Howdy lensbusters. Just a quick note to let you know I’m still alive and kicking–punching a little bit too. I’ve got two scripts in development and am working hard to get them into production. The DVD release of Delirious is slated for a mid-March and I am in the process of putting the extras package together. Looks like some nice bonuses will end up on the disk though oddly the Director’s Commentary seems unlikely. The DVD company sees “no value in it.” I’ve done one for every one of my films and have heard from many people saying how informative and entertaining they are. But really, why would you want something like that on a DVD?

 A few months ago I was still staggering around reeling from the “theatrical release” of Delirious and I realized I was getting no answers to any of my questions from no one–not even Dr. Owen. More as an attempt to simply get the questions out of my own brain I sent an email to Roger Ebert with the questions attached. I sent the email blind. I have never met Mr. Ebert. I did appreciate his take on Delirious in his review of the film though and told him if he answered the questions perhaps I’d post them here.

To my amazement Ebert not only answered the questions, he wrote another article on Delirious. I’ve posted the entire article below because I found the answers clear, eloquent and extremely helpful. You should vist Ebert’s site directly here. I’m feeling the urge to blawg again. Lemme know what you think of this.

An indie director asks: Is the whole thing a Kafkaesque nightmare?

Nov 29, 2007

By Roger Ebert

On Aug. 31 I published a review of a movie titled “Delirious.” I gave it 3½ stars. I liked it a lot. Maybe you remember that it starred Steve Buscemi as Les, a mad-dog paparazzo, scorned by the world. He becomes the hero of a clueless street kid named Toby (Michael Pitt) who begs to hang around with him and learn the ropes. So Les moves Toby into a cupboard of his fleabag apartment and pontificates on the art of catching celebrities off-guard. Alison Lohman plays a Paris Hilton-type starlet who is their quarry. Also in the cast: Gina Gershon, Elvis Costello.

You have not seen this movie. You couldn’t have, unless you were one of the few customers who contributed to its depressing $200,000 total national gross. It got enthusiastic reviews from both trade papers, the New York Times, Salon, the New Yorker and so on, but then it disappeared.

It was written and directed by a legend in the indie film world, Tom DiCillo, who has made other movies I’ve liked (“Living in Oblivion,” “Box of Moonlight,” “The Real Blonde”). Yet it opened in two theaters in New York and Los Angeles, was supported by pitiful near-zero advertising, went to one theater in each city after a week, had brief one-theater runs here and there (in Chicago, at the Music Box), and disappeared. It did have the distinction of inspiring a review by Ray Pride of New City Chicago that reads like ol’ Ray overdosed on Mean Pills. To criticize the great Buscemi for having skinny legs that look bad in black socks is over-reaching, I would say.

I’ve never met DiCillo, but after the disappointing release of his movie I got an e-mail from him.

“To give you some indication of how disoriented I feel at the moment,” he wrote, “I am getting no real, tangible feedback from anyone. And so I’m kind of struggling on my own to make sense of how a film I put my soul into, that Buscemi put his soul into, a film that generated such strong, positive reviews, had no life in the market.

“I’m not talking about gigantic box office success. I’m simply speaking of a modestly successful run that earned people their money back and, more productively, helped encourage other financiers and studios to invest in another one of my films. Of course I’m extremely proud of the film. Of course I feel a sense of victory in just getting it made. But for a filmmaker to survive there has to be some form of return.

“This is not intended to be a complaint or Whine Fest. I know this is a brutal business and I’m not asking for, nor expecting, special treatment, babying or sympathy from anyone. I’m just looking for some answers.”

In his blog (tomdicillo.com), DiCillo pulls no punches in describing the way his film was mistreated and manhandled. I think he may have a book in there somewhere. But my concern is that an entertaining film with a superb Buscemi performance has disappeared, and that it never had a chance. In his message DiCillo went on to employ colorful language about his nightmare, and then he presented me with a list of questions. I don’t have the answers, because there probably aren’t any, but, because they address a crisis in the indie film world, here are DiCillo’s questions and my attempts to answer them:

1. The film got unusually strong reviews. Why did it not find an audience theatrically?

Reviews work best in connection with a visible opening. When moviegoers have never seen an ad for a movie and it isn’t playing in their city, state or region of the nation, what difference do reviews make?

Apart from that, here’s a funny thing: Lots of moviegoers trust a critic less than a brainless ad promising them the sun, the moon and the stars. They have a certain reluctance to see a movie that might be good. Millions of teenage boys, in particular, flock to the stupid and the brutal, and have no interest in any film that involves words like “paparazzi.” (Millions of others are our hope for the future, of course, but opening weekends are driven by horror, superheroes and comic book and game adaptations, and depend on the fanboys.)

2. Were the U.S. distributors right in passing on it? In other words, is “Delirious” unmarketable?

Because I enjoyed it from beginning to end, I wouldn’t call it unmarketable, but it isn’t a high-concept (i.e., low-concept) film, and it needs a chance to be discovered.

Let me give you an example. The second funniest film I’ve seen in the last 10 years is “The Castle” (1997), from Australia. When I showed it at my Overlooked Film Festival, the 1,600 people in the audience almost lost their lunch, they were laughing so hard. It grossed less than a million in North America. It didn’t have stars, it wasn’t about castles, and hardly anybody went. So it wasn’t “marketable.” Because I Iove movies, it cheers me up when people have a good time at one. This one was released by the old Miramax. “The test audience didn’t like it,” Harvey Weinstein told me, after he yanked it. OK, either (a) the test audience was wrong, or (b) it was the wrong test audience.

3. If a small film like “Delirious” is judged by its opening weekend gross for survival, what does that say about the state of U.S. independent film? In other words, if an independent film needs a big opening weekend to succeed, how does this make it different from a Hollywood film?

It says indies are being forced out by the Opening Weekend Syndrome. Indie films will rarely have big opening weekends because they don’t have the publicity machines to grind out press junkets, talk-show guest shots, celeb magazine profiles, big ad campaigns, and fast-food tie-ins. They need a chance to find an audience. “Chariots of Fire” (1981) opened in one theater, crept into two or three, tip-toed across the country, had great word of mouth, played for months, and won the Oscar. Today, it would have closed after that first theater. Here’s a hypothesis: Anyone reading this article is likely to enjoy a movie more if it doesn’t have free collectibles at McDonald’s.

4. If a big opening weekend is the only guarantee of life for an independent film, does this affect the kinds of independent films being made?

