Q & A    Archive
Page 45

Name: JT
E-mail: jcarroll@austin.rr.com

Dear Josh:

"Anything that's alive -- a blade of grass, a butterfly, a human, a planet -- have God in them. God is not outside us judging us, God is us."

Not to shift us back to movies or anything (well, okay, that's exactly what I'm doing) but a few nights back I saw Albert Brooks' "Defending Your Life." Seen it? It's a comedy centered on the question "How are we to be judged?"

It's a good question, I think. Do you have a favorite 'exploring the afterlife' movie?


Dear JT:

I didn't like "Defending Your Life," mainly because everyone in the film is supposed to think Brooks is funny and is laughing all the time at everything he says, which I find awful and insulting. I'll decide what's funny, not the other characters. I basically don't give a damn about any movies about heaven, they all seem stupid. I do like when the Three Stooges go to heaven, though.


Name: julie
E-mail: juliejhnsn7@aol.com


If you have not seen the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice (6 part miniseries) I would recommend it.

I was also wondering if you have any thoughts on Mr. Hulot's Holiday which i rented today because it was on your list but I haven't watched it yet. I have seen some other Tati films but this one seems to be the most fondly remembered by most critics.

Take care,

Dear Julie:

I have no doubt the BBC production is good, but I love the 1941 film with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier, and I don't think it could be cast any better than that. I don't know who they got for Lizzie and Mr. D'arcy, but they can't be as perfect as Garson and Olivier. Regarding Jacques Tati, I've kind of enjoyed a number of his films -- "Playtime," "Mon Oncle," "Traffic" -- but "Mr. Hulot's Holiday seems like the best of the bunch. It's got its own weird, slightly slow rhythm, but a lot of funny gags. The stuff with the kayak was terrific. Also, there's a scene where his little car is being towed by a chain that's pretty wild. I can easily see, however, how someone could not like him at all.


Name: DREW

Long Time No See,

I was wondering what the difference was between an art director and a production designer?

Also, I really enjoyed your comment on religion and god, and I was wondering if you could recommend any books on Hindu Philosophy. Thanks.

P.S. I think Hunky Arse may be John Waters, but I could be wrong.

Dear DREW:

Greetings to you. A book I enjoyed very much is "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism" by Chogyam Trungpa, who was a Tibetan Buddhist, which is available at www.shambhala.com. Anyway, the art director works for the production designer.


Name: Diana Hawkes
E-mail: sdhawkes@penn.com

***tapping Josh meekly on the shoulder***

psst...say Josh, ya think maybe Hunky Ares has had its fifteen minutes here? As a staunch Kevin Smith/Ares fan, those posts are making my teeth cringe.

My question today! --

Why are there scenes shot and then left on the cutting room floor? Anytime for anything (film or T.V.).

I mean, if there is a final shooting script, and storyboards ahead of time, I fail to see why entire scenes, or dialogue within scenes, are cut out.

Is it because editors and directors literally change their minds in post production?

Why isn't the story, exactly as its written and agreed upon in the script, the *final* version as well?

It would seem to make sense to me that everyone involved in putting a film together would at some point read the final script, and sign off on it -yes this is the product we expect and are happy with-, and that's it, go time for filming.

Or is that too simple? Do projects routinely get started without complete consensus among the creators? Did I just answer my own question? lol.

Dear Diana:

I'm not sure what Hunky Ares deal is, but it doesn't really bother me. To answer your question, there can be a number of reasons for cutting things out and throwing them away. The most obvious reason is that whatever it is didn't turn out very well and now doesn't seem necessary. Also, a page of script is considered a minute of screen time, but that's not always true. A single page of action can turn out to be several minutes of screen time, and thus you end up with more than you need--Xenas and Hercs were delivered at 44 minutes, which included two minutes of credits. We generally worked from 45-page scripts, but not always, either. This isn't like a machine making ball bearings, each end product is unique. We ended up cutting out over ten minutes of cut footage on "Lunatics" because act one was simply too long. It's still too long, as a matter of fact. But it wasn't too long in the script, it's how I shot it (I'm a snappier director now). In "Hammer" I didn't cut out any whole scenes, but I did trim a few scenes to make them shorter--sometimes a scene will read fine, then sort of just sit there on the screen. There is rarely complete consensus among everybody on anything. On TV, the scripts are frequently being rewritten right up to the second they're shot. I've had the rewrites come AFTER I was done shooting the scene, then got to just throw them out. Making TV and movies is not rocket science; it's all rather inexact.


