Friday, March 31, 2006

How Tough is it really?

Ok so we found a theater…ok well kind of. Because we still haven’t booked the fuckin’ thing because I guess the Feng shui is wrong or we have to wait till you can see the mountains on the Westside (yes under the death smog there are mountains)…before you can book a theater in LA. Can we talk about the theater industry for a second? Now I’m no fuckin’ rocket scientist or anything…but it seems to me that a theater owner in Los Angeles shouldn’t exactly be surprised that a few of the nearly 8 billion of us that shoot films would actually like to screen our fuckin’ movies. I mean don’t get me wrong…it’s pretty money having a $50K DVD-coaster on your coffee table but I have reason to believe that this is not what my investors had in mind…but I’m just the director, what the fuck do I know?

So Yoda (That’s the kick-ass publicist in case you missed last episode) and I have been hitting up all this “exhibition” people. Exhibition…freak show is more like it. Now I have to watch what I say here...lest I have to eat a little crow the next time I want to four wall or something….but hey…no one pays attention to me anyway so here goes.

The theater on Wilshire. Now I really wasn’t all cheery about screening in this place. I mean if there are two things that don’t mix in LA it’s big black men and Wilshire Blvd. Ok so Yoda has been doing the negotiations because as the writer director I tend to get offend when people don’t like the film and attempt to strangle them….and she felt that this was not the best approach.

Ok…so this dude that you have to talk to…he’s unimpressed by anything. I mean if you were talking to this guy and your head suddenly split open and the AFLAC duck hoped out and started break dancing……he wouldn’t even blink. And worse he doesn’t negotiate.. “what do you mean the price is non-negotiable….have I mentioned that my best friend is a pimp?”. Ok so Yoda has been sparring with this guy and he won’t budge.. but he’s got parking so he’s got us. He wants $700 hr. $700 and hour…can I get a hand job with that..fuck! So as Yoda is telling me this I go into my standard filmmaker answer “did you tell him we are making a movie” – ok so this is a filmmaker thing… since technically you are always shooting or in post or in pre production you can legally state at anytime that you are making a movie. And if you want it to really be effective… try to master that aloof yet painful look.. sorta like watching a dog get run over from 70 yards away.. of course the perpetual state of filmmaking (that phrase is copyrighted you biters) leads to the hedonistic behavior of wearing funny hats and always expecting to get your way.

Anyway… he didn’t give a fuck about me or my movie. I’m sorry I though this was Hollywood? I can go to the former soviet block if I want this kind of treatment. Worse… we are arguing over popcorn. So now I’m getting heated. Not only do I have to risk a Rodney King incident at my own fucking screening, but Mr. happy pants wants me to pay by the pound for his stale ass shit….ok… this is our back –up, back-up theater.

Ok so we already tangled with the Egyptian. Ok well tangle is not a good word…it was more like standing in front of someone’s parking space to try and stop them from parking. They are very nice people over at American Cinemathaque (or howeverthefuckyouspellit – like stoner filmmakers can google that…how ‘bout a little help people) but there was a misunderstanding. See when I initially called up and do my “woe is me and my celluloid bit” she bit on it ( I should have never given up acting). She quotes me $200 and hour. I just about starting beating my cock when I heard that price. So now I just have to book the fuckin’ thing. That means navigating the amusement park that is the voicemail/ phone extension system at American Cinematic bullshit…or how ever the fuck it’s pronounced. Now keep in mind that I have a real degree from a university with real people and a campus…and I’m still fuckin’ it up.

In comes Yoda..she’s doing the British accent thing and people and laying down on their back and spreading their legs….I mean really they can’t resist her. So she gets off the phone with the good news/bad new routine. Which is the worst thing to do to a filmmaker…because all we ever get is bad news…and really fucking horrible – we can’t shoot tomm. News. But I pretend like this isn’t going to happen.

She says the rate is $250 hr and not $200 hr….(here we fucking go..) and that it is not for the big room. Because why would I want to screen in the big room. No I’d rather launch my film career by screening it in a closet for a bunch of roaches with all access badges. The offer is good only for the Steven Spielberg theater. “Are you fucking shittin’ me” I say. I mean it’s bad enough that I’ll probably have to take a slug or two from the Bev-niner police department (affectionately know as the PO-PO in the Tahoe to all of us that live near Pico & Robertson) but why I gotta be swinging off of Spielberg’s nuts. He don’t even smoke weed.

Anyway…back to the story….. If you have never had the pleasure of seeing the Tahoe flip a high speed illegal u-turn and tailgate you through their city…then you really don’t know what you are missing. And if you are curious, just drive west from Santa Monica on Wilshire after nightfall. Just drive the speed limit and count backwards from 50…you’ll be stripped searched before you know it. For added affect, lace your ride with 24 inch spinners and be bumpin’ anything with a bass line…that will get you an extra Tahoe ( or three).. and lucky you.. they’ll wave their guns around so you get the full LA experience.

