information on the Official Kevin Smith Foundation/Fund



Q & A    Archive
Page 61

Name: dustin glasco
E-mail: dustglas@hotmail.com

hey josh,

i just read that sam raimi gave alot of money to jr bookwalter to make the dead next door. campbell adr'd the voice of the main guy if my sources are correct and scott spiegal was in it. wasn't this going on about the same time as though shalt not kill, exept? it seemed as though one guy in the film looked just like raimi's character in your film. can you shed any light on what made him get involved and why he is never credited?

Dear Dustin:

I was in "The Dead Next Door" as a zombie and none of my footage turned out. I had a fucking head mold done and everything. I spent about twelve hours in that make-up, too, and gave a good performance, I might add. No, TSNKE was already done. "The Dead Next Door" was shot at the same time as "Evil Dead 2." After we did our parts in DND, in Akron, Ohio, Scott Spiegel and I continued south to North Carolina and did bits in ED2. Why did Sam give J.R. the money? He felt magnanimous, I suppose. Dino De Laurentis had just financed his picture, so he financed somebody else's film.

Josh

Name: Alyzée Saigon
E-mail: morgana@ole.com

Hello Mr. Becker,

I am writing from Lyon (France) just to tell you that I loved your script "The Biological Clock". This is the very first time that I have visited your site (my boyfriend had told me that it was brilliant). I think that "The Biological Clock" is very witty and funny and it has some of the best sex scenes that I have read lately. Their presence is justified, they are well-written, and they are sexy, if you don't mind if I say it. Are sex scenes very hard to shoot? I haven't seen many erotic scenes that I've really liked. My favourite one belongs to "Les Amants". Jeanne Mourreau was incredible. You can't see anything but her face, but the shadows and light lets us know what is happening. Maybe it was due to censorship. Directors had to find other ways of showing sex and sometimes I think that their scenes are more interesting than sex scenes in contemporary movies. I'm sorry this is so long and I'm sorry that I bored you with this email. I wish you the best and I will promise to read the rest of your scripts.

Dear Alyzée Saigon:

What a great name. I'm very pleased you enjoyed my script. In all honesty I must agree that I also think it has good sex scenes, and someday I'd love to shoot them, too. As for the sex scenes I've done, which is mainly the one in "Running Time" between Bruce Campbell and Anita Barone, was a well-rehearsed scene and all of their vital parts were out of frame, so it was just acting and it was easy to shoot. It was very hot in the truck we shot in, however. The sex scene I acted in in "Mosquito" was difficult because we were both really naked at times. I didn't enjoy shooting it, and I don't think I'd ever do one like it. I must say that I appreciate discrection. Let me know what you think of the other scripts.

Josh

Name: Diana Hawkes
E-mail: upon request

Hi Josh,

Say, since when can we italicize here? Cool. What are the codes? Aw hell, I'll try the typical ones on a quote that follows and see if it flies...

I had enjoyed the interactive challenge you got going a while back--
Name a 5 Star film made in the past 20 years, and Name a truly "disturbing" film.

I was hoping we'd get another discussion going,
I'd like to hear more about your understanding of IRONY, since you mention you appreciate it so. So how about you give your best example and we'll all try to offer ones too?
I'll start with an easy one:
"The Godfather", and Part 2. The Irony--By trying to protect his family, he destroys it.

And here's perhaps a waltz down memory lane for you, I came across an old New Yorker article on Sam Raimi where he recalls:
"We made 'Six Months to Live,' the story of a guy who finds out he's got an incurable disease and decides he is going to spend as much money as possible, and then, of course, he learns that he is not going to die, and he has to kill himself.
and later in the article,
Rob Tapert had this to say about Sam's "A Simple Plan":
"But the film is less ironic than "Fargo," more heartfelt. To an eye accustomed to Raimi's signature cartoon violence and oversized characters, "A Simple Plan" is the picture of restraint.
I'm going to assume Rob means William H. Macy's character holds the irony.
(Here's the entire article:)
http://www.sf-fandom.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=6507

By the way, that's very nice of you to have a link to Kevin Smith's Fund. I still can't wrap my brain around the tragedy. And of course, whatever I'm feeling as a fan is but a drop in the bucket compared to what those truly close feel. For those that don't know, he completed a role for the pilot of a show called "Riverworld" that should be airing spring/summer. Although now that I think about it, would they edit out his participation since he cannot continue the character? Oiy, I hope they don't edit him out of "Warriors of Virtue II", I want to see him vital again. Never mind that its based on a video game or some such frivolity, hey, its Kevin.

Dear Diana:

Good to hear from you. I hope Kevin doesn't get edited out of "Riverworld," but as it's a pilot, they might have to. For a big ripped handsome masculine guy, the best word to describe him was that he was a doll. He was always happy, joking, and funny, serious when he needed to be, and sincerely interested in his work. Well, anyway . . .

And I think that's a swell suggestion of yours, Diana, why don't we discuss ironic movies. I'm all for it. And, as I completely agree with you about both the first and second "Godfather" films, let me add another favorite, "The Bridge on the River Kwai," with two duty-obsessed colonels in each other's face, and in the name of all that's right, the prisoner ends up building his captor a far better bridge than he could ever build for himself, and on time, too. Anyone else?

Josh

Name: John
E-mail: Chowkidar@aol.com

Josh,

Have you watched either the "Sharpes" or "Horatio Hornblower" series from A&E? They are, to me, consistently good, very much in the tradition of Golden Age films. I don't know what the budget for these films are but I would guess they are fairly conservative, at least by today's Hollywood standards. How do these productions get made, and why are they able to resist "monsterization"? (If you haven't seen them, they're worth a look.) Are they just a different species somehow? Thanks.

