for your earlier response.
It is all certainly a learning process of the highest
degree. May I ask though, if you are trying to get investors
for a film, is it really worth showing them a script
or rather an over-view mock-movie preview and maybe
some drawn up cost analysis reports about locations,
equipment,etc. Also when you are dealing with someones
agent is it better to really be your self or a "tough-nosed"
individual. I am an honest individual who is better
at create fiction then creating new personas for myself.
You said in an earlier post that it is all about the
ass-kissing in Hollywood. But really don't you have
to pucker up to investors rather than the rest? I want
to make a movie. I have a script and ever detailed planned
out. I figured out locations and am figure out the cost
of equipment and how long it would take to shoot it.
I am even learning everything I can and trying to enlist
the aid of someone who would be willing to edit. How
do I get my talent?
generally have no interest in the script, or any of
the technical details of filmmaking. They want to know
how long their money will be out, and when they can
expect a return. And if they can write the investment
off as a loss after a year. I'm not sure how much your
film will cost, but if you're intending to use SAG actors
and you have the financing, the agents must give your
script to the actors. If you don't have financing, they
won't. You may as well just be yourself when speaking
with anyone, I think. Give me more details and I'll
give you more info.
was actually told to get in touch with you by a friend
that had talked to you about my interest in film. Her
name is Pat Gordon and from what I gathered she had
told you about how I love to discuss film and you had
told her you would be interested in talking with me.
She said she talked to you a few months ago so I am
not sure if you remember the conversation. If she had
her facts confused or you don't remember talking to
her I apologize for bothering you. Just for piece of
mind I have no scripts for you to read and I am not
looking for a job. I am just an opinionated movie lover.
don't remember Pat Gordon, but this is the place for
opinionated movie lovers. Stop by anytime, add in your
two cents worth.
writing on KWAI was superb, and achieved that rarest
of all cinematic accomplishments: a successful Hollywood
film that is also an artistic accomplishment.
just read your treatments for WARPATH and HYDERABAD,
and had a few comments. WARPATH was good as a straightforward
oat opera, and would make a good screenplay when fleshed
out. The ending would work better for me if it was set
up earlier in the plot that Cole was tired of his semi-outlaw
life as well as mourning the loss of his first wife.
However, Cole is a good character, rather reminiscent
of Josiah C. Hedges from George Gilman's EDGE novels,
although nowhere near as amoral or cold-blooded (have
you read the EDGE novels?).
HYDERABAD, the story makes sense, particularly the point
where Raji is tricked and killed; it fits his lack of
education and experience. However, what is the motivation
for the nun deciding to stay in India, particularly
when she has given up her frock? Is it to help people,
or (forgive me for this one) does she crave more hot
Indian sex? With Raji gone and her vows broken, it seems
to me that there is no reason for her to stay, unless
it ties in with her original goal to help people, in
which case the idea would have to be reinforced. Certainly,
she can do more real good outside of the Catholic Church,
which tries to aid the overcrowded, sick and starving
Indian people, after telling them that birth control
is a sin and that they should be fruitful and multiply.
In any case, I wasn't sure of the ending, and wondered
what you had in mind.
P.S. Do you have any other projects lined up at the
moment, or is it too early to say?
have no projects lined up. As to what I had in mind,
it's there on the page. If you don't get it, or don't
like it, that's okay, but I'm not defending my stories.
I don't think it's appropriate. And no, I haven't read
those books, nor have I even heard of them.
On my past question about acting you stated that even
though the acting has improved the actor's havent. What
exactly do you mean by that?
think acting technique, if one goes to the trouble of
learning it and mastering it, has improved, but the
human beings using the technique are nowhere near as
good as the humans that used to be actors. We don't
have the likes of Bette Davis, Burt Lancaster, Katherine
Hepburn, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Kirk Douglas,
Gregory Peck, etc. Who do we have now? Vin Deisel? Kirsten
Dunst? Come on.
that act one starts...act two.. crap about ?
Don't you ever watch movies like Mulholland Dr. or something
? Do you think movies(as an art) aren't more than a
form of literature ? if you like read "cinema 1/2"
from gilles deleuze,great books about movies i think.
it's a free country (to an extent) and you're allowed
to have crappy taste in films. Feature films are a form
of dramatic storytelling, and that works in three acts.
characterisitics of a screenplay are vital for it to
be interesting to a director, producer, or actor?
think they're different things for each one. An actor
is looking for a good, big, meaty part with a lot of
dramatic aspects. The joke with actors is that when
they read scripts, in their minds they're saying, "Bullshit,
bullshit, my line, bullshit, bullshit, my line."
A director, depending on who they are, may be looking
for the visual possibilities in the script; the producer
is looking for a hit that will make him rich.
noticed no one mentioned the passing of John Frankenheimer
and Rod Steiger. They were both up in years, but still
pretty active for guys their age. I was wondering if
you had any favorite films from either one- I know you're
an On The Waterfront fan.
