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October 18, 2008
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Well now mister helper, THE SIGNIFICANCE OF TAD BARLOW broke our box office record for the COWTOWN FILM SERIES’ 6th week. It was several years in the making and obviously a labour of love for many involved. There are moments where one can vicariously feel the sense of accomplishment and the joys of screening a film for the first time. Todd Russell and David Ball’s Q&A (to which I felt no need to really participate and they went with it very naturally) was genuine and enthusiastic. I love being some small part of giving that gift to people, even when I don’t know them very well.

The after-party went on till the bar closed. Funnily enough people accused me of being “shit-faced” because my eyes were bloodshot and nasty, but that was from a lack of sleep. I cannot drink, and I don’t indulge. I used to drink and when I was particularly young, I had a problem with the bottle. These days being overweight and having gout prevent me from even having a sip.

It was great to see so many supporters out for the screening. I am most grateful to that core group of people who have been coming consistently from the first day. From some of the “newbies” on the scene to some of the professional/semi-professional filmmakers, there are some people, who I didn’t at the time know that well, that truly support the real filmmaking scene. I’m trying to show movies from the one notch or above amateur level material.



Yet again, the Uncle Pete shorts killed. It was risky this week because the audience had a lot more grey hair (as if mine isn’t pretty grey, but theirs matched an older demographic). These are risqué and an older, more mature crowd may not appreciate the irony.

I have a mathematical theory on comedy in a movie theater presentation. What happens is that the people who “get it” will laugh out loud once for sure, but they only give the laugh one more shot. If LESS people laugh on the second laugh, they feel self conscious and won’t laugh again. The other option, that thankfully happened for me this week, MORE people laugh; then the old axiom “Laughter is infectious” becomes somewhat viral and true. Basically, the few laughing make the rest of the audience feel it’s OKAY to laugh at the humor, or they feel like they are being informed what is and isn’t funny by the rest of the audience they are in.The amorphous audience can be swayed one direction or another by the collective vibe.

Equation:
If LAUGH 2 < LAUGH 1 = NO MORE LAUGHS, lame crowd and a “miss”
If LAUGH 1 > LAUGH 2 = MORE LAUGHS, hip crowd and a "hit"

This is the premise and art form of theatrical exhibition. Steven Spielberg made his whole early career on studying and practicing this art. I have followed this path with all the film festival screenings and my own presentations. It is the best way to learn the effectiveness of your INTENT versus REACTION of the audience. The more you can intuit the prediction of an audience reaction to something you write-direct-edit etc. the more effective you can become with the tools of the trade, IE moviemaking. This is why the so called “rules” of filmmaking can be such potent utensils. They work and have worked so well. This is also why film history becomes crucial TO ME. You have 100+ years of cinema history of what has and has not worked to study and use to your advantage. Never lose sight of the genuine emotional intent and try to please yourself as an artist, but if your goal is to also satisfy an audience, practice will make your efforts more on the ball.



I think my practice at these results in my events and screenings having decent attendance, especially in comparison to others I’ve been to. I have seen some pretty horrendous screenings and there are even some basic screening opportunities that could be so greatly enhanced with just a teeny bit of forethought, but some people are incapable of learning, or not interested in advancing this part of the filmmaking process. I guess that’s why they don’t get much better. Stagnation kills the growth of anything.

We shot the elements for the title sequence for IN THE TRENCHES OF AN INDIE FILM against Ye Olde Green Screen. I saw some of the results last night and I am pleased. Later today I’ll see the first pass of the title sequence. I had a very specific idea of what I wanted, but since I’m buried in editing still, I’ve asked TJ Cooley to do the actual title sequence, and if he adds some of his usual style to it, it might make a good demo reel piece as it is complex and cool. I wanted a :30 second JAMES BOND opener, not too long or anything as I just want to get to the meat of the movie.



We’re making a special ONE SHEET poster for the double feature screening. I like the idea of alternate poster designs, even if it’s only for my wall when it’s over. I’m amazed at how many people have an active interest in seeing HORRORS OF WAR November 13th. I get so blinded by my own being sick to death of it that people new on the film scene weren’t involved or got to know people who were and want to appreciate seeing what they’ve done. I’m far more excited about the documentary, if the still-procrastinating-in-progress-need-to-edit-attitude can be construed as “excited”.

There will be no Q&A for the HORRORS OF WAR double feature because the Documentary will cover pretty much most things anyone would ask. I have not done much to promote the screening yet, but since someone from the film didn’t know HORRORS OF WAR was even playing, I figure I might need to let people know.

Well, I’m going to see “W.” tonight with my father. He’s excited as hell because he’s an Ex-Republican and the real W. converted him. We haven’t had much chance to speak in the last few weeks so I want to talk to him about the economy etc. I never used to get jazzed to talk to my pops, but these days he’s become someone I like to spend time with. Life sometimes changes on you.

Peace out and don’t smoke crack – that’s a ghetto drug!

- Ross

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