wonder if you would go so far as to agree with this
quote by Allison Anders concerning restraints and boundaries
admittedly among the guilty as a filmmaker who uses
a lot of f-words, I also often wish we could return
to the days when the restraints of the industry forced
us filmmakers to economize on language, violence and
nudity. If we're going for naturalism in our characters
(I tend to make films about rock musicians or gang members!)
we use the freedom allotted us by the ratings system
to go for the real and the natural, for how these people
would truly talk. This is a freedom I don't think we
filmmakers would want to lose, but, like you, I wonder
sometimes if we wouldn't make our work more powerful
by having to curb the strong language and reach for
more literate solutions in our dialogue. Having gone
through a re-edit due to an undesirable rating from
the MPAA, I found the scene, after much of the nudity
was cut, was made far more intense by playing most of
it on the actresses' face. Artists hate to admit it,
but boundaries are just as important as freedom to the
success of one's work and restraint forces us to come
up with new solutions that often surprise us."
on a censorship level and not what I was really discussing.
I don't believe in censorship, which may well have caused
filmmakers to think a bit harder in the old days, but
there's no going back -- or, at least, I hope not. The
freedom/restraint issue that's been discussed here is
entirely self-imposed. I am forever running into people
who think things like the three-act structure, solid
story construction, theme, and a point are infringe-ments
on their freedom. It's sort of like an actor knowing
their lines. Until the lines are memorized there is
no getting to any subtler or deeper level of performance.
Until your story is worked out, there is no getting
to the subtler or deeper realms of writing. If every
time you sit down to write you have no idea where your
story goes, then you're simply groping for the next
situation. Whereas, if you know what comes next and
what that leads to, then you can deal with the subtleties
of motivation and thematic development. The "freedom"
of sitting down to write and having no clue what occurs
next in your story, is called being an amatuer.
was wondering, what do you think of Kevin Smith (the
director)? Do you like his films?
Smith's films do less than nothing for me. I walked
out of "Clerks."
I'm from Spain! I'm a very fan of xena, warrior princess.
I've got a question... can we, (the fans) make something
to keep seeing the show? and will we see a movie? I
hope yes!! Ah! tell renne and lucy that they are the
for all!! a kiss from a friend!!
you, the fans, make something to keep seeing the show?
Yes, it's called a video tape. That way you can watch
the show anytime you want.
Cynthia E. Jones
to let you know, there are actually Bolex super-8 cameras;
I have one. No sound, but hey. Good to hear that you're
back in California with the rest of us. So, was your
PG&E bill, like, $400? But seriously, folks.
far as "Fear and Loathing" completely sucking...that
seems to be the general consensus, so I guess my friends
and I just do too much acid. We loved it immensely.
We also love Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro, though.
And Terry Gilliam. I guess it's like watching a bunch
of your friends on drugs.
shooting film: I'm glad to know that you're an efficient
director. As a photographer, I feel the same way. My
boss here at the newspaper shoots 36 pictures of the
same setup, I shoot 36 different photos of the same
situation. It's just the way we think. If you've done
it one way, it's done, that's that, time to move on.
was also sorry to see the news of Stanley Kramer's death,
and consider "Judgment at Nuremberg" and "Inherit the
Wind" to be two of my favorite films. Spencer Tracy,
of course, contributed to that. He rocked.
Powell and Pressburger, have you seen "A Matter of Life
and Death?" It is also called "Stairway to Heaven" and
I caught it at the UC Berkeley Theatre a couple of years
back. David Niven...fantastic work. I love those guys.
I'm sure you own "Peeping Tom."
you ever notice that Bruce Campbell bears a resemblance
to Gene Kelly? There's a scene in the beginning of "Singin'
in the Rain" where he becomes a stunt man, and it's
the whole "handsome guy being thrown into a window"
scenario, and I couldn't help but think of Bruce.
are you going to do with yourself back in Cali?
friends and I were more fun on acid than Depp and Del
Toro. I'm not a Johnny Depp fan anyway, I find him too
self-consciously the pretty boy. And call me a stick-in-the-mud,
but the Del Toro part was supposed to be a 300-lb. Samoan.
apartment is so small (the mice are hunchbacked) that
it doesn't cost very much to heat it. Nor do I spend
all that much on electricity.
