Discussion:
movie question of the day: have film schools improved or worsened the caliber of filmmakers?
(too old to reply)
anthead
2006-07-02 17:53:29 UTC
Permalink
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery. coen brothers are among the worst offenders
despite the greatness of o brother where art thou.
better for artists to learn from life than from watching mooies upon
mooies.
movies have become more movie conscious but less aware of reality or
other arts.
Derek Janssen
2006-07-02 18:17:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think.
(So, now that Gaza's thinking "Gosh, they answered me--I've made my
RAMC-F/AMS/AMK comeback at last!...Oh, the forgiving power of bad
memory! :) ", and delusioning himself that we've all lovingly embraced
him to our net-intelligencia bosom "again", what recycled thread header
from '00-'02 will turn up in Monday's offering?

Current betting odds (windows close at 11:59 Sunday PM EST) are
- Godfather/Scarface - 1:2 prohibitive
- Planet of the Apes - Even money
- Film Critics - 2:1; mention of Kael/Kaufmann, even money
- Kubrick - 3:1; comparison with Scorsese, 3:2; mention of "Eyes Wide
Shut", scratched
- Once Upon Time In West - 5:1
- Eastwood westerns - 7:1
- John Wayne - 10:1
- Matrix/SW - 15:1
- Sixth Sense - 25:1
- My Dog Skip - 40:1

Derek Janssen (but, y'know, not like he's in a *rut*, or anything)
***@comcast.net
ForAFunTimeCall
2006-07-02 21:48:09 UTC
Permalink
They've definitly helped improve the tecnical end of film making. The
creative side is a differnet matter.
bru
2006-07-03 03:07:16 UTC
Permalink
you're comparing directors/film school today versus directors/no film
school long ago.

it's a loaded question. they had to be more creative long ago BECAUSE
there was no film school. film was in its infancy. being creative long
ago meant creating something new. being creative today means putting a
new twist on something old. making a good film, like making good art,
means revealing the truth in some way. that's the commonality of all
great artists.

schools may turn out cookie cutter directors, but there will always be
someone who understands better than others. difference is, he has more
to draw upon than past directors. you may see that as a negative but it
depends on what you mean by great directors. for me, i'm not looking
for groundbreaking film by groundbreaking directors. i'll leave that
search to people who only seem to be appeased by that.
Al Smith
2006-07-03 05:20:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by bru
you're comparing directors/film school today versus directors/no film
school long ago.
it's a loaded question. they had to be more creative long ago BECAUSE
there was no film school. film was in its infancy. being creative long
ago meant creating something new. being creative today means putting a
new twist on something old. making a good film, like making good art,
means revealing the truth in some way. that's the commonality of all
great artists.
schools may turn out cookie cutter directors, but there will always be
someone who understands better than others. difference is, he has more
to draw upon than past directors. you may see that as a negative but it
depends on what you mean by great directors. for me, i'm not looking
for groundbreaking film by groundbreaking directors. i'll leave that
search to people who only seem to be appeased by that.
You know what no school can teach? What a director chooses to say.
That is infinitely more important than technique, which is just a
way to get the information he wants to convey across to the
audience. That's what separates an Orson Welles from a Steven
Spielberg. Spielberg has got the technique, but he has nothing to say.
b***@mail.com
2006-07-04 02:23:41 UTC
Permalink
that is true of all "art" schools. they are ill equipped to teach
"vision". more to the point,,,,they can't. but that is something we
already know,,,creative genius comes from within, so it's no reason to
blame schools. to the point of the thread,,,,maybe there's too damned
much knowledge out there, so the unique talent is already slightly
tainted.

i believe the cream will still rise, though. you just have to accept
that it's all different nowadays. in art, there's too many teaching the
same thing, and too many cliques looking at the same things......i'll
put my money on the talented loner who quits school.
Post by Al Smith
Post by bru
you're comparing directors/film school today versus directors/no film
school long ago.
it's a loaded question. they had to be more creative long ago BECAUSE
there was no film school. film was in its infancy. being creative long
ago meant creating something new. being creative today means putting a
new twist on something old. making a good film, like making good art,
means revealing the truth in some way. that's the commonality of all
great artists.
schools may turn out cookie cutter directors, but there will always be
someone who understands better than others. difference is, he has more
to draw upon than past directors. you may see that as a negative but it
depends on what you mean by great directors. for me, i'm not looking
for groundbreaking film by groundbreaking directors. i'll leave that
search to people who only seem to be appeased by that.
You know what no school can teach? What a director chooses to say.
That is infinitely more important than technique, which is just a
way to get the information he wants to convey across to the
audience. That's what separates an Orson Welles from a Steven
Spielberg. Spielberg has got the technique, but he has nothing to say.
Wordsmith
2006-07-04 20:59:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Al Smith
Post by bru
you're comparing directors/film school today versus directors/no film
school long ago.
it's a loaded question. they had to be more creative long ago BECAUSE
there was no film school. film was in its infancy. being creative long
ago meant creating something new. being creative today means putting a
new twist on something old. making a good film, like making good art,
means revealing the truth in some way. that's the commonality of all
great artists.
schools may turn out cookie cutter directors, but there will always be
someone who understands better than others. difference is, he has more
to draw upon than past directors. you may see that as a negative but it
depends on what you mean by great directors. for me, i'm not looking
for groundbreaking film by groundbreaking directors. i'll leave that
search to people who only seem to be appeased by that.
You know what no school can teach? What a director chooses to say.
That is infinitely more important than technique, which is just a
way to get the information he wants to convey across to the
audience. That's what separates an Orson Welles from a Steven
Spielberg. Spielberg has got the technique, but he has nothing to say.
You can't reverse it, though: Orson's got stuff to say, but he has
technique as well.

W : )
Al Smith
2006-07-04 23:58:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Wordsmith
Post by Al Smith
You know what no school can teach? What a director chooses to say.
Post by Al Smith
That is infinitely more important than technique, which is just a
way to get the information he wants to convey across to the
audience. That's what separates an Orson Welles from a Steven
Spielberg. Spielberg has got the technique, but he has nothing to say.
You can't reverse it, though: Orson's got stuff to say, but he has
technique as well.
W : )
True. Then there's the necessity to say it within reasonable
bounds of time and expense. Orson wasn't so good at that part.
Nick Rowland
2006-07-05 13:37:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Al Smith
You know what no school can teach? What a director chooses to say.
That is infinitely more important than technique, which is just a
way to get the information he wants to convey across to the
audience. That's what separates an Orson Welles from a Steven
Spielberg. Spielberg has got the technique, but he has nothing to say.
Firstly, Spielberg did not go to film school, secondly I really
struggle to realise how so much of what a film 'has to say' relies on
the Director, surely the essential message lies in the script and the
director just amplifies it?

As for whoever said anything about "Film-Beethovens" being missed as a
result of film school, it is very hard to run a parallel between music
composition and film making, but if you see it fit to make one then I
think it well to point out that Beethoven did have Music lessons and
did study music with certain important musical figures at the time, and
in any case, musical composition is not nearly as technical as film
making.

The same can be said for Da Vinci and Michaelangelo -- both were
apprentices of fine artists in their early years, and Mozart as well
was taught inteively in the art of music.

So if all of these great artists had training in their specific art,
surely that suggests that film school ain't that bad.

Yes you say that the director's of yester-year Orson Wells, Kubrick et
al. did not go to film school, but that is, as is the common standard
when a new art form is invented, there were indeed no schools available
to be taught!

Modern film directors such as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola,
Woody Allen (to some extent) and David Lynch all went to film school,
and may I just point out that the Godather is arguably one of the
greatest films ever made (as said by Kubrick himself) and that Scorsese
in recent polls by UK's Empire magazine, 3rd best Director of all time,
No. 2 going to Hitchcock and No. 1 to Spielberg (accompanied by a
lengthy article defending this choice).

So is film school ruining modern cinema? No. As said already in this
thread, the thing that is ruining modern cinema is the business, which
I would like to add is one the decline with the box office failures of
King-Kong, The Island and other blockbusters, as well as the results of
this years Oscars (Brokeback Mountain, Crash, Capote) coming out top,
Geroge Lucas himself has said that in a decade or two he thinks there
will be little space for the typical blockbuster anymore.
Boaz
2006-07-06 03:25:47 UTC
Permalink
I'll take Gaza's silly bait and offer my own views of this topic.
Post by Al Smith
Post by Al Smith
You know what no school can teach? What a director chooses to say.
They were never meant to. Learning by doing is what film schools have
done best. The former would be like some aspiring writer expecting the
University of Iowa Writing Workshop to tell them what to say. You can't
teach a point of view, and if one expects it they have no business
going to school to begin with, let alone trying to become an artist.
Post by Al Smith
Post by Al Smith
That is infinitely more important than technique, which is just a
way to get the information he wants to convey across to the
audience.
Once one understands technique then it becomes easier for the filmmaker
to find their own voice and express themselves in ways that make them
stand out from the others.
Post by Al Smith
That's what separates an Orson Welles from a Steven
Post by Al Smith
Spielberg. Spielberg has got the technique, but he has nothing to say.
Firstly, Spielberg did not go to film school, secondly I really
struggle to realise how so much of what a film 'has to say' relies on
the Director, surely the essential message lies in the script and the
director just amplifies it?
Six of one, half a dozen of the others. It really depends upon if the
director has worked closely with the writer(s). A lot of directors know
what they want to say, but often don't have the skills to dramatize
them in the form of a script, usually comprising dialogue and fleshing
out characters, especially where subtext is concerned. This can vary
from filmmaker to filmmaker. What the director brings is the ability to
forge all of these elements of story, acting (casting also reflects the
director's vision), photography (knowing the camera and how it is used
isn't just for the DP), sound and editing together and make something
that is worth the time for an audience to watch.

Spielberg had been making his own films in 8mm long before he went to
college. He was at Cal State Long Beach (hardly a bastion of higher
education, mind you) for maybe a year or so, then dropped out when he
realized there was nothing useful he could learn from the place.
Post by Al Smith
As for whoever said anything about "Film-Beethovens" being missed as a
result of film school, it is very hard to run a parallel between music
composition and film making, but if you see it fit to make one then I
think it well to point out that Beethoven did have Music lessons and
did study music with certain important musical figures at the time, and
in any case, musical composition is not nearly as technical as film
making.
No school is created to turn out geniuses. But the "genius" can take
advantage of what they learn in school; refining their talent, honing
their skills, and doing exercises that help see where their strengths
are as well as their weaknesses. A film school that does nothing but
offer lectures and films to screen isn't worth attending.
Post by Al Smith
The same can be said for Da Vinci and Michaelangelo -- both were
apprentices of fine artists in their early years, and Mozart as well
was taught inteively in the art of music.
Schools can be someplace other than the classroom.
Post by Al Smith
So if all of these great artists had training in their specific art,
surely that suggests that film school ain't that bad.
Exactly. (By the way, I am in agreement with you all the way, Nick.)
Post by Al Smith
Yes you say that the director's of yester-year Orson Wells, Kubrick et
al. did not go to film school, but that is, as is the common standard
when a new art form is invented, there were indeed no schools available
to be taught!
Kubrick was self-taught, yes, but he'd already had experience "in the
field" as a still photographer for Look. If anyone has seen his various
photo essays they will see that Kubrick was already using the camera to
tell stories. It is why his shorts and industrials were successful
enough. By the time he went to feature filmmaking with "Fear and
Desire," Kubrick quickly learned the big difference in trying to tell a
story and convey serious themes on a bigger canvas. He has since
dismissed F&D as a "student film done in 35mm." He himself knew it was
an expensive learning experience. And what was spent was as much as
tuition today in some schools.

As for Welles, he'd had extensive experience in theater, going back to
his prep school days. His days of doing radio was helpful in directing
live performances and using sound and music effects to tell the story.
All that was needed once he got to Hollywood was an understanding of
camera and editing. Greg Toland was Welles' "instructor" in that area,
and Welles' films have always had a similar look to them since.
Post by Al Smith
Modern film directors such as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola,
Woody Allen (to some extent) and David Lynch all went to film school,
and may I just point out that the Godather is arguably one of the
greatest films ever made (as said by Kubrick himself) and that Scorsese
in recent polls by UK's Empire magazine, 3rd best Director of all time,
No. 2 going to Hitchcock and No. 1 to Spielberg (accompanied by a
lengthy article defending this choice).
Scorsese not only learned about film at NYU, he also taught there while
as a graduate student. He was able to use school equipment to make his
early works, which was a money saver. Many people attend film schools,
or will take film classes, just to use the "free" equipment and get
student rates with the labs. (I'm talking about shooting real film,
mind you, not shooting video.) Using classmates to help work as a crew
not only saves money, it also forges professional relationships down
the line.

