Q & A    Archive
Page 51

Name: David
E-mail: david@duustdevil.com

Josh

If you really want to stretch it, M*A*S*H was a pretty good "training for a football game" movie, but like I said, calling it a football movie might be a stretch.
Anyway, here's my question: Have you ever read any of Douglas Adams' books, The Hitchhiker's series or Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective agency? I just read about Adams and it turns out he hated writing, it's just what he got famous for in Britain and he had to pay the bills, so he kept doing it. Incedentally, Orson Welles originally wanted to be a painter, but didn't feel he was good enough at it, so he went to theater.

David

Dear David:

M*A*S*H isn't a "training for a football game" movie. It's a war film about army medics with a football game in it. Douglas Adams seems like horseshit to me. He's a half-assed Vonnegut wannabe. And his stuff seems like it was written by someone who doesn't like to write; it's insipid. Regarding Orson Welles, you're talking about an eighteen year old. He went into theater when he was nineteen, and had five hits running in New York at the same time within a couple of years.

Josh

Name: Shira Parker
E-mail: Don't Have One Yet

Dear Josh,

Regarding your response to Nasty Boy...Wow! There's a sequel to TSNKE!! That is great. Why was there no call for it? Why not? Hell, TSNKE needs a sequel. It can't be over!!! I am not telling you what to do or anything but me and my friends were talking about how awesome it would be if there was a sequel. Since it was never made, can you fill your fans in on what was it about?

Dear Shira:

I'll have to dig it out and read it. I actually can't remember the plot. Those brains cells have fried in the past fifteen years. All my crap's in boxes at the moment.

Josh

Name: Derek
E-mail: Roachcity2000@aol.com

Dear Josh,

What are your thoughts on Denzel Washington's acting in Remember The Titans?

Dear Derek:

Denzel seems like a fine actor who seems to be very sincere. I don't think he was ever better than he was in "Glory," though. Since then he hasn't gotten very good parts and has basically been on cruise control. I didn't make it through "Titans," however, as it seemed like a giant pile of cliches that was getting taller by the second. Training for a football game just bores me. In fact, the only football movie I've ever liked was "North Dallas Forty," which I think holds up quite well. But it's an anti-football movie, which is why I guess I like it.

Josh

Name: Nasty Boy
E-mail: nAsTyBoY128@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

I was just reading your essay's on your films. Mostly I was reading over TSNKE. I know the script title was Bloodbath and the other was Stryker's War and then Sgt. Stryker's War. Were there any other names?

Dear Nasty Boy:

There were five titles in total: "Bloodbath," "Stryker's War," Sgt. Stryker's War," "Armed Force," and finally, "Thou Shalt Not Kill . . . Except." I also wrote a sequel called "Jackson's War," but there was no call for it.

Josh

Name: Alan Kelly
E-mail: psycho2000_ie@yahoo

Dear Josh:

Hey, i was a big fan of XWP since the Hercules ep "the warrior princess" i've just completed a screenplay, a two part gabrielle story in the land of the pharoahs, which see's Lao ma and pao su return, Eve/livia/callisto also return, but who could i talk to about this? my style of writing and characterisation far surpasses that of Melissa Good's, which i thought was poor by every definition of the term!

Dear Alan:

There's no one to talk to. No one wants to make a Xena feature at this late date. Perhaps it might have occurred in the second season, but not now after the show was canceled. Try writing an original screenplay.

Josh

Name: Wendy Woods
E-mail: wendy.woods@warnerbros.com

Dear Josh:

"99-Cent Stores"


What a wonderfully funny story. I'm only sorry it wasn't a whole book. Out of those stores, I have bought more junk, more shit, more useless gimcracks, doodads and cleaning products, I've become an embarrassment to my family. But I absolutely cannot resist returning again and again and again, expecting a different outcome, a workable product, a better day.

And speaking of better days, you made mine!

Wendy Woods
Warner Bros. Legal Dept.
Burbank, CA

Dear Wendy:

Thanks. Now, without looking in a book, can you name the four Warner brothers? I have been hitting Warner's employees with this question since I got to Hollywood in 1976 and never met one who could answer it. I had a pitch meeting there once and asked an older secretary which office had belonged to Darryl Zanuck? She looked at me with dripping disdain and said, "Darryl Zanuck was at 20th Century Fox, not at Warner Brothers." I replied in my smart-ass way, "No, he was head of production at Warners from 1929 to 1935." She reached for a book of the history of Warner Brothers and shook her head, "No, he wasn't." She looked in the book and of course I was right, although she didn't apologize.

