would've sworn those pics were Scott. I never thought
you guys looked similar. I'm amazed they are you. I
got a mental picture of you from when we did the make-up--
Although your site photo looks a bit different. Looking
through the older photo's you have posted I see ones
that look like the mental picture I have of you. The
Rob Tapert quote-- That answers a lot of questions I've
had. I've wondered about some of his alliances and that
really answers that. I really appreciate you and your
site-- I think we've gone through a lot of similar frustrations.
And I've dealt with Lustig too-- on UNCLE SAM. You seem
to have a real practical way about you-- It's no wonder
you're not directing DIE-HARD 5.
does sound like our experiences are similar. And yes,
Rob has an insight into the film and TV business. He's
also pretty good at predicting what will make money
and what won't. Good luck in Ohio.
really facasinated with WWII and I know you like "The
Bridge on the River Kwai" and you didn't like "Saving
Private Ryan", what other World War II movies can
let's see? "Air Force," "Thirty Seconds
Over Tokyo," "A Walk in the Sun," "The
Enemy Below," "Battleground," "The
Longest Day," "Patton," "To Hell
and Back," "The Sands of Iwo Jima," "Wake
Island," "Sahara." There's a few off
the top of my head.
just saw Lunatics on late TV a few nights ago, and was
looking up info on it and found this site. I really
like that movie and am trying to find your other movies.
Are any of your other movies played on televisoin a
And when I was looking through the archived posts, I
saw the name Bruce Campbell come up about that western
your considering. Has he done anything I might've seen?
Was he in Lunatics? Well if he's a friend of yours,
he must be okay.
Look forward to seeing more of your work,
is both in and produced "Lunatics." Bruce
is in a ton of films, like Jim Carrey's new one, "The
Majestic." None of my other films are currently
showing on TV, so you'll have to either buy or rent
them on video or DVD.
are what we like to refer to now as an "internet
nobody, with an ax to grind"
i am currrently enrolled at NYU film, and one of our
teachers recommended your site. he told us this is what
we shall strive to " never be" that was our
you are a film geek hack of the highest order. a re
enactment director par excellence. your opinions , laced
with bogus cedentials, and bitter musings of the failed
outcast. we took especial joy in your drubbing of actors
considering, one was the subject of last weeks actor
study. JASON PATRIC. we watched several films AFTER
DARK MY SWEET, THE BEAST, RUSH, JOURNEY OF AUGUST KING,
YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS, and a special preview of
his new film NARC. he was the subject due to his range
and naturalism within the method. after this last week,
im not only convinced that he is the next american acting
legend, but that it is jokes like you that render real
behavior and valiant choices mute in hollywood. go direct
some second unit on xena, or re write another long forgotten
script for the 12th time. thank you for the amusement
after class, and between beers. what a fool
have no doubt that you and all your NYU pals will move
far beyond me in the world of film given your great
taste and innate talents. I suppose your teacher has
much better credentials than me, too. And let's all
keep our eyes on Jason Patric's career and watch as
he shoots to stardom since he's only been farting around
in the movies for about 14 years. And let's not forget
his monumental acting achievement in "Geronimo:
An American Legend." Thanks for writing in, I love
it when pretentious little nobodies take me on without
a leg to stand on.
to bother you like this but i am doing a paper on 'the
evil dead' at college and could do with some insider
knowledge, i have already read your journal which really
has been a life saver.
you/can't don't want to help then if it is possible
to email me somthing even if it just says...
i will get points for being able to contact you.
you for your time
so defensive that you didn't ask a question. What is
it that you'd like to know about "Evil Dead"?
can I buy an american VHS copy of Hercules The Legendary
Journeys; Hercules and/in the Maze of the Minotaur?
me. I don't know that it was ever released on video
in the U.S. The copy I have is PAL and from Australia.
just come across your site and am amazed at the number
of scripts you've written. I'm halfway through my first,
so you've given me added inspiration.
make my questions brief.
Smith: Bounty Hunter. Is this short available anywhere
either from you or some company which deals in small
movies like this one. Since I'm a fan of Bruce I'd be
really interested in getting a hold of this.
this seems very similar to Briscoe County JR. Did Briscoe
develop from this, or was it entirely seperate.
is not available. Sorry. There aren't any short film
distributors anymore. Selling films myself over the
internet turned out to be a losing proposition, so I
discontinued it. "Brisco" had nothing to do
vato! Do you like Troma movies? The majority stink worse
than Toxie's underpants, but I enjoyed Class of Nuke'em
High 1, Toxic Avenger 1, and Troma's War. I have seen
only the trailer for Thou Shall... and it appears to
resemble a Troma Team release. Is Llyod Kaufman your
I don't like any of Troma's films. I particularly don't
like films that were meant to be bad. I tried doing
business with those guys right after I finished TSNKE
and they were a total pain in the ass. They wasted six
months of my life for no reason, so I resent them, too.