Hard to say, because so many indie films are labors of love that their makers had to make. Consider Miranda July’s “Me and You and Everyone We Know” (2005), which had a $2 million budget and grossed less than $4 million. Not so great. When the lights went up at Sundance, Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly was across the aisle from me. “Whatd’ya think?” she asked me or I asked her, I can’t remember which. I remember the reply: “I think it’s the best film in the festival.” Other person: “Me, too.” How in the hell can a movie that delicate and magical not find a big audience when I know there are people starving for films like that?

5. Does independent film exist anymore?

Yes, barely. The irony is that indies are embraced at film festivals, which have almost become an alternative distribution channel. “Delirious,” for example, was invited by San Sebastian, Sundance, San Francisco, Seattle, Avignon, Munich and Karlovy Vary. All major festivals. But you didn’t make “Delirious” to sell tickets for festivals. I frankly think it’s time for festivals to give their entries a cut of the box office.

If there is room for hope, it’s that good actors are happy to appear in them because the indies are a repository of great roles. Halle Berry has starred in movies budgeted at millions, but won the Oscar for “Monster’s Ball.” Robert De Niro top-lined millions of bucks, but won the Oscar for the low-budget “Raging Bull.” Charlize Theron could pull down $1 million-$2 million a picture or more, but won the Oscar for “Monster,” which cost lots less than a million. Actors know that beyond a certain budget level, mega-productions are less likely to contain great acting opportunities. What’s being marketed is the spectacle, not the performances.

6. Can any of these questions even be answered? Should I even bother with trying to find the answers? Is the whole thing a Kafkaesque nightmare or can it all be shrugged off simply by saying, “You win some, you lose some.”

I don’t know. Maybe DVDs and Netflix and Blockbuster on Demand and cable TV and pay-per-view and especially high-quality streaming on the Internet will rescue you and your fellow independents. I come from an innocent and hopeful time when we went to the Art Theater in Champaign-Urbana to see anything they were showing, because we knew it wouldn’t have Frankie Avalon in it, and they gave you a free cup of coffee, and we thought that was way cool. It was a movie by Cassavetes or Shirley Clarke? Or DiCillo or Sayles or Jarmusch? How did we get so lucky?

Posted by:Tom

59 thoughts on “ 38. Ebert Responds ”

  1. Step one. Release the film on file sharing network. ThePirateBay.org.
    Step two. Release the DVD with as much added content as you can think of.
    Step three. Your audience will find you.

    It worked for “The Man from Earth”.

    There’s no point in doing a theatrical release unless you’ve got a huge marketing campaign going. And the only other way you’ll get your film out there is by having it seen by as many people as possible. You then give them something a little extra on the DVD — the special features and commentaries — and they’ll buy it if they love the film.

    Your first goal is to get as many people as possible to see it. File sharing networks will give you that critical mass of people. Then you monetize these eyeballs.

    That’s the new internet business model for indie films.

  2. I saw Delirious at the opening of the exground film festival in Germany with an audience of 400 people, who clearly liked the movie a lot.

    I googled Delirious today and came across your site through the Ebert review. Quite surprised that the movie hasn’t found its audience in the US.

    PS: looking forward to the extras package on dvd 🙂

  3. That article is my new best friend. I thought it was very generous of Ebert to pay as much attention to the movie as he did. I only hope it pays off come the DVD release.

    He is so great. I just love old E.

  4. Hey Elver,
    thanks for your comment. I agree with you in principal; the whole independent distribution game has changed beyond recognition. I think Ebert addressed that a bit in his piece. In my case I had to assign all rights to the film to the company that financed it–the budget was over 3 million. So my ability to guide the film into alternative markets like file sharing is extremely limited. These guys have the legal right to distribute the film any way they want. Part of the deal I made with the devil I guess, in order to at least get the film financed.
    But, your take on the DVD release is right on. I’m fighting very hard to get these people to understand that the more you put in there the more they will get out of it. I won’t get anything monetarily; only they will.
    The only thing I will get as you correctly point out, is that finally people will see the film.
    You sound like you’ve got some experience in this area. Good luck to you. Feel free to keep sharing your thoughts here.
    best,
    Tom

  5. Hey Christine,
    Thanks for writing. That is interesting news about the screening in Germany. Where in Deutschland do you live? I’m glad the people at the screening liked the film but unfortunately we are having the same difficulty in Germany finding a distrubutor as we did in the US. Most of the German distributors have passed on the film.

    That is a mystery to me because as you’ve seen audiences in Germany genuinely respond to the film. I really don’t know why distributors do not see the connection.

    If you read some more of the blog you will see that the main reason the film did not find an audience in the US is because literally no money was spent on distribution. No one even knew the film was out there.

    If you have any more news from German please let me know.
    best,
    Tom

  6. My dear Mona,
    So great to hear from you again. I noticed your netnods to the DVD release and to Buscemi’s comments on filmmaking. Thank you.

    I agree with you about Roger Ebert’s article. The most amazing thing about it to me is that it simply calls things as they are and it does so without malice or bitterness. To receive such support from a critic of his experience is a real boost to all independent filmmakers. I am immensely grateful to him.

    I hope the DVD release does better than the “theatrical”. I am getting the runaround from the usual gang of idiots as far as what will be included on the extras. Apparently I not only burned all bridges in my fictitious blogging but I insulted all the fish as well. One guy has even been quoted as saying, “If there is anything DiCillo personally wants on the DVD I will go out of my way to make sure it is NOT on there.”

    What a sweetheart.

    My best to you, Mona.
    Tom

  7. Hey Tom, I’m glad to know you are alive.
    About this last post, as said a comrade in arms called Goldman: “Nobody knows anything” I think that with this reference the cinema is defined perfectly. Anyway, it’s true that independent films don’t have all the support they deserve. If you want a piece of advice, you could come to Europe like Woody Allen and get funding for your next films. Co-productions are in fashion now. For example, from Spain you could get about 5 millions euros more or less (I think). It’s not bad!!!

    Best regards.

  8. Hey Tom,

    Great to see you blogging again.

    Can’t believe they’re bickering over doing a commentary. Maybe you should do a commentary on not being able to do the commentary and post it on the site!

