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Page 77

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

Josh,

I'm glad to hear about your possible plans to self distribute "Hammer" on VHS and DVD. I'll buy a copy when you can get them out.

A friend of mind, who has directed two independent films, is self distributing his latest picture like this. He even has it on amazon.com. That would be great for you. Every time someone would order any of your other 3 films, "Hammer" would pop up.

I too recently saw "Monster's Ball," and found it brilliant. As powerful as some of Cassavetes' masterworks.

Have a good one, and don't hesitate to get "Hammer" out. I know it's going to be more $, but you have to let people see the film. For yourself, not for us.

A word on the festivals...Try some European ones. Rotterdam just opened up for it's call for entries. I just sent them my picture. And don't forget Berlin, Venice, Edinburgh, Calgary (not european, but still an International fest). They may just love your film in other countries. Fuck New York and Boston. They both turned me down too.

Blake

Dear Blake:

Thanks, I needed that. It shocked the hell out of me when none of the major festivals would show "Running Time." I mean, what the hell do you have to do? Other than have a distribution deal with a major company, with a large publicity budget, and big stars in your film? What happened to actual indie films? It's all pretty sad, really. And you're right, I will try the foreign festivals. Thanks. And good luck to you.

Josh

Name: Steve Williams
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Is Hamburger Hill worth renting? Some reviews say it's the best Vietnam ever while others trash it. Is it any good or was it just made because of the success of Platoon?

Dear Steve:

I thought it was junk, and a half-assed "M*A*S*H" rip-off. Check out "Go Tell the Spartans" instead, which is a really good, underrated Vietnam war film. I also quite like "Bat 21."

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I saw THE ROAD WARRIOR and enjoyed it, but hadn't heard of THE DRIVER.
From reading the posts, I see that you're considering selling copies of IF I HAD A HAMMER directly from your website. This sounds like a good idea (please put me down for a copy). When do you anticipate copies being available? I understand that the rapper ICE-T does something similar with his music from his website, and that it's very lucrative, both creatively and financially.
My buddy Derek wanted me to ask you a technical question. What is your opinion of the use of first-person perspective in films? I know that it is a common approach in documentaries, but I've almost never seen it in feature films.
Anyway, I'm happy that you may have found an end-run around the system, and look forward to seeing HAMMER.

Best Wishes,
Darryl

Dear Darryl:

Maybe I'll make some rap records and sell those, too. The first-person perspective isn't really used in documentaries, not of having people look directly into the lens, as though the camera were the lead character. The first film I know of to experiment with this technique was the 1932 version of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" directed by Rouben Mamoulian (whom I met once). The entire first five minutes or so of the film is all from Dr. Jekyll's POV, and it's rather odd. It was used again by Robert Montgomery in 1946 in "Lady in the Lake," his version of the Raymond Chandler novel, which he starred in and directed. You only see him in mirrors, the babes lean forward and kiss the lens. and cigarettes keeping going under the lens, then smoke blows out. It's very distracting. It was used to a somewhat better advantage the next year in "Dark Passage" with Bogart and Bacall, where Bogart has had plastic surgery and until the bandages are removed it's all in the first-person. All in all, it really isn't a very helpful or interesting technique. And you really ought to check out "The Driver," it's a very cool film directed by Walter Hill.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Now as far as a SASE is concerned....what do those of us from the frosty (yeah right) northern lands of Canadia?

Canadian stamps can't be used to mail something from within the US I believe.

Dear Kevin:

Interesting point. I think you can then use a postal money order, or some such thing. Since you wouldn't be paying in Canadian funds anyway, maybe for out-of-the country orders they all have to be postal money orders. You see, that's why I brought this up first before doing it. Anyone out there have the answer to this?

Josh

Name: Michael
E-mail: mikeship@cbn.net.id

Hi Josh,

Have you heard of that screenplay contest called Project Greenlight put on by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck where the winner gets to direct their screenplay? (I'm just now seeing it here in asia.) If so, what do you think of it? I found it very interesting and informative on how (low budget) movies are made in Hollywood. For instance, even in a low budget movie like "Stolen Summer" Mirimax still hired a cinematographer and a production designer, unlike someone like Robert Rodriguez who has demonstrated that it's not only possible, but actually preferable to do it all himself. Here's the link to a very intersting Rodriguez interview on how he makes movies if your interested:

The Onion A.V. Club | Robert Rodriguez
http://www.theonionavclub.com/avclub3829/avfeature_3829.html

Dear Michael:

I watched a few episodes of the first season, and it all seemed like a set-up to put some schnook through hell. Of course they have to choose a kid that has no experience behind a camera, then watch him flounder. They would never choose someone like me, with a lot of on-set experience, because it wouldn't be any good for the TV show, and that's what it's all about, the TV show, not the film that gets made. Sadly, I don't respect Rodriguez, and I think he just plain old lied about the costs of "El Mariachi." Feature films don't cost $7,000, period. Getting the film processed and printed is more than that. I also don't necessarily agree that it's preferable to run your own camera.

Josh

Name: TJ
E-mail: Dripper25@hotmail.com

Hey Josh,

when you doing that Western w/ Bruce?

And if you want provacative: Me likes silk underwear.

Dean

Dear Dean:

Hey, at least I posted the treatment. It's called "Warpath."

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

That's cool about "Hammer"

Any idea what the projected cost to the consumer would be?

