A few days ago I was called into a development meeting at Gestation with Arnold and George, the executive in charge of distribution. The long and short of it was this; they were cutting the advertising campaign from $350,000 to $675.84. To assuage my fears that this might have some effect on the way the film was going to be marketed George explained this new idea he’d had while surfing the net one night as he was watching a movie, checking his email, playing online poker and downloading the new Bon Jovi cd from iTunes.

He wanted me to come up with a series of skits using the main actors from the film which we would then leak to websites like YouTube and MeToobe. Gestation would provide the video cameras and crew and I could do whatever I wanted just as long as it generated real, measurable buzz on the web. You can actually view this meeting because George had his nephew there with a video camera.

So, to keep my sanity and to keep from committing suicide or homicide I enlisted the aid of young video filmmaker and web activist Chioke Nassor. Together we sketched out a series of ideas. The first one was with Steve Buscemi. I suggested we do something where Steve and I get into a fight and I accuse him of doing more press for his film Interview than for Delirious. Steve was into the plan and as a matter of fact it was his idea for what came to be the actual set up. He was doing a long press day in a hotel room full of journalists in NY. He said, “Why don’t you just come by and we’ll see what happens?”

Nothing was rehearsed. The basic idea was agreed upon between Steve and me and Chioke was there with the camera. You can view the result HERE. The original intent was to leak it as if it was real. Most people responded that it was funny though many told me they were deeply saddened to see my relationship with Steve so seriously deteriorated.

We had such a good time–it made me able to take less and less of the Prozac/Thorzine booster my shrink had recently prescribed–that we plunged ahead and did one with Gina Gershon. The idea that Chioke and I sketched out was that I was to bring Gina to a hotel room with her under the impression she was going to do a very personal, intimate video portrait about her career and about Delirious. Chioke directed, cast, prop mastered and edited the whole thing. Again, we did not rehearse. There was no written dialogue. We simply turned on the cameras and did 6 complete takes in quick succession.

This is what resulted.

There is method to the madness. And madness to the method. The point of the endeavor is to show the absolute desperation and hysteria that goes into promoting a film. But beyond that, what goes into promoting a career, a personality—a life. It may be extreme but it is not far from the truth: Everything is promotable. Anything is valid if it brings attention.

Chioke and I are going to do a couple more if I survive this trip to LA. If you like the clips drop a comment on me. You could really help too by passing on the links to fellow inmates, reform school residents and filmgoers.

Many Thanks.

Posted by:Tom

17 thoughts on “ 16. Madness ”

  1. The Gina Gershon Sex Leak is really good, believable. I’ll try to pass it on.

    Been a long time, I’ve been wanting to be able to communicate with you, one way, or, at least reciprocally, Mister Dicillo. Bust, save all the blablabla, I’ve always wondered, as I’ve seen you struggle with each great film you’ve made, why have you become hostage to large and larger budgets (that’s my assumption), which end up requiring more paybacks and promotion, then an intelligent film (or your bad luck) can provide? I mean, certain up and coming filmmakers start with small budgets and make memorable films. Why not go backwards and make a great film based on script and willing participants; it would be less financially debilitating and would most likely produce the same viewership results.
    Anyway, just a thought.

    Enjoying the blog.

    Take care,
    Damien

  2. I think the clips are fantastic. I really hope you do more because they’re very entertaining. It makes me want to see Delirious even more, which is the whole point, I suppose.

  3. The youtubes of Gina and Steve were both really funny, especially Gina’s. That kind of stuff, I think, is better than those lame-ass, over the top promos that you see for Spiderman and shit. I posted Gina’s over on her fan community on LiveJournal (http://gershon_fans.livejournal.com), so people could see it there, too.

    Good luck with the film, it’s a great one and I hope it does well!

    Jessica

  4. I could have sworn I’d left a comment here earlier today, but who knows if I actually hit the ‘submit’ button, or if I’m making it up. Whatever.

    I remember saying that I think the promo videos with Steve and Gina are amazing, and much more entertaining than the over the top commercials you see for Spiderman and those other big budget action movies. I like the more obscure, random stuff though; I’d much rather sit and watch a 4 minute long YouTube video that’s actually entertaining to watch, than I would a 30 second long commercial packed full of cheesy special effects, for a movie I could care less about.

    Here’s to hoping that people see those two videos (and if there are more to come in the future, then those too, obviously), the trailer for the film, or the random clips that are up on YouTube right now, and decide to go see the film when it comes out, because it’s an amazing film and it deserves to be seen.

    I put a link to the Delirious MySpace page, as well as the “Gina Gershon sex tape” video, in a recent entry in Gina’s fan community over on LiveJournal (http://gershon_fans.livejournal.com), so hopefully that’ll bring more attention to the page, as well as the film.

    Again, good luck with everything.

