Friday, February 09, 2007

Westwood: The Sequel

The doldrums of not having a festival to play in and the serious odor emanating from my kitchen drove me out of the house. I needed a change of scenery, at least for the afternoon, and to be completely honest I was running low on filmmaking motivation (Read: I was out of weed) so I decided to do what I always do when I am beginning to question why I am in this film game…I went to the Borders in Westwood. So if you’re not familiar with Southern California you probably don’t know that Westwood is home to UCLA and the Borders is a haven of UCLA film students. I really try to avoid film students because their bright shiny optimism tends to conflict with my “now I gotta cut ya’” philosophy. In addition to that, they don’t know shit about filmmaking and they think that producing is something that other people do. I normally last less than 15 minutes before I throw a book or respond to a question with the opening phrase “listen Motherfucker…” so I’m sure that I’ll get some great stimulus up in here.

The drive to Westwood sucks, there’s no two ways around it. I mean I got people doing the speed limit – FYI the speed limit is a suggestion in So Cal, what are you new? I don’t give a fuck if it is a residential, if they wanted to be safe they wouldn’t live so close to the fuckin’ mall! Listen to me, if you’re afraid to drive, get your ass on the bus! Anyway, I popped the clutch a few times and passed a few motherfuckers in the turning lane and next thing I knew, I was in front of the Borders. Let’s see how quickly I can make friends. And lest you not forget that the last time I was in Westwood they towed my Z (“You will rue the day!”). I walk in the front door and the greeter is really friendly (“hi, how are you today”)…how am I? I’m fuckin’ jonesin’ yo! I don’t even know how this cat saw me cause I was cloaked when I came through the door. I don’t think about it too much as I make my way to the magazine rack ‘cause that’s where all the real action is.

It’s a fuckin’ treasure hunt to find the film section. I mean how many fucking magazines about motherhood does one country need? There is a quilting section? Quilting…is it a competitive sport? Are there a bunch of octogenarians dragging around colostomy bags as they do battle with their knitting needles? And then there are the Men’s magazines. All these fuckin’ pretty boy soy latte drinking, man bag carrying sensitive types that write in and ask questions about accessorizing; my idea of accessorizing is wearing pants – but hey, maybe I’m ol’ skool. I dodge a M.I.L.F. and her band of display destroyers as I try to find the film section. I’m on my fourth magazine row and I still can’t find the film section, but I did find out that they sell Playboy in Borders (when did that start, and why wasn’t I notified!). This woman in front of me swears that I am stalking her (I’m way too lazy to stalk anyone)…she’s lookin’ over her shoulder like I’m about to make a move. Yeah, I’m going to pick the most well-lit and overly populated portion of the store to wage my attack. Do you see the what the media has done? I bet if a book falls of a shelf in front of her she’ll assume I’ve got a chicken claw and some voodoo shit going on. I walk past this woman as I make my way to the last aisle. Finally, the film section. As I round the corner I spy two undergrads reading car mags. Apparently they are completely enthralled with some $400K car. Now far be it from me to piss on someone’s parade but these two might want to save up for some new kicks before the take delivery on the super exotic. I mean this one dude, his sole is so bad that when he taps his foot it looks like his shoe is rappin’. I mean this guy to could take this shit on the road.

I block these two out of my mind and concentrate on the film magazines. Let’s see what we have…Filmmaker, Moviemaker, Fade In, Film Comment, Film Quarterly and a bunch of shit like Premiere, Total film and more shit that I can’t even focus on because it’s so bad. I grab a copy of filmmaker and I regret it almost instantly. I mean what is the deal with this magazine…it fuckin’ sucks. You wanna know how many times I learned something cool from Filmmaker? Never! You wanna how many times I read something that made me a better filmmaker? Never! You wanna know how many times I gave a fuck about anything that was mentioned in Filmmaker? Absolutely fucking never! It’s just Sundance deals, great producing tips like remember to pick up your camera from the equipment house before you shoot and lest we not forget the great ads. Like your in the middle of post-production without a fucking clue what to do, so you pick up Filmmaker magazine and your like hey, these guys develop film…we should give them a call. I’m serious, this is the kind of shit that goes on in this magazine. I mean I will say that I do like when they track Sundance films after distribution and evaluate the gross receipts versus the acquisition price. That is helpful…and that’s like once a fuckin’ year. I mean I don’t like the smell of industry balls enough to be up on ‘em like that. I never see articles about filmmakers like me. Guys who try to stay continually high, fabricate illusionary existences to justify why they can’t get up before 10AM and will only shoot on film. Now there’s an interview I’d love to read.