Coppola had a degree in Theater from Hofstra. He attended UCLA to get
his Masters in Cinema. He apprenticed with Roger Corman, which was a
great experience for him -- hands-on training. He'd directed "Dementia
13," which Corman allowed him to do when the only way to liquidate some
funds in Ireland was to simply make a film -- a horror film, of course.
When Coppola did get his Masters it was from making a for-real feature
film, "You're a Big Boy Now." He was able to get the school to allow
him to use this feature as his Masters Thesis project, even though it
was done on the outside, but before Coppola had finished his graduate
program.

David Lynch was a painter who had attended art school in Pennsylvania.
He made experimental short films as well, and upon making one short,
"The Grandmother," with AFI grant money, he was admitted into AFI's
Center For Advanced Film Studies, when it was still a fairly early
program. (Terrence Malick was among the first class of the school in
1969. Lynch entered the program in 1972.) "Eraserhead" was Lynch's
Masters Thesis film. It took him five years to complete it. When Mel
Brooks saw the finished film he signed Lynch to direct "The Elephant
Man."

As for the early directors, such as Ford, Hawks, Walsh, et. al., the
industry was so new that it was still being developed, and Ford and the
others were learning from the ground up. Ford's older brother, Francis,
was already a successful stage actor, and was making his own silent
films, and that's how young John Ford entered the business (and
changing his name from Sean Feeney to the more American sounding Jack
Ford in the process, since the Irish were still looked down upon as
scum, even in the burgeoning movie business). Ford, Walsh and von
Stroheim got to work for D. W. Griffth, when he was making "Birth of a
Nation." They all had bit parts (Walsh played John Wilkes Booth), and
all were among Griffith's "assistants." Later on, Ford worked as an
assistant director at Universal, working on B-westerns. Carl Lammele,
the owner of Universal, was impressed at the way Ford yelled and swore
at the cowboy extras (they were real cowboys, old ranch hands looking
for steady work) to get them properly motivated for a scene, and he
promoted Ford to full fledged director. Ford's "film school" was making
two-reeler westerns, mostly with Harry Carey. They were one-week shoots
where Ford and Carey often improvised on the location, taking what was
there (or wasn't there) in the script and trying for something better.
Ford had some theater experience in his home state of Maine, enough to
know he hated acting; and he also was a talented art student. His
natural eye for composition and lighting (honed by those B-westerns
with Carey) helped make him the artist we know today.

Also, film schools are no guarenteed entrees into the industry. One can
spend a lot of time and money, having a number of impressive and
creative reels, but may still end up working on a very low budget film
in a low level crew position. For every Lynch, Coppola and Scorsese,
there are tens of thousands of people with diplomas, "calling card"
reels (and a huge student loan debt), no less talented, trying to eke
out a living.
Post by Al Smith
So is film school ruining modern cinema? No. As said already in this
thread, the thing that is ruining modern cinema is the business, which
I would like to add is one the decline with the box office failures of
King-Kong, The Island and other blockbusters, as well as the results of
this years Oscars (Brokeback Mountain, Crash, Capote) coming out top,
Geroge Lucas himself has said that in a decade or two he thinks there
will be little space for the typical blockbuster anymore.
Many people who bypass film school and try to make their first feature
will often fail because they are following the pattern of other
successful filmmakers, turning what was considered "unique" among the
"independents," into a cliche. What is the difference between a
done-to-death low budget movie (maybe shot on video) about yet more
quirky and dysfunctional people, or yet the latest in the Tarantino
wannabe competition, and a studio financed film that might deal with
the same subject? If the wannabe is simply imitating what was at one
time "original" in the same way that a studio is doing it then there
really isn't much difference, except how much money gets to be spent,
and therefore how much added "production value" is allowed. And the
filmmaker isn't much different than the student in film school doing
the same thing.

Boaz
("I like to viddy the old films now and then.")
MFalc1
2006-07-06 10:24:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Boaz
Spielberg had been making his own films in 8mm long before he went to
college. He was at Cal State Long Beach (hardly a bastion of higher
education, mind you) for maybe a year or so, then dropped out when he
realized there was nothing useful he could learn from the place.
Spielberg went to CSULB because he wasn't accepted by the film school
at
USC, then the finishing school for mainstream Hollywood.

Mark L. Falconer-film and video links at
http://hometown.aol.com/mfalc1/links.html
Boaz
2006-07-06 14:51:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by MFalc1
Post by Boaz
Spielberg had been making his own films in 8mm long before he went to
college. He was at Cal State Long Beach (hardly a bastion of higher
education, mind you) for maybe a year or so, then dropped out when he
realized there was nothing useful he could learn from the place.
Spielberg went to CSULB because he wasn't accepted by the film school
at
USC, then the finishing school for mainstream Hollywood.
He also didn't get into USC because he didn't have a BA yet. Lucas and
those from that group of SC were already grad students, working in the
Masters program. (One of my film instructors from college was among
that class. He later returned back east and taught, which is how I got
to know him and learn a bit about the program at USC.)

What film school did you go to? Just curious. I noticed in another
thread you said you were a PA volunteer at AFI. I was an actual Fellow
(cinematography) there a few years earlier. The term "finishing school"
was used a lot by outsiders, people who "volunteered" to do PA work,
often in a rancorous way. I think it was because some had tried to get
into the school, couldn't, and this was their only other way to do so.
I had to deal with my share of them, especially those who had worked on
a TV show or two. For the first year projects they would hover around
the monitor, kibbitzing over a shot as I was trying to light it. Those
people didn't last long. The volunteers who knew their jobs and did
them well were put on a list and welcomed back when needed (and if they
were available.)

Still, having people see what was really going on with the productions
at AFI was better than those who thought we were nothing more than a
bunch of spoiled brats and ivory tower elitists who just sat around and
watched films. Hardly.

Sometime after graduation, and trying to assimilate myself into the
industry, I met this person who had gone to CSULB. He still needed
several more credits to graduate, but he was studying film there, and
he also thought Spielberg was God. (In fact, he was not familiar with
Kubrick until I recommended he see "2001" at the Dome.) I think he was
among those there who thought if he breathed the same air Spielberg did
he would be as successful. Out of curiosity I checked the school and
the one teacher he looked up to out one time. At best it is a trade
school; I've seen junior colleges back east with better filmmaking
programs.

Spielberg "buying" his BA later on at SC was not only a fiscal gesture
to the school, but a symbolic one for him; he could now wear his "film
school brat" badge of honor. He really didn't need it. His days doing
TV movies and episodic TV at Universal was his real "film school."

Boaz
("See that guy at the piano? I went to medical school with him.")
MFalc1
2006-07-06 21:07:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Boaz
What film school did you go to? Just curious. I noticed in another
thread you said you were a PA volunteer at AFI. I was an actual Fellow
(cinematography) there a few years earlier. The term "finishing school"
was used a lot by outsiders, people who "volunteered" to do PA work,
often in a rancorous way. I think it was because some had tried to get
into the school, couldn't, and this was their only other way to do so.
I had to deal with my share of them, especially those who had worked on
a TV show or two. For the first year projects they would hover around
the monitor, kibbitzing over a shot as I was trying to light it. Those
people didn't last long. The volunteers who knew their jobs and did
them well were put on a list and welcomed back when needed (and if they
were available.)
Still, having people see what was really going on with the productions
at AFI was better than those who thought we were nothing more than a
bunch of spoiled brats and ivory tower elitists who just sat around and
watched films. Hardly.
Actually, my AFI PA stint was the extent of film school for me. In
1990, I worked as a production coordinator for Michael Cain, a
producing fellow who, along with writer Sara Bernstein (who later wrote
TRIAL AND ERROR with her husband Greg) and director Joe Tiburczky, made
a second-year film called JUST LIKE HIM (originally titled SUMMER
RAIN)-a coming-of-age tale about two teen brothers played by Dean Cain
and Miles (brother of Max) Perlich.

At that point, I finished volunteering and went back into
extra/stand-in work (for Joe Pesci and Wallace Shawn among others). I
received my SAG card after being given a line on CHAPLIN and left the
film industry behind in 97 for other pursuits.

I learned a little bit about being a boom operator and, on several
projects, did the equivalent of runner duties. And, regarding the
"watching films" part, I did sit in on a few of James Hosney's Friday
night screenings including THE LETTER, 3 WOMEN and DOUBLE INDEMNITY,
which was a good learning experience in its own way.

Mark L. Falconer (aka Terry McCarty)-
film, music and video links at
http://hometown.aol.com/mfalc1/links.html
Boaz
2006-07-07 02:36:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by MFalc1
Actually, my AFI PA stint was the extent of film school for me. In
1990, I worked as a production coordinator for Michael Cain, a
TRIAL AND ERROR with her husband Greg) and director Joe Tiburczky, made
a second-year film called JUST LIKE HIM (originally titled SUMMER
RAIN)-a coming-of-age tale about two teen brothers played by Dean Cain
and Miles (brother of Max) Perlich.
Sounds like some good hands-on experience. If one is helping out at a
film school but not as a student there, AFI is one of the best to do
it.
Post by MFalc1
At that point, I finished volunteering and went back into
extra/stand-in work (for Joe Pesci and Wallace Shawn among others). I
received my SAG card after being given a line on CHAPLIN and left the
film industry behind in 97 for other pursuits.
Too bad. AFI has a deal with SAG that enabled the fellows to pick from
a selection available in their on-campus office. (Thick three-ring
binders of photos that made one think of police mugshots.) The majority
of people cast were those who had been grandfathered in and were still
trying to get an agent or better parts. But I guess after working with
Attenborough it would have been hard to go back. ;-)
Post by MFalc1
I learned a little bit about being a boom operator and, on several
projects, did the equivalent of runner duties. And, regarding the
"watching films" part, I did sit in on a few of James Hosney's Friday
night screenings including THE LETTER, 3 WOMEN and DOUBLE INDEMNITY,
which was a good learning experience in its own way.
Hosney, eh? Still teaching there, huh? And FRIDAY nights now; they used
to be on Wednesday nights when I was a fellow there. The only good
thing about his class (for me anyway) was being able to see good
quality 35mm prints of films that I would have had to settle for in
16mm (and often did) in college. Only one film that I recall was shown
in 16mm, because a 35mm print wasn't available; it was "Celine and
Julie Go Boating." It was a 16mm print from a 35mm internegative, but
the film was originally shot in 16mm. The quality wasn't that good,
needless to say. But, then, neither was the film. (I once mentioned it
several years later to a woman I was dating, an American who studied
dance in Paris; she too had seen it, and I had to listen to her rant in
the car, on our way to dinner, about how much she HATED it too.)

I always thought Hosney was the weakest link in the faculty chain at
AFI, because he was a professor and had no real experience "in the
field," as the rest of the faculty had. (Our directing, writing,
producing and cinematography faculty were made up of people who were
still working, with only one or two people retired. We even had Donald
Sutherland conduct a six week lecture on Film Analysis From an Actor's
Perspective. It was every Monday afternoon.) I didn't care for Hosney's
pat approach in saying this film influenced that one, or this director
was influenced by that director, when he never really gave specific
points to prove it, letting the film be the example. Often it was a
stretch to see a connection; other times it was a no-brainer, so there
was nothing new or revelatory about what he had to say most of the
time. I thought he was something of a pompous ass, but that is just my
opinion. The films that we saw, however, made up for it (though not
that wretched "Celine and Julie Go Boating"). Maybe he improved over
the years.

Boaz
("We're going to show you some films.")
blue
2006-07-03 10:09:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery. coen brothers are among the worst offenders
despite the greatness of o brother where art thou.
better for artists to learn from life than from watching mooies upon
mooies.
movies have become more movie conscious but less aware of reality or
other arts.
What I don't understand is why people just don't join the film industry
as a runner and work there way up from there (and get paid for it) or
just make a film anyway with the money they would save (whole features
have been made for less than one terms fee). The film industry doesn't
recognise any qualifications so it just seems pointless.

Werner Herzog said that people who want to direct films should join the
circus to get some life experience and I agree. That's why hollywood
films are so bad, in LA their life experience is just film making and
striking deals which feeds back into itself ad infinitum resulting in
films that have little to do with real life but everything to do with
repetition of the last big movie hit.
MFalc1
2006-07-06 10:13:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by blue
What I don't understand is why people just don't join the film industry
as a runner and work there way up from there (and get paid for it) or
just make a film anyway with the money they would save (whole features
have been made for less than one terms fee). The film industry doesn't
recognise any qualifications so it just seems pointless.
I definitely agree. I would also say that the very first step should
be to get
work as an extra (even if it's on a student film) and observe the crew
when possible.

