know I've asked you this before, in the past, but have
you (yet) seen "Caveman's Valentine"? If you
have, did you like it? If you have (and didn't like
it), what did you find wrong with it? I (personally)
think Samuel Adams has, for quite a while, been in a
rut, playing the same roles. With "Caveman's Valentine",
though, I was very impressed. It was a departure for
him as an actor, and an excellent debut (I think) for
him as a director. The script and story were very well
paced and played out. Very unique, but still maintaining
a classic "murder/mystery/drama" appeal. ...Unlike
"Red Violin", which was horribly paced and
scripted (despite some good film work).
let me know what you think (if you've seen it, yet),
or, if you can, see it, and then respond.
I still haven't seen it. I'm sure it'll pop up soon
on cable. It couldn't get a worse review from Leonard
Maltin, not that I pay all that much attention to what
he thinks. He gives it one and a half stars and says,
"Strange, unappealing film has almost nothing to
I saw your list of favorite horror movies, I was wondering
what you thought about "the Exorcist." After
everyone telling me how scary it was I saw it a few
months ago and was disappointed. A friend of mine used
to live in St. Louis and walked by the house all this
supposedly happened on his way to work every day. Personally,
the fact that the Catholic church backs it up holds
no water for me. It's not like the Catholic church has
never lied before, and I'm sure the Exorcist drove a
lot of people back to church every Sunday.
have you noticed that Frank Darabont's only three movies
have been Stephen King books? The Shawshank Redemption,
the Green Mile, and Hearts in Atlantis. Just saw a commercial
for "Hearts in Atlantis" and figured it out.
No big deal, just interesting.
like "The Exorcist." I admire that it takes
its time to set its story up and doesn't rush right
into the effects. By the time Linda Blair pees on the
floor, you care about her and Ellen Burstyn and it all
matters. I also think that Max Von Sydow and Lee J.
Cobb are both terrific. If you read my review of "The
Green Mile,' I was making fun of Frank Darabont at that
point for only doing Stephen King prison stories. At
least he's branched out from there. Bruce is in his
next film, which is a comedy with Jim Carrey.
if you had a requirement that all hate mail you got
had a valid email address attached to it you would never
have any left to answer, Mr. Eric "I luv Traffic"
I agree with Diane...get yourself some cats. I used
to live in Oregon with three cats. Get used to the idea
of dead field mice on your doorstep. Cat paradise.
field mice would be an improvement over the live mice
my old cat Stevie used to bring into the apartment.
I used to have a mouse-free enviornment until my cat
introduced them. I'd then have to use a mouse trap to
get them, and when they were caught, Stevie would pounce
on them as though he'd caught them.
got a couple of questions for you....
I'm currently starting a haunted house script based
on an old treatment I wrote earlier this year. Thanks
to your need for structure essays I've become incredibly
self conscious about where my acts begin and end. Without
getting into my treatment (as I never reveal the details
of my stories to anyone) I wanted to ask about the three
acts in another haunted house movie.
way I see it in Legend of Hell House (my chief influence
for writing this script) act one ends when the opening
credits end filling about eight minutes, act two ends
an hour and ten minutes later when Clive Revell dies
and act three starts right after that and fills about
twenty minutes. What are your thoughts?
now that I've wasted that much space, a question about
raising money for a film.
someone like me, who has never made a film, would you
say it's a good idea to have a short film that precis
the longer script (ie: Stryker's War) to show the potential
investors instead of expecting them to visualize a script?
haven't seen "The Legend of Hell House" so
I can't comment, but I would have to believe that Richard
Matheson would have structured it better than what you're
saying. I'll give you a good example of a recent, poorly-structured
script that drops dead halfway through due to it --
"High Fidelity." Act 1 is about five minutes
long -- his girlfriend splits and he tells her she doesn't
even make his top five list of worst break-ups. Act
2 is he remembers the top five and calls them. Act 3
is him getting together with all five and finding out
his memory was wrong in every instance. Story's over
halfway into the film. From there on out -- Jack Black
starting a band, Cusack representing the skateboard
kids's band, etc. -- is all padding. Anyway, I think
making a short version of your film as a sales tool
is a good idea. It worked for "Evil Dead,"
"Thou Shalt Not Kill...Excpet" and "Blood
academy is never a good gauge of quality.
the way Eric, "without" is one word and you
used "your" it should be "you're."
Did you graduate from high school yet?
Academy used to be a good guage of quality, back when
there were quality films to choose from. Frequently,
they actually did choose the best film of the year,
like "Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Lawrence
of Arabia." Now, there's nothing to choose between.