Ok so.. I opt not to screen in the Spielberg theater because it seats like 8 people and I’ll probably make a crack about him during the Q&A…so we pass.

The Nu Wilshire. Ok.. I love this place because I got a hand job in the back row in like the first time I saw a film at that theater. So I got a soft spot for the place. So I don’t even try to say hi. I let Yoda do her thing and I roast a bowl (a word to the wise…if you are going to filmmake and produce.. it’s good to be high a lot… because you are going to see a lot of crazy shit (like Michele Rodriguez getting pissed because she got carded at my ghetto ass 7-11 trying to buy cigarettes…and Michele if you are reading this…you cut in front of me in line….when in Rome bitch! (and by bitch I mean biotch).

Ok so it’s all gravy here and even better there is a place to park the show Z’s (classic Z cars) in front of the theater. Yeah I know you kind of don’t know what I am talkin’ about but you soon will.

Ok.. here is the problem, no fuckin’ parkin’ that I can see…and their screens are in use that night; that means we have to pay real prices and not indie prices. This is when I normally fake a heart attack..but it’s clear that he does this a lot. This cat is talkin’ $600/hr..but where will they all park. You have to remember that I am trying to get three hundred motherfuckers that are drunk and high up in here (always the best crowd for a screening in my opinion). So we have no Idea what to do… and worse.. there is no place for the after party AKA the 420 expo. I mean even if the screening is a total disaster.. I still got three DJ’s and open bar….I am planning on having a little fun.

So my lead actor has this connection at Gotham hall. I don’t know if you have ever been there but if you haven’t here is some free advice. It’s kind of dark…so make sure she really is a chick before you start to mack…I’ve just seen some wild shit up in there over some gender misunderstandings. Also, the steps are really fuckin’ steep when you come in. I point this out because you will be leave down these very steps once you are loaded. And nothing ruins a night of potential hot sex with a transvestite like a 2 story digger down a flight of steps. Ok so we have this place… and this is gonna rock… I mean yeah we are on the promenade so you have to pretend like you don’t see the 23 yr old homeless that have mp3 players and PSP’s and urinate in the parking structure but yet are unable to get a job.

Guess what there is a theater right next door. So I call Yoda and tell her I am going in.. her message is garbled because she got this hacked UK cell phone (ok.. I’m lying…but her cell carrier is the grocery workers union or some shit)…anyway I got this bug up my ass…and I made a movie so I know I can book a theater. Yoda hears my filmmaker erection getting bigger by the minute and says something to the effect of “that’s a negative ghost rider”…but I close my phone and go in.

I meet this guy.. let’s call him Skippy. He’s nice, but it’s like his first day…so I am planning on taking complete advantage of this dude. Well let me tell you a little something about my pal skippy; he out of his fuckin’ mind. He tells me it’s $5 per seat/ per hour. 350 seats, 2 hours…do the fuckin’ math son! So I try to joke and deal and then he drops the bomb on me.

“What are you screening on”…he says.

“Digibeta master”…I reply.

“Oh so it’s video”…he says. And I’m like “listen penis, it originated on super 16mm, and we colortimed it and got a killer sound mix and I opted not to cut negative because I had about 600 opticals and just the answer print alone would have cost me another $10K and there is not much discernable difference from digibeta and film for screening purposes”.

Ok…I didn’t say all that, what I said was…”yes it’s video” (humility is a motherfucker!).

So then he says do you have your own projector. Do I have my own projector? What the fuck kind of a question is that? Yes I have my own video projector, it’s in the garage next to my NASA Space shuttle and my Egyptian carsophogus…is this guy for real?

So he wants five bills to use his projector…but it’s all the popcorn you can eat.

Yeah so…I beat it out of there. I called Yoda and she immediately began a rendition of “How does it feel…when you treat me like you do”… see that’s the thing with publicists.. they can clown you with 80’s pop music references.

Ok…so our last chance is the Laemmle. Now since I can never spell name of the theater… I am not feeling optimistic. But Yoda says don’t worry. She leaves calls and gets through and we have the dude on the phone.

So now me and Yoda are blowin’ up Wilshire doin’ the Glengary Glen Ross thing on the phone (“how you goin’ do it with out the Glen Gary leads?”) as we try to get this guy on board. He won’t give us a price… he won’t even ballpark it. He want’s to send an email “well you see the thing is….I’m not at the flat to get the email”…he’s not cooperating.

So we have to go back to Yoda’s spot anyway so we go and get the email.

Yeah.. he’s crazy too. Filmmaker friendly my ass. Laemmle wants like $2100. So that’s a no go…. It’s all dependent on the Nu Wilshire. We have 21 days till the premiere.

Anybody got any Maalox?

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