Rule #1: There are no rules. There are as many ways to make a film as there are potential filmmakers. It’s an open form. Anyway, I would personally never presume to tell anyone else what to do or how to do anything. To me that’s like telling someone else what their religious beliefs should be. Fuck that. That’s against my personal philosophy—more of a code than a set of “rules.” Therefore, disregard the “rules” you are presently reading, and instead consider them to be merely notes to myself. One should make one’s own “notes” because there is no one way to do anything. If anyone tells you there is only one way, their way, get as far away from them as possible, both physically and philosophically.
Rule #2: Don’t let the fuckers get ya. They can either help you, or not help you, but they can’t stop you. People who finance films, distribute films, promote films and exhibit films are not filmmakers. They are not interested in letting filmmakers define and dictate the way they do their business, so filmmakers should have no interest in allowing them to dictate the way a film is made. Carry a gun if necessary.
Also, avoid sycophants at all costs. There are always people around who only want to be involved in filmmaking to get rich, get famous, or get laid. Generally, they know as much about filmmaking as George W. Bush knows about hand-to-hand combat.
Rule #3: The production is there to serve the film. The film is not there to serve the production. Unfortunately, in the world of filmmaking this is almost universally backwards. The film is not being made to serve the budget, the schedule, or the resumes of those involved. Filmmakers who don’t understand this should be hung from their ankles and asked why the sky appears to be upside down.
Rule #4: Filmmaking is a collaborative process. You get the chance to work with others whose minds and ideas may be stronger than your own. Make sure they remain focused on their own function and not someone else’s job, or you’ll have a big mess. But treat all collaborators as equals and with respect. A production assistant who is holding back traffic so the crew can get a shot is no less important than the actors in the scene, the director of photography, the production designer or the director. Hierarchy is for those whose egos are inflated or out of control, or for people in the military. Those with whom you choose to collaborate, if you make good choices, can elevate the quality and content of your film to a much higher plane than any one mind could imagine on its own. If you don’t want to work with other people, go paint a painting or write a book. (And if you want to be a fucking dictator, I guess these days you just have to go into politics…).
Rule #5: Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery—celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.”
Archive for the ‘film’ Category
This piece on the Coen Brothers’ Burn After Reading in context of the Petraeus scandal is fun. I’m somewhat ambivalent as to how that mess should play out. Yes, public officials deserve personal lives that can be potentially just as messy and complicated as anyone else, but some freaks and monsters are wriggling out of the rot that make the Clinton-Lewinski scandal seem quaint.
I’m inclined to say let everyone involved burn, if only to scare the shit out of lawmakers who pass overreaching surveillance laws, thinking it only applies to evil spies, political enemies, and little people who don’t matter.
This was totally off my radar, but the trailer looks sweet. The AV Club has an interview with the director and cast.
My ignorance is boundless. In the early morning (my best time to read,) I have been searching names on my smart phone with Never Any End to Paris open before me. Vila-Matas is referring to all sort of people I might have heard of, but never remembered or pursued. ‘
- Edgardo Cozarinsky. Argentine. His name didn’t seem familiar, but Borges on Film is sitting on my shelf, unread. Where to begin seems a tough choice. Maybe Urban Voodoo? Bill seemed more excited about The Moldavian Pimp. Here’s him interviewing David Rieff on Susan Sontag’s diaries. That’s a bit of a tangent.
- Copi. Argentine cartoonist and playwright. I’ve never heard of him, but he collaborated with that group Pánico that included Arrabal (whose The Tower Struck by Lightning is sitting on my shelf queued up) and Jodorowsky (hell yeah.)
- Julio Ramón Ribeyro. Peruvian writer. Again, don’t know where to begin. I’ve only spotted two collections of his short stories translated to English so far.
- Boris Vian. French. I’ve stumbled onto him before, oddly and most recently, when i was messing around with the customer service website at work. It’s horrible, in that my bookstore carries so few books, even compared to the inadequate selection we carried several years ago. However, when i get bored at work, if a foreign author pops into my head, i search the name, then click the translator or person who wrote the foreward, to see if any unfamiliar authors appear. Messing around with Ramond Queneau rewarded me with Boris Vian last night, and it was quite the surprise that Vila- Matas dragged him back to my attention this morning. One of the commenters on this video that turned up calls him “the jazz pataphysician.”
From this article on Larry David (which didn’t have the stones or the critical acumen to say that Woody Allen’s Whatever Works was probably one of the worst movies ever made):
In the US, reruns of Curb Your Enthusiasm are about to begin airing for the first time on a mainstream cable channel, requiring the cast to record new dialogue to be dubbed in over the show’s copious swearing. (“You say ‘freak’ for ‘fuck’ and ‘shoot’ for ‘shit’ and ‘baloney’ for ‘bullshit’, or whatever fits the movement of your lips,” David says.) Perhaps in an effort to convey the David world-view to a wider audience, each episode will be followed by a 10-minute panel discussion to contemplate the “issues” raised by the show.
The issues? That makes it all sound rather studious. “Just the issues,” David says. “Like, finding out your doctor is gay and then going up to him and saying, ‘I didn’t know you were gay!’ – is that a bad thing to do? Why is it bad? Is it OK to tell a blind person his girlfriend is unattractive, or should you pretend she’s attractive?” For a moment, he looks almost entirely serious – deadpan bordering on dead earnest – as though we have finally penetrated through to the questions in life that really matter. “You know. Things like that.”