Cynthia E. Jones
just rented an excellent film called "Mishima,"
(from 1985) about the life and work of the Japanese
poet/playwright/political activist Yukio Mishima. It
was directed by Paul Schrader and Executive Produced
by Coppola and Lucas. I had never even heard of this
film before, and it instantly reached my top 20. It
was, I believe, a seamless blend of fact and fiction,
especially given that Schrader was limited to only previously
published work about his subject matter (due to his
widow's strict restrictions--he was gay and the film
barely hinted at that, and there was a lot more to the
story that could have been told if it weren't for her
rules). I highly recommend it, and it's available at
Netflix. I'd be interested to know what you think.
I watched "12 Angry Men" for the first time.
Wow. Damn. So many great moments, actors, performances,
and all in one tiny room. Obviously a converted play,
but, as with "Harvey," it didn't matter or
feel constrained due to an excellent adaptation. I believe
there was a recent remake, which I haven't seen, but
I can only imagine that it pales in comparison. Lumet
saw "Mishima" at the theater when it came
out, and I liked it, too. It really looks great, shot
by the wonderful DP John Bailey. I'd say it's by far
Paul Schrader's best film as director (I think he's
a very talented writer and only a mildly talented director).
"12 Angry Men" is a terrific picture, and
Sidney Lumet did a great job -- and it was his first
film. The remake actually wasn't bad, with Jack Lemmon
in Henry Fonda's role and George C. Scott in Lee J.
Cobb's role, although the original was much better directed.
I don't know why anyone would think shaky hand-held
camerawork is an improvement over really smooth, interesting
dolly-moves. Lumet was on a real tear for a while there,
and made quite a few terrific films, like: "Long
Day's Journey into Night," "Fail-Safe,"
"The Pawnbroker," "The Hill," "Serpico,"
"Murder on the Orient Express," "Dog
Day Afternoon," "Network," and "The
Verdict." I truly admire him, and I enjoyed his
book, too, called "Making Movies." If you
haven't seen any of those films, check them out.
josh, what did you think of "requiem for a dream"
liked "Pi" and I hated "Requiem."
"Pi" seemed like a really good example of
very low-budget filmmaking, with an intriguing story,
several interesting characters, a terrific look, and
a satisfying pay-off. "Requiem," on the other
hand, seemed like a complete jerk-off, and I ultimately
felt bad for Ellen Burstyn, the actress, not the character
she's playing, for having to take such a simple-minded,
overwrought piece of crap. After "Pi" I thought
Aronofsky had a future in filmmaking. After "Requiem,"
I no longer do.
a rumour circulating on some movie website that if Universal
go ahead with a big screen version of XENA then they
will only commit to the size of budget required if someone
like Catherine Zeta Jones plays the leading role. Apparently
the movie will not follow on from where the series ended
but will essentially be a remake of the episodes "Callisto"
and "Return of Callisto". Do you know if there
is any truth in this?
sorry, I don't know a thing about it. As I watched Catherine
Zeta-Jones in "Chicago," however, I kept thinking
of Lucy -- looks-wise, that is. Quite frankly, though,
I think Lucy has a lot more magnetism, and is just a
wanted to say that I love your site. I am a native Detroiter
living in NYC. I am a film/video editor here. I just
wanted to say that I agree very much with your critique
of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". It was one
the most enjoyable films I had seen last year.
also agree with your criticism on the state of Hollywood
features. I see a lot of films and many are just crap!
I watched the Golden Globe Awards last night and it
was just silly! "Chicago" won all these Awards
and it was just a bad adaption of a not so good musical.
I agree with you: Get some real dancers and singers!
I feel that "The Hours" was a bad film too,
but I won't go into that one.
I highly recommend the Brazilian film "Cidade de
Deus (City of God). I had seen an advanced private screening
of the film with my girlfriend who is Brazilian and
an entire Brazilian audience here in the NYC last month.
It has now been released in a limited number of theatres
in NYC and LA.
know you don't live in LA anymore, so I hope it gains
popularity and gets a wider distribution. It is a worth
recommend this film because I am a frequent vistor to
your site and even tough I don't agree with all your
criticisms, I think you may like this film. I was amazed
by the realism and the use of many first time and non-actor
talent. It also deals with a very sensitive subject
that tends to be ignored in Brazil. I know this first
I have always really loved "Lunatics". I know
a few people back in the Detroit production community
that worked on it too!
luck in the Big Apple, and I'll try and catch "City
of God" should it ever be available.
just finished watching "Network" and I am
once again astonished by William Holden's work. Man,
was that guy good or what? He is, by far my favorite
actor. And Peter Finch is absolutely amazing. He completely
and totally commits to the character of Beale. It's
such a joy to watch. Seasoned performances like that
just makes me realize how off the mark so many of these
so called actors are these days. When I watch guys like
Holden and Finch work it just makes people like Leonardo
DiCaprio and Tom Cruise look like such rank amateurs.
And Faye Dunaway is so fucking good too. What do you
think of actresses these days? Most rolls that are written
for woman are total shit. But it seems like most of
the actresses suck anyway.
do love "Network," and it was certainly written
by as intelligent of a writer as ever bothered to work
in movies, Paddy Chayefsky. I don't know that you should
be blaming the actresses around today. It's much more
an issue of the film executives and the writers. They
just gave Meryl Streep, who is a wonderful actor, a
Golden Globe for "Adaptation," which is a
severely and painfully underwritten part. If you give
her a well-written part she'll clearly play the hell
out of it.
Josh, how important do you think it is for a film director
to read novels, know history, read different philosophers,
etc.? Maybe this is a weird question, but I read an
article in film comment recently in which Martin Scorcese
admitted that he just started reading novels for enjoyment
only 10 years ago. Out of the directors (wannabe and
working) that I've met and spoken to, very few have
acknowledged that they do much reading. Particularly
in film school I've noticed that top 10 music and movies
are what everyone spends their free time on. I'm thinking
that maybe this could be part of the reason why filmmaking
has gone downhill in the last 20 years.
get the impression that great filmmakers of the past
were simply more educated individuals. Nowadays philosophy
comes from The Matrix or Star Wars. I guess I believe
that writing is generally a more intelligent medium
than filmmaking. It has less immediate thrills though,
so its out of style I guess? I look at most of the movies
that are being made and I'm starting to see the effect
of this tv and movie culture.. movies are no longer
about people, but about movies. I can respect a good
homage, but its gotten to the point where every movie
is a slightly duller derivision of ideas in other movies.
Anyway, I'm dragging on here. Seen anything good at
all lately? I saw Catch Me if You Can which was light
and forgettable. Also saw a movie called Dinner Rush
on DVD that was actually pretty good. Its got Danny
Aiello and some other good italian actors in it. Its
a little far-fetched with some of the gangster elements
(which is wearing a little thin) but I enjoyed it. Worth
put "Dinner Rush" on the list. I certainly
do believe that a director needs to know as much as
humanly possible about stories in general, and the best
place to learn that is from books. It seems to me that
anyone with an elemental grasp of storytelling could
not have possibly accepted the script for "The
Gangs of New York" and thought it was worth shooting.