Josh

Name: Cynthia E. Jones
E-mail: cynthiaejones@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Hey there. Uh, regarding "Brain Donors," the John Turturro/Mel Smith comedy party, it's actually nothing like the Stooges at all. It was marketed that way. What it is, in fact, is a Marx Brothers movie, with Turturro in the Groucho role, and Mel Smith and Bob Nelson as Groucho and Chico, respectively. There's even a matron exactly like Margaret DuMont named Lillian Oglethorpe played by an actress named Nancy Marchand. It's essentially a remake of "Night at the Opera," but with ballet instead.

Not that I'm recommending it, exactly, just that I was happier with the pseudo-Marx Brothers comedy than I would have been with a pseudo-Three Stooges comedy. Clever writing, but nothing you haven't seen in the 30s.

I caught part of Gus Van Sant's remake of "Psycho" the other night at a friend's house. That was weird. It seemed to serve no purpose. Ah, well. Shot-for-shot remakes--has anyone else ever made one?

thanks as always for your brain,

cindy

Dear Cindy:

There have been quite a few similar remakes over the course of time. The 1959 "Ben-Hur" is pretty close to the 1926 version; "The Dawn Patrol" was made in 1930 and again, similarly, in 1938; "The Maltese Falcon" was shot three times in ten years, 1930, 1936, and 1941, and the forgotten 1930 version is VERY similar to the classic 1941 Bogart version. This list could go on and on.

Josh

Name: Rick De Carlo
E-mail: itsrick2000@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

I sold my recent ones, the ones that actually seemed clear to me and ones that I revised and worked more than the other two. I have optioned them to Epic (I am not sure if you have heard of them) and they seemed to like them.

My indepdent film, the film in which me and my friends in my Production Complany worked very hard on has a premise in which I enjoyed writing a lot. The topic is about a bunch of nobody's who decide to become punks to lash out on society, goes on a rampage, etc. I do not know if you think the idea is asinine in anyway, shape or form but I nevertheless liked working the idea about different lifestyles.

Dear Rick:

Hey, it could be the next "A Clockwork Orange." I wish you all the luck in the world. As a little note, and I'm not trying to rain on your parade, optioning a script is not the same thing as selling a script. Nevertheless, you're making inroads and I congratulate you. Read my essay on theme and irony and see what you think. That's where the real writing comes in.

Josh

Name: Rick De Carlo
E-mail: itsrick2000@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

I have been meaning to ask you something. I have enjoyed your structure essays. Somehow, someway some of these screenwriters today need to check them out. You give good examples, too. Well, I have not went as far down the line as you but I have made one independent film and I have written five feature length screenplays including the screenplay for the film that I have made. I have sold two. The others, I am trying to get them pitched ASAP. I do not know if I am correct or not but I use a certain form and structure which follows writing the screenplay. I use this:

1) 3 Paragraphs. (on what the screenplay that I am writing is about)

2) Character Biographies.

3) Stretch the ending out. (form how the screenplay ends)

4) Stretch beginning out.

5) 1 Scene Per Index Card (Mostly 1-2 Sentences each)

Am I doing anything wrong? Do you do something a little bit similar like this or do you use something else? I would love to have your insight on my form? I am currently working on another screenplay and it did not seem that I have the premise worked out. Before I begin it, can you give me some additional tips?

Dear Rick:

If your system works for you then it's a good system. I never went in for the index cards myself. I simply like to write the whole thing out as a short story or, if you will, a long treatment. 10 to 14 pages, with the acts clearly delineated; 3-4 pages an act. If I can make it all function properly at that length, then I just write the first draft, basically expanding everything as I go. Which scripts have you sold and to whom, if I may ask? And what's your film about?

Josh

Name: Noelle
E-mail: terrabelle98@aol.com

Dear Josh,

A possible Lunatics DVD? That's good news for people like me who had to scramble just to get my hands on a worn out video store copy from ebay.

So of course there MUST be a commentary track with you and Ted--Bruce and Deborah too.

Then we'll need it to be letterboxed.

And then we'll need to see the lost footage and outakes and what ever else you have squirreled away.