    Will

  9. Hola Victor M!
    Que pasa? I know that Goldman quote very well. It helps a little bit sometimes. I don’t want everyone to think I’m just sitting here complaining because I’m not. Many other directors have horror stories of their own that make mine look like eating Snickers with the Olsen Twins.
    I would love to make a film in Europe. Spain would be incredible to shoot in. I know their are some financing requirements for percentage of cast and crew which might be a problem.
    It is great to hear from you.
    best,
    Tom

  10. Hey Will,
    Good to hear from you. I’ve got both your new pieces downloaded and will be listening to them momentarily.
    Glad you’re keeping busy.
    I know, these people just keep dumbfounding me with their mean-spirited and closed-minded thinking. I guess it all comes down to ego–they don’t like that I made it public how they blew the distribution. So now they will get back at me any way they can, even if it means hurting themselves.
    You’ll be hearing from me soon.
    best,
    Tom

  11. Yo Chio’
    Where are you my friend? Did you make it across? Drop me a line. Good to see your comment here. I’m glad you appreciated Ebert’s answers. I think they are helpful to all filmmakers right now.
    best,
    Tom

  12. I saw Delirious 2 days ago in Melbourne at the Cinema Nova. It only had one showing time (4:00pm) and ‘Exclusive’ was printed next to the title. I really enjoyed the movie, Micheal Pitt was superb in it and Steve Buscemi was very good but I think Pitt was really excellent (and I’m a big Buscemi fan).
    Everyone who came out of the cinema looked really pleased so I think everyone enjoyed it.
    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I loved Delirious, it was so well made and it came together so beautifully at the end.
    Good luck for the future!

  13. Hello Emi,
    Thanks very much for your comment. I too am very impressed with Michael Pitt’s performance–and I am the biggest Buscemi fan on the planet (I wrote Delirious for him). But I think Pitt really brought something incredible to his performance that made Toby unforgettable. One of my favorite scenes of the two of them together is the one where Buscemi shows Pitt how do download photos and send them to editors. A great example of give and take among actors.
    Thanks also for the info on the screening. I guess this means this is how the film is being released in Australia. Do you know how long the film is playing in Melbourne? I hope it wasn’t only the one screening.
    I’d be eager to hear any more info you have of what is going with the film downunder.
    Great to hear from you.
    best,
    Tom

  14. Hello Tom,

    I just discovered your blog recently but it has been an amazing reading. It is really sad what is happening with Delirious and with other many indie films that can reach an audience willing to watch these stories.
    Have you considered to shoot your next movie in digital? I’m making my first feature in HD and is such a convenience format, it shoots faster, longer and cheaper and the editing workflow is great as well. Nowadays more well known directors and embracing digital (people like Lynch, Coppola, Mann, Rodriguez) and i don’t think it is a step back but likely the future.
    I hope there is a chance to get Delirious here in Tokyo, if you need any info about theaters here let me know. I hope you keep making tons of movies, cause people like you encourage us so much.

    Mucha suerte,

    Daniel

  15. Tom,
    Thanks for replying. I think that the acting in Delirious was superb and I agree that Pitt brought something to his performance. I really enjoyed all the scenes with interaction between Buscemi and Pitt, I loved seeing the two different characters reacting to each other.
    The film isn’t available at the two major cinemas (Reading and Hoyts) and as far as I can see only available at the Nova (which is only one cinema, not a chain of cinemas). It has been showing for 7 weeks and it is still showing next week, they have moved the session time to 1 in the afternoon and it is still showing once a day (it was actually released on November 1st here so I suppose it progressively has been showing less frequently).
    It did get a fair few very good reviews from what I have seen.
    Hope that gives you a good idea of what its been like in Melbourne.
    Em

    PS. Please convince them to do a directors commentary, it is by far my favorite part of the DVD and is always very interesting.

  16. Hey Daniel,
    Great to hear from you. A very informative comment. I would gladly shoot a feature in HD. It took me 6 years to raise the money for Delirious and I really don’t want to wait that long again. I do love the silky beauty of real film though and it seems like a real tragedy to me that only the stoopit big budget lobotomy films get to use it.
    I will keep myself open to every option now though.
    Good luck to you on your first feature. Or is it your first feature on HD? If it is your first feature I have only two things of advice for you. 1) Simplify your script so you have enough time to discover things on set. 2) Enjoy yourself. Filmmaking is without question excruciating at times but if you find the ratio of agony greater than the pleasure then make some adjustments.
    I hope Delirious gets to Japan. I think it would do well there. No one at the distribution company is passing on info as to the status of a Japanese sale. I will try to find out.
    best,
    Tom

  17. Hello Emi,
    Thanks for the news from Melbourne. Apparently an Australian distributor did a small arthouse release there. Do you know if Delirious is playing elsewhere in Australia? Can you drive around to all the cities for me and see?
    (joke)
    I’m pushing hard to get the director’s commentary. It is hanging by thread right now but still some hope. I think it is good that you enjoy them so much. Some directors hate to do them. I must confess it is a bit odd. They sit you alone in a room with a microphone and just turn the film on. You don’t stop. If you stop it costs them more money. So, you just keep going. Usually I make some notes to keep me on track. But it is just me and the film. Kind of lonely–but then in some way it is a return right back to the origin; just me and the film.
    Keep writing in. I enjoy your comments.
    best,
    Tom

  18. Hello again Tom,

    Thanks a lot for the advices, i always find your comments on books or interviews very inspiring and with a lot of common sense. Yes it is both a first feature and HD, i think one more month to finish it, and although it’s been more than a year struggling i enjoyed the whole process and can’t complain. Your experience with Delirious tell us how much love real filmmakers put into their movies.
    Definitely Delirious would do well in Japan, here there is a huge obsession with fame, it is a perfect theme. Even with a low publicity investment, i think the mouth-to-ear would work fine. Inland Empire got a very limited released but it’s been playing since July.

    Best,

    Daniel

  19. Nice to have you back, Tom.

    This negative distributive experience, with Delirious, is different than with your other movies, I believe. I think for the future, you’ll have to come up with your own release strategy, one that utilizes the full potential of the latest technologies and trends. As well, signing with the devil should no longer be an option.

    Personally, I think that artists have never had so much liberty as today, to create and release unconstrained reality and fiction. More and more, artists don’t have to go through the big machine; artists maintain rights to their work and distribute it cheaply through alternative methods, reaping the benefits, themselves–directly (even if it’s just pride).

    You need to find a way to break the habit of distributive dependence and other deleterious addictions.

    Easy to say, I suppose, harder to do. But you’ve got respect, got integrity–you can do it.

    Good luck and looking forward to March (director’s commentary gotta be there, man).

