By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Phooey to the Agents
The stupidest contractual terms in the English language are “pay or play” and “final cut.” There’s not a better time in history to break the stranglehold which agents have on the movie business, since even top talents are out of work right now.
I Don’t Want to Thank . . .
Stop Dicking Around
I won’t let my studio executives fraternize with other studio executives. What happens is that these hopeless poseurs try to impress each other not with dick size or lap dances but with the amount of ill-conceived “coolness quotient” they can work into projects. This has nothing to do with making screenplays better, but all about bragging rights over dinner at Ago. Reservoir Dogs came out 13 years ago; get over it already.
The problem with Hollywood is that everything in this town works toward creating conflicts of interest, not controlling them. So I’d make a caveat at my Hollywood studio: no cronyism. That would solve the problem of studio execs constantly throwing work to friends, doing expensive favors for agents and groveling shamelessly with talent — all because these execs are preparing for life as producers after they’ve been fired.
Start With Screenwriters
I’d set up meetings with the top screenwriters, regardless of age or addiction, who’ve written the top grossing movies of the last 20 years. Then, I’d ask them what movie they want to make which would draw the largest audience possible. Finally, I’d pay them a flat fee for four months’ work and leave them alone to complete a 40-to-60 page treatment. I dare not do this with the top directors: I’d just get another Toys.
No Inside Jobs
Los Angeles Times Calendar writer John Horn just wrote about a Hollywood practice that has irritated me for years: actors’ personal screenwriters, whose sole job is to fill a film with insider stuff. It’s exactly why, more times than not, audiences feel like outsiders because they don’t get the joke that the actors are in on. Why anyone would want to indulge yet more indiscriminate puerility in the movie business is beyond me.
Fix Filmdom’s Image
Hollywood has a horrible PR problem, fanned by GOP electioneering to spread an anti-elite message and, in the process, destroy the movie business. I’d withhold the big money spent lobbying this Republican Congress and use it to underwrite an ad campaign reminding everyone how great films improve our lives. Unless, of course, Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, Karl Rove et al. don’t want to cure societal ills like bigotry, avarice or war.
It Used to Be Dishes
These days, the only business with a worse image than movie companies is the oil industry. So let’s get together. Right now, the biggest bite taken out of a family’s disposable income after food, shelter, clothes and education seems to be gas. I’d work with Exxon, Chevron, Texaco, etc. to figure out some kind of fill-up-the-tank incentive program based on movie attendance. Yes, it’s gimmicky, but Universal’s new money-back guarantee on Cinderella Man is a goodgimmick.
OK, time’s up. I’d love to hear your suggestions. Just address them to me in care of Alien Nation since that’s where Hollywood will think I’ve taken up residence.
Email at firstname.lastname@example.org