and the guys are doin' pretty well, what about yourself? Are you content with being rather anonymous?

There's a remake of 'The Evil Dead underway, both Sam and Bruce are on board...any aspirations there? I understand your committment to "Do it yourself, your way", but are there any collaborative thoughts fluttering within your cranium?

Give some good advice to those looking to journey the adventure of movie making, for themselves.

Thanks,
Movie Buff

Dear Movie Buff:

Of course I'd rather be making films for theatrical release, but I'm only willing to bend so far to do that. The Hollywood process of "rewrite, be rewritten, rewrite, be rewritten . . ." doesn't suit me and I won't participate anymore. Regarding the remake of "Evil Dead," what "aspirations" do you think I'd have? To write or direct it? Sorry, not even slightly interested, not that it would ever be offered to me. The Hollywood system is designed to create tasteless mush that can be eaten without teeth, then has no nutritional value. I'd much rather labor in anonymity than do that.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

With all respect to Bruce, I don't know if he's on a level with Anthony Hopkins, either. Nevertheless, a B movie background doesn't mean that an actor cannot be top shelf dramatically. For example, classically trained stage actors like Christopher Lee, Michael York, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price and others all rotated back and forth between B pictures and intensive dramatic projects (with exceptions: once Price went to horror, he didn't much come back, and Michael York limited his stage performances when he started doing A list Hollywood pictures). It does indeed remain to be seen.
On another note, I've seen some of the harsh criticism that you've taken from some viewers on "Alien Apocalypse," and there's something about that which troubles me. As a viewer, I can give you my earnest (a most importantly, POLITE) opinion on your film and my reasons for that opinion, but to harshly criticize someone's work when I've done nothing at all seems to me to be the height of hypocrisy. Say what one will about your films, at least you got off your ass and DID something, while several pundits sat around, creating nothing, and sneered at your efforts. A negative opinion is perfectly acceptable, provided it's a reasoned one, like Saul Trabal's critique. But to bluntly state "this sucks," along with several expletives, doesn't seem fair or right.

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

The point of free speech isn't to necessarily hear what you want to hear, it's letting everybody say what they want. I'd much prefer to be insulted than to not have the freedom to say what I want. And the most insulting opinion is just as important as the most complimentary.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

That quote from the head of the Sci-Fi network just blows me away. Look how our little boy done growed up and made good!

Seriously though, I think a lot of your fans would love to hear any other network/ratings details that the Sci-Fi people have passed along to you. In fact, I bet a lot of people would love to read a "Making Of..." essay, that might include post-airing stuff like that too.

They may or may not have told you, but they bragged on your film in particular in their official, end-of-the-first-quarter press release. They touted their increasing ratings in general, the success of "Battlestar Galactica" in particular, and yours was the only movie that got mentioned:

"SCI FI's crowd-pleasing Saturday original movies have continued to deliver big audiences, averaging a 1.7 HH rating and 2 million viewers P2+ for the quarter. The March 26 premiere of 'Alien Apocalypse,' starring Bruce Campbell, was the highest-rated of any of SCI FI's Saturday originals to date - delivering an incredible 2.3 HH rating and 2.7 million viewers P2+."

When I read that, I wondered what they meant when they told you that you had the *third* highest rating ever, but now I get it - the other two could have been the first installments of a mini-series ("Dune" or something) or a broadcast premiere of a big-screen film (like maybe "The Matrix.")

Anyway, it's all good.

This may be too complex a question to answer here (and would be another good topic for an essay - hint hint) but I'm curious as to what happened right after you finished shooting. Somewhere along the way, you had other scripts being circulated around (like "Devil Dogs" went to Showtime, I think you said?) and then you had the big investor interested in "The Horribleness?" Was this your agent at work, or was this your doing, or was it insider-word of mouth, or just what exactly was it that set all these new wheels in motion?

Thanks,

August

Dear August:

I don't have an agent. I don't even have a lawyer at this point, since he went and retired. And so did my dentist, too. So the answer is, I do all of my own hustling. I basically did the same thing with "The Horribleness" that I did with "AA," I snuck in on one of Bruce's deals. Anchor Bay really wants to make a film with Bruce, so I wrote "The Horribleness" (with my buddy, Paul), and got it to Bruce and Anchor Bay and they all agreed that it would be a fine project for what they're all looking for. "Devil Dogs" wasn't out to Showtime, "Head Shot" was (I got it there through the DP from"AA"), but they passed. "Devil Dogs" was supposedly out to Stallone, but that all went away (Sly apparently wanted too much money). Meanwhile, when I got back from Bulgaria I immediately set to work writing "The Cascade Effect," which I then got out to "AA" producer Jeff Franklin, who seemed like he could really care less. But now, given the success of "AA," Jeff's trying to set it up at SciFi with Bruce and Renee. The point of this story is Thomas Edison's quote, "Good things come to those who hustle while they wait." The point isn't to wait for the phone to ring, it's to write yet another and another script, and eventually, hopefully, they'll have some value.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Congratulations on Alien Apocalypses good ratings, I'll see it when it hits dvd. I was watching BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES last night, and I noticed Frederich March kind of reminded me of Bruce Campbell in some scenes. Did Frederich March have an interesting life, do you think Bruce could actually play him in a bio if they made one (eh, who knows)?

On THE BLIND WAITER, did you pay for the use of the restaurant or did you just know somebody on the inside, have you ever trespassed to steal a shot? I got a pretty good shot of a suspension bridge, I don't think anyone ever put it on film and it looks kinda like a nice portrait. Still it doesn't count unless I have a story to put it too.

Also, what did you think of the opening credits to MY MAN GODREY? I heard in the commentary for RUNNING TIME that you were a big fan of opening credits. I like the closing credits of ATLANTIC CITY where everytime the wrecking ball hits the building they change the music like a radio.

Also, what did you think of the scene transitions in ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW? They had some weird ones there.

Also, just watched ANGELS AND INSECTS... that was a sick, sick, disgusting movie.... I loved it. however, is it supposed to be a flashback because during the opening titles you see our leading man dancing dark haired women that looks like the servant women in the story and at the end of the film they both talked about going back to that place in the jungle.

And on the ANGELS AND INSECTS family tree the blond girls before he was married, were they his wife's daughters? did she have kids with her brother earlier before she met him, or were her parents inbred too? or first cousins?

Kevin

P.S. My two all time favorites out of all the movies I watched so far are THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY? and JUDGMENT AT NUREMBURG (although I can't seem to think of any questions for either of them)

Dear kdn:

Why on Earth would anyone want to make a biopic of Frederic March's life? The man was an actor, and a good one, but not a particularly important person. Who needs to see biopics of people who just did their jobs?

Regarding "The Blind Waiter," Scott Spiegel knew the guy who owned the restaurant, which was next door to where Scott worked, so we got it for free. We shot all night for two nights. Yes, I've stolen shots. I never got permission to shoot at the veteran's hospital for TSNKE, but I shot there anyway. I even started the shot close-up on their logo. I also snuck onto an army base to get the shot of the marines leaving the base.

I don't remember the credits for "My Man Godfrey," or the transitions in "Rocky Horror."

I liked "Angels and Insects." Sadly, the lead actor was a tad too dull for his own good, but it was definitely an intertesting film.

I admire "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" but I can't say I really like it. It's a tough movie to watch. "Judgement at Nuremburg" is one of my favorites.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Well I think since "Sin City" was directed by Rodriguez (who was a fan of the series) and Frank Miller (who drew the comics) it was their idea to do something different with the genre. Instead of just making an adaptation like everybody is, they are making a live action/animated comic movie. And the style and look of the film worked. It was no doubt going to be a blockbuster because, well, look at the movies it was up against. I think anybody who read the books loved it because it was true to the graphic novels. That's the only reason it got made. Plus if you saw Frank Millers movies Hollywood really fucked them up (I.E. Robocop 2 which I think his version and Hollywoods version were completly different). He just needed to do something he was proud of and I think Rodriguez helpped him with that.

Now on a completely different note have you seen "School of Rock" The Richard Linklater/Mike White movie? And have you heard about Linklater adapting Phillip K Dick's novel "A Scanner Darkly" doing it the way he did "Waking Life" by animating over live action but now having lots of action in it?

Your fan,
Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

I'm pleased if Frank Miller has finally made a film he's proud of, he's a very friendly nice guy. To me, in my backward, old-school, stick-in-the-mud POV, "Sin City" looks like 2005's version of "Tron," and I have a feeling I'll enjoy it just as much. I bailed out on "School of Rock," which seemed incredibly forced to me. I thought Jack Black was much better in "High Fidelity." I also bailed out on "Waking Life," which just seemed unwatchable. I did like "Tape" quite a bit (I watched it twice), but Linklater's direction is the weakest aspect by far.

Josh

Name: Greene
E-mail: greenebrett@spymac.com

Hi Josh

Another quick recommendation. I caught 'Hostage' last night. It's actually quite good and much better than I had anticipated - although maybe that's me eager for an intelligent action film. The film is shot and edited quite beautifully, has a fine bombastic score and Bruce Willis is quite apt. It's just a shame it threw believability out the window.

Wondering if anyone else has seen it?

Dear Brett:

It doesn't sound like my cup of tea.

Josh

Name: Robert Clark
E-mail: rrthngt@aol.com

Dear Josh:

I've been obsessively reading IMDB user comments and Ain't It Cool Talkback comments for Alien Apocalypse. A majority of the comments rightfully criticize the film for its ineptitude on various levels (script, composition, continuity, casting) but, you see, my obsession with user comments springs from those people who justify the film as being "wink, wink" or "self-knowingly bad." There are people who claim the film was meant to be a bad, B movie. It's a common misconception to associate B movies with being bad. 'Psycho' is probably the most famous of all B movies, Edgar Ulmer's 'Detour,' is yet another. Those movies are not bad but were produced on a B production level. Alien Apocalypse may very well have been produced under B movie guidelines, but it certainly took itself seriously enough to try and push a liberal, political agenda and a message about human resilience. There's no doubt that a few lines like, "Hey Scumbag," and "Those bounty hunters are fags," were thrown in for humor, but even on that level...they didn't succeed.

Alas, this is all my opinion. So in writing you, Mr. Becker, the filmmaker...I'd like for you clarify what your intentions really were...

Was Alien Apocalypse a serious attempt to make a serious film or was it a serious attempt to make a seriously bad movie? I hope you don't read this and decide not to post and answer, because I think it's important for a filmmaker to respond to fans. I love Bruce and I love Thou Shalt Not Kill...Except. I was just deeply, deeply disturbed by Alien Apocalypse. To Ed Woodian proportions.

Dear Robert:

It's a silly movie and was meant to be a silly movie. However, unlike most of the SciFi films which are severely humorless, this film doesn't take itself quite so seriously. I truly think we're in a world of hyperbole, and movies are either "a masterpiece" or "the worst film ever," whereas almost everything falls into the gray area in between. I don't accept you or anyone else calling the film Ed Woodian because it's just patently not true. If fake beards are the criteria for being Ed Woodian, then "Gettysburg" would win that award. And if it's using foreign actors and dubbing them, then all of Sergio Leone's films are Ed Woodian. I cruised those message boards, too, and there are some really stupid comments, which people are certainly allowed to make, and the internet now allows for that. But considering that, and I quote a letter from the head of SciFi Network,"'Alien Apocalypse' is Sci Fi's number ONE stand-alone movie ever," I guess I had the right elements to at least get people to tune in, then stay tuned in.

Josh

Name: tom
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

when you finish writing a script, when should you copywrite it? if you copywrite it then do a "re-write" do you have to copywrite it again?

also, do you know if the independent feature film market [iffm] still exsists? i think it does but i cant find its website - and i would assume it has one

thank you

Dear tom:

It's ifp.org, the Independent Feature Project, and their site is there because I just went there. I always copyright the first draft, and that's it. The copyright office doesn't want you sending in multiple drafts.

Josh

Name: Robert Lethbridge
E-mail: mywindingway@juno.com

Dear Josh:

Found a link to your site while reading on screenwriting. Especially liked your piece on Wyler. Just got done with your prophetic Our Own Worst Enemy - that was absolutely superb.

Dear Robert:

Thank you. If anything else piques your interest, let us know and we'll all discuss it.