Dear John:

No, I haven't seen either one. It does seem, though, that the only intelligent films getting made these days are for cable TV, particularly HBO and Showtime. I'd surmise that the lack of monsterization is due to: A. Having some intelligent executives, B. keeping the budgets reasonably low, and C. because it's TV, once they've greenlighted the film, the time slot is filled, it sort of doesn't matter if anyone watches it since revenues on cable TV aren't based on who's watching, but who has subscribed to the service. There's a pretty good Showtime film on right now called "Keep the Faith, Baby," about the congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. The lead actor, Harry Lennix, is very good.

Josh

Name: Robert c. Rogers
E-mail: iwanttobeabmoviestar@goddamnfruit.com

Dear Josh:

I just wanted to say its been so much fun and a learning experience from watching your work. I am getting ready to shoot my first independent film in colorado and am dedicating it to you and sam and bruce for showing me and my friends that if you believe in your dreams of making everything from a good quality three stooges movie to an alfred hitchcock omage then by god just do it. Failure is only a word you use when youve never tried. I would also like to know if you ever do conventions or autograph requests.

thanks,
Robert

Dear Robert:

Thanks for the nice letter, and I wish you all the luck in the world on your film. No, I don't go to conventions, but if you want an autograph, Shirley, the webmaster here, will tell where to send whatever it is you'd like signed. Please enclose a SASE.

Josh

 

Hi Robert,

Just send it to me and I will forward the package to Josh. Here's the address:

Shirley Robbins LeVasseur
c/o P.O. Box 86
East Vassalboro, ME 04935

Name: amber
E-mail: amberslotnik@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

Hi, Can you please tell me about any websites etc. that would help me put together my production book. I would greatfully appreciate any help!
Thank you,
Amber

Dear Amber:

What's a production book? Are you writing a book about film production?

Josh

Name: Roger Boom
E-mail: rogerboom@hotmail.com

Haha! Is this a fake website? It's awesome!
I laughed my ass off.
The idea that the "director" of Xena thinks that the "thin red line" sucks is brilliant!!!
And those funny "big hollywood" photos. The idiotic fake F.A.Q. rounds the experience up nicely!
Two thumbs up to the creator of this Hollywood spoof!

Dear Roger:

It's all here for you amusement, dude, so laugh on. I, too, am endlessly amused that a few of the simpler folk coming here seem to think that my TV credits somehow negate my opinion. As though one has to have any actual credits at all to be a film critic. And if you want to see a good film adaptation of a James Jones novel, watch "From Here to Eternity."

Josh

Name: Benedict
E-mail: benedict@isidore.biz

Josh,

At this point, are you not interested in coming down a bit from the high-end, low-budget feature? Do you really need a lot of funding to do another one of your scripts? I'm guessing you already have a camera. Wouldn't it be possible to go back to the basics just to get a few more features done?

Ben

Dear Ben:

I absolutely intend to make another, cheaper, low-budget feature at some point in the future. I'm still working on the distribution for "If I Had a Hammer," and I'm still in debt due to that film, so making another film isn't in my immediate future. Quite frankly, I now see that $350,000 was too much to spend on a low-budget feature without a "name" actor in it.

Josh

Name: Raymond Rantuccio
E-mail: filmsrpriceless@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

Since this is the first time for me to write to you. I have to say this first: thank you for making me see the big picture. When I first came to this site, I was amazed, shocked even, at your writings, your stories, your reviews, and your accomplishments over the many years. You are surely my biggest inspiration to get off of my ass and start writing. Your theories are quite interesting and is great that you follow them. It is just a shame because many writings in the forties, fifties, and in the sixties used that structure. It's a bummer because just think how effective Hollywood would be having good writers. It would be fantastic to see Hollywood filmmakers who can actually make a film and write. It is good that you are not a part of Hollywood. You are better without it. What has Hollywood ever done to you? Imagine if they got a hold of "Running Time". The film would of still been a piece of shit, without your visions, your writings and your colorful directing. I do wish you so much luck in the future. Not that you are going to need it.

As this is my first priveledge to write in and ask a question, I have to ask you something that can really help me further in my writing. It is a story that I just came up with, that may or not be derivative or original. The only original part about it is that it is based on a true story. It is going to be about me and my friends, the shit we got into the last few years, and many other things. Since there is a lot of material to use in the writing of it, I do not think believable characters and situations would be a problem. I am not sure if a screenwriter has wrote about them and their friends and their problems before. I am not particulary sure, but it may have been done before. I have problems with it, though. Some things, viewers may not grasp at or enjoy. But, you have to remember most of the things are true things that actually happened. I think I can do this. To avoid this problem, I am going to have to write the characters so tautly that I am going to have to make the viewer fall in love with the character, so if something tragic happens to one, they will care about them and gasp at something bad that happens to them.

If you can give me insights on the objectives and the keys to write a true story, I would be very grateful. Anything can help me and I find it an honor for me to write to you. I am young, just starting out, and almost ready to write a matured first screenplay. Again, thanks for everything.

Dear Raymond:

Here's a few points about writing a true story: 1. Just because it's true doesn't mean it's interesting, and 2. just because it's true doesn't mean it's believable. To end up with a decent script you must still follow all of the same character, motivation, and structural rules that apply to fiction. Good luck.

Josh

Name: Court
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I have many different Evil Dead posters hanging up in my room, and after many months of owning them, i have found an unusual thing. On an Army of Darkness poster, it credits Joe LoDuca, as Joe DoLuca, yet on everything else, his name appears as Joe LoDuca, which i beleive it is(Correct me if Im wrong). Anyways, is this just a simple mistake made by the poster company, or does he go by many names?