It's a good way to find out if you're suited for the long days and
variable atmosphere
(sometimes friendly, sometimes tense) of film work.

Mark L. Falconer-film and video links at
http://hometown.aol.com/mfalc1/links.html
Jan Bielawski
2006-07-03 21:38:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery.
I don't think this is a film school problem. It has IMHO more to do
with the film-as-industry-and-business approach than anything else.
Notice that no other arts have this problem (they have no costly
hardware requirements) and I agree here with Tarkovsky who already in
the '70s(!) said that film as art won't reach maturity until filmmaking
is divorced from all the bloated techno-financial machinery. This era
is slowly approaching thanks to the enormous advances in cheap high
quality video equipment. So I'm a cautious optimist, just wait another
decade or two. YouTube is just a silly tip of the iceberg today but
it'll be interesting to see what comes out of it - remember how WWW
came out of some silly computer network protocols.

Whether Hollywood can reinvent itself in this new reality is a good
question. I hope so. Although their stubborn refusal to learn new
technologies (as proved e.g. by the idiotic and self-immolating
copyright witch hunts) do make one wonder if the "oldthink" will ever
catch up).

--
Jan Bielawski
Your Pal Brian
2006-07-03 23:12:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jan Bielawski
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery.
I don't think this is a film school problem. It has IMHO more to do
with the film-as-industry-and-business approach than anything else.
Notice that no other arts have this problem (they have no costly
hardware requirements) and I agree here with Tarkovsky who already in
the '70s(!) said that film as art won't reach maturity until filmmaking
is divorced from all the bloated techno-financial machinery. This era
is slowly approaching thanks to the enormous advances in cheap high
quality video equipment.
Hmmm. I tend to think that if every director and wannabe director had
unlimited resources, films would be just as bad as they are today. In fact
they'd probably be worse, since much of the imagination and wit of
filmmaking is spurred by its constraints.
Post by Jan Bielawski
So I'm a cautious optimist, just wait another
decade or two. YouTube is just a silly tip of the iceberg today but
it'll be interesting to see what comes out of it - remember how WWW
came out of some silly computer network protocols.
Speaking of Youtube and great directors, here's Orson Welles singing
Sondheim with Dean Martin and Jack Gilford:



Basso Profundo! And here's Godard interviewing Woody Allen, with terrible
image quality:



Brian
Jan Bielawski
2006-07-03 23:29:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Your Pal Brian
Post by Jan Bielawski
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery.
I don't think this is a film school problem. It has IMHO more to do
with the film-as-industry-and-business approach than anything else.
Notice that no other arts have this problem (they have no costly
hardware requirements) and I agree here with Tarkovsky who already in
the '70s(!) said that film as art won't reach maturity until filmmaking
is divorced from all the bloated techno-financial machinery. This era
is slowly approaching thanks to the enormous advances in cheap high
quality video equipment.
Hmmm. I tend to think that if every director and wannabe director had
unlimited resources, films would be just as bad as they are today. In fact
they'd probably be worse, since much of the imagination and wit of
filmmaking is spurred by its constraints.
What I had in mind was something like let's say Beethoven - all he
needed was talent and being impossibly stubborn. I'm just wondering how
many film-Beethovens we've lost already due to a purely _financial_
aspect of the thing.

--
Jan Bielawski
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-04 00:22:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Your Pal Brian
Speaking of Youtube and great directors, here's Orson Welles singing
http://youtu.be/9ixXsaJ4q4g
Basso Profundo! And here's Godard interviewing Woody Allen, with terrible
http://youtu.be/geqNBPechaA
Cool.


=================

Nowhere Confidential:

http://fabulousnowhere.com/
snappo
2006-07-04 08:37:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jan Bielawski
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery.
I don't think this is a film school problem. It has IMHO more to do
with the film-as-industry-and-business approach than anything else.
Notice that no other arts have this problem (they have no costly
hardware requirements) and I agree here with Tarkovsky who already in
the '70s(!) said that film as art won't reach maturity until film making
is divorced from all the bloated techno-financial machinery. This era
is slowly approaching thanks to the enormous advances in cheap high
quality video equipment. So I'm a cautious optimist, just wait another
decade or two. YouTube is just a silly tip of the iceberg today but
it'll be interesting to see what comes out of it - remember how WWW
came out of some silly computer network protocols.
Whether Hollywood can reinvent itself in this new reality is a good
question. I hope so. Although their stubborn refusal to learn new
technologies (as proved e.g. by the idiotic and self-immolating
copyright witch hunts) do make one wonder if the "oldthink" will ever
catch up).
--
Jan Bielawski
In the end, a film produced from Hollywood - and most other
sources - is targeted at an audience, and shaped to please
rather than challenge. It's an investment looking for a return,
and the safest one, at that.
Films today are for 14-24 year olds. They have forgotten
how to attract the rest of society, who were lured away by tv.

So while there may be complaints about the "caliber of
filmmakers", the cure would be a return to the cinema
by the general public, which is not going to happen.

It boils down to the level of the culture which reflects
society in general.
When a film is measured by it's action sequences, it's
"cgi" relating to special effects, or how near to soft porn
it can get, or in it's comedy how gross and sickening and
childish it is, then this is a reflection of what has been
successful in the past.

If you had money to throw into a film, would you choose
one which followed a formula that had brought back
profits before, or one which was "arty", would be
cheered by critics and film buffs, yet loose money?
--
snappo
kino eye
2006-07-04 14:33:19 UTC
Permalink
Being someone on this list who has BEEN to film school, I do have an
opinion about this question.

I think film schools are sort of a red herring here. The real problem
as mentioned in the terrific quote by Herzog, is no life experiences.
Film school can't give you that, so they are bad in the sense that
people who jump into them right out of college miss a window when they
can be living life.

I've said this before on the list, but when you look at most of the
great directors from the 20s and 30s, film directing was often their
third or fourth career. So by the time they were making movies, they
had something to say, they had a point of view. A lot of the films that
are worth seeing over the last two decades have divorce or single
parenting as the theme, since this is ONE experience a lot of people
have experience with.

The one critical comment I'd make about film school is that they
emphasize f-stops over a solid knowledge of say, theater. This produces
generations of students who know a lot about film, but almost nothing
about plays and drama. Strangely, this does have a pay-off in the sense
that most jobs open are the technical ones, such as sound and lighting.
But how many people go to film school thinking they are going to be the
sound guy? And the meager few who do make it from film school often
have no knowledge in basic human nature. That's why a lot of the good
movies made now are made by actors or people with theater background.

If I was a giving advice to a high school senior, I'd tell them to get
a major in English, with a minor in theater. If they want to "direct"
then they can go two ways: 1)get an advance degree in theater, or spend
a year or two in theater, then take a summer intensive-class in the
film basics, and then get work as a gofer for someone in the business.
2) If someone is really interested in the technically end of things, go
to film school. This I think is especially helpful in animation, for
example.
David Oberman
2006-07-04 15:52:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by kino eye
The one critical comment I'd make about film school is that they
emphasize f-stops over a solid knowledge of say, theater. This produces
generations of students who know a lot about film, but almost nothing
about plays and drama.
I agree. This fact is obvious by even a cursory look at so many of
today's films, like "Match Point." The mechanisms used for telling the
story are in disarray, & the filmmakers seem to be making embarrassing
mistakes that even dull playwrights & dramatists "solved" decades, if
not centuries, ago.

Of course, the film school graduate (& the academic theorist he or she
has been studying in school) will say that movies are not plays, & I
won't argue. But movies every year will continue to suck like "Match
Point" because of an inability to create character or story or even
style.




____
"From the Emperor to the boot-black, all
the Viennese are worthless."

-- Beethoven to Xaver Schnyder von Wartensee
December 1811
Jan Bielawski
2006-07-04 18:36:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by kino eye
Being someone on this list who has BEEN to film school, I do have an
opinion about this question.
I think film schools are sort of a red herring here. The real problem
as mentioned in the terrific quote by Herzog, is no life experiences.
Exactly. This goes for film critics as well - most of them write from
accumulated knowledge, not from wisdom - which comes only from having
experienced something.
Post by kino eye
The one critical comment I'd make about film school is that they
emphasize f-stops over a solid knowledge of say, theater. This produces
generations of students who know a lot about film, but almost nothing
about plays and drama. Strangely, this does have a pay-off in the sense
that most jobs open are the technical ones, such as sound and lighting.
There is the reason for the f/stops.
Post by kino eye
If I was a giving advice to a high school senior, I'd tell them to get
a major in English, with a minor in theater. If they want to "direct"
then they can go two ways: 1)get an advance degree in theater, or spend
a year or two in theater, then take a summer intensive-class in the
film basics, and then get work as a gofer for someone in the business.
1.5) While in college, see if you can go on a foreign exchange for a
year. Many colleges offer those and frequently they don't even fill the
quota because of the lack of interest. Yet there is nothing better for
a young person to get some experience than living abroad for a while.
(And I won't even mention the advantage of acquiring fluency in a
foreign language. Oops, I think I've just mentioned it.) The credits
most of the time can be transferred over back to the US (the deal is a
bargain even if the credits didn't transfer - later in life it's simply
very hard to just go to another country to live there, esp. in the US
where a typical vacation is just 2 weeks off per year).
Post by kino eye
2) If someone is really interested in the technically end of things, go
to film school. This I think is especially helpful in animation, for
example.
--
Jan Bielawski
Jan Bielawski
2006-07-04 18:39:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jan Bielawski
There is the reason for the f/stops.
I meant "Here is the reason..."

--
Jan Bielawski
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-05 02:37:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by kino eye
If I was a giving advice to a high school senior, I'd tell them to get
a major in English, with a minor in theater. If they want to "direct"
then they can go two ways: 1)get an advance degree in theater, or spend
a year or two in theater, then take a summer intensive-class in the
film basics, and then get work as a gofer for someone in the business.
2) If someone is really interested in the technically end of things, go
to film school. This I think is especially helpful in animation, for
example.
A few of the more prestigious film schools, like NYU, can be
extraordinarily useful in establishing contact with filmmakers who will
go on to have important industry careers -- a network of mutual support.
Otherwise they are almost completely useless. Back when film
equipment was expensive and hard to get hold of, ordinary film schools
had some value, but these days, when those tools are relatively
inexpensive and ubiquitous, film schools just delay the real work of
getting a job in the industry.

The best way to learn to make films is just to make them, and these days
almost anybody can do that. The problem with making films is that you
quickly learn how hard it is, and how nearly impossible it is to make
one that gets an audience's excited attention.

Film school gives you an audience that is socially and professionally
obliged to pay attention to what you do . . . and that is NOT a good thing.



=================

Nowhere Confidential:

http://fabulousnowhere.com/
blue
2006-07-05 06:24:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by kino eye
Being someone on this list who has BEEN to film school, I do have an
opinion about this question.
I think film schools are sort of a red herring here. The real problem
as mentioned in the terrific quote by Herzog, is no life experiences.
Film school can't give you that, so they are bad in the sense that
people who jump into them right out of college miss a window when they
can be living life.
I've said this before on the list, but when you look at most of the
great directors from the 20s and 30s, film directing was often their
third or fourth career. So by the time they were making movies, they
had something to say, they had a point of view. A lot of the films that
are worth seeing over the last two decades have divorce or single
parenting as the theme, since this is ONE experience a lot of people
have experience with.
The one critical comment I'd make about film school is that they
emphasize f-stops over a solid knowledge of say, theater. This produces
generations of students who know a lot about film, but almost nothing
about plays and drama. Strangely, this does have a pay-off in the sense
that most jobs open are the technical ones, such as sound and lighting.
But how many people go to film school thinking they are going to be the
sound guy? And the meager few who do make it from film school often
have no knowledge in basic human nature. That's why a lot of the good
movies made now are made by actors or people with theater background.
If I was a giving advice to a high school senior, I'd tell them to get
a major in English, with a minor in theater. If they want to "direct"
then they can go two ways: 1)get an advance degree in theater, or spend
a year or two in theater, then take a summer intensive-class in the
film basics, and then get work as a gofer for someone in the business.
2) If someone is really interested in the technically end of things, go
to film school. This I think is especially helpful in animation, for
example.
That's to say nothing of how poorly they can teach! I sat in on a few
lessons once and I remember having an argument with one of the teachers
who told us that zooms were outlawed (and this was practised by the
whole school) because the process didn't replicate something that a
human being could actually do. He said that any director who used them
clearly didn't know what he was doing. Of course you can guess how I felt.