Also, picking on people's spelling and grammer on the
internet seems like a truly lost cause.
am sorry but I just have to but in about this whole
Traffic thing. Traffic has to be one of the most boring
and pointless, less effective films of 2000. I mean
come on here, fellows, does every damn film that is
a popular feature has to be labeled a genuine film?
Josh, I think you have said this yourself if I am not
mistaken. I am not sure what you said exactly but I
recall you saying something like, "Films that are
like Gladiator, Traffic and Almost Famous are like Britney
Spears, Christina Aguilera and Ricky Martin." Yeah,
you did mention that in your "A Lesson Form"
essay. I mean, I saw "Fast And The Furious",
"The Matrix" and so many other films that
people think are wonderful. I have to argue this whenever
someone says that. That is not good taste. People that
do not know of filmmaking or atleast good taste should
just but out with their opinions. Though, they have
a right to their own opinions, there is times when they
just have to stop because then they take it way too
far. Now, I will admit I can mention some films that
I like that you or others may not. But the films that
I can very well mention are not over-popular, but liked.
There is a difference, I think. Traffic won an award,
right? Wow, that is a great accomplishment. But just
because of that, are we as viewers sussposed to like
the film? No, that is insane.
not to get off the subject, I needed to ask you a question.
Alright then, Josh, who do you call good actors and
good actresses these days? I personally love Robert
DeNiro. I think he is amazing. As an actress, I am stuck
between comparisons. What do you think of when you hear
of good actors and actresses?
how can I get ahold of producers?
Thanks for your time, you have always been helpful.
a whole book of producers and their addresses available
at the book store, which I have, but it's packed and
I can't get at it to give you the information. The same
company has a book on distributors and agents. I know
they have it at Midnight Special Bookstore here in Santa
Monica (310 393-2923). I also think that Robert DeNiro
is a fine actor, although he hasn't been in a good film
in a long time. No one has. There's other good actors
out there, I just can't think of them. I keep thinking
about Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier in "Pride
wasn't saying that the more money a film makes the better
it is, hell Pearl Harbour made over 150 mill and it's
pure fluff and computer effects. But the difference
between the Harbour and Traffic is that PH wasn't made
to tell a good story it was made to bring in the bucks,
while Traffic was made to both entertain (most of us
at least) as well as inform the audience about the world
of drug trafficing and how it effects many different
people in many different ways. And just to point out
most of my favorite movies weren't blockbusters, hell
I haven't even seen Titanic and I don't plan on ever
doing so. I'm not a Spielberg fan at all, I have no
respect for mr. Lucas after Episode one, I hate movies
the relie on computer fx, I prefer small movies that
focus more on telling an interesting story (often in
a interesting way) that most people many never hear
about, (example: Running Time). Now that I think about
it, have you seen Memento yet? If not you should, it's
a great film, but I'll bet $100 that you hate it, even
though it's one of the best films to come around in
a while. If you hate films so much why are you even
in the business? Maybe you should sell furnature or
something instead. JK. I'm not trying to start a fued
or anything, but mnore like a debate I guess. One more
thing, after watching Running Time a few times I kinda
think that you're a better director than you are a writer,
it was your directing that made RT work (Along with
Bruce Campbell's great acting). So well once again I
wish you the best of luck in your career and hope a
film finally will come out that you don't hate. C-ya
is it that you want to debate? That I'm a better director
than I am a writer? Stop throwing out generalities.
You obviously read my review of "Traffic"
and I think I made my points rather clearly. So far,
you haven't made one clear point in return as to why
you like the stupid movie. Think about what you're saying,
don't just push keys on the keyboard. You want to start
a debate, then defend your position.
was just checking out your review of "Traffic"
and I must say, it put a grin on my face. I mean in
your review you call the screenplay for "Traffic"
"WRONG" because it doesn't follow what you
believe makes a good filmscript. That's funny because
it seems like the theatre going audince thought it was
RIGHT, there's over 100 million pieces of proof. And
it also seems like the Academy thought that the screenplay
was RIGHT when the script won best adapted Screenplay
last year. So I guess all these people are WRONG. Oh,
by the way, how many Oscars have you won? When was the
last time you watched a movie with out a critical POV?
When was the last time you just let yourself fall in
to the movie and just let yourself forget about the
out side world and everything else. I must say that
I own a copy of Running Time and I enjoyed it a fair
bit (but I love everything your old pal Bruce does)so
I understand that you do have a good idea of what your
talking about but in this case I'm gonna have say that
you're WRONG about TRAFFIC. No hard feelings, and I
wish you good luck with your next film.
allowed to like anything you want, as am I. If making
money is the whole criteria, then "Titanic"
is the best movie ever made. Since I've really hated
most of the big money-makers of the past 20 years, how
much a film grosses doesn't mean much to me. As far
as well-told stories go, "Traffic" isn't one
of them. You like it, God Bless you. By my standards,
it was inept shit.