    Damien

  20. Hey Daniel,
    Well, I’m very excited for you making your first feature. I wish you the best of luck. I’m glad you find some of the things I say useful. Here’s one last one: getting onto the set and directing is a process that sometimes takes years. It is a luxury. Treat it like such and bring yourself to every single moment if you can. If you enjoy half of them you will have a good movie.
    I too think Delirious could do well in Japan. So far I don’t think there has been any interest from Japanese distributors.
    I’ll be writing more later. Check in every now and then if you’re not to crazed.
    best,
    Tom

  21. Hello Damian, my friend.
    Good to have you back as well. And once again you have made a very astute observation. It is indeed imperative that I find a better way to not only make my films but to release them as well. This one just ain’t workin’.
    I think you are absolutely correct in saying there is much more freedom and opportunity for directors know than there used to be. The moment you look outside the narrow confines of the “normal route” then a number of possibilities present themselves. You can be sure I will be checking them out on the next one. The slight hiccup to your theory though is the budget. If you get someone to give you upwards of a million dollars then they ask for (and are expected to receive) a basic ownership and control of distribution option. There is no way around it except to make the next film for under 100 grand. Which I could do.
    Anyway, great to hear from you. I will continue the fight. You do the same.
    best,
    Tom

  22. What I’ve seen people do before is if they won’t do a Director Commentary then the director will make it themselves and release it online as an MP3 file. Then you load the MP3 file and listen to it as you watch the movie. Not the preferred way but somethings better than nothing!

  23. Hey Sam,
    This is a good idea. Thanks for suggesting it.
    The DVD company’s argument now goes something like this: “We don’t want to put things like the commentary or what awards the film has won because it will confuse the audience too much. We don’t want them to think this is just a smart independent film but actually a big title that will attract big across-the-board audiences.”

    My argument: Nobody in the USA even saw the film, let alone knows anything about it. Put whatever you can on the box and the dvd to let people know something about the film.

    We shall see. Thanks for writing.
    best,
    Tom

  24. Welcome back!

    It will be a total shame if you don’t get to do the commentary on the DVD–your commentaries are probably the most entertaining and insightful I’ve ever listened to (the ones from Living in Oblivion and Double Whammy, I think). Made me laugh, made me shake my head and groan at what you went through to get those films made. They really illuminated what that process is like for an independent film and made it fascinating to someone who’d never given it much thought before (as your blog has).

    Still looking forward to the DVD–I’m totally disillusioned by my theater since they still haven’t shown the film.

  25. Hey Chris,
    So nice to hear from you again. I appreciate your thoughts about the Director’s Commentary. Sometimes they can be extremely dull and self-congratulatory. I try to keep them informative and somehow in synch with what is happening on screen–not an easy task when what they generally do is plunk you in front of a microphone, turn on the film and say, Go. They prefer to do it in one pass, without stopping because it is cheaper.
    I’m still negotiating on the Delirious commentary. Apparently there will be two DVD releases: one in March exclusive to rental via Blockbuster and one in May primarily guaged toward sales. I’ve been told the Blockbuster release will have no extras on it. The goal being to put the extras on for the May release to attract people to buy it.
    That’s the theory at least.
    Roger Ebert has invited the film into his annual Best Overlooked Films of the Year festival in April in Chicago. If you wanted to see it projected you could come up. Otherwise, I’m afraid it will be a DVD premiere for you. In either case, I think you will enjoy it.
    My best to you. Happy holidays.
    Tom

  26. Roger Ebert is the coolest! April in Chicago! Might have to talk the husband into a train trip if he can get time off from work–I have a sister who lives in the area, too. If not, I know what I’m requesting for my birthday.

    Yes, some commentaries are dull as toast, all “Isn’t this shot the coolest?!!” or worse, just sort of describing what’s on-screen (like you can’t see if for yourself). Yours are fun and a bit snarky and you throw in cool behind the scenes tidbits–I really hope you can negotiate it into the version with extras.

    Happy holidays to you, too, and best of luck with the new scripts.

  27. Hey Tom,

    I have not had a chance to see your film, “Delirious” but I’d really like to. It played here in Portland for a few days at Cinema 21, but was gone before I got to see it. “Living in Oblivion” is far and away in my top 10 favorite films. I am an independent film producer, and have crewed in just about every capacity on so many projects. I whole-heartedly feel for you in that your movie didn’t find more of an audience.

    I have exchanged e-mails with Roger Ebert on a few occasions, and I’ve found him to be extremely generous in his love of movies. He’s more respectable as a critic than just about anyone else because he actually ENJOYS movies – it isn’t just a job for him.

    I’m hoping that you have some pull in relation to the distribution of “Delirious” and have an offer for you… I have been working with a completely independent theater here in Portland called, “Living Room Theaters” (http://www.livingroomtheaters.com/). Because they only show independents and because they have multiple digital screens they have far more flexibility to keep a small movie playing to find its audience. Would you be willing to screen “Delirious” at Living Room Theaters(perhaps with a run of Living in Oblivion if we could make that happen through Sony [?]) and come out for the screening?

    If your DVD distributor is refusing to put a directors commentary track on the DVD, is it because of the cost of producing it? It’d be a crime to not have it for DVD release.

    If you get a moment, please give me a call @ 503-849-9750. I’ll try to reach you through “traditional” channels, but as one filmmaker to another I think there’s a few things I can do for you with this movie that haven’t been done yet.

    Best Regards,
    Steve
    http://www.drinkmepictures.com/

  28. Hello Steve Herring,
    Thanks very much for your comment and support. First let me say I would definitely like to come out to Portland and show Delirious and Living In Oblivion with you. It only struck me just now how much interplay there is between the two films and it could provide for an interesting double-feature.
    Would you project the films 35mm or go from a digital (DVD) source? That would be kind of important to me. I’ll call you at the number you left and we’ll discuss it.
    As far as the commentary is concerned the issue seems to lie primarily in the fact that my blog has “offended” the beancounters to the degree that their first impulse is to retaliate, even if it means damaging potential sales and rentals of the DVD. We have at least determined now that the cost of making the commentary is extremely small and would not prohibit it being included–if they felt like they would allow me to include it.
    So, there is some hope.
    I will check out your site today and contact you. I will also forward your note to Mr. Ebert. I know he will appreciate it.
    best,
    Tom

  29. <p>A dvd release confidently loaded with extras to satiate an implied salivating established audience is the only thing that could even theoretically interest potential viewers. People don’t want to see a random b-movie that they believe no one else cares about. The market for tom dicillo movies consists of the type of people who observe that suspiria/strangers in paradise/aguirre/badlands/johnny suede/etc. seems to be some sort of classic among hipper-than-thou art-film cognoscenti snobs, and are intrigued by that, as they are by hearing of some next-big-thing underground band. People who, if they had never heard of bladerunner, would be convinced that it is clearly something they must see after simply noting the frenzy of extras available on its many releases (like the 5-disc suitcase available in dvd, hddvd, & blueray). “Movie-dork losers clearly know all about this and consider it a big deal; i must catch up.” Imagine that Delirious were an elaborate multiple-disc criterion release: would that not in and of itself inspire a certain amount of curiosity? (Whereas a release lacking extras screams Straight-To-Video Embarrassment, conceding that no one is interested anyway.) Delirious is not a long-awaited 5-disc criterion deluxe package with ribbons & bows & bells & whistles & 50-page booklet & commemorative keychain, but isn’t the distributor’s job to TRY, economically, to make it look as much like such an elite product as they can? Um, to make money? If you’re trying to attract people interested in critically acclaimed art-house classics, wouldn’t you want it to look a little bit like one? These days, any dvd without an avalanche of extras is plainly an unwanted runt.</p>

  30. Greetings again Tom,

    I hope you had a fantastic Christmas. I really appreciate you taking the time to check out our website and then reading my tiny little blog. I don’t know about you, but pouring your thoughts into a blog can at times become frustrating when you don’t get the response you hope for (just like making movies I guess).