I noticed the Q and A's been inactive for a few days,
hopefully you're negotiating distribution for If I Had
a Hammer or some such thing!
on a road trip across the country. I'm in Detroit right
now at a friend's place. I thought Frankenheimer had
a brilliant run of movies in the early to mid-sixties:
"The Manchurian Candidate," "The Birdman
of Alcatraz," "The Train," and "Seven
Days in May." It all began falling apart for him,
due to drinking, I believe, in 1966 with "Grand
Prix," and he never got it back. He was always
competent afterward, but never brilliant again. Rod
Stieger, whom I met at the Houston Film Festival in
1992 and got him to sign the back of my award, was a
fine actor that wasn't in all that many good movies.
"On the Waterfront," "The Pawnbroker,"
and "In the Heat of the Night." Generally,
though, his talents were squandered on second-rate films.
Just read the treatment for "Warpath," and
really, really enjoyed it. A very old-fashioned story,
in the best sense of that term. If anything, it reminded
me a bit of "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allyson," and
so I kept picturing Mitchum and Kerr in the leads. The
only thing that didn't ring entirely true was the leads
actually making love (when she's dead set on finding
her husband.) But of course in a feature, there might
be 15 minutes extra of longing glances, bonding over
their hard lives, etc. that in the treatment is summed
up by "clearly they are attracted to each other."
And I assume that in the conversion to an actual script,
and the inevitable re-writes, the attraction might be
made more clear, or changed. Either way, it was truly
an enjoyable read.
-Cole killing the guys who are wanted dead or alive,
but only wounding
the one who's wanted alive.
- Cole brushing off the prostitute, because he's busy
- the ending. It was so simple, so obvious, but I swear,
I didn't see it coming.
- the description of Cole (who reminded me a bit of
Cole Thornton, Wayne's character in "El Dorado,
too) as having an L-shaped scar on his chin. I can see
the casting director now. "Where are we gonna find
an actor with a scar like that?"
Anyway, I hope it sees the light of day; I should think
it would be relatively inexpensive to film.
Question - at one point you had said you had talked
to Renee O'Connor, and encouraged her to consider a
part in a film you might do. Was this the one?
very pleased you liked it. I wanted Renee for the lead
in "Hyderabad." Read that and let me know
what you think, considering "Heaven Knows, Mr.
Allison" was the direct inspiration for it.
No One Important
How come u dont like any of Ingmar Bergman's films?
You should see them if you havent. you should see the
following films: the virgin summer, through a glass
darkly, passion of anna, the silence, wild strawberries,
the seventh seal, and last but not least, fanny AND
alexander. you should also see Andrei Rublev. All of
these films that I have mentioned are my favorite films
No One Important (N.O.I.)
seen many of Ingmar Bergman's films, and I respect him
a lot. I don't love any of his films, but that's just
me. I do like "Autumn Sonata," "Scenes
From a Marriage," and "The Seventh Seal,"
though, as well several others, too. I couldn't sit
through "Andrei Rublev," although I did try.
A ASPIRING SCREENPLAY WRITER AND I HAVE A IDEAD ABOUT
THIS CARTOON SHOW THAT I WANT TO WRITE A MOVIE ABOUT.
THE PROBLEM IS THAT I DON'T KNOW HOW TO GET RIGHTS TO
WRITE THE SCRRENPLAY THOUGH. HOW WOULD I GO ABOUT TRYING
TO RIGHTS TO BEGIN THE PROCESS. SHOULD I FIRST WRITE
THE SCREENPLAY AND THEN SUBMIT MY WORK TO THE COMPANY
THAT OWNS THE CARTOON OR TRY ANOTHER ROUTE? PLEASE GIVE
ME SOME ADVISE.
Don't write in caps, B. if it's someone else's show
they don't need you wrfiting for them, and you would
have to be in the Writer's Guild first anyway. Try writing
your own stories.
Michael Anthony Lee
I am reading your Terrified treatment and have a few
questions. I just finished Act One and I am curious
on what you had already planned for resources. I mean
it's no use worrying about all of that now, and I'm
sorry to bring it all up and waste time yapping about
what could have been, but did you have things and places
already set out in your head? In other words... You
live where you planned to film - I know that much -
and I also know you had Bruce lined up for Gabe. But
what about the location or the house itself? Is that
a place near you? Is it Bruces house? Or is it pure
Thanks for taking the time to answer.
an amalgamation of a number of houses in Bruce's and
my neighborhood. I'd just rent a place if were to actually
Question did you think spiderman sucked ass?
haven't seen it yet. However, since I never cared for
comic books, I'm sure I wouldn't be its biggest fan
no matter what. But then, it wasn't made to appeal to
me. I do wish Sam Raimi all the best, though.
