Q & A    Archive
Page 168

Name:             CDC
E-mail:           
Date:               04/14/13

Dear Josh :

You have said in the past that you've met Harlan Ellison. Have you ever met him? Do you have a favorite book or story by him? You two sort of remind me of each other, and it'd be great to hear you two talking sometime. Somebody should hire you to interview him!

Dear CDC:

Thank you. I admire Harlan Ellison greatly and I'm pleased to be compared with him in any way. But no, I've never actually met him. I went by the sci-fi bookstore in the San Fernando Valley where he would hang out and do signings, and he was writing a story in their window, but I didn't speak to him or anything. The story of his that got to me most as a kid was "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream." The story collection that I liked the most was "Angry Candy." I really got a huge kick out of his collection of movie reviews, "Harlan Ellison's Watching." And of course his "Star Trek" script "The City On the Edge of Forever" was terrific. Ellison speaks his mind, as I do; we're both writers; we're both Jewish; and we're both from the midwest. That's where the comparisons end, I think. He's far more successful and influential than me, but luckily for me I'm quite a bit taller than him. I would be intimidated to interview him.

Josh

Name:             Alien Termite
E-mail:           
Date:               04/13/13

Dear Humanoid Josh :

Any thoughts on the recently deceased Roger Ebert?

Dear Alien:

I never liked him. I liked Gene Siskel. But Ebert, in my opinion, didn't have very good taste. He was a truly lightweight critic.

Josh

Name:             Chantelle Mark
E-mail:            magicwoman8@yahoo.com
Date:               04/13/13

Dear Josh :

Hmmm, there must of been some webmaster in the air editing me because I try no typos, and yeah nevermind, I'm too drunk so I don't know what I am talking about. Who is Quentin Tarantino now? Never heard of him. I think I better go back to college or die dumb.

Dear Chantelle:

Do you honestly think that the webmaster here, Kevin, added typos into your question? I get the questions before Kevin and I'm sorry to announce that there were already a couple of typos before it got to Kevin. But not many. I answer the questions when I'm sober which allows me to not wonder what the hell I said yesterday.

Josh

[Webmaster's Note: Nope, sorry. I copy and paste the emails exactly as I receive them. Sometimes when you type a ' it does this /', and I delete that, but I don't rewrite the emails. -Kevin]

Name:             Scott
E-mail:           
Date:               04/13/13

Hey Josh :

Hope all is well with you and congrats on your writing assignment. I was curious to hear your opinion on Hollywood's requirement for "likable" protagonists. I always thought that was one of the reasons why so many movies sucked within the last 30 years. I always found it annoying that a vast majority of protagonists were required to be virtuous and identifiable in some way. What is your take on this as a writer? I always felt that anti-heroes and antagonists make wonderful protagonists, especially when they go through a change, are dynamic and interesting to watch. I guess a recent example of that would be The Master, which I despised BTW. Joaquin Phoenix's character was quite despicable. With that said, what are your favorite movies featuring "Unlikeable" or extremely flawed characters as protagonists? Scott

Dear Scott:

I've never liked that idea of the "likable" lead. "Understandable" is probably a better term, or "empathetic." When I was shooting the front title sequence for Hercules, which nobody ever bothered to write, ideas for shots would come from the writers, like Hercules playing with children, or lifting a big rock off a guy, or anything they thought was "likeable." None of that was ever used, thank goodness. There are a lot of films lately with unlikable leads and that doesn't do it for me either. A good example of the not-necessarily-likable lead, but undertandable is Travis Bickle in "Taxi Driver." Maybe the best example is Jake LaMotta in "Raging Bull" who hasn't got a likable bone in his body. I'm also not crazy about the utterly dead-pan lead, like Guy Peerce in "The Proposition" or Ryan Gosling in "Drive." I just watched "Seven Angry Men" (1955), the story of John Brown with Raymond Massey, and though he stands for rightousness and freeing the slaves, he's a pushy, bombastic asshole. Anyway, this could go on and on. Good subject.

Josh

Name:             Chantelle Mark
E-mail:            magicwoman8@yahoo.com
Date:               04/12/13

Dear Josh :

OK, I had started an acting career (going back to college) so if my name comes up later in life, don't hold this comment against me please, it's only a comment. I had a consultant, a former actress/PTA tell me I could end up with someone related to porn and to watch out and all this and that. Not that it matters, I was in yearbook journallism being caught on camera, and later in college caught on camera for college journalism, so I am not a reporter. But I can see this, Quentin Tarantino though he has strong violence and sort of gangster movies has a format of like Bruce Lee, kinda old, and I love the Four Rooms, but your interview turning bad with him that you did not catch on tape went bad because it seems he is bad. He's like some of the underground rap I knew of as a teen. Now, he sells now a little bit, but his connection to like Uma Thurman is like soft porn and drug related, real bad. That's why you had a conflict, his fan base is huge, but if you catch on to the patterns in film making they are real cheap, which he broke now with his last film Django (and even Kill Bill which is sort of like Bruce Lee). He is immitating a format some where and not doing his own work is what I am saying without being paid. I wish you luck in what you do. But really Tarantino was most likely empowered due to being dirt poor and somebody felt very sorry for him and gave him some money to do some directing, otherwise he'd be kicked out of the film market, and not until recently does he even market. Hmm, if this becomes property of you I don't care, it's all in the community of the acting field that I respect, if I should ever meet Mr. Tarantino, (upon moving to LA like I was going to) I'll just make it clear I am not in drugs or soft porn or any of that stuff, because my trusted paid consultant and former actress knew someone could do this to me, my lifestyle is too innocent and I'd be killed in that environment. Any way good luck with your future.

Dear Chantelle:

I must say that I don't really know what you're talking about. Meanwhile, I did get all of the Tarantino interview on tape, I've just lost it over the course of time. And Tarantino didn't get his break because someone took pity on him. He and his producer, Lawrence Bender, hustled the "Reservoir Dogs" script at Sundance and got Harvey Keitel involved, which brought in the other actors, which in turn brought in the financing. The rest is history. Quentin's not a bad person. I think his taste is up his ass, and I don't like most of his movies, but that doesn't make him bad. Also, unless you intentionally go into porn and drugs you won't mistakenly end up there. Doing porn is a conscious decision.

Josh

Name:             tony
E-mail:            southerncomfort@yahoo.com
Date:               04/11/13

Hi Josh :

Have you talk to Rob Tapert lately?I hope the screenplay goes well and maybe after u finish you get to direct it.Good thoughts going your way.

Dear tony:

Thanks so much. Good thoughts goin' back at ya. No, I haven't spoken with Rob lately. Of course, he lives in New Zealand now, so it's a big time difference between Detroit and there. I need to send him a note and congratulate him on the success of the new "Evil Dead." The screenplay I'm writing is going very well, and I also hope I get to direct it, but we'll see about that later.

Josh

Name:             Tim
E-mail:            Nativeblood66
Date:               04/05/13

Dear Josh :

Good afternoon Josh. Thank you for all your feedback. It's always greatly appreciated and insightful. Any plans to attend the opening of the remake of "The Evil Dead" today? Whatever you decide to do - Have a great weekend. Tim

Dear Tim:

I don't go to the movies anymore. I do watch 5-6 a week on TV. I watched a good one last night, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," which is perfectly cast and realized for what it is. You can't do better than Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith, and it really makes India seem magical and enchanting. Every character changes, and every thread is tied up, which gives it a certain level of contrivance, but I like it. I also just watched Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," which is the complete opposite kind of storytelling, where I didn't know what the hell it meant, but I still appreciated the artistry. It may be Joaquin Phoenix's best performance, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman is always great. The photography is beautiful, the direction exact, but the pace is incredibly deliberate, to say the least. Anyway, I love movies as much as ever, I just won't go to the movie theater anymore.

Josh

Name:             Chris
E-mail:            chriskilgour11@gmail.com
Date:               04/04/13

Dear Josh :

So I just read both "Rushes" and "Going Hollywood" for maybe the 3rd or 4th time each and I have a couple of questions... Somewhere in "Rushes" (I think in the Xena essay) you mention that the Pacific Renaissance office was located in mt Wellington. I actually live in Mt Wellington and was wondering where exactly it was. Do you remember where? Also regarding "Going Hollywood", which I love, did you ever get your car and all of your belongings back from L.A? And did you ever get back in touch with Renee? Just curious... I hope you write more books. I've read all of them a few times now. Thanks, Chris

Dear Chris:

I'm very glad you like the books. Yes, the first Pacific Renaissance office was in Mt. Wellington in 1993-94, but I can no longer remember exactly where. Certainly one of the Kiwi crew members could tell you. After hitchhiking to Alaska, then to Detroit, where I spent the summer, I hitchhiked back to L.A. and got my car and all my stuff and drove back to Detroit. Regarding Renee, which is not her real name, we briefly got back together a couple of years ago. But alas, my heart was so broken over my previous girlfriend that I wasn't able to put my heart into it, which is how she termed it, and we went our seperate ways.

Josh

Name:             Kristie
E-mail:           
Date:               04/02/13

Dear Josh :

Just so you know, I would've LOVED to have seen you as the potential Serling-esque host of "Spine Chillers."

Dear Kristie:

Thank you. I haven't got the slightest interest in appearing on camera, nor do I in any of these first four episodes (I have an off-screen voice part in #4), but I'd have done it if my co-hombres had wanted me to. Alas, they did not. And having each of us host our own episodes seemed foolish to me. Now that hombre Chris has returned from his gig and Joe Lo will be done with his gig in a week or two we'll get this show back on the road. We have every intention of shooting episode #5 this month.

Josh

Name:             Parker
E-mail:           
Date:               04/02/13

Dear Josh :

The rise of video games as works of art? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mF8KkDiIdk

Dear parker:

I don't play games, except "Jeopardy," which is exclusively based on knowledge. All else is a bore.

Josh

Name:             tony
E-mail:            southerncomfort@yahoo.com
Date:               03/29/13

Dear Josh :

conglats on the new screenplay. Can u tell us anything about it-tv or film?.Good luck mate.

Dear tony:

I really can't go into it since it's not my story and it's a work-for-hire job. Ostensibly, it's a feature film, but you never know. It's a wonderful true comedy/drama love story that I'm truly enjoying writing. If and when it gets financed, the producer would be really smart to hire me as the director, but we'll see about that . . .

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               03/28/13

Dear Josh :

Thanks for your as usual fine answer to my fourth wall question. I haven't seen Lunatics in years but will definitely have to stock up my the Becker collection. The VIMEO clip was of people looking at or gesturing to the camera, which is something entirely different. I have now gotten 3 or 4 different answers to the 4th wall question, yours being the best. FYI the "The Awakening" movie I recommended is the one directed by a Nick Myrphy, as there are numerous films with that title, hope you enjoy it even though it gets a little muddled in the end. Lastly I just watched the trailer for the Cohen Bros. new film "Inside Llewin Davis" set in the folk era which bring to mind your "If I had a Hammer" and also Natalie Woods "Inside Daisy Clover". What do you remember of those guys from the early days ? Thanks for you being you.