    As for screening Delirious / Living in Oblivion at Living Room Theaters: They currently have an opening for a film starting the weekend of February 1st. I wouldn’t want to try for anything before that because it would cut the publicity window down too much. This would be an experiment for all involved – placing some ads locally to support the film, and doing our best to make the most of it. I really think it could do exceptionally well in a city like Portland.

    All 6 of their screens are digital and they have no capability for film projection, but don’t let that scare you. They have worked hard to develop a playback environment that delivers the best picture and sound for audiences. Ideally they’d need a D5 or HDCam (HDCam SR is even better) master with a multi-channel (or stereo) mix. They can of course play off of a DVD, but that is a last, worst-case scenario.

    I’ve been informed that they have an existing relationship with Abramorama – is this who we should contact? It’s been my experience so far that most distributors are largely unaware of what makes the best digital master. A lot of indies are shipped on Digital Betacam and this is OK, but not the best. Sony Classics is the rare exception, and they are great about providing good high-definition digital masters.

    I hold your work with the highest regard, and would be honored to have you come visit our fare city.

    Best wishes and great hope for the New Year,
    Steve

  31. Hello A,
    Thanks for writing. You’ll see a more detailed response to your suggestion in my response to “RLFC” below. Your idea is good. I just don’t have the right to distribute the film–the finance company does.
    But, clearly a change is in the air.
    best,
    Tom

  32. Dear “RLFC”,
    Thank you for your comment/essay/treatise/novella. Seriously, it is obvious you put a lot of heart and thought into it. First and foremost let me say here now for you and for anyone else who has trudged through this blog: if I have ever come across like I’m whining or complaining or sulking because I didn’t get the “accolades” I expected then I most sincerely apologize.

    “RLFC” is right. There are many, many filmmakers who have suffered much worse fates than my wretched experience with Delirious. No one likes a crybaby. Especially me.

    My only excuse is that I put so much into the film. Well, so what? Of course every director who makes a film feels exactly the same way. So, I really have no excuse. Except this one: I felt something truly miraculous happened during the making of the film. I’ve made enough films to know this doesn’t happen all the time–in fact most of the time it never happens. But I did believe in my soul that magic happened with Delirious. And to see that flicker of beauty snuffed out so relentlessly absolutely infuriated me. And so I responded.

    Now, “RLFC”. I think your missive was meant to be supportive. In some ways it is kind of hard to tell. Your observations about a naked DVD release are right on, however. My instinct from the beginning was to put as much of the really great stuff we have on the DVD–not to fluff up the film but to give buyers and renters something they could genuinely enjoy.

    Unfortuantely, the distributor does not entirely share our view. To clarify; when I signed the contract to make the film (and spend the 3 million the distributor committed to finance the film) I had to sign away all my rights to the film “in perpetuity.” As horrifying as this sounds it is actually quite common especially when the entire production budget is coming from a single source.

    So, my ability to fight the system by self-distributing over the internet is gone. These guys are legally required to “consult” with me but in any difference of opinion their opinion wins. But, again you are right. This is the bed I made. I just never expected to be sharing it with pedophiles.

    Now, I must express my genuine disagreement with you. Your negative and utterly unfounded bias against Alison Lohman is ridiculous. She was brilliant in Matchstick Men. Casting her was a brilliant idea and her acting in the film was brilliant. While I don’t think Big Fish was a totally great film it was clearly a personal film for Tim Burton and on that level had many, many wonderful moments in it–many of which were performed by Alison. Just because people did not go see these films the way they went to see King Kong does not make them failures. If it did then Delirious with it’s $200,000 total box office net would be absolutely worthless.

    I don’t think it is. It’s theatrical performance had nothing to do with Alison Lohman’s box office draw. It had everything to do with a group of small-minded, mean-spirited people who cared nothing about the film. This I know for fact. So, my friend, you really need to rethink your Lohman philosophy. It don’t hold water.

    I am moving on from Delirious. Again, your advice here is astute. Johnny Suede will be released on DVD in January. It is a Director’s Cut of the film which I am very pleased will finally be released in the US.

    best,
    Tom

  33. Hey Steve Herring,
    Good to hear from you. I will send you my email and we can communicate directly about screening Delirious in Portland.
    best,
    Tom

  34. A) which king kong?

    B) what did i say about getting me started on big fish?

    C) …..uuuuuuuuuuuummm, you appear to have missed the part imploring you to make more movies with alison lohman. that’s ok, it was a long rambling tedious message, you were bound to tune out at some point, but it was very much in there, i assure you.

    D) “Alison Lohman’s box office draw”? I can’t think of anything less relevant, or existent for that matter.

    i would leave it at that, but you got me started on big fish…

  35. Just wanted to say hi to one of my favourite directors!
    BOX OF MOONLIGHT is a masterpiece and I’m looking forward to seeing DELIRIOUS.
    Loved reading the blog, please keep on writing.

    Best,

    St

  36. Hello Stanislav,
    Thanks very much for writing in. I’m glad you liked Box of Moonlight. Where do you live? I’ll try to let you know if and when Delirious is coming to you on DVD or a screen. There are actually some connecting themes between the two films.
    I don’t know if you’re interested or not but I wrote a book about the making of Box of Moonlight which also includes the screenplay. You might enjoy reading some of the behind the scenes stuff. I’ve heard you can find copies on Amazon or ebay pretty cheap.
    I will keep writing.
    best,
    Tom

  37. Hey RLFC,
    My apologies for any misunderstanding. I did not tune out but read your comment several times. You check it again and see if you don’t think there are quite a few references to box office results.
    But, I did enjoy your piece. Some sincerely constructive advice; perhaps simplify your thoughts and bit and state your point. As I said, clearly you put some work into it and had some good observations.
    best,
    Tom

  38. Tom,

    My name is Eric D. Wilkinson and I am the producer of the film “Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth”.