Name: Vanishingpoint
E-mail: No thank you


I've only seen The Godfather Three on your list of five bad movies. Although it's not very good overall it has some quality ingredients in there. That's my opinion anyway! I would have rated Mosquito a much worse film by any standards but perhaps that's just me. Low budget doesn't have to mean pathetic rubbish - I'm sure if you weren't involved in and/or a friend of the film makers you be less generous towards it.

I was going to respond to the earlier post about the Mad Max films but you're posting so quickly these days I think I've been left behind. I'll just mention that the third Mad Max film, the second sequel, is not very good. Then again, like The Godfather Three, it does have some interesting ingredients. Pity they didn't work.


Dear Vanishingpoint:

Look, if the film has no asperations toward quality to begin with, like "Night of the Lepus" or "Mosquito," when it turns out to not be all that good it's no surprise. When you have terrific ingredients, and asperations toward quality, then you end up with "Godfather 3" or "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome," it's FAR worse to me. Also, pretension, for me, takes a film much farther down the ladder, like all of Joel & Ethan Coen's films, or that complete horror, "Magnolia." Since I've always been a huge fan of the first two "Godfather" films, and basically waited with baited breath for 16 years for the third, it still stands as the most disappointing film I've ever seen. I don't think it has a good moment in it.


Name: fan x
E-mail: fanx2001@aol.com

top 5 worst films :

Lost Highway (David Lynch)
Titanic ( James Cameron)
Night of the Lepus
The Scarlet Letter (Demi Moore)
Independence Day

Honorable Mentions:
Romeo + Juliet
Planet of the Apes (2001)
Dawn of the Dead
American Beauty
The Blair Witch Project
Anything by Renny Harlin

If you haven't seen any of these consider yourself warned.

Dear Fan X:

"Night of the Lepus" is too easy. Obviously it's bad; it was meant to be bad. Giant bunny rabbits? Come on. "American Beauty," which I didn't like, was much too easy to sit through to be really bad. Not like, say, "Magnolia," where I felt like I aged several years during it. Yes, "Dogma" is definitely worthy to be on the list, I'd blanked out just how horrible it was.


Name: Ray-The Screenwriter!
E-mail: ray3259@excite.com

Hey Josh,

I asked you something once before, I am not sure if you remember me or not. But anyways, I got another question for you.

Well, since I have written a few screenplays, not knowing if they are good or not, I am all ready to write a new one. I have just a few ideas. Nothing really for a plot. I am still thinking of one. What I do know is that it is going to be a WWII movie. But something is bothering me -- there are a lot of WWII movies out and coming out. The Nick Cage film: Captian Cornelli's Mandolin, his next one directed by John Woo: Windtalkers. And then there is the Russel Crowe one coming out, that he is directed and writing (last time I heard) and a Quentin Tarantino one. Okay, what am I asking here is should I write a WWII movie? I am really anxious to do it but its like every one of these movies current, future and past (all of the great old war movies, mostly all WWII) all have a same plot. I am not saying that some off them are the same. I am just wondering if there is any way I can come up with a good plot. A good storyline.

Yes, I have read your essay's, good work by the way, and they all gave me great ideas but I am still pondering for a good story fiction or nonfiction. I know it isn't your job to help me out. I am asking alot from you. You are a busy man. I know that. But from one screenwriter to another, can you help me out with just one little idea or a story? Nothing major, not a treatment, I am not asking for that. I am just asking for some one that has been screenwriting longer than me to help me cook up something. I would give you story credit by the way. If it is too much, though, forget it. Because I don't want to ask you alot and bark orders at you.

Okay, thanks for your time again.


Dear Ray:

If you haven't got a story to tell, how do you know you want to write a WW2 script? You have to start with a story. Considering WW2 was a big, real event, loaded with real, believable, interesting stories, why not read some books about it. Any time I read history, stories just come flying out at me. It's not for me to give you a story, it's for you to find a story that interests you. And read my script "Devil Dogs: The Battle of Belleau Wood," which, although it s WW1 story, is perhaps a good example of a war script. It took a lot of work and research and I'm proud of it. Good luck.