I told him that not only did I believe that zooms did replicate the
human eye in some form (concentrating hard on a particular object in
your field of vision) but that if you were to follow his argument to
it's conclusion we would all be watching circular screens with blurry
edges and have 'blinking' effects wiping over the screen every few
seconds of so. I mentioned that Barry Lyndon was comprised almost soley
of zooms and his reaction was something like ' but that's Kubrick and
he's a master ' - agreeing with me putting down his students in the process.

Sorry for the rant, there are crap teachers in all professions, but this
always rankled me.
l***@my-deja.com
2006-07-05 14:37:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by blue
That's to say nothing of how poorly they can teach! I sat in on a few
lessons once and I remember having an argument with one of the teachers
who told us that zooms were outlawed (and this was practised by the
whole school) because the process didn't replicate something that a
human being could actually do.
I would argue that the human eye zooms in all the time. Any time we
search a room looking for something specific, say a video with a
particular label on it, or a book, and spot it, that's a zoom.

I once argued in a class on Realism and Film that we perform montages
all the time. When I walk down the street, my eye darts to a pretty
girl walking towards me and then a quick look away to avoid bumping
into someone and then a look up to the street sign to see where I am
(another zoom) and then at the traffic light to see if the light is
green or not and then into a store window to see a nice jacket and then
up the block to see if a bus is coming. It's not one big canvas that
I'm picking details out of, it's a collection of individual shots with
different compositions--some closeups (the pretty girl), some medium
shots (the store window), hence montage, and not Bazin's beloved deep
focus.
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-05 22:14:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by l***@my-deja.com
I once argued in a class on Realism and Film that we perform montages
all the time. When I walk down the street, my eye darts to a pretty
girl walking towards me and then a quick look away to avoid bumping
into someone and then a look up to the street sign to see where I am
(another zoom) and then at the traffic light to see if the light is
green or not and then into a store window to see a nice jacket and then
up the block to see if a bus is coming. It's not one big canvas that
I'm picking details out of, it's a collection of individual shots with
different compositions--some closeups (the pretty girl), some medium
shots (the store window), hence montage, and not Bazin's beloved deep
focus.
In a deep focus shot our eye is free to jump around and concentrate on
different things, just as we do in real life. With montage our eye is
forced to jump around according to a prearranged plan, which doesn't
happen in real life. That's not an argument against montage, but I
think it is an argument against montage as somehow conveying a better
sensation of realism than deep focus.


=================

Nowhere Confidential:

http://fabulousnowhere.com/
Al Smith
2006-07-04 16:45:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by snappo
In the end, a film produced from Hollywood - and most other
sources - is targeted at an audience, and shaped to please
rather than challenge. It's an investment looking for a return,
and the safest one, at that.
Films today are for 14-24 year olds. They have forgotten
how to attract the rest of society, who were lured away by tv.
So while there may be complaints about the "caliber of
filmmakers", the cure would be a return to the cinema
by the general public, which is not going to happen.
It boils down to the level of the culture which reflects
society in general.
When a film is measured by it's action sequences, it's
"cgi" relating to special effects, or how near to soft porn
it can get, or in it's comedy how gross and sickening and
childish it is, then this is a reflection of what has been
successful in the past.
If you had money to throw into a film, would you choose
one which followed a formula that had brought back
profits before, or one which was "arty", would be
cheered by critics and film buffs, yet loose money?
--
I agree with what you wrote, mostly. You have to add into the
equation the increasing immaturity of supposed adults. This is a
recognized trend. Teens and adults are behaving and thinking like
infants. They movie industry has had to dumb down its product to
take this into account.

If theaters fail, and movies make more of their money through DVD
and other licensing sales, we may see more adult films -- films
made for those with mature minds, as opposed to infantile teenagers.
Jan Bielawski
2006-07-04 19:02:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by snappo
In the end, a film produced from Hollywood - and most other
sources - is targeted at an audience, and shaped to please
rather than challenge. It's an investment looking for a return,
and the safest one, at that.
Films today are for 14-24 year olds. They have forgotten
how to attract the rest of society, who were lured away by tv.
So while there may be complaints about the "caliber of
filmmakers", the cure would be a return to the cinema
by the general public, which is not going to happen.
This is all correct. In my post I was speculating, Tarkovsky-like, on
*divorcing* the financial aspect from filmmaking (divorcing to a level
managable by an average individual or a small group, say) which would
cause film art to finally join other arts in satisfying one overriding
criterion:

Work of art is always a creation of an individual.

The better this can be implemented in filmmaking, the better the
results.

When this stage is reached, none of this "investment" consideration
even enters into the equation and the immaturity of the audience
wouldn't count. I need to get some Windex for my crystall ball...

--
Jan Bielawski
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-05 02:55:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jan Bielawski
This is all correct. In my post I was speculating, Tarkovsky-like, on
*divorcing* the financial aspect from filmmaking (divorcing to a level
managable by an average individual or a small group, say) which would
cause film art to finally join other arts in satisfying one overriding
Work of art is always a creation of an individual.
The better this can be implemented in filmmaking, the better the
results.
I'm not sure this formula can be applied exactly to filmmaking, which is
almost always a cooperative endeavor. Films do tend to be better when
an individual has final say over the work, and when that individual is a
filmmaker.

I'm also not sure that you have to divorce this ideal from commerce. In
the pre-corporate era, and partway into it, filmmakers like Griffith,
Chaplin, Pickford, Arbuckle, Keaton, Lloyd and Von Strohiem had absolute
or near-absolute control over their work. All of them produced art of
the very highest order which was also highly successful commercially.



=================

Nowhere Confidential:

http://fabulousnowhere.com/
moviePig
2006-07-04 14:20:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jan Bielawski
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery.
I don't think this is a film school problem. It has IMHO more to do
with the film-as-industry-and-business approach than anything else.
Notice that no other arts have this problem (they have no costly
hardware requirements) and I agree here with Tarkovsky who already in
the '70s(!) said that film as art won't reach maturity until filmmaking
is divorced from all the bloated techno-financial machinery. This era
is slowly approaching thanks to the enormous advances in cheap high
quality video equipment. So I'm a cautious optimist, just wait another
decade or two. YouTube is just a silly tip of the iceberg today but
it'll be interesting to see what comes out of it - remember how WWW
came out of some silly computer network protocols.
Whether Hollywood can reinvent itself in this new reality is a good
question. I hope so. Although their stubborn refusal to learn new
technologies (as proved e.g. by the idiotic and self-immolating
copyright witch hunts) do make one wonder if the "oldthink" will ever
catch up).
The entry barrier for would-be (unpublished) writers is minimal, and
was pretty much stabilized centuries ago. And, nearly the same is true
for composers of music. But if you define "movies" as (rather than
concatenated photos) the best available simulation of sensory
immersion... then movie technology, *and* its cost/availability
pyramid, have a helluva, helluva long way to go...

--

/---------------------------\
| YOUR taste at work... |
| |
| http://www.moviepig.com |
\---------------------------/
blue
2006-07-05 06:13:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jan Bielawski
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery.
I don't think this is a film school problem. It has IMHO more to do
with the film-as-industry-and-business approach than anything else.
Notice that no other arts have this problem (they have no costly
hardware requirements) and I agree here with Tarkovsky who already in
the '70s(!) said that film as art won't reach maturity until filmmaking
is divorced from all the bloated techno-financial machinery. This era
is slowly approaching thanks to the enormous advances in cheap high
quality video equipment. So I'm a cautious optimist, just wait another
decade or two. YouTube is just a silly tip of the iceberg today but
it'll be interesting to see what comes out of it - remember how WWW
came out of some silly computer network protocols.
Whether Hollywood can reinvent itself in this new reality is a good
question. I hope so. Although their stubborn refusal to learn new
technologies (as proved e.g. by the idiotic and self-immolating
copyright witch hunts) do make one wonder if the "oldthink" will ever
catch up).
--
Jan Bielawski
Film making is also a collaborative medium and for a director to really
become a master at it it requires that they (like Kubrick) to fully
understand and master each process. This takes quite a bit of time but
can save a hell of a lot of money if the discipline is there.
l***@my-deja.com
2006-07-04 22:48:49 UTC
Permalink
The greatest directors Hollywood's ever turned out never spent a day in
film class. I'm thinking of people like John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson
Welles, Billy Wilder, Robert Aldrich, Sam Fuller, Anthony Mann, Don
Siegel, Sam Peckinpah, etc., etc., etc.

George Lucas went to film school and gave us Phantom Manure, Attack of
the Clods and Revenge of the Shit.

'Nuff said.
Al Smith
2006-07-05 00:01:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by l***@my-deja.com
The greatest directors Hollywood's ever turned out never spent a day in
film class. I'm thinking of people like John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson
Welles, Billy Wilder, Robert Aldrich, Sam Fuller, Anthony Mann, Don
Siegel, Sam Peckinpah, etc., etc., etc.
George Lucas went to film school and gave us Phantom Manure, Attack of
the Clods and Revenge of the Shit.
'Nuff said.
Did Quintin Tarantino go to film school? He's one of the few
modern American directors who has a touch of genius. Crazy genius,
but still genius.
Your Pal Brian
2006-07-05 01:24:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Al Smith
Post by l***@my-deja.com
The greatest directors Hollywood's ever turned out never spent a day in
film class. I'm thinking of people like John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson
Welles, Billy Wilder, Robert Aldrich, Sam Fuller, Anthony Mann, Don
Siegel, Sam Peckinpah, etc., etc., etc.
George Lucas went to film school and gave us Phantom Manure, Attack of
the Clods and Revenge of the Shit.
'Nuff said.
Did Quintin Tarantino go to film school?
Famously not. Nor did Wes Anderson, David Fincher, Spike Jonze. And PT
Anderson and Kevin Smith dropped out.

Brian
Al Smith
2006-07-05 02:41:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Your Pal Brian
Post by l***@my-deja.com
The greatest directors Hollywood's ever turned out never spent a day in
Post by l***@my-deja.com
film class. I'm thinking of people like John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson
Welles, Billy Wilder, Robert Aldrich, Sam Fuller, Anthony Mann, Don
Siegel, Sam Peckinpah, etc., etc., etc.
George Lucas went to film school and gave us Phantom Manure, Attack of
the Clods and Revenge of the Shit.
'Nuff said.
Did Quintin Tarantino go to film school?
Famously not. Nor did Wes Anderson, David Fincher, Spike Jonze. And PT
Anderson and Kevin Smith dropped out.
Brian
Interesting to know. I figured Tarantino for a maverick.
blue
2006-07-05 06:08:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by l***@my-deja.com
The greatest directors Hollywood's ever turned out never spent a day in
film class. I'm thinking of people like John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson
Welles, Billy Wilder, Robert Aldrich, Sam Fuller, Anthony Mann, Don
Siegel, Sam Peckinpah, etc., etc., etc.
George Lucas went to film school and gave us Phantom Manure, Attack of
the Clods and Revenge of the Shit.
'Nuff said.
It's easy to knock Lucas but I personally I think THX 1138, American
Grafitti and Star Wars rank up there with the best 'first 3 movies' of
anybody's career. Kubrick by comparison was a lightweight at that point
in his career.

The harsh realities of filming a big budget movie gave him such a
distaste for it that he never returned. At least not in any recognisable
shape or form. He got swallowed up into business and as soon as that
happened it was over.
Al Smith
2006-07-05 16:58:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by l***@my-deja.com
The greatest directors Hollywood's ever turned out never spent a day in
film class. I'm thinking of people like John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson
Welles, Billy Wilder, Robert Aldrich, Sam Fuller, Anthony Mann, Don
Siegel, Sam Peckinpah, etc., etc., etc.
George Lucas went to film school and gave us Phantom Manure, Attack of
the Clods and Revenge of the Shit.
'Nuff said.
It's easy to knock Lucas but I personally I think THX 1138, American Grafitti and Star Wars rank up there with the best 'first 3 movies' of anybody's career. Kubrick by comparison was a lightweight at that point in his career.
The harsh realities of filming a big budget movie gave him such a distaste for it that he never returned. At least not in any recognisable shape or form. He got swallowed up into business and as soon as that happened it was over.
Lucas, yuck. The last three Star Wars films were a waste of space,
the final frontier. If Lucas ever had a glimmer of talent,
Hollywood sucked it out of him.
Jim
2006-07-05 18:46:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by kino eye
I've said this before on the list, but when you look at most of the
great directors from the 20s and 30s, film directing was often their
third or fourth career. So by the time they were making movies, they
had something to say, they had a point of view.
Anybody mind if I butt in?