Also, if this works for you would you consider this from now on when you make a movie? Maybe look into limited production of stuff like Blind Waiter and Stryker's War? (there's been a precedent set with illegally used music released in limited prodution....cEvin Key of Skinny Puppy and Download is doing that now...he only makes 1000 copies per album and he puts all the tracks he was unable to release through proper channels)

Dear Kevin:

I'm going to keep it as cheap as I can, like $19.95, and I'm going to make everyone include a self-addressed stamped envelope sufficient for a video tape or a DVD. The key is to now have as many dupes made as possible because they get cheaper the more you get of them.

Josh

Name: Will
E-mail: wdodson52@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Guess we'll agree to disagree on "Convoy"....I agree with you on Kristofferson's acting (I'm more used to seeing him in bad sci-fi stuff), and the direction is a little frayed at times (the actor who played the preacher worked with a friend of mine, regaling him with stories of getting loaded every day on the set with Peckinpah and Kristofferson).....
BUT, I think the story is a good one; it kept my interest watching this "leader" who didn't know what the cause was supposed to be, and hell, most of the convoy didn't really know either. All they knew was they were mad as hell and weren't going to take it anymore....And the scene where Kristofferson walks out on the governor is really fantastic. Neither of them really know what the issues are, but to watch the instinctual selflessness vs. instinctual selfishness play out through the eyes was cool; one of the few scenes I've ever seen Kristofferson do a good job in.

But disagreement is fine; I can see some flaws in the film as well that make your dislike quite valid (and I agree with your assessment of Peckinpah as a poor man's Don Siegel).

I also agree with your assessment of documentaries right now....I actually work for a non-profit documentary film organization and I learn a lot more about film here than in school. Have you seen Werner Herzog's "My Best Fiend: Klaus Kinski"? If so, I wonder at your thoughts.....

Dear Will:

The next time "Convoy" pops up on TV I'll watch it again. It's only been about 25 years since I saw it that once. Yes, I did see "My Best Fiend" and found it fascinating. Kinski seems like one of the really big assholes of all time, but a very good actor. And Herzog was basically stuck with him, over and over again. The expressions of patient forbearance on everyone's faces, particularly the natives, as Kinski pitches one fit after another is hysterical.

Josh

Name: Sean
E-mail: scornett@yahoo.com

Hi Josh,

I was just wondering if there's any chance that you'll be posting a review of "Monster's Ball"? I'd be curious to read what you have to say about it (besides what you've already posted). I thought it was really good, although I thought the ending left a few things kind of up in the air, that should have been clarified.

Just wondering.

-S.C.

Dear S.C.:

I thought that was the point. From the blurb one would suspect that the information that he was a prison guard at her husband's execution would be the first thing they'd know about each other. That they don't know it until the end, then don't mention it to each other, was like a breath of fresh air to me. It incredible to me how much unstated stuff goes on in close relationships, and to express that in a movie for me was great. I thought Horton Foote got that idea across brilliantly in "Tender Mercies," that until you specifically ask about something, you'll probably never know. Anyway, that's all of a review I've got. I also just watched Ang Lee's "Ride With the Devil," which I didn't particularly care for. It's the story of southern bushwhackers during the Civil War, who are fighting for the southern way of life, and killing every black person they see. Well, am I supposed to give a shit? You can push all of them off a cliff, too, as far as I'm concerned.

Josh

Name: Jean
E-mail:

Hi Josh!

Thanks for taking the time to put together that list. "Crumb" is by far the one DVD in my collection that I watch the most. Good picks! I don't think I made myself clear when I wrote about "Monster's Ball" and "Bully." I thought the sex scene in Monster's was very well done and it had a purpose. It was just interesting to me that the sex scene was what people (in my experience) chose to focus on rather then the other aspects of the film. And yes, "Bully" did not make a dime in the theaters but from what I understand it is doing rather well on video. I read the true crime novel "Bully" about a year before the film came out. The author addressed the sex that went on between the group of teens but not nearly to the extent of what ended up in the film. The director just saturated "Bully" with sex in what I think was an attempt to draw an audience. He's the same guy that made "Kids". I was in college when "Kids" came out on video and my whole campus was abuzz about this film. I was a film major and a lot of students in the department raved about it. I saw "Kids" and, I have to admit, I was shocked by certin things in the film but I was also very unimpressed. I did not think it was a well made film at all. When I expressed my thoughts about "Kids" I was actually accused of just trying to be diffrent because so many people worshiped the movie. They thought my opinion was fake! How fucked up is that? When speaking with one person in particular about "Kids" he said that the shock value was what made the film great. All he cared about was the shock. Not the script or the direction or the acting, just the shock. I found that to be very sad. But then again I went to film school with people who thought "Armageddon" was a great movie!

Thanks Josh,
Jean

Dear Jean:

Well, I agree completely. I thought "Kids" was shit, and I thought "Bully" was shit, too. All the characters in both films are assholes. To just be shocking, in my humble opinion, means nothing.

Josh

Name: Ray Rantuccio
E-mail: FilmsRpriceless@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

1) It's been a while since I sent you a message. I've been spending a lot of time posting at the www.rottentomatoes.com forums, writing screenplays, and shooting around. Anyway, I have a few questions for you if you don't mind. Most of them include your thoughts on a few films that I've watched recently, not for the first time. I saw your picks on the best films of the '90's. While I agree with you on a lot of films, I was missing "Leaving Las Vegas." I think it's a great film, the only great film with Mike Figgis ("Timecode") behind the camera, and the only great performance by Nic Cage, who rightfully took home the oscar for it. I never heard your comments on this film, and I was just wondering what you thought about. I just bought the DVD and I'd give it four stars.