Name: Alex
E-mail: movies4life2001@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

I am eager to know if you've seen this few movies. These movies, I have recently seen. I am not sure what other people thought about them. My friends haven't seen them and they don't want to. I am wondering if you have. If not, you should. If you do, then if you can give me feedback, it will be decent.

1)Breakdown (didnt know really want to make of it. i had a mixed reaction. to me, it was like it felt apart after the first act. but during parts of the second and third act, they were different. suspenseful film)
2)2 Days In The Valley (bit like Pulp Fiction, otherwise different)
3)Donnie Brasco (good mob movie. Al Pacino is a great actor in this, so is Johnny Depp. Based on a true story)

I saw these movies back to back. The one that I didnt know what to think positively about was Breakdown. So if ya ever see them, tell me what you think.

Dear Alex:

I didn't see "Breakdown." I did, however, see "2 Days in the Valley," which wasn't completely awful, but came close. Since I didn't like "Pulp Fiction," I certainly don't need any rip-offs of it. Most of the film has shot right out of my head, other than Charlize Theron was attractive. I thought "Donnie Brasco" was an annoying piece of crap. I can't recall anything about it other than Pacino was overacting and Depp is a bore.


Name: Dave


Few questions.

1) Have you ever got angry or had a disagreement with Renee O'Connor while working on Xena?

2) Were personal friends of the actors allowed or did they ever show up on set on Xena? For example, was Renee's husband Steve allowed on set, or did he ever show up on set that you know of?

3) In all the times that you were in New Zealand for you many directing gigs, did you ever hang out with the actresses(Lucy/Renee) outside of work? Ex: Did you ever visit either of their homes, or did you ever meet at a restaraunt or coffee shop, etc. with either of them?

4) Renee has directed 2 episodes, and I know she was very interested in directing for years prior. Did she ever ask you any questions or any advice on directing?


Dear Dave:

Gee, Dave, are we obsessed with Renee O'Connor, or what?
1. No, I never had any sort of disagreement with Renee. I think she is as sweet, nice, and professional as it's humanly possible to be.
2. Lucy and Renee, being the stars of the show, could bring anyone by the set they wanted. I met Steve on the set, and a very nice guy he was.
3. I never really hung out with either of them. Being friends with Rob Tapert, Lucy's husband, I did have dinner at their house with both of them several times, and I just did again the other day. I ended up out for a coffee a few times with Renee and our mutual friend Edith, who was the coordinator on the the show, which was always a pleasant experience.
4. Yes, Renee did ask me some questions about directing when we did "In Sickness & in Hell," which was a few eps before her first directing gig. I don't recall her questions, though.


Name: ruberfrank
E-mail: waltemand@hotmail.com

hey josh

I've got a couple of questions for you.
First off, have you seen Unbraekable, and if you have,what did you think of it?

Is your new film getting a theatrical release? Or is it going straight to dvd/vhs?

Have you seen any films by the french director Jean Rollin?

Do you really think The Howling is a good film?

Can you just give me a list of 5 worst films you have ever seen?

And if one of my favorite films is on that list, can I call you names?


Dear ruberfrank:

No, I haven't seen "Unbreakable" yet, but I will as soon as it's on cable. Sadly, no, "If I Had a Hammer" will not be getting a theatrical release, just video/DVD. No, I don't think I have seen any of Jean Rollin's films. As to "The Howling," it doesn't hold up very well, but it did scare when I first saw it. Regarding the 5 worst films ever, having not really thought about this I'll just give it a try off the top of my head.
1. Titanic (1997--not to be confused with the 1953 version)
2. Traffic
3. The Godfather Part 3
4. Eyes Wide Shut
5. Magnolia

How's that?


Name: Danny
E-mail: dannycork@hotmail.com


Hey man are you gonna go see that 'Apocalypse Now Redux' thing? Or do you reckon its a shamless (gasp) cash-in from the man that made 'Jack'.

Cheers for your time,
Danny Cork

Dear Danny:

I think it was the NY Times that said that "Apocalypse Now" may well have not been the best picture of 1979 when it was released, but it's certainly the best picture of 2001, which I wouldn't doubt at all. I actually already saw that version, on the film's very first public screening in Westwood in '79. Everything that was cut out deserved to be cut out. I still think in its shorter version it's still only two-thirds of a good movie anyway, but at least it had a decent pace. I may just go see it, though.