Josh

Name: ashley richter
E-mail: glassgrlhot17@aol.com

Dear Josh:

i have a question, i am doing a paper on your movie, and i have to compare and contrast, your movie, evil dead, "book of the dead", and dead alive, i have found many useful references, but i haven't found out how much fake blood you used in the filming of this awesome movie. I thought it was very creative to use your own mounts and i think dollies for your special effects, very awesome, and money saving im sure, but could you just let me know how much blood was used in EVIL DEAD

thanks -Ash ha ha, no relation to bruce Cambells character. :)

Dear Ashley:

You keep saying "your movie, your mounts, your special effects." I just worked on the film. It was Sam's movie, Sam's camera mounts, and Sam's special effects, I just helped. I don't think anyone can give you an accurate record of how much fake blood we used, but we did buy up every bottle of Karo syrup (the main ingredient in fake blood) in Morristown, Tennessee. I'll bet we used at least 25-30 bottles during principal photography, then quite a bit more during all of the pick-up shooting for the next year. Good luck on your paper.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

I think what Troy meant by Digital Backlot filmmaking is what Robert Rodriguez did with Sin City. He shot it entirely on HD with a blue screen and just had the actors act in front of the blue screen and painted everything else. I mean if you ever really look at a Rodriguez film (and I know you don't like them at all) you'll see that he does all aspects of filmmaking even the sound design. His DVDs are really cool because they show his own digital film schools. And they are helpful. However the look and feel of "Sin City" was that of a comic book. It WAS the comic book. I liked "Sin City" Because I like the comics. The fact that you don't like comics would make this the perfect movie to miss. However the cinematography on the movie was beautiful. So I guess his question that I'll reitterate is "What do you think of digital backlot filmmaking" now that you know what it is?

Your fan,
Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

If it's appropriate for what your doing then it's great. You wouldn't want to do a drama in front of a blue screen. Why you would want your movie to look like the drawings in a comic book is beyond me. It seems like a step backward for movies.

Josh

Name: Greene
E-mail: greenebrett@spymac.com

Dear Josh:

"digital backlot filmmaking."

Troy can clarify, but I think he meant to refer to how films like 'Sky Captain...' are made - digitally, with all the props and set being recreated using CG technology. What is your impression of that? I've always found working with real things, makes for, well...a realistic reaction and action sequence.

bg

Dear Brett:

If you have an effects-laden movie and your live action elements are only one bit of a digital stew, why not shoot digital and on a backlot? But special effects are just an element in a filmmakers toolbox. If your movie is all about special effects, it will suck.

Josh

Name: Greene
E-mail: greenebrett@spymac.com

Hi Josh,

It's been awhile, but I've caught up with some recent posts. First, in light of doing an alien enslavement movie, I was reminded of a good mini-series from 2002 called Taken (produced by Steven Spielberg). It was about survivors of alien abductions and the ties they shared. It also served to look at how the American political and social climate changed from 1947 to 2002 and in doing so, ended up being heavily character driven. Have you seen this series? It's recommended.

I'm reading 'Love All the People' by Bill Hicks and 'QI: The Quest for Intelligence' by Kevin Warwick. Both good reads and both non-fiction. I recommend those as well.

Dear Brett:

Thanks for the recommendations. I'm nearing the end of "The Metaphysical Club" by Louis Menand, which was sort of difficult, but very interesting. It shows how thinking completely changed between 1859 and 1900.

Josh

Name: Trey Smith
E-mail: cobra_commander_of_cobra@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

I was watching TCM today and saw an advertisement for a showing of a cut of "Touch of Evil"restored to Orson Welles' original vision. Do you plan on watching it?

Also, Alien Apocalypse was great. Definately the only Sci-Fi movie I've ever enjoyed.

Which is saying a lot I guess. =)

Later.

Dear Trey:

I have the restored "Touch of Evil" on tape and on DVD. I've seen the film many, many times, and it's a good one. I'm glad you enjoyed "AA."

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

Sorry I took so long to reply (I had drill this weekend). Anyway, you're certainly right about Bruce Campbell getting more popular; do you think he'll make the breakthrough to lead roles in A-list pictures one of these days? I was just thinking that he would do quite well in a Merchant/Ivory production, seeing as how they always write a token American character into their scripts (Congressman Lewis in REMAINS OF THE DAY, for example). He fits the European stereotype of an American man quite well; tall, chiseled good looks, Midwestern accent. I also think that he has the dramatic chops to carry such a role. What do you think? As for a business partnership, would you consider more deals like the one for ALIEN APOCALYPSE? I think that with a longer running time allowance and a less effects-laden screenplay, another television movie has strong possibilities and potentially good production value. I understand that you shot what sold to SCIFI, but are other stations interested in similiar types of deals? With your directing experience, coupled with Bruce's acting and name recognition (which helps with sell the project), alot is possible.

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

Bruce and I have a couple of projects in the works, and Bruce has a number of other things cooking, too. There will be a lot of Bruce Campbell stuff around in the next year. He's already started to tour with his film "The Man With the Screaming Brain," and his new book will be out in June. So, we'll see what pops. As for Bruce being in a Merchant/Ivory film, I have no doubt he could do the parts played by Christopher Reeve in "Remains of the Day" or Matthew Modine in "Le Divorce." However, could he play Anthony Hopkins' part in "Howard's End"? Well, that remains to be seen.

Josh

Name: Tara Murphy
E-mail: evilcritters@hotmail.com

Josh,

"Lunatics: A Love Story." Will I ever be able to get it on DVD? I can only find one video store in Toronto that even carries it (I haven't been to them all, but I've been to an awful lot of them).
I just emailed Anchor Bay to encourage them.
And I loved "Running Time." Thanks so much for all the fun.
And I too enjoyed "Sin City" tremendously. Is that not allowed on this site? (Not that it matters to me...)

Tara

Dear Tara:

No, say anything you want. If you like "Sin City," then proudly proclaim it. Sing it from the rooftops. I'm just not a fan of comic books turned into movies, and this one looks like it got stuck halfway. Meanwhile, I think Anchor Bay would be happy to release "Lunatics" on DVD, but it's Columbia who owns it.

Josh

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

Josh,

Just a quick follow-up on "The Upside of Anger". It's a nice movie, not an all-time great. I didn't mean to overstate its case. Movies are routinely so poor these days that I thought "Anger" stood out in comparison. And I do think Joan Allen is quite good in it.

John

Dear John:

All right then. My sister really liked it.

Josh

Name: Kevin Sheehan
E-mail: Seifer108525@aol.com

Dear Josh:

You are a fucking idiot and should be shot for even witing this because Steven Spielberg has made some great movies. Saving Private Ryan was absolutly one of the best movies portraying WWII and that War was not what most people think of it. Steven Spielberg is an incredible director and producer and deserves a lot of what he has

Dear Kevin:

I liked "Jaws."

Josh

Name: Tom
E-mail: Bellyoptopus@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

I was shocked and heartbroken to hear comedian Mitch Hedberg died. One of the most funny & original standup comics I've ever heard. Was he someone you knew of and enjoyed Josh?

Dear Tom:

Never heard of him.

Josh

Name: Rita K
E-mail: haddasah4@yahoo.com

Great movie Josh, keep the films coming! For anyone whose reading this - Alien Apocalypse Rocked!

-Rita K

Dear Rita:

Thanks. To answer an earlier question about the dubbing (or looping), it's a very difficult process that never works quite right, in my opinion. In my independent features I always try as hard as I can to use as much live production sound as humanly possible. There is very little looping in "RT" or "Hammer." There is a reality that comes from the live track that can't be matched. So when you end up looping most of the characters in a film, a big portion of the foundation of reality is removed. Yes, many of the replaced lines are similar in tone and ambiance, that's because it's actors locked in a booth watching a screen while wearing headphones and listening to beeps, trying to match the lip movements of foreign actors who are pronouncing English words strangely. That this process works at all is a miracle. Strangely, after a point of being stuck in that booth, all the American actors began to develop Bulgarian accents as they tried desperately to make the words fit the mouth movements. We would have to stop and let them de-Bulgarianize.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I wanted to greatly congratulate you on the very creative and well-made Alien Apocalypse! Very sci-fi but with some humor too. I was glad there was finally a hero for humanity. The score was great, I was wondering if any of it in the last battle scenes was influenced by Rambo music? That was awesome, like in the second Rambo film he uses exploding arrows I was reminded of that in those scenes.

Also I was curious if you know if any extra or extended scenes will be in the DVD release? Totally great acting by Bruce and Renee, and that other Bizzy chick was also very hot! I was very pleased indeed with the sexy love scene you mentioned but wished it had lasted longer.

Well, I tried to send this message last week but I think there were technical problems.

Thanks,

John

Dear John:

Glad you liked it. I don't know what will be on the DVD, but it's not like much get edited out, so there's nothing to restore. There is a pretty big difference between the Director's Cut and the final version, but it would take kind of a lot of money to reedit, rescore, etc., and I don't think anyone will pay for it. I know Joe LoDuca, the composer, is a big fan of the late great Jerry Goldsmith, as am I, so I wouldn't doubt there is an influence, but I don't think anything specific. And yes, as always, I think Joe came through for me with a really top-notch score.

Josh

Name: Charles
E-mail: cscorder@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

When a writer sells an original script, does he or she give up all rights?

For example, if the Sci-Fi Channel's parent company decided to produce a sequel to "Alien Apocalypse" or to make a series based on its characters, would they have to pay you? Or do they now own all of the rights?

Sincerely,

Charles

Dear Charles:

They own all the rights. And yes, when you sell a script you sell all the rights.

Josh

Name: Troy
E-mail: Chrstine16@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

I liked your essay about bailing out of L.A. Im a filmmaker who never believed in L.A. from the beginning. I'm curious to know how difficult it to make a living producing films outside of the L.A. system?

Dear Troy:

I don't live in LA anymore, but I'm not really outside the system. "AA" was made for a company in LA. Oddly, the company I'm now dealing with, Anchor Bay, is located a few miles from me here in Michigan. But Bruce is the man who bailed on LA first, and admittedly he's got more going for him than your or I, but he kept assuring me that I could leave LA anytime I wanted and it wouldn't change anything because all business is done on the phone anyway, and he was right. Nobody cares where anyone else is. The bottom-line is do you have something they want? And if you do, you can live in a cabin in Ulaanbaatar. Here's the most horrible piece of information about the whole film business, put to me ever so succinctly by Rob Tapert: "If someone wants to say yes to you, they'll find you."

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

But not to sound ass-kissy or anything but I realllly enjoyed "Alien Apocalypse". It was a fun sci fi action/comedy. It seemed like an homage to some of your favorite films. Like it seemed like "Spartacus", "Bridge on the river Kwai" and "Planet of the apes" all mixed in one with comedy spread out. Good stuff. My friend and I loved the flick. And soon when I get my pay pal account started I'm gonna be picking up "If I had a hammer".

Now since this is a Q and A I'll ask a couple questions. These are regarding your old days. When you did a short film did you treat it like a feature? (I.E. Pre-production, production, post-production) And as for "Blind Waiter". How did you and Scott work on it together? Did one of you work on the acting while the other set up the shots? Seeing both of your films seperately I can tell you guys both have a different way of directing. Scott does alot of cool shots (that can sometimes get a bit distracting) and you concentrate more on the storytelling and interesting characters. But you are both wonderful in your own original ways. Keep it up!

Your fan,
Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

I'm glad you liked it. I prefer it when people like my films, but it's obviously not necessary. There are obviously more film references in "AA" than the ones that have been mentioned. As for working with Scott on "The Blind Waiter," 25 years ago in 1980, it was a beautiful little collaboration. We conceived all of the gags together as we walked through the closed restaurant, then shot the whole film in two long nights. I was the cameraman and I had storyboarded the whole film, so I physically directed the film, but Scott kept the comedy alive all night for those two nights, and he kept everybody in the right mood, a silly mood, which I think is conveyed in the film. That was a fun movie to make.

Josh

Name: Troy Hamilton
E-mail: Chrstine16@sbcglobal.net

Hello. I was wondering what is your take on digital backlot filmmaking and it's role in the future of movies. Thanks.

Dear Troy:

I don't know what you mean by "digital backlot filmmaking." Please clarify.

Josh

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

Josh,

First, congratulations on "Alien Apocalypse". Given it's context I'd have to say it was an unmitigated success. I'm almost ashamed to say that I haven't gotten to see the whole movie yet. Between my three kids' crises I've only seen about two-thirds of the movie through three showings.

I know the issue of dubbing has been brought up already but I have a few specific questions for you. One of the big problems with the dubbing was the lack of depth; everyone was the same volume whether seen in close-up or from across the camp. I realize that some balancing is necessary but couldn't the sound editor(s) have mixed the dubbing to relect the position of the characters more? I also felt the dialogue was over-annunciated and over-inflected and wondered what you thought.

One thing I've come to appreciate about your movies is the allusions you make to other films. Some directors who do that sort of thing step out of the movie for a minute to wink into the camera while your references always seem to come within the flow of the action. I'll have to get a copy of "A.A." and watch it through a few times to get a good list but I did catch several (beyond the obvious "Planet of the Apes", "Spartacus").

My wife, an MD, got a kick out of Ivan's inferiority complex. She works with quite a few DO's and thinks they're all just great. I saw a movie, a drama, about Osteopathy which was made back in the thirties when Osteopathy was largely what Chiropractory is today. You wouldn't happen to remember that one, would you? It was a propaganda film, but a fascinating look at the burgeoning field.

I also wanted to mention that I watched "The Upside of Anger" last night and think it's the best film I've seen in the theater in a year. It's a Mike Binder film and I've never been impressed by his stuff before but I really enjoyed "Anger". Joan Allen gives a really good performance and it's the best work Costner's done in a long time, in my humble opinion. The movie really stays inside itself which is rare these days. It has a nice ending as well, which I won't give away. If you get a chance you might give it a look and tell what you think.