I dunno about Welles, but I don't think this was true of Ford - I mean,
his third or fourth career. Of course, he learned by doing.

One thing must be remembered about film: It has ALWAYS been
money-driven. (Actually, that's true of just about all art forms. Mebbe
all. Ya gotta eat.) What separates the cream from the dreck is how
people work within the system to accomplish what they are trying to do.
I think Ford was VERY good at that.
- Jim Roebuck
blue
2006-07-06 09:04:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim
Post by kino eye
I've said this before on the list, but when you look at most of the
great directors from the 20s and 30s, film directing was often their
third or fourth career. So by the time they were making movies, they
had something to say, they had a point of view.
Anybody mind if I butt in?
I dunno about Welles, but I don't think this was true of Ford - I mean,
his third or fourth career. Of course, he learned by doing.
One thing must be remembered about film: It has ALWAYS been
money-driven. (Actually, that's true of just about all art forms. Mebbe
all. Ya gotta eat.) What separates the cream from the dreck is how
people work within the system to accomplish what they are trying to do.
I think Ford was VERY good at that.
- Jim Roebuck
Absolutely. I personally know two directors who were so burned by
Hollywood they vowed never to make another film. It's an incredibly
tough business and much, much more than just turning up on set and
telling somebody where to point the camera.

Kubrick was a master of working within the system. The Coen brothers
arren't bad either. David Fincher seems to be doing alright too despite
making dark films.
blue
2006-07-06 09:07:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by blue
Post by l***@my-deja.com
The greatest directors Hollywood's ever turned out never spent a day in
film class. I'm thinking of people like John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson
Welles, Billy Wilder, Robert Aldrich, Sam Fuller, Anthony Mann, Don
Siegel, Sam Peckinpah, etc., etc., etc.
George Lucas went to film school and gave us Phantom Manure, Attack of
the Clods and Revenge of the Shit.
'Nuff said.
It's easy to knock Lucas but I personally I think THX 1138, American
Grafitti and Star Wars rank up there with the best 'first 3 movies' of
anybody's career. Kubrick by comparison was a lightweight at that
point in his career.
The harsh realities of filming a big budget movie gave him such a
distaste for it that he never returned. At least not in any
recognisable shape or form. He got swallowed up into business and as
soon as that happened it was over.
Lucas, yuck. The last three Star Wars films were a waste of space, the
final frontier. If Lucas ever had a glimmer of talent, Hollywood sucked
it out of him.
Totally agree. Go back and watch THX again though. It amazed me when I
saw it recently. A lot of the ideas and visuals are way ahead of their
time, it hasn't really dated. Avoid the new CG altered version though
(double yuck).
MFalc1
2006-07-06 10:06:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery. coen brothers are among the worst offenders
despite the greatness of o brother where art thou.
better for artists to learn from life than from watching mooies upon
mooies.
movies have become more movie conscious but less aware of reality or
other arts.
Actually, I (under my non-USENET name Terry McCarty) was a volunteer PA
at the American Film Institute during 1988-89.
The late Toni Vellani was the teacher of first-year students who shot
on video. Only a few of the first year Fellows were accepted for
second year status, where projects were shot on film. During 88-89,
Carl Franklin had an editing room in the basement of the main building,
where he was cutting his second year film, PUNK.

If memory is correct, longtime Spielberg cinematographer Janusz
Kaminski was an AFI Fellow, but at an earlier period.

Vellani had two strict rules for the first-year students:
no narration and no flashbacks.

Basically, AFI in that period was more of a finishing school for
mainstream Hollywood than an institution that rewarded nonconventional
filmmaking.

I don't remember too many of the 88-89 Fellows making it into the Big
Time, but here's a roll call of those who did:
Andrew Sipes directed FAIR GAME, with Cindy Crawford and William
Baldwin.
Anne Garefino works as a producer for Trey Parker and Matt Stone-since
the dawn of SOUTH PARK.
Wally Pfister is a cinematographer whose credits include BATMAN BEGINS,
MEMENTO, LAUREL CANYON and the remakes of THE ITALIAN JOB and INSOMNIA.
Trish Govoni has worked as a video camera operator on various VH1
projects including STORYTELLERS.

Mark L. Falconer-film and video links at
http://hometown.aol.com/mfalc1/links.html
Greg Bryant
2006-07-07 02:47:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery. coen brothers are among the worst offenders
despite the greatness of o brother where art thou.
better for artists to learn from life than from watching mooies upon
mooies.
movies have become more movie conscious but less aware of reality or
other arts.
I think they have had no impact whatsoever, either positive or negative.
Mainly, because I doubt many film school grads are getting the chance to
make films in Hollywood. Seems most of those filmmakers are coming out of
either music video or commercials.

The short films I see being made by film school grads seem to be good,
insightful, imaginative, but then I rarely if ever see those names show up
in a major studio production.

Many directors of the 30's through 60's were a product of the studio system.
Starting in the 70's through 90's I think you saw a lot more filmmakers
coming out of film schools. Lately, most Hollywood filmmakers seem to be
coming from commercials and music videos.

Where the current film school grads are working today is anyone's guess.
Does anyone know what kinds of jobs / credits they end up with?

So, while many of the directors of the 70's and 80's
kino eye
2006-07-07 22:12:08 UTC
Permalink
The best way to learn to make films is just to make them, and these
days
almost anybody can do that. The problem with making films is that you
quickly learn how hard it is, and how nearly impossible it is to make
one that gets an audience's excited attention.

Having discussed problems with the film schools, this approach seems a
sure-bet, and with the cost of digital video going down every day, a
new flotilla of great directors is just around the corner.

But... here's the problem: A bunch of people with a digital video
camera, a huge amount of enthusiasm, and some talent...usually end up
with nothing. Or worse, they come up with something flashy and
interesting on the surface, then these people get elevated to the next
level, and they fall flat on their faces. Sort of the issue that
everyone has "one book or one film in them."

Great directors almost always bring something to the table. Technical
ability is usually the least important but film schools tend to
emphasize that because it's teachable. But if these kids with a video
camera, instead of goiing out and shooting, all went into theater, and
learned the three act structure, and read a lot of plays, and got some
acting in....then they can bring something more to table, they
understand the difference between an idea and a well constructed film.

So I think this freedom of cheap cameras, and cheaper production may
actually hurt the development of great directors. Sort of like why rock
bands are in such bad shape now. One hit wonders with no chance to hone
their craft. So film school is a problem, but no film school is a
problem too. Get theater experience, get some acting in, read a lot of
stories...but hardly anyone is going to do that.

The age profiling of the film audience is also obviously a problem
also. 18 year olds are going for a different reason than older crowds.
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-08 12:22:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by kino eye
So I think this freedom of cheap cameras, and cheaper production may
actually hurt the development of great directors. Sort of like why rock
bands are in such bad shape now. One hit wonders with no chance to hone
their craft. So film school is a problem, but no film school is a
problem too. Get theater experience, get some acting in, read a lot of
stories...but hardly anyone is going to do that.
I think you're right that if would-be directors are going to study
anything formally it should be theater, including some hands-on
performace experience, and literature -- and silent film, just as a way
of thinking about film outside the current conventions.

The accessibility of the medium is going to create an avalanche of
amateur junk, but it's also going to allow for extraordinary original
work that the current system could neither create nor accept.

The studio system produced a consistently high quality of average
product, but it could never have created the art of film or made a place
for the kind of original artists that arose in the wide-open
pre-corporate era.

It takes a lot freedom, a lot of access, a lot of experimentation (and
with it a lot of junk) to produce a Griffith or a Chaplin.





=================

Nowhere Confidential:

http://fabulousnowhere.com/
Frederica
2006-07-08 16:20:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Post by kino eye
So I think this freedom of cheap cameras, and cheaper production may
actually hurt the development of great directors. Sort of like why rock
bands are in such bad shape now. One hit wonders with no chance to hone
their craft. So film school is a problem, but no film school is a
problem too. Get theater experience, get some acting in, read a lot of
stories...but hardly anyone is going to do that.
It takes a lot freedom, a lot of access, a lot of experimentation (and
with it a lot of junk) to produce a Griffith or a Chaplin.
I have NO intention of sitting through a load of junk to find whatever
pearls might be there. There are too many other things to do. My
petunias are blooming again!

Frederica
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-09 08:23:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Frederica
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
It takes a lot freedom, a lot of access, a lot of experimentation (and
with it a lot of junk) to produce a Griffith or a Chaplin.
I have NO intention of sitting through a load of junk to find whatever
pearls might be there. There are too many other things to do. My
petunias are blooming again!
In a wide-open market no one person has to sort through everything --
peer-to-peer marketing kicks in. You just hear through the grapevine
that a Chaplin film is playing or a Biograph film is playing and that's
what you spend your nickel on. Chaplin and Griffith both became "stars"
initially through word of mouth, which is generally a surer guide to
quality than massive advertising campaigns.


=================

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http://fabulousnowhere.com/
kino eye
2006-07-09 03:34:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
It takes a lot freedom, a lot of access, a lot of experimentation (and
with it a lot of junk) to produce a Griffith or a Chaplin.
Remeber that Griffith and Chaplin both had long, long careers in
theater before moving over to film. And both of them had a year of two
of experimenting in a fairly relaxed way before catching on to what was
going on.

Neither of these things is likely to happen today. You've got to have
a hit almost with your first film. And the biggest problem with the
occasional pearl (which I agree would happen) is that no one will see
it. The taste makers, the arbitrators are execs or commerical suits
running the studios, aren't likley to catch on to the pearl.

In the silent era, you had just so much more of a forgiving media,
where you could go a long way and work things out. Then in the 30s,
the system took over. The old fashioned studio moguls may have been
tyrants, but they were smart tyrants who really loved film.
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-09 09:00:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by kino eye
Remeber that Griffith and Chaplin both had long, long careers in
theater before moving over to film. And both of them had a year of two
of experimenting in a fairly relaxed way before catching on to what was
going on.
Neither of these things is likely to happen today. You've got to have
a hit almost with your first film. And the biggest problem with the
occasional pearl (which I agree would happen) is that no one will see
it. The taste makers, the arbitrators are execs or commerical suits
running the studios, aren't likley to catch on to the pearl.
It is certainly unlikely that the film directors of tomorrow will have
the theatrical experience that Griffith and Chaplin had, because there's
no place for them to get it, but they could study theater in school, in
acting classes and in local productions.

Also, in the era of post-corporate entertainment, with Internet
distribution, it will be possible for pearls to make money without
attracting the interest of the mass-entertainment executives . . .
something that's already happening with Internet-distributed music.

Corporations take such a big cut of revenue that an artist can make the
same money he or she does from them with a significantly smaller
audience, as long as he or she is getting the lion's share of the profits.

This fact is going to have radical implications for the entertainment
industry in general. We won't see radical changes in the film business,
apart from ever-shrinking audiences for theatrical films, until there's
something approaching universal broadband access in America -- as there
is, for example, already in Korea -- but that is just a question of time.


=================

Nowhere Confidential:

http://fabulousnowhere.com/
George Shelps
2006-07-09 16:58:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Corporations take such a big cut of
revenue that an artist can make the
same money he or she does from them
with a significantly smaller audience, as
long as he or she is getting the lion's
share of the profits.
Lloyd. why do you think those who
risk capital are not entitled to a cut
of the revenue of a film? The artist
will still have to find the capital somewhere and investors are going
to want a significant "cut" just like
the corporate moguls,
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-09 18:55:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
Lloyd. why do you think those who
risk capital are not entitled to a cut
of the revenue of a film? The artist
will still have to find the capital somewhere and investors are going
to want a significant "cut" just like
the corporate moguls.
You miss the point, which is about patterns of distribution, not
capitalism. If an artist is getting 3-5%, say, of the cost of his
artwork to a consumer, he needs a relatively large audience to make
significant money. If he's getting 50% of that cost, by distributing
the work himself, he can make the same amount of money selling to a much
smaller audience -- with the added advantage of having more control over
his work and a more direct contact with his customers, their wants and
needs.

He can make more interesting and personal films, because he doesn't have
to appeal to the lowest common denominator to reach the widest possible
audience -- yet he can make the same amount of money from these films
because he receives a larger share of the profits.