E-mail: Hunky Ares@aol.com


Josh, got three super duper whammy bammy questions for ya! Hope u don't
1. Have u ever had to direct a saucy scene... if so, was it embarrassing?
2. Have u ever had to blow your top... go mad at a cast-member cos he wouldn't co-operate, or he wouldn't get it right, etc.?
3. Have u come to like Hunky_Ares? Cos I've come to like you. I thought you were abrupt but ur actually just a straight person... a direct person... hahaha ---> direct hahaha... u get it? direct person- director! Oh me and my jokes... they never fail to make u laugh do they!
Thanks... love u all... my lambs!
Bye bye,

Dear Hunky Ares:

I'd still prefer to know who you are. I find your anonimity sort of annoying. Yes, I've had to direct a few "saucy" scenes, and yes, I did find it embarrassing. I'm not a fan of directing nude scenes, although I don't mind watching them. I have a long sex scene in "Running Time" that didn't bother me because it's in close-up of the actors who are both clothed, and everything supposedly happening outside the frame is purely acting. In nude sex scenes I dislike wondering where's the man's cock. Is it taped to his leg? What? Regarding question #2, I'm generally as calm and level-headed as humanly possible while directing and have stated to cast and crew on several occasions that I am "unflappable" and there's nothing anyone can do to piss me off. Well, that's only kind of true. I had an actor on the last Xena ep I did that had a lot of dialog and hadn't learned his lines. That I find unforgivable. When he blew one of his lines for about the 20th time I actually threw my script on the floor and sighed loudly in exasperation. On my last film, "Hammer," I got into a yelling match with the 2nd A.C. who failed to plug in my monitor every shot, and I subsequently fired her. Generally, though, I'm pretty calm, smiling guy on the set. As to question #3, as I said up front, reveal yourself and I'll like you better.


Name: Darin
E-mail: none


What are ethos and pathos?


Dear Darin:

That's two of the Three Musketeers. No ethos is like ethics, what do you stand for? Pathos is the ability to make someone feel bad or feel pity.


Name: Noelle G.
E-mail: apple4pear@aol.com

Dear Josh,

I have notice that some boxing flicks are on their way. An Ali film with Will Smith and plans for a Spike Lee directed Joe Louis film. If you were to make a film about boxing would you focus on a real life figure or make up characters that draw from the drama of the sport itself like Rocky.

And speaking of My Dinner with Andre If you could have a long dinner conversation with someone alive today who would it be? ONe of the things i love about that movie is the expression on the waiter's face when he comes to the table.

Best wishes, and any progress on the book?


Dear Noelle:

I thought about writing a script about the boxer Kid McCoy from the 1880s, who once went over 100 rounds in a fight and was so popular that other boxers in the west began to pretend they were him, so he started billing himself as "The Real McCoy," which where that came from. On a contemporary basis, I think there's a story to be told about Ike Ibabuchi, an African heavyweight who is presently in jail for rape. What must it be like to be living truly in the middle of nowhere in Ghana or Sudan, then suddenly find yourself a big international star in Las Vegas?


Name: Bart
E-mail: garageman@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

Howdy! What are your thoughts on StoryBay, which allows new writers to post screenplays in the hopes that a companys will buy/option their scripts. Also, you've probably answered this question countless times before but how would a new writer go about selling his/her first screenplay? It sounds daunting, especially since (correct me if I'm wrong you) you only sold 1 out of 28 screenplays. And the 5 I've read are fucking great (especially Ballbreaker).

P.S. Do you still co-write with Scott Spiegel? And what are your thoughts on his filmmaking in general? Sorry for all the questions. I really enjoy your essays and your good taste on recognizing today's bad taste. Thanks.

Dear Bart:

I don't know how you sell a screenplay. The one script I sold was really just a series of lucky coincidences that could never be repeated. Regarding StoryBay, ask them if anyone has ever sold a script that way? I don't think so. Selling a script is a totally convoluted process based on many intangibles. Scott and I stopped writing together after "Ballbreaker" in 1989. His two films, "Intruder" and "From Dusk till Dawn 2" are not my cup
of tea.