Zack Sutherland & Dan Graham
and Salutations! I'm Zack, and sitting next to me is
my buddy Dan, and we're wannabe filmakers (soon to be
ACTUAL filmakers!), and we want Josh Becker to know
that we think "Thou Shalt Not Kill...Except"
is one of the BEST low-budget extravaganza's ever created,
and that we appreciate his work on the film very, very
much. We've watched the film so much that we've memorized
certain parts and performed them for students in between
classes (yes...we have plenty of time on our hands),
and we've heard the commentary and read so much about
it that we feel as though we almost know Scott Spiegel,
Sam and Ted Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and the rest who
had done the Super-8 movies of which I have so many
of from bootleg...Dan and I feel it's almost a shame
we weren't alive at the time, and are very, very greatly
influenced by yor films. Right now we're shooting a
Super-8 movie called "Terror Tortoise"...yes,
that is the actual title...it's a thro wback to old
monster/horror pictures with radiation and mutation
and all that crap. What we'd like to know are two things:
1) What is the best way to raise money for a small film,
and 2) What is the best kind of film to buy for Super-8
nowadays. If you can answer these, we would be greatly,
appreciative. Once again, thanks for making your films!!
-Zack Sutherland and Dan Graham, Founders of BUM Bros.
Zack & Dan:
guys, I'm glad you liked it. The best way to raise money
is to make anyone you know well or are related to that
has any money at all feel guilty, like they're sabotaging
you future. That's the best way. The next best, I think,
is to get the highest-paying job you can and earn it.
I am sorry to see someone wrote an e-mail like that
I had a question for you. How does a person go about
getting "star-power" for a project?
I know I tried finding address and writing to some pepople
but I don't think they will take the seriously.
I wrote the part for my main character for Hudson Leick.
I thought my thief character would suit here because
it would give her a chance to be good and a little evil,
but since I wasn't going to put any sex in it, her beauty
would be like a holder of attention.
I know that perhaps I am getting a little a head of
myself, but I know I need a way to get my foot in the
door and I figure "star-power" would do it,
though they would be benifiting from my work.
What can you recommend? At least some avenue to try?
I know letter writing isn't probably the best way, since
I am sure any star I would write gets about a thousand
looney letters a day?
Thanks Again for you time. I really appreciate your
is one of the Catch-22s of Hollywood: actor's agent's
will only show them scripts with financing attached,
so if you're not financed you can't go through the agent.
Most actors won't look at anything that's doesn't come
through their agent. So, you've got to be creative.
If you can figure out how to get your script to her
you're doing well. Obviously, you can't be sure anyone
will read it, or get back to you. Good luck.
I've just read "Hyderabad" and "Warpath".
I liked "Hyderabad quite a bit. I actually lived
in New Delhi for about three years and the story rings
true. Not that such events are common, obviously, but
I think you've done a good job of propelling the story
through quirks of local culture. I'm not sure a python
would lie up in a car; they prefer pools or deep burrows
to escape the heat. They are also fairly shy of man.
King cobras (hamadryads) certainly would inhabit a car
as they have no fear of man.
I have two questions about "Warpath". The
Pawnee are the antagonists but from what I understand
the Pawnee raided primarily for horses and had a fairly
good relationship with the US. Moreover, I don't believe
they were as far west as Colorado. My thinking is that
you probably were using "Pawnee" as a sort
of place-holder (in preference to something like "Tribe
A") with technical details to be filled in later.
I also wondered about the woman (fairly) casually being
able to pay a hundred dollars to Cole. That was an exorbitant
sum in the mid-nineteenth century. Thanks for the new
helpful info about pythons and cobras, and should I
ever write the script I'll change it. I did actually
do some research on Native Americans, as well as having
had a Native American neighbor for seven years, and
the Pawnee were in fact that far west, and they were
the only Indians to have human sacrafice. That's why
I chose them. As for Alice having a hundred dollars,
I figured with her husband gone for so long and not
pissing it away, she could save it.
I'm in the UK and still in high school. Next year I
have decide what subjects i will take leading up to
my future career. I have my mind set on going into film
making and have already made a few shorts similar to
Within the Woods.
here's my question. If I want to get into the business,
what qualifications do i need? What qualifications do
you have for that matter? (Sorry, I dont mean to pry).
But I need an idea of what subjects to take to help
me get a better foot hold in the film making side of
think I'm living proof that knowledge isn't the answer.
I know more about movies than most anyone and it hasn't
gotten me anywhere. I saw more movies by the time I
was fifteen than Sam Raimi's seen in his life, but that
certainly hasn't stood in his way, nor most anyone else
that's making the big, big money. I think the answer
is driving ambition, which I don't think is acquirable
-- either you've got it or you don't. I'm ambitious,
but not to make it in Hollywood, just to try and do
good work, which isn't sufficient for making it in Hollywood.