Congratulations again on "A.A." Keep us posted on the DVD release and long live residuals!

John

Dear John:

There are no residuals, this was a non-union gig. Yes, I hear "Upside of Anger" is good, and were I not such a stick-in-the-mud I 'd go see it. I admire Mike Binder, whom I've known since we were little kids when we were in the same cabin at Camp Tamakwa, because he's never given up on making his movies his way. Whether you like his vision or not, he's figured out how to retain his integrity and keep working. Meanwhile, I'd like to hear your assessment when you've finally seen the whole film, if your kids let you.

Josh

Name: Beelze
E-mail: beelzebubba@charter.net

Josh:

What was the approximate budget on Alien? (if you've already answered this, I apologise). Did you enjoy working with the scifi channel? And hasn't Gary Jones also directed some things himself?
Thank you.
B

Dear Beelze:

It was $1.5 million in total, but we had about $500,000 with which to shoot the film. That's excluding all of the fees. SciFi Channel was fine, but I didn't really work for them. I made the film for the producer Jeff Franklin, who had a deal with SciFi. Yes, Gary Jones has directed a number of films: "Mosquito," "Spiders," "Crocodile 2: Death Roll," "Jolly Roger," and he's shooting "Raptor Island 2" with Ted Raimi, Steven Bauer and Peter Jason right now.

Josh

Name: Tom
E-mail: bellyoptopus@yahoo.com

Hi Josh,

I enjoyed "Alien Apocaplyse" on a certain level because I'm fan of Bruce, Renee' & Yourself, but it was pretty bad! But I got some chuckles out of it being pretty terrible. A small bunch of us watched it together but only 2 made it all the way through. I won't go into any details of the responses because I'm sure you heard them all by now.

As for the people who post attacks like, the only reason you have a career is because of Sam & Bruce...so what! Hardly anybody get's anywhere in the entertainment biz or any creative type biz without knowing somebody who established themselves...it's called networking! And they obviously haven't watched "If I Had A Hammer" either, because it's truly an excellent little independent film. That one really shows some polish & discipline on your part. It's a real shame that one didn't get any distribution.

I'm glad you all had fun making "Alien Apocalypse" and seeing Bruce doing impressions of Kirk Douglas must have been a real treat! Are there any plans for commentary from Yourself & The Cast on the DVD release?

Dear Tom:

I suppose there will be a commentary track. Hopefully, it will be at least Bruce and I.

Josh

Name: justine
E-mail: justine_srn@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

what is the difference between a typewriter and a computer?

Dear justine:

That reminds of the joke Robert DeNiro tells in "Mad Dog and Glory" -- Why is my girlfriend like an Apple computer? Neither one will go down.

Josh

Name: Moviemaven
E-mail: jenkinsj@uga.edu

Dear Mr. Becker,

Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know how much I enjoyed Alien Apocalypse. You did a wonderful job and Bruce delivered as usual. I also wanted to let you know that I appreciate the review link to your website. So many times we write them and know that they will never be read by those that did the work. I am happy you found it and now know how much I (and many others) enjoy your work. Keep it up and we will keep watching. :)

Maven

Dear Moviemaven:

Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Josh

Name: Diana Hawkes
E-mail: upon request

Hi ya Josh -

Which message boards are you checking? I'd like to read the responses you're reading.

Dear Diana:

Greetings. The most extensive was on SciFi.com.

Josh

Name: Jason McNeal
E-mail: jason.mcneal@comcast.net

Hey Hey Joshy-Boy!

Alien Apocalypse was not too shabby!

As another poster mentioned, the chief bug pushing the other bugs outta the way sight gag was a neat little piece of business.

I thought it was great that the chick with the legcast got offed in the first few minutes. Brutal!

And I too really liked so much of it being shot outdoors. It was different.

The bugs being after all the earth's wood was an unexpected motive. Much better than a simple, boring, "We're taking over the planet and that's it."

Bruce's campfire scene was so funny! I gotta get me some potato liquor!

All you complainers, try sitting thru Sci-Fi's "Lost Voyage" with Judd Nelson. Now THAT is a terrible movie.

Over and Out,
Jason

Dear Jason:

I had a terrific time making the film, and I think I can safely say that Bruce and Renee did, too, and it got a good rating as well, so it was all a success to me.

Josh

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

Josh,

I know I'll get hammered for it on this site, but I had to write in and let everyone know how enthusiastic I was after seeing SIN CITY this morning.

What a fantastic film. Truly scorching. It was visually unlike anything I've ever seen, and had great characters and storylines to boot. A true knockout, in every sense of the word.

Josh - I know you'll hate it because of the "anthology" nature of the stories (not unlike Pulp Fiction's narrative), but I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you just how much I loved this film.

Richard

Dear Richard:

Hey, I'm glad you loved it. It's great to see a new movie and love it.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Way to go on the 2.28 rating! As near as I can tell, you just barely missed out being in the Cable Top 15 for the week - # 15 last week was a kids' show on Nickelodeon called "Fairly Odd Parents," and it only got a 2.4. According to the Nielsen site, each rating point represents approx. 1,096,000 households, so about 2.5 million households tuned in, which might be 3 or 3.5 million people.

For comparison, Sci-Fi ecstatically announced last fall that it had reached an all-time high of a 1.0 average rating for the network. New episodes of "Stargate" usually get about a 2.0, and those Saturday night premieres usually get from 1.0 - 1.5.

Also for comparison, you managed to beat last week's episodes of "Charmed," "Gilmore Girls," "Star Trek Enterprise," and "Smallville" on the networks (although, granted, many were reruns.)

BTW, I think everyone's favorite Bulgarian super-model is named Rosi Chernogorova. The only other movie I can find that she was in was your colleague David Worth's "Shark Attack 3," and she's only in a few seconds of the tv version before she gets chomped by the shark, after a naked romp on the beach, which of course was edited out for tv. I suspect the uncensored dvd version might well provide people what they're lookin' for.

Speaking of whom, the burning question in the fan world today is: what did Bizzy mean when she mentioned several times that she thought she knew Ivan from somewhere before?

Thanks,

August

Dear August:

Thank you very much for explaining the ratings because I really didn't know. I heard several male members of the crew, who had worked on "Shark Attack 3," proudly proudly telling others that they had worked on the beach scene where Rosi runs out of the water completely naked. As to what Bizzy means when she first meets Ivan, I don't know.

Josh

Name: Scott Tukuloff
E-mail: scotttu1@lycos.com

Hi Josh,

I work over at Movies Online.ca, you recently did an interview with us and I am also a fan of the film "Alien Apocalypse". My question comes from one of our members (which I couldnt answer and I thought who better to ask than you).

The question was: "In the film Alien Apocalypse was the actress in the sheena outfit called Issy. her name dosint show up in any credits?"

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and have a good one.

Scott

Dear Scott:

It's Bizzy, short for Elizabeth.

Josh

Name: kelly walker
E-mail: walkerke@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

the question that i had is; who is the young lady that played the gal that on the way back from meeting the president was raped by that bountyhunter scumbag. i would give you the character name, but sadly i'm bad with names.she had dishwater blonde hair, tan leather two peice, knee high mocisons, and a compound bow, nap sack with some potatoe mash alchol. her name was something like frish or farshyi think it started with an "f". like i said i'm bad with names. the reason that i'm asking is because i was wondering what other movies if any she has been in. thank you for taking the time to answer this email.

Dear Kelly:

Her name is Rosi and it's just terrible of me not to know her last name. She actually has a nice voice and her Bulgarian accent is very sexy. The way she really said "Potato liquor" was wonderful. Given that she's really a fashion model, I thought she did very well.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

Congrats on the success of Alien Apocalypse, I really enjoyed it for the most part. Bruce was great as always, and carried the picture quite well. Believe it or not I thought the best scene in the film was the scene where Ivan first encounters the president. I thought it was very well executed, and quite effective. I also thought that Peter Jason did a terrific job in such a small role. How many days did you haave him for? The one aspect that annoyed me about the film was an issue that was out of your hands of course, which was the dubbing. Obviously this was the only way to solve the problem and it was no one's fault, but I found it to be quite obvious in various places. Nonetheless, I still liked the film, and hope that you're able to get The Horribleness off the ground in the near future.

Dear Scott:

I don't like it any more than you. If I shoot in eastern Europe again I'll make sure they bring in more English speaking actors. But that's how this was set up, so I just went with it. Once Bruce and I decided to sign on board with this producer, we both agreed that we'd just buckle our seatbelts and go for the ride. Meanwhile, I thought that first scene with the president was pretty good. Bruce is particularly good. Peter is kind of acting up a storm, but it's suitable for the character and the scene and I think it works reasonably well. I had Peter Jason for one day, the very last day of the shoot, which was also the most difficult day of the whole shoot.

Josh

Name: Matt David T.
E-mail: msturnbull@comcast.net

Dear Josh,

Good on you for Alien Apocalypse doing so well.

Nice one. Funny stuff, very enjoyable. Well done, congratulate your crew (if you ever see them again.)

I'm confused about the dubbing myself. Ah well.

Oh, and I hope Sci-Fi sells the video game rights for it, and the people I work for pick it up. If so I've already got dibs.

Dear Matt:

Thanks.

Josh

Name: michael
E-mail: munderwo@verizon.net

Dear Josh:

in alien apocalypse who is the actress who plays "izzie"

Dear Michael:

The character's name was Bizzy, and the actress's name is Rosi something-or-other. She's one of the top models in Bulgaria, and she's really gorgeous.

Josh

Name: Bluntcritic
E-mail: blunt@thissucked.com

Dear Josh:

I wanted to like this, Mr. Becker's ego sure built it up.

The rating for this was high for one reason, fans of the two leads were sending their support for such a crappie, but not surprising swill SCIFI's been putting out lately.

Poor voice overs, crappie costumes, thin no plot line, poor script. Sorta like see spot run, run spot run. The special effects were just bad.

This was just hard to watch.

The story line was predictable, man, woman, ooo bugs, world survival, chessey sex scene added for the all out lacking touch, woman in trouble, ooo man saves world. Rolls eyes.

Mr. Becker snicker's and snide's on other films and directors, making his delusion of grandeur seem so superior, but he pumps out a below b-level crap.

Mr. Campbell is used to acting in poor flicks and I hope this doesn't end what little career Ms. O'Connor has. I can see why Lee Majors and Lucy Lawless passed on the masterpiece.

Mr. Becker, thank god for you that you know Mr. Sam Raimi, you need his name to continue your career.

2/10 rating or YUCK! And I'm being kind here.

Dear Bluntcritic:

Well, thank you for your kind review.

Josh

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

Josh,

I downloaded and watched "The Blind Waiter." Really cool-I liked it a lot. Frankly, I liked it a LOT more than Alien Apocolypse. :)

When was "The Blind Waiter" shot? And what part did you play-the chef?

Dear Saul:

The Chef was played by Scott Spiegel. I played the part of the cameraman.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

lol..No problem! By the way, have you and Bruce ever seriously considered forming a joint production company on a permanent basis? You would be definitely filling a void in the movie industry. The studio era had the B-list divisions, the sixties had Roger Corman and the partnership of Arkhoff and Nicholson, but what major independent entity is there today for the production of low-budget pictures?

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

Good point. Who is there? Roger Corman is still around, but his stuff is so low-budget that it's now off the map. As for Bruce and I, I'd say we're both a little shy about getting into permanent business anythings. Besides, Bruce has a world of stuff going on that has nothing to do with me as the Bruce Campbell empire continues to grow. As I said to him yesterday (and I quote myself), "Bruce, you get one degree hotter every year." It's certainly better to be getting hotter than colder, and perhaps I'm picking up a bit of the radiant heat. As someone referred to me on a message board the other day, "Josh Whatsisname, the fringe guy."

Josh

Name: Meg Nathan
E-mail: megnathan@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

This is TRASH! Worse than trash! It's totally incorrect historically for one thing. The Marquis and Medora never spent a winter in North Dakota and she would never have run to Roosevelt for help even if the Marquis had beat her - she didn't know him well enough or even like him very much and she had too much pride. By all accounts, the Marquis never abused Medora physically until he had lost virtually everything and they had been forced to move back to France (This I gleaned from Medora's own diary). Roosevelt didn't EVER fight the Marquis. In fact, he was called upon as a character witness during the Marquis' murdur trial. Furthermore, the men who worked for and with the Marquis said - to a man - that he was fair and honest and worked as hard, if not harder than the men under him. He may have been a snooty aristocrat, but he never would have kept another rancher from getting feed for his animals. It's not honorable....something Antoine de Vallombrosa always strove to be.

I am writing my own script about the Marquis and Medora and have encountered considerable opposition in the people I have attempted to interview because of TRASHY BOOKS AND MOVIES done before that have twisted the facts and taken them out of context, painting sleazy corrupt characters instead of a more realistic rendering of good people with human failings.

I understand completely when certain scenes or dialogue has to be "fictionalized"....but to completely pervert history this way is shameful.