Well that's it for my list of demands!

Later, Noelle

Dear Noelle:

Should this come to pass and I get to re-transfer the film, it will certainly be in a 1.85 letterbox, and I will definitely wrangle Bruce and Ted. I haven't seen or spoken with Debbie in years, however (she showed up to the RT premiere looking terrific, but I haven't seen here since). None of the extra footage exists anymore, though, so that won't be part of it. Sorry.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

A couple of questions for you...

1) Have you ever seen a movie called "Brain Donors"? If so, what did you think? If you haven't, it's a really traditional slapstick flick in the vein of the Three Stooges, so I figure you'd probably apreciate <sp?> it, even if you don't actually like it. John Turturro does his usual excellent job in it, too.

2) You're probably not the best person to ask this, but do you have any idea why Joe LoDuca didn't score "Crimewave"?

Hope life away from the big city is treating you well.

Cheers,
Lucas

Dear Lucas:

I haven't seen "Brain Donors," but it looked pretty awful when it was released. As to "Crimewave," the great minds at the long-defunct company Avco Embassy Pictures decided against Joe as too inexperienced and instead chose Arlon Ober, who has since disappeared off the face of the Earth. Ober's music was so lame, however, that Joe ended up replacing a bunch of it.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I think the movie that you and Diana are discussing is "Another Part of the Forest," in which Ann Blyth played the young Regina, who grew up to be the adult Bette Davis in "The Little Foxes." Both were Lillian Hellman plays originally, and I gather she wrote "Forest" as a sort of "prequel" after "Foxes" was so well-received, both on stage and screen.

So that brings me to a question - what are some stage plays that you think made a successful transition to the screen? I'm very fond of "Arsenic and Old Lace," although I would have loved to have seen Boris Karloff recreate his stage role as the murderous brother (I actually played that role in high school!) Others that come to mind are "Mr. Roberts," "Sleuth," and and "Twelve Angry Men." Also "His Girl Friday," although about 50% of that is not in the original "Fornt Page." Do you have some favorites?

Thanks,

August

Dear August:

Good work. Yes, it's "Another Part of the Forest." Regarding plays to movies, of which there have been many good ones, how about: "West Side Story," "The Sound of Music," "Cabaret," Olivier's "Hamlet," and let's not forget "Casablanca" which began it's life as the play "Everyone Comes to Rick's."

Josh

Name: Thessa De Kegel
E-mail: Thessa.dekegel@pi.be

Hi there,

I was just reading your papers and stuff. The one on PA got me laughing out loud. I met Ted last weekend in Holland and we were talking about goofy jobs on the set ('caus I did some too in the past) but he didn't tell me the cheese-story lol. Man if I only read this sooner! BTW love your site, it motivates and is fun to read.

Dear Thessa:

I'm glad you've enjoyed it. Ted can not be given enough shit for his work as PA.

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

I hope you're not getting bored of all these "Do you like this movie" questions. I guess we just respect your opinion.

I rented Brazil today and shut it off about half way through because I couldn't stand it anymore. Mike Palin and Robert De Niro are two of my favorite actors though...

Dear Will:

I like Palin and DeNiro, too. I also think Jonathan Pryce can be good as well, just not in a lead role. I love Palin's prayer in "The Meaning of Life"-- "Oh, God, you are so big, so absolutely huge. You're super. All we can say, God, is we're really impressed down here." I like "Holy Grail," it's just not one of my favs. I do love when they catapult a cow over the wall.

Josh

Name: evan
E-mail: evdoggand@aol.com

Dear Josh,

First i got to say that your opinions on the state of films today and screenwriting are right on, and I have enjoyed your essays. My question is, how do feel about disconjointed storytelling and flashbacks in film?, can it be done without screwing up story structure, or is it just distracting? Also, what do think of the directors Michael Mann, John Carpenter, and Wes Anderson?

Dear Evan:

You can do flashbacks as long as they are propelling the story, like "Citizen Kane," or a terrific example is "The Quiet Man," where John Wayne won't fight Victor McLaglen the whole movie, until Duke gets pushed and suddenly we're in a boxing ring, he wins, his arm is held up, then they realize the guy he just knocked out is dead. Okay, now we know why he wouldn't fight. Most of the time now, however, disjointed stories full of flashbacks are a lazy excuse to not tell a proper, decent story.