Dear Paul:

Yes, of course, breaking the fourth wall is speaking directly to the camera, as Groucho Marx and Woody Allen did. My whole explanation is from a direction/set design point of view, which is not what they're talking about. I'm an idiot. Bruce does talks to the lens in our super-8 film, "Acting & Reacting." I love when Woody Allen does it in "Annie Hall," when Annie has just come home from her first session with a analyst. She says, "It changed my whole wife." Woody says, "It changed your 'wife'." Annie, "No, my life." Woody, "You said, 'wife'." Annie, "No I didn't, I said 'life'." Woody Allen looks right in the lens and says, "You heard her, she said 'wife,' I'm not going crazy." Anyway, of course I remember the Coen brothers. I first met them when Joel was the assistant editor on "Evil Dead." I met them a several times after that at Rob Tapert and Lucy Lawless' house. They're both very nice, kind of quiet guys. I enjoyed their remake of "True Grit."

Josh

Name:             Jonathan A. Moody
E-mail:            sickflickproductions@gmail.com
Date:               03/27/13

Hey Josh :

I have 2 things for you today. One is just a thing I found amusing and one is a question. The thing I found amusing is I was re-reading your "Rushes" book and I remembered how I chuckled at the "Hell Toupee" line that Scott said to William Lustig. "The Story of a haunted hairpiece". Well I did some research and it looks like apparently Amazing Stories did one called, "Hell Toupee" directed by Irvin Kershner (Of Empire Strikes Back). I'm going to watch that tonight since Amazing Stories is on Netflix. I just think its kind of funny and maybe Scott put it out in the ether or something. Here's the link to it: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0511100/combined The question I have for you is do you have any idea how to get a script to SyFy. We have a script for my film, "Sasquatch VS Yeti". And we're planning to work on it this summer but we'd love to either be backed by SyFy or basically get it put out by them. Was it because you knew Bruce and pitched Alien Apocalypse to them that you ended up working with them. And do you know if Jeff Franklin is still producing for them? Thanks Josh and hope all has been well with you. Jonathan A. Moody

Dear Jonathan:

That is amusing that Scott's "Hell Toupee" idea somehow ended up getting made. I'm sure he'd proud to know that. SyFy, for the most part, doesn't finance their movies. Producers like Jeff Franklin, who had already made quite a few TV shows and TV movies by that point, put the financing together themselves, make the films, then SyFy purchases the U.S. TV rights, leaving the producer with all of the DVD and foreign rights. Meanwhile, Bruce and I had gotten our scripts to the now-defunct foreign sales agency, Creative Light, who in turn got the scripts to SyFy who was interested from the outset because they had already made two films with Bruce and wanted to make more. Then the whole deal just sat there for over a year because Creative Light couldn't put together the financing. SyFy contacted Jeff Franklin, who had already made a few films for them, then had Bruce contact Jeff. Jeff had a line on German financing, put the money together for Bruce's and my films, as well as "Puppet Master 179," or whatever it was, and the next thing you know we were in Bulgaria making the films. That's how that worked. Sadly, sending a script to SyFy is complete waste of time. Jeff Franklin has retired, and Elvis has left the building.

Josh

Name:             Tim
E-mail:            Nativeblood66
Date:               03/24/13

Dear Josh :

Congratulations on your new opportunity. I wish you well with it. You've stated before that you know in the first few minutes of a movie or the first few paragraphs of a story or screenplay whether it's worth a damn or not. If you picked up a book off the shelf because the cover caught your eye for whatever reason and began reading it what is it in that first paragraph or two that says to you "This is going to suck" or "This is worth checking out"? Is it the wording used? How do you hook someone in the first few sentences? How can a writer make something so compelling as to keep the interest of the reader? Is it the structure or the feeling of the structure? It sure as hell can be elusive. I know I've thrown in a hell of a lot of questions in this one response so please feel free to cut to the chase and edit it down if you choose to respond. I feel like there is something I'm missing and I'm not sure if it's tangible or intangible or if I'm just thinking about it too much. As always I thank you for your time. Have a great day. Tim

Dear Tim:

Good to hear from you. First of all, books and screenplays are entirely different creatures. A screenplay has far fewer words and is a blueprint for a movie, so you're working strictly with terse descriptions of action and dialog. In a screenplay, waxing poetically is not only pointless, it's an intrusion. In prose, however, how you say what you're saying means a lot. A screenplay really needs to throw down the guantlet and get right to the point; a book doesn't. As a recent example, as I endlessly keep reading Pulitzer Prize-winning novels, I started Richard Ford's "Independence Day." As I read the list of his previous books I remembered that I had started his book, "The Sportwriter" years before and hadn't gotten anywhere before giving up. Nevertheless, I started "Independence Day" and within three pages I realized that I just don't like the way that guy writes. His prose style bores me. I hadn't read enough to even know what the story might be. So then I chose another Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "Foreign Affairs" by Alison Lurie, and immediately I really enjoyed her prose style and I'm just about done with the book. In this instance the story itself is somewhat insignificant, but her writing is terrific. She comes up with great, and often funny, metaphors constantly. It's a joy to read her prose. But what makes a screenplay compelling is that the author knows in advance where the story is going, then uses every scene to get you there.

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               03/24/13

Hi Josh :

You are the best film nerd fix on the net, though it took me awhile to get you. Besides that I suppose you might have come across this video montage by one Leigh Singer of clips "Breaking the fourth wall". I had some arguments over what the "fourth wall" in film actually is and would like your take. http://vimeo.com/60845952 Also I believe that the "Evil Dead" was the first film with the main title at the end, as I notice a number of films are doing this lately (one I recently watched was the quite good British 2010 ghostly suspense film "The Awakening"). I think this worked quite well in the ED (the large print title after the fast zoom shot). But seems odd in most other films.

Dear Paul:

There were many films before ED that didn't put the credits up front. "Close Encounters" for one. But there were films in the 1950s and '60s that also did it. I personally don't care for it. I like to know who did what while I'm watching the film. I didn't watch the vimeo clip you sent, but the fourth wall is the wall that's not there on a set, where the camera is often set up, although the camera can still come onto the set and shoot against the side walls for close-ups and over-the-shoulder shots. Production Designers almost never build the fourth wall unless it's specifically requested by the director. This became an "issue" when directors began shooting on real locations, in real houses or offices or what-have-you, and still acted like their was a fourth wall, never bringing the camera around 180 degrees. It's now very common to cross the 180 degree line and shoot back toward the fourth wall. If you watch my film "Lunatics" again, on the main set of Hank's apartment, I had all the walls in all the rooms built so I could follow Hank all the way through the apartment. On Xena we rarely had the fourth wall. Nor is their a ceiling on most sets. The guy who really broke that rule was Orson Welles on "Citizen Kane," who was constantly shooting from low angels so you can see the ceiling. On "Kane" they built the ceilings out of muslin so they could put the microphone above the ceiling and still record clear sound. I requested a hunk of ceiling for a few Xena eps and we'd put it on C-stands above the actor's head which allowed me to shoot from a low angle. I'll put "The Awakening" on my Netflix queue.

Josh

Name:             Mike Keesee
E-mail:            mjkeesee@lycos.com
Date:               03/22/13

Hi Josh :

Happened to catch a commercial for the remake of Evil Dead and had to tell my kids about you and Lobby Hobby, Art Jablin. I hope things are going well and best of luck to you. Mike Keesee

Dear Mike:

A true blast from the past. Long time no hear or see. Coincidentally, I was just talking about good old Art. That he was trying to put a zoom lens on an SLR and was turning it the wrong way. I said, "You're turning it the wrong way" and he promptly dropped the lens and broke it, then yelled at me, "You see what you've done!"

Long ago (1985 to be exact), I actually used you as the basis of a character in a screenplay entitled, "The Winds of Fate," which I wrote with Bruce Campbell and I've always quite liked. Unfortunately, it's never been produced, as is the case with most of my script. Nevertheless, if you'd like to read it it's available on my website. Here's the link--http://www.beckerfilms.com/WindsofFate-p1.htm -- If you do read it, please let me know what you think. Great hearing from you.

Josh

Name:             Tim
E-mail:            nativeblood
Date:               03/22/13

Morning Josh :

When you, Josh Becker, sit down to write do you look at as work or as a party? That might seem like a silly question on the surface but I'm serious about it. Thanks for your time. Tim

Dear Tim:

I've been hired to write yet another screenplay, which I shan't discuss, and I was given a wonderful human story that holds so many possibilities in characterization it's amazing. I write in spurts. I write a scene, or part of a scene, then go sit down in the living room, have a cigarette, think about what comes next in the story, then go back and write another hunk, then I repeat the process all day, and before you know it I'm done. I rarely sit in front of the computer for more than a half hour at a time, and frequently not that long. I constantly go back, read what I've written, then add a line here or a detail there. For me, writing is pure joy. As I said to someone yesterday, I'm only half a person when I'm not writing. But the key to it, in my opinion, is knowing where you're ultimately going, thinking about what comes next and persistence. It's certainly work, but it's joyful work if you approach it properly.

Josh

Name:             Weird Hal Blumberg
E-mail:            hal@mexicodirect.com
Date:               03/19/13

Hi Josh :

I was just kidding around with my comment. Did not mean to add to the mini-pile-on of people expressing disappointment in the delay "Spine Chillers." I'm fine with waiting as long as you need and wish you the best with this experience.

Dear Weird Hal:

That's perfectly OK. And don't think we didn't give the accordion rock idea just as much consideration as it deserved. Thanks for the offer.

Josh

Name:             Justin Hayward
E-mail:            justinhayw@gmail.com
Date:               03/19/13

Hi Josh :

I've read your Freddy Krueger treatments that the "Spine Chillers" are based off. I know Freddy was a side note, but did you change the stories to make the unrelated Freddy stuff a "narrator" or something, but still connected, and if so, how? I understand if your answer is simply, wait and watch :) Thanks man

Dear Justin:

"Spine Chillers" doesn't have a narrator or a host. Those "Nightmare On Elm Street" stories were simply the jumping off point for what we'd subsequently do. I didn't use any of those stories, either. We did kick around the idea of a host, and I offered it to Bruce, but he declined. That's OK with me because I don't want this to be Bruce Campbell's "Spine Chillers." This show is the work of me, Paul Harris and Chris Dinnan, and we take responsibility for it. If the other two guys had wanted me to be the host I would have done it--with a cigarette, just like Rod Serling--but alas, they didn't want me.

Josh

Name:             lou
E-mail:           
Date:               03/18/13

Dear Josh :

josh, wtf? this is getting ridiculous at this point. first u tease that spine chillers will b shown in january, now it may not even b april, wtf? do u think u r a big budget hollywood film? what a bunch of crap. i bet u never even made it yet. ur just making excuses like a film school brat of this generation now. then, i actually went out and RENTED adrift in manhattan because of ur ridiculous recommendation and now i think U owe ME 4 bucks because that was the worse peace of shit i have ever seen. WHAT A FUCKING PEACE OF SHIT! u hate every movie ever but now SUDDENLY this one is so fucking good, i think u r officially full of SHIT.

Dear lou:

Have you considered anger management therapy? It sounds like you could use it. Not to mention a class in English. And if you officially think I'm full of shit, why would you possibly heed my suggestions? Lighten up.