2) Another film that I never heard you discuss in the past. It's Abel Ferrara's uncompromising "Bad Lieutenant," with Harvey Keitel. If you ask me, this is Harvey Keitel's best performance, one of the most impressive I've ever seen.

3) And ONE more film that I think you've discussed before but can't find your comments on. It's "Schindler's List" I think you hate it and I do as well. I have a friend who LOVES this film and we argue about it from time to time, and I absolutely hated it. In fact, I'm the only person that I know who hates it. Just wondering if you felt the same way. (Me and my friend tend to argue about A LOT of films, like this one and Cronenberg's "Crash," which I thought was a dreadful, pointless mess of a film, Cronenberg's worst.)

Just wanting to drop by,
Ray Rantuccio

Dear Ray:

I didn't care for "Leaving Las Vegas," of which I didn't believe a second. I think it's lacking an act one, without which I don't know why or care why Cage is drinking himself to death. And since he happens to have this gorgeous, sweet girl that's desperately in love with him, what's his problem? Just getting one quick flashback of a fire with photos in it was entirely insufficient. That same year "Georgia" came out, which was a far better film about someone drinking themselves to death. I can't stand any of Abel Ferrara's films, and "Bad Lieutenant" was particularly annoying and repetitive. Yes, Keitel was good, but the film around him was crap. "Schindler's List" would make it onto my top-ten of worst films of all-time, and one of the great missed opportunities for a interesting story. But to treat Schindler like a hero, after he's run a factory with forced labor for all those years, and saved some Jews at the very end of the war, which also coincidentally saved his butt at the Nuremburg trials, entirely misses the great irony of his character--he was one of the big opportunists of all-time. Whatever was best for Schindler is what he did. To make him nothing more than altrusitic, swell guy is stupid. And Liam Neeson's performance is severely one-note, as is Ralph Fiennes' performance, as the spittle-spewing, insane Nazi, which was exactly like they always depicted Hitler in propaganda films made during the war. What made Nazis so scary is that they thought they were normal folks doing a regular day's work--have breakfast with the family, have 5000 people gassed, come home for dinner, put the kids to bed. It should have been called "The One Good Nazi," and if the one good Nazi got mixed in with all the other Nazis and they were all pushed off a cliff, it wouldn't break my heart. "Schindler's List" was a film I thought would never end. That I would be stuck there for all of eternity watching old people dodder up and put rocks on his grave. It did have pretty black and white photography by Janusz Kaminski.

Josh

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

Josh-

You might look in to selling copies of "If I Had a Hammer" on your site? Would it be an editor's workprint or would you splurge and polish it a bit (but not too much....you'd want fans to pick up a mass distibuted copy some time down the road).

This might be a good idea. I may have told you this before but Ohio film maker Jim vanBebber spent about 8-10 years making a film about the Manson family titled "Charlie's Family". About six years ago he tried to get completion funds (he needs to finish the sound) and got nothing. He muled it around to various festivals and got nowhere. About two or three years ago a vhs workprint was leaked and interested people (like myself) were finally able to see it. From what I last heard vanBebber not only got completion funds late last year, he also got a dvd distribution deal. The finished film is supposed to be out late this year or early next year.

Something to think about....."Hammer" may see a distribution deal in a few years if you put out your ow copy now (or soon).

Dear Kevin:

I am thinking about it. No, it's not workprint, it's the finished movie transferred off of a 35mm theatrical print. "Hammer" is entirely done, I don't need finishing funds. I called up for duplication prices yesterday, for both VHS and DVD.

Josh

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

Josh,

You might want to stop posting all those asshole emails you get; I'm beginning to develop a superiority complex. It's amazing to me what these bored, one-handed typists will do for kicks. Don't they know the internet is chock-full of porn?

I wanted to ask a technical (sort of) question about tape to video transfers. Any One-Hour Photo Mart will advertise transfering old super-8's or 16mm's onto VHS or DVD. I assume the quality of the transfer is poor? But the transfer itself seems ideally suited for automation, which should mean low expense after start-up costs. I realize that there are issues with packaging and distribution, but the actual transfer cost doesn't seem like it should be all that bad.

I'm obviously thinking about "Hammer" here, and have another question about that film. I believe you mentioned in one of your replies that you hadn't got clearances for all of the music. I thought that part of the inspiration for the movie was that the music in question had passed into public domain, or do I have that wrong? You've mentioned the same problem regarding releasing the super-8 shorts. Would it be possible to dub in new soundtracks, or are there no longer separate tracks of the dialogue?

Keep telling them to "jack-off" (PG version) and thanks as always.

John

Dear John:

I actually don't post a lot of the jerk-off letters I get. Just the ones that amuse me. Regarding the super-8s, they are so crammed with stolen music that nobody wants to mess around them. Also, they're old and crude and none of us care enough about them anymore to want to put in the time. And also, that music is part of them and changing it would just be silly at this late date. Regarding film-to-video transfers, to do them properly is an expensive ordeal. I had a lousy, one-light (meaning unsupervised) transfer done of "Hammer" and it cost a thousand dollars. The transfer of RT cost $6,000, and that was in 1997. To have top-quality transfer of "Hammer" done now, I'd first have to have a 35mm inter-positive (IP), with all of the color-timing built into it, before I could make the transfer. Well, an IP is a $1.25 a foot, and the film is over 12,000 feet long, then I'd still have to do at least a $7,000 supervised transfer. Also, although many of the songs in "Hammer" are in fact PD, a few aren't (like the title song). That was my mistake. I may still begin selling it here on the internet and just take my chances.