Unlike many people today who have a fondness for bad
movies, I do not. I like good movies. Call me a nut.
burning me: I want to tell my friend Rachel about the
horror movie with the creepy old lady character who
says "Rachel, Rachel" and is kept locked up
in a room or attic or something. The sad part is, that
is all I recall about whatever movie it may be. Can
you help me with the title? Sorry I'm not more helpful
with details. Thanks.
not sure this is what you're looking for, but there's
a film called "Rachel, Rachel" starring Joanne
Woodward and directed by Paul Newman. I saw it once
many years ago and it's not a horror film, although
I do recall it being sort of creepy and quite good.
long ago was that picture of Scott taken that you use
in your WRITING MACHINES essay. The first one I thought
was Scott but I guess I must have only seen him with
his hair back or shorter. Almost didn't recognize him.
The bottom picture with his hair pulled back looks a
lot more like the Scott I know.
are all pictures of me.
made you up as a zombie in my basement for DEAD NEXT
DOOR many years ago. I just found your site nearly by
accident. I lived out in Los Angeles for 13 years and
owned a special FX make-up shop for about 10 years.
I live back in Ohio again for my kids. I've worked on
tons of stuff but ultimately was not able to get many
good jobs at all. All the work went to the same shops--
many of them just crapped the work out. I knew things
were really bad when I lost a $350 dollar job to one
of the larger make-up shops in LA (you know them). Anyways,
I've been writing for about ten years part time-- And
I finally got to direct one for Full Moon that J.R.
Bookwalter produced. I read a few of your articles and
it's amusing and refreshing to read. I hardly got to
know you the brief hour we spent doing the make-up (I
still have the pictures) but I wish I had. I look forward
to reading more of your stuff.
good to hear from you. I certainly haven't forgotten
having the head-mold made. It's a damn shame none of
that footage came out. As Rob Tapert once put it, in
Hollywood they will always go with the devil they know
as opposed to the devil they don't know. Everyone in
Hollywood will happily do business again with someone
that just ripped them off and did a bad job, then use
someone new. Good luck in Ohio.
you think one of the major aspects of the decline of
distribution/exhibition is because the mini-majors/independent
distributors are competeing with major studios? When
I say competeing, I mean churning out the same type
of product, instead of carving a different niche that
appeals to the large audience currently being alienated
by the studios. I recently heard that New Line will
soon be absorbed by Warner Bros. New Line Hasn't been
independent since 94, however it is a sign that there
is no longer room for the little guy. These are very
mini-majors are just divisions of the major companies,
there's nothing independent about them. I mean, if you're
owned by Time-Warner where does the independent part
come in? The only thing Hollywood can do now is make
"Harry Potter" movies. If the target audience
is anyone over the age of eight, they haven't got a
clue. Someone with some financing behind them needs
to step up and start making quality films for about
$3-5 million each, so instead of making one shitty $100
million film, they could make 20 or 30 films with the
same money and one of them is bound to be a hit. A big
part of what has killed Hollywood is the crazy long
shooting schedules they now have, which is where most
of the money goes. For 60 years (1920 to 1980) Hollywood
was able to produce top-quality films on 25 to 40 day
schedules, with the lower budget films having schedules
of 5 to 20 days. Your average Hollywood film is now
taking minimally 60 days, and frequently a lot more
-- big films go over 100 days regularly now. That's
too damn slow and it causes every scene to be over-rehearsed
and severely over-shot, making everything too self-conscious,
flat and lifeless. There will never be any spontaneity
on films of this size, which is now pretty much everything.
did you think of AFI's 100 greatest films of all time?
What wasn't there that should have been? Do you agree
with Citizen Kane as number 1?
didn't really look at it. Calling "Citizen Kane"
the best movie ever is an easy choice, and not a bad
one, but not my choice. I personally like "The
Magnificent Ambersons" more than "Kane."
Is there something on the list that bugs you?
Celia Von Trapp
it's not my story. It was written by a young woman who
was a guest at my father's lodge. I've never seen the
three act dramatic structure you have described unfold
so unstoppably, with such a compelling main character,
as in this particular story. In fact, it caused me to
go back and read your structure essays a second time.
I've recommended that she (the author) should read your
essays also. Originally I thought her story was fictional,
but then found that she had no intention of publishing
it (even with the names changed) because it might upset
the other party. My thinking is, if it's presented as
fiction and doesn't reveal the guy's identity, so what?
No one else will know it was him, but him.
I have another question for you as a writer who has
obviously studied character development very closely.