When there's something approaching universal broadband access, the cost
of distributing a film over the Internet will be negligible. The
problem of creating audience awareness for the film will still remain,
but much of this will happen by peer-to-peer marketing, which costs
nothing, and vast advertising expenditures will not be required to bring
the largest possible audience to a physical theatrical location on a
specific weekend. A film can build an audience over time without
risking the loss of the entire investment -- which can happen now if a
film fails to attract an audience on its opening weekend.

People who finance such films will have a similar advantage, as they
will not have to devote such a large percentage of potential revenue to
studio overhead, mass-market advertising and theatrical fees. Good
films will also have a longer shelf life, since consumers who receive
their entertainment on demand are increasingly inclined to favor
non-current work over current work -- as the rental pattern of Netflix
proves.

Everyone who invests in a film, creatively or financially, deserves
either a salary or a cut, but the studios have traditionally been able
to demand an exorbitant cut because they controlled the only
distribution route to the audience. Once there are alternative
distribution routes, their traditional bargaining power will tend to
evaporate.



=================

Nowhere Confidential:

http://fabulousnowhere.com/
George Shelps
2006-07-09 22:23:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Post by George Shelps
Lloyd. why do you think those who
risk capital are not entitled to a cut
of the revenue of a film? The artist
will still have to find the capital
somewhere and investors are going to
want a significant "cut" just like
the corporate moguls.
You miss the point, which is about
patterns of distribution, not capitalism.
Yes, I do think you're making a critique of
corporate capitalism along with your
critique of patterns of distribution.
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
If an artist is getting 3-5%, say, of the
cost of his artwork to a consumer, he
needs a relatively large audience to
make significant money. If he's getting
50% of that cost, by distributing the work
himself
He will save on distribution, but he
still has to find backers to make the
film and he still has to advertise to
compete with all the other people who
are going to be on the net with their
films. He will not have to give away
a distribution fee off the top nor pay
for prints nor share revenue with an exhibitor, so there is saving
there, yes.

Of course, the public will be getting
an inferior product, too.

(Nevertheless, I saw Sir Howard Stringer,Sony CEO, on the Guber-Bart
show this AM admitting that
the economics of Hollywood blockbusters have become insane.)
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
, he can make the same amount of
money selling to a much smaller
audience -- with the added advantage of
having more control over his work and a
more direct contact with his customers,
their wants and needs.
Maybe...but I won't be in that audience
since watching original movies on
TV or the net is not my cup of tea.
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
He can make more interesting and
personal films, because he doesn't have
to appeal to the lowest common
denominator to reach the widest possible
audience -- yet he can make the same
amount of money from these films
because he receives a larger share of
the profits.
Yes, that's correct.
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
When there's something approaching
universal broadband access, the cost of
distributing a film over the Internet will
be negligible. The problem of creating
audience awareness for the film will still
remain, but much of this will happen by
peer-to-peer marketing, which costs
nothing, and vast advertising
expenditures will not be required to bring
the largest possible audience to a
physical theatrical location on a specific
weekend.
But what about the "clutter" that will
inevitably follow on the web, when the
web becomes like TV?
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
A film can build an audience over time
without risking the loss of the entire
investment -- which can happen now if a
ilm fails to attract an audience on its
opening weekend.
Well, that's what ancillary markets
are there for.
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
People who finance such films will have
a similar advantage, as they will not
have to devote such a large percentage
of potential revenue to studio overhead,
mass-market advertising and theatrical
fees. Good films will also have a longer
shelf life, since consumers who receive
their entertainment on demand are
increasingly inclined to favor non-current
work over current work -- as the rental
pattern of Netflix proves.
Everyone who invests in a film,
creatively or financially, deserves either
a salary or a cut, but the studios have
raditionally been able to demand an
exorbitant cut because they controlled
the only distribution route to the
audience.
Well, also because of the tremendous
cost of maintaining this channel.
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Once there are alternative distribution
routes, their traditional bargaining power
will tend to evaporate.
True, but the prospect of a net-oriented
nontheatrical cinema as the dominant
mode is to me a dreadful one....
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-09 22:58:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
You miss the point, which is about
patterns of distribution, not capitalism.
Yes, I do think you're making a critique of
corporate capitalism along with your
critique of patterns of distribution.
"Corporate capitalism" is not really capitalism -- it's plutocracy,
which is something else again.
Post by George Shelps
True, but the prospect of a net-oriented
nontheatrical cinema as the dominant
mode is to me a dreadful one....
It may be different than you imagine. I can imagine a system in which
popular Internet films feed theatrical venues.

In France, all books are released first in paperback -- popular and
important ones then get released in more permanent and prestigious
hardback editions. There's a logic in this -- putting the cart after
the horse.


=================

Nowhere Confidential:

http://fabulousnowhere.com/
George Shelps
2006-07-10 01:00:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
"Corporate capitalism" is not really
capitalism -- it's plutocracy,
which is something else again.
Hardly. It simply means that the
majority shareholders control the
company...as the grocery store
owner and his family control the corner grocery store.

And film people still want to make big
money and live in Bel Air be they
plutocrats or artists...I see no moral
difference.
kino eye
2006-07-10 15:59:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
And film people still want to make big
money and live in Bel Air be they
plutocrats or artists...I see no moral
difference.
Trying to keep the discussion on track, I'd like to think the Internet
would help finding these "pearls" made by talented filmmakers, but I
see no evidence for this. It is picking up associated talent, like
flash art, but that's a different art form. Internet by it's nature is
fragmented, and this fragmentation usually makes the problem worse, not
better.

Film is a lot like opera: big buget, collaborative to the extreme.
Almost all movies require money, time, and talent. For all this you
need a patron.

Film people aren't stupid, and they've seen that the studios are
moribund dinosaurs, unable to make the perceptive decisions regarding
young talent. That's why they've tried to set up alternatives, like AFI
(before they mutated into their present form) and why we have film
festivals. Festivals like Sundance have their own problems, but
they're the closest thing we have to a patron system that can sift out
the films that are just plain good and not sent up by a studio system
frozen into corporate jello, unable to make risky decisions to take any
chances.
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-10 17:26:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by kino eye
Post by George Shelps
And film people still want to make big
money and live in Bel Air be they
plutocrats or artists...I see no moral
difference.
Trying to keep the discussion on track, I'd like to think the Internet
would help finding these "pearls" made by talented filmmakers, but I
see no evidence for this. It is picking up associated talent, like
flash art, but that's a different art form. Internet by it's nature is
fragmented, and this fragmentation usually makes the problem worse, not
better.
It's too soon to make these judgments -- we have to wait for universal
broadband access to see how things will sort out. But when that comes,
it will be possible to easily distribute films in DVD quality over the
Internet at almost no cost. Since 80% of a film's audience and revenue
already comes through home video release, the implications are obvious.

No more Tivo, no more Blockbuster, no more Netflix (by snail mail) --
and one more blow to theaters and the opening-weekend blockbuster formula.

One other issue to consider is the rapidly decreasing cost of computing
power. The modern Hollywood blockbuster is distinguished primarily by
spectacular computer-generated effects. In ten years (or less), such
effects will be within the budgets of independent filmmakers, as
sophisticated backscreen technology and digital editing systems already
are. HD cameras are also now coming into the price-range of independent
filmmakers.

In short, Hollywood, like network TV and the recording industry, is
doomed -- it's just a question of time.



=================

Nowhere Confidential:

http://fabulousnowhere.com/
George Shelps
2006-07-10 18:03:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
In short, Hollywood, like network TV and
the recording industry, is doomed -- it's
just a question of time.
You are probably correct---though I
fervently hope not.

The collapse of the studio system
certainly didn't leave a worthy
successor. The wreckage of a large
capitalist enterprise--while emotionally
satisfying to class warriors--is probably
not a good thing.

Better than there should be niches
of alternative distribution options,
while keeping the big screen show intact

(But what else would you expect me to
say, I would have loved to have worked for Irving Thalberg!).
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-11 00:08:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
The collapse of the studio system
certainly didn't leave a worthy
successor. The wreckage of a large
capitalist enterprise--while emotionally
satisfying to class warriors--is probably
not a good thing.
The Internet will probably create an even larger capitalist enterprise,
or series of them, and create more weath for more people than Hollywood
ever did. Free markets tend to unleash the creative potential and
entrepreneurial spirit of a nation -- which is what capitalism is
supposed to do.
Post by George Shelps
Better than there should be niches
of alternative distribution options,
while keeping the big screen show intact
(But what else would you expect me to
say, I would have loved to have worked for Irving Thalberg!).
"Sir, the negative of 'Greed' has been destroyed! No one will ever be
able to second guess your re-editing of the film! That'll show the
bastard Von Stroheim who's boss in this town!"

"Good work, George, my boy! You've done a great service to the art form
you love so well! Your name and the name of Joseph Farnham will be
linked forever in the pantheon of cinema history!"

"'Let's go sit on the sewer,' eh, Mr. Thalberg?"

"My boy, we ARE the sewer!"

[Though I'd like to think it might go more like this . . .]

"Sir, I really can't, in good conscience, destroy that work --"

"Clear out your office, Shelps. You don't have what it takes to make it
in this town."


=================

Nowhere Confidential:

http://fabulousnowhere.com/
George Shelps
2006-07-11 00:57:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Post by George Shelps
The collapse of the studio system
certainly didn't leave a worthy
successor. The wreckage of a large
capitalist enterprise--while emotionally
satisfying to class warriors--is probably
not a good thing.
The Internet will probably create an even
larger capitalist enterprise,
I am not all that excited about a
capitalist enteprise as I am in preserving
the object of my lifelong passion
and love...theatrical movies.
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
or series of them, and create more
weath for more people than Hollywood
ever did.
That's possible.
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Free markets tend to unleash the
creative potential and entrepreneurial
spirit of a nation -- which is what
capitalism is supposed to do.
I won't argue.
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Post by George Shelps
Better than there should be niches
of alternative distribution options,
while keeping the big screen show intact
(But what else would you expect me to
say, I would have loved to have worked
for Irving Thalberg!).
"Sir, the negative of 'Greed' has been
destroyed! No one will ever be able to
second guess your re-editing of the film!
That'll show the bastard Von Stroheim
who's boss in this town!"
"Good work, George, my boy! You've
done a great service to the art form you
love so well! Your name and the name of
Joseph Farnham will be linked forever in
the pantheon of cinema history!"
"
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
'Let's go sit on the sewer,' eh, Mr.
Thalberg?"
"My boy, we ARE the sewer!"
Very good, Lloyd...but from
what I've read, I like the guy,
so sue me!
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
[Though I'd like to think it might go more
like this . . .]
"Sir, I really can't, in good conscience,
destroy that work --"
"Clear out your office, Shelps. You don't
have what it takes to make it in this
town."
Yes, I would have opposed it but
your response sounds more like Harry
Cohn than Thalberg. Thalberg was a reasonable, decent man, I think, and
maybe I could have talked him out of it.
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-11 03:34:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
Very good, Lloyd...but from
what I've read, I like the guy,
so sue me!
If you worked for Thalberg and I tried to sue you, I'd lose. Guys like
Thalberg were above the law -- he helped engineer an illegal monopoly
and routinely robbed artists of money lawfully owed to them. He and
Mayer benefitted materially from their crimes to the end of their days
and retain public goodwill even in death.

As Simone Weil wrote:

"Brutality, violence, and inhumanity have an immense prestige that
schoolbooks hide from children, that grown men do not admit, but that
everyone bows before."

Thalberg, behind his genial mask, and despite his occasional acts of
kindness and charity, operated through brutality and inhumanity --
though admittedly he reserved outright physical violence for the
vandalization of works of art.



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George Shelps
2006-07-11 04:47:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Post by George Shelps
Very good, Lloyd...but from
what I've read, I like the guy,
so sue me!
If you worked for Thalberg and I tried to
sue you, I'd lose. Guys like Thalberg
were above the law -- he helped
engineer an illegal monopoly
You can say that about every studio
head before the "divorcement" of studios
from their theatres...a move that brought
few benefits, effectively threw a ton
of performers out of work and resulted
in the closure of thousands of movie
theatres and the rise of the current
chains.

(Which is why ruling has been quietly dropped since the Reagan years)
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
and
routinely robbed artists of money lawfully
owed to them. He and Mayer benefitted
materially from their crimes to the end of
their days and retain public goodwill
even in death.
Disagreements over profits are not
"crimes," they are torts.
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
"Brutality, violence, and inhumanity have
an immense prestige that schoolbooks
hide from children, that grown men do
not admit, but that everyone bows
before."
Thalberg, behind his genial mask, and
despite his occasional acts of kindness
and charity, operated through brutality
and inhumanity -- though admittedly he
reserved outright physical violence for
the vandalization of works of art.
Apart from GREED, what else?