Josh Becker Fan 2001
read most of your essay's and what not. I am a fan of
most of your reviews on feature films. But I am kinda
waiting for the next review that bashes an insanely
stupid film. Anyway, I read one of your essay's and
it was on how you like making short films. I am wondering
how it gets done. Do you write a short screenplay for
the film? If so, then how long does a short does it
have to be in order for it to be a short film? Or do
you just make a story and adlib the rest? I know for
Strykers War, you wrote the screenplay for it. But for
the rest of them, did you write anything for them? And
how long do they need to be? or how long was yours?
JB Fan 2001:
the short films I ever made had scripts, just like feature
films. Many of my short films were written with Scott
Spiegel. It works the same way as a feature -- you get
an idea, write a script, then make the film. The nice
thing with shorts is that it takes a lot less time and
money. By Academy rules, a film is a short up to 59
minutes, and is a feature at 60 minutes and over.
E-mail: upon request
you've moved to an out of the way, quiet spot, eh?
Do you realize what this means?...
you can now adopt cats again! haHAH!
here's what I want you to do (bossy, aren't I?): take
a day soon and visit a local shelter, and pick out two
sibling kittens. You won't regret it! Plus, they'll
be a hit with Bruce's kids visiting, and the ladies!
I'd love to read another essay of yours about their
antics those first few months.
Fans here could submit name suggestions:
Hammer and Gabby, or
Joxer and Doobie!
of doobies, did you hear about Switzerland considering
definitely going to get cats, a boy and a girl. I was
thinking of possibly naming them Jack and Diane, but
we'll see. yes, I heard about Switzerland. Also, the
U.K., Belgium, and Jamaica are close, too. As well as
New Zealand. Once we get rid of the terrorists and open
all the coffeeshops it will be a much better world.
You're right. I was unkind with Doris. I like very much
his movies. My mistake was quoting the press who did
talk about these movies like innofensive movies. Sorry,
the press don't watch movies. They lose'm. :)
I like Doris Day, and when she was young, she was sexy.
As Groucho Marx once said, "I've been Hollywood
so long, I've been here since before Doris Day was a
virgin." For me, in say 1949, the biggest babes
in movies were Janet Leigh and Doris Day. I also like
Jeanne Crain from that time. Let's not forget the very
young Marylin Monroe, either, who was just starting
Michael Anthony Lee
wondering of you ever read any books by Stephen King.
If so, what do you think of his style, and what do you
think of the often shitty films based on those books?
Do you like any of them besides Carrie?
was an early Stephen King fan, from "Carrie,"
his first book, up to "Christine," that ridiculous
piece of crap about a haunted car. That was probably
1981 or 1982, and I haven't been interested ever since.
As far as movies made from his books, the best by far
is "Carrie," then "The Shawshank Redemption."
"Misery" and "The Dead Zone" were
I were in the Oregon wilderness, too. Big cities certainly
lost their charm in a big hurry, didn't they? Of course,
that was assuming they had any charm in the first place.
couple of things: First of all, adding to the answer
about how one qualifies for Academy membership (as in
"The Academy Awards"), all nominees automatically
become members, which is why the Academy's actors branch
is the largest (up to 20 new members every year based
on nominations alone). And, of course, the "Water
Buffalo" way in (being sponsored by some old crony
friends)is still very viable (thank you for that description
-- I certainly needed the laugh!!). You just have to
meet certain minimum requirements -- X number of years
in your particular line of work, credits on X number
of films, etc.
into the TV Academy (as in "The Emmys," which
we'll probably never see at this rate [just as well!])
is laughably easier. You only have to be in the industry
about three years, get three people who are current
members to sponsor you, have your name on X number of
productions (which can include national commercials,
I believe). The TV Academy is just huge; they must make
a lot of income on those dues.
just think of all the free videocassettes you get at
awards nomination time when you're a member of either
academy! Oh, joy, oh, rapture. Amaze your friends! Acquire
enough reusable tape to capture every moment of the
playoffs in your favorite professional sport!