That they decided to go with a revenge plot in the first
place makes me sad, and shows a severe lack of understanding
about basic plotting. We're in a very dumb period right
now, and our "art" clearly shows it. Piss-poor
musicals, poorly-written historical films, weakly-conceived
stories about the trials and tribulations of being a
screenwriter, fantasies about characterless furry creatures,
and comic book stories about superheroes. The films
of today make the silent films of the 1920s look very
sophisticated. If all you've ever done is read comic
books and play video games, what the hell kind of stories
will you think are worth telling? I find it all very
tell me more about the Polanski war story. Is it a current
property? Did he write the screenplay? Or did you read
it in a biography about him?
not Polanski, it's a book by Jerzy Kozinski called "The
Painted Bird." Polanski and Kozinski were friends
and had very similar youths in Poland during the war.
It's a very powerful book, written in very simple, almost
child-like, prose, and I recommend it.
don't understand what you guys are talking about when
you say there were no drugs in "Almost Famous."
The lead guitarist does LSD and trips in front of a
group of Topeka kids at a party. Penny Lane almost overdoses,
and people are obviously drinking and smoking pot all
around. It's just that the lead character doesn't do
drugs, which is possible. As far as the sex goes, Penny
Lane is obviously sleeping with Russle. The other girls
are obviously doing the other band members as well as
deflowering the lead character. Russle's girlfriend
slept with several of the other band members. There
was plenty of sex and drugs included in the film. Cameron
Crowe just wasn't as overt in his depictions. He alluded
to most of it. I don't need to see people shooting up
or banging each other to know what happened during that
time. It doesn't make the movie any less believable
not seeing every screw or needle in my humble opinion
you accept it that's great. I didn't. None of these
guys would be taking a step without snorting several
lines of coke, which was completely prevalent at the
time. And the girls do talk about the fact that they're
not putting out, or maybe I'm dreaming. All in all,
it seemed like junk to me.
friend and I were just having a heated discussion about
"Almost Famous" the other day, mostly caused
by us both reading your review. I agree with you completely.
My friend claimed that keeping drugs and sex out of
the movie should be written off as suspension of disbelief.
I say that if something is so illogical or ridiculous
(unless it's intentional, like Monty Python) I can't
watch it. And I think your cop analogy is excellent.
put it this way, it was far too severe of an historical
inaccuracy for me to suspend my disbelief. I guess it
might work better for young people who weren't around
at the time. But as a student of history I particularly
can't stand the concept of rewriting history to make
it politically correct for today's standards. In 1973
rock bands were abusing drugs like they were going out
of style (which they ultimately were), and groupies
were there specifically to have sex with the rockers.
End of story. All other depictions are hogwash.
was watching the Sundance Channel last night about the
Sundance Film Festival and the festival director said
that there were 32 features on digital video picked
this year for inclusion in the festival, up from 16
last year. What is the process and difference in cost
for the filmmaker to submit his/her work to the festival
for viewing digital video on the big screen versus 16
mm? Lastly, what is the best way to learn cinematography,
sound, editing, lighting: filmmaking in general without
having to spend a bunch of money or attend film shcool?
luck to you!
is submitted on tape (unless special arrangements were
made), so it doesn't matter what format it was shot
on, it will be viewed on a TV. The difference comes
at the festival itself, where one theater is equipped
to project film, and another is set up to project video.
It will also have a big effect on your chances of release.
Overseas and TV still don't want movies shot on DV,
so you've limited the hell out of the possibilities
of a release. And if you don't want to go to film school,
then just start making films. The process will teach
you how it's done. Good luck.
wanted to say hello if you remember me. I worked with
as the art director for Cleveland Smith and also played
a Ubangi. I was the really big guy. Glad to see your
work. I would really like to get a copy of the Cleveland
Smith movie if possible!
Have a great day.
course I remember you. You were a great help on that
film. All of my original tape transfers, as well as
the film originals, are all in a film vault in LA and
would be a hassle to get at without particularly good
you made that reference to Rupert Pupkin, I just had
to see "The King of Comedy". I enjoyed it
quite a bit, especially to see DeNiro in a non-gangster
role. It's eery to see how people blur the lines concerning
behavior towards entertainers.
I was wondering how you understood the ending, being
that all we see is that Pupkin is considered a "success"
after his release from prison. Is this supposed to be
a real ending? Or is this his fantasy?
think they're intentionally trying to be confusing,
which is appropriate for the story. I do think the film
sort of falls apart right near the end, starting his
monologue, which i think should have actually been funny
if we're supposed to believe he becomes a star because
of it. But, then again, maybe the end is all a fantasy,
in which case it makes more sense. I think Robert DeNiro,
Jerry Lewis, and Sandra Bernhardt are all great.
just saw The Sting for the first time.To be honset,
after reading your stuff on structure, I have come to
the conclusion that The Sting follows that PERFECTLY.What
are your specific feelings towards the Sting?
a good, solid, tricky, well-written, well-directed piece
of Hollywood fluff. It's completely pulling off what
it's trying to do, which in this day and age is a miracle.
I particularly enjoy Robert Shaw as "The Gimp."
of all i dont think you have looked into this firlm
at all what its really about.
IT IS BASED ON A TRUE STORY
about the gto's girls together outrouhsly that were
groupies in the 50's one of them is liz tayors mum
it tells the story about what it was like to love the
music and not the sex people expected sex of them but
in the end it still came down to the music.
it you had any reapect at all for music then you would
know what it would be like to be a FAN
yeah sure you think its not right having sing-a-longs
on a but but that is what it was like .
times have changed we no longer have groupies rock like
that died thank god so did all the shit but there still
are fans and you need to take a look at what it was
is like for them what its like to really love the music
read your entire, very poorly written, diatribe, I must
assume you're referring to "Almost Famous."
I know it was based on some true incidents, but it's
been severely re-written. The re-writing of history
to make it conform to today's standards is really offensive
to me. If Mr. Crowe wanted to hook me as a fan, then
he would have actually used either the Allman Brothers
or Creedance Clearwater Revival, which is the true story,
not the phony-baloney Stillwater. Since I was and still
am a fan of the Allman Bros. and Creedance, you could
have hooked me easily with any of their songs. If when
the kid tells the guitarist that his guitar-work is
"incendiary," it would have meant something
if he was talking to Duane Allman or Dickie Betts, but
to be saying that to Joe Nobody means nothing. And of
course, having cleaned up all of the sex and drugs is
particularly offensive to me. Crowe has come out with
that he didn't want to tell a story about sex and drugs.