Dear Meg:

They didn't fight? Really? The reason I wrote the script is because they should have fought. And you don't know that the Marquis didn't stop people from crossing his land. The shooting of those three men is true story and was undoubtedly done by the Marquis's men. The Marquis always strove to be honorable? This is one of the most despicable anti-semites of his time -- a time loaded with despicable anti-semites -- so to stand out is impressive.

Josh

Name: Charles
E-mail: cscorder@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Congratulations on the ratings success of "Alien Apocalypse." I enjoyed it very much. For some reason, the scenes of aliens biting humans' heads off always cracked me up. (Does this mean I need to seek professional help?) Seeing the head go down the alien's throat was a nice CGI touch, too. The homages to "Spartacus," "Planet of the Apes" and "The Road Warrior" were much appreciated on this end.

Bruce, as always, was magnificent. Do you have any idea how many times Bruce re-watched "Spartacus" to prepare for the role of slacker savior Ivan? (Naming the main character Ivan cracked me up, too.)

I know you hate sequels, but if there was ever a character who needed one, it's Bob The Mountain Man. Throw in Rossi, and that would be perfect.

Again, congratulations on "AA" and I'm looking forward to your next project.

Sincerely,
Charles

Dear Charles:

Thanks. I don't think Bruce re-watched "Spartacus" at all for this part, but he imitated Kirk Douglas playing the part frequently on the set, always to my great joy and hilarity. Bruce does a top-notch Kirk Douglas imitation. The character is named Ivan after Ivan Raimi, Sam's and Ted's older brother, who is in fact a D.O.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

That is super news about the ratings for "Apocalypse." Do you have any idea what the actual numbers were? (As in 3.2, 5.7, etc.) And any idea what the two previous highest-rated films were?

You'll be happy to know that my local paper has a big ol' photo of Bruce and Renee from the final battle scene at the top of the TV listings page today, and the movie is listed as one of the "Thursday Highlights." Not too shabby for a 3rd airing. It's the biggest paper in the state, and a Knight-Ridder affiliate, so that may bode well, but I don't know if some local copy editor stuck that in there, or if they got it off the wire.

In re-watching it, something cracked me up again: the way the alien commander storms out of the HQ building, abruptly pushing away the two insectoid guards on either side of him. That's such a cliched thing for a human actor to do, when playing a gruff commander; to see a special effect alien do it is just a wonderful little touch.

Regards,

August

Dear August:

It's a little nod to the Three Stooges. He should be saying in Moe's voice,"Get oughta the way!" The number was a 2.28, whatever that means, and no, I don't know what the other two higher rated films were.

Josh

Name: Eric
E-mail: bo130@excite.com

Dear Josh:

You mentioned previously that there was extensive overdubs on the actors voices in this movie.

Was H.G. Hertzler one of the people who did overdubs? I swear that one of the actors sounded exactly like "Martok" From Star Trek Deep Space 9.

Dear Eric:

I have no idea, but I doubt it.

Josh

Name: tom
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

i saw Alien Apocalypse and thought it was good for being a made for tv movie. although i really hated the voice over it was just way too road warrior

was it me or was there alot of dubbing?

Dear tom:

No, it was you. Everybody except Bruce, Renee and Peter Jason (the President) was dubbed.

Josh

Name: Evan
E-mail: ema3924@uncw.edu

Dear Josh,

Just wanted to thank you for making Alien Apocalypse, it's by far the best movie sci-fi has put out that I can remember, and was the primary saturday night entertainment for my friends and I. Its got some great one-liners, my two favorites being Bruce telling that one guy, "your stupidity is terminal," as well as him saying "come on with this" when trying to use the bug weapon, which for some reason was hillarious to me. Just a solid, fun sci-fi movie with good characters and some great shots of the bulgarian countryside. I was also very happy to see that it was shown in the proper aspect ratio, something I don't remember seeing in other sci-fi movies. Is the DVD that's coming out going to be your directors cut? What are the major differences between it and the version shown on tv? Anyway, thanks for an enjoyable evening and keep up the good work.
-Evan

Dear Evan:

No one has suggested that they would pay for a "Director's Cut," since the film would then have to be reedited and rescored, so I don't think there will be such a thing. Yes, I shot the film at 1.85:1 and it was shown that way, which is nice.

Josh

Name: Bob
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

The President Lives!

Congratulations on the airing of Alien Apocalypse and for the good ratings news. I found the movie entertaining with just enough zany humor. The camera work made for a very nice movie to watch. I liked the way Bruce Campbell played his part with the one liners and Renee O'Connor did a very good job too. I think this is the first time I've seen either one in anything new since Xena. I hope the success of the movie leads to more good things to everyone involved.

Dear Bob:

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.

Josh

Name: Saul Trabal
E-mail: ghost_kingdom

Heya Josh,

Well, I finally saw Alien Apocolypse, and I have to be brutally honest...

The film sucked. Yeah, I know this isn't supposed to be Citizen Kane, but even as brain candy, it came across as lame and humorless. It was as dull as white bread. I also hated the rape scene. I'm not squeamish, nor necessarily against scenes like this. However, given the type of movie this was, I don't think there was any place for it. I didn't like the trivial manner the rape was treated, either. I wanted to know how the woman was coping with the rape. Bruce's character killing the rapist didn't really redeem the scene for me.

Eh! It's a paycheck, I guess. As Bruce said to one critic at a screening of Evil Dead in Brooklyn, back in 2002:

"Hey-I have to pay my mortage, asshole!"

That comment got a huge laugh, BTW.

It **was** good to see Renee and Bruce on the small screen, and at least they'll get exposure.

Take care.

Saul

Dear Saul:

You can't please all the people all the time, nor would I want. Having cruised the message boards, people are really split on this film, they like it or that hate it, nobody seems wishy-washy. The best quote so far came from Mrs. Raimi (Sam's and Ted's mom), who said, "I see worse movies everyday." Maybe they'll put that on the DVD box.

Josh

Name: Josh P.
E-mail: ferricdog@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

I rather liked "Alien Apocalypse." I thought it was a well-written and entertaining story. The character development was certainly far more than one usually sees in 'SciFi Originals.' That said, i have a few questions. First, what would you have done differently had you produced the film independently? Aside from the title change, what impact did it being produced by SciFi have on the finished film? Finally, when you wrote the script for "Humans in Chains," did you have Bruce Campbell in mind for Ivan? He seemed to fit the role quite well.

Thanks for your work.

Josh

Dear Josh P.:

Actually, no, the script was not originally written with Bruce in mind. I did have him in mind while rewriting it, though. Had I done it myself, depending on the budget, I probably wouldn't have shot it in Bulgaria with Bulgarian actors, then dubbed it later with Americans. That to me was kind of nutty.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

Congratulations on ALIEN APOCALYPSE! While it showed it's TV budget a little in the production values, the film on the whole was entertaining and well done. Bravo!

Darryl

P.S. Kudos to Shirley and Brian for getting the site problem fixed so quickly. My hat's off to 'em.

D.

Dear Darryl:

"It showed it's TV budget a little"? Thank you for your kind understatement.

Josh

Name: Marcey Martin
E-mail: gabrielle365@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

i live in canada and don't get the si-fi channel. I was really looking forward to watching alien apocalypse. Could you tell me when the movie might play in canada, or tell me were i could buy a copy.
thanks
Marcey:)

Dear Marcey:

It will be coming out on DVD pretty soon through Anchor Bay, but I don't know when.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Congratulations on the premiere of "Alien Apocalypse!"

I've got to say first and foremost that it has got to be the most *beautiful* film ever shot for Sci-Fi in Bulgaria! Granted, your story was set largely outdoors anyway, but still, way to go for taking advantage of the region's natural beauty (and no, I'm not talking about Rosi. Well, not entirely.) Kudos to everyone (I guess primarily David Worth and Gary Jones) for capturing that brilliant green foliage - I especially liked the opening montage. Although speaking of montages, I liked that sawmill-machinery montage too.

Another thing I found refreshing was simply how well you guys used light. This was about the first of the made-in-Bulgaria features on Sci-Fi I've seen that wasn't shrouded in darkness and shadows and murk and gloom. No reason not to have action happen outdoors, and in the sunlight... and even interior scenes - like the cramped slaves' quarters in that pit, and the late-night scenes of Bruce and his followers - were all very clear, with amber or bluish light illuminating the action. Although I gotta say - I knew I'd been watching too many of these films when I saw the stream where the guy Bob is fishing, and I found myself thinking "Hey! That's the radioactive stream from 'Raptor Island!' "

2nd thing I liked was the alien SFX. Sure, it wasn't "Jurassic Park," but by comparison to recent films I've seen, they were quite well done. I really couldn't tell when I was seeing a practical alien marionette, and when it was cgi. Also really liked the surreal design for the aliens' HQ building - who knew 2x4's could be twisted around like that?

Of course the music was superb as we all knew it would be, and of course Renee and Bruce did a fine job. The script made me laugh as much as it did when you first posted it (it was always my fave of the ones I've read) and I liked the new bits that were added - like Bruce's expression when he realizes that his weapon is a tiny drill bit. I know you didn't intend for there to be too much deeper meaning read into a nice little action romp like this.... but I really do appreciate some underlying themes that are floating around somewhere in there - how tenuous our hold on this planet is, how easily we might be subjugated, and the irony of a sort of sarcastic slacker becoming a hero by default. But otherwise, just generally refreshing to see an actual plot beyond Humans vs. Monsters.

About the only things I didn't like were out of your control, I suspect. I bet you could have had another 30 minutes at least, especially at the beginning. Just more character development, more scenes of the slaves, etc. but I know that the format made it all get crammed together and so it seemed rushed.

Note: as you predicted, the little glimpses of aliens spying on the humans as they are captured made no sense, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of it in any way whatsoever. Those wigs and beards on the other hand..... damn. Reminded me of Bustoff the wrestler, who Curly disguised himself as. But again, not your fault. And while the actor who played the old guy Jeff (and whoever dubbed him) did pretty good - a nice authentic "rural" sound to his voice - I'm not sure too many of the Bulgarian actors should quit their day jobs, and unfortunately, much of the dubbing sounded like the same two guys over and over again. Remy Franklin and Jonas Talkington did nice jobs with their parts, however, and Rosi (and whoever dubbed her) seemed quite earnest and sincere in her few little scenes.

Was it "Ben Hur?" No. But it kept me entertained and made me smile for two hours. So congrats.

Regards,

August

Dear August:

Thank you. I really am glad you enjoyed it. As a note, "Alien Apocalypse" was the highest-rated Saturday night movie on SciFi in over a year, and the third highest ever.

Josh

Name: Shirley
E-mail: shirley@beckerfilms

Dear Josh:

Hey, I hope you aren't paying your sorry excuse for a webmaster. (test)

Dear Shirley:

No, but I ought to be.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

I just wanted to chime in on something you said about SUNSET BLVD that's been tickling me a little. In the bridge game scene all the card players are indeed real former silent film stars, but the blond woman at the table is not Hedda Hopper; rather, it's Anna Q. Nilsson. Hedda Hopper also plays herself, but her scene is in Norma's bedroom after the police have arrived, where she's dictating on the telephone ("Damn it, man, don't bother with the rewrite, take it direct! ...It's morning now in the murder house where Norma Desmond, famous star of yesteryear, is in a state of complete mental shock....."). Anna Q. Nilsson's only line is when she names her suit in the bridge game.
Just to say one thing more about SUNSET BLVD before laying it to rest, I remember Gloria Swanson's line where she says of silent film actors, "We didn't need dialogue. We had faces!" I think this played out in the bridge game scene when William Holden comes up to Gloria Swanson and asks for money. The glance that H.B. Warner and Buster Keaton shared with each other had incredible depth to it; it conveyed irony, pity and sadness without a single word spoken. I think that is a talent that was lost with the silent era.

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

Thanks for the correction. And yes, it is a great little glance between Keaton and Warner. The great actors can still convey a world of meaning with their expressions. One of my favs is Marlon Brando in "The Godfather," in the first scene with the undertaker. He asks, "God-a-father, be my friend?" Brando raises a single eyebrow and shrugs, which seems to say, Maybe I will, maybe I won't, what's in it for me? Gloria Swanson was one of the great silent film actors, and her control of her facial expressions was amazing. Meanwhile, her autobiography, "Swanson on Swanson," was great; she was a truly fascinating woman, and not a bit like Norma Desmond. She was very happy to retire from films in the early 1930s, having worked non-stop since she was fifteen. She was very intelligent and had many other interests beside movies. It still blows my mind that he first husband was Wallace Beery, and the marriage lasted about 3 days. Beery was this huge, 250 lb. galoot, and Swanson was 4'11" and about 90 lbs. I think they had sex once, then that was the end of the deal.

Josh

Name: Boris Grushenko
E-mail: rosskishiphatu@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Well, I'll tell you right up front that isn't my name. It is a character's name in a movie. See if you can remember the movie title on the top of your head. It is one of the funniest movies of all time (I say in a subjective statement). My i"real" question though s are you happy with the films you have made and feel they are of good quality? Don't worry this is from a fan.