The two most ambitious people I've ever met, who are
highly different people, are Sam and Jean Claude Van
bruces new one "bubba ho-tep" yet?
sounds like a fun premise.
not yet. I did visit Bruce while he was making it though.
It does sound like a fun premise, and Bruce does a terrific
You've gotta' love idiots like Hank Ack! People like
this schmuck are the reason for all of the impenetrable
"industry" rules that shun even decent screenwriters.
A word to Hank:
Why don't you go back to that rock and crawl back under!
Burns once said:
"I'd rather live to regret the things I did, than
the things I didn't do."
When all else fails to be clear, I lean on George's
I like your collection. Thanks for sharing!
quote, and I agree.
would say that the ability to act against one's nature
depends on how you define nature. If the meaning of
the word is the likely behavior of an individual under
ordinary circumstances, then William Holden's character
acted against his nature when he ran to blow up the
bridge. I say this because the entire film places him
in EXTRAordinary circumstances; he has no choice but
to do dangerous, heroic things, or die (and his character
loves life too much to die). I just get the feeling
that if he were able to, he would have simply stayed
on that beach with that nurse, as he would have no other
compulsion to drive him back into the jungle. The thing
that makes him interesting to watch is the contrast;
he is a lazy cynic placed in the military, which demands
effort and obligation to duty. He is the polar opposite
of Colonel Nicholson, who remains true to the overriding
rule of his naure: his obligation to duty. Even in the
act of destroying the bridge that he had put so much
effort into building, he remains true to his nature,
only failing in discerning where his true duty lay.
on the other hand, only acts heroically because overwhelming
forces push him to it. He only goes back into the jungle
because he has no choice, and he only runs to blow up
the bridge because of his frustration at Nicholson,
Saito and all the rest who place duty and obligations
above life. It could be argued that extraordinary circumstances
were the catalyst for heroic traits that he always had,
but his past actions don't support it.
P.S. I noticed that you posted more treatments on the
site, and I look forward to reading them.
a very astute assessment, and exactly why Holden is
such a good character. The writer's have done everything
within their means to create the polar opposite character
of Cols. Nicholson and Saito -- duty as a concept means
less than nothing to him, he has disdain for it. Yet,
under the right circumstances, in a life and death situation,
he does his duty. "Kill him. Use your knife. Do
it!" and you know at that moment that were it him,
he'd do it, and in fact does do it, getting killed for
his effort. Duty is a strong theme, and it's handled
came in contact with this s(h)ite via an AICN-talkback(a
site that is rather shite too). And well..YOUR SITE/YOUR
'SCREENPLAYS'/YOUR FLICKS/EVEN YOUR PICTURES suck. Let
me tell you why. Come a little closer first...that's
right. Now, are you aware of the fact that you only
wrote and directed crap, dreck and cack?
Are you aware of the fact that moviemaking can't go
beyond the realms created by the two Gods called Stanley
Kubrick and David Lynch? With that in mind, here is
my question: Would you be kind enough to pass my screenplays
The Urban Mission + The Urban Mission Episode 2: Attack
Of The Charles(I like to get Charles Bronson to star)
to Sam Raimi? THANKS!
only reason I post letters like yours is to let everyone
else see what complete idiots exist out there. Is it
a problem in your daily life being so stupid, or do
other people do things for you, like count your money
and feed you? Don't hurt yourself.
clear to me what your thoughts are on today's contemporary
films -- but what about the acting? Ofcourse this doesn't
apply to all films, but i think alot of the acting in
many contemporary films is more realistic and well played
out. It seems more natural, and in my oppinion old films
tends to sometimes be a little bit superficial when
comes to their acting. I'm interested to here your thoughts
since the advent of method acting and Stanislavski,
acting technique has grown deeper, but I don't think
that there are better actors around now than there were,
say, 50 years ago. Harrison Ford may have more technique,
but I'll take Burt Lancaster or Kirk Douglas any day
of the week. We have no one today to compare, or with
the likes of: Bette Davis, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson,
Katherine Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Deborah
Kerr. So, even though acting technique may have improved,
the actors haven't.
a new search engine I was surprised to find my name
crop up in your archive. I am the screenwriter Robin
Redfield. Writer of Undercover (Phantom Productions
Limited) and Switch Track (Kalaitzakis) and Wonder Boy
(presale, film rights won to offer).
was mentioned on your site by ***************
as someone working on a script with him. Whilst I have
advised Tom casually on brief past brushes across the
net, I have also advised him not to confuse me with
a co-writer, himself with Bryan Singer, and so on.
you are not BRYAN. BRYAN and others, ROBIN REDFIELD
is not working with TOM. Who of course is not BRYAN.