He also saved many a movie with
previews and retakes.

As far as I am concerned, the whole
GREED conflict was a personality
clash between Stroheim and Thalberg
dating from their Universal days.

And Thalberg had the upper hand, so
he won.

But it was not a famous victory, and I would like to have seen the
original GREED, but on the whole I don't see
the evil intentions you ascribe to Thalberg
in his other dealings. In fact, I admire his
work as a producer.
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-11 16:40:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
Disagreements over profits are not
"crimes," they are torts.
In America, such disagreements are won by the people with greater legal
resources. It's a license to steal.



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George Shelps
2006-07-11 17:16:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Post by George Shelps
Disagreements over profits are not
"crimes," they are torts.
In America, such disagreements are won
by the people with greater legal
resources. It's a license to steal.
I have been a plaintiff (never a defendant) in numerous civil suits.
These
were all mooted by the opposition's
use of delaying tactics--except the
one I "won," which was nullified
by the defendant declaring bankruptcy.

Neither side in my situation had large
legal resources, but the defandants
simply used the system. MGM simply
did what all defendants do in civil
cases. Their corporate power only
amplified the fact that the civil courts
are a crock.
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-12 03:30:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
Neither side in my situation had large
legal resources, but the defandants
simply used the system. MGM simply
did what all defendants do in civil
cases. Their corporate power only
amplified the fact that the civil courts
are a crock.
Comparing a large corporation to an ordinary party to a civil litigation
is simply naive. The studios in Hollywood regularly and deliberately
stole money from artists and from independent producers and relied on
their financial and legal and political resources to get away with it.
It was a shake-down racket, no different in any way from the activities
of organized crime, which also "uses the system" by buying it.



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George Shelps
2006-07-12 03:48:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Post by George Shelps
Neither side in my situation had large
legal resources, but the defandants
simply used the system. MGM simply
did what all defendants do in civil
cases. Their corporate power only
amplified the fact that the civil courts
are a crock.
Comparing a large corporation to an
ordinary party to a civil litigation is
simply naive. The studios in Hollywood
regularly and deliberately stole money
from artists and from independent
producers and relied on their financial
and legal and political resources to get
away with it. It was a shake-down
racket, no different in any way from the
activities of organized crime, which also
"uses the system" by buying it.
Again, a tort is not a felony, so the
analogy to organized crime is a false
one.

And I totally reject the notion that
the studios act in any other than to
maximize their advantage as defendants
in civil cases---which their lawyers
are bound to do, since their professional
goal is to win the case.

Now, if you can cite routine
examples of perjured testimony, suborning of witnesses, doctored
evidence, fabricattion of documents, etc,
then you'll convince me that
big corporations act differently
than any other defendants in
a civil suit.

My impression is that the civil
system itself favors the party in the
wrong, either big corporation or individual
defendant.
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-12 05:21:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
My impression is that the civil
system itself favors the party in the
wrong, either big corporation or individual
defendant.
Your impression is wrong. Check out Scott Eyman's biography of Ford for
a lucid account of how the studios forced Argosy Pictures out of
business by stealing their profits.

For some reason I can't explain, Eyman, like yourself and many observers
of Hollywood, minmizes the moral depravity of the studios in conducting
business and perverting the system in this way -- he uses phrases like
"creative accounting" and "financial chicanery" to characterize what was
in fact outright larceny. Everyone in Hollywood knew it was happening
but there was nothing they could do about it. Argosy finally sued
Republic to recover stolen funds and after many years of costly legal
wrangling eventually recovered some but not all of what they were owed.
Republic kept a substantial portion of what they had stolen, so, by
the values operative in corporate culture, they made a sound business
decision in stealing the money in the first place. You can be quite
sure that the idea that stealing is wrong never entered for a moment
into their caluculations.

But, George, stealing IS wrong, even when you can get away with it.
It's WRONG.

"As through this life you ramble you'll meet some funny men --
"Some'll rob you with a six gun and some with a fountain pen."

The law may treat the two types of robbery differently, but the victim
still loses his money and the thief still ends up with it. In the end,
that's all the thief really cares about.



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George Shelps
2006-07-12 07:52:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
My impression is that the civil
system itself favors the party in the
wrong, either big corporation or>>individual defendant.
Your impression is wrong. Check out
Scott Eyman's biography of Ford for a
lucid account of how the studios forced
Argosy Pictures out of business by
stealing their profits.
For some reason I can't explain, Eyman,
like yourself and many observers of
Hollywood, minmizes the moral
depravity of the studios in conducting
business and perverting the system in
this way
I reserve "moral depravity" for more
serious issues like terrorism or murder.

I don't minimize unfair results in disputes
over profits, I just don't think movie
studios or even large corporations are
signally guilty of it. I have lost profits
several times to individuals who handled
the legal system better than I did. You're
marshalling a unversal injustice just to
back up your specific anti-corporate agenda.
-- he uses phrases like "creative
accounting" and "financial chicanery" to
characterize what was in fact outright
larceny. Everyone in Hollywood knew it
was happening but there was nothing
they could do about it. Argosy finally
sued Republic to recover stolen funds
and after many years of costly legal
wrangling eventually recovered some but
not all of what they were owed.
=A0=A0=A0=A0Republic kept a substantial portion of
what they had stolen, so, by the values
operative in corporate culture, they made
a sound business decision in stealing the
money in the first place. You can be
quite sure that the idea that stealing is
wrong never entered for a moment into
their caluculations.
But, George, stealing IS wrong, even
when you can get away with it. It's
WRONG.
Where did I justify stealing?

My point is that the civil law is a
poor tool for winning disputes over
profits and that every
lawyer tries to use the system for
the advantage of his client, and because
the system is biased in favor of
defendants, justice is not served,
and may sometimes not be worth
pursuing.

For even when the plaintiff wins, as
in Buchwald versus Paramount, the monetary judgment is often less than
than the legal costs of the action.

Maybe if the legal system weren't
such a muck and mire, I might be
more upset.

But lawyers are paid
to win, and they exploit the dilatory
and procedural rules of a bad system,
which is their professional duty.

That's the system have, and I refuse (as
I have in the past) to get in a high
dudgeon about it.
"As through this life you ramble you'll
meet some funny men -- "Some'll rob
you with a six gun and some with a
fountain pen."
The law may treat the two types of
robbery differently,
Not true. Securities law violations
are also a crime, and so is
embezzlement.

But I think violent crime is worse than
a dispute over how movie profits
are split up, which is usually a battle
between millionaires--- which both
the principals of Argosy and Republic
were.

(PS I still like Irving Thalberg!)
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-12 13:54:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
But I think violent crime is worse than
a dispute over how movie profits
are split up, which is usually a battle
between millionaires--- which both
the principals of Argosy and Republic
were.
The law should prevent even millionaires from being robbed. Ford and
Cooper were exceptionally honest and honorable men, at least as far as
business was concerned, and Herbert Yates was a crook engaged in
organized crime through the systematic manipulation of a corrupt system.
There's a difference. You seem to think that if an artist lives in
Bel Air he automaticaly becomes one with the crooks who also live there
and loses all claim on justice and the lawful proceeds from his work.



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George Shelps
2006-07-12 14:31:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
But I think violent crime is worse than
a dispute over how movie profits
are split up, which is usually a battle
between millionaires--- which both
the principals of Argosy and Republic
were.
The law should prevent even millionaires >rom being robbed. Ford and
Cooper
were exceptionally honest and honorable
men, at least as far as business was
concerned, and Herbert Yates was a
crook engaged in organized crime
through the systematic manipulation of a
corrupt system.
I think your rhetoric overstates the moral
seriousness of the matter.
=A0=A0=A0=A0There's a difference. You seem to>
think that if an artist lives in Bel Air he
automaticaly becomes one with the
crooks who also live there and loses all
claim on justice and the lawful proceeds
rom his work.
I don't think he loses all claims, I just
don't thimk "moral depravity" correctly
describes phenomenon of one millionaire
ending up with a net worth less
his millionaire neighbor on Copa de Oro because he lost a lawsuit,.
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-12 21:47:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
I don't think he loses all claims, I just
don't thimk "moral depravity" correctly
describes phenomenon of one millionaire
ending up with a net worth less
his millionaire neighbor on Copa de Oro because he lost a lawsuit.
You're trying to reduce my point about the systematic corruption of the
Hollywood studio system to an individual lawsuit between two parties.

The issue is not the wealth of the parties or the size of any given
settlement -- it's the pattern of corruption and the moral depravity of
those who created and perpetrated it.

If you want a more sympathetic victim than Ford, by your standards, try
Von Stroheim, who lived modestly even during his years of fame, far from
Bel Air, and ended up virtually penniless, never having received the
money MGM owed him from his profit participation in "The Merry Widow".

It's also worth mentioning, in Ford's case, that Argosy had the
distinction of being robbed by RKO and MGM, in addition to Republic.
The whole industry was depraved.

[Note -- "depraved" . . . adj 1: having the nature of vice 2:
hopelessly bad; "an unregenerate criminal" 3: marked by immorality;
deviating from what is considered right or proper or good . . .]



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George Shelps
2006-07-12 22:59:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Post by George Shelps
I don't think he loses all claims, I just
don't thimk "moral depravity" correctly
describes phenomenon of one
millionaire ending up with a net worth
less his millionaire neighbor on Copa
de Oro because he lost a lawsuit.
You're trying to reduce my point about
the systematic corruption of the
Hollywood studio system to an individual >lawsuit between two parties.
I think your point is overstated. I think
that system of civil torts basically protects
the defendant and puts total burden
on the plaintiff---whereas in the criminal
court, the "plaintiff" has the power
of the state.

The studios exploit that,
yes, but so do individual defendants,
all of whom follow their lawyers'
advice, as do the studios.

The idea in the adversary legal system here is..to win. That's the
reality and
it will never change. All parties exploit
it,
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
The issue is not the wealth of the parties
or the size of any given settlement -- it's
the pattern of corruption and the moral
depravity of those who created and
perpetrated it.
I reject the term "depravity" and I do
think the wealth of the parties does make
the issue less morally serious. Maybe
that's why Eyman doesn't get all het
up about it, too.
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
If you want a more sympathetic victim
than Ford, by your standards, try Von
Stroheim, who lived modestly even
during his years of fame, far from Bel
Air, and ended up virtually penniless,
never having received the money MGM
owed him from his profit participation in
"The Merry Widow".
According to research done by Richard
Koczarski, Stroheim was one of most
highly paid directors in Hollywood.

That doesn't excuse the cutting of
GREED, but Stroheim was a Hollywood
insider, not a "starving artist," Later,
like Welles, he supported himself as
an actor,
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
It's also worth mentioning, in Ford's
case, that Argosy had the distinction of
being robbed by RKO and MGM, in
addition to Republic. The whole industry
was depraved.
[Note -- "depraved" . . . adj 1: having the
nature of vice 2: hopelessly bad; "an
unregenerate criminal" 3: marked by
immorality; deviating from what is
considered right or proper or good . . .]
Noted...but I love the studio system and
wish it could be revived today.
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-13 02:32:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
According to research done by Richard
Koczarski, Stroheim was one of most
highly paid directors in Hollywood.
That doesn't excuse the cutting of
GREED, but Stroheim was a Hollywood
insider, not a "starving artist," Later,
like Welles, he supported himself as
an actor.
Von Stroheim was not an insider once MGM got through with him. He
devoted all of his salary for "Greed" to the production and had to
mortgage his house for money to live on. His share of profits from "The
Merry Widow" would have saved him financially but MGM stole this money
from him. He spent much of what he had left in a lengthy court action
trying to recover the money, but MGM's financial and legal resources
were too much for him.

At the end of his time in Hollywood he was destitute and contemplating
suicide -- his colleagues took up a collection for him. Louis B. Mayer
contributed $100 -- all the while knowing that his theft of Von
Stroheim's funds was in large part responsible for Von Stroheim's
predicament. If that's not moral depravity I don't what is.



