Monday, July 14, 2008

Brian Wilson/Classic Film Ignorance/Other stuff

I was going through an old box a couple weeks ago throwing stuff out as I am trying to get rid of my storage space. I came across a program from my first concert, The Beach Boys in 1967. Ouch! That was a long time ago. I just finished watching Brian Wilson on Tour and found it a pretty amazing film. Not as good as Don Was’ documentary, Brian Wilson: I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times (1995). If you want to see an amazing doc that’s one you have to check out.

This guy is so damaged and yet he has created so many amazing songs. You forget how far ahead of everyone he was when it came to song writing and arranging. And you look at him now and you can see he is so heavily medicated and yet his backing band is amazing with all of the arrangements. Check out both movies if you want to see something amazing.

Your Angry Filmmaker Tip.

When I was in Film School, I realized that film was so much more than I thought. It wasn't just a way to tell a story (which is still important); it was a way to truly communicate with an audience. To use film as a way of saying things. To protest, to educate, to enlighten.

- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming really soon)

When I first went to film school I had modest goals, I just wanted to make Hollywood films, like the ones that I grew up with. When I got there I was thrown in with all of these people who said they were influenced by Godard, Fellini, Bergman and others. Film was considered an art form to these people and they all seemed very serious about what they wanted to do. When I had to get up in front of the class and say that I just wanted to make films to entertain you could’ve heard a pin drop. The faculty and a lot of the other students wrote me off at that moment. I had a few instructors that I couldn’t buy a decent grade from, because I was that guy “who just wanted to entertain”.

It was while I was in school and watching films that were not only assigned but were also being screened for other classes, or on weekends that I truly realized what film was all about. I had a conversion if you will. I realized that I didn’t know shit about film, film history or anything that was important. (Although I still think that Citizen Kane is not only NOT the best movie ever made, but it’s not even Welles best film.)

I felt like I was playing catch up the whole time I was there, and even the first few years I was out of school and working. Growing up I didn’t watch films, I watched movies. \Lots of westerns and war movies with my Father who rarely talked about fighting in WWII. If he did talk it was usually because we had just seen something in a film that he either agreed with or laughed at.

I don’t think the filmmakers of today have any knowledge of the past when it comes to films. They don’t believe that any films were made before 1985 and if any films were made they’re in black and white and boring. I think that’s why most of the mainstream movies are so bad today. Its one thing to know that the people who run the studios also have no knowledge of film history, but the fact that the filmmakers themselves are nothing more than “Commercial Directors” is something that really bothers me.

Directors are lauded for doing things with special effects and not for using film as a means of expression. It’s bad enough that young filmmakers today idolize filmmakers who aren’t very talented, (Yes I’m talking about you Michael Bay). I know that films have always been a business and the moguls would make commercial films to make money so that they can make movies that they felt were important, but when was the last time a film came out of Hollywood that was really important?

I love mindless entertainment as well as the next person, and I will go see Hell Boy 2 just because I thought the first one was a lot of fun. But I am getting sick and tired of being fed junk food by a bunch of people who wouldn’t know a smart and important film if it bit them in the … you know what I’m saying.

If you are serious about making films, then learn your film history. See classic and foreign films and draw inspiration from them. Don’t draw inspiration from bad TV shows you grew up watching, or from toys and computer games.

Give us a reason to go to the theater and not just so you can take our $10 and try to over whelm us with loud noise and special effects. After a while even the hungriest kid gets tired of nothing but Twinkies.

Other stuff.

Internet Special!!!!

Go to and check out The Angry Filmmaker Work Books. They are packed with lots of good info and are a real bargain at a mere $10 each or the set of three for $25 (plus S&H). If you order all three work books, (Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production) before July 15th, 2008 I will send you a free DVD copy of Kicking Bird. That’s all three books plus a Kicking Bird DVD for $25 + $9 S&H.

This special has gone so well that I am going to extend it to July 20th, 2008!!!

And just a reminder, I am available to consult on your films.

What do you get out of the deal? You get the best value and advice in making your film. No matter what stage you’re in. I’ve been in the business for 25 years, working on everything from animation to live action, Independent features, Real Independent features, Hollywood studio stuff, and documentaries. If you check out my bio and filmography ( you’ll see I’ve worked on award winning films, and films that never got distribution.

I will look at your work honestly and objectively. If there are problems, I’ll point them out, in a constructive way. No one wants to hear, “This sucks!” My goal is to guide you through the process, so that you can see what the problems are, and we’ll come up with ways to fix them. Check out (

My Masters Class, Making the Extreme Low Budget Film has been re-scheduled for August 18th thru September 5th in Franklin, Indiana. Check out for more information as it becomes available.

As always,

Talk later,



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