    First, the “ass-kissing”…

    You are hands down on of my favorite independent writer-director-producers on the planet. Two of your earlier films are inspirations, “Johnny Suede” (if anyone is reading this Anchor Bay just released this as a legitimate DVD release in the US) and “Living in Oblivion” (a hilarious look at the world of making an independent film).

    Now the reason for posting…

    I totally understand your frustration, although this is my first time out as a producer, we struggled with getting any sort of theatrical release. We did manage to book it in three theaters prior to the DVD release, however it didn’t really make a blip on the radar. However, along the way, I discovered P2P torrent sites ripped a DVD screener (I knew it was inevitable, they rip EVERYTHING), but decided to take a different approach (http://www.rlslog.net/piracy-isnt-that-bad-and-they-know-it/), hoping to create awareness for the DVD in hopes of genereating sales and rentals. Eight weeks later, I have NO regrets.

    Please feel free to email me at ewilkinson100@comcast.net. It would be an honor to speak with you further on this subject matter.

    Best of Luck.

    Eric D. Wilkinson
    Producer
    Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth

  39. Hey Eric,
    1st, Thanks for writing.
    2nd, congratulations on getting your film made. I’m serious. No one knows just how difficult it is to do. Many films never get made. You made yours. That is a real victory.
    As far as distribution is concerned; that is a whole other jungle. It sounds like you found a way to chop through a tangle with smart use of your wiles and machete. Good for you.
    It all comes down to finding a way to get your product into an increasingly crowded marketplace. The thing that keeps you going is knowing that against all odds some good, thought-provoking films actually make it there–some even survive. The deadly quicksand is buying into, even for a split second, the propaganda that insists that commercial success equals merit.
    It doesn’t.
    I’ll email you directly,
    best,
    Tom

  40. Tom,
    thanks for replying.
    I live in Germany (I’m russian, by the way).
    I guess I’ll order a dvd when it comes out.I really loved the director’s commentary on BOM, I don’t see how the company responsible for DELIRIOUS thinks it’s not a good idea.
    Anyway, I’m really happy I had an opportunity to write to you.Me and my friends always had a total blast watching Box Of Moonlight, quoting dialogue endlessly,laughing about some scenes etc. I just love this movie too much, man.
    I saw a copy of the script on amazon, I might be buying it soon.
    Best,

    Stanislav

  41. ok really expedient finicky moderator, 2 excerpts.

    You were gonna make a movie with alison lohman and not take a serious hit? STATISTICALLY IMPROBABLE, sir. That’s all i meant to point out. I sincerely hope u make movies with ms. lohman until the end of time, & that they perform fabulously. I will b the first in line. I was simply responding to your plea. Number 6. “Is the whole thing a Kafkaesque nightmare or can it all be shrugged off simply by saying, ‘You win some, you lose some’?” And i was saying: statistically speaking, yes, it can all be shrugged off. You don’t even win some. You were going to lose all along on this one. You coulda been a contenda? Nope. Couldnta. The fix was in. Statistically speaking. So don’t sweat it, wasn’t yr fault. Question answered.
    (Several Whammies, which i just saw & loved, is another story. Ish. And Dennis Leary could have gotten serious recognition if ppl ever saw that. How’d u get the title?)

    and

    Alison Lohman makes musicals that i very much like, except that she doesn’t, having been sidetracked by a non-musical film career, an increasingly frustrated one. And. Tom Dicillo makes musicals that i very much like, except that that he doesn’t, having been sidetracked by a non-musical film career, an increasingly frustrated one. Can u see how interesting i would find it that these 2 recently frustrated wayward musical-makers should already have happened to find each other, and to have produced a fragment that in my opinion demonstrates magnificent, wildly promising, uncannily perfect musical chemistry? So that’s where i was coming from, for what it’s worth.

  42. Hey Stanislav,
    I’m really touched that you found Box of Moonlight so funny. I think Turturro and Sam Rockwell did amazing work together.
    Good news on the Delirious DVD. It looks like the US release WILL include commentary, behind the scenes and the music video from the film.
    I am disappointed the film still has no theatrical release in Germany. It is a large territory and very important for US independent releases. A mystery.
    best,
    Tom

  43. Hey RLFC,
    Ok, now there’s a comment I can digest. Thanks for renting Double Whammy. I happen to like the film a lot. It was bought by LionsGate at Sundance in 2000. They signed a legal document agreeing to a theatrical release. The deal made all the trade papers. 6 months later they simply turned their back on the deal. Legally there was nothing I could do. I fought them for months until I felt myself turning into a lunatic. And so it was only released on DVD. The title comes from the idea in the film that trouble does not arrive on schedule. It comes whenever it comes. It comes how many times it wants to come. Only in bad films and tv does a character get beset by ONE problem that then gets solved. In my experience I get punched in the gut, I stagger to my feet and just as I’m about to walk off a piano falls on my head–double whammy.

    I’m glad you clarified your affection for Alison. You should understand I cast her only because I thought she was the best actor for the role. I wasn’t thinking about box office or financial returns (or lack of) as a result of her being in the film. I thought she could hit it out of the park. She did.

    I’m glad you like my music and hers. I won’t be doing any musicals but I do contribute my own music to almost all of my films. You should reserve judgment on the merits of the music video from Delirious until you see the film. I wrote it specifically to serve the film. It needed to be kind of hip and kind of stoopit at the same time.

    So there you go.
    best,
    Tom
    best,
    Tom

  44. Hey Eric Wilkinson,
    Well, I checked out the comment you sent to rslog.net. Pretty intense. I’m glad it worked out for you but I have to say I’m a little conflicted about the whole piracy issue. I think it is really a complex issue. As the maker of something, something that involves years of work, expense and exhausting labor, it doesn’t feel quite right to let someone just take it.
    In your case though the medium really helped you. I think it was very smart the way you played it.
    The comments and responsed you got reminded me of my experiences with the paparazzi I interviewed preparing Delirious. The paparazzi are used to being universally reviled (as some pirates are). So, when I treated them respectfully they couldn’t believe it and actually became quite emotional with me.
    Good luck with your film.
    best,
    Tom

  45. Hi again, Tom.

    I haven’t checked here in a while and when I did tonight, I wasn’t expecting there to be another update, but I’m glad there was! It’s good to know you still come around here to let all of us know what’s going on. I’m really looking forward to the DVD release for Delirious and I’m glad to hear that it’ll be out relatively soon. I’ve found that the movies I really enjoyed at Sundance take at least a year to come to DVD (they rarely get a nationwide theatrical release), while the ones I thought were…not the best are picked up and shoved into theaters almost immediately. It’s totally unfair, but well worth the wait. Hopefully your current projects are going along smoothly and I hope to see you out and about at Sundance again soon!