Here are some pictures. I suppose they could be posted in the Q&A.

1. The Prinsengracht,
which means the Prince's canal, and my favorite spot.

2. Tops Coffeeshop,
my favorite coffeeshop.

3. Josh in Amsterdam

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

Dear Josh:

Just watched "Rio Bravo" for the first time in many years yesterday. And while I've always known it essentially remade only 8 or 9 years later as "El Dorado," I'd forgotten how close the two were, right down to Ricky Nelson's "Colorado" becoming James Caan's "Mississippi," and the feisty old deputy providing comic relief. I liked Brennan better than Arthur Hunnicutt, but found Mitchum to be a much dirtier, more believable lowdown drunk than Dean Martin. Plus I liked the added characterization of Wayne, and of the beleaguered ranch family in the remake. (I've also heard people say that "Rio Lobo" was yet another remake, but I didn't see too much similarity.)

So do you have any idea why Howard Hawks decided to remake one of his own movies, and one of his more famous ones, such a short time later? The biggest difference I could find was that "Rio Bravo" had a very traditional, old-style-Western feel to it, while "El Dorado" was much grittier, modern-style film.



Dear August:

I can't tell you why he decided to do such a clear remake so soon after the original (and I agree that Mitchum was better than Dean Martin, who was good). Hawks did spend his entire career, though, basically remaking the same story over and over again. I think it's why he's not one of my favorites, although I do respect him. I like his ealier films a lot more than the later ones, like "Scarface," "Sgt. York," "Only Angels Have Wings," and "Air Force." I find those later westerns to be rather long-winded and obvious.


Name: John
E-mail: gameover70@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Thank you for answering my question. You've been helpful. I needed to know that before I started typing my second script on the computer. It was 169 pages on three holed looseleef paper, I never tried legal pads but I will when I get my third script treatment down on paper.

Anyways, if you know of any schools just off of your mind for 14 year olds for screenwriting, then can you tell me about it. For like screenwriting or directing. Because I am 14 and I have been looking all over. I know you don't have to help me, but if you can, I would be very grateful.

Dear John:

I don't have to answer anyone. I do it because I like to. There are film schools all over the place, the big ones being: UCLA, USC, and NYU, but there are many, many more. Nevertheless, I think you'll learn a LOT more about screenwriting by reading my six structure essays, perhaps a few of my scripts, then watch as many good movies as possible (check my fav list) and see how the rules apply.


E-mail: Hunky_Ares@aol.com

Hi again,

What I mean when I talk about bright, sunny films are films like 'Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalow', 'She's All That', 'Whatever It Takes', which have all got this lovely, warm feel to them. They are all HAPPY, and the types of films that would cheer you up when you're feeling down or alone in the house late at night. However, don't a lot of people look down on these films? Don't a lot of people say that the best movies have to be like 'Lawrence of Arabia' or movies like-'Fight Club'! I mean 'Fight Club' has all this mad sort of psycological stuff going on... and the critics love it! I just don't get it! Do you?

Finally, I aint someone that hates all violence from film.. in fact, I love exciting action scenes and I really like nudity in films too... lol... but I just don't understand why films like Air Force One are not considered a masterpiece... it's exciting, right? Why can masterpieces only be films like 'Trainspotting' or 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'. Yes, sure that film has excellent cinematography but 'Rush Hour' is funny! Same thing, right? Do you see what I mean?
Love you loads guys,

Dear Hunky Ares:

Yeah, I see what you're saying, you like shitty movies. Well, that's your right. Happy/unhappy doesn't interest me. It's do they have a story worth telling? Is there a point? Is the filmmaking intelligent and well-considered. Watching Jackie Chan, or any other martial arts star, beat the crap out of people doesn't interest me at all. I'd rather watch "My Dinner With Andre," where nothing happens except intelligent conversation. One of my favorite filmmakers, George Seaton, specialized in kind of happy movies -- "Miracle on 34th Street," "An Apartment for Peggy," "Anything Can Happen," "But Not For Me" -- but they're all bright films with a point and well-realized characters. So, I think it's completely possible to be upbeat and intelligent. Stupid movies can just burn in hell as far as I'm concerned.


Name: Timothy
E-mail: timothy_barlow@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Great site! I have to say that your articles on structure are the best I've ever read. You really should write a book. While I know that this Q/A section is primarily directed at movie type stuff, while reading through some of your archived letters, I came across the following...

