FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Finding Money in Hollywood Today

I’m trying to get a movie made. How hard is it to get a movie made? Imagine trying to get fifty cats to run in a straight line over ten miles of broken ground, all meowing the overture to Rossini’s La Cenerentola in unison. And some people win Oscars for doing this. With Bush in the White House, you’ve got the added attraction of an elephant wearing snow shoes so he can trample more of your cats at once. Maybe this metaphor has run out of steam. What I am trying to say, and I know I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, at least in the spirit of idem per idem, is this: argh.

Bridget’s a social outcast, left high school without a ripple, finds herself an outcast’s job walking a security beat in an abandoned mental hospital. She’s just a warm body to keep the place free of vandals. And then she sees a ghost, an ancient crone that babbles about gold teeth. Or is it a ghost? The old woman seems to appear and disappear at will in the vast, empty complex. Ghost hunters are called in. They must be good, they’ve been on the Discovery Channel. But they’re frauds. One of them plays the psychic and keeps Bridget occupied while the others seek out what just might be a treasure hidden beneath the building. Instead they find a murderous force that has been waiting for this moment since the Second World War.

It’s a $750k horror movie, did I mention that? Ironically there are no cats in the actual picture, although Rossini wrote the libretto. Why would a laugh-meister such as myself make a horror movie? I’m trying for social realism, ha ha ha. Horror movies are fun to watch, fun to make, and they grab our deepest fears by the nads. Not only that, but I’ve been wanting to shoot something in one of these places ever since Reagan shut them all down (except the one he ended up in, natch). Huge echoing Gothic complexes with a thousand rooms and tunnels underground, what’s not to love? Remember that satire is tragedy wearing a sponge rubber clown nose; horror is tragedy with a grim smile. So they’re not such far distant cousins.

But low-budget movies are hard to get made, since Hollywood stopped making them. It used to be little theatrical pictures were the minor leagues from which the big theatrical pictures got their up-and-coming talent. But these days (the 14th Century) there are no little pictures. There’s made-for-cable, and there’s ninety million dollars. The beloved storyline of indie filmmakers revitalizing the industry by providing incubators for fresh new talent is a steaming heap of Congolese monkey fritters. Hollywood hates and fears indie productions. Naturally, then, like the good anarcho-syndicalist I am, I had to abandon my tiny, dismal desk in the sub-basement of Tinseltown and go out to captain an indie production for the benefit of all.

But you try raising 750 grand in the current economy. Wealthy citizens will take a flutter– it’s an interesting gamble to them, owning a share in a scary little horror movie. But they don’t have endless resources. To them, a lot of money is twenty grand. A lot of money to me is change out of a twenty-dollar bill. To Hollywood, which is, ultimately, where a lot of my financing will come from (another indie myth shattered: most of the indie money is straight from the same teat Jerry Bruckheimer tugs lustily at for his mega-action Wurlitzer shows), $750k isn’t enough money to get the posters printed, let alone make the movie. Nobody wants to make low-budget pictures any more. Why is that, given there’s less money to lose and just as many minutes of entertainment they can rent to audiences? It’s all about apparent risk.

Apparent risk is when you send a battleship out to sink a canoe. Chances are, a battleship won’t even be able to find the canoe, which is probably up some estuary somewhere in three feet of water. But you’ll be able to say, as the half-billion dollar ship pulls back into port, that you gave the hunt everything you had. God forbid you should send a couple of kayaks after that elusive canoe and find it but not have the manpower to bring it back. People could say you underestimated the risk of the endeavor. Did you know the average cost of a Hollywood movie is now 100 million dollars? Producers can raise these sums with a bad screenplay and an A list actor in fifteen minutes, because for that much money, it must be a real movie. If I’m not willing to lose $100 million, how can I possibly ask for $750k? At these prices, all movies are horror movies.

BEN TRIPP can be reached at credel@earthlink.net.

His book, ‘Square In The Nuts’, has been held up at the printers by thugs but will be released as soon as hostage negotiations conclude.

See also www.cafeshops.com/tarantulabros.

 

 

More articles by:
September 25, 2018
Kenneth Surin
Fact-Finding Labour’s “Anti-Semitism” Crisis
Charles Pierson
Destroying Yemen as Humanely as Possible
James Rothenberg
Why Not Socialism?
Patrick Cockburn
How Putin Came Out on Top in Syria
John Grant
“Awesome Uncontrollable Male Passion” Meets Its Match
Guy Horton
Burma: Complicity With Evil?
Steve Stallone
Jujitsu Comms
William Blum
Bombing Libya: the Origins of Europe’s Immigration Crisis
John Feffer
There’s a New Crash Coming
Martha Pskowski
“The Emergency Isn’t Over”: the Homeless Commemorate a Year Since the Mexico City Earthquake
Fred Baumgarten
Ten Ways of Looking at Civility
Dean Baker
The Great Financial Crisis: Bernanke and the Bubble
Binoy Kampmark
Parasitic and Irrelevant: The University Vice Chancellor
September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will There Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail