There are many strange emotions that accompany events in this business but none is quite as complex as the moment when a film leaves a theater.

A little over a week ago When You’re Strange disappeared from movie screens in NYC. It left with the same lack of fanfare with which it opened. I glanced in the paper one day and it was simply gone. I kept looking at the tiny title of the film that had replaced it thinking–hoping I’d misread it. It felt like part of me had disappeared.

So now the film will play fitfully around the country for a few more weeks I guess; a night here, a day there. I’ve heard from quite a few people who saw the film on PBS, including my mother who declared,

I never knew all those things about Jim Hendrix.

Most of the responses were extremely engaged and emotional so apparently some of what I’d strived for came through on the small screen. I was puzzled why the promotion for the PBS screenings included the original release poster title layout but had my name removed. Most likely another marketing decision.

But, if I really look at how this thing could have gone down there are many things to be thankful for. The film did get a theatrical release. Some of you saw it on the big screen. It played in NYC for a month which is no small feat considering the current financial climate and the fact the film is a music documentary. I think it could have played longer. I think this amazing band deserved the honor of a larger ad or two but those decisions were made by industry professionals who were not obligated to listen to me.

Still, I’m happy the film didn’t end up as a straight-to-dvd sale to Walmart, which for a while was being considered as a viable option.

You’ll see I’ve changed the banner of the blog. I’m still going to be discussing When You’re Strange but I feel it is time to slip away my own self. I don’t have information on things like DVD releases or which other countries will be releasing the film and when. Alas, I only wrote and directed the film. But, if you want to keep fresh on all things happening with the film, and The Doors I would highly recommend checking out Ida’s detailed and refreshingly candid site ( which she updates regularly.

There is still a lot of stuff coming up about the film that I’ll be relating. I’m going back to Paris at the beginning of June for the French premiere. John Densmore will be going with me again. Ray and Robby have performance dates that unfortunately conflict. Hopefully the volcano goddess will be in a better mood.

I’m excited about the French release. They’ve put a lot of time and thought into their promotional campaign. They have a real release planned along with the premiere, with a very cool poster and full-run openings in around 20 cities. The same type of official release will happen in the UK on July 5 and I will be going over to London to help promote it.

Meanwhile I’ll be attempting to move my new film forward, a contemporary crime thriller I wrote called Lighthouse Road.

So, there you have it. One door closes and another one opens. Or, as Moe from the 3 Stooges once said,

One door closes and another one hits you in the face.

Posted by:Tom

71 thoughts on “ 75. FLOWN ”

  1. Hey Tom,

    Glad to hear you still have Paris & London ahead for WYS. I was captivated watching it on PBS, although very pissed at the censoring of what they found offensive, which apparently included YOUR NAME.

    Your films stay with me after viewing like no others seem to do. I’m excited for your new thriller & look forward to traveling with you on the next journey, albeit via this blog.

    All the best,


  2. Hey Tom,

    Good for you. Love the new header, and the title ‘Lighthouse Road’ is intriguing. As usual, I’ll be the first in line to buy a ticket and promote it when the time comes. I hope it can move into production soon 🙂

    My best wishes for a great UK/France release, and no volcano spurts this go-round.

    Even with all the chaos, I’m glad you did WYS. An incredible life opportunity to meet them and tell their story.

    Looking forward to more blogs. Are you doing any more whacked but fact ones?


  3. Hi Tom !
    A little message to say that we organise in my town of Mâcon (France – near Lyon) a big night Doors with a pre-release screening of “When You’re Strange”, a debate and a concert of my band The Soft Parade Thursday 3rd June at 8.30 PM !
    Here is the link to the facebook’s event:!/event.php?eid=114612428575030

    Thank you again to make this film !!!



  4. Hey Tom,

    The love for When You’re Strange will continue, us Europeans are notorious for our talent at spotting great films and championing them, let’s hope we do it again with the European release of When You’re Strange. Looking foward to sharing a pint and some musings on the whole thing with you in London 🙂

    Now lets embark on the journey to Lighthouse Road! …I think I just came up with the possible name of a “making of” doc for the Lighthouse Road DVD release haha.



  5. Hey Rai,
    You have a “rai” sense of humor which I like.
    Can you believe the censoring on PBS? I didn’t see the whole thing but the blurred out body parts of both men and women seemed decidedly pre-Mayflower.
    I don’t know whose decision it was to remove my name. I like to think it is because my name is as disturbing as some of those images but I believe the truth is much more mundane.
    Thanks very much for your support through all these months.

  6. Hey Elaine,
    I’m glad you like the new banner. I spent much more time than I should have on it.

    I don’t know right now where the blog is going. At least for the moment it will finish up all the hanging WYS strange stuff.

    But, I will be focusing more on getting the next film going. They take the most intense concentration and time commitment.

    You’ll be hearing from me.

  7. Hey TomPao,
    That sounds like a very cool evening! After all this time you only tell us now you are in a band called The Soft Parade?! Come on, man! What kind of music do you play? I’m guessing it is Doors related.

    I think I’ll be in Paris on June 1. I’ll check the newspapers to see if you got arrested for indecent exposure.


  8. Hey Wayne,
    Great to hear from you. It looks like I’ll be in England sometime before the film opens on July 5. We will definitely have that beer/liquidloafofbread.

    I like the way you’re thinking. What an amazingly gratifying thought to be in the position to be actually making the “making of” Lighthouse Road. A lot has to happen before then.

    I hope you are right about the European response to WYS. If not I’ll be counting on you once again to crack a few noggins and open the doors of perception.

    So far the preliminary word from both France and the UK is very strong. Fingers crossed.


  9. I too am disappointed that WYS isn’t playing in theaters in NYC anymore. I must admit I was eager to see it on PBS but it certainly was not the same as watching it from the front row in front of the big screen.

    It all kind of reminds me of the scene in the movie when the band is being “interviewed” before boarding the plane. It is only Jim who says a few words but it is also Jim who leaves you wondering, amazed and….smiling.

    Anyhow, your new project sounds quite intriguing. Definitely looking forward to it!


  10. Hey Lindsey,
    It has been fascinating witnessing your growing involvement in the film and The Doors. All I can see is keep your eyes open as clearly as they are now and you will go far.

  11. Ha ha Tom –

    I would have a “Rai” sense of humor if I was from Aus-TRY-lia. Rai is my nickname, from the middle of my real name, Lorraine, hence pronounced RAY. But you can call me anything but late for breakfast!

    xx Rai

  12. Tom, i Got the chance to see WYS and i must commend you On showing a more human side to jim rather than the 1 dimensional side that stone showed, most of the footage i had never saw before and coming from me that is something! the way you used the HWY outtakes was something else!, the hwy footage looks gorgeous!.

    BUT I have some questions about the sequence of some of the events.

  13. Hey Rai,
    I was thinking actually of Rai (wry) as in Rai music, the very cool Arab, Algerian, African, French music fusion perhaps best personified by Khaled. Do you know his music?
    I see and appreciate how you value your morning meals.

  14. Hey Stuart,
    I appreciate your comments and I’m glad you liked the film. But, I have to confess your kneejerk responses are sometimes annoying. Please don’t take that personally. You are clearly very passionate about the Doors.

    But, the sentence I omitted from your comment was completely ridiculous. Again, please don’t take that personally. Are you unaware of the fact that I researched this film extensively for over a year?

    Every single member of the Doors signed off on the historical facts and sequences. Jac Holzman, president of Elektra, the record label that first signed the Doors and released ALL their studio albums checked all the facts with me personally. So, did the Doors manager.

    So, now that you know that, why don’t you take the ONE error you feel was the most horrific and let me know what it is. Then we will proceed from there.


  15. Hi Tom, I just want to thank you for the constant updates on your brilliant blog and film WYS throughout this whole process. I look forward to seeing your upcoming film and wish you the very best. Even though I have never met you in person (hopefully down the road I will) I feel like I know more about you than somebody who maybe has met you once or twice. If your ever in Boston and want to go to a Patriots game let me know, I have a few connections wink wink which will guarantee you a front row seat.

    All my best, and good luck across the pond with the WSY presser. Tom DiCillo, you are a class act. Take care.

  16. Tom,

    Before the door closes entirely, let me just say that I enjoyed our occasional e-mails during this project, that I’m glad I had the opportunity to introduce you to Paul Nelson’s writings about the Doors, and that I especially appreciated the opportunity to sit down and talk with you about WYS. I know that things didn’t turn out exactly as you’d hoped (and deserved), but never lose sight of this:

    Where once there was nothing, there now is WHEN YOU’RE STRANGE.


  17. Hi Tom

    I’m following your blog since 18 months and I always found it very interesting to have the opportunity to read what you had to say about the events surrounding the film WYS. I’m eager to see the movie! Living in Switzerland I have not had the chance to see it on a big screen. For me it is fundemental to see it in a cinema. I’ll buy the DVD anyway, but I have to see this in a theater or I’ll go nuts! The pristine quality everybody’s talking about, I just have to witness it on a f****** big screen.

    France beeing the neighbour of Switzerland offers a good opportunity to catch the movie in a cinema. As I love Paris (I just lived there until january) I’m planning to go to the premiere hoping to see you and John (last “Door” for me to see live!). So I was hoping you could give an exact date when you’ll be in Paris and possibly where (which cinema). MK2 posts that the film premieres France on june 9th. Would be great to know when you guys will be there! I’ll offer a bottle of wine, too 🙂

    Best and hopefully see you in Paris,

  18. Hey Tom,

    I won’t lie to you – I hadn’t heard of Khaled or Rai music. I thought RAI was Italian TV (bald old men & half-clad young women, but I digress….).

    Anyway, I looked Khaled up & listened and my favorite favorite Gipsy Kings immediately came to mind. Obviously one of their influences is Rai music. Who knew. This blog is so educational. Rai is now a fan of Rai.


  19. From a Nashville Cinema

    To be honest, the Belcourt isn’t a place that I feel at home. On the nights I’ve gone before the independent film theatre has been littered with trendsters, people who come in their thrift store best to see films that have been put on a cultural map and deemed necessary to watch to survive intellectual existence on this earth. Then again, I’m just as ego-driven as the rest of them. And I’m definitely not bitter. And definitely not sarcastic.

    Going to the Belcourt at night is scary. People who I think are looking at me scare me. People who wear fantastic clothes and spikey hair scare me. Then again, social phobias have always been my hobby. I like to hyperventilate to the thrum of people texting. I like the word “thrum.”

    But I digress.

    My trip to the Belcourt this time was to see your movie. I went alone for the first time. I was a little anxious. But in daylight the Belcourt is friendlier (though the scowl from the beer counter was none the friendlier–I tried smiling, I really did!). I didn’t get alcohol. (Though I did ponder drinking wine. But pulled an elitist move by being appalled at the plastic cups that were set aside for the wine.) It was 6pm and I went on the last showing of the last day. A true procrastinator.

    I came 30 minutes early because I was paranoid of being late. I read Belcourt tri-fold pamphlets that told about their upcoming and current movies. I read about becoming a member for a quarter of my weekly salary. I met a friend outside and he told me his mom wanted to see your movie in Phoenix. I told him it was the last showing here. He was bummed, but had other things to do.

    When I finally shuffled into the theatre (new seats paid for by donations) I sat in the nearly back row. The seats behind me were under a shelf of darkness so I passed on the very last row. I had a conversation with a guy who had some sort of accent and was wearing a fedora. I watched the patrons enter.

    I think it’s amazing how “When You’re Strange” attracted so many age groups. 20ish, 30ish, 40ish, 50ish all peppered the theatre. They filled every section a little bit. And if I only glanced it was as if the theatre was completely packed. But I liked it better peppered.

    I admit, I knew nothing about The Doors before I watched this movie. People had to keep reminding me beforehand that Johnny Depp was doing the narration, as well. I kept forgetting. And I continued to forget all the way through the movie. His voice was a narrator, not a famous actor.

    I really did enjoy the movie. Though I did quickly realized that not knowing the subject matter before hand inhibited some more emotional pulls in the documentary, the movie still held an intrigue enough to keep me involved. Everything about it was new and I felt like I was discovering this story in a very solid way. Like, if you were to take a prerequisite course in Spanish and you came out with a broad concept of the language and a desire to learn more.

    I realized that the majority of songs I have in my head are from The Doors. I also realized that the next CD I need to buy (yes, I still buy CDs) will be a Doors CD.

    From someone who had really no concept of who the band was, who Jim Morrison was, and what an era really looked like; I was incredibly impressed by your movie. And, furthermore, it impressed upon me. Because ultimately, yes, it was about the band but it was also about the era. It’s actually been an era I’ve more than once found drawn to and apparently I’ve been drawn to The Doors as well.

    Whenever I hear you talk about your films on interviews or in extras on DVDs I never miss hearing the passion in your voice. I often find myself without the motivation to become passionate, or with fear of becoming too passionate. But I suspect that you put a lot of work into this film and hope that you are as proud of the product as I am happy to have seen it.

    More power to ya. Can’t wait to see what’s next.


  20. Hello Tom,

    It’s Matt your musician friend from the Angelica. I read what you wrote about me on the Opening Night post. You are welcome and it was my pleasure. I saw the documentary again on PBS and have had some time to reflect on it further. What I think your documentary captures is something that is glaringly obvious but noticed by few: nobody really knew Jim Morrison, not even his band members. So much of The Doors history is seeped in legend and myth, that to expound on it would have made you guilty of perpetrating that which so many others have done: Jim’s exploitation. To have remained honest as you did, you sacrificed sensation and entertainment value which is something for which you have been criticized. However, I think the way you presented the footage was the only way the documentary could have been sincere. There was only the poetry, the music, the performance and the facts. We look from afar which is all anybody got to do anyway, even those who were there. For the record, I enjoyed it even more the second time around. It is edited and directed so beautifully. It enabled me to have an aesthetic experience with a singer and a band for whom I would give a kidney to go back to 1967 and see them live, just once.


  21. 19 May 2010 Boulder, Colo – Finally saw Tom’s film, When You’re Strange at the Boulder Theater, an ’30’s art deco theater, with an incredible sound system.

    The audience’s reception was aggressive! Whoops in unison, followed by silent reverence.

    One line that I think captured the audience’s attention was, “ The Doors was the music of the uninvited.” The VISUALIZATION of The Doors is what makes this so cool. Their authenticity becomes very clear. The HWY scenes are utterly amazing, if not for their unique historical references.

    Thanks Tom, you’ve given many of us a great adventure; I look forward to keeping up with your next project!

  22. So WYS is going away from the theaters already. Well that sucks big time. In a more fair and logical universe, like the ideal one that exists only in my head I suppose, WYS definitely would have had a bigger and much better advertised US release and stayed longer in the theaters, if only because it is a much higher quality product than most movies out there. But the real business world is such an infinite ocean of floating BS, so much sheer stupidity and nonsensical blunders. “The horror of business”, one of my favorite Jim Morrison’s lines. The quality of artistic creation bears very little correlation to this stuff, as well as to success or popularity. But I hope that in other countries WYS gets the reception it really warrants. Yeah it has no correlation to its quality etc, but if only for justice’s sake, gggdamnit, not to mention you deserve some more wordly praise and recognition for this movie. Watching it on PBS left me once more amazed at how good it is. You was able to translate to the screen the beauty, magic and strangeness of the music and story of The Doors with such creativity and unique style. It’s perfect as a Doors documentary, and as a Doors fan I thank you, you gave us all a great gift.

    On a more personal note, I can tell you there is something highly frustrating about having a strong interest in a subject and not being able to do much about it except the usual passive stuff – learn, listen, yackety-yack about it etc. Having the talent and drive to create something out of it is a true gods/whoever-given superblessing or something. It’s a real, concrete way to pay tribute, relate, become a part of it somehow, and bring your passion and particular vision of it to other people. Not too shabby a destiny, if you think about it.
    I’ll be checking your other movies from now on. Exploring this site I learned you worked with Steve Buscemi, how cool is that! My husband and I are great fans. By the way my Doors-indifferent husband watched WYS on PBS with me and thought it was fantastic, despite the bleeping and blurring, and wants to see it again on DVD.

    Just wanted to finish by mentioning that according to at least one of Jim’s biographies (the only one I read…), he filled pages and pages of one of his diaries in Paris with the words “God help me”. The coyote discussion here was so interesting and it reminded me of this.
    Ok, just one thing more, also about Jim. There is a comment in Spanish to a Doors song at YouTube that starts with the not uncommon “Jim Morrison is god” , but then the writer added: “and he’s the devil, too. He is everything!” This perceived “many-sidedness” Jim Morrison had is a large part of his appeal, isn’t it, and may explain also why is so easy to relate to him.

    Elaine, I won’t be able to make it to Athens but if you still would like company putting up posters in the Atlanta area let me know, my e-mail is

  23. Tom,Nothing taken personally at all you come across as a real good and cool guy and in all brutal honesty i think i would love a hang with you if it ever occured, i speak my mind on all things and how i see them-

    Iam Very aware you researched the film for over a year

    Errors let’s start-

    New Haven- Jim DIDNT start right away at the start of the concert going into his rap about the cop/macing incident, it was midway through the concert or thereabouts, not right at the start.

    The Changeling was the song FIRST considered for a single from L.A WOMAN album not LOVE HER MADLY- Source John densmore’s book “Riders on the Storm”.

    Again Tom, Let me stress what i LIKE about the film-

    You showed Jim in a more human light, a more rounded portrait of him, the good with the bad and the bad with the good, you cant have one without the other, that’s what i believe made Jim..Jim.

    The way you Interspread the Hwy Outtakes was beautiful, it looks amazing and i “Got” the jim walking throught the film kinda deal you were going for with the Outtakes and that to me ADDED to the film a great deal if looked in that way.

    And the film really made you feel you were THERE along with the band, vety intimate.

    The way johnny depp spoke….very world weary and wistful, subtle yet strong and again that added to the film.

    And to me there the amount of unseen footage was a joy to behold.

    And the Pics of Jim In Paris,Priceless, of course i have saw them before but in a doors doco, great to see.

    I feel i have been fair but firm in my thoughts.

    Tom, on the whole you did a GREAT JOB on it, just voicing my thoughts that is all which i feel are valid criticisims.

  24. Whoa, Tom, have I ever been so excited about a film that is nothing more than a title? A very Doors-sounding title, by the way. So many questions. Hey, casting a film you wrote must be so much fun. Sounds like a dream job to me, in a world full of hobby film casters.

    Sorry for the lack of substance in this comment. Next time hopefully I’ve got a real question. An no, it won´t be “When is When you`re strenge” coming to Sweden, I promise.



  25. TOM!

    Wanted to let the mass of comments on your last film die down before I threw in my thoughts. The film did everything it was supposing to and was truly a piece of Art. I can tell you this … I asked my father to watch it and he said he had allot to do that night but simply could not quit watching it. He said it sucked him and he could not stop wanting to hear and see more. Every single person I asked to watch it had a ton to say about with passion. I received many calls right after aired with people wanting to discuss it.

    You accomplished everything you set out to do with this film Ray, Robbie, and John will be forever grateful I am sure.

    I could go on forever with my thoughts on the Film, but I will save that for some strange day when I run into and we share a Beer in an Irish pub.

    For now I will just say Thank You. It meant a lot to me.

    So now it is time to move forward. To create your next Film. I bet that comes with some great sense of freedom and freshness huh?

    I think it is one of the greatest feelings to be starting off and not know where it will end up … what the entire ride will entail.

    My question to you is this,

    DO you see all of your films connected in some way? Do you feel as a group they make an overriding statement or have a thread?

    Or do you feel they are each a separate entity, that they are completely different and apart. That they cannot be thought of as individuals.

    Hope this inspires some thought,
    _ Mike McKeever

  26. Hey Baron,
    Thanks very much for the words of support. You’ve been hanging in there with me on this thing for a long while.
    And what a long, strange trip it’s been.
    I’m very curious to see how the French, British and Germans respond to the film.
    If I’m ever in Bean Town I’ll drop you line. I’m not a big football fan but that’s ok. Rumor has it there are some great brews up there.

    I’ll be talkin’ at ya.

  27. Hey Kevin,
    Well, the door is not closing entirely. I’m just moving ahead. It was great doing the Penthouse interview with you. I saw the article you sent me from the magazine but you did not include the rest of the magazine.
    Which I guess is OK.
    They say people only read the articles anyway.
    Best of luck with your book on Paul Nelson.

  28. Hey Alfredo,
    Thanks for writing. I think you should get some friends together and hit Paris on June 9th. A friend of mine there says there are posters all over the city. If you can see it on the big screen I think it will be worth your trip.
    Speaking of trip, a woman I know here in NYC said while she was watching the film she had the strangest sensation that she was doing just that; tripping.
    I won’t be there on the 9th. I’m coming in earlier to do a few days of press and then out on the 3rd.
    And thanks for reading the blog for so long. Let us know what you think.

  29. Hey Rai,
    I’m glad you like Khaled. Interesting observation about Gipsy Kings. Now that I think about it there is some similarity. But I think Khaled has a much richer voice. Check him out on one of my favorite cuts called Oran Marseilles.
    Also, have you heard of Natascha Atlas? She has taken the fusion a step further. I believe she is from Egypt. She has some amazing songs in her native tongue which you should check out but make sure you listen to her covers in English of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s World” and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put A Spell On You.”
    Both are spellbinding.
    Rai-ght On.
    Or in your version: G-rai-t!

  30. Hey Green,
    Thanks for the journey to Nashville and inside your brain.

    Do you not have any “thrift store best”? I do, still. One item is a country/western tuxedo jacket from the 50’s I bought in 1977 for $4.25. I’m wearing it in the photo above which was taken last month.

    I’m glad you managed to suffer through all this and the spiky hairs too to watch the film. I really appreciate it. I can tell you got the film. Some do, some don’t. But your observations give evidence to your dropping in.

    As far as your passion–well, look at it this way. Something motivated you to write what may be the longest comment in the history of this blog. Don’t get me wrong, I kept it all in and enjoyed every word. I’m just saying don’t count yourself out in the motivation area.

    The other thing I might add is that emotion and passion in their rawest forms are very powerful things. As an artist of any kind it is here in these messy, uncensored depths that you will find the greatest source of your own thrumming truth.

    Most of the time emotion and passion are bastardized, romanticized, sanitized and American Idolized into a 1000 tons of frozen Hostess Twinkies crammed in a 1 pound bag.

    But, in their truest form emotion and passion are indeed formidable and frightening.

    They should be; the truth always is.

    I thank you sincerely for an amazing read.

  31. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put A Spell On You.”

    Oooohhh! I’m going to have to check this out too. I *love* that song.

    Tom, meant to tell you, I loved reading the part about Jim continuing to appear in your dreams. Thx for sharing. Keep on plugging getting your new project in gear.

    Renata, sorry you can’t come to Athens. I’ll email you about fliers in Atlanta though.

    Green – loved hearing your account of seeing WYS in Nashville. I wondered if you were able to get out and see it; hope y’all are okay after the floods. My trip there got moved b/c the hotel flooded. Oh well. I’ll get to Nashville one of these days!

    WYS starts in New Orleans today; I know a few friends who are going and I’m looking forward to hearing their responses.

    Keep on plugging!

  32. Hey Matthew,
    Your comment is very inspiring; and moving. If you felt I made the film in a truthful, riskier way I sincerely appreciate that.

    I did not set out to. It just seemed to me the only way to tell this story.

    It’s funny your saying that about giving a kidney to go back and see the Doors live. I feel exactly the same. I am deeply envious of those lucky souls who had that experience. The closest I came was seeing Ray and Robby do an impromptu version of Riders On The Storm at Sundance.

    My jaw was dropping just as far as everyone else’s. And that was minus two massive elements, Jim and John.

    I’m glad I had a chance to give new audiences a chance to participate in at least of fraction of that magic.


  33. Hey Mario,
    It is a great relief to hear that after all this time you finally saw the film and enjoyed it.

    I’m glad you got a chance to see it on the screen. Thanks for your report from the audience. “One line that I think captured the audience’s attention was, “ The Doors was the music of the uninvited.”

    That is one line of the narration I’m especially proud of. I think it is true–and that there are millions of us. I’m sick to death of anything that requires an invitation.

    The photos you sent of the theater in Boulder were great.


  34. Hey Renata,
    Thanks for your evocative and thoughtful comment.

    That is a great quote from Jim, “the horrors of business.” I keep forgetting this is a film ‘business’. I get too caught up in the pleasure of creating something. But, god knows I’ve been through the House of Horrors in my career. Some of the decisions made on this film were utterly incomprehensible.

    As for your own personal sense of accomplishment I would only say this: I think everyone has something they were meant to do. You just need to identify it and allow yourself to embrace it.

    At the end of your comment you quoted another person, saying “Jim Morrison is god” , but then the writer added: “and he’s the devil, too. He is everything!”

    I would hesitate to pay too much attention to anything that says anybody is god. The devil is only slightly more interesting but I don’t believe in him. Jim Morrison was a human being. His power and uniqueness lie squarely here. He does not need to be a god in order to have impact on us. I made a point in the film to suggest just this. Making a myth out of him ultimately lessens his real accomplishments.


  35. Hey Stuart,
    First let me commend you for your mature and reasoned reply. I’m serious. Now we can have a dialogue, as opposed to a monologue.

    Alright, the “Errors.” Now, come on, Stuart. These two things were the ones that had you the most upset? You were right to pick up them but they are trifles, my friend.

    The narration says that “shortly after the concert begins Jim stops.” All my sources indicate this is true. The furthest any of them has the concert going is 4 songs in and even this was open to conjecture.

    My point was simply that Jim stopped early in the concert. And this is true.

    As far as The Changeling being considered for the single from LA Woman, this may have been true. But, I wasn’t concerned with that aspect. I was more interested in the fact that the band felt very strongly about pushing Love Her Madly as the first single. This was Robby’s own song and he fought the decision, saying his song was “too commercial” for the Doors. He wanted Riders On The Storm.

    My point is, if The Changeling was considered it did not arouse as much intense, personal debate among the band.

    I’m glad you liked the film, and I’m glad you felt there was footage in there you had not seen before.

    And I agree, if the occasion arose for us to “hang” together I would look forward to it. I’m sure it would be an energetic and passionate exchange.


  36. Hey Sam,
    Casting can be fun. It can also be fucking nightmare. The worst case scenario goes like this: “We’ll give you the money to make the film if you get a star.”

    So then you go to the star, and their agent says, “Until you have the money my client is busy until 2045.”

    And then you write back, “Can you put it in writing that your client will read the script in 2045?”

    The most fun I had casting was on Living In Oblivion. No one auditioned. Any actor that had some money got a part. I’m serious. In every case I had no idea what an actor was going to do until the moment I said action.

    We’ll see about this new one. There are two really strong parts for a young man and woman. All I can hope is that there are still actors out there interested in growing and experimenting with their craft.


  37. Oh I agree completely about not making Jim a god or a devil and all that. In fact I do believe his humanity and realness are his greatest qualities, qualities which unfortunately, to many people who don’t much about him, remain hidden behind his iconic image. One of the cool things your movie does is exactly to lift this veil and give a lot of insight into his true self. That’s one comment my husband made after watching it, how it gave him an understanding of the real Jim Morrison he did not have before.
    I used that YouTube comment only as an illustration of the way Jim is often perceived as having a personality that runs the gamut from one extreme to the other and includes everything in between – He´s a showy rock star, and an introspective poet, intelligent and sensitive, and also obnoxious and rude at times, and so on. Because of his many aspects it is easy to find at least one you can relate to, that was my point I guess. Sorry if I wasn’t very clear, when expressing myself I do tend to forget part of my thoughts inside my head now and then. No, serious, I do. Now you are warned.
    I noticed you added an “s” to horror in that quote I sent (it is from the poem As I Look Back, it’s a single line there in the middle or towards the end (for anybody interested:– ). I’m not saying this to be picky at all, it’s just kind of funny because it makes clear how this business thing feels to you, it’s more than just horror, right, it deserves to be plural he he he.
    Please don’t feel obliged to answer this comment, I don’t know how you do it, answering everything, it takes me such a long time to write a single one, gee. I just wanted to clarify what I said before really.

