Q & A    Archive
Page 96

Name: Steve

Hi Josh,

Knowing that investing in film is a risky endeavor, I have a question about dealing with investors. When putting together a budget and business plan to approach investors what is the norm % to offer them as a return on investment (if any) on the net profit after they?ve recouped their original investment?


Dear Steve:

You can make it anything you want, but I always make it a 50-50 split, which seems very fair to me. Some folks think it's more enticing to investors to give them 60%, but I disagree, I don't think that matters to them. To me a 50-50 split means we're all equally in the same boat together. Good luck.


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

Dear Josh,

This isn't a question, I just wanted to tell you that I really admire your principles and the way you stick by them. I know you probably could have 'jumped the fence' and made several shitty films for big bucks but you have stayed true to yourself and your values. That's a bloody rare thing to find these days and if I wore a hat I'd take it off to you, mate.
I also value your opinions on films and film-making, all of which are spot-on, but sadly I feel that they are falling on deaf ears. I truly hope to one day see a resurgence in quality film-making but with every crap-blockbuster-action-adolescent piece of rubbish that gets churned out (containing the obligatory explosion) I feel the chances of that are more and more unlikely. I have given up trying to 'educate' my friends and colleagues who wouldn't know a decent film if it bit them on the bum so I will just be content with being able to see some classics from time to time. This weekend I plan to see "Metropolis" on the big screen.
Thanks again for all your hard work and opinions, I value them greatly and I hope you never give up on your dreams.

Dear Tony:

Thanks. Yes, I probably could have made a couple of shitty pictures at this point if I'd cared to, but I did Xena instead, which I have no doubt was a much better experience than making something like "C.H.U.D. II." They just showed this newly restored version of "Metroplis" on Turner Classic Movies and I missed it. Apparently, it has the original score composed for the film when it was released, as opposed to that bogus disco score Giorgio Moroder put on it a few years back. Just remember, everything moves in cycles, and this artistic slump will end. I saw an interview with Jerry Seinfeld last night and he said that there are no decent young comedians coming up, just like there seems to be no new decent young filmmakers or musicians. He said we're in the "American Idol" age, where kids say, "I'm seventeen, Goddamnit, I've waited long enough to be famous!"


Name: Matthew

How are you Josh?

Is a Sennheiser 416 good enough to capture all production audio? I?ve read that this should only be used for indoor shooting. I?m shooting a dialogue heavy script, what would be the best mic to capture dialogue indoors and out?


Dear Matthew:

If you have a blimp or wind-cover for the mic it's fine outside (as long as it's not too windy, but then no mic will work very well). That's a good microphone and should be adequate for all your needs, but make sure you have a blimp for it, and make sure your boom man isn't an idiot. Don't let the mic come down into your frame at all, no matter what the sound man or the boom man says. They are forever trying to get the mic as close to the actors as possible and will say things like, "Oh, that won't be in frame, it's out of the 1.85 cut-off or it's out of the TV frame," even though they know not of what they speak. Don't let it be in any part of your frame, no matter what the cut-off. I generally say to the boom operator at the beginning of the shoot very nicely, "Get the mic as close to the actors as humanly possible without coming into frame. If I see the mic in frame, I'll get a baseball bat and hit you in the knees." It's surprising how well this threat works, I've never had the mic come into one of my shots.


Name: Carlos

Dear Josh,

What are the absolute necessary lense(s) to shoot an independent 16mm feature? I?m not doing anything fancy, it's a very straight forward comedy, what can I not go wrong with and what can I not live without?


Dear Carlos:

If you want to make a good-looking film you should have an entire set of lenses because they all have a different look and a different feel. If you were only going to have one lens it probably ought to be the zoom because you can get a whole variety of focal lengths with it. However, zooms don't look as good as prime lenses simply because they have so much extra glass in them, and each time light goes through another piece of glass it softens and distorts slightly. I personally would rather shoot with prime lenses than a zoom, and on both "Running Time" and "Hammer" I didn't have a zoom. Lenses in 16mm are calibrated at half the focal length of 35mm, so a 50mm lens in 35mm is a 25mm lens in 16mm. A set of 16mm lenses will have a selection like: a 9mm, an 18mm, a 25mm, a 50mm, and a 75mm, which would pretty much cover the gamut. Also, keep in mind that if you're using a sound camera with a blimped lens (like the Arri-BL), then a zoom will stick out beyond the blimped area and the camera will be very noisy. Only the prime lenses are blimped. Good luck and if you have any more questions feel free to ask.


Name: Keith
E-mail: Keithrobinson@krobin.freeisp.co.uk

Dear Josh,

Thanks for your responce to my questions on the possibility of Digital feature films. You stated that companies wont touch them, which ive noticed, except maybe DVD and genre companies, but what about the Dogma 95 group and films like THE IDIOTS, BEUNA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB, FULL FRONTAL, BLAIR WITCH and the recent 28 DAYS LATER? I worked as a projectionist in a cinema and we played IDIOTS, BEUNA, BLAIR(of course) and 28 DAYS LATER (Prolly cos Im working near London) as one day specials (incredible considering the commercial crap we usually play) and 28 DAYS LATER as main release. Yeah, they looked bad up there on the big screen, but at least they got onto the screen.
Can I ask, what has been your best strategy for selling your films? I know you had Irwin Shapiro handle THOUGH... but what about the others? Do you have a festival strategy or do you set up screenings with distributers....are foreign sales agents worth their price? Also, have you a lot of experience with festivals in general, it seems to me that theres a lot of back handers and double dealing going on, mainly in the biggest ones or is this the industry as a whole? (somehow how i think i know the answer to that last question) Thanks for your advice..


Dear keith:

First of all, "Buena Vista Social Club" is a documentary, which is a totally different animal from a feature film. "Blair Witch" was partially shot on film, then entirely brought to film. I haven't seen the others. I know there are a lot of people that wish features shot on video were distributed, but, for the most part, they're still not. I don't have a strategy for selling films, good or bad. A sales agent can get your film out there, but they don't return any money to filmmaker, at least not to me. I've tried four-walling, which gets the film reviewed, but it hasn't gotten me any distribution. I made two video deals with Anchor Bay, for TSNKE and RT, but they came to me. When I tried to make a deal on "Hammer" they wouldn't do it. I've been to a number of film festivals, but I've never gotten into the big ones, and no deals are made at the smaller ones, which is almost all of them. If I had any answers I wouldn't be sitting on a $350,000 film that I can't get distributed in any way.