TOM is TOM. BRYAN is BRYAN. ROBIN REDFIELD is ROBIN
REDFIELD. None of these people are working together!
for letting me clear that up.
Redfield, screenwriter, saving the archive from an identity
I'm glad we got that cleared up.
you hope upon hope that the lead actor in "Hammer"
(I forget his name) lucks into a Bruckheimer or Spielberg
film just so you can peddle "Hammer" to people
don't stay up at night thinking about it. What those
guys do is of no interest to me.
you heard back from Boston, Austin, or the other festivals
you've sent "Hammer" to?
do you have contact info on the mini-major distributors
that actually buy indi flicks? I'm thinking specifically
of Soney, Fine Line, Artisan, Lion's Gate, or Miramax?
If not, I be happy to post their phone numbers and addresses
(may come in handy for the few other indi filmmakers
that also visit this site). There are also a ton of
resources in Chris Gore's book "The Ultimate Film
Festival Survival Guide." If you haven't approached
some distributors, you should. After all, it's someone's
job to watch movies for a possible buy.
while your posting unrealized projects, why not put
up your treatment (or was it a screenplay) of "Warpath"?
a good one.
a matter of fact, "Warpath" and another treatment
will soon be posted. I called everyone of those folks,
and sent out tapes, and they simply will not even bother
watching films that don't come in through proper channels,
meaning through agents they know, and if they don't
have all-star casts. Nobody in Hollywood is interested
in legitimately independent, low-budget movies. Honestly.
You think after spending $350,000 on a movie the reason
it hasn't been released is because I didn't make a few
phone calls? And I haven't heard hide nor hair from
any of the festivals yet.
had to mention this with all this talk about "the
apartment" and how crappy movies are today. If
you want to see how they would remake The Apartment
today, get "Loser" starring one of the kids
from American Pie. They lifted all the story points
and turned it into a really bad teen movie. It's such
a blatant rip-off I'm amazed they weren't sued, but
then again, nobody saw it, so why bother. In a perverse
way it was kind of interesting to see how a scene for
scene remake (except for all the needless scenes they
added in) could be so awful.
that doesn't surprise me at all. I saw two very good
films the other night, both of which I've seen before,
and I recommend them both highly: "Hiroshima,"
a Canadian/Japanese TV co-production, with Kenneth Walsh
doing a fine job as Harry Truman; and "Electra
Glide in Blue," which I've seen a half dozen times,
but the new wide-screen transfer is just gorgeous. Conrad
Hall's photography is exquisite, and Bobby Blake is
terrific as "Big" John Wintegreen. I love
the scene where he pulls a truck over driven by a Vietnam
vet, who complains that if he gets a ticket he'll lose
his job, the second since returning from 'Nam six weeks
before. Big John says he was also in Vietnam and he'll
do for this guy in six weeks what it took him six months
to learn. "What's that?" the guy asks. Wintergreen
writes the ticket, hands it to him and says, "Nothing."
that I took so long to answer your post, but I quit
my job last week, and unfortunately gave up ready access
to a computer with it (currently, I'm using my sister's
I thought about your answer concerning William Holden's
character in THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, and I do
agree that he develops more than any other character
(the others display a surprising consistency throughout
the film); however, it seems to me that he has to be
pushed and goaded every step of the way, and that he
ultimately acts against his nature. He is a victim of
fate, and seems to know it; notice his reaction in Jack
Hawkins' office when he realizes that he is utterly,
cosmically screwed (on a side note, given my dislike
for his character, I thought that scene was hilarious).
In short, I agree with you that Holden's character serves
an important dramatic role, but I still found the character
Going back to a topic we were discussing a few months
ago, I can see how William Holden would have been much
more appropriate in THE THIRD MAN instead of Joseph
Holden was better than Cotton in all ways. William Holden
also just got better and better as he got older, which
isn't the case with most actors. He really did go way
back, too. Check him out in "Golden Boy" in
1939 and "Our Town" in 1940, and he's just
a kid. He seems like a newcomer in "Sunset Blvd."
in 1950 and he's already been in movies for over ten
years. Anyway, do you really think that someone can
ever "act against their nature"? I think Holden's
character in "Kwai" finally arrives at who
he really is at the end. If there wasn't something heroic
in him it never would have come out. Nothing is going
to make you stand up in bullet fire and run across a
river to help someone else unless you've got it in you.
He did escape from an unescapable prison after all.
site! Would like to know if you and Ted are going to
do any features together again; Lunatics was pure magic!
Ted is sooo underrated as an actor, it would be great
to see him in a leading role again.
really love to. I think Ted and I have done some wonderful
stuff together, particularly on our many "Xena"
episodes. However, getting a movie together is a very
tough ordeal, so we'll see. Thanks.
was wondering if you had seen any of Sergei Eisenstein's
films and what you thought of them. I saw "Battleship
Potemkin" last night and I was amazed, some of
the shots were truly awesome.