  38. Hey Mike,
    What a great story about your father. Thank him for me. And thank yourself while you’re at it. That was very cool of you to tell your friends about the PBS screening.

    Yes, it is exciting to move on. There is an inherent instinct to hold on to something, long after it has ended. When You’re Strange consumed me for over 2 years. But, I am ready to get back to the narrative form.

    I love writing, directing and working with actors to create an illusion of reality. WYS did that for me too, don’t get me wrong. I just love the process of creating something out of nothing.

    If my films have any connecting threads it may be that they all came from some significant moment of conflict in my own life. They’re all based on some personal truth.

    I did learn early on though that the real creative joy came from taking those personal moments and expanding them outside myself–into stories and events that, though based on real experiences, could possibly touch the lives and experiences of other people.

    But, I think all the films are different. I love moving into different tones and genres. Some of my favorite directors did this too, even though they ran the risk of appearing “uncategorizable.”

    Look at the films of John Huston. He delved deeply into almost every dramatic genre. I happen to believe that audiences will appreciate a director’s efforts to discover new territory, even if critics cannot.

    My best to you and your pops.

  39. Hey Elaine,
    If you dug the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins version of “I Put A Spell On You” you will go crazy for Natascha Atlas’ take. She gives it a deep trip hop/middle eastern groove that is so hypnotic you could listen for days.

    Plugging I am. You do the same.

  40. Hey Renata,
    I see what you mean now. Forgive me for going off on the devil/god rant. And I don’t feel obliged to answer; I enjoy your observations.

    You were clear in what you wrote. I may be a little hypersensitive around the idea of people saying who Jim was. It’s kind of like what Matthew wrote above, “Nobody really knew Jim Morrison, not even his band members.”

    But, you are right. Clearly there were many dimensions to him. And perhaps this is what makes him so intriguing to so many people.


  41. Tom, I applaud your frankness and fairness on here and to quote Voltaire

    “Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.”

    I still Hold firm on my rots viewpoint but given your explanation of why you went with your LHM angle then i can see what you mean by where you were going with it…

    Another Nitpick Tom but nowhere on the Miami audience recording does jim say or ask the crowd do they want to see his “member” so how come you have mentioned that he does in WYS?.

    If WYS gets shown in edinburgh, i hope you can come and attend and perhaps do a q and a?.

    Afterwards well..i know a few lap dancing Bars in edinburgh;)

  42. Thanks for replying Tom! You really spoil us all you know.

    I would go for Emile Hirsch if I were you. Sure, he looks like he will be 16 forever, just like Leo DiCaprio. But he´s got that wild thing in his eyes that seems to say: ”Come on, challenge me!”. Kind of like a young Jack Nicholson. Another great actor who should be a perfect fit for you is Michael Fassbender, I think. As for the young the woman – Evan Rachel Wood or Greta Grerwig from “Greenberg”?


  43. Tom,
    I am pleased that I can contribute my small part in supporting your efforts. Another thing that needs to be recognized is the fact that you did not include any interviews from the present. It is something that would seem only logical for any director to consider in a case like this and, I think it was very effective that you did not. By not including “hindsight” interviews from the living members of The Doors, the documentary stays firmly in its time. I was able to transport myself back to the late 60’s and experience the band as closely as possible to those who were there.

  44. Dear Tom,

    I ran across this quote today and I thought of you. It goes back to the last blog but it can also be for the future. It’s about “DOING” and being the one to TAKE the risk! You did that!! A big KUDOS!!! 🙂

    “It is not the critic who counts, nor the person who proints out how the strong person stumbled or wher the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena; whose face is actually marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows great enthusiasm and great devotion, whose life is spent in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and at worst, if failure wins out., it at least wins with greatness, so that this person’s place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt

    Tom, you have and will continue to bring this excellent project to the people and will have touched lives that may never have the chance to tell you what we (collectively) have. The critics are certainly allowed their opinions but I strongly believe they should be “balanced” on what they like and dislike in projects.

    In my heart, I feel the international platform will open more doors for you and the film! YOU DID A WONDERFUL JOB!

    Ms. Ann Onimuss

  45. Anonymous – what a beautiful quote. Thanks for sharing.

    Tom – thx for the music recommendation. Also noticed you’ve revamped some of your site tabs/content too, in addition to the new banner. Great job; blog looks good. I’m still plugging away too. Finished a major draft this weekend, meaning my brain is somewhere between completely fried and utterly elated.

    Interesting response to Mike about your films. I’ve always said that each one seems to fit a different mood. Makes the group of them much more watchable/reason to have all of them more understandable because each one is unique.

    Hope your trip to Paris for the press/opening there goes well 🙂


  46. Elaine – Thank you!

    Green – Thank you for taking the time to put down your words in such a touching and thought provoking entry.


    It sounds like you’re really working hard at developing your new characters! Would you be open to considering two people you may never have seen for these roles? (one guy/one girl – age ranges are 25-35ish)? If “yes”, please let me know where I should forward the jpeg/headshot/resume. (I’m not sure if it’s easier, but you can forward it to the “823” email that’s on file for this blog.) I just don’t want their personal info posted on the blog.