Name: Adam

Hi Josh,

I am about to discuss pay for a DP and Audio Mixer. I don't really know what the normal rate is and I would like to have some idea of what to ask for and expect when negotiating. Assuming that I can't get someone to donate their time and equipment for free, what is a rate that you would say is acceptable for a $20-25,000 budget 16mm feature? This is including the person coming with their own equipment.

Dear Adam:

On a movie that cheap there is no "normal" rate. You can't afford to pay anybody what they really get. A cheap, actual DP is going to minimally get $1,000 a week, and bigger DPs get at least $5,000-10,000 a week. But those rates all mean nothing if your entire budget is $25,000. What you need to do is to decide how much you can afford, and that's what you're offering. If they'll take it, great; if not, find someone else. The first DP I hired on "Running Time," who had never shot a feature, became an obnoxious prick during pre-production. I asked what was his problem? He said, "You're not even paying my rate." I said, "You don't have a feature rate, asshole, and now you're not even going to work on one," and I fired him. I then got a friend of mine who had been a key grip and a gaffer for years and wanted to be a DP. He worked for whatever the hell I was paying, probably about $1,000 a week, and he was a joy to work with because he wanted to be there. If you're giving someone a break, they'll usually give you a break. But you don't need anyone on your shoot that feels like they're doing you a favor. And a logical base pay for most everyone else is minimum wage, and if you use that as your base then you can get cheap worker's compensation insurance through the state. So, you do your budget, you decide what you can afford, and that's what you offer.


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


How often do you start watching a movie and feel like you know exactly what is going to happen right through to the end? I know that the uniqueness of a storyline is not necessarily the most important thing in the world, but the more movies I see the more I feel like I know exactly where things are going. Occasionally there's the film that throws in some sort of a twist ending, but for the most part its not really that difficult to figure out where a film is going within the first 15-20 minutes. After the first act is laid out there are only a few directions that movies seem to go, and most movies these days tend to choose the absolute most obvious path. I suppose this happens in every storytelling medium, but moreso in film because of how limited it has become in recent years. How important is it to you that a film's story continues to surprise you? Is it the originality that keeps you watching or are there other things?


Dear Jim:

I'm most interested in compelling stories, ones that pull me toward the conclusion. I don't have to be surprised, I have to care. I need stories that are told well, but they don't necessarily have to be sparkling with originality, because I don't even know what that means, generally. If the characters are well-developed and believable, then I'll care about their situations and problems even if it's just moving in a straight line to the ending. If the characters aren't well-developed, then I don't care how many surprising plot twists they're put through. If a story is actually good, you should be able to hear it entirely summarized right at the beginning, know all of the plot turns ahead of time, and it doesn't matter. A good story isn't necessarily (or even frequently) based on clever plot twists, it's based on fulfillment.


Name: Glenn
E-mail: jabconco@optonline.net

Dear Josh:

As a child growing up in the 60's, my neighbor, known as "Granny" (Sara Walcott), was a reputed madam and speakeasy owner in the Bellmore,Long Island area. Local legend has it that the patrolman who was killed by Two Gun Crowley was dating Sara and visited her just prior to his encounter with Crowley. As the story goes, the officer, whose name I do not recall, was showing off to Sara and emptied his hand gun into the side of her barn. Later, in encountering Crowley, he had only an empty handgun to defend himself. My father grew up in Syosset and Bellmore and remembers lots of stories like this. One of my friends also has an elderly father with a good memory in Huntington from the 20's. Many speakeasies still exist in Huntington because they were underground in the mansions and barns near the water.

Dear Glenn:

Thanks for confirming that I didn't make up the story about Two-Gun Crowley. I think he was an interesting character, and nobody's made a film about him.


Name: Beth Hicks
E-mail: heyitsmebeth@hotmail.com

So what is in the future for you, Josh? What ventures are you looking forward to, and with whom?

Also, what other types of work would interest you besides writing and directing?

Dear Beth:

For the time being, I'm just going to keep writing. Other than the two books I've written in the last year, I really have nothing going on at the moment. Other than writing and directing, nothing much interests me. Things do have to bottom out occasionally, that's life.


Name: ken provo

Dear Josh:

i just watched your short film 'the blind waiter' it was the funnist thing i have seen in a while

how did people get these short films, i mean how did they get on the internet if only you and your friends have copys, do you own copys of all your short films

if you do, why dont you sell them on this website like everyone else on the net

anyway those short films are real funny

Dear Ken:

Of course I have copies of all my films -- the originals, actually. Why don't I sell them? Each film is tied up with those other guys, and everybody's got their own reasons for not wanting them out. Sam seems to be embarrassed by the old films, although he's perfectly happy to lift gags from them constantly (did you notice similarities between "The Blind Waiter" and "Army of Darkness," like the face in the frying pan?), and Scott doesn't want to get into any more deals with me. Not to mention we never licensed any of the music, nor has there ever been a decent video transfer of any of them. How did people get them? I don't know, but I suspect it was through Scott.
But I'm glad you enjoyed the film.


Name: James Kelk
E-mail: jamesk1983@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

How much money can i expect to make from a good script? How can i go about finding someone to sell my script to? How can i make sure they dont take my ideas without paying me.

Dear James:

You can probably expect nothing since very few companies are buying spec scripts anymore. You'll excuse me severe cynicism, but since movies are such utter crap now, no one knows or cares what the difference is between a good script and a bad one. You will need an agent to sell it for you, and that's a horrible situation because most agents are complete and utter morons. Most agents are a terrible combination of ineptitude, laziness, as well as usually being highly touchy, too. I'm on my twelfth agent right now and still haven't found a good one. Look, if someone wants to steal your idea, they just will and there's nothing you can do about it. All you can really do is copyright your script and possibly register it with the Writer's Guild, then hope for the best. Good luck.


Name: Keith
E-mail: keithrobinson@krobin.freeisp.co.uk

Dear Josh,

Ive been visiting your site for a while and I am very impressed with your up front and honest views on hollywood, feature films and indipendant filmmaking. I like everyone else am a no budget filmmaker who has strived for the past 15 years to try and get a feature made and keep my artistic integrity and make a living. Not a fortune, just a living, which is getting painfully obvious isnt an easy thing, no siree. What i would like to ask you is what are your views on digital feature films and their place in any commercial market place or as stepping stones to be able to make more films... am i wasting my time making a dirt cheap film on video when i could spend ages and a small fortune just to get my images on celluoid? I do not like video and have never had, but i can make a better film on digital (due to cost) but will it not get a serious look in the market place? What are your views on digital feature film making and is there any chances of securing any kind of distribution.? Also, any pointers on distributing and marketing of a feature film...ive noticed you havent written too much on the subject.
Thanks for your time...


Dear Keith:

I'm looking into the possibility of shooting a feature on DV myself. The idea was brought up to the folks at Anchor Bay, who have distributed several of my films, and they said that neither they nor anyone else would touch a video feature at this time, which I knew, but wanted confirmed. I may still do it anyway, just to keep my hand in the process. But there really is not market for video features at this time. You'd be better off shooting an MOS 16mm feature with a Bolex. Sadly, the element that distributors are most caught up on is name actors, and if you don't have enough money to shoot on film you certainly don't have enough for name actors. Nevertheless, if it's shot on film and is impressive enough in certain ways -- story-wise or visually -- you could get the film released without name actors. It's a tough business, and getting tougher, not easier. I wish you all the luck in the world and would be happy to answer any other questions you might have.


Name: Eric
E-mail: woobrick11@cs.com

Hey Josh,

This is a more technical question. I'm trying to prepare for my first independent feature and I'm not sure if I'm getting the run around from labs. If I plan on strictly getting the film developed and dumped to video to edit do I need a Work Print, Answer Print or any other kind of print? Is there anything else that needs to be done other than the processing itself and the telecine to get the film to tape? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Sincerely, Eric

Dear Eric:

No, you don't need a workprint. The question is, do you ever intend to conform your negative and make a film print? If so, you need to inform the telecine house what system you're editing on and they will include a floppy disk so you can make an edit list (EDL) when you're done. If you're not going to go back to the negative then you've got to make sure the telecine is to the best quality tape, either Digital-Beta or Beta-SP. This of course depends on what kind of equipment you have to upload the image. Are you actually cutting on video or are you cutting digitally? In any case, you don't need a workprint.


Name: John C.
E-mail: PunkEskunk27@aol.com

Hey Josh, you run a great site here, and have done a lot of cool things here besides filmmaking subjects. As an aspiring young filmmaker, I want to say thanks for your great advice. There is one thing I'm wondering, though.
What exactly is 'DGA'?

Dear John:

DGA stands for Director's Guild of America, which is the union for film and TV directors.


Name: Dana
E-mail: evil_dead_chick76@hotmail.com

Mr. Becker,

I was recently entertained by several of your films including Running Time and Lunatics... I enjoyed them so much that I became an instant fan of your work with and without the Raimi/Tapert clan. I have also enjoyed your turns at directing Xena episodes and only wish you could have directed more. No other Xena director seemed to showcase Ted Raimi's comedic efforts better than you did.
And I must agree with the statement made about some of the Xena related groups and lists. In the past I have run into several such groups that are run by overbearing pompous individuals who try to pass themselves off as fans. Even Ted Raimi's Official Fan Club sadly fits into this category. Which brings me to my question. Do you know who Sami Silverwind is and if she is indeed a close friend of either you, The Raimis, Bruce Campbell, Rob Tapert, or Scott Siegel? Because if she's not, she's trying to pass herself off as such. I hate to ask you such a crazy question, but I haven't been able to find the answer anywhere else. Anyway, thanks for listening and good luck with If I Had a Hammer and all future projects.
Dana L. Estes

Dear Dana:

I've never heard of her. I've never heard Bruce nor Rob mention her. I don't know who's friends with Sam or Scott these days, although I can just bet you that she's not friends with Sam, given he's the Great Oz that nobody ever sees ("Nobody sees the Great Oz, no way, no how!"). Ms. Silverwind sounds like one more lying, screwball fan. I'm glad you liked my films and Xena eps.


Name: Saul Trabal
E-mail: ghost_kingdom@yahoo.com

Hi Josh,

I hope everything's going well for you.

My question is about showrunners. My understanding is that they are the heads of a television show's creative department. What does it take to become one? What are some of the most important requirements?


Dear Saul:

The showrunners on Herc and Xena were both the head writers, and in the case of both of those shows they were only the head writers, since they never came to New Zealand for the shooting. You'd have to be a produced TV writer that has written produced pilots, as well as the head writer of a show that ran at least a few seasons, I would think. I guess you'd possibly have to have been a producer already as well. A showrunner is someone who comes onto a TV production to assure the executives that the show will actually be made properly and meet its deadlines. Therefore, being a shwrunner is entirely based on previous experience.


E-mail: taodugi@hotmail.com



Dear Dugi:

Is there much call for Chinese martial artists in Yugoslavia? I guess not if you're writing to me. Sorry, but I don't make martial arts films. Maybe you can be the spearhead of the Eastern European martial arts film. Good luck.


Name: Steven Millan
E-mail: stevmedia@aol.com

Dear Josh:

I just finished watching the DVD of "Running Time"(the first DVD to have seen on my labtop's DVD player),and wanted to tell you about how wonderfully raw and gritty of a movie experience it was,with Bruce Campbell giving a splendid performance that joyfully tests his acting skills(in a non-genre role for a change),an enthralling plot that keeps you guessing(which direction the story is going to next go)and your directing was very surrealistic and innovative for such an ambitious low budget project,which definitely has a lot more entertaining value to offer than Rob Zombie's visually drenched,originality lacking celluloid slop "House Of 1000 Corpses"(I feel very sorry for the horror youth that's been brainwashed into thinking that it's a new "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"-esque classic,which it strongly isn't).

Otherwise,I'm very happy to see that your site is still one of the best places for net surfers to visit,since you devote one half of it to your intelligently written,thought provoking essays on the current state of the world (movies, music, politics, marriage, religion, and society), which is something that many of the other movie genre sites(that unfortunately thrive on message board flame wars,board posters trading insult after insult with one another, board/site moderators boasting their monstrously pathetic egos,and other forms of on-line negativity)sadly refuse to undertake upon,and the other half to giving helpful,caring advice to aspiring filmmakers that will enable them to stay talented without bowing down to the almighty corporate dollar ("House of 2000 Corpses", anyone?!).
Take Care,

Dear Steven:

Thanks for the nice letter. I had more than enough of that online, message-board, insult-flinging nonsense with the Xena fans. That's the modern way of showing you're a true fan, by insulting the producer/creator of the show, who's the husband of your favorite star. Meanwhile, someone suggested that I watch a piece of crap called "Insaniac," of which I made it through possibly five minutes. On the other hand, I kind of enjoyed the American remake of "Insomnia," and Al Pacino is, as usual, very good.