Also, you were speaking about film ratings recently
- is "Midnight Cowboy" the only R-rated film
to win the best picture oscar? It was originally X-rated
and there is not one gun nor one expletive! Amazing!
One of my favourite films, incidentally.
Cowboy" is the only film rated-X to win Best Picture.
It was subsequently dropped to R. Without knocking myself
out here, I'd say there have been quite a few films
rated-R to win Best Picture, like "The French Connection,"
both "Godfather" films, "One Flew Over
the Cuckoo's Nest," "The Deer Hunter,"
"Platoon," "Unforgiven," and wasn't
"American Beauty" rated-R?
yes, I've seen many of Eistenstein's films, but none
of them ever moved me. I personally think that Chaplin,
Keaton, and Lloyd were cinematically way the hell ahead
of him long before him.
for the reply. It really didn't bother me that they
never explained why the execs were using Lemmon's apartment;
I was just wondering if I missed something during the
film. Of course there's a myriad of reasons why the
execs would want to use the apartment and the film doesn't
really need to explain any of them since the arrangement
was made in the past. Actually, that's one of the things
I love about the film. Unlike most movies today, you
actually get a sense that the characters have a past
and also a future after the movie's over. I think the
ending is wonderfully bittersweet and perfect for the
film. Even though Lemmon and MacLaine get together,
they still have a lot of issues they need to work out.
Lemmon just walked out on his job and is moving somewhere
(even HE doesn't know where) and MacLaine is so scarred
from her previous relationships that she gave up on
love and is unable to tell Lemmon she loves him at the
end, even though she does. It reminded me of the ending
to Gone With the Wind since it works for both cynics
and optimists. Personally, I went with the cynical ending
for GWTW (Scarlett O'Hara is delusional when she makes
her final speech) and the optimistic ending for The
Apartment (Lemmon and MacLaine are able to work through
their issues with the help of each other and stay together).
Still, I love the ambiguity of both endings, something
that is sorely lacking in today's films.
only flaws I could find in The Apartment was MacLaine
not knowing it was Lemmon's apartment when she picked
up his sleeping pills (Did they not put your name on
prescription medicine in 1959?). I also thought that
it was a bit absurd that Ray Winston didn't figure out
he left the wrong key at the apartment when he tried
to use the executive washroom. Of course I didn't mind
this so much since a) It led to a funny line, b) Winston
sold the surprise well and c) Winston's character seemed
like a bumbling idiot who wouldn't have realized it
minor quibbles aside, The Apartment is a perfect film
and I don't know why I waited so long to see it.
Ray Walston, who played "My Favorite Martian"
on TV and Mr. Hand in "Fast Times at Ridgemont
High." I love all that "buddy-boy" dialog,
and putting "-wise" on the end of everything,
like, "Billing-wise and accounting-wise, we're
ahead of last month, October-wise."
Dude, that seems SO true about the 99.9% in Hollywood
today. I've got a friend whom I graduated with that
made some flicks with me during high school. Real talented
guy and I tried to convince him to go to film school
with me after graduation but he had his heart set to
move to LA to make movies (I think he decided it after
watching Swingers). In all reality, I think I'd much
rather be in your status then, for example, and I'm
not comparing or what not, Raimi. Now I'd say he makes
some damn fine movies, but the fact that A Sam Raimi
film doesn't seem like a Sam Raimi film just because
much like with Spider-Man, he was just a hired hand.
That, A Simple Plan, FLOTG they weren't HIS picture.
ED, Darkman, AoD- that's his. Like with you, you've
got a cult base already with your films, even if packed
crowds haven't seen your them, theres still the fan
base that have and that's definatly something to be
proud of. My ONLY point that I am trying to make here
is that you are a great inspiration to wannabe/wouldbe/shouldbe
filmmakers out here (especially in Michgian). But enough
ass-kissing >P i do have a question...
I've read about 3 maybe 4 screenwriting books (Syd Fields',
How 2 write a s.p. in 23 days, Learn To:Screenwritting..so
forth) and most of them contradict themselves. I did
read in one of those that you have to, after copywriting
it, send it to an agent, not a production company. Is
that what you did with Cycles? I've read your selling
a screenplay, but I don't remember if you put anything
in about the agent in there.