    Jessica

  5. To Damian,
    Alas, I wish the budgets were getting higher and higher. Not to line my frayed pockets but to get a few goddamm more shooting days. Delirious was shot in 25 days, man. I suppose you’re right in one sense, why not make a movie for $30,000 instead of $3 million? Listen, nothing is going to stop me from making the movies the way I know in my soul they should be made. I’m sorry if it takes so long. Believe me, it kills me too. One thing Delirious taught me, never, never, never give in to the Hostess Twinkie forces that threaten to smother you at every turn.
    Thanks for the support. See the film. You’ll see why I put 6 years into it.
    best,
    Tom

  6. To Jessica,
    Yes, you did leave a comment. I just got back from LA on a publicity tour for Delirious and am a little crazed. Plus, I’m very new to blogging and only now realized there is a section I need to check frequently for comments.
    I’m very glad you like the clips. We did them to supplement a completely non-existent promotion budget. Much credit should go to Chioke Nassor who had the original idea. We have one more planned which will shoot this Monday and I have a feeling you will like it too.
    I thank you sincerely for your words of support.
    Tom

  7. To Sara,
    Again, I’m glad you like the clips. We took a bit of a risk there but decided the best thing to do was to make a series of incidents that literally cut everybody (myself included) to the bone. It’s so strange, some of the most brutal, heartrending and vicious human behavior I’ve ever seen has been in the entertainment business.
    Thanks very much for your interest and support.
    More to come.
    best,
    Tom

  8. Yeah, I realized after I’d left the second comment, that they had to be approved before they showed up and I felt kind of like an idiot. I’m looking forward to the next skit; like I said, I’ve loved the two I’ve seen so far. I’ve seen them plastered everywhere lately and I’ve also been getting Google alerts containing links to the videos like mad, so they’re apparently making their way out there, which is great. I just wish I was able to make it to a city where the film was being shown so I could see it again, but hey, I’ll be making sure the friends I have in those cities go out and see it, for sure.

    Anyway, best of luck with the rest of the press in LA!

    Jessica

  9. Thanks Jessica. The release schedule right now is listed on deliriousthemovie.com. Everything will depend how the film does when it opens next week. Crazy isn’t it? Independent films are governed by the exact same priorities as Hollywood films; Opening Weekend Box office. If people do connect with the film then we will be expanding it to as many other cities as we can. I sincerely hope you get a chance to see it on the big screen. Something amazing happens when the film screens in front of an audience. Also, you’ll really get a chance to see the film presented the way it was meant to be seen–bigger than life.
    best,
    Tom

  10. I’ve actually seen it twice already, both times at Sundance, and I absolutely loved it. Just walking around during the festival, I heard a lot of people saying great things about the film, and with it having been shown at a number of other festivals, I’m sure the word of mouth alone will bring crowds to the theaters it’s being shown in. I hope so anyway, because you’ve got a great film here and it deserves to be seen!

    Jessica

  11. Well, Jessica, I must say I’m both impressed AND flattered. You saw the film twice at Sundance? Christ, I couldn’t get some distributors to come even once.
    Once again, on behalf of everyone who worked so hard on the film, thanks for your support and encouragement.
    Tom

  12. Ain’t no thang, haha. Would’ve seen it more if I’d been able to. You’re very much welcome and again, good luck with everything that you have worked so hard on!

    Jessica

  13. Hey, I guess this is a little late, but it was cool to meet you at the Santa Monica premiere of Delirious at that little theater on Montana. I can’t tell you how much I love your films, and it’s even better now that I found your site and see you’re a fan of Cheever. My friend and I recently saw Peter Dinklage out in public and she said, “There goes that midget guy from Nip Tuck.” And I said, “No, there goes that midget guy from Living in Oblivion.” Everyone just looked at me strangely. It’s sad how people can’t get priorities straight, ya know?
    I know you sometimes get frustrated with the system and development hell, but just know that you are head and shoulders above guys like me, who can’t get past the option stage. Yes, it’s nice to get optioned, and I am grateful, but an option and $1.90 gets me coffee at S’bucks.

    Chet
    (my real name is the same as yours, but it would get awfully confusing on this blog with too many of us, and I refuse to go by Thomas).

  14. Hey Chethomas,
    Thanks very much for writing in. That screening of Delirious in Santa Monica was very intense for me. The whole plan had been to get as many people there as possible to help build “word of mouth” for the LA opening. Of course the folks in charge of building the word didn’t do too much and you were one of may 20 people in the audience.
    But, I’m very glad you were there and I greatly appreciate your support.
    A few nights ago my wife and I were walking to the subway in the west Village and we got behind a couple talking about film. The guy says, “You know, the little guy who was in Station Agent.” His girlfriend said, “Yeah, yeah I know who you mean.”
    I felt like tapping them on the shoulder and saying, “Yes, but first I cast him in Living In Oblivion when no one knew him at all.” Peter is an amazing actor and I’m very happy for him.
    I’m glad you like Cheever. I think his work is amazing. You should also check out Richard Yates; there is some similarity.
    Listen, if you are getting your scripts optioned then all I can say is the same thing you said to me: you are miles ahead of the people writing and writing with no professional results whatsoever. But I certainly can understand your frustration at not seeing one or more come to fruition. Do you know any independent directors? In other words do you have a way to get your material more in the hands of people who are more likely to get the film made? You might have to settle for a smaller option fee but it is like I tell everyone who asks me about this business: there are no roads, no rules and nothing means anything. Hannibal crossed the Alps in the middle of winter to surprise and defeat his enemy. That is what filmmaking is like–choosing the difficult, unexpected path that at least gives the possibility of action and therefore the possibility of success.
    Keep writing.
    best,
    Tom

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