Name: Diana Hawkes
E-mail: upon request

Hi ya Josh!

I haven’t written in for quite a while. Computer ailments. I begged, borrowed and stole to get a new Gateway. Your cutie-pie picture up there now loads much faster. Plus it has a DVD tray, so I’ll be able to buy the season set with your director commentary for Xena. I’m excited.
I see the Movie Geek Salon has tackled the gamut in subjects while I was offline! Mercifully, you put the kibosh on the Rap discussion, such as it was. Bless you.

So, the Xena scene I frequent is embroiled in yet another go-around on Rob’s finale, and like clockwork the subject of plagiarism in film is at the forefront. The conversation drifted, and it was mentioned that Sergio Leone was sued by Kurosawa over “A Fistful of Dollars”! I had no idea! This stunned me, as I am a huge fan of Leone and Eastwood. Apparently Kurosawa won part of the film’s profits, but Universal Artists retained the copyright to Fistful.
I was told:
“THE case of plagiarism was 'Fistful of Dollars', which duplicated not only the plot of 'Yojimbo' but shots and camera angles. Kurosawa wrote to Sergio Leone: "It is a fine film, but it is my film."

I figured you would know if there’s any more scoop on this story (I wondered if the decision affected “A Few Dollars More”), and if Leone ever publicly commented on his spaghetti westerns and their link to the samurai genre. What did you think of the case?

Oh and say--My t.v. satellite provider has recently added the Independent Film Channel (IFC), so I’m excited to be able to catch “Running Time”. Please be sure to post the schedule for it once you know.
Speaking of that channel, I wanted to know your take on that “Dinner for Five” half-hour chat show on IFC. It is a round table discussion of the film bizz with various directors and actors who eat dinner with host John Favreau. Have you caught anybody saying anything interesting or absurd on the program? I figured that show would catch your eye and you’d have an opinion on it, it strikes me as kind of like “Inside the Actor’s Studio.” The guests still try to be impressive, but seem less aware of the camera, less aware of the larger audience who’s going to be listening in.

Dear Diana:

Good to hear from you. Welcome back. I had no idea there was any sort of lawsuit regarding "A Fistful of Dollars" and "Yojimbo," nor do I understand why there would be since Leone's film credit's Kurosawa's film in the titles. It's a remake and everyone knew it, so what's the problem? And it had already been done twice before that, with "Seven Samurai" becoming "The Magnificent Seven," and "Rashomon" becoming "The Outrage." By the third western remake you'd think Kurosawa would have gotten used to it. Anyway, I've tried watching "Dinner for Five" three times and I haven't yet made it all the way through because it's so lame. Let's face it, Jon Favreau doesn't know very much about independent filmmaking, hasn't been at it that long, and has only made two reasonably uninteresting movies. Trying to listen to people like Colin Farrell or Jennifer Garner or Vince Vaughn discuss filmmaking is ludicrous. At least when Peter Falk was on he had something to say because he's been around for so damn long and was involved with Cassavetes. Otherwise, the show seems like a self-indulgent bore, and I'm not particularly interested in watching people eat.


Name: John Rambo
E-mail: thisisjohnrambo@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

How's it going? I think you missed answering my last question. It was about the Rambo and James Bond movies and also if you knew if it was true that in Rambo III Rambo rides the same horse that Indiana Jones does in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (that's what I heard).

Also I was wondering about your workout program (since I think you said that you lift weights). What is your program like? Also if you can relate this to acting.


John J.

P.S. I hope I didn't offend you with one of my last questions in my last message

Dear John:

I don't even remember your last question. I answered your letter about Rambo and James Bond, but I don't know what happened to it (I've been having a lot of trouble with AOL lately). As I said, I liked the first half of "First Blood," and that's it. The next two Rambo pictures were painful to sit through for me. As a little kid I liked the first several Bond pictures, up through "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," or possibly "Diamonds Are Forever," but once Connery was gone it all became a wash-out. I'll still take Ian Fleming's early Bond books over any of the films. I like the idea that he has a big scar across his face, the dead eyes of a killer, and is somewhat frightening to look at. He used no gadgets, drove a 1933 Bentley, and had a .25 caliber pistol with the handle pried off and wrapped with tape so it would lie flat in his pocket. In the second book Q asks what sort of weapon Bond has? Bond shows Q his tape-wrapped .25 pistol. Q takes it with his thumb and index finger and says, "I think we can do better." That's when Bond gets a Walther PPK, not a rocket-pack or helicopter in a briefcase. As for weight-lifting, I do it when the muscles in my neck are tense, which is generally everyday at some point.


Name: Bill

Dear Josh:

While we are on the subject of Artistic regresssion. An episode of the Simpsons made a great comentary about the current state of the film industry. It was the Springfield Film festival episode, where Homer thinks that a film about a guy getting hit in the crotch with a football is the greatest film ever. Barney, of all people, makes a pretentious film, everybody loves it, and it wins the festival. The epilogue has Gorge C. Scott winning an Academy award for starring in a big budget version of a guy getting hit in the crotch with a football. The bottom line is that is really what development execs and producers believe the American public thinks is funny. Today's footballs in crotch movies are these bad comedies where white guys in their late 40's and beyond, team up with hip young black stars. The white guys always speak ebonics, and pander to what ever trend is currently hip. Horrible films that are guilty of this are: Bringing Down the House, The American President, Malibu's Most Wanted, Hollywood Homicide, and many more to come. You know Harrison Ford is at the end of his career when he stars in a buddy cop picture, and says things like "For Shizzle My Nizzle Homey!" That is exactly what happens in the soon to be released Hollywood Homicide. Anyway, I digress, the point is that Simpsons episode stated in more ways than one that we either get movies that attempt to pander to the lowest common denominator, or we get films that exploit a filmmaker's bloated self indulgence. That was the first time that I have ever seen a television show, or any facet of the media, make fun of the current state of affairs, and the episode is 9 years old. That says something.

Dear Bill:

Well, "The Simpsons" is the sharpest show on the air, and has been for a long time. Sadly, I think a lot of people take Homer's bad advice seriously, like if it's hard to do, then don't do it, or "you tried, you failed, give up." I agree, the football in the crotch is the perfect analogy for what Hollywood produces now. I also agree that many indie films are pretentious like Barney's film. But there used to be a world of film between those poles, that was intelligent and well-made and had a point. On the front page of AOL today they're asking "What's the summer's hottest movie?" and the three choices are: "Matrix 2," "X-Men 2," or "The Hulk." They've got to be kidding. What could possibly be "hot" about sequels, or film versions of comic books, for that matter? But no one wants to even try to create great art anymore, they just want to get rich, which is an ignoble pursuit. Good example with that "Simpsons" episode.


Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc@mac.com


Yes, I am on a rant, since music is something which is very close to my heart just as much as film.

Unfortunately, I was not equating that technology = easy when it comes to recording music or filmmaking.

I personally have recorded my own music and engineered the music of others with the use of the old way and the new way. I can tell you that working with a program like "Pro Tools" wins all the time for most musicians old and new, and it does not come down to a matter of "easy" because recording music in the studio is never an "easy" task even with computer recording software.

Now, that does not mean the musicans favor computer generated music over "real" instruments, it is just that the recording process is long, repetitive and tedious which makes the use of computer recording software and hardware a relief for many musicans me included. There is no substitiute for real talent and that can't be hidden with any kind of technology.

I agree that The era of YES you are refer to is the best period of the band including "Tales from Topographic Oceans" even if it is overblown, and I believe that is why they made these statements about recording and computers.

Trust me, when you have to sit down and splice together different takes of long pieces of music on various multitrack tapes as oppossed to being able to move the individual tracks non-linear inside a computer after it is recorded, then mater it to tape most musicans would take the non-linear path hands down.

It does not alter the recording only the process and the musicans can still choose to use analog over digital equipment to make their music if they so choose.

Imagine cutting your mutlitple takes of scenes in your feature film on a flatbed and multiply that by 10. That is how much more work is involved in recording and mixing an intricate band such as YES in the studio.

Any more effecient way to perform this task is always welcomed by studio engineers and musicians when it comes to mixing and editing, and that is why computer recording software is a great advancement.

You are well versed in making features, but I too can tell you from experiencing working on films and recording music in the studio, computer technology has improved music recording studios for the better, and I feel similarly to film editng too.

As you know, I am also an Avid editor, and I can say that this software allows me to be more creative than editing on a flatbed would in the past. I have edited on a flatbed quite af few times and even though I miss actually phyically working with the film, however, I enjoy the expansive creative freedom I have working on an Avid system. I think it is an excellent tool to utilize my creativity.

Most of my friends went into video editing when it was tape to tape or A/B roll editing and many still do it now. I did not start editing for a living until AVID and I am happy for that. Tape to tape editing is the worst and most unproductive way of working and alowing creativity to flow. Non-linear computer editng changed all of that.

Ok, I am done ranting.


Dear Scott:

I like non-linear editing much better than cutting on film, and the same goes for the sound. But it doesn't make anything better, it just makes it easier. Movies and music are not about technology, they're about creativity. If you're creative you can make a symphony with a kazoo on an cassette recorder, if you're not creative you can have a full symphony orchestra and state-of-the-art digital recording and it doesn't matter. Ultimately, I don't care about technology or equipment.


Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc66@mac.com


Even though I agree with you about the state of Music and film within the past 10-15 years has been lame, I don't agree with pinning it down to my generation (I am 36). I have the smnae feelings you do, and I have many friends who also share these feelings as well, however, we are not as you say: "in power".

The baby boomer generation has set the unrealistic economic and cultural tone for quite sometime now. Let me ask you a question. Who has the majority of the power and the wealth in this country?

I can tell you it is not people in their 20's and 30's. These are the people that are actually struggling more than anything. The cost of going to college is out of control and having a degree doesn't mean anything these days.

The idealism of the 60's faded into the 70's. Growing up in the late 70's and 80's in the Detroit area was no joy ride for me coming from a blue collar family. I think the biggest mis-connception when it comes to how humans think is that the past always better.

How many times do you here from someone in a previous generation: "Things were much better then, they were more simple times." etc, etc..

The fact is, there were never more simple times. Life has always had its difficult times no matter what generation you come from and this one is no exception.

We live in nostalgia which simpy comforts us. The past isn't always better it is just different thatn the present and that is change.

My generation faces many challenges including aging baby boomers, environment, nasty things like AIDS, skyrocketing health care costs, etc...

I know of many artists in their 20's and 30's who have similar views as you, however, art doesn't simply happen by any prescribed method, it just happens.

I do agree when it comes to the late 60's and early 70's rock musicans and filmmakers were lucky to have been able to do what they did, but that was a time and that time will never happen again.

Actually, if you think about it many filmmakers/Rock and Roll artists of that era are now the Aristocracy of today. Many are rich beyond their wildest dreams and nobody has come close to relpicating that musical movement in Rock and Roll.

I think people are going to use technology like they use any other medium in a sense: people who have always made shit will continue to make shit with the use of technology and people who use technology as a tool like any other medium can also make wonderful art including films.

Unfortunately, Hollywood does not operate that way and the only time it had a reprieve from this type of thinking was in the 70's, but you can see how short lived that was.

Filmmaking and music rely heavily on technology and that is a reality, however, I do agree that it should not detract from the message or the mood of a song or a film just for the sake of using it.

I enjoy many of the new recording technologies when it comes to music. When I record songs it takes my mind off of the time consuming chore of editing multiple tracks to tape etc..

I remember reading an interview with the band "YES" after they released their 1999 album 'The Ladder" which was actually a very good album for them considering they are what the lead singer Jon Anderson calls "old farts".

They all agreed that they wished they had the computer recording programs like "Pro Tools" back in the 70's to record their albums like "Fragile" and "Close to the Edge", since the process would have been much easier to edit and master as oppossed to hours of assembling multi-track tapes and splicing them.

I definitely agree with their views on this subject and I think this is where technology has enhanced the medium and not degraded it.


Dear Scott:

Jeez, but aren't we on a rant today. Of course, I am most everyday, so what the hell. Let me take on your last statement first, about YES having Pro-tools back in the 60s and 70s, well, I'm glad as hell they didn't because "The Yes Album," "Fragile," and "Close to the Edge" are by far their very best albums, and their entire career is based on those three records, with everything coming afterward being mediocre at best, and pathetic at the worst. I'm glad it wasn't very easy for them to make those records, they felt they had to work their very hardest and it paid off. Easy is not better. Technology hasn't improved art (although I think it's been a boon to documentary filmmakers). And I agree with you that the major culprits of this awful malaise are my generation, the baby-boomers, starting with the group ten years senior to me, like Spielberg and Lucas. These are the folks that began the miserable pandering to children's tastes which hasn't let up in over twenty-five years. Interestingly, though, most of the executives in Hollywood I was running across before I fled were in their thirties and twenties, many of them female. Certainly they're just following up on the patterns already set, but they're certainly making no effort to change anything. The time for a revolution is now!! Come on, everyone stand up and be counted. And the revolution will not be televised.


