SMonologue #10 – Portrait of the (f)Artist as a Young Man
Wednesday 10 August 2011 @ 12:41 pm


Red State tours across Canada from this Sunday, 8/14 to Thursday, 8/18.

Then, Red State starts a one-week, Oscar-Qualifying run at the NewBeverly from Friday, 8/19 to Thursday, 8/25.

Then, Red State hits Video-On-Demand for two weeks, starting 9/1.

Then, Red State goes theatrical with a
one-night-only beamed screening/Q&A/Podcast event.

Then, Red State hits BluRay/DVD on

Then, Red State continues it’s theatrical run for the next 2 years at Mom-&-Pop single-screen movie theaters across the country, complete with post-show Q&A.

My long-term goal with the ever-evolving Red State experiment is to redefine the theatrical exhibition window: if I’m willing to accompany the flick somewhere in the country every other weekend for the next two years, I can probably do about $20 to $30k per night. That’s a big enough per-screen to land Red State a noticeable position on Variety’s weekly box office chart every other weekend. And if I can make sure Red State stays on that chart for the next few years, some kid who wants to make a movie but sees the system of the movie business as impenetrable might just find it a little easier to get his or her head around… and maybe give it a shot themselves.

My most cherished responsibility as a bona fide indie filmmaker is to let everyone know the shot is always worth taking. Eons ago, I saw Slacker and it made me think I could be a filmmaker, too. I’ve spent the last twenty years telling audiences they could be the same.

It costs nothing to encourage an artist, and the potential return is immeasurable. A song will cheer your mood. A movie will let you escape. A podcast will make you laugh. Nice dividends to a simple investment.

Art can’t save the world, but it can make the world a lot easier to take. You tell a budding artist something good about their work, or share with them the things you’ve learned, or show them how to advocate for their art themselves? It costs you nothing but time. The potential upside? Maybe one day, they make your favorite movie. Or write the book you’ve read twenty times. Or record the most-played song on your iPod. Or rock the longest-running podcast in history. All because you said something kind.

I can hear a thousand sour bitches lamenting “We should skull-fuck the jackass who encouraged you, you no-talent havin’, non-Silent Bob-bein’ cinema butcher who writes overly-long sentences that’re somehow grammatically correct as well!”.

What can I tell you? Someone’s trash is someone else’s treasured pastime. The book you hate is someone else’s Bible. The movie you love is someone else’s Cop Out. There’s no explaining the eye of the beholder, where art and beauty are rumored to live.

I started my career with a flick that made people feel like they could make a flick, too. Nearly two decades later, I’m wrapping up my career with a flick I hope will show people that there’s more than one way to take that film to the world.

Art is practical magic. Self-expression is casting a spell. That means we’re all potential wizards of words. Either that, or I just make dick jokes for a living. Regardless, I work so long and pour so much of who I am into my films and then settle for a make-or-break opening with a short theatrical life. I guess I’d just rather milk that shit longer, y’know? I mean, I put five minutes, a lot of sweating, and a Luke-guided-by-the-Force-accurate shot at Jen’s Death Star into the making Harley – my only child; I put four years of my life into making Red State. Why the fuck does it live such a short theatrical existence after all that effort, sturm and drang? I only say this after nearly two decades in the movie biz: it seems disproportionate.

So six months after Red State hits home video, my goal is to still have it on the box office charts as well. Any time Red State makes a buck from any form of theatrical exhibition (including any college campus screenings I book), we’re reporting it to Variety. In this economy, one can’t quibble with the location, shape or form of any paying audience showing up to see cinema, even if the public exhibition is unconventional. Box office is box office, and asses in seats is asses in seats.

And I know how much it sucks to leave home to watch a movie, so with Red State, I’m gilding the theatrical lily for the potential audience by standing right there beside my film to help put asses in seats. The distribution landscape has changed dramatically for weird movies and spending marketing dollars is an unnecessary crap shoot on something as outside the mainstream as Red State.

But the other reason I chose the path of most resistance for my penultimate stab at making flicks? It’s selfish, really: somewhere out there, in the streams of time, there’s a fat kid from Jersey whose gotta be reminded he’s on the right track, and that he can make movies too – just like them.

Also in those time streams? A garage-band skate-rat who’s trying to make sure his parents fuck. Dude’s got a sweet ride…


P.S. – I fuck this chick…


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