Then why tell a story about a big rock band in the early
seventies? That's like saying I want to tell a cop story,
but I don't want any violence or guns. Or I want to
tell a story about Michael Jordan, but I don't want
to show any basketball. It's stupid. And I am a music
been awhile. Well, not that long. I got a new job and
work sucks! What else can I say? I have one question
for you dude......What the hell is "A Spike Lee
Spike Lee's pretentious way of saying "A Spike
Lee Film" or "Un Film du Spike Lee."
Lets' face it, the guy's a hack, so who cares what he
calls his shit. "One More Spike Lee Stinker"
would be more appropriate.
am from the D too!!! Are you and Craig still friends
or does he understand? Wow!! I got cast to be on the
show. I shoot on Tuesday.
take it you're referring to "Worst Case Scenario"?
I don't think Craig does understand considering he hasn't
spoken to me since then. He'll get over it, or he won't.
Good luck on your shoot.
was wondering if you had a chance to see The Pianist
yet. i've got to tell you, as a jew i was disgusted
by it. The lead character, like a vast majority of jewish
characters in hollywood films Is weak and cowering.
He had a chance to join a resistance group, he didn't.
He watched his family get shipped off to a death camp,
and walked away. he was constantly getting beaten to
a pulp by the Nazis, and never stood up fro himself.
My Grandmother was a Holocaust Survivor, and actally
defended herself against the nazis. This guy endours
2/12 hours of abuse, and could have done something about
it. I know this was a true story, but I would rather
see a film about David Ben Gurion, or the Rothschilds.
Holocaust movies have been done to death. The moral
of the Pianist is If you hide and cower, you can survive
a horrible cotastrphe if you are lucky. the only redeeming
quality of the character was that he was a good pianist,
and that doesn't make him sympathetic or empathetic.
On a final note, The Pianist is just another film that
makes Jews look helpless and weak, and continues to
fuel negative stereotypes. I know Polanski's history,
and realize that this must have been close to his heart,
but if he had to tell a holocaust story, I know for
a fact there are better ones out there.
If you have seen it, what did you think?
big gripe with "The Pianist" is that it doesn't
have an act one. Without a set-up to get me to know
the characters, and their relationships to one another,
all the rest of it simply doesn't matter. It is absolutely
imperative that I empathize with the lead character,
which means we depsperately needed an act one before
the Nazis attack Poland so we could see what he was
like, and what his family was like, under normal circumstances.
sadly, the Nazis attack in the very first scene, so
it begins with act two. And there's basically no act
three, either, which is how he functions after all of
these atrocities. Regarding the history of the story,
that's how it came down. Most people who were rounded
up and killed by the Nazis, be they Jews, political
prisoners, Gypsies, Catholics, or anyone else, didn't
have a chance to fight back. The film does give you
a sense of the horrible helplessness of the situation,
particularly when a Nazi is walking down the line of
Jews and shooting them in the head. You just hope that
the last guy in line will fight back or run or something,
but the reality is that they -- and undoubtedly you
and I in the same situation -- are paralyzed with fear,
and rightly so. I do think it's a better film than "Schindler's
List." If I recall correctly, and it's been a long
time, the TV mini-series "Holocaust" was better
than either of them. And I'll still take Stanley Kramer's
"Judgement at Nuremburg" over all of them.
"The Pianist" actually made me resent "Schindler's
List" even more for being in black and white, which
removed it even further from the present day, and made
it seem like a hundred years ago instead of fifty years
ago. I'd always hoped that if Polanski was going to
do a WWII Nazi film he would shoot his late friend,
Jerzy Kozinski's "The Painted Bird," the story
of which closely paralleled Polanski's own story, and
is a point of view we haven't yet seen about the holocaust
-- a small Jewish boy who's parents were taken away
to a concentration camp is left to wander by himself
around Poland throughout the entire war. One image that's
never left me is the kid seeing packed trains going
by on their way to the concentration camps, and babies
being thrown out the air vents and bouncing along the
you think 'chicago' sucked? I sure did. I'm curious
as to what you think about it.
I recommend you renting 'insaniac' from netflix.
thought it sucked, too. First of all, it's just a bad
musical with almost no good songs, and a crappy story.
Second, it's poorly directed and badly lit. Third, Catherine
Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger simply aren't very good
at singing or dancing. Fourth, Richard Gere is a bad
singer, a third-rate tap dancer, and his big dance number
is shot entirely from behind so it may as well be a
dance double. When you see Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire
dance, you're seeing two of the best dancers that ever
lived and you can't help but marvel at their ability.
When you hear Liza Minnelli sing in "Cabaret,"
her voice is as good as it gets. It's not that Zeta-Jones
and Zellweger aren't giving it the old college try,
they're just not professionals and it's obvious. This
is one of those films that amazingly had me bored and
annoyed within thirty seconds, and I don't know how
that can be.
chance of Devil Dogs coming to Film? Wonderful concept
for a film. Make opening scences from Saving Private
Ryan pale in comparison. Truly love your work!
chance that I know of. It's not based on a comic book,
so why would anyone in Hollywood be interested?
a technical question for you: what kind of lighting
equipment did you use on your short films? I've been
shooting DV shorts using clip lights from Home Depot,
and I was wondering if you had any advice on ways to
maximize production value with limited equipment. (If
I ever do a feature, I'll gladly bring in a real cinematographer.)
for your time.
nothing wrong with those clamp lights, you just need
big bulbs. We used to be able to get these oversized
500 watt bulbs, in either incandescent or daylight (which
are blue). You can also replace the bulbs in all of
the lamps with these brighter bulbs, and that gives
you a more natural look (but be careful you don't set
the lampshade on fire). We would also use, when we could
get them, these little quartz lights made by Berkey,
that were 750 watts and 1000 watts, are very small,
and you get four of them in a set. In "Running
Time" I re-wired clamp lights to take DC and put
in 750 watt projector bulbs, and they worked very well
and ran off a car battery.
excuse my ignorance but could you tell me the difference
between a 70mm film and a 35mm one? I recently saw "Ben
Hur" in 70mm and "The Great Escape" in
35mm and to me they looked pretty much the same. What
is the attraction of one against the other?
film is twice as wide as 35mm film, runs twice as fast
(although still at 24 frames per second), and has a
six-track magnetic soundtrack, as opposed to stereo
optical sound on 35mm. When I saw "Godfather III"
at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood on it's very first
showing, they beagn the show with the 70mm print and
the dialog track wasn't playing. They switched over
to a 35mm print, then switched at the end of the reel
back to 70mm. With them coming right against each other
it was VERY easy to see the difference. The 70mm print
was much sharper, a little bit bigger, and the sound
was a lot better. As a point of reference, "The
Great Esacpe" was shot in the anamorphic 35mm widescreen
process of CinemaScope, so it's actually wider than
regular 70mm. CinemaScope is the anamorphic process
of using a concave lens on the camera to squish the
image, and a convex lens on the projector to stretch
the image. "Ben-Hur" was shot in MGM Camera
65, which is the anamorphic version of 70mm (and is
the same thing as Ultra Panavision 70). As another little
note, the negative for a 70mm film is actually 65mm
wide (thus MGM Camera 65), and the prints are 70mm wide
to accomodate the six-track magnetic soundtracks.
is in your opinion in mise-en-scene
not really a complete question. It's like asking, what
do you think of a director? Mise-en-scene means what's
in the shot, and it's what the French call the director,
since they're the one that decides what's in the shot.
a question for you : "Bob X. AListActor is given
$20 million to star in Action Film 7" -- do you
think this number is real, or is it marketing bullshit?