Dear Boris:

Is it Woody Allen in "Love and Death"? The best I can say for my films is that in at least two cases, "Running Time" and "Hammer," I made exactly the films I intended to make and I have no excuses. As for the other films, I have a variety of excuses. Do I think I've made a great film yet? No. Have I made any very good films yet? I don't think so, either. I do think "Running Time" works for what it's trying to do, and I think "Hammer" has things to say, and is pretty unique. "Lunatics" is sort of interesting, in a kind of weird, stilted way, and TSNKE was an ambitious project to make with no money, but I don't think I really pulled it off. You can all tell me what you think of "Alien Apocalypse" after it premieres Saturday.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

If an independent production company asked to pay for you to do a movie for them... like a standard horror movie or what not, would you do it? I guess it would kind of be like Alien Apocolypse. The difference I guess would be it be their original idea they would just want you to do the script and directing. I think that would be cool. That way someones financing you and your getting to make your movie barely hassel free. Hope something like that were to happen after "The Horribleness" is done. And that you get a good release of it.

Your fan,
Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

No, probably not at this point. I could probably be directing "Raptor Island 2" at this very moment were I of a mind, but I'm not. Nor do I want to direct anything that I haven't written anymore, either.

Josh

Name: Michael
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

What are your thoughts on Roman Polanski's outstanding "The Tenant?" Psychologically, what do you think he's trying to do with the film (besides scare us)? The whole Egyptian angle is very intriguing.
Thanks.

Dear Michael:

It's one of my favorites and I've seen it about twenty times, probably five or six times in the theater. Now that you mention it, I ought to buy the DVD. The hieroglyphs on the bathroom wall are a brilliant image, and scary, although I have no idea what it means. Polanski had terrific run there between 1965 and 1976 with three somewhat similar horror films -- "Repulsion," "Rosemary's Baby," and "The Tenant" -- which are all pretty much confined in single apartments, and are three of the best horror films of all time, for my money. Meanwhile, Sven Nykvist's photography in "The Tenant" is truly gorgeous.

Josh

Name: Daniel Leightley
E-mail: d.leightley@btinternet.com

Dear Josh:

I am a student in year 10 at my school and i have been asked to make a short movie, and i was thinking if it is possible for you to give me some advice on how to make a movie.

Dear Daniel:

Aim the lens away from you, and make sure to the push the button.

Josh

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

<<You write the weirdest little diatribes.>>

I finally sat down and watched most of THE ENIGMA OF KASPAR HAUSER, which I like the part where the doctor or whoever is asking Bruno S. a logic question about there being a village where everyone tells the truth and a village where everyone always lies and there are two roads that go down and intersect at you and a man at the end, what ONE question do you ask the man to find out what village he is from? The man tells him its not what village he is from, its if you were from the other village what would you say? and Bruno S. tells him there is one more question: Are you or are you not a tree-frog? The liar would be forced to say yes.

Dear kdn:

Yes, it's a good scene in an interesting movie, Herzog's best, I think. But why are you telling me about it, I saw the movie. This is a Q&A, dude, have you got a question?

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

<<then"Dead End" (1937), and finally "The Roaring Twenties" and "Angels With Dirty Faces," both 1939>>

DEAD END is the reason they call some of the cast in ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES the Dead End Kids right. It said on the documentary that one of the kids kept trying to upstage Cagney, to which James finally took him aside and told him he's paid to job so quit screwing around. That's what I like about James Cagney, it was just a job to him so he could do the other things he wanted to in life... and he was still kick-ass. Oh yeah, the documentary where they mention the James Cagney-Billy Wilder thing is on the YANKEE DOODLE DANDY dvd... its hosted by Michael J. Fox. There was a nice one on Joan Crawford on the MILDRED PIERCE dvd. Sadly, the only documentary on the GONE WITH THE WIND 4-Disc was the one about the making of the film, I didn't care about the Clark Gable one, and Olivia DeHavilland (god bless her sweet soul) is very slow in telling a story, I haven't watched the Vivian Leigh one yet. I made it halfway through the Arthur Freed doc on the SINGIN IN THE RAIN dvd, about to the point of ON THE TOWN where they had to steal their shots in New York because Frank Sinatra was too big and risked getting mobbed.

Dear kdn:

All of the kids -- Billy Hallop, Huntz Hall, Leo Gorcey, etc. -- were the Dead End Kids at first, having all started those roles on Broadway in the play "Dead End." After the success of the film, Sam Goldwyn sold the rights to the use of the name Dead End Kids (as well as the kids' contracts) to Warner Bros., who used them as the Dead End Kids for several movies: "Angels With Dirty Faces," "They Made Me a Criminal," "Crime School," "Hell's Kitchen," "Angels Wash Their Faces," then the Dead End Kids split up, one group become the Little Tough Guys, another the East Side Kids, and yet another became the Bowery Boys, who went on making films until 1958.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Wow... I've missed so much. The plot for "The Horribleness" sounds awesome! Will it be like "Monster Squad" except without kids? Or is it gonna be like "Cleaveland Smith"? Glad to hear that Gary and Ted are doing a movie together. I'll look forward to see it. I just hope his DVD of "Raptor Island 2" has commentary. I remember you saying that Sheldon was doing "BloodSport 6" or something is that still true? Or have you not heard from him in a while? Well keep it up and I hope to hear that your making another movie by the end of the year.

Your fan,
Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

I sure hope it's not like "Monster Squad," that sucked. The only slightly amusing thing about that film was that it was made by Shane Black and Fred Decker, whose names together form Black & Decker. I haven't spoken with Sheldon in about a year, but I guess he must've made "Bloodsport 6" by now, apparently without Jean-Claude Van Damme. The way things look on "The Horribleness," it will probably be this time next year when we start shooting, if all goes well.

Josh

Name: Luke
E-mail: lukea99@yahoo.com

Josh,

I have a similar question to the one below. When you're writing a scene in one location, let's say a movie theater, and you want to cut from one character, to another character located somewhere else in the same theater, would you write another slugline (INT. MOVIE THEATER - FRONT ROW), or would you just skip a line and write the other person's actions?

Thanks

Dear Luke:

The second choice. It's the same slugline, but a new paragraph. A new slugline indicates a new location, but in this case both characters are in the same location, but in different sections. If there was a scene in the movie theater's bathroom, that would get a new slugline.

Josh

Name: tom
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

i have a few script writing questions:

how do you write a sceen in which there are alot of cuts but no talking -ex army of darkness, when ash is putting together his metal hand. - do you write what the character is doing in a paragraph? or do you just list what things will be seen?

i read your book, and you say not to include things like camera moves and editing things etc. but in a few screenplay books i have looked at they say "cut to" all the time - is that correct? it seems a little stupid to me, i mean arnt you always cutting to something.

thanks as always

Dear tom:

I used to use "Cut to," but I stopped. Clearly, if there's a new slugline, we must have gotten there somehow. I still use "Dissolve" occasionally, mainly when indicating that time has gone by. Many screenwriting books will tell you to write "Continued" at the top and bottom of every page, if the scene doesn't end at the bottom of the page. I think that's a waste of time, too. I think we all know that a script (or a book) continues until there are no more pages to read, then it's over. If what you mean is a montage sequence, then I would state, "MONTAGE SEQUENCE:" then list the shots on their own lines:

Pumping the bellows heats up the coals.
Hammer bangs metal and sparks fly.
Afix metal hand to wrist.
Flex fingers.

Something like that. Make it as clear and easy to read and understand as possible, and skip all filmmaking references like, close-up, zoom, medium shot, or anything else, which do not help the reader envision the scene.

Josh

Name: Gilgamesh
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Here's the thing. Do you think we'll see another Heavyweight in out lifetime with either the boxing skills or ring presence of Ali?

Maybe 15 years ago I would have said, 'Sure we will!'....now I seriously have my doubts.

I have to say....IN MY OPINION, Ali was the most talented Heavyweight I've ever seen. Sure he did lose several times...blah, blah...blah; and it did seem to me that he wasn't always on his game everytime he walked into the ring, the reason for some of his losses(Norton)......but that I have to say that when Ali was on his game.....moving around, using his jab, and using his brains; he was untouchable.

I've heard some say he had no power.....sorry folks, but Ali had power. You don't knock out the likes of Foreman in his prime if you don't have power. His jab was awesome; he moved like no other heavyweight I've ever seen; and he was the best ever at using mind games. He had it all and showed it in the ring with a fluid and grace I'm thinking that we will never see again.

So what do you think. Is the heavyweight division come to nothing but the likes of Lennox Lewis, who is a very good boxer and has skills, but will put you to sleep when watching him.......or the Tyson wannabes; folks who put you on the canvas real quick, but when they get in the ring with a man with skills who can avoid being put on the mat gets his a$$ kicked. Will ever again see a big man with the skills, charizma and uniqueness of an Ali?

By the way....just to throw it out there, I have to say that as of right now the best boxer out there has to be Bernard Hopkins. Say what you will, the man simply knows how to box. No one comes close to Hopkins definsive abilities....and when fighters get in the ring with him and encounter first hand how hard he is to hit, frustration sets in, and when that happens, Hopkins with his experience knows what to do. Alot of up and coming fighters are being talked about as the guy to knock him off, but for them to accomplish this they are going to have to overcome his defense and not give into frustration.

Dear Gilgamesh:

Hey, I read your book, it was good. Bernard Hopkins is a terrific boxer, but he's even duller to watch than Roy Jones, Jr. or Lennox Lewis. Keep in mind that Muhammed Ali would barely be a heavyweight these days, and wouldn't have been one at the beginning of his career when he was 185 pounds. He'd have been a light-heavyweight and not even a cruiser weight. I personally was a big fan of Lennox Lewis. I think he was the real thing -- a smart, strong, fearless fighter with a very good chin (excluding one fight with Oliver McCall and one fight with Hasim Rachman, both of which he brutally avenged). Lennox whipped Holyfield's butt three times (even if he didn't get the decision every time), he creamed Mike Tyson and everybody else (Vitaly Klitchko looked like he'd been dragged behind a truck for 20 miles after six rounds with Lewis). The old guys say that Joe Louis was a better fighter than Ali, and he was certainly champ for a lot longer, and he defended his title more times than anyone else. I'm not so sure Ali would have fared all that well against monsters like Klitchko or Lewis or Jameel McCline (6'7" and 275 lbs.). But when Muhammed Ali was on his game, particularly before he was champ and was still Cassius Clay, he was a great pleasure to watch, and the ultimate hotdog.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

The Horribleness sounds very amusing, but doesn't Universal own the rights to those characters? Or are they public domain at this point? I'm not a huge fan of horror movies, but it's been awhile since a good horror-comedy has come out. I think that Bruce would make a very amusing Frankenstein.

Dear Jim:

Bruce will be Dracula, Ted Raimi will be Frankenstein. Universal owns the rights to the specific make-up they created for those characters, not the characters themselves. Mary Shelly's book, "Frankenstein," came out in 1818, and Bram Stoker wrote "Dracula" in 1897, so they're both securely in the public domain.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Out of THE PUBLIC ENEMY, THE ROARING TWENTIES, ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES, and WHITE HEAT, which one do you like the most? and why?
My personal favorite is THE ROARING TWENTIES because James Cagney is slightly more human, and Humphrey Bogart has some pretty funny smartass lines ("That kid coming at us looks like he's only 15" POW!! Bogart: "He won't be 16"... Bogart:"Hey I kinda like this gun, I think I'll take it home with me"). But I like WHITE HEAT too cause of Ma and Cagney crazy ass top of the world performance. ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES and THE PUBLIC ENEMY had the more memorable endings with ANGELS, you didn't know if Cagney died yellow or if he faked it "That yellow rat was going to spit in my eye" and THE PUBLIC ENEMY had that great ending where Cagney was stolen from the hospital and the mother gets a phone call that he is coming home, then goes upstairs to make the bed, and the brother answers the door only to see a very dead and bloody Cagney fall to the floor. Martin Scorsese said in the behind the scenes that he showed THE PUBLIC ENEMY to Leo DiCaprio and the crew of THE AVIATOR to show them what the Howard Hughes movie would be up against, and at the end of the movie they stood up and applauded and cheered like it had been released just yesterday. Also, William Wyler's CARRIE had to be one of the most sadistic love stories I've ever seen but I loved it too. They should make Laurence Olivier's character a catchphrase "Uh Oh, Laurence Olivier's in love again, guess his second marriage wasn't enough for him".