Josh

Name: Andy Abplanalp
E-mail: powerpop@wi.rr.com

Josh,

I found your page while doing a Google search on American Movie. I wholeheartedly agree with your review of the film and your assessment of what kind of a man Mark Borchardt is. After watching the film, it was painfully obvious that all Mark had to do with the people around him was to come up with some 25-cent words and a few malapropisms to trick them into perpetuating his 'plans'.

That said - I thought the movie was fucking hilarious BECAUSE it was so, so very sad. It really boosted my self-esteem, and made me realize how glad I am that I'm not Mark Borchardt. Factory worker indeed.

Regards,

Andy

Dear Andy:

It's a really good documentary. And as I just did my favorite films of the 90s list -- and we can toss in the two years of the 2000s, too -- documentaries are the best thing going now. Clearly, reality is much more interesting than fiction these days. Also, technology has really helped documentaries, with cameras being so small, able to shoot in almost no light, and people are really able to ignore their presence now. I think the documentary form is really flourishing, as the fiction film is floundering.

Josh

Name: Jean
E-mail: jthompson77@adelphia.net

Hi Josh!

I also enjoyed "Monster's Ball" and you are right Halle Berry was great. I saw it on DVD long after it was out of the theaters because the only thing that anyone could talk about was the sex scene. That's all I heard about when the film was in the theaters. When I would talk to someone who saw the film they would always mention the sex scene right off the bat. It seems as though shock value equals a good film these days. Take "Bully" for example. The director was going for pure shock. I guess it sells tickets. If you think about it most of the films that come out these days are sure fire formula piles of shit (i.e. Austin Powers 3). It's been done a million times but what the hell! It makes money. Or we get films about drug addiction, abnormal sex, mental illness or some other fucked up subject that feeds off the darker curiosity of the audience. I think it's the influence of the news media but that's a whole other subject.

Anyway, not to gripe but you did not answer my question. What in your opinion was the best film of the 90's and why?

Thanks!
Jean

Dear Jean:

Sorry about not answering your question, which I'll get back to. Did "Bully" make money? I don't think so. I think it's a false assumption that that kind of bullshit automatically sells. And though it was a good sex scene in "Monster's Ball," it wasn't nearly the best thing in the film, and it made a lot of sense within its story, it wasn't gratuitous, like all of "Bully." Actually, the part that moved me the most was Halle Berry's overweight son, whose father has been executed, and his mother hits him because he's fat, and he can't stop eating candy bars. It broke my heart. Okay, the best films of the 90s: the first one that jumps to my mind is "Unforgiven," which I think is kind of a perfect movie, and much better than anything I ever expected from Clint Eastwood. It's a brilliant script, and Clint the director didn't screw it up at all. And the casting is perfect. There's "Goodfellas," Scorsese's last great film, which I think is terrific in pretty much all ways. There's "JFK," Oilver Stone's last decent movie, which is wonderfully well-made, has a great cast (Gary Oldman couldn't be better as Oswald), and even gets past having that stick-in-the-mud Kevin Costner in the lead; There's "Howard's End," which I really thought was wonderful; "Husbands & Wives," Woody Allen's last really good film; "The Long Walk Home," which I've seen about five times and think is tremendously well-made, and actually about several important issues; "Life is Sweet," my favorite Mike Leigh film; "35 Up," Michael Apted's wonderful documentary; "Raise the Red Lantern," Zhang Yimou's beautiful film; "Mad Dog and Glory," which was severely underrated and has a really tight script by Richard Price; "Blue Sky," with two great performances in the lead by Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones, both at their very best, with solid direction by the late Tony Richardson (his last film); "The Shawshank Redemption," which works much better than it ought to; "Black Harvest," a great documentary that no one saw; "Groundhog Day," which is an amazement and a shockingly clever script; "Apollo 13," which is a high-budget TV movie, but works perfectly on its one, simple-minded level; "Rob Roy," which far superior to the same year's best picture, "Braveheart"; "Six Degrees of Seperation," which is a fine adaptation of a good play; "A Great Day in Harlem," a totally interesting doc; "Sense and Sensibilty," a top-notch adaptation of Jane Austen, and the best of that bunch; "Angels and Insects," which wasn't great, but was very interesting and well-made; "Crumb," which I can't see enough; "The Story of Qui Ju," Zhang Yimou working in the realm of irony and metaphor, my favorite places; "When We Were Kings," another top-notch doc; "Elvis Meets Nixon," which was a Showtime film, but made me laugh so hard I fell off the couch; "Vanya on 42nd St." which is just great actors acting a great play, with no costumes or sets, and who needs them? "Wild Man Blues," yet another wonderful doc; "The Panama Deception," and yet another very good doc with a lot of provocative information; "American Movie," and yet another good doc; "One Day in September" and yet another provocative documentary; "To Live" another beautiful Zhang Yimou film. Okay? There are my picks of the 1990s.

Josh

Name: Jim
E-mail: JEaganFilm@aol.com

Josh,

Got a couple general questions here for ya. First off, what is your opinion on the future of filmmaking, in terms of technology? If you were just starting out, would you be putting more emphasis on digital or film? Most of the film schools around here seem to emphasize film, ie 16mm, production. I'm wondering if it would be better for me to learn the digital technology and be ahead of the game.