I've seen "Stairway to Heaven" and it's OK, but not
one of my favorites. I like "The Life and Death of Colonel
Blimp," which I failed to mention earlier, much better.
Bruce has never reminded me of Gene Kelly, although
I'll keep it mind. I like that he just got a part that
Tom Selleck turned down. Bruce being a younger Tom Selleck
is sort of amusing to me.
name is Mandy McMillan and I am a freshman at Crook
County High School, and I am doing a projet about directing.
So ANY information you could give me would be great!
pleasure, what's your question?
are lucy, renee, kevin and ted like having worked with
them on soul posesion?
a very general question and you get a very general answer:
they were fine.
do you think about the writings of Hunter S Thompson?
I recall a piece you wrote on this site about a trip
from Texas to Cali that was semi-Fear and Loathing.
What did you think of Gilliam's filmed version of that?
Any favorites of Hunter's other books? I ask this because
I just saw a hilarious fax from Hunter to a production
company executive, which you can check out at: http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=8218
trying to get his latest book into a film, and has been
a little.. frustrated I guess, at the process. Supposedly
he also has a column at ESPN.com now, but I haven't
been able to locate it. Anyway, just wanted to know
your thoughts the guy. I found F&L the film to be occasionally
amusing and completely pointless (which was the point,
I suppose). Maybe Hunter's stuff just isn't right for
film. Still, that fax is one of the funniest and most
honest things I've read in awhile.
enjoyed "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" when it came
out, but it definitely seems like an artifact of its
day. The movie was a worthless waste of film. As for
him being frustrated by the filmmaking process, well,
so what? If you sit and wait for other people to do
things for you then you'll certainly end up frustrated.
Name: jennifer chadwick
MY NAME IS JENNIFER I LOVE THE SHOW XENA I NEED YOU
HELP CAN YOU PLEASE TELL LUCY AND RENEE THAT IAM THIER
BIGES FAN MY WISH IS TO SEE THEM ONE DAY IF YOU CAN
PLEASE EMAIL ME BACK
THANK YOU JENNIFER RENEE CHADWICK
late, I'm already back.
words about art have been something I really gravitate
to. I agree there is far too much general crap out there.
It's so inspiring to see someone like yourself, who
stays true to their own vision. I think it's important
in art to know what you want, to be specific. Seems
like two of the most important in the line of collaboration
in film is the writer and editor, with one, of course
there would be no story, the other ultimately decides
how we'll see it. Narrowing down to specifics.
saw Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, despite what I'd
read you saying about it. All I kept thinking about,was
your butt burning analogy lol! Do you know if Rob's
seen it? Bride With the White Hair is way better. Also
saw Pollock the next day, which I thought was ok, great
acting by Ed Harris, but if you didn't bring much knowledge
of Pollock to the experience, you're at a disadvantage.
I think the artist's life is good material for a film,
but it felt like the surface was being scratched. Looking
forward to seeing this episode, and have a safe flight
back to rainy CA!
you shoot things very specifically, then you probably
won't screw it up in the editing, which doesn't mean
you can't, but you've lessened the chances. I was congratulated
at lunch while shooting by the producers for shooting
less film than any other director all season (this was
ep #19 of 22). I take pride in this. I shoot what I
need and don't bother covering the piss out of scenes
-- if the scene is working, then it's working; if it's
not working, more shots won't save it.
saw the news of Stanley Kramer's death, and wondered
if you might have some observations, comments, favorite
and least favorite films, etc. Would you say that he
was very unusual for his time, to be a producer that
went into directing, and had some critical successes?
The ones I've seen that come to mind are "The Defiant
Ones," "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," "Judgment at
Nuremberg," and "Inherit the Wind." (Although the last
one seemed very stage-y to me, but I enjoyed the acting
of Fredric March and everyone else, even Dick "Darren"
of course I have to toss in the obligatory "Soul Possession"
question - are you still down in NZ? Are you doing editing
now? Any more good wisecrack-behind-the-scenes stories?
The pictures are intriguing, and you guys look like
you had a blast!
hadn't heard of Mr. Kramer's death and it saddens me.
I respect him very much. H e was a top-notch producer,
a first-rate director, and had terrific taste in stories.