Meaning, do they literally sign him a check for $20
million bucks? I'd always assumed it was something more
along the lines of, "we'll give you $2 million
now, Bob, and royalties based on estimated sales that
could net you another $18!"?
participation is yet another thing. When someone like
Mel Gibson or Tom Cruise gets $20 million to do a picture
they actually get $20 million. It's paid in a series
of checks to their various companies, off-shore accounts,
etc. When a buddy of mine was working on "Under
Siege 2," for which Steven Seagal got $12 or 14
million, he actually made a copy of one of his weekly
checks, which was for about $800,000. Not bad for a
read your treatment of Terrified.
Of course, great structure to the story. Unless I missed
something, are you planning on writing the script for
this one? I thought the story was original. The only
thing I would change is possibly the part where Anna
figures out she has to go back. Good stuff, but I just
found it hard to believe that she figured out exactly
what was going on right away. It was a very solid story
though. Very Original. Second question, how much would
it cost to finance that? Also, Bruce Campbell looks
like a lock to play Gabe, I definitely imagined him
while writing. Keep up the great work...
glad you enjoyed it, but I don't think anything will
come of it. It was simply one more shot in the dark.
I'm not sure what my next move is, but I don't think
it will be with "Terrified!" I had a good
time writing it, though.
chance of your offering your old short films? I'd rather
buy them straight from you than from a bootlegger. Thanks.
think about it. Since we were never able to get very
good transfers of the super-8s, they'll never look very
good. And it wouldn't be ethical to sell anyone's films
but my own, and many of those films are collaborations.
I know Sam doesn't want any of his early films made
available, although I don't know why, they're damn good
super-8 films. I must say that it sounds like a big
love your website because you emphasize story- if the
story sucks, the whole thing sucks. Virtually every
movie i see is a disaster of failed writing. HBO and
Showtime are making some of the best things out there.
How is this possible? Is their process different or
do they just care?
believe they do care, and amazingly, they seem to have
some decent production executives. They also don't make
very many films, nor do they have to compete out in
the theatrical marketplace. But the best films I've
seen in the past several years were all made for HBO
or Showtime, particularly: "Elvis Meets Nixon,"
"The Day Reagan Was Shot," "Keep the
Faith, Baby," "Don King: Only in America."
I just saw a pretty good western, which I believe was
made for TNT, called "The Warden of Red Rock"
with James Caan and Brian Denehey (who also produced).
Most movies these days are very badly written and have
no point, which certainly says something about our present
society. I really do believe our society is in a severe
decline, and the lack of quality stories, and their
consistant pointlessness, is a clear representation
of it. Having watched a spate of recent films lately
-- "The Gangs of New York," Adaptation,"
"Chicago," and "Spider-Man" -- I'm
ready to crawl under a rock and die.
have written a 78 page script, how long would this roughly
be if it were turned into a movie?
about a minute a page, so you've got about 78 minutes.
If you've written it to shoot yourself, that's fine.
If you've written it to try and sell to a Hollywood
company, it's too short. It really needs to be minimally
100 pages, but most usually, 120 pages.
is your opinion of the work of the prolific and gifted
British director Michael Winner?
pretty run-of-the-mill as far as I'm concerned. I liked
"Lawman," the first half of "The Mechanic,"
the first "Death Wish," and I enjoyed "The
Jokers" as a kid (but it doesn't hold up), and
that's about it. Most of his movies aren't very good,
and he hasn't got any style at all.
are your thoughts on the late Conrad L. Hall? Any comments
on the film "In Cold Blood?"
Hall was one of the greatest cinematographers ever.
"In Cold Blood" is absolutely gorgeous, as
is "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "Cool
Hand Luke," "Marathon Man," "Day
of the Locust," and many others. I absolutely love
his overexposed, blown-out look for "Fat City,"
and his long-lens work on "Electra Gilde in Blue"
still impresses the hell out of me. I actually didn't
much care for his work on "American Beauty,"
which got him his second Oscar, but I'm very pleased
he was honored one more time before he died.
you look at thou shalt not kill today, now having matured
as a director and gained more experience, what changes
would you bring to the movie (screenplay or otherwise)
if youd be doing the movie now, rather than 15 years
change everything. The bottom line is that I wouldn't
make that movie today. I'm completely not interested
in revenge stories (like "Gangs of New York,"
for instance) or gratuitous violence anymore. I do think
that the best aspects of that film are: the script,
Joe LoDuca's score, and the pretty blue skies of Michigan
circa 1984 that were caught on film.
may sound like a weird question, but have you ever seen
anything from the Death Wish series with Charles Bronson?
They are, especially 3-5, so ridiculous that they are
funny. If you need a laugh, watch them drunk. I do have
a question though. When going from draft to draft, how
many changes usually occur? Do you ever change it completely?
saw "Death Wish" 1 & 2 at the theater,
and that's it. At this late date in my life, I take
no enjoyment from watching bad movies. If I care to
see bad movies all I need to do is go to the theater
to see anything, or turn on any of the premium cable
channels and watch anything made in the last ten years.
Since I spend a lot of time writing the treatment of
a story first before starting on the script, and making
sure it functions properly and pleases me, I would then
not want to change everything between drafts. The only
time I actually ever did that was when I was rewriting
someone else's script -- in this case "Hit List"
-- and we threw out the entire script before starting
again. In the case of "Lunatics," which I
wrote from Renaissance Pictures, I went through so many
drafts (14) that the final draft barely resembled the
original, although the structure was exactly the same.
Donald L. Pink, D.D.S.
am looking for Bamie Roosevelts (Anna) full name. Can
you supply a sourse for me?
Roosevelt (1855-1931), Theodore's older sister, who
was called Bamie (a contraction of Bambina), married
Admiral William Sheffield Cowles and became Anna Roosevelt
Cowles. Anna was physically deformed and had a hunched
back. David McCullough, in his wonderful book about
the Roosevelt family, "Mornings on Horseback,"
paints a very vivid picture of her, Theodore, and the
did you think of the Minority Report? Personally, I
really wasn't sure what to expect, but I liked it a
lot. Two Questions: 1)What is your beer of choice, and
2) Do you ever completely abandon writing a script because
you realize it was awful or just not writable.
I've abandoned any number of scripts over the years.