Time to complain about two "film" related
items that are really pissin' me off. First is the hideous
practice from those guardians of P.C. at the studios
who are rushing to the editing room with all their films
set in New York to CGI-out all glimpses of the late
Twin Towers. For heaven's sake! They existed, they were
stately, they said "New York" for over 30
years; I had been visiting in New York for two weeks
ending on September 8th, and the Towers were both a
landmark and a work of steel-and-glass beauty. Even
in their simplicity -- two straight, tall buildings,
no frills -- they were really graceful. But now, if
you go to a movie, you wouldn't be able to see that
they ever were there. Does this mean that someone will
go back to the master of "Casablanca" and
CGI-out Humphrey Bogart because he's dead? OK, I'm ranting,
but I'm really angry that the censorship police are
deciding that it would make us all sad to see the World
Trade Center again. It makes me sad NOT to see it! To
erase the towers from movies. . . well, just because
they were erased from the skyline doesn't mean they
should be erased from our memories. If you ask me. Although,
of course, there was that amazing trailer for "Spider-man,"
where the Twin Towers were the "punch line"
-- OK, maybe that would have been too painful to see
again. . . but now, 4 weeks later. . . I think I'd really
like to see images of the buildings again, remember
them in all their urban glory. Before they were on fire,
and dying. (*Those* pictures, I've seen enough times,
do you think?
rant, somewhat related: I am just furious about how
many businesses have jumped on the bandwagon and found
ways to hitch buying their stinkin' products to some
sense of patriotism. Both Ford and Chevy have commercials
that basically say, "Gee, we're big American companies,
come buy a car to make America strong." And the
broadcast networks have put the stars and stripes into
their "bug" logos in the lower right corner
to show how patriotic it is to watch the "Law &
Order SVU" people catch some rapist, or watch the
doofuses of "The Amazing Race" remind people
around the globe how obnoxious Americans can be. I mean,
are people really falling for these cases of fake patriotism?
Do you want to go out and buy AT&T Wireless services
because their commercials list the main streets of the
cities afflicted by the terrorist attacks while a heavenly
choir "oohs" and "aahs"?
how fast some people are cashing in on this no-win situation.
But, I guess that is balanced by the huge number of
people who are really giving of themselves to provide
aid for the families of those killed by these hideously
hateful and misguided acts of murder. I must admit,
I'm genuinely moved by the number of people who have
been so kind and so generous in finding ways to help
financially or with emotional support.
thanks for the opportunity to voice my frustration.
I really think that film and television can be really
important right now, both to help us to forget our worries
for a while -- just as there were some really great
films during World War II -- and to inform us -- there
were newsreels, and also propaganda of course, during
WW2 -- and since we're all "film geeks" here,
I hope we keep looking for -- demanding! -- really good
films, with really entertaining stories and real characters
(and firm structure!), and really well-made and balanced
documentaries (on film or TV or cable), no matter what
is "politcally correct" at the moment.
well and be kind, everyone,
like that Ford and Chevy in their lame attempt to be
patriotic are saying, "buy now with no interest,"
then you look at the small print and that's until Oct.
31. Big stinkin' deal! Of course, I don't give a shit
about P.C. at all. Thanks for the detailed descriptions
of getting into the motion picture and TV academies.
news (the rumors) here in Argentina are that a new age
of sissy movies or "white comedies" or "Doris
Day movies" are coming to the USA cinema... Is
that true? Has you thinking about the item? By the way,
I would like see new reviews or articles, I like a lot
Fabio (from a rainy Buenos Aires)
talking about a business that's had absolutely no idea
what it was doing for years, always trying to appeal
to the lowest common demoninator, gearing all their
films for eight-year-olds. Sadly, a single big tragedy
is not enough to straighten these folks out as to what
is a good story. There is still the belief that everything
must be put through a big committee until it's inoffensive
to everybody, and therefore uninteresting to everybody
as well. I think you're being unkind to Doris Day, who
made a number of very good films, like: "Young
Man With a Horn," "Storm Warning," "Love
Me or Leave Me," "The Man Who Knew Too Much,"
"The Pajama Game," "Teacher's Pet,"
"Pillow Talk," and "The Thrill of It
All." Hollywood only wishes it could make movies
that good now.
Tobe Hooper (I think that's his name) done any good
films since "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"?
I saw on of his other films, recently (something about
an annoying kid who has aliens land in his backyard),
and thought it was beyond awfull. Annoying characters,
stupid story, and generally un-interesting and pathetic.
Either way, can you recommend some real good, nail-biting
as always, for your time.
only other watchable film Tobe Hooper ever made was
"Poltergeist," which is really a Spielberg
film (apparently Hooper freaked out and Spielberg took
over), and isn't nearly as good as TCM. Otherwise, all
his films are indeed "beyond awful." Here
are my favorite horror films:
1. Rosemary's Baby
5. Dead of Night (1945)
6. The Body Snatcher (1945)
7. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
8. The Tenant
10. Frankenstein (1931)
11. The Bride of Frankenstein
was wondering if you could help me get a shot. I have
been trying to get a shot of a man looking in a mirror
dead on and haven't found a way to do this with out
being able to see the camera. Any tips?
have to be at a slight angle, not straight on. It's
really no big deal.
just want to say that you write the best screenplasy
I'm proud of my screenplasys.