From the Beckerfilms Q/A Archive, Page 26

Name: Nemesis
E-mail: nemesis_lounge@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:
Jesus Christ may have been jewish, but more important than that is the fact
that he was the son of God, and that puts him beyond any particular race.
You see, it's not a problem for any christian to deal with the fact that
Jesus was jewish, but it is a huge problem for any jew to deal with the
fact that Jesus is the son of God, which is exactly what puts christians
apart from those jews that won't accept Jesus Christ for what he really is.
By the way, you don't need to remind us who killed Jesus, but you would be
doing us a favor if you could refresh our memory by telling us who sold him
out, looked the other way and maybe was even happy when the romans
crucified him. Hehehehe.

Dear Nemesis:
Who sold out Jesus? Why, other creepy Christians, just like you. By the
way, we're all children of God.


As a believer that Yeshua (Jesus) was the fulfillment of the Jewish prophecies of the Messiah, let me personally apologize for the disrespectful attitude this individual took by 'laughing' at the end of his letter. Even IF he's genuinely a Christian, he's clearly got a lot of growing up to do.

However, I have to disagree to your statement that we are "all Children of God". The Tenach (Old Testament) makes it very clear that we are a fallen race and have been estranged from God by sin. It also makes a rather bold (and perhaps rigid) statement that IT ALONE holds the Truth and all other such religious belief systems are false. If we don't accept this then we have NO business believing ANY of it. How can we trust a God who can't protect His own Testimony to mankind? We either accept all of it or none of it. If we accept it as Gods Word, then we have to accept its declaration that we are not His children as long as we are estranged from Him by sin.

Next, you responded to 'Nemesis' with...

"Who sold out Jesus? Why, other creepy Christians..."

First let me say that I'm not anti-semitic. And I certainly don't want to point a finger at Jewish people especially when they've suffered as much as they have. But, it's a fallacy to say that Christians sold out Jesus when the term 'Christian' wasn't even conceived until years later. Yes, it's true that many of those who had anticipated that Jesus was the promised Messiah became disillusioned and allowed (even encouraged) Herod to have Him crucified, ...but they were still Jews.

I realize that the term Christian leaves a foul taste in the mouths of most Jews and understandably so. Throughout the last 2000 years much of the suffering of the Jews has come at the hands of those professing to be Christians, (i.e., the Roman Catholic Church, certain so-called 'Reformers' during the Reformation and even Hitler claimed to be Christian). The truth of the matter is that just because someone claims to be something doesn't mean the he or she is. It would be no different to me deciding to hate you as a director because of all the garbage I see in the movies theaters. i.e. "Look at all these guys claiming to be good movie makers! Bay, Spielberg, etc. Todays movies are garbage! Obviously, that must mean ALL directors are incompetent idiots and I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM!!!"

Such logic is faulty and can divert someone from what REALLY going on behind the scenes. I'd like to believe that you aren't someone who only looks at the surface of things. Appearances (for the most part) are usually deceiving. You have many critics who hate you because they're either to shallow, jealous or they've never looked beyond the surface and read what you have to say regarding story telling. However, you also have many faithful students who had the courage to actually read what it is you're trying to say instead of just looking at what your critics were saying about you or only seeing your somewhat brash exterior.

I encourage you to embrace your Jewish heritage and study the Messianic promises as foreshadowed in Moses, the Psalms and the Hebrew Prophets. If you're up to the challenge, I enclose a link to the best Jewish Biblical expositor I know of.




Dear Timothy:

Christ almighty, that was a long letter. No, I don't embrace my Jewish heritage, nor do I accept Jesus Christ as the son of God. My beliefs run much more toward the Buddhist/Hindu view of life that God is the name we give to consciousness. Anything that's alive -- a blade of grass, a butterfly, a human, a planet -- have God in them. God is not outside us judging us, God is us. The old testament bible is no more the "word of God" than the new testament, the Koran, or the Book of Mormon. These are all creations of men trying to rationalize their scary little lives with a false concept of heaven. There is no heaven and there is no hell, there's only the endless stream of consciousness which never dies, it just keeps reappearing in different forms. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all divisive, saying our group is better than the other groups. I think this is how evil manifests itself on our planet, parading as holiness. We are all connected and religion just keeps us apart.