    I know you like to “discover” people and it would be neat to connect them to you. The guy is a “stand up comedian/good guy” and the girl is “girl next door” type. They have been in the business for over ten years and would like a chance to work with you. THANKS, Tom!!!

    One more QUOTABLE QUOTE – FOR EVERYONE – even the silent reader (yes, YOU!!) 🙂

    “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence- that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” – Mario Andretti

    Wishing everyone a wonderful day!
    Ms. Ann Onimuss

  47. Hey Stuart,
    The line about Morrison exposing himself came from a transcript provided to me of the entire tape. Not all of the tape exists anymore and this was how I discovered the whole speech Jim made.

    I like the Voltaire quote. Unfortunately what happens is that people leave out the thinking part.

    Unfortunately, I doubt I will make it to Edinburgh. Perhaps London but that now seems up in the air. But, if I did come over I’d prefer to just have a beer or three with you and Wayne. Never was a big proponent of lap-dancing.


  48. Hey Sam,
    Good instinct on young actors. I feel exactly the same about Emile Hirsch. He’s on my list. And so is Evan Rachel Wood.

    I will check out Michael Fassbender and Greta Grerwig.

    You haven’t seen Oblivion?! Come on, man. It only came out in 1995. What are you waiting for, the 3D version?

    Check it out on DVD if you get a chance. You might get a chuckle out of it.

  49. Hey Matthew,
    Again, you speak my mind. I purposefully chose not to include any contemporary interviews with the band for precisely the reason you suggested: using only the footage of them from that time period keeps them spontaneous and alive. They didn’t need to talk about it; they were living it.

    To their great credit Ray, Robby and John agreed 100% with this approach. And I think you are right; it allows people to experience the band as if they were just happening now.

    Thanks for sharing those observations.


  50. My dear Ms. Ann Onymuss,
    Those are some pretty great quotes. They do provide some solace against the sucker punches.

    There’s one I like from Jon Voigt’s character in a very intense film called Runaway Train: “Whatever don’t kill me only makes me stronger!”

    In it’s own way this is merely a stripped down version of Roosevelt’s quote. And, in it’s own way, it is absolutely true.

    Thanks for your continued sharing of your heart and soul.


  51. Hey Elaine,
    Big congratulations to you on finishing the draft. Moving all the way through something like that is a huge accomplishment. It takes enormous strength, determination and a belief in yourself.

    Good going. Keep the faith; I know it will be worth your while.

    Yeah, I decided to do some site housekeeping. I felt it was time to do a page specifically on the Films. Thanks for the feedback.

    I return to Paris next Monday for the actual premiere. I’m really looking forward to it. I believe John Densmore and I will ovelap by a day which will be cool.

    I’m only staying for 2 days so I’ll probably be a little blitzed coming back.


  52. Tom, I was wondering ,from your research did you ever think at one point just as morrison was ready to leave for Paris that Ray, John and Robby didnt Trust Jim anymore? I give you this fact for food for thought

    “Sub Section 11 Amendment to the Old Doors Partnership Agreement March 11th 1971

    ”On March 11th 1971 the parties executed a one page amendment to the Old Doors Partnership Agreement. It sets forth a specific provision prohibiting the use of the name, The Doors, by any partner upon termination of the partnership for any reason other than the death of a partner. The amendment was prompted by a concern that after L.A. Woman was delivered to Elektra, Morrison might leave the band and form another band in Europe using the name ‘The Doors.’
    Manzarek testified that he signed the one-page amendment when it was prepared but did not read it and did not understand its purpose.
    Abe Somer testified that he recalled some concern about the band splintering, and that the amendment, as well as all of the band’s agreements, were explained to the band members before they signed.”
    The court found Mr. Somers’ testimony to be credible and accepts it as true.”

    From Pt III Statement of facts….
    Proposed Statement of Decision
    By Judge Gregory Alarcon May 2005″

  53. Another great quote from Jon Voight in Runaway train is when Rebecca De Mornay tells him “You’re an animal!” and he goes “No, worse! Human!”. What a movie that is!

    Hahaha no 3D doesn´t do it for me. But I have seen Box of Moonlight probably 10 times, maybe that makes up for it a little? Living In Oblivion is apparently not on the swedish dvd market, 3D or not, but I`ll order it. It goes by the name of “Tystnad, tagning!” here, the swedish version of director´s phrase “Action!” I am sure that title hasn´t exactly helped your film here.

    If you´re gonna check out Michael Fassbender I suggest Fish Tank by Andrea Arnold or Angel by François Ozon. Oh , and it´s Greta Gerwig, I made a typo.


  54. IN RESPONSE TO TOM: “There’s one I like from Jon Voigt’s character in a very intense film called Runaway Train: ‘Whatever don’t kill me only makes me stronger!'”

    Tom –

    That’s a fun twist on the old quote! Sometimes life feels like a runaway train!!! ((laughing)) Buckle up, put your hands up in the hands in the air, and enjoy the ride as you open the film in Europe! 🙂

  55. Tom,

    Do I have your permission to paste the photo of the moment in the film that I referred to in the last blog? I’m asking out of respect and will not be posting it anywhere else. I don’t see how to “attach” photos but have seen you put pictures up within your blog.

    Please advise because I want to show what I was writing about.

    Ms. Ann Onimuss

  56. Hey Stuart,
    That is an interesting document. But, in my opinion, it might have had to more to do with Jim’s original agreement with Ray, John and Robby–his belief that the band consisted of the Four of them, that no decision could be made unless all 4 agreed upon it.

    It was this agreement that he used in his argument with his bandmates about their decision to use Light My Fire in the Buick commercial without his consent.