    Jessica

  46. Tom,

    I knew the movie would be pirated (ALL movies are), so what was I to do? I could send lawyers after them, however I knew that by doing that it would might create animosity and backlash and since they were saying such great things about the film, it was really helping create awareness. My producing partner (and the film’s director) Richard Schenkman had the idea to set up a PayPal account for “donations”. After the overwhelming response and honesty from P2P users, I have a whole new attitude towards the P2P community. Two months later and we still have an amazing amount of votes (over 7,100) on IMDb and an exceptional overall 8.4 out of 10 rating. As I type, our films is climbing back up the IMDB “MovieMeter”. I have to say that based on the sales info i have been getting, sales have been consistient week to week.

    BTW, we share the same studio (Anchor Bay), who is distributing Johnny Suede (HEAR THAT FOLKS: JOHNNY SUEDE IS AVAILABLE AS A LEGITIMATE US DVD RELEASE WITH A NEW TRANSFER (16×9) AND AUDIO COMMENTARY!). Drop me an email when you have a moment as there is some good information I would like to share with you that I would rather not discuss in an open forum.

    Thanks again and best of luck on “Delirious”.

    E

  47. Hey Jessica,
    Great to hear from you again. Yes, I’m still here plugging along. This writer’s strike is tough. I won’t be going to Sundance this year. How about you?
    It seems there is some progress on the Delirious DVD extras. The first release in March will be only the film, strictly a Blockbuster release. Then the main release will come a month later with what looks like a commentary, a behind the scenes, the recut music video and my complete medical history from Dr. Owen.
    I’ll keep you posted.
    best,
    Tom

  48. Hey, Tom…

    Clearly the movie industry is going through rough changes and independent films are the ones who’re gonna suffer the hardest crisis. But I’m sure, as some of other posts here say, that there’s always going to be a channel for these diferent perspectives to get through, because there are undoubtedly lots of us that need it.

    I live in Barcelona and I’ve been following your work since the beginning. And I know many people around me that do so. Before I saw DELIRIOUS on dvd last week many people recommended it to me. And, by the way, I have a book on interviews with you that I keep reading once or twice each month. You are a reference, and that’s the truth, Ruth.

    I’m not a martian. I know there are thousands like me around, so I know that what I enjoy in movies many people enjoy it too. The quid here is distribution. It’s happenned with the music business and now it’s happenning with movies. The artists like you will find your way, just as you did in the beginning, but maybe there will be some reset and restart to be made collectively. You and the likes of you have something on your side: You have always been on the fringe, you know how to take a good fight. Now it’s time for a new battle.

    Please remember you have a big chunk of people cheering for your victory.

  49. Hello Ivan,
    Thanks so much for your note, my friend. It really meant a lot to me. It is not because of what you said about me or my films.

    It is because of your very eloquent words of encouragment.

    I completely agree with your view of the independent film distribution nightmare. The only way around it is to start over again and find a new path. Other filmmakers are doing it. You should read Eric Wilkinson’s comments above and visit the site his movie was pirated on. Crazy story.

    Thanks for renting Delirious. I know it did not get much of a release in Spain so it was courageous of you to pluck it from the shelf. But, more than anything your words will stay with me.

    muchas gracias,
    Tom

  50. Hey Tom,

    Blogged about this post at my blog recently; it’ll be useful to many other filmmakers in thinking about the whole issue of the early indie filmmakers adapting to the new distribution realities. ’cause as both of us know, some great filmmakers were only able to make 1 or 2 movies in the 80’s & 90’s & then they disappeared from the filmmaking scene/activity – i think the lowering of the cost of production due to the digital revolution & filmmakers having to think more about distribution/self-distribution will be a good thing in the long run for the US indie film scene.

    you should totally do under $100K fdigital eatures while you are working on setting up multi-million dollar 35MM, w/ stars, projects.
    on the low budget digital features you should retain ownership of the films like Jarmusch does & work with various distributors (or have them work for you) on getting it out to different markets.

    Or you could do something link internet VOD & work with GreenCine or Amazon Unbox or Netflix – since you are a brand name in the indie film world, i think u will not have a difficult time making this new system that we find ourselves in work for you/making it an ally (sp?) in creative & financial success.

    this new line of movies will just be a 2nd product line from you, with bigger budget 35 MM movies like the ones you’ve made still getting done when all the necessary elements come together. a little bit of digital/self-distro diversifaction for mr. dicillo 🙂

    i personally would like to see you make something like Johnny Suede. i really liked that movie a lot. and of course Living In Oblivion.

    anyway, i’ve got tons of ideas on ultra-low budget digital production & self-distribution (& some experience in those areas), if you want to discuss the subject more, send me an e-mail when you get a chance (wilddiner@aol.com).

    Talk to ya soon & good luck.

    – Sujewa

    http://www.diyfilmmaker.blogspot.com/

  51. Hey Sujewa,
    Your comment too was very inspiring. It has finally, finally opened my eyes to the reality that people like you, Eric Wilkinson and others have been suggesting to me for months.

    It is time for a CHANGE. You are absolutely right. It is idiotic for me to be spending all my energy just fighting the morons. I really don’t give a shit if I have to shoot my next film on Barbi’s Toy Kamera Kit. I will do it. The most important thing is to get the thing made, and to get it made the way it should be made.

    Fuck the middlemen. Instead of freaking out about the new technology and distribution “advancements” I will make use of them. My most enjoyable experience on the set of a film was on Living In Oblivion. Why do I keep forgetting that? The film was shot in 25 days (partly on 16mm) with a budget of $300,000 raised by my wife’s cousin.

    Thank you Sujewa. You have opened my eyes. I’ll be contacting you.
    best,
    Tom

  52. Hey Tom,

    Glad I can help. A lot of previously 35mm film only directors who have tried digital have said (well, at least David Lynch & Lucas, & I think also Coppola, off the top of my head) that they liked working in digital a lot. Also, you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice image beauty – i thought Kuras lensed DV feature Personal Velocity looked very good, regardless of format. Also, as I am discovering in the Amelie extras on that DVD right now, a lot of stuff that they did to make that movie look amazingly beautiful can easily be applied to a digital movie, in post.

    Also, Hal Hartley’s recent HD video feature Fay Grim looked good (even though Hartley’s preferred blocking & framing is an acquired taste to many, no doubt).