Generally, however, I write a treatment first, and if
I can't get all the way through that, or make it function
to my liking, then I drop it before even starting the
script. Meanwhile, I rather detested "Minority
Report," which was third-rate sci-fi, silly, uninvolving,
and severely over-long. I thought the way Cruise ran
the computer was one of the dumber things I've seen
in a movie in years, and I really wanted to see a bee
land on his nose, him go to swat it away, then set off
all the nuclear bombs and blow up the world. Just the
tone of a Spielberg movie makes my hackles go up now.
are some common uses of squid? can you use the black
ink comin from it as an ink for pen.
are too squishy to use as pens, but you can wring them
out and use the ink to refill your printer cartridge.
The squids themselves make excellent ice cream, cookies,
and are terrific in chocolate fondue. Enjoy.
was just randomly checking out darkhorizons.com and
saw that there's in early stages of a Xena movie in
the making for Universal. I'm sure it's pure rumor but
if it were to happen is there a chance that you'd be
involved any way?
while talking about Mr.Show, Bob and David are even
funnier when seeing it live on stage. They are hilarious!
doubt it. Just like when they got Robert Wise to direct
the first "Star Trek" film, who had openly
admitted he'd never seen an episode of "Star Trek,"
I'm sure they'll get some young kid right out of film
school who knows nothing about Xena or filmmaking. Hollywood
has a bug up their ass that anyone who's directed TV
can't direct features.
Quiz...A major studio promises it will bankroll the
movie you always wanted to make regardless of the cost.
One stumbling block...they insist it stars Steven Seagal....What
do you do?, what do you do?
make the picture, because you knew you were making that
sort of film from the outset and it's no surprise. And
you thank your lucky stars you got a film financed.
If you've written the sort of script that attracts someone
like Steven Seagal, then you're happy as hell he's taking
it. And undoubtedly his involvement is what got it financed.
There's no ethical dilemma involved in this scenario.
E-mail: email@example.com (not my name)
have read your structure essay, and it helped so thanks.
But do you know anyone who would read and evaluate my
script for free? As I can't find anyone who will.
I don't know anyone who would do it for free. There
are certainly script reading services, but I don't know
why anyone would trust their opinion. You need to find
a friend or two whose opinion you trust, then get them
to read your script and be honest with you. Good luck.
going to be shooting a super-8 short soon and I was
wondering if I were to record the sound seperately,
would it match up with the film if I played it at the
same speed that it was shot in?
can't record sound at the same speed as super-8. Film
runs at frames- per-second and tape runs at inches-per-second.
The only way to actually be in synch is to use a camera
with a synch pulse generator and an actual sound recorder,
like a Nagra or a Fostex digital recorder, that recognizes
a synch pulse. What we did when we shot super-8 was
to use single-system super-8 sound cameras, where the
sound is recorded right on the film, then transfer all
of the sound off to cassette tapes, cut the film --
keeping in mind that there is an eighteen frame lag
between the picture and the sound -- then replacing
any sound that got screwed up from the editing. I think
super-8 is a complete anachronism at this point and
you'd be much better off shooting either digital video
or 16mm film.
hey josh, whats the minimum running time a film can
have to be considered a feature? thanks
per Academy rules, sixty minutes and up is a feature.
There are many festivals that don't consider a film
a feature unless it's seventy minutes or up. Distributors,
however, rarely release anything shorter than eighty-five
was really a private rayn in the world war 2
there wasn't. The story is very, very loosely based
on the Sullivan brothers, who were all in the Navy and
were all on the same ship that was torpedoed. From then
on they wouldn't station family members on the same
was just checking out http://www.dvdaficionado.com.
It's a site that lets you post your DVD collection for
others to see. I clicked on one of your films and it
brought me to a list of all your films that are available
on DVD. One of the films listed was Scott Spiegel's
"Intruder." It says that "Torro! Torro!
Torro!" and "Attack Of The Helping Hand"
are also on the disc. Do you know anything about this
and if so is there anything that you can tell us about
the release? I've never heard of the studio producing
the DVD, "Dragon Film Entertainment - Germany."
the link if you are interested. http://www.dvdaficionado.com/dvds.html?dir=Josh+Becker
is Scott's first feature, based on a super-8 short called
"Night Crew," that I helped him shoot. "Attack
of the Helping Hand" is a super-8 short Scott made,
with Sam Raimi as The Milkman. "Torro, Torro, Torro!"
is a 16mm short that Scott and I made together about
a lawnmower that goes out of control.
Gerald M. Ben-Ami
you for answering my previous post a while back. A few
Are there any books you can recommend, or good places
to check out that speak to the various processes of
"Ok the Screenplay is written, now be aware of
purchased the "Screenwriters Bible" by David
Trottier when I was in LA over the summer. It is an
excellent book, but it only seems to offer generals
on once the screenplay is completed. I have recently
signed up at the "Writers Script Network"
which seems like a good place also. For someone who
is very much a novice, I want to learn what the terms
"option" mean versus whatever else is out
I am currently writing a screenplay that will require
me to have the rights because it is based upon material
a company owns. I recently spoke with the owner, who
expressed great interest. Her response was that before
they could "grant" the rights they would need
to see a completed screenplay. Instinctively, this makes
sense to me, but sense I have little knowledge I am
looking for input.
appreciate your time in responding to my questions and
if anyone else has any recommendations etc that they
feel would prove beneficial/helpful, or just based on
prior experiences, feel free to send me an email at
firstname.lastname@example.org. I love to write and think I have
a few ideas that could be good movies or books, but
I also recognize I have alot to learn and what to be
as good at the "process" as I "think"
I am at the writing.
Writer's Script Network isn't a bad way to go, but you
must have completed scripts. When you query a producer
with a logline, they demand that you have the script
finished and ready to send to them, which isn't unreasonable.
An "option" gives someone the exclusive option
to buy, for a certain amount of time, which is the same
for a house or a script. Suppose you option a script
to someone for $5,000 for one year. In the option agreement
it will state the terms for the sale, which could very
well be based on the Writer's Guild Minimum, and is
often based on signing a Writer's Guild contract, whether
you're in the guild or not--they're good standard contracts
that address most everything that needs to be addressed.
Now, whoever optioned the script has one year exclusive
of trying to set the financing for script up. During
that year you cannot option or sell the script to anyone
else. If they manage to set it up, they will deduct
the option price from the sale price. If indeed they
purchase the script, it's their's forever. Regarding
writing the script first before they "sell"
or "grant" you the rights, they putting the
risk in your camp. If they don't like your adaptation,
they don't have to grant or sell you the rights, and
you've gone to the trouble of writing it for nothing
since you can't sell it to anyone else. It's a risk
that I wouldn't take, unless you just want to write
the script for the sake of writing it, no matter what.
E-mail: see the archives
just read "Above
the Line", and thought it was pretty cool.