“So Cooprdog there’s one question that’s burning in everyone’s mind”


“Oh Brenda, and what might that be?”


“Where ever do you get this funny hats”


“Now you know a good director never divulges his secrets”

…ok maybe not the best selling issue ever…but at least it’s a real question. I mean how many times do I have to listen to story pimping throughout an entire article (Pimping: To create an artificial opportunity for someone to inject information about themselves, embellish on information about themselves or just flat out lie). I mean do I really need to know that he and his writing partner met at Sundance screenwriter labs and that’s when they formulated the idea to shoot this film. And after a few casual meetings he just kept bumping into people who had heard about the project and want to offer their services (for free of course). You know, it was fuckin’ serendipity! Yeah, well I never met Serendipity or her hooker-sister Lady Luck. I mean what fuckin’ world is this? And here’s the kicker, he doesn’t really know what he wants to do. He just wants to “make good films that touch people”…gimme a fuckin’ break! What did you do, read that answer off the back of a Crack Jack box. This is the kind of shit that passes as auteur theory these days. Ok, I can’t fuckin’ take this.

I put the magazine back and fight the urge to grab another magazine. This is all IFP’s fault. It’s their magazine and as per usual their shit is not helpful. I mean what about some real filmmaker assistance. I’m talking about publishing a guide that has a bribery scale for indie filmmaking. You know a little booklet that tells you what the agreed upon price is to get someone to shut the fuck up and go back in their house and let you finish your shot on the edge of their property in a part of their front yard that they don’t even look at let alone appreciate. That would be helpful…you know what I’m saying? A racing form with odds on your chances of nailing other members of the crew that’s indexed by the set hierarchy (Wow…it’s say that as a PA I have less than a 1% chance of fuckin’ anyone who is considered “Talent”). But do we get that kind of help, no…no we don’t. We do get to vote to give an award to indie films with real budgets and famous people…so that’s worth somethin’.

Has it occurred to IFP that unsuccessful filmmakers are liable to form a mob and hang a successful filmmaker if the numbers are sufficient. I mean exactly where is this big, happy filmmaking family where no one is talking shit about another director’s Mom and an 8ft dildo (I mean …that’s what I heard).

I feel like I’m about to pop a vein in my forehead. I quickly exit the magazine section…I decide that I’ll take my chances in the film theory section. I mean maybe I’ll see something interesting (ha..ha..that’s funny).

On my way to the steps I see the most peculiar thing. The greeter is at his little desk-podium-command center thing. Looks like he’s got a Pentium 4 and a gob of Ram with the speed with which is track ball is allowing him to switch between surveillance cameras. This whole motherfucker is wired. It was at this point that I realized that I probably shouldn’t have whipped my cock out while reading the Playboy…but hey...writers have to experience things and the copy was already open…what did you expect?

I get to the second floor and I’m completely fuckin’ winded. I have got to start getting some exercise (yeah…sure I will). My Goddamn glasses are fogging up I’m so fucking overheated. I stagger on determined to make them have to search to find my body. I find the film section which is always next to the actor biographies and the best of critic lists. My face begins to hurt and I realize that that is because I am frowning at all of these bullshit books. And look they have screenplays for sale. Who buys these? I mean I don’t want to read someone else’s work, shit I don’t even like to read my own work ( I told you I was lazy) and that’s the primary way I get laid (come on …that’s a $10 joke you bitches)…oh and look now I’m in the screenwriting section. Anybody got a match…cause with a single match I can make it all right, I promise.

I mean look at this shit they now have structure books and books that analyze great screenplays….yeah it’s called watching the fuckin’ film. Are we really this gullible? I mean other than the books on entertainment law and distribution contracts, this shit is worthless. I realize that I am about to have an episode and that normally means I’m about to here phrases like “the store will drop the charges if your client agrees to..” - so I segue to the music department, maybe they got some beats.

Beats…they got mad beats…Planet Asia, Madlib, Medaphor, MF DOOM (limited edition import) fuckin’ Borders. They were like political prisoners up in this piece. You might not know this but all homies are required to cop any and all underground artists when held in wac music stores. So I grab them and make my way to check out. It’s time to leave. It can only go down hill from here.

It’s like 20 minutes to get rung up ( which is why black people steal shit...for real, yo!) and then I’m out the door and I slip off into the darkness that has fallen in my absence. Confident that the trip wasn’t a total loss; shit with new beats I might blog more often.


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