Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Crapslinger

A lot of stuff crosses my desk as a senior editor at a weekly entertainment magazine. Most of it is crap. This...thing you see to my left is just the latest example of said crap, a direct-to-DVD “film” starring Eddie Griffin as a con man who enters rap lyrics into a Dublin poetry contest and wins…and brings the flava to those who don’t cook with any*. Someone. Actually. Made. This. Movie.

Now, in the 10 years or so that I've been writing screenplays, most of them have sucked. I freely admit it. They all haven't sucked the same way (which I take as a sign of progress), but I'm actually pretty glad that I was never able to get them in front of anyone who could make them into movies. There are still kernels of good ideas in those horrible scripts—except maybe the one about the domesticated Yeti superhero; that's probably a wash—but they were bad. They needed to be bad. Because I needed to get the bad out of my system to make room for the good. There's a quote from animator Chuck Jones that I'm gonna mangle, but it goes something like "Every artist has 10,000 bad drawings in him before he gets to his first good one. The trick is to get through those 10,000 as quickly as possible."

So those early bad scripts were crucial. But none of them—with the possible exception of that Yeti superhero one (did I mention that he fought crime out of an ice-cream truck?)—were as bad as Irish Jam.

The fact that movies like that get made gives me hope.

* One might think, judging by the last two images I've posted here, that I've got it in for the Irish. Not true. I love the Irish, even when it's not St. Patrick's Day (though, living in Woodside, Queens—a bastion of Irish immigration—for three years and enduring the scorched-earth that is St. Patty's day there, I'm left with no real desire to celebrate it again. Ever.). My wife is of partial Irish descent, along with English and Scottish. And, despite all that's going against her, she can cook.


Bill Cunningham said...

Welcome to my world, Marc.

marc bernardin said...

Bill, trust me when I say this, it's a world I have absolutely nothing against and, at one point, tried really hard to break into. Fatigue set in, and I gave up the ghost.

But it still haunts me, every now and again...

Bill Cunningham said...

My thoughts on this are well documented on my blog, but let me say it again:

D2DVD or DVD Premiere movies are the pulp magazines of the day. They are ground out for a variety of audiences eager for entertainment. Then next month, they're replaced by something new. As a "pulp writer" in the world of DVD you do it for the money and experience. Mainly the experience cause the money ain't that good.

It has been a great training ground to bigger things - just like when Edgar Rice Burroughs "graduated" to hardback editions of his pulp work. The point of it is to "embrace the movie machine" and get the work made.

In looking at this Eddie Griffin movie, somebody said, "we can get him for X dollars - now all we need is an idea, by tuesday. So we can start shooting on thursday, and have it ready by x date."

It filled a slot on a release schedule, and you never ever want to lose a slot on a release schedule.

Ken Lowery said...

What the hell happened to Eddie Griffin? Or was I the only one that found Undercover Brother endlessly hysterical?

Please don't say I'm the only one...