It seems to me that in film most main characters are
what I'd consider sort of "flat" in that they
are generally fairly predictable and don't usually make
bad/ignoble decisions that they really have to face
the consequences of by the end of the story. I'm just
starting to think about this, so maybe I'm off track
here. Is it the kiss of death (in films at least) to
your story if your main character is basically a good
person, but does something really stupid and shameful,
and then has to comes to terms with it? Can you recommend
a film that does a good job of presenting that kind
of a story in such a way that you end up admiring the
main character's struggle to put the pieces back together
rather than just feeling that this person is a moron
who shouldn't be wasting everyone's time?
if I ask simple-minded questions. I've mostly been a
reader and only recently really started paying attention
to films and trying to understand how they are put together.
Thank you for sharing your insights.
think all good characters are flawed. The only flawless
characters you'll ever meet are in Hollywood films (like
anything with Tom Cruise). I think you're getting to
one of the most interesting levels of drama when a good
person does a bad thing for a good reason, or when a
bad person does a good thing for a bad reason. My favorite
example is Alec Guiness in "Bridge on the River
Kwai," who is a good man doing the wrong thing
for the right reasons.
"Milo" Durango Kervinian
and my buddies want to make shorts and other things
in our spare time. I'm very interested in the film business.
We have plenty of stories and scriots, so that's no
prob. We have lots of locations: I live near woods and
they are in the city. All I need is equipment and I
don't know shit about what to get or where to get it.
now have to decide just how deep you want to go, money-wise.
The cheapest way now is digital video, which looks pretty
good these days and will expose with almost no light.
But it won't look great and you won't end up with a
film print. I shot several short films in 16mm and I'm
still pleased with them. I don't know where you live,
but if you look around (colleges, universities, production
companies) there may well be 16mm equipment sitting
around that can be borrowed for free. So you guys need
to figure out how deep you want to go?
wondering, since you seem to be a fan of David Webb
Peoples' work, what did you think of the script he wrote
with his wife for "12 Monkeys"?
said in the past that you don't care for Terry Gilliam's
movies (except for "Brazil"'s set design,
if I remember correctly), so I can't imagine that you
liked the final product very much, but did you find
any value in the script?
Oregon's treating you well.
can't comment because I bailed out so early on "12
Monkeys." Mr. Peoples also co-wrote "Blade
Runner," which, as finally shot, is not a script
I admire in the least. "Unforgiven" may have
been a fluke.
Celia Von Trapp
you have a really powerful story to tell, but it is
based on personal experience with someone else, do you
think it's fair to just change the names and details
(to protect the privacy of the other person) and tell
the story... or are you in some way obligated to get
permission from the other party?
change the names and go for it. As a little note, however,
here are a few observations about writing true stories:
1. Just because it's true doesn't mean it's interesting
or believable, 2. Just because it's true doesn't mean
it doesn't need dramatic structure. You know it's true,
but to the rest of us it's just another story and it
still needs to function properly.
you ever research what kinds of stories are most likely
to be in demand before you go through the whole process
of writing and producing a film? Or do you simply write
what you want to see and hope that others will be interested
also? I'm interested in writing novels rather than screenplays,
but I'll bet the current advice from the "pros"
would be the same either way.
the books I've read and seminars I've gone to about
becoming a novelist insist that to be successful you
have to research the market and write what it will buy,
or forget it. On one level I can see the point they're
making - if you only measure success in terms of the
amount of money you can make from any given project.
Is it too idealistic or naive to want to create stories
that are meaningful to you as an individual, rather
than to make "sure" you're going to be writing
something that is likely to sell before you even start?
it seems to me that creating a film and marketing it
are entirely different endeavors, though I might not
know enough about the business to understand whether
that is true or not. Do you feel equally comfortable
with both aspects of the business? Is it ordinarily
a "producer" type person who handles the negotiations
for actually getting the film sold and distributed?
realize that independent filmmakers usually have to
wear many caps at the same time, often including being
writer, producer and director of the whole project.
I'm sure there are pros and cons to this. Do you personally
prefer to take on all of those facets of the production,
or do you just have to at times?
you're enjoying the crisp beauty of Oregon and your
herd of cats.
can only know what people are buying right now, not
what they'll be buying next year. When Clint Eastwood
made "Unforgiven" it wasn't because that's
what people were buying, it's because it was a script
he really wanted to make into a film. When it came out
and was a critical and monetary hit, then every studio
made a western believing people now wanted westerns,
which wasn't true. What everyone liked about "Unforgiven"
was that it was a good movie, not that it was a western.