Name: Christopher Hogben
E-mail: i_like_dat@hotmail.com

To dear Josh

My name is Christopher Hogben, I am 15 years old and I am very interested in an audition for a movie to make my dream a reality. I would like yo know how I would go about an audition and where? I live in Australia and I love to play soccer and squash. I would describe myself as funny, outgoing, active and caring. I like drawing and acting, I do drama at my school and enjoy it immensely, right now we are studding Shakespeare. I would conceder myself average size and under weight. I would not mined even encourage having to get stronger to suite a movie roll. My dream is to one day act in an action movie like the Matrix (the Matrix is my favourite movie off all time). Are there any tips you have for getting a part in a movie? Are there any curses I should do? I am quite good at putting on voices for example, Scooby doo, gangster commentator, Golem from lord of the rings a 1930’s detective and many more. If you want anything else from me please ask and I will happily comply

Thankyou for taking the time to read this letter.
Christopher Hogben.

Dear Christopher:

It's good to have a dream, although you might want to try dealing with reality a little bit. You're fifteen and you live in Australia, and you're asking people like me, who aren't even in production, for auditions? The first thing you need to do is get a clue. As a little note, I only like working with trained actors, which means more than doing imitations of Scooby-Doo. Start taking acting classes, reading, and watching better movies than "The Matrix."


Name: Rajnish Madaan
E-mail: rajnish_madaan@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Hi my name is Rajnish Madaan, and I'm asking these questions as a part of my unit at University. I'm required to research into the area of my chosen profession, Directing fictional T.V/Film.
I decided to take advantage of this to ask questions that will be helpful to me as I begin my career worryingly soon.

So If you could help me in answering these questions truthfully, you will be allowing me a personal insight into the experience of being a director.

Also if you wouldn't like me to mention your name please let me know.
P.S. My deadline is mid-May.

What was it that initially encouraged you to become a director, and has this view changed?

JB: It was based on my love of movies, and my desire to try and make great films.
My view hasn't changed, but the world of film certainly has. They no longer make what I consider to be great, or even good, movies, so my view of things is in a vacuum.

How long have you been working as a director in fictional t.v/film?

JB: I directed my first feature film in 1984, and I began in TV in 1992.

What was your role at the beginning of your career in this media?

JB: I worked for many years as a production assistant, I did lighting, loaded cameras, drove trucks, etc.

In terms of networking, did you make an extra effort to get to know people, or did you leave it to fate?
-What would you recommend?

JB: Sure, I tried to get to know people, but I'm not very good at schmoozing, which
very often means pandering, lying, and kissing ass. If you're good at that kind of
thing you'll fit right in in Hollywood.

How much work do you put into the subject of your work, how involved do you become?

JB: That question doesn't mean anything, it's too general. I put in as much effort
as humanly possible on everything I do.

Q.6. -THE Big One!
From your experience (possibly something you may know of) what problems face today's director's?

JB: Never working and dying of starvation. Or losing your vision as soon as you
start working, the becoming one more ass-kissing pandering parasite.

Could you possibly list your credits to date, and any future ventures.

JB: Do some research, look them up. They're listed right here on my website.

If there is anything else you would like to say please do not hesitate to say.

Thanks for your help, I hope to hear from you soon.


Name: Blake Eckard


Just for the record, the 10K film of Jon Jost's I was speaking of is "Last Chants for A Slow Dance." Although I've never seen the film, it was shot with only 8 400' rolls of 16mm and only runs about 80 minutes (plus it was made back in the '70's). I'm not particularly a fan of Jost (although I did think "The Bed You Sleep In," was a bit upsetting) but he certainly has carved a spot for himself in the film world...However small his spot may be.

So, how about an 80% MOS film? You've worked on your buddy Paul's picture. Can it be done and not seem shitty?

Have a good one.


Re your remark on processing alone being over 20 thousand...You really should check out www.pro8mm.com
They sell 16mm packages that cover the costs of the stocks (100' rolls only), processing, and a transfer to video (Beta SP and VHS.) You can order eight hours of film and have all of the above mentioned procedures done for less than 15 grand (called their feature film package). I've hade 500' of 16mm processed with them. They are extremely firendly and good in their work.

Dear Blake:

The answer is that he made the film in the 1970s. You cannot make a full-length feature film and finish it on film for $20,000. Sorry. Just have an optical soundtrack shot will cost you at least $5,000. One single 16mm print will cost you at least $2,000. Jost shot on eight 400 foot rolls? That's a one-to-one ratio. So, if you don't care at all how bad your film turns out, yeah you can do it that way, but it's just plain old stupid. Reality is that you will minimally shoot at a ratio of three-to-one (which still doesn't give you three full takes, due to heads, tails, and run-out), and that's at least 10,000 feet of 16mm. Regarding an 80% MOS film, yes it can be done well and not turn out like shit, but not at a one-to-one ratio, I can absolutely assure you of that. Paul is constantly having to reshoot due to one technical snafu or another. He's probably already shot 20,000 feet of film, and he's not done yet. The bottom line is, if you're going to go to the trouble of doing it you may as well try to do a good job. Meanwhile, I've seen one Jim Jost film and it SUCKED!!!!


Name: David Babbitt
E-mail: doug.babbitt@sympatico.ca

Dear Mr. Becker,

Before I begin, I would like to note that my schedual only gave me the time to write this after midnight, so any spelling errors or lack awkward sentance structure is apologized for in advance.

I would like to start off this e-mail by thanking you for your wonderful essays on screenwriting. These have been very helpful, and are much appriciated.

Now, on to the issue that I have mainly come to discuss, your essay titled "Kids These Days". Being one of "kids" discussed in your piece (with one major difference: I happen to be a film junkie that devours books, articles, and just about anything else on the history of film), I wish to offer you a little bit of insight you may have lacked while writing the said essay. Your article seems to have been entirely based on mere observation without looking more deeply at the issue (This should not be taken as a knock against you. It happens to the best of us). The fact is, filmmaking is not worse because of a of lack discipline amongst young people. Filmmaking is worse because it is one of the last places that undisciplined people can go.

If I were to try and apply a percentage of young people that I have met that fit your discription of young adults, it would only be around five percent. Maybe the area I live in is a fluke, but I doubt it. Why? Because quite simply, this generation can't aford to be undisciplined.