Name: Lucas
E-mail: snoogans@softhome.net

Dear Josh,

A couple of questions for you:

First, I recently read "Rebel Without A Crew," Robert Rodriguez's account of the making of "El Mariachi". In it, he wrote that he tries to have the movie edited in his head beforehand, in order to save money & time by only shooting what he needs. Do you think there's any merit in this approach?

Second, in TSNKE, what happened to the rules of being a man?


Dear Lucas:

It's a director's job to know how the footage will cut, there's nothing special about it. Which doesn't mean you won't try other things in the editing room, but if you haven't considered in advance how the footage cuts together, you're a bad director. It's an important part of the job. Anytime I see something that's just shot, then dumped on an editor to figure out, I can tell and I don't like it. I was just watching Lars Von Trier's "Breaking the Waves" last night and that's how that film was shot, and it sucks. It bores me to tears.

The scene with the rules of being a man got cut.


E-mail: Hunky Ares@aol.com

Dear Josh:

OK... I have a question... I feel sooo alone among all the other film directors... I mean, when they get asked what is their favourite movie... they say some old, black-and-white movie... and when asked who are their idols they say people who are no longer alive! Is it just me or can there be GREAT movies that are simply teen comedies? Or that have simple storylines... easy to understand scripts? It seems the movies that are considered to be great... are movies that are so weird and wacky, or quite plainly OLD! Can't a movie great be a happy, sunny movie... with a simple story... good-looking actors? NOT strange camera angles... no colour... or dark colours... unfriendly looking people... unfriendly theme... and scripts with heightened language and that don't tell a simple story as it is in everyday life?

Bye bye my sweet cherubs of the morning sky of the sunshine of light of the ocean of Poseidon of Mount Olympus of sun-lit Greece of the forests of the fruits of love,

Dear Hunky Ares:

Does it have to be old to be good? No, it has to be good to be good. I don't think any of your examples have any meaning. The films I love are all, for the most part, pretty damn straight-forward; but much clearer and to the point than anything recently. My man, William Wyler, never used a goofy angle in his 45-year career. Have you got an example of something bright, sunny, and recent that would consider great? Or your favorite?


Name: John
E-mail: gameover70@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

When you write a script on legal pads or looseleef paper, how many pages do they take up? I know you wrote a few on legal pads with pen and I was just curious how many pages it would take up normally. Some one once told me that it would take up a good 400's pages for a screenplay that would be on a computer for 121 pages. Is that true or is the person full of crap and it will only take 100 pages or more for a script written on paper...?

Dear John:

I use a very condensed form in the handwritten version, making use of every line on the page, not centering the dialog, just stacking one line on top of the other with the character names in the margins, and it comes out to about three-quarters of a typed page. Therefore, if the handwritten version is about 150 pages (three pads), it will come out to about 120 typed pages.


Name: Tamandra
E-mail: K9ArtistGSD@aol.com


You lucky guy you, I've seen a bunch of slides from Amsterdam from a friend. And Shirley, I love your comments on some of the posts! You think this country will ever wake up and legalize other drugs besides booze and perscription drugs?? Happy belated birthday Josh :) I'll have to go check out Who'll Stop the Rain, that's one I haven't seen. You really moving up to Oregon??


Dear Tamandra:

Decriminalization is beginning to occur around the world. Switzerland has followed Holland's example and begun selling pot at coffeeshops -- The Bulldog has opened an outlet there, as well as having one in Vancouver. It looks like Jamaica may legalize, too. Go to Amsterdam and see that legalized pot smoking does not lead to the dissolution of society, it simply makes it a far more pleasant atmosphere. It's also a very logical extension of the cafe society, which was always the fashion in European cities, but not in America. Europeans like to sit around, smoke cigarettes, drink beer, talk and laugh. In America you're supposed to buy what you need and go home. Hanging out is bad. Well, I like hanging out, and I like smoking pot out in public and not having to hide, and I like not being a criminal. I'm not a criminal, and I don't appreciate being thought of as one.



Dear Tamandra,

Thanks. In answer to your question, yes; over 70% of American voters support legalization of medical marijuana, and according to the latest USA TODAY/CNN Gallup Poll ("Marijuana support at 30-year high"), about half that number now are in favor of legalization for personal use.


