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Q & A    Archive
Page 76

Name: Kimberly Nedopak
E-mail: kimberlynedopak@aol.com

Dear Josh:

Thanks 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?

Dear Kimberly:

Investors 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.

Josh

Name: Jeremy Rametes
E-mail: Rametes@juno.com

Dear Josh:

I 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.

Dear Jeremy:

I don't remember Pat Gordon, but this is the place for opinionated movie lovers. Stop by anytime, add in your two cents worth.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

The writing on KWAI was superb, and achieved that rarest of all cinematic accomplishments: a successful Hollywood film that is also an artistic accomplishment.

I 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?).

In 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.

Darryl

P.S. Do you have any other projects lined up at the moment, or is it too early to say?
D.J.M.

Dear Darryl:

I 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.

Josh

Name: justmarvin
E-mail:

Hi again Josh,

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?

Thanks josh,
Marvin

Dear Marvin:

I 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.

Josh

Name: tobe
E-mail: toberiviere@aol.com
Hi Josh

What's 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. Greetings tobe

Dear Tobe:

Hey, 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.

Josh

Name: Mackenzie Lambert
E-mail: m_j_lambert@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

What characterisitics of a screenplay are vital for it to be interesting to a director, producer, or actor?

Dear Mackenzie:

I 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.

Josh

Name: Jason Roth
E-mail: meep1978@hotmail.com

Hi Josh,

I 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!

Dear Jason:

I'm 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.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

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.


Favorite bits:

-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 drinking.
- 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?

Thanks,

August

Dear August:

I'm 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.

Josh

Name: No One Important
E-mail:

Josh,

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 of all-time.

Later,
No One Important (N.O.I.)

Dear NOI:

I've 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.

Josh

Name: OMAR WILLIAMS
E-mail: mrhill59@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I'M 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.

THANKS!

Dear Omar:

A. 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.

Josh

Name: Michael Anthony Lee
E-mail: mal@kingston.net

Josh,

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 fiction?

Thanks for taking the time to answer.

Best,

Michael

Dear Michael:

It's an amalgamation of a number of houses in Bruce's and my neighborhood. I'd just rent a place if were to actually shoot it.

Josh

Name: Sean Morris
E-mail: sean_morris@optusnet.com.au

Dear Josh:

Interesting comments :)
Question did you think spiderman sucked ass?
Good Web-Site!

Cheers
Sean

Dear Sean:

I 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.

Josh

Name: Zack Sutherland & Dan Graham
E-mail: coastrboy@aol.com

Dear Josh:

Greetings 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, greatly
appreciative. Once again, thanks for making your films!!

-Zack Sutherland and Dan Graham, Founders of BUM Bros. Films

Dear Zack & Dan:

Jeez, 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. Good luck.

Josh

Name: Kimberly Nedopak
E-mail: kimberlynedopak@aol.com

Hi Josh:

I am sorry to see someone wrote an e-mail like that too you.
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
guidance.
Kimberly

Dear Kimberly:

Here 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.

Josh

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

Josh,

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 postings.

John

Dear John:

That's 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.

Josh

Name: James
E-mail: deadxdawn@hotmail.com

Josh,

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.

Now 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 things.

James

Dear James:

I 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 Damme.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

seen bruces new one "bubba ho-tep" yet?
sounds like a fun premise.

Dear Dustin:

No, not yet. I did visit Bruce while he was making it though. It does sound like a fun premise, and Bruce does a terrific Elvis.

Josh

Name: Faith Kindel
E-mail: kindel@mc.maricopa.edu

Josh,

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!

Dear Faith:

Yeah! Ditto!

Josh

Name: Dixy
E-mail: asquaretoit@yahoo.com
Dear Josh:

George 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 wisdom.

I like your collection. Thanks for sharing!

~Dixy

Dear Dixy:

Good quote, and I agree.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

I 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.

Holden, 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.

