The Wholly Family – Terry Gilliam short

I have been exploring Distrify, and came across this Terry Gilliam short I had not heard of, The Wholly Family. Even from the trailer, it has the distinctive Terry Gilliam look.

ScreenACT’s Low Budget Feature Pod

Billie and I have been participating in Screen ACT’s Low Budget Feature Pod training and development program. We are thrilled that our concept The Farmer is one of the ten selected for further development.

Screen Hub gave me the chance to write about it for their online newspaper. The article is ScreenACT: In the Realm of Low Budget Features with the Pod People :

Pop quiz: what makes a low budget feature a low budget feature?

If you answered “the budget”, then you are really only part-way there. Yes, low budget movies are known for not having a lot of money. But a successful low budget feature can’t just be one that should have been made for ten (or 100) times more, but has been made for less for whatever reason. A good low budget feature is one where the fact that it is low budget is part of what makes the movie good. It is one where being low budget is an advantage.

That was the message from Stephen Cleary, development professional and founder of Arista, who presented Low Budget Feature Pod, a training and development initiative from ScreenACT. Cleary was joined by distributor John L. Simpson of Titan View and others to present a mountain of information and guide participants from vague concepts to sold, submittable projects.

See the full article on their site.

Fabulous Interview with Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola

NPR’s Fresh Air show recently broadcast an interview with Francis Ford Coppola, which was recorded last September at the Toronto International Film Festival. It is a great interview for filmmakers and lovers of his film.

You can listen to the interview on the player below or read the transcript. One of the nice things about the Fresh Air replay is that they cut in scenes from the movies, illustrating what Coppola is talking about.

[audio:|titles=Francis Ford Coppola Interviewed in 2011 by Cameron Baily]

Among other things, Coppola talks about working with Brando on Apocalypse Now (Amazon affiliate link), and how Brando got $3 million for three weeks work, and that they spent the first week just talking about things like termites. He also describes how he dealt with the fact that Brando arrived much larger than was expected, and how that was, indeed, a problem for the film.

Coppola gives career advice to young filmmakers. (Summary: if you are male, get married; if you are female, don’t get married.)

He talks about how his rehearsal process is built around improvisation rather than working on scenes.  Rob Lowe talks about his experience with this on Rumble Fish in his book Stories I Only Tell My Friends, so between this interview and Lowe’s book, you can see that process from both sides.

Coppola also talks about how he ended up with succes writing the film Patton, for which he won an Oscar, ending the anecdote saying:

What happened was for five years later they revisited it and they had hired George C. Scott and Scott didn’t like the script they then had, and someone remembered this earlier script. So they went back to my script and that’s how I got to be in it. So the moral I want to teach all the young people here is that the same thing you get fired for is what they give the Lifetime Achievement Awards 30 years later.

All in all, a very interesting interview from one of the great directors.

Oh, and here is that famous opening scene from Patton. “Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country…”

Photo credit: fikirbaz


Edward Burns: Interviewed

Edward Burns

Writer/director/actor/producer Ed Burns sat down for a very interesting interview with Creative Screenwriting magazine.  I was particularly interested in his super indie approach to his most recent film Nice Guy Johnny (Amazon), which he deliberately shot the same way he did The Brothers McMullen (again, Amazon) – 12 shooting days, unknown actors, and a $25,000 budget.  Another innovation: it was released first, not in theatres, but on iTunes.  More and more filmmakers (like Kevin Smith in my last post) are skipping  that the bazillions you have to spend to get a decent US mainstream theatrical release, and like the sisters, are doing it for themselves.

Photo credit: David Shankbone

Kevin Smith: interesting and long interview

KCRW’s The Business has a long and interesting interview with filmmaker Kevin Smith.  He talks about everything from self-distribution of Red State to Wayne Gretzky’s advice as applied to filmmaking to his love of pot.  You may or may not love all of his films, but there’s plenty to learn here.  Here’s the blurb:

Listen to the largely unedited version of Kim Masters’ interview with Kevin Smith, recorded in his Hollywood hills home. You’ll hear things that didn’t make it in the show like his sentimental love of Harvey Weinstein, his vast podcast network, his emotions about his daughter, the impact of the Southwest Airlines ordeal, and his successful efforts to lose weight. At one point, he even calls Kim a ‘sexy thing!’  This version takes you right into the interview which took place in his home office as The Business producer, Darby Maloney makes the observation — looking at all the Wayne Gretzky memorabilia — that Smith comes by his love of the hockey hero honestly.

Photo from KCRW’s web site (where there’s no photo credit).