Josh

Name: Diana Hawkes
E-mail: upon request

Dear Josh:

Well, right, regarding GWTW, *YOU* know that, and *I* know that, but try telling *HIM* that. I can't talk cinema with that man. heheh

I chuckled at your mention of Sharon Stone's eyebrows, August actually mentioned that, and we compared eyebrow flourishes with Lucy's as Xena. Very true about the sillyness of the gun duels for money, yet I swallowed it, I suppose because it brought to my mind, A Fistful of Dollars (or For a Few Dollars More?) loosely, I took it as that homage thing. But its a pretty big thing to put aside, I know. (BTW-Gene Hackman's mansion and that whole town seemed to be the same set as AFoD!)

Your mention of Anne Blyth brings up a question that you're the perfect person to help me answer.
For about a year now I've been trying to remember the name of a film with Anne Blyth, as a wicked but seductive daughter in a post (pre?) Civil War story, that followed a family of self serving horrible schemers, using each other and anyone who came into their house, with the long suffering mother witnessing her family go down in flames, and at the end, the mother says something like,
"I don't have to like you all, and I don't."
I'm 99% sure it was Blyth in it, but maybe Gene Tierney.
Ring any bells?

Dear Diana:

But "A Fistful of Dollars" makes sense. Bad guys grab Clint, beat him up, shoot at his feet and make him dance, drag him around town behind a horse, etc. Then his eyebrow starts to twitch, and look out. Of course, the big shtick of Q&D in Stone's flashback, with Gary Sinise as her father, is ripped off of Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West" from Chas. Bronson's flashback. Regarding Ann Blyth, I know what you're talking about, but I can't remember it and don't have my books to check. It does sound like "The Little Foxes," though, although that's Theresa Wright.

Josh

Name: David
E-mail: david@dustdevil.com

Hey Josh,

I just visited FakeShemps.com and saw an animated intro that had a picture of you with long hair with a caption saying "Legalize Shemp." Pretty funny. Anyway, my question is: Each time you write a new draft of a script, are you just making changes to the existing file in your computer, or are you rewriting it in it's entirety for every draft?
Thanks,
David

Dear David:

I start a new file with each rewrite, like Lunatics.1, then Lunatics.2.

Josh

Name: Cynthia E. Jones
E-mail: cynthiaejones@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Hey, nice to see the world of movie geeks is still chugging along nicely. Just wanted to drop a note about "Brazil." I, too, saw it about 15 years ago and thought, "nice sets," and that was about it. I thought perhaps I was too young to understand it, and went back five years ago to give it another chance. Nope. Then my friend bought the snazzy DVD version. Still didn't do anything to me. And yet, so many movie magazines and people tell me of its brilliance. Is this one of those "Emperor's New Clothes" kind of things? Gilliam's big on style over substance.

It's really snowing here in New York, and I'm realizing why people live in California. Oh, wait, are you in Oregon now? I've lost track, been off line for too long. Anyway, have a great Halloween.

cindy

Dear Cindy:

Yes, "Brazil" is all flash and no substance. I deeply didn't care. I guess it's winter here in Oregon, or late fall, but it's gorgeous. I have a herd (a gaggle) of wild turkeys -- about 40 -- that circled my place for an hour this morning. Very cool.

Josh

Name: Stu Redman
E-mail: dont have one

Dear Josh,

I was pissed when I read the article, "Writing and Selling a Screenplay". It got me so mad that I wanted to punch my computer screen. How dare they not accept your script. "Cycles" is definetly one of the best scripts I have ever read. The script that is on the site is just amazing. I couldn't find any mistakes, it was all too great. Regarding that, how many drafts did "Cycles" go through?

Dear Stu:

Geez, thanks. I like that script a lot too. It only went through three or four drafts. It was a pleasure to write, although I thought about it for about five years before writing it.

Josh

Name: Will
E-mail: wdodson52@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Just wanted to add my name to the list of apprciators of your work. Now if they would only sell "Lunatics" for a price below $80.... Well anyway, I look forward to the completion/distribution of the new film.

I enjoyed your commentary on "Running Time," which answered all my questions about it, so I'll ask you opinon on other work: Have you seen Romero's "Bruiser"? If so, what did you think? How about your opinon on his other work? (I'm a particular fan of "The Crazies," which did a great job of being an exercise in the frustration of inability to communicate across bureaucratic lines)

Thanks for being an independent artist.