Soon thereafter we got: "Bad Girls," "Tombstone,"
"The Quick & the Dead," "Wyatt Earp,"
etc. These were all made because of this incorrect assumption
and they all dropped dead. If you want to be a good
writer you must write what you honestly believe is good,
not what you think others will buy.
an observation on the several-years-long-now debate
on the 3 act structure, as well as your ideas on theme
and just the old fashioned notion of a movie having
a point. Obviously I don't always agree with your reviews
- no two people can like exactly the same things - but
you really have helped me understand why some movies
appeal to me while others leave me feeling empty. Often
I will enjoy everything about an obvious B-movie that
has no greatness to it, but still tells a good story.
Whereas things like "American Beauty" and
"Pulp Fiction" blow me away with their style,
crack me up with their comedy, fascinate me with some
of the performances....but at the end, I'm saying "Wait
- where's the punch line?"
recently I saw an indie film called "Ghost World,"
- one of those quirky artsy films that always get great
reviews. The set-up was cool - two alternative teenagers
drift apart, while one forms an odd friendship with
a reclusive collector. Thora Birch was sexy and geeky
at the same time, and Steve Buscemi played a sympathetic
and under-stated weirdo. But.... then it just ended.
There was a clear first act - the girls meet the collector
guy in a listless summer after high school. There was
a clear second act - the girls discover they are more
different than they realize, while Birch's friendship
with Buscemi blossoms. But the third act was simply....things
get messed up for everyone, and we are left to imagine
what happens next. OK - what was the point of all that?
Which of course made me think of "American Beauty,"
and the great set-up (middle-aged suburbanite becomes
alienated with his life) the great subsequent developments
(funny and touching schtick happens as a result)....and
then nothing. He finds happiness as a disembodied voice,
as if he's that bag blowing in the wind? WhaEVer. I
liked your idea better - if you *don't* have sex with
a teenage girl, you'll get shot. Anyway, I like it that
I understand a bit more why I don't always enjoy something,
even individual parts of it are expertly done.
now my actual question. I saw the A&E film "The
Lost Battalion" last week. Extremely well-done
as far as sets and historical authenticity, etc. and
they seeemd to have a tiny cast, but made you think
you were watching a huge battle with thousands of soliders.,
when really it was close-ups of a couple of dozen soldiers.
I think I actually read about that Battle in a "Ripley's
Believe It Or Not True War Stories" comic book
when I was a boy. And you'll be happy to know they mentioned
Belleau Wood in passing (basically as yet another example
of crazy Americans refusing to give in to a superior
German force.) Although they did manage to sneak a bi-plane
- since this was practically a documentary, there was
litle chance for a theme or really a plot or a resolution.
I gather what the director (Russell Mulcahey, the "Highlander"
guy) *intended* to say was that the Army brass should
have paid attention to the saintly Captain in command,
and not operated under the "acceptable losses"
theory. That was a lame theme, but then history doesn't
necessarily transpire with a theme in mind. The sub-plot
- that the various ethnic groups in the battalion bonded
together as Americans and that this made them stronger
- was far more interesting, but again, not exactly a
my question is - when dealing with events where every
little bit is already documented by historians - how
do you make it into a worthwhile film, with a theme/message/resolution?
I guess some events lend themselves better to this than
others. "Zulu" is one of my favorites, and
the message seems obvious - the British discipline/class
structure works, and can save your butt if you're surrounded
by Zulus. (I still get a kick out of the tough Sergeant,
with tears in his eyes, calling the roster, with one
slacker soldier saying "Excused duty, sir!"
The Sgt. grimly replies "No comedians, please.")
thoughts on this, especially with respect to "Devil
Dogs" or your possible western film?
the big trick of screenwriting--figuring out your lead
character's motivations, which then become the theme
and point of your story. The lead character IS the story.
Therefore, it doesn't matter if it's a true story or
not, or well-documented or not; the motivations of the
lead character are always in the hands of the dramatist.
I don't ACTUALLY know why Gunnery Sgt. Dan Daly, the
lead character of "Devil Dogs" and the most
decorated enlisted marine of all time, did what he did,
nor does anyone else at this point (he died in 1937).
So, like a detective, which is what a writer is on a
certain level, I had to deduce why he did what he did
from his recorded actions. What motivation made sense
given those events and circumstances. This is what most
screenwriters will not bother doing anymore, and it's
plainly apparent within the first five minutes of most
movies. There's nothing artistic about not doing this
work, and those that feel their freedom is being infringed
on by having to figure these things out are simply not
writers or just bad writers.
can I become a member of DGA? Is it really worth it?
What are the restrictions and what aren't? I am curious
because since you are a member of the DGA, it would
be more informative asking you. Also, do they supply
you with vital equiptment? What are the positves and
the negatives about it?
question. One I thought someone would ask years ago.