He produced "Champion" with Kirk Douglas, which had
a big impact on me as a kid, as well as "High Noon,"
one of the great westerns, and "Member of the Wedding,"
one of my very favorite films "Judgement at Nuremburg"
and "Inherit the Wind" were both plays, but he was smart
enough to leave them alone and not try to open them
up beyond what they should have been. His camera-work
in both films is wonderful. That he could then follow
up such severely serious films with "It's a Mad, Mad,
Mad, Mad World" is one of the great displays of versatility
in motion pictures. I also quite like his very first
film as a producer, "So This is New York," "Home of
the Brave," "The Men" (Marlon Brando's first film),
"Cyrano De Bergerac," "Death of a Salesman," The 5000
Fingers of Dr. T," "The Wild One," "The Caine Mutiny,"
"Pressure Point" (which really got me as a kid), then
as director: "Not as a Stranger," "On the Beach" and
"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." Now that I really think
about it, he produced and directed many of my favorite
films and I think he was really great.
am back from NZ. The editor is doing his cut now and
I'll go in and do mine next week. I had an absolutely
great time doing this episode. No funny behind-the-scenes
events are occurring to me right now.
you give any info as to what will happen in the xena
ep. soul posession?
action, adventure and excitement.
two quick questions: I was looking through your 'favorite
films' list and noticed that you listed "The Fury",
just wondering if this was the Brian DePalma film? Also,
just wondering if you read Michael Powell's second part
autobiography "Million Dollar Movie"? and what is your
general opinion on the work of the Archers? (That was
three questions, sorry!)
have on my list both Brian DePalma's "The Fury" and
Fritz Lang's "Fury." DePalma's film is almost a guilty
pleasure. I think Kirk Douglas and Amy Irving are both
very good and it has some wonderful bits of filmmaking
in it. I just received the DVD of Michael Powell and
Emeric Pressburger's "Black Narcissus," which is one
of my very favorite movies. I also quite like "The Red
Shoes" and "The 49th Parallel," but not nearly as much
as "Black Narcissus."
that really Lucy in those new
set pictures? I haven't seen the show in awhile,
but that doesn't look like the same person, wig or not.
And how Tapert ever got that is beyond me. Lucy was
always attractive, but damn.
not to beat a dead horse here, but in response to FR's
comment about film as a collaborative rather than auteur
medium: FR, I'm not gonna disagree with you that filmmaking
is collaborative, I'm not completely stupid (though
I'm sure some would disagree). What I really mean to
say is that I don't think that collaborative aspect
is necessarily a great thing. You talk about higher-ups
on the set that various people report to, so that "the
right person can give the answer to any question". See,
I feel like "the right person" should probably be the
guess I'm of the belief that the smaller the crew, the
better the production. I'm very supportive of the technological/digital
advances being made in filmmaking, many of which serve
to take away many crew positions. I think the unions
are fighting against this, and while I can understand
their position, I think its just stupid to stand in
the way of progress when there are surely other jobs
to be found in the industry. The fact that filmmaking
right now is very collaborative does not preclude the
possibility that this cannot change. I don't see any
reason to NOT strive for a single vision in filmmaking,
and I think its settling for less to do otherwise.
Josh, you say that art is not about "freedom". I agree
with that to some extent. There will always be some
restrictions on the filmmaking (whether imposed by the
money men, by the equipment, or by mother nature). But
wouldn't it be in the artwork's best interest to strive
for as much freedom as possible, within certain confines?
Getting kind of theoretical here I suppose, but I just
believe that restrictions inevitably lead to compromise.
And isn't it a worthy goal for a director to try to
compromise as little as possible?
is as attractive as ever, this character she plays,
Annie, is supposed to be mousey and pale. She also plays
Xena in this ep and looks great, considering she had
her second child 16 months ago.
to the "freedom in art" discussion -- the goal in art
is not to achieve freedom, but to express yourself specifically,
exactly as you mean to. Every artistic decision is a
restriction: I'm working in THIS time period, I'm telling
the story of THESE characters, my lead is THAT character,
I'm working with THIS frame size, not THAT one, I'm
shooting from THIS angle, etc. As I have been known
to say many times over the years: anything specific
is better than anything general. The more specific you
get, the more restrictions you've given yourself. But
YOU gave the restrictions to YOURSELF! That's what makes
you an artist. This is where everybody, in my humble
opinion, is falling down on the job these days. In art,
structure is freedom; no structure is garbage. Don't
fight it, just go with it.
to hear about Stevie. Do you think you may get another
cat some day?
you the best,
will when I move out of L.A.
you ever seen a film called, "The Ice Storm" with Kevin
Klein? If you haven't, check it out. You might like
it. Bruce Campbell kinda reminds me of Kevin Klein.