Josh

Name:             Weird Hal Blumberg
E-mail:           hal@mexicodirect.com
Date:               03/18/13

Dear Josh :

I can understand why you'd prefer to wait for LoDuca to be available to finish "Spine Chillers," but my friends and I have a kick-ass Weird Al tribute band and would be willing to fill the soundtrack with tasteful accordion rock for a low fee.

Dear Weird Hal:

I deeply apologize to one and all about the delays, but alas they are unavoidable. I suggested to my partners at the beginning that we premiere the episodes one at a time, but I was voted down. They wanted all three of them to go up at once and so it shall be. As I've mentioned, the fourth episode is shot and edited (though it needs another cut), so that one will go up not too long after the first three. I'm doing the best I can do. The old adage in filmmaking is: Good, fast, cheap; choose two. If it's good and fast, it won't be cheap; if it's good and cheap, it won't be fast; if it's fast and cheap, it won't be good. I'm was trying for good, fast and cheap, but that's asking for too much.

Josh

Name:             Muadib
E-mail:            atreidesmedia@gmail.com
Date:               03/17/13

Dear Josh :

Can you confirm that your "Spine Chillers" partner Chris Dinnan is in Chicago working on the ABC Pilot "Betrayal"? How has Chris Dinnan influenced you as a filmmaker? He is one of my favorite directors and I bet it's really fun working with him. Do you consider it a dream come true to work with a talent like that?

Dear Muadib:

Chris Dinnan is truly the Kwisatz Haderach. His organic mental powers have bridged space and time. Working with Chris has been the most uplifting, fulfilling experience of my life, and most definitely a dream come true. Oh, yeah, I guess he is working on an ABC pilot in Chicago. But soon he'll return to rule over Arrakis.

Josh

Name:             Kristie
E-mail:           
Date:               03/16/13

Hi Josh :

Any updates on "Spine Chillers!?" We eagerly await! Also, seen any movies lately of note?

Dear Kristie:

I just answered the "Spine Chillers" question, so refer to one Q&A down. I've seen a number of interesting movies lately. "No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos" (2008) is a wonderful documentary about the great cinematographers, Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond, who were best friends their whole lives and escaped from Soviet occupied Hungary together in 1956 (and made a documentary about it as they did it). Between the two of them they shot so many great movies it's ridiculous. "A Dangerous Method" (2011) directed David Cronenberg, with Viggo Mortensen, Kiera Knightly, is very well-made, intelligently written, and solidly-acted film about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. "Girl 27" (2007) is another well-made documentary about 17-year-old girl who was a dancer at MGM in the 1930s and was raped at an MGM sales convention, and the whole story was totally hushed up by MGM. "The General" (1998) with Brenden Gleeson and Jon Voight, written, produced and directed by John Boorman, shot in black & white, is a very interesting and amusing film about the true-life Irish criminal Martin Cahill. "The Shanghai Gesture" (1941) is a late Joseph Von Sternberg film, with young Gene Tierny and young Victor Mature, that I thought was a lot better than Mr. Leonard Maltin gave it credit for. "The Proposition" (2005) wasn't exactly my cup of tea, and far too artsy-fartsy for my tastes, but was still very interesting. It's an Australian western set in the 1880s, written and scored by the musician Nick Cave. "Captain Fury" (1939), also set in 1880s Australia, directed by Hal Roach, starring Brian Aherne (whom I like) and a well-cast Victor McLaglen. "Sylvia" (2004) is the highly-dpressing story of suicidal poet Sylvia Plath, very well-acted by Gwyneth, her husband is also well-played by Daniel Craig. Not a feel-good movie. And last but not least, "Adrift in Manhattan" (2007), a multi-character tale with Heather Grahame and William Baldwin, that connected quite well, with all intriguing characters.

Josh

Name:             Justin Hayward
E-mail:            justinhay@gmail.com
Date:               03/16/13

Hi Josh :

Can you tell us when "Spine Chillers" will be released? Its been a long time coming... :) Thanks

Dear Justin:

Not exactly. There have been a few set-backs, like both Chris and Joe have gotten gigs. Both will be done by mid-April, then we'll wind up the first three episodes and post them. This is par for the course on non-paying projects; everybody still has to make a living and that comes first. I appreciate your interest.

Josh

Name:             Justin Hayward
E-mail:            justinhay@gmail.com
Date:               03/11/13

Hi Josh :

How involved are you with the cinematography of your movies and everything else? Thanks, Justin

Dear Justin:

It depends on the movie or show. I always choose all of the shots, but I generally stay out of the DP's way when it comes to the lighting, unless I have a specific lighting effect in mind. I was the DP and camera operator on TSNKE and I did most of the lighting, although I got some help on several scenes from our old friend Mike Ditz, who shot stills on all of our early films. On the first Spine Chillers episode I operated camera and there was almost no lighting other than what was already there. Since there are a few shots with somewhat soft focus, my two partners urged me to not operate camera anymore, so I'm not. I'm happier having someone else do it anyway.

Josh

Name:             Brian
E-mail:           
Date:               03/09/13

Dear Josh :

Do you have a favorite guilty pleasure movie? Perhaps one that's so bad, it's good?

Dear Brian:

My standard answer for this question is "Point Break," which I've seen five or six times. But honestly, I'm really the wrong guy for this question. For the most part I like good movies and don't like bad movies. I don't take any joy in the "so bad it's good" concept. When I lived in a bungalow in Hollywood with Scott Spiegel in 1986-87 and Quentin Tarantino used to come by regularly to hang out with the Scott, the two of them did nothing but discuss bad movies, and this went on endlessly. I finally grew so sick of it that I said to them, "Have you ever considered discussing a good movie?" They both looked at me like I was crazy and went on yapping about crap. And now Quentin has based his career on remaking shitty Italian movies from the 1960s. I suppose if I enjoyed bad movies more I'd have made it further in Hollywood.

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               03/05/13

Dear Josh :

With 50 years of James Bond (is he the longest running consistently produced character or what?) going on, any personal reminiscences of any of the Bond films, actors women, songs, etc ?

Dear Paul:

I loved James Bond movies as a kid, but once Roger Moore came in they lost me. I haven't cared since. I have a bunch of the Bond songs on my iPod, like: "Goldfinger," "Thunderball," "Nobody Does it Better," "For Your Eyes Only." All in all, though, I really don't give a damn about James Bond anymore. I really do believe that the whole thing lost its meaning at the end of the Cold War.

Josh

Name:             Tony
E-mail:           
Date:               03/05/13

Hi Josh :

Do you release more Super 8 shorts soon ? Regards

Dear Tony:

I've released every Super-8 film that I've made. I can't release any of the other guys' films.

Josh

Name:             Dean
E-mail:           
Date:               03/05/13

Hi Josh :

Long time no write, ( I used to write now and again, a fellow struggling film-maker, but more British ). I am looking forward to spine chillers, I have toyed with the idea of an anthology type series myself, as short subjects can be a very rewarding way, to flex the creative muscles. My question is How did you find working with the Canon DSLR camera on a project ? I really love the camera and the ability to switch lenses and use old glass finally made me switch over to a digital format, just wondered how you find it ( as you switched to the Sony ). Any way all the best of luck with the project, I am sure I will be watching all of them.

Dear Dean:

Good to hear from you, mate. I loved shooting with the Canon DSLR; I think it's an amazing camera. The picture and sound quality is incredible. In the first Spine Chillers episode--which I shot--there's almost no lighting at all and it looks terrific. We switched to the Sony EX-1, A. because we have it, and B. because it is a better camera with better sound. But only marginally better, I think. On the Canon we used the 18-50mm lens,occasionally using the wide-angle adaptor, but we never had cause to switch to the longer zoom, which is like 50-200mm, or something like that. One of my partners in this show, Chris, who owns all of this equipment, as well as the editing equipment, encoded two of the three first episodes for the internet and we watched them on his iPad and they look great. Of course they'll look even better on the upcoming DVD, but I'm extremely pleased with what we got. Good luck to you on all of your endeavors.

Josh

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               03/03/13

Dear Josh :

Would you say that Daniel Day-Lewis gives his best performance in "Lincoln"? What other of his films do you recommend?

Dear David:

Mr. Day-Lewis is good in everything, and his performances are so different that it's difficult to compare them or say one is better than the other. He got his three Oscars for (he now holds the record for most Best Actor Oscars): "My Left Foot," "There Will Be Blood" and "Lincoln." "There Will Be Blood" goes utterly wrong at some point along the way, but he's really good and the film starts off very well. "My Left Foot" is sort of excruciating, but once again, he's very good. His first film is "Ghandi," and though he's only in one scene, he's still good.

Josh

Name:             Jonathan A. Moody
E-mail:            sickflickproductions@gmail.com
Date:               03/02/13

Dear Josh :

I'm not sure if this has been answered so please forgive me if it has. What is your feel on the fundraising pages like Kickstarter or Indiegogo? Would you ever use them to try and raise funds for your films or for your web series. If you're not sure what I mean exactly check out: http://www.kickstarter.com and http://www.indiegogo.com. I heard that big named directors have been using Kickstarter now. I'm not sure why but maybe its just how bad the economy is these days. Also since its March 2nd I'd like to ask how everything is going with your series... can't wait for Spine Chillers!

Jonathan A. Moody

Dear Jonathan:

I was kicking around the idea of using Kickstarter at some point last year--before Spine Chillers--and went to the site several times to see how it worked. Some folks here at the nearby Actor's Studio (who incidentally did the casting for TSNKE long, long ago) made a cool trailer-kind-of-a-thing for Kickstarter and raised five grand. Anyway, money isn't holding us back on Spine Chillers, so we really don't need to go to the trouble of raising any. We've made four episodes and haven't spent $1,500. Progress-wise, we've got two fully-scored episodes and Joe's scoring the third right now. I expect he'll be done in a week. We still have to cut a trailer and put together an EPK, but otherwise we're set to go. We're gearing up to shoot ep#5.

Josh

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               03/01/13

Dear Josh :

Weren't you skeptical of Daniel Day-Lewis portraying Lincoln going into seeing the film? I seem to remember you saying you didn't think he looked anything like him.

Dear David:

Yes I was. And, as has occurred many times in my life, I was wrong. It's not that Daniel Day-Lewis doesn't look like him, which through the magic of make-up he certainly does, it's that Lincoln was 6'5" and very strong--he could hold a two-bladed ax straight out with two fingers for as long as he wanted--and Mr. Day-Lewis is not that. But it totally didn't matter. It's a masterful performance and displays of Lincoln's prowess holding axes with two fingers wasn't necessary, although I'm sure they could have achieved that with digital effects.

Josh

Name:             Lauren Peters
E-mail:           
Date:               02/28/13

Dear Josh :

How about an article/review of "Lincoln" since you liked it so much? You rarely post any new essays these days, and I miss them.

Dear Lauren:

I think I've said everything I care to say about "Lincoln," but I'll keep your suggestion about writing more essays in mind. I enjoy writing them. I thought of an idea last night, which I wrote down on a napkin. It's more of a reminisce than an essay, but will I actually do it? Ah, there's the rub.

