The first things that might pop into the mind of any intelligent person when starting this
chapter is: "Why the hell did you name the last chapter 'In the Garden of Vito'?
Will I find the same irrelevancies in the title 'tall tales'?"|
These are all good questions.
I am not going to answer them.
It wouldn't matter anyway. The point is, if you asked either of these questions, then you are potentially interacting with this story. You're going beyond just watching what I am pointing at you and thinking things through. In live theater, so
much of it is interactive. And it is
more easily so: People are right there. When you are in a movie theater, if you interacting
at all, it is probably with someone of the opposite sex, requiring a lot
of movements that don't show above the seat line.
When you are watching almost any play(broadway musicals aside), the actors are coming to you, getting in your face. You are not alone. And you clap like hell when its done, especially when it's good, because they are right there. I have always been fascinated by this interactivity, and that is why I had always been drawn to theater over film.
In any case, after the phone call to Rob(Chapter 2), my head was swarming with ideas. I wanted to pick the phone up and call Rob back, even thought I had blathered on to him for upwards of two hours. Something in his tone made me think twice. But then I had a stroke of sheer genius(we'll discuss my self-perception problems later).
I thought back to the two films that I had seen that had
really made me feel like I could make a film.
The films were "She's Gotta Have It" and "Stranger than Paradise". I went out and rented
both of them right away.
"What a stroke of luck these are," I thought. "They have so much in common with my own project: They're both black and white, they're both inexpensive, and they're both made by NYU graduates, of which I have a budding one right here in
the project already." I am sure Rob winces
even now as he reads this.
Today there certainly are a lot more rags-to-riches-after-Sundance, babbling-idiot-to-genius-overnight role models out there, but I think, perhaps, this only confuses the issue. I strongly recommend these films, only because I found them incredibly useful. I think nowadays people are committed to the independent feel and all this and that, but what Spike and Jim seemed to be after was to make as good a film as they could. They knew how to make good films, but they didn't always have the resources. That had to be clever, not to create the 'ahead of its time' movie magic that Speilburg and Lucas were busy working on in L.A., but to just make a cohesive film that looked nice. And, having little need to try to understand a general audience they didn't know, they
wrote for the people they did know. And for themselves. They weren't trying to do something
that had 'the independent feel', because, well, shit; they created the independent feel.
I must just stop my little tirade about how important these two are. It doesn't have dick to do with my little story.
I will talk about how useful these films are. If I had known how many times I was going to watch these films, I would have bought them. There are an insanely
large number of questions
one asks oneself when making a small film like this. For every question, I had two options: I
could call and bother Rob or I could watch the films. Since calling Rob involved the constant, personal
shame of sounding stupid, I often opted for watching the films. It was good(it felt good, anyway).
I let them make
decisions for me as the process went on. "How long should I leave that title card up?" Well,
how long were the title cards left up in 'Stranger'? "How should I frame this conversation?" Well,
how long did Spike frame his?
You get the picture. I think all I am saying is
after Rob, these two films, and indirectly, these
two directors, became my partners and in the process of learning, I became a cheap, rip-off
artist. I hope I get to thank Spike and Jim one day.
Now, on the other hand, if you never noticed the strange title of Chapter 2, well, then, nevermind....