Secondly, have you found that certain parts of the country are more receptive to independent filmmakers than others? I've been to alot of states in the midwest and it seems like there many less hurdles in terms of getting location permits and such. Assuming the script doesn't require a busy city with lots of background action, it seems to me that shooting away from the coasts would eliminate alot of production headaches. Also, do some states offer tax incentives to shoot there?

And lastly, do you think that independent filmmaking, in general, is a poor business decision these days? Friends of mine are putting tens of thousands into their film school thesis films and my guess is that nothing will come of it. I suppose these could be used for reels, but thats about it. I've come to the conclusion that low-budget digital video filmmaking is a good idea in that the financial losses are minimal, and you're getting roughly the same result: a good learning experience and something to show at a few festivals. I don't see any independent filmmakers actually supporting themselves with their work, they generally make money as assistants in local commercial productions or in post-production. You've supported yourself for awhile as a television director, but you've been in the business a long time. As a 23 year old guy that has basically just done intern and production assistant jobs, I've lost some faith in my ability to actually support myself in this industry. I could maybe go into camera or post-production, but is that a realistic career path if ultimately I want to direct my own stories? I dunno, just rambling on and on here. Basically these are the same old questions, just wondering if you've got any good answers :) Take it easy,

Jim

Dear Jim:

I don't have any new answers, just the same old ones. I think you're right about shooting anywhere but LA or NYC and getting a lot more bang for your buck. I shot my first two features in Detroit, then the next two in LA, and everyone was a lot more amenable in Detroit, and we got many more things for cheap or for free. We faked LA by shooting in the little town of Pontiac, MI (where they make the cars), and the they simply couldn't have been nicer or more helpful, and didn't charge us any location fees--we did pay for some off-duty cops, but that's always a good idea. Shooting in LA I got charged for everything, and got taxed by the state, the county, and the city. Besides, LA hates independent low-budget movies, and most places consider them an infringement on making real money from big movies. Although I think digital video is a terrific medium, and great for documentaries and shorts, it's still impractical for features since no one will yet buy them. And can you support yourself as a indie filmmaker? I never could. I've never made any money with my movies, and just breaking even has always been the big goal. Directing TV pays very well, but they're very difficult jobs to get, and there's no security (I sound like Mr. T). If you're not absolutely driven to make your own movies, then find another field. Much heartache lies ahead.

Josh

Name: Sam
E-mail: sam_raimi@hotmail.com

Josh,

I emailed you not that long ago regarding Mini-DV and Hi8. You called me a dope. I took offence. My name does actually happen to be Sam. Granted my email address does lead people to believe I am the great God: Sam Raimi, but I only created that address because I enjoy his work. Now, seeing as you've now hurt me and have offended me in such a way that it took great self discipline to refrain from swearing at you, calling you abusive names (such as "dope"), and insulting you mediocre directing and writing, could you please answer my question found on the last page of q&a.
Thank you,
Sam

Dear Sam:

I still think it's inappropriate using someone else's name for your email address, however I'm sorry I called you a dope. Since you believe I'm a mediocre writer/director, I don't see why you seek my opinion. Nevertheless, if your intention is to make a film you can sell, I say shoot on film. If your intention is not to sell it, then it doesn't matter what you shoot it on. Good luck.

Josh

Name: Billy
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Hi i am a proffesional actor who has recently been offered a part in a 'adult' movie. Are there any camera tricks that can make my penis seem larger?

Dear Billy:

You could shoot through a microscope.

Josh

Name: memphis potter
E-mail: thankyouverymuch@elvis.com

Dear Josh:

Do you regually kiss your own ass? From the replies i have read you seem to be full of yourself..............

Dear Memphis:

If that's how it seems to you, then that's what I do.

Josh

Name: reverend yad
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Hi im thinking about filming me and my girlfriend having sex and i was just wondering what sort of camera you would recommend i use.

Dear Rev:

One with the lens cap on.

Josh

Name: Will
E-mail: wdodson52@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Speaking of chase movies, have you ever seen Peckinpah's "Convoy?" For some reason I really dig it....Kris Kristofferson as kind of a Jesus figure for struggling truckers attempting to unionize...Ernest Borgnine as a corrupt, driven but comically inept cop...It's amazing how many trucks they have racing through the desert...they'll never be able to make 'em like that again. The characters, though simple, are clearly defined, and though the ending is cheesy as all hell, I thought it was pretty good. Come to think of it, I don't know if I've seen you post your thoughts on Peckinpah before....any thoughts on Convoy? Cross of Iron? The Wild Bunch?

Dear Will:

I love "The Wild Bunch" and consider it one of the really great films. I basically hated "Convoy," however, and felt really bad for Peckinpah when I saw it when it came out. It was nothing more than a late follow-up to the "Smoky and the Bandit" films, but without the humor. And Kris Kristofferson is a crappy actor and a serious bore. "Cross of Iron" had its moments, but wasn't all that good, either. In fact, I really do think that Peckinpah was, for the most part, a one-shot director, and his whole career is based on "The Wild Bunch." Everything else in his ouvre is far inferior. He always seemed like a second-rate, half-assed Don Siegel to me, whom he started off working for as a PA in the 1950s.

Josh

Name: Red
E-mail: red199@aol.com

Hey Josh,

What part of Oregon do you live in? It looks beautiful in the pictures. What's the town like? Do you plan on staying there long? I hope all is well with you. Take care of yourself. And please make some more films soon.