Josh

Name:             Cool Dude
E-mail:           
Date:               02/28/13

Dear Josh :

Rest assured, my day will be better than your film career. Love, Cool Dude

Dear Cool Dude:

I'll be more than happy to list all of the movies and TV shows I've directed and written. What have you done?

Josh

Name:             Scott
E-mail:           
Date:               02/28/13

Dear Josh :

Wow, the fact that you used terrific and Spielberg in the same sentence is quite shocking. I haven't seen Lincoln yet but now I plan to. I remember a while ago you mentioned that you thought the last great film,in your opinion,was Unforgiven. Did Lincoln break that 21 year slump for you? If so that's quite a remarkable feat considering films are still getting worse and worse every year. with that said, I did enjoy Argo and I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on that one. All the best! Scott

Dear Scott:

I ordered "Argo" on Netflix and it should be here pretty soon. You raise an interesting question: in my humble opinion, is "Lincoln" the first great movie since "Unforgiven"? My initial response is no, because it's not a movie I want to see over and over again and learn all the lines, then repeat them. I think it's a fine film, meticulously produced, well-written and well-directed, with a great performance at its center, but I think it's just shy of true greatness for me. The only line that really stuck with me was Lincoln saying, "I am clothed in immense power and I want those 20 votes!" I like his story about Ethan Allen in England after the Revolutionary War, where they put a portrait of George Washington in the water closet, then asked Allen what he thought about the placement of the portrait. He replied, "It's perfect. Nothing will scare the shit out of an Englishman like seeing George Washington." "Lincoln" does fit in perfectly with "Young Mr. Lincoln" and "Abe Lincoln in Illinois." Noe someone needs to make, "Abe Lincoln, President," which would be entirely about the Civil War. The problem with that story is that for quite a lot of it Lincoln did nothing but make the wrong decisions regarding choosing commanding generals. The Union got out-generaled for years because Lincoln kept choosing crappy commanders. Anyway, the film impressed me a lot, but it's not one of my very favorites.

Josh

Name:             Cool Dude
E-mail:           
Date:               02/26/13

Dear Josh :

As far as Sci-Fi flicks go, Inception beats the shit out of Alien Apocalypse. Love, Cool Dude

Dear Cool Dude:

Thank you. Have a nice day.

Josh

Name:             Patrick mendota
E-mail:           
Date:               02/25/13

Dear Josh :

I just saw on CNN about the director of the documentary "sugar man" It's up for an Oscar this year. The director ran out of money and had to use his iPhone to do part of the filming. He downloaded an app that cost about two dollars. He used it to make vintage looking film. He also shot parts of the film by simply using his iPhone and taping off of his computer. It looked really great. He did a lot of outdoor shots that looked just amazing. I would've never guessed he was using his iPhone and a 2 dollar app. Just thought I would throw that out there to keep you inspired on your new low-budget digital series. Good luck

Dear Patrick:

That's very interesting. Luckily for us we have three very good cameras to work with: a Canon T3i, a Sony EX-1, as well as a Sony PDW-F350 Cine Alta HD, which is actually too much camera for our purposes. Since I live in the Detroit area I'm particularly interested in "Sugar Man," who's from Detroit. I'd like to see that.

Josh

Name:             Alexa Linden
E-mail:           
Date:               02/25/13

Dear Josh :

Interesting that thought The Descendants was very good. I am a fan of Alexander Payne and was looking forward to seeing it, but I thought the film was weak. Part of that stems from the fact that I just didn't believe what was happening, namely George Clooney's character bringing his two daughters with him in his search for the man his now comatose wife was having an affair with. Who would bring their kids along for that? No one. I guess it's ironic since you had the same type of qualm with an earlier Payne picture that I quite liked, "Sideways".

Dear Alexa:

It was his daughter who told him about the affair, and she's the one who knows what the guy looks like. And since his wife is dying it seemed like a good idea to get them out of Oahu and off to Maui for a few days. Also, he's now completely in charge of the kids and has to take care of them. Not to mention that it brings he and his older daughter together. I think it's perfectly rational. On the other hand, taking off with your buddy for the entire week before your wedding seems stupid and unbelievable to me. Different strokes for different folks.

Josh

Name:             Kristie
E-mail:           
Date:               02/25/13

Dear Josh :

One thing about "Tetro" is that it really made me wish more people would shoot in 2.35:1 b&w these days. It was shot digitally and - I think - looks amazing, very much like a 50s Hollywood or European movie. And it has traditional structure, too, at least until it goes off into outer space by the end. I don't even remember the last time somebody shot a 2.35 movie in b&w though, can you? It's not done anymore. Meanwhile, I'd be curious as to your thoughts about "The Descendants." What made you get into it? Thanks!

Dear Kristie:

"Tetro" does look great, and I loved the 2:35 black & white. The color scenes are absolutely gorgeous too. I've always loved widescreen b&w, which was used quite a few times in the '50s and early '60s. "The Descendants" was a believable, touching, sad, occasionally funny, adult drama that I'd never seen before, set in location that's rarely if ever used. It's nicely shot, well-directed and very well-acted. George Clooney gives a terrific performance. It choked me up a couple of times. It's too bad that the trailer made it look like a comedy, which it certainly isn't.

Josh

Name:             Wow
E-mail:           
Date:               02/25/13

Dear Josh :

Anyone ever tell you that you and Tim Burton share a strong resemblance?

Dear Wow:

No. I certainly don't see it.

Josh

Name:             Brian
E-mail:           
Date:               02/25/13

Dear Josh :

What is your assessment of Chris Nolan's Batman movies? (of the ones you've seen at least) Also, how would you rate Nolan overall as a filmmaker?

Dear Brian:

I don't give a damn about Batman. I've hated every Batman movie I've seen, except the one with Adam West from the '60s when I was a kid. I couldn't sit through "Inception." Therefore, I think nothing of Chistopher Nolan.

Josh

Name:             Barry
E-mail:            Bberry1236@gmail.com
Date:               02/25/13

Dear Josh :

How do you plan on marketing Spine Chillers? A Facebook and twitter page and upload to YouTube doesn't get you viewers. You either need dumb luck to make a video to viral or celebrity new media folks with tons of followers to blast announcements out to their followers. Getting coverage on horror sites likes bloody disgusting will help too. What's your plan, Stan?

Dear Barry:

We're going to do all of that, plus more, but our ace in the hole is that Bruce Campbell will tweet our link the day it premieres. It's still going to take a while for "Spine Chillers" to catch on, if it does. Part of our plan is to just keep making them and keep making them so that folks come to expect a new episode every two weeks (once we really get rolling) and keep getting it, just like a TV show. Going viral is just a fluke that you can't even hope for.

Josh

Name:             Jack
E-mail:           
Date:               02/24/13

Dear Josh :

Hi, looking forward to Spine Chillers; and if you do get through the Hunger Games I'd be interested to hear your thoughts, in particular on its satire of reality TV. I've got the books sitting here as my next read and will watch the film after, though the main concern I've heard is of the shaky, disorientating direction (supposedly done to avoid an R.) What Best Picture nominees have you seen yet? I've only seen Zero Dark Thirty and Argo thus far, and both seemed like solid action films; good, and ZD30 is stronger, but neither really great. I have higher hopes for Lincoln; I've heard it does give him depth and humour, and it can't be worse than the abysmal War Horse. I'm with you on Grizzly Man; a very interesting and chilling movie.

Dear Jack:

The only Best Picture nominee I've seen was "Lincoln" and I thought it was terrific. Spielberg's best film since "Close Encounters." It's a tremendously solid film, with bravura performance by Daniel Day Lewis, and absolutely awesome photography by Janusz Kaminski. Spielberg's direction is perfect. My good buddy Joe LoDuca said that he liked "Argo" a lot, but that "Lincoln" was "a film for the ages." It's had a real impact on the country, too, since it got Mississippi to finally ratify the 13th amendment, a mere 150 years after everyone else. By the by, I'll never finish watching "The Hunger Games."

Josh

Name:             Danielle
E-mail:           
Date:               02/23/13

Hi Josh :

Could you please tell me what it means when an actor's performance is negatively described as being "over-directed"? Is it another way of saying that the performance lacks subtlety and/or complexity? Whenever I hear a script described as being over-written, I assume that it's being faulted for being too on-the-nose with its dialogue and too forthcoming with information and explicit explanations that would best be left to the viewer's interpretation. Is my understanding of what these terms mean correct? Thanks.

Dear Danielle:

I'd say you're correct. "Over-directed" might also be synonomous with or similar to "over-rehearsed," where the life has been kicked out of the scene. To my understanding over-directed can also mean too much filmmaking where it's not needed. Too many camera moves, too much coverage, too many tricks. I just attempted to watch "The Hunger Games" which I found to be highly over-directed, but not well-directed. Two people four lines of dialog and it's covered in 142 angles, all hand-held. I think over-written also means stuff like Quentin Tarantino's scripts, where characters launch into long, philosophical rants that often seem inappropriate and meaningless. Meanwhile, I just saw four very good films in a row: "The Descendants," "The Big Sky," "Seven Days to Noon" and "Grizzly Man," all of which I highly recommend. This run of good films was stopped by Francis Coppola's "Tetro," which is a somewhat dull, pretentious, mediocre film made by a master filmmaker.

Josh

Name:             Michael Jaest
E-mail:           
Date:               02/21/13

Dear Josh :

"Silver Linings Playbook" is the first film to get nominations for picture, director, writing and all four acting categories since "Reds" in 1981.

Dear Michael:

Interesting bit of Oscar trivia, which I always enjoy. Thanks.

Josh

Name:             lou
E-mail:           
Date:               02/21/13

Dear Josh :

movies these days can be made with such small crews and they often r. thats y the technology is so good 4 filmmakers. if u have sound and u have the camera and can make shorts that u r proud of then y not make a feature? sounds like excuses if u dont mind me saying.

Dear lou:

Right now we're making a series, which isn't the easiest thing in the world if you're trying to do a good job. Perhaps in the future we'll make a feature. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Josh

Name:             Mark Fairclough
E-mail:            mfairclough1@hotmail.co.uk
Date:               02/20/13

Dear Josh :

Hi Josh Mark from the UK. You said you got your idea for Spine Chillers when you dug out some old horror stories you had written years ago can you remember any of them would you ever post them online for us to read. Good luck with Spine Chillers. Mark Fairclough

Dear Mark:

They're already posted under Old Stuff. "Nightmare on Elm Street Story outlines."

Josh

Name:             lou
E-mail:           
Date:               02/20/13

Dear Josh :

thanks. any other news 2 report on these days? any new scripts in the works? do u think u can film a feature using the crew/equipment u r using 4 these shorts? would u try? also y is it impossible to find running time? cant u put it on netflix or youtube?

Dear lou:

No, we couldn't shoot a feature with our tiny little crew. We've had shoot days where there were four of us, including the cast. Meanwhile, I went Amazon and "Running Time " is available both new and used. The film was on Netflix for a long time, but isn't anymore. C'est la vie.

Josh

Name:             lou
E-mail:           
Date:               02/19/13

Dear Josh :

wow, it all sounds great. cant wait 2 finally c it. will there be any behind the scenes documentaries on the project or deleted scenes/additional features to look forward 2? how about commentary? also if it takes off big do u think u will bring on other directors like other shows of this type (twilight zone?)? i have some suggestions if u do like john carpenter, tobe hooper, dario argento, scott spiegel, mike binder. i would say sam raimi but i know how busy he is these days. maybe still it would be cool if like ted if he was back in town when u were filming and starred in ur segment like the good old days, haha!