    This agreement is also what John Densmore drew upon to keep the name The Doors only for the 4 original members of the group.

    You should know there was also a lot of mutual tension in the band at the moment Jim went to Paris. Whatever protection they might have felt they needed to keep Jim from starting another band on his own, there was also a lot of unspoken feeling between Ray, John and Robby that perhaps it was time for THEM to move on from Jim.


  57. Ah, Sam,
    Your film knowledge is impressive. I remember that line. I also remember thinking the first time I heard it, “Wow, that is an amazing distinction.” Most people equate animals with violence and cruelty. Voigt’s character pointed out it is actually a trait more common to humans.

    I believe the original screenplay was by Akira Kurosawa. Am I correct, Doctor?

    I will check out those films for Michael Fassbender.

    Living In Oblivion is called “Tystnad, tagning!” in Swedish? It sounds like a subway station next to a tanning salon.

    Let me know if you get a chance to see it.

  58. Dear “Ann”,
    Yes, by all means send the photo. I’d love to see it. Send it as a low quality jpeg and I’ll try and post it.


  59. Hey Stuart,
    Thanks for your last comment with all the legal stuff. You should just know I’m not too interested in this area. I find it has little or nothing to do with the Doors or their music.

  60. Hi Tom,
    Long time fan of your work (since Johnny Suede). Living in Oblivion was especially poignant for me. I first saw it just after it came out while dating a girl who was a script supervisor for some never to be seen indy horror films, which she talked endlessly about. I watched it several times, oblivious to the fact that it seemed to depress her (her career was hardly booming). We broke up shortly thereafter. But no worries – looking back I think I owe you one 😉

    To the point, I wanted to mention I heard about WYS in a kinda indirect way. Was on Daryl Hall’s site “Live from Daryl’s House” watching his great episode w/Robbie and Ray. They, quite nicely, end the segment with your trailer, which looked amazing. I didn’t immediately connect it with your or your previous films, almost all of which I have seen. Just wanted you to know, as a long time Doors fan, this was a doubly pleasant surprise.

    Love the sense of humor in your films –the sort of ‘dark positivity’ so elegantly balanced with deadly insight on celebrity culture, crime and passion. As an American artist and teacher long since expatriated to Hong Kong, it was great to discover this set of little coincidences that led me back to one of my favourite indy filmmakers (and pretty damn good blogger-got lost on this site for a couple of hours).
    Big thanks for your passion, dedication and commitment to film. And can’t wait to see WYS in a theatre, if it makes it to Asia.

  61. Akira Kurasawa indeed, Tom. And directed by Russian director Andrey Konchalovskiy, who apparently is the older brother of Academy-Award winner Nikita Mikhalkov. Haven´t seen any of his other films, though. Maybe you have? I wonder if Akira dug the film by the way? He must have, right? He´s got taste.

    I really wanna see Runaway train again, now. You need to make a train movie too someday, Tom. Or a really winter-y one.

    Take care,

  62. Hey Norm,
    Thanks for writing, from Hong Kong. That’s a great story about you, your (ex) girlfriend and Living In Oblivion. The film did have strange impacts on people in the business.

    I wish you could have seen the moment where the woman who had been my first AD on another film confronted me in a parking lot, hurt and furious that I’d “put her in the film.”

    Nothing I could say would convince her I’d actually used someone else.

    Someone else mentioned they discovered When You’re Strange through Daryl Hall. I sincerely owe him one.

    I don’t know if the film will get to Hong Kong. I do know it has been sold around the world; I just don’t know if it will be in theaters or on DVD.

    best to you,

  63. Hey Sam,
    I saw Runaway Train in NYC in the dead of winter in a theater just south of Harlem. The theater had no heat. My wife and I were the only people in the audience. It was so cold we kept our hats, coats and gloves on. We could see our breath.

    Now, that is the way to see Runaway Train.

    I met Konchalovsky. He was on the jury of a film festival I went to and was very cool. I’ve seen two of his other films and really liked them. Great attention to crucial detail.

    Don’t think I could improve on the train film genre though.


  64. Hey Tom,

    How do I attach or upload to get the photo to you vial your blog? I don’t see an email on here unless it’s just hiding. LOL 🙂 Please advise.

    Have a great day!

    Ms. Ann Onimuss

  65. Hi Tom,

    I am a librarian at a for-profit art school in San Francisco. Is there a way to get a copy of Living in Oblivion with classroom performance rights?

    Here’s what the film instructor I am contacting you on behalf has to say about your movie:

    “I’ve always loved your films. Now that I’m a film instructor myself teaching narrative film production, I want to show my students your film Living in Oblivion. I think they’ll learn something about film crew culture, and I’ll get to enjoy one of my favorite films of all time. -Amy Harrison,”

    Thanks for your help,

    Amy Gilgan
    Art Institute of California-San Francisco

  66. Hey Amy,
    Thanks for your note. I’m thrilled your film instructor wants to use the film in her class. But, I’m not sure what you mean by “classroom performance rights.”

    I’m sure it would be fine if the school bought the DVD and just showed it whenever you wanted. If you want to screen the actual 35mm print then I’d suggest contacting Sony Pictures Classics.

    Please tell Amy Harrison how much I appreciate her enthusiasm for the film. She might also find some use in the film diary I wrote called either “Living In Oblivion,” or “Eating Crow, Notes from a Filmmaker’s Diary.” It’s out of print but copies are still floating around on Amazon.


  67. Hey Mizz Anonymous,
    I realize I mis-wrote. It seems the only way to send a photo to the blog is to post it on another site and send in the link to it. See the way Noemie sent the link in her comment on the Strange In Paris post.

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