Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Unkindest Cut

I've been doing a lot of reflection, and a lot of thinking about movie endeavors in general. The phrase "watch what you wish for, you might just get it" comes to mind. I could go on and on about movie making, but in our pop culture mentality WE think WE have the answer, and that OUR idea is the one that gets heard.

I'm here to tell you it doesn't, and so hence this post. It's been awhile since posting in this blog. My bad, but I said to myself long ago that if I didn't have anything to say why say anything at all. Sometimes silence is a lot louder then yelling.

A book I've read several times called "The Unkindest Cut" is a book worth reading for anyone interested in filmmaking. It's written by Joe Queenan who is a contemporary humorist, critic and author. Here's a rough summary of what the book is about:

When Queenan saw Robert Rodriguez's award-winning film El Mariachi, which was reputedly made for only $7000, he thought he'd like to duplicate the feat. Because of his extreme dislike of 12-step recovery programs, he decided to make a movie-12 Steps to Death-about an ex-LAPD cop whose life was ruined when a "schizoid anorexic recovering alcoholic with Attention Deficit Disorder slammed into the car, killing his wife and kids." Queenan plugged the film on the nationally syndicated Imus-in-the-Morning radio program and dreamed of the glories that lay ahead. But fantasy quickly turned to dreaded reality as he strived to write a screenplay, recruit neighbors as actors and lay out the filming over a 10-day period in Tarrytown, N.Y., where he lived. We see Queenan as he takes the $279 Hollywood Film Institute course; learns the astronomical cost of everything from camera rental to buying film stock. In the end Queenan is left with a bill for more than $67,000. Fans of Queenan (If You're Talking to Me, Your Career Must Be in Trouble) will find this memoir funny in parts but often tedious and repetitious, and student filmmakers may find it interesting for its nuts-and-bolts information. Major ad/promo; author tour. Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The book lays it out in black & white the mis-adventures of making a film. Now I know filmmaking has changed a bit, but it's still all about the message. Whether you shoot on film, video, digital video, or even pixel vision you better know your audience, and know how to break through the clutter.

Time for a reality check. I strongly suggest you read Queenan's book. It gets to the heart of it, and it does provide some interesting info for the filmmaker who wants to succeed. As for me I still have some more thinking and writing to do, but as with all things there is never an end to anything. Just maybe a new beginning of sorts. Save me a seat I'll bring the popcorn.

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