Dear lou:

When we've got 7-8 episodes, including the one starring Bruce, we'll package them on a DVD and add commentary tracks, deleted scenes, a blooper reel, and anything else we can think of. We'll probably never get any of the directors you mentioned, nor do we need them. Paul, Chris and I are sufficient. At least we think so. And we're not counting our chickens, we just intend to keep making them until we can't anymore, for whatever reason.

Josh

Name:             lou
E-mail:           
Date:               02/17/13

Dear Josh :

i think i am more xited 4 spine chillers now then before. one more question...do u think ur show is scary or just chilling? is there humor 2? also what r the chances u can get someone like ted raimi 2 make a cameo 4 u in the future?

Dear lou:

I'd certainly like to get Ted. If I have a part for him and he's town, I have no doubt he'd do it. Meanwhile, between the first three episodes (#4 has been shot and cut, too), I think wqe have some of everything, horror-wise: psychological, psycho-sexual, comedy, straight scares, a ferocious creature. And the second group of three will be totally different.

Josh

Name:             lou
E-mail:           
Date:               02/16/13

Dear Josh :

did u film spine chillers in ur own house? it will be cool to finally get 2 c ur house if this is true. were u ur own camera man on this film? i have many other questions 4 u, i wish u would post an essay while we wait 4 so long 4 u 2 finish all this stuff. thanks.

Dear lou:

That's barely in English. Yes, my house was the main location and headquarters and was used in all of the first four episodes. Other places were, too, but it all ended up back at my house, one way or another. I was indeed my own cameraman on my first episode, not on my second. By episode three we brought in a cinematographer, Bruce Schermer, whom I've known forever, and by gum if eps #3 and #4 don't look better than the first two. Also, after the first two eps we switched from the Canon DSLR to the Sony EX-1. If you've got more questions, go ahead an ask 'em. Thanks for being interested.

Josh

Name:             Justin Hayward
E-mail:            justinhayw@gmail.com
Date:               02/13/13

Dear Josh :

Is your show a remake or homage of this... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spine_Chillers Or is it something on its own all together? Thanks

Dear Justin:

No, it has nothing to do with that British show, nor the old book I have called "Spine Chillers" (given to me on my 25th birthday by Mr. Sam Raimi), nor any of the at least a dozen other uses of that title over the years, either, except that they're all collections of horror/suspense stories. I didn't really mean it to be the title of the show, just sort of a place holder until we came up with something better, but we never did. It stuck, so there it is. We're getting damn close to being done with the first three episodes. Probably another two weeks.

Josh

Name:             lou
E-mail:           
Date:               02/12/13

Dear Josh :

what the hell r we looking at in that 3rd picture? is that a dead dog coming out the ground? if ur going 2 delay ur show a whole month u should probably give some more info 4 ur fans.

Dear lou:

I'll do what I can. We're going as fast as we can, given we're working with almost no money at all. That's a picture of the creature Sawtooth from episode #2, "Road Kill." It's a cross between a wolverine and a badger. As is pointed out in the show, every time about five species of animals go extinct, some new weird cross-breed comes into being. It's a pretty cool episode written and directed by my good buddy Paul Harris.

Josh

Name:             Tim
E-mail:            nativeblood
Date:               02/10/13

Dear Josh :

My daughter finds the picture of the butt with fish net stockings "disturbing". On Deborah Foreman - I was watching an old movie from the 80's today called "Real Genius" which starred Val Kilmer.It was actually a favorite of mine in college. Deborah Foreman was in it too. Chris Knight(Kilmer): No. Seriously. Listen to me. If there's ever anything I can do for you, or more to the point, TO you - just let me know ok. Susan Decker (Foreman): Can you hammer a 6-inch spike through a board with your penis? Chris: Not right now. Susan: A girls got to have her standards. Off the hook entertaining. Sadly, I didn't realize it was Deborah Foreman, meaning "Lunatics", until today. Major disconnect. You're right though. Gorgeous and talented actress. Have a good one. Tim

Dear Tim:

Debby Foreman was third and final time I learned not to fall for your leading lady. I had already done it twice before with Cheryl Guttridge on "Stryker's War," then Cheryl again on TSNKE. I never got anywhere with either of them. But it doesn't make for a clear mind while trying to direct. And I've never seen "Real Genius."

Josh

Name:             Cosmicbrat
E-mail:            occultrush@yahoo.com
Date:               02/06/13

Dear Josh :

I'm wondering why this world is getting worse and worse by the minute, in pretty much everything..? What is causing all the hurt and destruction..? and Why..? In this I am addressing all governments, and most humans.. ________________________ All this global governmental covert activity stuff, and the many prolific laws intended to prevent people from harming themselves with fun and good and necessary stuff, and all the extreme violent enforcing of those laws, isn't doing any good what so ever.. All it's doing is causing grief sorrow and pain, and is the reason for all the destruction and pain in humanity.. It's like a great thorn in the skin of humanity.. a great thorn in the life of all humanity.. a black evil coating and parasite that's chewing its way into the spirit of humanity, spreading its excrement on and in the life love and core of humanity so a few greedy individuals and families can perpetually feed off of humanity by acquiring undeserved money and treasure from humans, in having robbing the lives of others, like how parasites feed.. Is it all just about acquiring ill gotten treasure..? How much money is needed for one family to live free and happy..? If you do pleasant good stuff, you'll make a lot more money faster, and be loved for it, and while you're doing it.. All this negative you do is hurting you and your's too.. Why do you insist on propagating evil..? It is the violent legal system that is the problem..? The so called "terrorists", for the most part, are essentially those who are doing all they can to try to shake the great evil off of humanity and their lives.. trying to shake you off their and our lives, so the innocent can live happy in peace.. Seems the evil thing is driven by bad people enforcing pretend religious demands to make this a good and better world, by acting upon and defending a great negative delusion that there is "a god and a heaven".. but the delusion aggressively destroys everything in its path but itself in doing so, creating only discord, and spreading evil and destruction, to satisfy its ridiculous power and god delusions, by creating pain and sorrow where there is and was once love peace tranquility and dignity.. Why don't you so called politicians of democracies, and you great armies of enforcers, just stop hurting people, and start just living and letting live, sharing only respect and love and being honest..? You'll get more for it.. Is it because you can't..? Is it because all you know is hate..? Why must you all-ways make bad where there is good..? Is it because you are insane, and is it because you enjoy destroying and causing pain and sorrow..? Are you religion and democracy people possessed with some sort of loveless alter dimensional demon monsters, that feed on pain and destruction, and on the life essences of living things..? Are you aliens, or devils, or something like vampires..? Don't you know that the evils you propagate is what your families and bloodline must live in..? Are you cannibals..? We do have grocery stores and restaurants which you can afford.. It's like you are making your families and humanity's future into your great toilet.. Don't you know that essentially what you are doing, is creating hell on earth for everyone, and for even yourselves and your kin, and for their future kin..? Is it that you need to generate pain and sorrow and destruction to be happy, and to survive..? Is it that you truly are insane..? Why do you hurt humanity..? Is it that you hate life and love..? Do you want the good people in the world to teach you love, and to love you.. If you would stop hurting us, maybe we could start to love you and teach you love.. After all you are part of the brotherhood and family of mankind, just like us.. We don't hate you.. We just want you to stop hating and hurting us.. What don't you understand about love..? We are here to help you be loved.. What is it that you want and need of life and us that will stop you from hurting and consuming and destroying our lives..?

Dear Cosmicbrat:

What the hell does your seemingly endless rant have to do with me?

Josh

Name:             lou
E-mail:           
Date:               02/06/13

Dear Josh :

did u ever see waxworks or april fools day starring deborah foreman?

Dear lou:

I saw them both and I didn't like either of them, although I think Debby is a doll. She's now a yoga and pilates instructor and still gorgeous. Check out her website.

Josh

Name:             Jonathan A. Moody
E-mail:            sickflickproductions@gmail.com
Date:               01/25/13

Dear Josh :

Wondering when "Spine Chillers" is out will you be putting any of the scripts up for us to see so we can see how you work on a Web Series or if you think thats too futile to do. Also kept hearing its pushed back but it still says 1-31-13 does that mean that was the date it was pushed back to or does that mean it just hasn't been updated. Thanks and looking forward to it. Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

The premiere is officially pushed back and ought to be somewhere in mid-February. Unavoidable circumstances. I'd much rather have Joe LoDuca and have to wait a few weeks then to not have him. He's the big dog in this pack. I'll be more than happy to post the scripts for my episodes, once they're being shown. As far Chris and Paul's scripts, that's up to them, but I'll ask.

Josh

Name:             Henry Mitz
E-mail:            Hmitzies@gmail.com
Date:               01/25/13

Dear Josh :

Kevin, in response to your personal challenge, I will challenge myself to write in every day, keep the action going. If you don't mind my asking, how did you end up volunteering for Becker...just a big fan like the rest of us? Josh, what's your game on deliverables, when you deliver to a distributor? Did they ever pay for yours?

Dear Henry:

I've never heard the term "deliverables" before. I know them as "delivery elements" (for the rest of you folks, these are the elements you give to the distributor when you make a deal), and yes, I've had to create and deliver them for several of my films. It's much easier these days with digital because you don't have to deliver an inter-positive or a dupe negative, although they may well want a 35mm negative burned from the digital master. I've had distributors pay for a new digital transfer, like the Blu-Ray transfer of TSNKE, which really looks great. That's the terrific part about having a film negative; every time they come up with a new, higher quality digital transfer you can just go back to the negative and transfer it again.

Meanwhile, the first webmaster of Beckerfilms was Gerry Kissell, who created it as a fan site, then wrangled me aboard to supply him with all the junk he wanted on the site. That was in 1998. Gerry got very busy (he's a wonderful artist), so he found Shirley LeVasseur, who ran the site for many years. Kevin had been writing in for quite some time, under various guises, so when Shirley couldn't do it anymore, Kevin took over.

Josh

Name:             Zachary Castine
E-mail:            maxover23@yahoo.com
Date:               01/25/13

Hello Mister Becker:

my name is Zachary Castine. A few months back my ex girlfriend surprised me with an autographed copy of Lunatics: A Love Story. I was also surprised with the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack for Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except. I first wanted to praise you, the two of those films becoming some of my favorites, and I wanted to ask you two questions. First, what was it like making Lunatics? And second, is there any info on a possible official DVD release for it? Thank you for your time, Zachary Castine.

Dear Zachary:

I'm pleased you like my films. Columbia Tri-Star has owned "Lunatics" for over 20 years and has never released it on DVD. I guess it doesn't mean very much to them. If you'd like to know the whole story of the making of that film read my book "Rushes" which contains an essay entitled "The Making of 'Lunatics'." It took about 5 years from conception to release, and the script went through about 18 drafts. It wasn't until Bruce Campbell came aboard as producer that the film finally got made. It was the first time I shot 35mm with a paid crew, so it was an important experience for me.