I really can't offer any critical thought about it re:
the filmmaking aspect of the story, but as a straight-forward
relationship story, I enjoyed it quite a bit.
of curiosity, have you ever considered shooting it (financing
permitting, of course), or have you moved on to other
things? As you wrote in the script, it could probably
be made fairly cheaply and easily, which, in my admittedly
amateur opinion, would make it a safer bet than a western,
a war flick or whatever it is you're planning next.
a completely unrelated topic, Jean is right. You should
definitely check out "Mr. Show". Easily the
best sketch comedy in ages. Like most contemporary sketchcom
worth it's salt, it's heavily Python-influenced, especially
in the structure, where every sketch is linked to the
next one. Unlike Python, though, these guys link their
sketches together in a kind of logical manner, whereas
Python would have Cleese saying "and now for something
completely different" or a Gilliam animation or
oh yeah, it's really @$#!ing funny too.
it easy, and I promise that next time I have a spare
20 american dollars I'll purchase "If I had a Hammer".
I never considered shooting "Above the Line."
It was so utterly ripped to shreds by nearly everyone
that read it that I simply retired it. I couldn't even
bring myself to post it on the website until now. And
it's not like I've got financing for anything set up.
Meanwhile, I put "Mr. Show" on my Netflix
am more then happy to read your screenplay when it is
posted. I'm very flattered that you wish to hear my
opinion on it. What did you think of "Adaptation"?
I liked about 50% of it. The basic concept of self-doubt
is something that we can all identify with. The idea
of "Adaptation" is a very interesting one
but I think it was poorly executed. It had it's moments
though. I saw "About Schmidt" the other night
and was less then impressed. Most of it was just plain
boring. I have begun to judge movies on how many times
I check my watch during the film. Schmidt topped out
at 3. I think it's a good system because if you check
your watch at all during a movie that means it sucks.
So the more you check the bigger a piece of shit the
film is. Oh man! I was forced to watch "Men in
Black 2" at a friends house the other night. I
never saw the first one but I got the sense that I didn't
miss any pivotal plot points. I was baked out of my
mind and I still wanted to blow my fucking brains out
watching that inane garbage. Fuck!
If netflix has the "Mr. Show" DVD's you should
check it out. I can't get enough of it right now. BTW
I canceled netflix because they suck!
was also amused by about half of "Adaptation."
I think the last 40 minutes, when it becomes Kaufmann's
idea of what a Hollywood film should be, really and
truly suck. That he caved in and put that crap in there,
which he clearly and obviously didn't need to do, proves
what a spineless jellyfish he is. Although he's making
fun of Robert McKee (who deserves some ridicule) and
the basic principles of script structure, Kaufmann clearly
doesn't understand those principles. He fumblingly establishes
a theme at the beginning, which is the need to care
about something, that came from the Susan Orlean book,
but he has no idea how to work it back into the main
story. Does he care about screenwriting or not? Is film
something that really matters to him, or is it just
a gig? I also couldn't stand the doppleganger brother
character, Donald, who's utterly simple-minded and a
one-dimensional character at best. If his death is supposed
to mean something, it absolutely doesn't. And the point
he bestows on Charlie at the end also means nothing
because it has nothing to do with the rest of the story
and doesn't come out of the theme. And clearly no one
really cares if he sticks to the book or not, and his
"integrity" in wanting to stick to the book
-- which he blatantly didn't do -- is insulting and
means less than nothing.
By halfway in I was also sick of the bitching, moaning,
and complaining of the miserable Charlie character.
All in all, I wasn't impressed. I have no doubt he'll
be nominated for "Best Original Screenplay,"
and I wouldn't be surprised if he wins.
your favorite Indiana Jones movie?
of them. And "Temple of Doom" still ranks
as one of the worst films I've ever seen in my life.
Hollywood stupidity/no more indie financing, I read
a story about how Greek Wedding almost never got off
the ground, even with Tom Hanks involved. Apparently
Tom Hanks and his wife went into discussions with all
the major studios, asking for a (seemingly modest) budget
of $5 million and all the studios turned them down.
They ended up having to cobble the money together from
other sources and out of their own pockets. I don't
know any of the details about Mel Gibson's new film,
but it certainly seems possible that a star of his level
would pay out of his own pocket, if only to satisfy
his own ego.
think, but I don't believe it. I don't really believe
that hanks put up any of his own money. People in Hollywood
just don't do that, and there are more than enough smaller
companies around that would be so impressed to be working
with Tom Hanks or Mel Gibson that I don't think they'd
have to. Still, anything's possible.
josh...........I had written you along time ago and
i just recently read what you had wrote about me, how
could you be so rude, but you know what when i am that
famous actress, you know the one evryone knows by name,
and want sin there film, im sure you will follow in
there steps and josh i will be there to turn your shity
movie down, why? because unlike you i have talent!
don't remember what I wrote, but whatever it was I stick
by it. You sound just like Rupert Pupkin in "King
like your site and the wisdom behind your reviews. I
agree that too many Hollywood films are after the quick
bucks and open on too many screens at once to dupe the
Your film bio is impressive. I am an emerging director
who had made one DV feature already. But someday I want
to have the history that you have.
plan on beginning another screen play soon. (Saw your
link on tdfilm.com as I am reading all I can on what
makes a great script.
Thanks for a great site. I will refer to it often.
I hope you get something out of it. If you have any
questions, comments, criticisms, or witicisms, write
a member of the D.G.A. you must have seen some butt-ugly
directors in your time. Who's the ugliest in your opinion?
I would say that Rob Cohen is by a mile. Take my word
for it, he is NOT ahandsome guy.
cares what directors look like? I don't. Let's face
it, most people aren't particularly attractive, why
should directors be? As a group they didn't seem less
attractive than other groups. I'm not going to win any
beauty contests myself.
don't know if you could answer this or not, but it came
up in a conversation with a friend of mine how much
King was making for novels now, and we were wondering
how much beginning novelists get paid. I figured since
you've written one and tried to sell it, and since your
friend Bruce sold his autobiography, you might have
some idea. I've tried looking it up, but all I find
is web pages for those people who charge you $300 or
so to publish your book, and you have to do all the
Does it go by the length of the book? Do you get a percentage
of the sales or a flat fee?
is there a guild for novel writing like the WGA is for
movies? I figured if I found that I could find the rates
on their site, but I couldn't find one.
you can answer this, or point me to someone who could,
I would really appreciate it.
are no rates, or flat fees, everything is it's own deal.
You absolutely work on a percentage of sales, and on
a first book you'd probably get a small advance, like
$10,000, against your percentage. If you've already
written a book that's sold well, as Bruce has, then
you can demand and get a much larger advance. And if
you're Stephen King, you can probably cut the toughest
deal in publishing, like a million dollar adavnce and
50% of all book sales (I'm just guessing here). But
first you need a reputable literary agent to get your
book to a publisher. If you just send your book in without
an agent, which is referred to as "over the transom,"
no one will read it. You may as well just save the postage
and throw it in the trash.
some reason it really bothers me that you won't write
your "Warpath" script unless you get paid.
Why would a producer want to invest in a film if the
writer/director isn't passionate about the project?