BTW, How did Bruce get the directing gigs on VIP? Will
you be directing for other tv shows now that "Xena"
seen "The Ice Storm" a couple of times and I like it,
much better than "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," that's
for sure. I particularly liked the end with the electrical
cable. Bruce got the VIP directing gigs because they
contacted him to be on the show, which he wouldn't do,
but he offered to direct instead and they took him up
on it. As for me doing other TV shows, we'll just have
your "Devil Dogs" script is copyrighted and registered
with the WGA, why not put it online? Maybe someone would
be interested in producing it if they knew more about
it. Or, at least put a pitch page up, so producers can
take a look at what you have to offer. :-)
make a valid point. You don't happen to be Oliver, do
so much for the advice. I'll go the Digital Video route.
On a side note, have you ever read "Breaking Through,
Selling Out, Dropping Dead" by William Bayer or "Writers
in Hollywood" by Ian Hamilton? If you haven't, you should.
I really think you'll get a kick out of them.
have not read the former, but I have read (and own)
the latter, which I enjoyed. I am presently reading
"Death on the Cheap: The Lost B Movies of Film Noir,"
which is pretty cool, quite intelligent, but too short.
the biggest challenge you have writing low budget films?
And, what kind of Super 8 camera would you recommend
to someone just starting out? I've heard you mention
Bolex before, but what version is the best for a beginner?
Lastly, if the camera doesn't have sound capabilities,
what do you need to buy to supplement that?
the best to you,
think writing a low-budget film has the same challenges
of writing anything, with the extra challenge of keeping
the budget in mind. But the real challenge is coming
up with a story that's worth telling, that has a point,
and has good characters, none of which cost any more
than telling a bad story with crappy characters. Regarding
cameras, the Bolex is 16mm--I'm pretty sure they don't
make a Super-8 camera. I don't recommend Super-8 at
this late date because it's now expensive and hard to
get and develop, then doesn't transfer very well to
video. I recommend shooting 16mm or digital video. If
you're using a 16mm Bolex, then you're automatically
shooting MOS, meaning without sound, because they don't
record sound. This isn't an issue if people aren't talking,
but if they are speaking, then you need a sound camera.
Then you'd either have to move up to something like
an Arriflex-BL or better and have a sound man with a
Nagra sound recorder or a digital sound recorder, which
is sort of a big deal. Why not shoot digital video?
It's got picture and sound and needs no processing.
didn't see a link to your "Devil Dog" script in your
link section. Is it online? I'd really like to read
it's not posted. I'm still hoping to get it made.
wondering what the mood was like on the Xena set, especially
with Lucy and Renee, given that there are only a few
more episodes to go before it's over.
did you ever speak to Renee about her recent marriage
or congragulate her, and does she seem happy with her
new marital status? And what does she do with her wedding
ring while filming? Also, does she and Lucy still seem
as close as they have always been, and was Lucy a part
of her little birthday celebration?
for Ted and Kevin, I know Ted did an episode before
yours called "When Fates Collide", but was your episode
the last one for Kevin and Ted or where they scheduled
to film any more after "Soul Possession" since there
are only a few left to film?
last question that you may or may not be able to answer.
Do we see Renee with hair extensions and her old green
sports bra and brown skirt and staff since it's a flashback
to earlier times?
atmosphere on the set was great; I believe that a good
time was had by all. There were a few teary celebrations:
Renee had her birthday, it was Kevin Smith's last ep,
Ted Raimi's last ep, George Lyle, the 1st assistant
director's, last ep, as well as Simon Riera, the D.P.
and my last ep, too. Nevertheless, I think all concerned
did very humorous work and it ought to be a rather funny
episode. I did not speak to Renee about her marriage,
but she seems as nice and happy as always, and I've
met Steve, her husband, and he's a very nice guy. Lucy
and Renee get along fine, as do Kevin Smith and Ted
Raimi with Lucy and Renee. It really is a big happy
family. I suppose Renee takes off her wedding ring,
just like all other married actors do. As to what Renee
is wearing in flashbacks, watch the episode.
you say you won't support anti-drug anything, I don't
assume that means that you advocate drug use(but it
might, who knows). Is it that you don't support soap-boxing
in general, or is it because the drug war is futile?