First of all, being in the Director's Guild allows you
to work on union shows. And when you work on union shows
you get residuals. Beyond that, the DGA offers group
health care and retirement benefits. And, if you live
in LA, they have free screenings of most every film
in really nice theaters in their building. They do not
have any equipment, nor do they find you work. They're
a labor union with the ability to bargain with the producers.
The DGA collects and polices the residuals. That's it.
It cost me $7500 to join at the end of 1993 when I became
the 2nd unit director on "Hercules." I don't
know what it costs now.
good to hear that IIHAH is finally going to be available!!!
I guess I don't really have a question just wanted to
say that. I rented the DVD of Ben Hur : commentary by
Heston, screen tests, etc etc. Should be fun.
been hearing this for over a year now, so I'll believe
it when I see it.
think that everyone is of the considered opinion that
it was a dismal year overall, especially for films that
came from Hollywood.''
--JOHN ANDERSON, chairman of the New York Film Critics
Circle, which named ``Mulholland Dr.'' the best film
anything good come out this year? I spent this year
once again doing my homework and watching films that
were at the very least 2 decades old, documentaries,
and old music concerts.
thing w/ music and TV, nothing new appeals to me. I
truly want to get excited and inspired by what is going
on today, but I just can't.
TV and movies are for 16 year olds or those who long
to be 16 years old. It's a joke and it's scary how much
influence these medias have on America today. I'm convinced
that the act of turning on a TV or radio today will
lower your IQ and shorten your attention span.
I don't want to be this way. I'd love to say 'you gotta
see this new film' or 'you've gotta see this new band
will say my appreciation for what is good has grown
tremendously. I know I'm preaching to the choir but
did anything good happen this year?
spent my teens, twenties, and into my thirties being
this crazed movie geek that was always going to the
movies and always dragging people along with me. Now
everybody thinks I hate movies. My favorite pasttime
evaporated on me. The whole thing is depressing. What
kind of crap will they give Best Picture to this year?
site is fantastic. The quotes you have compiled are
a wonderful asset to my own collection of thoughts that
make me think and reflect. Thank you for the time you
spent assembling such a wonderful collection. It is
my sincere hope that you will continue to add to this
as your familiarity with the thoughts of others continues
Who are you? Have you some cool quotes you'd like to
share with the rest of us? If they're good I'll add
them to the site. The one I'm trying to live by lately
is: "Action may not bring happiness, but there
is no happiness without action."
how have ya been lately? I wanted to tell you that your
films are sheer brilliance and i want you to keep putting
great new ones out. Oh yeah, what did you think of the
movie Spy Games. I thought it was great. Hope to hear
you. Good Bye.
chances of me seeing "Spy Games" in the theater
are slim and none. If I don't have to see Robert Redford
age into a living mummy anymore it will be fine with
you for the feedback, I enjoyed reading it. Another
question I have about controlling the camera. Ok, what
is wrong with using a digital camera throughout the
film? I know the reason I do is because I simply do
not have enough money to buy a real high tech camera.
What do you have against that? I think it is neat, like
in "Tigerland" and the indepedent film, "Manic"
not sure what question you're asking? I have nothing
against digital video, but, as yet it just doesn't look
as good as film, nor does it have the photographic lattitude
of film. Look, shooting film is a pain in the ass, no
one needs to tell me that. But to end up with a decent-looking
finished version you can show in theaters, send to film
festivals, and sell around the world, you still need
to meet a certain level of visual quality that DV will
not give you now unless you're willing to invest an
extra few million dollars. I think you can achieve better,
cheaper results with many fewer lights and personnel
by using film.
here I is working for the Library of Congress Motion
Picture Preservation Division in Dayton, OH. Just thought
I'd write and see how thing's were going. I just read
your "Bailing Out Of LA" story. Congratulations!
I've only been to LA once and while it seemed like a
cool place, I realized I'd never want to live there.
One the flip side, Oregon is where it's at! I wanna
move there someday.
Now that I'm making the big government bucks, I'll be
able buy a DVD player and purchase "RUNNING TIME"
and the like. I am sick of going to the theatre and
having to deal with bad projection, bad sound, dumb
teenage employees who don't care, and most of all, the
idiots who GO to the movies. When I went to see "CROUCHING
TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON" I thought I might be shot
by a guy who didn't like me telling him, "I didn't
pay $6.50 to come here and listen to you suck on hard
candies as loudly as you possibly can."
They are showing a digitally projected version of the
new OCEAN'S 11 in Cincinnati so I may drive down there
to see what it looks like. Not like I really wanna see
THAT movie, I'm just curious as to how digital compares
to a 35mm print. Supposedly it looks pretty damn good.