Let's say a person is lousy in school, disruptive, and having a disliked athority. Now, lets take these traits and give them to a fictional man who we'll call, I don't know, "Frank". Now let's take Frank and place him in the 1970s. Now Frank does lousy his entire high school career, but at least manages to get his diploma. He decides (or his lousy academic record dictates more accurately)that he won't attend university. What is he to do? Well, he can get a job as a groundskeeper, or work at the local factory, or even sign up to join the police academy. Thus, whether or not he did to bad in school will make no difference, he is still set to make a living.

Now let us place Frank in the present. Here, Frank is completley screwed. Can he be a groundskeeper or garbage man? Not a chance. He'll need a post secondary education degree in some form to get into this line of work (and if you doubt this, try calling around. I've already seen this happen to people). How about working in a factory? Well, if he is lucky enough to find a factory that hasn't closed up and moved to another country with cheaper labour, than yeah, sure.

The days when a person could afford to either be uneducated or just work in a job that requires no real thought are gone. They have left the developed nations and have feld to the developing or underdeveloped, and they are not coming back. So what jobs are left, you ask? Ones that require critical and creative thinking. I have a number of friends and family that are just entering the job market, and they all report back the same thing: Nobody wants a person of average inteligence or skill. If you can't deliver, than get lost.

This fact is not lost on many students, and very few are willing to screw themselves because they couldn't pay attention in class.

So what does this have to do with the poor quality of modern filmmakers that see entering the business? To put it simply, filmmaking is the last perceived industry that a person can enter without having to prove that they have any skill or education. The media presents endless images of people who struck it big: Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez, etc, without showing the hard work that it took for them to make it big (and whether or not you like the end result is immaterial. They did put in hard work, end of story). Naturally, the idiots who can't get a job working in a sector that requires discipline are looking for a quick way to make a buck think this is great, and migrate towards this, and the end result is the crap that gets put out.

To sum it up the problem with screenwriting is not that the youth of today are undisciplined, but that the film industry doesn't have any standards to weave out the people who are not.

I hope you found this interesting at the very least, and wish you a good day.

David Babbitt

Dear David:

I've got news for you, getting a college degree doesn't mean you're smart, nor does it indicate you have great tenacity, or any real intelligence. There are still also a vast amount of crappy jobs for which you don't need a college degree. Yes, I think you can blame the Hollywood executives more than the writers -- and they're kids, too -- because they have no standards, no concept of quality, and don't believe that film is an art form. Look at this summer's line-up of films and tell me these were conceived by creative, intelligent people. To say that movies are the last refuge of the untalented is silly -- there are really no talented people around in any of the arts. Is music thriving? Has there been a new form of contemporary music in twenty years? Is anyone painting incredible pictures? It's a sad, untalented time that's far more interested in technology than the arts. And folks in their twenties and thirties must take some responsibility; they're the ones that have come into power and if they had any taste or intelligence they would demand more than "Charlie's Angels 2."


Name: Blake Eckard


I read your treatment for "Terrified," again. I think it's really got some potential. The first and third acts I particularly think are good. Still surprised Bruce and Ted didn't think of it as being a film that had a real shot for distribution. Bruce isn't acting as often as he was say five years ago, so why not?

On anther note, you once said that you can't make a real film for less than $120,000. Why is that? Guys like Jon Jost have made movies for as little as $10,000! Couldn't you serve as DP (sounds like you've done your share of filming), gather up some actors and a DAT recorder and then start shooting a script tailor made for a 20-60K investment? That's still a lot of money, but you managed to raise nearly half a million dollars for Hammer...Where there's a will there's usually a way.

I'm sure I don't need to inform a film buff such as yourself that Orson Welles made only self financed, independent films starting in 1951 with "Othello," until his death (the sole exception being "Touch of Evil"). Shooting sporadically, when equipment is available for free, can really do great things for an independent.

Do you own anything in the way of movie equipment, like cameras, lights, an old editng bench, etc.?

Have a good one.


Dear Blake:

Thanks for your interest, I do appreciate it. Anyone that says they made a motion picture (not a video) for $20,000 is simply lying. I didn't make these numbers up out of nowhere. Don't forget, the second you use actual SAG actors like Bruce or Ted, your budget will minimally take another $50,000 jump. I wish movies did cost 20 grand to make, I'd produce a lot more of them. My cheapest film so far was "Running Time" at $130,000, which was shot in two weeks in 16mm with a very small crew. Admittedly, $50,000 was in actor's fees, but that still leaves $80,000 in hard costs, and I didn't shoot very much film. Just the lab costs will be more than 20 grand. I do not speak with a forked tongue. Meanwhile, I own a Bolex camera and a few lenses. My friend has it right now because he's been shooting an MOS feature in 16mm for about five years, with two people in the cast, no actor's fees, no location fees, and he's already spent over 10 grand. Movies are expensive no matter what you do.


Name: Cynthia E. Jones
E-mail: cynthiaejones@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Just to let you know, this is being offered by someone I met on the internet:


Sam Raimi &Co. shorts
Directed by Sam Raimi,etc.
Various short films by Sam Raimi and friends (Bruce Campbell, Scott Spiegel, Josh Becker, Ted Raimi, etc.) inlcudes: Cleveland Smith Episode #36 (an Indiana Jones parody) 10min, Torro, Torro, Torro! (hijinx ensue when a lawnmower runs away on its own) 7min, The Blind Waiter (Bruce Campbell in the title role) 18min, Attack of the Helping Hand (the Hamburger Helper Hand is scary and dangerous) 6min, The Sappy Sap (crossing the street slapstick) 5min, Six Months to Live (quality on this one is awful) 14min. Interspersed in between the shorts are: a local radio commercial, previews for The XYZ Murders (aka Crimewave, directed by Raimi, written by the Coen Bros.), Thou Shall Not Kill Except..., Evil Dead 2, Book of the Dead, and a visit to the makeup and props lab for an unidentified film. Just under 90 minutes.

Just in case anyone (including you) is looking for "Cleveland Smith: Bounty Hunter." Also, just wanted to give you a 'heads up' if this is a copyright violation!?

Have a great weekend,


Dear Cindy:

Thanks for the heads up. It is, of course, copyright infringement, but since we're not bothering to sell them ourselves, it's nice to know they're still available. The irony of my life is that my short films are packaged under the title of "Sam Raimi's Short Films," but them's the breaks.