Josh

Name:             Henry Mitz
E-mail:            hmitzies@gmail.com
Date:               01/24/13

Dear Josh :

I don't understand how Spine Chillers gets pushed back two weeks if three of the episodes are already complete. Whatever. Not really my problem, I'll just have to be more patient, I suppose. Aside from that, the only thing I wrote in to complain about is the fact that you seem to be overloading the webmaster with a lot of impromptu requests these days - and it doesn't necessarily seem professional to do that IN FRONT of all of your readers. I've been a reader long time now, never wrote in, but felt compelled to stick up for Kevin, as I'm sure the guy isn't make much money, if any at all, and you seem to be demanding a lot. I've sat through a lot of your arguments with trolls, I've been with you the through the ups and downs, and I've always stood by you as a fan...but now I feel like you're in your ivory tower and expecting people to do all this shit for you. I don't know...maybe I'm off here, just wanted to see what you thought.

Dear Henry:

Kevin can add whatever he'd like into this, but I'd say we have fun with this website, and it's more fun when there's more action, as there has been lately. He and I both commented on this yesterday. I think Kevin takes pride in the fact that he handles everything so quickly and professionally, but that's for him to say. Regarding pushing the premiere of "Spine Chillers" back perhaps two weeks, this is how this goes: they're making the finale of "Spartacus" an epic and to achieve a big, big score Joe LoDuca is in Salt Lake City recording with the Utah Symphony Orchestra. When he's done with that he'll finish our stuff.

Josh

[Webmaster's Note: Beckerfilms is volunteer work to me. I love doing it. The problem is when we go through those slow periods there just isn't much to do. I used to wait a week to make the posts in hopes that they'd pile up, but people write in more when you do them right away. It also helps that Josh is making short films again. I make it to my 5th year in Oct. Let's see if I can have a perfect posting record between now and then.]

Name:             Tim
E-mail:            Nativeblood66
Date:               01/23/13

Dear Josh :

Tim Sullivan here. I mean I'm really Bruce Delrich. I could be Ellen Tilly or Betsy Sandweiss. HaHa! I have a lighting question for you. I just watched a silly little movie from 1988 again today for the 100th time called "Funny Farm". You might remember it's got Chevy Chase in it playing a character named Andy Farmer. There is a scene in the first 15 minutes of the movie where Andy and Elizabeth (Madolyn Smith) have given up on the movers and are lying on a blanket on the floor. The light coming from outside lights up and frames the actors and the room very nicely. Pretty sure we have some low wattage interior lights going on as well. Would have to I'm sure. I think the interior shots were on location and not a set. In country like that there are no street lights or other external sources as such. If you were attempting to light a room, through the windows on an actual location and not a highly controlled set,from outside the house how would you approach it? Kill it with as much filtered wattage as possible? Have a great day. Tim

Dear Tim:

I've never seen "Funny Farm," but it's certainly not a little film; it's a big A picture with big shot people involved, like Oscar-winning director, George Roy Hill; DP, Miroslav Ondricek (who shot most of Milos Foreman's films), and production designer, Henry Bumstead (who, aside from designing many of Clint Eastwood's films, did many, many big films). I'm not sure how I missed it since I really do like George Roy Hill. Anyway, I would take one big light, probably an HMI, put a gel on it, take it outside and shine it through the window. I'd bet there's also a fill light (where you aim a light in the opposite direction of the scene hitting a white card which bounces the diffused light back) in the room to give it some exposure.

Josh

Name:             Steven Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               01/23/13

Dear Josh :

Post-production hang-ups on Spine Chillers? That can be a bitch. I think your letter to Spike Lee was really uncalled for and borderline racist. What's your problem?

Dear Steven Paul:

It's probably time to take the letter down anyway, but why do think it's rascist? It certainly wasn't meant to be. I do think that Spike Lee is a racist, but I honestly don't think I am. My problem is that Spike Lee attempted to boycott a film he hadn't even seen and misused the word holocaust. That's all.

Josh

[Webmaster's Note: The hang-ups are due to Joseph LoDuca's schedule.]

Name:             Jonathan A. Moody
E-mail:            sickflickproductions@gmail.com
Date:               01/23/13

Dear Josh :

Hey I just got started reading "Hollywood" by Charles Bukowski. Very interesting so far. Didn't see "Barfly" on your favorites list. Wanted to know if you had read Hollywood and if you were a fan of Bukowski's work. Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

"Barfly" isn't on my favorite list? That's a mistake, I love that movie. Yes, I've read "Hollywood" and perhaps eight other Bukowski books. I think he's terrific. My only problem is that when I read his books I have a tendency to drink too much in an attempt to keep up with him (which isn't possible). I loved in "Hollywood" how he changed everybody's name, but for some folks he put in very little effort, like Werner Zergog or Francis Hoppola. And even though Matt Dillon isn't a good choice for Henry Chinaski (he's too handsome and Bukowski/Chinaski is ugly, which is part of what makes him who he is), I still like "Factotum," too.

Josh

[Webmaster's Note: Barfly has been added to the list]

Name:             Bart Sullivan
E-mail:           
Date:               01/22/13

Hi Josh :

Longtime no speak! I see you have a new webseries. I would love to work with you again! What do you think? Best wishes, Bart

Dear Bart:

Is this actually Bart Pierce?

Josh

Name:             joanne diprospero
E-mail:           
Date:               01/22/13

Hello Josh :

would you mind posting your thoughts on violence in the media and what, if any, connection you believe it has with violence in society, particularly the recent spate of mass shootings that seem to be perpetrated by young, video game and r-rated movie obsessed males. thank you.

Dear joanne:

First of all, it has been said that if you could put every male between the ages of 16 and 24 into cryogenic sleep you'd clear about 90% of all crime. I've forgotten who said that, but I read it at least 25 years ago before the advent of violent video games. There are a number of countries, like Sweden and Japan, that have a lot more video games per capita than we do, yet they have a much lower rate of shootings. Canada has a lot more guns per capita, yet has far less shootings. And even though tragedies like Newtown or Columbine are terrible, that's not how most shootings occur. Most shootings are inter-familial: husbands shooting wives, wives shooting husbands, kids shooting their parents, kids shooting kids, etc., and I don't think video games or movies have anything to do with that. Most shootings are perpetrated with handguns, not assault rifles and not hunting rifles. I believe that there is no reason for civilians to have assault rifles or high capacity clips, but banning them won't solve much. Handguns are the real issue, which no one is discussing, and if all these families didn't have a handgun in the house it would make it a lot more difficult for them to shoot each other. Nevertheless, banning assault weapons, high capacity clips, and making background checks mandatory is at least a few small steps in the right direction.

Josh

Name:             Kevin
E-mail:           
Date:               01/22/13

Dear Josh :

I also hope "Spine Chillers" is a good web series, I look forward to seeing it. It's great you're changing with the times. Would you shoot on something similar if you were to make another indie movie?

Dear kevin:

Absolutely. The camera I was referring to in an earlier post is the Sony EX-1, which we used for two of the four episodes. My buddy Gary Jones has already shot at least two features with that camera. The resolution on these digital cameras is so massive that you have to compress the image by about 50% before you can put it on a DVD, then you have to compress by about another 50% to put it on YouTube. I've shot a lot of film in my day and it looks great, but digital now looks great, too, so why bother with film?

Josh

Name:             Jonathan A. Moody
E-mail:            sickflickproductions@gmail.com
Date:               01/19/13

Dear Josh :

Hey man! Glad to see the New Year has been treating you pretty well. Looking forward to "Spine Chillers". It looks like its going to be a fun series! I heard you used DSLRs for this series. I have been working with those on a lot of my short films. The ones I've been using are Canon 7 and 5D. What camera did you use? And keep it up! I always love seeing new stuff come from you. Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

Good to hear from you. We used the Canon Tsi-3, I think, for the first two eps, then this terrific Sony camera, not a DSLR, like the size of a football, but also with a big fat lens. Chris also has this top-of-the-line Blue-Ray camera that I used for one shot because it has a such a huge zoom lens. But that DSLR did a great job.

Josh

Name:             Kevin
E-mail:           
Date:               01/18/13

Dear Josh :

I find it very interesting that you're doing a web series. I'm a big fan of yours and this site, I used to check it almost everyday. Back when I bought a VHS of hammer :) anyway, I remember tons of discussions about how the only way to have anything shot and then be taken seriously was to shoot it on film. You seemed to be very anti-digital deeming it for practice but not to be used if you really wanted to do something. I don't remember you ever saying this specifically, but I would of imagined that you would of thought things made for the web to be shit and not worth your time. Obviously this was a long time ago. Technology, the internet, how movies are made and seen, have all changed rapidly in the last few years. I was wondering where you stand on the current state of film? (digital technology, video on demand, instant video, web series etc.) Thanks!

Dear Kevin:

The times they are a-changin'. When I wrote my book, "The Complete Guide...," in 2002, I wasn't sold on DV yet. Now, over a decade later, it's a whole different deal. Just about every theater has digital projection, and digital cameras, like the Canon DSLR we used to shoot the first two episodes of "Spine Chillers," with big 35mm lenses, look great and need very little lighting. My partner in this deal, Chris, has two better camera than that which we used for the next two episodes and they look even better. Also in the last decade or so all three film labs here in Detroit have gone out of business. It's now a luxury to shoot on film, and a luxury that most folks can't afford, including me. Back in 2002 the state of the art digital editing systems, like Avid, were all very expensive. Now it's just a few hundred dollars worth of software and an extra hard-drive. Anyway, I'm now all for it. Part of my impetus for wanting to shoot a web series is because I've never seen a good one, and I certainly believe it can be done. We'll see soon enough if "Spine Chillers" fulfills this.

Josh

Name:             Mark Fairclough
E-mail:            mfairclough1@hotmail.co.uk
Date:               01/18/13

Dear Josh :

happy new year. Mark from the UK. I am looking forward to your new web series Spine Chillers can you tell me a little about the series and what to expect. I also heard Bruce Campbell might star in an episode thanks. Mark

Dear Mark:

It's a variation on the theme of "Twilight Zone" or "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" or "Outer Limits," but shorter--12 to 16 minutes. Perhaps a tad edgier, too. Bruce has agreed to star in an episode that I've already written for him. I believe we'll be shooting it in March. Hopefully by then we'll have two more eps in the can. Joe LoDuca is presently scoring the first three eps. Ep #4 is still being cut.

Josh

Name:             HJ
E-mail:           
Date:               01/18/13

Dear Josh :

In the documentary on the Evil Dead 2 Blu-Ray, you mentioned that you wrote a treatment for Evil Dead 2 that was ultimately discarded. I was wondering if you could tell us more about it, like what was the story? Was it similar to the plot in the final film, or were you going to take it in an entirely different direction?

Dear HJ:

It had nothing to do with what got made. This was simply a passing fancy on the part of Sam, who momentarily felt that doing a sequel would typecast him. Well, that turned out to not be true. I honestly don't remember a thing about the story, other than it had some idea taken from H.G. Wells' book "The Croquet Player." Scott Spiegel and I kicked it around for a week or two, then it all just dried up and blew away.

