“Have you decorated?” “No, Madame, I have moved.”

August 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

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This is cinema for the post-theatrical era. And people complained that the film was going to go straight to video. Well, we said: “Let’s make something that’s not for theaters.” It will have a theatrical release. But it’s going to have day-and-date. The whole motif of the derelict movie theaters was there right from the beginning.

Bret has this post-Empire idea. He believes that American artists are now in their post-Empire period. Like the Brits were in the previous century. So we’re making art out of the remains of our empire. The junk that’s left over. And this idea of a film that was crowd-funded, cast online, with one actor from celebrity culture, one actor from adult-film culture, a writer and director who have gotten beaten up in the past—felt like a post-Empire thing. And then everything I was afraid of with Lindsay and James started to become a positive. I was afraid we wouldn’t be taken seriously and people would think it’s a joke. My son and my daughter didn’t want me to do it. This just shows you how conservative young kids are. Because they thought it would be embarrassing and a disaster.

The number-one fact of the new low-budget cinema is that it is no longer impossible to get your film financed, but it is impossible to get anybody to see it. Because there are 10,000 people doing the same thing you’re doing, right now. And which one of those 10,000 films is anybody going to see? Fifteen thousand films get submitted to Sundance, 100 or so get shown, eight get picked up, and two make money. Those are the economics. But Bret and I have some cachet. We were in with four different sub-groups of interested people: people who are interested in me, people who are interested in Bret, people who are interested in Lindsay, and people who are interested in James. Lindsay has four million [Twitter] followers, and James has half a million. Bret has 250,000.

How do you see your career in light of your experience on this film?

I went to the casino, I put it all on red, and it came up red. We got lucky with this one. We got lucky with James, we got lucky with Lindsay. We got lucky with the noise factor. When you’re pitching a movie, that’s the question they ask: is it going to make noise? Are you going to hear this above the din of the avalanche of film productions? And if the idea has noise, then they are interested in it. And this idea had noise. Some of it by design, some of it by luck. That’s why I went to Bret, because if it was the two of us together it was going to make noise.

Obviously, Lindsay didn’t have a problem with James Deen.

Oh yes, she did.  read more

ART: Robert Kushner

Relevance I can get at home

April 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

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In a courtroom scene from The Simpsons that has since entered into the television canon, an argument over the ownership of the animated characters Itchy and Scratchy rapidly escalates into an existential debate on the very nature of cartoons. “Animation is built on plagiarism!” declares the show’s hot-tempered cartoon-producer-within-a-cartoon, Roger Meyers Jr. “You take away our right to steal ideas, where are they going to come from?” If nostalgic cartoonists had never borrowed from Fritz the Cat, there would be no Ren & Stimpy Show; without the Rankin/Bass and Charlie Brown Christmas specials, there would be no South Park; and without The Flintstones — more or less The Honeymooners in cartoon loincloths — The Simpsons would cease to exist. If those don’t strike you as essential losses, then consider the remarkable series of “plagiarisms” that links Ovid’s “Pyramus and Thisbe” with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, or Shakespeare’s description of Cleopatra, copied nearly verbatim from Plutarch’s life of Mark Antony and also later nicked by T. S. Eliot for The Waste Land. If these are examples of plagiarism, then we want more plagiarism…

KEY: I IS ANOTHER
This key to the preceding essay names the source of every line I stole, warped, and cobbled together as I “wrote” (except, alas, those sources I forgot along the way). First uses of a given author or speaker are highlighted in red. Nearly every sentence I culled I also revised, at least slightly — for necessities of space, in order to produce a more consistent tone, or simply because I felt like it.  read more

PHOTOGRAPH: Jacques Habbah

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