Anyway, gotta get back to working on "Dr. Pyckle
and Mr. Pride" an early Stan Laurel 2 reeler.
I know this is dumb, but if you need any free crew help
on that western yer talking about, I'd gladly take some
time offa work to help out. I've got plenty of lackey
Speaking of westerns, a fellow co-worker of mine has
a large 16mm collection and I join him most days at
lunch to screen something. We just got done watching
"STAGECOACH" yesterday. What a great movie!
Except for seeing the horses being tripped while they're
running, which makes me cringe, I am amazed at how flawless
that movie is. There are some really interesting camera
angles in that film that I was quite taken with.
agree, "Stagecoach" is quite a good film.
And very low-budget in its day. You can really see John
Wayne become a star before your eyes. I love the way
Duke defends Claire Trevor not knowing she's a whore.
As to digital video projection of "Ocean's 11"
(or the next "Star Wars" film), if you put
a couple of extra million dollars into just that I'm
sure it looks fine.
under your letter is the same charge leveled at me on
this website every week -- that the three-act story
structure is dated, old-fashioned, and an infringement
on freedom and creativity."
Josh - not sure where this was read into my post - because
if we were talking about writing - I have no argument
with you on this point. Only that while I write - I
only needed to work under the constraints of this priciple
if it were already not happening in the story. It is
a very early elementary foundation - and my statement
about Cameron's Titanic was more about the movement
it made in people's hearts by association or immersion
if you will. That is what I meant to say about it being
"an old style movie" and there is no lurking
allowed in my writing! I've not encountered such a thread
before in any other virtual space?
brings their own picnic basket - but it's not anything
that I need to deal with, and like I said, even though
this is a whole differnet direction from my post - if
someone reads a story of mine - unless I'm struggling
to force it to happen under the neccessity to re-aquaint
myself with an old friendly muse "the three act
structure " it usually happens on it's own or I
abandon that direction/project for lack of life, and
start down a new road. I'm one of those old school cats
who believes that the story must come to life! I'm not
arguing with you! :)
do appreciate your answers and an opportunity to write
to you! Thank you for your reply.
I just have an itchy trigger finger at this point. Sorry.
odd question, but I see on your site that you list "Apartment
for Peggy" as one of the films you like. I haven't
seen it since high school but it's stuck in my mind
ever since and I wondered if you had a line on where
to get a copy. I can't find one on the Net anywhere,
no video stores, can never find it on a broadcast schedule
BEFORE it airs, etc. Any ideas?
you don't need to post this to your site but if you
have a suggestion about where I might get my hands on
a copy, i'ld appreciat a reply. Thanks,
show the film all the time on AMC, as it's a Fox film.
It's films like "An Apartment For Peggy" that
I'd much rather be discussing on this website than the
contemporary horseshit. It's well-written, well-directed
-- both by one of my favorite filmmakers, George Seaton
-- it has a top-notch cast, and it's actually about
something. When I first saw the film as a kid I had
no idea there was a housing shortage for college students
after WWII. Also, Jeanne Crain's character has always
stuck with me because she does the "mental leap-frog"
as she puts it, and makes up all her own statistics
on every subject, which I think is hysterical, although
I'm just a sucker for Jeanne Crain anyway.
saw that you haven't seen the original version of Diabolique
so I went to take a visit on the TCM website: www.turnerclassicmovies.com
and I found that Diabolique will be showing the first
day of February, 2:00 AM. Yeah, I just thought I should
let you in on that considering you haven't seen it.
And the other day, I had found out that there is a good
percentage of directors that do their own camera-work?
Do you? Are you against that? Are you against movies
made with digital cameras? If so, why?
say it's more like a very minor percentage of directors
that also operate camera, meaning they'd have to be
in both the DGA and IATSE, the union for the cameramen.
In fact, the only directors I've ever heard of doing
this are Ridley Scott, Peter Hyams, and Steven Soderbergh.
I operated camera on my first film, TSNKE, and I don't
think it's a good idea when one is also directing. Both
jobs need your full concentration and one of them is
going to get boned. The camera operator is more concerned
with the sound of the film running smoothly through
the gate than listening to actors speaking dialog. Also,
I've worked with a number of terrific operators who
were much better than me. I did my own lighting, too,
on that film and I'll always work with a good DP from
now on. The director needs to be paying complete attention
to their job and no other. I have no problem with people
shooting digital video if that's all they can afford.