Dear kdn:

You write the weirdest little diatribes. I'm not big on listing things preferential order, I like all of those movies. "The Public Enemy" (1931) must be viewed more from the standpoint of being an early talkie, as well as one of the first sound gangster films, right after "Little Caesar" (1930), and right before Howard Hughes & Howard Hawks's "Scarface" (1932). Then the Breen Code began to really be enforced, partially due to the violence of these early gangster films, and gangster films became unfashionable for a few years, then came back first with "The Petrified Forest" (1935), then"Dead End" (1937), and finally "The Roaring Twenties" and "Angels With Dirty Faces," both 1939, then "High Sierra" in 1941, then gangster movies went out again and never came back into style. The last Warner Bros. gangster film, long after the fad, was "White Heat" (1949), which is colder and more brutal than all of them. I think William Wyler's "Carrie" is pretty astounding, and unlike any other movie I can think of. Laurence Olivier is just great, and the way he handled bumping the safe door with his ass to mistakenly close it, which causes all of his subsequent problems, was terrific. I first saw the film when I was about 14 or 15 and the ending really shocked me.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

Sorry, I forgot to ask something. On IFILM.com, there's a short film called "WILLIAM SHATNER LENT ME HIS HAIRPIECE," directed by Ken Hegan and starring Gary Jones. Is this the same Gary Jones that you've worked with in the past? He does a pretty good William Shatner impersonation.

Darryl

P.S. Since we're talking about Star Trek, was "The Trouble with Tribbles" the episode where Scotty starts a brawl with the Klingons aboard the space station? [this question isn't just for you, Josh, but anyone who might know....]
D.

Dear Darryl:

I don't even have to check to say it's not the same Gary Jones. The only performance in a film he's given that I know about is his performance as the garbage truck driver in "Lunatics," which I basically made him do. It's a pretty common name. Meanwhile, "The Trouble With Tribbles" is the one where Scotty starts the barroom brawl. The Klingon says, "The Enterprise is a garbage scow," and Scotty lets it pass. The Klingon then says, "Did I say the Enterprise was a garbage scow? I meant, the Enterprise should be hauled away as garbage." Scotty shrugs and says, "Now I think you'll be takin' that back, laddie," and punches him. I'll bet I haven't seen that episode in 20 years anyway.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

Is that rare, for a documentary to have character progression? I would think that it would be, life rarely forming neat dramatic arcs as in a film. Nevertheless, if the filmaker accomplished this, then kudos to them.
You've mentioned your new project, THE HORRIBLENESS, and I was wondering if you were too far along in production to post the script? If so, can you give us a hint as to what it's about? I'd be curious to read it if it's available.

Darryl

P.S. I found out something interesting the other day. If you type your own name on the internet and run a Google search, it comes up with everything public that has your name in it. For me, it brought up a newspaper article and my posts to this site. Hmph..Big Brother is watching you....

D.

Dear Darryl:

I wasn't referring to a documentary, I was talking about "Nowhere in Africa," which is a fiction film based on fact. But I've seen documentaries with character arcs, particularly the ones that were shot over some great amount of time. I just watched a good doc on Sundance called "The Target Shoots First," about a guy who gets a job at Columbia Record House, and brings a video camera to work everyday for about two years. The arc is that once anyone there gets a true sense of how the place functions, they quit, which seems to take two years. Everybody he's working with quit before him, then he does, too. To come to that realization is a character arc. A character arc is just like a plot, meaning: something leads to something else. In "Super Size Me" he goes through a complete character arc in a month, due to eating nothing but McDonald's. He's definitely not the same person at the end as he was at the beginning -- he's 20 pounds heavier, and his triglyceride level has gone through the roof. His realization is that he can't eat McDonald's food everyday or he will die.

I don't think it's a good idea having a script I'm trying to sell or set up posted on the site. I personally don't care, but I don't want the folks I'm trying to sell thinking that I'm just giving the script away when I'm trying to get them to pay. "The Horribleness" is a wacky slapstick horror-comedy that has all of the classic monsters in it, Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, the Bride of Frankenstein (who has divorced Frankenstein and remarried Dracula). This is the first time I've ever had two companies at the same time want one of my scripts, which is certainly a change of pace. Now let's see if it gets made.

Josh

Name: Scott Parker
E-mail: bsptlw2004@sbcglobal.net

Mr. Becker,

My name is Scott Parker, screenwriter. I have written 8 full-length screenplays and 7 shorts. I have also had 16 Poems published. My latest script 'Real Men Wear Pink' is being read by several Prod Co's, producers and directors, including New Market Films (Monster, Passion of the Christ), Guy Walks Into A Bar (Elf, Out of Time), and Producer Julie Richardson (Collateral)...I am also slated to write 11 more scripts in the next 4 years.

My question to you is...How much longer do I have to wait? My agent, at the William Morris Agency, says my time has come...after 13 years of down and out living... re-writes, re-writes...and oh, more re-writes. What else has to happen? They just recieved my script last week as well as this week. I'm nervous... I've heard 1 Million no's in the industry and I'm terrified of hearing more. I hope that you can give some advice.

I look forward to your response,
Scott Parker

bsptlw2004@sbcglobal.net
bsptlw2002@hotmail.com

Dear Scott:

You're living the nightmare that I escaped. Hollywood is trying to kill your soul and make you hate that which you love. As long as you sit waiting for someone else to call and tell you that your life has begun, you're not really living, you're in stasis. How long do you have to wait? Possibly forever. What has to happen is you have to stop caring what they think. Take your life into your own hands, and if you want to get a film made, make it yourself. Get out of Hollywood, stop going to pitch meetings and become proactive with your own life. Hollywood has destroyed stronger people than you and me. This is your life right now, it doesn't begin when you sell a script. The realization I had to finally come to was, I don't want them to buy my script because they'll fuck it up. I would rather figure out how to do it on my own and make it my way, than get a big paycheck and watch a bunch of idiots ruin my script. My scripts are my children, and I can't knowingly send them off to be experimented on by Dr. Mengele, and being paid well doesn't help. Good luck.

Josh

Name: Trey Smith
E-mail: cobra_commander_of_cobra@yahoo.com

Hey!

I recieved "Hammer"in the mail today and I really enjoyed it! Definately your best film so far, it's not my favorite (I think there is a tie between Luntatics and Running Time), but it's a superb piece of cinema.
*gives standing ovation*

I really like that fact Phil and Lorraine didn't end up together at the end, it really works with the story. I think you will agree with me that if the Hollywood screenwriting comittees would have rewritten it, they definately would have gotten together with a sweet romantic kiss at the end. However, like I said earlier...that just doesn't work and would have taken alot away from the film and the idea that the coming of The Beatles appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show killed the folk movement you are presenting to us.

Anyway, I'll say it again, what a wonderful job you did with this film and I am looking foward to AA and The Horribleness!

Dear Trey:

I'm so glad you liked it. What Hollywood doesn't get is that the appropriate ending, even if it's unhappy, is better than a forced happy ending. We all want stories to end appropriately, not necessarily happy. Phil and Lorraine can't end up together, it's not in the cards and they both know it. Besides, it's all an allegory and the folkies and the rockers are different things, and not all that compatible. "Hammer" may not be a great allegory, but nobody makes them anymore since Luis Bunuel died. "Hammer's" subtext may not be very far from the surface, but it's definitely there. Whereas Hollywood films are 100% on the surface. What you see is all that's there. Anyway, it interested me to try and write a story that was perhaps a tad deeper than the usual fare, and actually about something, and if you enjoyed it, and possibly even got something out of it, then I succeeded.

Josh

Name: Mike
E-mail:

Heya Josh,

First off I wanted to chime in on the "to sell out or not sell out". While there is a compelling argument to take the money and run (or more accurately, "take the money and deal with months of meetings and studio bullshit") the fact of the matter is that you've gotten your movies made before and you'll most likely get this one, and others after it, done as well. It might take longer to get projects off the ground but the main thing is that you *will* get them off the ground, and they'll be done your way. Besides - selling out doesn't guarantee your life would be easier, nor does it mean subsequent projeccts will happen any faster. Anyway, as you mentioned, you've already thought this through, so I'm kinda whistling in the wind.

Also on the subject of Trek episodes I wanted to throw "Naked Time" out there for consideration. That's the one where the crew gets infected with a disease that pretty much does away with everyone's inhibitions. It's similar to "This Side of Paradise" but features more Sulu, whom I always felt was interesting but underdeveloped. I love how subversive Star Trek managed to be. If they had tried run a straight dramatic show featuring interracial kissing, condemnations of racism, and adults essentially getting wasted and running around like stoned teenagers, it never would have flown. Kind of ironic that genre material can offer more opportunities for social commentary than supposedly "serious" dramatic stuff.

Finally, I have to give Running Time's steadicam operator some mad props. I've been shooting in a similar rig for a couple of days now, and it's a back breaker. I can't imagine what it would be like to shoot most of a feature in one. Or was the whole film shot via steadicam? How did you keep an eye on the shooting - did you use the portable monitor on the sled, or did you have one to yourself?

Okay - enough talk. I go.

Mike

Dear Mike:

I had a little wireless, black & white monitor and every shot I just hid somewhere. Yes, the Steadi-Cam operator, Bill Gierhart, did a helluva job, and he was fast, too. Acts I & III of RT were on Steadi-Cam, and Act II was hand-held.

Josh

Name: Aaron
E-mail: agraham83@hotmail.com

Josh -

You're right on the money discussing Stallone's career, and I really wish it hadn't of went the "action star" route. It's good to see that you're also fond of "Rocky III", which is definitely the next best entry in the series. I recall reading a "Rolling Stone" interview with Stallone for its release that stated he realized he was turning into a "Hollywood asshole" and made that picture to return to his roots as best he could. It's a shame he returned to the action drek after he made it.

So a question; as I know you're a fan of boxing, have you been watching his reality show, "The Contender"?

Best wishes,

Dear Aaron:

No, I haven't. It sounds stupid to me. Equally as stupid as the Oscar De La Hoya version. The point is, as far as I'm concerned, boxing is already a reality show, and everybody claws their way upward based on their records and the breaks they get. But if you get a bunch of nobodies, have them train and fight each other in elimination bouts, they still can't fight real boxers when they're done. The show will not make them actual contenders. Just because you beat some nobodies in elimination bouts doesn't mean you can get in the ring and fight Diego Corrales or Kostya Tzyu or Floyd Mayweather or Vitaly Klitchko.

Josh

Name: Matt David T.
E-mail: msturnbull@comcast.net

Dear Josh:

On 03/11/05, you replied:
Dear Matt:
I'm certainly not going to defend my scripts. If you think my dialog is clunky, so be it. Ultimately, everybody has to use whatever method they use to write. Treatments, index cards, reading aloud, whatever gets the scripts written.

My Response:
I don't find all of your dialogue clunky, but in general it seems to be slightly less well-realized than your integral themes and other writing notions within your work. Your characters are interesting abd believable, and your sense of structure and writing's foundations is superb.

Your work is still far beyond the ability of most screenwriters. You do create some really great scripts, and I hope great movies spring forth from each of them.

Regarding index cards, et all, I have to agree that it's important for a writer to find the method that best suits their abilities. If they find believable dialogue difficult (that is to say, dialogue that sounds as if someone might speak it as opposed to prose delivered from one character to another) then it behooves them to have actors read it out loud, or have themselves do it.

Still, I've never sold a screenplay. I'm not necessarily in a position to judge your work as anything other than an enthusiast. None the less, I wonder if you feel you have any room for improvement?

And if so, in which regards of your writing?

Dear Matt:

I don't think I've ever written a great script, so yes, I certainly do have room for improvement. I've also had the chance of hearing my dialog spoken by actors on a number of occasions, which is always very illuminating. The first time I heard actors speak my lines in rehearsal on "Lunatics" I rewrote the hell out of the script. The script was loaded with speeches and I eliminated almost all of them. But if the truth be told, I rather like my dialog.

Josh

Name: Jason McNeal
E-mail: jason.mcneal@comcast.net

Dear Josh:

What the hell is Steve Martin thinking in agreeing to remake The Pink Panther? $$$$ is the only thing I can come up with. I hope Peter Sellers comes back to this realm to haunt him. Hollywood has gone remake crazy. Aren't remakes the worst? I can't think of any good ones I've seen...

Over and Out,
Jason

Dear Jason:

I have no doubt Steve Martin will be better as Clouseau than Geoffrey Rush was as Peter Sellers. But are you just catching on to Hollywood's remake insanity? Hell-Oh!

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

Fair enough; I guess you can't say it any plainer than that. With that said, I wish you the best of luck with your project, and look forward to seeing it when it is completed.
On another note, have you seen or heard of the new documentary, GUNNER PALACE? I don't know if it's had any type of video release yet, but it is currently playing on a limited release in theaters. In short, it's a documentary about 2-3 Field Artillery and their experiences in Baghdad, as told by a journalist who was "embedded" with the unit when they deployed. Maybe my opinion of the film was tempered by my own experience, but I enjoyed it. The piece didn't take any particular side on the issue; rather the soldiers told their own story. From a purely cinematic perspective, the film had some flaws (a lot of shaky, handheld camera work, and the journalist's voiceover narration is reminiscent of Martin Sheen in APOCALYPSE NOW), but the absurd soldiers' humor was enjoyable. I definitely recommend checking that one out.
Also on my recent hit list [can you tell that I went to the movies last night? One good thing about living so close to Yale is that I have local access to independent movies in the theater, rather than on DVD] is a German production called DOWNFALL, about the last days of the Third Reich. Despite the language difference [German with English subtitles], the film is certainly arresting, particularly the portrayal of Hitler, which attempted to portray him as the man he was, rather than the two-dimensional caricature that you normally see on the screen. If anything, seeing Hitler when he was being compassionate or charming made the knowledge of his actions all the more disturbing; it is easier to equate evil deeds with someone when you write them off as an out an out monster, but not so when you see them as a human being. Despite that (or perhaps because of it) the production was excellent, and all the other performances were strong. It wasn't my idea to go see it originally, but I don't regret it.