RED

Dear Red:

I live outside Jacksonville, which is near Medford and Ashland. I don't know if I intend to stay here or not, we'll see. I would certainly love to make more films soon, but getting past my last film has turned out to be the most difficult problem I've ever given myself. I'm still somewhat surprised that I waited until I was over 40 to make a film no one will touch with a ten-foot pole. It just got turned down by the NY film festival. No one will even show the damn thing. I find it really shocking.

Josh

Name: Jean
E-mail: jthompson77@adelphia.net

Hi Josh!

Did you get that last email that I sent you about the diffrent drafts of "Cycles"? Just checking.

On to my question:
What in your opinion was the best film of the 90's and why? I loved what you said about people who jump all over you when you say that you did not like a film that everyone expects you to like. I was out with some friends a few months ago and they all started talking about how great "In The Bedroom" was. I saw it and was bored to tears! When I told them that I did not like the film they all looked at me like I had three heads. When I tried to explain my reasons for not liking it my friends just blocked me out of the conversation. It pissed me off to no end! It seems as though people like the films that they are told to like. It's such bullshit! I have not had a decent conversation about movies in a long time. It sucks!

Thanks for letting me rant,
Jean

Dear Jean:

Yes, I did get the email, and thanks. What's amusing (or sad) is that my original draft was not on the list, as though it never existed. There's such a desperate need in Hollywood to shit all over anything that contains a trace of integrity it's really shocking. And please, rant all you'd like on this topic -- the lack of discussion about film -- and I guess this is the place to do it. I honestly do feel that film has devolved in the past thirty years or so, to the point where the good films aren't particularly good, and the bad films have overrun us. "In the Bedroom" was terrible, and that people can't hear that shows their utter lack of thoughtful consideration. If a film has any actual value is must be able to stand up to criticism. Now, I actually saw a good film last night, "Monster's Ball." It's an improbable story that the filmmakers pull off due to solid writing, top-notch acting, and thoughtful direction. Halle Berry really deserved her Oscar for her performance, which is painfully raw in spots. And though I ended up caring for both the leads, they're not tremedously likable characters, which is kind of amazing. This was an intense, powerful drama -- unlike "Bedroom," which was contrived crap. I also tried watching "Bully" last night, which someone here recommended, and it too was garbage, and made me ashamed to be involved in film, and made me ashamed that someone put young kids through that degrading nonsense. Anyway, I recommend "Monster's Ball" to everyone.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I just read your post (sorry, I've been off the net for a week or so; job-hunting sucks). Sorry to hear that you're having forest fires in Oregon again. I have a friend on active duty at Fort Lewis (right above you in Washington state), and in the year that he's been there, the governor of the state has asked the army for firefighting assistance twice.
Anyway, on to a movie question. What did you think of GONE IN SIXTY SECONDS? I saw it recently on TV and rather enjoyed it, in an escapist kind of way. However, I was curious about a few things concerning the film. Wasn't the car that gave Nicholas Cage so much trouble ( '67 Shelby GT 500 Mustang) the same car that Steve McQueen drove in BULLITT? Also, the end credits mention that the film was based on an earlier movie from 1974, and I was wondering what the title of that film was. This is not you're favorite type of film, I know, but if anyone would have the answer to my question, it would be you.

Yours truly,
Darryl

Dear Darryl:

The original is called "Gone in 60 Seconds," as opposed to "Gone in Sixty Seconds." I couldn't sit through the first one, and didn't even try sitting through the remake. In "Bullitt," if I recall correctly, it was a Mustang against a Charger. As far as car chase movies go, I'll take "The Road Warrior" or "The Driver."

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

I just saw North By Northwest the other night, and it never ceases to amaze me how well made that film is, even by modern standards. While watching it, a question arose. Is is possible for a film to have more than one central theme. North by North west seemed to have many. Trust and betrayal were both very prominant. escpecially when pertaining to Eva Marie Saint's character. Anyway correct me if i'm wrong but It seemed to me that the story was built upon a couple of themes as opposed to one. If it's possible, is it wise for a writer to incorporate multiple themes when constructing a story?

Dear Scott:

One theme is sufficient, and a good theme is generally one word. Although I do love "North by Northwest," it's not what you'd call a deep script, nor is it really exploring any theme all that well, other than Hitchcock's standard "wrong man" story, which he and Ernest Lehman sort of noodled their way through. Hitchcock was after momentary effects, not depth in characterization or exploring themes. He was damn good at what he did, but telling deep stories wasn't his forte.

Josh

Name: Rich Weis
E-mail: cocoisacat@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

Stumbled upon your site, and really like your movie reviews....it's refreshing to hear the truth.......thanks for the laughs!

Dear Rich:

My pleasure. As I was driving across the vast country I was thinking about the intense film discussions I used to have, when film seemed like a legitmate art form and worthy of as much critical thought as could be applied to it. Now, if someone says they loved "American Beauty," for example, and I say I didn't like it, it causes shock and dismay and no discussion ensues. Everyone now just accepts what everyone else says and that's it. How sad.

Josh

Name: Phill Tarr
E-mail: hairyandfunny@yahoo.com

Josh,

Hi, my name is Phill and I'm a young film maker here in Florida. I make Super 8 films and enter them into film festivals in the area. We havn't made anything star-studded yet but every project we keep our fingers crossed. I'm writing because the gang from the glory days of ED. I have a crew that is close to that. We all have a lot of respect for you and all love Running Time. Any advice you can give young film makers in need of it? I was also wondering if we could get a autograph photo for our new film house "Cabin Fever Films"
Thank you very much,
Phill Tarr

Dear Phill:

As we all used to say to each other regularly, "Get the money." Without it you can't make movies. It's a drag, but true. Unlike actors, I don't have headshots of me. If you want to send in a DVD cover or something (at the address listed by Shirley, the webmaster) I'll be happy to sign it.