Thanks for your time.
no agents had anything to do with the "Cycles"
deal. I met Bill Fishman (who directed "Tapeheads"
and produced "Posse") on a flight to Boston
for the Boston Film Festival. I wrote the script and
pitched it to he and his producing partner, his brother
Jim. They liked it and optioned it from me, then turned
around and optioned it to Beacon Ent. I got $2,500 and
they probably got $25,000, but that's how it goes. When
the option expired, Beacon purchased the script from
me, since I owned it. Anyway, the book you read is basically
correct, it's much more common and acceptable to go
through an agent than send scripts directly to production
companies, where 999 times out of 1000 they will just
throw the scripts out without looking at them. Agents
are sort of the filtering system between the production
companies and the eight million shitty, unsolicited
scripts floating around. If you haven't been able to
interest an agent in your script, why would it be worth
a production company's time?
just saw The Apartment for the first time yesterday
and loved it but had a few questions. First, why would
Jack Lemmon's bosses use the apartment in the first
place rather than a hotel? By using the apartment for
their affairs they gave Jack Lemmon's character a lot
of power. I mean Lemmon can basically come into work,
do nothing for eight hours, and not have to be worried
about being fired because of the knowledge he had. Of
course that wouldn't fit with Lemmon's character (he
was using the apartment to advance in the company, not
for job security) but it makes me question why his bosses
used the apartment in the first place.
was it just me or did it seem like Lemmon's apartment
was so big that his kitchen was right where his neighbor's
front door should be? I know the outside and inside
were different sets but didn't anybody check to make
sure they matched? Or is my perception fooling me?
lay-out of the apartment didn't seem weird to me. We
see the neighbor's door -- the doctor and his wife --
on the right, then there's at least four or five steps
before his door, and his kitchen is to the immediate
right. If the execs took hotel rooms they'd have to
explain where the money went. And if using Lemmon's
apartment is their one gimme, I happily give it to them.
I love the line when Lemmon brings the woman home and
she goes to the refridgerator to get ice for drinks
just as Lemmon goes inrto the bedroom and sees the unconscious
Shirley MacLaine. The woman says, "Your refridgerator's
broken, you should get a new one." Lemmon goes
tearing out of the apartment and the woman says, "I
didn't mean right now." I love that film.
I don't know if it was intentional or not, and I'm slightly
embarrased to mention it, but I actually think that
the movie "Toy Story II" is allegorical. The
toys are stand-ins for parents. I watched it the other
day with my son and I was particularly struck by the
line that Woody, the Hanks character, delivers. He says
something to the effect that, yes, the kids will grow
up and forget about them (the toys) but that he wouldn't
miss it for the world. That certainly describes parenting.
The allegory extends beyond that scene but it certainly
encapsulates it. I may be giving Pixar too much credit,
or I may be a sappy parent but the movie certainly plays
better to me in that context.
I don't remember if you mentioned "Lord of the
Flies" but that is certainly allegorical. Another,
in a similar vein, was "War of the Buttons"
where the children of the two villages represent not
only their own parents but the entire social history
of their two villages. Not subtly done, mind, but allegory
rarely is (part of what makes "Mockingbird"
so great; it is subtle). Thanks.
you mean "To Kill a Mockingbird"? Anyway,
"Lord of the Flies" is a good example. I first
saw that film when I was about twelve and it really
freaked me out. I don't know that all allegories aren't
subtle, look at Bunuel's films, or Ingmar Bergman's.
I don't think there's anyway one would know that "Inherit
the Wind" is an allegory for McCarthyism unless
the writers told us so.
I like your site. My stepmom's stepgrandpa was Willam
Wyler. I'm going to have her check your site. I thought
it was very nice and I bet she would think so to. I'll
send the link to William Wyler's daughter too. Good
cool. I'd be very pleased if any of William Wyler's
family read my tribute to him. He's been a huge influence
on me. Thanks for dropping by.
I love that you share about talking with Lucy, et al!
Can you tell us what she said that was so funny, or
is it private? Maybe we can take up a collection here
so you can kick up your heels and bullshit away!
One of these days I'm going to convince you to broker
an e-mail interview for me with Rob or Lucy, on behalf
of my little group of "shipper" pals. We never
did get a fair shake at the Grand Poo-Bah.
Speaking of Xena stuff, I wanted to make sure you and
anyone else here that's interested saw the recently
published last interview conducted with Kevin Smith.
To read it:
I thought you might be tickled that your episode had
such resonance with him and Lucy, by virtue of it being
their last together.
(You can also see his interview taken from the set of
was pleased to see a while back your mentioning of "allegory".
I wonder if it would make for the next interesting Becker-Reader
I don't know how you'd word it...something like:
Name a film that successfully achieves an powerful allegorical
think you might have to start off with an example, as
I'm not certain I'm on the same page of understanding
precisely what it is.
How would you define it, and what is the distinction
between it and the term "symbolism?"
and I just gabbed, or perhaps gossiped is a better word.