Dear Will:

There may be a new deal done on "Lunatics" to get it out on DVD. No one has actually done anything yet, but they might. It's the first movement on the picture in ten years. I have not seen either of those Romero films, but I have seen most of his other films. I liked "Night of the Living Dead" a lot as a kid, but now I don't care. I never liked "Dawn" or "Day." "Monkeyshines" was kind of creepy.

Josh

Name: Chris Hill
E-mail: filmsrpriceless@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

I just have a few questions for you. ONE: If you had to choose. What would be your next script to shoot? What have you always been wanting to do? TWO: What do you think of the Coen Brothers? I havent heard you really rave about them or say that you hate or dislike their work. I stand by my opinion when I say that they are one of the best directing/writing teams there are now. They have their irony, dark humor, quick and involved anticipation seen whenever you watch any scene of their movies, dialogue, scripting, directing, casting, their storylines, etc. Do you disagree?

Dear Chris:

I entirely disagree. I find the Coen Bros. films shallow, needlessly quirky, riddled with cliches, and basically written in a thoughtless fashion. Their films have no points to make, no themes, and no real structure. As to what script I'll shoot next, having just gotten to Oregon I'm immediately thinking about mine and Bruce's story, "Warpath," which is a western.

Josh

Name: Glenn
E-mail:

Josh-

Have you seen the documentary called "Grass" (Woody Harrelson narrates it, go figure). Has weed been decriminalized in Oregon? Are you able to have a small amount and not get thrown in jail? Do like Cheech and Chong movies?

Dear Glen:

I just moved here two days ago, I don't know what the laws are. No, I haven't seen a movie called "Grass" narrated by Woody Harrelson, but I have seen the classic silent documentary, which was very good. I liked Cheech & Chong's first movie "Up in Smoke" quite a lot. I also liked their comedy records when I was a kid.

Josh

Name: FilmFanatic
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

Have you seen anything that David Cronenberg did? Have you seen his classic, "Dead Ringers". It is very surreal and hauntingly original. It is a shame because most of his other work is not as good. What do you think? Have you ever got into him?

Dear FilmFanatic:

"Dead Ringers" is Cronenberg's best film, but even still I don't think it really comes off. It starts well and Jeremy Irons is definitely up to it, but the story sort of just fizzles out. "The Fly" has its moments, too, but doesn't hold together, either. The rest of Cronenberg's work I can easily live without.

Josh

Name: ted
E-mail: teddyryan@hotmail.com

josh,
what are you in the midst of doing right now? new film?

i read IF CHINS COULD KILL and thought it was great. bruce campell, in my eyes, is the chillest guy in show-bizz.

i hope your trio of michigan boys gets the respect you deserve.

over and out
--Ted

Dear Ted:

Thanks for the nice wishes. There's more than three of us, though. There's also Rob Tapert, Scott Spiegel, John Cameron, as well as Mike Ditz, who is the still photographer, and Gary Jones, too.

Josh

Name: Ted Greene
E-mail: teddyg@hotmail.com

Dear Josh;

I have a few questions.

1) Did you ever bail on a script? Or just an idea for one? What was the plot? What made you not like it?

2) What do you think of David Lynch's work?
?

Dear Ted:

I've bailed on a bunch of scripts over the years, with many different plots. I bailed on one that I've always liked the title for, "Women Prefer Creeps." Regarding David Lynch, I thought his career started off pretty damn well with "Eraserhead," "Elephant Man" (skipping "Dune") and "Blue Velvet." Since then I have given the slightest shit about anything he's done. I think he shot his wad.

Josh

Name: Tim
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Sorry, I don't have my own E-Mail Adress. Anyway, I was wondering if you, Sam, or Bruce still watch the Three Stooges. I'm a die-hard Stoogefan myself, and I was also wondering what your favorite short is. Personally, I like "Micro-Phonies", "Pardon My Scotch", and the Shemp short "Sing a Song of Six Pants". Thanks.

Dear Tim:

No, I haven't watched The Three Stooges in a while. But I did see all of them in my youth, and I actually taped about 200 of them for Scott Spiegel (I had a video machine, he didn't). I've always been very partial to "Hula La La" with Shemp, and all the 1950s Joe Besser sci-fi shorts. I also like "Micro-Phonies" and "Pardon My Scotch," wherein Moe tells Larry, "Come on, McNothing."