Josh

 

Dear Phil,

Send it to me at this address and I'll forward it to Josh:
(and please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for its return)

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

Name: jorrit
E-mail: jorritvanderkooi@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

It's my birthday and instead of inviting friends, I took a friend to the 99 cent store in Hollywood, on La brea. I always buy there my wine, they have red ad white and french and italian. Are there other stores where they sell 99 cent wine. Sometimes I take a bottle to a aparty and tell the people it's a 10 dollar wine. I also buy shampoo, and gel for my hair.
I bought a bible today at the 99 cent store, the print letters is very small, thats why it's 99 cent. They also sell a 35 mm camera now and an alarmclock, which I bought, works great. Now they also sell banana's I take those too.

Dear Jorrit:

Thanks for sharing.

Josh

Name: Peter Appleton
E-mail:

Dear josh,

Have you ever written a story, treatment, or screenplay about a filmmaker or screenwriter? have you ever thought about writing about an obsessed, troubled filmmaker who is at a hard time in his life? you'd be great for a kind of story like that, and i think you'd write the best script for such a story.

Peter

Dear Peter:

Thanks for the suggestion. I feel if you have to write about the filmmaking process you're not thinking very hard. Filmmaking, for the most part, is dull fodder for stories. And making movies is a dull thing to watch.

Josh

Name: Charles
E-mail: cscorder@hotmail.com

Josh:

Several years ago, I was listening to a radio interview with actor Bruno Kirby Jr. A caller asked him why Kirby didn't appear in "City Slickers II" and Kirby said it was because he had such a miserable time making "City Slickers." From what he said, I gathered that he feuded with the director and his fellow actors. The caller sounded disappointed, saying, "But it looked like you were all having such fun."

Kirby replied: "That's why they call it acting."

Josh, do you have any tales of actor-actor and/or actor-director battles on the set from your films or TV episodes?

Charles

P.S. Any progress on "Hammer"?

Dear Charles:

"Hammer" was just turned down by the Boston Film Festival. I get along famously with the actors, I love them. I care about the actors a lot and they know it. The only actor that's ever been a complete prick to me was Anthony Quinn, but he stopped pretty quickly and later apologized. I hate tense sets and I won't allow it. And the actors appreciate a calm place to work. So no, I don't have any of those stories.

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

I was wondering what the process one would go through to option the film rights for a book or other printed material?

--Kevin Mills

Dear Kevin:

You have your lawyer contact the author's agent and make an offer. It's pretty easy, really, if you have the money to do it.

Josh

Name: Concerned Film Patrons
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

You are a turd. You are a really long winded, annoying turd. What have you contributed to film and society that gives you the right to ramble on indescriminately? I know Xena had important social ramifications, but why do you blow so hard? "Running Time" was a "Waste of Time", and so is your site. Are you just an angry bitter failure? Correct me if I'm wrong, but you suck! Better yet don't correct me... You do suck!

Dear CFP:

So then what you're saying is that I suck? Well, I'm doing the best I can, so there.

Josh

Name: Craig Mauritz
E-mail: cmauritz@attbi.com

Dear Josh,

I am writing to you regarding my father's book, The Secret of Anzio Bay. It is a true story of a World War II fighter pilot that must crash-land his plane, is captured by Germans, then escapes from a Nazi prison camp. He is then reunited with the plane 54 yers later after it is found in the Mediterranean Sea. It is an unforgettable adventure.
I am trying to find someone like yourself that could not only do the screenplay, but also direct the movie. I was impressed with what you had to say regarding the movie, Black Hawk Down. I felt the same way once the movie was over.
You can visit the book's website at www.anziobay.com for more information. If you would like a book, I would be more than happy to send you one.
Thanks you for your time. I am looking forward to hearing from you. My phone #412-***-****.
Sincerely Yours,
Craig Mauritz

Dear Craig:

You're looking for someone to write the script and direct, so that means you have the financing? If not, I wish you all the luck in the world.

Josh

Name: Sam
E-mail: sam_raimi@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I'm currently using the crappy Hi8 on a tacky Sony camera. I want to go digital and im looking at Mini-DV but i've found all the cameras to be really expensive. I've seen cameras ranging from the handycam kinda things at about £400 to really professional one at £7500. I'm a skint kid and theres no chance of me making a movie in the next 10 years if i buy an expensive one so can you suggest something I can get cheaper but still good quality?

Dear ???:

What kind of dope are you using someone else's name, particularly a friend of mine. Get your own name.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Sorry, one more quick thing. I just read the post from Jason Roth, who mentioned Rod Steiger. Don't forget he was in another excellent role: the surviving realist Victor Kamarovsky in DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. Mr. Steiger mentioned that he enjoyed that role, and felt that it was a slap in the face to the European critics who felt that American actors couldn't emit refinement or elegance in their roles, nor play Europeans effectively.

Darryl

P.S. Good luck on your trip. If you're ever in Connecticut, send me an email. You're more than welcome to my hospitality, meager though it may be.

D.J.M.

