Wednesday, February 06, 2002

Arthur Dent had his Thursdays, well, I can't get the hang of Tuesdays. If "BUFFY" wasn't on Tuesdays, I swear I wouldn't bother getting out of bed.

Yesterday I got a recommendation from an L.A. writer to try out a formerly high-profile entertainment magazine. He was friends with the editor, had a great reputation. I send away - a query letter of high quality charm and ... um, quality. The return message is prompt: the magazine has changed formats. It's business related now, not entertainment related. It's been years since I worked in a movie theater. Sure, I've run projectors and sold popcorn, but mostly, I just cleaned up after people. So... no luck there.

A second rejection really burned me, though. It was for a "Movie Lovers" anthology. I hadn't realized it at the time, but it was to be a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" type of book, which is fine. But the pieces I submitted were rejected for being "too intellectual". The editor asked me to "dumb it down". Now, the editor is a bright, intelligent woman, who I believe incorrectly chose the words "dumb it down". I understand what she means now and I wish the project the best of luck. But at the same time, it really irked me.

I'm working on this book for Great Britain called TWISTED REALITIES which covers a whole mass of American Indie filmmakers - Jim VanBebber, Ron Bonk, Kevin Lindenmuth - I'm doing pieces on Eric Stanze, Jon Keeyes and Debbie Rochon. This is being pitched as a serious look at contemporary filmmaking. To British intellectuals and film societies. And gore hounds, of course, but... Now, would we even ATTEMPT to pitch something like this to an American market, we'd get roundly told off about it. "No one would care!" "Your market's too small!" "Why can't you write about Angelina Jolie and that nice Kevin Smith person?"

Filmmakers are all too often "dumbing it down" for the audiences. Rebecca Romaijn-Stamos told journalists that the new version of ROLLERBALL isn't as - and this is a direct quote - "thinky" as the original. Because god forbid people sit down and actually think while watching a movie. We can't have too many "thinky" movies. Is it just hindsight or did movies in the thirties and forties have scripts as well as laughs? Didn't Shakespeare write high and low humor into his plays for both the nobles and the commoners?

"Dumb it down, Einstein, some of us just want to be entertained."

No comments: