broke rule #6 "Let's try our best to keep this
a PG-13 site. Your support in this area is much appreciated."
Rules arnt made to be broken.. get some class.
think it's classy insulting a stranger? Over cheap Italian
horror movies? You're an idiot.
recently started to write, film, direct and produce
my own films. I use a fairly old camera that my dad
used when he filmed weddings and ceremonies for a living,
but it's beginning to get a bit past it. I'm 15 and
have a low income so I have problems funding films let
alone buying better quality equipment! Do you know of
any cameras that are of fairly decent quality but run
for a cheaper price tag?
failed to mention what sort of camera you're talking
about. If it's 16mm, and you're an adventurer, I'd say
buy a Bolex. I have one. My buddy Paul is nearly through
shooting a feature with a Bolex, which I found at a
used camera store for $125, with two extra lenses. The
Canon Scoopic is a cool camera, too, but it runs on
batteries and I don't think they make them anymore.
you prepare a script for shooting, do you break it down
shot by shot yourself? If so, how do you organize it
for shooting? To put it another way: If most shooting
isn't done in chronological order, then by what organization
are the individual shots ordered on the schedule? By
scene, location, actors needed? I hope this is a clear
enough question, I'm curious about the logistics of
it all. There are certainly a lot of details to keep
you do a breakdown, which is scene by scene, not shot
by shot. You go through each scene and list all of the
items necessary to shoot the scene, including extras,
special equipment, props, extra personnel, etc. Then
you do the schedule, which is first based on trying
to shoot as many exteriors as possible before moving
inside in case the weather gets bad you have cover sets
to move into. Then it's either based on the length of
time you have each location for, or how long you have
certain actors for. If you're working with a very high-priced
actor, you shoot everything with them to get them out
of there. Otherwise, you're trying to get in and out
of locations as speedily as possible. Doing a film schedule
is sort of a puzzle generally done by the 1st AD, although
I do them myself on my movies.
what I have heard you had some thoughts on Dario Argento.
Now first of all I don't think you understand the talent
the man has. He can express what he wants to using such
effects as color moods. If you just think it is "colors"
than you can't understand art. I dont think you should
be able to comment on such a great film maker, I mean
what films have you made that people actually know about.
Your purely just an assistant to quality directors such
as sam raimi. I personally think that you are just an
angry middle aged man who is pissed off that you didnt
make it "big". Now i know what you will say
to that.." at least ive made a film" but let
me tell you when a new generation of filmmakers come
up in the world your "films" will be forgotten.
And I also heard that you said you got bored by his
films. How do you get bored? Its ACTION PACKED. Now
that is all that i need to say, so good bye for now.
if I don't agree with your assessment of an Italian
horror filmmaker then I'm "an angry middle-aged
man who is pissed-off that he didn't make it 'big'."
Well, since you don't agree with me I'm sure your an
ugly, pissed-off little cunt. Fuck you and drop dead.
questions, if you do not mind:
1. What's your opinion on Vincent Gallo? Have you seen
his "Buffalo 66"? If so, what did you think?
I'd like to hear your thoughts.
2. I've read some of your scripts, after knowing what
they are about. Very impressive stuff, by the way. I
may want to read "The Bioligical Clock." Can
you give me a little logline to tell me what it is before
I read it? Thank you very much. Hope I wasn't being
the pest. I'm kidding. I watched about twenty minutes
of "Buffalo 66" and it seemed poorly written,
poorly directed, and not very interesting, either, so
I bailed out. Meanwhile, the logline for "The
Biological Clock" is:
What if a woman in her mid-thirties, desperate to have
a child before it's too late, decides to be artificially
inseminated, then asks her best platonic male friend,
who's always had a crush on her, to be the sperm donor.
He agrees, but only by use of "actual" insemination,
meaning sex, and lots of it. He believes this will obviously
lead to a romance, but will it?
camera I'm buying is the Arri BL. I was going to get
the NPR cos I could super 16 it, but that's more money
(UKP 650), plus I'd then need to get a new lens as the
Ageniuex, once the NPR has been converted, will only
go as wide as 18mm. Super 16 is racking up the cost
so I'll stick to regular 16mm. The Arri BL is UKP 2000.
I figured I'd soak up the cost of the camera on the
first shoot and then it's mine, all mine (evil cackle).
I'm gonna rent lenses, lights and tripod. The only thing
that really worried me is that I'm definitely going
to do some plank-cam shots and I do fear for the Arri
BL, as it's a little bulky. I'm thinking of getting
a clockwork Bolex so I can really do some shots on the
move. Do you think a shooting ratio of 3 to 1 is optimistic?
With this ratio (at list price, which I'm sure I can
negotiate) 18 rolls of 400' black and white stock is
£900, the processing on this in the UK is £1620,
giving me a total film and processing cost of £2700.
Colour, all in, works out at £3420. A good friend
in London will edit on Avid.
want to know the real problem? I need to write a GREAT
script that's do-able at weekends and holidays, with
the resources I have. That's the challenge and I won't
start until I've surmounted it.
just read that the writer of the Full Monty has made
a 70 min film guerilla style for UKP 6000. It's called
'Everyone's Happy' and was directed by Frances Lea (I
went to Bournemouth Film School at the same time as
her). They shot in tents and camper vans at the seaside.
I think this is a clever way to shoot a very low budget
film - with tents and camper vans, you're not reliant
on anyone for your locations, and you can shoot for
as long as you like.
saw Pi last night. Maths IS interesting! It was well
paced and the character's paranoia racks up as the story
progresses, although I must admit it really kind of
lost me towards the end. I liked the idea of the two
apposing antagonist vying for the protagonist's attention:
the religious man and the corporate woman. But I loved
the merging of documentary filmmaking with the narrative,
a technique I, as a VERY low budget filmmaker, must
I must turn my attention to my low budget feature script.
Any advice you have on this would be read with much
have a Bolex and it's a cool camera, but I think you'd
be better off renting or borrowing an Arri-S, which
can take the same lenses as the BL. That's what we used
on ED for the evil force shots. A Bolex is a difficult
camera to use -- even if it's a reflex model, as mine
is, you still can't really see through the lens -- and
the lenses aren't very good. If you have to choose,
I say skip the zoom and get a good array of prime lenses,
preferably Ziess lenses, if you can get them. Good luck
on writing the script.
you a fan of Clive Barker's filmmaking or books or both?
And does Evil Dead follow your rules of structure?
no, and no. And the rules of structure certainly aren't
my rules, they were around long before I was born.
just read an interesting article in the NY Press that
gives some perspective on how bad the market is for
independent films and, (I would imagine) somewhat mirrors
your problems with Hammer. This stuff might seem redundant
to you, but I find it interesting that a (somewhat)
name director, with a fairly well-known cast, good reviews,
and a screening at Sundance, is still hardly a guarantee
of getting any kind of theatrical release. In fact,
this 4 million film will end up in roughly the same
place as your 100-300k films that had mostly no-name
casts. I'm beginning to wonder if the independent film
market has finally died as a way of getting theatrical
distribution. It seems to have gone the way of tv and
video, with the exception of a very few films a year.
I find that pretty depressing. Hollywood has finally
become a business fully based on the blockbuster. We've
got the Oscar-hopeful blockbusters and the popcorn blockbusters.
Anything else, gotta go with tv or video. Can you imagine
what things will be like 5-10 years from now? I can
easily imagine a cinema billboard listing: "Spiderman
4", "Harry Potter 5", "Men in Black
5", "Scooby Doo 6", and "Jurassic
Park 4". The only difference is that they'll be
showing in digital projection and maybe have more sophisticated
computer graphics. As long as audiences keep shelling
out the dough, this is where things are headed. Anyway,
here's the article:
a fairly dire situation out there for any sort of film
that's not a "blockbuster." Plus, there are
more screens out there to show films on then ever before,
but theater owners would rather have "Scooby-Doo"
on it's sixth week than any indie films ever. And everyone
in the audience does exactly as they're told. Whichever
film has the highest publicity budget always goes to
number one, no fail. First this summer is was "Spider-Man"
for two weeks, then "Star Wars" for two weeks,
then "The Sum of All Fears" for a week, then
"Scooby-Doo" for two weeks, now "Minority
Report." If the big studios took a roll of 35mm
negative and ran between their ass cheeks, then spent
$75 million advertising it, it would be number one for
at least a week.
I happened to catch the '62 version of "Cape Fear"
this afternoon. I didn't even look to see what channel
it was on. Now there's a movie that grabs you. I've
seen it before and even the '91 version which wasn't
bad, but, I think, not as good. I wasn't planning on
watching a movie but couldn't turn it off. Gregory Peck
plays such a strong character that the viewer is convinced
that anyone who would scare Peck is scary indeed. As
much as structure is important, and the structure of
"Cape Fear" is great, tension is built by
strong characters in whom one can make an emotional
investment, and "Cape Fear" has them in spades.
I guess there really isn't a question in this, although
perhaps an answer to the earlier post about what makes
a great movie. Thirty seconds, twenty minutes into the
film, and I was hooked. Thanks,
agree, it's a teriffic film, and Robert Mitchum is brilliant.
It's also miles ahead of the remake, which I didn't
like. I think Mitchum was one of the really great actors
that never got his due. I think he's the best actor
in his peer group, which I'd say was: Gregory Peck,
Charlton Heston, Burt Lancaster, and Kirk Douglas, and
I think Mitchum got the least respect. He made doing
an accent so effortless everyone took it for granted.
His southern accent in "Cape Fear" is impeccable.
He also did a perfect Irish accent in "Ryan's Daughter,"
and a perfect Australian accent in the wonderful film,
"The Sundowners." He was also one of the early
potheads, so he's high on my hero list (har-har), along
with Louis Armstrong and Will Geer.
Jim Matthews Jr.
in your opinion would benifit from you industry the
most if there were a sound stage within 20 miles of
Philadelphia that was similar to Pinnacle out of Pitt
the hell kind of question is this? Who cares if there's
a sound stage twenty miles outside Philadelphia? I don't.
a long-time visitor to your site, but not one to post
any comments--until now. Don't waste your money on "Minority
Report." I have never seen critics masturbate so
feverishly over a story with such an abundance of plot-holes
and the biggest "logic gap" in recent memory.
The story "rules" Spielberg lays out are tossed
out the window and glossed over by special fx and a
left turn into a sappy B-story. Obviously the critics
en masse fell for it. Are these people afraid of dissing
Spielberg or what? What the hell is going on?
Your site's great. Wish more people in LA took the time
to read some of your essays about story...
had no plans to see it in the first place. I do like
Philip Dick, but I'm sure that Spielberg overrides him
everywhere. I still haven't gotten over "A.I."
which really was one of the worst films I've ever seen.
Thanks for the warning.
J. Howard Stutsman
you aware of any adaptations to the book "Compromised:
Clinton, Bush and the CIA" by Terry Reed and John
Cummings? Although the 600 page Expose of CIA Narco
Trafficking and Political Intrique is often verbose,
this is a unique and interesting portrait of life behind
the scenes in America. Could you direct me to anyone?
The authors are difficult to engage. Also, how does
it feel to be so damned good at what you do? Thank you
and keep cranking...
contacting the publisher. Better still, if you have
an agent, have them contact the publisher.
am stuck in Michigan. Do you have any reccomendations
for getting a foot in the door of the "biz,"
within the Great Lakes State?
your own movie. Otherwise, there is no getting a foot
in the door from Michigan. Hell, I couldn't get a foot
in the door in LA.
again! I've just been reading some of your essays. I
totally agree - you can't get sucked into 'skating'
through your life. I started off at film school and
then went straight into production - making my own stuff
on cable and working for other people (Ragdoll - the
Teletubbies people - for a year). Making stories happen
on screen really gets me off! Then, one day, I got a
day job in advertising, to pay the bills, and started
to write. I figured I could be a film-maker purely through
the writing process. I got an agent and have had a little
success in children's TV in the UK. But you know what.
I miss film-making. I miss the adrenaline rush you get
when you have a great story and you work hard to get
the shots and make it happen. I love writing, and it's
critically important to get the script right before
a foot of film is shot, but I've realised I need to
be involved in the whole process. That's why I'm buying
my own 16mm film camera. I'm sick and tired, as a writer
who knows how to make a film, sending my stuff out there
(short and feature scripts), waiting for somebody to
make it for me. I've woken up. I'm going to make the
films myself. No more hanging about.
up the good work on your site. I find it immensely encouraging,
and I'm sure many others do to, that there's an independent
out there doing his own thing.
rocki' 'n' 'rollin'.
kind of camera are considering buying? I personally
recommend renting, as it's cheaper than owning, you'll
get a higher quality camera, and if it breaks down it's
someone else's problem. It's always seemed to me that
I'd rather have the extra money for the production itself.
Each to their own, however.
great to see that you champion the three act structure
and the need for interesting characters. I'm building
a career as a TV writer here in the UK (I've recently
written for Big Meg Little Meg, Bob the Builder and
Sooty). The TV script editors I've worked with over
here are big on the three act structure and well motivated
characters. I'm an advocate myself - I love the books
by Lew Hunter, McKee and Froug. If you strive for great
characters and a solid structure, with well placed turning
points, you know you're on the path to a story that
back to my last posting: I agree - you need to make
sure the audience empathises with the characters so
that they care when they're killed off. I was specifically
comparing TCM to Evil Dead. I thought the build in TCM
was more prolonged than Evil Dead. I was wondering specifically
what you thought about this.
another technical question. I'm gonna edit my short
and feature film on Avid. Do I shoot 24 or 25FPS? I
want to do the El Mariachi thing, where I shoot on film
but do all the post on digital tape, to keep the costs
rockin' 'n' rollin'.
seem to clearly understand the point of the three-act
structure and well-motivated characters, so you're well
on your way to doing something that at least I'd be
interested in. You absolutely want to shoot 24 fps.
If you shoot 25 fps. then you can never end up back
on film, like "El Mariachi." 25 fps. is strictly
a video setting. After you finish cutting on the Avid
you'll print out an EDL or edit list, then go back and
conform your film negative to make film prints, and
that must be at 24 fps. or it will be funky. Also remember,
whoever you get to edit your film needs to know that
it's going back to film so that they can leave the proper
"handles" for the negative cutter, which are
extra frames on either side of the cuts. Good luck and
keep us informed how it goes.
this moment one, I choose never to see one of your films
(that is if you indeed do have respectable films to
reason for this: you said Unbreakable was the worst
film you had ever seen.
whilst I am entirely open to everyone having an opinion,
not one once of my being agrees with you on your judgement
you said that Unbreakable has the worst story. I can
think of plenty worst stories, that still made it to
be Blockbusters. Take the Matrix, Spiderman, or the
Terminator for example- Far less plausible stories than
Unbreakable, yet still they are box office hits.
then say that Unbreakable offered nothing over the Sixth
Sense. What about the underlying theme of Comic Books?
What about a definitive goal that must be accomplished
eg. Defeat Elijah. What about the constant development
on the story.
of the most unique aspects of Unbreakable is how the
story continues to develop throughout the film. Have
you ever noticed how every scene delivers at least 2
aspects to the story. (For example, the train wreck
it shows that Dunn is experiencing marital problems,
and then illustrates the train crash. )
last flaw you see in Unbreakable is the fact that Elijah
Price is weak. But Price is Dunns arch nemisis
he is supposed to fight him with his mind, not
conclude, Unbreakable is the best film I have ever seen.
God bless you. If I had a 35mm print I'd give it to
you. I'm not sure I'd get on the internet and proclaim
my bad taste to the entire world, but hey, it's still
a somewhat free country. By the way, I never said it
was the worst film I've ever seen, nor even one of them,
I just said it was preposterous crap. If you're going
to go to the trouble of quoting someone back to themselves,
you might want to pay a little attention to what you're
it going? Haven't stopped by in a while. I have two
questions if you don't mind.
While one is writing a treatment, usually, how many
pages does an act have to be?
Is "Hammer" ever going to be released?
a lot for taking the time to answer my questions. Have
a good one.
can't predict the future regarding "Hammer."
So far, however, no one will touch it with a ten-foot
pole. I seem to have made a $350,000 home movie. As
far as treatments go, they generally run between six
and twenty pages. Nothing's chiseled in stone, but acts
are about the same length, so if it's six pages in total,
the acts are two pages each. If it's twelve pages, the
acts are four pages each. Give or take, and act two,
being the main action of the story, is generally longer
than the other two.
enjoy the site. I'm curious what your opinion on Shakespeare
is. Also, what do you think of movie adaptions of his
work? The best? The worst? The so-so?
had the greatest ability to string words together of
anyone in the English language, so far. His plots leave
something to be desired, however. I have no doubt that
the stories played better in 1600. I think most of Shakespeare's
works don't function at all on film. I'm quite fond
of Laurence Olivier's "Hamlet" and "Henry
V," Franco Zeffirelli's "Romeo and Juliet,"
and in a perverse way, Joseph Mankiewicz's "Julius
Caesar," where poor Marlon Brando gets buried by
the cast around him. I can live without just about all
John D. Wynne
am a young filmmaker myself and am currently in pre-production
on what will be my first feature. Shooting (if financing
comes through) begins July 20. I hate to admit, but
I haven't seen any of your film work, but I am a huge
fan of Campbell and Raimi. "Running Time"
sounds fantastic and I'd like to see it if it's possible.
While my film won't use the one-take approach, it sounds
like you've found a great way to work quickly and cheaply,
which I am very interested in. Thank you, your production
diary has really raised my spirits.
John D. Wynne
not seen any of my films is what most of humanity has
in common, other than breathing oxygen. Good luck on
your upcoming film. Do as much pre-production work as
humanly possible. If you have any specific questions
I'm happy to try and answer them.
for all your help. I pick up my Arri BL kit next week.
Cool! Can't wait.
bought The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on DVD and watched
this movie again last night. I was quite surprised at
just how slow the build up is in this film. It starts
really well with the corpse-art in the cemetery and
the hill billy with the camera (the corpse artist!)
And then there seems to be quite a lull. There's talk
of slaughter houses and the methods of killing cattle
and we're introduced to another member of the Gein family
at the gas station. I think it lacks the claustrophobic
quality and the sense of isolation that really good
horror movies have. It's only when the girl and her
wheel-chair bound brother are anxiously waiting at the
car that I feel the movie kicks into gear. From then
on in it's a real ride!
just wondered what your thoughts were on this movie.
I enjoyed it from an inspirational point of view - look
what you can do with 16mm kit and loads of dedication.
think the build up is incredibly important, and without
it the rest of the film wouldn't have been nearly as
powerful. If I don't know the people I will not care
when they're killed. The scene in the van with crazy
kid with the red mark on his face is a terrific scene
-- "It's a good picture. You can pay me now. Five
dollars." The kids in the van are really freaked-out,
as any of us would be, and we care about them. If you
do not take the time to set the characters up in act
one, as Hooper and Henkel did in TCM, acts two and three
won't mean anything. Good luck with your film. Choosing
the Arri-BL was a smart choice, I think.
your Dean from "Hammer", here. Had some questions
and comments I wanted to run by you. Are you still at
your old e-mail addy?
talked about what an impact "How The West Was Won"
on your decision to become a film director and I see
it's on your favorites list, too. I had the good fortune
to see it in the theater during one of its re-releases
and have seen it often since on TV. My question about
epic (and episodic) films like "HTWTH" and
"The Longest Day" is: Is it possible for those
films to have a three-act structure? Or does the writer
just try to make each segment follow the three-act structure?
don't think "How the West Was Won" is a great
example of screenwriting, or filmmaking, for that matter,
but it's certainly a huge production. I think a screenwriter
needs to be following the three-act structure no matter
what the heck they're writing. I'd be hard pressed to
point out the act breaks of either film right now, but
in the case of HTWWW, James R. Webb was a good screenwriter,
and had done terrific work on William Wyler's "The
Big Country" and Lewis Milestone's "Pork Chop
Hill," so he definitely knew his craft. A lot of
people had their hands in "The Longest Day"
script, credited, if I recall correctly, to the author
of the book, Cornelius Ryan, and novelist Romain Gary.
I must say it's a pretty compelling film given it's
episodic structure. You always have Robert Mitchum and
Eddie Albert to cut back to, though. When Albert buys
it at the end it's quite powerful. But stories are just
naturally told in three acts.
you think that a bad performance by an actor is the
director's fault or the actor's fault? This is an on-going
argument that a friend and I have been having. I mean
I know that if someone has no talent then they just
have no talent. But There are actors that have given
great performances in some films and then they suck
can you name the top 3 films that you think all aspiring
filmakers should see?
think it's a combination of the actor and the director.
It takes great actor to give a really terrible performance,
like John Malkovich in "Rounders," which I
just saw, doing the phoniest Russian accent ever. Clearly,
the director, John Dahl, either didn't have the taste
or the balls to tell him to cool out. It's not easy
telling a star what to do, and most directors won't
do anything that will create any waves. I mean, do you
really want to show up on the set everyday and have
to work with an angry, pissed-off John Malkovich? That
sounds like a certain level of hell. I'm sure it was
a lot easier just leaving him alone then trying to explain
that his accent completely sucked. As for the three
films every aspiring filmmaker should see, I've got
to fall back on my favorite example "The Bridge
on the River Kwai" because I think it's the best
screenplay ever written, and I learned more about screenwriting
from watching that movie than any book I ever read on
the subject. It's also beautifully handled in every
other department, too. Then I'd probably go with William
Wyler's "The Best Years of Our Lives" to show
how a strong, non-intrusive, director at his best works,
and how much you can care about characters in a movie.
Then I'd go with Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho"
to show how a strong, intrusive director can make his
style work with his story.
the subject of "Unbreakable" again I noticed
a very bad thing about it and "Sixth Sense".
Night Shyamalan seems obssessed with a finite comic
series (three runs of fifteen issues each) called "Mage:
The Hero _______" (the third word in the title
changes between series to denote which is which: 1 Discovered,
2 Defined, 3 Denied)
the Mage series an average man meets a mysterious stranger
who tells him that he's a superhero. This man discovers
that he has incredibly strength and invulnerability
when the need arises. He also has a very common weakness
that many people suffer from. Sound familiar? The only
difference between that and "Unwatchable"
is the weakness: in Mage it a fear of heights, in "Unwatchable"
it's a fear of water (or drowning).
worst part of my realizing this is that there's a character
in the Mage comics who died in the early 60's and never
story predates "Sixth Sense" by abou a decade
thought you might be interested. For me, knowing this
means I can probably predict Night's next couple of
films (through characters or themes).
I'm looking forward to "Hammer" coming out
at some point. Look on the bright side, it's taken Jim
vanBebber over a decade to film and distribute "Charlie's
Family" (which I've heard is due out by the end
of the year). Eventually "Hammer" will be
the Quentin Tarantino approach, meaning just steal what
you need. Well, it worked for Tarantino and it worked
for Shyamalan. I think that what "originality"
has now come to mean, stealing from little known sources.
My neighbor, who graduated college in 1966, just watched
"Hammer" and said that I had gotten the feel
and texture of 1964 perfectly, and she also said she
liked the film. She might just be acting nice about
was wondering if you plan on seeing "Minority
Report"? I know you are not fond of Spielberg...that's
probably an understatement? haha.
I kinda liked it... *tries to avoid the angry mob of
film critics* Ok, well, it entertained me...
what makes a movie great... I know character is key.
But that all seems a bit hazy to me. Would you consider
an oldie like "From Here to Eternity" to have
good characters? or do you think the old Kevin Costner
Robin Hood (which was in your favorites list) had great
characters? Because I personally wasn't too impressed,
this might be stretching it a bit but the characters
in that movie Robin Hood doesn't seem to excel too far
ahead of many of today's recent films (and From Here
to Eternity as a whole wasn't that 'great' either...).
Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed those films, but again
the idea of what makes a movie great is a bit vague
to me. I'm still learning. Forgive my ignorance. ;)
Kevin Costner "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves"
is not on my list, "The Adventures of Robin Hood"
(1938) with Errol Flynn is on my list. The Costner picture
is crap, and he's absolutely awful in it. I disagree
with you that "From Here to Eternity" is not
great, I think it is. Pruett (Montgomery Clift) is a
terrifically compelling character, as is Sgt. Warden
(Burt Lancaster), and it has some of the best dialog
ever written for a film, mainly taken straight out of
James Jones' brilliant novel. It's also one of the great
adaptations of a book, by Daniel Taradash, who won an
Oscar for it. When Lurene (Donna Reed, who also won
an Oscar) hears about Pruett being put through "the
treatment" she says, "You must hate the army."
He shakes his head, "No, I love the army."
She says, "But look what it's doing to you."
He nods, "Just because a man loves a thing doesn't
mean it's got to love him back." I can't tell you
how many times I've thought of that line, particularly
regarding my relationship to the movie business. What
makes a great movie? How about loving every minute of
it, and not having to make any excuses for it.
few questions about "If I Had A Hammer."
far as your friends and family are concerned (I'm assuming
most have seen it) how have the reactions been? That
is, has IIHAH gotten the best responce of you films?
have Bruce, Rob, and Sam seen it? Any critics? In general,
what have the poeple, who have been lucky enough to
see it, been saying?
thing, have you heard from any of the festivals, yet?
I had just submitted my picture to two of the same festivals
you mentioned a while back and was wondering if you
had any news. Also interested in hearing what all you
put into one of your submittal packages, and wheather
or not you type or hand write the application forms.
I always feel (probably because of the god-awful luck
I've had in the past with festivals) that I'm not making
a very good "package."
luck, and have a good one.
had two screenings, one in LA and one in Detroit, and
both went well, but no one was really going to bad-mouth
me at either of those. A couple of people seemed to
really like it. Maybe it's a disaster and they were
just being kind to me. The film has come pretty close
to destroying me, both financially and emotionally,
but I feel mostly out from under it now, except the
debt. I flew so utterly in the face of what the distributors
demand, meaning a genre film with sex and violence and
recognizable names, that I suppose the film being treated
like radioactive waste was inevitable. Meanwhile, I
send to the festivals exactly what they ask for: a VHS
copy of the film, five black & white 8x10 stills
(including one of the director), a synopsis, cast and
crew lists, bios, a check. I shove it all together in
a folder with pockets and off it goes. I've never had
much luck getting into festivals, either. Maybe I should
be slipping a hundred dollar bill in there, too. All
the best to you and your film.
finally saw "Unbreakable" after contemplating
it for months and wow.
kinda liked the subject matter. It made me feel like
I was ten years old again (and reading superhero comics
again.....I always preferred the stories where not alot
happened). But I think a better title is "Unwatchable".
just read your review for "Unbreakable" and
I know exactly how you felt. I found myself actually
calling cut out loud in many scenes. Not to mention
the fact that alot of the scenes were framed so horribly
that unless you're seeing it in theatres or on a 60"
tv screen you're gonna miss where the characters are.
I have a 13" tv (size doesn't matter, contrary
to popular belief) and found myself looking for the
principal actors before I listened to what was being
the end, I liked the story like I liked the "Matrix"
or "Phantom Menace". They make bad movies
alone but make decent prologues or first parts of a
larger series. But "Unbreakable annoyed me so much
on a technical end that I wanted to punch a wall. I
don't even feel that way about Bruckheimer productions.
I also enjoyed "Sixth Sense" (even though
I saw the ending from a mile away). Unfortunetly M.
Night Shyamalan wrote "Unbreakable after "sixth
Sense" according to his interview on the DVD.
another sad aspect of the contemporary world, should
anyone do something decent, they will certainly not
be able to follow it up with something better or as
good. It's like the second they taste fame and fortune
they immediately become venal and corrupt. It's interesting,
N. William H
a big fan of your works and scripts, I was really pleased
to see an actress called Gretchen Egolf mentioning you
in a recent interview and was wondering whether you
caught it? In case you didn't, Gretchen (The Talented
Mr. Ripley, Roswell and Martial Law) said that she felt,
although a fan of mainstream movies, movies such as
UNDERCOVER and directors (such as- Josh Becker) produce
movies with a certain charm which is completely unattainable,
through main-stream productions! Cool, hey?
it is, but it sounds like she's talking about someone
else. That other Josh Becker, the one that made "Undercover."
But if she actually was speaking kindly of me, that's
nice, as I've always depended on the kindness of strangers.
You have several times indicated something less than
enthusiasm for "Chariots of Fire" and I was
wondering why. It seems to me that this would be the
sort of film you would like; you've mentioned admiration
for Merchant/Ivory films for instance. In addition,
I know you like historical pieces and "Chariots"
qualifies here. Like most sports stories it lends itself
to three-act structure (introducing the challenge, training
and then actual competition), though "Chariots"
does run parallel for a while. The cast is top notch
as is the production value, and the score is one of
the more celebrated in modern films. It is, at times,
a busy film, dealing with religion, nationalism, racism,
tradition versus modernity, light romance and, of course,
sport. I thought these were used in support of the story,
however, detailing the separation of the two principals.
I didn't care for the way the prologue and epilogue
were handled but that doesn't detract too much from
the film. By the way, if you read the London Times report
on the 1924 Olympics you will also find a story covering
John Gielgud's debut in Hamlet. There's a lousy picture
of him as well.
On a slightly related note, "The Emperor's New
Clothes" starring Ian Holmes looks promising for
this summer. Holmes reprises the role of Napolean (from
"Time Bandits", though not, I think, in the
sense of a sequel) in a "what if" scenario
that has Napolean escaping St. Helena and returning
to Paris anonymously. It's funny that Napolean was called
the Little General as, at 5'3" he would have been
about average. Anyway, I don't know if "Emperor"
is meant to be dramatic or comedic but Holmes is good
enough either way. Thanks.
found "Chariots of Fire," with it's interesting
subject, lovely photography, and terrific score, to
be a dreadful bore. The two leads, Ben Cross and Ian
Charleson, are like two roaming holes in the screen,
and Hugh Hudson is simply a dull director, as the rest
of his career attests to. At just about that same time
(1981-82) there was a TV movie called "The First
Olympics" with David Ogden Stiers, about the 1896
olympics in Athens, that was much, much better.
was just wondering what you thought of my list of movies
that I am going to pick up at my local library and my
KNIFE IN THE WATER
THEY MADE ME A CRIMINAL
PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK
THE LOST WEEKEND
THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM
LOST IN ALASKA
ABBOT & COSTEELLO MEET CAPTAIN KIDD
COMIN' ROUND THE MOUNTAIN
LOST IN A HAREM
ONE NIGHT IN THE TROPICS
I got an okay list so far? If they're any more films
that you recommend, be sure to fill me in. Thank you
very much. I'm grateful. :-)
an okay list. I personally can live without all of the
Abbott & Costello movies. I also didn't care for
"Naked Lunch" or "The Man With the Golden
Arm." As for other recommendations, check out my
favorite film list. Have
the guy who couldn't decide between the Arri BL and
the Eclair NPR. Another question, if I may! How important
is it to shoot on Super 16, these days? Are any avenues
of distribution closed if one doesn't shoot Super 16?
My heart's telling me to opt for the BL (I used it at
film school and so am familiar with it), but apparently
it can't be upgraded to Super 16, whereas the Eclair
NPR can be upgraded. A couple more: how is the BL at
hand held work (a bit heavy)? Lastly, sound: what would
you recommend as a suitable recording system - I'm thinking
just got the UK version of the Evil Dead DVD - looking
forward to the commentaries.
hand-held the Arri-BL for over half of TSNKE, and it
is kind of heavy, but you get used to it. It's not nearly
so bad with a prime lens and no lens blimp (if you're
shooting MOS). It's just a plain old good camera, and
if you use Zeiss lenses you'll be way better off than
using the Eclair. As for shooting Super-16, you've just
boned yourself out of many of the cheaper aspects of
16mm post production. With Super-16 you can no longer
make a 16mm print, you must blow-up to 35mm (since it
exposes the image right across the area where the optical
soundtrack goes). Well, the blow-up is a $40,000 process,
and if you've got that much extra money, I say shoot
35mm and spare yourself the headache. Also, a 16mm print
costs about $1,500 and a 35mm print costs about $4,000,
and since you will probably be making several prints
to send out to festivals, that's meaningful. What this
comes down to is, in my opinion, shoot plain 16mm or
shoot 35mm, but getting caught in the middle is probably
a mistake. It's perfectly rational to shoot regular
16mm and compose your shots with the 1.85:1 cut-off
in mind, keeping the rest of the frame clear of booms
and lights, so that when you transfer to video you can
choose if you want to letterbox it or not. The bottom
line is that if you shoot in 16mm, then you ought to
be able to finish in 16mm so you can enjoy the considerable
price savings. Otherwise, shoot in 35mm.
you can get your hands on an old Nagra 1/4" tape
synch recorder, I think the only choice left is DAT.
It seems like there ought to be synch sound recorders
that go to DA-88, but I don't know about them.
Here's a genre I haven't seen discussed yet: what do
you think about musical documentaries? I just watched
"The Kids Are Alright" with The Who for the
umpteenth time and I still enjoy it. I also liked "The
Song Remains the Same", "Athens Georgia, Inside
and Out". I know that a lot depends on the music
but I enjoy U2's early music but did not care for "Rattle
and Hum". "The Last Waltz" and "Woodstock"
also come to mind as good examples. Do you have thoughts
on the genre and/or favorites(recommendations)? Thanks.
love the original cut of "Woodstock" (edited
by Thelma Schoonmaker and Martin Scorsese), and I really
dislike the "director's cut," which now contains
utterly worthless footage of Jefferson Airplane, Janis
Joplin, and Canned Heat. It used to be a brilliant example
of how to make an over three hour documentary interesting,
but they'll never show the original anymore (I luckily
have it on tape). Anyway, I also very much like: "Monterey
Pop," "Gimme Shelter," "Don't Look
Back," Wattstax," and the recent "My
Generation," about all three Woodstock festivals
(boy, were those last two depressing). As for something
like "Rattle and Hum," and I like U2, most
bands now are entirely unworthy of watching for 90 minutes
or more. I watch a fair amount of the concerts broadcast
on HBO, and other than Bruce Springsteen (I watched
that one four or five times), most of these performers
are pathetic, like Madonna or Britney Spears, with no
connection to their audience.
currently reading The Evil Dead Companion and I hugely
enjoyed your journal. I'm buying my first 16mm camera.
I have two to choose from: the Arri BL and Eclair NPR.
I think the Eclair is the wise choice. What would you
intend to shoot a short and then a feature, guerilla
again for the journal.
think you'd be better off with the Arri-BL, which I
think is a terrific camera and has a more standard lens
mount, so there are a lot more lenses that can used,
like the wonderful Zeiss lenses. The Eclair has a C-mount
and there aren't that many lenses available with that
sort of mount, nor are they as good. Check first. Also,
Arriflex is much bigger brand and can probably be serviced
easier. We shot "Evil Dead" and TSNKE with
an Arri-BL, and they're very dependable, rugged cameras.
Sam tried to shoot an early film with an Eclair and
it broke down.
was halarious! I loved it. It was like an Indiana Jones
parody. I cracked up the whole time while reading it.
It seemed almost like I was watching a movie in my mind,
and it was hystericaly funny. I liked the part where
they were on the plane and the bad guy shot at them
with a machine gun and cannon and they didn't even notice,
but then threw a dagger at them and they both ducked.
Also as Cleavland was walking with the Weaver, the Weaver
warned him that there were many dangerous sand traps
in the area, and a golfer walked by and said, "You're
telling me! Have you seen my caddy?" before hopping
into a Cadilac and driving off. The whole story reminded
me of Naked Gun or Hot Shots. I really enjoyed it. Of
course, I probably was disturbing people around me,
as I am in a library. I got some dirty looks from laughing
to loudly while I was reading it. But anyway, it was
glad you enjoyed it. It was written long before "Naked
Gun" or "Hot Shots." Back when we wrote
the script we had hoped to get Jim Backus for the part
of the Golfer.
- just stumbled onto your site. can you help me find
a place where i might find videos of old films i cant
find anywhere? in particular Hathaway's "Down to
the Sea in Ships" (1949 or 1950) or anything written
(scripted) by my countryman Jan de Hartog? Thanks -
I was able to find the 1922 silent
version, but not the 1949 Hathaway version. No info
on Jan de Hartog, either. Sorry.