Josh

Name:             Warren X
E-mail:           
Date:               01/17/13

Dear Josh :

Interesting. Ok, I understand. Though I just want to be on the record as stating I think you're missing out. That's ok though, I've actually got several producers interested in my portfollio and my guess is they have deeper pockets than you! Haha, just kidding. But maybe you can give me your advice on something since I am only now starting to break into the business in a big way. I have two studios competing to buy one of my scripts (a horror script that blows Rosemary's Baby out of the water) but I don't know which to choose. Fox or Warner Brothers. Which studio do you prefer? Personally, even though I wouldn't mind cashing their checks, in a perfect world I would have a director attached first with some credability who has done plenty of TV and movies before but who hasn't been in the big leagues in awhile. Kind of like a sneak attack. But it's hard to get scripts to directors as I'm sure you know. Oh well. What are your overall thoughts?

Dear Warren:

I have a sneaking suspicion that you're completely full of shit. "A horror script that blows 'Rosemary's Baby' out of the water"? I kinda fuckin' doubt it. Do me a favor, fuck off.

Josh

Name:             Warren X
E-mail:           
Date:               01/15/13

Dear Josh :

I get what you're saying, but it seems ridiculous to not even consider something. I have some vacation time coming up and wouldn't be opposed to traveling to Michigan for production if that's what you're concerned about. Think about how many different writers The Twilight Zone had. I also am pretty good with make-up f/x and have various severed body part props that I normally use for Halloween but would be willing to lend to the production should my script be used. I've also won awards for my photography and everyone I know believes I'm really talented with the camera.

Dear Warren:

I'm not doubting your abilities, but we simply don't need anymore writers, directors or camera operators. Please don't send me anything because I won't read it. Just by the by, "Twilight Zone" was almost entirely written by: Rod Serling, Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont. There were a couple of other writers for an episode or two over the years, like Earl Hamner Jr., who would later create the TV show "The Waltons," but 75% of the episodes were written by Rod Serling himself, which I believe came to about 90 episodes.

Josh

Name:             Trey
E-mail:            vgntrey@gmail.com
Date:               01/14/13

Dear Josh :

Just writing in to say I too have a copy of "Hammer" on VHS, which I purchased directly from this website a few years ago. You even signed the tape (at least, I hope it was you)! I believe it cost me 20 dollars. I could send you a picture if you'd like. The insert art is the poster for the film. Speaking of which, is the DVD for "Hammer" you're selling now formatted for widescreen TVs? I'd really like to pick it up and watch it again, as I enjoyed the hell out of it, and that would give me even more of a reason to update my VHS. Looking forward to Spine Chillers! Trey

Dear Trey:

Kevin informed me that I used to sell VHS copies of "Hammer," so, therefore, I'm just an idiot.

Josh

Name:             Tim
E-mail:            Nativeblood66
Date:               01/14/13

Dear Josh :

Rick Nelson also said "See you can't please everyone so you got to please yourself" when he crashed that Garden Party. HaHa! Thanks for sticking with your guns. We all know you aren't going to put out an inferior production. We also all know, those of us that have a lick of common sense anyway, that you are going to do everything you can to make this a success. Just as soon as I can I will buy a copy of every DVD you currently have to help out with future production costs. I've already got "Lunatics" and "Hammer" on VHS but I want them on DVD. That's not an empty promise either. Keep that perseverance mindset Josh just like you always have. See you at the movies!

Dear Tim:

Thanks for the kind words of support. I must admit that the first production, which I wrote and directed, isn't up to the level of the following productions. I just wanted to prove to everybody that this could be done, and achieved rather painlessly. Each production thereafter looks better and better. I do like the first episode, particularly the acting and the writing, and the direction isn't bad, either, but the lighting's not great and some of my camerawork leaves something to be desired. My next episode, the fourth one, looks better all the way around. I could substitute ep #4 for ep #1, but I won't do that. I think seeing our progression is interesting.

As a complete aside, Rick Nelson gives a terrific kid performance in the 1953 film, "The Story of Three Loves," which I rather liked. It's an anthology of love stories, each with a great cast, like Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Leslie Caron, Farley Granger, Ethel Barrymore, Moira Shearer, and Pier Angeli.

Josh

Name:             Warren X
E-mail:           
Date:               01/14/13

Dear Josh :

Cool, I'm really looking forward to the show. I'd like to submit a script for your consideration. Is there an address I can send it to via USPS or will e-mail suffice? Just as a little teaser, the name of my piece is called "The Game of Your Life," and it's in the vein of an Argento movie meets Sam Raimi's The Gift.

Dear Warren:

Thanks, but we're not looking for any scripts. As I explained, each of us is writing and directing our episodes. I'm already four scripts ahead, and Paul and Chris are busily writing their next episodes.

Josh

Name:             Warren X
E-mail:           
Date:               01/13/13

Dear Josh :

I guess you make some good points...sorry. So what are the chances that in the next round you'll get the participation of some of your Michigan friends? I'm talking the old crew! That could be part of the hook of the series. I could really imagine that being a big PR hook, like the Wild Bunch getting back together again. You could even change the title of the series to make it more appropriate, like Murders in Michigan, that kind of thing. I actually know some people in PR if you want, and I wouldn't ask for too much in return, just a modest credit and share in the profits, which would be worth it because it can really help. It would be amazing if you could get guys like Ted Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Mike Binder, Scott Spiegel, Bart Sullivan, Hal Delrich, Sheldon Lettich, Gary Jones, or even the big man Sam Raimi himself involved.

Dear Warren:

It's Bart Pierce and Tom Sullivan, the guys who did the effects on "Evil Dead." As I've mentioned, Bruce has agreed to be in an episode, which I've already written specifically for him. As for the rest of the guys you mentioned, none of them live in Michigan anymore, except Hal Delrich (who is really Rich Demanicor), and I may just try to get him for an ep. I also have an episode in mind for Ellen Sandwiess, who no longer lives in Michigan, either, but comes to visit her daughter here pretty regularly. Otherwise, I'm perectly happy working with the guys I'm working with.

Josh

Name:             Warren X
E-mail:           
Date:               01/12/13

Dear Josh :

How condescending can you get? I'm a loyal fan of yours! A good fan! I've always supported you, therefor I've put money in your pocket and food in your cat's bellies. God forbid I ask for something in return. I don't understand you sometimes. I'll take a chill pill if you agree to take a douchebag pill.

Dear Warren:

Oh, come on, settle down. Your last message was rather aggressively worded, don't you think? My partners and I are going as fast as we can, and our plan was always to debut with three episodes, one by each of us. The fourth episode begins the next round of three. Considering that we have no money and are making this series out of sheer inspiration, I think we're doing just fine.

As Bob Dylan said, "Just because you like my stuff doesn't mean I owe you anything."


Josh

Name:             Danielle
E-mail:           
Date:               01/11/13

Dear Josh :

Have you read this article about Paul Schrader? http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/magazine/here-is-what-happens-when-you-cast-lindsay-lohan-in-your-movie.html?_r=0&pagewanted=print

Dear Danielle:

I read it. The whole thing sounds like a nightmare. George C. Scott was right, Paul Schrader is (occasionally) a great screenwriter, but he's a crappy director.

Josh

Name:             Warren X
E-mail:           
Date:               01/11/13

Dear Josh :

Now it's only three episodes on the launch date? What the fuck? You said it was going to be four! And being that only one of the first three is yours, now I feel like I'm being ripped off! This is fucked up. How much fucking time do you need to "color time" this shit? Get off your ass and get it finished, man! Tell the other "dos hombres" they should too. You're starting to sound like Jeremy Milks with all his excuses.

Dear Warren:

It's amazing how quickly people will turn on you. I said we've shot four episodes, I never said we'd launch with all four. The fourth ep will come a few weeks later. Meanwhile, take a chill pill, dude. We're getting them done as fast as we can.

Josh

Name:             Brian
E-mail:           
Date:               01/11/13

Dear Josh :

Awhile ago, you mentioned the importance of irony to a film and how it could serve the story well. Which films do you think are the best at illustrating that theme?

Dear Brian:

Irony isn't really a theme, it's simply an aspect of writing and storytelling. Falling back on my favorite example, in "Bridge on the River Kwai" the theme is duty and what that means to each character, but it keeps coming at the theme in ironic ways. Colonel Nicholson, the British commander and prisoner, wins the initial stand-off against Colonel Saito, the Japanese prison camp commander, although you'd think he wouldn't have a chance. Colonel Nicholson, in an attempt to keep men's morale up, has them build a better bridge than the Japanese could build for themselves and fantasizes that the bridge will be there for possibly 500 years, although the bridge only lasts until the first train crosses it. Commander Shears, the American malingerer, makes an astounding escape and ends up a hero. Etc. Irony is when events don't turn out the way you think they're going to. Using a more recent example, in "The Fighter" you think that if Mickey Ward could just get rid of crack-head brother Dickie as his trainer he might just win, but it gets right down to it he needs Dickie in his corner. But I go on.

Josh

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               01/11/13

Dear Josh :

I'm a bit surprised to hear you liked the True Grit remake. Were there any aspects of it that you found were better than the original? Jeff Bridges makes a pretty good Rooster Cogburn, garbled voice and all. Hailee Steinfeld was not bad either as Maddie Ross. The most interesting aspects to me were the cinematography which was absolutely gorgeous. I also liked the new scenes not included in the first version, which I felt made the story flow better.

Dear David:

I think the remake falls a tad short in every category: Jeff Bridges is good, but he ain't the Duke; Carter Burwell's score is good, but not as good or as rousing as Elmer Bernstein's score; Roger Deakin's photography is very good, but a bit washed-out and not as good as he usually is, whereas Lucien Ballard's photography is gorgeous. The first version was shot in the Colorado Rockies, which I always thought gave it a different, verdant green look; the new version is more desert brown, that's not as pretty. Barry Pepper is OK, but he ain't Robert Duval. As for Hailee Steinfeld, who does a very good job, and may very well be more of what the author had in mind, all her complicated dialog made more sense coming out of the mouth of a 17-year-old than an actual 14-year-old. Dropping the scene of shooting Maddie's father at the beginning, which may well not be in the book, motivates the whole story and gives the audience a chance to meet Tom Chaney whom they're chasing for the rest of the film. And though the Coen brothers do a perfectly fine job directing, the two of them together will never equal Henry Hathaway. Many of the best lines from the first version were dropped, like when Maddie swims her horse across the river, Duke grins and says, "She reminds me of me." Or "Fill your hands, you son of a bitch!" Or "A writ for a rat," or "She shot me! A little girl shot me!" Or "When you need the Texan, he's dead." and Lebeouf replies, "I'm not dead yet," save them, then dies. Duke jumping his horse over the rail is a better ending than suddenly meeting Maddie as a grown lady. Anyway, given all of that, I still enjoyed it.

Josh

Name:             Kristie
E-mail:           
Date:               01/10/13

Dear Josh :

I didn't care for "The Social Network," either. I did enjoy some of the energy and dialogue, & it does look good, but it's a movie about a bunch of jerks. But speaking of Facebook... I believe it'd be a great idea to start a "Spine Chillers" page on there to spread the word. Has this been discussed among the Tres Hombres?