Yours truly,
Darryl
P.S. I noticed that you posted more treatments on the
site, and I look forward to reading them.
D.J.M.

Dear Darryl:

That's 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 magnificently.

Josh

Name: Hank Ack
E-mail: molenkampf@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I 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!

Dear Hank Ack:

The 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.

Josh

Name: justmarvin
E-mail:

Hey josh!

It's 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 on this!

Take care!
Marvin

Dear Marvin:

Certainly 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.

Josh

Name: Robin Redfield
E-mail: Redfieldalpha@aol.com

JOSH,

Everyone-please-read.

Using 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).

I 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.

TOM 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!

Thanks for letting me clear that up.

Robin Redfield, screenwriter, saving the archive from an identity crisis.

Dear Robin:

Well, I'm glad we got that cleared up.

Josh

Name: Kevin Mills
E-mail: thespythatshagsu@rogers.com

Hey Josh...

Do 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 some more?

Dear Kevin:

I don't stay up at night thinking about it. What those guys do is of no interest to me.

Josh

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

Josh,

Have you heard back from Boston, Austin, or the other festivals you've sent "Hammer" to?

Also, 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.

BTW, while your posting unrealized projects, why not put up your treatment (or was it a screenplay) of "Warpath"?

Have a good one.

Blake

Dear Blake:

As 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.

Josh

Name: Jeff
E-mail: wonkyj@aol.com

Josh,

I 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.

later

Dear Jeff:

Oddly, 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."

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Sorry 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 computer).
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 distasteful.

Yours truly,
Darryl

P.S. 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 Cotton.
D.J.M.

Dear Darryl:

Well, 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.

Josh

Name: Dani
E-mail: tim_roth_rules@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

Great 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.

Dear Dani:

I'd 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.

Josh

Name: Tony Mitchell
E-mail: mitch_2209@hotmail.com

Hi Josh,

I 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.
Thanks,
Tony

Dear Tony:

"Midnight 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?

And 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.

Josh

Name: J.C. Denton
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Thanks 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.

The 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 anyway :).

Those minor quibbles aside, The Apartment is a perfect film and I don't know why I waited so long to see it.

Dear J.C.:

It's 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."

Josh

Name: Brian
E-mail: KumiteENT@aol.com

Josh,

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.

Dear Brian:

Interestingly, 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?

Josh

Name: J.C. Denton
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I 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.

Also, 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?

Dear J.C.:

The 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.

Josh

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

Josh,

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.

John

Dear John:

Do 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.

Josh

Name: Amber Tsuchida
E-mail: adema4me@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Hey 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 Job :)

Dear Amber:

That's 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.

Josh

Name: Diana Hawkes
E-mail: sdhawkes@penn.com

Hi Josh!

Wow, 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:
CLICK HERE.
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 Soul Poss.--)
CLICK HERE

I was pleased to see a while back your mentioning of "allegory".
I wonder if it would make for the next interesting Becker-Reader Challenge.
I don't know how you'd word it...something like:
Name a film that successfully achieves an powerful allegorical story.

I 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?"

Dear Diana:

Lucy 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.

Josh

Name: Aaron
E-mail: agraham83@Hotmail.com

Hey there,

I 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.

Also, would you recommend getting one to budding filmmakers? and know where to get a good one (for a reasonable price) somewhere?

Dear Aaron:

A 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.

Josh

Name: Kimberly Nedopak
E-mail: KimberlyNedopak@aol.com

Dear Josh:

I 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.
A Fan,
Kimberly Nedopak

Dear Kimberly:

I 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.

Josh

Name: Kurt Farley
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

i'm 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.

btw-your treatment was excellent!

Dear Kurt:

I'm 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.

Josh

Name: Jean
E-mail: jeanmariet77@aol.com

Hi Josh!

Here's 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.

On 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.

Thanks,
Jean

Dear Jean:

I'm 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.

Josh


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