Dear Court:

No, he just goes by the one name, Joe LoDuca, although his credit ususally reads Joseph LoDuca. Anything other than that is a mistake.

Josh

Name: Michael Knox
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

Don't think I am an asshole or anything like that, but I am merely trying to understand something. Can you please, for my sake (and my friends) explain the ending of Running Time and explain why you chose that other than something else more inventive. If you ask me, the film's ending is an absolute cop out and it leaves some viewers unsatisfied. I am not saying that the film was a failure. I think it is your best work, best screenplay, outstanding acting, and unforgettable camera-work. The film really deserves more than it got. Me and my friends love it... excpept for the ending. It seems hokey and it seems as if you wanted teh viewer to imagine what happens next. What is the story behind it? I am curious.

Dear Michael:

Well, obviously, I think it's the appropriate ending that fulfills the point I'm trying to make. I believe, given what we know about Carl, that he would come back. And the idea of switching POVs at that late date in the story really interested me. It's worked like gangbusters on audiences I've watched it with because no one is expecting Carl to return, and when he does it's gotten an audible sigh of relief from the audience, including several hundred tough-looking New Yorkers, which I took as a triumph. Sorry you and your friends didn't like it.

Josh

Name: t
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Got a couple of questions for you, matey!
1. Did you ever make home-movies as a kid? If so, what were they about?

2. At what point during the making of SOUL POSSESSION, did you realise the Chakram should've been the old one?

3. Are there any series' like Xena, that you'd want to direct for? For example- Buffy or Relic Hunter?

Take care, Mr. Lights Camera Action!

Dear T:

1. I didn't really make "home" movies, but my buds Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, and I made a lot of super-8 films with stories and characters and gags and stuff. Between us we made about 75 super-8 films, ranging from 10 minutes to 85 minutes long, with titles like: "The Blind Waiter," "Six Months to Live," "The Final Round," and "It's Murder!"
2. I never realized anything about the chakram, it was the art department who made the mistake, then corrected it.
3. Hell, I wouldn't have worked on "Xena" if I hadn't of known the folks behind it. I haven't seen most of the "Xena" episodes, just the ones I directed or wrote. Personally, I think all those shows are stupid.

Josh

Name: Eric Standridge
E-mail: eric_standridge@hotmail.com

Hey,

Why no reviews for Lord of the Rings or A Beautiful Mind yet???

Dear Stan:

I haven't seen LOTR, nor do I want to, and "A Beautiful Mind" was okay, not great and not terrible, but didn't inspire me to write a review. Since these aren't assignments, I go by what inspires me.

Josh

Name: Dave Coulter
E-mail: thirdeyegroup@yahoo.com

Hello Josh..

Since Anchor Bay (most likely) isn't picking up "If I had a Hammer", because of a star name, why not shoot some new scenes with Bruce Campbell. Maybe have him telling the story in the present, then flashback... some narration......

Maybe you could shoot it on video than have it "Filmlooked". It'll give it a different feel than the sweet 35mm "If I had a Hammer" print, but since it's all time travel at that point, it might be more of an benefit, than an bad distraction.....

Dear Dave:

Anchor Bay may release "Hammer" yet. I just spoke with them the day before yesterday. Bruce is a SAG actor and anything I do with him will be through their auspices. "Hammer" is non-SAG and I don't need to drag SAG into this. Also, "Hammer" is finished and locked and I'm sure as hell not going back and messing with it. Thanks for the suggestions though.

Josh

Name: Ben Essner
E-mail: wakko@icon-stl.net

Dear Josh:

I have a few questions. 1. My friends and I make amateur films in our spare time. We've made several, but how the hell do we get people besides the people in our group of friends to watch them? 2. Have you seen any big mainstream Hollywood movies recently that you really liked? Or any independent films? I really liked Requiem for a Dream, for example. 3. What do you, as a filmmaker, think of the now defunct show Mystery Science Theatre 3000?

Dear Ben:

1. Try sending your films to film festivals. 2. No, I haven't. 3. I never cared for Mystery Science Theater 3000, it seemed like the lazy version of sitting around getting stoned and making fun of bad movies, only now you didn't have to have a sense of humor and do it yourself, you could sit quietly and have someone else do it for you.

Josh

Name: jon jennings
E-mail: niteowl722000@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

i'm a detroit area truck driver from monroe, four years ago a metallica song brought out my first screenplay, now i have this whole world waiting to explode, and i have no clue where to light the fuze. i can volunteer alot of time. thank you and God bless. jon

Dear Jon:

Y'know, there just aren't nearly enough screenplays based on heavy-metal lyrics. Good luck with it. When I worked on "Real Stories of the Highway Patrol" we shot in Monroe with the Monroe police, who were all very nice and accomodating.

Josh

Name: josh collins -pearson
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I do film work i'm 13 and i'm going to the childrens film festaval in Egypt.I'm from the UK.

Dear Josh:

Yeah? What of it?

Josh

Name: Dave Coulter
E-mail: thirdeyegroup@yahoo.com

Hello Josh...

I am a big fan of all your films, but the gem in the bunch (for me) is "Running Time"
As a project conceived and executed it is, a complete work of art!!

Since two of your films are released from Anchor Bay..
How is their contract? Fair?
Did they pick up "Running Time" because it had Bruce Campell's face on the cover, or because of the concept of the film?? (Please say the concept..)
How did you get their attention, or did they come to you?