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

Yes, I've heard about "Downfall," and it sounds interesting. I enjoyed the film "Max," about young Adolf Hitler right after WWI, when he was trying to be an artist, and it gave a human perspective on him. Let's face it, Hitler was human, that's what's scary. I finally saw "Nowhere in Africa" and enjoyed it. It contains a full-fledged character arc, too. We watch as the woman goes from hating Africa to loving it, believably.

Josh

Name: Tom
E-mail: bellyoptopus@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

I'm glad you didn't take that big studio deal! A comedy/horror film with Bruce and Ted for anyone who's a fan of these guys is dream come true! Any studio that could change out actors, alter the script so it's particularly unfunny or run through a damn committee and/or audience testing is ridiculous!

At what stage are you at with "The Horribleness" Josh? I know so far you have the script obviously, and that it's being budgeted was the last I heard within the posts in the Q&A section on your website.

Dear Tom:

That's where it is. We're trying to prove to ourselves that we can actually make the film for the proposed budget, and so far we haven't done that. Meanwhile, "Any studio that could change out actors, alter the script so it's particularly unfunny or run through a damn committee and/or audience testing is ridiculous!" represents almost every film you see coming out of Hollywood. That's the norm, not the exception.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

On the Trek episodes - I think Wayne and Garth on "Saturday Night Live" once explained the proper procedure for referring to favorite episodes: it's always "the one where....." as in "the one where they go back in time and Kirk falls in love with Joan Collins and Spock has to wear a wool cap so they won't see his ears." My favorite comic bit from that is Kirk trying to explain Spock as a Chinese guy whose ears were caught in an automatic rice-picking machine.

BTW, "the one with Frank Gorshin" was called "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," and "the one where Spock is hanging upside down from a tree" is called "This Side of Paradise." I rather liked that one because the babe who brings out his emotions was Jill Ireland at her most beautiful, plus we get to see Kirk call Spock a "dog-faced boy." The Vulcan duel is "Amok Time," and William Windom's episode was "The Doomsday Machine," both incredible pieces of work.

"Shore Leave" is actually the one where they're on this planet where all their thoughts become reality, and this Irish guy keeps saying "Fight me, Jimmy, fight me Jimmy," and kicks the crap out of Kirk.

And I'm really excited about both the premiere of "Apocalypse" (caught the commercials last night and it looks awesome - "Hey scumbag!" ) and your progress with your new script(s.) Hoping your recent adventures in the screen trade inspire some more essays, on things like shooting overseas, pitching films, etc.

Regards,

August

Dear August:

Thank God there's someone out there that knows the episodes' titles. I like the one where they're on the planet that's a 1930's gangster world, and they're all dressed in striped suits and holding Tommy guns, and Scotty says, "You'll be wearin' concrete galoshes," and Kirk corrects him, "That's cement overshoes." Or the one with the three aliens on the ship, one's a babe that Kirk deals with, one's a brain that Spock plays chess with, and Scotty drinks the other guy under the table. They're on their fifth bottle of intergalactic booze and Scotty brings out a strangely shaped bottle full of green liquid. The alien asks, "What's that?" Scotty replies, "I doon't know, but it's green."

So, the commercial is running for AA. That's cool.

Josh

Name: Boston
E-mail:

Josh,

Since you didn't take the deal, will you be financing the project yourself? If so, how much will you need to make it?

Dear Boston:

No, I won't be financing it myself, thank goodness. Bruce and I are in the midst of setting it up right now with another company to do at the end of the year (Bruce has a book tour before that). It will be low-budget, between $1.2 and 1.5 million, and we may end up back in eastern Europe to make the money stretch farther. Our buddy Gary Jones just left yesterday for Bucharest to shoot "Raptor Island 2: Raptor Planet," starring Ted Raimi, Steven Bauer, and Peter Jason. So maybe that's where we'll go. Gary and Ted will tell us if it's better than Sofia.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

I think it's funny that there are people on here telling you to sell your script to just because some jackass made an offer. Do they read any of your messages? BTW, you're in good company - I was listening to Stallone on the Howard Stern show last week and he mentioned he was offered $300k for his Rocky script. It would've starred James Caan, been made with a big budget, and would have easily been the biggest paycheck of his career. He was working odd jobs at the time and could certainly have used the money. He held out to make it his way... and I think it worked out pretty well for him. Hope you get it going before the end of the year.

Dear Jim:

That's what I'm hoping. Selling the "Rocky" script would have been Stallone's biggest and only payday of his life at that point. And he'd still be a character actor who know one had ever heard of. Meanwhile, even though Stallone is a big giant star, I think he has had one of the most disappointing careers in Hollywood history. After "Rocky" and "Paradise Alley" I really thought he would turn out to be something special. Sadly, he decided to make "Rocky II" strictly for the money, and his career has never recovered. Everyone seems to think that you can sell off your integrity, then somehow get it back again. It's like trying to get your virginity back.

Josh

Name: Matt David T.
E-mail: msturnbull@comcast.net

Dear Josh:

RE: Dee's question...

I think in terms of validity, she means the believability of the dialogue.

It's absolutely true that in all your scripts (at least, the ones I've read, which is all the one's you've posted) that the premise and core themes resonate throughout the work. They're interesting, intelligent, and have solid premises across the board (except maybe for that treatment, Cascade Effect. That one bugged me a bit.)

At times, however, I think the dialogue in some of your screenplays can seem a bit clunky.

For example, these lines from 'Head Shot':
JOE "Sam, they're my sons. I'm sure. Jack wants to kick Castro's behind, then go flying off into space. He's also very concerned about civil rights. And that's what his administration will be doing."

SAM
"And they'll stop annoying me and my friends?"


In the above exchange, the lines "he's also very concerned with Civil Rights" doesn't really seem to ring true to Joe's character, or the level and importance of the exchange he's having. He's trying to tell Sam this concept, but he's not pressing hard enough, and passive lines like this really don't reveal his (presumed) anxiety.

I also doubt Sam would've used the word "annoyed" in that context.

Now, the exchange in 'Cycles' between the Sheriff and Mr. Buford, prior to the *spoiler warning* Sheriff getting shot, is great dialogue. The Sheriff's honesty and Mr. Buford's cowardice really come across.

I guess my question is, do you read your work out loud? In front of a mirror? I've read some of the techniques you've mentioned in essays and your guide to low-budget filmmaking on this site, and I don't remember a lot of advice on how to write dialogue.

Another question is, what would you say you struggle with most as a writer? What's your weakness?

Dear Matt:

I'm certainly not going to defend my scripts. If you think my dialog is clunky, so be it. Ultimately, everybody has to use whatever method they use to write. Treatments, index cards, reading aloud, whatever gets the scripts written.

Josh

Name: Trey Smith
E-mail: cobra_commander_of_cobra@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

I was wondering, since you are a fan, what are your top five Star Trek episodes from the original series? Mine have to be(I've included a short description of each one next to my list. The reason being I'm not sure how big of a fan you were and if you remember episode titles. If you do, I'm sorry =D )

1)Balance of Terror(Romulans first appearance)
2)Space Seed(Kahn of coarse)
3)An Errand of Mercy(Klingons first appearance)
4)Arena(Kirk fights to the death against Gorn Captain)
5)Shore Leave(The USS Enterprise takes a shore leave on a planet that seems to be paradise, but whatever you think of suddenly appears before you)

There you have it. Sorry once again if you are a big fan and are insulted that I believe you don't remember the episode titles. I just rather them be there if not need, than not be there and be needed.

Thanks!

ps-Still looking foward to "Hammer"!

Dear Trey:

No, I don't know most of the episode's titles. I liked: "The Space Seed," "The Trouble with Tribbles," the ep with Frank Gorshin being half black and half white, "The City on the Edge of Forever" (my man, Ellison); is "Shore Leave" the one where Spock is hanging upside down from a tree and Kirk says, "Spock, come down from there," and Spock replies grinning, "No, Captain, I don't think I will." Anyway, there are a lot of them I like. The one on Vulcan where Kirk and Spock fight to the death ("The air is the air"), the one with William Windom ("Where's your crew?" "I beamed them down to Sestus 8." "But there is no Sestus 8." "Don't you think I know that!").

Josh

Name: Rob
E-mail: comic_book_guru@yahoo.com

Hiya Josh,

I was just wondering what's next for you. Are you going to take a breather after ALIEN APOCALYPSE or are you going to go straight into another film? If so, is that film THE HORRIBLENESS?

Dear Rob:

Yes, the next film will hopefully be "The Horribleness." I haven't taken a breather, I've written two scripts since returning from Bulgaria in June. And I've got two companies interested in the last script, which is brand new for me. If all goes well, we'll shoot the film at the end of the year.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

What's your favorite moments on ONE, TWO, THREE. I thought the whole movie was fuckin hilarious. Did Billy Wilder really threaten to shitcan James Cagney if he couldn't do it in one take? Oh yeah, just got my canon xl2... hey I was right, it does look better in gritty black and white.

Dear kdn:

I never heard about Billy Wilder threatening James Cagney, and I really doubt it. Meanwhile, I'm not crazy about "One, Two, Three," I think there's far too much yelling, and Horst Bucholtz is a drag.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

I read your last post a few days ago, but held off until I could give you a considered reply. Since then, I see that your announcement has caused no little stir on this website, with opinions both pro and con. Certainly, you'll make up your own mind on this, but please hear me out. I respect your integrity, and your dedication to your sincere work. However, in this case, I seriously think you should bite the bullet and take this particular deal. I'm not saying sell out, and I know that it would pain you to see your script altered and chopped, but the fee you mentioned could set your situation to rights, and could even open doors for you. You don't care about money, but you DO care about making good movies, and it takes money to make these. So, dig the diamond out of the shit heap, and invest in a project of YOUR own choosing. If you still want to make this particular script independently, alter it just enough to avoid a lawsuit from the studio and make it anyway. And if the studio version of your work turns out to be shit (which, granted, it probably will be), then don't put your name on it. Play by their rules for awhile, until you can twist the game to your advantage. I'm a fan of your work and I root for you to succeed with your films, and this seems like it could be a way to do it. Sacrifice will be involved, but if the shit factory is willing to pay you so you can then turn around and make your own movies, is that selling out? I don't think so. Please consider what I've said, and I'll support you no matter what your decision. I'd love to see you beat those bastards, and it would be even sweeter if you beat them at their own game.

Sincerely,
Darryl

Dear Darryl:

It's taken me over 20 years to come up with what appears to be a funny script for Bruce and Ted, and that's more important to me than making money and watching my script get shredded. There's no changing it enough to avoid a lawsuit, that won't fly with anyone. Even if I make it low-budget there will still be movie companies and a bonding company involved, and you can't put everybody in danger of a lawsuit. No one would let me, nor would I. It's either take the deal and shut up, or don't take the deal, and I've made it very clear that I'm not taking the deal, so that's that. I assure you and everyone else that I've considered all aspects of this far more than you, and I've made my decision.

Josh

Name: athanagore
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

i'd like to know , when you're not shooting or selling a script do you have another job to survive in the jungle of life?

Dear athanagore:

I make enough money when I am working to support myself when I'm not working. Then the key is to keep hustling all the time to whip the next project up.

Josh

Name: Boston
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

How did you get a studio exec to take a look at your script? Did you pitch it to them? I admire your conviction, Josh.

Dear Boston:

I can't really go into the details of this deal right now, it wouldn't be kosher.

Josh

Name: Trey Smith
E-mail: cobra_commander_of_cobra@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

Hey! My mom just ordered my copy of "Hammer"with her credit card and I'm really looking foward to watch it. Don't forget to autograph it for me, haha.

Anyway, I'm sorry if this has been asked before, but concerning the picture of you "supporting law enforcement"during Running Time, what's the story there?

Question 2. I was wondering, what are thoughts of Beatles albums before "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", were you a fan or did this album turn you on to them?

Also, in an email I sent Ted back in October I asked him if he had any suggestions on finding "Lunatics"(this was before I found it on amazon), he told me he couldn't help me there but that it might be coming out on DVD sometime next year. Any truth to this?

Thanks.

Dear Trey:

Not that I know of. No, I was listening to The Beatles before "Sgt. Pepper," although all of their albums belonged to my older sister. The first Beatles album I remember sitting and listening to was "Beatles for Sale," with "No Reply," "I'm a Loser" and "Eight Days a Week," which was released in 1964, but I don't think we had it in the USA until 1965. Regarding that photo from RT, that cop was trying to bust us for shooting in downtown LA, even though we had a permit. So then he was trying to impound the truck we were shooting in, but that was a rented movie vehicle, so he couldn't do that either. I've been hassled by cops while shooting a thousand times. This was a particularly obnoxious, fat-assed cop.

