Monday, August 28, 2006

No Apologies

Ok… first of all let’s get something fuckin’ straight. Today is my birthday and I have been on a bender for a good three days…so if I embellish or completely fabricate a certain detail… then you are going to just have to fuckin’ deal with it. The customer service desk is currently closed..motherfuckers! Other than the fact that I am on my own personal holiday (Marcus-polooza which is not to be confused with the birthday holiday of a certain chemically dependent ex-GF who still owes me money – no, I am not bitter – I just keep accurate records) I am recovering from a devastating blow in the film world. But like when is there not a devastating blow in the film world. This industry is like a huge game of musical chairs and I can’t hear the music for shit.

So guess what? I got into a big festival. NO, I MEAN A BIG FESTIVAL. Which should be a reason for celebration and lots of hugging. I had felt validated because a festival that I had applied to, just because we need to attempt to be represented at all major gatherings of filmmakers, had accepted me. The festival in question nominates two films for the Academy Award for short films. That’s an award that I guess we all want…I mean if you even get close…the smell of money will be upon you. So here I was feeling validated, feeling better than the others. I must say I took a perverse joy in being on of the chosen. In emerging from the field; I had bitterness and contempt and pity for them…those that had not understood the journey to I had undertaken to get this validation.

And then it happened. During orientation where the festival Director mentioned (quite off the cuff I might add) in a response to a general question about the awards…that my section was a non-competitive section. I remember distinctly how I had pretended not to hear it. I stared at his lips intently to see if he was out-of-synch but then I realized that this is no film print….this is the real McGilla. It is at times like these that you see your true character (and ability to consume copious amounts of ganja). The confusion and anger began to boils inside me…but I knew that as the director I needed to remain calm. Because essentially this changes nothing….actually it presents and opportunity for me. I knew that in the back of my mind that all the personal restraint that I was exercising to not be constantly high and to not constantly heckle and get drunk because this one was important… well that was all out the window. This motherfuckin’ festival is eleven days long.. and I live here…I gonna be continually fucked up – watch me!

But I really don’t know why I got so upset. I mean I even admitted when we got accepted that we a slim if any chance on winning any awards because Sex, Love & Z-Parts is not the type of time that wins awards. We at Big Hit Productions know this all too well. I need to stop trying to be the toast of the filmmaking world and focus on the larger picture at hand. Funding my feature.

Nonetheless I am intrigued by this blatant slap in the face (yes I started in the THEAR- TER) that keeps my film out of competition. So in an attempt to help you understand this situation and in an opportunity for me to make more fun of people I really don’t know I give you the Cooprdog top ten list of why Sex, Love & Z-Parts does not win awards.

Why we never win:

1) We don’t play along: You have to be a nice filmmaker with a nice film and a nice message to be taken into consideration. The fact that we have a dark-ish narrative and that we are loud and obnoxious never works in our favor (but man does it bring the chicks runnin’). Seriously though, we are pretty unapologetic about the film we have shot and that’s not what the like to see.

2) We are not in an existing genre: You can blame me for that one. I mean this film is the first official Gen-X movie (in this conscious manner).. so they don’t know what it is. Our how to judge it…so they pass on it. But it’s still entertaining so “what the fuck is your problem?”

3) We spent money: Now I’m not going come right out and say that my film is being penalized for the way it looks. But I will say that we severely clash with the current projection of indie film (which is amateur mini-dv shooters). Our type of filmmaking is directly tied to the amount of money you have…and that’s not what the industry wants to put forward (I mean it’s totally fuckin’ true…but whatever)

4) I’m black

5) We are from southern California (haters!): Now I know this seems weird…but I am telling you. If we were shooters from the Midwest…we would be great artists with tremendous vision. But since we live and work in LA…we are just wanna be Hollywood types with money…so they ignore us completely

6) To say yes to us is to say no (very loudly) to other types (popular) of filmmaking: A win for Sex-Love is loud applause to subvert the system and deconstruct the images. Who is really prepared to do that…and put their festivals reputation on the line to do it.

7) It’s a forgone conclusion that we will be in the game soon: This is a strange one. But because we have high production values… and lots of post work… they tend to think that we are either already in the game and fuckin’ around…or that we will soon be.. and thus don’t need any real help.

8) We’re arrogant when speaking about what we do: Ok so… you have to be confident and the more confident you are….the more you believe in yourself,, the more they will believe in you. I of course take this to a new level by wearing T-Shirts that say “Quentin who” and “Fuck an Oscar”. I mean maybe that makes me an asshole…but people tend to remember me.

9) We have no problem telling you that you don’t know what the fuck it is you are talkin’ about: I mean let’s be real shall we. Most of the cats we talk to don’t shoot. They have no real personal understanding of what it takes to get the shit done….we do. And after a few pints…we have tendency to show you why that is.

10) We don’t play it safe, and we don’t try to entertain more than we do to enlighten: That is why the screen us out. We make it permissible to not follow the rules. We are a living breathing example that much of what they say is not really true.


So there you have it. Now you know why it’s better to just get high and screen the fuckin’ thing.