But film still looks infinitely better from a photographic
standpoint. Film is richer, with much greater depth
and contrast. It's better to shoot digital video than
to not shoot, but, if possible, it's still worth shooting
on film, not to mention that that is still how things
are mainly shown around the world. Thanks for the heads
up on "Diabolique."
big guy, i know i already asked a question, but I got
another 1: Where the hell can I find Running Time? I've
looked all over the place. They should have a movie
rental place or store or something that only carries
independent films. I think the only kind of movie worth
seeing is an old one or one you fellas make. Fuck anything
your tried tiny little places like Amazon.com (or just
about any other video/DVD retailer)? I don't know about
rentals, but it's not a difficult picture to buy.
was your original reasoning for putting Jurassic Park
on your favs list? I think it was just a pretty good
movie, but the sequels suck my balls. Thanks for staying
first time I saw it the film legitimately scared me.
The scene where the Tyrannosaurus Rex attacks for the
first time was very impressive. But as a whole film
it's not very good. The first sequel was one of the
worst films I've ever had the misfortune of sitting
through. Not quite as bad as the first "Raiders"
sequel, but close.
do you get so many questions about 99 cent stores? You
wrote a straightforward humorous essay about one and
somehow this gives people the impression that you are
an imported goods expert? While we're at it let's call
Seinfeld and ask him about the restaurant business,
after all he did do that episode on the Soup Nazi. Well
anyway I did like that essay too. When the heck is that
Josh Becker book coming out that you talked about a
long time ago?
feelings exactly. All I did was write a silly essay
about 99-cent stores; I'm certainly no expert. As for
my book, I guess St. Martin's Press didn't like it.
They have, of course, never bothered to let me know
recently re-viewed Running time, and I want to say that
tunnel scene is one hell of a piece of camera work!
I know you don't like most of the current independents,
but I was wondering about your opinion of Jim Jarmusch.
Dead Man is one of those movies I could watch over and
over. Have you seen it? Also, have you seen any of Satyajit
Ray's films? Jarmusch seems to be making reference to
his techniques in Dead Man, even having Neil Young in
the same role Ravi Shankar played musically.
must lead a very dull life if you can sit and watch
any Jim Jarmusch movie over and over. I think Jarmusch
completely, utterly and totally shot his wad with "Stranger
Than Paradise," and every film he's made since
has been a dull, boring retread of those concepts. To
me Jarmusch's films are the quintessential versions
of watching paint dry. I've liked a few of Satyajit
Ray's films, like "Pather Panchali." I don't
see the connection to Jarmusch, though, nor the connection
between Ravi Shankar and Neil Young. Meanwhile, if you
want to see Ravi Shankar give a terrific performance,
check out "Montery Pop." His performance actually
outshines Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding,
all of whom were at their very best there.
Cynthia E. Jones
have to second the motion that you see 'Diabolique,'
the original Clouzot version. I think you'll dig it.
Haven't seen the remake, don't understand why people
remake good movies. Why not remake bad ones and fix
funny: because all the old movies at the local video
store are a dollar, I've been trying to rent really
really bad movies on purpose to see if I can tolerate
them. The funny part is, most 'bad' movies end up being
low budget films with classic three act story structure!
And most of them are more entertaining than anything
new I've seen come off the assembly line lately. It's
mostly just cheesy packaging, created, no doubt, to
inspire more rentals.
you seen "Panic" with William H. Macy and
Donald Sutherland? At first, it seemed predictable,
but I found myself getting drawn in to the story deeper
and deeper...and I forgot I was watching a movie. It's
been a while.
really do believe that the "bad" B-movies
of the 1940s and 50s were in fact superior to the A-movies
of today, mainly because the scripts were better. I
recently watched Joseph Lewis's film "The Invisible
Ghost" with Bela Lugosi, and it really was a crappy
little film, except there was some very inventive filmmaking
going on mainly because they had no money. There's an
entire courtroom scene done without a courtroom set,
it's all in close-ups and works perfectly. And no, I
haven't seen "Panic," but should it pop up
I'll watch it.
do agree that it's time for Hollywood to be reinvented,
although I don't think digital video has anything to
do with it.
Josh. Perhaps I need to illustrate this point a bit
more - it's not that Digital Video and Hollywood re-invention
is happening on the same platter - rather, DV is making
it more affordable for independents, and face it, it's
coming on strong. When I worked for Illuminations, one
would get themselves punished for mentioning that simple
traveling mattes could now be done more efficiently
on CG. In fact, after working for Geoffrey & Jeffrey
- a CG house, and then going back into FX work at a
film-only house, I had to punch a whole TV spot worth
of cells just for suggesting using CG to solve a particular
problem on a Michelin Tire gig. (that was 1989).
was attempting to offer a positive approach to the dilemma
some of the people I knew from Michigan have faced in
Hollywood (apparently not all of them - I.e. Tim Allen)
and that as DV evolves, and more Production companies
emerge all over the planet - I.e. Peter Jackson, Spielberg,
Lucas, and etc.. Hollywood is being re-invented, and
will eventually stand in line with the rest of the competition
for top and emerging talent. In fact, to some degree,
it's already happening, and since Game Development scored
more USD's than the film biz last year, it's time to
take a serious look.