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George Shelps
2006-07-13 03:23:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
At the end of his time in Hollywood he
was destitute and contemplating suicide
-- his colleagues took up a collection for
him. Louis B. Mayer contributed $100 --
all the while knowing that his theft of Von
Stroheim's funds was in large part
responsible for Von Stroheim's
predicament. If that's not moral depravity
I don't what is.
Didn't that follow the QUEEN KELLY
debacle? It seems that Joseph P.
Kennedy, not Mayer, was the principal
architect of Stroheim's demise, as well
as Pat Powers. Neither were conventional Hollywood moguls.
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-13 17:00:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
At the end of his time in Hollywood he
was destitute and contemplating suicide
-- his colleagues took up a collection for
him. Louis B. Mayer contributed $100 --
all the while knowing that his theft of Von
Stroheim's funds was in large part
responsible for Von Stroheim's
predicament. If that's not moral depravity
I don't what is.
Didn't that follow the QUEEN KELLY
debacle? It seems that Joseph P.
Kennedy, not Mayer, was the principal
architect of Stroheim's demise, as well
as Pat Powers. Neither were conventional Hollywood moguls.
"Queen Kelly" helped kill his career, but it was MGM that ruined him
financially. "The Merry Widow" was one of the biggest of MGM's hits in
the twenties -- Von Stroheim's fair share of its profits would have
enabled him to weather the career problems he increasingly faced after
MGM chopped "The Wedding March" in half and dumped it on the market
without an ending.

Swanson was primarily responsible for the "Queen Kelly" fiasco -- Powers
was just one of the guys who kicked Von Stroheim after he was down. As
they say, it's the people that make Hollywood such a great town.



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George Shelps
2006-07-13 17:53:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Post by George Shelps
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
At the end of his time in Hollywood he
was destitute and contemplating
suicide -- his colleagues took up a
collection for him. Louis B. Mayer
contributed $100 --
all the while knowing that his theft of
Von Stroheim's funds was in large part
responsible for Von Stroheim's
predicament. If that's not moral
depravity I don't what is.
Didn't that follow the QUEEN KELLY
debacle? It seems that Joseph P.
Kennedy, not Mayer, was the principal
architect of Stroheim's demise, as well
as Pat Powers. Neither were
conventional Hollywood moguls.
"Queen Kelly" helped kill his career, but
it was MGM that ruined him financially.
But he was still employable after MGM
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
"The Merry Widow" was one of the
biggest of MGM's hits in the twenties --
Von Stroheim's fair share of its profits
How much did he claim?
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
would have enabled him to weather the
career problems he increasingly faced
after MGM chopped "The Wedding
March" in half and dumped it on the
market without an ending.
I believe THE WEDDING MARCH was
and independent production released by
Paramount.
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Swanson was primarily responsible
forthe "Queen Kelly" fiasco -- Powers
was just one of the guys who kicked Von
Stroheim after he was down.
I thought he was the financier of WEDDING MARCH?
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
As they
say, it's the people that make Hollywood
such a great town.
Stroheim and Swanson worked together
amicably on SUNSET BOULEVARD and
Wilder even used a clip from QUEEN
KELLY to illustrate Norma Desmond's
silent stardom...two Hollywood greats
reconciled after a "depraved" (?) history
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-13 18:30:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
Stroheim and Swanson worked together
amicably on SUNSET BOULEVARD and
Wilder even used a clip from QUEEN
KELLY to illustrate Norma Desmond's
silent stardom...two Hollywood greats
reconciled after a "depraved" (?) history.
I never accused Swanson of being depraved. She was just a prima donna
and an idiot (in the "Queen Kelly" episode.) Von Stroheim was just a
couple of weeks away from finishing the film, which, whatever else it
may have have been, would have showcased what even Swanson admitted was
her best performance on film. A little tobacco juice dribbled on her
arm turned her from an artist and filmmaker into an egomaniacal star. I
think she lost almost as much as Von Stroheim did when she destroyed the
film.



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George Shelps
2006-07-13 19:19:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Post by George Shelps
Stroheim and Swanson worked together
amicably on SUNSET BOULEVARD
and Wilder even used a clip from
QUEEN KELLY to illustrate Norma
Desmond's silent stardom...two
Hollywood greats reconciled after a
"depraved" (?) history.
I never accused Swanson of being
depraved. She was just a prima donna
and an idiot (in the "Queen Kelly"
episode.) Von Stroheim was just a
couple of weeks away from finishing the
film, which, whatever else it may have
have been, would have showcased what
even Swanson admitted was her best
performance on film. A little tobacco
juice dribbled on her arm turned her from
an artist and filmmaker into an
egomaniacal star. I think she lost almost
as much as Von Stroheim did when she
destroyed the film.
Wasn't it really Joe Kennedy who pulled
the plug because of the obsolescence
of the silent film during the period QIEEN KELLY was shot?

I had a chance to watch the fragments
again on TCM and I wonder if you could
tell me what Stroheim was dirving
at?

The Tully Marshall character is
right out of a horror film, almost laughable in his villainy.

The whole movie is set in a never-never land. What was the reference to
reality? I can understand how Swanson was baffled and alienated by
what Stroheim was asking her to do.
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-13 23:02:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
I never accused Swanson of being
depraved. She was just a prima donna
and an idiot (in the "Queen Kelly"
episode.) Von Stroheim was just a
couple of weeks away from finishing the
film, which, whatever else it may have
have been, would have showcased what
even Swanson admitted was her best
performance on film. A little tobacco
juice dribbled on her arm turned her from
an artist and filmmaker into an
egomaniacal star. I think she lost almost
as much as Von Stroheim did when she
destroyed the film.
Wasn't it really Joe Kennedy who pulled
the plug because of the obsolescence
of the silent film during the period QIEEN KELLY was shot?
No -- Swanson got him to pull the plug because of her offended dignity.
Post by George Shelps
I had a chance to watch the fragments
again on TCM and I wonder if you could
tell me what Stroheim was dirving
at?
The Tully Marshall character is
right out of a horror film, almost laughable in his villainy.
The whole movie is set in a never-never land. What was the reference to
reality? I can understand how Swanson was baffled and alienated by
what Stroheim was asking her to do.
Her problems weren't artistic but personal. She had approved the script
and the script gave a precise idea of the film Von Stroheim was shooting.

The film was set in a never-never land -- like Von Stroheim's fantasy
Vienna but even less moored to reality. This is not, of course, in
itself, an invalid aesthetic strategy. As a fever dream, even in its
fragmentary form, I find it one of the most amazing works in the history
of cinema, with some of the most powerful and plastically inventive
images ever put on film. Compared to it, most other films are (to
borrow a phrase from Pauline Kael) "like something on the end of a
toothpick".

I'd certainly rank it, in tatters as it is, among the top five films of
the silent era and among the top ten films of all time. I think only
Murnau ever mastered the medium of film as fully as Von Stroheim did --
cinema still hasn't caught up with either of them except for occasional
passages here and there.



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George Shelps
2006-07-14 03:02:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Post by George Shelps
Wasn't it really Joe Kennedy who pulle
the plug because of the obsolescence
of the silent film during the period
QUEEN KELLY was shot?
No -- Swanson got him to pull the plug
because of her offended dignity.
Kennedy was nothing if not a hard-headed business man and I think he
read the
tea leaves and perceived that a silent
film would do poorly in that transitional period...so he caved into his
mistress.
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Post by George Shelps
I had a chance to watch the fragments
again on TCM and I wonder if you could
tell me what Stroheim was dirving
at?
The Tully Marshall character is
right out of a horror film, almost
laughable in his villainy.
The whole movie is set in a never-never
land. What was the reference to reality? >> I can understand how
Swanson was
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Post by George Shelps
baffled and alienated by what Stroheim
was asking her to do.
Her problems weren't artistic but
personal. She had approved the script
and the script gave a precise idea of the
film Von Stroheim was shooting.
I doubt that she had any idea of the
actual mise-en-scene, though
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
The film was set in a never-never land
--like Von Stroheim's fantasy Vienna but
even less moored to reality. This is not,
of course, in itself, an invalid aesthetic
strategy. As a fever dream, even in its
fragmentary form, I find it one of the
most amazing works in the history of
cinema, with some of the most powerful
and plastically inventive images ever put
on film. Compared to it, most other films
are (to borrow a phrase from Pauline
Kael) "like something on the end of a
toothpick".
It is fascinating, but what is it about...
beyond Stroheim's own feverish fantasies
of the Hapsburg era?
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
I'd certainly rank it, in tatters as it is,
among the top five films of the silent era
think only Murnau ever mastered the
medium of film as fully as Von Stroheim
did -- cinema still hasn't caught up with
either of them except for occasional
passages here and there.
Quite a statement! But I'd reserve that
sentiment for IVAN THE TERRIBLE, PART TWO....essentially a silent film..
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-10 17:07:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
"Corporate capitalism" is not really
capitalism -- it's plutocracy,
which is something else again.
Hardly. It simply means that the
majority shareholders control the
company...as the grocery store
owner and his family control the corner grocery store.
No, plutocracy means that large private organizations with great
concentrations of capital control the government.



=================

Nowhere Confidential:

http://fabulousnowhere.com/
George Shelps
2006-07-10 17:56:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
"Corporate capitalism" is not really
capitalism -- it's plutocracy,
which is something else again.
Hardly. It simply means that the
majority shareholders control the
company...as the grocery store
owner and his family control the corner
grocery store.
No, plutocracy means that large private
organizations with great concentrations
of capital control the government.
Sort of like the National Education Association?

(Large "private" organizations are
actually mostly public companies owned
by over a hundred million stockholders---
who might naturally expect that the
government ought to take them seriously
other than at tax time.)
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-10 23:50:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
(Large "private" organizations are
actually mostly public companies owned
by over a hundred million stockholders---
who might naturally expect that the
government ought to take them seriously
other than at tax time.)
Should a government take the interests and rights of a shareholder in a
corporation more seriously than it does the interests and the rights of
a non-shareholder? Should shareholders, through the mechanism of
corporations, control the government -- or should that be done through
the ballot box?

I know that to neo-cons the ballot box is an inconvenience and a
positive evil when it interferes with the interests of corporations --
but surely you reject this new totalitarianism?



=================

Nowhere Confidential:

http://fabulousnowhere.com/
George Shelps
2006-07-11 00:44:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Post by George Shelps
(Large "private" organizations are
actually mostly public companies
owned by over a hundred million
stockholders--- who might naturally
expect that the government ought to
take them seriously
other than at tax time.)
Should a government take the interests
and rights of a shareholder in a
corporation more seriously than it does
the interests and the rights of a
non-shareholder?
Not more seriously. no.

But one of the purposes (I think)
of government is to foster wealth
creation (rather than to redistribute
income) and corporate shareholders
are an important force for this and
therefore government ought to take
note of their interests,
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Should shareholders, through the
mechanism of corporations, control the
government -- or should that be done
through the ballot box?
The Founders never meant for direct
democracy to control everything. There
are many power centers in a society
and government fairly responds to all
of them.
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
I know that to neo-cons
Well, I'm not a neo-con. Neo-cons
are former liberal Democrats who
moved to the right...Norman Podhoretz,
Irving Kristol, Bill Bennett
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
the ballot box is
an inconvenience and a positive evil
when it interferes with the interests of
corporations
The ballot box was intended by the
Founders to be a tool, not a definer
of all socioeconomic reality. That's why, for one reason. we don't have
direct election of Presidents.
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
-- but surely you reject this
new totalitarianism?
Lloyd, I honestly do not see
the dangers that you see. Corporations
have the right to advocate their
positions and project their influence, as do religious and political
groups of all types...as long as they follow the law.

Regarding movies, it is
possible to find financing and distribution
for independent films outside the
usual corporate avenues and it is
done all the time.

I would prefer the present system
to the demise of the theatrical
film and its replacement by web
movies, no matter how much freedom
this exchange offered.
Lloyd Fonvielle
2006-07-11 03:09:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Shelps
Lloyd, I honestly do not see
the dangers that you see. Corporations
have the right to advocate their
positions and project their influence, as do religious and political
groups of all types...as long as they follow the law.
But the law is made by politicians, who serve at the pleasure of
corporations, not the people. Hence -- plutocracy!


=================

Nowhere Confidential:

http://fabulousnowhere.com/
George Shelps
2006-07-11 04:32:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
Post by George Shelps
Lloyd, I honestly do not see
the dangers that you see. Corporations
have the right to advocate their
positions and project their influence, as
do religious and political groups of all>>types...as long as they
follow the law.
Post by Lloyd Fonvielle
But the law is made by politicians, who
serve at the pleasure of corporations, not
the people. Hence -- plutocracy!
I have a lot of local government
experience and it was common to
see businessmen come in to our
local planning commission and beg
for special treatment and exemptions
from the code for their projects---and
more often than not, be turned down.

They had no impact on the writing of the
zoning or planning codes. In fact,
I was influential in writing the revision
of the local code and it was revised only
according to cutting edge planning
models developed by professional
suburban planners.
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