UP J dAWG!
your advice on becoming an independent director? Where
does one start? Also, what's your opinon on Woody Allen?
I think he's horrrrible! I hate how every1 in hollywood
is scared of him and kisses his ass. PEACE OUT...
up with a good story that's about people in average
places, like the locations you can get for free, and
make sure you write a decent script. Then borrow money
from everyone you know (and everyone they know), and
make your movie. If you actually write a decent script,
meaning well-structured, with believable characters,
and, God willing, a point, you'll be miles ahead of
everybody else. Regarding Woody Allen, I was a big fan
from the beginning of his career up to "Annie Hall."
However, once he won his Oscars, he has not only become
dull and pretentious, he's lost the basis of his humor,
which was based on him being a little ugly creep. The
last thing on earth I want to see is Woody Allen with
Elizabeth Shue, Barbra Hershey, or Charlize Theron.
My favorite film of his is "Love & Death."
couple of questions for ya:
you ever had to settle for a performance from an actor
that was either below the standards you set for your
work or simply them not using their full potential?
(I think I could've worded that a little better, but
oh well) I figure that trying to get better performances
out of actors is probably a fairly common situation,
but how often, if ever, is it a good idea just to forget
it and move on?
what do you think of Christopher Guest's work, either
as an actor or a director?
I have had actors that turned out to not be very good.
Ultimately, I myself must take the responsibility since
I cast them in the part. Sadly, the way movies and TV
are shot, it's nearly impossible to replace an actor
once you've begun shooting with them because you'd then
have to reshoot all their footage, and no one is either
willing or can afford to spend the money. You simply
have to bite the bullet and live with it. Sometimes
you end up having another actor replace all their dialog,
something I did in my last film. I like Christopher
Guest a lot in "This is Spinal Tap." I didn't
like "Waiting for Guffman" at all. I found
it demeaning and stupid. I haven't seen "Best of
Dear Dr. Becker,
just saw "Moby Dick" (the one with Gregory
Peck) for the 1st time since I was a kid, and really
enjoyed it. I noticed it wasn't on your "favorite
films" list, and was wondering if you'd seen it,
and if so, what you didn't/did like about it.
for time (as always).
seen it several times. It's a pretty stiff adaptation,
Richard Basehart is an old Ishmael, Gregory Peck is
overacting throughout and seems kind of silly as Ahab,
and the whale is just fake. The screenplay, BTW, was
by a very young Ray Bradbury. Although Huston's film
is far superior, there are some interesting things in
the 1926 version called "The Sea Beast" with
John Barrymore. There's also a 1930 version, called
"Moby Dick," also with John Barrymore. Both
older versions have a pointless love story with Ahab,
but some cool rear-screen while chasing the whale, and
Barrymore makes a good Ahab.
just have to start with thanking you on how great you
did Running Time. It is the most well structured film
I have seen in a long time. "Nick Of Time"
starring Johnny Depp was in real time and it failed
with a dozen of mistakes. With your film, INDEPENDENT
MAY I ADD, had only one mistake in the whole film. The
movie is the terrific and so are you for making it.
I just thought you should know that.
have a question that I know you could help me. I have
a story that I wrote down last night before I went to
bed. The story has a strange nod to it and I am working
it to have an unexpecting plot twist at the end of the
script when I am done writing it. I just need to know
what to do in terms of building to that plot twist.
I know it sounds stupid but I am a first time filmmaker
and I need all the help I can get. Plus, since this
story, I think, is pretty interesting and has never
been done I am wondering if you can give me some tips
on how to start the story or what I would do to start
the story. Thanks
my structure essays, all
available right here. Once you've digested that information,
then try outlining your story and figuring out where
your act breaks are.
5, 1902: Larry Fine's Birthday!!! Have a very Larry
at the bear trap)"What's that thing for?"