Josh

Name: Diana Hawkes
E-mail: only if ya ask real nice...

Dear Josh:

Well, isn't this freaky in a cool way...
This is like the 2nd or 3rd time I've logged onto your sight right after watching a flick on American Movie Classics channel (it often makes me think of you), and then see a post about the film I *just* watched! Yesterday Mildred Pierce was on! Isn't that creepy.

My husband came in the room and rolled his eyes as he often does at my t.v. selection, and so that was my cue of course to lecture him on the quality of the picture.
I went into detail about how, although it was a well made film, the turmoil of the piece was no longer relevant, didn't speak to our current society situations (giving him the Becker manifesto from your essay!) So just to be argumentative, he said, "Well, then what about Gone With The Wind, that no longer rings true, withstands the test of time, to be labeled a true classic." I then told him to leave the room. Ridiculous erroneous observations like that will not be tolerated.
Say, would you ever marry someone that held an opposite view of films than you?
(Only if she looked like Amber Thompson, right?)

Anyway...
The Quick and the Dead was on the other night, and a few of us got to discussing it-- what Sam's thoughts on it might have been, and then got on the subject of Simon Moore. He wrote Traffic, as well as Q + D, {and I vaguely recall him accepting a Golden Globe for his screenplay of it and thought his point of view was SOOO wrong, and agree with all you said about Traffic}, but we wanted to know if you had an opinion of his work for Q + D, if you knew Sam's take on it, and if you were around for the filming.
We thought back and think that filming must have been ~spring/summer of '94 and you were then filming Maze of the Minotaur half a world away.

P.S. "Jr. Evil" himself, Campbell Cooley told me to tell you Hello. What a cute, nice, misplaced American he is!

Dear Diana:

First of all, the theme of GWTW, as I see it, is know your own mind, which will always be relevant. The same story could be set today or in ancient Egypt, it doesn't matter. That Scarlett is used as a metaphor for the pre-Civil War south I've alwys foung pretty amazing. "War again, fiddle-de-dee." The theme of sacraficing everything for your daughter's social success is dated and doesn't make a lot of sense right now, but things could change. I wasn't around for the filming of Q&D and I never met Simon Moore, although he had previously worked for Sam on "American Gothic." With all due respect to my buddy Sam, the script for Q&D is a disaster. The idea of a gunfight contest, to the death, is so ridiculous and unbelievable there's nowhere to go. Sharon Stone doing the female version of the man with no name is a joke. She's doing nothing. It's not that Clint is doing all that much, but he's doing something--when his eyebrow starts to twitch, look out. Stone can't even get her eyebrow to twitch. What you end up with in Q&D is an homage to an homage that no longer knows its genesis. Q&D is an homage to Sergio Leone whose films were an homage to John Ford. Sam did what he could, but every camera trick in the book wasn't going to bail that one out.

Josh

Name: Jeff Long
E-mail: chamdar_8@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

me and one of my friends are writing a 3-hour long movie script and we were going to try to sell it to DIminsions or some other company when we were done, and we were wondering what steps would have to be taken to get this sold. any advice you can gives us will be appreciated. thanks!

you can e-mail me back at chamdar_8@yahoo.com

Dear Jeff:

I'll just answer you here. First, why is it three hours? It's hard enough to get people to read 90-120 page scripts. They second they see a big, fat 180-200 page script they'll probably just shit-can it. Second, you've decided in advance you'll only deal with one company? That's pretty silly, what if they won't read it? Most companies won't read anything that doesn't come through a known channel, like an agent or a producer. So that's where you ought to start. Try to find an agent or a producer that likes your script. Also, read and memorize my structure essays.

Josh

Name: Fabio
E-mail: longtom@oeste.com.ar

dear Josh

I see again "The Asphalt Jungle" and the end is always the same. I love these characters so that I want all the time a happy end... (not really but...)
Well, this is a comment not a question... Just now I wanna see Mildred Pierce... again

greetings, Fabio
(from Buenos Aires)

Dear Fabio:

But isn't that great, though? Every time you see that film you want it to all work out for the characters, but alas, it never does. Sterling Hayden does get to go be with the horses. I like "Mildred Pierce" a lot, and I think Michael Curtiz was one of the really terrific directors ever. It's shocking every time Ann Blyth tells Joan Crawford "You smell of grease!" Have fun.