Josh

Name: Dee
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Just a general script writing question. After the treatment, when you are working on the actual script, how do you ensure validity? In other words, do you step back and act out what you have written to assure that it isn't something that just sounds good on paper, but once acted is shit?

Also, would you say that has the industry changed from the times of "Chinatown" when a talented writer had free reign on his/her own script to now, when you can't even get "horribleness" made without something shitty happening to the script? I'm no insider movie buff, so I was wondering, according to you, what exactly had happened to the industry?

Dear Dee:

I don't act the scenes out, I just write them. "Validity," if that's the word, has to come from the central premise, and is it believable to start with. Also, keep in mind that the "Hollywood development process" has been in effect for as long as Hollywood has been around, but particularly since Irving Thalberg was head of production at Universal, then MGM, where he instituted the producer-run film industry. Even Robert Towne on "Chinatown" had the entire ending of his script rewritten by Roman Polanski. Robert Towne did rewrites on Mario Puzo and Francis Coppola's script for "The Godfather." This has been going on forever. As John Gregory Dunne put it in his book "Monster," and I paraphrase, Every executive in Hollywood thinks they're a better writer than the writer, except that they just don't have the time. And anyone that does have the time must be an asshole.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Hey man. Just checking in and seeing how everythings been going lately. Glad someone showed some interest in Hollywood for your flick but too bad they wanted nothing but re-writes for it. I can't wait to hear how it progresses. You need to work with Bruce and Ted again. They are fantastic in Lunatics.

Did you hear the news about Tarantino directing a Friday the 13th movie? Alot of people I know of are pissed as they are big Tarantino fans but then I know a few that love both Tarantino and the Friday series and they dig it. I know you couldn't care about either one but I thought you might want to chime in or something.

Okay man well can't wait for the Apocalypse. See ya later man

Your fan,
Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

Everything rises or descends to its own level. Obviously, Tarantino was meant to be directing worthless remake shit. And it's far easier remaking"Friday the 13th" than giving himself a mental hernia by having to steal all of those ideas from Hong Kong movies that fill all of his other films. I mean, my god, he probably had to watch 50-75 movies to steal all of the ideas he needed for "Reservoir Dogs" and "Kill Bill, Old & New Testaments," and that must have taken weeks.

Josh

Name: Calvin Gray
E-mail: Never on the first date.

J.B. -

Yowza. Your mention of the deal for "The Horribleness" was like a slap in the face. Like everyone else here, I was really rooting for you to get the big break that you deserve. But it should never come at the expense of overhauling the script to the point of being unrecognizable. And I can only imagine how many sitcom stars and teenage WB Network stock players they would have pushed into the lead roles.

At the moment, I'm pursuing the latest of my many futile attempts to get a film off the ground. It's the standard John Sayles approach - selling a screenplay off, and using the profits to finance my own personal project. I've kinda prepared myself for the "monsterization" process, which is why the script I'm writing is sort of a throw-away piece; I think it's a good story and could be a solid movie, but I'm not going to be too emotionally invested in the who's and how's and when's of its production.

But as I start planning on how to send this thing through the proper channels, I still just can't quite wrap my head around the reality found in your "Horribleness" dealings. If confronted by an executive who is willing to purchase/produce my screenplay on the condition of having it rewritten and rewritten and rewritten, I can't see myself finding a proper way to agreeing or declining it. All I could likely muster is a Homer Simpson-like dumbfounded stare, before finally asking, "... Why?"

It strikes me as a ludicrous propostion to offer anyone. If you like the script, and you're actually willing to pay money not only for the purchase but ultimately its production and distribution, why would you consciously want to have it hacked up into a big mess?

- C. Gray

Dear Calvin:

That is the big question. The answer is probably as simple as, well, that's what everybody else is doing. If the films that make money went through a committee rewrite process, with many writers and innumerable changes, then that's how it must be done. I just watched TCM's production, "Irving Thalberg: Prince of Hollywood," and the man is still being idolized for introducing that producer-controlled, committee-run system, where directors and writers are unimportant and interchangable. Thalberg is constantly being referred to as a "genius" and "the greatest producer of all-time" and MGM was, for the most part, making highly forgettable films at the time. Every other studio was making more memorable films than MGM. Movies can be made just like cars on a production line, but that's it's not how you make good movies. And that's why Hollywood can't make good movies anymore.

Josh

Name: Dan
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Was that senario you presented true (I'm only asking because you did use it as an example, but I wasn't sure from your post whether it really happened)? If so, I immensely admire your strict determination to get your script filmed the way you imagined it (and personally, that's fucking amazing you turned down that studio deal). When was your script pitched to the studio?

Dear Dan:

Yes, it's true. This is all happening right now. It wasn't pitched, they read the script.

Josh

Name: Jim K
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

While I applaud your turning down 300,000 grand for control, how much control did you have on ALIEN? You said yourself that once you turned in your cut, they could pretty much do what they want, and they were certainly in charge of post-production. So why "sell out" (not that I think you did) for no money as opposed to money that could pay off "Hammer" debt? Where you going to direct "The Horribleness," or did they only want the script for someone else? While development hell is development hell, if you were attached, why not take the money and fight for your vision?

Dear Jim:

There's no fighting that system. If you agree to participate you will be ground up into mulch, and nobody comes out alive. There's a world of difference between shooting the script you like, then being re-edited, as opposed to going through development hell, which could easily go on for a year or two, then shooting a script you no longer recognize. Yes, I would have been attached as the director, but it didn't matter. I couldn't put myself through the torment and misery. Money doesn't mean that much to me.

Josh

Name: Trey Smith
E-mail: cobra_commander_of_cobra@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

I'm really glad you didn't hand control of "The Horribleness" to a studio. I am really interested in seeing how that script turns out when it is finally produced, but only if it's the script you wrote. Though I must confess I'd love to see you direct a film with a studio budget, I wouldn't want the integrity of your scripts destroyed by those Hollywood rewrites. And since sadly you'll never be like that idiot Tarantino(by which I mean get to make whatever movie you want, the way you want it), I'm perfectly happy with being able to enjoy your independant features and I look foward to the next film.

Also, do you still plan on using Bruce and Ted for "The Horribleness"?

Dear Trey:

Absolutely, that's who I wrote it for. Otherwise I would have ended up with Queen Latifah and Ice Cube.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

I also liked James Mason in LOLITA, although his characterization of Humbert Humbert was that of a normal man suddenly and inexplicably overcome by an unnatural desire, and Nabokov's original portrayal of the character was of a well established fetishist who simply found what he was looking for. My guess is that that particular decision was to satisfy the censors; pedophilia was certainly not a household word in the 1950's, and to transform Humbert from out and out pervert to star-crossed lover was possibly the only way to get the script approved.
On a different note, I noticed that there have been some posts about Sam Raimi lately, and thought that I would chime in on the subject. The point of contention is that Sam Raimi has "sold out" to Hollywood and the market for pointless, schlocky blockbuster films. Although that is certainly the type of cinematic fare that he has helmed in recent years, I disagree with the sellout notion.
Now Josh, please counter me if I'm wrong (you know the man personally, after all), but at no point has Sam deviated from his professed goal of making movies. I cannot find any interview or article about the man in which he states a desire to make films of any substance; his expressed desire is to entertain only. In short, Sam Raimi never publicly expressed a desire to be a new Fellini or Kurosawa, or make anything dramatically solid; he simply wanted to be a successful director whose films were successful at the box office. So at no point did he deviate from any principles, or "sell out;" he has stuck to his guns and achieved his goal. That he no longer chooses to make films that anyone with taste would care to see is lamentable, but in his case, NOT hypocritical.

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

I completely agree. His goal was to be the highest-paid director in Hollywood, and although he hasn't quite reached his goal yet, he's well on his way. He is not a sell-out. I, on the other hand, was just presented with a perfect "sell-out" scenario -- I've got a big Hollywood company after my most recent script, "The Horribleness," and it would get a big budget and a huge release with 3,000 prints and $20 million in advertsing, but it would have to go through the Hollywood development process, meaning (as it was outlined to me by the executive producer), "Rewrite, be rewritten, rewrite, be rewritten, rewrite, be rewritten . . . " ad infinitum. So I turned it down. I would undoubtedly have made the biggest fee of my life, had the longest shooting schedule, guest stars, etc., but that wasn't worth having my script chewed up into mulch, and the aggravation that would accompany it. Had I taken the deal, that would be selling out -- giving up my artistic vision and control for money.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Maybe Sam just needs to watch "Hammer". By the way, am I the only one that inteprets that title as a sort of threat?

Dear Jim:

I sent Sam a copy of the film, but I suspect he hasn't watched it. My alternate title was, "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall," with the tagline, "If you don't start swimming you'll sink like a stone."

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Do you recall what the typical budget was for an episode of Hercules and/or Xena? And if they would ever go extremely high for one of the special-effects-heavy episodes? And any idea how that compared to an episode of a regular tv drama (like, oh, "E.R." or "NYPD Blue" or something? )

Thanks,

August

Dear August:

I think it was about $1.25 million an episode, whereas the big network shows can run over $3 million an episode.

Josh

Name: Greene
E-mail: greenebrett@spymac.com

-The man that made "Spider-Man I & II" a sellout? Surely you jest.

To be fare, I think Sam Raimi did an excellent job on both films - he kept the basis of the story small and close to home and managed to make Mary Jane into a likable character. He certainly has a love of the comic and it shows. But sellout? Hmmm...

Dear Brett:

What would he possibly be selling out? It's ridiculous. It's like saying that Disney sold out when they made "Shrek 2."

Josh

Name: Kim
E-mail: mrsdagle@yahoo.com

Oh, Josh! I don't know nuttin' bout Alien Apocalypse but I do vote that If I Had a Hammer IS INDEED brilliant. Running Time is also an excellent feature. Lastly, Thou Shalt Not Kill. . . Except is entertaining and a decent effort with an honest plot. So there, your balls are in fact big enough to diss the mainstream crap that we are dished out each year.
I thought it was funny that of this year's Oscar winners/nominees, the only one I saw was Finding Neverland (which won for original score). I thought it was a pretty good movie and scored very well, not that crappy "queue to cry" we get with most schlock.
Keep it up,
Kim

Dear Kim:

I haven't seen "Finding Neverland." I made sure to see the two big contenders -- "The Aviator" and "Million Dollar Baby" -- before the Oscars so I could feel like I was somewhat involved with the proceedings. But it's not like when I was a kid and was giddy all day in school thinking about the Oscars -- "Will it be 'Cabaret' or 'The Godfather'?" By the time I got home from school I would be in a dither.

Josh

Name: Gordon
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Sorry, cause I'n sure this has been answered before, but I don't have time to go back and read tons of pages of replies.

Is 'Alien Apocalypse' going to be released on DVD here in the states for us to buy.....and if so, do you have any idea approxamately how long it will be after it's airing that it will be made available to us.

Thanks.
Flash

Dear Gordon:

Yes, it will be released here in America on DVD for you to buy, but I don't know when. Perhaps Anchor Bay Entertainment, the company that will be handling the release, has a date listed on their website.

Josh

Name: Bob
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

"It's what gets most people to work their lives away on some shitty job because religion assures them they'll have a better life in the next world."

I thought it was just because they need the paycheck to buy more beer at the end of the week.

Do you believe the reports of all the jobs that are suddenly being created under the Bush administration? Supposedly something like over 200,000 last month and it's expected to continue for the rest of the year. What kind of jobs are they talking about?

Dear Bob:

You still believe anything this administration says? Really? Have you thought of investing in movies?

Josh

Name: Rob
E-mail: comic_book_guru@yahoo.com

Hey Josh,

Long time fan (absolutely loved Running Time). I was just wondering what your view on Sam Raimi's decisions as of late is. Do you think he's becoming a sellout?

Dear Rob:

The man that made "Spider-Man I & II" a sellout? Surely you jest.

Josh

Name: darryl.mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

I saw the version of JULIUS CAESAR that you mentioned years ago, and enjoyed it immensely. James Mason's performance was highly absorbing, and still stands the test of time. I was just thinking about what gives him such presence on stage or screen, and my conclusion is that it is his voice, with that rich, well-anunciated southern English upper class accent. Along with the likes of Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Vincent Price, and James Earl Jones, James Mason had one of the most distinct voices in the movies. When he, in NORTH BY NORTHWEST, explains to Cary Grant casually that "I still would like to afford you the opportunity of surviving the evening," or words to that effect, Mason at once comes across as urbane, witty, and utterly ruthless at the same time. We don't have many actors with line delivery like that anymore.

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

James Mason made a great bad guy, and he's about as good as it gets in "North by Northwest." Mason was a very interesting choice, I thought, for Judy Garland's "A Star is Born." His presence adds immeasurably to the believability of the story. I love his drunken delivery onstage at the Oscars, "I need a job," then he waves his arms and mistakenly slaps Judy across the face. It's a brilliant moment.

Josh


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