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Old October 16th, 2006, 07:12 AM   #31
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For the kind of movies Spielberg makes, if he's not the best, he's one of them. Although, I think he's better at action than substance. I just finished a biography about him with lots of interviews and must say that he, more than most, considered the audience, and wanted a mass amount of people to like his work, which he said shaped his decisions. Making a movie more for himself was actually "the personal growth arc of his life."

The bottom line of all this is be true to yourself. I, for one, knowing all the hard work movie making is, can't imagine making one solely for myself. I want the challenge of shaping something artistic and from my heart through the complex, collaborative, money driven process into something a mass audience can enjoy. I suppose I can't help but bring a certain degree of this into watching other films, always seeing things from the balance. Maybe those who ride the extremes (too artistic or too commerical without substance) are being true to themselves, but they risk a very narrow niche. If that's fine with them, it's fine by me. There's a lot of room in the world. There is, however, a certain degree of selfishness to the extremes, IMO.

And for the record, I find it hard to believe that Kubrick, Lars, and Leone, or anyone else, made all their movies without making a single compromise. Reality always seems to force making adjustments (sometimes compromises) on the fly. But I know what you mean and they are good examples of that kind of filmmaking.

Last edited by Jeff Cottrone; October 16th, 2006 at 08:11 AM.
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Old October 16th, 2006, 08:53 AM   #32
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Yes, Jeff, I think, on the big picture, we pretty much agree on the same thing. On some of the details (Spielberg not being as good in substance then in action) I'll dissagree, but then we'll agree to dissagree on that.
You're right that it's possibly impossible for me to think that a filmmaker doesn't have to make ANY compromise, but as you said, they always stayed true to theirselves, and that's most important. That was, more or less, my point.
You are right about Spielberg always putting himself in place of the audience, but that's the way he thinks, that's why I didn't put him in the row of Kubrick and Von Trier and in a less degree, Leone, because their movies are less geared towards mass appeal then the ones of Spielberg, although I still insists Spielberg stays true to himself as an artist, and makes his film highly personal too - but I think you agree on that.

Best regards,

PS: is the biography out already?
If you want some promotion for your biography, I highly recommend contacting Steven Awalt from spielbergfilms.com, he'll be glad to give you a review of your book and put a link on his website to amazon, to your book.
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Old October 16th, 2006, 09:29 AM   #33
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Oops, Mathieu, sorry I gave the impression I wrote a biography, no, I meant just finishing reading one, quite interesting actually (I wish I got to interview him). Yes, I would consider Spielberg quite the artist, just that his game is larger in scope than the others. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on the substance thing, though. Of course Schindler's List was a gem. But A.I. and Minority Report, IMO, lost their way a bit, mostly in the last third department. But in case anyone else wants to continue the discussion at hand, we can let this go.
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Old October 16th, 2006, 09:56 AM   #34
 
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I think the thing that has caused the "tension" in this thread is the way the posting was approached.

Consider, a person makes a little film (good, bad, or indifferent). He posts a notice on the boards inviting people to watch the film. He titles the thread "Thoughts." He has, in one word, said: "Here's my little film. Watch it and tell me what you think."

When the viewers share their "thoughts" (opinions) and the poster gets defensive, those that replied can't help but wonder: "If you didn't want to know my thoughts, then why did you ask?"

The irony in all this is that the original poster said: "... but I'm just kind of curious about what you guys and gals will say about this short that I recently made. The stuff I do probably isn't for everyone, and I take that into consideration when I receive brutal criticism. So say whatever you want and don't worry about offending me or anything."

Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case.

As one artist (I forgotten who) said many years ago: "If you want your audience to love your work, show it to your mother."

Otherwise, if your going to show your work in public, like Jeff said, you have to expect some level of criticism. You need not accept it, but don't need to argue with people, either.
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Old October 16th, 2006, 10:30 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Cottrone
Oops, Mathieu, sorry I gave the impression I wrote a biography, no, I meant just finishing reading one, quite interesting actually (I wish I got to interview him). Yes, I would consider Spielberg quite the artist, just that his game is larger in scope than the others. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on the substance thing, though. Of course Schindler's List was a gem. But A.I. and Minority Report, IMO, lost their way a bit, mostly in the last third department. But in case anyone else wants to continue the discussion at hand, we can let this go.
Ow okay, typo :-)
*possible spoilers*
I thought Minority Report's happy ending was indeed a bit weak, and maybe AI got have been better if it ended with David under water, but I still have some respect for the 3rd act.
And I really liked Munich, don't know if you have seen that one already?
*end of spoilers*

Best regards,
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Old October 16th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Cottrone
And now that Brian brought it up, while I think your movie works on a sound/subconscious/mood level (although a few tweaks would improve it), I don't really know what its about either. Why should I care about this guy? I have a billion things going on in my life that I care about. Why should I include your film in that?
That's ultimately up to you. If you don't have any reason to care about this guy, that's fine. Maybe someone else does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Duke
I am not sure what you are trying to accomplish then.
I made a movie that should speak for itself if you care to pay attention to it and think about it a little bit (that's a tall order these days, I realize that). If you want to do neither of those things, if you want to watch movies for their escapist value, if you want them to do all of the work and to be a passive viewer, then you're more than free to go watch something else. I want to watch movies like that sometimes too, don't get me wrong. I'm just not trying to make movies that operate on those levels though, so when my movies don't operate on those levels, it doesn't make them failures. :) As I said before, this stuff isn't for everyone. Some people--even some people here in this thread--seem to have known what I was going for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Duke
Usually I hear actors say they don’t like to work with directors who can’t explain themselves, as it makes for a poor director.
Where did I say anything about not explaining my ideas to my actors? You're not an actor in one of my movies, you're a viewer. There's a very large difference. Again, if I wanted to communicate with you verbally as opposed to visually, I would have written a short story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Duke
If you can't explain what your work is about by captivating someone's attention to be even interested (entertained) to possibly watch your work, then why do what you do in the first place.
I think I've dedicated a couple thousand words in this thread to explaining why I do what I do. :) The simple version is that I hope some people will be interested, but not necessarily everyone on Earth. If you are not interested, then feel free to move along. That's the way this stuff is supposed to work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Duke
I believe Orson Wells stated that success is measured by the amount of people enjoying your work.
That is success if what you want is for 6 Billion people to enjoy what you do a little bit. If, on the other hand, all you'd ever even dream of is for a hundred thousand people to maybe enjoy your work a lot someday, then you don't care what the rest of the people think. Success as you (and ostensibly Orson Welles) have defined it here is what Wal-Mart would think of success. It is not necessarily what an independent shopkeeper with a very specialized kind of product would need to consider success to be. If this independent shopkeeper only manages to make a comfortable living for himself, enjoys what he does, and makes a specialized product available to people who really enjoy having it, thus making their lives a little better... then he is a failure by your definition. I say it's ridiculous to act as if there's only one kind of success. This is another case of trying to judge bicycles with criteria suited only to cars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Gladwell
I think the thing that has caused the "tension" in this thread is the way the posting was approached.
I said all along that I expected negative responses--as even you yourself have noted (?!). I posted links to the movie here precisely because I understood that a wide variety of interests are represented here, and was curious as to what kind of negative criticism I'd get from a general audience--and hoping there'd be at least a few people who'd enjoy it. If I've tried to explain myself along the way, then all I've done was to do what everyone seems to be asking me to do. :) You can't please everybody all of the time... which is also what I've been saying about my movies. :)

I'm not arguing with anybody here, I'm trying to have an intelligent discussion with thinking adults. I disagree with some of you. *GASP!* May God have mercy on my soul. :)
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Last edited by Jarrod Whaley; October 16th, 2006 at 01:13 PM.
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Old October 16th, 2006, 03:55 PM   #37
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This has turned out to be quite an interesting thread to follow.

Jarrod I see you've made some more friends ;)

I know what your gonna say, 'your not here to make friends'

You said somewhere that from now on you will not comment on any other films, I hope you do continue to comment because i for one am interested in what you have to say about other peoples work.

I think we need to pass it to the left :)' and all just relax.

Andy.
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Old October 16th, 2006, 04:25 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Andy Graham
Jarrod I see you've made some more friends ;)

I know what your gonna say, 'your not here to make friends'Andy.
That's hilarious. I was going to post some comments and responses, but I have realized by Jarod's replies that this will go nowhere, and save my breath for someone who is actually interested in getting feedback and have their film be understood by others. I thought our comments were here to help even though they may come across negative. What do I know? =)
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Old October 16th, 2006, 05:00 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Duke
That's hilarious. I was going to post some comments and responses, but I have realized by Jarod's replies that this will go nowhere, and save my breath for someone who is actually interested in getting feedback and have their film be understood by others. I thought our comments were here to help even though they may come across negative.
I'm plenty interested in feedback, as long as it's remotely applicable to what it I'm trying to do. :) I read Ash's comments with a great deal of interest; not only because they were technical in nature, but also because they were motivated by an understanding of what kind of work this is supposed to be. I did not dismiss Ash's suggestions, because they made a lot of sense. I did, however, attempt to point out that I did some of the things I did for a reason. I know it's hard to believe that I might have reasons for doing things that most other people wouldn't do. But it does happen that all movies are not shot and edited in the most glossy and user-friendly way. As for many of the other comments here: saying that I don't particularly find irrelevant comments helpful is not exactly the same as being a contrarian pr*ck.

I don't want to hold people's hands and explain to them what every little cut in my movie "means." That doesn't mean that I "don't want people to understand" what I'm doing, it just means that I don't want to make movies where every little motivation is spelled out so that a kindergartener can see exactly what is happening without thinking about it. And it means that I already said what I wanted to say when I made the movie. To say it again, verbally, would defeat the purpose of making the movie in the first place.

I appreciate the fact that you're offering suggestions with the thought that they may help me. I really do. But what doesn't seem to be coming across here is that many of these comments are designed to help me put together a movie that will play well to a very broad and general audience. I have said time and again that I am not interested in making movies that will play well to a broad and general audience, but rather in making the kind of work that rewards a little thought and is geared at what is perhaps a small fraction of all people existing on the globe at this point in time.

If I try to help a man across the street when what he wants to do is stand on the corner and read a paper, then I'm not really helping him, am I? [RHETORICALLY MOTIVATED SARCASM]Oh, but he must think I'm an idiot if he thinks I believe he really wants to read the paper. Surely he actually wants to cross the street, but says he wants to read the paper only because he's some kind of difficult pr*ck. He'll just have to cross the street and like it, because most of these other people around here are crossing the street.[/RHETORICALLY MOTIVATED SARCASM]

I've already said everything I felt needed to be said here, and can really only repeat myself from here. Like I said, I expected nothing but extreme dislike from the get-go, but all of these "pep it up a little and your movie will be acceptable to me" comments are starting to get pretty demoralizing. So I'm clamming up for everyone's apparent benefit. Thanks to everyone who tried to offer helpful suggestions. I'm sorry I like reading the paper.

:)
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Last edited by Jarrod Whaley; October 16th, 2006 at 06:02 PM.
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