Anyway, it was personal. I wasn't able to read those
interviews because you have to join the club, which
I wasn't willing to do. If you care to send the entire
interviews, I'd be happy to read them. Meanwhile, allegory
would be a very slim category of films, and most of
them would probably be foreign, as Americans aren't
hip to allegory, irony, or metaphor. A good allegorical
American film is "Inherit the Wind," which
is ostensibly about the Scopes monkey trial, but is
actually about McCarthyism and blacklisting. An allegory
is a story about one thing that's really about something
else. Luis Bunuel was probably the allegorical cinematic
master, as all of his films seem to be about something
other than what they're actually about. The only filmmaker
working, I think, that has a handle on such a difficult
concept is the Chinese director Zhang Yimou. Films like
"To Live" or "The Story of Qui Ju"
are about one or two people's lives and problems, but
are really about all of China.
was wondering if you could clear up something for me:
I was wondering what the heck a director's viewfinder
is and what the purpose of them are?
I'm half clear on the subject, and am pretty sure you'd
be able to assist with an answer.
would you recommend getting one to budding filmmakers?
and know where to get a good one (for a reasonable price)
director's viewfinder is to help the director choose
the framing of the shot and which lens to use. This
item was a lot more important before the advent of the
video monitor, where a director can now see through
the camera's lens and decide those things. The best
director viewfinders are the ones that allow you to
attach the actual lens and look through it. I personally
don't give a damn about them, and really think they're
more of an affectation than anything else. Young directors
think it makes them look cool. Since I plan out all
of my shots in adavnce, I know what framing I'm looking
for and basically which lens I want. However, once they've
put the lens on the camera and I can see what it looks
like through the monitor, I occasionally change lenses.
ACs try to make out like changes lenses is a big pain
in the butt, but I don't care, that's their job. Plus,
a decent director's viewfinder is quite expansive. I
say, put that money into making a movie.
know movies are my destiny, but I am not sure what capacity
yet. I have written continously and study every book
on all aspects of screenplays, directing, and acting.
I guess my question if you have any suggestions aboutwhere
one would start in the movie industry? I mean that do
you have recommendations or insights about how is the
best way for one to with no mercy go for their dream.
I want to direct and write screenplays, but not really
one or the other. I wanted to create my movie and then
direct from beginning to end.
I guess I am hoping for some encouragements.
Thank You Kindly for your time and knowledge. I think
that it is wonderful you take the time.
say make your own movie. If you move out to LA to break
into Hollywood, you'll be one of a million wannabes,
and 99.9% will never make it anywhere, and there's absolutely
no logic as to why that other .01% makes it since it's
no longer based on talent. It's really a huge ass-kissing
contest. So if the movies themselves are your great
love -- as they are mine -- then trying to make a good
one is a very honorable and logical endeavor. If that's
not your goal, I say find another field. Good luck and
write in any time you want.
curious: are there at least ten films of 2000 that you
actually liked? if so, are there any? i think it would
be interesting considering the fact you weren't a fan
of most films of 2000.
treatment was excellent!
not sure why you've chosen 2000, and there certainly
aren't ten films I liked that year, nor are there any
I really liked, let alone loved. Nevertheless, there
were a few I thought were okay, and several good documentaries.
"High Fidelity" was okay, but didn't hold
up at all; "U-571" was all right, in an utterly
run-of-the-mill way; "Rules of Engagement"
was okay in the same way; "Dark Days" was
very good documentary; "Long Night's Journey into
Day" was also a good doc; I quite liked "Tigerland";
"My Generation" was another interesting doc;
as was "The Man Who Bought Mustique"; as was
"The Turandot Project." That's it. I probably
saw twenty-five other 2000 releases and didn't care
for any of them.
the news on Cycles. Beacon put it in turn around to
the Fishman Bros about 2 months ago. So it's back in
their hands now. My former co-worker said that he would
email me if he hears anything new about it. He thinks
that Marc Abraham wanted to take the project with him
to his new company but Beacon would not budge. But he
is not sure about that.
another note: I read your screenplay "The Biological
Clock" and I really enjoyed it. I thought it was
a very realistic story about male/female relationships.
You addressed the issue of "what is love?"
really well. There are so many romantic comedies where
the characters relationship is so unbelieveable. I like
the fact that Aaron and Kate were friends for a really
long time before she asked him to father her child.
I got the sense that these two people really cared about
each other. It's been a long time since I've seen a
film that addresses the diffrent aspects and kinds of
love that exist. It's always the same thing over and
over again. Boy meets girl, they like each other, they
have a fight, they make up and then they fall in love.
It's so bogus! I did think that Kate's character was
a little too hysterical. I did not like her as much
as I liked Aaron because she was just a bit too sterotypical,
unstable white woman. But as a whole I think you wrote
a real honest to goodness human relationship story without
all of that men are from mars women are from venus sugar
coated bullshit. I think it would make a very interesting
and funny movie.
very pleased you liked it. Now it's time for you to
become a producer and put a deal together for it. And
it's interesting that the Fishman bros. got "Cycles"
back after only eight years. Being the original writer,
though, I can never be entirely removed from the deal.
I wish them luck.