Josh

Name: S.C.
E-mail: scornett@yahoo.com

Josh,

Well, all the discussion on this site prompted me to goand rent "Unforgiven". I must say that it's even better than I remember it. The scene previously discussed here is truly classic. I think I'm going to go watch it, again, actually.

One question: in your response to the guy that asked how/where/when about your writing, you said you liked writing in coffee shops, but that fascist CA hadbanned it. What's that about? What are you refering to?CA didn't actually make it illegal to "write in coffee shops", did they?

Thanks,

S.C.

Dear S.C.:

I guess I wasn't quite as clear as I might have been. What I meant was, you're not allowed to smoke in coffeeshops in California, therefore I no longer go there to write. But I will again in Oregon.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Not to kiss ass or anything, (Note to self: I got news for you shit for brains, he runs the place) but I really enjoy the commentary tracks on your DVDs. Commentary tracks are my favorite feature of DVDs. Have you heard Francis Ford Coppola's commentary on the new Godfather discs? Man, they're great.

So I just wanted to ask how they're recorded? Do they just stick a mic in front of you and you talk the whole time? This probably sounds like a dumb question but I heard that fat schmuck Roger Ebert talking about how it takes several hours to record and it's not a 1 take thing.

Oh ya, a while back you said that Gene Siskel was the only thing that made that show tolerable. I disagree, that bastard (may he rest in peace) called Bruce Campbell a stiff in their Army of Darkness review!!! Bastards.

Dear Will:

Bruce and I went into a sound studio, sat on a couch in front of microphones and a movie screen, and yapped straight through "Running Time" and TSNKE, one take, and that was it. But I guess it's not that way for everyone. Werner Herzog was just finishing his commentary track for "Fitzcarraldo" when we arrived, and apparently that had taken a while. I won't buy "The Godfather" DVDs until I can just get "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part Two" without part three, which I won't have in my house. And Gene Siskel may well have been mean to Bruce on "Army," but he was still a much better critic than Ebert.

Josh

Name: Lou
E-mail: louissilvestri@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Do you feel that the movie Timecode in some way ripped off Running Time?

Dear Lou:

I didn't see it. Do you think it ripped off "Running Time"? Why?

Josh

Name: Stu Redman
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

I am curious on asking this question, so bear with me here: How exactly do you write? What do you write with? Where do you write? How do you get your idea fully polished?

Dear Stu:

A bunch of smart aleck remarks came to mind, but I'll skip them. I write both by hand and on a computer. I've probably written over half my scripts by hand on yellow pads, then typed them. The rest I just typed straight in. It doesn't really matter to me, although I enjoy the portability of a pen and paper. I've always enjoyed writing in coffeeshops -- that is, until they banned it here in Fascist California, but I can now return to it in Oregon -- but most of my writing was wherever my computer was set up. For the past seven years it's been on my kitchen table. And never forget, writing is rewriting, that's how it gets polished.

Josh

Name: Blake Eckard
E-mail: bseckard@hotmail.com

Josh,

That is a great scene in "Unforgiven" when they're on the hill. I think it's in slow motion when he takes a couple of hits from the bottle with the whore talking in the background. You know Clint isn't hearing a word. He thinking about how he's gonna slaughter the town. It sorta reminded me of the scene in "The Wild Bunch" where the bunch is sitting around after their mexican partner has been beat to hell. William Holden is agitated. Finally he steps outside and says one line to his crew. "Let's go." They know what he means and all get up and go walking into what they know is going to be a blood bath.

Have a good one.

Blake

Dear Blake:

Yes, good comparison. The dialog from that scene in "Unforgiven" has the whore describing how Little Bill killed Ned by whipping him to death and that Ned said that Munny would come and kill Little Bill. Clint takes a big slug of whiskey and hisses, "But Little Bill wasn't scared by that, was he?" The whore says no, Clint nods and takes another drink. At the end when Clint steps into the saloon, asks, "Who owns this shit-hole?" and kills the guy, Little Bill says, "You must be William Munny, murderer of women and children." Clint nods, "I've killed women and children. I've killed everything that walks or crawls. And now I'm going to kill you, Little Bill."