I think you are an amazing filmmaker, and I'm glad you left the armpit called L.A. county..
I'm in the final editing stages of my first feature and my producer is heading out there at the end of the month for some meetings, blah, blah, blah.... he can have a good time......
I'll raise my daughter in the midwest thank you very much!

Thanks for your time - Dave Coulter

Dear Dave:

Anchor bay has been perfectly fair with me, I just wish I could get them to send the contract for "If I Had a Hammer." You may have hit the nail on the head regarding my present problems with them, which is that Bruce Campbell is not on the cover of my "Hammer" video box, nor does he have anything to do with it. I thought they liked me and my films, but apparently it may just be my connection to Bruce and "Evil Dead." They came to me originally about TSNKE.

Josh

Name: Benedict
E-mail: benedict@isidore.biz

Josh,

How effective is dubbing and when is it used? If you are in a windy or otherwise noisy location, do you dub the dialog in? Or if someones dialog runs over a cut, doesn't that mean that you have to record that line individually and then dub it in?

Thanks.

Dear Benedict:

Just to get the terms straight, dubbing is what is done to foreign films. When dialog is replaced it's called looping or ADR (automated dialog replacement). Dialog is looped constantly, and a lot of the dialog on Xena and Herc was looped. Those first two episodes of "Jack of All Trades" were almost entirely looped, for no good reason. I personally am not a big fan of looping and I avoid it as much as possible in my own films, but on TV they do what they want. As far as dialog going over a cut, which it very often does, you don't need to loop for that.

Josh

Name: XenaHerc
E-mail: XLWH@aol.com

Hi Josh.

When watching Xena and Hercules blooper tapes, I noticed that the beginning of scenes is marked by someone with a "clapper". (I don't know the name of it, so I'll call it a clapper).

My question is - sometimes the clapper person turns the clapper upside down when clapping it and other times they keep it right side up.

Is it a personal preference of the clapper person or does it mean something to the editor if the clapper is turned upside down or left upright?


Take care,

XenaHerc

Dear XenaHerc:

They used to call it a clapper or a clap-board, but now it's a slate, and the electronic ones are smart slates. If it's right-side-up, that's at the beginning of the shot, if it's upside-down it's because it's at the end of the shot, and it's called a "tail-slate." Sometimes it's just easier to tail-slate, particularly if the camera is starting off really high up, or very close to something and there's no room to stick in the slate. The reason it's upside-down at the end is so that the editor doesn't confuse it with the next head-slate, which will be right-side-up.

Josh

Name: Trent
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

In "Videohound's Cult Flicks" book, they have a great summary of Lunatic's, yet I found it funny that they placed your name as being Josh Beck. Have you seen that before?

Dear Trent:

Yes. I've tried straightening them out on their typo, too, and they don't care. Any book loaded with "facts" that isn't interested in getting things right doesn't interest me.

Josh

Name: Holden
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

Where is the Sitges festival held?Are film festivals really useful?Which are the best in your opinion? Thanx

Dear Holden:

Sitges is in Spain, just south of Barcelona. Film festivals certainly haven't mattered a bit to me. I enjoyed going to a few of them, like the Helsinki Film Festival, but otherwise I can live without them. If you can get your film into one of the big, highly-commercial festivals, like Sundance or Telluride, it may well do you some good because there are a lot of Hollywood folk there. Otherwise, it's simply a chance to show your film.

Josh

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

Josh,

It's been a long while since popping in here. I was hoping to read some recent, good news about "If I Had A Hammer" and it's distribution status, but no such luck yet.

You mentioned (I believe in your "Bailing on L.A." essay) that no distributors will look at "Hammer". Who? Which people have you tried to generate interest in the picture that refused to watch it? Do you have a rep? I've heard that's the only way an indi picture can sell...(I sure don't know, since my first feature is now 4 years old and still without any deal)

I'm also curious as to which film festivals (if any) you applied to. I was rejected by nearly 20 before getting into a really shitty one that did nothing to help me sell or even fill the theatre for my picture.
And I can honestly say that the film that won best picture at the fest was honestly one of the top ten worst movies I've ever seen.

At any rate, I hope all is well down in OR's southern half, and that Anchor Bay is the right outlet for "Hammer". It would, however, be better to see it with a company that would give it some sort of theatrical release, no matter how small or limited.

Have a good one.

Blake Eckard

Dear Blake:

I'm still talking to the folks at Anchor Bay. Sure, it would be better to get a theatrical release, but they're very rare for low-budget films these days. I honestly think that "Hammer" not being an action or horror film has Anchor Bay seriously confused, as it probably would be to most low-budget distributors. I'm talking to a film rep now, so we'll see what comes of that. They haven't seen "Hammer" yet, but they want to rep "Running Time" overseas. So far, though, we haven't agreed on the contract. As for film festivals, I sent "Hammer" to Sundance, Telluride, and Toronto, but didn't get in. I'm not really bothering with the low-end festivals this time, though, as I don't think they accomplish anything other than giving you a chance to show your film.

Josh

Name: Paul Zdanowicz
E-mail: kurtz2000@aol.com

Dear Josh:

Are you kidding me? I just read a few of your reviews, and I have to say your overt cynicism is overwhelming. I respect the fact that everyone has their own opinion, but come on. I am a fan of your film "Running Time", but American Beauty it's not (apples to oranges aside). Come on, I agree movies are in a major slump, but some do shine... Lighten up, or better yet put something better out there instead of directing t.v.

Dear Paul:

Yes, my cynicism is overwhelming, and I appreciate you noticing. As yet I have no reason to lighten up, and I have stopped directing TV. As for "American Beauty," since I don't think it's a particularly good, or a well-thought-out film, holding it up as a comparsion to me means very little.