LARRY:"Never can tell, we might meet up with a
MOE:"Yeah...meet my bare hand"
for the info. It's good to know. Happy birthday to Larry
Fine. When I was a kid out local Detroit movie host,
Bill Kennedy, called Larry at the Motion Picture Home
in Woodland Hills and interviewed Larry. He asked, didn't
you guys get hurt doing those crazy stunts? Larry replied,
"Oh, sure, you gotta get hurt. But the pain went
away on payday."
seem to recall you wrote (and sold?) a script called
Cycles about a motorcycle gang. Well, I'm sure you'll
be pleased to hear that, according to the Coming Attraction
website, "Tony Scott (Top Gun) is attached to direct
a movie about the origin of the Hell's Angels motorcycle
gang." Can't wait for that one, eh? I do wonder
if that might spark interest in your script though.
knows, it might even be my script. Phil Kaufman was
attached to it for a while.
Dear Mr. Becker:
last wrote to you a long time ago. You wouldn't remember
but I was the guy who requested a text-only version
of the Fav Film list. I'm writing because I watched
The Tenant by Roman Polanski and I liked it alot, pretty
damn creepy. I'm not sure that I understood it entirely.
Was all the stuff that happened in the movie a psychic
vision by the girl dying in the bed? Did this film strike
you as being too long? Maybe it's been awhile since
you saw it so if you don't recall that's understandable.
seen "The Tenant" many, many times, and I'm
quite familiar with it. I don't think it's all a psychic
vision of the girl, nor did I find it too long. It has
images in it, like the hieroglyphics in the bathroom,
and the tooth in the the hole in the wall, that have
really stuck with me for 25 years. Great photography,
too, by Sven Nykvist.
finding this site a few months ago, reading a lot of
what you had to say then going away again and watching
a lot of films, i have to agree with your shit and steak
theory (saving private ryan review, even though i like
that film). It's almost like audiences are being told
what to like, and just obeying orders.
i have Savior on video and was glad you didn't rip the
piss out of that one because it really is a good film
that is easy to watch. (although when you rip the piss
it is quite funny)
to last question, Saving private Ryan is a film i really
like, what was it about the film that you didn't like?
I'm not a huge fan of Spielberg or anything but i enjoyed
the film, and my Grandad who was in WW2 said it was
the most true to life film he had seen of the war. I
think he meant in terms of how it looked/how they fought
etc though, because i know its a fictisious (spelling?)
last, i'm writing at the moment a screen play that is
about something i know very well. I'm very much drawing
on my own experience, real people and real events but
obviously expanding them to make them interesting (or
so goes the theory). What i want to know is how can
i avoid making it sound too much like real life, in
other words useless boring chit chat between characters.
I find myself re creating conversations i have had with
these people and adding little in jokes and i know that
you read my review of "Saving Private Ryan"
then you know why I don't like it. Beyond its idiotic
premise and lying structure, it has dull, flat characters,
just like "Band of Brothers." If you don't
care about the characters, then who cares when they
get killed? Regarding your script, there's nothing wrong
with basing your story on real life, but you must still
use dramatic structure. Therefore, first figure out
the act ends -- what in act 1 is causing the lead character
to arrive at a point of no return at the end of the
act, and also what's causing them to get to another
point of no return at the end of the second act? Also,
if you have a theme, then no one will be making idle
chit-chat, everything will relate to and reinforce your
theme. Good luck, young man. Also, good spelling and
punctuation won't hurt.
do hope that even though you have moved to Oregan that
you still plan to make films. Do you plan on making
Oregan your home? Or do you eventually plan to move
back to Michigan where your family is? Whatever you
do, best of luck to you. :-)
I'll never be moving back to Michigan. I don't know
that I'll spend the rest of my life in Oregon, but I
may. I am a filmmaker and where I live has no impact
on that. It's not like an independent filmmaker gets
any support at all by living in LA. In fact, the post
houses and film facilities here don't even like indie
on the new home.
classical music in 2001 was not the original concept.
I pulled htis from a 2001 review to explain since I'm
too lazy to write it out myself.
Kubrick originally commissioned an original score from
Alex North, he used classical recordings as a temporary
track while editing the film, and they worked so well
that he kept them. This was a crucial decision. North's
score, which is available on a recording, is a good
job of film composition, but would have been wrong for
``2001'' because, like all scores, it attempts to underline
the action--to give us emotional cues."
hey look I even posted my email address, so use it don't
abuse it you internet people.
are absolutely correct about the Alex North score. What
I meant was, those were Kubrick's first choices of classical
music and I don't believe he ever had any music by Pink
Floyd (certainly not "Echoes" which hadn't
come yet). I'll delete your email address.
simple question for you this time.
you directed many Xena episodes and I assume spentmuch
time on set with Lucy and Renee...were Lucy and/or Renee
ever smokers, and if so did either quit before the end
of the show?
one is a smoker. I am, though.
finally found a copy of "Running Time" on
VHS in a record store up here in the Great White North.
