Yesterday I made the trek to Indiana for the “B” Movie Celebration. First up, a Director’s Panel with Tom Savini, Lloyd Kaufman, Jim Wynorski, Dan Hall, & Jim O’Rear. It was moderated by ___ and I had a blast. I have met Lloyd Kaufman several times, although every time I introduce myself, I never mention it because this guy meets several thousand filmmakers, nonetheless people, every year, so I don’t expect myself to make that much of an impression on him. I finally met Tom Savini face to face, which after meeting and working with so many people who worked with him, that was nice. [url=http://www.videomaker.com/article/13043/2/][img]http://www.sonnyboo.com/images1/blog/aug07/bmovie08.jpg[/img][/url]
During the panel, the moderator, Steve “Papaw” Pyatte, aimed questions at us and make sure that HORRORS OF WAR got mentioned prominently, to which I am shocked given the resume of the other people on the panel. Jim Wynorski just directed another feature for the Sci Fi Channel, Tom Savini directed Dawn of the Dead + starred in From Dusk Till Dawn and Grindhouse, and then there’s me. I’m not in the same league with these guys. I was supposed to be representing the “B” Movie Director of Tomorrow, with the “B” movie directors of yesterday and today. One thing that cannot be denied is that Lloyd Kaufman is not only a marketing whore (like myself), but his passion is unparalleled. Tom Savini spoke much the artistry and his sincerity came through clearly.
After the panel, the first and most important comment made to me was from Tom Savini who asked a lot about HORRORS OF WAR. He really wanted to see it, and I felt flattery. I then talked to Lloyd and thanked him for his honesty to many a filmmaker to whom he will not lie and say, “I’ll distribute your first movie, but you’re not going to make any money on it. No one makes any money on their first feature.” I’ve heard that from several first time directors and read this in interviews, etc. and for many people it’s true, but unlike shyster companies, he’s upfront and clear.
The screening went well. I still can’t sit in on HORRORS OF WAR anymore. I can’t watch the movie again yet. Still not distant enough. I did an intro, and of course the customary Q&A. I love Q&A. It’s like trying out material as a stand up, only it’s a niche audience and with this movie, I’ve been trying out my routine for 2 years now. I have an idea what stories amuse and interest people about the movie, but truthfully I love talking about making movies. This part never bores me. What WE accomplished on this film does not fall short of amazing. I feel like our story should be told which is where the WebDocs & the documentary come from. People seem interested in these stories MAKING the film more than the movie itself.
Afterwards, one of the things you do at a festival is hang out & talk to people. Normally, I don’t do this. Contrary to how open I appear on a blog, I’m actually not that into personal appearances. They make me uncomfortable. So my faux confidence results from compensating for my short comings in social settings. So, after a screening and a Q&A, my instinct is to go home or hide in a dark corner by myself and over analyze how people felt about the movie and my talk. Last night was a rare exception where I went to a bar and talked with some of the festival organizers and other filmmakers. We chatted for hours. As I expected, the film scene in Indianapolis is the same as Columbus and Cleveland and Cincinnati, and everywhere. There are always these egos and misunderstandings from the Internet. I think it’s the new web-culture more than anything that causes all this nonsense.
I did finally get Windows Vista ™ off of my new main editor. Thank god. It was using 700-800 MEG of RAM just sitting there. Now it hovers more around 200-300, and the rest can blissfully be used in my actual video editing endeavors. Damn Microsoft ™. I love the new speed of the dual core processing from Intel ™ and how it rips through my basic processing like butter. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to really do much with it though. I’ve been juggling 800 gigs of files from the basement to the upstairs computer and vice versa. Everything is wacky in terms of my file management. My OCD has tweaked out and I’m in denial, so I basically shut down my thought process.
I vacuumed Friday. This is momentous since our vacuum cleaner died. “V” freaked out. If you don’t know anything about cats, they are all about their environment. They rub their oils on furniture (and people) to mark their territory. So when you vacuum or clean, you’re nuking their markings and basically offending them. Combine that with the oppressive sounds and you’re torturing your feline family members. Of course, I derive much amusement from this. Cousette and “V” look at me like I just killed their friend.