Josh

Name: dustin t glasco
E-mail: dustglas@hotmail.com

hey josh,

whats the best way to go about copywriting a script? is it wise to use a "poor mans copywrite" and just mail it to myself? thanks, dustin

Dear Dustin:

No, that really doesn't mean anything, although it's probably better than nothing. First of all, state on your front page, at the bottom, Copyright (c), your name, and the year. Stating that this is copyright material is the most important aspect of the process, because if you say it, it's true. If you don't say it, even if you copyright it, then it's not true. Write to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and request a form PA. Fill it out and send it back with a check for $20, and a copy of your script without any bindings, as they will be microfilming it, then throwing it out. You'll get the stamped form back in three or four months.

Josh

Name: Melissa Kay
E-mail: mfiltz@surfbest.net

Mr. Becker,

I just read your screenplay for "Lunatics: A Love Story". I have not seen the movie, but did enjoy reading it. The part about the crockpot was my favorite, especially since I have about 5 of them myself, and will never use them all in my lifetime! LOL Also, I liked the sense of irony, where Hank said to himself, "Good God, these people are all crazy! What's a normal, healthy young man supposed to do?".

All in all, great work, and now I am geared up to buy it on VHS. Looks as if the movie itself, will be just as good, if not better, according to the screengrabs I viewed.

I don't think I could do a screenplay myself, I'm more into writing short stories and poetry. Yet, you have got me interested, and I intend to do some further reading on your website.

Take care,
Melissa

Dear Melissa:

If you can rent "Lunatics," or find it used, you'll be much better off since the tape still costs $79.95, due to really bad distribution by Columbia. It never came out in a $19.95 version. If you do decide to write a screenplay, here's a thought to keep in mind, try being sincere. Tongue-in-cheek, camp, and cynical all kind of suck. Very few writers have the guts to be sincere anymore, as though they'll be laughed at or something. Good luck.

Josh

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

Josh,

Austin is a great town, but it's growing too quickly. My biggest fear is that too many people will continue to move down here and it turn into LA.

If you ever have a chance to come down, though, you should definately swing by the Alamo drafthouse (where bruce did his 'fanalysis' screening.) It's a great theater, and they cover a pretty wide spectrum of films.

JT
Austin
p.s. are there at least good restraunts in LA? has to have something going for it.

Dear JT:

There's a million restaurants in LA, particularly fancy ones. A place I really like is Killer Shrimp (which isn't fancy), and there's one in Venice and one in the San Fernando Valley. It's owned by Lee Michaels, pop star of the early 1970s, whose big hit song was "You Know What I Mean." You get a giant bowl of shrimp in a terrific sauce (mainly butter and garlic) and a colander full of good bread to soak up the sauce.

Josh

Name: John
E-mail: Chowkidar@aol.com

Dear Josh:

Forgive me, I just posted a question but forgot to ask; any thoughts on the passing of Chuck Jones? Also, your films often incorporate animation, have you ever considered directing animated features? Thanks again.

Dear John:

None of my films have any animation, except the stop-motion animation of the giant spider in "Lunatics." Directing an animated feature holds no interest for me. I don't even enjoy watching animation anymore. I loved cartoons as a kid -- not the features, the shorts -- particularly the Warner Bros. cartoons, so I was definitely a fan of Chuck Jones. I met him at the Houston Film Festival in 1992. I also really liked the work of Max and Dave Fleischer.

Josh

Name: John
E-mail: chowkidar@aol.com

Dear Josh:

I've looked on your site and maybe just missed it, but what's the current status of "...Hammer"? I've read the two "Making of" essays and feel like the last chapter is missing from the book. Thanks.

Dear John:

I hope the last chapter of the "Hammer" story hasn't occurred yet. I'm still talking to Anchor Bay about releasing the film, but they're not being very reponsive. Personally, I think I have as good of a soundtrack as "O Brother Where Art Thou," which just won the Grammy for best record of the year. Film distribution is a rough game, let me tell you.

Josh

Name: Sheila
E-mail: sheilalopez_lopez@hotmail.com

Dear Mr Becker,

I am a Spanish fan of yours and I would like to know if you have ever been to the Sitges film festival. I would also like to know if you have seen any work by the Spanish film director Jesús Franco, I think he is known as Jess Franco in the States.
Muchas gracias,
Sheila
P.S. It´s very hard to find your films in Spain but I think you should know that there are many people who admire your work here.Thanks again.

Dear Sheila:

I've never been to Sitges, but my film "Lunatics: A Love Story" showed there, and I heard it was a very good screening. And no, I've never seen any of Jesus Franco's films. Sorry.

Josh

Name: Benedict
E-mail: benedict@isidore.biz

Josh,

So other than a digital camera, can everything else on a super-low/no-budget production be faked? Let's say that the goal is not to make a finished movie, but to have something for you to look at to see what the movie could look like, kind of like a video storyboard. Would the experience be worth it to just get a decent camera and computer for editing, and just sort of deal with everything else as it comes? I guess I'm answering my own question: If I'm not trying to make a perfect movie, then there's no harm, right?

Ben

Dear Ben:

If you've gone to all the trouble of writing something, planning it, getting actors, places to shoot, props, etc., what are you faking? My point is if you're going to go to all that trouble, why not try and shoot it well?

Josh

Name: Richard Griffin
E-mail: rgriffin2@home.com

Mr. Becker,

Quiet accidently I happen on your site, and I want that your screenplay "The President's Brain is Missing", is a wonderful work. A piece like this should be made into a movie, and it's a shame is hasn't been. The craft is much, much, higher than 90% of what's being made in Hollywood, and even in "independent" cinema these days. Bravo on writing such a fine script.