I've watched it a couple of times so far, and I think
you made a really cool movie.
gave the best dramatic performance I've ever seen him
give, the guy who played the junkie (can't recall his
name off-hand) was outstanding, and JOe LoDuca's score,
especially the sparse guitar "love theme"
at the end, was great as usual.
couple of questions:
was the blood on the camera during the getaway scene
intentional? Second, which part did you offer Ted Raimi?
And regarding the score, do you have any idea what sort
of equipment Mr. LoDuca used?
a good one,
blood on the lens was only intentional to the level
that after we'd shot the scene a few times I was unimpressed
with the blood squib, so I asked the pyro guy to give
me the biggest squib he had. He said, "It'll be
like he's being shot with a 12-gauge shotgun."
I said, "Right. That's what I want." And when
it blew it sprayed everything in the vicinity, including
the lens. Meanwhile, Joe LoDuca has the most advanced
music studio on the planet Earth. The main instruments
of the RT score are electric guitar and bass guitar,
with a bunch of synthesizer overlays.
E-mail: upon request
oh man, is today ever going slow here in PA. My mind
is a-wandering. Figured I would hop over to your site
and toss out a few of those extra Soul Possession questions
I never got around to asking.
you really film Smith catching Lucy in the lava pit
scene? Now, the close-up seems like it was that trick
where Kevin was already holding Lucy, and when you yell
"action", he hoists her up a bit so that in
editing, you make it appear as though her body weight
was just falling into his arms (I think I also caught
that trick when they materialize in the woods afterword
and he puts her down) ...but that shot farther away,
damn if that wasn't someone outright catching her, from
like 7 ft. up or more! Second unit with stunt peeps?
you have the camera on tracks in the interrogation scene
in the woods, after he puts her down, or did the camera
man have a steady cam? I kept thinking -How did the
camera guy avoid bonking into a tree while filming that?
It looked so crowded with pole sized trees. Anyway,
it was cool they way it seemed to circle around them
as Xena herself was circling Ares, she unfolding the
scheme and Ares playing his last card.
I'm just looking through my shipper goggles, but during
the vows-exchange scene, Lucy plays Xena with a troubled,
sad face, and then when Ares says "Yes, yes I do",
there's a reaction shot of her face, a wee bit softer,
torn, conflicted there for a second. Did you direct
her to do that, or was it just something Lucy put in
there some sort of cricket plague going on at the time
of filming the outdoor scenes?
crap- I gotta get back to work.
summer the cicadas go crazy in the woods in NZ and ruin
all the sound. The same thing occurred on my ep "Blind
Faith." As far as Xena dropping into Kevin's arms,
the big drop was a stunt girl on a wire, then it cuts
in to Lucy for the final second. The camera was on a
Steadi-cam for the entire scene in the woods. Lucy's
reactions were entirely her own.
you know Alex North was first hired to score 2001? He
actually went to the premiere thinking his music was
in it. Kubrick never told him he ditched the score.
Anyway just wondering if you've heard it. I heard it
a few years ago, I recall it being good, but couldn't
really imagine the film any other way.
Okay. I just forgot. You guys are real movie geeks and
I admire you, and I'd have corrected me the same way.
Cynthia E. Jones
how's it going in Los Angeles? Is everyone being nicer
to each other now that the Trade Centers are down? Or
is everyone just back to their same LA-jerk-type selves?
Or have you been hiding in your apartment so you wouldn't
here's my question, completely un-related to anything
except a "2001" mention a while ago: Have
you ever watched the final "To Jupiter and Beyond"
sequence while listening to Pink Floyd's "Echoes?"
Apparently, the music was chosen by Kubrick to be the
score, but he replaced it in the final edit. It works
perfectly, all the way up to the "star baby"
part and the fade to black. And...it's exactly 23 minutes.
have a great day.
I'm moving back to California. New York is too scary
actually in Oregon where I've just rented a place in
the woods to hide, right up the road from my good buddy
Bruce Campbell. I'm heading back to LA today, but that's
just to pack up and split. Meanwhile, I've never heard
that about "Echoes" and "2001,"
but I may try it since I have both. It would have been
difficult for Kubrick to have had it mind for the film,
however, since the movie came out several years before
the record. I really do believe we're getting Kubrick's
first choices on music in "2001."
dumb question here, but should be an easy one for you
to answer since you directed Xena's every season and
I assume you had read-through's for each of those episodes
and got to see Renee out of costume/make-up for each
of your episodes.
question is this. As someone who watched Xena each season,
it seemed in Season one Renee looked like a teenager
and in later seasons her look totally changed and she
grew up to look her normal age.
know they do many things with make-up, so I was wondering,
did Renee's actual look change in those 6 years as much
as the character, or did the make-up people account
for much of the change? For example, in Season 1, did
Renee(as herself) look as young as her character actually
appeared on screen, or did the make-up crew try and
make her look younger than her actual age?
was really young when the show started. She's
still really young as far as I'm concerned. Her outfit
and hair style were changed several times over the years,
which is what I think you're referring to. Otherwise,
it's just and issue of going from about 22 years old
to 28 years old, just like everybody else.
u believe in each person to their own??