I was happy that my most recent debate online never delved into the realm of name calling. It was frustrating for several people to try to fight our own pig-headedness, but it never got misunderstood as a fight. Although, truth be told in a private email, personal statements, assumptions, and I even got a single name calling on me – but by addressing it by saying, “let’s not go there, it’s not personal.” We got through it unscathed, albeit no one changed their minds about anything, but ironically, I’ll bet we all think that the peanut gallery believes we “won” the debate. No one changed their minds. I fought hard for no other reason than the fact that I believe in all aspects of life that there is no such thing as “better” except for our own personal beliefs. It’s no different than debating which religion is right. It can only be “better” for yourself.
I detest competition because of this belief. For all that people might assume or believe that I am arrogant, I think it’s important to notate that my belief structure does not allow me to think I am “better” than anyone. There is no such thing for me. It’s like comparing apples and a Cadillac, it’s so different. I hate sports because I don’t really like the idea of trying to “beat” other people as that seems futile to me. Can you really compare two athletes and say one is truly “better” than another one? Some people can, and I think they are entitled to their opinion. I myself cannot. I don’t see the comparison between two people and their own separate physicality’s, experiences, and skill sets and making a valid reconciliation.
I guess that’s why so many filmmakers view filmmaking as a form of sport, as if there are winners and losers. Too many people spend time trying to be “better” than another filmmaker as opposed to just trying to be “better” than their last film. It’s hard (impossible) for me to relate since I am singularly concerned with making myself better and I don’t rate myself against other filmmakers per se. I can think someone like John Whitney is “better” than me, but that draws no inspiration for me. It never occurs to me to think about what someone else is doing or has done and then try to top it or even factor it in to what I am doing. At best, I can draw inspiration in someone’s success, wish them well in their endeavors and apply maybe a technique, like using more dolly/crane shots that were effectively used or even start uploading videos to a website.
This idea of filmmaking as a competition even goes into the realm of keeping film festivals, websites, or other resources to themselves. Either because they don’t want to share or just to play the odds of having less people to compete with, regardless for me, I generally share my resources. What have I got to be afraid of? If someone else gets “picked” or discovered, I’d find a way to use that to my advantage. If John Whitney had made it on ON THE LOT and I didn’t, all I could think was how cool it would have been. I’d have even sat through the entire first episode if someone I knew got that chance. I’m not saying it wouldn’t have been hard (really really really really hard), but I’d have stomached it. I’d have been his biggest cheerleader no less. Luckily, fate likes me enough that I did not have to test my ability to avert blood pouring out of my eyes and my soul sucked into the void of reality TV.
I need more hours in a day. I can do so much more if somehow more hours were added to a day. My list of THINGS TO DO slowly compiles into a heap of Tomorrow’s. Not for long. Things will slow down and all shall be well. I did some jogging. That was hard for me. I haven’t done much of that since junior high, but lord knows I needed it. I won’t be Kevin Smith. I cannot allow myself to procrastinate, plus my luck isn’t as good as his. I don’t mean the hot wife, or even the film career – I mean in the realm of health. He’s luckier than me. As for hot wife, I’ve got my Sexy Fiancé Veronica sleeping next to me all nuded up as I type, so I feel that a fat bastard like me does in fact have some luck (a lot actually).
Like a dream long forgotten, Maverick Entertainment handed me an official release date of the HORRORS OF WAR DVD. November 6th, 2007 will be a day long remembered. First the death of Obi Wan Kenobi, and soon the end of the rebellion… wrong movie. Now maybe I can get excited about the movie again, even for a short while. Maybe then I can stomach editing on the documentary too. It’s hard to work on it myself. It’s yesterday to me and I’m trying to get into tomorrow.
Monday starts another work week. I have a stockpile of movies unwatched, so I’d like to see something. HOT FUZZ remains the top movies I’m struggling to find time for. I still dig SPACED far more from the same writer/star (Simon Pegg) and writer/director (Edgar Wright). That UK TV series was top notch writing/directing/acting and thank god Bret & Linda got me into that. What an effect that had on my eyes. More people should look into SPACED.
This was a big one, so enough of my yakking. Let’s boogie.
Peter John Ross,
Undeserving of the Panel I was on