Your attitude kind-of contradicts your own philosophy
about Hollywood and filmmaking. If I am completely off
base, please let me know. It seems like several people
are interested in that property, but it's still just
a treatment. Finish the damn thing, Josh! LOL! And put
some passion back in those bones!!
luck to you and break a finger,
may very well be right, but here's my reasoning -- if
I go to the effort of writing the script and it doesn't
get made, then it's a much bigger disappointment than
if I don't. Since I don't believe in this source of
financing, I'd just be writing the script for the sake
of writing it, which isn't a bad motivation, but I've
already written 28 scripts. So, it's not an issue of
the money, per se, it's the comittment that comes from
having spent the money. I have definitely lost some
of my passion and drive over the years for working on
far, Mel Gibson's new movie doesn't have a distributor.
In all the interviews I've read, he said that no companies
want to touch a movie in two dead languages.
is funny that directors seemingly forget everything
they know about good storytelling. I would suggest that
they all eventually succumb to the tolerant mentality
of today's society that everyone's opinion is valuable
and, in its own right, correct, regardless of rules
and truths. As it applies to movies, they disregard
the rules and make movies that people see as a new view,
a new idea, and a new opinion. Except that if the modern
society was the constant influence, then why would Scorsese's
creativity last past Kubrick's? I guess they simply
do forget. It will be interesting to see what movies
you're making in a few decades.
if he doesn't have a distributor, I'll bet he didn't
finance it himself.
E-mail: email@example.com (not my name)
I get to the main part of my question
I'd like to say that Ball Breaker is a SMASHING script,
and should be made into a movie right away! But Could
you possibly give me a few tips on writing a script.
As I am a young (not yet a teenage) scriptwriter?
my five structure essays.
If you have any more questions after that, go ahead
and ask them.
You roll yours with a filter? Is that hard? I've only
ever done un-filtered.
you ever seen any episodes of "Mr. Show"?
It was a sketch comedy show that aired on HBO in the
mid 90's. I was a big fan when I was in college and
I just got the DVD's for Christmas. It completely slaughters
me! The humor is very smart and strange. One of my favorite
sketches is "Coupon: The Movie". It's about
a big summer blockbuster type film that's about a coupon
for tube-socks. I highly recommend checking it out.
It almost has the same feel as SCTV.
haven't seen it, but I'll keep my eyes peeled, like
bananas. Regarding rolling cigarettes with filters,
you simply roll them normally and when the tobacco is
compact, pull some off the end, add a filter, and voila.
I'm just finishing formatting an old script of mine
called "Above the Line," which is my Hollywood/filmmaking
script, and I'll post it very soon. I thought of you
as I've worked on it, and I'm curious what you'll think
of it. When I wrote it the idea of doing a story about
a screenwriter seemed to most insiders as insane. Now,
of course, it's a different story. The reason I'm posting
it is that I saw "Adaptation" and there are
a number of similarities.
The Kick-Butt Kid
is my long held belief that any movie or TV show that
revolves around conflict between two characters ultimately
must be deemed a failure if it does not conclude with
a no-holds barred hand to hand fight, martial arts or
otherwise,between the protagonists. Even Steven Spielberg
has fallen short in this respect on more than one occasion
and should be roundly castigated for it.
As a director long associated with TV shows which mixed
mythology with martial mayhem I would have thought that
you would be the first to agree with me on this topic
and wondered which movies you would cite as classics
which ended with spectacular fights such as I describe.
I would also like to know which episodes of "Xena"
you thought contained the best fights and who of all
the actors you have worked with was the best butt-kicker
Thanks in anticipation
fights in Herc and Xena were by the far the thing that
interested me the least about those shows. I found almost
every one of them sort of a drag to shoot.
you said that Mel Gibson isn't spending his own money
making "The Passion," did you mean out of
his personal accounts? Icon is his company, but are
you saying that a corporation doesn't make risks because
it's protected differently? In that case, no one takes
risks except independent filmmakers, right?
basically correct. When you hear that a movie stars
production company is producing a film, they're NEVER
using their own money, it's always coming from a another
entity, which, in most cases, is the distribution company.
This is called a "negative pick-up deal."
The financing is arranged through the distributor, the
production company makes the film, then distributor
takes possession of the film's negative. Besides his
enormous fee as an actor, Mel Gibson will also get a
large fee for setting the deal up through his company,
so ultimately, whether the film is any good or makes
any money is of no particular interest to him.
E-mail: you got it
to put your tinfoil underwear on Josh,
your last Whoosh interview finally got published on
their website. I'm afraid the flaming e-mails are a-comin'
just wanted to add to Alan's question about Renee and
Lucy that he may not have known. Renee was about 4-5
months pregnant at the final shoot, and Lucy miscarried
and then almost immediately became pregnant shortly
after the show wrapped, so I would think that explains
at least 1 of the 2 years (they both talked about wanting
a solid break).
I'm certainly hoping that this new deal "Senator"
Entertainment has with Rob and Sam will give RenPics
the green light to hire not only Renee and Lucy again,
but some of our other favorites from Herc/Xena. Hudson
is one of those wasted diamonds out there right now
too. Do you know anything about this new "Jekyll
and Hyde"-inspired t.v. show they are planning?
I really wish you'd reconsider directing for t.v. Josh.
Say- "Herc and the Amazon Women" re-ran today,
does that mean a paycheck is headed your way?
Warpath set in the western United States? If you ever
need a location to shoot the east, this may sound retarded,
but I want to offer you my property in NW corner of
PA. Hah! It is 75 acres, half adandoned grass field,
half deciduous forest. I always fantasize about some
Civil War scene being enacted as I walk my property.
Quiet little po-dunk town, nobody'd bother you here.
And I'd cook for the crew if you'd let me be an extra!
was 2nd unit director on "Amazon Women," so
no residuals. I don't even remember what I said in that
Whoosh interview, or when it occurred. Wait a minute,
I can't feel my legs! Help!!! Meanwhile, yes, "Warpath"
takes place in the western U.S. Specifically, Colorado.
Should I get to make it on a low-budget, though, I'd
probably shoot it outside LA because it would be easier
and cheaper (just like most of the other westerns ever
made). And if I'm not living in LA, which I'm not, then
I'm not even in contention for any TV gigs. I'd happily
work for Rob and Sam again on a TV show, but I won't
go begging for the jobs with my hat in my hand. I know
nothing of any new Ren Pix TV shows, or who is in "The
Boogyman." I haven't even spoken with Rob in over
a month. I'll get my tinfoil suit ready.
again! This is in response to Alan's post about the
actors from Xena and actors in general. It really sucks
how good actors get pidgin-holed in Hollywood. I saw
an interesting interview with Tony Shalhoub awhile back.
He played an Italian Immigrant on the sit-com "Wings"
for years and after the show ended the only rolls that
he was offered were immigrants on sit-coms! He said
that it was very frustrating yet funny at the same time.