Anyway I reconvened the production co. and I addressed them as follows: We have one simple goal now…since we out of competition and now screening in the orphan and feel sorry for them category (well that’s what if feels like so fuck you, I’m being colorful). This comes a day after being rejected from the LACMA Young Directors Night screenings series. Man did that one hurt (and since that lead came from Myspace…it’s yet another reason to say “fuck MYspace!”). I mean as a director, there are certain festivals and screenings that you really want… and when you don’t get them….it really sucks (and if a bunch of filmmakers should get tossed into the tar pits…I don’t know anything about it). Anyway.. so the plan is simple now. I have to redefine what it means to screen in the LA Filmmaker’s showcase. Me and my band of drug addicted interns (hey we are recruiting so.. if you are interested… get at me) are going to litter this town with our promotional material. I have to pull out all of the stops at this one. This is still a large festival…and I have been schmoozing the staff. I am going to push the envelope because my time is running out. I don’t have time to be nice and make friends. I have a feature to shoot and Guinness to drink (FYI: if you’re gonna serve Guinness you need to learn how to pour a fucking pint!).

I mean this is for all the marbles… and I am not about to be ignored in such a large field of films (300+). So I am booking Z-cars, body builders, models… you name it. The circus freak show that is my film when it screens is coming to your town – bitches. But that’s the ongoing thing that I am losing sleep over (yeah that and the size of this films debt)…

Ok so.. in preparation to screen I decided to try and create my own buzz. I tend to do this by harassing select persons in indie film and soliciting their advice and also planting the seed that is my film in their brains so that I can do some Jedi-mind shit later (..and fuck George Lucas – I just needed the line). Ok this is dicey business because you are dealing with Hollywood types who don’t smoke weed and don’t party at all. My filmmaking/eastcoast dude in baggies persona doesn’t always help me (well it help me meet all the members of the security detail of the restaurant)..and believe me this day was no different.

Last week I had hella meetings scheduled and I was determined to get the word out. The first meeting was with my IP attorney. Let’s call him Lucky (‘cause that’s how I feel about his taking us on). He’s so excited that it’s awesome. I mean often times I’m like the only motherfucker in the boat…trying to row, steer, and dump out the water that we are leaking in …and roll a fattie for my homies. And he’s all-in; see this shit can get exciting. So anyway we’re in the Urth café and let’s just say the vegans know I am not one of them. But it’s all good because I am having a real conversation, about a real festival and a real film that I directed…shit if I play my cards right I could fuck one of these waitresses. But I stay focused and heed the words of wisdom. He tells me to turn out my posse and that we are a seasoned film and should screen well (I see now why people pay these guys $350/hr). Ok so I come out of that meeting like fuckin’ superman. Shit if I had of know it was going to go that well… I would have valet parked just so I could do a burn-out when I leave.

I’m off to my second meeting with what I believe is a connected producer. Well this thing starts off nice but I immediately that he’s not too impressed with the film. One of the issues about Sex-Love is that it’s for and about Generation X. So if you are not in its target demographic or sympathize with them…then it’s just a stupid film. And that is what I was sensing here. So there is no need to go into anything…because we operate in different worlds. I am forever an amateur to this class….a wannabe hopeful with delusions of grandeur.

So I sat there, and got my head handed to me in sentence after sentence. I suddenly wished that I could now clearly hear the two homeless guys conversation (that I had been trying really hard to block out).. I wanted to be anywhere but here. I can only make enemies here. I will only lash out and speak of theory…and the cinema…and the art and love of the shot. And I well seem like a lunatic to him.

He is quick to dispenses his advice, for what little good he thinks I can do. To him I am on a sinking ship (hey but I’m capt’n of this motherfucker though!) and have little to offer the world other than gimmicks and models. I am desperately wishing that this was a pint in front of me, instead of bottled water.

Then – out of the blue…the universe intervenes. See we were at a Starbucks and this dude was washing out the trashcans. Now I don’t normally pay attention to such things…but I used to work for the Evil Empire (Starbucks).. and I spent many a bullshit shift scrubbing these nasty trashcans. So I of course am sympathizing with the dude. Anyway.. .so when he finished and he dumps the water…he dumps it towards the tables. Which sends everyone into a tizzy (except for me, ‘cause I’m ghetto like that and I know that ill shit can go down at any time.). They are yelling and screaming at this barista telling him that he is rude and unprofessional. He replied that no water splashed on any of us…it’s an ugly stalemate. But I feel sorry for the patrons. They don’t realize that you really need to leave this guy the fuck alone. He wants to get fired. He knows that they won’t do it to him…they want him to quit… so there is no unemployment claim. Trust me on this. And the barista is a loose cannons. They are easily on the low end of the food chain. Shit when I was a barista, bus-boys used to come in and talk shit to us.

So anyway I know that he’s considering just killing us all and then burning the Starbucks to the fucking ground and signing his name on the asphalt like it was a piece of art. Yes the hatred runs that deep when you are a barista.

I remembered then why I made films…and why I had started writing. It was to speak to people like this guy. Who tells his story. Not Stevie –“I said no black extras!”- Spielberg… not Oliver “I don’t just anyone born after JFK was assassinated” Stone.. and sure the fuck not Kevin Smith. It’s up to me and Det. Budd to give them their subjectivity (look it up Skippy!).

So by the time I had tuned back into the meeting I was being drawn and quartered. I mean this is a write of passage for these cats so I took my lumps. He had some valid points and some good advice (I just didn’t need to get my film thrashed to hear it). And no it wasn’t horribly condescending… but I am a creative… if you aren’t dropping your pants and beatin’ to my images.. then I feel like a failure….

So I broke outta there like I had diarrhea (“uh.. I gotta bounce”) and sprinted (literally) to the Z.

So now I’m out of competition and people think I am embarrassing myself (yeah well at least I don’t work in an office). Ok so now I need to come up on something big…like a 300ft crocodile with the title of my film on the side. Ok so I am off to plan some crazy shit..and if you have a special talent (like you can balance a car on your face or some shit like that) then get at me… otherwise I’ll become famous without you.

COOPRDOG

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