Richard Griffin

Dear Richard:

Thanks. I think it would make a funny movie, and be a good part for Bruce Campbell. I honestly don't think a script being any good has the slightest meaning to anyone in Hollywood anymore. Quite frankly, I don't think anyone there would recognize a good script, or a good movie, if it bit them on the ass. But if I could bring you a moment of enjoyment while you read it, then it was worth it.

Josh

Name: Mark Shalit
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

I am a big fan of all your work. When are you and Bruce going to write another screenplay together? Do you two have any more collaborations together? I think the two of you make an awesome team.

Dear Mark:

Bruce and I enjoy working together, as well as brain-storming together, but we don't write together and never have. I stopped writing with other people about thirteen years ago. I personally think writing is a thing you do by yourself.

Josh

Name: Ismail Aziz
E-mail: mr-treesloth@webtv.net

Dear Josh:

Would you ever do another film in pontiac michigan? And why did you pick pontiac to replace down town Los Angeles? And do ever go to Pontiac anymore?

Dear Ismail:

I doubt that I'll ever make another film in Pontiac, although the folks in Pontiac could not have been nicer or more helpful when we shot "Lunatics" there. We chose Pontiac for a few reasons, mainly it has a little downtown area, which is what I was looking for. And, it was right near the school were using as a stage and offices in Auburn Hills. Also, my dad's office is in Pontiac and we shot a number of scenes in the alley behind his building, which we got for free.

Josh

Name: Ismail Aziz
E-mail: mr-treesloth@webtv.net

Dear Josh:

I live in pontiac michigan and have heard a lot about you and the Raimis and was wondering if there were a i could send a head shot to be evaluated for some of your projects? I recently was a featured as a rapper in the Eminem movie called 8 Mile.

Dear Ismail:

I have no use for head shots or resumes, and when I get them I throw them out. Good luck to you.

Josh

Name: Shannon
E-mail: sulugirl@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

You say that Bette Davis never won any Oscars for Wyler directed films - she did, for Jezebel, her second and last Oscar.

Dear Shannon:

I never said that. I know which films Bette Davis won her Oscars for, the other being "Dangerous" in 1935. She certainly should have beat Judy Holliday in 1950 for "All About Eve," but alas, she was also up against Gloria Swanson for "Sunset Blvd." That both of them lost to Holliday is one of the great crimes of the 20th century.

Josh

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

Josh,

The majority of writers who I've read interviews of are generally asked the question "When is a script done?" and they usually reply "The day of shooting." You have a lot of screenplays on your site, and I was wondering when you decided when they were "done." Is it when your interest transfers to another project, or is it when you can read through them once without wanting to change anything? Another quesiton would be, if you were to make any of your posted scripts into a movie, would you feel the need to make any new changes, or are you satisfied with them as they are?

Also, on a completely unrelated note, I have a friend who wants to shoot an independent feature on DV. He says his goal is to get it into a festival and hopefully get a distribution deal. He doesn't want to have to bother with film because he doesn't want to worry about renting equipment and devoloping film. Since he can shoot and edit DV more cheaply, he thinks it's a better choice, even though having a print made from DV is incredibly more expensive than getting one made from 16mm. My question is, do you think it's worth it to shoot a movie digitally, or should you go all the way and shoot on film? Are projects on film considered more seriously, if at all?

Thanks,
David

Dear David:

My scripts are done when I'm satisfied with them. The second you hear actors speak your dialog, though, things do change at least a little bit. Nevertheless, I'm one of the few filmmakers on the planet, I believe, that thinks it's a wise idea to lock my scripts before I shoot them. Both "Running Time" and "Hammer" went through very few changes between the final script and the finished film. Certainly "Xena" scripts weren't done until you shot them, being rewritten right up to that second, and sometimes even beyond. But it is possible to finish a script without shooting it, you just have to feel satisfied, declare that it's done, and be willing to stand behind it.

Regarding shooting on DV, if you intend to make a 35mm print out of it, which will probably look like crap, you really must light the hell out of it. That means you need a professional cinematographer and full compliment of lighting equipment, and the grips necessary to haul all the stuff around and set it up. If you're going to go to that trouble, why not shoot film, too, which looks so much better? Also, if you want it to look halfway decent you can't shoot with one of those little home DV cameras, which don't have great resolution, you really need to rent a professional DV camera, which will probably cost more that this point than renting a 16mm camera. A much bigger issue is, I think, will you be using SAG actors or not? If you are, and that's the only way you'll get top-notch actors and potentially a "name," which is kind of critical to distribution these days, that costs WAY more than shooting on film. If you've gone to that expense and trouble, once again, why not shoot on film? One of the biggest issues with shooting DV is that you don't have a decent original. If you rent a good DV camera, your original will be on Digital Beta. If you shoot with a home-use camera, your original will be those tiny little tapes. Either way, it may just be entirely outdated in five years. If you have at least a 16mm negative, you can make both great video copies and a good-looking 35mm blow-up. If you're not going to be working with real actors, you don't care if your movie looks any good, and you have no real hope for distribution, go ahead and shoot DV. It's better than nothing.

Josh

Name: Benedict
E-mail: berneusdavin@isidore.biz

Josh,

I have a friend whose uncle produced Barb Wire. Now, it wasn't legitimate filmmaking, but he has worked on Sleepers and The Game also. I looked him up, and IMDb lists him as production supervisor and unit production manager. What is that? Is that an influential position? I have no problem locating a microscopic hole in the Hollywood cloak and boring my head through it persistently until I sell a script, but is a production manager worth my time?

Thanks.