I'm against it. Each person to my own.
just finished reading your essay "Reduced Expectations"
and was surprised that you knew of Frank Miller and
"The Dark Knight Returns," because you've
said before you weren't into comics. There's a new movie
coming out based on Miller's "Batman: Year One"
that is co-written by Frank Miller and Pi's Darren Aronofsky,
but Joel Schumacher is still directing! Okay, I don't
know what to expect when Aronofsky writes for a franchise,
but when you know that either one of the writers could
do a better directing job than Schumacher, the guy who
bombed the last movie, why are they still hiring Schumaker?
I don't know here, I hope that it turns out good, but
Aronofsky or not, it's still a franchise picture and
all it would take is horrible direction/editing to kill
any news on your book yet?
met Frank Miller and his wife and had a very nice time
talking with them at a dinner party. Sadly, however,
with Schumacher directing you can write it off. It will
be shit; you know it and I know it. I spoke with the
publisher in LA and he sent my book off to NY, where
"it's being looked at." We'll see . . .
for getting the word out quickly about the Sam impersonator.
I've also heard that some girl has been claiming that
she met Sam in a chat room and then he called her up
and talked to her. After checking some more, I want
everyone to know - and spread the word - that is also
bogus. You can count on this: Sam is not going to chat
rooms and meeting fans and calling them on the phone
to talk. Apparently some sickos are getting a thrill
out of either pretending to be Sam or pretending to
know him. People might want to be careful about who
and what they believe.
a happier note, Andrea spoke very highly of "If
I Had a Hammer," Josh. And she's not an easy one
to please when it comes to movies. She showed me a photo
of you at the screening in Detroit and made me wish
I'd been there to see the film.
only film of yours I've seen so far is Lunatics. I guess
I'm not much of a movie geek. I just watch 'em, I don't
get into making them. If my life depended on it, I couldn't
tell the difference between great acting and great directing
- but I know what I like when I see it. And I did enjoy
Lunatics because it was fun and interesting and made
me laugh - repeatedly.
how DO you tell the difference between a film that is
brilliantly directed vs a film that has great acting
talent but ineffective directing? Can you give examples
of each scenario?
(PS: I changed my email because that other service has
been down a lot lately. I posted before as email@example.com.
Didn't mean to confuse anyone.)
certainly don't like being suckered, that's for sure.
Regarding well-directed films, if a film has consistently
good acting, it's well-directed. Actors don't often
get there on their own; certainly not a whole cast.
Another way to tell a well-directed movie is that you
never feel lost. You always know where you are and where
the characters are. Anytime you are forced out of the
drama due to excessively shaky camerawork, too-fast
editing, or weird angles that don't help the scene,
that's bad direction.
there. As a regular visitor I respect that you take
the time to reply to all kinds of email, even stuff
that is critical of you. But maybe you could filter
out some of the obvious nonsense and save yourself some
time and aggravation. That's just my humble opinion.
enough of my rambling here's my question: How are people
chosen to become a member of the Motion Picture Academy
(the folks who vote for the Oscars)? If you win an Oscar
do you automatically become a voting member? Just curious.
like a fraternal order (like the Waterbuffaloes),you
have to ask to join, then other members have to sign
your form. Something like that. It's mainly older, retired
member of the film community.
just got done watching Memento for the fourth time and
I just rented it yesterday. Damn, it's good. When it
comes on cable or something, you just have to check
it out. I don't think you'd be displeased.
was just going to ask you two quick questions. One,
how you think of your ideas for scripts? Two, I am going
to make my first film and I am clueless on how to get
it budgeted? What would you do?
ideas come from all over the place, there's no one way,
at least not for me. As I mentioned before, reading
history frequently fires my imagination. I have several
historical dramas I'm thinking of writing right now,
all based on cool, little known pieces of history. As
for budgeting, you ought to buy yourself a book on the
subject, and there are several I've seen. Basically,
though, a budget is done after you've done a script
break-down, which will tell you what locations you need,
props, actors, vehicles, special effects, etc. Until
you have that you can't do a real budget. As a little
note, it's not rational to schedule more than seven
script pages a day during shooting. Five would be better.