Could you elaborate.
wrote a short script that me and some friends want to
film. One guy said, "Get it into a shooting script and
let's get to it." What do you suggest? When you're preparing
it for yourself, you don't necessarily have to use industry-standard
style, do you? Would it help to do so anyway? How does
a spec-style slug line differ from a shooting-style
slug line? What are the most common and useful camera
am for the complete legalization of ALL drugs. If people
want to do herion or cocaine, I say, let them. I am
completely against prohibition of any kind, which I
believe causes crime. Regarding shooting scripts, the
main difference is that a shooting script has numbered
scenes, which is entirely necessary for the breakdown,
budget, and schedule. I never mention cameras at all
in my scripts. The closest I ever get is to say, "Our
view widens to reveal . . ." Camera placement is up
to the director.
Cynthia E. Jones
is NOT an anti-drug movie. Being an advocate of the
removal of drug laws myself, I went in to the theater
wondering what Soderbergh would have to say. What he
said was simply the truth. There's no moralizing about
it, just facts. Marijuana isn't even an issue, it's
considered a harmless drug compared to the thousands
of pounds of cocaine and heroin entering this country
for "Erin Brockovich," for me that movie was more about
the hand-held available light cinematography that Steve
did in one scene, which made him so excited that he
had to shoot all of "Traffic" himself, so now he's always
going to be his own cinematographer. Otherwise, it was
a TV-Movie-of-the-Week, yes, but it's brought recent
near-toxic arsenic levels in Fallon, Nevada's water
supply to light thanks to the skepticism people now
feel about PG&E and their residual Chromium-6 levels
in their soil. So, if one person's life can be saved
from that film, directly or indirectly, that's pretty
fuckin' rad for any filmmaker. (There have been nine
leukemia cases reported in the last year in Fallon.
The population is slightly over 1000 people.)
social relevance issue doesn't usually exist in modern
filmmaking, and that's something that has excited me
about Soderbergh's recent work. Just as new pop songs
are all about escape, most films are as well, and I
think that's ignoring a powerful medium to send a message
to the world. While escape has its time and place, Soderbergh
has shown us that he can make weird, personal films,
arty, expressionistic work, and now, revolutionary,
truth-telling films about how the government and big
corporations are fucking this country. While you and
I and most educated, intelligent people take this as
a matter of course, a lot of 'average' individuals living
in this country, movie-attending individuals, need to
be hit over the head with a sledgehammer. The government
knows that Mexico is importing drugs into this country.
Slam. The entire war on drugs exists as a cash cow for
the government, to create tons and tons of beurocratic
jobs that will do little or nothing to stop the 'drug
problem,' which doesn't really exist because we created
it in the first place by criminalizing plants and drugs,
instead of treating addiction as a medical problem.
Slam. There are a lot of people who truly think that
the government is working hard to "save our children"
and that's bullshit. Slam.
are for the masses. A large number of people don't read
books or articles that have too many words. They like
pictures of Brad Pitt's new fucking hairstyle or who
some chick on some sitcom is dating now, as if that
fucking matters at all. It's the "weapons of mass distraction"
that keep people from realizing what's really going
on in the world.
I'm through ranting for now. Please go see the movie
"Traffic" and think that it's going to suck completely.
Think that it's going to be a tv movie of the week.
Maybe you'll like it. It might surprise you. Then again,
maybe you've seen everything and I just need to watch
more movies to know that there is no originality left
in cinema. But for now, I'm pretty stoked.
think it's cool hearing anybody rave about a modern-day
filmmaker. Clearly you enjoy Soderbergh's films and
that's great. It's fun to be a fan and mean it. I will
definitely see "Traffic" when I get back to the U.S.
I'm not much of a fan of hand-held camera work. It has
it's place, but, for the most part, I like my shots
to be very specific.