The wisest thing we can do, is to stay progressive,
and not let our thinking prevent us from growth - in
strict adherence to any style or format. The new economy
needs the good old basic foundations, and change insurgents,
but even so, no matter what, an old style movie like
"Titanic" still confirms the basic film school
precepts of the early 30s. In any case, I intended no
ill thought, argument or otherwise - was just a fool-hardy
attempt to uplift.
Sorry if I offended in anyway.
not for a second saying that the advent of digital has
not made a number of aspects of filmmaking easier, like
editing, sound cutting, and traveling mattes (although
it hasn't made optical effects any cheaper--I think
you could have made "Shrek" or "Chicken
Run" for a million dollars each with actual clay
animation, but with CG they cost $100 million each).
What I'm saying is, the process of making a film--most
of which has nothing to do with the actual shooting--needs
to be done somewhere else other than Hollywood and in
some other fashion. Let's face facts, the film, processing,
and the camera are not the expensive part of filmmaking--the
expensive part is actors that cost $20 million and shooting
schedules that go on for 70, 80, 90, and 100 days and
more. Meanwhile, calling James Cameron's "Titanic"
an "old style movie" is to completely insult
old movies, which I feel are far superior to today's
fare. The 1953 version of "Titanic" is an
old style movie, or the 1958 British version, "A
Night to Remember," is an old style movie, meaning
(to me) that they were well-written and well-produced.
Cameron's "Titanic" is very modern in that
the script may as well be used toilet paper. Lurking
under your letter is the same charge leveled at me on
this website every week--that the three-act story structure
is dated, old-fashioned, and an infringement on freedom
and creativity. One more time I state--Bullshit. Everybody
can fight this to their dying day, but you cannot go
past the three-act structure until you've mastered it.
Period. It is a slightly difficult form that almost
nobody understands anymore. I can absolutely assure
you and everyone else that if you don't intimately understand
the three-act structure, you will not go beyond it.
No way. And the belief that you can surpass the three-act
structure without having mastered it is pure contemprary
"I remember the pajama party, that's where everybody's
wallets got stolen, if I recall correctly. I do agree
that it's time for Hollywood to be reinvented, although
I don't think digital video has anything to do with
it. Anyway, I haven't lost heart. I'm just doing my
own thing in my own way. Good luck to you on your project."
for the kind wish - I'm sorry about whoever it was that
lost a wallet (or got it stolen) that night so long
ago - funny you bring that up - maybe you should write
a script about it - don't forget to include all the
illegal substances going around, and the two girls in
the car. Makes for a good independent - only you'll
have to write your own take on the "stolen wallet
shtick" - because I didn't take anything from that
party except a couple biz cards, a few new contacts,
a hangover, and someone's fall guy rap. Wouldn't do
that to Bruce, and neither would you - right? Peace.
wasn't accusing you of stealing the wallets, that's
simply my main memory of that pajama party. Everybody
standing around in their PJs and the cops making a theft
report. Otherwise, if I recall correctly, it was a good
am starting to get into your work and your films. My
friend mentioned that you have done some independent
feature films and I wanted to check them out. So far,
I have seen "TSNKE" and "Running Time".
I personally liked them both for different reasons.
I wanted to get my hands on "Lunatics" but
wherever I look, there are no copies in stock. And I
so cannot wait for "If I Had A Hammer", which
I know the DVD of it will be amazing, just as "TSNKE"
and "Running Time" were.
you do not mind, I have a question for you.
Does Bruce share the same views as you do when it comes
2) Why was it that Sheldon did not like your personal
draft of "TSNKE"? In your essay about it,
which I read, you didn't tell us a main reason why he
did not like it and why you "ruined a good story",
or so he thought. Was it that you changed his story
you for your time, I appreciate it,
you the lead doctor on "ER"? I'd say that
Bruce shares my opinion that the state of motion pictures
is at an all time low, but specifically, he has his
own opinions. For instance, he liked "Three Kings"
and I didn't. Regarding TSNKE, or "Bloodbath"
as it was called when Sheldon and I were working on
it, I came up with the story and pitched it to him,
so I just wanted to return to my original concept. Sheldon
wanted to make a serious film out of the idea, which
I still think is absurd. The marines versus the Manson
family cannot be presented in completely serious terms.
Sheldon sort of pushed me out of the writing process.
When he was done with his first draft I simply took
the idea back and rewrote it, based on the notes Bruce
and I came up with. Once Sheldon vented his rage at
me about what I had done to the script, he never brought
it up again.