Benedict

Dear Benedict:

I don't know that a production manager can get you anything, except possibly a job as a production assistant, but it is a somewhat powerful position. A production manager is the top-end DGA position below director, meaning it's above 1st A.D. A production manager runs the production, for the producer, from the production office. Whereas, the 1st A.D. runs the set, for the producer or the director, depending on who influences them more. A good production manager in Hollywood would be a well-connected person that could probably get you to a producer, if you had a reason to get to them. Good luck boring your head in.

Josh

Name: Josh
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

have you or would you ever lie for sex? this question was on a little test at thespark.com. just wondering

Dear Josh:

I used to tell women that I was Sidney Poitier's son hoping they'd have sex with me, but apparently they didn't believe me. Huh.

Josh

Name: jay
E-mail: jaybay832@yahoo.com

dera sir,

please advise me on how one can enter the film editing world.
what career opportunities are available for one who enjoys movies. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Jay

Dear Jay:

It seems to me that Hollywood is just teeming with editors, or at least people that know how to run an Avid, anyway. Kaye Davis, who edited my last three films, as well as "Evil Dead 2," finally left LA after she kept only being able to get trailers to cut, and not even a lot of those. And she's a darn good editor. Anyway, I guess you need to learn all the newest editing softwares, and perhaps even buy an Avid or something (maybe an Apple G-4 with Final Cut Pro would suffice at this point, I don't know). Good luck.

Josh

Name: John
E-mail: Chowkidar@aol.com

Dear Josh:

Having just read your essay "A Lesser Form" I thought of a few things. I am musician, of sorts, and in that field the better one becomes at one's instrument and the more one develops an individual style, the more one alienates the general audience who preferences are, naturally, varied. The ability of Britney and company to sell millions of records reflects their appeal to a least-common denominator. That is one reason why mass appeal generally also means an appeal to the young. As individuals age and develop personal taste, the ability to market to them en masse decreases.
Music is able to deal successfully with this situation because capital investment is declining. Any moron with a computer and a midi keyboard can produce a polished product. As a result, while the amount of junk multiplies so, too, does the quality stuff. The best music is being made in basements. Movies, on the other hand, are becoming more capital intensive. This may change with advances in digital cameras and appropriate software but we really haven't seen it yet. Consequently we get the increase in the amount of junk but without a corresponding production of quality.
All of this having been said, I still believe that movies are the one remaining art form where it is still possible to produce a classic. I mean here a classic in the sense that it can define a discernable portion of a culture's identity. Some might argue television, but what ratings did "Seinfeld" ever command as compared with "Lucy" or even the CBS Evening News? Literature is overwhelmed by sheer volume for much the same reasons as is music. One might find quality, but not classics. The complexity of movie making as yet, I believe, maintains a window for true classics. That is not to say they will be made, only that they still can.
What do you think?

Dear John:

I agree with you that classic films could be made, but I don't think they are. I don't think that very interesting music is being made, either. Our culture is in an artistic lull. People don't seem to be very interested in looking deep within themselves for what might be new or interesting, only outward at what others have already done and copying it. We are absolutely overrun with remakes and sequels, and that which might be considered original is just painfully dull. No one is trying to be "deep" anymore, and that's where the good, original art comes from. Everything is now product and geared to the marketplace. And digital cameras won't change anything with movies, because the camera is not the expensive part of filmmaking and never has been. Once you've gone to the trouble of wrangling a cast and crew together, you may as well shoot on film because it looks better, and that does matter. Rock & roll music hasn't gone anywhere interesting in many years, all new jazz is just rehashed older stuff, and classical music only exists as movie scores now, and there's about eight guys that do all of them. It's a sad state of affairs.

Josh

Name: John
E-mail: jforde40@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

"Cinema is dead. In the early 1950s and 1960s the whole family would go to the cinema every week of the year. Now you're hard-pressed to find someone who goes once a year."

-- British director PETER GREENAWAY, in Britain's Times newspaper.

So true. In the last 5 years I've gone to about 10 first run movies. I feel that's the norm and I guess I'm not alone.

Dear John:

Well, I've been to movies three times already this year, so it's a banner year. But for me it's been almost ten years since I became utterly disgusted with the state of movies and severely backed off from my crazy old film-going ways. I used to see at least 150 movies in the theater a year, and sometimes as many as 250. Everything I did was based around what movies I was going to see that week. Now I'd rather read.

Josh

Name: James Frazier
E-mail: jamo2000@sbcglobal.net

Hi Josh,

Just read your "Bailing" essay. Which was probably a bad idea, since I got here two months ago and have yet to find anything resembling work. One remark really caught my eye, about post houses being snotty. It's true! I am a veteran, award winning art director with a great reel and resume and I can't get shit going, because no one gives a rat's ass enough to return my calls (after I have sent reels to them). So I can commiserate in that regard. LA is a shithole, and I am feeling very discouraged. Plus, we pretty much leveraged everything to come here. I gotta call ripoff, but consider it a cautionary tale for any one that might read this. Thanks for letting me vent & best of luck with your post-LA projects. -Jamo

Dear James:

I'm sorry to hear about your plight, and I honestly do commiserate. I've heard that things are hopping in Austin, TX, maybe that's worth checking out. I wish you all the luck in the world.