Cynthia E. Jones
everything is well in New Zealand. We're enjoying sunny
65 degree weather here in California.
what your opinion of Steven Soderbergh is. He received
two nominations--one for "Traffic," and one for "Erin
Brockovich," plus both films were nominated for Best
Picture. Me? I'm immensely proud of Steve, and as his
work in "Schizopolis" shows, he's truly an artist inside.
Plus, he was the cinematographer for "Traffic," and
it was shot entirely hand-held and with available light.
Unheard-of. Absolutely amazing. I love Soderbergh.
for "Gladiator," well, Ridley Scott can kiss my ass.
I know you don't take much stock in the Oscars at all,
but sometimes it's cool when the "indie" dudes you've
loved forever, who are still being mavericks, are recognized
by the "respectable" world of Oscar. I haven't cared
much in years, but this year could be interesting.
a nice weekend,
finished "Soul Possession" and I think it went very
well. It fits in with the other Xenas I've done quite
nicely. In response to some earlier questions -- Squiggles
cookies (or bisquits as they refer to them here), with
their hokey pokey centers, are excellent. There was
a ceremony at lunch for Renee's 30th birthday, with
a cake and flowers and it was nice.
as for Mr. Soderberg, I just saw "Erin Brockovich" and
thought it was a TV movie with swearing. I'm supposed
to actually give a crap that all these fatally ill people
will get some money? They're all still going to die
or something equally as awful that money won't help.
I hope "Traffic," which I haven't seen, is better, but
I won't support any sort of anti-drug anything, including
Hello Mr. Becker!
long time fan, first time poster here.
thrilling it was to stumble into your site and see you
are posting from the NZ Xena location! Thrilling doesn't
scratch the surface we fans feel-- getting word from
those involved in our favorite show.
season Kevin Smith has carried the *comedic* ball MAGNIFICENTLY
in the absence of our man Ted. I hope Mr. Tapert sent
you Coming Home and Old Ares Had a Farm! (I tend to
think its harder for handsome men to be truly funny,
and he somehow accomplihes it!)
you mentioned Ted's "I become more hideous..." comment,
a bolt of lightening shot though me! Will these two
have scenes together?! Can I slip you a C-note under
the table to convince you to keep in your cut, any and
all scenes with these two guys?!
I second August's plea for any behind the scenes antics-stories
of Ted's wonderful aura of goofiness. We cannot, CANNOT
said that he and Kevin have done 20 episodes together
and this is the very first time they've ever had lines
with each other, which is sort of odd. They have entire
scenes together in this ep. I must say, for a very handsome
guy, Kevin Smith is hysterically funny. He comes up
with great ad libs all the time, all of which I will
attempt to keep in. Kevin is also an amazingly nice,
pleasant fellow and joy to work with. Now I must leave
for the second to last day of filming on a horribly
hot stage, but I love it.
know you're not in the country but have you heard the
awful news? Yes, we all know the academy awards are
fixed, but I truely didn't think they'd ever stoop so
low as to come up with the nominations they have. Gladiator
sweeped everything! I thought all the talk out there
about this film was just ridiculous bull shit hype.
My god, it wasn't! When I heard the announcement this
moring I nearly choked on my coffee. I blurted out a
very bad cuss word and then riped the belt from my pants
and whiped the hell out of my chair. It didn't make
me feel better.
time for something harsh to happen to the academey members
who apparentally have gone totally brain dead. This
is too much.
do think that Traffic was a perfect film. It's the only
sane nomination on the ballet.)
haven't heard the nominations, but I must say I'm not
surprised. Since Hollywood only puts out bullshit now,
obviously bullshit will get nominated, something's going
to. I haven't really cared about the Oscars in many
years, so it doesn't upset me at all.
jason adam keller
like the episode is coming together nicely. can't wait
to see your work. i was wondering if you can wish renee
a happy 30th b-day from some of her fans..thanks...
do my best to remember. Once I get to the set, I have
a tendency to not remember anything but what's occurring
directly in front of me.
thanks for making me genuinely "LOL" at the office today!
I've got some down-time & decided to use it to look
around my usual websites, including yours. I read Ted's
comment on Kevin Smith and literally burst out laughing.
Thank goodness I wasn't drinking milk at the time...