Name: Theresa

Bravo, Mr. Review Writer!(re.: My Big Fat Greek Wedding) A review that made me smile, laugh, think for myself, and wasn't crammed down my throat like you're the 'shit' and nobody else gets it. How fun. Keep up the great work. I'll not only be watching the movies closer but also your reviews of them.

Dear Theresa:

Thanks so much, I'm glad you enjoyed it.


Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc66@mac.com


I agree with you about marriage and males and I also disagree with jean that marriage is irresponsible when you are in your 20's, however, I do agree that it does not work for most people these days.

Myt best friend and roomate from college married his girlfriend right after they both finished college. They have been married now for almost 13 years and they are both pretty happy with their life!

They have 3 great kids and I would have to say that their marriage and relationship is the best of any of my friends who were married that young.They are the exception, and of course they have had many ups and downs, but they have weathered through them and that is what a good relationship with anyone is all about.

The point where I do agree with Jean is that people think marriage is a a throw away institution like a paper product. I also agree that the wedding ceremony is far more important for women than it is for most men. I find it appalling how much money is spent on weddings and this is where all the pressure comes from in the beginning.

I have three sisters and no brothers, so I have seen the gamut of different wedding ceremonies between my sisters from very simple (my oldest sister's wedding) to very extravagant (My middle sister's wedding), and it also puts a burden on parents, since it is traditional for the Bride's parent's and now the groom's parents to fit part of the bill too.

I am 36 and I have never been married, and I agree with that fact that I am happy i was never married in my 20's becuase I was not ready at all.

On a different note. Josh what do you think of Spencer Tracy as an actor? I was just thinking about him this morning when I saw a woman on the subway reading a book with him on the cover.

I have always thought of him as a fine actor and the film "Adam's Rib" comes to mind with him and Katherine Hepburn. With all this talk about marriage and stuff, I always thought that was a fun film. as well as "Woman of the Year" which is similar.


Dear Scott:

I think Spencer Tracy was great. he made acting look completely effortless, which it never is. I absolutely love "Captain's Courageous," for which Tracy won his second Oscar (he won two in a row), and he plays a Portuguese fisherman and completely pulls it off. His death scene moved me to tears as a kid. He could also play sincere just about better than anyone. I'll still take "Judgement at Nuremburg" over any of the other, later holocaust movies, and Tracy is incredibly solid at the film's center. Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart made one of their very first films together, "Up the River," directed by John Ford in 1931, and Tracy immediately became a star and Bogart didn't for another ten years. My favorite Tracy/Hepburn film is "Pat and Mike," with the astoundingly young Charles Buchinski, later known as Charles Bronson.


Name: TwoCoin

Dear Josh:

Excellent treatment! Two Gun Crowley has some real bite to it, Josh. Is this the film you and Bruce are working on? I sure hope so. On a side note, what was the name of the gangster film starring James Cagney in which he hears voices and is obsessed with his mother?

Dear TwoCoin:

I'm glad you liked it. No, Bruce and I aren't working on this story. It's been sitting around for fifteen years. The name of the Cagney film you're thinking of is "White Heat," which is a terrific picture.


Name: Ben
E-mail: bendab02


Marriage has been stripped of all meaning. The only place it means anything anymore is. . . oh wait. Nevermind.

Hey, do the humor and jokes you write into scripts get old the more you deal with them? After you've re-written a joke a dozen times, rehearsed it, several takes, and editing, do you look at it and say, "God, I hope that's still funny." Also, when you use friend's cars in a movie, or their apartment, or heck, even seeing your friends like Bruce Campbell in your movie, does it make it less real for you? Is that a phenomenon that occurs among filmmakers? Or is it just a matter of making a believable movie? Did movies have more "magic" to them before you started making them? And how does that effect change over time? When you see Lunatics now, do you look at it more objectively?



Dear Ben:

No, I can never look at my own work objectively. Time does help a bit, but not much. As James Stewart said, each shot is "a piece of time," and I'll always remember what went into every single shot individually. I conceived it, planned it, set it up, then shot it a number of times in some weird place -- all of that remains for me always. I know all of the actors in all of the scenes, so Bruce doesn't change anything. As far as jokes go, you just have to remind yourself that you once thought it was funny, and that's probably still true. That doesn't mean anyone else will think it's funny, but you may still. It's an odd process and you just have to believe in it.


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


As it happens, I got married at 26. I remember thinking at the time that I had held out a long time. In retrospect, of course, I wasn't much more than a kid. That having been said, I have one of those marriages which would make an incredibly boring movie. Nice(ish) house, two and a half kids, and a great dog. My wife and I genuinely have trouble finding enough time to spend together. I only mention all of this to atest that it isn't impossible to have a satisfying marriage with an exciting relationship, though I suppose it is rare and it certainly does take effort.

I think the secret to a good marriage is to not want marriage per se. I've known all sorts of people who get married largely because they think they're supposed to. It appears you and Jean know a number of folks like that as well. Personally, I expected to die a bachelor. I found a person I really didn't want to live without, found her though I wasn't looking. She cheated; she never asked me to compromise on anything. If two people don't feel that way about one another then they have no business getting married. It's just a disaster waiting to happen.

Just a few comments, I suppose. I'll tell Donna Reed that everyone says "Hi!"


Dear John:

You know Donna Reed? Tell her I thought she was great in her Oscar-winning role in "From Here to Eternity." And it's nice to hear that someone is actually happily married. It does seem rare.


Name: Stephen
E-mail: sgsuperone@aol.com

Okay, I am a pretty big fan of your work. Using Bruce Campell as Ted Raimi's figment in Lunatics was pure genious, especially with Bruce as Edgar Allen Poe.

Here is a question for you; what is keeping you from making Cleveland Smith? Indiana Jones 4 is slated for Summer 2005, you need to get Smith into the limelight before then, man!

Another Q; where can i get a copy of the Original Cleveland Smith 8mm?

Can I have a job?


Dear Stephen:

Thanks for the nice comments, but here are a few corrections: 1. Bruce did not play Edgar Allen Poe, John Cameron, the 1st AD, did (John has gone on to be Joel and Ethan Coen's producer); 2. "Cleveland Smith" was shot in 16mm. What's keeping me from making the Cleveland Smith feature? Money. You might be surprised to learn that I haven't got a spare million dollars, and nobody else is stepping up to give it to me. When I wrote that script there had only been one "Raiders" film. Since then there's been two sequels, and now a third sequel is coming out. What can I do? And since I'm not working myself, I guess I don't need anyone working for me.


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