Dear Darryl:

I was in Connecticut, but now I'm back in smoky Oregon, where half the state is on fire. I must say that I found most everyone in the NYC vicinity to be pretty grim and humorless. 9/11 doesn't seem to have helped anyone's state of mind out there, nor should it have.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Sorry about that, I didn't mean to put you on the defensive. The treatment for HYDERABAD was good; I just honestly didn't get the ending or her motivation for staying.
The EDGE novels were written by a Englishman named George G. Gilman in the early and mid '70s, and follow the adventures of a drifter named Edge throughout the Wild West. They were part of that slew of genre and exploitation novels that were the last gasp of pulp fiction (another series from this time period was THE EXECUTIONER, if that gives you a hint), and were geared largely towards a teenage and young adult male audience. Typically, the novels are very graphic and violent (the Edge novels all have the promise of "The Most Violent Western Series Ever" stamped on the covers). My mother picked me up a copy of one out of the bargain book bin at Stop & Shop once, and I was roped into a quest to find more installments (no easy task, as the novels were exclusively in paperback and are now out of print). They stick in my head because I always felt that they would make good screenplays.
This leads me to ask if you have ever adapted a novel or play into a professional screenplay? I know that you did a few adaptations in your Super-8 films, but have you been called upon to do it as a professional screenwriter? If so, are there any particular challenges to such a specific task? I'm not sure, but I imagine there must be, otherwise there wouldn't be a separate Academy Award for it ("Best Adaption from Another Medium").

Yours truly,
Darryl

P.S. I thought of one instance where an adapted screenplay was better than the original work upon which it was based. I found a copy of the original novel of KELLY'S HEROES at a tag sale once, and found it to be absolute crap. It was written by an English author not familar with American characters or dialect, and the whole thing dragged. Fortunately, it did provide an interesting concept that was worked into a very good screenplay.

D.J.M.

Dear Darryl:

I don't know about it being a "very good screenplay." Even as a kid I had objections to the Oddball character. It makes no sense having a hippy in WWII. Nevertheless, it is a fun film. Regarding my own stories, you can like them or hate them, but I won't defend them. As Mammy said in GWTW, "It just ain't fittin'."

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Hope you are enjoying your road trip. Is Detroit your end destination, or are you heading on? I think your fans would love updates on any old cronies that you may run into or visit, like, oh, John Cameron or Bridget Hoffman, or if you stop by Lulu's Lingerie!

I will definitely read "Hyderabad" when I get a chance, as I see it has the whole sexy nun idea from "Mr. Allison." I also want to re-read "Terrified," which reminded me a lot of "The Shining," and I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing.

But my question is on this guy Dan Kolton, who Film Magazine claims is suing your buddy Joe LoDuca, claiming he wrote a bunch of his scores. I gather Kolton is a respected jazz bass player in the Detroit area? Is this just a contract dispute, or is the guy a complete loser? (Or should I mind my own business?) I realize Mr. LoDuca doesn't seek too much interaction with fans, but if you happen to talk to him, please let him know that a LOT of people are really excited about his Emmy nomination, and are distressed/annoyed that someone would try to sue him.

Thanks,

August

Dear August:

I don't know I thing about it, and Joe wasn't in Detroit when I was there so I didn't see him. I'll ask him about the next time we speak, though. As Rob Tapert once said, "If you're not being sued, or suing someone, you're not really in the film business."

Josh

Name: Chopped Nuts
E-mail: danjfox@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Just a reply to Tobe:

"What's that act one starts...act two.. crap about ?
Don't you ever watch movies like Mulholland Dr. or something ? "

Mulholland Dr. has a three act-structure. Like any structured movie Act 1 you meet the characters and they get slapped with a problem (the main characters that is - since this was a tv show there are loose ends here), Act 2 has the women chasing clues lleading up to the theatre Silencio, and Act 3 has the fantasy world all fall apart.

Dear Dan:

Thanks for fielding that one.

Josh

Name: No One Important
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

Hello, it's me again. Can you tell us what you think about these three films (three films that I've seen recently and really liked): "L'Avventura," "Solaris," "Bitter Moon."

by the way, what have you watched recently. I miss your comments.

Dear No One:

"L'Avventura" and "Solaris" were two of the dullest films I've ever seen (as are most of Antonioni's and Tarkovsky's films). "Bitter Moon" is second-rate Polanski, but has some moments. I haven't seen anything lately as I've been on the road.

Josh

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

Hi Josh:

Again thanks for the straight talk. Details about my plans are really quiet simple. I designed a complete story. I wrote a script with all the dialogue. I have detailed design plans on how to shoot the movie and even where locations, etc.
I am really trying to figure out a master game plan. Let me straight with you...my long-term goal is to have my own production company. I am taking every effort to learn as much as I can about everything, from legalities such as contracts with investors to editing, etc. There is no doubt that I will probably keep learning new things for the rest of my life, which is good anyways...when you know all, things get stale.
Basically though, I have done eveything humanly possible that doesn't require money for this film. I have devoted all my time to learning everything I can about the business, writing stories, and of course better everything I do.
I am just trying to put it all together. Is there really an simple answers? I don't know.
But I know I am going to work like a dog until I get what I want. I guess my question for you is where do I go from here?

Dear Kimberly:

Get the money and make the movie. That's all that's left.

Josh

Name: justmarvin
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

>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.

Haha. That is so true!

Thanks Josh.

Dear Justmarvin:

The most important part about being a movie actor, I think, is having a strong personality to start with, that photographs and comes through on the screen. Just being trained isn't nearly enough.

Josh


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