He is of Arab decent and he said that every agent he
has ever had has marketed him as an "ethnic"
actor. He said that this was a shock to him when he
first came to Hollywood because he always saw himself
as just being an actor. Before he made the move to LA
he worked steadily in the theater in New York and his
ethnicity was never an issue when it came to stage work.
His first agent tried to get him to change his last
name because it sounded (and this is Tony Shalhoub directly
quoting this person) too "Persian". There
are so many actors that I think should be working much
more then they do. For example your buddy Ted Raimi
took a stupid, bumbling character (Joxer) and played
him with all his heart. Joxer never really grew and
that must have been painfully frustrating for Ted as
an actor but he still did the work. To me that's the
mark of a really good actor that cares about what they
are doing. So why isn't this guy working more? I used
to compose cast lists for scripts in development at
Beacon. The brass wanted to get an idea of possible
actors and actresses for the various rolls and they
gave me the assignment because I was the resident office
film geek. But they always rejected 99% of my suggestions
because the actors on my lists were not "marketable".
These were people who I thought were some of the best
actors working today and the suits would just cross
them off the lists without a millisecond of thought.
It was so sad to see real talent go unrecognized.
the suits eventually gave me a partner to help me with
the lists. Big mistake because this guy was as geeky
as I was. He was a big Bruce Campbell fan and we slipped
Bruce and Ted onto our lists many times. But alas, your
pals always got crossed off.
Hollywood. This is the same thinking that termed Katherine
Hepburn "box-office poison" in the late thirties,
as well as Henry Fonda in the fifties. Hepburn particularly
had three Oscars to come at that point, so they couldn't
have been more wrong (Fonda had one Oscar to come).
Hollywood is not what you might call a "think-tank."
I finally had to leave because the people, particularly
the executives, are so fucking stupid. I've directed
four feature films, but because I worked on Xena for
six years I was immediately dismissed as "a TV
director." Working on Xena and Herc was the best
training of my life, and I believe that I'm a much better
and more confident director after working on those shows,
which I think RT and "Hammer" show. But that
doesn't mean shit to Hollywood execs, who desperately
want to pigeon-hole everybody.
have not rolled a cigarette in a long time. And yes,
it is much easier then rolling a joint. I just got the
basic idea from rolling cigarettes with my grandpa.
He would roll an entire supply of smokes for the week
on either Saturday or Sunday. He started smoking when
he was 10 or 11 and he always rolled his own. You should
have seen the cigarettes that he rolled. They looked
most disturbing thing about "Gangs" is that
I have been hearing all these stories about how Scorsese
has wanted to make this film for 30 years blah, blah,
blah. If that's the case then he had a long time to
think about exactly what he wanted in the script and
exactly what he wanted in the finished film. So what
happened? Why was "Gangs" such a monumental
mess? My mind is so burdened by this film right now.
Especially since I watched "Goodfellas" last
night. Which I personally feel is his best film. It's
one of my all time favorites. That movie is as neat
as a pin and I can watch it over and over again. "Gangs"
was just plain sloppy filmmaking. Maybe Scorsese is
just old and tired. The same thing seemed to happen
to Kubrick and Hitchcock. Why don't filmmakers retire
like normal people? It makes me sad. But the thing that
really pisses me off is how people bow to these piece
of shit films just because the director is a "living
legend". My ex is a huge Kubrick fan and he went
to see "Eyes Wide Shut" something like 4 times
in the theater. I could barely sit through the first
half hour! The only reason he saw it again and again
was because Kubrick directed it. Who in their right
mind would want to watch Tom Cruise that much? No wonder
I broke up with him.
for me I didn't find "Gangs" much of a burden
because I was expecting it to suck. Scorsese has been
over-the-hill since "Goodfellas," and once
you're gone, you're gone. I wrote an essay about this
phenomenon entitled "The
Lifespan of Creativity" because it's bothered
and intrigued me for many years -- how can directors
seemingly forget everything they once knew? Ultimately,
they just have to be thankful that they ever knew it.
Scorsese had a seventeen year run, from "Mean Streets"
to "Goodfellas," and most of the films he
made during that time are good to great. Kubrick got
fifteen years, from "The Killing" to "A
Clockwork Orange," where darn near every film he
made was great (with the one exception of "Lolita,"
which was an interesting attempt). But once the run
is over, that's it, and there's no coming back. Meanwhile,
I can roll a pretty good cigarette myself, with a filter,
my name is Tatjana,
I write a screenplay since 1995 on and of I used my
time on it and I gave up on itfor a while. Well I'm
back on track and my question is, do you know where
is my best shut, to send my screenplay so any one that
Direct. I finish the screenplay in one week and I need
to send it to difrent location if anyone is interested
in it. I only like to know where to search for.
all sincerity, if your script is written like this letter
you shouldn't send it to anybody. You first need to
get an agent interested in representing your script.
There are listings of all the agents in Hollywood around.
That's where you need to begin. Good luck.
you're getting bored with this let me know and I'll
drop it, but I'm enjoying the discussion on philosophy.
I have to disagree with you about there being nothing
new under the sun. I tend to be somewhat Marxist in
my interpretation of philosophical ebb and flow. To
my way of thinking the agricultural age, in which the
Romans lived, had a world view dominated by supernatural
forces and the victimization of man. Man was acted upon
by forces he could never understand and only hope to
appease. The Renaissance and ensuing Progressive age
led to the utilitarianism of the Methodists and the
empiricalism of the Tridentine canon. In the age of
Newton, Smith and Darwin, Man would ultimately master
a universe which could be reduced to a very few simple
the early twentieth century the advent of the First
World War demonstrated the chaotic nature of the world
at just the time that Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
were emerging. These sciences reinforced the notion
that individual perspective was paramount in understanding
one's own experience. Implicit in this position are
two ideas. First; no one can fully understand another's
reality as each will vary with perpsective. Second;
all experiences, or realities, are equally valid, meaning
there is no superior or overriding truth as this would
supercede individual experience.
think these stages are well represented in the visual
arts. The Dadaists, Cubists, and Surrealists are just
some examples of relativism reflected in the arts. Literature
has its own examples. By the 1960s relativism had begun
to move out of elite circles to the mass population.
When that generation began to make its mark on the creative
world, the intellectual decline so often bemoaned on
this site made its appearance. (All of this, obviously,
is in the context of Western civilization.)
the way, "The General", which I haven't watched
yet, is a John Boorman film. What do you think of him?
say that like as a new theory came in everyone accepted
it. Most people are still living under the belief that
their lives are guided by supernatural forces, like
Jesus, Jehovah or Allah, and that a better world awaits
them after death. All the theories after that are all
intellectual and have nothing to do with most people.
Of the six billion plus people on the planet now, I'd
estimate that over five and half billion of them still
believe in exactly the same voodoo philosophy that their
great-great-great grandparents believed in. Keep in
mind that the 280,000,000 Americans don't amount to
a hill of beans in the scheme of things. Meanwhile,
I liked John Boorman's films "Point Blank"
and "Deliverance," and nothing else since
then. He did have his moment in the sun, though.