I make films. I'm also a nerd.

Posts in cinema:




A semi-fine assembly of a test scene shot for The Glass Slipper; it will be incorporated into the final cut of the film.

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Making even a “no-budget” film is expensive! Particularly while looking for work in an imploded job market. Surely you’d like to help out a bit–and don’t worry, you’ll get something more than karma points out of the deal.

AA, JW on BK (on Twitter)

Much is revealed, I think, in this exchange–not just about our respective readings of Buster Keaton films, but about our respective approaches to producing films.

ALEJANDRO ADAMS: “Saw Sherlock Jr. Sorry but The General and Steamboat Bill Jr are so much better than this meta-for-its-own-sake stuff that excites academics”

JARROD WHALEY: “Agree. STEAMBOAT BILL JR. is superior on every level. It’s worth remembering, though, that this was before Barthes, et al.”

AA: “The metacomment(s) on the nature of film editing are tiresomely cerebral compared to organic sprawl of General & Steamboat.”

AA: “This notion of every shot containing an idea–I find myself craving shots that banish ideas altogether. A film as a bared muscle.”

JW: “No argument at all. STEAMBOAT, GENERAL are magic. SHERLOCK shows how the tricks are done.”

JW: “The ideas ought to exist between the shots–in the cuts.”

Test scene, THE GLASS SLIPPER, 6/20/2010

On stage with other filmmakers; closing night, Cinequest 20.

Street, direction, Palo Alto


Preview Audience Reactions: THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS


These are the contents of several audience comment cards, collected at the first screening of THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS on March 16th, 1942 (image: page 117, THIS IS ORSON WELLES, Bogdanovich & Welles). Based on comment cards like these, AMBERSONS was mangled by RKO executives. Welles’ career went down the toilet.

This audience, by the way, had been shown the film after actually paying to see a bit of Dorothy Lamour fluff called THE FLEET’S IN. This is all a bit like asking an A-TEAM audience to focus-group a Haneke film.

Q & A: Music and Control-Freakiness

Anonymous: You seem to have a hand or three in every aspect of production….Have you ever/do you ever plan to compose music for your films?

My response: Let me address the control freak bit first and then circuitously wind my way toward an answer to your actual question.

My habit of sticking my fingers into every slice of Filmmaker’s Pie is the eventual result of having been forced to work that way when I started out. It’s hard to find a long list of willing collaborators when one’s resume is still thin, and even harder when that scenario unfolds in a sleepy Southern town whose residents seem to take pride in only claiming actually to do things. So it made sense to work nearly (and in some cases, completely) alone when I started out as a filmmaker. It continues to make sense because that early rogue sensibility infused my thought process; I made a virtue out of it in order to allow myself to keep going. It simply became the basis of my artistic personality.

Now, music: I have, in fact, scored my own films in the past. Short Change (one of my earliest mid-length “shorts”) is one example which comes to mind. Would I consider doing it again? Maybe. It would depend on the film. I can imagine scoring one kind of film myself, and on another kind of film collaborating with a composer. This is all academic (at the moment, at least), however, because I currently have very little interest whatsoever in the inclusion of music in my films.

Q & A: “joltcity” Follows Up

joltcity: My ideas change and evolve, but after about a year or so I can’t maintain my interest in a script without radically reinventing it– for example, turning a delicate romance into a bitter, hateful, nihilistic “comedy” or vice-versa. Do your ideas ever muta[…]

my response: [Oops, it looks like the last part of your question got truncated.] When I say that one of my ideas shifts and mutates, I don’t mean to imply that it often slides entirely into a different thing altogether; usually the changes that take place in my mind are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. It’s funny how a fairly small shift can make an entire project seem fresh and exciting again.

I will say that in the case of HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE, I had originally intended to make a fairly straight drama–in the end, the result was a rather dry comedy. The basic story remained in place, but the tone of it went in an unforeseen direction. My current project is different in that it’s remained largely what it was when the idea first came to me seven years ago–although it’s since shifted around quite a bit on the surface level.