Josh

Name: Tim
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Is there any movie made in the last 20 years that you generally enjoy. Not that I disagree with the fact that movies nowadays suck, I'm just curious.

Dear Tim:

Several have now been mentioned: "Unforgiven," "Groundhog Day," "Apollo 13," "Goodfellas," "Pi," "Platoon," "JFK." My lists are all packed so I can't check.

Josh

Name: Fan X
E-mail: resone11@aol.com

To Josh and "Film Fanatic,"

How about adding Groundhog Day and Apollo 13 to the list of structurally sound screenplays? Solid in my opinion.

Fan X

Dear Fan X:

I agree. "Groundhog Day" is both structually solid and unique; it's not a 3-act story. It's a story told in 50 variations of the same scene, which is a real trick that the writers pull off. If you're going to look for an example of a story that works that's not in 3-acts, this is a great example. But Harold Ramis didn't just dump the 3-act structure, he came up with a new structure that was appropriate for his unique story. And it's a much more difficult structure to work with that you really think can't be pulled off and it does. "Apollo 13" is just a good, solidly-told, 3-act story that knows where it's going and why. I like and respect it.

Josh

Name: Chris Hicks
E-mail: chris@freebird.fsnet.co.uk

Dear Josh:

Just out of curiosity, I was wondering if you'd care to comment on "Brazil". I was surprised to see it listed as the best film of 1985, on your Oscar page, especially considering it's not on your fav' film list.

Dear Chris:

It wasn't listed by me on that Oscar list, it was my friend Rick who chose it. I've never liked that film. I disliked it so much when it was released, but everyone else kept raving about it, so for one of the very few times in my life I doubted my own opinion and went back and saw it again to check. I disliked it even more the second time. It's a crappy, dull script that really just goes on and on to nowhere. It has nice production design and photography, but Jonathan Pryce is a bore and can't carry the film for ten minutes.

Josh

Name: Nasty Boy
E-mail: nAsTyBoY128@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

What didnt you like about Arlington Road and American History X? Was it how it ended? How the actors acted? What? I thought they were brillant. They both equally blew me away when I went to go see them. I just don't understand why they didnt affect you as much as it did me.

Dear Nasty Boy:

I didn't see all of "Arlington Road," so I can't comment. As to "American History X," I never believed a word of it. I particularly don't like when a writer invents extra problems for our world, as though we don't have enough as it is. There is no neo-nazi problem in Venice; it doesn't exist. And when we're finally given a reason why Ed Norton became a neo-nazi, it's because his dad was a fireman and blacks were being given promotions they seemingly shouldn't have gotten, so that's why his dad died? And now Norton hates Jews? That's stupid. And having been involved in some terrible, pointless violence along the way, because his brother is killed, now Norton's OK? Sorry, no he's not. He still did all sorts of terrible things, just because he's renounced the neo-nazis doesn't make him any less guilty.

Josh

Name: Llasta
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Hey there!
Just wondering....how's it going with your book?

Dear Llasta:

I spoke with the publisher in LA and he forwarded it on to the publishers in NY. And now I wait.

Josh

Name: Chris Hicks
E-mail: chris@freebird.fsnet.co.uk

Dear Josh:

Ah. I hate to taint your view on Unforgiven, Josh, but David Peoples actually wrote it back in 1976. I think that Eastwood waited fifteen years to make it so he could play the character convincingly.

Nevertheless, it's still a Grade A' film. And it really does add fuel to your fire; one of the best films of the 90's was actually written before '77.

Dear Chris:

I know when the script was written, but it wasn't made until 1992, therefore it's a film of the 90s. Whenever the hell Peoples wrote it, it's a great script. And Clint did a astoundingly good job making it. But it's the best contemporary example of screenwriting that I can think of. I absolutely love the scene when act 2 ends -- Clint and the kid are on a hilltop and the kid is drinking himself drunk to try ease his conscience about the murder he just committed. "I guess he had it comin'" says the kid. Clint looks out at the distance and says, "We all got it comin'." Then a whore rides up with the money and Clint mentions Ned (Morgan Freeman) and how he'll get his cut. The whore says that Ned is dead. Clint says, no he's not, but the whore tells them how Little Bill (Gene Hackman) caught Ned and whipped him to death. Clint's face goes stony, he grabs the bottle of whiskey from the kid and takes his first drink in many years.

Josh


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