Name: Stephen Kerr
E-mail: Kerrsed@aol.com

Dear Josh:

No, I'm not related to that Deborah, I don't think. My mom's name is Deborah, but It's not the same one.

P.S. I haven't seen that movie you where talking about that she was in, but I have seen the King and I with her. I figure I will check my local Blockbuster for it. Spinal Tap rocks as well.

Dear Stephen:

Also check out John Huston's film "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison."


Name: Will Armstrong
E-mail: andykaufman@home.com

Hey Josh,

I know you're probably bored to tears of talking about The Evil Dead. I read your Evil Dead Journal and am surprised any of the filmmakers made it out alive! (Oh, I'm reading "The Jaws Log" right now... Coincidence?) Anyways, I was just wondering what you thought of the final product?

PS: I'm a great fan of your work and you have great taste in movies! I was happy to see "Monty Python's Meaning Of Life" on your favorite films list.


Dear Will:

I think "ED 1" is the scariest of the bunch. I think "ED 2" has the best sequence, which is Bruce breaking the plates over his head, then cutting of his hand. I don't care for the 3rd one.

I love the prayer from "Meaning of Life" delivered by Michael Palin--"Oh God, you are so big, so absolutely huge, all we can say is we're really impressed down here. Forgive us our misrable toddying."


Name: carlos lora
E-mail: carlos_lora52@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

i would like to recieve some catalog about your products

my name is carlos lora vivo en republica dominicana




Hola, Carlos:

Sorry, I don't have a catalog of my products. That's what this website sort of is. Of course, you need special access to the sex tools section of the site.


Name: Bud

Dear Josh:

I got to admit, you had me laughing. Good stories about the 99 cent store.

Dear Bud:

Thanks, I'm proud of that essay. I just enjoyed a lot of your namesake in Amsterdam.


Name: Kelly


How many rolls of film are standard for an average/low budget feature film? I was told 150 rolls, or 150,000 feet. In other words if you were making a film for slightly under a million dollars, how many feet/rolls would you buy? Also, do you prefer Kodak or Fuji? Thanks!


Dear Kelly:

Are you referring to 35mm? Is the final film supposed to be 90 minutes or 120 minutes? 10,000 feet is about 100 minutes. At a shooting ratio of ten-to-one, you'd need 100,000 feet of film. If you're planning on more than a ten-to-one shooting ratio, you're probably crazy. I much prefer Kodak stock, which is far better-looking than the Fuji.


Name: What Me Worry?
E-mail: typename@geocities.com

Dear Josh:

I have written a zombie horror script and would like your advice on where to send it to? Is there any chance a someone would buy a zombie script (especially since most follow in same the vein of NightotLDead)?

Have you ever written a zombie/slasher/demon script? Btw I love those liners from Thou Shall Not Kill...Except - "...I am Jesus Christ", "No you're not, you're dead" and "You'll like this, it's fun":D


Dear What Me Worry?:

I don't think they even used script in those zombie movies. They just put white makeup on extras, have them walk around slowly, then shoot them in the head. Sorry, but no one is going to buy your script simply by you sending it to them. You actually have to go in and pitch it, then they probably won't read it, either, but that's how it works.


Name: Danny
E-mail: dannycork@hotmail.com


While we're on the subject of 'rock-u-mentarys'. Have you ever seen any of the Stones films? 'Cocksucker Blues' or 'Gimme Shelter'? (the latter is one I'm sure you'd dig).

Dan Cork.

Dear Dan:

Who do you think you're talking to here, pal? I've seen "Gimme Shelter" numrous times, and own it on tape, and I think it's a really terrific documentary. I was the premiere of "Cocksucker Blues" at the Wiltern Theater here in L.A. about ten years ago -- it had never been released previously -- and I thought it was a big letdown. I just watched "Monterey Pop," which I quite enjoyed. My favorite is "Woodstock," in it's old cut, not the new, shitty, director's cut, with 45 extra useless minutes. I always felt that "Woodstock" was one of the fastest three hour movies ever made, edited by Thelma Schoonmaker and Martin Scorsese, but it's not anymore. Like they really needed to add a lousy performance by Canned Heat and Janis Joplin, looking like she's already died. Ms. Joplin is MUCH better in "Monterey Pop."


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