"Spit take," anyone?
wait to see the episode you've been working on. You
directing, Ted and Kevin Smith guest starring...yeah,
a keeper. It will also be interesting to watch it while
thinking about some of the production info you've been
here's a reply to Jim, to whom you replied a couple
of days ago about film as a collaborative medium. Jim
had thought I had misunderstood your intent, which you
have always made amply clear: "it takes a village" to
make a film, and the auteur theory just cannot hold
up in the harsh light of reality. Well, Josh, to second
what you wrote in your reply to Jim: *you bet* film
is collaborative. I should know; I'm a collaborator.
Am I in charge of the set, or am I determining how the
scene will be shot, or am I the one who wrote the words,
or am I the one embodying the character in front of
the camera? Hell, no. Could this film (or, in my current
case, TV program) be completed without me, or someone
just like me, doing my job (in my current case, production
coordinator)? Again, hell, no. *Everyone* on the set
or in the production office has an important role to
play in getting "picture up."
think Jim is mistaking "collaboration" for "democracy"
when he stated, more or less, that the more people in
the process, the more a "single vision" becomes something
diluted. Well, it's not like we're talking about the
wardrobe designer telling an actor how to play a scene,
or that the D.P. has a say in casting, etc. There *is*
a hierarchy on the set, where each person knows who
to report to, so that the right person can give an answer
to any question.
I will agree with Jim (and I bet Josh will agree here,
too) that films do get screwed up when there's a whole
committee of people involved in decision-making. But
the writer is usually not part of this committee; nope,
I'm referring to TPTB that control any particular show.
As Josh pointed out in his reply to Russ, the producer
(or, tell it like it is, producerS) come in and make
a million requests, demands or restrictions, based on
budget, "marketing department research," last-minute
production emergencies (e.g., a location fell through,
an actor had to be re-cast, etc.), hell, maybe even
based on a particularly convincing hallucination. And
the producer may in turn have to adjust his or her vision
to fit what "the money" wants (whether it's a studio,
foreign financing entity, network, syndicator, etc.).
Sometimes it's hard to identify just who are "TPTB."
I think this crowd of "suits" is what leads films and
TV to try to appeal to the lowest common denominator,
or to fit what the market research wanted, and that's
when movies get soul-less.
course, on the other hand, filmmaking is neither free
nor inexpensive. You have to get money from someone,
somewhere. And, the movie has to be seen, so you have
to find some way, somehow to get distribution (and Josh
has certainly illuminated for us how tough it is to
get your film "out there"). So, as nice as it would
be to say "screw you" to the money guys...well, you
see where there is an unfortunate necessity to adjust
"the vision." But, as Josh told Russ, "it's your job
to deal with" the restrictions you're given, and to
find creative solutions.
please -- don't blame the writer for that. I mean, how
frustrating is it for a person who came up with an idea,
massaged it and nursed it until it became a two-hour
screenplay full of interesting characters, plot twists,
brilliant dialogue, etc. (in a perfect world, sure),
and then to show up at the theatre for the premiere
(because, after all, the writer may not have been allowed
to visit the set) only to see that this creation of
his is now "A Film By..." some other guy. C'mon, give
the poor ink-stained wretches a break!
(& TV) is collaborative medium, period. If you want
to see a true "single vision," read a book.
for letting me vent, and thanks (to you *and* Ted) for
the laugh. Hope editing goes smoothly, and that your
trip back to the States is somehow an enjoyable way
to spend, what, 10 hours or so.
for the clarification, which I agree with. There's still
this false notion floating around that art is about
"freedom." It's not; it's about restriction. Each decision
made -- the story's about this, so it's not about that,
we'll shoot it here as opposed to anywhere else, we'll
cast these actors, not those, they'll interpret it their
way, not some other way -- is a restriction on pure
freedom. Pure freedom in art is chaos.
you have a new script ready to be filmed? Or, are you
writing something new?
have many scripts, 28 to be exact, and I'm working on
another one now. I would really love to shoot my World
War One script, "Devil Dogs."
"Xena" ends will Renaissance Pictures leave New Zealand
and head to LA?
Pictures is already located in L.A. Pacific Renaissance,
their New Zealand division, will probably close down
with no shows to shoot.
you still have a major crush on Renee O'Connor?
never had a MAJOR crush on her, or Lucy, but I sure
do like working with both of them. I don't have a crush
on Kevin Smith, either, and he's terrific to work with,
too. Besides, Renee's an old married lady now and this
sort of talk is unseemly.