    Also, distribution wise, IFC’s In Theaters/cable VOD thing (films being screened at theaters & available at home on cable at the same time) might work well for you & your fans for a low budget feature. Last I heard one of their recent offerings, Someone to Eat Cheese With, was bought by over 1 million customers (or was it a million $s in revenue?, either way, pretty good take to start with).

    Will be glad to share my thoughts on how you might be able to use your existing “brand name” 🙂 & experience to make a successful transition to making some digital features. Cutting financiers & distributors out, to a significant degree, for some projects might be good for filmmakers; we can get whatever we want done on our scheduel & also keep a close watch on the release, get paid whatever is due to us, etc. Also, owning our films is gonna be a big thing in the future, ’cause a whole lot of distro options are right around the corner w/ improved net access, proliferation of computers, home theaters, cell phones w/ big screens, etc. & you can also make & release updated & special versions of a given movie on DVD every few years if you own all rights to it.

    And like I said, someone like you could definitely do both – work in low budget digital for 100% indie films that you will produce & control distribution of & also higher budgeted 35MM films that you might collaborate w/ studios/other financing & distribution outlets to get made & out (since you’ve already made like 5?, 6? of such features).

    Shooting in digital is a lot easier also. I shot my recent feature Date Number One myself, after having less than great experiences trying to translate everything I want done to a less than very experienced DP on a previous feature of mine. Though things can be improved, I am happy with my feature videography outing, will be doing it on my next digital feature also. I had a crew of 2 for most scenes (self on camera & directing, plus boom operator). I’ll send you a DVD of DNO at some point soon so you can see what 1 no-budget DV feature looks like (budget on my flick was less than $10K). In your case you can probably find some great young DPs who want to work on your digital features at a good rate, in case u do not want to shoot the movie yourself. And if you need some additional & volunteer crew, I’ll get on that DC to NYC Chinatown bus & come up & give you a hand w/ whatever (buying fresh milk, finding out where the beeping is coming from 🙂 for a couple of weeks on your digital feature.

    Micheal Winterbottom’s career might also be a good source of inspiration for you. I think most of his recent features have been digital.

    Also the InDigEnt features – shot for under $100K on DV – some of them were very good/enjoyable (Personal Velocity, Tad Pole, Pieces of April, etc.).

    I think the key thing that a lot of indie features offer, what we can give the audience that Hollywood can’t, is the writing (uncompromised, sharp characters, & honest observations – not watered down). I’d hate to imagine what a Hollywood version of the Living In Oblivion story would look like 🙂 W/ the cost of production & distribution being low for a given film, u might find that you are willing to write more daring stuff (& thus more interesting stuff for the audience, possibly) because you won’t be too worried about the film HAVING TO MAKE like 5 million dollars on week 1 of release so that you could get another chance to make a movie in a few years.

    As Ebert said in his “kafkaesque” post, you are a legend (of sorts 🙂 in indie film, so i am sure it will not be difficult for you to pull together the production & distribution support you need to create & show/sell a low-budget digital feature. You probably have enough fans (among critics, fest programmers, ordinary audience members) to make the whole enterprise worth your while. Get yourself a DV camera (around 1 – 3Ks these days for a 3 CCD camera like the PD 170 or XL 1 or 2, type of cameras used for some good DV features in the past) & a mac w/ Final Cut Express (around $800 total – for a mac mini & FCE; actually you might already own similar or better gear already) & do some experimenting!

    Talk to ya soon.

    – Sujewa
    btw – how did you like seeing Katherine Keener in The 40 Year Old Virgin? it must have been fun for you to see an actress that you worked w/ so many years ago in a mega-super-hyper promoted & distributed Hollywood movie. i thought she did a great job in Oblivion.

  53. Hey Sujewa,
    Listen, my friend, you should write a book. I am serious. You have a great sense of what no/lo budget filmmaking can aspire to. I will heed your advice.

    I am still having a love affair with film. I know, it is idiotic but I still can’t believe that the only movies that get to be shot on film are these stoopit blockbusters that make you feel like someone cracked open your skull and took a shit in your head.

    But. I will embrace any medium that lends itself to the film. I’ve seen some good films shot on DV.

    It’s great you shot your own film. I too have had moments where I felt it was incredibly difficult to make my ideas clear to the people I’d hired to help me. Your solution worked for you. I would still love to be able to grab a camera and shoot along with the DP, or instead of, if the moment called for it. The union stops me sometimes but I will do more, the way Soderberg does.

    On the other hand, film is an intensely collaborative medium. One of the goals of a director is learning how to communicate, learning how to inspire (not instruct) your fellow artists working with you to bring the best of themselves to you and the film.
    I’ve seen that work too. It is pretty amazing.

    You’ve given me some great information that will be very useful. If I get one of my films going and I can use some help I’ll take you up on your offer.

    best,
    Tom

  54. Hey Tom,

    Thanks for the positive comments re: all the DIY film facts in my head :), maybe after I get Date Number One out I’ll write a little book. I think Lance Weiler (Head Trauma, 2005?) & also Kelley Baker (Kicking Bird, 2004?, Kelley also did sound design for several Gus Van Sant features) are working on DIY film/self-distribution books at the moment, both are due out this year I think.

    Enjoying your Johnny Suede notes on that post (# 39) – wild stories.

    I think at some point this year (probably before July) I’ll be moving closer to Manhattan (brooklyn? Queens?), maybe we’ll talk about some of this stuff in person then. At the moment I am writing a couple of no budget digital features that I want to shoot in NYC this year.

    A lot of indie film folks i know live in NYC; it felt like a nice little community when i was there last year for an indie film blogger meet up (saw Delirious at Angelika on that trip). Also lots of great indie film venues there (Pioneer, IFC Center, BAM, Anthology, etc.), looking forward to being closer to it all.

    Another book or doc I’d like to do (or someone should do) is about the “1st generation” of indie filmmakers (Jarmusch, Spike Lee, you, etc.) who were the first well recognized individuals to do the outside of Hollywood filmmaking as a group (often connected) in the US; Cassavettes, Woody Allen, John Sayles were doing it at various points by them selves, but the late 80’s – late 90’s breakout filmmakers (mostly from NYC) i think we can call a unique & recognizable “generation”.

    i think the digital & self-distribution slanted kids like myself & a bunch of others who’ve been getting some web press & recognition since around 2005 or so are a “2nd generation” who got inspired by the “1st generation” activity & are now using the digital & web breakthroughs to make & distribute, promote indie movies.

    anyway, there might be a film history book in there somewhere 🙂

    later on,

    – Sujewa

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