Delirious was released on DVD this week. The release was of such importance to Gestation that they hired a publicity firm and secured the interest of two (2) journalists. The interview below is from DVD Snapshot.com. The 2nd, at MrSkin.com, might be arousing to some.
From DVD Snapshot.com
Q: For Delirious, you made a really fun viral marketing video involving Gina Gershon on the set of a porno film. Can you tell us how and why you decided to make this clip?
TD: The advertising budget for the film was just a little less than non-existent. I had to come up with ideas to promote the film that wouldn’t cost money. The web was the only real possibility. I wanted to draw attention to how desperate directors can get just before their films are released. If you look at all four clips you will see my “character” stooping to the lowest depths to promote the film. Even to the point of attempting to convince Gina Gershon to do a sex tape for publicity. The intent was to show the absurdity of it all. And yet, as in my film, the absurdity is not too far from reality. The Buscemi clip with me crashing the real press day for his film Interview was entirely his idea.
Q: You’ve often been vocal about how frustrating filmmaking can be. Can you explain some of the tasks that irk you the most when making a film?
TD: Ironically, it can be the medium itself that is the most maddening. Having to re-set a light while an actor is primed with emotion, running out of film during the best take, losing a take because a plane flies by etc.
In addition, this business attracts mainly the mega-neurotic and psychotic—in all levels of production; from cinematographers to actors to composers. No matter how much background checking you do with previous employers, parole officers and therapists you never know when someone you’ve hired in a key position will suddenly turn into a sadistic jackass. This is the most destructive thing that can happen on a low-budget film. Without the security blanket of cash to pay for the damage you are momentarily at these people’s mercy. Your only solutions are painful; fire them and lose time and money as you scramble to replace them, or find some way to put up with their illness.
But the frustration quadruples once the film is finished. After all the years of work you try to find a company that will usher the film into the world. You seek a group of people that will at least put 1/10th of the emotional conviction into the release that you and your team put into the miraculous achievement of making the film. I have yet to experience that particular pleasure.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to be a filmmaker or did you start out writing or performing and it just kind of manifested into filmmaking?
TD: My father was in the military and a purist (control freak) in some ways. He refused to have a TV in the house. As a result I read at an early age and simultaneously developed a fixation on the “forbidden” moving image. At college my original intent was to be a writer. Then I saw La Strada. It opened a door that combined my joy of writing, my visual sense and my love of acting. I got a MFA in Directing from NYU but quickly realized that a deeper understanding of acting was crucial to the kinds of stories I wanted to tell. So, I studied acting and performed in a bunch of no-budget films and plays for 8 years—all of which ended up leading me to my first film, Johnny Suede.
Q: Do you enjoy the process of writing more than directing or vice versa?
TD: I love them both. Both have their moments of indescribable joy and terror. I love the thrill of freedom that writing brings. I am totally alone. I can go to any location I want no matter how expensive, the actors do and say whatever I ask without complaint and with incredible conviction.
On the set directing is primarily the business of dealing with people. After the isolation of writing I am highly energized by this abrupt change. Directing consists of making thousands of decisions a day. You hope a fraction of them are right. You get into a mad, intense rhythm. It is like driving a motorcycle at high-speed along the edge of a cliff. Some of the greatest joys come straight out of the intensity; like impulsively whispering a suggestion to an actor like Steve Buscemi right before a take and then watching in astonishment as he suddenly takes flight with the idea, creating something breathtaking and new right before your eyes.
Q: You created the character of Johnny Suede initially as a one man show which you performed, do you think Brad Pitt managed to channel the character in the ways you wanted?
TD: Yes. I cast Brad when he was completely unknown. My producers at the time refused to cast him. I insisted. They resisted. They pulled out. I found another producer and cast Brad. I think he gives an extremely open and uncensored performance. His portrayal of the character was of course different than mine but I marvel at it to this day. He brings a genuine vulnerability to his portrayal of the idiocy of the male psyche that most actors would be unwilling to explore.
Q: Do you find it beneficial to continue working relationships with actors?
TD: Good ones, yes. Bad ones, definitely not. What I look for in an actor is willingness. This does not mean they do exactly what I say. In fact it has nothing to do with control. It has everything to do with the collaborative effort; being open to discovering with me the joy and excitement of the film. That sense of collaboration is so exhilarating that as a director you want to have it on every film. And so if you have that rare experience you try to perpetuate it. Buscemi is one of the most willing actors I’ve ever worked with. And most of the time I have to say very little to him.
Q: Living In Oblivion is a textbook film for all film students to watch, did you have any idea that this film would strike such a nerve with burgeoning filmmakers?
TD: Well, I knew when the idea hit me that I was stumbling into something that had not been shown before. That sense of discovery was very exciting. I’ve learned that when something excites me like that it usually excites others.
What interested me was showing the real filmmaking process in all its excruciating (and ultimately thrilling) detail. The set of Oblivion exists in its own secluded reality (hence the title). There are no agents, no producers, no publicists, no managers and no distributors. There is only the director, the actors and the crew. It gets no purer than that. And if the process with only this hightly-simplified group is still so maddening it only proves you’d have to be a lunatic to want to join them.
Q: Do you have any advice you could give to any of our readers and potential filmmakers?
TD: To your readers I would only say keep your minds open. Use your own judgment and genuine curiosity to discover new films. That is crucial to the survival of films that have the nerve or idiocy to be different than Batman 67.
To potential filmmakers I would say, ask yourself why you want to be a filmmaker. This is not a sarcastic question. It is quite serious. The clearer your answer the clearer your path will be. Because, as everyone knows; there is no path.
To those who want to make personal films I can only suggest that you develop a fortitude somewhat between Godzilla and Mohammad Ali. Because that is what it takes. Trust me; this is not a gentle business. But, when you do achieve a victory, especially a personal one, the reward is exhilarating—better than any sex or drug I’ve ever taken.