Dear Kristie:

Indeed it has. Since Tres Hombres are already on Facebook, I'll let them handle it. Well also do Reddit, MySpace and Twitter. Bruce said he'd tweet our link the day of the premiere. The big concern of the moment is getting the first three eps completely done by Jan. 31. There's still sound work and color timing to be done while the scoring is going on.

Josh

Name:             Tim
E-mail:            Nativeblood66
Date:               01/10/13

Dear Josh :

I'm like everybody else. I can't wait for the 31st and the premiere of your web series. I can tell by the teasers you've set up that this is going to be right up my alley. I love stuff like this. I remember you writing one time that real fear can be found by looking inside yourself. I'm sure you guys did just that. This is going to be killer! Thanks for the unique opportunity you are sharing with everybody on this. We get to see your series and interact directly with you on feedback! AWESOME! Take it easy Josh. Tim

Dear Tim:

Thanks. I certainly hope people like the show because I want to keep making it. It's been sort of like going back to the beginning of my career and starting again. Although we now have all this great digital equipment to work with, it's still similar to making the super-8 films way back when where everyone worked for free and did it entirely out of the desire to make movies and express themselves. So far it's been great fun, and a lot of work, too. For me it's kind of been like rebooting my brain.

Josh

Name:             Kristie
E-mail:           
Date:               01/10/13

Dear Josh :

Seen any older movies lately of note? Always interested in the good discoveries you've made in your movie watching. Also: any chance there'll be another update of your Complete Film List soon? How about the reviews of "Lenny" and "A Woman Under the Influence" you've referred to other the years, would love to read those!

Dear Kristie:

I just went over the whole website and I can't even find the Complete Film List. The number 4,357 is the total amount of films I've seen listed at the top of my Favorite Films list. My total now id 4,761, so I really ought to update both the Complete List (if I can ever find it), and the Favorite Film list. Thanks for bringing it up. As for good discoveries, I recently saw Akira Kurosawa's 1948 film, "Drunken Angel," which I liked a lot. Also the 1954 film, "Crime Wave," with Sterling Hayden. Also a 1947 film about the development of the A-bomb called "The Beginning or the End" was very interesting. On a newer level, I liked "The Fighter" and the "True Grit" remake, which wasn't as good as the original, but pretty good nevertheless. I watched "The Social Network" last night and didn't care for it. It's the story of a bunch of young, Harvard-educated assholes who make a lot of money. Fuck them.

Josh

[Webmaster's Note: Complete Film List click here -Kevin ]

Name:             Elise
E-mail:            elise-holmes@hotmail.com
Date:               01/10/13

Hey Josh :

I'm very excited for Spine Chillers! I'll be sure to post about it on my Evil Dead/Michigan Mafia blog. What inspired you to choose a horror mini series instead of something else?

Dear Elise:

I was thinking what sort of series can we make without any money? I then thought of some short horror stories I wrote trying to get a job on the ill-fated TV show, "Nightmare On Elm Street," about 25 years ago, all of which were rejected. I dug those out, and though we didn't use any of those stories, that was sort of the basis for how to come at this thing. It actually turned out quite differently than those original stories, but it was a place to start. As a kid I absolutely loved "Twilight Zone," and I lamented for years that there wasn't another show like it. Others have tried along the way, but no one has really done a very good job. We'll see what kind of job we've done.

Josh

Name:             Warren X
E-mail:           
Date:               01/10/13

Dear Josh :

Spine Chillers! Spine Chillers! Woot woot woot! Thanks for all the info, you got my dick hard. One more question...what would you liken this to? Is it like Twilight Zone? Tales from the Crypt?

Dear Warren:

My two episodes so far are rather like short "Twilight Zones." Paul's is a creature story, which makes it more like "Outer Limits," I think. Chris' story is kind of a psycho-sexual comedy/drama. The next two stories from these other guys are yet entirely different. The next three scripts I've already written are entirely different than all of those. Part of the idea here is that with three writer/directors there will always be a big difference between them. When we get six eps done we'll release them on DVD.

Josh

Name:             Warren X
E-mail:           
Date:               01/08/13

Dear Josh :

Josh, Can't wait for Spine Chillers! Literally. LITERALLY! The poster you posted just makes me go nuts. I'm dying with anticipation. Can you post any information about it? You haven't said very much about it. An essay perhaps? How did this project come to be? How long is each episode? Did you write them all? What was it like writing for this new medium? Where did you shoot? Are there more episodes planned? Who are the other two guys involved in the project? Are you teaming up with any old Michigan collaborators like Bart Sullivan or Scott Spiegel? Has this experience re-invigorated you? Would you consider doing more web originals? I could go on and on all day, man. Throw us a bone!!!

Dear Warren:

There really isn't enough for an essay yet. Perhaps at the end of the first season, whenever that may be. The project came to me this last summer as I was sitting around with my buds, jokin' and smokin', and it occurred to me that if I just used the folks in the room I'd have a whole cast and a crew. So I wrote a 10-page suspense/twist-ending script called "Sorry I Couldn't Make It" that everyone liked, and a couple of weeks later we shot it over a very hot weekend. The budget came to $70, including drinks at the bar and McDonald's. Since we all had fun, I suggested to my partners in the deal, Paul Harris and Chris Dinnan, that they should write scripts, too, and we'd shoot them. Paul quickly wrote "Road Kill," which was shot next, then Chris wrote "Frontier Style" that was shot after that, then, to keep the ball rolling, I wrote a script called "Are You On Your Way?" and we've already shot that, too. All of the episodes are about 12-15 minutes long, with front and end titles. Neither Bart nor Scott had anything to do with this, and neither one lives in Michigan anymore. Paul Harris has been my friend for 30 years. We've written 4 scripts together over the years and Paul was the assistant editor on TSNKE and "Evil Dead 2." I haven't known Chris all that long, but he'd already made a feature, owns all of the equipment, and has his own production company that produces a variety of things like educational videos. And yes, this experience has reinvigorated me. I've already written 3 more scripts (one of which will star Bruce Campbell) and I can't wait to shoot another one.

Josh

Name:             Wes
E-mail:            whoizit@hotmail.com
Date:               01/08/13

Dear Josh :

Quick screenwriting question: How do you know that the particular scene you are writing is good enough for the project as a whole? Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the notion that there are a thousand scenes which could be in the script, but find it impossible to pick the right one.

Dear Wes:

If the scene is advancing the plot, or setting up characters, then you probably need it. If you can remove the scene and it doesn't effect the whole script, then you can probably lose it. As for "good," that's in the eye of the beholder. Honestly, though, a feature script is generally about 80-100 scenes, which isn't that many. What you may need to do is to write the script, choosing what you believe are the best scenes, then sit on it for a week or two, then reread it. Also, if you have any friends whose opinions you trust, get them to read it, too. Good luck.

Josh

Name:             Kristie
E-mail:           
Date:               01/08/13

Dear Josh :

I know that you wrote that you thought "Inglourious Basterds" was unique, which made it tolerable for you. I'm sorry to say that "Django Unchained" doesn't rise to the same level of sheer lunacy - and is in fact a poorly motivated plot with mindless violence. It's much more of an ex(blax)ploitation picture, while IB was - well - a fantasy, really like nothing else. I greatly appreciate your letter to Spike Lee. I only wish he was obliged to respond to it. The "Spine Chillers" screen grabs look really fun! Some questions about those: Has Joe LoDuca scored them yet? Did Paul Harris photograph these or were you both DPs on them? And how's Paul's 16mm film coming along? The fact that film is drifting away can only make a new low budget feature shot on film that much more special, I think.

Dear Kristie:

Let's see . . . Joe LoDuca is scoring the first episode and will do the next two eps in the next two weeks. I photographed the first episode, Paul Harris shot the second one, and Chris Dinnan and Bruce Schermer, who's a DP, shot the third and the fourth eps. I wrote and directed the first and the fourth, Paul wrote and directed the second, Chris wrote and directed the third. The idea is to keep switching off. Regarding Paul's feature, "8998," which he's been shooting for 15 years, it's mostly shot, but there are still several big scenes to go.

Josh

Name:             canaan
E-mail:           
Date:               01/07/13

Dear Josh :

is u like django unchained?

Dear canaan:

I haven't seen it yet. I'll undoubtedly see it eventually.

Josh

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               01/07/13

Dear Josh :

What do you think of "The Man Who Would Be King"? I saw it last night for the first time and was very disappointed. Huston directed my all-time favorite picture, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre", so I had high expectations, but the story was a mess. The first act was very short and had little to no background on the two lead characters. I found I didn't care at all what happened to them for the rest of the movie. Nice score from Maurice Jarre though.

Dear David:

I agree with you, I also thought the film was a big disappointment. It seems like they had fun making it. I've seen it since its initial release and it didn't get any better. It does have nice photography by the terrific British DP, Oswald Morris, who shot a number of Huston's films, like "Moby Dick," which is a far better film than "The Man Who Would Be King."

Josh

Name:             Manny
E-mail:           
Date:               01/06/13

Hey Josh :

Happy New Year! Love and best wishes from an old fan and constant reader. Manny

Dear Manny:

Thank you, and best wishes back at ya.

Josh

Name:             Sean
E-mail:            movienavigator@aol.com
Date:               01/03/13

Hello Mister Becker :

Really enjoyed reading your piece on Dogs during its last week of production. I cannot find any existing articles written while the film was in production, so yours is quite the rare gem. Also, that post-script chat with Bender is hilarious. I was curious if you recall exactly when the interview took place, specifically what month. I\'m assuming it was late 1991? Thanks and keep up the good work, Sean

Dear Sean:

I checked my journal and the interview was on September 6, 1991. There was quite a lot more of it recorded on cassette tape, but over the years I've managed to lose it.

Josh

Name:             Tim
E-mail:            Nativeblood
Date:               01/01/13

Hey Josh :

Happy New Year Josh! Here's to continued success in 2013. Looking forward to your web series starting up. Keep us posted. Tim

Dear Tim:

Happy New Year to you, too. Thanks for the kind wishes and may we all be successful in 2013. Regarding "Spine Chillers," we have four episodes shot and cut, and the idea is to premiere the first three of them on 1-31-13, which may actually be able to do. Since the show is being written and directed by three different people: me, Paul Harris and Chris Dinnan, they're all entirely different. Although the fourth episode does bear a resemblance to the first episode (both written and directed by me), the next two from Paul and Chris are completely different than all the others. It's truly amazing what you can do for damn near no money with just desire, ambition, and the help of your friends. On this first day of the new year I feel quite hopeful. All the best to you and everybody else.

Josh

Name:             Danny Derakhshan
E-mail:           
Date:               12/30/12

Hey Josh :

I just got myself a Kindle and found your Going Hollywood book on Amazon.com for $2.99! I hope you get most of that payment directly. Are there any Video On Demand options for your movies? I'm moving towards digital copies(trying to keep up with the times) but if not I'll happily buy the BD/DVD version of Thou Shalt Not Kill...Except. Can't wait to start reading your book. Danny

Dear Danny:

I sell my various films on DVD-R, which is sort of like Video On Demand, but I suppose I could potentially set up some sort of streaming video on demand. I'll look into it, meaning I'll ask Kevin [hey, Kevin, what would that take?]. I hope you enjoy the book. Please write back and let me know what you think.

Josh


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