Josh

Name: Unlucky Tim Sharpe
E-mail: uNLuckY_222@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

You know, that is actually true. "The Edge" did have a pretty predictable, inept ending. I did actually think it should of been handled better. I will always like the acting by Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin. I usually do not enjoy the two, but I did in this film. About "The Verdit", it is funny because, I actually read the screenplay that Mamet wrote. It was alright, I guess. What I cannot stand about his scriptwriting is that every other sentence, he always writes the word, 'ANGLE', every chance he gets. That gets pretty annoying after a while, don't you agree? About his film, "State And Main". I cannot agree with you more. That was a TERRIBLE film. When "Hiest" was out, I went to go see it, of course. I never imagined that I would sit in absolute boredom throughout. That was a very TERRIBLE film as well. I am not sure if you've seen it. The reason why I admire "American Buffalo" is that it has a very simple look to it, you know? I never went to go see the play, but the film had excellent acting from Franz and Hoffman. I don't think I have seen Hoffman so over the edge in a while. But then again, some of the story wears out after a while. What do you think? Ok...to end my message regarding Mamet, I just have to say that I am a big fan of "Wag The Dog". Since I admire DeNiro, I saw it...and laughed until the very end. It was unusual Mamet. But it blew me away.

Dear Tim:

Let's face it, you and I have different tastes. I thought "Wag the Dog" really sucked. It's such a lame, unbelievable premise, I was in misery from about fifteen minutes into the film. This whole deal is top secret, but they're going to hire a Hollywood film crew and expect it stay quiet? Come on. And then they completely misrepresent the filmmaking process which really pisses me off. They're shooting a film commercial (which are shot with one camera, like movies), but they're using multiple cameras like it's a sit-com, then they have the kid hold a bag of Doritoes and it becomes a cat through special effects? Bullshit. then the film just drags along for the next hour with Hoffman repeating his same lines over and over again, then they have possibly the most absurd end of act two I've ever seen. They're all in a small jet, which develops engine trouble and crashes, fade out, then fade in and they're all standing beside the wreckage of the jet. People don't live through jet crashes, certainly not everybody, and certainly not unscathed. It's really a dumb movie.

Josh

Name: Unlucky Tim Sharpe
E-mail: uNLuckY_222@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

I know you get sick and tired of "did you see this? if so, what did you think" questions, but I'm gravely curious on what you think about a few films, which are films in which I have recently watched.

I don't know if you like Mamet, but I just Got done watching two films that he wrote. One films, "The Edge" and the other film, "American buffalo". I loved them. He can totally write (not saying that you can't). and after reading my TV guide, i found that "Breakdown" is going to be on television tonight. I am not sure which channel, but if you have a minute, you should check it out. I thought it handled its three act structure well. It is a situation that is believable. I enjoy films like that.

Dear Tim:

I thought "The Edge" was kind of lame, personally. It was one of those films where we spent an hour over coffee afterward rewriting it in attempt to improve it and make sense out of it. The ending really blew, and Bart the bear was looking rather old and decrepit, unlike his halcyon days in "The Bear." I saw the film in New Zealand with Rob Tapert, Lucy Lawless, and her daughter, Daisy, who was then about eight years old. After the film Daisy said snidely, "Why did everyone get hurt on the leg?" which I thought was an observant comment. I wasn't crazy about "American Buffalo" as a play and didn't think it made a very good film, either. While we're discussing Mr. Mamet, I thought "State and Main" blew, too -- Oh, aren't those goofy, Hollywood filmmakers funny? No! "The Winslow Boy" was okay, but truly didn't need to be remade. And "The Spanish Prisoner" was utterly insignificant and forgettable. I really do like his script for "The Verdict," though. But that was ten years ago. The last essay I read by him was incomprehensible -- he has become a severe sesquipedalian (I don't often get to use that word).

Josh

Name: kathleen
E-mail: kmac2@aol.com

Hey Josh

Are you really that handsome, or is that just a good photo?

Dear Kathleen:

It's just a good photo. I'm really three feet tall and have bad acne. Thank God for PhotoShop.

Josh

Name: mitch
E-mail: mitch@ofir.dk

FUCKHEAD, how can you talk about the greatest director ever, like that. Its just because you can`t make good movies yourselves, FAGGOT!!!!

Dear Mitch:

I don't even know who you're talking about. Since you started with fuckhead and worked your way to faggot, is that supposed to be worse?

Josh

Name: Craig
E-mail: craig@rickard10.freeserve.co.uk

Hey josh, thanks for the responce, it's just everywhere else I have wrote to have given me a big fat nothing.

I was just wondering about any behind the scenes infomation, such as influences (and how they were influences)

Also anything about the techniques used,

Anything about how this film influanced your career and any other films you have been a part of.

How it fit the genre of film making at the time, and why, (i.e, a lot of horror films being made, yet it fit a gap in the market...)

And any other general infomation that you think may be handy to my paper, thanks again

Craig

Dear Craig:

What are you talking about? "Evil Dead"? If you think I remember our last communication you are mistaken.

Josh

Name: tien
E-mail: elean0rrigby@hotmail.com

Hey Josh,

This isn't really a question; just a general fyi for anyone who lives in the SF bay area. One of the local theaters in Berkeley - the Landmark Act 1 & 2 - is having a special midnight showing of Running Time on March 23. Apparently it's the East Bay premiere (or so the site says). Either way, I, for one, am way excited.

Keep up the rockin good work,

Tien

Dear Tien:

Thanks for mentioning it. Considering the film only played in a theater in LA, everywhere it shows will be a premiere.

Josh

Name: Lisa
E-mail: lisabreitman@aol.com

Dear Josh:

I'd like to find out more about looping. I heard there are a dozen loop groups around town, but how can I find them???

Dear Lisa:

Check the LA 411 book or the Hollywood Flip-Book. Keep in mind, however, that you must be a SAG member to join most of these loop groups. Also, these are very skilled actors that do this for a living, it's not really a place for young actors to train. The biggest one, I believe, is Barbra Harris' Loop Group.

Josh


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